Monthly Archives: October 2005

%$^$£%$ !!! *

*Insert expletives as appropriate.

Yes, I’ve got it.. and with a vengeance. No visiting hospitals for me today, and I’ve had to ring up and cancel the carpet cleaning too. Botheration – I feel sick sick sick. Headache, temperature, dizziness, cough, nausea, sore throat, you name it, I’ve got it. 🙁 Botheration indeed.

I’m sitting here while waiting for my bath to empty a little. When I decided a deep hot bubble bath would be a good idea, I should have written myself a note reminding me to turn the taps off! Guilt at wasting water is one thing, postponing sinking in amongst the bubbles even worse! But I suppose I’m not really in the mood for cleaning up a flood.

After talking with the nurse yesterday, I’ve broken the news to Dad that he won’t be coming home today. In his heart of hearts he knew it really, but it was still hard to tell him so. Stupid stupid surgeon, telling him he’d be home in 48 hours! The nurse says he’ll need another week – that they’ll send him home when he can walk properly as he was walking before. This means they’ll keep him in the hospital until a bed comes free in a convalescent home, then transfer him there for a while. Needless to say, we both got a bit emotional. And last night, when feeling really grotty, I found myself longing to have my dad here to look after me. A bit ironic, really, because he doesn’t cope well when I’m ill and I usually end up trying to disguise it!

Right, I wonder how that bath’s doing. Shallow enough yet for me to wallow in without causing a tidal wave?

Memememememeeeeeeee

Ten years ago
I was just trying to do the calculations. I know that ten years ago I was working at a different school where I had just stopped being the youngest on the staff. I reckon at that time I was helping Mum and Dad plan their move to the Island and my closest friend here had just moved away so it was a bit of a limbo time. Footloose and fancy free, I was enjoying car maintainance classes, visiting in the prison, reading a lot, writing a lot of letters and living Island life to the full.

Five years ago
How exciting – five years ago I was on the adoption list again awaiting the suggestion of Smudgelet. I’d been approved for children aged 5 and upward so was utterly overwhelmed when my social worker rang and asked if I’d consider a three year old with an uncertain future. It didn’t take much thinking – a single prayer was enough, and the knowledge that his name meant “Gift from God”. Mind you, by the time all the hoohah had finished and they finally agreed to let me have him, he was already celebrating his fourth birthday! Funny to think that first time I saw him I didn’t really like him very much at all!!!

One year ago
Oh my, how boring my life is! One year ago I was doing exactly the same as I am now – no different except a year younger (and a large number of pounds lighter!)

Five yummy things
chicken and cheese on toast; caramel shortbread; doughnut; roast lamb with mint sauce, carrot and roast potatoes; hot blancmange with evaporated milk, MMMmmmmmmmmm

Five songs I know by heart
There’s loads of them. I find it relatively easy to learn songs by heart. The Smudgelets’ “sing-it-again-mummy” favourite is Hole in the Ground, followed closely by “She sat ‘neath the lilac and strummed her guitar.” Most hymns I can sing without reference to the hymnbook, especially mum’s favourite “Oh Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go”, and lots of Gilbert and Sullivan songs are emblazoned on my heart, as are most Simon and Garfunkel and (dare I say it) Cliff Richard. Not many more modern pop songs, though.

Five things I would do with a lot of money
Travel, taking the Smudgelets to loads of different places to explore; Donations to charity, of course, and to relatives to enable them to get something really worthwhile; pay off my mortgage and have an extension. (Did someone say adopt again?) Give up work and do something voluntary instead.

Five places I would escape to
Bed 🙂 The Downs overlooking the whole of the Island; either of my sisters’ homes; the secret beach; Austria

Five things I would never wear
High heeled shoes; mini skirt; bikini; thong; hotpants (although I did wear those as a child)

Five favourite TV shows Cadfael; Morse; Waking the Dead; Pride and Prejudice; Strictly Come Dancing

Five things I enjoy doing playing music; reading (if only I could get into it again); sitting by the beach in the sun watching the children playing; reading to the Smudgelets when we’re all curled up in a duvet; Swimming when I’m feeling fit.

Favourite toys How can I choose between my special teddies (and penguins) in my room? So I shall have to say a cumulative “teddies” with special mention to Nick my threadbare bear and Sir K which my mum bought me; Lego; Kite; Cluedo; Is this the right place to mention my piano? Did you know I had a piano?

Five people who get this It looks as though virtually everyone has been got… so anyone who’s left, it’s your turn now 😀 Me, I’m, back to my lemsip and trying to recover my voice before visiting time this afternoon.

Lemsip

Pah – the “all three” option wasn’t an option as I hadn’t any Options left. No, Options, not options. The hot chocolate has to wait until I’ve been shopping (and I intend to indulge in something a bit chocolatier than the low calorie version, too, baby or no baby) so it was coffee and lemsip. And now, here I am in the middle of the night drinking lemsip without the coffee because the last thing I want right now is get up and go. (Drinking lemsip at this hour might well make me get up and go as it is! 😉 ) Actually, get up and go is the second last thing I want – the last thing I want right now is a cough and sore throat.

You’ll be pleased to know that all four of our sibling group now think a convalescent home for dad is a good idea… all we have to do now is persuade him. I have a secret weapon – I am tomorrow going to ring one of his favourite female friends and see if she would like to visit him in the hospital. This is the friend who spent some time in the Convalescent home and sentold me to tell him how much she loved it there – that it was like going on holiday. He’ll listen to her! 😉 The nurse reassured me, however, that the consultant was not-a-little unrealistic in telling Dad he’d be going home on Saturday – it’ll be Monday at the earliest until he’s discharged, and possibly longer depending on the physiotherapists. Mind you, they may well want rid of him, seeing as he informed me he told them to b*&*&^ off and stop bullying him. Funny, though.. he was telling me this and said “Do you know what I told them? I said… ‘B*&*&^ off!” and just at that moment the hospital chaplain arrived to visit him 😀

The house is in silence. Even the cat is asleep, curled up in the odd sock tray. I know why he’s chosen the odd- sock-tray rather than the matched-sock-tray, it’s far cosier as there are far more socks there! Mind you, they’ll soon match as they’ll all be tabby/white and furry. My Lemsip is all supped, my throat eased, my mind sleepy.. I’ll bid you goodnight. Goodnight.

Coffee, chocolate or lemsip?

Coffee for the “getupandgo”, Chocolate for the “pampering”, or lemsip for the “This had better not be a cough developing at the back of my throat right now when I really need to be 100% non-infectious”.

Went to visit Dad yesterday. It was rather comical really, if it weren’t for all the lines etc coming out of his arms and the winces when the next shot of morphine was needed. His bed was so high that if I sat on a chair I disappeared from his line of view. If I moved the chair so he could see me, he’d try to talk and I was so far away that I couldn’t make out what he was saying through the oxygen mask. I’d stand up and lean my ear over to where he was talking and, before he’d finished his sentence, he’d fall alseep again in a morphine-induced doze from which he’d wake a few minutes later and try to remember the sentence he was in the middle of! It was good to spend some time with him, though – especially as the oxygen and morphine were combining to make his face look healthier and more relaxed than it has done in a long time. (I know it’s only on the surface, but it was reassuring none-the-less).

The chap in the next bed has considerable learning difficulties (at least, that’s what I reassure myself). He was so excited when I came in to visit Dad for the first time – he reached out and patted my paunch and declared very loudly “You’ve got a baby in there, haven’t you?” Hmmm.. I wish I had that excuse! Maybe I’d better get myself off back to the gym!

The nurse I’ve rung this morning was full of how well Dad was doing. They aim to get him up today… Dad, that is, not the nurse. I reiterated the desire for them to seek a convalescent home for him for a few days as they were talking of him coming home tomorrow. It’s a dilemma, really, as my sister doesn’t want him to go into a convalescent home unless he really wants to. She says she’ll come down tomorrow and care for him at home. I want him to go and have proper nursing care for a few days first and for her to come down later when I’m back at work. Lashings of guilt is the free gift that always comes with these situations. She wants him to come home because she feels guilty being so far away and not doing anything, I feel guilty because I want him to go and have nursing care and give me a few days’ respite. I don’t think home is the best place for him straight away – we can’t lift him, we can’t bully him into moving if he doesn’t want to or stop him from doing too much too soon, there’s cough/cold germs a-plenty hovering around, and the seizure on Saturday was rather scary and with things likely to deteriorate over the coming months, I am going to need all the respite I can get right now to build up my strength and spend some time with the boys. But the hospital have impressed upon him and me that it has to be his choice, what he wants. My wants don’t come into it, unless I impress upon him that I’m not willing to do the caring, (which isn’t true at all) and which will simply result in my sister coming down sooner – and leaving sooner and me still doing a lot of the care because I can’t sit here next door and ignore him.

I want him home, but I want him home in a condition where I feel able to care for him to the extent he needs and without neglecting my own needs and those of my children. AAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH!

But my main need at the moment is to get this ironing mountain defeated and tidy my lounge before I go and pick up the children and head off to the hospital for afternoon visiting. Cup of coffee, hot chocolate or lemsip?

Time for bed, said Zebedee

Well, what a day that’s been. The house looks no cleaner and no tidier at all……. just a drip in the ocean is what’s been achieved really… and still needs the application of a well aimed bulldozer, but at least I’ve made a start thanks to you.

Lunch at church was good – apart from being informed that it was actually really inconvenient of me to ask if, instead of having either a cheese jacket potato or a tuna jacket potato, I could be so daring as to have both cheese and tuna on my jacket potato. “That sounds really disgusting. I can do it, but you’ll have to pay extra!” Still, at least they were willing to serve me this time. Last time I went I was told, in true Christian fashion, that I could not have a tuna jacket potato as it would necessitate them opening a tin of tuna. Hmmm… I suppose the only alternative would have been for them to go out and catch one! But the food is good there, and the contemplative/creative worship area a real calming and prayerful experience on a day when that was just what the doctor ordered.

Dad has been duly delivered to the hospital and they have drawn arrows over his legs, so hopefully the operation will go ahead tomorrow as planned. Poor love – he’s first on the list tomorrow so they’re waking him at 5.30 a.m. … and no breakfast!!! Mind you, he probably will be awake already. Due to the risk of MRSA, they are not willing for him to have his special mattress from the hospice. (much to my disgruntlement, after they’d told us yesterday to bring it in. It’s not that easy, you know, bringing in a hulking great single mattress full of silicon gel!) I left him watching his own personal TV, accompanied by a tiny teddy from the hospice, and singing along to the CD I lent him. They reckon he should be out on Saturday, though possibly to a nursing home if he’ll agree. Their plans met a bit of a stumbling block as the Staff Nurse explained they’d be teaching him to walk on crutches and I pointed out that with cancer in both his upper arms, it was unlikely he’d be able to bear his own weight on his arms. Something tells me they hadn’t quite thought of that one. Hard, though, to stand there in front of him and declare yourself unwilling/unable to care for him when in truth you know you’d move heaven and earth to care for him if they did send him home. Still, I’ve got a quiet night tonight, dreams permitting.

Right, is it alright with you if I have my cup of coffee now? Too late, I’m off to bed. I think a mug of hot chocolate with squirty cream (and a dash of the stuff I rarely drink) could be in order. What do you reckon?

Well and truly kicked!

Well, thanks for your encouragement so far. I’m doing fairly well, in theory, though you can’t precisely see the difference. So far I have:

Taken my CD player round to Dad’s and put a few CDs for him to listen to while they’re drilling holes in his leg;
Rolled up the redundant carpet which I’d left looking forlorn in my hall;
Emptied the five drawers from the chest of drawers from Dad’s, throwing lots of stuff away but finding some old letters from mum (which I’ve managed to resist reading yet) and a lamp for Tiddles’ bedroom and a box of artificial wounds. Yes, artificial wounds.
Cleaned the inside of the five drawers – failed, however, to mend two because I can’t find the glue.
Put nice smelly drawer liner inside the drawers which I am actually able to use.
Put away one lot of ironed clothes in their new home.
Filled one binbag.
Fetched Dad’s washing-up over from his house.

Next on the agenda: reload washing machine, sort out ironing, have a shower ready to go out to lunch at church and then take Dad to the hospital.

Hmm… shame lunch comes in the way really, I’m just getting up a head of steam!

Kick up the proverbial

I’ve delivered the kids (coughing and sneezing and snuffling) to the leisure centre for the day. (Yes, I know this is utterly irresponsible and they’ll be a) worse when they get home and b) spreading it to all the other little kiddiwinks, but for today I don’t really care!) I have packed Dad’s bag and loaded his mattress into the car. I have collected some offcuts of carpet from my friend with a view to putting them down in my hallway and have sadly discovered there’s just not enough.. and now I’ve stopped. I’ve drunk coffee and played Rosencrantz and Everlasting Sentences until I just daren’t put it off any longer.

So forgive me, but I am going to take gratuitous advantage of you. I am going to use you as my motivator. In fifteen minutes I shall return and tell you what (if anything) I have achieved. I will not lie, I will not invent sundry household tasks to add to the list, I will not prevaricate any longer. Smudgie, off your bottom, woman, and get to work.