Thursday, March 31, 2011

The medication hits the spot

Feeling better today as hopefully the medication is hitting home. Doctors confirmed that its probably my liver kicking off and have prescribed steroids and anti-nausea medication. I managed to down a ham sandwich and a custard tart a few minutes ago, and I had a laugh with my friend Yvonne who popped in.

I find that my taste buds are reverting to the 1950s; when Stewart asks what I fancy for tea (tea you see! what we now call dinner and posh people call supper but for the 1950s' working classes, it was definitely "tea"), I eschew any of our more recent culinary repertoire of Roghan Josh's, Thai chicken etc and opt instead for cheese and potato pie, or just egg and bacon. Who knows perhaps it will be corned beef hash next.

It is wonderful when you stop feeling sick and long may it continue up our neck of the woods

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I don't feel well and I don't like it. I feel I am losing control and Leio is taking over. I suppose up to now I have felt quite well most of the time. I know that sounds strange when I am paralysed as a result of Leio acting at his worst, devastating my life. But up until now all these mets in my vital organs, liver and lungs have been reasonably quiet.

I now have a pain in my side which makes me shout out when I breathe in deeply and I am feeling sick almost all the time. Very unusual for me, but also I have absolutely no appetite. Anyway we have called the doctor and the hospice nurse specialist. She thinks it's probably liver capsule pain, because the liver is covered in something like cling film which bubbles up if the liver swells, it would also explain the nausea and loss of appetite. We will see what the doctor says when he comes and what they can do for it. I may have to go to hospital again; here's hoping I don't and that we can move back into the driving seat and kick Leio into touch for a little longer

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I have a dreaded pressure sore. It's level 3 when the scale only goes up to 4. Nurses have to come in on a daily basis and stroke it and pack it and worry about it. I can't feel it as its below the paralysis line and that is a blessing but in order to stop it spreading I have to put annoying restrictions on my life. I can't sit out for more than three hours; I have to screw myself into a contorted foetal position so that the sore is off the bed several times a day.

Believe me there's not a lot you can do hanging onto the edge of your bed; reading is nigh on impossible although I did manage to finish Sophie's Choice the other day. I enjoyed every word, beautifully written and an ideal book for when you are feeling sorry for yourself! Things could be a lot worse.

I can listen to the radio while on my side and doze of course, that seems to be the option that creeps up on me most often. Haven't managed to complete my next mistress-piece but we will see what today brings.

I would have been marching or rolling against the cuts in London if I could have been yesterday, piling the pressure on those that protect their own interests while making the lives of people with paralysis, poverty and public sector posts a whole lot worse.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

He's not heavy..

My brother is coming to visit tomorrow. Along with his wife, Andree he will catch a train and get a taxi and arrive at my door. A simple act you may think, but not for him as he has been ill for a couple of years and does not venture out.

So I feel highly honoured that he is making this trip to see me and know how difficult it is for him. I sometimes say that it is a good job my Mom is not alive at the moment. She would be 98 now, and probably not have all her marbles, but she would be driven mad by the thought that both her kids have been so ill for the last two years. This being said we have both, in our way, shown her unique brand of strength and resiliance throughout our very different ordeals.

So Stewart will make the quiches and the curries and me and my brother will feast and chat, keeping our peckers up and putting on a brave face as we were taught at our mother's knee

Friday, March 18, 2011

Filling my life

"You always have visitors" my daughter said today when she rang to catch up with me and moan about the assignment she has to do for her Masters Degree. And she is not wrong. Today it was lovely Kathryn who I have known all my life. She lived up the road and her sister, Mary, went to school aged five with Stewart. Mary married Mike, Stewart's scientific brainy mate; they live in Galway and are a pair of our oldest friends. In the 1950s Kathryn's family and mine and all of our neighbours went on charabanc trips to the seaside and to the glories of the Warwickshire and Worcestershire countryside, or pubs more like. Kathryn's Dad and my Dad went up the Blues together. We had lots to talk about.

Yesterday two old colleagues from my working days, Jo and Ruth, came and we caught up on past and present gossip and fell back into all the old laughter. Last night we had an impromptu St Patrick Day's party. Stewart is half Irish which makes the kids a quarter Paddy. They take full advantage of this as it gives an excuse to drink gallons of Guinness and Bushmills. Luke, no three son, turned up and called his wife, Aleks to join us, Chris and Denise from over the road dropped in. Joe had made a delicious Irish Stew which we managed to stretch to feed everyone and we topped it all off with very strong Irish coffees and raucous singing of Danny Boy, Patrick McGinty's Goat and other classics.

Wednesday saw us going out for a very posh lunch at a local toff's house, Hampton Manor: pea soup with basil ravioli followed by monkfish, mussels, asparagus and seaweed sauce - delicious; we went with Pat our dearest friend. That evening Stewart's brother Graham popped in as did Jess, Tom, Harry and Danny

And then back to Tuesday, a lovely lunch here with Les and Jude, another pair of old friends, in fact aforementioned Mary and Mike, Pat, Les and Jude and Stewart all went to school together fifty odd years ago.

So as you see my life as a poor, paralysed old thing is not so bad. In fact it's bloody wonderful. And on top of this I have painted and find I can do it. I have added a copy of my interpretation of a jug of tulips at the top of this blog. It's only my second attempt since I started painting last week. I am thinking about the next one. Somehow I want to capture this room, my world and all that come and go in it. Not sure how I will do it but I will keep you updated

Monday, March 14, 2011

Grandma Moses

I have taken up painting.It's sometimes a bit hard trying to do it in bed - ooh er missus... I only spend about five hours out of bed each day now as I get tired but I manage to paint propped up against my pillows, swathed in aprons to keep the watery colours from invading the sheets. Chris over the road, who is an art teacher, is giving me guidance. He's doing a good job, after realising that saying just play around with the paint, wasn't enough for someone who hasn't painted since she was 18 and then it was with the dreaded powder paint on sugar paper. Yesterday I moved away from circles and dribbling colours down the paper to an actual picture of a bronze model we have. It's not half bad even though I say so myself but I already have enormous ambitions and want to loosen up, become expressive, find my oeuvre, hit the world of art like Grandma Moses did when she was supposed to be finished.

Perhaps it's something to do with feeling a limit on my existence that makes me want to make a mark on the world. Anyway for now I will just make a mark on the paper and see where we go from there.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Counting for something

I am tremendously excited. Okay I know I don't get out much these days but the 2011 census has dropped on our doorstep and I will be counted. I won't be a past thing but I will be down as the head of the household, as I always insist on that as a rather pathetic blow for feminism. Mind you with my luck a thunderbolt will hit the house on 27 March and none of us will be counted. Failing that historians in the future looking for trends in education or in disability will count me.I will be an important statistic. But sometimes I don't feel as if I count at all.

I had a terrible day on Monday. I had to go to the Diabetes clinic, which at the moment is sited in one of our local hospitals, an old workhouse that is going to be razed to the ground soon. At present you have to park in the Visitor's car park, which of course we had to pay for, and then find the diabetes clinic. Luckily we saw a couple of chaps in hi-viz jackets who showed us the way. But the route was so long and bumpy, I was in severe pain around where my feeling starts and Stewart worn out by pushing me up hill and down dale. We got there and apart from the fact I had to sit outside to avoid passing out with the heat all went well. I am no longer diabetic.

But I have a problem with my hearing on top of everything else and had been told by my GP that I could just walk in (ha ha) to the walk-in hearing assessment clinic to be assessed. He said it was in the Rehab centre close by to said old workhouse. We went in there, now remember that everytime I get in and get out of our new green frog car, it's an effort for us both and currently I only have a crappy wheelchair on loan from Bourneville Ward. I am by now slipping out of said wheelchair and very uncomfortable. We go to the reception in the Rehab centre, they say that the hearing assessment centre is at out-patients back at the hospital. We duly go over there, get ourselves out of the car only to find that it is elsewhere on the hospital site. By this time I am absolutely exhausted. We go round to the centre, which is tucked away down a snicket. We can hardly manoeuvre the car round it and there is no disabled parking at all. We park right outside where it says "keep clear". We struggle to get me out again and I wheel myself up to reception to ask if I can avail myself of the walk-in clinic, I even find the energy to joke and call it the roll-in centre for me. I am told that the walk-in clinic only operates from 9am to 12.30pm and that as long as there is an audiologist available I will be seen if I return the next morning. I ask if I can make an appointment then and she says that they don't make appointments for hearing assessments. I burst into tears much to the embarrassment of all those sitting and waiting.

I have reported this chain of events, in no uncertain terms, to the Chief Executive of the hospital. Because I am known to her and to every other bugger at the top of the NHS, a special appointment has been made for me next Monday. So I count, but what about the other poor sods who don't or at least only will on 27 March.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Egg

Just found this on a blog called Midnight Musings. I love it except of course it would definitely have been a woman...

The Egg

By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You said.

“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

You thought for a long time.

“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way.