Thursday, September 18, 2014


Grandma P Rambles No More

I would hope that anyone who knows or knew Mum would know the news by now. Mum, or Grandma P to you, a wife, mother, grandmother, auntie, great auntie, friend, inspiration. She lost her final battle with cancer on August 28th 2014. This is maybe the last post on this blog. We might add some happy photos later. Better to remember the happy times.

Here's the funeral address given by Grandma P's daughter, Clare.

I'd like to begin with a reading from the Bible. It's not just any Bible. This is my mother's Bible. She wrote her name in it, 54 years ago. The reading isn't from any of the printed words but from a piece of paper Paula kept safe there for a long time. It's something that was said by her mother in the period leading up to her own early death.

When the time comes you will find you will quite enjoy dying.
It's a wonderful struggle.

Paula was involved in that struggle for many years, having been first diagnosed with cancer in 1991 and since that time never had excellent health. Every day has included a round of tablets and medicines and for the last seven years, since she had cancer for a third time, she had a urostomy bag to add to everything else.

Twenty-three years of struggle. In 1992 she struggled so much to survive. In 1993 she remained ill and received much help from St. Catherine's Hospice, as she did in the last days of her life.

Paula very nearly died and was in hospital for 3 months. At one point she had a 10% chance of getting through the following few hours. Some of us will remember clearly the struggles and the suffering she went through in order to live. And some of us have seen in detail the manner in which she has struggled this year and the dignity with which she accepted her own mortality.

And I believe the way Paula faced the struggles can be a lesson for us all. Her aim throughout those years was to live. To live each day in the fullest way her body allowed her to live. And we have seen the way she's done it and what she's been able to experience over the years. She lived to see Jamie and I married and settled. She lived to see her grandchildren and get to know them. She and Bill were able to visit Slovenia several times and walk in the mountains. They were able to visit Thailand to spend time Jamie and his family. She's seen the births of nearly fifty grand-nephews and grand-nieces and could name them all.

And she has lived. She and Bill went back to athletics and continued their role as timekeepers until quite recently, enjoying helping, enjoying the sport and perhaps most of all enjoying the banter and friends on the time keepers' stands. She has enjoyed dealing in antiques and collectibles and the relationships and friendships forged over the years. She and Bill have enthusiastically embraced digital cameras as the many albums at home testify, each containing wonderful pictures of the hundreds of places they visited together, the hundreds of people they've met and the countless family visits and celebrations.

On a personal note I am so glad that my mother got to see who I really am. I am so glad that she was so glad to meet me as her daughter. Because of my mental health history she has worried greatly about me over the years. I am very grateful and she was very grateful that she died knowing that she did not have to worry about me any more. Our friendship on Earth is over but we ended it in freedom, truthfulness and even in joy.

Truly, most days Paula did Carpe Diem – she did seize the day. Even on the darkest days when seizing the day was the last thing she wanted, she still triumphed and grasped the future. In 1993 after over two years of being ill she wrote in a poem “Bugger Carpe Diem!” But she came through the darkness and seized, and seized, and grabbed at the fullness of life. She lived beyond the mundane. Paula did not become famous. Instead she walked the “little way” doing all the little things as well as she could. And as in the Dire Straits song which she loved so much, Paula did the “walk of life”.

In our time of loss it's easy not to see the light. But we have a lot to be thankful for. In particular today we can all be thankful for the last 20 years, for the light Paula has been in all our lives and for the joys and triumphs she's known.

It's difficult looking at all the struggles not to ask a question. It's a question that she asked at times. It's a question many of us have asked about Paula. And it's a question we've asked when we've seen others suffer greatly or die young. All the great religions, the philosophers and the poets have asked it.

I found a book in the house before my mother died. I've seen it before but had forgotten it existed. The book contains a collection of things she wrote and some poems and sayings by others too. The first page was written in August 1980, around the time her younger brother, Robin, died. Paula asks the question about him – but we can in turn ask it about her.

My heart screams out
Why you?”
I don't want your burden – but still
Why you?”

I see you -
Glad, good
Game for living.
Why you?”

I see you -
With strength you struggle
As ever
To stamp the seal
of your own individual person
on life.

With your first faltering footsteps
Into the future
You flung down a challenge to fate.

Fate answered,
With higher and higher hurdles.

You have jumped over with joy,
Climbed over with courage.

But still -
Why you?”

Strength and daring
Are not deserving of such punishment.

I wish you well
And wonder again
Why you?”

We can ask that question. “Why you?” And I'm sure if we haven't asked it already we will ask it. But for today, as we are together, let's try not to ask the question. Let's try to be thankful for each of the seventy years Paula lived and especially for the last twenty years that she nearly didn't see. Let's be thankful for our friendships, relationships and as we keep her firmly in our hearts and minds today let's talk of all the good times; those we lived with her and those she lived with others. And let's be thankful that nearly all her 49 years of marriage were good years. It is tragic that Bill is sick and cannot be here today but today let's think of the life they shared. Let's remember all those good times. Share our memories. Laugh. Cry. And support one another in the way Paula would ask us to.

To close, with a poem by Anne Bronte, written down by Paula in her book:

Farewell to thee! But not farewell
To all my fondest thoughts of Thee;
Within my heart they still shall dwell
And they shall cheer and comfort me.

Life seems more sweet that Thou didst live
And men more true that Thou were one;
Nothing is lost that Thou didst give,
Nothing destroyed that Thou hast done.

In our loss, in our sadness, remember that:

Nothing is lost that Paula didst give,
Nothing is destroyed that she hast done.


Nothing is lost.

Farewell to thee, Paula. Farewell my mother. Farewell.
You are gone. Yet you remain.

Nothing is lost.


Grandma P passed away at St. Catherine's Hospice. She's not the first of our family to pass peacefully there. If you are reading this and want to help, please do make a donation to the hospice. Check their website : How you can help St Catherine's Hospice.

Shed a tear, raise a glass, have a laugh in memory of Grandma P, Mum, Auntie, Sister, Friend. We miss you and your passing was too soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Tomorrow will be the day

tomorrow it begins. Chemo, number one. This will be as high dose as predicted. My kidney function tests last week showed some problems. The advantage for me is that treatment will take less time to administer. I don't know yet how many weeks that I will be going to go Guildford. I will ask today.......and the answer will be something like"We will have to see how it goes."
Carer will be here soon to get me ready for todays tri

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


feeling lost

I wish I felt more cheerful
I guess this i fight stage the anger. I don't l don't if I can take control or even if I want to
i was more content in hospital where i had no control and no decisions to
make. Right now i feel too intensely involved with money
Not fair of me others are distracted from their lives to sort out mine
if only i had more time
everything has has happened so quickly
scarily quickly
i know others will tell me not to worry
O let me find those days of pleasure enjoying the magpies I must remember how to be positive ,come help me do that Offering to come to my aid isn't always easy. But looking ahead after Clare and Jamie have gone, ,i will be glad of help with shopping and laundry
or even type my blog
this has taken ages

Monday, July 07, 2014


Monday exercise

iiMonday morning and hospital life swings into action. My day began with a wee bag leak
Oh the look of joy on the nurse faces when they realise that I can deal with a leak by my self.
This morning I was visited by physiotherapists and given exercises. They plan to have a team visit me at home
Lunch time soon.
This afternoon it has been a long road to get a canula in. Attractive
ivyclad doctor.failed to
This evening I was asked me if I wanted to move there
I decided to stay here in my private room and with a TV.

Nice atmosphere here
friendly and fun
Any ways and
I appreciate the TV.
Also not sure when I shall be discharged.Could be quite soon.



Pity, I already written lots today on Facebook
I won't write it twice
So a few brief notes, probably to be interrupted by shower and hair .
But my flannels are lost. Never mind.
I am clean and my hair feels good. I have ccomfortable disposable knickers. i have a real treasure of a nurse.
I needed someone special after my night
I woke to an arm, dripping blood. had knocked the canula and ripped the skin.
Then I felt sick and vomited green bile. Old friends will know that it is a road much travelled by me
and scary.
Discussion today focus on my care I think that I must wait to be assessed. Wait here, I assume.
That is fine for me. The atmosphere here sounds good and happy. I can't see anything,but I can pick up on the atmosphere.My treasured nurse says that it is a hhappy place to work.
As regards to me, I do still have pain. But it is less now. And of course there are morphine side effects
It now
is half past three
Oh the trouble Helen had getting the new
 canula in. Then sweet little Indian nurse had no trouble at all
So drip is now in- not in needp


Saturday, July 05, 2014


Saturday surprise

Saturday - just after midday
And it has been very eventful
The bad things have been mostly my own stupid fault
Last night I ordered the ideal meal for me
Soup and a fruit jelly
To be continued
Gosh back to last night
Nurse thought that I didn't have enough and got me sandwiches
Kind of her and exceedingly stupid of me to eat them. Results ?. A P night. Poo pee,puke, pain. All those undigested food bloating me
I hadn't given oromorph a chance
Anyway ould be going home
Or would I?
Firstly I was taken to another ward
I could see the need for being moved
- I was in the assessment units and people actually needed to get assessed
So here I am in Woodland ward in a single room and my own TV
Friendly nurses are very close by. Just now I have all I need and feel as content as it is possible to be
I could grump about the lost TV remote, but it also means that I have to walk more and I can see that I am walking better. Life is full of surprising yu
 Though I do feel sure that I will go tomorrow
This is surgical ward
As I x. write, such thoughts are going round the head of omr


Friday Fourth.

Going to try a running blog
Today,so far has been marred by severe pain
ust have something different
Doctor has written up oromorph for me
It is a morphine drug I have used before.
The calcium hunch has been levels are normal.
For another patient it has been a near death morning. She is old and with no capabilities
Suddenly she called once,, shook a little and was like a floppy rag doll. cardiac arrest, people rushing in and out, brief was like being on the set of a TV hospital drama
She didn't die.. she still functions. She is having Xrays and other tests
They want to why.
She is so fragile and so treasured by her sweet husband. I hope he gets a little more time to whisper sweet nothings
Well I may be home later, or maybe tomorrow morning. No stay on Buckland and maybe no more heavenly soup. But I shall enjoy my garden and those strutting magpies
and I shall enjoy my TV too
Friday 12.50.
Just had my first oromorph with paracetamol and ibuprofen. Get working foul liquid. I can take as much as I need to be pain free.
Half past Two......pain level improves, but pain not gone. Reckon I might need another night to get pain control fully working.
Tennis reports are being relayed to me via distant cousin Mark in New Orleans.We share a mutual love of Dimitrov, the Bulgarian. It sounds like match anyway.The scores were level when I last heard.
The sweet husband is here and whispering words of love to his fragile rag doll.
Half past six

The decision has been made
I will stay for one more night
I decided
I want 2 -/3 more doses of oromorph, to get that into a routine
The hospital doctors will have informed the GPs who will get to see that I will not tolerate second best
And until I get a wheel chair if they need to see then they must come to me
Still the loving husband stands vigil. She jsfn another episode
No panic as he dealt with the problem It is peaceful in here . lots of dozing.
half past T be bed time
The ragdoll lady has bemoved today to another ward
Instead we have a young beauty who has joined the dozing squad since then another young one has arrived with mother. It is go in here as the night begins. I ought to read this through but I fear too many mistakes. I seemed hhnm be found sleeping more fxq writing
Then Ooppp
........I wake to llknñp

Quarter past fou Woking tll
This is such a muddled too much to edit.
But I tried.Maybe I will do better at home.


Thursday, July 03, 2014


Unexpected Day.

Quick, whilst I have a hope of sending.
I write from my hospital bed
Not the one at home. This bed is in the hospital
I didn't expect to be here
I saw the. excellent oncology team and proposals were discussed and it seemed it was settled that I would have chemo at Guildford. Shame that
But. this team is at East Surrey only once a week. They are more London based
I have the best brains.....and interesting twists and turns. Suddenly he was wondering why I had got so ill and fragile so quickly
He mused on my minerals, so often out of balance
This time calcium could be the offender.....too much of the stuff
He wants to get to the bottom of his hunch. Not a silly hunch because it's a topic that has arisen before.Dr O began to follow it up you might even recall investigation into calcium levels and the connection with B6 and the way the parathyroid glands control things.He thinks that if this problem could be solved I would feel loads better and more able tp withstand the chemo
At the moment I am in the surgical assement ward. I have a saline drip
It is quite peaceful. I know that Doctor Money Kyrle wants me to be on Buckland Ward
I want. that too
It's the best Though not very professional of him really to let slip that in his opinion it is the only properly run ward in the hospital!
I think that the intention is to keep me for two or three s om the maybe until Monday.
I now ask that anybody who reads this and knows of another who no compuyet communication to pass on my news
I am particularly sorry that I have not talked with Marion ....not even told her about the things I have learned about the spread of the disease I will have to search for a phone number.
So family and friends band together to be part of my team
I will need practical help and love when I have chemotherapy Many will not be surprised to know that Jenny has been a tower of strength again this week Supported me through a difficult time. She has helped me with retaining information and asking the right questions
Glad to have found time and energy to write.
Oh and if you close at hand, I would still ask that you don't visit the hospital. I must view these days as a bonus for complete rest. Soon I will be so glad to have supplies of little and often food...... but check what first. What taste I have has changed. No chocolates for starters. Today I enjoyed a shop bought prawn mayo sandwich I should eat. a little more
I hope there might be a decent soup on the food trolley.
Interesting day.Hope yours has been too and hopefully more fun
Thank goodness blogs are saved in draft.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Time for changes.

Let's try a blog again
This is a day for some changes. A hospital bed will arrive in the house and we will set up a downstairs boudoir. Complete with commodes
Funding will change too. I knew that the scheme that has helped me would be temporary. Now I will be part of the oh so wise, care in the community package. Not so wise when you realise that it's about who pays (me) and profits and loss. Today I have to choose a company to work with, tell them what I want and then pay. I think that I will pay something like 40 a week. But as the ad says. I am worth it
Clare went to visit he Dad, with Ruth and found it difficult. The changes since last November are profound..
We will go together tomorrow. Taxi ride and wheel chair
Some old blog readers, bless them have missed my rambling. And there have been new folk into my world. I could suggest that for a while some people might join me on Facebook.I know that as weeks progress there will be less writing , just quick sentences. Facebook can be used as you wish create a new persona, that only you and I know.
If you can then find me on Facebook - Paula Monk. I would love to know H and H
Hope I feel stronger soon have lots to think about.

Sunday, June 08, 2014



First a message for Pete and Jean. I tried to
Phone, you - but I felt too wobbly to go down to find the book. Your number should be on my mobile.  I tried to Skype too, but you hadn'been able during your off line stage that I had changed my Skype name for the tablet.Perhaps ring me tomorrow and we can sort is partly my fault that I had a bad day - I didn't take pain killers until it was too late. But the sweet nurse from Zimbabwe was so patient and calm.
I have ticked foods that I think I would like from Wiltshiy Farm Foods. I need things that easy to eat with a spoon - and not sweet things, because I have really gone off sweetness.
Jenny has been round today.. The boys are so good when they with me
We watched some of tennis together.
I wish that my fingers would stop being jittery and shaky. Makes me quite unstable
Now a message for Jamie. The general ffeling is that. It would be beneficial for you to come and see us. If you didn't come and
I got
 worse, then you would regret it,
Also it would be best to spend time with your Dad, whilst he still has some wits   - although the noise can be quite distressing,
I wouly pay for your ticket when you arrive.
If you can do it, then do it..




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