Friday, November 30, 2007


30th Nov. Vampire Nurses.

Well today we finally had a nurse around to take Grandma's blood for testing. Trouble was that Grandma's veins are not good so the nurse could not get any blood from the arms. Now this nurse had not been trained to take blood from anywhere else so she had to ask a more senior nurse to come later to take the blood. Later on a male nurse arrived and was able to do it after failing the first time. He then carried out an assessment on Grandma for the doctors to see. We now await results from this in the next few days. Mr Swinn the consultant will see the test results and make any decisions necessary. Jenny came round for a while after her a few days in Derbyshire. This helped Grandma as she seems to brighten up when talking to visitors.
Jenny is going to do a little shopping for us tomorrow. Thank you Jenny.
In talking on SKYPE with Jamie I mentioned that we had changed the bag after 2 1/2 days and he replied " Crikey it must be a big bag ". No Jamie, it gets emptied several times a day. Well it's time for my nightcap and off up the wooden hill a little earlier tonight as I was up at about 4am as Grandma was suffering with heartburn and I couldn't sleep, so I went and made a cup of tea which settled us down, next thing it was 8am. Strange how we British resort to a cuppa in times of stress.
That's it for now folks. Once again thank you for you support. GRANDPA B.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


29th Nov. Generally Peed off.

Yes peed off with the district nurse. I telephoned the doctors to see whether the nurse was coming today to do Grandma P's blood test and was told to contact the district nurses where I was told that they had not seen the blood forms yet but would check the collection box later. I phoned the doctors again and they checked for me and found they were at the other surgery, so I rang back the district nurses and left a message telling them where the forms were, I also left a message for the Community Sister to phone me, did she?,answer NO.
But we may be getting somewhere, I rang the Macmillan specialist nurse at the hospital and she has sorted out the nurses and told them that they should send out a nursing sister who is able to assess Grandma P as well as take bloods. Also she is going to talk to Mr Swinn the specialist with a view to seeing Grandma quickly, We will know the result of this later, it could mean getting Grandma to the hospital. More news on next instalment.
As for the rest of the day Grandpa B has done his best to look after Grandma and sort out meals and any other needs. Generally Grandma is still week and can't go far without feeling feint and sick. I am sure we will get to the heart of the problem soon and she will start on the upward climb back to health.
Best Wishes to you all who have sent messages of concern to us.

Goodnight to you all. Grandpa B and Grandma P.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


28th Nov. What no Nursie today.

Hi. It's the old man Grandpa B here again. I think that there has been a little improvement today with Grandma P. We got up a little later than normal (what's normal around here at the moment?) Grandma P came down for breakfast of boiled egg and some bread with I can't believe on it. After this I helped her shower and wash her hair. She decided to stay in her nightie for the day for comfort reasons and came down for most of the day. She had some lovely home vegetable soup that Marion made for lunch. Grandpa B was busy and changed the bed linen and put a load in the machine, then he vacuumed around the house ( with two cats around this seems to need doing often ), Put more food out for the dicky birds, nipped to Asda for bits for tonight's meal. One thing that did not happen today was that the promised nurse to take the blood for testing was rather invisible, so another phone call tomorrow is needed. Grandma P did a short E Mail this evening before retiring to her bed, this the first for several days. At least the BAG has held up for over 24 hours now but I won't hold my breath on that one. Well folks that will do for now old Grandpa must get some shuteye. Look out for the next exciting installment of the Monkland diaries. Thanks for all your good wishes. Grandpa B for Grandma P.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


27th Nov. Friends-Flowers and Doctor.

First of all may I thank Jo and Marion for visiting and helping Grandma P today. I am sure that their presence has helped her a lot. Also thanks for the flowers and best wishes sent by Joy and Peter (Rocking Horse) and Inga and John (Old college friends). And thanks to all who have sent their best wishes via E Mails etc. As for today Grandma was being looked after by Jo and Marion.
Grandpa B was in the shop until Joy and Peter came about 2pm so I could go home. He called into the Doctors and spoke to the receptionist who agreed that a home visit was needed. Just at that moment one of the doctors came in from a visit and agreed to come home with me to see Grandma P. He asked questions, took blood pressure, temperature, looked at the stoma and generally felt for any problems in the tummy. He gave a prescription for anti-sickness tablets and some mild laxatives. Also wrote a blood test form for the nurse to come and take blood samples tomorrow. After this Grandpa B drove him back to the surgery then on to the chemist to get the prescription. Now that was good service. It obviously pays to to talk to them face to face rather than on the phone. After a tidy up at home Grandpa B went and bought Fish and Chips for tea which Grandma P enjoyed. She has now gone back to bed, problem being that the ruddy bag went again so Grandad B paused this Blog to help change it again. We will get it right one of these days. Must phone the specialist nurse tomorrow on this matter. I think that will have to do for now as I feel rather knackered. Time for a cup of hot chocolate before setting off up the wooden hill..Bye for now Grandpa B.

Monday, November 26, 2007


26th Nov. Static Day.

Today has been a bit static for Grandma P. That is static on the health front compared with yesterday and static as in sitting in the armchair most of the day. She has eaten what she feels she could manage. The damn bag gave out early evening just as Grandpa B was about to cook dinner, never mind, better late than never as the saying goes. We have had phone calls from brother Roger, old college friend Inga and our friend Jo as well as several E-Mails. Thank you all for your Support and Best wishes.
Grandpa B has been keeping up with shopping, laundry and generally looking after Grandma P. He also is getting frustrated by the lack of help from the Community Nursing staff. He phoned them this morning and left a message to ask for help and for somebody to come and check Grandma over, blood pressure etc. But no call back. Grandpa phoned again in the afternoon only to be told that the nursing sister had not put down for visits and that he should contact the doctor for him to assess the situation. What is going on? will have to contact tomorrow again, BAH.
Grandma is now tucked up in bed watching a programme about the Queen.
Grandpa is in the shop tomorrow. Jo is coming to visit in the morning - Thank you Jo. Time for a nightcap now before retiring. Bye Bye to you all.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


25th Nov. Little by Little Progress.

Grandpa B here again. Well the day started with a bit of a lay in and a cup of tea in bed.
Grandma P got herself washed and dressed with a little help from Grandpa B. A boiled egg for breakfast and a easy morning. Later a cuppa soup for lunch and a afternoon of radio and the television while Grandpa B went to help look after the shop. He was working with our friend Jo who said he could go home earlier to look after Grandma P. Thank you for the hot cross bun Jo. Together we got a BAG changed before dinner, trying out a different type than the previous one (we have a few different types to try). Lets hope this one lasts at least till tomorrow. Dinner was of chicken in a lovely sauce with rice and a few fried potatoes left from Friday. (Isn't it strange how potatoes seem crop up regularly in these Blogs?) Grandma P has gone off to bed now and Grandpa B wont be far behind. I think that there has been an improvement and hope that it will continue to be so. It will be slow.
It was Grandma P's brother's birthday today--Happy 59th Roger--Belated card in post--Hope your Cornwall trip was enjoyed.
That is it for tonight folks. I am sure the next installment is eagerly awaited. Hopefully Grandma P will be up to writing soon. Love to All........Grandpa B and Grandma P.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


24th Nov. Some progress with Grandma P.

Well the day started off nice and sunny but very cold, about minus 4 degrees when I got up but it soon became a very chilly, cloudy and windy day. But what of Grandma P? Well, she seemed to think that she felt a little better this morning but stayed in bed until lunch time when she got up and I made her a nice boiled egg fresh from a local farm with a fresh French roll from Asda. After this she stayed in the armchair watching television until dinner time when we had some lovely turkey meat balls in a tomato and onion sauce with onion flavoured mashed potatoes. I think after all this being up and eating things tired her out and she retired to her bed after watching X-Factor. So I tucked her up in bed and for the night and connected her night bag. Hope she feels stronger tomorrow. This is going to be a long recovery job methinks.
As for Grandpa B, he went to Asda as mentioned already, to by some bread rolls and eccles cakes for himself (yum yum). Then to the pet store for seeds and fat balls for the Dickie birds in the garden. Sorted out lunch and dinner, changed the bed linen and listed up some model cars he recently bought for resale. What a busy Grandpa!
Thanks to all you who have contacted us with your best wishes.
Love from Grandma P and me Grandpa B.

Friday, November 23, 2007


23rd Nov. It's Grandpa B again.

Poor old Grandma P is still not a well girl. Had a couple more bag changes in the night until finally this morning we got one to stay in place. She still has pain and was feeling queasy. I got the Doctor in later and he gave her some anti sickness pills. Later in the afternoon the specialist nurse came to check on THE BAG and decided to leave it alone as it was looking OK. She also brought a selection of different bags to try out. So poor Grandma stayed in bed all day. She did come down stairs at tea time as I had cooked a nice bit of fish with potatoes and broccoli. But even that tired her out so now she has gone back to bed. This is a place which I shall go soon as I feel a bit knackered. All in all a busy and frustrating day. Lets hope tomorrow brings a better day. The weather today has been very good, bright blue skies and a bit chilly. Tomorrow should be the same. The cats George and Harry love laying by the window in the sunshine, must be nice to be a cat.
GRANDPA B signing off. Goodnight all.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


22nd November. Bad Day at Monkland

Not a good day for Grandma so Grandpa is having his say.
Grandma got up ready for the day, had some breakfast and the became very tired. The specialist stoma nurse came for a visit, changed the wee bag and removed the temporary stents, had a chat and left. From then on Grandma went downhill with pain and nausea and took to her bed. Had several leaks and changes of bags during the afternoon which hopefully we finally sorted out when I got back from visiting my Cousin at the hospital. Grandma was indeed sick later which seems to have settled things a bit.
And what of Grandpa. Well, after household chores in the morning he went to visit his cousin Ann at the Redwood Hospital. She had, had breast removal surgery on Tuesday and could be sent home Friday, we shall see. I think it a bit early.
Well this short post was done at the request of Grandma. Grandpa doesn't Blog but perhaps he should start one. In 2008 perhaps!
Goodnight to all you folks out there. GRANDPA B.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007



I have been home from hospital for a week now which seems weird. How can it be so long ago?
Being in hospital is such an intense time that it stays a part of you for a long time. I think often of the people I shared time with. But thankfully I have also managed to feel a part of home quite quickly too.
I wish I could sleep better at night - even when sleeping I can be disturbed by crazy dreams. I was at an airport - could have been in Thailand, but for some reason I was unloading a sort of locker which was full of my wet washing! And what was Dick Hardwick doing there? Dick was an athletics club stalwart and time keeper who died some years ago.
Of course it is not lack of sleep that makes me tired - my body is still struggling to cope with physical effort.
This morning I had a shower, perched on my gardening stool. I needed a good lie down afterwards because I felt queasy and like cotton wool.
I wondered how I could possibly find the stamina to go to Asda with Bill. But bloodymindedness took over and off we went after lunch.
Bill went to collect a wheel chair and then steered me into the shop. I am so glad that I have felt able to be a bit useful and to feel I have contributed to our joint well being. And how did I do that? Well, by suggesting a succession of interesting ready meals to keep us going for a week and reminding Bill that maybe we might need this or that.
Tonight we have the cut price items - I will have a chicken korma, whilst Bill opted for something more spicy. Tomorrow we will have steak diane with potatoes; Friday we will have fish - haddock in a dill sauce and on Saturday we will have the turkey meatballs.
We stocked up with more soya drinks and cranberry juice, crisps, some interesting savoury rices and some vegetables and bananas.
I observed what I had noticed when I was ill before - wheel chairs are invisible!
I was tired but satisfied when I got home.
I have written one longer EMail today to old school friends. Friends Reunited brought me into contact with a few - and of course I have known Jean (of Pete and Jean) for over 40 years. But during this last week I have been so pleased that people I was in touch with had passed my story to others who have been in touch with me too.
I have chatted on the phone with Ashley and also to Jenny.
So, slowly slowly I do feel that progress has been made. A week ago I didn't feel willing to reach out from my world and now I can.
And today the sunshine has been stimulating.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007



The day started early for me - I woke at 4 o'clock.
I guess I had had enough sleep for I collapsed into bed very early yesterday evening - though I wasn't able to sleep for long. There was an accident! I found that the connector to the night bag had become insecure and so after half an hour I had a wet bed.
Poor Bill - he had only changed the sheets earlier in the day and within hours it was needed again.
Anyway I spent the first hours of the day in bed listening to the radio.
I got up with Bill so that we could have breakfast before he went off to the shop for what turned out to be boring day. One day I must look through my sales - but I know they haven't been very good.
Jo came round this morning and we chewed the fat about life, the universe and everything.
She was with me for nearly 4 hours.
Then I got a little lunch and nestled down in the reclining chair and found that a couple of times during the afternoon I had nodded off to sleep.
Bill was home by half past four. Fortunately Joy and Peter can take over for the last hour. We are grateful of course - though in truth, now I only have one area I am actually only contracted to be there for half a day a week. But I enjoy being in the shop and when I cut down the space I offered to continue to do the whole day; not realising then that my Tuesdays would be taken up with other things for a while.
Anyway once Bill was home it was time for bag changing. I basically do it but he is there to support and maybe pass me things. It is taking me almost half an hour at the moment to do it - but thank goodness it seems to have been done well again.
Now it is evening and I feel tired again. My body aches. If I am on my feet too long then my legs can start to feel like cotton wool.
For the time being I will continue to give my time to dealing with my needs almost hour by hour and I guess gradually I will find that my needs start to take a back seat.
Tomorrow is another day. I have an aim to go to Asda to choose some meals for the next week. They have wheel chairs and I shall take advantage of that so that I don't stand around or walk about too much.
Because of the awful weather I have not been outdoors since I came home from hospital which is not really ideal. Maybe I just preferred to stay safe indoors.

Monday, November 19, 2007


19th November PERKING UP

November 19th Monday. PERKING UP

Firstly, I will say that for the foreseeable future all blog entries will appear on Grandma P's Ramblings.

I had intended that today might be a day when I could begin short personal replies to people - but I have been too busy!

I did rest for most of the morning, sharing in the service from Westminster Abbey for the Queen and Duke's 60th wedding anniversary.

I decided I wanted a ham and tomato roll at lunchtime - and I prepared it myself.

Then visitors started to come. First Frieda from next door. I started to find it quite good to have to be on show a bit and I know I was more animated and lively than at at any time since I have been home.
Then Rose from 2 doors up came round.
And then Marion came. She was obviously the most useful to me because she has "bag" experience. She has had a colostomy bag for some years. Soon we were showing each other the types of bags we have to use.
I can acknowledge that a wee bag is the easier option.
Marion is a bit older than me, into her 70s now and of course she is now living a very full life - showing me that I will get there too.
After 3 hours of visitors I am really tired. But better to find some contented exhaustion during the day for may I might sleep better tonight.
It is just as well that Jo was unable to come this afternoon - she will keep me company for a while tomorrow morning, whilst Bill is at the shop.
Bill is cooking fish now with some sauce. He searched for a ready meal with cod fillets but the only one he could find has a cheese sauce.
I thank people for their encouragement after some days of falling into a bit of a depression.



Sunday 18th November. SOME DESPAIR
Do you want me to string you a pack of lies?
I could tell you how happy I am to be feeling stronger each day.
But the truth will out and no - I am not content and I don't feel any better yet.
I don't want to grumble unduly for I really do appreciate all that has been done for me and I have already accepted that this is going to take a long time.
I mentally hoped that two weeks after leaving hospital I might start to notice the improvement. So, early days yet.
Today I exhausted myself by washing my hair.
What else? Nothing much.
I have such a dreadful back ache.
My digestion is causing a lot of pain too.
The whole area round the stoma is very sore - and I have to do things in that area when I change the bag, which I did successfully again.
When Bill gives me the injections now it hurts a lot. Not his fault.
I feel generally rather mutilated and more weepy than I would like.
Sorry - I am grumbling!
Tomorrow I would like to ask to see the district nurse again - we forgot to tell her about the injections anyway.
I know I should be doing a little more - taking a bit of exercise but the positive will is lacking. I would prefer to watch TV and fall asleep.
But I am trying to make sure that I can sleep better at night, by staying awake during the day.
Please body and soul - start to give me some of my life back!
Tomorrow Frieda has promised to visit - not sure how inspiring that will be. But I do tend to put on a show for a visitor. And Jo will come - back from her trip to America. She will bring some strength to me I am sure.
So, another day has been survived. That's what I always thought when I was ill before.
Thank you, good people for your news and words of encouragement. It is hard to absorb news from the big world that you are inhabiting, but I do read and feel glad about your good things and feel for you when there are problems.
Bill has made me a cup of tea - I have gone off tea a bit just now, but I have to drink something. And if Bill has made something for me then I try to reward him by taking an interest in it.
Good night. Have a good week out there in the normal world.

Saturday 17th November. EXHAUSTED
It is over 24 hours since the computer has been switched on.
Yesterday was a very bad day for me. I felt ill and tired. I slept a lot.
My digestion is fragile - surgery there needs to settle down because it is causing pain.
The bag ended up leaking once again - my fault cos I didn't treat it well after a visit to the loo.
Trouble is leaks have to be dealt with immediately no matter how you feel. Wee continues to flow.
The District Nurse came and so has info about me - but she didn't check the wound or the bag. She is going to get a purpose built stool to be used in the bath/shower.
Anyway yesterday is over.
I have felt stronger today.
I haven't done all I intended - hair still not washed. But the challenge for today was just to feel better than yesterday.
I encouraged Bill to go out this morning to the toy collectors fair at the sports centre.
He didn't buy anything but met many people to have a chat with and just to share some of his home concerns. He met Heather and Colin.
I spent the time upstairs - and did have a sleep.
I have been downstairs all afternoon in the comfy leather chair which will recline. Bill thought it might be better for my back which has been aching so badly. Bill massaged some cream in for me this morning and found a big knot of muscle.
I have watched whatever TV has thrown at me - even got involved in darts!
Bill went out to Tescos earlier - I am not sure what we needed, but I think he deserves trips out.
He has some Thai fish cakes with sweet chilli sauce to cook with some rice. Should be tasty.
There is Dancing and X Factor on TV to keep me amused. Gosh was it a week a ago I listened to X Factor on the radio headphones in my bed in the hospital.
OK - time to return to the comfy chair.

Thursday 15th November. AT HOME
I am so tired. Today I have nodded off to sleep several times.
I didn't sleep very well last night. Neither did Bill.
My challenge for the day was to have a shower as unaided as possible.
Bill fetched in from the garden the sort of kneely thing that one can use for weeding and have something to haul yourself up on. Turned the other way it is like a stool.
So I was able to sit down on it in the bath.
Having succeeded I lay down and fell asleep.
Life is made up of little challenges at the moment.
This afternoon gave me another opportunity to praise our medical people.
I realised in the night that in hospital they would have supplied a drug called tramadol and I wanted it.
Bill called in at the doctors after lunch to collect prescriptions for himself and asked about tramadol for me. The receptionist said she would get a doctor to ring me.
Dr Armstrong rang a couple of minutes later. Lovely lady - though as yet had read no notes from the hospital about me. She heard from me what has happened and was of course full of sympathy.
She said she would fax a prescription to Crombies the chemist for tramadol.
I knew Bill would be in there at that moment but envisaged him having to go back later.
Not so, he had just left the shop when the pharmacist ran out and called him back and the tramadol was dealt with.
Excellent! Maybe I will get a better night.
My body aches all round my middle - not surprising. But the epidural that was put in before the surgery was excellent - it stayed in for 5 days and I had no pain.
I have plans to try and resume some of my normal computer things - there are now 93 messages in the In box from all you lovely people. I want to save them and sort them. Another day - maybe not till next week.
I have not thought about games at all - even the simplest might require too much concentration right now. Boggling can wait.
As can writing for my blog and chatting on Skype.
I am still content to be snug in the security of the little world that I now inhabit.
Tomorrow will be bag changing day again - one day it will not feel like a challenge but will be routine. Maybe a district nurse will visit.
Bill has been out - bought a few bits in Asda and has been to the garage about the wing mirror that got hit and damaged during this week.
He now has some chicken breast fillets in a sauce in the oven and we will have little boiled potatoes and some broccoli.
One challenge for tomorrow is to remember to drink more and to remember to take the medication for the thrush that has affected my tongue.
And maybe Bill will take me for a very short walk outdoors.
I am sure I keep adding more stimulating things to the challenges but for now I am very content that for a couple of weeks I take things very slowly.

Wednesday 14th November. HOME FROM HOSPITAL
I am home.
It has felt like a long, confusing and tiring day.
The morning was spent on the mechanics of life. I still don't trust my abilities to fit a bag successfully. On Monday it took me 3 goes.
Despite having the shakes and some tears I managed it successfully this morning.
I knew there would be tears - my security was being pulled from me and I think both Bill and I felt rather alone, not sure if we actually had all the equipment that I need.
The deputy stoma nurse arrived and quickly got things sorted. I have everything and soon there will be a delivery from the company who will keep me supplied. Then it is up to us to phone through orders as I need things.
I have been treated exceptionally well. I have left behind people who I have felt close to. This time in the hospital has been just about as good as anybody can expect from major surgery.
Oh - and I am not bragging - my consultant, the gorgeous Mr Swinn, said that as major surgery goes this was one of the most major because it is actually 3 operations.
On another day he praised me by saying my will and my recovery was above average!
I didn't eat for the first week and I did plummet into quite a tearful depression - as predicted.
On Saturday last a brilliant nurse, named Liz, took control in the kindest way and during that day the corner was turned.
I was on my feet and dealing with my own urinary needs almost unaided.
I can tell you it is a weird notion that never again will I get the urge to hurry to the loo. It does mean that I must be disciplined and remember to keep the bag emptied.
And first thing in the morning I am attached to a night bag and therefore don't even have to get up from my bed until I feel ready.
I wrote no diary in hospital - read almost nothing too. I listened to the radio a lot.
I would like to recall some of the special people I have met sometime.
We arrived back here today at half past one. I had eaten lunch at the hospital. The food has been very good, well cooked and tasty. I may have lost a stone in weight to start with but already the weight is going back on - only about half a stone down now.
I enjoyed a cup of tea and watched some TV downstairs until I felt exhausted.
I clambered into bed about 3 o'clock for some hours.
I am down now - Bill is cooking jacket potatoes with some tinned salmon and sweet corn.
I will stay up for a while.
This evening Bill will give me an injection - today and for the next 2 weeks. He has done it before and he is very good at it.
Bless Bill, he is so good. I really could not have recovered with such confidence without him. He is the best man in the world for me.
There is a spell in front of me now to start getting stronger and more confident. I can take each day as it comes - sometimes each hour as it comes.
Right - sitting here has exhausted me. I am close to shaking again.

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