Monday, December 31, 2007


New Year's Eve. May we all find what we are looking for.

Happy New Year to you.
It is what Bill and I would wish for all our family and friends and are beginning to feel desperate for a sniff at some happiness for ourselves.
Today has been like like the other days with the added confusion of having to deal with doctors and hospitals.
A letter came in the post this morning from the GP to inform me that my recent blood test showed some improvement but that they would like me to be monitored once a month. This "recent" blood test was nearly 3 weeks ago and since then I have had a relapse and been in hospital. The instructions are now different.
I decided to ring the hospital for help which at first seemed a bit thin on the ground. I am still contacting the urology team about a problem which is outside of their speciality.
But the young junior doctor, who was shortly to go off duty to enjoy New Year Festivities, rang me back a bit later. He had been in touch with the GP for me. Between them they agreed with my request that I go to the hospital on Wednesday morning for a blood test on the ward. I will then wait at the hospital until the results come through and then some decisions can be made.
For a short while I felt quite pleased with myself that I had managed to persuade the experts to do things the way that seemed best to me.
I enjoyed the chicken dinner - the 3rd day of eating the pre roast chicken that Bill had bought on Saturday. The tasty chicken korma was very satisfying.
Then I had a good sleep on the sofa. When I woke up I actually felt relaxed and thought I felt quite well - until I stood up. Then a huge wave of nausea hit me.
This evening I have talked with Jean in Wales. Most people I know will not realise that Jean's son Paul is a consultant in chemical pathology and ideally placed to have some opinions about my condition. He has suggested that the adrenal glands be checked out and that maybe what I need is a course of cortisone which could right the situation quite quickly.
I shall not be shy about passing on Paul's opinions when the right time comes. It may be that when I finally get to see the correct doctors that they will already have thought of that.
Well, that is today's medical bulletin.
I shall be in bed well before the midnight hour. I expect though I might be awake - for expensive fireworks are now the norm at parties and big occasions.
The days when our family (and only our family) had a few paltry fireworks at midnight are long gone. But we still thank our German friends who were with us one year and got us started on that tradition.
One year I remember we went to Brighton with Ashley and Liz with the intention of stopping at the top of Devil's Dyke to see the New Year in with a few rockets. Just like last week it was exceedingly windy and we failed to light a single firework. It was nearer quarter past midnight when we let them off lower down the hill.
One year we had a couple of rockets on the beach at Bournemouth in the rain!
This New Years Eve we are of course at home.
We have set up the video recorder to save Jules Hollands Annual Hootenanny to enjoy tomorrow some time.
Bill is in the shop tomorrow - just a short day from 11 til 4. Jo is coming over for a while to keep me company.
Whatever you are doing tonight may it bring you peace and I wish you the same for 2008.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


30th December Looking back and hard to look forward.

Things certainly don't get any better.

I have felt really strong nausea for most of the day and have been incapable of doing very much. If I try to do anything then I very quickly feel that I might faint.

I have to say that this evening the nausea has worn off a bit - but I just feel exhausted.

I never did chop the vegetables for the chicken korma but I did feel I wanted to be around to talk Bill through things - not that I think he is stupid of course.

As he assembled the food I decided to research potassium.

I can now put a label to the problem - I have hyperkalemia.

The internet describes my symptoms and has explained that the doctors have done all the things that they would normally expect to do for this condition.

They get the potassium level down to the high end of normal and then it flares up again.

I didn't feel strong enough to make a very full study of the implications and I certainly don't know what can be done next. It is potentially quite serious and points to kidney problems. But Mr Swinn has told me that my kidneys looked good and healthy.

I do feel that there is a good chance I shall be back in hospital at some point.

If the forms for a blood test don't arrive in the post tomorrow I shall be on to the GP and will want them to know just how unwell I am feeling. But GP's don't normally step in over the heads of hospital consultants and I have 2 of those right now.

I shall soon be in bed - I haven't slept during today at all and I yearn to be cosily lying down.

So, tomorrow is New Year's Eve. A time to look back. It will go down as a bad year for me with lots of pain, treatment, surgery, bags and now illness. But there has also been a life - well up until the end of October there was a life.

Best of all was being in Thailand before the treatment started. Then there were the lovely 2 weeks with Ashley and Katya in the summer. There have also been lots of lovely days out with Bill.

Just like in yesterday's blog I can look back on this day last year. We had a pleasant walk in Salisbury with Roger and Sue. I think it was the beginning of my full awareness of what was actually wrong with me - intense pain developed the next day.

Anyway - here I am posing in front of the beautiful cathedral.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

This has been an empty day really, when I have slept quite a lot.

The nausea and headache were there. In addition to that I have a cough and a slight sore throat. In normal times the latter problem might have been considerably less noticeable, but today I felt exhausted.

I guess at some point it might well turn into a cold.

Its a shame really that I felt so tired because the weather was much better than yesterday - I just enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine through the open window for a while.

Bill popped out for a bit of shopping and came back with a roasted chicken - so we had a surprise roast lunch.

There is lots left over so I suggested he take a walk to the local shop for onions, mushrooms and pepper and tomorrow together we will make a chicken korma, using a ready made jar of sauce of course.

I am sure I can chop vegetables sitting down.

This afternoon I watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. This is quite a dark children's musical at times and I have never really taken it to my heart.

I have actually managed to play a few games of Boggle both yesterday and today - that is surely an improvement. These are the first games I have played since October and I found I was able to play quite strongly, though I can only manage a very few games in any one session.

This time last year we enjoyed a huge family day in Wiltshire with Roger and Sue. It was good to remember such a day - one like I just couldn't cope with at the moment.

Friday, December 28, 2007


28th December. On top of a hill.

How do I cope with it?
Yesterday I hit quite a deep depression, so I went along with Bill's idea that he should take me out somewhere today.
The top of a hill always feels uplifting, but I am not up to much walking.
We drove to the top of Devil's Dyke.
I regret that we were not out of the car for more than 5 minutes. Bill assures me that the temperature was quite mild really - but the wind up there was so strong. I felt really cold. The wind snapped icily round my legs.

But here I am - little bent old woman on the top of a hill.

These view point plaques are new since we were last there. The view was not very good today - very grey indeed with the promised rain not too far away to the west.
Did I do too much? Surely not.
An hour in the car and a very brief walk in the wind.
And yet when I got back home I was exhausted with all the familiar symptoms. I couldn't get going at all during the afternoon.
In addition to the imbalance symptoms I have a frequent dry cough and am sneezing a bit. I really hope I don't have a bug.
Sorry - I know I tend to come across as being very negative. In truth I can feel really down about all that has happened in the last 2 months. The old life seems a lifetime ago.
I will get through it - one day.
Time now for sleep. I like sleep it is a release from everything.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


27th December Flowers that cheer

Just a few pictures for today.
The lethargy of yesterday has developed into quite a deep slough of despond. The last 2 months have been rather a lot to bear really and my brave words have masked some deep insecurities that I am feeling.
I begin with the wonderful basket of flowers sent via the wonders of the internet from our Australian relations. The flowers are a delight to see.
It is hard to tell from the picture how big this arrangement is; it must be a couple of feet across and more than that high.

Now here are George and Harry posing in front of the flowers.

George is on the left - the cat with the bladder problems, and Harry is on the right - the cat with the limp. They are twins. They are now 11 years old.

Here are the Christmas decorations which Bill arranged before I came home from hospital.

And just one more of flowers, showing also the poinsettia from Jo and the garden greenery and red from Marion's garden.

I thank you all for flowers and good wishes to cheer me.

I hope soon I can reward you with a more positive outlook on life again.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


26th December Boxing Day lethargy

At this time of day (evening) I dare to hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
I have been so tired today - dozing downstairs a couple of times, and feeling the symptoms that I am beginning to feel accustomed to.
I have felt it difficult to feel much enthusiasm for life and I can see that Bill feels really run down too.
I wish really he had felt bold enough to take up the offer to eat at his sister Julie's today. He might have enjoyed some more stimulating conversation than I have provided. He said he felt he couldn't leave me alone.
I have used the TV for company again today. Amongst the dross there have been some gems. The production of the opera, Carmen, from Covent Garden was superb. I am not normally a great opera fan, but this production was such a visual spectacle with much familiar music that I was captivated. The singer playing Carmen was a superb actress and beautiful and flaunted her charms in a most sensual way.
If I can stay awake for it I am sure I shall enjoy the TV adaptation of Ballet Shoes, which has been a favourite book since girlhood. I guess I was introduced to it by the BBC when it was serialised on Children's Hour some time in the 1950s.
Today we ate up cold turkey with jacket potatoes. In fact I have eaten 2 meals of that today because at lunch time I had very little appetite and I left a lot until later.
I hope I feel stronger tomorrow. My lack of energy has led me to feeling bad that I have not yet thanked John and Maree and Phyllis and all the Australian relations from my Great Aunt's family in Australia for the huge basket of flowers. The flowers are superb and Bill has photographed them; tomorrow we will get those pictures sent off.
At least the weather looked brighter today. I really must try to get out more.
I hope your Boxing Day activities have gone well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


25th December An unusual Christmas.

Hello - it is Grandma P once again.
You probably miss Grandad B's lovely quirky style.
There will never be another Christmas like this one.
I started the day in a strange hospital bed and will end it in my own bed at home.
Last night I eventually settled down for the night, feeling frustrated and confused. I had waited all day for one doctor who seemed to know about my case with regard to the bodily fluids problems.
The doctor never came. I was close to discharging myself, but took the advice of Bill and the night nurse to stay for the night.
Bill left me at about 10 o'clock.
I felt tense and sad as the lights went down. Then the 87 year old woman in the next bed began to talk - not to me, but to her husband and others. She went on an on - loudly.
By 1 o'clock I felt defeated by everything and began to cry a little and then sobbed. I asked a night nurse if Room 1 was empty - there is a recliner chair in there and I was prepared to settle there for the rest of the night. But there was also a bed - and the nurse told me lay down and enjoy just a few hours peace on my own.
By breakfast time I went back to my own bed. I was glad to share some time with Beryl - the lady on the other side of me. She has her 70th birthday today and she was so glad to have some company when she opened her birthday cards.
Then the ward sister came to tell me that by that time the mythical doctor (well she seems a figment of imagination to me!) had now left the hospital. Jacky (sister) phoned the on call urology doctor and he decided that I should leave. I will get an appointment to see the endocrinology team for 4 weeks time. I must keep some record of how things go for me and to expect that life might continue in much the same way for a while yet. If the nausea and weakness and faintness is making me really ill then I can phone the ward and they will try to have me in.
Basically many hormones, enzymes, minerals, salts etc in my body are totally out of balance. We can only guess that I have been carrying the legacy of the previous illness imbalances plus new ones since the operation. I am not in particular pain. I get bad head aches and of course the pancreas flares as it has done for many a long year.
Bill arrived at 11 o'clock this morning. I was feeling quite nauseous. It is always worse during the morning.
Soon we were on our way home in the heavy rain.
I had a cup of tea and Bill got things ready for our Christmas lunch.
I then managed a shower and hair wash on my own.
We had a good turkey meal with roast potatoes and some veg.
This afternoon and evening we have watched lots of TV - Finding Nemo (one of little John's favourites), Shrek 2, Dr Who etc. I dozed a bit.
There are a few decorations up, which look lovely. There are some presents - about 3 - which I elected not to open today.
But generally it has not been a day to think of Christmas.
I have received today what I most wanted and that is to be at home and to have talked with our sons and grandchildren.
I am just happy to have Bill near me for he has been the most strong and supportive husband and friend one could ever wish for. He has had to give a lot of time and attention to me and my health over the years and he has done it so loyally and without a complaint.
I joked with him that he didn't really get his money's worth when he paid for a marriage licence all those years ago!
Soon I will go to bed.
I hope that you have had a good Christmas Day with many of the good things that were important for you this year.

Monday, December 24, 2007


24th December. Will she, Won't she, No she won't.

The title sums it up. We thought that Grandma would be coming home today but the day seems to have been wasted waiting for the appropriate doctor to see her. Firstly we thought she would be seen earlier in the day, then it was changed to 7pm. So Grandpa went to the hospital for that time and then the time was extended to 9pm. After enquiries by the nursing staff it was discovered that said doctor does not start his shift till 9pm and it would be at least 10.30pm by the time Grandma was seen. So we decided that she should stay until tomorrow because if she came home without seeing the doctor them it would mean discharging herself and that would only complicate things further. So Grandpa came back home on his own.

Grandpa had to take George the cat to the vets this morning as he has a bit of a cystitis problem, so now has to have drops put down his throat (this will be fun).Plus I am told he has a flea problem and I will have to put some drops into his fur, Harry will also get this treatment (double the fun), George also has a heart murmur and is a bit overweight I am told. So we now have a overweight flea bag with cystitis and a heart murmur and probably a underweight flea bag with a limp called Harry. Its back to the vets next week and I have to get a urine sample from George (such fun). Grandpa went to Asda at 3.15 to get some cat food but finished up in the local Co-op instead. There were queues trying to get in both entrances and queues trying to get out of Asda. I thought what the hell are all these people doing there at 3.15 on Christmas Eve as the place closed at 4pm, they must be stark raving bonkers. Well my rave over and I will wish you all a Merry Christmas Day and lets hope Grandma will come home tomorrow, at least she will get a Christmas dinner there. Bye for now. GRANDPA B.
Christmas Bells

Sunday, December 23, 2007


23rd December. Home for the afternoon.

Yes. Home for the afternoon for Grandma P on a foggy day.
Grandpa drove through thick fog and thick traffic to get to the hospital so that he could collect Grandma and bring her home for the afternoon. We drove back through the back lanes home and it was remarkably free of traffic although still quite foggy. She enjoyed her short stay and Jenny popped round while she was here. She checked her E-Mails and sent a greetings to Ekatarina, made a couple of phone calls and before you could say Jack Robinson (Why Jack Robinson?) it was time for a quick cuppa before getting back to the hospital, the journey back was fairly fog free and traffic free. While home we made a bag change to save doing it later. Grandpa B Made his way home via the filling station and popped into the chippy and bought chicken and chips for his supper. Yummy Yummy.

Now here's another sweetie for you. Grandpa B just under 2 years. This was taken in the back yard of 9 Princess Road in Crawley where he was born.

Well on that thought I think that it is time have a drink and watch last nights dancing programme that I recorded thinking that Grandma might not see it, but she watched from here bed at the hospital. Grandma will probably come home tomorrow but it will be late in the afternoon. So it's goodnight from me and goodnight from him. Sleep well......Love GRANDPA B

A picture for Christmas

Saturday, December 22, 2007


22nd December. Downs and Ups.

Here we are again at the old computer thinking of what to say today in Grandma's Blog.

Grandma awoke this morning not feeling particularly well but gradually picked up
through the day. She is on some medicine which has a Bicarbonate base which hopefully will help sort her problems. Tomorrow (Sunday) she may come home just for the afternoon and then back to the ward. That is all I can say about her at the moment. More news tomorrow, hopefully good.

Now here's a cutie. It's Grandma P when she was 4.

And what of Grandpa B today. Well he actually put a few Christmas decorations up this morning, had a cup of tea with next door neighbour Freida and then cleaned the car of all the crap deposited on it while plying back and forth on reet mucky roads around here. Then time for lunch and then to see Grandma. Then on the way home a quick visit to Asda for a couple of forgotten bits of shopping (it was a mad house in there). Then back home, slippers on and get some dinner - Beef in a peppercorn sauce with potato wedges - very nice. For any family who may read this I spoke to cousin Anne Hack (nee Monk) who now live in France very near to her sister Brenda. They are all very well. Thats it for tonight. Keep well. Love GRANDPA B.

Friday, December 21, 2007


21st December. Fog and Hospitals.

Grandpa B awoke this morning to a Frosty and Foggy world. It has been very dull, damp and foggy all day. First thing he went to Tesco to get a few things in stock for the Christmas period although as things may turn out it might not all be needed. Grandma P has had further blood tests today and the result of these means that she will start a course of medicine to help stabilise her blood and body chemical levels and will have to be closely monitored. She will be in for a few more days but may be allowed home just for Sunday afternoon and then return to the ward.
She is looking and feeling a lot better. Lets hope that she is slowly on the mend with the excellent help of the Doctors and Ward Staff who have all been wonderful.
. A little bit of holly for the season.. GRANDPA B.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


20th December. Not much going on.

Not a lot to report today as to Grandma P's health. Basically a day of rest with the usual medical observations being done at regular intervals. She has talked to a nutritionist about diet. Also a doctor dealing with Gastric Digestive problems. She will have to have further tests to try and find out the problems with her Pancreas. It is better that she has them done now while still in the hospital rather than having to go back in again. Grandpa helped her wash her hair this afternoon. So not a lot of news. I spoke to Ekaterina this evening and she told me that she thought that the Peter Pan panto she went to was GREAT. Well this is a short Blog from me. The brain doesn't want to think. So I will say Goodnight to you. GRANDPA B

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


19th December. Potassium in Laxatives.

Hi, Grandpa B here again. Well the morning went quick enough with household chores and finishing up with getting lunch. Then it was off to the hospital via Lidls in Horley for a few items of shopping, then to the filling station for fuel. Had to park in the Golf Club car park today.
Grandma was chatting to other patients when I arrived. She looked a lot better than yesterday.
A lot more blood tests etc had been done earlier. The thinking is that her problems at the moment may stem from her Pancreas which hasn't been completely right for a long time now. She is being referred to another specialist. Whether she will be seen while she is there or have to go back later we do not yet know, more may be revealed tomorrow. I helped her with a bag change whilst there. So not a lot of extra news for today except that when Grandma went to take her laxative (Movicol) she happened to see that one of the ingredients was a fairly high dose of Potassium chloride which considering that she has been taking the stuff for a while could raise her levels. So the nursing staff gave her some Lactulose instead. I got back at about 6pm after ploughing through loads of traffic and diverting past an accident on the by-pass near home. Have had several phone calls this evening enquiring about Grandma. Apparently Ekaterina enjoyed her trip to the Pantomime in Llandudno to see Peter Pan. Thanks to all who have sent Get Well Messages and have Phoned today. I will relay all your messages to Grandma tomorrow. Meantime a hot drink and an early bedtime calls. Bye for now. GRANDPA B.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


18th December. Back to Hospital.

Hello Grandpa B here again. It has been a long old day today. Well we got up with a bit of a struggle to start the day. Grandma did not feel at all well. So after a bit of breakfast we made our way to the hospital for Grandma's eleven o'clock appointment with the doctor (Registrar). He went through the details of the operation and everything seems OK. Grandma explained her problems of unwellness to him and he wondered whether there could be a problem with acid and blood gasses of her system. He then arranged for her to be admitted to the ward for some extra blood tests to try and find out the problem. After bloods being taken and getting her settled in I came home to get her things that she would need while there. When I returned to the hospital later she was hooked up to a drip (Saline) and a driver for a drug to help reduce her Potassium levels. So far they say that her Potassium levels are high and she has a slight urine infection, whether anything else will show up after more blood tests we will discover tomorrow. She had shepherds pie for her supper and was feeling more positive when I left her. Grandpa B then went to Jenny's house for a lovely chicken in sauce with baked potatoes, carrots and broccoli followed by rice pudding and stewed apple,very tasty. Thank you very much Jenny. Grandma is in the right place just now and can be looked after well. Grandpa can now have a nights sleep without having to worry about Grandma. What an exciting day!
Goodnight all. GRANDPA B.

Monday, December 17, 2007


17th December. Not very well.

Its up to Grandpa B to do a quick Blog tonight. Grandma woke up feeling head achy and a bit queasy, but after a cup of tea revived a bit. After breakfast she took herself to the bathroom and showered without my help. I think she felt that she ought to try to take pressure off of me but wore herself out doing this. Then it was time for the bag change in which I was involved, this one had gone three days. This really is a maximum time. She spent most of the day watching the goggle box and dozing. Marion came round briefly and brought Grandma some more homemade soup, some of which she had for her tea. Thank you Marion. Well I have tucked her up in bed now at about 8.30 and will keep an eye on her. She has a hospital appointment tomorrow ( Tuesday ) to see the doctors as a follow up from her surgery. Hopefully we can get her sorted out a bit with them. That's about it folks, at least I haven't blown up any electrics today. Look out for the next exciting installment. Best Wishes from Grandpa B.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


16th December A one step back day.

This has not been a good day for either of us.
I woke with a headache and feeling sick. My body has felt lifeless.
I guess I can put it down to the digestion having slowed to a halt - movicol and senna tablets for me tonight.
Bill has just looked tired and defeated and lots of things have gone wrong today. Life just seemed too much for him.
I really must sort myself out so that I can contribute more and make life easier.
Bill has worked - he went to the supermarket this morning. I reckon that could have been left until tomorrow really.
He tidied the garden a bit.
He cooked an easy dinner - but there were too many catastrophes. He spilled a quantity of water into the electric toaster and fused one of the systems in the house. This stopped clocks which had then to be re set.
I really must try to ease his load.
Ashley rang with tales of woe - all three of them have nasty stomach bugs. I wish I could ease his load too.
I have done very little of note really today. I am still fuming that Rhydian didn't win X Factor - compounded this evening when the other Welsh wizard, Gethin, failed to make the grand final of Strictly Come Dancing.
One item that feels positive is that it is now a week since I have had a leaking bag. Maybe I have negotiated myself through the worst of that minefield. Mind you it should have been changed today and somehow it just didn't get done. When it is changed in the morning it will have been on for 3 days - the sort of length of time I should leave it once everything has settled down. I don't think the extra day will make too much difference.
Sorry to sound down. Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


15 December Christmas Party.

I can't quite believe what I have done today - and several hours later my body is still feeling the effects.
We have been to a Christmas party!
Each year just before Christmas, Joy and Peter invite everybody in the shop for a lunch. I wasn't sure if I was up to going or if I was mentally strong enough to deal with lots of people, but somehow thought it would be good for me to make an effort. I reasoned that sitting on a comfortable sofa in their house with a plate of food couldn't be much different than sitting and eating at home.
It was actually very different and after a couple of hours I felt like my body was completely running on empty and 6 hours later I still feel so weary.
But it was good to make a move to be in the real world. People thought I looked well - not sure what they were expecting really!
Lots of people talked with me - and with each other of course. At times I felt overwhelmed by the noise of conversations, laughter and activity.
The food was delicious - many thanks to Joy for that. I enjoyed salmon and prawns and salad bits and greedily had second helpings! Probably shouldn't have done that - my digestion is finding life hard enough without over eating.
We were home by quarter to three this afternoon and I collapsed into the reclining chair and dozed. Bill had recorded Later with Jools Holland last night, but I missed seeing and hearing most of the acts.
There have been more acts this evening - the final of X Factor. We will hear the result of the phone in votes in about half an hour. I can't believe that Rhydian won't win - he is amazing. Putting aside the thought that voting might be rigged anyway, it is hard to take on board the reasons why the great British public might vote the way they do.
But it was the right winner last year - and win or lose Rhydian is destined for great things.
I shall get to bed soon after. I did sleep a bit better last night. I woke more frequently, but managed to doze off again each time.
I had hoped to write some more personal EMails today - but it will have to wait until tomorrow at least.

Friday, December 14, 2007


14th December Stagnating.

Oh dear, those night time hours pass exceedingly slowly. It does seem a shame that I have lost the habit of sleeping in bed because I feel so tired.
I seem to hear news bulletins over and over again.
Last night I had about 4 hours sleep.
I might have nodded off very quickly after my boiled egg for breakfast, but Bill's sister Julie came visiting and gradually I felt more lively and alert again.
As a result I wasn't out of nightdress and dressing gown until gone 1 0'clock.
This afternoon Bill popped into town on the bus and walked back home. He picked up further supplies of Movicol from Crombies the chemist, which sadly I feel I will have to use again. The gut has stagnated again.
He also bought be some new headphones for the radio and I hope they will feel more comfortable than my old ones (from the pound shop). They had become so loose that it has been hard to keep them on my head and over my ears.
The weather has been grey and cold - not below zero today, but with no sunshine. I know it has felt chilly out there. Bill's hands were freezing when he got back from the walk from town.
Right lets see how long I can stay out of bed for. No point going up too early - for I would then wake in the night even earlier I guess.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


13 Dec Today's adventure.

I am so tired this evening.
This is hardly surprising because I have been on a shopping trip!
After 2 bad days I thought I should make a bit of an effort to feel I had achieved something. So, I asked Bill if it would help or hinder if I went to Asda with him. Of course I didn't really get and answer - "It's up to you" he replied.
But I felt it might help him.
So, after I had sorted out the errors that had crept into my medication requirements with Dr Armstrong - over the phone thankfully, we drove down to Asda and Bill fetched a wheel chair for me. There was no way I could have walked for an hour round the supermarket.
The chair, with a trolley attached is large and difficult to manouvre. No doubt busy housewives were not best pleased to have to move out of the way for us.
At the end of the trip we found it was also too large to get through a checkout! A young man in the queue watched our shopping and Bill hurriedly took me round the long way back to our check out.
But we have food and drink and goodies for the the next few days.
This afternoon we both fell asleep.
Isobel came round later with a big tin of Quality Street for us. Bless her - it was a very kindly gesture. And it was nice to have a chat before she goes off to Canada on Monday for a couple of weeks to be with her parents and her brother. Have a good trip Isobel.
I have caught up with most of the outstanding EMails. This afternoon I wrote an annual mail to people I am in touch with rarely - trying to report cheerful things too, but just letting them know about our present situation.
Tomorrow I had better start on some phone calls.
And one day I must look at our accounts book and get up to date with income and expenses in the shop for the last 6 weeks. And I must cross of all the sold items too. Maybe that will be for next week.
Hope the sun shines a bit more tomorrow. It got cold here today with a clingy dampness in the air.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


12 December Rather like yesterday.

Today has been rather like yesterday with a horrible morning and then things gradually were a bit more controlled.
But I didn't see half past three in the morning!
I woke at quarter to three and then must have drifted off to sleep again. I woke before 6 o'clock but once again dozed for quite a while.
The gut got active early and the pain, maybe of the pancreatitis, racked my body all around my trunk. Such back ache with it! It makes me walk like a bent old woman.
Nevertheless I did have a shower and a hair wash - I regret this is not a daily occurrence just now. I still feel I need some support from Bill.
Then it was bag changing time - the last one had been on for 2 and a half days - a success story.
I keep my fingers crossed for today's efforts.
Bill had a busy morning - helping me, whizzing round with the vacuum cleaner, changing covers on the sofa (to protect from cats' hairs). Then he walked to Southgate shops to put some money in the bank. We have not been doing that well in the shop but the money does accumulate and it might as well be gathering some interest until we need it. He also had his hair cut.
I didn't feel like much lunch but I dosed myself with co proxomol and like yesterday I felt more comfortable in the afternoon.
Jenny came round later - after having been to Sainsbury's for her shopping. She got a few baking potatoes for us. Thank you Jenny.
She remembered that she had once talked of showing us more about the art of texting, including predictive text.
Well, I sent a few messages to Bill and to Jenny and then sent one to Roger and Sue - wonder if it arrived!
That just about completes the list of people I could be texting. We don't belong to a group of friends who regularly use mobile phones to call or text. Very rarely is there anything I need to say that is so very urgent.
We can phone people on the land line phone for nothing - well the charges are included in the monthly charge we pay to Tiscali - so it is cheaper to phone people from home.
Bill even had a long chat with his cousin in Australia at no extra charge. I must look sometime and check which countries can be reached in this way. I know it doesn't include Thailand, but then we have skype for that.
Bill phoned a number of friends and relations on his list of people to contact during the afternoon.
But even if I shall use it rarely, the texting lesson was useful to me and absorbed me. I forgot to feel the pain for a while.
I enjoyed some tuna with the jacket potato for dinner.
I should have taken more pain killers an hour ago -must go and do that in order to get comfortable again by bed time.
I have not managed to work on the list of people to EMail again today. I have to look back on days and count quite small things as achievements and then hope that tomorrow will be better.
OK - time for tablets and more drink.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


11th Dec A one step back sort of day.

It was the middle of the night when I awoke and glanced at the clock - half past three once again.
Thoughts rambled in my head - not too negative.
I drifted off to sleep again after 6 o'clock for a short while.
Then my gut seemed to remember that it had learned to be active, but maybe needed more practice.
It was a bad morning - like the old days with an extremely fragile gut and strong pancreatitis pains. I felt rough and did nothing, except go to the loo.
Bill went off to the shop for a long, difficult and busy day. A woman came in and began to pick up things that took her fancy - some presents and some for that challenging task of "dressing the table" for Christmas dinner.
Bill got it all written up and told her the total - £269.
She gulped and fretted and decided that she couldn't have all of it - reduced the amount to £168.
This left Bill with a pile of unsold goods which would have to be crossed off the sales sheet and their labels found so that things could be returned to the shelves.
He then had other bits of paper with other customers' purchases on which had to be recorded in the sales sheet.
It all seems a far world from my own world just now.
Jo came round for a while at lunchtime. I went for a walk along the row in front of our house. I just felt too weak for very much.
Bill picked up the laxatives this afternoon - shan't be needing those for a while now!
We have another job to sort out. The amounts of my various medications I have been given no longer tally with what I have been getting for years and some items have disappeared altogether. I hope it can be sorted over the phone.
I normally would be prescribed 2 months supply of the regular things and a 100 co-proxomol each time I put in an order. And then I also had the option to order other items that I needed on a less regular basis.
Yesterday I got 246 co proxomol (too many) but only 88 Creon - which is just 2 week's supply.
Yesterday I asked for some more domperidone (anti sickness) to carry me through this bad patch and I have 3 boxes today - far too much.
The surgery computer seems to have been misbehaving.
Jo reminded me yet again not to expect too much of life yet. Before I had the operation she told me of a friend who is in her husband's walking group. A walking group for people getting on in years and with various health problems. She told me that he found the urostomy bag quite an advantage for he could just go behind a tree, turn the tap and then be on his way.
Today she told me that it took him a year to go out walking with the group and many had wondered if would ever feel able to do it.
I felt a little stronger having Jo with me - but oh so tired. If I don't sleep at night then it is inevitable that I will doze in the day time.
I hesitate to tempt fate - but the bag put on last Sunday evening has not yet leaked. Tomorrow it will have to be changed anyway.
I still have a list of eMails I wish to write. Maybe some can be done tomorrow.
Thank you for listening (or reading the words) as I grumble on!

Monday, December 10, 2007


10th Dec Poetry, pictures and possible progress.

I thought I would amuse this evening with a picture and some poetry.

There was a young Grandma called Monk
Who found herself in a funk
I too would be sadder
If they'd swapped my bladder
With leaking bags fixed to my trunk.

Thank you Ruth in steaming hot Madagascar for this sympathetic ditty.

Last week Pete insisted on a picture of the happy couple - Grandma P and Grandad B.
I didn't realise I looked quite so pathetic! I have lost over a stone in weight.

I'll get Bill to do another later in the week and you might be able to notice some improvement.
So, what of today? We had to be up early (ish). There was really cold wind blowing and I was glad to get into the car to drive over to the GP's surgery at Ifield. We waited hardly a moment and then I was in with the nurse and she was selecting needles for my blood test. Lovely lady! She got blood flowing into the phial at the first attempt.
Then we discussed my laxative needs. Tomorrow I shall have supplies of both Movicol and Lactulose.
And hey! I might not need too much of it. Sorry, we are back to basics once again - I have "been" twice today. This was very tiring and for much of the day I felt weak and not at all hungry. But this evening I feel like my insides have achieved a little more balance during the day and I was eager to eat dinner this evening - and I have even nibbled at some chocolate.
I feel a bit peeved that this week - and no doubt next week there is a big snooker competition going on, televised for hours and hours each day. I wanted my daily afternoon fix of the cookery programme Food Poker, but no it was thought I might prefer to watch pasty faced men leaning over a green table, playing with their balls!
Now all I want from today is to be leak free and to sleep a little better. What is the attraction of half past three in the morning?
OK - lets see what is on TV at 9 o'clock and maybe we can have a cup of tea and some fruit. I have eaten some grapes today - they normally pass through quickly and aid the work of the Movicol.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


09 Dec Bags of trouble.

Bother, bother!
We were bag changing at 4 in the morning and then had to it once again at half past eight this evening.
All I was doing was watching TV when I suddenly realised that wee was gushing out all over my clothes.
We wish we knew what we do wrong. But of course arranging to see a stoma nurse is not much good if all she sees is a a bag doing its job (even if it is for such a short while). And we are always on our own when the leaks happen.
Apart from that a fairly uneventful day - too uneventful in the digestive department.
Bill was in the shop this afternoon.
I wrote a number of EMails. Tomorrow I shall have to check just who I have sent to, because I was feeling tired when Mam came on skype and I chatted for a while. This led to some confusion about who I have sent to. Guess what Mam was reporting a day of heavy rain - rather like here then.
I watched Gigi during the afternoon - and dozed a bit. Lovely music and costumes in Gigi.
Another of my college friends phoned today. I have to admit that despite the fact that I didn't want to train as a teacher and would have gladly escaped, those 3 years have left me with a very caring group of friends. We met 45 years ago - a group of 11 of us - and apart from poor Maureen who died young, the remaining "girls" (now old age pensioners) still keep in touch and support each other.
This evening we have watched a little of the Sports Review of the Year - the winner of the main personality of the year was a Welsh boxer, who seemed a very gentle and caring person; though I personally find no pleasure in boxing matches.
We have also seen some of the Royal Variety Command Performance. People who didn't see the shadow performance missed a treat.
Well, time for bed. Lets hope I don't have to deal with bags at any time tonight. We have to be in Ifield for my blood test at twenty past nine. I want to discuss effective laxatives with the nurse as well. It's getting urgent.
Sorry - my life seems to revolve round very basic human needs right now.
Hopefully I will have the energy to sort out the remaining EMails in the inbox and get to the point where I feel I can actually deal with EMails as they come in.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


8th December Not such a good day really.

Today has not been a very good day really. I have felt so weak and tired and fragile and I have been feeling sick. Just one of those glitches I guess.
At times I have felt like I didn't want to move anywhere, but eventually had a wash and cleaned my teeth. I haven't got properly dressed today.
This afternoon I thought I would like to watch a musical. Perhaps I should have picked a familiar favourite like Mary Poppins.
We quite often buy videos at a car boot sale - never more than 50p. Today I opted for Evita, starring Madonna. I love the music of course but it was heavy going and mostly justified the poor reviews.
But the end had me feeling emotional and tearful.
Eva Peron died from cancer and all the fame, the riches, the adulation etc melted away.
She became just another woman with cancer.
I have felt quite emotional all day - fear perhaps that I was on a backward path.
Tonight on X Factor, Rhyddian sang You'll Never Walk Alone. Tears ran down my cheeks as I mused on lines like "Walk on, with hope in your heart".
It is the final of this competition next week and Rhyddian MUST win! He is a brilliant singer, able to be operatic, able to create emotion, and I am sure he can do very well both in concert and on the musical stage.
I haven't eaten very much today - and I am aware that I haven't drunk enough today either. I was just too weary to make the effort.
I had intended when planning during some waking hours in the night to deal with all the EMails in my inbox - 130 of them.
I am certainly not writing 130 individual replies, so when I can (hopefully tomorrow) there will be a multiple send and then I can clear the box.
I have always saved EMails from people - but now I am not sure why. We have EMails from people saved onto discs from way back - and never looked at them again. I will save pictures people send that appeal to me.
Right, time for tonight's XFactor results and I must get some more water down me. I must work on that tomorrow or the blood tests on Monday will say I am dehydrated again. Its hard to get 4 litres down when you are feeling a bit wretched.
Hopefully I will feel a bit stronger tomorrow and can send an EMail to lots of people - though the daily blog tends to tell the story anyway.
Then it will be time to connect to the night bag and hopefully get some sleep.
Good night.

Friday, December 07, 2007


7th December Gaviscon and things.

Tired again this evening - and I have heart burn. I took thick and gooey gaviscon after dinner.
I did have more sleep last night - going to bed at 8 o'clock. I woke a few times and at half past 4 I had to change a bag. I did it on my own because Bill was sleeping in the spare room and I hoped not to disturb him. I was not at all confident that I had done a good job, but it hasn't leaked during today - no doubt saving it up for the wee small hours. Now I know why those hours are referred to as wee small hours!
I wonder why it leaked when it did - it had been fine at half past three.
I aimed to stay awake so as to keep an eye on things, but I did nod off again and had one of my regular bad dreams. It is a dream in which I knew for sure that I could never succeed at school and college and desperately wished to escape my commitments. What a shame that I didn't have a clue when young about how to head off in directions of my own. I dutifully made half hearted attempts to fulfil the expectations of my parents who believed that education and qualifications were like some sort of magic key to contentment.
I suppose it was talking to Mike the other day about Maria Grey College that started me off.
The weather has been good - but I didn't walk outside very much. Bill was busy with housework and shopping.
When he was shopping I made a start on telephoning people that I cannot reach through EMail. Well, I rang 2 people, only to find one of them does have
an EMail address. I should explain to people what is happening in our life and that this year it is not just our principals that will halt the sending of Christmas cards. We just don't have the energy or will.
After lunch Bill went to the hospital for one of his regular blood tests. Then he went to see Den and Ru - the elderly neighbours in Ginhams Road who lived next door to Bill's family.
Den was going to have his bladder removed too this year but his internal organs meant that it could have been a fatal procedure. He has had some chemo which should keep the development of the cancer under some sort of control.
By the time Bill got back I had Rose with me - neighbour from just along the row. She is a dear. She didn't stay very long which was just as well because I really felt I would be better off without any visitors today.
I couldn't eat all the dinner Bill prepared tonight - preferring helpings of gaviscon and movicol.
I aim to go to bed at about half past nine.
I hope you have had a chance to browse through Jamie's family blog - lots of photos which tell the story of his life during the last month or so.
Have a good weekend readers!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


6th December. Early to bed.

Grandma P was really tired this evening. She has had a busy day all thing considered. Started off with a cup of tea in bed and then came down for breakfast to a nice freshly boiled egg, some buttered bread and a banana all prepared by Grandpa B's own hands. After Grandpa helped her to shower and wash hair followed by a bag change. By this time it was nearly 11 o'clock. At lunch time our friends Peter and Jean who live in North Wales came round for lunch. They live about 1/2 hour or so away from Ashley, Liz and Ekaterina. After a very nice fish and chip lunch and a long chat they went back to Jean's brothers where they are staying for a few days. Later in the afternoon our friend Marion came for a visit and brought Grandma some nice Potato and Leek soup some of which she had for her tea. Thank you Marion. And thank you Peter and Jean for your visit I think it helps Grandma on her road to recovery. Slowly, slowly catchee monkey! So Grandma is very tired. She did not sleep to well last night and it catches up with one.

Jamie updated his personal Blog today with some lovely photos of the family taken over the last few weeks.

What of Grandpa B today. Well he spent most of the day supporting Grandma and entertaining our friends. Also had a quick SKYPE with Jamie and Mam. No songs though from young John boy like last night. Time is getting near a nightcap and a walk up the wooden hill to the land of nod.
Goodnight to you all. Love from Grandma and Grandpa.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


5th December. Mostly good things.

I guess today has been mostly good with pleasant times.
I will just get a grumble out of the way first. I am back on the laxatives! Its not that I don't go, but it has become increasingly difficult and painful. The body directs me to visit the loo and my brain screams a reply "No, No - don't do it!"
Balance is hard to find.
Anyway this morning Jenny came over with Mike. Mike is now a long term permanent friend and partner and I am delighted for her.
Mike and I already have things in common - he spent much of his working life as a geography lecturer at Maria Grey College - where I trained to be a teacher. We could recall many of the names of people who were there in the 1960s. Mike actually began his appointment 3 years after I left. In the early 1960s it was a typical girls college, mainly for those with affluent parents. It was also a safe haven for gradually aging women lecturers who had dedicated their lives to the education of young teachers. There were a number of "special friendships" amongst these lecturers.
One geography lecturer was mentioned - Greta James, - who had terrorised me during my first teaching practice.
And then Mike could also tell of a friendship of his own with Tony Elder who became head of Thomas Bennett, where Jamie and Ashley went to school. I knew that Tony was quite closely involved with the world of athletics as a coach and an administrator.
Interestingly Stella ( a fellow timekeeper) also called this morning and she knew a little of Tony Elder too.
I have been eager to doze during the day and have completely nodded off a few times. My weakness leads to this - along with lack of sleep at night. I was awake well before 4 o'clock during last night.
I am very tired now of course. I shall eat a little melon that Bill has prepared and then go to bed.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


4th December In my day clothes.

It is me!
Grandma P!
I am really tired this evening. - And yet I have been dozing off and on for some (most) of the day.
I fell asleep last night in the chair with the TV on - woke up in sodden clothes once again - yes, it had leaked.
This morning my first job after Bill had left for the shop was to sort out blood tests. I rang the ward at the hospital and they told me what my potassium levels had been over the weekend - not yet filtered through to the GP. On Sunday it just fell into the range of normal.
It was thought that I didn't need another blood test today. So then I phoned the GPs surgery and told them what I had learned. They have now arranged that I can go to to the Ifield surgery and have the practice nurse do the test next Monday morning.
Later Katherine the urology specialist nurse to say she would send a blood test form because the hospital would like results for more tests than the GP has put me down for.
Jo came for the morning. We talked and she did a few jobs like sorting out flowers and hanging up the heavy dressing gown which Bill had washed after I soaked it yesterday evening.
I think both of us (Bill and I) slept for most of the afternoon. After a restless night last night we were both exhausted.
This evening Bill's brother and his wife Bev came round. Bev is an auxilliary at the hospital and has been to see me on my ward when she could. She has been a real blessing and I have been so happy to feel close to her. She bought me some dried apricots and prunes - a very thoughtful gift. Maybe I'll hold back on the prunes for a few days - life in the digestion department is slowly getting back to normal (and most will recall that normal for me is not always comfortable). But is is nice not to have to think about laxatives just now!
Today has been my first day in proper clothes for some while.
Right that's enough. I must get back to the comfy chair again. I shall turn the TV on - and no doubt will regret that I haven't gone to bed when I fall deeply asleep again.
I would just like not to be awake again before 4 o'clock in the morning.
Good night. I have read through EMails that have been coming in - good to know that the wheels of the outside world keep on turning.

Monday, December 03, 2007


3rd December Grandma P comes home.

Yes Grandma P is back home again.

It's good that Grandpa B got up earlier this morning and managed to have breakfast and get some household chores done. Grandma phoned at about 10 o'clock to say that she could come home and to go and fetch her as soon as possible because they needed her bed for another patient. So 3/4 hour later I was in the ward to collect her. After getting home and settling her in we had some lunch and then I went shopping for things for the next few days. She or we had a nice meal later of cod in a lovely sauce with mashed pot's and cauliflower. Grandpa later helped to shower and wash Grandma's hair so she could go to bed feeling refreshed. I think that the tele has sent her asleep in the armchair so I will soon have to take her up the wooden hill and let the sandman take over. Grandpa B is in the shop tomorrow morning and later may have to take Grandma for another blood test at the local hospital by request of our doctors. Well folks that's about it for today, who knows Grandma may be able to do a short Blog tomorrow. We will see.

Goodnight all. GRANDPA B.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


2nd December. Shops and Hospitals.

Grandma P is feeling a lot better. She telephoned me with a list of requirements this morning and later on added to the list to be taken to the hospital. Now Grandpa B got up late, well the weather was awful so need to get to early. So later on he went to the supermarket to get Grandma's requests and on return just had time to have a quick sandwich and a cuppa before going to do his duty afternoon at the antique shop, calling in the local farm for some nice jumbo size free range eggs. After the shop closed it was a wet drive home and just enough time for a quick drink before driving to the hospital to see Grandma. She seemed quite well compared with yesterday. I think that her main problem was dehydration. She has had a few bags of saline though her now which is helping to restore the balance of her system. She may be sent home tomorrow but we will have to see what the doctors say. It's been a busy old day, I think that days with her in hospital are as busy as days when she is at home, there is always something that needs doing. That will have to be enough from Grandpa B for now. Bedtime beckons. Thanks to everyone for their support in which ever way given. Cheers GRANDPA B.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


1st December. Hospital for Grandma P.

Grandpa B is feeling a bit pooped at the moment. WHY? Well being up with Grandma till late chewing the fat over a cup of tea in bed. Then at 2am the phone rang waking me up abruptly. It was a call from relations on the other side of the world in Australia, they obviously hadn't checked the time zones ( 10 hours ahead )but it was good of them to enquire how Grandma is.
Jenny came round later with the shopping she got for me. Thank you Jenny.
Grandma had a phone call from the hospital to say that blood tests showed some dehydration and to phone back after lunch with a view to being admitted. She phoned and they said to come at about 3pm. So Grandpa took her to the hospital and they hooked her up to drips and bag drains, took more blood and generally made a fuss of her. She will be in overnight and further checks made tomorrow, so we will see when they will let her come home. So Grandpa is back on his own tonight and he must feed the cats and himself and who knows even get an early night.

So on behalf of Grandma P this Grandpa B signing off.. Bye Bye take care out there.

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