Saturday, 24 March 2012

A Visit to Chemo

Or, my original title, abandoned when the strike through wouldn't work in the title box...

The C word ward.

Cathedral ward is not a ward in the normal sense of beds and lockers. It is a large room where large comfy looking [but growing steadily more uncomfortable as the hours drag by] leather armchairs line the walls  in curtained bays. Each bay has a wall of plugs, lights, and fan behind the chairs, and drip stands with special boxlike attachments which cleverly time the speed of the poisons delivered to us in an effort to kill or cure us or, in my case, prolong my life.

All the chairs are occupied. Some patients relax and read or do puzzles others talk to their companions, seldom is anyone alone. NOAOS and I talk or play scrabble on his remarkable phone. He is not too well this week and it is very hot in the ward. An hour drags by as my arms are wrapped in a heat pad in an effort to enlarge my tiny veins .
Success at last only two attempts,then 10minutes of a flush, 30 minutes first chemo. bag, another flush and final chemo. bag of 60minutes  and another flush. Only 3hours and 40 minutes...then another wait as my drugs are collected explained and handed over..  I was given some Steroids so I'm quite happy.  No time today for joy rides so it is straight back home.

I nag NOAOS to make an appointment to see his doctor. He now has a date for his knee replacement operation; please please let there be an end to his pain.

I feel OK but I know that by day two/three that awful lethargy will have hit me and I'll be good for nada. Still, just one more to go and we'll see.

Ta Ta darlings. Hope I haven't written anything that could scare a truly is a pain free experience simply rather boring...oh and take your own lunch...their sandwiches are either processed cheese or ham.

And the nurses are all totally fabulous, hard-working, dedicated, funny and have become friends.

Monday, 19 March 2012

A Mother's Day

Mothering Sunday was all about that; about me mothering my kids and everyone mothering me. An early call from Sazzie  started the day and JP bought me the card and pressies she had left with him. Bathed and dressed I started to prep. the food for lunch...topside of beef, crispy tatties, Yorkshire pudding and Cauliflower cheese. I was feeling quite good...took it slowly and JP was my sous chef.

Lita Mona and her Mart were first to arrive and as the meal was set for one o/clock we started without NOAOS who texted he would be late. He arrived as we were finishing but he still enjoyed was all pretty good if I do say so myself.

The rest of the afternoon was spent following the sun, plenty of chat and laughs and I even got pushed to the end of the road and round the block with Milou trying to out run me.

They all insist that my hair is growing again though it remains a millimetre of fuzz to me.

Back for Chemo on Friday...just when I'm starting to feel human again.

Today it is sunny again and it is no chore to sit in the garden and watch the birds. I must not, ever, complain that it is too hot; having moaned constantly that I am 'cold to my bones'.

Almost six months now since this all kicked off...I'm wondering how many of those months are 'extras' I might not have had, had I not gone to see my Dr. for a beastly cough.

Think the pills are kicking in...I don't feel quite as depressed, or maybe it is just seeing the sun.

Not the best post ever, but it is all getting rather samey and there is only so much doom and gloom anyone can stand.

Adios mi amigos

Sunday, 11 March 2012


In an effort to publish something that has nothing to do with the Fecker I went into my back log and found this in draft. It comes from The Family History so it is quite possible it has already appeared. For that I apologise and for those for whom it is new I will explain that Harry was my stepfather, Mick my elder brother and Fairy my grandmother, mother's mother.

I think it only fair that I should make an effort to flesh out the character of my stepfather Harry .  I have called him evil and malign and he was, but I did not know that at the time as I was too young to put a name to evil, except in the context of sin as it had been drummed into me by the nuns. To lie was sinful; to steal something or to cheat was also sinful, to kiss my brother in the street was a sin as was running, dancing or singing, leaving food on my plate, vomiting, forgetting my place and having a sinful mother. What I did know was that he was cruel and had hate in his heart. He never, in all the years I lived under his roof, hit me and only once did he raise his hand to me [that was the day he knew he had lost the battle]  He had been married before and had a child named Tony and this child had died a terrible death in a scalding accident.  Perhaps he had once been a normal happy-go-lucky man, but by the time he met mother he was the man he would be for the next 40 odd years. He determined to have another child and had chosen mum as the perfect candidate. He wooed her wisely, taking his time to gain her confidence but she was adamant, she did not love him and never could, she told him. One night he took her home, she was crying because another man had taken the test and failed. A few G&T’s and my ever fertile mother was hooked.
They married eventually and my brother Tony was born and during these events Mick and I were sent to stay with Fairy.

My Grandmother, Lillian did not have a happy life; a fact that was reflected in her disposition which was sour, and in her features, which were pinched and bitter, And I often wondered why someone who was so obviously unhappy, should choose to answer to the nickname, Fairy.  On the death of her husband, she had a succession of ‘boyfriends’. One I remember in particular was Alphonse. He was a small man, almost a caricature of our image of a Frenchman, lacking only the striped jersey and a string of onions. Alphonse was a dapper dresser, always wearing a pin striped suit and a waistcoat with a gold watch and chain draped across his front, a camel overcoat and a homburg hat. He had a jolly smile that stretched his pencil thin moustache across his shiny red cheeks. 

Poor Alphonse was unceremoniously dumped from Fairy’s bed and turned out of the house when Mick and I arrived for an unscheduled stay during one of mother’s crises. They met up later at the local pub and Mick and I spied on them through the glass patterned door with Ind Coop & Alsop etched into it. He passed us lemonade and crisps and winked hugely. 
Granny Young believed strongly in the old adages that children should be seen and not heard, should speak only when spoken to, that the Devil made work for idle hands, and that cleanliness was next to godliness [at least where it concerned her old solid fuel, built into the wall, black, cast iron range] We were roused at daybreak, breakfasted on bread and dripping and then had to perform our chores. Mick had to clean all the shoes, clear out the clinkers from the stove and chop wood. I had to make the beds, sweep the two bedrooms and down the stairs [all with a dustpan and brush] and then blacken the hated stove. I used a boot brush to put on the black polish and then had to buff it all over with another brush. I was ten at the time and Mick twelve.[so this must have been at the time of Tony’s birth] I have no recollection of school then, but as Granny had to go to work we were obliged to find something to occupy the hours until she returned.  We would go down the road and visit with great granny Gregory sometimes. Just a short visit because she was very old by then and slept a great deal. She lived in a small room that smelled of talcum powder and lavender water, in the house belonging to Aunt Rose who was married to granny Young’s brother, Teddy.  I believe Teddy was quite successful at whatever he did, because we seldom saw him out of his working clothes of suit and black overcoat. He too wore a Homburg hat and was very tall and serious. He had a large car that we were forbidden to touch.[Perhaps he was an undertaker] Great granny looked rather like the old Queen Victoria. She always wore a long black dress with a white lace collar and a square of lace sat on her swept up white hair.  She would offer us a biscuit but usually forgot and nodded off to sleep before she had delivered. We would giggle and creep out of the room. I think we probably went to see whether she would ever remove the lid off the tin or if sleep would win.

            I remember Granny Young mostly for her unkindness; she took food meant for us and cooked it for herself and Alphonse while we were made to eat Tripe Ugh! - And for her uncompromising meanness of spirit. She never had a good word to say for our mother, whom we adored in the way that only innocent children can love their mother; never missing a chance to denigrate her for her glamour and joi de vivre. Only in the evening, when-having taken out the flat metal curlers that had been hidden all day under a scarf tied into a turban - she would comb out her dark hair and twist the curls around her finger, powder her face and cover her thin lips with a dark red lipstick. Then her small bright eyes would twinkle and she would be off to the Pub with Mick and me trailing behind. Whatever the weather we were made to stand on the narrow pavement against the wall and wait for her. Customers would come and go and each time the door opened we would be assailed by the smells of beer, cigarettes and humanity.  If, as was sometimes the case, she exited the worse for wear, we would each take a side and half carry her home.  No matter how blathered she had been the night before, when we were called out of bed in the morning she would be there, hair tightly curled, turban on her head and her pinafore tightly tied around her, ready for the day ahead.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Six months ago JP and I had it all sussed out, life was routine, uneventful and bordering on the boring. That was the time when you could set your watch by the morning and afternoon dog walks, by breakfast lunch and dinner. There were my jobs-housework, shopping, dog, cooking-and his usually involving a chopper and wood or secateurs and wood.

Then the Flecker arrived and everything changed overnight.
The carer became the cared for.

At first it was impossibly hard for him, and a man for whom exercise meant a short walk to the end of the road each morning and a swing around the Supermarket once a week now had two dog walks a day and countless trips up and down our 16 very steep stairs [actually he did count the times one day but gave up at 29] He has learnt to cook  adding to his repertoire of tomato sauce he can  now present me with a perfectly boiled egg and toast soldiers, pasta's and various vegetables.  He helped me bathe and dress for five weeks before the helped kicked into place and now that is the only thing he doesn't have to do for me on a bad day.

And I am a bad tempered harridan and rarely say here is my very public declaration of gratitude for the brilliant way he has turned so many minuses into pluses. One of which is that he now is super fit.


Thursday, 1 March 2012


 I'm fed up today. Woke up with the grumps for no particular reason.  Things have been going quite well [touching wood] lately, had my fiith chemo without any major dramas' and even the sun is making itself more and more visible so the cause of my sour mood is hardly obvious.

I'm fed up appearing to be brave...brave I certainly am not in fact I tend to quiver internally non-stop, a quiver which makes my hands shake knees pop and gives me palpitations.

I'm fed up being asked to verbalise my thoughts on the mistaken assumption that my agonised looks indicate they have meaning beyond wondering if the two seagulls I have been watching are going to get it on. I think 'small' to cook the front door of my son's house black or white can I manage another half hour on the couch, shall I take a sleeping pill tonight?

Went to spend the day at the Hospice yesterday and it was a good day, had some laughs saw lots of folks worse than me being bright and brave and ready. I even managed to go outside and look for the Labyrinth

walk a little way then sit for a while in the splendid sunshine. One day I shall walk it entirely...supposed to make one feel 'something'.

I'm off to give up more blood, my darlings...the local vampire 'hang out' [geddit] does very well by me.

Soon with much more better stuff [nod to Suldog]