Monthly Archives: January 2012

To ‘Nearly’ Done List

I’ve nearly done by ‘To Do List’ along with some additional things.  That said when my sister in law rang yesterday afternoon I got panicky thinking it was the hospital and I hadn’t finished it.

In addition to the list I’ve cancelled the laptop insurance for our lost laptop, changed energy supplier, got a better deal on the house phone, added some yarn that’s been lying around to my yarn index, made a dressing gown that was too much of a bargain to leave on the rail into a cardigown and knit/crocheted this…

Some assembly still required

I had two units of blood today so I fully expect to finish my list tomorrow and I’ve told B that with this haemoglobin boost and once I’ve caught up with my sleep tonight he better brace himself as I’ll be so full of beans.

Now usually, although I’m not shy with my opinion, I’m not one to force advice on people but I’d like to finish today with a little bit of marriage guidance for the ladies.

When one’s husband says that the district nurse was at his mother’s tending too a sore on her bottom he may not appreciate it if one responds with ‘A pressure sore?!?  That’ll be because she’s sitting on her arse to much.’

Deja Vu DT-PACE

Yesterday we went to our clinic appointment to find out how things were going. We bumped into Sean in the waiting area, which is always nice, along with a couple of ladies who also have myeloma. As it turned out the results of the bone marrow biopsy weren’t back but other results were and a plan for the next step had been formulated.

My blood counts are measured once a week at the moment. The blood is taken while I’m having dialysis and this means I don’t need to be stuck with a needle – which is always a plus. So my blood results from Tuesday (24 January) were -
haemoglobin – 8.3 (normal range 11.8 – 14.8 for women) This would explain why, although I’m feeling better, I don’t feel completely like the energiser bunny. In renal they don’t routinely give blood to increase haemoglobin, they use ARANESP which promotes an increase in the production of red blood cells. It takes longer to have an effect than a transfusion but apparently if you’re on the kidney transplant list the use of blood can cause issues with antibodies. The doc said that haemoglobin is usually the last count to get back to normal. Today it had gone up to 8.6.

WBC – 4.3 (normal range 3.5 – 11.0)

Platelets- 451 (normal range 150 – 400) B was bothered by this and, despite me having told him that the normal range went up to 400, kept asking me to check and even when I did double check with a print off of blood results straight from the hospital he still asked the doctor yesterday – mind you the doctor said 350 so B probably won’t believe me in future anyway – he’d already asked whether I’d written the number down wrong. Fortunately I was able to point out that a nurse wrote the figures down for me. It turns out that the increase is likely due to dialysis and is nothing to worry about.

Although the results of the bone marrow trephine were not back, the aspirate sample not being measurable (which has happened before), the paraprotein result as at 19 January was *drum roll please* – ‘no detectable paraprotein found’. My IGA level (the type of myeloma I have) was previously 24.09 and at the 19th was 0.37 which is actually slightly below the normal range of 0.8 – 2.8.  And I’ll be tissue typed with regard to a donor transplant.

So I get to have another course of DT-PACE possibly starting this week. My name will go on the board and when a bed is available I’ll get a call. This week!! If I’ve not heard anything by Wednesday or Thursday I need to give them a ring. This week!!! Now despite having spent nearly 10 weeks vacationing away from home last year this is only the second time I’ve had prior notice of going into hospital – the first time being my stem cell transplant in 2010. This of course has produced a…

To Do List

Ring ASDA re the claim for Buddy’s allergy treatment – which they have declined as they didn’t receive some information from the vet along with declining a second one sent which was below the excess. Now I thought because it all related to allergy treatment they would have just tagged it on and as the total bills are around £1,000 it really needs sorting

Download films/games to netbook

Buy pyjamas – because they always come in handy?!?!? Although B wouldn’t even contemplate a trip to Primark yesterday

Buy sponge

Connect the xbox to the internet – essential of course

Buy small fridge – the lady in the next bed in June had a little fridge which I have to admit at the time I thought was more hassle just bringing it than it was worth in, but realised in November/December that they are actually really handy to completely avoid warm yoghurts and milk going off

Buy some soft bras along the lines of the ‘ahh bra’ I saw advertised – because it’s so uncomfy to sleep in a regular bra BUT and that’s a big BUT there’s always the issue of being attached to stuff which makes it impossible to change in and out of bras (or tops) as easily as usual. Plus when you get plucked from your bed for dialysis in the early hours without warning it would avoid having to sit with a blanket clutched around your bosom (or barms as I learnt they could be called yesterday) because you were half asleep when collected and neglected to register that the short sleeve pale jim jam top was wholly unsuitable for public consumption

Buy badger lip balm – my lips went all peely last time. They have some lovely interesting flavours – pink grapefruit, lavender and mint – but I went for unscented in case some of the interesting loveliness made me puke.

Buy shower gel

Buy material – despite going to the fabric shop, Abakhan, yesterday (we didn’t walk, we parked closer) nothing jumped out and said ‘Use me to back your Christmas embroideries’. What do you mean ‘This could wait’?

Send three emails I’m behind with

Make soup – I’m not really a big fan of tinned soup and considering how my mouth went last time I started thinking that homemade soup would be a good idea. B could then heat it up and bring it in – when I floated this past him last night he didn’t think it was as good idea as I thought and as I discussed it with him I realised that when my mouth was sore I didn’t really eat much of anything so I’m not too sure how good an idea it was not even considering that when Auntie Ann and B brought soup in I returned it

Make pasta sauce – see above

Order B’s facewash

Make a decision and order Auntie Ann and Uncle Ray’s Christmas present – one of the last I need to sort out

Send one of the Christmas presents I have got

Pay credit card bill

Buy new laptop – Currys have admitted ours can’t be located so are giving us enough to buy a similar spec one. Of all the things on my list B was so taken with this one he planned to go this morning but then remembered that I had dialysis and Auntie Ann is visiting this afternoon so he’ll either be pushing her out of the door or I have a feeling we’ll be going tomorrow

Sort out a knitting pattern – I quite fancy something wearable for me, but it would need to be uncomplicated due to potential lack of concentration so nothing multicoloured as the four colours on a row were too much last time

Buy wool for knitting pattern

Take before and after photos – When I said this to B yesterday he looked at me quizzically ‘Not of me.’ I said ‘Of the dining table’ because by the time I get home it’s usually hard to tell what colour it is for the piles of post and other miscellaneous detritus

Check dates new series are starting on Sky and add to planner – ohhh, two start when I’m potentially away so I’ll need to remember to remind B (if we get a laptop I’ve told him I can email him requests) but with the new HD box which has a gazillion hours of storage he won’t be asking me this time what can be deleted. BUT if I got him to run an extension down to the lounge so that we could hook the Sky box to the phone line (don’t tell Sky as permenant connection to a phone line is part of the contractual requirements) I could set recordings from my bed. I think we’ve got everything he’d need – drill – check, bit long enough to fit through cavity wall – check, extension cable – check, enthusiasm – ch… well, what do you reckon? And I think I forgot to mention that when I order the new box we also go £100 of Marks and Spencer’s vouchers which more than covered the cost of the box. We very rarely shop there mind but that’s not the point when they’re free

Take library books back – I’ve only had them since September. Don’t worry I’ve renewed them so it’s not as if I’ll need a bank loan to pay the fines

Get new book to read – if they’ll let me have anymore

And… no wait, I think that’s actually it. No it’s not I now have a new one. I made a pram/cot blanket for one of the health care assistants last week and one of the nurses asked about one today. After initially declining I thought, well it’s easy and would give me something to do before going in to stop me adding to the ‘To Do List’ and she’s happy to wash it herself if I finish it whilst I’m in. Never one to miss an opportunity to show off my handiwork here it is…

Double knitting yarn on 4.5mm hook using daisy pattern it measured 75 cm x 94 cm.

Now I have actually done two and a half of them already. There’s nothing like a bit of pressure to make one get one’s finger out but how did I manage a half? Well I rang ASDA about the information they needed from the vet but neglected to ask them about the second claim. Doh!

Cobweb Lace

I started this shawl back in September when I abandoned the shawl I’d started the previous summer – yes that would be summer 2010.  If I hadn’t touched it for over 12 months it wasn’t going to be finished any time soon.  I don’t knit much lace because I find it a bit messy, or maybe it’s because I don’t really have any reason to do lacy things or it could just be that I don’t really like knitting it – loath as I am to admit not liking anything knitty other than circular needles and intarsia (that’s multi colour knitting for the non knitters and should not be confused with fairisle).

Anyhoo, after deciding I wanted to knit a lace shawl, and even though the first one didn’t get very far,  I searched for another pattern on Ravelry, which again to the non knitters is kinda like Facebook for knitters but with added extras.  You can see how finished items look not just as per the pattern but as knit/crocheted by other knitters.  I’d once seen a blanket pattern that I just loved and after having checked it out on Ravelry and seeing finished articles it put me right off.

It turned out that the majority of the shawls I liked were all by the same designer, Birgit Freyer.  So I tootled off to her website and selected myself ‘Flamenco‘.*  Now I have no trouble knitting with fine yarn but I do like knitting it on fine needles, so cobwebby yarn on 4.5 mm needles I find a bit, you guessed it, messy and fiddly as well.

I have been perservering, and undoing – which is extra fiddly and here’s how it looks so far…

The big plus is that I’ve got plenty of yarn for when it tips me over the edge and I throw it out the window and start again.

Other creative spaces can be found here.

*  When I went to Birgit’s website to link to the pattern and saw her beautiful finished article I could have cried!

Of course it’s not a heart attack

After I’d done my last post, when I mentioned letting the not so good things slide, I realised that I tend to do this quite quickly as I completely forgot to mention the quite bad pain I’d had in my chest the day we went to our last blood clinic appointment.

On the Thursday night I started getting some pain in my upper chest and by the time I went to bed it was actually quite bad. It initially crossed my mind that the pain was in a similar position to the awful discomfort I had during my stem cell transplant but by bed time time the pain wasn’t just in my upper chest it was also in my shoulders so my next thought was about where the pain would be if the rib with the plasmacytoma on it had broken or even that I’d done myself a mischief while throwing up. Since we were going to the clinic the following day it didn’t even enter my head to do anything about it at the time so I just took some Oramorph on top of my usual painkillers and went to bed.

I woke up Friday morning to find the pain was really quite bad, in fact it was the pain that woke me up. Now I do an odd thing when I end up in pain in bed, I use to do it quite often when I got regular migraines, instead of getting up and taking painkillers I carry on lying in bed in pain and then only get up to take them when I just can’t take anymore – fully realising that if I’d go up when I first woke up it would be feeling somewhat better by that time. So when I finally got my backside out of bed it was nearly 7.30 am. I took as many painkillers as I could (2 Paracetamol, 2 x 50mg Tramadol and not quite 5ml Oramorph) and went back to bed.

By the time I woke up again the pain in my chest had eased off but my shoulders were still sore. B and I got dressed and set off for the Royal. As usual I took my crocheting with me because even when I’m not feeling well I have to take something crafty with me – I think its like the equivalent of a child’s blankie. I sat in the car and didn’t touch my crocheting – the only thing I did was drink some of the ginger beer I’d taken with me (I was still being familiar with the sick bowl at the time and indeed saw the ginger beer again on the way home). It was as I was sitting there comtemplating the non use of the crochet hook that I suddenly thought ‘I wonder what a heart attack feels like’. I decidely it probably wasn’t, based of course on my extensive medical knowledge, because 1) I’d never heard of anyone mentioning shoulder pain, 2) surely the chest pain would be lower and 3) I hadn’t thus far keeled over!

When I mentioned to the Prof this pain (without using the words heart attack) it turned out it could have been one of two things. He ruled one out as I currently take Fluconazole – an antifungal medication which left irritation to the oesophagus by the large number of tablets I’ve been taking. The Prof upped the antacid medication to two a day and the pain eased off. It was still bothering my shoulders a bit on Saturday but had eased off completely by Sunday however I then forgot to take the evening tablet on Sunday.

Needless to say, apart from last night that is, I haven’t forgotten since. I woke up on the Monday morning and could barely move. I got out of bed, this time straight away, went downstairs, popped the same amount of painkillers as on the Friday morning and went to lie down on the settee. B had got up when he saw the slow way that I’d been maneuvering around the bedroom and fortunately was in the lounge to cover me with a throw (hand knit by me naturally) as I think if he hadn’t been there I would have literally lay there freezing before I could have done it myself.

I dozed somewhat fitfully* at first and when B got me a drink he held it up so I could use the straw without moving anything. Fortunately by the time I woke up from some proper sleep everything had settled down significantly and it hasn’t come back since.

When I was telling my Auntie Ann she recalled being in hospital and getting a pain in her shoulder. The nurse said it could be wind and Auntie Ann wasn’t sure if she was pulling her leg or basically just plain wrong. However a burp later the pain went. B’s Auntie S when I was telling her recalled a time she’d eaten toast before going to bed and awoke to chest pain and she has heart problems to start with. She contemplated that it might be a heart attack but asked her hubby to get her some hot water and again a burp sorted the situation out.

On the Thursday night before the Blood Clinic appoint I’d said to B that I wanted to walk down to the fabric shop for some fabric, funnily enough, and B asked me on the Friday morning whether we’d be going – okay, he more or less told me we wouldn’t – but of course I couldn’t just say no. It was only on the way out of the hospital that I admitted that I just wanted to go home.

Now although I may not actually have felt like using the fabric between then and now I was still a bit put out that we didn’t make it to the shop. So I’ve said to B that we’ll go after this Friday’s appointment. He said ‘We’ll see.’ Mmmmm, yes, we’ll see. I mean I have to finish off some outstanding stuff from Christmas. I’ve now finished the embroidery but need the material to back these…

and yes – there are two Christmas Trees.  I couldn’t find the angel pattern at one point.  And I don’t know about you but I can’t help thinking that the teddy bear looks like he’s desperate for a wee.

* I have no idea why that word when following slept or dozed amuses me.

Me Bum’s Sore

Okay not so much now but Wednesday and Thursday if I sat down without thinking about it and pressed up against a cushion in the wrong manner it made B jump. Not so much the sound of me actually hitting the cushion more the yelp I emitted. How come I had a sore rear end? Well…

Last Friday we went to the Blood Clinic and saw the Prof. My blood counts, neutrophils, white blood count and platelets were all well in the normal range with only my haemoglobin slighty low – which doesn’t seem to be unusual for me – plus the counts had been staying there on their own. I haven’t had a donation of a kindly stranger’s blood since 23 December. This and the fact that my ‘quality of life’ was so much better than eight to ten weeks ago gave the Prof the indication that all was going well however the only way to really see how effective the DT-PACE treatment has been is a bone marrow biopsy since my paraprotein reading is not a reliable marker on its own. He asked me how I felt about this as I was as fully involved in the decision making for my care, I said that I’d thought as much and indeed this was what I’d told people when they’d asked how we would know how things were going.

The mention of quality of life always makes me nervous. I’m not too sure why exactly maybe because one day I’ll have to say it isn’t good and will I admit to it at that time. After having been in a lot of pain with my collapsed vertebra I would say that my quality of life at that time was pretty low. For a while I couldn’t even get in a comfortable position to knit, well or sit, stand, lie down and laughing, coughing, sneezing resulted in me nearly, or occasionally actually, ending up on the floor.

When my back eased off, before it got worse, I’d said to a friend that I didn’t know how people coped with bad pain all the time. She said that they probably got used to it but I don’t think so. I truly thought that the pain I had before I was diagnosed was never going to go away and that was a horrible thought. So I think for me how I will potentially feel tomorrow is a measure of quality of life – that even if I feel particularly tired or throw up a lot one day it doesn’t mean that tomorrow or the day after will be the same. Let’s be honest no-one has a wonderful day every single day, even if its only due to a self induced hangover after an over indulgent weekend. Quality of life is the culmination of all days – and maybe letting the bad ones slide and making the most of the good ones.

Anyhoo, Tuesday, after dialysis, I went up to the Blood Day Unit for a bone marrow biopsy. The actually aspirate and trephine samples, done by the same lovely registrar as last time, were fine – okay it did hurt a bit but it’s not like it lasts for long and I only had to pause briefly mid sentence twice – and the subsequent lie down was uneventful. When the requisite ‘lie down’ time was up one of the nurses checked the dressing, which was wasn’t showing even a hint of blood, and I got up off the bed. I popped on my shoes and was stood chatting to the nurse when I thought ‘My bum cheek’s gone warm.’ I looked down and there was blood spotting onto my shoe and the floor. The nurse whizzed off for some gauze and I sat down on the bed, she popped the gauze over the dressing and I got to have another lie down. Fortunately I had dark brown linen trousers on and a long winter coat so the blood wasn’t easily evident – we discussed how stylish I would have looked having to venture home in a hospital gown with my stripy pink socks and flat tan shoes sticking out the bottom. The nurse also did an excellent job of removing the blood spots from my shoe.

The additional lie down meant that I was late for my ambulance ride home. B rang while I was lying there and said he would come and pick me up if it was there problem. When I rang the ambulance reception they said I could still have a lift home but, since I’d missed my allocated ride, it would depend on when a suitable crew got back and most of them arrived about five o’clock – it was currently ten to two. Needless to say B picked me up.

During the course of the bone marrow biopsy the junior doctor assisting asked me whether I did anything else other than knitting and crochet. The registrar answered ‘She’s not got time for anything else she’s a professional patient.’ On Thursday I had cause to think that if I got paid for my time at the hospital I’d probably have the best paying job I’d ever had. I was all ready to be collected at ten past six (in the morning) with B standing watch at the porch window and getting more and more antsy as time went on. At seven I phoned up to see where they where. The co-ordinator didn’t know but said she’d ring me back. B was having to call into work that morning so said he would take me and then go straight in. I rang back to tell them this and she said that was fine, they had sent a taxi but it would be quicker if B brought me, they’d let renal know I was on my way. I thought the mix up may have happened because I didn’t get a lift home on the Tuesday however, it turned out that the two guys on the ambulance ride home hadn’t been collected that morning either and it was only after they’d both phoned that they’d been collected by taxi. We then waited ages for our lift home. So after being ready with my coat on at 6.10 am I got back home at 3.20 pm. Mind you it’s giving me lots of time to be crafty. Here’s what I did yesterday…

I used some of the left over yarn from Bright Star and the pattern is a free one – Garter Yoke Baby Cardi.  I didn’t finish the cardigan yesterday as Auntie Ann and Uncle Ray visited as I got home and then I had to fit in a 3 to 4 hour nap and then tea – which I actually made myself with only a minimal amount of assistance, and that was just so B didn’t think he was leaving it all to me – and then more sleep.  That’s only the second hot meal I’ve made since I’ve been home, B has taken over as chief cook.

So, here’s the finished cardy…

Bright Star

I finally finished the aran weight blanket I was knitting.  Considering it was all in garter stitch, where every row is knit, it proved a bit challenging.

There were three squares like the top one where I hadn’t moved the green or blue over by one stitch which I had to reknit – because let’s face it that boo boo hits you in the eye.  A man on a galloping horse could see it.

Then there was the notched piece ie, the pink square isn’t part of the block, that I actually sewed in before I noticed that the green line had a kink.  Three friends and B told me no-one would notice but I had to disassemble it and redo.

I sewed several pieces in the wrong place and then when one side looked like this…

the other looked like this…

as I closed the seam with only three pieces in it instead of four! Der.

And then I managed to have a square over

as you can see it didn’t really matter as that one had a boo boo too.

So here it is in all it’s glory.  On the original pattern, Bright Star from Berroco Knitting and Crochet Afghans, the square at the centre of the large cream diamonds is a different colour but I decided against this – one of the reasons being that because I ordered the yarn over the phone I couldn’t decide what additional colour to put in.  I think because of this the ‘stars’ don’t pop out as much as on the original.  It’s quite big at 6ft x 4ft 10 inches.

The edging was once again a double crochet (US single crochet) row worked round with the second row being double crochet worked in reverse.

The blanket was to be a Christmas present and since Bud hasn’t had one off us yet I think he may be laying claim to it…

Other creative spaces can be found here.

Odd Man Out

I used to love Sesame Street especially Mr Snuffleupagus (or however that’s spelled), the Count counting and Ernie the Grouch – so let’s get all Sesame Street - ‘One of these things just doesn’t belong here, one of these things just isn’t the same.’

Buddy

An orange

Me

Any guesses? Well if you guessed me you’d be right. The connection between Bud and the orange is this…

B has stuck both Bud and the orange with it. After taking Bud to the doggy dermatologist for his allergy related cysts and infections on his paws back in September she suggested that we could try a desensitising vaccine on him. Now I may have been tempted to say no but his paws did look quite sore and there’s also the risk of an infection I could pick up and the other longer term treatment if he needed it involved a medication that I wouldn’t be able to touch, so I said yes.

B took him for his first jab while I was in hospital. The dermatologist said that we could do the rest of the injections at home, there’s about ten in all but B felt that he couldn’t manage it on his own with so he’s been taking Bud back to the vets and the nurse has been doing it. Well, the nurse did the second one and then B did the third under her supervision. On Thursday we took Bud for his fourth and B did that one too. Bud however wasn’t as settled and calm as on the previous occasion – possibly because I was there – and I have to admit my heart was in my mouth when Bud started to wriggle while B still had the needle in. B has decided that he will take Bud back for another one under instruction and then give them a whirl at home.

The nurse had given B the old syringe on the third trip and suggested he practise on an orange which he did. Now when we went to the clinic on Friday I got some anti-clotting Fragmin injections, because of the Thalidomide, and on Friday when I did the first one I asked B if he wanted to do it since both mine and Bud’s are done subcutaneously (under the skin as opposed to into a vein). He declined and maybe it was just as well he did if we take a little looky at the post injection orange…

Steak and Kidneys

‘How am I?’ Well, thank you for asking. I am just assuming some of you, or perhaps one or two, have been wondering how I’ve been getting on healthwise generally.

In myself I have been so tired and a bit out of sorts. I think It has to do with getting up before six am three days a week and then sleeping later on the other days, along with having a nap in the afternoon following dialysis. From being young one of the things that was guaranteed to make me feel under the weather was irregular sleeping hours – so I think I’m going to have to start getting up early on the days I don’t go and get into a routine time of going to bed. Plus it doesn’t help when B’s brother rings at 20 past 11 on a Friday night to ask if B can pick their mum’s prescription up from the doctors before 11 on Saturday morning because he’s busy. Busy turning out to mean he’s had, or about to have, so much to drink he won’t be able to legally drive on the Saturday morning. Monday I got home and slept most of the afternoon – well afternoon and early evening – it was about seven when I prised myself off the settee to go for a shower and get my jim jams on. This morning I managed to get a sleep while on dialysis and I have to say I feel a lot better for it. Yesterday armchair yoga started again and I decided not to go – well I um’ed and ah’ed and then with B leaning towards me not going I was swayed in that direction. However it was the right decision as by early evening I said ‘If I’d felt like this earlier I would have gone’ just proving I guess that I wasn’t really up to it.

Mind you I didn’t just sleep on Monday I was sick as well. I was so disappointed Friday night when we had an Indian takeaway. We’d had one last Monday when I found out my neutrophils had gone up to 2.00 – yes 2.00! I intially thought the nurse must have said 0.2 but no it was 2.00 – the bottom end of normal. On Monday I’d been fine with the takeaway – I hadn’t eaten it all, but some was eaten and it stayed eaten – however on Friday I was part way through when what had been eaten decided to put in a reappearance. Fortunately since the ambulance incident a poop scoop bag lined sick bowl is never far out of reach – it could be the newest ‘must have’ fashion accessory – maybe I could make it a little cover.

B’s still been doing most of the cooking and after slaving over a hot stove on Monday night I ate a little bit of lamb, potatoes, petit pois (not just ordinary garden peas for us I’ll have you know) and mint gravy and then this too decided to do an encore performance. My Auntie Ann pointed out last night that it might be dialysis linked as I wasn’t sick on Thursday, Saturday or Sunday – see if I wasn’t so tired I could have worked that out for myself. I wasn’t sick yesterday either – although it was a close thing after a few gulps of Fortisip in the morning but it settled down and the Fortisip was actually okay.

I asked this morning whether the sickness had anything to do with the dialysis and the short answer is no. It can make people sick but this tends to be straight after – so last Wednesday’s incident would tie in but nothing later in the day so that rules out Friday and Monday’s later incidents. However the sister who has been dealing with me had mentioned to one of the renal doctors that my blood pressure was high and this can cause vomiting. The doctor had suggested that more fluid was taken off but the sister pointed out that this wasn’t an issue so one of the blood doctors was going to come and see me this morning but I finished dialysis really early today as there was a clotting issue which despite the best efforts of the sister completely stuffed the machine. The most common anti-clotting drug Heprin isn’t being used as my platelets have been low, and still are somewhat, but apparently there are other drugs or a different ‘kidney’ that can be used and it will be sorted for Friday. And today my blood pressure was fine.

Since I hadn’t/haven’t been eating as much as usual the renal dietician sent a note to our GP so I could get this fortified supplement drink on prescription. I had tried Nepro whilst in the Royal but it was a warm vanilla and let’s just say it put me off that one. I also had a different one in strawberry and that was okay – as long as it was cold that it is – but since I was on a fluid restriction at the time I didn’t want to use a third of it with one of those. I had it on good authority from one of the other dieticians that Fortisip is probably the most paletable and is only 125ml instead of 250ml. Although at the moment I can drink up to two litres a day as long as I don’t gain more than 2 kg (4.4 lbs) between dialysis sessions. This isn’t proving to be a problem since I’ve lost nearly 10 kg (22 lbs) since November but have been hovering about the same weight for the last couple of weeks.

One of the renal dieticians called in to see me this morning and said if my appetite doesn’t improve in the next few weeks we can increase the Fortisip to two a day and in the meantime I should ‘enrich’ my food ie, add butter, cheese, cream to everything. I had started doing this after B got me some crackers on Monday and I had a few with butter yesterday which really got Buddy’s attention. I had anticipated doing this on Monday night but ‘someone’ put the butter back in the fridge after I’d got it out to soften so the butter didn’t spread very far but the crackers ended up in a lot of pieces.

The ‘rash’ I had that came in two stages stopped being painful when pressed but still hasn’t faded completely. These were the spots that came up looking like small ‘bites’ and then settled into a red looking bruise with a hard bit in the middle. The most dramatic one seeming to conincide with my platelets being really low and ending up being about three inches in diameter.

My knees are still a bit iffy in the stair department. They’re not painful and I can actually get up from a squat position without scrabbling towards something I can pull myself up on, not that I’ve been making a habit of squating, but I’m still really, really slow in going up the stairs. Oh, and I traumatised one of the ambulance drivers yesterday as I fell onto the mini bus. B had phoned just as we were walking out of the main doors and I attempted to take the two small steps onto the bus with my crocheting in one hand and the phone clamped to my ear in the other. My knee just didn’t produce any umpff – at all. I lunged forward and fortunately landed on a nearby seat which doubly fortunately was down on this occassion. He advised me to be careful getting off. The other ambulance man asked ‘Why? Did you fall getting off before?’ ‘No’ the first one replied ‘she fell getting ON!’

I must have lost a little bit of weight with my hair – since it’s been a bit of a competition as to who was shedding more – me or Bud. And it’s really cold. I keep feeling draughts on my head. I’ll be lying on the settee minding my own beeswax and B will go out opening the door, cold blast one, and closing the door, cold blast two. I was thinking ‘I don’t remember it being this chilly before’ and of course it wasn’t because last time I had a similar hair style it was summer. After having the hood up on my shorty dressing gown on Monday night I decided that I needed something to keep my noggin toasty while I’m dressed. B offered to find me a new bob hat that he has for work but I dug out a protype hat I knit a while ago so I spent yesterday afternoon with black and lilac stripped Peruvian style head wear with little plaits from the ear flaps and a tassel on the top.

B cooked us peppered rump steak for tea – a bit adventurous possibly as I’d thrown up twice within the past two hours as a result I think of an uncustomary can of coca cola – and it was gorgeous more so going down than coming back up I must admit. Although so far the second instalment has stayed where it was put.

Back away from the netbook

Seriously technology in our house at the moment needs to carry a health warning – from the hardware to the software (the software probably being me).

The netbook or notebook, depending on which one of us you ask, the manual says notebook but accordingly to B the sign in the shop said netbooks, ended up getting a second return visit to said shop. Boxing Day B took me for dialysis because hospital transport wasn’t available and I’d downloaded a film to watch. I had however noticed previously that there was a ‘problem’ with the sound coming out of the speakers so after a bit of ineffective twiddling with settings we ended up with an ear-phone each and a slight list towards each other so that they didn’t fall out.

Off we traipsed the following day to complain about the level, or rather lack of it, of sound coming out of the speakers with me all prepared to request, if not demand, a different make while staying as far away as possible from strangers and their strange bacteria.  Now to give the IT guy in the shop his due he didn’t at any point give either of us a look which said ‘Oh for goodness sake – what a pair of numpties!’ as he said ‘Speakers aren’t very good on netbooks. They are really designed as a quick and easy way of accessing the internet but I’ve have a listen to it and see.’ ‘Yes’ I said ‘but you can barely hear it.’ And apparently ‘barely hear it’ was the correct sound setting as the netbook only has one  low quality speaker. He did go on to say that some laptops don’t produce much by way of sound but since ours is as good as watching something on the TV we weren’t aware of such problems.  On his recommendation we paid less than £10 for a USB speaker which turned out to be LOUD – so we didn’t have to sit as close together on the Wednesday.

Having mentioned the laptop there’s another technology issue. As you may recall B took the laptop in for some treatment of it’s own while I was in hospital. Said treatment by the way had nothing to do with me and the orange pop (soda), the graphics card had bust. The laptop was also due home on Christmas Eve per a conversation B had in the shop and two texts I received – well okay the first text said 25 December but the second one said 24. B called for the laptop before he called for me but unlike me it wasn’t there to be collected. The shop said they mustn’t have had the delivery yet. Later in the afternoon I got a further text saying it would be in on the 29th. B called on the 30th and guess what – no laptop and so far no text. Oh, but we have had two stories about items left for repair with this shop that got lost.

And then last week I couldn’t remember my email password – I mean it’s not like I don’t use it much. Okay it hadn’t been getting as much use as usual by any stretch of the imagination but really. Mind you this would also tie in with forgetting my blog password while in the Royal. I think this added to the confusion as I was sure I’d changed it to something similar to the email. After numerous attempts B suggested that I should check the notebook with passwords. I however was insistent that it wouldn’t be in there because I’d changed it while away from home. Fortunately I ignored my own insistence and lo and behold it was in the book because I’d changed it a few months ago when yahoo told me my account had nearly been spammed or something. As it turned out I was just one capital letter shy of getting it right first time round but then I had started to think about it which let’s face it sometimes with passwords, and card pin numbers, is never a good thing.

And I still haven’t got round to adding the netbook to our home broadband so I keep needing to top up the mobile broadband – how lazy can some people be?

Oh, and then there’s been the fun and games with my new mobile phone. I didn’t really want a new phone, I liked my old one. ‘Then why get one?’ I hear you ask. Well, because during my stay at the Royal I spent on my pay as you go tariff more than I usually spend in two years so I thought it might be a good idea to get something cheaper. Since I couldn’t just move over to pay monthly with my own service provider without getting a new phone I did a little shopping around and found a deal with Tesco for £7.50 a month, 230 minutes, 5000 texts and some internet use which included the following phone…

and although it arrived probably more than a week before Christmas I only got round to finally transferring my number on 29 December but was refusing to spend any more with Virgin so I was receiving with one and sending with the other – which was fun. And I spent at least an hour and a half transferring contact details from my old phone to my new one one day on dialysis last week so at least I knew who was sending me stuff again. I must admit me and mobiles are limited to minimal usage, texting, calling, as an alarm, taking the odd picture, listening to music very occasionally so I don’t want anything fancy from a phone however when I first switched this one on I thought it was defective as I couldn’t get any menu options up – turned out it wasn’t the phone that was the defective one!  I was pushing the wrong button. After persevering and ‘finding’ the right button I decided to give the new phone a go because I hate texting with all the pressing of keys to get a letter and this new phone has a tiny QWERTY keyboard on it so I can just switch off and let my thumb find the letters – it’s so quick.

And the big plus with Tesco is that I can actually use this mobile in the house. Oh, I could receive texts but to send a response I had to stand near the porch window and on occassion actually wave the phone out of the front door to even get a signal and the phone would ring for a call but then cut out unless I pressed myself against a window. Now you wouldn’t think that Tesco would provide better coverage than Virgin.  And its just as well I’m not easily embarrassed as it rang for the first time in the lift with two ambulance men.  One of them checked their phone, then when it was still ringing the other tapped his pocket and then they both looked at me and asked if it was mine.  ‘Oh, it could be I haven’t heard it ring yet.’

And I haven’t even mentioned how we seem to have lost the ability to get Sky TV on the telly in our bedroom. I thought it might have something to do with upgrading to a high definition box but we can still get it in the back bedroom and B’s is showing some reluctance to checking the cable – I mean it only involves getting up on next door’s garage roof.

Fortunately the one thing that does seem to be working fine is the Xbox 360 I got B for Christmas. I hadn’t got him anything and accidently clicked on an advert which showed them. So on 22 December I ordered one from Amazon and they delivered it, along with a game from Auntie Ann, on the 23rd – can’t knock that for service. However the game that he considered I’d got for myself (and he wasn’t completely wrong) is the one that he keeps playing and he’s way better at it than me – it would appear I just don’t have the patience. It all goes a bit pear shaped and I just want to go back to knitting – and this hasn’t been without boo boos recently either, but more on that again.  Although if B says ‘D’ya know what I mean?’ one more time while informing me of something in relation to the game he could be getting a boo boo of his own.

Happy New Year

Happy 2012! I have to admit I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Eve. I looooooove Christmas and for me New Year pales in comparison. However something this year made me think of the traditions that use to happen when I was younger. We would all go to my Great Auntie Betty’s for Christmas Day and then New Year’s Eve, but New Year would include more friends and neighbours. Just before midnight the men, with me tagging along, would go out the back gate, down the entry (alleyway) and round to the front door. At 12 someone would knock, the door was opened and the New Year let in. This was always done by a man and preferably one with dark hair – Auntie Bet was made up with B for this reason. I don’t remember any of the other traditions actually being carried out but I do remember people talking about things they use to do such as carrying coal, bread, to ensure there was heat and food for the coming year. At our current house I suppose I couldn’t expect B to go out the back door and round the front on his own, let alone carrying stuff, since it would involve several six foot fences.

Anyhoo, back to this year. The three of us spent New Year’s Eve quietly at home. Last year we went to one of our neighbour’s but his lady friend has shingles so I had to steer clear. We went to Auntie Ann’s on New Year’s Day when she cooked a fantastic roast. I ate everyting on my plate (about half/two thirds what I’d usually eat) much to B’s amazement and also causing him to exclaim ‘How come you ate all that but don’t eat all your tea?’ A friend said I should have pointed out that it was three o’clock in the afternoon and not half past nine at night! Bud got his own roast dinner too.

And you won’t believe what happened yesterday. Or maybe you will because I do tend to be slightly accident prone as evidenced last week by me knocking over two full 500ml (roughly a pint) glasses of drink within three days prompting B to ask if I was going to continue at this rate.

Anyhoo, back to yesterday. I’ve been going for dialysis on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday at seven am. B took me Boxing Day and the Wednesday of that week as there wasn’t transport available. Friday I got picked up by a mini bus type ambulance at 6.25am, Monday it was 6.10am and it turned out I needed to be ready not for 6.30 but for 6.00 as arrival time depended on who else they were picking up from where. On Wednesday I was picked up at about 6.20am and everything went fine, I felt quite good, I watched a couple of films and did some crocheting. Then when we were finished I started getting flashing light type things in my eyes suggestive of a migraine so more than anything I just wanted to get home. I managed to get down to the ‘Hospitality Suite’ without incident even though things weren’t too clear. I think you have had to experience these visual disturbances to understand completely, you can still see but not properly – it’s so weird. As it happened the driver was at the desk when I got there so there was no wait. I got on the mini bus and sat as far back as I could so I wasn’t near any bacteria I didn’t know, er I mean people I didn’t know. Altogether there was five of us being transported and I was dropped off first.

This is where it gets a bit gross so anyone with a delicate stomach may want to look away.

My sight went back to normal and fortunately no headache actually materialised. BUT I suddenly realised I felt sick. Now we know that for me ‘I feel sick’ means ‘Pass me a sick bowl immediately because I’m about to make a deposit’. BUT it was okay because I had a poop scoop bag in my pocket just in case of this eventuality. I fished it out and whilst juggling the netbook bag and large bag of crocheting/yarn I threw up. Now I thought that it had all gone either in the poop bag, in the crocheting bag or down the front of my coat so I didn’t even contemplate letting the driver know. It would appear though with the benefit of hindsight that I was wrong. I just relievedly got off the mini bus and flopped into the house, where B took my coat, hat, gloves and scarf and threw them in the washing machine whilst I went for a wash.

However it turned out that the bottom of the paper/board bag I had my crocheting in was er, we’ll go with moist, meaning that some of the vomit must have hit the floor! And I got off without saying ANYTHING AT ALL!!!!! Every time the phone rang today I thought it was going to be Hospital Transport telling me I’d been black balled. B said ‘Why didn’t you just tell the driver?’ to which I responded ‘Because I didn’t even look at the floor!’

Plus with my nature of coming clean with everything I need to explain/apologise for it to someone. Maybe I should start with the girl who sits in the other back seat ‘cos she probably got an eyeful after I’d got off. Ugh – I don’t think there’s much worse than other people’s sick. Usually I hate being sick in front of people, particularly those I don’t know, and at one point in the Royal I spilt bloody (my mouth was bleeding a fair bit) vomit on my bed sheet as I sat up in an attempt to avoid the ‘Hostess’ (catering lady) seeing the bowl of sick. So it’s not a sight I would usually force on anyone.

As it turned out I did feel decidely off for the rest of the day, slept most of the afternoon, was sick again just after I’d had a bath and barely ate any tea but I feel much better today, apart from the guilt.

So, hopefully, I’ll get picked up tomorrow morning and I really hope it’s the same driver so that I can get things off my chest first as last. I mean I’ve only been picked up three times and have already managed to make a mess.