Monthly Archives: June 2011

Crocheting with Hugh Grant

Thanks to Hugh Grant I finished my Mystery Blanket on Tuesday morning.  Okay let me expand on that.  No, he didn’t call round for a cuppa and say ‘Here pass that over I’ve have the edging done in no time’.   Basically I think he is a horse’s ar…er, rear end and avoid films with him.  I know he appeals to some people, obviously, and I pass no judgement on your mental state if you are one of these poor, sad individuals.  I however find him extremely irritating.  That said last Wednesday I found myself watching a film with him in completely by accident.

I needed to stay up until quarter to twelve to take some tablets and some visiting friends left at eleven because one had to work the following day and one had to golf so I found a film (Extreme Measures) to watch which wasn’t my usual cup of tea.  It was medical (something I tend to avoid on the telly and always have) and Hugh Grant – he was a surprise as he wasn’t mentioned him on the information.  Having taken my tablets we retired to watch the rest in bed, well to be honest Bud wasn’t too interested in it since there was no barking, growling, etc.

As it turned out it was actually quite good and I ended up watching it all before I nodded off.  So Gene Hackman (who I like) tells Hugh that he’s paralysed due to a fracture at his sixth vertebra severing his spinal cord.  I’m lying there thinking ‘There’s more than one number six in the spine, it’s not necessarily C6’ and then Hugh tells Sarah Jessica Parker (who I can take or leave) that the fracture is at C6 – DOH!

So what the heck has this got to do with my crocheting.  Well on Saturday afternoon I started getting a pain in my left shoulder/back area made worse when I attempted to iron.  On a scale of one to ten let’s just say it was noticeable.  I popped some paracetamol and 60mg of codeine and in light of watching said film and having some loosening at C6 I sat down on the settee and took it easy for the rest of the day by crocheting.  It was tons better on Sunday though I stuck to the crocheting and when I went for a free massage on Monday (four free massages at the local oncology centre with every relapse – there has to be some perks) the aromatherapist did say that there was a knot in the muscle.  From my experience with L3 which started 10 months before it actually collapsed I still currently have full range of movement and no ‘Help, I can’t get off the toilet.  I hope B is home from work soon’ muscle spasms.  It’s not bothering me enough that I would make a specific trip to the Royal but I will mention it when I go on Tuesday.

 And that’s how Hugh Grant helped me get my blanket finished and here it is… 

Would I do a mystery blanket again?  No.  It was a bit pricey to do more than once and while I do like it’s more decorative than snuggly and a bit smaller at 89cm/35″ wide x 142cm/56″ long  than other blankets/throws I’ve previously made and a tad heavy, in my opinion, to display on a wall.

If I had seen the completed design as a pattern would I have attempted it?  No.

Am I glad I did it? Yes, my crocheting has improved a lot and there are a number of different techniques in there that I probably wouldn’t have tried like beading – which I really, really liked and would do again.

The designer, once again, is Jane Crowfoot and next year’s blanket, although I haven’t seen the hint shots yet, will be more feminine and lacy and involve less sewing up and presumably less ends to weave in.  I lost count after 100 but I don’t think there can have been much less than 1,000!

Other Creative Spaces can be found here – don’t know if Hugh helped anybody else out.

Broadband and shameless bragging

The evening I got back from my spur of the moment holiday I thought the problems I had connecting to the internet were because I had attempted to hook up with the free hospital wi-fi that a fellow patient, or rather holidaymaker, was using.  I hadn’t been able to do, I think, to some security setting on our laptop.

We’ve never had the most reliable or fastest broadband connection in the world but over the last week it’s been particularly ropy.  It kept telling me that we had a problem that it couldn’t repair and kindly suggested that I might like to contact my internet service provider as it could even find which apparently should always be available.  You know this might also explain why the laptop kept insisting that the wireless printer was offline.  It’s just as well I’ve a dodgy back otherwise it would have been offlining through the window.

B has been using the internet way more than usual because he’s attempting to find us (all three of us) holiday accommodation in Scotland and things reached a peak on Monday afternoon after he’d had problems that morning and had only gone to bed at 11:00 which is at least two hours later than most days.

It would connect to talktalk, our broadband provider, but not carry on through to the internet so after half an hour of internet, no internet, internet (one minute), no internet I conceded and rang them up.  Turns out it wasn’t my holiday tweaking that had caused the problem at all, that was just coincidental.  When the nice operator on the First Line Team checked it turned out the ‘connection dropped’ counter which counted up to 50 times a day had already reached this.  Despite this I still had to confirm the type of telephone socket, unscrew it and plug into the test socket inside and change the filter.  When none of this made a difference he put me through to the Second Line Team who said they would run a line check and ring me back yesterday between 9:00 and 10:00 and true to  his word I received a call at 9:33 ish.  The line was fine so they would send a BT engineer as the line still belongs to BT, if they found something wrong inside the house it would cost us £49.99, if they didn’t they would check the exchange – I thought ‘this is going to take days/weeks’ but managed to refrain from saying ‘Do you not know that I have a blog and the dog would like a holiday.’

Anyhoo, I got a phone call last night to confirm a talktalk engineer would be with us between 7:00 and 9:00  – yes, that’s AM.  I had to get up at 06:55 – I know, it’s a miracle I’m still awake.  Other than a few weeks ago when I was up at 5:30 because I was AWAKE it’s two and a half years since I was routinely up at 6:30 or earlier but I am now able to confirm there are still two six o’clocks in each day.

The engineer turned up at about 7:50 just as we’d finished having crumpets (yes with an s).  He got a cup of tea and we got a new router that sorted the problem. We’ve had trouble with that router from the start – taking nearly a week to sort out a problem so I could work from home just after we got it.

Whilst on the subject of the internet my little blog and several others (Lorna and Mike whose latest post ‘How rude!’ shows my husband’s tongue, Don, Karen, Sean, Margaret, Pat and Yvon’s – which somehow wasn’t on my reading list) can be found on Cure talk’s top 10 myeloma blogs that you should read list.   My sister in law was so impressed that she texted me at 23:25 a week last Saturday to let me know!

And whilst I’m at it mine and some of the above plus Linda and Ernie, Phil and Cassie and Kris’s blogs can also be found on the wegohealth myeloma blog list.

With a bit of luck all of those links should open in the right place but if not did I mention I’ve been up since a time with the first 6 of the day in it?

Addendum – Oops I knew the above went just a little too well with all the links.   I missed John from Good Blood, Bad Blood off the wegohealth list – his blog is right over there on my blogroll though.  As soon as I started reading Margaret’s latest post I knew I’d done it – DOH!

Come back for more shameless bragging tomorrow in my Creative Space Thursday!

The Twilight Clinic

We went to a clinic appointment on Friday and here’s how it went – I know shame on me for only posting now on the Monday (well hopefully) but we’ve been having some internet connection problems. So much so B has had to disconnect the router twice (once he had established which was the router and which was the shredder) – not that big a deal you’re thinking but B’s usual IT involvement is ‘Paula it says blah, blah blah’ where blah, blah, blah is the whole message on the screen verbatim with no preamble like ‘I have a problem with the computer’ and where I am usually in either the bath or bed, half asleep in either case, and when I ask him to repeat it he says ‘It’s alright I pressed OK.’ So I arrived at the clinic, following a trip to phlebotomy since I’m minus my PICC line, to find about four other patients, two of whom were at the counter waiting for blood forms on their way out. B arrived shortly after (he drops me off and then parks the car) and being equally amazed at the lack of people said to one of the health care assistants ‘Where is everybody? Have you killed them off?’ which earned him a dig in the ribs off me and fortunately a smirk from the chap closest to us who was having a sit down while the printer was sorted. After getting wey-hayed, we went off for a coffee and got back to find no-one else other than staff in the clinic! I gave the little buzzer thing we’d been given to alert us to our turn a sharp look thinking it wasn’t working but it flashed back at me in a smug ‘I’m fine’ way and we sat down in anticipation of at least a solitary doc not having gone to lunch. One of the doctors I’d seen on the ward and once before at clinic stopped as he was passing and enquired how I’d been and then the Prof appeared to call us in. Now I feel at this point I need to refer us all back to the clinic appointment two months ago when I had seen the Prof last because after we entered the room I felt like I’d entered the Twilight Zone. Fortunately I’m not a fretter and generally go with the flow so hadn’t spent too much time dwelling on the prospect of a donor transplant – other than thinking after just a week in the Royal that I’d really, really miss Bud. Long story short (what do you mean too late for that?) I could still opt for a donor transplant if I wanted but with Velcade and Revlimid there are other options. With having no siblings to even check for a match there is a 5% to 10% mortality risk just from the transplant itself and it was a lot to put someone through. We heard the letter that was dictated to our GP (of which we will get a copy) and in this and also later the Prof described me as ‘well informed’. I so nearly said ‘Are you saying I’m a smart arse?’ and then thought better as I don’t really know him well enough. When I told my Auntie Ann this on Saturday she said ‘Mmmm, but you are.’ So it’s my choice of donor transplant or leave well enough alone for the time being (pending the subsequent discussion on cytogencis). You may have noticed that I’ve been using ‘I’ a lot, rather than my usual ‘we’ and this is because B has basically said that it is my decision. The Prof mirrored this and before I could ask Roo’s question ‘What would you do in my position?’ he beat me too it and said ‘but if it was my relative I would go for…’ donor transplant I assumed ‘Velcade/Revlimid as needed later.’ – do do do do, do do do do (that’s supposed to be the Twilight Zone tune) – which I felt was so different from the last time I saw him. Maybe it’s the IMF conference he’s been to in the interim that’s made a difference or my lack of brothers or sisters – you know I always wanted one when I was little not realising how handy they could be medically as well as for taking the blame. Prof did point out, and don’t we all know this is true, that if you asked ten myeloma specialists for their opinions they wouldn’t all agree. I asked about my liver function as the results on my discharge form were a bit out of whack but this typical following treatment and they’ll be tested next time. We go back in six weeks (despite the non usual receptionist trying to give me an appoint for six months – wouldn’t that be nice) and in the meantime, well next Tuesday to be exact, I get to have another bone marrow biopsy on which cytogenics will be run. The result of these will have an impact on the next course of action or even inaction. We’re ideally looking for a nonexistent plasma cell content and perfect chromosomes – I mean it’s not much to ask is it? I’ll even settle for that over a reliable internet connection and a pleasant mother in law!

The morning after the night before…


Ahhhh I’m so comfy.  Hang on… what the…?

Whose bum is this?!?!?!?

Oh no, it’s the blogarazzi!  Whoofin ‘ell!  They get everywhere.

Arghhhhhh!!!!! – I need to lay off the wine gums.

Creative Space Crochet Club 2011


The craft project of choice that I took on my surprise ‘get a bug in your blood – get a free holiday’ trip was the Crochet Club 2011 Mystery Blanket – basically because it was to hand and was in a little storage box.  B loves putting things in carrier bags when we go anywhere so was slightly put out when we left for the hospital and I wanted to keep my crochet box au natural.  (I loath to admit it but he gets it from his mother – ‘Do you want a carrier bag for your knitting?’ ‘No.’ ‘It would be better in one.’ ‘I managed to get it here without one.’ ‘We’ve got this one, it’s a nice one!’ ‘NOOOOOOOOOO.’ – well you get the idea fortunately B has learned not to be so insistent but the urge to bag things still lingers.)

Now I didn’t feel like I got that much done considering I was in for six and a half days but with popping our for a wedding, visitors and general chatting with fellow inmates, I mean holidaymakers, in retrospect I don’t think I did too bad..

I had real trouble with one of the half circles and had to undo several rows several times.  When the second one was a doddle and I analysed the first it turned out that the problem was me, I had five spokes in the centre instead of four.  Since the outside measurement was the same, due to some severe tweaking I’ve left it.  (The old adage about it not being spotted by a man on a galloping horse applying.)

I waited to do the outside of the semi circles until last Friday when I was feeling more compos mentis as I thought it was doing to be really, really hard – it turned out to be so simple and the string of interlocked circles just curved round with a simple row, mostly of double crochet (single crochet – US) either side.

On Sunday when I came to block the pieces before sewing another two strips together I encountered a problem.  I believe it’s spotable even to the non crocheter…

After checking the measurements of the straight piece and the zig zag it transpired I was only 1 cm out so after contemplating re-crocheting the zig zag I bascially stretched it until it fit – it would have to have been stretched a tad anyway so I just made it a tadddddddd.  This resulted in these…

which brought me up to the end of May’s instructions.

We have now entered into the realms of June…

and am up to adding to the second semi circle…

and this would be why I don’t do much knitting intarsia (colour knitting but not true fairisle which by law only has two colours on one row).  I find it really, really messy.  I’ve tried these…

I’ve tried wrapping it into tiny balls and even wrapping it round my thumb and little finger into small skeins that pull out from the middle and solve all this but nothing works well other than cutting the yarn off into lengths that you can just pull out of the surrounding mess but as you don’t know how much you are going to need that’s not really a viable option.

But hey, it looks like I will get it finished before the end of the month – famous last words!

Other Creative Spaces can be found here.

Yummy feta salad

I still haven’t completely got my appetite back but as it is returning I’ve been fighting the urge to eat junk other than the odd digestive biscuit.  So last night for tea I really craved and we had the following…

Feta cheese with green and yellow peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes (need I say – not homegrown), balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, mint, mild olive oil and basil along with multi seeded bread with olive oil margarine (I would have used butter but I did forget the bread and B buttered, or rather margarined it) oh, and iceberg lettuce.  I feel the need to apologise for this, not that I don’t think there is a place in the world for iceberg lettuce but I generally prefer something a tad more interesting in this department, B however does the shopping and I didn’t specifically write ‘entertaining lettuce’ on the list.

We both really enjoyed it – I would have liked to eat more but couldn’t fit another bite in so in fact, we all really enjoyed it as I offered the last bit to Bud thinking he would eat the cheese and leave the rest and after a few tentative licks to ensure it was indeed edible he polished it all off.  It was so good B suggested we have it for tea today too – mmmm, can’t wait.

I came to take my last lot of tablets yesterday before bed and realised that I hadn’t given the ‘Information for the user’ leaflet the once over in this instance for the Rifadin (rifampicin).  Let’s face it although it’s good to know the side effects that can be bestowed on you when it’s a vital medication you pop those pills like a kid stuffs down sweeties at Halloween.

The dispensing label does say about taking the tablets half an hour before food so I had been doing that and the microbiologist had said that they can make people violently sick but I hadn’t experienced this.

So there I was about to pop my last lot of tablets and I have to admit the only thing that prompted me to read the ‘Information for the user’ was that I couldn’t get the tablet bubble strip back into the box without taking the leaflet out, and I read the following…

Taking Rifadin 150 Capsules with food and drink

If Rifadin 150 Capsules are taken with the food and drink listed below you may experience headache, sweating, flushing, fast, uneven or forceful heartbeat (palpitations), dizziness, feel lightheaded or faint (due to low blood pressure).

While taking Rifadin 150 Capsules do not have:

  • Cheese
  • Skipjack tuna or other tropical fish
  • Red wine

Which raises a few points

Red wine – not a problem other than plonking (get it ‘plonk*’-ing) some in a stew a few weeks ago I don’t touch any alcohol at all really – other than the bottle when pouring a couple of friends a drink

Skipjack tuna or other tropical fish – now I’m borne back to the time my Dad had a tropical fish tank and have a vision of a salad sprinkled with tiny brightly coloured fishy goodies like these…

Cheese – Arghhhh! Now what are we going to have for tea?  Mind you I got away with it last night and the salad was really good and to quote a friend it doesn’t actually say – ‘Eat cheese with this medicine and you will die!’

* Plonk – slang word for alcohol sometimes prefixed by cheap

One of us smells of wee…


I swear its not me.  I think its Bud – he does occasionally get one of his front paws involved in the whole wee wee process – really.  It is a bit hard to tell though when you’re sniffing the bottom of your own trousers or Bud’s paws when they are in such close proximity to each other.  Anyhoo I’ve given his paws a thorough wipe so I think we’re good – unless of course it is me.

And we managed to get into the wee wee smelling position because I felt energetic enough to take him for a walk, I took it extra easy over the weekend although did manage some ironing and plenty of crocheting – more on that tomorrow – the crocheting not the ironing obviously.

So its that time of the month again so here’s the pics from out the front of our house…




Needless to say we haven’t made a whole lot of progress in the gardening department however since I was insanely jealous of Lorna’s veggies, ana’s small veggie garden and I’m not even touching the veritable market garden thing that Roo’s got going on I managed to acquire a couple of tomato plants from the neighbour who was troubled by our weeds.  I was so going to brag, brag, brag because my tomato plants were so much better looking than Lorna’s one which looked like it was almost ketchup already and there they are, or rather were as at 3 June…

and here they are as at today…

I did ask B to water them eventually and apparently he did ONCE!

Whilst on the subject of photos when I left the hospital on Friday I got my meds from the ward so I didn’t have to wait for the pharmacy.  The nurse came over with a cute stripey bag and when I commented on it she said what I thought – it looked like an old fashioned sweetie bag which could contain sherbert lemons, bon bons, aniseed twists, etc.  Mmmmm, wouldn’t you like one?


Well, let’s take a look at the other side…


I, for one, think I’m on a diet!



Staph aureus sepsis

‘In fact, when this microorganism enters the blood, it represents one of the most lethal human pathogens also because it is often characterized by multidrug resistance.’

‘When untreated, Staph aureus sepsis carries a mortality (death) rate of over 80%. ‘

And that people is why we don’t just Google stuff we ask doctors!  It’s also why B deleted the two phone messages we’d missed as they mentioned blood poisoning, serious, septicemia and upset him.  I hadn’t heard them.

I had asked what I’d got but couldn’t remember the full title so when I saw it on my discharge paperwork today and even with bumping into the doc on the way and asking about my PP level (YAY it’s still not registering as at blood taken 2 June) I didn’t ask him to elaborate on the bug in question.  He had said on Monday it was a bad one and the microbiologist had filled me in on the usual signs (pus and skin damage at the site of infiltration) of which I had none but I felt the need to garner extra info off the world wide web when I got home earlier even in the face of my Auntie Ann saying when she checked I was home ‘Is that a good idea?’ and me having to spend a considerable amount of time fiddling to get back on the internet!  We don’t know where mine came from – I had an ultrasound of my heart on Wednesday to see if it was lurking in a heart valve and the microbiologist informed me it can also live in damaged bones so there was some suggestion of an MRI on my L3 region as it had ached a far bit last Wednesday, or rather the Wednesday before. This however was likely down to me jumping back into the car after getting out and leaving Bud in it sans the handbrake being on! Ooops – not a happy passenger.  However the doc felt discitis was highly unlikely in view of the one incidence of boo boo related ache and the fact that I was – gesture to me being up and about with my box of crochet tucked under my arm heading for the door – ‘like this’.

I was going to be allowed home for the weekend but when I asked this morning if I could go home permanently I was allowed to on the basis that I felt well enough.

So here I am at home –

freshly laundered minus my PICC line, with a stingy red patch where I accepted a dressing yesterday with ‘No, I’ve never had a problem with THAT kind of dressing’ and which was changed to a good old fashioned non allergic reaction provoking bandage this afternoon,

with two lots of antibiotics (Flucloxacillin initially 2g IV four times a day now 1g oral four times daily and Rifampcin 450mg twice a day – the latter of which has turned my wee ORANGE – I was warned and it’s not the subtle Doxorobicin colour change, it’s a define registering much higher up the colour charts that definitely needs a warning),

looking forward to attempting to eat a curry.  I haven’t been eating much other than brought in butties and cream crackers partly due to lack of appetite and PARTLY due to the food,

and with a very happy doggy which I am going to cuddle to within an inch of his life once we are settled on the settee.

After being told on Saturday that we wouldn’t be able to go to Lorna and Mike’s wedding, the different doc on Monday when I mentioned it yet again, asked me if it was a ‘precious wedding’ and when I said ‘well, no but I still wouldn’t mind going’ – just kidding – when I answered he said he’d have a word with the consultant and see about it.  I now apparently owe him one.

More on our adventurous day on Tuesday after a proper meal and a good night’s sleep – it includes a real Cinderella will go to the ball (even if she has just managed to get sick on her frock) moment.

I hope this finds you all well – I haven’t been home long enough to catch up with my blog reading yet and curry is calling!

Just slap me round the head

Seriously if I ever again commit to blogging every day for a set length of time will one of whack me round the noggin with a decorative gourd.

Needless to say I didn’t post yesterday because I didn’t feel too well at all and after being out from 9:00 and getting back around 15ish I was too pooped to move off the settee when I got home.  B actually had to put on his carer hat and assist me in getting undressed for a shower – now there’s something that technically should be fun.

I got some Amoxiclav and had various wee, blood and blood culture tests.

I do feel marginally better today but a good way from right.  However my Auntie Ann phone a short time ago to say the Royal had rung her as they couldn’t get us and they have a bed ready for me as something showed up in the blood culture and I need some IV antibiotics.

I did also feel sick yesterday and fortunately asked for some bowls before leaving as no sooner had I got in B’s car, my Uncle Ray having dropped me off, then I threw up and managed it again before we got home.  B did say I looked unwell so this must be the reason he didn’t at any point say ‘Don’t get any on the car.’

An experiment in pain management

I generally take at least 30mg of codeine twice a day along with 100mg of paracetamol.  Sometimes I take more but never less and this keeps me in a practically pain free state.  However over the past month I have taken more with headaches and a little bit of strimming (after a bit of a problem with weeds and a neighbour – a very nice neighbour mind but with an immaculate garden).  Obviously codeine can be addictive so occasionally I wonder if I take it because I need to or need to – if you get my drift.

So I completed my prescription request online last Thursday and felt the need to provide an explanation to the doctor for the earlier than usual request.  By the time we got home from the Royal on Friday it was too late to pick the prescription up, there was no doctor available at the Royal and ‘we’ declined the offer of waiting for the on call doctor and picked up some Syndol from the chemist.  This contains 10mg of codeine and  500mg of paracetamol per tablet

As it turns out I probably don’t take too many.  I woke up Saturday and Sunday night and needed to take some to get back to sleep.  It wasn’t PAIN but just enough discomfort that I couldn’t drop back off.  With the aid of the painkillers I take before bed I generally don’t wake during the night unless I need a wee (which happens a fair bit as I drink three litres a day).  They must eliminate any discomfort from turning over in my sleep.

Irrespective of this I did still wonder if I could manage without the 30mg codeine so I hadn’t been to collect my prescription until today.  When I got up I had a bit of an ache round my sacrum and top edge of my pelvis (nothing unusual in it being this area).  I had intended on walking Bud to the local cemetery with some flowers from the garden (it was my Mum’s birthday on Monday) but wasn’t too sure about going that far plus the weather was wet.  So after a downpour had ceased and there seemed to be a break in the weather we got in the car and drove to the cemetery.  When we got back we went for a walk the sun had broken through and got absolutely soaked to the skin.  One second it was dry the next it was as if a bucket of water had been thrown on us.

In between arriving back at home and going for a walk we had a bit of an ‘incident’.  As you all know by now what goes on the blog, stays on the blog however in this instance I decided to come clean to B first as last.

As I may have mentioned Bud is not good in the car.  He’s eager enough to get in but once underway it all goes pear shaped.  Today he whinged his way there but on the way back he was really good.  So much so he distracted me – and yes once again this is my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

We stopped on the drive and Bud remained in the passenger seat – he is restrained but this doesn’t stop him from attempting to get into the rear seat.  I turned the engine off and heard a noise.  ‘Oh, it’s the workmen filling in the potholes down the road.’ I thought and telling Bud to stay where he was I got out.  I turned round to shut the door and the car was rolling backwards (thank goodness the slight slope on the drive is away from the glass porch).  I leapt back in and stamped on the brake.  I hadn’t engaged the electronic handbrake – OOPS!  Bud pulled against his restraints so that he was lying across my lap – so maybe now he won’t even be eager to get in the car.  I moved the car back to its proper position and was still giggling hysterically when we went for our walk.

Needless to say this afternoon saw B driving into the ‘village’ for my prescription as I NEEDED some stronger painkillers for the persistent ache.