Monthly Archives: September 2011

And yet another impromptu holiday

If I had a creative space this week it would involve 14 stitches of double knit yarn on size 2.75mm needles which will hopefully be a sole for a second teddy bear.   (I can now confirm that they are indeed a whole sole, there has been a brief interlude of several hundred hours I think between starting this this morning and finishing it now.) I started the knitting on Tuesday at the Royal.  I had woken up in the early hours feeling quite warm, with a raging thirst, slight nosebleed and the belief that the lap top was on the bed behind me and was the size of our new BIG plasma TV!  When I awoke at 7:00 I was able to confirm from the few drops of blood on my jim jam top that I’d only imagined the laptop part of things.  I staggered downstairs to take my temperature and it was 39.7!  I got a cold drink, left B a note and staggered back upstairs to bed relieved I didn’t have a giant laptop to move.

Of all the days to spike a temp Tuesday was the most inconvenient day ever – B had gone to the m-i-l’s on the way home with her shopping, our earlier riser neighbours are on holiday, Chris had a cold and Uncle Ray takes his elderly Auntie shopping.  Auntie Ann said later I should have rung her and she would have come for me even if it made her late for work and even though it was payroll day for hundreds of people and she’s the only one who does it!  They do keep saying they should train someone else.

So B came home, I got dressed, well dressed in a yesterday’s crumpled linen pants, an un-ironed slightly holey T-shirt, stripy socks and sandals kinda way, and off we went with B depositing me at the Royal at 9:15.

My temp was 38 something, I had bloods taken and blood cultures and then saw a doctor, found out I needed two units of blood as HB had dropped from 9.0 on Friday to 7.6, had to give in and ask if I could I get back on the examination bed for a sleep, went for a chest x-ray at 15:40 (just as B rang to find out what was going on) and getting back at 17:00 after my form had been lost and then, despite the best efforts of the guy on the reception desk, getting overlooked several times by porters looking for return fares.  There was also the perilous risk that my nodding head could have come into contact with my very sharp needles which were in my bag on my lap and I could have trepanned myself.

Fortunately the lady who was in the neighbouring bed in June was in the day unit and had to stay late for her two units of blood and as she’s also a fellow knitter that helped pass the time I was awake.  Plus her niece makes a good cup of tea.

B turned up at 19:30 and went at 20:20, after Auntie Ann, and just after we got to the Pancreatic-something else ward where I had a chair and a space.  A bed was located shortly after!

Tuesday night, there were 39.1 temps, oxygen due to low SATS (85), antibiotics, fluids due to low blood pressure, a stinging cannula, six attempts to get a new one in at 2:30 in the morning while I wittered on about Bud and his allergies because I needed a distraction from the stabbing being done by someone who was based on that ward but covered the whole hospital if anyone needed assistance getting access (who rashly said she’d get two in, one for the fluids and one for the blood – she settled for one – and no I don’t mean getting in the front door).

Wednesday no knitting was even considered.  The laptop that B had begrudgingly brought in remained in the bag, I read a bit and slept a lot and ate a little, with more blood, fluids, temps and antibiotics.  I was allowed a shower (look, its relevant later).  I felt somewhat better but tired and a long way from usual.  The elderly lady (94) in the next but one bed was very, shall we say, lively, during the day.  The elderly lady in the next but one bed was very, shall we say, no, extremely, no, EXTREMELY bloomin’ annoying during the night.

Second stay put cannula became ‘knackered’ – technical term used by nurse.  Blood for cultures needed and blood doctor said I should ask for these to be taken when new cannula fitted.  Young male nurse turned up just to take blood, I mentioned access, he looked at holes in right arm and went to get someone else.  She said she’d give it a go if I was okay with it.  I was, she did and off she went to call in a favour.  What I now understand was a Nurse Practitioner turned up and despite me pointing out that blue cannuals are normally used, she gave it a go with a pink one and, begrudging as the flow was, managed to get enough blood for the cultures through the cannula.  I admit it was toe curling for a few seconds going in but it’s still there and receiving a flush as I type.

The early hours of Thursday there were fluids, low blood pressure, antibiotics and me at 06:00 thinking that maybe the people Logan on Logan’s Run was escaping from had the right idea!  WHAT!  You try being dog tired, and despite being able to get back to sleep after being poked and prodded and pressured being woken up by ‘Nora’ asking what time it was, could she have a cup of tea, she’d settle for some cornflakes, she usually had bacon and egg but cornflakes would be okay as she hadn’t had anything to eat all day as she’d had a job done, what time it was, was there a toilet in the nearby cupboard, when was the doctor going to see her, the young girl in the opposite bed should be out at work or in her own bed, shouting help when she couldn’t find the buzzer to ask the same thing, telling the nurse that stroking her hair wasn’t going to do any good, how old was the health care assistant, why didn’t she want to be a proper nurse, why had they been so long, when was she getting her dinner at 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, and 6:00 specifically (I think she may have been nocturnal – because most of the time although she repeated herself 650 times most of the questions weren’t a million miles from coherent) except for my favourite, which if I hadn’t been extremely sleep deprived I would have thought hysterical – ‘Where’s my plunger?’

Although I over-heard she had trapped wind and her son told her they were going to use a plunger to get it out – so even that wasn’t completely off the wall.  She slept coma-like until 16:30 today, sleeping through her son’s two minute visit, because apparently when she was like that there was no chance of waking her up, then went from 0-60 in about 0.30 seconds ie, asleep to  ‘What time is it?’ Getting answers from four of us at one point and then demanding more cornflakes.

I have felt better this afternoon and this evening and hopefully with a good night’s sleep will feel better again tomorrow.  Still on the antibiotics, temp low 37s though, blood pressure raising, having liver scan as readings whacky – but they did do that in June following sepsis and then returned to normal range and kidney readings slightly out of normal range – but I have no pain in that region so unlikely to be kidney infection.

Fortunately I made it up to 7Y this evening which feels like staying with a nice Auntie you know well and that knows you well, as opposed to 5B where, although the young Auntie and cousins are nice, some crazy old maiden aunt turns up and refuses to disconnect you from your fluids while you have a shower (as it’s been HOT and you’ve had a window seat and have basically been doing the whole pig on the way to the abattoir thing) and when you push it by saying it’s just a bag of saline, she says it’s ward policy even though ward policy allowed it the previous day and then you get all teary and homesick.  And what makes it worse is that when that maiden aunt takes you back to nice Auntie she tells her you’ve been no trouble!  Well of course you haven’t because you only asked for two things, the other being a jug of cold water with ice if possible, and you didn’t get either!

Because I’m Worth It!
































I’ve been so sleepy over the weekend – well I say sleepy what would be more appropriate is ‘I’ve been so asleep over the weekend’.  We went to the Royal on Friday and I felt okay but by the time we got home I needed a nap, ordered tea, then napped, ate tea, then napped.  Saturday was pretty much the same although things could have been made worse on because at 4:10 or 4:49 (look I’m really not good when I’ve just woke up even if I am seemingly quite awake) I got up – if B hadn’t been in bed (snoring) I would have put a film on and then nodded off but I got up and knit some squares (being collected by one of the nurses on the Day Unit) and then fell asleep about 6:30 until 9:20 so that gave a potentially sleepy day a definite nudge in that direction.

After I’d woke up for the second time on Saturday, I woke B up, rang Auntie Ann to ask her did she want to join us for a meal out later, slept, went out for tea, managed to keep my eyes open until Auntie Ann went home, then had another kip before getting off the settee for a shower and then I had a little nap before going to bed.

Sunday was very much rinse and repeat – except I insisted on going on Bud and B’s walk and it took us an hour and 10 minutes to do about half the usual walk that takes an hour and 20 minutes – but I got some fresh air and we all know that makes you sleepy so guess what I did when we got home – napped!  I woke up for tea and then managed to perk up to answer a friend’s phone call and then I napped again before bed.   If it’s true what they say about beauty sleep I should be a busty, leggy stunner by the end of the week.

One of the things we did pick up at the hospital was these, which according to the NICE guidance notes have a value of £4,365 excluding VAT…

I start taking them tonight.  Tonight as they can cause drowsiness and I so need some more of that during the day.  I’m also on Fragmin injections to avoid a thrombosis and Allupurinol to protect my kidleys.  As I’m not taking dexamethasone, like with the Velcade, I don’t need to take Acicolvir or Septrin.

I’ve said previously that a gauge of my general wellness is how much craftiness I carry out, Chris was horrified to discover last night that I hadn’t blogged since Thursday – as she was of the view that this too is now a similar indicator.

So onto the craftiness I have been up to.  Last Thursday I showed this little pile of body parts…

they are for two teddy bears, however I’m a tad concerned.  I have to admit I have struggled with the odd piece and quadruple checked the stitch numbers several times.  On Friday I wanted something simple so did part of the dressing gown for one of the bears.  I mean the back was basically a square of knitting with a little shaping at the neck.  Let’s have a little lookie at how that turned out…

Yes, that short it is the back and the long bits are the fronts and I didn’t even notice when I knit the pieces together at the shoulder joints!  So I’m not convinced that one of the bears isn’t either going to have a limp or several heads.

I will share more about our Friday appointment at the Royal once I’ve decided which parts are actually fit for polite company.  Oh, it all started off so well, we met Sean and his brother Nigel and then had coffee and cake with Sean. B seemed his usual self despite having had only an hour’s sleep but from then on, and I can only put it down to sleep deprivation, well, let’s just say it’s a good job I don’t blush easily.  Usual service was resumed once he’d had about an hour’s kip in the waiting area of the Day Unit when we went back up there for my Zometa – maybe the snoring helped as well!

The kindness of strangers

Here are the 84 squares that brings my total Share a Square squares (facebook group) for this year to 150.  Shelly was struggling to get squares from enough different people so just bear in mind that even one square makes a difference – any worsted/aran 100% artificial yarn (due to allergies) in any pattern as long as they are EXACTLY 6 inches.

All the squares I’ve done previously have been sent with the tags separate, as wonder woman Shelly will laminate the tags and attach them, but I thought I’d see if the local print shop (I thought it had closed but it had changed hands) did this kind of thing.  Now I know that the cost of getting them laminated in Texas is very, very reasonable so I was a little taken back at the cost for 88 tags (four extra just in case of boo-boos).  However I decided that the extra cost on my part was well worth the saving of Shelly’s time.

While the guy in the print shop was seeing how many he could get on each A4 sheet I felt the need to tell him what they were for.  Basically because I knew if I was in his place I would be close to bursting wondering what they were – particularly as these ones had this picture of Bud on them.

When I returned to collect them later I only needed to hand over one of the notes clutched in my grubby little hand as the lovely man in the shop had reduced the bill by about a third because of what they were for.   Therefore I can heartily recommend the services of Triprint in St Helens.

I had envisaged labelling my squares last night and getting them in the post today however between too much gassing with a friend last night and not enough tagging (I missed an opportunity there to get her tagging as she is one of my few – able to poke in person with a short stick – crafty friends) and me needing to get out of the house this afternoon after I’d had to leave Bud with the Doggy Dermatologist this morning (when I wasn’t expecting to and the house being so empty when I got home) this is how they still looked this evening…

More of Bud’s appointment to follow – it included two shaved bits, two stitches, blood tests, sedation and an Oscar winning performance in the waiting room – and that was just me! Just kidding, it was Bud that provided the show.

And in a photo worthy of Lorna’s ‘What’s That Friday’ I have managed this knitting over the past two weeks…

Can you tell what it is yet?  No!  I’m not surprised as neither can I!

With regard to THAT blood condition I didn’t in fact get my appointment brought forward so we go to the Royal in the morning.  I have felt generally better this week than last – not right (nobody say a word) but definitely improved.
Other Creative Spaces can be seen here.

September 20 tea time pic!

I nearly forgot to take my 20th of the month pics yesterday but I ‘dashed’ out while getting tea (putting salad stuff in a bowl) in my jim jams and the sun had just dropped below the horizon…
Speaking of tea and Margaret’s horror at the possibility that I may have been eating pasta and drinking tea (comment on ‘Keep going there’s a giveaway right at the bottom’) I feel the need to elaborate on this obviously confusing subject (although Fiona’s response did sum it up succiently).
Being working class my main meals growing up where – breakfast, dinner and tea.
If I’d been la-de-dah, or rather upper class they would have been – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
No I do vaguely remember my Mum trying to impose dinner on us at tea time – she would also have dearly loved for me not to say owt or nowt (anything and nothing) and I probably wouldn’t have said them as much as I did if this hadn’t been the case.
My meals now comprise – breakfast, lunch and tea.  On the surface this may look like I’ve staked a claim further up the class ladder but I can assure you this is not the case.  I was, am and always will be working class and I think I would keel over if I ever heard myself refer to my own evening meal as dinner, however I adopted lunch over dinner many, many years ago (about 21 actually – not that the incident scarred me at all) purely because I didn’t want to give someone the opportunity to catch me out twice.
I remember it as if it were yesterday.  I was a keen young secretary working in a property company, which was a subsidiary of the large local glass firm (well we thought of it was local but it was actually international).  One of the very big bods from Head Office, who was also a non exec director on our board, had purchased an apartment (no, not a FLAT) in a newly built coastal development in the Lake District.  He had developed a leak, not directly (although I could be wrong) but in the fla… APARTMENT.  My boss asked if I could sort out a contractor to go out and fix it ASAPASAPASAP if not sooner.  I rang Mr Big Bod’s secretary to let her know when the contractor would arrive.
ME:  ‘He’ll be with Mr Big Bod’s wife around dinner time.’
HER:  ‘And what time will that be?’
ME:  ‘Well I would have thought some time between twelve and two.’
HER:  ‘Oh, you mean lunch time!’ pause for effect ‘If I’d said dinner time to Mr Big Bod he would have expected the contractor around eight pm.’  Followed by ‘oh, I’m so witty’ laugh.
Now I’d served Mr Big Bod tea (as in a cup of – and now I see why it gets confusing and I’ve not touched on cream tea or high tea) on many occasions at Board meetings, being the junior secretary, and he seemed to all intents and purposes to be lovely – as a lot of Big Bods are – it’s the people who think they are important that look down on the juniors not the ones that really are.  Mr Big Bod also seemed completely coherent and to have his feet firmly planted on the ground unlike his secretary to whom I could have pointed out – ‘We’re dealing with a plumber here and plumbers don’t turn up at anyone’s property at eight pm other than their own!’

Grumpy in Pink!

Ohhh, we very nearly had a vlog!  Infact yesterday I did two on the camera – one in my jim jams and one not – don’t panic I was actually dressed which would have been a first for my third vlog – however the sound did a Norman Collier (comedian whose act was based around the microphone cutting out) and then shut off completely – it was a tour of our house with me attempting to be witty and Bud being exceptionally boring slept through it (I think his tummy was a bit off as he ate grass when B took him out).  So since we are vlog-less we’ll have to make do with Bud at his usual entertaining best.

Wayyyyyyyyyyyy back in June when Lorna and Mike got married we had anticipated putting Bud in a local kennels for the night of the wedding.  Since I ended up travelling to Wolverhampton straight from the Royal, and the kennel fee was non-refundable we decided to pop him in anyway on the Tuesday night.

When I got home on the Friday I noticed he had little bumps in the usually very smooth shiny fur round his neck.  There was a slight chuner at B, who denied all knowledge, and then I spent the next week picking tiny scabs out of his fur – Bud’s not B’s – and I know that’s quite a gross confession but I doubt the majority of you would have done he same.  I assumed they were flea bites he obtained in the kennels as no new ones materialised…until just over a week later.

Bud and I were sitting on the settee and I saw a two little raised areas in his coat and so I had a little pick at one and something hit the palm of my hand. ‘Ewwwweee that must have been a bit of scab’ I thought which was hastedly followed by ‘Did something flick off him or did it jump?‘  A second later it was confirmed that something did indeed JUMP!  I squeezed it in the end of my very long sleeved top and walked through to the kitchen, got out a piece of kitchen roll and opened my pinched fingers.  A shiny brown FLEA landed on the paper and then instantly jumped off at me.  I screamed (look it startled me! I wasn’t actually frightened!) and Bud wagged his way into the kitchen in a ‘What the whoof?’ kinda way.

I grabbed a natural remedies book and looked up dogs and fleas – apparently eucalpytus oil and a shoe lace were required.  I had the eucalpytus but all shoe laces were otherwise engaged.  So after a quick rummage in my ribbon box the most suitable length of ribbon was found, dosed in oil and applied to Bud.  It wasn’t my fault is was pink…

You’re ‘aving a laff’

‘Using the power of my mind – urghhhh – take it off’

 ‘Man to man! It’s pink, it’s in a bow, do I need to say more?’

‘I don’t care how desparate I am I’m not going into the garden and that’s that!’

‘I’m not going any further.  I’m just gonna wee here. Is that what you want?  Well is it?’

‘Seriously, can you hear what that wood pigeon is saying about me?  They can be so cruel.’

‘I know I said I’d be happy when it was off but I lied, I have to have it just in case you change your  mind.’

‘Is it in here?’

‘Ohhhhhh no you don’t…

‘… it’s mine now, all mine.’

And the lesson Bud learned from this is that even though he wasn’t able to use the hedgehog we’d seen outside the house the previous weekend as a toy (despite asking nicely several times in his usual approach of ‘tentatively try to get something in his mouth and wait for the NO or take it’) because it might give him a spikey surprise it was still able to give him a little gift – and somehow managed to get it gift wrapped!

Happy Bud Day!

Last Friday we celebrated a whole year since our small furry family member acquired us.  Okay maybe it was a little half assed, there was no cake and hats (about which Bud has mixed feelings anyway) – but the thought was there.

Considering when we set off on the ‘I WANT a puppy’ campaign the one thing I didn’t want was a pre-owned fully grown dog.   ‘You don’t know what they’re really like, how they’ve been treated, their little personality quirks.’ That said in our house a few personality quirks are probably a good thing.  A truly placid completely unadventurous dog would have ended up trying to hide under a cupboard with its bum sticking out trying to find the doggy equivalent of its happy place.

And so we ended up with an 18 month old male un-neutered Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was picked up as a stray so had absolutely no history and is beyond adorable.  He is so people friendly it’s almost embarrassing and was really gentle when he met our neighbour’s two year old great grand-daughter (she was thrilled at watering him from her watering can).

Would I hesitate to get another fully grown rescue dog?  No.  Although B pre-empted my suggestion that if I had another stem cell transplant I should get another doggy with a resounding ‘NO!’

Anyhoo back to Bud’s er, Bud Day.

One thing that doesn’t last long in the Kilgallon household is dog toys.  Well, they last a long time but in the component parts, ie, leg, ear, head rather than one complete unit.  However we’ve now found KONG – and if they would like Bud to be their official sponsor he would be more than willing to ‘work for treats’.

Auntie Ann got him a KONG bone at Christmas – a photo of which cannot be provided because since it’s been chewed and de-furred it’s slightly {sigh, who am I kidding} it’s not slightly, it’s completely pornographic – and I’m pretty sure that you don’t even have to have a certain type of mind to recognise that!  We got him a KONG dumbbell for his birthday, which although slightly de-fuzzed it’s still in one piece and still has its squeak – WOW, six months and still squeaking.

So for his Bud Day we got a companion for the KONG Wobbler we bought a few weeks ago which dispenses kibble/treats in an amusing manner.  It’s still in fully functioning order and next to it is Bud’s new plaything a KONG Extreme, size XXL – the biggest and hardest of the range…

You may be able to see it has got a few little teeth dents but nothing is actual missing and apparently you can get spray treats to pop inside.  You can also use pate (BLAH), spread cheese or doggy peanut butter – which I’m sure is entertaining but it all sounds a bit messy/bacteria encouraging to me.

Last Friday when he got it he was so excited and he chewed it and chewed it and chewed it chewed it and chewed it and chewed it chewed it and chewed it and chewed it – well you get the idea and then he whined at it!  I think it was exasperation that nothing had broken off.

I woke Bud up switching the camera on but he had been lying with his head at the side of it…

 ‘Look it’s my KONG and it’s my basket.  Don’t worry we’re not mutually exclusive I can still see other toys.’

We also got a KONG Zoom Groom and he loves being zoom groomed, well once, he got over his disappointment that it wasn’t another toy.  Plus it really works at removing hairs.

And he got this…

a chicken breast, which was subjected to about 40 seconds of this…

And made Bud do this…

Little cardys on the table, little cardys made of yarn and stuff

Firstly thank you for all the comments this week, actually just thank you for all the comments – my sister in law has told me I should reply more and although I am a bit rude in this respect I do read and cherish each and every one.   ‘Put that bucket down it wasn’t that soppy.’  I am feeling somewhat better today.  I had a kip (nap) after a tiny bit of shopping (whilst B hoovered – so I was well away) and I’ve generally only felt tired/fatigued really as opposed to unwell plus my temp seems to have maintained a respectable level.  

I may not have a new creative space (it’s currently still got the scrap quilts from last week all over it and knitting hasn’t hit a production high) so I thought I’d share these little jackets I made for the South Africa consignment via our GP’s receptionist (I really need to find a way to shorten that).

I wanted a quick cardigan pattern but something that could be un-problematically sized up – the five hour cardi pattern I used last year was more matinee style so, for me, didn’t size up well for older children.  I found Garter Yoke Baby Cardi, which I think is more jackety and would look just as good on a toddler as a baby.

I completed four.  One in Snuggly 4ply with novelty yarn trim…

One in double knitting…

This one has I-cord trim on the buttonhole border and I think is probably my favourite.  Here’s the back…

Another is in the remnants of the recent aran crocheting binge…

B liked this one best and picked it to be entered in the Rainford Show, which was fortunate as the one in Snuggly DK, with shell buttons, which he nearly went for…






had a little boo boo on the sleeve…

it may not be easy to tell from that pic (or it may be glaringly obvious) but I apparently gained an extra stitch leaving a hole!  It has since had a little TLC and it didn’t leave a scar.)  Oh, the shame!!!!!!!  (

But then again, look at this from the Early Autumn 2011 issue of Designer Knitting (previously Vogue Knitting)…

A missed cable on the sleeve and a wrong way cable at the bottom front. Now fair do’s if I’d done it for myself I probably (definitely) wouldn’t have undone (frogged?) the whole front to redo that cable but the one in the sleeve!  Plus if it was to appear in a magazine I would have… cut the sleeve out of the pic and put something over the one at the bottom!

Oh and I forgot to mention yesterday what B said to me on Monday (other than asking me if I wanted a jam butty sandwich – we were short on groceries – jam butty being the same thing as jam sandwich, in case you wondered, and I declined).  I was talking to B and I do have to repeat myself a LOT but Monday instead of ‘What Paula?’ he says ‘What Mum?’

‘WHAT MUM?’ WTF!?!?!?!?!?!?!

‘What darling?’ I said – or words to that effect.


‘Yeah, right!!!!!  Is that because I’ve been a whinging pain in the a*se the last few days?’

He just laughed.

Other Creative Spaces can be found here.


Keep going there’s a giveaway right at the bottom!

Right since Sunday the following things have happened – I decided to do them as a list to aid reading (okay it was really for me so I didn’t have to link completely unrelated points).

♥  We ate tea at a friend’s Sunday evening – well more correctly I pushed my Fusilli Bolognese (sorry Margaret if that breaks any Italian dining etiquette ie, not using spaghetti) around my dish until it looked like I’d eaten a bit and the other bit had been retrieved from under the table after a piece daring leapt from my fork and landed on the new carpet leaving behind a trail of carnage on my T-shirt and trouser leg.  I did sponge it off  – kind of.

♥  I settled down on a settee and didn’t even pick up my knitting – which was commented on yesterday when I was informed I hadn’t looked a bit well then but looked better yesterday.

♥  My temperature Monday morning was 38.1 so I decided to go to the open surgery at our GPs.  And why didn’t I ring the hospital some of you may be asking – or not – but I’ll tell you anyway.  Because it was Monday, Mondays are busy, B is on holiday this week and I’ve managed to sabotage three out of his last four holidays with appointments or impromptu vacations at The Royal so rather than spend several hours there I thought we’d go to our GPs (who you will remember I think are wonderful) in the full and certain knowledge that if it looked anything too iffy they would send me along to the Royal.

♥  We left the house after I had managed to give Bud his ear drops in his correct ear, give him his antibiotic (more on that another time) but was wearing the trousers with the sponged pasta sauce stain, an un-ironed T-shirt and my night time knickers.  WHAT?  Look some people wear the same knickers (well not the same but you know what I mean) night and day, some don’t wear any either night or day {slight hyperventilation} but I like a sensible won’t show you up if you get knocked down by a bus, comfy fitting but not too loose!?!?!, doesn’t display a VPL (visible panty line) pair for the day and a comfier, slightly larger more outlandish pattern – flowers, the odd little bow, frog, little ruched bit (nothing kinky) pair for sleeping in when there is no chance of getting hit by a bus.

♥  I got broad spectrum antibiotics and told to come back if things didn’t get better – and I was informed I was somewhat cheeky when I enquired as to whether the GP had bought herself ‘Top Doctor’ cup (allegedly it was a present from a patient)

♥   Took Bud on short walk with B – napped rest of day so missed out on B taking me for new TV (ours is state of the ark at 17 years old and misses off words at side since most things are now in widescreen)…

New fridge freezer…

as that bowl (which is way nicer in real life) isn’t for decorative purposes but for the leak that it’s had for quite a few months now, and…

a new tumble drier because that muck on the top apparently isn’t going to remove itself!  Okay so it’s really because it’s lost all sense of appropriate heat settings and although it does most on cool it still occasionally does a ‘hot as hell’ setting without warning

♥  No knitting but tidied up crochet Share a Square squares

♥  Tuesday – temp 38.0 but dropped to 37.5ish for rest of day, Bud, B and I had short walk, felt better later in the day

♥  Bud stood in his own poo in the garden and was ever so good at having his paw, washed, washed and disinfected, but was a bit traumatised at having his bum wiped, well it was more of a swipe as he battened down his tail tighter than a submarine’s hatch so I had to improvise (Addendum – this was before we knew it was on his paw!)

♥  Didn’t go to support group as temperature and anything associated with it was mine, all mine I tell ya!  Had been looking forward to it – it was a talk by Blood Pharmacist (you know I mean Haematological Pharmacist but I can’t spell haematological)

♥  Did manage a little bit of knitting

♥  Phoned hospital this morning even though temp only 37.6 and I felt better than Sunday/Monday I felt worse than last night and just not right.  Left home at 9:10.  Got home at 15:45.

♥  By the time my temperature was taken it was 36.9 (for the love of dog), bloods were taken and we were isolated what appeared to be the Marie Celeste ward by which time I felt decidedly better and B put forward that we could go home.  Attendant Health Care Assistant said we could, but did he really want to have to bring me back later in the week

♥  Did a little bit of knitting

♥  Saw junior doctor, and during course of conversation mentioned that it had dawned on me whilst I was sitting there that the way I felt was similar to the way I felt in February when the myeloma numbers jumped up and since it was 31 July the last time my paraprotein was measured she agreed to it being done once we reached matching lingo (serum immunoglobulins) and said she’d chase up this morning’s blood results

♥  Had kip – just to prove I wasn’t faking – B had been asking me crossword clues and I nodded off and then briefly woke up and asked him, to his amusement, what the next one was before dropping off again

♥  Health Care Assistant came to check on us and where things were up to and said that the doc had said that the serum immunoglobulins were measured on Friday so no further test needed today

♥  Doc came back later to say it wasn’t good news and that IGa results were in from Friday and it’d gone up from 0.65 ish in August to 17 something (sometimes don’t you just hate it when you’re right, not always just sometimes) and that my blood counts had dropped a fair bit since Friday

♥  We bumped into the transplant doctor coming out of the lift, who knew where things were up to, and he said that obviously where treatment would probably have been needed to reduce the plasma cell content of the bone marrow prior to transplant it would definitely be on the cards now.  ‘Are they keeping you in?’  Slightly high pitched ‘No’ from me.  Dr S said I’d probably see the consultant on Monday and he’d chase up the MRI request

♥  I take bad news better alone – B was at home when I found out in February that it was back but today he sat and leaned forward with his head in his hands and I had to ask him if he was alright – as did the doc – he told her to just deal with the patient and she (patient) would inform him later.  And when I asked if he was okay while we waited for the lift when he answered ‘I just don’t want to lose you’ I had to fight back tears while entering a lift full of strangers.

♥  Although we didn’t eat out we got drinks and Eccles cakes in the cafe

♥  My Auntie Ann and I were supposed to be going to the Myeloma UK Infoday in Manchester on Saturday but when I asked the doctor if there was any chance I did have an infection I could pass on she pointed out that the bigger risk was to me with how my counts had dropped (although I’m not neutropenic).  So if anyone is reading this who lives close enough to go I have three tickets up for grabs.  Just drop me an email ( or leave a comment to that effect and I’ll email you and they are yours – free of charge – well if you do me a little report saying how it went!  Just kidding.  Actually if anyone takes me up on my offer and does a little report I’ll pop in on here AND give them a free Myeloma Buddy.

♥  I also learned this week that CD/TV in the local ads in the paper doesn’t stand for compact disc/television but cross dresser/transvestite – which could get confusing especially if you were trying to stick one on your living room wall!

Get Well or Die Tryin’

Where to start?  The beginning is always a good place.  So, when a man and woman love each other very much they… Just kidding.  Let’s start with…

Thursday – Chris and I arrived at the Royal to ‘Are you in the diary?’.  ‘Yes, the myeloma nurse’ who I’d spoken to on Tuesday ‘booked me in with the other receptionist.’ We took a seat and shortly after got called through by one of the nurses who said ‘So you’re here for blood tests for tomorrow’s appointment?’

Me:  ‘Well no, I’m here to see a doctor about the numbness and do I have an appointment for tomorrow?’

Nurse:  ‘I’ll just double check with receptionist.’  On coming back ‘Yes, 10:10.  Do you want to wait to see a doctor now since you’ll be seeing the consultant tomorrow – more knowledgeable that’s why their paid the bigger bucks.  It’s up to you.’

So after having bloods taken we went into the city centre where Chris did a little shopping and we dined Zizzi’s – as they do Chris’s favourite ever meal Casareccua Pollo Piccante and I had good ole Spag Bol (or rather Spaghetti Alla Bolognese).

Friday – I was unsure as to who I was seeing at clinic and when one of the health care workers checked with the myeloma nurse, who was a bit exasperated (not with me) that I’d not managed to see a doctor on Thursday after making all the arrangements for a senior doctor to see me, it turned out our appointment was with one of the transplant doctors and the bone marrow transplant co-ordinator to discuss the prospect of an allogenic (donor) transplant.

We were in there an hour and 20 minutes, possibly because a big chunk was taken up with altered sensation talk.  Along with my right forearm the pad of my left thumb and the right side of my chin now feel odd and I still have, intermittently, the pain in the crown of my head.  Straight after the appointment I got some free x-rays on my head and neck (skull and cervical spine to the more technical amongst us) and Dr S did a request for some MRIs.

When we got to the transplant bit Dr S explained that the role of allogenic transplant in myeloma has no hard and fast rules.  It is neither proven or unproven as THE way to go however, given the way things had gone so far for me, without giving a donor transplant a whirl the prognosis was very poor (he did also say really poor at one point and hey, overall both are better separately than together – really very poor).

Last appointment the Prof had mentioned another autologus (from me) transplant and then a mini allo (from some random stranger) transplant.  However Dr S said that another auto couldn’t really be considered for two reasons – he could almost guarantee I wouldn’t produce any cells to harvest (we had trouble last time and there’d been the subsequent melphalan for the transplant last year) and with the plasma content of the bone marrow trephine being 80%-85% (the Prof must have rounded up to 90%) that was a whole bunch of myeloma cells to potentially give back.

As my paraprotein is zero but my bone marrow plasma cell percentage is 85% and my free lite chains (not something I’ve paid any attention to in the past) haven’t been measured since February Dr S thought it worthwhile to count them now in case the myeloma has mutated and stopped producing a full measureable monoclonal protein – the full one is made up of a heavy chain (IGa in my case) and a light chain (mine is Lambda).  In fully secretary myeloma the full proteins are measured and known as paraprotein, M-spike, PP, M-protein.

In some people however only the light chain is produced and having no accompanying heavy chain to bond with it is not measurable using the regular test that picks up only full monoclonal proteins.  However since the advent of a way to measure these free (unattached and possibly flirty) chains the number of patients that show up as truly non-secretary (eg, not measurable through blood or urine) has dropped to 1% or 2%.  Everyone, with or without myeloma, produces excess free lite chains (maybe in case one of the full proteins gets divorced) but an inordinate amount in someone with myeloma would be indicative of active disease.  So I had blood taken to check out the number of loose lite chains cruising around without a partner.

I also had a blood sample taken for tissue typing (HLA).  Apparently there are 10 potential pairs to match – 10 is good, nine is okay, eight is do-able but not ideal, seven and below are non starters.

The other thing that would need to be looked at is reducing the 85% plasma cell content before transplant.  It may, hopefully, be sitting there inactive at the moment (freelite test pending) but to transplant donor cells at that percentage would be like giving the myeloma cells a chance to claim permanent squatters’ rights before the donor cells have fully moved all their stuff in and made themselves at home.

With regard to the transplant itself if we KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) the figures are – 1/3 kark it as a result of the transplant or complications arising there from, 1/3 relapse and ultimately pop off because of the myeloma and 1/3 go on to have a long remission.

As we needed to go to my Auntie Ann’s on Friday if I were to see her this weekend (she was going to London Saturday/Sunday to watch Saints vs Harlequins) I didn’t get my lunch out – well not fully, we ended up with our first ever Subway Subs eaten in just opposite the hospital.

Saturday – Letter arrived telling me that I had an appointment on Friday!  I had a slight temp in the morning of 37.3 along with a bit of a headache.  Mid afternoon a friend with myeloma had rang to say there was a local show in aid of Myeloma UK by a young lady in memory of her mum, he’d just seen details of it in the local paper and him and his wife were going.  About an hour later, by which time I’d persuaded a reluctant B that he’d really like to go, I started feeling a bit ropy and my temp went up to 37.8.  So needless to say we didn’t make it to the show – not least because I didn’t want to share anything I may have acquired, because I’m mean like that.  I felt somewhat better after a cool bath and some painkillers, played a computer game with B and then started feeling ropy again and had a kip – very little knitting got done, the volume of production of which acts as a wellness barometer.

Sunday – Temperature this morning 37.3, after paracetemol 36.9, generally felt okay, tired, slightly headachy but okay.  Then at 10:00, the time I’d been instructed to wake B up, I started feeling decidedly off, got up from the desk to wake B and felt sick.  Shortly after, after getting B to encourage Bud to get on the bed with him so I had the bathroom to myself I parted company with the few things I’d consumed in the two hours and a bit hours I’d been up.  How is it though that one and a half cups of coffee, curcumin tablets, a calichew tablet and probably one digestive biscuit (I got two out but shared with Bud) assume the size of a family bucket from KFC when they make an encore appearance?

Speaking of Bud, he’s been having ear drops administered since Wednesday, reluctantly mind but not too badly.  This morning, as he got all excited in a ‘Please don’t stick anything else in my ear – I’ll be really, really good if you don’t’ way and after enticing him in with the treat he would get once they were in – I PUT THEM IN THE WRONG EAR!

We’re supposed to be going to a friend’s for tea tonight so I’m going to take it super easy this afternoon as I HATE to miss out on anything particularly if the missing out is myeloma related. Mind you, if push comes to shove I’m sure she’ll let me lie down on her settee – I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time and it gets me out of even contemplating cooking.

Scrappy Squarey Doh!

In answer to Fiona‘s question from yesterday as to ‘WHAT HAPPENED’ with the m-i-l and B at the doctors.  I didn’t know at the time I popped it on my blog as their appointment was only 16:00 so I was on tenterhooks as to the outcome. Well the GP ‘lol’ed at the note, and then B asked for it – so I was confronted with B extracting the note from his pocket and reading out ‘Bernard has the retention quality of a distracted three year old unless it involves pretty women.’  To which I said ‘Hey it could have been worse I was going to say Page 3.’  Needless to say it was the running theme of numerous comments between then and him going to work.

With regard to the m-i-l, my behind is safe from being exposed to shoppers, as the ‘fungal infection’ was a just a big fat nail that needed filing.  {smug expression}

So to my creative space this week – it’s a bit of a tip, but better a creative mess than neat un-productivity (or something like that).

On the ironing board is a backing for a quilt whilst on the window ledge is 83 Share a Square squares…

Which brings me up to 149 with the total requested from any participant being 150.  I had a bit of trouble with my 150th.

Its one and one quarter rounds short of a full square – I must have been over generous with the tails on the last batch.

Fortunately I found this novelty yarn and with some creative usage (and a tail of about two inches left of it – phew) I managed to finish square 150.

The quilt backing is for some scrap quilts I must have started at least three years ago.  I did finish the top for one…

but since I had all these left from dresses I’d made years before (my Great Auntie Bet always told me to save excess material just in case the garment needed a repair in the future – what I don’t know – but she was alive during WWII rationing and so on numerous occasions was able to show me that a pattern positioning was wasteful and if I did, this, that and that I’d have plenty left over) and since they are in the main lovely crepes I’d hung onto them, even past the expiry of some of the dresses.

All I managed to do yesterday was fill the 3′ x 4′ backing with pieces…

Yes I know they need a serious pressing but they have been screwed up in a box for a long time.  I thought if I could get them finished this weekend they could go to South Africa with the other stuff I’ve given to our GP’s receptionist.  We’ll see.

I have an appointment at the Royal this afternoon regarding the numbness in my forearm, that’s still there, and I also have a numb bit on the right side of my chin and an intermittent numbness to the pad of my left thumb!  I’m going with a friend and I forgot to ask if there’d be eating out involved.  Doh – I must get my priorities right!

Other Creative Spaces can be found here.