Monthly Archives: February 2012

Sleepy Zombies

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That’s Bud’s contribution to today’s post.  He was lying at the side of me and put his head on my lap completely ignoring the fact that it was already occupied by the netbook.  Or, for all I know it could be a secret message to someone – ‘SOS.  Come get me I’m sick of tinned salmon.  They only give me pink because it’s cheaper than red’.  Okay maybe I should stop watching Homeland.

Speaking of watching things, I watch a fair amount of TV series/films that involve zombies, vampires, etc you know the sort of post apocalypse type things.    Now I’ve always thought that with my coping skills and initiative, and as long as I could obtain and learn how to use a gun or cross bow, I’d manage just fine particularly if the zombies were the really slow ones from the traditional films – the faster modern ones would give Usain Bolt a run for his money.  However, its become increasingly apparent that I could only manage now if I had a medical team (blood and kidley) along with a whole shed load of medication (particularly antibiotics as they always seem to be looking for them) and a pharmacist,  hand sanitiser (because people tend to look grubby in these sort of things), food (not just food but good food ‘cos treatment can make you uber fussy particular), a souped up mobility scooter (because I wouldn’t be able to run)… let’s face it learning to shoot straight would be the least of my problems.

 Oh and a dialysis machine.  Speaking of which I was so pooped yesterday after not being able to sleep on Monday night.  Usually I don’t have trouble nodding off but B had commented a couple of times while he was off on the fact that I was still awake when he came to bed over an hour later than me (and Bud) on pre-dialysis nights.  I think its like two friends who always had trouble sleeping on a Sunday night before work on a Monday.  I only said to my Auntie Ann the other weekend that I’m not as comfortable going unlike when I was going to the blood Day Unit this time last year.  We decided it was because I had to stay in one place for four continuous hours whereas even though I was sometimes at the Day Unit from 9.00 am until 2.00 pm I theoretically wasn’t restricted for most of that time.

Well Monday night I didn’t think I’d have any trouble sleeping.  I’d been to the Wool Shop in the morning and then took Bud for a double wander in the wood after deciding I wasn’t up to taking him for a walk on my own as I’d got a bit breathless walking through town.  Then when I had a rush of energy later in the afternoon I thought it would be a good idea to steam clean the floors while B went to his mother’s.  Bud has issues with the steamer – pouncing and barking at it, then settling down but eyeing it suspiciously when not on the bed avoiding it completely.  The phone rang when I’d just about finished downstairs and thinking it might be B I rushed to get it and ended up panting by the time I answered it – okay I might have been panting a little before – it wasn’t B but fortunately it was someone I knew well so it wasn’t a heavy breather phone call in reverse.  We chatted for about half an hour which was just as well as it gave me chance to get my breath back.  By the time B got home I’d nearly finished upstairs – I mean it’s not like it’s hard to do and I didn’t move any furniture just Bud’s basket, bins and a few other small things.  After all this I thought I would sleep really well that night but that wasn’t the case at all.  I’m just going to let that ‘all this’ sit there even though compared to what most people do in a day and certainly what I used to do ‘all this’ is ‘sod all’.

I made a bit of a boo boo with my painkillers too.  I took some at 4.00 pm just after I’d started and thought that if I took the others at 8.00 pm I’d get the benefit while I was still awake rather than taking them about 10.00 pm.  We (me and Bud or should that be Bud and I) went to bed at 10.45 pm and I just couldn’t nod off.  My back was cranky – that level where during the day it could be managed but when you’re trying to nod off it’s a bit distracting.  I finally thought ‘Well, I could take another Tramadol’ and went down to the kitchen to get one to discover that it was 1.02 am.  I went back to bed and contemplated getting up for an hour, having a drink, doing something crafty and then going back to bed as I have read that if you can’t sleep you should get up for a bit rather than just lie there but I kept thinking ‘No, I’ll nod off soon’.  I finally got up for a drink of milk and some malted wheat crackers and it was 3.22 am.  Doh! I had to get up at quarter to six.  As it was I did nod off and woke up wide awake at 5.23 am just before B pulled onto the drive.

I thought I’d at least have loads of time to drink the cup of tea B made us and eat my Weetabix but didn’t factor in throwing up after taking my tablets.  I took an anti-sickness and had some breakfast and fortunately took a sick bowl lined with a Poop Scoop bag with me as I saw the Weetabix and tea again on the trip to the Royal.  I probably would have made it without puking but the driver got a call asking him to go pick up someone who wasn’t originally on his list and me and breakfast parted company on the extended trip.

I tried to get a sleep yesterday tea time but think by that time I was over tired (I always thought that was an odd thing to say – that you’re too tired to sleep but it turns out to be true) and then the phone rang.  It was the friend who’d phoned on Monday and she was ringing to say that she thought she may be coming down with something so wasn’t too sure if she should visit last night.  We decided that I was probably at little risk of picking anything up as long as I didn’t lick her.  In case you’re wondering it’s a phrase that makes it easy to differentiate between infectious and contagious eg, chicken pox is contagious as you have to come into direct contact with stuff from the blisters either directly or through touching contaminated clothing so that falls into the licking category.  I know it’s not an exact scientific method but it works for me.

Just before Chris left at twenty to eleven I turned into a bit of a zombie myself and staggered upstairs straight after like I’d had a cup of whisky instead of tea while she was here.  I was asleep particularly before my head hit the pillow and got up at quarter past eight feeling not too awake but much better (with a little bit of delay onset muscle soreness presumably from using the steam cleaner – what a wimp) which is just as well since I need to take the car for a little spin later (only to the Post Office or I could wait until B gets up, mmmmm I’ll think about it) and I’m going out for my tea with a couple of friends – which reminds me I need to keep on top of the anti-sickness meds today just in case!

Bud’s taken over responsibility for being sick today.  At least I manage to get it into a pre-lined sick bowl and don’t just do it on the dining room floor.  Thank goodness for hard flooring.

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Interesting Ears

Buddy went to see the Doggy Dermatologist yesterday for a follow up appointment with it being 12 weeks after he’d started getting his desensitising injections. As usual he didn’t disappoint and was the noisiest and most active dog there – ‘Talking’ at us to make his displeasure known and lying down for all of five seconds and then jumping back up to go under the chairs, whizz round our legs or pop his paws on our legs so he could ‘speak’ to us close up as we really weren’t getting the message.

There was a spaniel of some description quietly minding its own beeswax – actually it was sitting/standing on the plastic chairs next to its owner and Bud didn’t pay it any attention. A young lady arrived with a large black dog and B asked me what it was – I had no idea and the best I could do was say it looked like a BIG terrier but obviously that was no help, it turned out to be a Giant Schnauzer with very interesting ears – I asked – about the breed, Bud made enquiries about the ears which was so cute and funny.

Initially he didn’t really bother much about this dog, he did make a brief introduction but then went back to telling us he’d like to go but then a HUGE Newfoundland arrived and when the Schnauzer started paying attention to it (it had had a good Newfie friend until it moved) Bud decided he’d like to get in on the doggy action. Funnily enough he wasn’t too interested in the Newfie but was suddenly very interested in the Schnauzer and in particular his ears. Bud stood up on his back legs as this was the only way he could reach and started poking his nose in its ear. His owner said that a lot of dogs liked his ears. The next time Bud attempted it he decided there was an easier way than keeping his own balance and put his paws on the other dog’s neck – looking for all intents and purposes just like he was giving him a hug. The second time the Schnauzer thought this was too much and gave a little grumble, not much of one but Bud was being very familiar after all. The Schnauzer wasn’t too forceful however since when he lay down Bud didn’t hesitate to trot over and stick his nose in an ear without effort.

Fortunately we got called in soon after and Bud was able to hare around the vet’s consultation room off his lead. I’m pretty sure she didn’t believe us that he sometimes stayed still at home particularly as the nurse who Bud and B had been seeing for the injections had said how energetic he was. B popped him on the table and she snuck the injection in towards his rear end before he even noticed and he actually managed to stay on the table while his paws were checked, then B decided the easiest way to get him down was to let him go and he leaped onto the floor.

Everything was good and B decided that he’d take Bud back for the next injection at least. Well everything was good until we were waiting to pay and Bud cocked his leg up on the nice ‘free delivery’ display board. In the second before I poked B, as he was hold of the lead, Bud got a noticeable amount out but when I gushed about it to the receptionist she said it happened all the time. Indeed when I brought him back from out trip outside to let him finish off I noticed a puddle on another corner.

With me I’ve been having a bit of trouble over the past week and a bit with hand washing and a couple of other incidents which must be a result of the dexamethasone. It’s been bearable, only a shadow of what happened previously, and is probably worse because its brought back how bad it was last time (which was nearly three years ago) and which I couldn’t believe how much of the intensity I’d actually forgotten. There have been a few poo moments but I think its got easier today generally and I’ve still been able to knit every day, make butties and of course blog.

And today I accompanied Bud and B on their walk which slowed them down but Bud seemed to get quite excited about it and ran about like a loon and did a bit of barking at us, well mainly B, and he isn’t a barker – B and crackers, it turns out, being the only things he barks at, not the door bell . I managed it without a sit down which impressed B and I only had to ask him to slow down the once.

Lots of Buddies

We’ve had a spate of Myeloma Buddy production going on over the past few months.  If I’m a bit stuck for something to take out with me or just need something small I knit a Buddy.  When I was thinking of posting the pics I realised that I’d never said where the orange Myeloma Buddy army went last year.

The 100 Buddies were ordered by Myeloma UK – orange or rather ORANGE being their corporate colour.  They are available direct from them and are listed in their site shop right here.  They’re also for sale at their Info Days.

While I’m at it there’s also a link to my Buddies in the FUNdraisers section of the IMF site (International Myeloma Foundation that is not the better known but less fantastic International Monetary Fund).

Mmm, wonder what one would look like in fabric?

Other creative spaces are here.

When I went for dialysis today I asked about the results of the 24 hour wee collection from Monday.  Apparently the level of toxins in it that my kidneys had filtered is not yet normal but is going up.  The blood test showed my calcium level is on the low side even though my Calci-chew dose was increased three weeks ago from 2g a day to 4g so the nurse said she’d get a doctor to review it when I went in on Saturday.  

The Perils of Parking

You may recall that B can be a little ‘precious’ about the his car and the one thing he hasn’t had to worry about since last November is me driving it – until yesterday!  I didn’t even tell him about my intention as I thought to quote a friend ‘don’t trouble trouble’.

With not having dialysis yesterday and our next door neighbours collecting me from Liverpool after I’d dropped off my bottle of wee I knew I would be back in time to drive myself to Armchair Yoga.  It’s not far to our new location, just four miles, but it gets busy along the road and I was a tad apprehensive.  BUT I had the incentive to make a shorter trial run to our GPs’ medical centre – the incentive being I’d run out of stronger painkillers.  If your giving me any kind of look you can save your facial muscles because B already did it when he found out.  How did I do this?  I’m not too sure – I was going to try and explain but when I started typing things they still have me thinking – how did I manage to run out.  Needless to say some niggly pain can certainly be an incentive.

I was reversing off the drive thinking ‘What am I doing?’ followed swiftly by ‘It’ll be fine.’ and it was – apart from a windy moment on the small car park at the medical centre, a little ‘kerb drill’ as my Dad used to say when I moved too far over to allow a car past on our road (I have to say I forgot to tell B about it) and this…

The car is 51cm (20″) from the porch window, a reasonable distance I think but which in B’s opinion is too close.

B had briefly woke up after I’d been to the doctors and when he discovered that I’d been out in the car he wanted to know ‘if it was alright’.  He and Bud were out walking when I arrived back from Armchair Yoga and I looked up from what I was doing in the kitchen to find B giving the car the once over and then when he saw me he shouted ‘Could you get it any closer?’  Well obviously I could of.  It’s one of those things were usually I’d have to push it but I could just see it ending in an emergency glazier and paying extra to have it done before B woke up – he’d probably sleep through the bang.

The best thing is I was actually relieved that B hadn’t seen me stop on the drive since the position the car ended up was the first place we stopped or more likely STOPPED.  At least I know the brakes are good.

A fellow Armchair Yoga-ist said that when he saw our car on the car park he fully expected to walk in and find B in a chair!

Bud and I also went for a tramp in the wood yesterday – a short walk that is as opposed to setting about a vagrant – another first since November.  We went again today at Bud’s insistence.  You do something that he likes once and it sets a precedent.

Crochet Catch-up

I thought it was about time I got up to date with the stuff I’d crocheted this year so far.

Another cot/pram blanket in the Greenway pattern from Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans in lemon and white.

This one is 75cm x 95cm and took four x 100g balls.  With the pink and white one I had more of the pink left but this used it up pretty evenly resulting in a two tone edging…

which hopefully looks like a design feature rather than a necessity.

I finished the chunky afghan I started when I lent my 4.5mm hook to my sister in law.

Its about 100cm x 130cm and I found some cream and blue chunky I had lying around – not too sure where it came from.

The green was given to me by the same yoga friend as the lilac and I had to use it double.  I gave my Auntie En the remainder last week for her blankets as I didn’t think I’d use it single and was in no rush to do anything else on a BIG hook.

And I finished the bits and bobs afghan with the 4.5mm hook…

I do think it would have looked better with all the squares edged in the same colour – more together.  This is about 90cm x 120cm.

It got a row of double crochet (US single crochet) for the edging with the second row done in reverse double crochet.  Hey it’s simple but effective.

This and the chunky one are for the South African creche/hospital via one of our GPs’ receptionists.

Gill, my sis in law, has still got the crocheting bug and when she mentioned that she was going to buy herself a selection of hooks I thought that might be a good idea for a Birthday present at the end of this month.  How about these for colourful and very reasonable at £8.99 from Amazon – certainly cheaper than buying plain grey ones individually and although I haven’t test driven any but they got good reviews and feel nice to handle.

The Fire

It wasn’t a big fire, it wasn’t even a dramatic fire – well I guess depending on your definition of dramatic (B may dispute this but the couple when I lived at home involving a tea towel above the grill catching light and a pan with a bit of oil in were more dramatic as far as I’m concerned) but it was definitely a fire.

Last Saturday, even though I was a tad tired, I rashly said to B that if he liked I’d make pancakes for breakfast on Sunday.  Needless to say he was quite enthusiastic and pointed out that it had been quite a while since I’d made them.  To be honest since Christmas B has done the vast majority of the cooking and has got very good at doing steaks – beef or lamb.  I just take over as head chef if it involves anything that couldn’t be defined as a steak – apart from frozen scampi.

So Sunday I made pancakes.  Now I can’t say that I started this task with tons of enthusiasm and I also can’t say that the meal we had them for was breakfast although it was our first meal of the day.  I only entered the kitchen, in my jim jams straight from bed well maybe not straight I’d probably used the bathroom first, at 12.03!  I know, what a slob!  It is the longest lie in I’ve had in years and years.

So before I could change my mind I set to and mixed the pancake batter in a half asleep manner but let’s face it it’s not sending a rocket to the moon – or curing myeloma so although I couldn’t remember the exact quantity I usually make (was it one and a half cups of flour or two) it’s not like anyone’s life depended on it.

I’d shouted upstairs to see if B wanted a milky coffee and when he said he did I’d popped the milk in the pan and set it on the gas hob while the pancake pan was warming up.  I invested, not much, in an actual pancake pan.  It’s very flat with a tiny lip round the edge and means that even the first pancake is perfect but the surface is now a bit iffy so I give it a light coating of light olive oil.  In my half asleep state I’d been a bit exuberant with the oil so there was quite a bit heating up.  B then arrived in the kitchen and pointed out that the milk for his coffee wasn’t on.  Now I don’t deal well with mither within two hours of waking up at the best of times and I was really groggy so I believe I may have muttered something about it usually being ready with his pancakes while noticing that the oil on the pancake pan was borderline smoking.  Now I could have removed the pan from the flame but that would have been too easy obviously and would have slowed the process down – even though I knew I wasn’t going to break any records that day.  On a good day I can go from eggs, flour and milk to sitting down to pancakes, milky coffee and orange juice in twenty minutes.  What?  Doesn’t everyone time themselves doing stuff?  Huh?  I think it may have to do with B always asking how long stuff takes to make and getting a bit antsy if I say half an hour and it turns out to take three.  That said, when we did a weekly shop I used to time myself putting it away (three minutes) oh, and when I changed the bed sheets/duvet cover (five minutes).

Right, I think that’s all I timed.  The first because putting the groceries away was really boring and the second to make a point after the m-i-l had told me I was ‘a cheeky bugger’.  I know I was shocked too I mean it’s not like I asked for it…

m-i-l:  ‘We’ve been really busy today.’  It was a number of years ago and my father in law was still alive plus I was still capable of changing the bed without my back kicking off – B does it now and no, I’ve never timed him.

me:  ‘Have you.’  No, I don’t need a question mark as I wasn’t really asking at this point.

m-i-l:  ‘Oh yes!’

Now I wouldn’t have usually asked but since she was always saying she was busy and considering my Auntie En is a year older and at the time looked after her husband, cooked a homemade tea every night (as opposed to anything out of a tin) and made up lunch for one of her sons who’d moved back home along with knitting, sewing, crocheting blankets for charity and going to tailoring or upholstery classes at the local college I did sometimes wonder what the m-i-l’s definition of busy was and curiosity got the better of me on this occasion.

me:  ‘What did you do?’

m-i-l:  ‘We stripped the bed and put the sheets in the wash, then put them on the line and then when they were dry re-made the bed.’

me:  ‘So that took you ten minutes.  What did you do after that?’

m-i-l:  ‘You cheeky bugger.’

Where was I?  Oh yes – the fire.  So the pan was smoking and I couldn’t be bothered to do the sensible thing and take it off the flame… I plucked a few pieces of paper kitchen towel out of the cupboard and whipped them swiftly over the pan to remove the excess so that I could pop some batter on the pan but where should I put the now oily towels.  Oh yes, it’s all too easy to say from the other side of your computer screens that the bin may have been a good idea but B was in the way and I needed to get batter on the pan ASAP.  I couldn’t put them on the worktop as I believe I may have mentioned they were oily and that would have involved more cleaning up so it made perfect sense, at the time not so much now I have to admit, to pop them on the gas burner behind the one with the pancake pan and next to the one with the milk pan.  I then proceeded to switch on the flame under the milk pan – except, as you may have guessed, I switched on the one under the oily paper towels by mistake.

Now I think I may have mentioned in the past that I’m your gal for an emergency but B isn’t your guy.  However on this particular occasion he did in fact deal with it exceptionally well, which was good as I was even calmer than usual – to the point of it possibly looking like catatonic inaction.  I watched as the paper towel burst (which I think describes it pretty accurately) into flames and worked itself up into a quite a flame, at least twelve inches high even after I’d switched off that burner.   I could feel B hovering behind me waiting for me to do something but hey, I figured this was the reason that extractor hoods and wall cupboards have to be a certain distance from hobs.  So although I did think that it was probably quite rational to try and put out the flames since it seemed highly unlikely they would set fire to or even singe anything else surely the easiest thing all round was just to let them burn themselves out.  B however didn’t feel the same and started muttering things about damp tea towels so I figured ‘What the heck it might make him feel better’ and let him run one under the tap.  Now I did notice that the towel ended up more ‘wet’ than ‘damp’ and so took over and extinguished the flames.

All we lost was one pancake and not even as a direct result.  B suggested it might be a good idea to remove the tea towel from the hob, because he’s practical like that, and as I lifted it up a little piece of incinerated paper towel fluttered down onto the uncooked side of the pancake.  I believe the look I gave B implying that this loss was his fault was a step too far.  He didn’t say as much I just guessed from the way he snatched open the kitchen door and stormed off with the soggy singed tea towel into the garage.

I gave him a hug when he came back in because it must have been a bit of a shock – after all it was his first kitchen fire and my third.

 An lookie ‘ere, I finished the little aran cardy, hat and mittens…

Twisted cables

I knew I’d have to do it – maybe if it had been for me I would have fought the urge but as it wasn’t I undid the back and rectified my cabling boo boo.  Then I undid it again as I’m obviously still behind with my sleep (well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) and made another boo boo when I reknit it because I couldn’t do two things at the same time – don’t tell B he readily accepts with me as a prime example that women can do 16 things at the same time whilst men can’t do one and a half.  Two of our neighbours called round yesterday afternoon and while knitting and chatting I missed another cable twist out of the new knitting.

Mind you it’s not like I need much of a distraction at the minute I also had to undo the left front twice last night and in fact somehow the right front ended up as the left front (ie, the v-neck slope was on the wrong side) and vice versa – so although the right front was ‘right’ it should have been ‘left’!

Fortunately the sleeve turned out to be a sleeve AND had the correct amount of cabling.

It’s not just knitting I’ve been having trouble with.  I tried a logic puzzle last weekend – just one of the simple ones at the very beginning of the puzzle book that only have three answers and with a great deal of effort I got the first one right and the second one completely wrong.  It would have been easier trying to plait fog.  I can’t say it’s got much better since.  However a friend who called round on Wednesday night said that she was glad to see I had my ‘Paula sparkle’ back as it had been a while.  I must be at my best at night as I’m pretty sure B wouldn’t say I sparkle in a morning!

And now I have some potentially very good news from the visit from the renal doctors yesterday.  Basically my kidney function is borderline for coming off dialysis.  I’m having dialysis as usual tomorrow then I get to wee into a container again for 24 hours from 6am Monday to 6am Tuesday and go in for blood tests on Tuesday but no dialysis.    It could be that the amount of dialysis can be reduced if it can’t be stopped altogether and the dialysis type changed and I could do it at home.  I have to admit the brief description of tubes in tummies didn’t exactly have me saying ‘Yay, sign me up now.’  I was home from dialysis yesterday by 12.30 as B came and picked me up.

I’m still getting the migrainy visual disturbances but fortunately no follow up headache.  In fact last  night I got the netbook out to blog and then couldn’t see the screen clearly enough – indeed it’s going funny again now.

My mouth is a teeny bit sorer which may, or may not, have something to do with Sherbet Lemons!

I would also like to point out (and I think that as I can I need to blame either disturbed sleep patterns or medication for this) that it doesn’t constitute a REAL fire unless you need to call the fire brigade – even if the flame is a foot high and it nearly makes your husband enter a state of shock.

Other creative spaces can be found here.