Category Archives: Driving

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.

Driving Miss Paula

‘Okay Bud, I’ll show you how to drive and then we don’t  need to let Paula near the wheel again.’

‘So you got all that about where everything is?’

‘Yeah, but I can’t get the hang of this changing gear malarkey…

let’s try this…

or this, narghhhh!’

‘Phew, I need a kip.’

‘All that effort and now I’m stuck in roadworks!’

Do you like the car Bud?

On shorter trips, trips on windy roads and ones with lots of stopping, starting, slowing down Bud can be a bit unsettled and his position of choice is generally with his head stuck between the seats protesting profusely – presumably in case either of us makes a run for it without him.  He will settle down on long stretches of dual carriageway or motorway and is quite happy to flop down on his side when travelling at 70 mph bracing himself against the back of the seat with his paws.  I don’t have a picture of this as I didn’t want to disturb him and re-start the whinging.  Fortunately Bud was very good on the way up but now gets car sick – as in he’s sick of getting in the car.

I threw in one to show that inbetween traumatic car trips he is able to chill out.

Bumper Cars

We’re having trouble with the internet again however if I had been able to post on Friday evening this is what I would have said…

Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  {Gasp!  Inhale…}  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped the car.  Someone bumped Margaret’s car.  That wasn’t me I’ve never been to Italy.  Someone bumped Bernard’s car.  THAT… WAS… ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Somehow this is how it looked on Saturday…?

If only bones were made of something similar!


Driving Bernard potty

I decided we’ll take a short interlude in the Wedding Daze trilogy to visit today’s bone marrow trephine and aspirate.  This one differed from my previous two in three ways:

I had a definite appointment on the horizon as opposed to being in hospital and knowing one would happen but having a ‘surprise – we’ll do it know’ non-appointment,

Having spent quite of lot of time at the day unit over the past months I’d seen/heard a fair bit in relation to bone marrow biopsies (BMB)  – extreme nervousness, crying, one patient stopping part way through, a lot of tranquilisers requested and one time tranquilisers in conjunction with the bone marrow transplant co-ordinator travelling down three floors to carry it out, and

I felt it.

In light of my other two being only unpleasant scrapping sensation and nothing I decided the best way to distract my thoughts away from ‘Sooner or later one is going to really hurt’ was to drive myself there.  Yes that’s right, take B’s car to a busy city centre for the first time ever (on purpose, I once skirted it my accident when I missed a turn off for the motorway) and park it possibly on a multi-storey car park if there were no spaces left on the nice flat car park we had seen several weeks ago.  This car park was 10 minutes walk from the hospital but you can’t have everything.  Look at it this way, I figured this would be a bigger worry than the BMB, and it was except it added to it rather than replaced it.  Plus whereas B has never been with me for a BMB and has no comprehension that to some people they can be excruciating so he wouldn’t have worried, he had no trouble at all comprehended me and his precious car in Liverpool city centre – so overall it added a whole new layer of tenseness.

However in the end, and after B offering to take me himself and probably having to restrain himself from calling round at the neighbours to see if they were available, it came down to a matter of pride.  I once read about my star sign (Aries) that we see the saying ‘Pride goes before a fall’ as ‘When your pride goes you fall’ and certainly this is the way I felt this morning.  Thousands of people drive into Liverpool every day, that said – not in B’s car – why shouldn’t I.

So I got a grip and got in the car with the little map from Google Maps, something crafty for my half hour lie down after the BMB and a Linkin Park Hybrid Theory CD  and off we went.  And of course it was fine – well okay it took about five miles before the fineness of it kicked in but it was so fine that I found the car park with no trouble and even reversed into the parking space perfectly – this being a bit of an Achilles heel at the best of times.

I may have said before B is usually in bed by 9:00, 9:30 at the latest.  As I was walking up to the Royal at 10:10 my mobile rang.  It was B checking I had got there okay – yeah right ‘I’ – okay, he did say that but it was swiftly followed by ‘Where did you park?’

I arrived at the day unit and after some light banter we got down to business.  The anaesthetic going in was fine but I felt a sharpness from the aspirate and a bit of a shooting pain down my buttock which was okay but which I pointed out.  I think just because this was a new to me sensation.  Then we got down to the trephine bit (which is the actual marrow sample).  I did feel this but the nurse clinician counted down from five to zero on both occasions of pain, so overall there were 10 seconds of pain and it wasn’t that bad and stopped straight away when she stopped tweaking.  Unlike last time the aspirate sample was a good one and the trephine sample looked like a large white and red rat poo in the fluid.  It’s really tiny considering.  Overall it should take 20 minutes but felt way quicker than this possibly because the nurse was really chatty and funny.  Having experienced pain this time I won’t be concerned about next time – I know that sounds odd but it’s not the thought of pain so much as the thought of unknown pain.

While I was lying on my back for the next half hour I mentioned the pain I’d had (and still do a bit) in my shoulder region.  I thought about not bothering but since I was there any way I thought I might as well get peace of mind.  While I waited for a doctor a guy came in for a BMB which took place on the bed next to me.  Now I thought I’d whinged by saying that I felt the aspirate, but I hadn’t whinged during the trephine however ‘next bed guy’ probably frightened seagulls off the building’s roof four floors up.  He started at the anaesthetic going in and it just got worse.  The doctor came to see me and we both had to raise our voices to be heard.  At one point she stopped and said it sounded like a slaughter house. And after it all what did he tell the nurse – wild guess anyone?  I’d offer a prize but I’m thinking you won’t get it right.  He said ‘That was fantastic.’  I can only think he had some sort of kinky tendency and he did enjoy the soup and sandwich he got after.

So back to me and my shoulder.  I said that my concern was that it was referred pain from the loosening at the vertebra at C6.  She didn’t however think this was the case and after various questions and movement/strength tests and discussion with a more senior doc I got to have an x-ray on my shoulder and then go home.  Well I say AN x-ray it turned out to be five.  One straight on and then four goes to get the scapula – apparently it’s really hard to get and isn’t requested that much and every radiographer has their own ideas on the best position of the body and arm to get the best shot.  So although I missed my Armchair Yoga as it was three by the time I got home I did get a bit of a work out in the x-ray department and apparently just in case you need a scapula x-ray it’s best to muscle up because muscular men produce the best shots as the muscles push the bone out!  So go pump some iron just in case.

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.

Shingles and Roofing Felt

I swear I just can’t let Sean Teirnan have anything to himself.

Sean’s stem cell transplant didn’t work, mine then gave in.

It was decided that Sean wouldn’t benefit from the usual second line treatment here of Velcade and Dexamethasone so he got Doxorubicin too (or PAD as it is known).  I refused Dexamethasone as an accompaniment for Velcade because it sent me round the bend and so got Doxorubicin instead.

Sean got shingles and now I have them too.  Albeit mine, at this exact moment in time cover a much, much smaller area. 

I ummed and ahhed this morning about phoning up somebody – being a bank holiday due to some wedding somewhere down south both the day unit at the Royal and our doctor’s were closed.  I thought about going to the local walk-in centre but then thought that could put others at risk from getting chicken pox from me and more importantly obviously put me at risk of picking up who knows what from the waiting area.

I thought I’d wait until this afternoon and see if the rash had changed any.  After reading the comments to yesterday’s post I realised that I probably wasn’t being a hypochondriac if I phoned the on call doctor.  So I rang at 17:20 and got an appointment for 17:50 at a local chemist a few miles away.

This caused B to drop everything, literally since he’d been on the shed roof and needed to change his trousers before he’d even consider getting in the car. However following a discussion:

P:  ‘I’ll drive myself.’

B:  ‘Do you know where you are going?’

P:  ‘Yes, of course I do.’

B: ‘You need to go down the East Lancs and blah, blah, blah.’

P:  ‘And it’s on my left.’

B:  ‘No, it’s on your right.’

P:  ‘I’ll find it.’

B:  I’ll take you.’ (After having gotten down off the shed roof.)

P:  ‘I feel well enough to drive.’

B:  ‘I don’t mind taking you.’

P:  ‘No, I’ll be fine,’ (Thinking ‘Yes you drive’ and obviously showing it on my face.)

B:  ‘Oh, bloody hell!’ Dropping trackie bottoms for the second time in the garage.

P:  ‘NO, I’ll take myself.’  (The ‘bloody hell’ being the deciding factor.  I had let him drive me to town, for card for the Buddy tags, yesterday because I couldn’t be bothered and I really don’t want it becoming a regular occurrence in case I lose my confidence in driving HIS car.)

B on the shed roof hard at work chatting to one of the neighbours.  Not that I’m saying he doesn’t do much DIY type things, but one of the other neighbours said they nearly got the ‘cine camera’ out when he cut the ‘lawn’ last weekend.

So off we (me and the car) went and we had a completely uneventful trip that wouldn’t have caused B’s blood pressure to rise even a tiddly bit.

I got seen straight away and was in with the doctor all of three minutes.  ‘Let’s have a look.’ she said before I’d even sat down.  I lifted the back of my T-shirt and from about three feet away she said ‘Yes, that’s shingles. What other medications are you taking?  We don’t want to take any chances because of your lowered immunity.  Have some anti virals.’  I came out with 35 x 800mg Acyclovir tablets to take over the next seven days.

Fortunately, unlike Sean’s, it’s not painful.  It’s a bit tender to touch and I am aware of it sometimes but some of the rash is residing under the back strap of my bra so occasionally it chafes.  I love that word. Chafes, it’s so funny.  Come on admit it we all have our favourite words.  I also like to write the outline for solicitors in shorthand – Pitman 2000 – hey I could have worse quirks and foibles.  Oh, wait I probably do but they are strictly not for public consumption.

Engineer 17

Ohhhhh, look this week I have no creative space to show you.  I do have more orange knitting but it’s shy and doesn’t want to be seen yet.

I do however have a toilet that flushes or more correctly that flushes water which then disappears off somewhere never to be my problem again.  I can whole heartedly recommend engineer number 17 (Eddie) and anyone who lives in the north west of England shouldn’t hesitate to get him in should they have a drainage related problem.

After the plumber saying that the blockage was ‘not in the vicinity of the toilet’ and that they ‘didn’t have the equipment for anything else’ it turned out that they mustn’t carry plungers.  Either that or he was on a promise.  Engineer 17 after being told exactly the same as the plumber said ‘I’ll have it sorted in three minutes’.  And he did! This meant I only had to write a cheque (check) for the lower amount.  Should the problem recur they will come back free of charge within the next three months.  To be sure I get my money’s worth I’ve been stuffing toilet paper down – still on the roll.

Yesterday and today I got to take the car to the garage to get new brake pads and discs (not that big a job but they didn’t have them in stock).  It’s a good job I was sitting down for the cost of that.

And last night when I sat down to blog the internet wouldn’t connect.  I’m counting that as my third ‘these things come in threes’ of the week so that my blood results tomorrow don’t enter the equation.

Driving in Falling Snow is Wildly Exciting!

The Friday before Christmas Eve we had the biggest deposit of snow in one go that I can remember and we, the car and I, got to drive in it.

I’d clocked off work at 18:00 and agreed with B that I would drive to see Chris, the friend who’d had the mini stroke at the beginning of the week, on my own.  There was a light dusting of not quite snow, not quite just frost on the ground and I was heard to say that I had driven in much worse with my driving instructor in January so what was there to be worry about?!?!?! I agreed to be home by 19:30 – as I just needed to Chris with my own two eyes to confirm that she was okay.

I was a little longer than anticipated as Chris and her hubby were about to have their tea when I arrived and Chris as me to have a cup of tea after.  Her husband was going to choir practice and this needed me to move the car.  We walked out and it was snowing – a bit.  He ummmed and errrrrred about whether to go and then went.  I went back in and agreed with Chris that I’d just have the tea and then go.  I’d barely got my backside on the settee when the phone rang.  We bet that it would be B asking where I was but no, it was Chris’s husband saying he was coming home.

Ohhhh, we looked outside, it was coming down thick and fast.  Maybe I, who had been driving  9 months, and the car B adores should head home.  Chris suggested I could stay there but there were two things to consider – me getting home to Buddy and the car getting home to B.

So Chris gave me instructions on which corners to be careful of and how I should attempt not to break at the junction of her road and the main road and off I went.

There was so much snow coming down I had to have the windscreen wipers on fast and it was building up rapidly on the ground.  I got to the junction of Chris’s road and eased to a stop.  There were cars on either side and no room to move over if something was coming.  I almost thought about staying but that would have involved turning round anyway so I might as well give it a go.

I acquired a vehicle behind me, or should I say BEHIND me, way too close – well certainly for my liking.  Did they not know it was snowing and that this was my first time driving in snow when it was falling from the sky and how much B thought of the car?

I went across a mini roundabout.  Not in the conventional way of ‘go straight ahead’ meaning take the second (generally) exit but literally as nothing was coming.

The roads between Chris’s and the main road, which she assured me would be clear, are windy country roads and as I approached the next bend, doing all of 10 miles an hour, I slid onto the opposite side of the road.  By this time my heart was beating like a bird’s.  Fortunately the oncoming car was about 200 feet off.  I slid/steered back onto my side.

‘I can always pull over and get out and walk back’ I thought.  However what if something happened to the car.  Let’s keep going.  Just keep, as per the driving theory test, in the highest gear possible and what can go wrong.

I got to the second T junction Chris had warned me about and had to stop as there were cars passing.  Okay deep breaths.  We can do this.  Got onto the road and phew this takes us down to the dual carriageway which is going to be clear.

This road slopes, gently as it turns out, to the traffic lights, but that night it felt like we were coming down the north face of the Eiger with a little four wheel drive already at the bottom, or rather the lights, which were on RED.  Well I guess that means we won’t slide into oncoming traffic just into the back of the 4×4.  I think I very well may have a heart attack first.

With impeccable timing the lights changed to green.  We turn right, the road was anything but clear.  I couldn’t see a hint of road surface, just a slight indentation from the cars in front of which there weren’t that many.  So it’s now just one straight road, a right turn and three left turns and we’re parked on the drive.

This dual carriageway always seems a relatively level road and suddenly I realised that it is actually up and down like a roller coaster.  Roller coasters are probably not a good idea for me anymore however I have to say I have never been so scared on a roller coaster.  My heart was pounding.  I was wildly terrified AND wildly excited.

I had to move over, across the outside lane to get to the turning lane.  Our rear end slid out as we turned right.  Wooohoooo nearly home.  The car behind pulled over to the fast lane and started to overtake.  Don’t hit us – I don’t want to have to explain this to B so close to home.  It overtook us and then all the cars in front.  It was a clapped out old banger – maybe I should get one of those.

Now we had the slip road with bollards (very nearly what I was thinking by them) at the turning point.  We managed to avoid those, then the turn at the end of the road and onto the drive to find B peering through the bedroom window.  B who then starts giving me hand gestures as to how close to get to the porch.  No pressure there then.  I get out and the boot (trunk) is practically on the pavement.  So I get back in to move it and the tyres wouldn’t grip.  I thought sod it and got out.

I had never actually understood the expression ‘I need a drink’ until that night.  I NEEDED a drink.

I got in to a warm welcome of Bud and a B with a face like a smacked backside.

B:  ‘If you’d left at 19:00 like you said you’d have missed it!’

Me:  ‘I’m glad to see both you and the car made it home okay a major achievement considering how long you’ve been driving.’

B:  ‘You were the one that said you’d driven in snow before.’

Me:  ‘Yes with my driving instructor, in snow that was on the ground, in daylight!  If anything went pear shaped I could have got out and he could have taken over.’

I however was way too hyper by then to let B’s glumness bring me down and after two single malts, one with hot water and honey and the other neat while I was waiting for the kettle to boil, and a phone call to Chris and my Auntie Ann (who had called while I was out) to confirm I had made it home in one piece Bud and I went out to play fetch in the snow and left the grinch inside!  ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!

Creative Space – Brown Paper Packages Wrapped up with…

masking tape!  My name is Paula Kilgallon and I have a brown paper and masking tape fetish!

This week my creative space is, or rather, was full this afternoon of these…

Buddy parcels.  Wrapped up ready to got to the post office and then off into the wide world.  I can’t show the contents because some people who read this may very well have ordered some!

B said he would take them to the local post office for me, basically so I didn’t drive the car again this week in the miniscule amount of snow that we have had.  Then this afternoon when he saw them he got a bit windy –


Me: ‘Yes’

B: ‘Do I have to fill in any things?’

Me:  ‘If by that you mean customs labels, yes for some of them you do.’

B:  ‘Can they wait until tomorrow?’

Me:  ‘No!’

B:  General chunering.

Me:  ‘If you wait while I wrap another one I’ll come with you in my break!’

B:  ‘Okay then.’

B will even inconvenience himself to avoid me driving our his car!

Other creative spaces can be seen here – they may very well to crafty people who have their own cars so there is unlikely to be husband bashing!