Tag Archives: crochet

It wasn’t the geriatrics that needed the ambulance

Guess where I am.  Thinking about it that’s not difficult enough, heck its not difficult at all – chances are if I’m on a short break I’ll be in The Royal – so have an attempt at what brought me here, other than an ambulance.  It didn’t even have sirens on and indeed had blacked out windows on the sides rather than no windows.  I’m pretty confident that you won’t guess – as I never would myself.

Yesterday I went to Willowbrook Hospice to the crafting with geriatrics day, I mean Day Therapy.  There were a couple of really old dears there one was 94 this July but they were a hoot and really nice respectively.  Willowbrook is aimed at people with cancer and other life limiting illnesses and I think one of the other ladies had had a stroke.

I’d felt tired but not majoraly different from the usual lethargy associated with being anemic – it turned out I was just 0.3 from target at which a transfusion is given – but otherwise okay.  I crafted when I got there and then sat in on the discussion ‘Anxiety Management’.  I didn’t know whether I would learn anything but thought I’d give it a go so I’d know whether I wanted to sit in on any others.  We then had lunch – a gorgeous tomato soup, cottage pie (which I managed to keep down despite throwing up the last two I’d made at home) and eve’s pudding – there was even red, white or rose wine on offer – I had orange juice I’ll have you know! The last activity, or should that be planned activity, was a relaxation.  None of the activities are compulsory and some attendees went back to the craft room.

I made myself comfy in a recliner with a bean bag type neck pillow and a triangular cushion under my arns – because this is how they support them.  After some muscle tensing and releasing we started a meditation, I guess.  The lady holding the relaxation told us to imagine a luxury resort with a fantastic room, a pool and… well that’s all I remember the next thing I knew I was sitting in the chair minus the cushions and a lady, who turned out to be a doctor, was testing my reflexes and asking me stuff accompanied by a nurse.  She then said I’d had a turn and I noticed the portable dividing screen behind them.

As I was capable of walking I got to go and sit at the dining table and people asked me if I was feeling okay.  ‘Yes’ I answered thinking ‘Of course, I’m fine’.  It was home time now and B was collecting me.  I rang him and asked him to come in – fortunately he had his phone on which isn’t usual.  I can’t know remember if I’d been told to get him inside or just did it.

One of the nurses took me into a side room and I asked what had happened.  She said I’d had a seizure!  I have absolutely no recollection at all.  Now if I remember rightly they’d phoned the haematology team and subsequently an ambulance to take me to The Royal.  As I wasn’t an emergency and they had these to deal with first they’d get to us as soon as they could.  Bearing in mind my ‘turn’ was done by 2.30 pm -ish we were still ambulance-less by about seven.  One of the volunteers, who’d stayed behind, chased it up again.  Meanwhile both my Auntie Ann and friend Chris were heading to The Royal.  Chris after tea but Auntie Ann straight from work.  I left a message and sent a text and she decided to come to Willowbrook instead or rather as well since she was at The Royal car park when she got it.  I’d been given some sandwiches and mini cakes…

and B had been home and then called back ready for work and had half my tuna sandwich and a piece of cake before going back home and taking Bud out for a walk – it seemed the better option

The ambulance turned up eventually and it wasn’t even one of the regular emergency vehicles, it was a converted (properly) minibus with blacked out windows.  I realised about the windows as I waved to Auntie Ann as we went past and then the penny dropped that she couldn’t see me.

We arrived at The Royal and Chris was waiting outside.  We got shown into a four bed room in the Acute Medical Assessment Unit and I got to keep the blanket I’d been given in the ambulance which although proclaiming to belong to ‘Dewsbury & District Hospitals’ was, I mean is – as I still have it, lovely and soft.  One of the paramedics said it reminded her of a baby blanket.

B had been panicking about my peritoneal dialysis fluid exchange as I should have done it by three and when I got to the assessment unit and asked the nurse said she wanted to speak to the renal docs before I did it – if that was okay.  I’d spoke to one of the PD nurses and he’d left a gift package for me that needed collecting from their unit.

I slept really well, or so I thought.  I woke up about five for a wee and found I had a bandaged cannula in the back of my right hand with an IV attached to it.  The nurse disconnected and I said that I didn’t even remember having the cannula put in.  She said I wouldn’t they’d given me something to ‘calm me down’.  Now it was early and I was more than half asleep so I basically went back to sleep.  When I woke up properly I thought ‘calm me down?’  Well I figured if I’d been with it enough to make a decision I must have said okay so there was no point fretting and if it wasn’t possible to consult me then…! Well there was no point fretting over that either really.

Just after nine a face I recognised appeared round the edge of the curtain next door – it was one of the blood doctors.  He asked me what I’d been told to which I responded nothing.  Apparently I’d had another seizure (sounds a bit more medical than fit) in the night.  As it turned out I had the neighbouring young lady who was staying with her grandmother to thank for alerting the staff.

I had a CT scan on my head yesterday which showed no evidence of a bleed or an infection – and am booked in for an MRI anyway which will now be brought forward.  Some of the medications I take can cause seizures but I’ve been taking them for long enough that this side effect should have happened by now.

I feel generally alright – if tired but then again I am anemic so that could be the result of some of the tiredness.  Last night I could feel myself nodding off at half nine and was going to do my PD exchange at ten.  So I put the alarm on my phone just in case.  I woke up at 4.15am and possibly only then because I needed a big wee.

Tonight I’ll be telling the night staff to wake me at ten as well since last night not only did I sleep through the alarm but also through B ringing me at 11.30.  I wouldn’t have minded if I’d been in a proper sleeping position but I was still sitting up in bed with the bedside table across the bed and yet had managed to get nearly seven hours.

The IV I had in the early hours of Friday morning was an anti-epilepsy medication which I’m not on in liquid form.  You know we had a little Pomeranian that developed epilepsy as he got older but if everybody’s fits are the same at least I now know Whisky wouldn’t have had any recollection of them at all.  I once fainted and remember the world ‘closing in’ but there was none of that with these (well one at least I was asleep for the other) and if I hadn’t been told I would be none the wiser.  B suggested it was going Crafting with Geriatrics that had caused it while I said it was just as well I had as I was certainly in the right place.  I mean what would have happened if I’d been at home.

Needless to say I get to stay in (in my own little room at the moment with an ensuite toilet) while a source  for the seizures is found.  B’s been to the wool shop today and got me some exciting new yarn to bring in – it’s alright don’t panic I do have some crocheting with me – I took it to the Therapy Day!

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It’s a glum bum day

I was intending to share the whole peritoneal dialysis fluid exchange procedure today – I mean it may come in handy one day – there could a question in a quiz – if it involves a lot of money though remember where you read the answer!

Instead though I decided to do a crafty post to brighten me up as the weather, Bud and my mood turned glum as the day went on.  Actually with me it’s more tired and has nothing at all to do with a late night and early morning!  With the weather it started all bright, sunny and quite warm this morning (as evidenced by no coat needed when Bud pressured me into taking him for a wander in the wood) but by lunch time it was bucketing it down and all gloomy.  With Bud its the fact that B didn’t take him for his regular walk – due to the weather!  In fact it was Bud’s expression when he realised he wasn’t getting a proper trip out that made me think of the word glum – he sat there with the most pathetic look on his face and looked a right ‘glum bum’.

I needed a quick baby pattern to knit for one of the ward nurses who was leaving to have a baby – funnily enough.  As I’d got some aran weight cotton in I decided to give Trellis another go. I altered one of the cable patterns into a more conventional four stitch cable rather than a travelling twisted stitch…

and repeated the cable on the hat with moss stitch in between.

It got Cairngorm Reindeer Herd buttons – I don’t know what I’m going to do when these run out.

The whole cardigan is knit on 4.5 mm needles with no increases once past the ‘rib’ but this results in the following…

so on the fronts and sleeves I reduced the cast on stitches only by two or three and then put then back before I started cabling and this sorted out the wibble.

I’ve also finished my latest bits and pieces afghan which turned out a ‘bit’ bigger than I was aiming for at 84 cm x 152 cm (33″ x 60″).

That photo doesn’t really do it justice so here’s some others…

Chris, the friend who was partly responsible for my late night yesterday, said the pink and blue centred rectangle above was her favourite or wait, was it the purple and purple one?  I don’t know now – she liked a lot of them.  What we both liked though was how using the yarn like this enabled colours that you wouldn’t necessarily put together to work – well we thought so.

I had thought this would use up all my outstanding ‘bits and pieces’ and I could bin the remnants but I still have too many to throw away with a clear conscience.  Since I need a trip to The Knitting Centre before I can start the next batch of things I’m making I started another blanket to use up absolutely all of them.

I’m doing a single alternating row of four different colours (if that makes sense) and intend to just carry on until each colour runs out and then add in another one.

As you can see it results in a lovely tangle of wool – me no likey that at all.

Now although this way of doing things should also let me put all sorts of colour combinations together I think this one may be too BRIGHT.

And it’s not even my Myeloma UK Myeloma Buddy orange – this one is nearly flourescent – I’d love to know what the rest of the ball made.

Now I need to get an early night as I have my big day out tomorrow.  B said to me before ‘Will you be taking your anti sickness tablets?’  I said ‘Yes’.  Then he said ‘What about anti ageing ones?’ I said something that can’t be repeated in polite company.

Getting immoral with rumps

I think I may have done something, if not illegal, then certainly immoral with some rump steak – I made steak and onions.  Now this may be perfectly acceptable with some high folotting celebrity chef but I was brought up to make steak and onions, hotpot and such like with stewing steak and as it seems to be labelled now braising steak.

B had asked constantly today what I wanted for my tea and I had absolutely no idea.  Well okay, it was probably about twice but seemed a lot more.  At lunch he started to suggest things and at the point where he said soup I had to say ‘I think you should stop mentioning food or I’m gonna throw up’.  Later in the afternoon he nipped out for some milk and wanted to know again – but although I don’t feel queasy all the time I don ‘t feel particularly like eating.  B asked should he get some bread but the thought of bread turned my stomach at the time – indeed yesterday I made up some barm cakes for B but had some Ryvitas myself – just as well really since it turned out the barm cakes I’d used had a use by date of the 28th!

So tea time-ish today I went into the kitchen and looked at the rump steak in the fridge and thought ‘I couldn’t eat that fried but I could eat it in steak and onions’ so that’s what I did with it – I have to admit without chopping it into smaller pieces – I just wopped it in a pan to brown and then covered it with stock – chicken as we were out of beef.  B peeled the potatoes and we had it with mash and what I managed to eat stayed down unlike Sunday’s cottage pie.

It was, in B’s opinion, excellent.  He wasn’t being immodest as he hadn’t made it.  I decided to tackle the mince meat while B was out walking with Bud.  I donned a pair of disposable gloves and tackled the carrots and onion – better safe than sorry on the bacteria front.  B again peeled the potatoes for the topping and I remembered to do some veg to accompany it, unlike tonight’s meal.  I was enjoying it when suddenly I felt the urge to hurl and B passed me the poop bag lined sick bowl that’s stowed at the side of the settee just in time.  I did manage to finish off what was on my plate once I’d been sick.

Buddy has a reaction to seeing a sick bowl – he gets all anxious.  In this instance B passed me the bowl and before I’d even ejected the cottage pie Bud was up off his mat and over near the curtains looking at me funny.  I think it’s because his reaction is to come check I’m okay but it results in B telling him to get on his mat and when he doesn’t do it immediately B gets louder while I try and slope off to the stairs so I’m not throwing up in front of B while he’s trying to finish his food.   So it’s got to the point where I just have to move a sick bowl and Bud reacts.

Other than being a bit off my food I’ve still felt reasonably alright.  I have felt particularly tired today and didn’t go to armchair yoga this afternoon as I just didn’t have the energy/enthusiasm.  It had taken me the best part of an hour to go upstairs to set up the printer to work wirelessly – and in fact must have been fatigued as I didn’t even have the energy to threaten the netbook/printer when it didn’t work straight away.

I’ve also been a bit bunged up.  I thought that once I was home I’d start being regular again – isn’t this a lovely subject?  It was so hard to go in the Royal especially on the toilet I ended up using from my cupboard.  More people walked past the door than go through Heathrow in the length of a day.  Plus at Heathrow you don’t get people stood outside with drip machines beeping while you’re trying to ‘concentrate’.  I think I’ve taken enough laxatives to clear out a rhino but obviously need to increase them to take care of an elephant.  I wouldn’t usually be too concerned but in light of the need to go really regularly with the peritoneal dialysis I thought I better act sooner rather than later, particularly as the fluid I drained first thing this morning was a bit low which can be caused by constipation.

Meanwhile, although I really haven’t done anything today, I have previously finished off some things I did during my recent stay at the Royal.

I’ve added buttons to the aran jacket…

Sewn the ends in on the baby blanket made in the same aran (worsted) weight yarn…

Again this is from Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans.

Sorted out the ends on a granny square afghan for the crèche/hospital in South Africa at one of our GP’s receptionist’s husbands is involved with…

and cracked on with the other one I started…

I am really liking this and think the cream round the two centre squares and then again round the resulting rectangles ties it all together nicely.  I think I need to add nine more rectangles to get it to an acceptable size – which should just about clear all the tiny balls of double knitting yarn that I have left or have been given.  This is just as well as I need more storage in my sewing room for all my new peritoneal dialysis stuff.  I mean I do have room but I wanted to tidy hide as much of it away as possible so that the back room doesn’t make it look like there’s someone sick in the house!

 

I’m all out of wool, I’m so lost without it

and I’d run out of cream which was going to be my edging colour for both the inner squares and the outer rectangles.  So under duress he brought me a new 400g ball of cream aran, a pair of 4.5 mm knitting needles and the substitute cable needle.

I had found a lovely little jacket pattern at knitty.com –

I also tracked down a hat pattern at sweaterbabe.com – Cable Baby Beanie – and altered the rib to moss stitch and changed the cable stitch to match the one on the cardy.  After B brought me a darning needle in this afternoon, they both now look like this…

Needless to say finishing things off seems to usually take ages but it’s now done and I have nothing crafty to do.  I knew I should have pressed B to bring me something else in addition to the darning needle – he didn’t even want to bring me that suggesting I might prefer to ‘Have a rest’.

Now I’m not saying I’m easily bored – oh wait, yes I am actually.  Yesterday I changed my own bed – and not because I’d had a boo boo I’ll have you know.  I was about to remind the Health Care Assistants when I thought ‘What’s stopping me doing it?’  The answer was nothing and it made a change since B changes the bed at home because the bending starts my back off however with the benefit of an adjustable bed no bending was required.  I also assisted today – well I’m going with ‘assisted’ but ‘hindered’ is probably a better description.

One of the registrars called in this afternoon and asked whether Prof had said if I could go home after the chemotherapy had finished or if we needed to wait until my counts went back up before I got released.  As it turned out I got disconnected while B was here and if I’d thought on I could have pushed to go home then!  Just kidding!!! B wouldn’t have gone for it and the nurse I said it in front of thought that that was being a bit too keen – plus although B has cleaned the bathroom today he still apparently needs to wash the bed sheets.

I forgot to mention that I’m concerned that Prof knows me too well.  As I’ve said me and the steriod Dexamethasone don’t mix well so when I got my first dose last Thursday and it was the same as last time I queried it as Prof said we’d look at reducing the amount.  The nurse said she’d ask about it and shortly after Prof and one of the junior docs arrived and he informed her, to her surprise and the surprise of the nearby nurse and subsequent visiting registrar, that in view of my extreme reaction to Dex it was up to me how much I took.  There I was all geared up for putting my case across for taking less than suggested or in fact none at all and I ended up with free reign.  Prof’s method actually worked like a charm and I had to give proper consideration to the amount I wanted to take and felt I had to take some as I’d been entrusted with a completely voluntary decision and indeed when the registrar suggested that I might want to consider taking 6 mg instead of 4 mg I immediately wanted to say ‘No way’ even though I’d thought this myself.

Other Creative Spaces can be found here – at least I’ll have plenty of time in the morning to do some serious looking at other craftiness.

 

Going Loopy

Have you seen the film Julie and Julia about the young woman who decided to make every recipe in Julia Childs’ book and blog about it?  I seem to remember seeing a blog where someone was knitting every sock in a sock book.   Now although I am quite infatuated with Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans I wouldn’t contemplate doing every single one as there are several that I would have no desire to make – this being one that fell into that category…

It’s called Flokati after the greek rugs it’s based on and is supposed to be knit.  Once I’d got over my initial ‘Oh no!’ when I was asked to do one I did this…

and wasn’t happy with it for a number of reasons – the stitch was messy, my first lot of loops weren’t loopy enough and some attempted to disappear to the back side (as it were), I made the second lot bigger but they still seemed loose so after finding a more satisfactory looking, but very time consuming, loop knitting method on the web I decided to try crocheting – I had crocheted loopy ears for the toy spaniels I did last year but couldn’t recall where I’d got the pattern from.

I tried a stitch in the Vogue Knitting Dictionary of Crochet Stitches (the left hand side of the photo) but wasn’t convinced that those loops would be stable.

I got another method off the internet but as can be seen from the right hand side of the photo it somehow got wider and I didn’t like the loopy side either…

Then I happened upon a free Loop Stitch Pillow pattern on the Lion Brand Yarn site and was more than happy with it.  It was easy to do, didn’t involved making the loop on one side and then moving it to the other and looks like this up close…

three rows of double crochet (US – single crochet) and between each loop stitch row.  When tousled to hide the in-between rows it looks like this…

On the rear every fourth row is a bit uneven…

but who’s going to see the back – apart from us.  In total it measure 74 cm (29″) by 94 cm (37″) and is in aran (worsted) weight yarn on a size 5.00mm hook and has probably cured my aversion to any large area of loops.

Plus here’s another pic worthy of note…

In case you’re wondering that would be two, yes two, empty washing baskets.  All the clean washing as of today is ironed and put away or just put away.  B nearly sabotaged this when he did some more washing just before tea but fortunately fresh from the dryer nothing needed ironing.  I think this is the first time since I got home at Christmas, or possibly the second, that we have had a clean laundry free zone in the back bedroom.

I think it’s safe to say that taking the Thalidomide (200 mg) earlier in the evening, 8 pm o’clock being the optimum time for me – having moved from just before bed, so about 10.30, and having tried various times between then and half seven.  I’m still not that good in a morning but I never have been but am getting up easier and do feel significantly better later in the day – which is just as well as the Peritoneal Nurse called this morning to confirm that she can start my training tomorrow after Haemodialysis.  YAY.

Taking the Thalidomide earlier hasn’t made any difference to my forgetfulness and in fact in telling you about training tomorrow has reminded me that I need to make some butties to take with me!

 

Red and denim and white and green

I love, love, love this pram blanket and everyone who’s seen it whilst in progress have loved it too – well at least that’s what they’ve said and maybe the ones that didn’t love it just didn’t say anything!  Four friends at Armchair Yoga wanted to know where the pattern came from and two friends last night described it as striking.

Although I selected the yarn I didn’t as such pick the colours – if you know what I mean. No? Well, its for the impending grandson of a lady who works at the Royal and the pram that’s been bought for him is denim outside with the lining white, red, lime green and denim so she gave me the list of colours and I went and shopped for the actual shades.

Now I’m not going to even pretend that given the whole of the Sirdar Bonus DK colour range that I would have selected these four colours to go into one blanket but I’m truly in love with it – surprisingly smitten actually since although they went together okay when still on the balls it was only when combined in the pattern that I started feeling a growing affection but only after  I’d changed the colour order.

I initially started following the order the colours were written down in on the basis that if you were listing the colours on something you might note them down in the order you saw them (apparently they hadn’t done this anyway).   However the red and denim together just looked too heavy.  So I undid it back to the denim set up row and re-ordered it along the lines of light and dark which I think works much better.

Then there was the issue of the number of colours.  Did I work each strip separately ie, cut the yarn at the end of its current use or did I carry the yarns up the side.  I thought it would be easier to cut the colours, knot them and crochet the edging over it.

Then one of the Armchair Yoga ladies queried this as she wasn’t at all envious of all those ends to deal with and I explained that I didn’t want to spend ages un-tangling the four balls but since I had about a third to go I decided to give it a go.

I have to say the later was the better option.  Not only was it neater but it was way easier to edge over.  Fortunately I’d already decided to edge in denim but had I chosen the green or white I would have had to change my mind as the stronger colours would have peeked through.

The edging was the single crochet (US double crochet) first round and a second round of sc (dc) worked backwards – it’s so simple and every time I’ve used it I’m always pleased with the result.

I’d done the six rows I didn’t like by Sunday morning and this was when I undid five of them and started again from the set-up row and I finished edging it today – which shows it’s quite an easy pattern that grows quickly.  Mind you it’s not like I’ve been doing tons of other stuff although if I hadn’t gone out for my tea yesterday I could have had it finished then.  (I didn’t go out with B by the way but two friends one of whom was a bit worried about me going as B told her I’d been sick yesterday – which I had but apparently the way B told her she thought I’d literally just up-chucked but it had been in the morning.  As it turned out I was fine and really enjoyed the food – I had stilton and garlic mushrooms and then lamb shank with mash and green beans- sometimes anti-sickness meds are just wonderful.)

The blanket measures 75 cm (29.5″) x 95cm (37.5″) and the pattern is Greenway from Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans – again!  It’s a good job I don’t have to pay royalties – I’ve never had such use out of a book of afghans.

Other creative spaces are here.

A Clinic and A Cloche

Now if you’d said ‘Why not make a cloche?’ to me before yesterday I would have said ‘What do I want with something for plants?  I’m in no condition for gardening’.  The only cloche I was familiar with was the kind that you stuck over tender plants to keep them happy and healthy.  Little did I know that it also relates to hats and indeed cloche refers to both the hatty and the planty varieties being bell-shaped.   You may be wondering what this has to do with our clinic appointment today, well let’s start at the beginning.

Yesterday I saw this adorable pattern, The Paiyton Cloche,

over at googie momma’s blog where she’d done a yarny round up.  I was smitten and it just what I needed – there’s also some really cute over patterns there to – I was also particularly taken with the crocheted necklace and the crocodile bootees.  However when I visited The Velvet Acorn it was sold!  I convo’ed them, it was re-listed and I bought one.

Last night when I was contemplating what knitting/crocheting to do on the way to/from and while at the clinic appointment today I thought I’d start the cloche as everything else was too big to be easily portable or too complex to chat round.

What prompted me to be looking for a toddler size hat (although it includes adult sizes in the pattern too) is that the neighbours who have been picking me up from dialysis for the past two weeks have a two year old great grand-daughter who visits quite a lot – she’s so cute and adorable herself.  Mrs Neighbour had asked for my opinion of what needles to use on a ball of wool that she’d bought in Spain (she actually brought it in when she visited me last time I on Royal-cation) as she intended to knit a toddler size hat.  I said 6mm and emailed her a link to a site that provides free patterns as I didn’t have any for aran weight hats.  She was telling me last week that she’d made one and had increased the 60 stitches instructed to 80 as it didn’t look sufficient and the hat had still turned out only big enough to fit a doll.  ‘I only had a pair of 9’s so I used them.  Would this make a difference?’  ‘If that’s the old Imperial size 9 then yes!’  (For the non-knitters a size 9 equals a metric 3.75 mm as opposed to the 6 mm that the pattern probably asked for so anything knit would turn out quite a bit smaller.)

I’m well impressed with both the pattern, which was easy to follow, and the resulting hat, I mean cloche.  It was super quick and super simple AND it turns out to be one of those items that follow this equation

minimal effort = fantastic result

I started it on the way to the clinic and finished it after I got home from my Indian Head Massage – I could have finished it sooner but I hadn’t even looked at the pattern so didn’t realise how easy it was and didn’t have a tape measure to hand so I guessed at 18″ and when I measured it when we got home it was actually 4″ too long.

What’d think?

As to the clinic appointment – we had to wait for a short time as my case notes hadn’t been sent down from the ward I had my PD line installed on – so we went for a cuppa and when we got back the Prof chased them up but when they still didn’t materialise he got to prove right his quip last time when he introduced us to the new doctor saying ‘I’ve seen Paula that much I don’t need the case notes’.

I’m getting another ‘week off’, which is just as well as B took a chance and booked next week off himself at the last minute hoping that I wouldn’t be on another Royal-cation, and I need to ring the ward on Monday 2 April to see if they have a bed for me then so we can start the third (and last) DT-PACE.

To prove that even Professors are human when I said that this suited us fine as B was off next week Prof said ‘Oh, that’s good.  Are you going away?’ to which I said ‘No’ but B said ‘It’s a bit hard with dialysis’.  Prof then accused himself of being thick (especially as he’d only just confirmed what days I went for dialysis) and B actually disagreed – allegedly Mrs Prof wouldn’t have.