Sunday, 24 July 2011

When Grandma came to stay

So what did we get up to for the rest of Grandma's visit? The younger generation had to scoot off at about 6pm, to get a certain young man to bed, and try for one of them to get to the evening service at their church. We took Grandma with us, and she seemed to enjoy the service, and was heard to say. 'Oh good, communion' as we walked in. After the service we declined  an offer for cake in the manse and went home. Husband had gone a bit mad with buying things, he had quite forgotten Baby has a regular bedtime these days, so we packed up a doggy bag and took it round to them. I hear it was much appreciated. We all had a good tea, chatted for awhile and then went to bed.
On the Monday husband was back at work  His Mum and I walked down to Sainsbury's, bumping into an old neighbour of mine on the way. Mum in law was very pleased that H remembered where she was living, she had not met H before, H regaled us with the story of her son's wedding, which involved 3 ceremonies, due to cultural differences. That's the second wedding I've heard of this year that had 3 ceremonies.
I'm sorry to say that after lunch we both dozed off, so apart from the vacuuming I did in the morning, Monday was not very productive. I did however do my exercises the required 3 times.
Tuesday we went with daughter to the big family run garden centre near St Albans where we had lunch in their excellent cafe. Whilst we were eating it began to rain, in fact it poured down. the roof of the cafe is plastic sheeting so it was very noisy. 'Oh' said Grandma, 'Your washing'. I shrugged, there was nothing I could do about it,' It may not be raining at home' I replied. After lunch we had a wander round. I picked up a fuchsia, their plant of the month; Daughter hesitated then chose one. Oh dear, she will be hooked. I picked 2 more lights for the garden, as some of ours have failed, and I chose a gardenia for my kitchen window sill. Suddenly I stopped, 'How are we going to get this all in the car?'. The push chair takes up a lot of room in the boot. I decided we must go to the checkout forthwith, where they kindly placed our things in boxes. As we got to the car, the heavens opened again, and it was almost like hail. We got everything in, just, and I sat peering through a forest of fuchsia leaves as I had one on my lap.Talk about 'Down in the jungle'.
The rain continued to lash down, and 2 lanes of traffic were escorted part way to the M1, by a police car doing 40 mph.  We came off the motorway and saw that a taxi had left the road, just after the slipway. As we drove along after our exit I suddenly noticed that the road was completely dry. We transferred my stuff to my boot, and helped Daughter indoors with her stuff. Later when we reached home, there was my washing, quite dry, although the lawn was a bit wet. so obviously the torrential downpours had not reached here, perhaps just one shower. What a difference a few miles can make.
Wednesday morning Grandma changed her mind about coming to Sainsbury's with me, she was going into town. Then she changed her mind again, and said she would start weeding one of my borders. It had been weeded before the holiday, but of course when we were away it rained a lot here, and we came home to lots of weeds. My time was spent in picking the masses of fruit, and I had just pulled up the odd weed. After my op I didn't feel like getting down to the weeding, and again had just pulled a few up. So she had quite a task.
 After lunch I dropped her at Daughter's as I had a physio appointment. She said I am doing quite well, and introduced band exercises, to give more resistance,( that is a wide rubber band, not a brass band!) I called back at Daughter's for a while, Grandma had been weeding there too. I left Grandma there, came home, had a doze and waited for husband to come home. We then drove up there for a meal. Unfortunately, as I let myself in I called 'Hello', and a certain young man heard me. He had been sleepy , but then became wide awake. His Daddy came home and tried to get him to sleep , but he wasn't having any of it! He ended up joining us at the table, in his high chair, and munching on chicken, veg, then a few berries, after which he was happy to go back to bed and settled down
Whilst Grandma was here she had mentioned to husband that she would like to replace some of her Poole pottery cups and asked him to keep a look out in charity shops. After he had gone to bed I went one better, and found some on ebay, which I duly bought and they were delivered in time for her to take them home.
On Thursday we decided to go over to Berkhamsted, which is where Grandma used to shop quite a lot at one time. However it began to rain, and although Baby had raincovers, and Grandma a hood, the other two of us were just in cardigans, so we dodged in and out of shops, then after a visit to the craft shop decided we had had enough. I went into Waitrose, where we had eaten lunch and did a bit of shopping to redeem the car park ticket. They do my favourite yoghurts there in different flavours too, so I stocked up.
Friday morning I again dropped Grandma at Daughter's as I had a hydrotherapy appointment, so Daughter took her to the station. I called at daughter's with some quiche , but she had already eaten, so I had lunch then baby minded whilst she washed the kitchen floor. She had to go out, but was to drop baby off later whilst she did some more sorting out. Husband came home early, so was delighted to see Baby, and we had fun with him, and then I gave him some food. All too soon his Dad came to collect him, so we had our evening meal then settled down to watch a DVD. I had to do my own washing up though, first time since my 'op'.
Grandma had made some gaps in the flower bed as some of my busy Lizzies had lost their flowers, so yesterday after the morning shopping we went back to our usual garden centre. They had very little stock, but I managed to find enough to fill the gaps.
The weather has improved, today we had Sunday lunch in the garden, then I sat for a while with the Telegraph general knowledge crossword to top up my vitamin D. Nearly time now for a cuppa, which I will probably take outside.  I will try to upload some pics.

I can reach Grandad's keyboard

Down the hatch!

So, is there any left?

I think I can see a bit in the bottom

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Guess who's coming to (Christmas) dinner?

Well it seems quite a while since I blogged, I'm now trying to remember what happened when! Life was pretty normal at the beginning of last week, then on the Wednesday Daughter took me to my appointment with the consultant, he removed my stitches, gave approval for hydrotherapy, said that he would like to see me in 2 or 3 months, then asked 'Any questions?' I thought for a moment and then remembered, 'When can I drive?' 'Now' was the reply. This was a help because I didn't want to keep relying on others to drive me to and from appointments.
Daughter and I had planned to have lunch in Harpenden, but she had forgotten the pushchair, so we drove back to our home town and she took me to Sainsbury's. By the time I had unloaded the shopping we were both pretty hungry, so she suggested an eating place nearby. We unloaded baby from the car, and went in, only to be told fairly abruptly, 'You can't bring the Baby in here' . As we left we passed a sign which read 'No children under 14'. This is fair enough, as husband and I have had anniversary meals ruined by going to a cheap eatery on a Saturday evening and finding that there are uncontrolled children racing about, they even had a play area. This is at an hour when said children should be safely tucked up in bed.
Babies at lunchtime are however a different matter. I suggested two other nearby places, and we chose one, which actually welcomed babies, and provided a high chair.We discovered that 1) Nathaniel only likes plain chicken, and 2) he isn't the slightest bit interested in pizza! The old standbys of rice cakes and fruit proved useful. We weren't going to have dessert, but the hopeful waiter brought us menus, and I weakened when I saw Panna Cotta. However the rhubarb with it was tough and undercooked.
We drove back to Daughter's home and  later on as she was busy I walked home,. It was a very pleasant walk home, except when I passed the home of our old friend Clive, and I felt sad to see the place looking unlived in. There are however flowers blooming in the garden. I expect his neighbours are keeping the front lawn mown. No sign of a 'For sale' board yet, I would imagine he left a will, he was a very practical person.
I still have difficulty thinking that he is no longer here, but he is in a far better place. On the Thursday, Daughter took me to our annual Women's hour lunch in someone's home in a nearby town. It was all very lovely and we sat in the suntrap garden afterwards, and others helped to capture Baby when he made his escape bids.
I knew that there had been some conversations going on between Mum in Law and husband, and Mum in Law and Daughter, but Mum in Law hadn't approached me. However she did eventually to ask if she could come and stay. The people who took over the church where Father in Law was part time Pastor were themselves retiring and going into part time work with Wycliffe. They were having a special farewell tea, and Mum in Law was invited. I said she would have to take us as she found us, but I managed to drag the vacuum cleaner upstairs, clean the room, and the other floors too. I moved some stuff around, and made up the bed then later collapsed in a heap and had a snooze.
I had a hydrotherapy appointment on the Friday when Grandma was due to arrive, that went quite well and Daughter came round and helped me do some tidying downstairs. She then very kindly collected her Grandma from the station. Grandma was delighted to see Nathaniel, how he had grown, his progress with crawling (very fast), and his ability to clap. The Saturday was wet, very wet. It was church barbecue day too. we all went into town by car and did the shopping, stopping for jacket potatoes in M&S for lunch. A quick trip home to unpack the shopping, a quick blimp at the papers, then out to take Grandma to her tea. On the way home we went in two garden centres looking for the elusive plant to 'finish off' the front. It took me several days to realise that himself had chosen a very delicate pale fuchsia!
Husband went out later to collect his Mum, and I had a doze, the first for 2 days. She came home buzzing with stories of people whom she had seen, and an offer of a lift back to that church for the Sunday morning service. That gave me plenty of time to get on with the 'surprise'. When Mum in law could not make it here for Christmas , she had said 'we will have Christmas when I come up'. So I had bought Turkey breast for roasting, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and I did roasties as well. Daughter, Son in law and baby came too, and I dug out the left over crackers, and the Christmas pudding which was slightly out of date  nicely matured. we had fun, but the chocolate mints also turned out to be very out of date, some had melted in the heat of the kitchen. and some were hard enough to use as mini doorstops.
I will pause for now and continue later

Sunday, 10 July 2011

On the road to recovery

I have realised that I didn't say very much about the day of my operation.  I woke quite early, but having packed an overnight bag 'just in case' the previous evening, I didn't have much to do. I managed to swallow my meds with the required 'sip' of water, and tried not to let the smell of husband's coffee get to me.
We set off  at about 6.40 am, but the roads were pretty clear, and we arrived well before the stated time of 7.15. I booked in and waited to be called. Gradually the other waiting patients disappeared, there were 2 porters on duty, and soon my name was called. I chose stairs rather than lift and we were soon winding our way around corridors to my allocated room. The porter carried my bag. The room was very light and airy, with a small en suite, and an enormous tv., and electric controls on the bed.
Husband had been told he could stay with me, but after my BP checks, high as usual in such circumstances, the nurse started dropping hints for him to go. The consultant popped in and drew 2 arrows on  my shoulder with a biro, the anaesthetist came in and was completely unfazed by my nerves and high BP. I signed the consent form, and was soon getting changed into my gown, and measured up for stockings, long white and tight, to keep my circulation going.
I tried hard not to watch the clock; the tv made my nerves jangle, so I settled down to read a Gervais Phynn book, which has a title something like 'over the hill but not out of the woods'. Some of the stories are repeats from his earlier books, but it was light reading. All too soon the theatre nurse came to escort me. They encourage patients to walk to theatre. The anaesthetist was very soothing, and very soon I was fast asleep, and knew nothing of the local anaesthetic inserted into my neck. I woke up in recovery with the consultant saying something about finding a tear, and that I may need further surgery. The next thing I knew I was back in my room, and having a nurse check my BP. 'Oh she said, it's come right down' she sounded disappointed!
Soon I was being offered water, through  a bendy straw. The anaethetist popped in and shook hands and asked, ' No more nerves?', The consultant popped in, and said something, but I was still a bit dopey.
Then someone came in and offered me tea or coffee, and asked did I want lunch. Two cups of tea, a chicken panini, and yoghurt later I was beginning to feel human, if slightly nauseous. Another BP test, then I watched some tv whilst waiting for the physio.
Another nurse came in and helped me to wash and clean my teeth. The sister came in with some pain relief, which I refused as NSAIDS do not agree with me. I had no pain anyway, just a dead arm over which I had no control if I removed the sling. I began to realise how helpless stroke victims must feel. The physio eventually arrived, gave me a sheet of exercises and explained them. She also told me that the consultant 'had done a lot of work', including tidying up a tear. She said many people have tears, and lead ordinary lives, so I may not need further surgery. The sister came back with some dressings, and said I could ring husband, who was working from home. He didn't appear to have got the message that I was out of theatre.
I had to wait for him to come to get dressed, as I couldn't manage it all one handed. We managed to locate my dressing gown and slippers, last seen in theatre, and were soon saying 'Goodbye'. I spent the rest of the day resting, and managed to cook fish, potatoes and peas for me, with a little help. Husband went to the chippy!
On Saturday I let him shop, and he mostly stuck to the list I had joked that  he would bring home 4 doughnuts, 6 bottles of wine and 5 pork pies!
I managed church on Sunday morning, but I was fighting sleep. I had a good long sleep on Sunday afternoon, so did husband, so much so that neither of us was awake enough for the evening service. The sling came off on the Sunday, the feeling in my arm had returned on the Saturday. Some days I have managed a walk, but I tend to give in when I the tiredness washes over me.Daughter took me to parent and toddlers, I was doing registration which was quite undemanding. then she took me to Sainsbury's. Unfortunately on Thursday the tiredness came flooding back so I missed ladies' meeting. I have been doing my exercises diligently, and Friday, husband worked from home again in order to take me to physio.
The physio was very pleased with me, and took me into the gym, where I used pulleys, and she told me how to rig some up at home. Next week I see the consultant on Wednesday and providing he agrees, will have hydrotherapy next Friday.
Yesterday we went shopping in town, husband carried most of the bags, and in the afternoon we went to the church anniversary meetings. there was still plenty of food for tea, without my contribution. The speaker was the principal of LTS, and he is also taking the services today.
Son in Law is starting his new job tomorrow up in London, Sadly his Dad has been diagnosed with another disease, he already has Parkinson's.This rather took the shine off their news.
Well it's almost time to put the kettle on. I am looking forward to being able to drive again, but have to wait to find out when

PS, my apologies to Gervaise Phinn, his book is actually, 'out of the woods but not over the hill'

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Good news!

Just a quick update to say that I am progressing quite well, I am now able to do all of my physio exercises, but the downside is I still keep falling asleep, probably an after effect of the anaesthetic. I am doing a bit of walking, (to the shops), but got the bus back up from town today. Now where did I put my bus pass? The other good news is that Son in Law now has a job

Saturday, 2 July 2011

A bit more lucid

I have just read yesterday's post and realised the mistakes in it! However, I had a reasonable night, the 'block' has now worn off, and the pain is minimal except when I do my physio exercises. Husband did the shopping and mostly obeyed the list, whilst he was out I lay on the sofa for a much needed doze, I also checked my BP which had been sky high yesterday morning, pre-op. it is now a respectable 126/65.
The problem came when I tried to raise myself up from the sofa, I couldn't. I eventually managed, but not without pain. I have taken some pain killers, not the ones offered by the hospital.they wanted me to have diclofenac. When I had a previous op I was given voltarol, (the same), then when the doctor realised I was asthmatic, she said I wasn't  to have any more.Also in the past NSAIDS have given me stomach pains. They also wanted me to have Co codamol, which again depresses the breathing. I occasionally take those, but only if desperate, and then only one.

I am grateful to God for the measure of my recovery so far, and thank everyone who has prayed for me.I hope to be able to get to church tomorrow, at least in the morning. I will endeavour to post some pics of the 'revised' front garden with the new plants.

3 roses,a new fuchsia and lavender in the middle tier
showing my planters a bit more

the dahlia which I fell in love with

Friday, 1 July 2011

Honey, i'm home

Just a quick post to sat that I'm home, feeling like a one armed bandit, as I had a shoulder nerve block.i have a totally dead arm! i had a problem with the pain relief offered, bur so far have had no pain to speak of. A big thank you to all who prayed for me.Will stop now as one hand typing is very tiring