Sunday, March 25, 2007

Spring has sprung...


Bright and cheerful crocuses - a few flowers blew away in the gales the other week, but plenty more have followed on.

It's been a lovely sunny day here in Liverpool. John was feeling sufficiently recovered to go for a swim this afternoon, and take a bit of a walk along Otterspool Prom amongst the kite-flyers and other strollers.

Yesterday we drove over to Clatterbridge in the afternoon to visit my father. I thought he seemed less well than the last time I saw him, about 2 weeks ago I think, but it's hard to tell. Maybe it's just disorientation after being moved. But he was pleased to see us.

He has a label around his wrist saying something like "Danger of Falling", and I was relieved to see he is now in a bed with side bars. He kept getting out of bed before (on the last ward), but didn't manage to use the frame he'd been given. Instead of leaning on it he just carried it around. Dr R will be doing a ward round on Tuesday or Wednesday, so hopefully we will get a better idea of how things are going after that.

Some of the freesias the girls gave me for Mothering Sunday are still flowering, and they still smell wonderful. John can't smell freesias. And it's my favourite flower because of its perfume. He brought me a bunch into LMH when I'd just had Sarah. I woke in the night, and smelled them, and cried. Felt so lonely, and touched he had remembered how I liked freesias even though he can't smell them. Plus was terrified at having a baby - I'd never even held a baby before I was being trundled on a trolley through the bowels of the hospital clutching Sarah to me and scared I was going to drop her.

Of course that was back in the days when you were kept in for 10 days as standard. But I was chucked out after 7 as they needed the bed. So some things haven't changed!

Freesias still flowering

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Mothering Sunday flowers from Sarah and Helen

Mothering Sunday flowers

John has been having problems with an abscess in his jaw, I wrote a little about it already.

Response to Metronidazole (400mg) tablets seemed slow, but by the end of the course his jaw felt better. Until Friday, when he had a few twinges. By Sunday he was struggling, we only made it late to the family meal that he cooked for (Sarah and Helen took the beef stew over).

But we did stop by the side of the Mersey en route, wind against tide so plenty of waves with the north-westerly gale.

Wind against tide on the Mersey, Sunday

He rang NHS Direct Sunday morning, who gave him the number for an emergency dentist. But he just said to call his own dentist Monday morning. Fine, but his dentist is only working part time, so isn't there on Mondays. Apparently John has bone loss from his jaw, and the abscess isn't on a tooth, but between the gum and jaw. There seems to be a history of osteoporosis in his family, so come Monday morning he decided to try and get a doctor's appointment.

8.30am saw him dialling the surgery, over and over. When he finally got through he was asked for name, address, dob and telephone number. He was asked if it was an ongoing problem, or something new, and when he responded that it was a new problem he was told that a doctor would ring back later to triage him.

Meanwhile he was doing hot salt water rinses, and that seemed to be helping. The Doctor called about an hour later, and John told his story. The Doctor suggested he should see a Maxillary consultant at Aintree, which apparently is the Regional Centre of Excellence, to have the bone loss checked out, and he will write for an appointment. At that point he asked if John wanted more antibiotics.

John explained that the jaw wasn't painful at that time, and the hot salt water treatment seemed to be working. He'd had a good night's sleep after a couple of bad nights, so he thought he'd leave it for now. The doctor encouraged him to call back later if he felt worse, and said he would write a prescription if he needed it later. At this point John was still talking about going back to work in the afternoon.

After that John fell asleep again (most unlike him to sleep in the daytime) and slept till lunch time. By which time his jaw was looking rather inflamed (at least what I could see of it through his beard!). So he called back the surgery, to be told to phone again at 2.30pm.

2.30pm and it's back to redialling until he gets through - the surgery doesn't accept ring-back. Finally gets through, to be told he'll phoned back and triaged again. This time he gets a nurse he thinks. Explains his story again, remembering this time to mention that he has been visiting my father regularly in hospital, and that he (my father) has a resistant organism (we don't know what) in his lungs. The Nurse said she was confident that John's problem was nothing to do with my father's problem.

Nurse says she will have a word with the doctor he spoke to this morning. His prescription will be ready at 4.30pm, but if the doctor needs to see him he'll telephone.

John then went back to sleep, waking a bit before 4pm to get dressed and head for the Health Centre. He didn't see the doctor, but a prescription for Augmentin 625 mg tablets was waiting for him in reception. I must admit I find it strange to be "seen" by one of our GPs over the telephone!

John slept all night last night I think, and has slept most of today too, just waking to get some breakfast and lunch (and finish reading Balthazar). I think this is the first time he has been off sick since he started in his current job, which is just over 4 years ago.

On a completely unrelated topic, they came and renewed the white lines on our road yesterday. They did the lines across our side road in the morning, but the one down the middle of the road was after the rush hour, so it was beginning to get dark. The photos I took through our dirty windows haven't come out very well, but I thought it would be fun to put them up anyway.

White lining

At least you can see the flame to keep the paint (or whatever it is) hot and liquid shows up in the picture below. The guy has a handle on the handlebars (for want of a better description) that he uses to cut off the paint when the unpainted bits of line come up. Urk, I'm not very good at describing this!

White lining 2

I also finally managed to do the quiz What Operating System Are You? Thanks to Sisyphus again for alerting me to this!

And I thought I'd finish this with a short video of the River Mersey I shot on Sunday. It's a bit shaky as I shot it from the car, which was being buffeted hard by the wind.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Super Heroes?

Thanks to Sisyphus I did the "Which Super Hero are You?" quiz.

Your results:
You are Batman

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
Iron Man
The Flash
You are dark, love gadgets
and have vowed to help the innocent
not suffer the pain you have endured.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Sarah arrived last night quite late, but I was well asleep. John got back home around 9pm from taking Mum to visit Dad, but I was asleep by then. It's not really surprising, as John normally gets up at 6am, so I wake then. By 8 or 9pm I'm falling asleep. I slept through all of Comic Relief last night, and I really really wanted to see the finish of Comic Relief's version of The Apprentice (complete with Sir Alan Sugar "You're fired"). Boo hoo!

Sarah and Helen are visiting Dad tonight, Mum is taking a day off from the visiting. Tomorrow the plan is for us to all meet at John's Mum's flat for lunch, and then Sarah will take Mum for the afternoon visit. But John's between jaw and gum abscess seems to be flaring up again, and he's not feeling too good this evening (we're both kind of tucked up in bed already) so I don't know if we'll make it or not.

We are all trying to consider how to continue with the ongoing situation. Basically we can't go on with things the way they are - it's just not possible. John is tired out from all the driving to and fro on top of work (where it's rather frantic at the mo as well - folks on holiday and off sick).

And I am having difficulty eating anything at all. Just too choked up by the situation to be able to chew and swallow. It's a case of forcing food down, because I know I must. If that makes sense. I'm trying to eat as much fruit salad as I can force down - at least 'tis healthy eating... Or it might be if I didn't have the single cream with it. I'm not keen on low fat creme fraiche (or however it's spelt).

Hope we can make it tomorrow (though I feel sh*te as usual), as I haven't seen John's Mum for ages - other than for minutes a few weekends back when I felt too ill to stay for lunch after we got there. I really miss seeing her, and wish could do so more often. I don't think I've seen her since before Christmas. :-( She may be my Mother-in-Law, but she's a fantastic and lovely person, and I really miss seeing her.

Sorry to post such a Pity Party, just things are so difficult at present.

Friday, March 16, 2007

chronic illness

I'm not in a terribly good state at the moment, but came across Katrina Berne's website, which I found comforting in some ways.

And I found another great funny video from Top Gear. Car v dog. If you're not that interested in the car stuff, you need to access it just before the 5 minute mark to watch the race.

I was never interested in cars, but when I had to choose my Motability car I suddenly found cars can be interesting! My Renault Grand Scenic is great - can sit upright in it, and John loves to drive it. Am sad to say I never have driven it. Had a traumatic near escape while on the way to have an "easy" drive round Sefton Park that really scared me. I haven't driven since, and hadn't for over a year anyway.

New Car!

Maybe I'll get back into driving again once the weather is better. I don't want to lose it. I loved driving.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Haven't looked at my stats recently, so was rather surprised to find I had 70 page loads on Tuesday. Very strange (usually it's between 10 and 20, with the occasional blip). Some of the search terms people use are quite entertaining, and I find myself wondering why on earth they are looking for such stuff. This is the funniest I've had recently:
pictures of bacon stuck between teeth

The phone has been ringing all day today. Mum rang at 9am, worried as she'd had a phone call from Social Services asking her a lot of "lifestyle questions" as she put it. I don't know why, and they haven't made an appointment to visit. She is supposed to be being assessed by them, but gawd knows when.

Then I had a couple of silent calls. Pick up, nobody there, and number withheld. I hate these.

I was very tired so had a nap this afternoon, and just as I was dropping off the bloody phone rang again, I'm afraid I left it. Yet another silent call around 5pm, so John was lucky I picked it up when he called at 5.40 to say he would be late home. Since then Helen has called from the hospital as Mum couldn't remember if John was going to take her to visit tomorrow (he is), and the phone has just gone yet again (Helen again with news of the visit).

Sounds like Dad is getting his sense of humour back. The staff asked him what he'd like to drink, and the response was "a gin and tonic". When they said they couldn't manage that he said "a nice Italian white then".

We got yet another phone call after all the rest - Orange ringing to try and sell us their internet service. I bet it was them that all the silent calls that withheld their number were from earlier. Grrr. John told them not to call us about it again - they rang me a couple of weeks ago too. Used to be our ex-directory number didn't attract sales calls, but it doesn't seem that way any more. Grrr, grrr and grrr again.

Paula's place - House of Poland, Lark Lane. .

House of Poland, Lark Lane, Liverpool

Paula is the best hairdresser I have ever had my hair cut by. And she is lovely too. I've been going to her since the kids were tiny, and remember them getting styled for the school disco one year - Helen had totally crimped hair (well, it was fashionable back then!) and looked fantastic. Paula, if you ever read this, hugs to you.

The last time Sarah came up from London (nearly 3 weeks ago) we both had haircuts, and she treated me to a manicure.

Red fingernails

We sat in Keith's for a while beforehand (Paula is usually running a bit late, but we're used to it, and she is well worth waiting for), I had cappuccino, she had hot chocolate. Helen met up with us post haircut to drive us home, and she and Sarah split carrot cake and chocolate cake. They decided the carrot cake took it on this occasion as it was nice and moist. Nice to sit there and watch the people passing by - Lark Lane is a great place to people watch.

I am pleased with this photo I took through the window at Keith's, but just need to get the angle slightly different so I get the whole of the sign for The Albert showing through the window. Next time we go I will attempt to do that.

The Albert from Keith's

The old laundrette across the road, where Sandy's Mum used to work, has been closed for a while now. It's being done up, refurbished, and will become yet another restaurant. But I was struck by the wonderful lettering on the old shop banner exposed where the laundrette sign has been taken down.

Lark Lane - used to be the laundrette

We also noticed some amazing detail on a building across the road from Paula's, and a bit closer to the Park. We were speculating on its history - there is an entrance part way along the building that goes through a tunnel to a courtyard/space at the rear. Presumably to drive a coach through? It's on the same block as The Albert, so maybe it used to belong to that. Who knows. But I think I'd like to try and find more out.

Detail of building in Lark Lane

Lark Lane has a lot of interesting buildings, I really must go and take more photos one of these days. And it'd be good to take a stroll (well, more of a stagger for me!) along Hadassah Grove, lots of interesting buildings down there!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A sunset photo for Sisyphus

Want to share my sunset from this evening.

Urban sunset

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Well, I'm here, sort of.

I just spent an hour or so watching the abalone sky with an archipelego of clouds floating in it.

Took some photos, as I thought Sisyphus might enjoy them, she needs cheering up. But I can't upload them to this computer (another random programme conflict I suspect, should spring-clean this desktop!), and am back on dial-up on the laptop, so would probaly take take too long. Aaarrgghh! But will get them up when I can, if any are free of camera shake.

And then caught the last 10 minutes of an old "Top Gear" on some random Sky channel, which gave me the best laugh I've had all week. Jeremy Clarkson was invited to open a swimming pool... He bought a Rolls Royce cheap (well, it did have a lot of body probs plus leaky radiator), did it up (sort of cobbled it up might be a better description), donned the only suit he owns - or so he said. Then instead of stopping for the red be-ribboned scissors brandished by the Mayor ("What do I need scissors for?") he drove straight through the red ribbon and straight into the swimming pool. Well it's funnier to watch than describe, I wonder if it's available on YouTube.


More importantly I want to wish my good friend Ray, "Mr Co-Cure", a very happy 60th Birthday. Happy Birthday Ray! And many more of them. Let's hope Co-Cure won't be needed by the time you reach your 70th! ;-)

This is only a quickie post - too much going on to blog about as it's all happening so fast. Dad is still in hospital, he had a MRSA infection, not sure exactly what the infection position is right now. But from what Doctor R told us just over a week ago it seems he has a worse bug in his lungs, so they are being very careful about infection control, and the Doc emphasised that we should be careful to use the hand wash etc. Pneumonia is a constant possibility. Plus they are using antiseptic skin cream to prevent the infection spreading to his skin.

Mum had laser eye surgery on Tuesday, which John took her to. Her sight has improved a bit, but she is sad that she still can't see well enough to read. I think it was probably too much to hope for (she has AMD) but I guess it's only natural to hope against hope that things will return to more normal, despite what anyone tells you.

The phone rings too often for me now, but this morning had a welcome call. Helen and David got home from Sweden late last night, and it was Helen on the phone. They stayed in the Ice Hotel, went on a short hike wearing snow-shoes, went out on snow-mobiles, but didn't see the Northern Lights as it was cloudy. But it's not been a great year for it this year apparently - something to do with sunspots and solar flares?

Gotta go, am missing Comic Relief does Fame Academy!