Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Thank goodness for our NHS

I have been waiting months now for my injection into two vertebrae in my neck to help with the pain I am getting.  Making sure an appointment did not arrive in the post whilst we were away  I rang the appointments centre and told them.  All was well I believed so imagine my shock when we arrived home from our cruise to see a letter stating that I could go in on the 22nd July, yikes......... we are away in the motor home touring Scotland, as I clearly told the girl on appointments.  Something went wrong so I was gutted that it may be I go to the back of the queue for refusing a date.  Well somebody was on my side.

I rang the pain management clinic and spoke to a lovely lady and asked if I could be given a cancellation.  Problem was I needed to know five days in advance as I was to come off warfarin and go onto self injections of heparin.  Was the time scale workable.  Yes it was, they had just that morning had a cancellation so today with an INR of the accepted 1 I went down for my injections.

The whole procedure went very smoothly and I had a laugh with the surgeon that carried out the procedure and the staff.  They said I was easy to work with which pleased me.  It wasn't a painful procedure, more uncomfortable as he needed to press down on the very place where my neck hurt to begin with.  Well actually that isn't  quite true.  While I thought he would inject into the side of my neck on the left he explained that no he wouldn't .  Pain is a strange thing, where we perceive the pain is coming from is often not the place so he actually went into my spine on the right.  He was very pleased as he showed me on the x ray where the needle went right into the joints of my spine, a brilliant result.  So after a short, very short in my case rest as I had not had any sedation it was home and here I am.  I have to rest today and not allowed to drive for 24 hours.

It can take up to 4 weeks for the full effects to work and I was also told that it may feel worse before it gets better.  I can go with that, just grateful for our wonderful NHS staff who made it all go swimmingly. So another job done.

Heart monitor results

Well not good but not unexpected either.  I have said I knew I was deteriorating so when the results came back and said there was a deterioration in how my heart was coping, sometimes slowing down, palpitations, speeding up too fast, all of these things made sense to me.  So where do we go from here?   My local doctor was going to talk to Sheffield about the results and also send them on.  The secretary of two of my specialists have told me that they will make sure these results get put in front of the two I have been seeing most of recently, Robin who ordered the tests and Charlie, my doctor who is in charge of the study I am on and who rang my local doctor to try to chase up the results.  I am due in for my last study appointment in the middle of September for two days and I have no doubt something will be decided on and will begin to be put in place then.

Very good U tube explanation of ph for the newbies

Some of the new ones that come onto Facebook have difficulty in showing or telling their friends just what PH means.  Many have family and friends who believe they are "putting it on" so I was pleased to see this on u tube today and would ask them to show it to anyone who has no concept of ph.

Pulmonary Hypertension: A challenging cause of shortness of breathK. Akaya Smith, MD, a pulmonologist at Penn Medicine, discusses dyspnea, shortness of breath, and how it is one of the most common presenting conditions of p...youtube.com

Even for the patient themselves it does give an insight into just how our hearts and lungs work and why we are so compromised when we get this disease.  It is rather a long explanation but it has diagrams and the woman talking about the condition, and indeed other conditions that affect the heart and lungs is very good at explaining it in a clear and concise manner.


As we head off to Scotland for around three weeks I have once more got to have my INR done en route.  The first time we went we had to do this and it worked well.  I hope it works as smoothly this time and there are no complications with trying to get my INR up to an acceptable level, there shouldn't be but it is always a worry when we are not in familiar places.

Packing again, and how I hate this but at least once I have decided on the things I need, very little as we do have laundries at most sites I shall leave it up to my better half to load up the motor home and I shall go over to Leeds to meet up with my son and hopefully his delightful girlfriend Anna for a bit of a natter as we won't see one another for almost a month.


Once again the pure evil that was carried out in Dallas four days ago is so hard to comprehend.  It appears that this was about race and creed, blacks versus whites.  Yes I  know there is so much more underlying but I am not a journalist just somebody sad to see killings such as these.  Where will all this madness end.  I wish somebody had the answer but I don't  believe there is one.  Every day when I open my paper or read the news I am expecting to see such terrible things, such atrocities carried out in the name of religion or colour, it saddens me.  I fear for our children growing up in a world like this.  My son told me I wanted an ideal of going back to the 1950's, well yes he is right.  There has never been a time in history when killing didn't go on but now it is just so common place we all expect it and just turn the page, or turn over the news.  The world has become a place of corruption and argument in almost every avenue.  That to me is the saddest thing.

Andy Murray

Andy Murray went on the win Wimbledon again for the second time  This Scot, who I make no bones about saying I just love did Great Britain proud.  He has learnt how to accept the publicity, how to talk to the people behind the cameras and now comes across as a nice guy and a great ambassador for tennis.  Well this is how I think but my doctor will say differently, she can't stand him!  Oh well I love him and am pleased he came through.  Since becoming a husband and a father he has grown up more and become more comfortable in his skin, i hope he goes on to win many more grand slams and another Wimbledon winner, we shall see.  I hope so.

Sports Day

How I would have loved to have been able to go to this as it is the first sports day for Izzy but alas I am told no, I need to rest and anyway I struggle to stand for any length of time.  Grandad has gone and her mommy so I look forward to the tales when they return afterwards.  I love my grandaughter very much but would be the first to admit she will never be an athlete, she takes after me in this regard.  My only hope is that she enjoys it and doesn't get upset if she gets beaten and that she always congratulates the winner with good grace.


This is our baby, born during the horrific floods in Calderdale in the bathroom of his grandparents house.

How time flies.  Now six months and a few days old he has two teeth, loves to pull himself up and stands holding onto furniture, rolls over, but not yet mastered the art of rolling back and has the most beautiful big eyes.  He is a sunny natured baby and I am so very proud of him.  His mommy Jess takes him swimming too so that is a great thing to do at such an early age.  I just love this little man.

Update of sports day

One first, one second and one third.  One very proud grandma here writing this!  So unexpected!

Rory her boyfriend is not in love with her now, he loves Violet and Daisy but Harry still loves Izzy so she is fine about that. Kids, one for the journal.You can see how happy she was at her sports day, she is the one with her mouth open wide with laughter.

Onwards then to swimming and she did so well that we are all soon proud of her and she is taking the intensive swimming lessons over the school holiday for one week.  Well worth the effort to raise her game.  

Ending on a funny, well I think so

When I had finished having the procedure on my neck the nurse pushed me into a side room.  She asked me if I could raise my legs and was shocked as my legs were immediately raised almost to her face.  She obviously didn't expect this but what she said next made me realise why she didn't expect it.  She then said "well you can get dressed now but I make no apologies for saying this to you.  I always stay in the room when really old people like you are getting dressed after having the injections in case they take a turn!"  I always thought I looked ok for my age.  Now old maybe to her, she is around late thirties but REALLY OLD, I ask you.  I bit my lip to stop from laughing.  Wonder what she will think if people consider her really old when she reaches my age.  

Warm love to each and every one of you and thank you for the likes and shares.  All keep well.

Carole xxx

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Back to reality

Nice start to our holiday 

One lovely thing was that we left home a day before our cruise so we were able to spend a lovely evening over dinner with members of our family, David and Jan catching up with all family news.  Onwards then to an overnight stay in a hotel and then we met up with some special friends of ours from when we lived in Spain.  They have a home too in Poole so we made a slight detour and visited with them  for an hour before we moved on to join our ship.    In one of my earlier blogs I say how Freda made a 40 mile trip to visit just for a drink when we were on holiday  in Looe so it was delightful that we were able to meet up with them both and catch up, this time on Spanish news.  All in all the two visits made a perfect start to our holiday.  

So home again after our cruise around the Baltic's.  Our ship was called Celebrity Eclipse and it is a really beautiful ship indeed.  We had a lovely state room  that had plenty of room for my mobility scooter and one of the best bathrooms I have ever had on a ship, and I have been on many.  Our veranda was quite large and there was plenty of room for  sunbathing on it if we didn't wish to take up one of the many beds and loungers up on the pool decks.  Alas I forgot about the effect of my meds in the sun and I ended up with a very red sunburnt face.  It isn't as though I was lying  in the sun, I deliberately didn't, always making sure I was ensconced under a cabana and out of the sun but the power of even a little sun does us much damage.  It is a lesson learnt and I shall make sure I am always even more careful than I am now.
I wasn't TOO bad on the cruise but alas my health did not allow me to attend any of the shows that were put on in the theatre in the evening.  After my meal I hastened back to my bed to rest up ready for another day.  I missed out on going into Tallin as I really didn't feel up to it, in fairness this trip was on the day following my two very hectic days in the amazing St Petersburg and this was so exhausting for even the most able bodied so no surprise then that I needed a duvet day to recover.

St Petersburg was the highlight of the trip and the beauty of the places we saw were breathtaking, magnificent, outstanding, amazing, oh I could go on and on.  I was fortunate to be provided with a "pusher", his name being Alexi.  He was a man aged around 23 and this was his job, to take people wth walking difficulties around all the sites.  He was so professional.  He always made sure he parked me directly in front of any sites to be seen and he never once ran into the back of anybody with the chair.  He politely asked people to move and they did with ease.  We had been fortunate to book with the company we did for the tours as many of them took 40 people in on big busses.  Nightmare as trying to get tickets and keep track of so many just delayed everything.  Our guide had taken us early to the one that she knew would fill up quickly, The Hermitage and so we were able to get around with ease whilst the queues were forming longer and longer outside.  There were only six of us in this tour so it all run like clockwork.  

Have posted a couple of pics here of some of the places we saw but to be honest no picture can do this city justice.  

The Hermitage

Catherine's Palace was just out of this world with the amber room and the gold room where Elton John often hires this room to entertain friends, very impressive it was too! 

A lovely trip over to Peterhoff was a huge success as this was a truly beautiful palace, an amazing site to see and the many, many fountains, some trick ones as Peter the Great loved playing tricks and he designed them to fool people and get them wet!  

It all just looked so magnificent.  The fountains switched on at exactly 11.00 to the sound of some music playing and they were just mind blowing.  The gardens here were gorgeous and very peaceful I could have stayed all day just watching the world go by.  It was Peter himself who masterminded the gardens and the fountains, he was a very clever young man.  He liked peace and tranquility. He left behind an amazing legacy.  Peter the Great was actually responsible for the founding of St Petersburg, which became the new Russian Capital in 1712. This remained the capital of Russia until the war when fearful of invasions  the capital was moved to Moscow where it would not be such an easy target. 

We all said that at the end of two very tiring days we do not believe we would have the strength to do a third day!  

One site I did wish to visit but was just too exhausted, even in the wheelchair was the resting pace of the last ruling family of Russia, including Czar Nicholas, his wife and three of his five children who were executed by the Russian revolutionaries.  I was told that they are not all interred here at this time as the two remaining who had not been found at the time of the other members are still waiting to be laid to rest with their family. Alexi and Maria were only discovered eight years ago and they will join their family in October  of this year. I did ask for pictures to be taken so I do at least know where their final resting place is and can see their tomb.


Originally I wasn't bothered about this part of the tour and felt I may just stay in the taxi.  I changed my mind however and I was so pleased that I did.  The eggs were so beautiful, so much work gone into each and every one and we were told the story of them all individually too. One of them held so many sad memories as when it was shown to the public many people died due to the overcrowding that it was never looked on again with affection.    My personal favourite was the one that opened to show pictures of Czar Nicholas and his family, I just loved this one and was sad to see it too as I know not long after this egg was given to his wife they were exiled and eventually killed. 

The tradition of giving these eggs began in 1884 and each egg was fabricated by the jewellers of faberge (he did not make any himself, he designed them ) and each egg held a secret, fascinating.  There were 50 eggs made in total of which 8 are lost from the collection, where are they? - who knows

The Metro
Who would ever have believed a trip to a metro station would be so good.  This metro exhibits many typical Soviet decorations , designs and artworks, making it one of the most attractive and elegant metros in the world.  Due to its geology the metro is one of the deepest subway systems in the world and during the Cold War threat they were built to double up as bomb shelters and many of them still display features such as blast doors.  Stepping onto the moving staircase it seemed to be an endless journey to the bottom but with such beautiful lights and artwork it was fascinating.  No graffiti to be seen on these walls at all was a bonus, what a delight a trip to the metro proved to be!  All in all it only took us a few minutes out of our schedule but it was well spent.  
I would have loved to have visited the Vaasa  museum but the bus would only have allowed around two hours to look around and I knew this was not nearly enough time to enjoy it fully.  When I feel better I shall return and immerse myself in this museum and enjoy the beauty of this ship that sank just twenty minutes from shore on its maiden voyage.  This almost fully intact 17th century ship was built as a warship with 64 guns, more than likely it was top heavy.  It remained at the bottom of the ocean for 330 years until it was found and salvaged in the 1960's.  Even if you find the word maritime boring I doubt you would with this ship.  So beautiful and powerful and such a story to be told, history unfolds when you take your trip around this museum.  I had my appetite whetted by my hubby who took a tour around here when he  visited Stockholm a year ago.  One day I shall see it.  It is on my wish list.  
To be honest I saw very little of this city.  We took the shuttle bus in and I spent about around thirty minutes wandering before I knew I needed to get back.  I caught the shuttle back on my own  and left my husband  in the city with his camera.  Friends spent time in the Tivoli gardens and said how beautiful it was.  Pity I couldn't make it as I should have loved this.  
Eating on board
The food was excellent quality.  I love that there was very much fresh fruit, I do tend to eat a lot of this so always had plenty for breakfast. We were both good in that we didn't bother with lunch after having had a decent breakfast and didn't bother with afternoon tea.  I doubt anyone could have had a complaint about the food or the service, I gave it top marks in my survey.  
We were blessed with two very lovely people at our dinner table.  We had stated we wished to dine at a table for two.  We are not anti social but we knew my condition makes it hard sometimes for me to stay long over meals,  We were surprised therefore to find ourselves at a table for four and we were told we could change the following day.  On meeting our table companions it quickly became clear that we were going to get on like a house on fire and John and Dianne became two lovely people we looked forward to spending time with for our evening meals.  One day I missed dinner, needing a duvet day as stated above but my husband felt in no way out of it with them both.  We have exchanged contact derails so hope to keep in touch.  
All the furore of this is behind us now and rightly or wrongly the decision has been taken to leave the EU so now our politicians need to stop bickering like children in a playground and get on with the job we pay them for, running the country. We talked to people for America on our cruise who had been watching the vote and they said they applauded when we got the vote to leave.  They too wished they could be in a similar position in their country but we also spoke to people who wished the vote had gone the other way and now despaired for our country,  Only time will tell but I hope all the racism that has reared its ugly head stops now and we can settle down again.  
Preparing for our Scottish trip
So here we are, home again and a busy time ahead as we are getting ready to begin our tour of Scotland, The Scottish 500 miles it is called and we aim to leave a week on Thursday.  Our friend who had believed he would not be able to join us due to a health issue has been given the green light so he will now be with us, good news this.  Lots to do, not least ensuring my tablets are ordered and collected from the various places they come from.  All my ph family will know just what a task this is, to get four weeks supply all made up and put in their various slots in my medicine cases, if I forget anything then trouble lies ahead.  I have rung the chemist and ordered yet another load so shortly there will be many packets and boxes laying around the table whist I get my head around them all.  My Health care at Home delivery is due on Wednesday so all should be in place by Thursday. 
So much banging is going on outside my window.  The scaffold which has been up for months now whilst we were waiting for the builders to do a job is at last being removed.  Our windows are filthy, and I mean filthy with all the dirt and cement dust from the planks they walk on.  It will be a major task to clean the windows as all the casings surrounding them need to be cleaned very well too.  I feel that I shall give this task to our cleaner when she arrives on Thursday (she has said in the past she will do it) there will be plenty of time for her to clean the house again before our return.  I look forward to looking out of clean windows to the park outside instead of the ugly metal structure that has been my view for so long.
Funny  lady ....... Gone

Sadly we lost yet another person well known throughout the UK for her brilliant sit coms  The Royle Family,  Mrs Merton and The Fast Show.   Caroline Aherne died alone at home as her condition deteriorated more quickly than anyone could have known. Having been born with cancer she has battled all her life with one form or another.  She lost her battle for life to cancer of the lung.  She made many of us laugh until we cried, yet she herself suffered many bouts of depressions and seemed unsure of her place in the world.  I for one will miss her wit and comedy, her one liners were legendary and will never be forgotten.  Rest in peace Caroline.  


I did get  to watch a little tennis whilst on holiday when I was resting and saw Andy Murray safely come through to the semi finals.  We have lost number one seed now,  Novak Djokovic so let's hope Andy manages to pull everything out of the bag and win at  Wimbledon again, would love it as I love this young man. 


We saw Izzy yesterday as her mom and Chris are house hunting and we went to view one they are thinking of putting an offer on.  So lovely to see her and she was excited to see us again.  A few days before we came home we received a text message from my daughter asking if we would ring when Izzy was home from school as that morning she had cried and said she missed her grandad.  Of course we rang her and was able to FaceTime her so we saw her face light up with joy when she saw her beloved grandad.  She told me she wanted a harmonica so I said I would buy one for her birthday.  Anyway I saw one in a toy shop for the grand total of £2 so I bought it her.  She was thrilled and hugged it to her chest as her face lit up with joy.  We were delighted to see her and I wonder just how I will cope being away from her for almost four weeks!  Thank goodness for face time.  

As I had very little wifi on board the ship I sadly didn't get to keep in touch with you all as I like to.  I  hope you are all as well as can be.  Thank you for reading my rambling blog, can't get my head around things yet, it takes a few days to catch up when being away from you all but I will in he next day or two.  

Take care everyone, please click like if you liked this log and share if your choose to.  I am happy to be back where I can keep up with all the goings on!

Warm love to you all

Carole xxx