16 May 2013

Nurse Addy

If my blog dries up over the next few weeks or my comments on yours seem less frequent, please forgive me. I have my nurse's uniform on. Before you go getting all overheated and excited, I am talking metaphorically of course. I currently have two patients in my charge.

The first patient is my elderly mother who has still not recovered from her fall and three weeks on is in fact in tremendous pain. I collected her at the beginning of the week and brought her back to my house to care for her. She has cracked her ribs and so, according to most websites, the healing process usually takes 4-6 weeks. She's pretty much bedbound at the moment, so I am getting lots of exercise running up and down all the many stairs (4 flights) twixt kitchen and her bedroom with every cup of tea let alone trays of meals.

The other patient is Snoopy, the dog. At fourteen years old, he is in reasonable condition, bar the chronic gastric problem he has, but he has now added excessive drinking and incontinence to his symptoms. He cannot control his output either on his bed at night or on the sofa during the day, despite hourly visits to the garden. This morning found me running around behind him in the garden to collect a urine specimen (bet the neighbours thought I was one crazy lady) and then taking him to the vet. The vet has ruled out diabetes but the shortlist is that he has either a bladder infection or (more likely) the beginnings of kidney failure. An antibiotic injection has dealt with the possibility of an infection, but if it is kidney failure, my washing machine is going to have to man up and cope with the daily sofa cover and dogbed cover washing!

At the moment, I am less like this

and more like this

10 May 2013

Bridge over troubled waters (or in this case a railway)

I had to take my car for an MOT test today, so left it at the garage and walked about a mile or so home to wait for the call to collect it again. Near where I live is a little hump-back bridge over the railway. It is often the scene of many a road rage scene. The road narrows just before the bridge on either side so that the road over the bridge is just one-car width. There is a road sign denoting who has priority to cross, should two cars arrive at once from opposite directions. However because of the rise of the hump, it is often quite difficult to see who is coming from the opposite direction.

However, some people don't put their brain into gear when they approach that bridge and use the priority arrow to mean carte blanche for them to go across the bridge without using any other consideration for anyone else. Even if someone from the red-arrow direction is three quarters of the way across the bridge before white arrow car comes hurtling along at great speed, white arrow car will more often than not force red-arrow car backwards three-quarters over the Bridge to their original start point!


At peak times, such as rush-hour or school-run times, it can get quite hairy, as people just don't use their heads. There are often arguments, gestures and I have even seen the occasional physical fight. Confrontations have happened to me in my car several times (quite recently I was red-arrow car going happily across the bridge with nothing in sight at all on the other side, when white-arrow car came hurtling along well over the 30 mph he should have been travelling at, in a souped-up, open-top Porsche and forced me three-quarters of the way backwards. My comments were unprintable!) If I had more time I would sit it out or even call the police, as in fact I did once before when Greg was still alive and sat beside me for moral support.  (The police's view by the way is that people should use common sense when approaching the bridge and not take the sign too literally).
It happened again today, as I walked over that bridge on my way back from the garage. A young woman in a VW Golf was white-arrow car trying to force some middle-aged man in red-arrow car three-quarters of the way backwards over the bridge. He remained cool, got out of his car, still three-quarters over (and blocking) the bridge, strode purposefully towards her car and said something to her. I was out of earshot so could not hear what he said, but behind each of the two opposing cars  a line of other cars was forming, tooting and honking their horns. The man then threw up his arms in mock horror, returned to his car and decided to back up over the bridge (as did all the cars following him), while white-arrow woman revved her engine and then proceeded to sail ceremoniously past him with a self-satisfied smirk on her face. I felt the sudden urge to tap my forehead with my finger at her as she passed me, to indicate what I thought of her. I don't wish her any harm, but can only hope that in the meantime a big pothole has swallowed her up.
Yes, the sign indicates who has priority if you both reach the bridge at the same time and there is any doubt about it, but it does not require you  to leave your brain behind and force backwards someone who is already three-quarters of the way across, just because you technically have priority and arrived well after them. I despair of the human race sometimes.
Oh yeah.... my aged car passed it's MOT for another year. Put the flags out!

07 May 2013

Will you still need me, will you still feed me?

When the Beatles first sang this song in 1967, I was a mere teenager of 17 years old. I couldn't imagine being 64. It seemed so ancient and so far away. Even when I married Greg just under 10 years later, the thought of us reaching 64 seemed out of this world. I always suspected we would still need one another and feed one another, when we did reach that milestone, as we were deeply in love. The years went by, sometimes too fast to hold on to. We lived in Germany, we returned to the UK, we climbed the first rung of the housing ladder, we coped with new and ever-demanding jobs and we had Kay. And still that deadline seemed far off.

Last week saw the date that would have been Greg's 64th birthday. "Will you still need me, will you still feed me?"   Now at long last I sadly know the answer.

02 May 2013

Things that go bump in the night

I've been away from home for nearly two weeks, staying with my Mother  It's been a hectic two weeks. We were finally at the point where we could put her house on the market to start the long process of her moving back to London to be closer to me. I've been doing all sorts of jobs like weeding the garden for the umpteenth hundredth time, creosoting the fence and shed, washing net curtains, washing down paintwork, getting three agents to value the house and then picking one to proceed with the sale. Then we had to engage a firm to do the necessary Energy Performance Rating. So it's been one long round of hard work, organisation, paying out money and waiting for people to arrive. The house sale went online last Friday, will be in the local newspapers later this week and is already being sent out to prospective buyers in leaflet format. We had our first viewers visit on Sunday. There came a time in both our minds when we wondered if we were doing the right thing. My mother will be ninety this summer, so I do worry that this comes a bit late in her life to cope with a big move, selling a 4-bedroom house and massively downsizing to a warden-assisted one-bedroom retirement flat, thus having to dispose of extraneous furniture and a lifetime of memories. Even though I promised to do as much if not everything I could to take the load off her.

As if fate were reassuring us, albeit in a rather drastic fashion, I was awoken from a very heavy deep sleep (all this physical work has exhausted me at the end of each day) at 2am on Sunday night by my mother calling out to me. I staggered out of bed to find her slumped on the floor in the hallway splattered with blood. It appeared she had turned over in her sleep, was too close to the edge anyway and she had fallen out of bed onto the floor. In the process, she had bashed her face on the corner of the bedside table and couldn't get up again, because she has scoliosis - a back deformed by arthritis. She had shuffled on her bottom across her bedroom and out onto the landing to get to my room. Blood from her gashed face dripped down her nightdress. I  fetched a stool and managed to haul her into a sitting position up onto that and then to stand her up and assist her back to bed.  I got her to lie in the very middle of her double bed and surrounded her with a wall of pillows to stop her falling out again. We both slept fitfully in our separate rooms after that. I was due to return home on Monday but agreed to stay a few more days as, although nothing seemed broken, she was now in even more back pain than usual. She has never fallen out of bed in her life and cannot fathom why she has now, but I guess maybe the stress of the move had made her sleep in more turmoil than usual. However, one thing is clear, the move makes even more sense now. If anything happens in the future, she would be living 5 minutes away from me,  as opposed to the 2 hours she does now, with a warden on call if she fell.  A strange thing is fate.