30 March 2016

As you (don't) like it.

I've never particularly liked the character of Phil Mitchell in the soap Eastenders nor been remotely attracted to his looks, but  I have to say I am impressed hook, line and sinker with his portrayal of a man in the grip of alcohol. A lot of actors find it difficult playing a drunk and usually manage to overdo it. Steve McFadden who plays the part of Phil Mitchell doesn't even have to say or do anything.  He has captured the sheer look of an alcoholic - the little scrunched-up piggy eyes and the inane, vacant expression. Of course the frustration he causes all around him when he fails to deliver on his promise to quit alcohol is also spot-on. Ten out of ten for a sterling performance. He plays it like it is.

22 March 2016

Too young to be old

After recent visits to two consultants, they have written a summary of their findings to my GP, copied to me,  describing me as a fit 65-year-old.    "Fit" as in "healthy", I suspect, and not as in the modern meaning of "Phwoar".  [Although, far be it for me to boast, some might say I was "phwoar" too.]  OK, I'll admit to being a stone  little heavier than I should be for my height, but I keep active, do aerobics, watch my diet and, apart from this blimmin tumour growing in my stomach, I am otherwise healthy. If you squint, I look like a cross between Twiggy and Lulu and am young at heart. Everyone says I don't look as old as I am. 

The date for my operation has now been decided (to happen before my mother's unfortunately), so just imagine, I get a letter from the hospital inviting me to their "Older Person's Pre-Operation Assessment Unit designed specifically with the older person in mind.  Zimmer frames optional. I aged rapidly overnight, just with the insult of that terminology alone. I'm thinking of turning up to the appointment with low cleavage, mini-skirt and 6-inch heels to see their reaction.

Tsch. Older person indeed.

Image result for cartoon of old lady in hospital

14 March 2016

The gist of the GIST

The GIST tumour growing in my stomach is rare. Benign, thankfully, but rare. There are only three hospitals in the country that can remove it, apparently. Not only that but it is in a tricky place. In my stomach but one centimetre from the junction where the oesophagus comes in to the stomach, so they have got to be very careful removing it, in case they damage the oesophagus. Trust me to be awkward. They want to remove it sooner rather than later as it could turn malignant and has already obviously bled. However, life is not that simple.

My 92-year-old mother suffers from chronic arthritis and is in severe (and I mean severe) pain, particularly in her knees and back. She creeps around her warden-assisted flat holding on to the furniture to cross a room and yells out in pain when she tries to stand up or sit down. I am her sole child and sole carer. I help her all I can, taking her to appointments, shopping, visiting.  She saw an orthopaedic consultant in January who promised her she was not too old for a knee replacement operation and she was booked in for 1 March to have it done under a spinal anaesthetic. However, at the pre-operation assessment she was told she had a bladder infection and they wouldn't go ahead with the operation unless she was infection-free. So the date of 1 March was cancelled and no other date given. That much I understand, but after a course of antibiotics, a 2-week wait to ensure the bacteria had not recolonised and a second test, she still has an infection. The daft thing is, she has no symptoms at all, never has, but the tests keep coming back positive. This now means more (stronger) antibiotics, another two-week wait, another sample - you get the picture. Next test for her will be at the end of March. We could be repeating this little game up until Christmas. Meanwhile my poor old mum is in agony.

Now here's the complication. When we finally do get the go-ahead to book her a date for her operation (and assuming the bacteria have not returned in the meantime), I shall be the only one to take her to the hospital , visit from time to time, do the washing of her personal things for her, see her home again and get her over the worst. It therefore makes sense to do that before I have my operation. If I have mine first, I shall be out of action for at least four weeks afterwards - that means virtually housebound on my own, not able to lift anything heavy or do any driving, so my mother would have to wait at least a month before I can begin to help her over her operation. But with her date going ever further into the future, how long can mine go on hold?

Chicken or egg? Egg or chicken? Why is life never straightforward?

07 March 2016

A Day of Mixed Emotions

T'was a day of mixed emotions yesterday. Sunday was the sixth anniversary of Greg's death. Six years! Felt a little maudlin and had the need to go to the crematorium to lay flowers in the chapel. Funny how this grief malarky works. When he died, I was so relieved I did not have to go through one more chaotic day of the alcoholic merry-go-round, but with passing time, my thoughts have mellowed and I miss him. I miss the newly-married version of him and the middle-age version, but not the last five years of his life alcoholic one obviously. It was not helped by de-cluttering the "study" last week and finding all sorts of things with his handwriting - cards and messages to me, stories he'd written.

After my solitary visit to the crematorium chapel, I went on to collect my mother to celebrate Mothers' Day. We spent a lovely day together. Kay was working on-call this weekend, so couldn't come to see me, but we had had a lovely week together the week before, so I couldn't be greedy.

Spent the evening watching The Night Manager and feasting my eyes on the lovely Tom Hiddleston. I had not managed to see the Night Manager before now, so spent three hours watching back-to-back episodes on i-player and was definitely hooked.  Not sure whether it was the plot that grabbed me or the eye candy! Have to wait a whole week now for the next episode.