Friday, 22 August 2008

Look out, World...........

A Victorian letter box in Lincoln

First of all I want to thank my Blogger friends for sticking with me. It's great to be back, I must say. I can't get outside to take any pictures quite yet so patio photos will have to come later. Let me try and paint you a word photo of our garden (so this is likely to be a short entry!)

Here's one I took earlier!

We are lucky in that our back garden faces south so, if there's any sunshine to be had, we get it out the back. Lovely, as far as I can remember! It's not huge, "manageable" is the word estate agents use. This being an old house though the garden is a bit larger than on today's houses in England. Lack of warm sunshine is our problem at the moment but at least the garden never needs watering - there's no shortage of rain! The only problem that causes is the rainwater butts are constantly overflowing. We used to live next door to a guy who was always watering his garden. In the pouring rain there he would be with his hosepipe playing on the lawn. Fortunately for him this lawn was only the size of a postage stamp because - you know those bits of stuff that ALWAYS manage to evade the lawnmower and pop up stubbornly five minutes after you've put it away? Well, this chap used to go all over his lawn on his hands and knees, eying along the surface and snipping off any such things with a pair of manicure scissors!!! Then out would come a teaspoon he kept for digging out the remains of any dandelions and in would go a few grains of grass seed to fill up the hole. For a self-confessed non-gardener he certainly put the rest of us to shame!

As I mentioned before, Keith has been extending our patio. So far all we've got on the patio is a tall(ish) stone planter with something colourful in it. The tomatoes, which haven't done very well this year because there has been no sunshine, are in a Growbag near the garden shed wall. Next year though they can go in a border of the patio where there is a fence for them to grow up. There's rhubarb in a big tub but that's so ugly it's not coming near my patio!

Are you wondering why I entitled this "Look out World....." ? No? I'm telling you anyway. It's Mimuther's shock announcement the other day. For those who don't know, Mimuther is the woman who gave birth to me, who was 80 in February, has been a widow for 4 years and who wouldn't be seen dead without her high heeled shoes!. She rang on Thursday to say she has booked her holiday - a cruise on the Queen Mary 2 across the Atlantic to New York and 2 days there for shopping (or whatever). Mimuther, who claims abject poverty as a poor old pensioner! She who won't even catch a bus down to Birmingham is grabbing her sister and cruising to the States; is being let loose on the streets of NY; is FLYING (she hates flying) back to London; is catching a train back to Birmingham to take her sis home! The posh frock hunt is on in earnest and, believe me, she was only half joking when she said she might try and get a cheap tiara.

Can't teach an old dog new tricks? I beg to differ!

Thursday, 21 August 2008


As nothing exciting is happening in my life right now, I've pinched this from the blog I used to do over on AOL before I came here

"When I was young in the late '60s.........." - if I was an 18 year old now I would cringe at those words. But I don't care, I'm going to carry on anyway!

1968/69 I was a student nurse and do you know, try as I might, I can't think of a single example of an unhygienic practice then. Each hospital ward had a regular domestic assigned to it who was there every day and there was another regular one who covered her day off. For the whole of her shift she was busy with cleaning the ward, toilets, public areas. Even rooms that were only used occasionally werethoroughly cleaned at least every other day.

The floor was damp mopped several times a day and all floors were asclear as possible so this could be done. Window ledges and frames were regularly gone over, and the curtain rails around beds damp dusted. There was no dry dusting.

First year students (such as me) also had to do cleaning jobs. Each morning a student would be assigned to cleaning locker tops and bed tables "...and don't take all day about it". That didn't mean carrying a mucky cloth from bed to bed, it meant a bowl of hot soapy water and lysol (gloves provided!), on a trolley, tidying away things from locker tops and washing them down. Same with tables. This all had to be done very quickly and you had to let the bed making nurses (first years again) get a start on you as there was no point cleaning things if the germy old beds hadn't been done yet!

There would be no vases of dead flowers because that was one of night staff's jobs. They took flowers out of the ward at night. I can't think where they put them but one of a junior Night Nurse's tasks would be gettiing rid of dead flowers.

Why was it all done? Not MRSA orC-diff. certainly. I never heard of those. No, it was scarier than that: Matron's Rounds.

Matron never had a set route for her ward round so it could be as early as 10am. Might ot be, but it had to be all done by then, just in case. Our Matron used to put on little white gloves to check for dust and woe betide if your bit made her gloves dirty! She had something a bit regal about her and she filled us with dread. All patients had to be in bed: none of this slouching around in chairs. They could do jigsaws r read a book but no newspapers before Matron decended bcause they made the sheets grubby!

When someone went home - or died - the bed was dealt with the instant they were out of the door. The bedding - all of it - was put straight into a linen trolley and removed from the ward immediately. The entire bedframe and the rubber matress cover were thoroughly scrubbed with hot water and lysol. The locker was washed out and stood open to dry. Then, when the bed was dry, it was freshly made up again. Nurses did those things. It was never left until later and not up for discussion.

None of ot was any big deal to us then. It's what was done; part of our training. There was much more than this, of course there was, but these things were absolutely basic, fundamental parts of getting Mr. Patient in and ot without him catching anything he didn't come in with. It was so easy.

What went wrong?

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Playing Catch up

While my bum is rooted to this chair you may have to make do with some fairly inane, work-a-day kind of stuff - Sorry!

As well as looking after me and everything else this past few weeks Keith has managed to extend the patio sideways so that there is plenty of room to sit out there (SHOULD we happen to get the weather for it) no matter what he makes in the way of ramps to get me and my chair out. It has become glaringly obvious that, if this house were to catch fire, poor moi would just have to fry as there is no door that I can get out of on my own. The OT (Occupational Therapist) who's coming tomorrow will be able to advise if their department can help, specially with the cost, but we hope with the installation too. Otherwise it's Keith - alone again, naturally! I'll get him to take some patio pics soon as I can so you can see.

He's decided that his vegetable patch has had its day. I knew that would happen - but what do I know eh.............! He says it looks too messy when the potato tops have died off. I say what's veg for - eating or looking pretty? He says it's not big enough to be worthwhile. I say how much stuff do 2 people want? He says I don't have to dig it. AH-HA! Now we're getting there. So it's going to be turfed this Autumn.

Well, it's not much but it's the best I can do for now - not much going on while I'm stuck here in the house but at least I'm still here!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

For Better, For Worse..........

Well, my last post seems a lifetime ago. In fact it has been about 5 long weeks. Some of you will know I had an accident in which I was run over by a driverless shopping-sized mobility scooter. My scooter actually. I was loading it into the car using the electric hoist in the back...........or rather, I would have done that if only I had remembered to turn off the scooter's ignition. As it was I caught the 'backwards' lever with my shoulder and the scooter took off and took me with it. At some point it must have run over my foot as I ended up with a fracture to the 2nd metatarsal on my right foot, most of my foot black and blue with bruising - even on the sole - and, jack-knifing heavily down onto the concrete drive, damaging my coccyx and consequent nerve damage.

At first I thought I was just shaken up and had a painful toe and I didn't go to hospital. With my bone conditions there are some things I have learnt to be more thankful for than concerned about. But it got worse and worse until, after 2 weeks, I couldn't stand, could hardly get out of bed, Keith had to wash me and even toilet me. As it was impossible to get in the car, my sis called an ambulance and away I went. Just as I thought, the doctor there, after x-raying my hips / back said all I could do was take pain killers and rest.

Then he noticed that my right leg seemed fatter than the left. To cut a long story short they found, after blood tests and an ultrasound scan, a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) in my right leg. Treatment started there and then with an injection of heparin into my abdomen (nope, didn't hurt at all). The District Nurse came each day for a week to do these and I also had to take a variable daily dose of Warfarin orally. The Warfarin continues for 6 months and then, if an ultrasound shows that the clot has dispersed they stop the Warfarin and I have then to keep my eyes open for any recurrence. I don't know what happens if it hasn't dispersed. I didn't ask - well, would you?

Just think, if I had gone to hospital straight away when I first got injured they may not have noticed the DVT. God does, indeed, move in a mysterious way............

Poor Keith! He never signed up for this, though he swears he doesn't mind. He had to do so many things for me, even for instance after I had been to the loo (with me?). He had to wash me because I couldn't get in the shower, do the cooking and cleaning AND go to work. He was meeting himself coming back half the time and was terribly stressed. But God and his mysterious ways was at it again! Keith asked our GP to give him a sicknote so he could look after me but, as Keith wasn't actually sick, the doctor could not give him a sicknote. Next day the doc came to the house to see me and from there Things Happened! The Disabled Persons care team became involved. A carer comes in each morning to give me whatever help I need with washing and dressing and getting the day started. District Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physios and rehab people - all have been to see me and are scheming to get me back to where I was before the accident. This is the NHS at its best, ladies and gentlemen, and I take my hat off to them.

There is another person - not called Keith - who doesn't work for the NHS. From the start of all this nonsense she has been with me whenever she could. She has cleaned the house, done the ironing, washed my hair or just chatted. She has tried to be here when Keith couldn't be, though her own hubby must have been shoved aside quite a bit. She has colluded with Keith in some of his less outrageous Heath Robinson-ish ideas for making my life easier. My sister. Our Gwyn. She is a star and I love her to bits. She's on a well-deserved holiday in Cyprus this week (hope she remembers the postcard) but, by gum, I miss her.

Well now, I think I have done quite well to sit here long enough to write this but the backside is protesting now so I'll try and get back again soon. Thanks for thinking about me and praying for me. I hope you still will - it ain't finished yet!