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Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Wednesday 31st March 2021

I've had a couple of phone calls from Mum this week and although they've only been for a few minutes hearing her voice again is lovely, especially as we had a little giggle together. Occasionally, when the drugs kick in she can't think of the right word for something and on the first call she told me the buffalo doctor had been to see her. She actually meant the bone doctor and although she knows she's said it wrong, she can't get the right word out which makes her laugh, which then sets me off. Given the circumstances, it's so good to hear her chuckling. Anyway, that one was pretty easy to guess but there are some I just can't fathom out, and the more suggestions I make the more she laughs at my attempts, saying 'no, no, the other word'. On the second phone call she told me there were fairy flies on the ward but no matter how many words I tried, I couldn't get to the bottom of that one. 

I've been keeping busy in the house, doing all the usual things that need doing. And we've also done the annual garden make over. I just need to buy plants for the pots but that will be in a few weeks as we're still at risk of frost so there's no point doing it just yet. 


I've discovered I can get creative with my photos in a fairly easy fashion. I suspect I've been able to do this for years, but only realised at the weekend! Not sure if it will work but I'm giving it a go. Hope you've all had a good day. xx









 






Sunday, 28 March 2021

Sunday 28th March 2021

It's been a busy week with phone calls from hospital. Mum is being looked after by two different teams. The medical team and the orthopaedic team which means I get phone calls from both sets of doctors and sometimes each team will ring me 2 or 3 times a day. Frustratingly, I usually end up speaking to somebody different each time, which would be fine, but their protocol seems to be that before they tell me anything I have to tell them what I know. 


So I find myself repeating over and over again that I know Mum has cancer. That I know it's terminal. That I know it's spread to her liver, lungs and bones. That I know the worst of it is in her hip but there are tumours in her femur, ribs and sternum. That I know the slightest movement could cause her hip to fracture at any moment. I reel all this off in bullet point fashion, hardly thinking about what I'm saying now, just so that I can get the next piece of information from them or find out what their next plan of action is. This week the plan has been to operate but all week we've played a daily game of the op is on, the op is off. The state of play now is that the op is on hold until a specialist in Manchester looks at Mum's notes and decides whether it's the right thing to do or not. 

 

Thankfully, in between phone calls life has actually been very quiet and I've just been plodding on doing simple daily tasks. I bought a garden planter from Arogs a few weeks ago and Mark made it for me yesterday. It only took 5 minutes. It's not as high as I thought it would be, I'd misread 120cm as 180cm but it'll do the job and I'll order a couple more when they're back in stock.


We are having a change around in the house to accommodate Amy when she officially returns from Uni. This involves turning her bedroom into a small lounge for her. She wants some of the shelving removed so I've taken 2 of the narrow units for our room. The bottom shelf has my Nella Last books on them. I love these diaries and think I'll re-read them again when I've finished the phone box book. 


I also want to decorate the dining room which won't be hard. We only have one wall that's papered. I just decided this week I'm fed up of red and want to go blue instead. So a few jobs on the horizon. But there's no real rush for any of them to be done.


Mark came home with another treat for me. A punnet of strawberries and thick double cream. They were delicious. It really is the small things isn't it. 


Eating them reminded me of a lovely afternoon last summer when we visited Sophie, Matthew and Sienna. Can't wait to see this little lady again. Although as I said to Rachel at Eternally 28, the rule of 6 is OK as long as it's warm. I'm always cold so the thought of sitting on a park bench or in somebody's garden doesn't really appeal until the sun is out!



Hope you've all had a good week and have enjoyed your weekend. xx






 










Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Tuesday 23rd March 2021

I had a couple of phone calls from the doctor yesterday, one explaining that the operation could happen at a moments notice. Then a while later he rang back to say I could go and visit Mum. That was a complete surprise and a double edged sword when he explained that given the risks because of her health, he couldn't in all good faith let her have an operation without a family member seeing her first. So Mark took me last night and although she's very tired we had a good chat. I don't know when I'll next see her again but I do know the knock on effects of this virus are hard.  


Mark, Amy & Tom sent me a surprise gift. A library of teas from Whittard. Lucky, lucky me. The card they'd written is something I'll treasure forever. I might think they take a lot of things for granted but it's obvious from the message inside that they don't. We are by no means a fairy tale family. We have our ups and we certainly have our downs and it's unusual if we don't bicker at least once a day about something ridiculous, but I'm blessed to have them. 


I've started my book. I didn't realised it's based on a true story and there really is a telephone box that people visit to speak to loved ones that have passed away. Itaru Sasaki set it up in his garden after the 2011 Tsunami to help him deal with the grief of losing his cousin. He then made it accessible to anybody who wanted to visit and over 30,000 people have used it. The idea is you talk to your loved ones and your words are carried to them on the wind.  


Did you all remember to fill in the census. I like a few statistics and was intrigued as to what the UK population was 100 years ago so did a quick google. It seems it was around 45 million. In 2019 it was 67 million people. So a growth of 22 million. But, we are all living longer. In 1921 the average age of women was 60 and men 56. In 2019 this had risen to 84 for women and 80 for men. 


Today has been about housework, washing, the on line shopping order, a few phone calls and lots of texts. I feel like a central information bureau at times, with very little in the way of info which I know people find frustrating but I can only pass on what I've been told.


I've put the crochet away for a while now. My wrist is beginning to hurt and these days I'm wise enough to know when to stop and rest. I'm halfway through stage 4 which is turning the circle into the square. Oh, and don't be fooled by the 3 dainty chocolate fingers. I went back for more!


Hope you've all had a good start to the week. xx

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Saturday 20th March 2021

Pink tulips and a box of chocolates for a lady at church. She's in her late 80's and several months ago slipped on her kitchen floor, broke a bone in her back and ended up in a brace. While she was in hospital she fell again and broke her shoulder. She's been in hospital and a rehabilitation centre for months but she finally came home a couple of weeks ago. I've passed these on to her friend who's in her support bubble.

I parcelled up the jumpers and blankets and posted them off and I've got a different project on the go now. A flower granny square blanket. I make all the granny squares in stages rather than one square at a time and today I've finished stage 3. 

Amy learnt to crochet during LD1 and has taken to it like a duck to water. She had a delivery from The Wool Warehouse this week and the wool is lovely so I need to have a look and choose some for myself.  We're very different characters considering we're mother and daughter. If I want to try something new I buy the bare minimum of equipment in case I don't like it or can't do it. Not Amy. She will buy absolutely everything that's required for a new hobby and already has more crochet paraphernalia than I've bought in the 7 years I've been making things.


The orthopaedic surgeon rang me yesterday and said Mum was booked in for her operation today. This morning when I rang to see what time she was going down it had been cancelled. It's been provisionally re-booked for Monday but she's got an appointment for radiotherapy on Tuesday, so they might wait until after that. I'm not surprised at this turn of events, cancelled operations are a far too common occurrence for that, but I don't like the thought of her lay there wondering when it's going to happen. 


Tonight I'm making pork, mushroom & pepper stir fry. I've marinated the pork in chili sauce and we'll have noodles and fried rice. I remembered to buy prawn crackers which will please Mark. I forgot last time and he ended up opening a packet of quavers lol. I don't normally drink, but I was bought a bottle of Merlot which is really nice so I'll be having a glass of that. And we've got profiteroles, raspberries and cream for dessert. Yummy.



Hope you've all had a lovely Saturday. xx 








 


 





Thursday, 18 March 2021

Thursday 18th March 2021

Mum needed more nighties so I bought a couple and dropped them off yesterday. I got them from Tesco and although they'll serve their purpose they aren't really the style she normally wears. I wish the so called non-essential shops would open up, it would make buying things like this a lot easier. In a shop I could choose something more appropriate and feel the material and properly check the size rather than making do with something or guessing with an on line order. While I was in there I treated myself to a book and candle.

I also picked up some asparagus and chili and garlic oil. I drizzled the oil over, roasted it for 10 minutes and then finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. We had it with pasta and it was delicious. 


My new kettle. Our old one was a one cup dispenser which was fine until visitors came and I'd be stood in the kitchen for ages making everybody a brew. Secretly I'm glad it broke. It was a big black heavy looking thing which did nothing for my kitchen. Considering I prefer white appliances for a clean fresh look, I'm not sure why I don't have any!

                           

Tom's finished his Covid testing at school and thankfully they've all been negative. He gets kits now to continue testing at home. Sunday and Wednesday are testing days. I'm not sure if everybody can order free test kits, but because he's in school we can so I've ordered a box which has 7 tests in. Is this something I'll make part of my weekly routine. I'm not sure to be honest.

                            

I spoke to a lovely palliative care nurse on Tuesday and he said he'd like Mum to be discharged to a hospice as an in patient so they can try and get her pain under control. Of course, that's in an ideal world. In reality, beds are few and far between so we'll have to see. If that doesn't happen we're looking at a nursing home. 


The orthopaedic surgeon rang me this morning. They'd like to operate on Mum and pin her leg. It's not really with a view to getting her mobile again, although they'd like her to be able to get out of bed because of sores/blood clots. It's more as a preventative measure because she's at risk of her bones breaking even when they do something as simple as rolling her over or moving her. Neither option is a good one is it. An operation or the possibility of a broken bone. I've text her and we're both tending to sway towards the operation because at least it's controlled. I'd hate for her to be lay there with a broken bone waiting for a surgeon/theatre to become available. I've known a few people with cancer and their stories have all been treatment that worked or treatment that didn't. Mum seems to be really going through a lot of other things on top of the cancer.


It's 27 years ago today since my Dad passed away. I'm the eldest of 4 and this is the year where he's been gone more years than any of us knew him. Life eh. It's a funny old thing. xx



Monday, 15 March 2021

Monday 15th March

Mother's Day was very relaxing. As well as the pond plants I also got flowers, cards, a gardening set and a delicious afternoon tea.  


                        

Thomas is eating us out of house and home lately so I had to pop out to pick up a few bits as well as stocking up on the boring stuff like bin bags etc. I also needed to replenish the wool stash so picked up a few balls from QS. Had a little mooch around while I was in there but nothing caught my eye and they didn't even have any candles that I wanted.


They're still trying to get Mum's pain under control and even though they've not quite achieved that (they're slowly working their way up the serious painkiller scale), she's more comfortable than when she admitted. The biggest problem is when somebody touches her or tries to move her so they can wash her/change her nightie etc.


I'd love to be able to go and see her but of course that's not possible. Having said that, visitors can be exhausting so in one way it's good that she's not being disturbed by people inanely chattering at her while eating her grapes :)   


My car is in for its MOT tomorrow so Mark will take me at Mums to check on the house and put the bin out. Our kettle broke today so I've ordered a new one from Argos so we need to pick that up as well. 


Hope you've all had a good day. xx











Saturday, 13 March 2021

Saturday 13th March 2021

The aquatic plants arrived. Have to say there's a big difference between the photo on the website to what I received, but it's only March so I'm assuming that's why they look pretty dire. I've put them in the container so they're in the right environment but haven't sorted it out properly. It's been freezing and really windy here and half the garden is in the wrong place with pots and chairs all over the place.

The ward doctor rang me yesterday afternoon. It appears Mum doesn't have a DVT although I don't know how you diagnose and then un-diagnose that sort of thing. He sounded young and was obviously stumbling over his words trying to find a compassionate way to break news to me so I told him in our family we like plain speaking and to just say whatever he needed to say. It seems during her scan Mum became ill and she's presenting several markers that indicate sepsis. They can't confirm it because they tried 4 times to get blood from her, even going into the artery, but couldn't, so they will treat her and monitor her. After the DVT saga I'll wait to know for definite before I go into panic mode again.

They managed to complete the scan and the results show the cancer has spread to the femur, which truthfully comes as no surprise. Their main job now is to treat her as if she had an infection and control her pain. 


I'm picking up the pace with jobs and on top of the daily chores I've cleaned the bathroom, ironed and changed bedding. There is always time to crochet though and these little tops really don't take long to make. A few rows here and there in between housework, phone calls and text messages and before I know it there's another jumper ready for the charity pile.

I'm being well looked after at home. Mark cooked last night, Amy is providing cups of tea and chat and I only need to ask Tom once to pick his clothes up off the floor before he does it lol. 

We're going to drop some things off at the hospital this afternoon. Our local hospital went on divert while the paramedics were with Mum so we've a way further to travel than usual. I'm 99% certain she won't be discharged for a few days so at least I can stand down and relax this weekend knowing she's in good hands. 


Hope you all have a lovely Saturday.  xx



Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Wednesday 10th March 2021

Mum really wasn't herself when I returned Sunday and was in a lot of pain with her leg. By Monday evening I was helping her in and out of bed and by Tuesday morning she couldn't put her foot on the floor without squealing in pain. Her GP is hopeless and wouldn't even come out to look at her, saying they don't do home visits any more which my sister will be investigating further down the line. I ended up ringing an ambulance and as usual the paramedics were fantastic. They had to give her morphine and gas and air to move her and it transpires she has a DVT and will be on daily injections for 6 months.


I got a text from her last night saying that was the diagnosis and they were going to send her home. I'm not sure if that really was the case but I went into complete panic mode and was on the verge of tears which is really unusual for me. The level of care I've given since I went back had become more and more personal and I've had to acknowledge to myself I can't continue to live with her 24 hours a day in that role. So I text her back and told her not to come home unless she had some help in place because it was becoming too much for me. 


This has been going on since November now and I don't want to start feeling resentful but at times I do and I think that's perfectly natural. She didn't have to put her life on hold to look after her parents and when Dad had cancer he would go to a hospice two days a week so Mum got a break. But she has no problem telling me that's not for her, with no thought that I might need a rest. 


This morning she sent another text saying she has to have a scan. I'm hoping the NHS cogs move as slowly as they usually do and it takes at least a couple of days to sort a visit from social services and Macmillan before there's any talk of her being discharged. I'd like to think they wouldn't send somebody home to an empty house with Stage 4 cancer, a DVT and who can't walk, but it really wouldn't surprise me. I'm going to have to be really determined not to cave in when they ring me to ask what support I can give, which they will do, and tell them I'm not doing it any more. I spoke to a lovely Macmillan nurse yesterday and he said I've to tell them I want to be her daughter again, not her 24 hour carer. 


Today I've just chilled and done a few jobs here and there. Nothing too taxing because I really do feel physically and mentally worn out. The shopping came so I wiped down a couple of cupboards and the fridge and then I did something pretty and set a tea tray up. I buy herbal teas every January and you can guarantee I'll find a half used box at the back of the cupboard come Christmas, so I've put them out where I can see them.

I've also finished off the baby boy jumper. I make these up as I go along but they're basically a back and front both crocheted in one piece. I want to buy two motifs to sew on to jazz them up a little bit and then they can go in the charity pile of things to post. 


Oh, and I'll leave you with this. Mark told me he had to throw a load of fruit and veg away a few days ago which is very unusual in this house. But when I opened the cupboard I can see why. Pringles are usually a nice treat. But la famille have obviously taken the saying "while the cat's away the mice will play" to heart. 


 

Hope you've all had a good few days. xx





Sunday, 7 March 2021

Sunday 7th March 2021

 Guess where I am :) 


Yes, back at Mums after my weekend at home. I had a 10 minute chat with her when I arrived but she's been asleep since. Her leg isn't good today and my sister said she needed to use her stick to get out of bed. She's not tried to get up since I've been here but if she needs more help than her stick we'll be in trouble because my back's a bit iffy after gardening. 


We made the most of the good weather yesterday and tidied up the garden. It felt really good to be out in the fresh air and it wasn't too cold which is always a bonus. I started by clearing all the flower pots of the top few inches of soil. Then I trimmed back a few branches off the prickly tree at the bottom of the garden. Mark had wandered out by then with a brew for me so I asked him to hold the ivy while I chopped it back. He stayed out to help and dug up the tree for me. It came up pretty easily with a few good tugs so I was pleased about that. 


It ended up being a family effort with Amy and Tom helping out. Having a teenage lad in the house is really handy at times and him and Mark did all the heavy lifting and went to the tip twice while me and Amy put the garden back together. 


My book didn't arrive and neither did my pond plants but my magazine did. My sis brought a few goodies with her and left me some Mr Kipling's French Fancies so I made a brew and had a pink one while I did the crossword.


One of the charities wants baby clothes so I made a little top. I love knitting but after crocheting it's really hard to have the patience for it especially when I can whip something up pretty quickly in just a few hours of hooking here and there. I've started a longer sleeved jumper for a baby girl and when that's finished  I'll do one for a boy. I like to keep things equal. 


Tomorrow I've got to order another prescription and do a few paperwork jobs for myself. I managed to trim Tom's hair so that's a good job done, but I'll be glad when the barbers open again.  


Hope you've all had a lovely weekend. And for those of you with little ones and big ones, I hope the return to school goes smoothly. xx








Friday, 5 March 2021

Friday 5th March 2021

I finally coloured my hair today. I've been meaning to do this for months, in fact I think I bought the colour back in LD1 and it's been in the bathroom cabinet ever since. I needed to leave it on for 30 minutes so I started to clean the bathroom while I waited. I don't know whether I was more shocked at the state it was in or the fact that Mark and Amy both looked me in the eye and kept completely straight faces when they assured me they'd been cleaning it regularly. I suspect in their world that means squirting bleach down the loo every day and not much more. 

Thomas bought me a Works gift card for Christmas and I spent ages last night choosing books. When I went to check out most of them came up as not in stocks which was frustrating to say the least. I'll hang fire now until the shops open again in April. Choosing books on line is a bit of a gamble anyway because I really need to see how big the print is. I can't wait to read the next book in the Kelly Porter series though so Amy's ordered it from Amazon for me. She has Prime which means it'll be here tomorrow so that's my Saturday night sorted. I'll light a candle, have a soak in my spotless bath and read a good few chapters of Lost Cause. 


My sister arrived safely. It's a 3 hour journey each way so even them driving up once a month to give me a break is appreciated. 


It's really cold here today so I've put the fire on. Wendy makes me laugh. As soon as I sit down she's on my lap and I have to literally push her off if I want to get up. But as soon as the fire's on, she's there in a flash toasting her paws. 

             

I've christened my teapot and and I'm going to settle down now with a cup of Earl Grey and some crochet. Tomorrow's job is to pot this trailing plant Amy bought for her bedroom. And I'm hoping to get out in the garden to do a bit of tidying up and to cut the ivy back. There's also a small tree I want Mark to dig up. I asked him to move it out of a container a couple of years ago and after he'd planted it I knew within a few hours that I didn't like it where it was, but it wasn't an easy job so I didn't say anything. It's not grown much either which hasn't helped, it still looks like a big twig stuck in the ground lol. But now I'm planning to do a few things in the garden it seems a good time to ask him to remove it. I doubt he'll do it tomorrow but at least I'll have sown the seed that I want it gone, if you'll pardon the pun.


Hope you've all had a good Friday. The weekend doesn't feel much different than the week these days, but it's still nice that it's here. xx
















Thursday, 4 March 2021

Thursday 4th March 2021

Just one more sleep and then I can go home for 2 nights. I won't leave until tomorrow lunchtime and I'll be back again Sunday lunchtime, so really it's just one full day at home but I'm really looking forward to it. My sister and nieces aren't arriving until the afternoon so I won't see them but I've left a few treats and I'll also leave my lovely daffodils for them to enjoy. 

Look what I've been treated to. Amy had to return a parcel so popped into Quality Save for some wool and picked these for me. A lovely glass teapot and a sugar dusted cherry candle. She knows me well. 

                 


I've a longer journey home than usual tomorrow. It usually takes about 10 minutes but there are major roadworks near us and typically the road is completely closed tomorrow so I'm looking at a 30 minute detour simply because of the amount of traffic here. One of the biggest bonuses of the first LD was being able to drive from A to B really quickly. This LD the roads seem just as busy as before all this started especially at school pick up time. Mark says the primary near us is much busier than in the first LD considering the criteria for children being in school hasn't changed as far as I'm aware.   


It's a good job I like to crochet because that's all I seem to do at the moment. I've managed to whip up another bobble hat. If I wore hats I'd make one of these for myself. It's crocheted up really soft and cosy. These will be put to one side for the shoe boxes unless a charity puts a call out before then. 

                    
I've also watched 3 films. Mudbound, News of the World with Tom Hanks who is one of my favourite actors, and A Call to Spy, inspired by true stories of female spies in France in WWII. I'd recommend all three. A cup of tea, piece of cake or some chocolate makes viewing even better. 


It's evening coffee and tablet time now, so I'm off to do that. Hope you've all had a good day. xx






Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Tuesday 2nd March 2021

I got home again today for a couple of hours. Mum sleeps in the afternoon so it's a good time to leave her. Mark picked me up and we popped into Sainsburys for a couple of bits she fancied. I treated myself to some salted caramel chocolate and a bunch of daffodils. There seems little point buying flowers when I'm not home, but I don't want to miss out on spring flowers completely so they're in a vase on Mum's kitchen table. 

Tom's school is letting them go back in summer uniform which is basically a polo shirt instead of shirt and tie so I ordered those today. Uniform shops are closed even though full uniform is still required on their return, so they've set up a click and collect service. I can get them on Thursday. 


I've bought the pond plants. Finger crossed they'll arrive in time for me being at home this weekend to sort them out. Half of me thinks I shouldn't really go to the trouble of bothering with things like this, but the other half wants something to focus on. Plus, I might not be there much, but I want the garden to look nice when I am.  Amy and Tom are buying the plants for my Mother's Day gift and we've decided on 3 fish. Mark says he doesn't want one because he's looked after enough pets in his lifetime lol. 


There was a kerfuffle at the chemist this morning. A script should have been ready but it hadn't been sent through. This would niggle me under normal circumstances but after queuing for ages to be told that, I was really fed up. I then had to ring the surgery which was another hour of my life gone trying to get through. It was eventually sorted out but it means I need to go back to the chemist again tomorrow and no doubt queue again.


I'm going to finish off this hat tonight and add a bobble. 

I don't make pom poms, I can never get them to look right and winding all that wool round is boring, so I opt for this style instead. Chain 260 stitches, then slip every 13th stitch on hook. Pull the wool through and you end up with this. It needs pulling and shaping a bit more but they're really cute on top of a hat. 

                 
Hope you've all had a lovely day. xx