Saturday, 30 August 2008

A Different Kind Of Journey

I saw the ambulance coming along the road and the paramedic driving it, slowed down when he saw me and opened the passenger door and I climbed in and sat next to him.
No one seemed to take much notice of him parking on the wide pavement. Maybe they thought someone had a medical emergency. But we were going for fish and chips!

My brother works for a private ambulance company as a paramedic, ferrying sick patients to different hospitals, mainly for dialysis. Once they have been taken to their hospital wards, Godfrey is free for several hours until he has to pick up the patients again and take them to their various homes.
As I do not work during the school holidays, I have been free to meet up with him a few times in the town where one particular hospital is located. There is plenty to do there and we travelled far and wide, taking in the lovely countryside and going for walks.
He is dressed in his green outfit and we might even be taken for husband and wife. I am really proud of him and he tells me that some people say, "Can I shake your hand? You do a really good job."

On the last journey that I went on with him, we travelled through some lovely picturesque villages and the scenery made a good change from the city where I live. It was good to be sitting so high up and to be able to see over the top of the hedges, though scrambling up to the seat was as difficult to me as mounting a horse and my back twinged with the effort!

While he drives, Godfrey tells me funny stories about his patients! One day he had dropped off some people to an old folks home and he knew a very frail man there who never goes out anywhere from one day to the next. The man needed oxygen regularly to keep him alive. My brother asked his carers if he could take the old man for a ride as he had an hour to kill. Obviously they knew him well and thought it would be a very good idea. He was told that the man must have a supply of oxygen on hand at all times. That was no problem as there was oxygen on board the ambulance.

The patient was put in a wheelchair and they set off down the long driveway towards the ambulance.
Once there, Godfrey looked for his keys to open up the vehicle. They seemed to have vanished into thin air and he searched all through his pockets and medical bags. After some time searching, the man said that he needed oxygen. As he couldn't get into the ambulance, my brother decided to take him back to the ward and give him oxygen there and look for the keys. He went to the desk where he had signed the patient out, but no sign of them there. A thorough search was made by all the staff and no one could understand where the keys had got to. All this took a long time and phone calls had to be made to see who had a spare set of keys.
Godfrey had a feeling that there was just a slight chance that the elderly man was sitting on the keys as they might have slipped down as he was fixing him in the wheelchair. Extra staff helped the man into a standing position and sure enough the keys were right in the place where he had been sitting.
The old man's face lit up on finding the keys and he had felt better for the oxygen on the ward.
"Are we going now?" he said. 
"Sorry mate," my brother replied, "We've run out of time."

I felt it was a bit sad that the old man never got to go out, but my brother now wears a thick cord round his neck holding his keys securely, that the nurses gave him. They were all falling about laughing for some reason!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Three Family Members

 This is a posh coach and not at all like the ones we used during our recent trip to daughter's.

I just wanted to say that three members of my family are having to suffer because of one. I daren't write details but tomorrow I will know whether the three will have to flee to a refuge or will be able to stay in their own home. Sometimes people are forced to choose between a husband or their children. 
And in case every one thinks this is awful, the one has not been classed as terminally ill and could carry on like this for years. 
There comes a time when you really have no choice at all.
One of the children remarked, "Why should one person get to stay and three have to leave." 
I am shaking inside with the worry of it. 

Saturday, 23 August 2008

My Hundredth Post!

This is my hundredth post so I am awarding myself some flowers!

When my son persuaded me to start a blog in the new year, I was not at all enthusiastic and didn't even know what a blog was. I soon enjoyed reading other people's posts and left comments on their work. I was amazed when I received my first comment and was so excited.
I quickly got into the habit of writing posts. I wrote about real things close to my heart, family, friends, experiences, feelings, illness, pets, upsets as well as funny things and ordinary things.
When my new found friends started giving me awards, I thought I had it made!!!!!!

Of course my son had to set it all up because I am useless at technical stuff. Now that he has moved to his own home, I think he is really fed up with me for asking him to fix things that I can't do, when he drops the children off fleetingly, for me to take to school in the mornings, as he has to work full time. It was easy when he was a stay at home dad and living here, as I could ask him without causing a nuisance. 
I wish that I could do all the technical stuff myself and live in fear of the computer or router going wrong. I like to think that he is proud of the way I have reached this 100th post, but have a sneaky feeling that he wishes that he'd never started it!

I have really enjoyed the blogging and also taking photos to put on my posts. Adding photos was a major step forward and I have decided that I will not be using anything that I cannot photograph for my posts! I also never put pictures of  any of us on the blog. Not of our faces anyway. There's nothing wrong with any of our faces, its just a choice I have made!
Anyway, I have arrived at my hundredth post, and even if I never manage any more, it is an achievement! Thank you all for making it so!

Harry & I are going back to my daughters for 5 days. She is going through a tough time and wants us to return. As I have another week till I go back to school it is an opportunity for us to do that.
The hospice are keeping son in law in till next weekend and have suggested that they don't see each other or contact each other, so that Deb might have a bit of respite from him. It has all got a bit complicated and will not go into details about it. However, people can only take so much......
Back soon.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The Hospice

We have arrived home after a fairly successful visit to see my daughter and her husband and the two boys.
The coach journey was better than I had anticipated and the three hour wait for a connection did not seem too long as Harry and I found a cheap cafe where we had a meal. The time went fairly quickly.

It was a shock to see the change in my son in law, not only in appearance, because he has no hair and has a scar at the back of his head, but because of his changed personality. The first day that we went there, he was aggressive and everywhere we went, he said that he needed us to be out because he wanted to be there. He barred us from the spare room and we had no luck finding anywhere to stay as it is a very small country town. In fact, a village compared to our city! There was nothing for it but to bed down on the floor. Luckily he had decided to go to bed early. 
My daughter was very embarrassed by his behaviour to us, but we were not ruffled as I know that the "real" him was not like that.

The next morning, there was a phone call from the local hospice to ask my daughter to get him over there within the hour as they wanted to assess him. That seemed like a gift from God and Deb struggled to get her husband ready and that was a very difficult task indeed. He made every excuse to delay things. I telephoned the Hospice and told them that they were on their way and definitely wanted that place. (A complete lie as they were nowhere near ready!) The boys and Deb were already booked in for councelling that afternoon so we packed them all some sandwiches and they piled in the car and drove off.

Harry started working on the garden as it is huge and many shrubs needed cutting back. I started to work on clearing up a bit and ironing. After we made some lunch for ourselves we got a bus from the local stop and used our wonderful free bus passes that we can now use anywhere in England and we went to the larger town a few miles away. It was good looking all around and familiarizing ourselves with that lovely town. 
Eventually Deb rang us and we met up. She told me she would love to go to see Mama Mia at the one and only cinema, so I went with her while Harry took the boys to Burger King for a pile of rubbish! He then went to the park with the boys and had to fill in two hours till we came out!
It was lovely to lose ourselves in the film, which we thought was very good.
The whole atmosphere had changed back at their house and the boys made a lot of noise and we all laughed and generally had a good family time.

After more gardening the next day and a few simple repairs and several visits to the local tip to get rid of rubbish that had been lying about in the garden for ages, we decided to go to the Hospice to see son in law and we all felt nervous, suddenly. To be truthful, we are all afraid of him, or rather his moods.

We were pleasantly surprised when we got there as he seemed much more his old self and was pleased to see us. We walked to the day room and  attempted a jigsaw puzzle between us. This was enjoyed by all but the oldest grand child who was playing on his game boy, but it didn't matter. The time went quickly and I now have a vision of him in a happier frame of mind and much calmer. Just like he used to be when the boys were little.

I don't know how long he will be in the Hospice but it gave Deb a wonderful break and a chance to be with us and to act more normally with the boys. I think she is entitled to three days with him at the Hospice every six weeks. It is all voluntary and they are wonderful staff and there is a calm atmosphere there. I must do something for hospices as they provide such a good service for weary families like mine.

Anyway, we are back home now. I feel a little bit tearful but I now feel confident to make that journey on my own even, if needs be. I learnt a lot over my stay there and it has helped Deb to feel less trapped knowing we will be able to go again in the next school holiday, as he is not well enough to leave and she used to come to see us regularly.

Thanks every one for your support. It means so much to me to know I have friends on the net routing for me! Please help hospices if you can as no one knows just how important they are to families like mine, unless you ever find yourselves in this situation and I sincerely hope you don't. Sorry no photo this time!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

A Challenge.

I have said before that I have been feeling hemmed in by problems lately, like being caught up in a net. Hence the photo! However you will see that there is a bright horizon in the distance.

During the time I was off line, I was touched to read your comments (via my cafe friend's internet.) You were all so kind and supportive, so thank you all those who left a comment of encouragement.
I had hoped to say, when I came back on line, that I had a beautifully clean house, but I used the time to to go off to places with Harry, or sometimes on my own. We also took the granddaughters out a couple of times a week.
I visited a few people. One of them, a younger person  who was a friend of my children when they used to go to school together. However, she has MS. She is living on her own and although she finds it difficult to walk hardly any distance, she remains cheerful and optimistic. Mandy is able to take herself off on holiday, all alone and cope with going to a strange place abroad, managing her electric buggy, and an enormous suitcase, while going through the airport procedures. She is using the money that her Nan left her to afford these trips, as she is unable to work. Mandy sets off not knowing who will help her or how she will cope. She gets extremely tired and comes home exhausted, but with happy memories and new people to write to.
During one of my visits to her flat, she asked me to help her with a strange contraption that she had ordered from a MS magazine, supposed to help her with her walking. It had bits of rubber to put round one foot connected to a rubber tube that ran the length of her leg to the hip. Straps went round her waist and across her shoulders. It was supposed to help lift her weak foot up. However, I think I made a mistake with the assembly, as Mandy had great difficulty standing up when we tried it out, let alone walking. We were both exhausted with trying by this time and I think both of us doubted that it was the miracle aid that it first appeared to be.
Mandy is an inspiration to me, as she knows how to enjoy herself and not give in to worry or the fear of the unknown.

On Sunday, Harry and I are going to take a coach, with several changes at various points, so that we can see my daughter and the family for a few days and nights. Because of the delays with waiting for our connections, travelling will take all day.
Things are very bad for our son in law, who has deteriorated fast, so Harry & I feel we must go and see them all.
I know it will not be an easy journey, both practically and emotionally. We may have to find lodgings, if we can, when we get there. The boys are traumatized by what they see and they are all receiving councelling from the cancer team to help them cope.

Those of you who told me to put my trust in God/Jesus and find joy in him without worrying about looking for happiness, that is fleeting, are, of course, right. He is looking after us, but it is not easy to hang in there at times. I sometimes need reminding to trust him.
Others told me to snatch what enjoyment that came my way and to dare to be happy. This also is good advice and I realize that I have to guard against pessimism.

Anyway, I will eventually get back into my routine blogging, Photo Story and Weekend Wandering and hope to get back to normal when we return next weekend.
The trip will be a challenge .........

Monday, 11 August 2008

Something Moved In The Cupboard!

It was breakfast time and I was in the kitchen getting my cereal. I spied something out of the corner of my eye! Something black that scuttled in the kitchen cabinet. Definitely not a rodent, much to my relief. It was much smaller.

"Harry, Harry quickly, there is something in this cabinet! It has scuttled off quite fast!" I called out to my long suffering husband. By now, I was on a stool peering into the cabinet and removing stuff quickly. "Oh no, it is there again."

"It's a beetle'" Harry said. My thoughts went racing........" Cockroaches, oh no. Maybe we have an infestation." I could picture me having a cockroach problem as well as rodents in the kitchen roof, where I can't get at the wretched things. I was thinking how embarrassing it would be to have both types of pests. "That's it," I thought, "I'm definitely moving."
There it was again..... moving so fast that my eyes couldn't focus on it.  Got it! I caught hold of a mug and trapped the intruder under it using the top of the cabinet to keep the creature in.

"I need a card," I shouted to Harry, "Quickly, so that I can slide it over the mug before I get down." Harry brought a sheet of  paper. "No, no, not paper, has to be card so that it will stay in place." I impatiently called out. 
My arm was aching by now. Harry brought a cereal box. I wished I wasn't balanced on a stool while Harry was rummaging around for a card of some sort. I couldn't let the creature go while I looked."There's a birthday card on the dresser, bring that," I wailed in desperation.  He brought a card with a raised motif on it. Was he deliberately trying to wind me up. He was really succeeding.
I ripped off the motif with my teeth and slipped the card over the top of the mug, and carefully removed the mug which now had the creature securely imprisoned inside. 

I got off the stool, keeping the mug upright & the card firmly in place on top.
Harry opened the front door, as the back door was locked as securely as Fort Knox! I moved a long way from the front door so there was no risk of the thing getting back in!
We peered into the mug and saw..................................... a moth!
Crisis over, panic, over, take a pill, calm down! 
It seemed funny, though, after a short while!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Internet Connection In sight!

I was puzzled when the Internet was suddenly cut off. Well mortified would be a better description.

After getting son to check the router and the computers, he said that the Server Provider was the problem. In fact it was dead! I'd already had a letter explaining that the small company that I was with was being taken over by a larger one and that I could ring a telephone number in case of difficulty during the switch over.
This turned out to be an automated message just saying that the company was sorry.

Meanwhile son had booked me to have cable fitted to the house. After 5 days without internet, I rang the small company to cancel the contract. An unbelievable telephone contract then took place.

Me. "I want to give notice to cancel my Broadband connection with you. How much notice do you need?"

Small Company. "Sorry we are not able to take cancellations at present."

Me. "Well I have no Internet connection at all and I'm paying for one. I have also arranged to be fixed up with cable." (I was trying not to get annoyed.)

Small company. "Well we cannot cancel until the fault with the big changeover is dealt with."

Me. "When will that be?"

Small Company. "We do not know."

Me. "Are you telling me that I will have to pay for two lots of Broadband? I will cancel my Direct Debit. (The one that had taken a year to set up!)

Small Company. "Sorry but if you do that we will have to take legal action."

She then went on to tell me to ring back at 11 am when they might have more information. I was pretty mad by then as I had promised to take the children out for the day. 
At the stated time, I rang back and had a very different, intelligent lady who told me that I could be disconnected within 7 days.

I am squashed in a small cafe while I write this and the kind owner has given me permission to use their internet. I know the lady who owns the cafe.
All being well, if you keep your fingers and toes crossed, I should be back on line some time after the 12th, depending on when my son can adapt my router to the cable connection.

I have missed you all and can't wait to get back on line. Will attempt to read some blogs while I am here and I know that I have much to catch up on.
Au revoir...........