3 November 2010

Posted by DMC on 3 November 2010 in Diary |

I arrived home today, around six o’clock this evening, having spent three days in Papworth Hospital. The night after the good Dr left I spent sitting up and got practically no sleep at all. The hospital kindly responded to our call the following day and admittedly me as an emergency case. I spent the first couple of days having various tests not only breathing but also on my abdomen to try to ascertain why it was so distended and thus preventing the diaphragmatic muscles from doing their job.

On the last night in hospital I was put on to a ventilating machine (Nippy) which, in effect, takes over from your  diaphragm. The first mask they tried was one that just connected to my nostrils and blasted air up them. I found this very uncomfortable to wear and after half an hour or so my nose was so blocked with mucus it was bubbling. They then offered me a full face mask covering my nose and mouth which, in the event, I slept in and found it to be quite comfortable. Indeed, I probably had the best nights sleep, on and off, that I have had for some considerable time. This being so, and the outcome of the tests merely confirming that I am slowly deteriorating, the Dr was prepared to allow me to come home.



4 November 2010

Posted by DMC on 4 November 2010 in Diary |

Last night was the first night at home with the ‘Nippy’ and very successful it was. I was very comfortable with the machine and although I woke several times it was for only brief periods. However, today I began to wonder what would happen if there was a power cut during the night, which happens here all too often. It happens not only in emergencies when a tree brings down the line or there is an accident but sometimes purely for maintenance. With the nose and mouth being completely covered and sealed by the mask, although there is apparently a valve which allows some air in, it is quite possible that being unable to breathe and with my useless hands not being able to remove the mask, and in any case lying flat and not being able to breathe, that could be the end of me. Having realised this I contacted Papworth hospital and they have offered to switch this particular machine for one with a backup battery. (This was about four o’clock this afternoon and by six and man was here with a replacement machine with a backup battery — how is that a service from the NHS. Pretty impressive I think)

On the same theme I have decided that we will resuscitate our generator which we have had for many years and never used. I doubt whether it has run for more than 10 hours in its whole life, however, it will require servicing and properly plumbing in,  as previously the exhaust fumes seeped under the door and caused my daughter and ‘ my lovely’ some distress. I have already been onto a local man and I hope he will call tomorrow and give me a quote.

We are so reliant on electricity here now with the bed, the chair, the hoist’s  and the Up-easy cushions, if the electricity went off my movement around the house would be severely restricted..

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5 November 2010

Posted by DMC on 5 November 2010 in Diary |

The one night of the year that we regret living in a thatched house. We’ve been here for 46 years and always pray for Rain on 5 November. which is a bit spoilsport for the firework parties but a stray hrocket could set our roof on fire and the house would be gutted in no time. Indeed, it would not be the first time that it had been burned down. 50 years or so before we moved in the roof had just been re-thatched and there was a pile of waste straw waiting to be removed on the path by the house. The young boys, who were living at the time, thought it would be rather fun to have a bonfire. They did and the flames leapt up and caught the fresh straw on the roof with devastating effects. Fortunately, being a very old oak frame, made mainly from old ships timbers which themselves were probably 100 years when they went into the house, the roof went off like a chimney leaving the structure of the house pretty well unscathed. Nevertheless, this is not the sort of experience we want so we are always vigilant on Guy Fawkes’ Day.

Lying awake last night, breathing happily on my Nippy, I couldn’t help mulling over the experience I had had in hospital. I was in a six bed Ward and the other five beds were filled with gentleman who I can only describe as grossly obese. Most of them would have weighed more than twice my weight, I suspect between 20 and 30 kg. Now it is quite possible that one or more had some medical condition that accounted for their size but undoubtedly the bulk of them were self-inflicted. They were guzzling sweet sticky drinks, eating extra food, taking up to 5 teaspoons of sugar in their tea etc. One of was even sitting up in bed rolling his own cigarettes which, I suspect he smoked, when he disappeared  every couple of hours or so. All of these patients were on some sort of ventilation due to breathing problems, some certainly had diabetes and all, I suspect, were on disability benefit as most of them were relatively young men and they were far too fat to work. From the conversations they had, most of them seem to spend the day watching television in between the  times that their carers — paid by us — came in to attend to their every need. It might be an old-fashioned approach, but frankly, if I was a doctor I would be inclined to get these people to try to pull themselves together and go on a serious diet before I would be prepared to spend public money keeping them alive but then there are their human rights to consider apparently!

I have been receiving quite a lot of comments on my blog recently,  all of them, I’m glad to say you were kind. I should perhaps explain what happens when a reader make a comments at the end of a particular entry. I sent an e-mail with the comment on it. I am then in a position to approve, edit or trash it. I’m glad to say I have never yet needed either to edit or to trash any comment. It is only after I approve it that it appears on the blog itself then there is a box for me to reply to that comment. As I never fail to respond to any such comment it is always worried me that the person who has made it may not be aware that they will receive their answer by going to their original comment on the date that they made it, within the blog where they will then see my reply. If the reader does not realise that this is a process they might consider that I have been rude enough to ignore their comic in some instances it is a cri de couer and I should hate that anyone should consider I was heartless enough not to respond.

Thank goodness, as I complete today’s entry, it is raining. Having said that we have a slight problem this year with Guy Fawkes Day falling on Friday. It means to worrying evenings as many of the firework parties will be tomorrow on Saturday.

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6 November 2010

Posted by DMC on 5 November 2010 in Diary |

Both my beloved it children came to lunch today. Son Smiler had to go back at teatime but daughter Chloe is spending the night and going back to London after  lunch  tomorrow. I think the dear old things are slightly concerned about me having read all this  business about breathing and so on.

We survived the fireworks last night but unfortunately the main show, I think, will be this evening, being a Saturday. I must say I’m a little annoyed that the BBC (or was in ITV) referred to yesterday as Bonfire Night. It’s no more Bonfire Night then 11 November, Remembrance Day, is Poppy Day. Will future generations even know who was Guy Fawkes and what  a scurrilous plot he and his co-conspirators were  hatching  on 5 November, 1605? Wasn’t the conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament hatched in Cato Street? I in am not going to fill up my blog with a history of this conspiracy suggest any young reader who is interested looked it up on Wikipedia.

I had two nice comments on my blog today. One commiserating with me over the dangers of fireworks when one lives in a thatched house and the other wholeheartedly agreeing with me about the grossly obese people I wrote about. I’m glad I’m not alone in my right wing thinking in such matters. I had the impression that this new government was going to do something about this sort of situation ie. The minority of the 2.9 million registered disabled who are capable of doing some sort of work and not spend their life sponging on the state.

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7 November 2010

Posted by DMC on 7 November 2010 in Diary |

Well we survived another night of fireworks and can breathe easy for another year. Dear Chloe. stayed the night and gave me a hand with some administrative paperwork in the office this morning. Then, together with ‘ my lovely’ we looked at daughter-in-law Kimberly’s beautiful photographs of their recent trip to America before finding listening to WHYY, Philadelphia, radio programme in which I participated, Voices of the Family. I had never bothered to listen to it before and I was quite amused by the way I seem to have twisted the team away from death to life.

Totally unexpectedly I received a note from ‘ Saint Michael’ giving his account of our recent visit to Thailand. I have reproduced it almost un-expurgated (my own comments being in italics in brackets). Much of it is lavatorial but I am prepared to share these very personal experiences with my readers in the hope that it might encourage some other person with similar problems to realise that there is always a way even if it is not perfect.

The  Ramblings of a Carer following a further voyage to Thailand, October 2010 with Mark CATO.

Did you hear Mark’s incredible interview with Dan Gottleib “Voices in the Family”   WHYY RADIO. When asked how MND, in view of his now grim outlook and  impending death, had changed his life; Mark characteristically, and calmly changed the interview to a discussion about “life”. What followed was incredibly inspiring with messages for all, as to the importance; the fun and gift of life.

               We set forth for Thailand, Mark’s idea, with the Carer a willing accomplice.

He is weaker and requires more assistance. His fear of falling is acute and real. He has no arms to protect himself and invariably in a fall strikes his head. Further, he then remains down until rescued.

               What does a Scotsman wear under his kilt? Well you might ask. For this was an Englishman with only a tenuous hold on Scotland, (what does he mean tenuous. I had a Scottish father) yet he was attired in a bright, ‘Stuart’ kilt. His idea, in order to facilitate the plumbing which lay beneath. The set up there resembled something of a garden watering system with plastic pipes, bags and little taps.  Like a chain though, it was only as good as the weakest link and so it was that the pathetic button to which it was all attached was the weakest link. Consequently he arrived in Thailand with aplomb, but soaking wet.

 He insisted, in spite of my protests, on wearing the kilt for the return journey too.

 What is more he got his revenge at 36,000 feet over Budapest with the dreaded “I think I need a pee”. This always brought a tense rejoinder from the Carer. “A pretend one or a real one”? It was real. Somehow with a heave I had him standing hooking for meagre support onto the seat in front while I dived under the kilt. A good result and what is more none of the other passengers were aware of the pantomime being played out beside them. He was right. The kilt was appropriate and I learnt to enjoy the happy stares and comments by Emirates “You are the first Scot we have had on board wearing a kilt”!

               His confidence was down. Arriving at Heathrow he announced “I can’t” when being eased out of the car onto the pavement. (Let’s face it, I am the best judge of when I am slipping down beyond the point of no return) h My rejoinder “Go on, just pretend you are parachuting” did not seem to help. Small steps up or down worried him but he was encouraged increasingly to negotiate them by himself. ( The reason being that my legs are so weak it is difficult to lift my foot more than an inch or two off the ground )Of course he did so with  courage and skill but I always kept him in view. “I can’t” was more frequent this time. “How is it” I asked “for a man who has taught me so much about, ‘I can’ is now talking about ‘I can’t”’? Of course he is painfully aware of his physical limitations and no answer is required.

               Caring for such a soul is 24 hour work and quickly proved exhausting and on occasions, unfortunate displays of impatience on the part of the Carer. Long friendships however cope with such intemperate behaviour. The 5 minutes he was on the toilet, or involved with his computer were bliss and allowed the Carer to quickly look at headlines or some other activity. Reading was impossible and quite properly on such a venture  ‘time was not my own’. Mark, in his Blog mentions, the Barlows; John and Geraldine, from Cornwall. Lovely, happy, caring people who quickly appreciated our predicament and would care for Mark and allow me to regularly go off and swim. Bliss.


               Clearly Mark has moments of great frustration. Once he called on one of the Thai lads, Beer, to help him move. Beer, quite correctly came and fished me from the pool. “I pay for these people-they should help-there was no need for you to come-I am a prisoner I cannot do what I want” and so forth. The poor fellow ranted on but finally calmed when pointed out he was in a hotel and not a ruddy rehabilitation unit or hospital.

               His respiratory reserve is now minimal. This is fuelled by his anxiety and not helped by my rejoinder one evening. “it will be your chest which gets you in the end” indeed that applies to many of us. So lying at night, (not by day or if he was otherwise diverted) caused acute stress with cries of “sit me up”. One way of getting me to sit him up during the night was the inevitable “I think I want a pee”. This involved lugging him upright on the bed then after a pause a further lug to have him standing. He can only pee when standing.

A chest infection on the second day revealed just how parlous his respiratory reserve was. Purulent sputum and a rattly chest reminded him of impending death and me, perhaps, that was I mad to have brought him so far. At home he would have been in hospital. In The Anantara, Hua Hin, I propped him upright and sat with him throughout the night. I endeavoured to teach him to cough properly; “three big deep breaths followed by 3 coughs in a row without a breath”. He never got it right and was content with noises from his throat instead of the good basal coughs required. “And you are a bloody professor and you cannot even cough properly” did not seem to help. He gradually improved and without antibiotics which were withheld for the trip home. He had no difficulty in breathing on the aircraft.

Back home, Alice ,clearly could not cope with his distress on lying down at night. They ‘survived’, just, for 2 nights  before he was admitted to hospital for further evaluation.  Subsequently the respiratory support device provided  for use at night has brought about a remarkable improvement. Both Mark and Alice are getting worthwhile sleep. I expect he will  be less tired throughout the day.

               Once more Caring has proved a remarkable journey for the Carer. Hard, constant work, yet so rewarding. Wonderful and funny moments were shared often coupled with some whisky and his cigars.

 Who could ever forget his rejoinder as we sat on the balcony overlooking the lagoon at Anantara:

“This is all really beautiful; look at those trees and plants; the birds, fish and even these wonderful people- it is a sheer joy to be here with them- and- what is more they were all here and just as beautiful before this bloody MND”

They lined up as we departed. Tim Boda the Manager of Anantara, other staff and of course John and Geraldine Barlow. Typical John kept plying me with questions. Realising the significance of our departure I was too choked up to answer. John pretended not to notice.

Michael Long.

Tappen 605. Kopparberg. Sweden 71494

It is quite clear to me that I have been suffering under the delusion that once the carer has got me up and dressed, apart from the occasional pee, I am not much of a liability. That simply is not true and I had to face up to the fact that the carer’s life is intricately bound with my own needs and desires and they are not free in anyway. I must also learn to show my appreciation more openly than I have done in the past now they need to wonderful people like Michael and ‘ my lovely’ but also anyone else who happens to get involved.




8 November 2010

Posted by DMC on 8 November 2010 in Diary |

Having resolved the problem of the respirator packing up in the event of a power cut I turned my mind to all of the other electrical equipment on which we rely.

I have already informed the electricity company of  my condition as this was advised by the district nurse. Last time there was a power cut we were off for around 28 hours and one of the last house to be checked over by the electricity maintenance crew.. Once we have completed a form, which is being sent to us, hopefully we will be given priority. Having said that one of the problems is that the power company tends to carry out maintenance in the middle of the night and gives no warning of short power cuts.

Bearing all this in mind I decided that we would resuscitate our own petrol generator, which I bought and installed years ago, but which probably has not had more than 10 hours use. It needs servicing and the little wood store, in which it is housed, needs fireproofing and a more efficient exhaust fitted. I was fortunate in getting the right man to come today to look at it and give a quotation for the generator side of things and recommend a carpenter for the other work. With any luck the whole thing will be up and running early next week,

The weather was absolutely filthy today – wet and cold with a blustery wind. It made me realise that my days of crossing the lawn from the house to the office are numbered. We had always agreed I would move into the house in the winter and I think we have probably reached that point now. I got onto my good friend Duncan who will come  on Saturday and move all the equipment over to my study. I shall miss my beautiful office and hopefully will be able to return in the spring. However, I suspect the next time will be in a wheelchair. Ironically, it seems to be my arms rather than my legs, that are making it more difficult to walk,  as I need to lean on the gutter frame and manipulate it over lumps and bumps. I know my arms are getting weaker because I was unable to complete one of the exercises this morning with my left arm which I’ve been managing to do for the last several months.

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9 November 2010

Posted by DMC on 9 November 2010 in Diary |

My regular readers may well be wondering what has happened to all those allegedly wonderful inventions I mentioned some months ago. You may recall that the first of five was being developed by HDTI, Coventry University. It was a health care product which they refined and for which they produced a presentational DVD. Up to now I have not been able to disclose the precise nature of this product despite having taken out an intermediate patent on it. Having just received my third rejection, this one from Boots the Chemist, I will now disclose the nature of this idea. It is a Mitt Wipe and I can do no better than reproduce the description sent to the various companies whom we hoped would be interested in producing and marketing it.

The Mitt Wipe


Elderly, disabled and very young people often have difficulty in effectively wiping their bottom. The elderly usually through weakness in their hands and arms and the young through inexperience. Both have difficulty in holding a piece of lavatory paper in their fingers and executing an effective wipe  without soiling their hands. The young think nothing of yelling for Mum, the elderly find a third party involvement undignified. I know, I am one of those elderly.

My answer to this problem is my design of what I call a Mitt Wipe. This is quite simply what we all know as a moist baby wipe in the shape of a mitt that completely covers the fingers and half of the palm of the hand, up to the joint of the thumb. With this in place the process of wiping becomes a much less hazardous process, with little or no possibility of soiling one’s hands. Having completed the procedure, the hand can then be shaken over the lavatory bowl, and the wipe released.

My design for this product is illustrated on the attached CD, the illustrations of which, together with the explanatory notes, are self evident. It is very important that this Mitt Wipe is  biodegradable, so that it can be either disposed of in the lavatory pan or in a rubbish bin.

I do not have to spell out how potentially huge is this market,  both for the elderly, the disabled and the very young learning to lavatory themselves. However, beyond the elderly and the very young there are a great number of fastidious people who are concerned with germs and, if we believe the television advertisements,  spend their time wiping up messes but always with the possibility of soiling their own hands in doing so. Witness the latest handwashing steriliser which you no longer have to touch. No doubt, the all-round protection afforded by the wipe, might well appeal to such people. I also wonder perhaps if the main licensee could sublicense this to someone like Dettol, just for their own ‘germ eliminating ‘ product.

The other aspect of this product, which I believe could well be exploitable, is the potential of advertising on the large flat surfaces of the box itself. Perhaps other products produced by the licensee or, other healthcare products which they do not produce themselves, or in the case of the wipes for the  “Little Ones”, cartoon characters or advertising the latest collectable craze. For example, in the case of cards, a free gift could be included in every refillable pack. Similarly, a box could be specifically designed for little girls, again perhaps with some sort of gift included. But here I am impinging upon marketing, of which I have little experience, except so far as my own books  are concerned and undoubtedly the licensee themselves will have their own ideas.



You can see a visualisation of this product by clicking Mitt Wipe DVD

The product was first offered to Proctor and Gamble who have worldwide interests in such things and would have been the ideal partner. They turned it down, so we then tried Lloyds Pharmacy, not such a large company but  one which would certainly have been able to have distributed it fairly widely. Finally, after receiving a rejection from them we tried Boots, who initially seemed very interested, but in the end, like the other two turned it down. As a matter of interest I give the reasons for the rejections.

Procter & Gamble

I do not bring good news.

The relevant panel at P&G has reviewed the opportunity and concluded that it is not of interest.

They report having reviewed several similar concepts recently.

Sorry I don’t have better news 

Lloyds pharmacy

Initially, it looked encouraging when Lloyds Pharmacy came back with the following;

The buying team and the Independent living team raised the following queries and concerns.

  • Firstly, the wipe sector is very keenly priced and whilst there is a USP to this product, if it is too far out from the standard wipe market, it would seriously limit the mass appeal. So first query concern was price related… this product needs to have a good cost and retail price

-        In the baby sector retails should be around the £3 price bracket.

-        In the inco market, retailers could be slightly higher, between £3 & £5. 

Secondly, it seems this is quite a crowded market with a number of wash mitts and wipe mitts available. Granted these are not exactly the same but it does highlight that it will be competitive and a clear USP with a good retail price is needed.

-For example in our Independent living range we already stock “bath in bed wipes “&. “wash mitts” that are disposable and can be treated for “maximum freshness” and “wash. gloves” that are used with soap and water but are also disposable.

So we still want to explore butt wanted some feedback as to whether you think our price expectations are realistic and I wanted to raise questions that have come up internally.

A week or so later the following comments were received.

‘I have canvassed the category managers responsible for baby and independent living in the business and received their feedback which I have summarised below.

  • This is a nice concept
  • But in a competitive market we don’t see it is unique enough to stand out or command a price premium.
  • It is also likely to be more of a niche product. It commands a price premium, and the future market size doesn’t feel large enough given the time we would need to invest to get  to market …

            … baby wipes market is mass and price dependent

            … Independent living market is smaller and already has wash mitts and wash gloves,

So I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t feel right for us at the moment..’..

Boots the Chemist

‘The Mitt Wipe opportunity was reviewed by the Innovation Board and unfortunately the value was not sufficiently large to take this forwards. The idea was considered from a baby and also an assisted living perspective.

From a baby product point of view, mothers were more concerned about being able to get the wipe out of the packet quickly when they were trying to hold a squirming baby, gentle formulation, good cleaning power and reasonably strong material properties, rather than considerations of contact with a faecal matter. They were happy with the existing formats.

From an Assisted Living perspective the comments were that we had a number of devices that helped in the use of toilet tissue is and the market was not large enough to introduce another product.

Sorry this is not better news.’.

Well I cannot complain that this idea was not given a fair run.(I read USP as unique selling point.) It was not quite unique enough though, it seems, I certainly had no idea that there were other similar sort of products available in the shops. I certainly have never seen them. So I suppose it’s the end of the line for the Mitt Wipe and the money I speculated on having it patented is now lost. Still,’ nothing ventured, nothing gained’.

Having said that, with the greatest respect, I wonder if all three  missed the point. I saw the two big attractions as one, youngsters learning to toilet themselves,- the box decorated, perhaps, with popular cartoons – and two, the elderly, lacking the dexterity to wipe their bottoms effectively, not the Assisted Living market. All three firms seem to have concentrated on the baby market and that for the assisted living ie third-party attending the elderly..This was neatly summed up by the director of HDTI, Coventry University, when he first presented this, and repeated in the description sent to these various firms. I reiterate::

‘... the Mitt Wipe……. is designed for older, disabled and very young people who often have difficulty in effectively cleaning themselves after going to the toilet. Older people find this difficult usually through weakness in their hands and arms, and a young through inexperience. Both have difficulty in holding a piece of lavatory paper in their fingers and executing an effective wipe without soiling their hands. The young think nothing of yelling from Mum; older people find a third party involvement and dignified’.

I now have to decide what to do about the other ideas, in particular my favourite The Feeding Frame.for the elderly.



10 November 2010

Posted by DMC on 10 November 2010 in Diary, Photos |

A busy day. Late morning bthe domiciliary dentist, Sian, arrived with her assistant Pauline to carry out a further hygienist session. Delightful ladies who certainly seem to know what they’re doing.

Then, mid-afternoon, the good Dr Michael arrived en route to Australia tomorrow evening. Then late afternoon, Christian Hanscomb dropped off my video camera and the film that she took for the 20th Arbitration Club Dinner at Drapers Hall. I’ve been dying to see this film before I send it off to Monti to convert to a DVD.

I think I have at last mastered the method of adding media to this blog so just to satisfy myself and hopefully to give the readers some pleasure I shall add the following:


Words of wisdom from George were Bernard Shaw

Facts Days of Yore

Puns for Educated Minds.


Funny — Giving Back to the Church

Blondie and the windows

Deaf wife

Courtroom Jokes

O ld  Guy Rocks


Great pics

Views from above the Earth

Aerial Trip around the World

Greater love hath no man

National Geographical — Best Pictures of the Year

Globus -Unusual Air Baloons

Unusual pictues

Shuttle pictures


11 November 2010 -Armistice Day

Posted by DMC on 11 November 2010 in Diary |

This was the day in 1918 that saw the end of the first Great World War -the Armistice was signed at 11 o’clock of the 11th Day of the 11th month. For this reason, every year, on 11 November, services are held throughout the country to commemorate the dead (for both Great World Wars and indeed casualties from any war) and the whole country comes to a standstill for two minutes at 11 o’clock –  Lest We Forget.

Appropriately the television screened My Son Jack. which we watched with the good Dr It is the poignant story of Rudyard Kipling who, appears in the film as we can  a British Empire fanatic who sits on the government’s propaganda committee trying to put spin on the unbelievably heavy casualties suffered by the Allied troops in the early stages of the war. For example, 11,000 soldiers and 457 officers died in the first day of one of the battles – which, I cannot remember. Knowing all, in the film,  Kipling is shown as being Determined that his much loved son, Jack, should go and do his bit knowing full well that there was a significant possibility he would not return. Despite having been rejected by the army and navy, due to his poor eyesight, his father used his influence to get him into the Irish Guards. The inevitable occurred and the son died but, although totally devastated by his loss,  Kipling was unrepentant. He was immensely proud of his son, he had done his duty.

No doubt if we lost 11,000 troops in one day the Germans suffered similar casualties. A whole generation of young men wiped out, for what? I’m not going to get into the morality of war, as I believe that there. are undoubtedly situations where one has no choice but to take up arms against maniacal  tyrants.

The film was shown last night and Michael left Australia today and will be back just after Christmas. I hope he will slow down within the foreseeable future as he is no chicken and I should hate anything to happen to him. He certainly works very hard at present dashing around the world doing these legal medico reports but there must come a time when he can think about putting his feet up. Maybe next year when he becomes a Swedish citizen.g


12 November 2010

Posted by DMC on 12 November 2010 in Diary |

I had the two Chrises  here today, Rix the electrician and    Camp the builder. Between them they are going to set up the generator so that we need not worry about power cuts this coming winter. It was fortunate that I bought this Honda generator many years ago and it was a very good model. We are actually going to have it housed in a standard metal garden storage unit outside the house which will avoid all the unpleasant exhaust fumes but it will be able to be started with a key from inside. The last few days we have suffered from very high winds and we have held our breath that our electricity did not go off due to falling trees etc. With any luck by the end of next week the generator will be up and running and then we can relax.

Hot on the heels of the generator men came our new Occupational Therapist (OT) Lynn. She has taken over from Sarah Moss who we found absolutely marvellous and I’m sure, having met Lynn, she will be equally as helpful and pragmatic. Basically, she came to instruct ‘ my lovely’ in the use of the  ‘stand up’ hoist. This relatively small and mobile unit is capable of lifting one out of a wheelchair onto a loo or plastic shower chair and back again. Equally well, it can be used to lift me  to a standing position and, as things are at present, onto the gutter frame. I realise that it will  take us a little while to get used to it but I am quite excited about the idea as it means an extension of our total independence. Alice has asked if I minded deferring our first try at this until Monday in case it all goes wrong and I’m left dangling in the air and she needs to ring up social services!

Of course I willingly go along with her as someone who is totally un-mechanical I think she is doing remarkably well with all this electrical equipment and I must do everything I can to support and demonstrate serene patience, which for me is not a natural state of affairs!

We have now had the ‘Nippy’ for a week or so and having typed out a step-by-step guide for ‘ my lovely’, she inserts  her ear plugs -as she cannot stand the sound of the alarm -and plugs me in very successfully every evening.

A nice little piece about the donation of the wheelchair to St John Ambulance, appeared in the MCC Newsletter together with a group photograph showing the handover. Unfortunately, I get all the credit although it was very much a team effort.

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