Tuesday, so it must be geriatric golf day. George, from Ollie’s Friendly Wheelchair Taxis, picked me up and, like last week, all went like clockwork. I’m getting more confident now driving it around the golf course in my electric wheelchair on the rather rough ground, taking great care to avoid the steep slopes, or at least straightening up and going down and up and not across them.
The usual gang were there, Griggsy- back from Spain – John Gray, Alex Sexton, Uncle Tom Cobly and all. Great fun as usual but sorry to learn that there is no game next week. I was a little concerned to discover that Woody’s bowl had a green slimy bottom. Clearly no one is taking responsibility for keeping it clean and filled with fresh water and must make some new arrangements.
Today we received a very welcome confirmation from the West Sussex PCT that I have been approved for 100% Continuing Care to be reviewed in 12 weeks time. All it needs now is for us to agree the daily schedule with Harriet.
I am heartily relieved as this will certainly take a little of the pressure from ‘my lovely’ who for the past year has wonderfully cared for me virtually single-handed apart from getting assistance in lifting me up from the study chair and the wheelchair. With all these horrendous stories appearing in the. National newspapers about mentally incapacitated patients being so badly treated that it amounts to torture, I realise how extremely fortunate I am in having such a loving tender and caring wife.
Go to beginning of gaily beginning of document
Poor’ ‘Jane the sheep’ seems to be suffering from the same problem that prevented ‘my lovely’ from attending Gus’s wedding. As this was Wednesday and Jane’s day to be here to babysit me, she sent her lodger, Paul, who fortuitously, works with his brother just around the corner. Even more fortunately for me, Paul is a computer geek so we spent the entire afternoon messing about with my computer, downloading the odd free programme and trying out new ideas for my blog. All great fun. I certainly do not wish Jane any ill but I shall be delighted to see Paul here from time to time.
In the meantime ‘my lovely’ had spent the afternoon at a memorial service for the husband of one of our best friends which she would not have missed the world, so it was a win-win situation all-round.
Our boy Murray played a stormer in the quarter-finals of the French Tennis Open to get into the semifinals.
Now here’s a naughty bit of fun for you, if you like this there are lots of others which you can access from the same URL
It was announced today that this has been the warmest and driest spring (April and May) since 1896. The weather forecast at the beginning of the week looked very promising and those readers who have followed this blog from the beginning will know that, as a naturist, I have always spend a great deal of time in the sun in one country or another. Since I have been less mobile I have hardly had any sunbathing at all and had every intention of sitting outside in my electric wheelchair for an hour or two today. Unfortunately, and almost predictably, the weather forecasters got it wrong and we never saw the sun so, I sat all day in my study, in my baggy shorts, in anticipation of the sun to breaking through but to no avail.
I’m off to Lord’s tomorrow for the first day of the Sri Lanka Test Match against England and it promises to be very warm. Sadly I should have to remain fully clothed, including my tie, so I will not be getting too much of a suntan there but it should be a good day.
At last I have received a reply from my local MP, The Rt.. Hon. Sir Alan Hazlehurst, re. my idea for a nationwide scheme of one-to-one mentoring for children from deprived families. (See my letters to the Deputy Speaker of the House Of Commons, Sir Alan Haselhurst and The Prime Minister, 11 February 2011 entry) Quite rightly, Sir Alan passed my letter to the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education and receives a long letter from Minister, Michael Gove. Sadly, he or his PA, totally missed the point.
Whilst agreeing with me that monitoring is a a powerful tool to help young people understand the world of work and the opportunities available to them, this minister referred me to the Education and Employers Task Force which the government recently announced as their Social Mobility Strategy. This Task Force,, amongst other things, is already developing Robert Heston’s, the BBC’s Business Editor’s Speaker for Schools programme, and Mr Gove suggests that I might consider becoming one of these speakers.
As I said to Sir Alan, although this in itself may well be a good initiative, it completely misses the point of my idea and frankly I cannot see a great deal of sense in me putting my name forward as a speaker to the group of local school kids who are probably already reasonably well-educated and motivated. So I may have one final attempt, by contacting this Task Force, to see if I can get them interested in my idea but I will not hold my breath fce a successful outcome.
A quiet day after the excitement of the children’s recent visit is and ‘my lovely’s’ birthday celebrations. Incidentally, I forgot to mention that the three grandchildren, accompanied by their parents, I imagine from their campsite, gathered round a mobile phone and all sang happy birthday to granny on the day itself. All very touching I wonder what the grandchildren will now call granny, obviously no longer’ ‘granny donkey’ now that Mouse, the donkey, has departed this world.
At last I have managed to find out where our Continuing Care application has gone to. Not from the district nurses who I have I rang up consistently over the past two or three weeks, without response, but by going direct to the person at West Essex PCT who is processing the application. Apparently there were problems with the paperwork which was not completed as required. The lady responsible for my case is hoping that she will shortly be in possession of the last piece of paperwork and that the case can be considered towards the end of this week. The only problem from our point of view is that it is now a number of weeks since the assessment was carried out and there is no doubt that I have deteriorated substantially in the meantime. So if we get turned down we may have no choice but to appeal. I have asked West Essex PCT to send me a copy of the regulations showing what the criteria is for eligibility for Continuing Care which they have kindly agreed to do. In the meantime we struggle on using our own resources.
So, I made the third day of the test match without too much difficulty and lasted the course for the three day’s of cricket. I am extremely lucky in have discovered Ollie and his Friendly Wheelchair Service. Ollie himself is a wonderful chap, extremely helpful, nothing is too much trouble. He drives had a very steady pace so as not to rattle of listening me around too much in the wheelchair. He is very fortunate to have an equally charming and helpful wise, Debbie, who came all the way from Saffron Walden in order to help Ollie get me out of the wheelchair safely. I would thoroughly recommend this service to any wheelchair bound patient.
The weather at Lord’s was as perfect as it could have been for the first two days but sadly the third day was a little disappointing and rain stopped play at three o’clock. England, after very unpromising start had knocked up 486 runs and Sri Lanka reply, by the time I left was 372 for three wickets. I suspect with the time lost through bad weather and Sri Lanka looking well set, this match will end in a draw.
However, from my point of view it was an enormous success. I was able to entertain five good friends. On the first day Julian (Dr Julian Critchlow friend, lawyer and one of my to literary executors). On the second day Mark (Jenkins) friend, more of my son Miles than mine as I saw him first at Haileybury College, some 30 odd years ago sitting on his bed in the dormitory on his first day at school clutching his teddy bear. He and Miles of been friends ever since but how can it be that this little lad is one of my stockbrokers!?). My second guest was my nephew William (Garton Jones) who I met a month or two before I met myÂ ‘my lovely’ as she came out to Aden in South Arabia for his christening.
Today my two guests were Brian Osborne (a friend of some 30 odd years standing with whom I played golf in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Golfing Society at Wentworth and Sunningdale) and Tony Oakeshett a renowned artist who painted the Queen in 2004 for the Worshipful Company Apothecaries. He did two ten foot painting called ‘The Driving In’ which depicts Prince Andrew teeing off in front of five hundred spectators at St Andrews (each one a likeness). and a second painting, for the Royal and Ancient, entitled The ‘Dinner which is six foot wide, and shows Prince Andrew being made captain for the year. Both paintings commemorate the 250th anniversary of the foundation of the R&A.
Pursuing the golf theme , Tony had., some years earlier painted a ten foot picture set at Wentworth Golf Club depicts about 180 people witnessing the first shot of the match which was between a British team and an American team played at that club in 1926.
This match was the origin of the Ryder Cup Matches and the painting has now become the image which is used to represent the early history of of the competition and has been used extensively on TV films about the Ryder Cup.
Tony’s greatest achievement was possibly The Armada project. five paintings measuring 15 feet by 12 feet depicting the Armada campaign now inserted into wall panels in the Prince’s Chamber of the House of Lords (together with another painting done in the 1860’s). This was such a huge project that, in the manner of the great Masters, Tony had to engage and supervise a team of young artists to assist him.
Below is anÂ image of The ‘Dinner .
In addition to my personal guests there were the usual gang of friends many of whom have sat with me in the same part of the Warner stand for over 30 years. Jamie (Dr James Snowdon Barnett, lawyer and poet extraordinaire, my second literary executor and his brother, another Dr Barnett but this one achieved his doctorate through architecture. Then there was Jeremy (Brinton), now back from Dubai where he was managing director of Magrudy’s -a combination of Waterstones bookshop and Ryman’s the stationers. Finally, but certainly not least there was Roger (Goodwin something to do with shipping) and my very kind and helpful friend Paul Newman (anyone who looked less like Paul Newman you cannot imagine!) but Paul is the one who really looked after me, taking me to the disabled loo etc.
Out on the Lawn was my old friend Bob Lederman and his brother Geof. liberally dispensing food and drink to all and sundry. These then were my friends and then add another half a dozen friends of those friends and you can see that we were a very jolly band in the bottom left of the Warner stand
Whilst I was at Lord’s’ my lovely’ had been entertaining my brother-in-law John Garton Jones and wife Anne to tea and JohnÂ who very generously left me a decent bottle of Rioja. I’m sorry I missed them.
I forgot to mention yesterday but while I was at Lord’s yesterday, driving around in my wheelchair, one of the feet extensions caught a rubbish bag and broke the top of its mount so that the support would no longer stay in place. It was obviously necessary that I had some sort of support for my foot so, and at my suggestion, Mark (Jenkins) ingenuously fashioned a short wire cylinder made from the wire which secured one of our many champagne corks. It did the trick after a fashion. I rang Hollies Wheelchairs yesterday and they promised to send round and engineer this morning to look at it. The main thing is that they must not take the chair away because every fine summer’s day is valuable to me at this stage.
. I’m sorry to say that we had another disaster last evening. I had noticed that my legs seemed to have been getting slowly weaker and yesterday morning, having been raised by the bed to my feet onto my frame, one of my legs temporary gave way but I was able to prevent myself from falling to the floor. In the evening, having been raised out of my chair by Paula and ‘my lovely’, in attempting to shuffle around to start my walk to bed, both legs collapsed and the girls were left fighting to prevent me from completely sinking to the floor. In doing so I was at an almost horizontal position with a very tight belt around my middle and started to panic because I could simply not breathe and really felt that I was going to expire. The girls cleverly managed to get me sitting on the floor then ‘my lovely’ went off and dialled 999, as we had been instructed in such emergencies. Within 10 min or so the paramedics were here and quickly got me seated in my chair again from whence, by using the hoist into the mobile wheelchair, the panic was over. However, it really looks as though I have come to the end of using my legs even for the shortest of walks, which is extremely disappointing as I had genuinely thought I could go on for another two or three months at least maybe we will have to ask the local physiotherapist to come and assess my legs before we finally give up.. In addition, we will have to have work out a completely new carer regime for getting me up, showered, dressed and into my study chair and back to bed in the evenings.
Althea came after lunch to do my nails.
Harriet came round last night but had been unable to get hold of the district nurse so could still not agree precisely what they could do for us as she has to find out first how many hours have been approved. She was however fairly confident that whatever we get it will be backdated from 26 May and possibly, if we are very lucky, from the date we made the application
In any event, we started our new regime yesterday with the girls coming in early morning to give me a shower and dress me and ultimately get me into my study chair using the hoist. I spoke to a colleague of our Neuro Physio, Mel-who is away on annual leave-and she said looking at Mel’s notes it was quite clear that she was advising me not to walk again as she considered that my legs were too weak. That was a month or so ago when she provided the little straps for my feet that lifted the toes off the ground and saved me dragging my feet.
For the sake of completeness I ought to bring the readers up-to-date on the cricket. After England’s 486 in their first innings Sri Lanka managed to get to 479.
Play was on and off for the next three days due to bad weather but England batted on in their second innings until declaring after lunch at 373 for 3 and as it turned out there was not enough time to bowl Sri Lanka out, so the match fizzled out as a draw. I suppose the highlight from England’s point of view was Cook’s 106. The next excitement, cricket wise will be the One Day International against Sri Lanka on 3 July
The engineer from Holly’s wheelchairs came yesterday morning and was full of admiration for the ingenious way that we had rigged up the jubilee clip as a temporary repair to the electric wheelchair. The broken part is quite small and he has agreed to post it to us and I will get someone to screwed it into place which will save them another visit. I am heartily relieved that they did not need to take the electric wheelchair back to the workshop which would have deprived me of its use for heaven knows how long.
A hectic day. Shortly after the girls left after showering undressing me somebody came to service the hoist. Once in my study I tried to update my blog and found that the new version of Dragon was simply not functioning properly so it was necessary to get onto Microlink. While Carl, from that company, was sorting out my computer, I received five outside telephone calls from various medical people about appointments etc. Then the’ tummy rubbing lady’ arrived to do her stuff. I really believe that this aromatherapist, Karen, is making a difference to my bloated tummy and it would be interesting to see how much improvement is made once we get the nurses to do it twice a day as well as in the early morning by’ my lovely’. Then Harriet arrived to inform Alice that power continuing care entitlement was to half hours per day so we are now in a position to work out some sort of regular schedule. Then, at 1 AM,’ Jane the sheep’ arrived for her babysitting stint while Alice went shopping.
For the moment we have cut out the midday and six o’clock calls which were specifically to give me a short walk. Without that requirement we will have to work out some other task, such as putting me into the wheelchair otherwise I’ll find myself stuck in this study chair for 14 hours a day, which apart from being tedious will not do my body a great deal of good.
Had a great lunch, at the Cricketers pub next door, with Mark Jenkins and Simon Walker, contemporary school friends of son Miles but also my friends which I suppose is not surprising as I have known them for over 30 years, and in any event I seem to still have the mental age of 40-year-old which puts me on an equal footing so far as the conversation is concerned. I say 40-year-old but horror of horrors to be more accurate they are nearer 50 than 40. What in my youth we would certainly have called middle-aged but to me they still look like young lads.
Miles is godfather to each of one of their children. Our conversation ranged over my favourite topic, the Big Bang and the universe to the horrors that went on at school when they were ‘new guv’s’, i.e the traditional initiation ceremonies that went on for new boys during their first week. I think it was just as well we didn’t know about such things and certainly the boys would never complain to their parents, it simply was ‘not done’. Had they done so their life would have been hell probably for the whole of the first term. I suspect today much of those traditions, which can only be called bullying, have been stamped out. The boys looked after me wonderfully well over lunch – Mark happily fed me – and when we returned to the house the boys hoisted me into my study chair like seasoned nurses.
I have received the decision of the Investigating Committee of the General Dental Council. It was a complete whitewash and really defies common sense.
As, apparently, there is no appeal against this decision, I now have to consider whether to take a civil action against this dishonest dentist or seek a judicial review. The point being, as I have made all along, I am not a vexatious litigant but am simply fighting the cause for the common man (the man on the Clapham omnibus) who may be slightly overawed by a professional man and not be articulate enough to challenge him.
A little bit of fun to finish with.
The Sensitive Man
A woman meets a man in a bar.
They talk; they connect; they end up leaving together..
They get back to his place,
And as he shows her around his apartment.
She notices that one wall of his bedroom is completely filled with soft, sweet, cuddly teddy bears.
There are three shelves in the bedroom,
With hundreds and hundreds of cute,
Cuddly teddy bears carefully placed
In rows, covering the entire wall!
It was obvious that he had taken quite some time to lovingly arrange them
And she was immediately touched
By the amount of thought he had put into organizing the display.
There were small bears all along the bottom shelf,
Medium-sized bears covering the length of the middle shelf,
And huge, enormous bears running all the way along the top shelf.
She found it strange for an obviously masculine guy
To have such a large collection of Teddy Bears,
They share a bottle of wine and continue talking and,
After awhile, she finds herself
‘Oh my God! Maybe, this guy could be the one!
Maybe he could be the future father of my children?’
She turns to him and kisses him lightly on the lips
He responds warmly.
They continue to kiss, the passion builds,
And he romantically lifts her in his arms and carries her into his bedroom
Where they rip off each other’s clothes and make hot, steamy love.
She is so overwhelmed that she responds with more passion,
More creativity, more heat than she has ever known.
After an intense, explosive night of raw passion with this sensitive guy,
They are lying there together in the afterglow. The woman rolls over, gently strokes his chest and asks coyly,
‘Well, how was it?’
The guy gently smiles at her, strokes her cheek, looks deeply into her eyes, and says:
‘Help yourself to any prize from the middle shelf’
When I was at Lord’s the other day Brian Osborne delivered a lovely postcard from his daughter Kate who has spent part of her year off, before going to Durham University, working with small children in Uganda. The postcard she gave me showed half a dozen beautiful Maasai girls dressed with traditional beaded ornaments but to my amusement wearing long red modesty skirts which they certainly did not wear in my day. (See 31st of December 2010 entry). With the postcard came a little handmade straw figure, presumably representing Christ, which we are to hang on our Christmas tree next year. It’s good to have Kate back, even if she was well looked after in Uganda. She and her like set a great example to the youth of today.
Shortly after Sally and Sarah and left after giving me my shower, dressing me etc, Lynne, my really helpful occupational therapist arrived to craft a splint for my right hand, similar to the one away on the left.
The idea being that at present in order to access the left-hand side of the keyboard I have to lean right over putting a lot of pressure on my right arm and shoulder, so I thought I had the right hand finger splint as well this might overcome the problem. As usual Lane was up to the task and what she made in conjunction with the articulated arm rest I believe will probably do the trick. Having said that I’m trying more and more to use voice activation for almost every mouse movement but there are one or two which are rather tedious or difficult so I take the easy way out and use my splintered finger to press the appropriate key.
Poor Lynne I think was rather fazed by the number of my support team who turned up or telephoned while she was here. First of all the wheelchair man came to replace the broken leg support. Then a courier from Papworth Hospital arrived with the Oximeter for me to use over the weekend before my appointment on Monday. No sooner had he left than Barbara, from Ross Nursing, turned up for the midday visit which would normally be to put me into my electric wheelchair (but today the weather really wasn’t worth the risk) so she spent 5 min or so doing my tummy rubbing. While all this was going on I received a phone call from Dr Margaret Saunders about some more drug changes +2 or three other medically-based calls and all of this while poor Lynne was trying to craft and fit this new finger splint. With all this going on there is no way I could possibly say I’m not being very well looked after.
Today’s bit of fun is for grandpa’s although I’m not too sure that grandmas will be too happy about it! Â
AÂ six year old goes to the hospital with herÂ grandmother to visit herÂ Grandpa.
WhenÂ they get to the hospital, she runs ahead of herÂ Grandma and bursts into her Grandpa’sÂ room…”Grandpa, Grandpa,” she says excitedly, “AsÂ soon as Grandma comes into the room, make a noiseÂ like a frog!”
“What?”Â said her Grandpa.
“Make a noise like a frogÂ – because Grandma said that as soon as youÂ croak,
we’reÂ all going toÂ Â Disneyland.