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30 April 2012

Posted by DMC on 1 May 2012 in Diary |

After Miles and Kimberly left yesterday I finished reading Claire Tomlin’s Charles Dickens: a Life, which I have enjoyed very much indeed. It threw a completely new light on this author who I have enjoyed immensely since doing a paper round, in my early teens, in order to purchase a complete set of his works from a local junk shop. Dickens was a restless soul almost to the point of being manic. If he wasn’t writing a monthly episode of his current book – all, or almost all, of his books were written like that and I think as a result he made considerably more money than he would have done had he sold them initially in a completed bound copy. They sold in staggering numbers anything up to 100,000 copies in the first week.

In between his writing he got involved in a great number of good works, particularly with Miss Coutts (of the family bankers fame) starting homes for fallen women; setting up appeals for the widow of friends or just for friends who fall on hard times: taking on the editorship of various papers, magazines and in between these activities giving a great number of readings from his books, both in this country and America, which were immensely popular. He was constantly falling out with his publishers over money and changed them several times. He enjoyed a fine reputation and was constantly being invited to dinners and celebrations of one sort or another. Even Queen Victoria expressed a desire to meet him to which he had acceded but not with a great deal of enthusiasm.

When the Queen said how very much she would like to hear one of his famous hearings. Dickens answered dryly that he did not give private readings and that was that.

He was much loved by a few friends and the public generally but was not a particularly good parent or friend, his own brother, Fred’s scrounging and fecklessness became intolerable to Dickens and he was cast aside and died penniless and alone. He was an enigmatic character. His own daughter Katie said of him’ I know things about my father’s character that no one else ever knew; he was not a good man, but he was not a fast man, but he was wonderful!’ She said, her buts acknowledged the difficulty of making a definitive moral judgement on him. He did not want any special Memorial and in his Will said’ I rest my claims to the remembrance of my country upon my published works and to the remembrance of my friends upon their experience of me’. He was, however, ultimately buried in Westminster Abbey in an unadorned gravestone with the simple word Dickens on it A fascinating book which I would recommend any Dickens lover to read.

Then I watched an episode of Twenty Twelve, a spoof, on the lines of Yes Minister, covering the run-up to the Olympic Games. Then the six o’clock carer came in to prepare me for bed after which I had my supper and watched something else on television for an hour or so before being hoisted and wheeled into the bedroom. That’s the only drawback in going to bed at 8.30 we really don’t have much of an evening together. So we are hoping that Ross Nursing will be able to change this to 9.00, which will mean we can at least see the end of whatever we are watching on the television.

This routine in my life seems to make the days speed by. My first carers coming at 7. 30 to shower and dress me (I will already have had my breakfast and had a shave). I am then wheeled through and wired up in my study where I spend most of the morning writing this blog and dealing with e-mails and other business. Then the midday carer comes to put me on the commode and deal with any other needs. When the carer’s gone, I encourage’ my lovely’ to sit down for half an hour or so and watch Judge Judy. She invariably falls asleep which is a good thing, bearing in mind her broken nights. After that is time for tea and how quickly time passes before the six o’clock carer comes in to prepare me for bed. Then supper, followed by a very short evening’ s television before I am wheeled through at 8.30 for bed

A typical day in the life of……

Going back to Dickens and his expressed wishes in his Will, the following Living Will may amuse you. Click here to see it.

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1 May 2012

Posted by DMC on 2 May 2012 in Diary |

Labour Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. It originated in America in a nationwide economic depression of 1893. This depression meant take-home pay cheques plummeted. Workers walked out demanding lower rents and higher pay. Rioting, pillaging and burning of railway cars soon ensued. Although it started with the Pullman railway company the strike became a national issue and President Grover Cleveland deployed 12,000 troops to break it.

The strike was declared over on August 3, 1894, following which, in an attempt to appease the nations workers, Labour Day was born. This was replaced in the UK, in 1978, with a May bank holiday, traditionally known as May Day. In the villages around where I live we still have traditional Morris dancers and in some towns, dancing round the Maypole or a parade led by a May Queen selected by the local dignitaries.

As it is this year any such traditional country pursuits will be dampened by the heavy rain which we are currently experiencing. Up to yesterday April was driest been since records began and then the heavens open and areas of the country got more than twice as much as their normal April rainfall in one day, causing extensive flooding.

To me, being a Tuesday, it was another disappointment. There was no way I could go to the golf club and ride around in my electric wheelchair. I will almost certainly got wet and cold. Not recommended. I must say I’m getting very disillusioned. I have only been to the golf club to or perhaps three times since last October and I really had hoped that the weather would have been sufficiently dry and warm by now. Let us hope next week is better.

We have all been victims of bureaucracy from time to time but this exchange with the local gas company over a £0.00 bill, takes the biscuit. I am assured that this is a true record what happened. I can certainly believe it as we have gas connected to the house for the sole purpose of running the gas fire in my office. I informed the gas company, some years ago that I needed a new valve and until such time as this was fixed. I would not be using in a gas. Nevertheless, this will not prevent them from sending someone to read my meter every three months and then send me a bill showing a £5 credit. Anyway, click here to follow the saga of the £0.00 cheque.

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2 May 2012

Posted by DMC on 3 May 2012 in Diary |

It is just over two weeks now before the first have my visits to Lord’s for the Test Match. I really wonder how well I would cope and whether or not I managed to last from the 8.30 departure with Ollie-my Friendly Wheelchair Service-until I arrived back here around 7.00 p.m. I recall, about this time last year wondering whether I would manage my Lord’s trips and as it turned out I managed very well and did not get too exhausted. Well here we are a year later with the same burning question. The only problem being that I am noticeably weaker than I was last year and simply do not have the stamina that I had before. Last year I managed to go on three consecutive days but this year I shall certainly try to have a day between. I have limited my guests from the usual 14, to half a dozen or so. They will understand my situation. So if I am not up to appearing one in particular day, I know they will understand. Having said that , if the weather is fine and reasonably warm and I’m feeling up to it. I shall certainly try. As I said last year, this will almost certainly be my swansong.

At last my Wheelchair Enclosure tickets arrived from Lord’s. There certainly are cutting it very fine with the first test match starting in just over two weeks. In fact, it wasn’t even the tickets but merely an e-mail telling me what I will be receiving as a result of the ballot.

It was only my persistence in telephoning the office that I received an e-mail from them telling me what allocation had been made to me. Considering I wrote a letter to the assistant secretary about my 78th birthday and asking if they could please and least ensure I got a couple of juvenile tickets on that day I was very disappointed with the result of the ballot. Out of 15 tickets applied for I only received 4 and none of those were for juveniles. I was very keen to introduce my two grandsons to Lord’s on 18th of August, my 78th birthday, as this seemed an appropriate occasion but unfortunately they will be on holiday in Wales at the time and The logistics of coming down to London and back were just too complicated and would have messed up their holiday. It’s a great pity really, as this may well be my last chance to introduce some to the club and it to international cricket

All these wonderful voice activation programmes that Paul and I have been working out together will be useless if my voice deteriorates a lot more. The problem is having lost most of the muscular support to my diaphragm I cannot project my voice as I did previously and it now pipes and wheezes like an old man and is getting worse, week by week. The user profile in Dragon simply not understand what I am saying. I’m already having to accept more errors than I did previously. Couple that with the day when my arms give out – which I suspect will not be too long as they are very noticeably weaker – I will then not be able to use my one splinted finger, to get me out of trouble. Maybe the eye camera will then come into its own.

Talking of cricket I received the following e-mail the other day and was surprised to see that it was copies to Sir Geoffrey Boycott. ( all that may have been a spoof . In any event, I’m sure that he would not be amused at anything which and loons to Yorkshire man being a bit mean ) . Anyway, those cricketing fans amongst my readers click here and you’ll see what I mean.

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3 May 2012

Posted by DMC on 4 May 2012 in Diary |

It is just over two weeks now before the first have my visits to Lord’s for the Test Match. I really wonder how well I will cope and whether or not I manage to last from the 8.30 departure with Ollie-my Friendly Wheelchair Service-until I arrived back here around 7.00 p.m. I recall, about this time last year wondering whether I would manage my Lord’s trips and as it turned out I managed very well and did not get too exhausted. Well here we are a year later with the same burning question. The only problem being that I am noticeably weaker than I was last year and simply do not have the stamina that I had before. Last year I managed to go on three consecutive days but this year I shall certainly try to have a day between. I have limited my guests from the usual 14, to half a dozen or so. They will understand my situation. So if I am not up to appearing one particular day, I know they will understand. Having said that , if the weather is fine and reasonably warm and I’m feeling up to it. I shall certainly try. As I said last year, this will almost certainly be my swansong.

At last confirmation of the result of the ballot for the Wheelchair Enclosure tickets arrived from Lord’s.

They are certainly are cutting it very fine with the first test match starting in just over two weeks. In fact, it wasn’t even the tickets but merely an e-mail telling me what I will be receiving as a result of the ballot, in due course.

It was only my persistence in telephoning the office that I received an e-mail from them telling me what allocation had been made to me. Considering I wrote a letter to the assistant secretary about my 78th birthday and asking if they could please and least ensure I got a couple of juvenile tickets on that day, I was very disappointed with the result of the ballot. Out of 15 tickets applied for I only received 4 and none of those were for juveniles. I was very keen to introduce my two grandsons to Lord’s on 18th of August, my 78th birthday, as this seemed an appropriate occasion but unfortunately they will be on holiday in Wales at the time and the logistics of coming down to London and back to Wales would just be too complicated and would have messed up their holiday. It’s a great pity really, as this may well be my last chance to introduce them to the club and it to international cricket.

Unfortunately the new laptop started playing up today. After several attempts I managed to get it to boot up after 5 min 10 seconds then it took another 3 min to complete the process. Then a pop-up box appeared about some problem or other and offered to repair it, which I OK’d. It cleverly completed this process and then behaved reasonably normally. This is the last thing I need is for this third laptop to go wrong army as we had just seem to have got it right. The one thing I must learn to do is to’ print the screen. There is a Print Scn on the top right hand which I know you can press to record any pop-up boxes but just where you go from there are not sure. Obviously if you can produce a message explaining the problem and possibly the solution, this is very useful to anyone helping you to resolve it.

All these wonderful voice activation programmes that Paul and I have been working out together will be useless if my voice deteriorates a lot more. The problem is having lost most of the muscular support to my diaphragm I cannot project my voice as I did previously and it now pipes and wheezes like an old man and is getting worse, week by week. The user profile in Dragon sometimes simply does not not understand what I am saying. I’m already having to accept more errors than I did previously. Couple that with the day when my arms give out – which I suspect will not be too long as they are very noticeably weaker – I will then not be able to use my one splinted finger, to get me out of trouble. Maybe the eye camera in combination with Dragon will then come into its own.

Having recently bought my Will up-to-date I thought  my readers might be amused by this. Click here.

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4 May 2012

Posted by DMC on 5 May 2012 in Diary |

Yesterday, saw the first local elections since the Conservatives were voted into government. It only covered about a third of the country as elections are held every year but for different parts of the country. It is the first true test of the current standing the government. The incumbent party always expects to do badly as it is mid-term and too short a time to see the true effects of its mandate. True to form, the Conservatives lost around 400 seats.

The main beneficiaries were the Labour Party who made sweeping gains in a grim night for the coalition government. They gained around 800 seats and gained control of 21 councils. It was a disappointing night for the Lib Dems, who retain their share of the vote at 16%, but lost a large number of seats. If this is repeated in the general election I suspect the Lib Dems would be all but annihilated. This being so I’m sure we will see some drastic changes in the coalition government between now and the next election. The other small parties such as Ukip and Respect racked up significant gains. Frankly these elections are normally fought on local issues and the number of people supporting one party or the other is not normally reflected in a General Election. The Tories were given a boost to this effect, that the governor of the Bank of England made some very positive remarks about the progress of the Tories plan getting the country out of our present financial mess.

The overall number of people voting for the three parties came out at 31% Conservative, 39% Labour and 16% Liberals. I know that these local elections are usually fought on local issues and for this reason do not reflect what would happen if there was a general election just around the corner. Nevertheless, it never ceases to amaze me how the public memory is so short. As much as anything else our fragile economic state is the result of George Brown’s (the last Labour Prime Minister actions. I will not list again, as I have done on a number of previous occasions, but anyone with any intelligence could see quite clearly what disastrous losses this Prime Minister calls us and squandered capital assets over the period of his governance. I will not deny that the world recession as not had any effect on our economy and it would have been far less if George Brown and run our economy in a more sensible fashion. Having said that we are still hanging on by the skin of our teeth to our triple AAA rating under the Standards and Poor credit agency this compared with the reducing credit rating in Greece and Spain which makes it much more expensive for them to borrow money in order to service their debts. As long as we can retain our triple-A rating we can borrow cheaply on the world market and have a chance of working our way through the heavy burden of debt left to us by the socialist government.

On the home front I had a visit from an old friend and arbitration colleague, John Power, representing, on this occasion the Law Court Branch of the Arbitration Club. They have accumulated a handsome fund over the past 20 years and John was charged with the task of sounding me out as what they should do with it. There was a hint that they would like to establish something in my memory, and kind though it is, I would rather they had not asked me. However, they did, so I then the approached the problem from the point of view of wishing to commemorate someone in the club who was perhaps a founding member and who has played an important part in its growth. I suggested that first of all they could quietly sound out the other clubs, including The Mother Club, as to whether there was a general feeling that they should join their surplus funds together, or go it alone. Most, if not all of the branches have spare funds so that a larger joint fund would put the club in a position to spend a larger amount annually on whatever cause it was decided to support. Alternatively, even asking the other clubs they would still have the option of going it alone. I suggested that they could consider something on the lines of an annual bursary, say, limited to a specific figure to help students who would be promoting knowledge of arbitration and mediation

In addition, they could consider something, I started myself at the China University of Political Law and Science (CUPL) where I have taught for 10 years and my tenure as a Professor runs until the end of 2013. The students at this largest law school in the world come from every corner of China and some of them are incredibly poor. In order to get to the University they have sat and past a national competition finishing near the top .

What I did was to to pay the modest fee for my course for some 10 students, leaving it to the University to offer this bursary to 10 of the poorest students. We could continue this as a formal offer annually. These students are are only required to pay a very modest fee. I believe last time I went it was the equivalent of around £35 per student so no big deal from our end. But even doing that we would still need a larger project to support annually stop Beyond that I really didn’t want to have anything to do with it, particularly, as it was implicit that any fund they set up might be in my name, as founder President.

The news on the manufacturing front was the announcement yesterday that a Chinese conglomerate had bought a controlling interest in Lotus UK. This iconic car has been successfully manufactured in the UK,. I think since the 20’s, but somehow has lost its market share and for one reason or another needed a large injection in cash which the current proprietors simply do not have. I suppose if the jobs remain in the UK we cannot complain if the profits go elsewhere, although I would have liked to have seen the government stepping in and offering some sort of bridging loan to keep the whole business British.

It is clear to me that the Chinese are going to infiltrate many of our iconic companies over the next decade or so but, as I say, provided the jobs stay here and they invest in this country then we cannot, or should not, complain. I suggested to my daughter, some time ago, that she considers getting special lessons for the three grandchildren to learn Mandarin. This would give them a flying start against the competition for jobs in the future. If you start early enough children seem to learn far more quickly than they would if they were older.

Click here to see an amusing sign in a  shop somewhere, but certainly not in China purporting to making the learning of Chinese a little easier!

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5 May 2012

Posted by DMC on 6 May 2012 in Diary |

The Saturday of the May bank holiday. Sad to say the weather was chilly and damp and was not such as to entice young families from abandoning the warm home to get cold and damp in some activity, which inevitably will be expensive. I just wonder when we’ll get our summer? The forecast for next week is no better, with rain forecast for four of the days, including, I’m sorry to say Tuesday, so it looks as though another week will go by without my visit to the geriatrics golfers at Worlington.

The newspapers are full of the aftermath of the local elections. The Labour Party striding about claiming vindication for the opposition to the coalition’s approach in attempting to revive the economy. The coalition, both Conservative and Lib Dems vigourously defending their approach of severe cuts across the board and changes in taxation, for what may well be a relatively short period.

It is the only way this coalition can see we can get out of our current economic mess. This policy is opposed by the Labour Party whose solution is to spend way out, on the principle that by injecting more money into the economy. they will revive it and it will begin to grow again more quickly. I don’t think one has to be a rocket scientist to realise that if you owe a great deal of money the only way you will be able to pay it off is by even deeper into debt in the hope that your new investments will yield sufficient profit to pay off the increased indebtedness you have incurred. Ed Ball, the shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was part of the Labour Party’s opposition gang who got us into this mess in the first place, seems to have overlooked the elementary principle of economics so succinctly summed up by Mister Micawber in Charles Dickens’, David Copperfield

Annual income £20, annual expenditure £19 19 shillings and sixpence, result happiness Annual income £20, annual expenditure £20 and six pence, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the God of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and, in short, you are for ever flawed. As I am!

Jane’ the sheep’ and her partner John, turned up mid-morning with three of her rare breed sheep- Milly; Molly and Katie, who can enjoy the luxuriant growth of grass in our paddock

Having e-mailed my own medical team doctors, Mark Abrahams;Annette Lort; Margaret Saunders and Chris Allen and not received a reply from any of them, I asked John, Jane’ the sheep’s ‘partner, who happened to be here and who is a doctor, whether he felt it would be safe for me to wear an additional morphine patch, as the single one has not proved efficacious. Whilst being clear that the matter must be addressed by my own GP, John could see no harm at all in the second patch after two horrendous nights I had suffered and indeed suggested I might increase the amitriptyline. I may well go down that route. this evening. I think any drawback is that they make you feel very drowsy during the day. Sadly the one patch and this drowsiness effect so sceptical about a second patch as it might make me so drowsy that I become almost incapable of doing anything during the day so must put this side-effect in the balance. I certainly do not want to become a daytime zombie so may well have to put up with the pain in order to remain reasonably alert during the day.

My expensive sheepskin heel protectors arrived this morning. I must say they looked rather grand and I really looking forward to giving them a trial run tonight. If they really work that would be wonderful. As we have now reached the point where when ‘my lovely’ comes down around 12:30 am to turn me over, my heels have become so painful that the only relief that we have been able to work out so far is to rest my calves on a thick pillow leaving my feet free and clear of the bedclothes. This has been partially successful but it has its limitations.

After lunch, Paul ‘the computer’ came to release Alice to do some shopping and so on and at the same time, to continue his good work on developing the camera mouse. I can already see great advantage in being able to move the mouse swiftly across the desktop merely by focusing it on my eye. Apart from anything else, it will be less fatiguing and the more manual operations I can eliminate the better.

Due to the tenuous state of our economy. Click here to see one person’s response when submitting his tax return.

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6 May 2012

Posted by DMC on 9 May 2012 in Diary |

Apologies, I have already broken the promise, I made to my readers, not to mention the pain aspect again, until I had some resolution, but I consider it so important that other MND sufferers, and their carers, learn where I have got to in relieving this distressing side effect. I certainly was not advised by any of my team that I might expect to suffer constant pain at night. Are we just expected to know this naturally follows a disease like MND? Had I known, well in advance, I would not have worried so much that I was suffering from something like multiple myeloma or l some other skeletal disease, rather than just being a normal side-effect of MND.

Anyway, the expensive elegant heel protectors, pretty well did their job. Certainly, reducing the amount of pain from the unbearable to the bearable. Sadly, prevented from keeping me awake through pain in my feet, the devil transferred his efforts to my mid-drift attacking both hips and buttocks. I have to accept that my whole body will now be affected by pain at night through the lack of mobility and must seek a balance between the quantity of painkillers, I take at night, and the effect on me during the following day. No doubt, after my letter to the four doctors, one or other of them will contact me after the bank holiday and we may well come up with a solution.

My Darling daughter Chloe, came down for lunch today and stayed overnight, I think she plans to return after lunch tomorrow. It always lovely to see her, particularly on her own, when she is not so distracted by the children. Although she is terribly keen to take over some of Alice’s caring, while she is with us, we have taken the opposite course, up to now, and made sure she gets an extra lie in on Sunday morning, which she certainly doesn’t managed to do when she’s at home with her three children and husband.

can line-a practice this article. Lives in the got some course and you will unfortunately so

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7 May 2012

Posted by DMC on 9 May 2012 in Diary |

Before I say anything else, the fact that originally there is no entry for yesterday, 6 May, was because of all the messing about we were dealing with the computer to get these new systems to work – laptop to TV; and the operation of the camera mouse – I managed to lose the draft entry for that day which I had prepared yesterday. In fact, I lost the whole of the May entries but, as I had posted the entries into the blog itself for first five days of May we were able to copy and paste them back into my diary. I spent a couple of hours going through every possible place these entries could have been preserved, so I accepted that 6 May was gone forever, after all, what does the odd day missed matter?

Anyway, this morning, after she had breakfasted, Chloe very kindly gave me a hand to finally sort out my cricket tickets and, in particular, those which have been sent to me to give the exclusive rights in the Wheelchair enclosure.

Then she left mid-afternoon yesterday we managed to sort out to whom these cricket tickets were allocated and from whom I required a stamped addressed envelope.

I then had the idea of pasting the first five entries for may from the published blog back into the diary.which just left this mysterious 6 May one missing. Chloe was of enormous help to me as I can no longer physically handle the tickets as a result of my weak arms and hands. As always it was lovely to see her here on our own when she is not being distracted by the three grandchildren and Karl, her husband. In order to give Alice a little break Chloe also kindly brought, with her, the supper for Sunday evening. Unfortunately, I felt a little sick, when it came to suppertime, and I just took one mouthful of each of the lasagne and the rhubarb crumble, both of which were delicious, but I just could not face them. I suspect it was because I had been busy all day and had not had a proper rest

One milestone was passed last evening as I was able to show Chloe a film of her choice on the television, through my laptop, this was our first attempt after Paul ‘the computer’ had cleverly set it up. The process worked like a charm with no cables to plug-in or pull out, the whole operation worked by pressing buttons on the TV remote control. I was delighted as this gives us another dimension, bearing in mind the early time I go to bed. Now I can simply do ‘catch up’ and, if she is interested, show it to’ my lovely’ who, presently, shows not the slightest interest in it, but I suspect I will win her over in due course.

Shortly before Chloe left, mid-afternoon, I was fiddling about with my computer when the mechanical arm rest flew apart. With Chloe’s help, holding the bits and pieces, I could see exactly what had happened, a grub screw had worked its way free until it no longer had any purchase. Without this mechanical arm supporting my left arm, with the splinted finger, I was helpless to do anything on my blog. Even accessing icons and double pressing the mouse was quite an effort and required me to hold my left arm up with my right arm so far as it was possible. Why do these things always happen on a long bank holiday weekend! Having worked out what was the problem, I then sent Chloe to hunt for a tiny Allen key, of which I know I have at least two sets. Could we find them, not on your life, although when I was mobile it wouldn’t have taken me more than two or 3 min. all very frustrating trying to remember exactly where I had last seen them. In the event we turned to our neighbour across the road, Luke, who, as always, was very willing to help and although he did not have the Allen key we needed, he managed to compromise using some other piece of equipment. In effect, he managed to tighten the affected grub screw sufficiently for me to use the mechanical arm until Gavin from Able 2, came, in answer to our cry for help, on Wednesday.

The other milestone we seem to have passed effortlessly was getting my stepfather, Richard (Marsh) to work his Skype, so we could both see and speak to each other. As I have said before, apart from the pleasure of speaking to my mother and Richard, this gives us an opportunity to see how they are managing, bearing my mother, at 95 is only two years older than Richard, who has a history of a dicky heart. We feel so isolated from them here and are always expectant for a phone call to say that something or other has happened to one or other of them. Pray God Richard out lives my mother, whose Alzheimer’s seems to be getting worse.

Click here for a little down-to-earth Welsh humour.

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8 May 2012

Posted by DMC on 9 May 2012 in Diary |

A second morphine patch in combination with my new smart rabbit fur lined heel protectors seem to have done the trick on the joint pain-in-bed front. I am not exactly pain-free but the last two or three nights have been far more comfortable. I think with just a little more tweaking, with the combination of the other pills that I take, we should be able to get to an almost painless state at night. On the Thursday, before the bank holiday weekend, I sent Doctor Mark Abrahams a full explanation of what was going on and what was almost unbearable. I copied this to my GP, Doctor Lort; the head of the Arthur Rank Hospice, Doctor Margaret Saunders and my own Doctor, who heads up the Addenbrookes MND team, who I see every three months or so, Doctor Chris Allen. All we were doing at this stage was drawing attention to my present plight, but not for the first time, and asking whether it will be safe to add another morphine patch, noting the warning on the ‘directions for use’ which required care in not using it as it might affect one’s breathing is already shallow and it takes very little to make me start breathing erratically, almost the point of hyperventilating, so you can see it was necessary take the doctor’s advice before we started using the second patch.

Despite Alice telephoning the local surgery mid-afternoon on Thursday, requesting a call back from the Doctor, we heard nothing. I saw no point in contacting the locum for the weekend, who would have no knowledge of my general condition and, as we have seen from the newspapers, was probably shipped in from central Europe somewhere – because our own doctors are paid far too much to make it worth their while to give up their weekends – and therefore may have limited English. So not having heard from any of them, we just went ahead and took a chance. However, I merely point this out as it is inexcusable not to, at least , make a quick telephone call to the patient who is obviously likely to do himself some considerable harm if he overdoses on one medicine or another.

What concerns me a little bit is my loss of appetite. Again last evening, for the third night running, I could only face one mouthful of the main course and pudding, again feeling slightly sick.

I know that the Addenbrookes team are very keen that I should keep my weight up, as I suppose by eating very little you can weaken your whole immune system. They recommended that I took some calorie added pills to counter act any severe weight loss. This was the result of the Papworth assessment, last month, which said I had lost 8 kg over the preceding three months. Frankly, I think they got this wrong, but the next test, in July, will confirm this.

On the international front the German President Merkel has been overthrown by a left-wing socialist, as has the centre-right, President of France, who has been replaced by Mon. Hollande, who we are told, is centre-left. As a result of these two changes it will be interesting to see the effect it has on the Euro and the perceived strength of the Eurozone as a unit, on the international monetary front. The Euro itself has been dropping quite dramatically and I believe yesterday was down to 1.24 against the pound, where previously I recall it having almost reached parity.

On the home front both Alice and I were horrified to hear, on Farming Today, on Radio Four, that farmers are going to be paid for looking after their animals properly, what used to be called ‘good husbandry’. The implication being that they may not presently be doing so. What an absolute nonsense. Surely any farmer, worth his salt, is going to look after his animals in the proper fashion. So far as farming is concerned, nothing surprises me any more. First, we had the fiasco of the set-aside land, when farmers were paid not to use perfectly good farmland as we were overproducing. This in a world where a fifth of its population are literally starving! Remember the butter mountains and the wine lakes-it makes you sick to think about it. Then, after releasing the wine lakes back to mother nature, they destroyed the butter mountains and other vast storage of meat and other food, it was decided that the farmers should be paid to bring back set-aside land. This crazy U-turn business was applied to grubbing up the hedgerows so as to create minimum of 25 acre fields which would be easier to harvest. In the event the wildlife lobby managed to persuade the government how important it was to maintain hedges where birds and insects could breed. As a result, the farmers were then paid to replant the very hedges they had previously been paid to grub up! I am sure that there are a great number more of such nonsenses, the cost of which is always picked up by the poor old taxpayer.

 I do not want to be to hard on the farmers, who takes is stance from whatever the Ministry of of Agriculture and Fisheries (or whatever the relevant government department is called ). Click here to see and rather amusing prank played by some farmers in  , Canada .



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9 May 2012

Posted by DMC on 10 May 2012 in Diary |

So, I left the reader in the state that I found myself at suppertime. It became another repeat of the previous two days when I really could not face eating anything. Beyond that I felt nauseous. After Alice had done a bit of ringing around to Ross Nursing, and attempting to speak to the on duty Doctor, I found myself gazing into the bottom of a large bowl on my desk. In the event, it was touch and go but I was not sick. The worrying aspect of this being that the full face mask on my respirator could become lethal if I actually vomited. This being so I switched to the nose only version and wore that for an hour or so before I was due to go to bed. The advice we were given, when Alice telephoned the local doctors surgery, which was closed, but in the hands of a locum, was to dial 999, explain the circumstances and say that I had been advised to spend the night in Papworth hospital.

There was no way that I was going to do this unless forcibly dragged to the ambulance. I know the doctors and nurses have been extremely kind to me on my one-day in Outpatients, but I really do not want to spend the night there. I think I would have tried the nurses, patience in asking them to turn be so often. So after resting with the nose only respirator, for an hour or two, we decided to risk putting me to bed. I was handled gently and settled down, quite quickly, surviving the night.

By morning I didn’t feel at all bad but still very weak. Late morning the nausea returned so I suggested to’ my lovely’ that we called in our local Doctor Lort. I really felt very rough around lunchtime but forced myself to take down half a cup of soup and a single slice open sandwich and happily I kept them down.

In the meantime Alice had rung the surgery and asked Doctor Lort if she could  kindly call in after morning surgery. Alice had some shopping to do so was not here when the Doctor arrived (I had been left in the tender care of Jane ‘the sheep’).

We discussed my medication and particularly in the fact that I only put on the second patch prior to going to bed. Doctor Lort suspected that it was this ‘on off’ on business with the second morphine patch which might be the culprit for the nausea, so suggested I put two patches on per day and left them there and, at the same time, left of the tramadol. It seems it is a matter of trial and error. Unfortunately, to add to my misery. I had developed a mouthful of ulcers, for which the Doctor got me some antiseptic mouthwash.

I spent the best part of the afternoon and evening dozing as I did not really feel to doing anything else. When it came to suppertime again, having no appetite and feeling nauseous. I couldn’t face anything. A couple of hours later I managed to read after Weetabix as some of my medication is labelled’ to be taken after food’. As the evening wore on I felt more and more comfortable and was continuously clammy and hot, this despite all the heating having been turned off.’ My lovely’ read right through the symptoms and side effects of the morphine patches and they all pointed to the side-effects from which I was suffering. This being so she took the bold step of removing the one patch I had on instead of adding to it.

Craig was the Ross Nursing carer designated to come into put me to bed and as he was passing around 8.30 at his dropped in to ask whether I would like to go to bed now or scheduled time of 9.00. I gladly accepted the earlier retirement time.

After that ‘me, me’ tirade – for which I make no apologies  as the whole raison d’être of this blog comes down to what stages an MND patient might have to go through before his demise. I promised my readers full honestly if this blog is to be of any real help –   my readers deserve at least a little chuckle, so, click here, if you want to learn how a village priest succeeded in ‘politely’ calling his golfing partner a bastard!


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