30 May 2012

Posted by DMC on 1 June 2012 in Diary |

I mentioned, a few days ago, that, Doctor Michael Davies, the consultant at Papworth hospital, thought that I would benefit from spending a couple of days with them as an in patient during able them to try to ascertain if there were any physical changes which would give a clue for these massive surges of adrenaline from which I have suffered these past three or four weeks

Well, the call came at the end of last week for me to present myself today. After a discussion with the consultant, Doctor Michael Davies, I explained what the bad sleeper I was and how I needed the wireless on all-night and as a result could not sleep in the open ward. Apart from that I said that I was a little concerned about having someone to turn me as often as I seem to need and the only person I could really trust in this direction was ‘my lovely’. No problem, they said we will allocate you a side ward i.e. a ward with a single bed into which they would put a ‘camp’ bed for ‘my lovely’ Having met all of my objections I had no choice but to accept.

Accordingly, we made all the preparations for me to go off by ambulance around midday. Then I overheard various telephone conversations between Alice and Papworth hospital as to whether I was expected at all, which I’m glad to say,’ my lovely’ soon sorted out with her usual competence.

As we have now come to expect the ambulance arrived nearly 4 hours later then we were told. I went on my own in with Alice promising to follow on later.

I went through all the usual admission procedure and in the early afternoon had done all required of me and at that stage, I had it not been for the overnight monitoring, could have gone home.

Alice arrived about 7.00 p.m. and I was prepared for bed whilst’ my lovely’ organised the room. We then settled down to watch one of our detective thrillers, Midsomer Murders, on the television (guaranteed to send the strongest the monsters to sleep and then 10 or 15 min of hearing) little of which I recall as I suspect, completely exhausted. I’ve fell asleep very quickly. The wonderful thing about having’ my lovely’ with me was that I knew I was in safe hands and that someone would come if I called. The problem was that I have not got enough strength in my fingers to press the standard alarm and my voice is too weak to shout. With’ my lovely’ down next to me meant that a call during the night to be turned was met instantly. In fact, by my usual standards. I had a reasonable night’s sleep.

Alice was up with the lark as usual and as I was beginning to feel pain in various joints, I persuaded her to get me out of bed into a sitting up position pretty much as we do at home, at around 7.00 o’clock. Then she left me to the mercy of the hospital staff. Apart from a short questionnaire about my normal sleeping patterns plus one blood gas test, which consisted in piercing the earlobe and extracting a small portion of blood, that was just about it. Oh yes, I did also have a chest x-ray.

With my examinations over, other than speaking to the consultant, I was ready to come home and around midday. Fortuitously, Doctor Michael Davies popped in to see me, unofficially in as much as it was not his ward round, and pointing out that his college would be formally discussing the results of the tests but his own view was that, although there was an obvious deterioration from the previous visit, six weeks or so earlier, apart from that he liked the look of the tests. We did not really get onto the course or reason for ‘the explosions of adrenaline’ which other than him agreeing that they were paying normal panic reaction to the physical loss of air, for at least two of them. To summarise he thought I was doing reasonably well and there should be no need for any oxygen input pro tem. I suppose it was a question of’ ‘keep taking the tablets’! All reasonably reassuring as I suppose I went in thinking that I was hurtling downhill at a faster rate than I had previously imagined

Having informed the nurse at the reception counter to please note that I would be ready to go home and around midday, I was alarmed to find that I had to wait until around 3.30 for the ambulance. When it arrived, the driver said that he was very sorry but my high wheelchair would not fit in it and I have to wait for another one. The girl on reception then made a few telephone calls and informed me that there was a problem with the ambulances and I had two choices. One, to wait and be taken home’ late’ (this I gather meant anything around 8-10 o’clock). even then she could not guarantee that the ambulance would be able to take me (all, apparently, due to my high electric wheelchair) or, two, to reconcile myself to spending a further night in hospital and be taken home the following morning. This I was absolutely adamant against so with no guarantee of transport from the hospital I decided to use my own and got the nurse to telephone Ollie. Debbie, Ollie’s other half, said she was terribly sorry but the earliest they could get to me was around seven o’clock.

At least this was something positive, so I accepted that I would have another 3 1/2 hours wait. By this time my bottom was getting quite numb,having sat in my wheelchair for around eight hours and so asked the hospital staff if they could find something else I could sit in for two or three hours to give me some relief. To give them their due, they produced a lounger chair and hoisted me into it. I was so weary that I dropped off to sleep for an hour or two before being re- hoisted into my own wheelchair to continue the long wait. At least I had been sensible enough to take my laptop with me onto which I had downloaded half a dozen films and, of course, I had my books and music (through the earphones) to while away the hours.

Almost to the minute, as promised, the ever reliable Debbie from Ollie’s Wheelchair Friendly Service, arrived as my saviour to sweep me off homeward bound to arrive just 5 min prior to my 8.30 carer coming into put me to bed. Was I pleased to be home, reinforcing what I have always thought, that no matter how wonderful of the staff, hospital or hospice, is no place to die, adding 100% misery factor by just being out of your familiar surroundings and having little control over, and what, happens to you compared with care at home which is totally directed towards the patient’s comfort and demands, however unreasonable.


1 June 2012

Posted by DMC on 2 June 2012 in Diary |

I woke at home in familiar surroundings. with my night carer close by – this one a kindly ‘granny’type, so far as I could see through sleepy eyes, when she came to say farewell at 5.00 a.m. – . after a reasonably good night sleep. Alice, now having been relieved of all her nightly duties, is beginning to assume a more normal sleeping pattern.

I should perhaps mention to old and new readers alike that using voice activation is not always foolproof. For example, if I was in the middle of piece of dictation and am interrupted by someone coming into the room and speaking before I can switch off the microphone, the result is that the microphone will pick up bits of conversation and insert gobbledygook where ever the cursor happens to be at the time. Now, although I tried to read all of the text between drafting and publishing, occasionally the gobbledygook factor occurs without me noticing. I draw this to your attention as much as anything to assure you that I’m not going loony but it is just one of those things that can happen if you rely heavily on voice activation.

Smiler came down to lunch today, no doubt to hear first-hand the outcome of my visit to Papworth. I do hope I managed to assuage any fears e-mailed for a sudden demise on my part and as a result will relax a little and not feel obliged to come down and see how I am, almost weekly. Much as I love to see him. I’m sure it is a difficult distraction in planning his time. For example, I learned yesterday that he cancelled a holiday in France that he and Kimberly had been planning for some time.

I started writing a short of a curt letter of complaint to Papworth hospital concerning then transport arrangements without holding out any hope that they will be changed but at least I’ve got that off my chest, and, also, may possibly get my bill from Ollie’s, to take me home, refunded. In order to ensure that I was of sending the letter to the right person, I spoke to the manager in charge of transportation, (John) to and from Papworth hospital.

He was very charming and apologetic at the inconvenience I had been, and to the best of his ability promised me a better service. I felt very sorry for him as he obviously gets all the brickbats and is trying to run reasonable service with totally inadequate facilities. For example, as the elderly population increases every year many more of the patients attending hospital do so in wheelchairs and many of the vehicles in the transport pool are unable to take wheelchairs at all, and certainly a few of them cannot take the high variety of wheelchair in which I travel. In the end I settled for writing to sister Sharon Loveday, the sister in charge of the Respiratory and Sleep centre, without much hope my comments will have any long-term effects but at least I have tried on my behalf and those other elderly patients who encounter the same problem.

After that long time raise I shall he is the sense of indignation by giving you some of Tommy Cooper’s best one-liners. To see them just click here.


2 June 2012

Posted by DMC on 3 June 2012 in Diary |

I woke up, in the early morning, after a relatively good nights rest. This new idea of having night-time care whereby a rub on an imaginary lamp produces a genie within seconds ready to respond to my command, in this case, to turn me over and make me comfortable. So much better than waking up in the middle of the night, not knowing what time it was but in a certain amount of pain which increased as time went on and when you reach the unbearable stage to press the alarm for’ my lovely’. I sometimes forget for a minute or so and start the long haul of moving centimetre per centimetre into a position to relieve the pressure on what over part of the body is hurting and then suddenly the realisation strikes me that all I need to do is to ‘rub my lanp’ (hits my alarm) and’ my genie’ will appear to make the pain go away by turning me in the bed. What joy!

Far more important than me is the fact that today is the first of the long four day celebration of our dear Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – 60 years on the throne. Only three years short of Queen Victoria’s reign, which God willing, this Queen will surpass. The whole process started off rather quietly until it has gathered force these past few days every city, town, village in hamlet seems to have arranged its own form of celebration, street parties and the like which we last experienced on the Queen’s Coronation.

Today, the main event seems to be The Derby – the first of the horseracing classics of the year- this is highly appropriate as the Queen is a fanatical lover of horses and even at her mature age still rides out early morning when she is staying at Windsor Castle. Why should she not be allowed to choose how these four days are spent. I remember last time I went to Royal Ascot, I enjoyed so much seeing the Queen, in an open carriage, riding pass the general public and the hospitality boxes before settling down in her own box to follow the racing, which so she’s so obviously enjoys.

We started to get into the spirit of things by watching a homely documentary, made by Prince Charles, delving into the family archives for video clips and photographs taken by one member or other of the family, specifically for the family’s own private library, just like any other family growing up with young children. It was obvious by the look on Prince Charles’s face, or his reaction, thathe had no memory of having seen them himself, before this occasion.

Our own little contribution to this truly historic event was to raise a glass of champagne, toasting the health of the Queen and praying that’ long may she reign over us’.

I really do not have any photographs or pictures which are appropriate for today’s celebration. So rather than lowering the whole thing by some cheap joke, readers must allow me to exercise my own editorial right and use one of the photographs I have included before, click here to see the Queen with the American president, George Bush 



3 June 2012

Posted by DMC on 4 June 2012 in Diary |

The great excitement today was the River pageant. Apart from the magnificent Royal boats there were around 1000 small craft following. Some of these boats had come from overseas, for example, there was a huge gondola from Venice. However, undoubtedly the most important of these little ships were the 39 survivors from the magnificent rescue of our forces from the beaches in Dunkirk in 1940. Something like 350,000 British personnel were saved by 1000 or so of these little boats, rescuing them from the beach and either putting them in the larger ships which could not get close enough to the shore, alternatively, going straight back to the UK before returning once more to France to rescue a few more troops..

On one of this flotilla was our very own Harriet, of Ross Nursing. Try as we may we never actually picked her out, however, I’m sure, from her bed point of view, this is an experience that she will never ever forget.

It is such a pity that the weather was not little kinder. Although not cold. It was rather overcast and drizzly but the magnificence of the Royal barges and boats all decked out, in bunting and accompanied by an orchestra, in one of the Royal boats, all contributed to making this a magical interlude. I think the last time there had been anything like this sort of procession on the Thames was when Handel was commissioned by George I. in 1717 to compose some appropriate water music for a concert on the Thames. One must remember that, in those days, the Thames was far more important in terms of moving about London rather than using any of the roads, particularly as the only bridge over the Thames, at that time, was London Bridge. The king was so delighted with the effect that he had the music played three times during the procession. I must admit it would be rather fun to be in the crowd watching the procession but as the organiser of the whole event, said recently asked where would you suggest would be a good place to watch the procession from, replied in front of your television set!

I suppose the only disappointment from our point of view, sitting in the comfort and warmth of our own home was the failure of the music to impact as we had expected. There was so much other employees accompanying the pageant that the music from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which I understand was to play some of Handel’s Water Music was completely lost on us. As rather be half a dozen or so bells on another branch or boat, which will run continuously during the pageant.

There were two magnificent red velvet (?) thrones mounted in the centre of this new Royal boat our dear Queen chose to stand for 2 ½. hours rather than grace these magnificent seats. He stood behind the throne, almost as if she was an observer and not the principal attraction.

As I said earlier every city, town, village and hamlet had their own celebrations and our village, Clavering was no exception. Despite the weather the organisers continued with the programme they had worked so hard to put together over the last year or so.


Diamond Jubilee Weekend

08.00 Church Service at Saint Mary and Saint Clements.

10.00 Opening of Diamond Jubilee Nature Trail.

10.30 ‘Royal’ Teddy Bears Picnic.

11.00 Royal British Legion’ Mini Olympics’.

11.00 Open Doubles Tennis Tournament.

12.30 Judging of ‘The Great Clavering Bake-off, Village Hall

13.00 Grand Village Picnic

14.00 Open Bowls Tournament

14.00 Clavering Cricket Club v the Arkesden Cricket Club on Hill Green

15.00 Friendly Rounders Games

16.30 Traditional dancing in the village Hall.

18.00 Hog Roast and Barbeque available at Fox & Hounds, Public House.


This, after Clavering launched its activities yesterday with a Village Walk. By all accounts the village managed to stage most of the programme are one or two events were simply not possible in the pouring rain, but others took place in the shelter of farm barns.

As a nice touch the local Parish Council are giving every child up to the age of 11, who resides in the village, a Diamond Jubilee Commemoratives Mug.

Needless to say it was not possible for Alice and I to participate in any event, village events but did the next best thing and watched the flotilla of 1000 boats and ships pass up and down the Thames, on television.

The Queen’s new boat, built to commemorate the event, with its proliferation of gold gilding justified its central role. Fortunately, the rain held off until majority of the procession of little boats, had passed the Queens barge and then in true British style, the skys opened and it bucketted down.

Only disappointment was the music. We had expected yesterday a more dominant role. Sadly, we could not really hear the music or the bells. 20 members of the The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra were engaged in play, predictably predictably amongst other things, Handel’s Water Music written for 400 years ago for a similar River pageant ever I alarmed George I.

One of the highlights of the modern-day pageant, was the raising of the drawbridge on Tower Bridge to its maximum vertical height 80°, in salute to the Queen.

Before all these excitements had started, my brother-in-law John Garton Jones and wife Anne, dropped in mid-morning for coffee but did not stay long as their visit was cut short by the arrival of my 12 o’clock carer. I’m glad to say that John, 80 looked in pretty good shape, as indeed did Anne, who is a mere 10 years younger. They generously brought me a bottle of champagne, I think the word has got out about this being my favourite tipple and I shall do nothing to dissuade friends and family who wish to perpetuate this, fast, becoming a legend.

Having had our fill of the Diamond Anniversary Celebrations for one day, we watched a couple of hours of television before retiring. Having said that, I’m sure, in earlier days, we would have been delighted to have joined, a great number of other villagers, who enjoyed the Hog Roast at The Fox and Hounds.


4 June 2012

Posted by DMC on 6 June 2012 in Diary |

I had one of my most broken sleep nights, last night. There was no obvious reason for this, it’s just that I woke up every after three quarters of an hour and this pattern went through the night. I took full advantage of my ‘genie’ and so did not have to lie awake in pain for any discernible time. I still wake up, as I did before, when some joint or other, is extremely painful and start wriggling centimetre by centimetre trying to get myself on my back to alleviate the pain and then very shortly into this exercise I suddenly remember that I have this ‘genie’ who will appear in a flash of me ‘rubbing the lamp’ ( striking the alarm) and within seconds I will be turned and the pain ‘switched off”

I suppose the previous day had been full of excitement and activity but nevertheless I’m surprised if this was sufficient to disturb my normal sleep pattern.

We heard today that the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, had been taken into King Edward’s hospital with a bladder infection. This 90-year-old man had stood by the side of the Queen for at least an hour and a half yesterday on the Royal barge, and was, no doubt, in some sort of pain from the infection, yet it was his wife’s day and he had no intention of spoiling it-what a stoic. I pray he will shortly make a full recover, as any infection in a person of that age can be extremely serious

To all intents and purposes the River pageant was not only the highlight of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, but also the end of those organised to appeal to the international family of most countries and other viewers. Tonight, for example, there is an concert, featuring pop star singers which I doubt whether they would appeal to the Queen. However, as the celebrations are meant to appeal to the widest possible audience, no doubt, the choice of music would be such as to have this wider appeal. (I wrote this early in the evening the following day I received reports from various people who said they really enjoyed the concert and it seems that through our own prejudices we might have missed out on something enjoyable. We must bear in mind that apart from this grand concert televised to the nation, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of small local concerts or similar events celebrating this Diamond Jubilee. I suppose the high point came late last night when the Queen ignited the first of these fire beacons, 4200 of them, which, one after the other, will circle the Globe.

Returning to local events, our Village will conclude its celebrations with an over 60’s Jubilee Tea in the Village Hall, I am only sorry that we cannot attend. Clavering’s Programme of Events, no doubt, has been repeated a thousandfold throughout the land. Not grand Pomp and Circumstance but genuine reflections from the common man of the love and appreciation felt by the people of this land for someone of whom we are all justifiably proud.

This celebration of the Queen’s dedication and devotion to duty over the past 60 years, should also make us all extremely proud to be British. I repeat, what I said before LONG MAY SHE REIGN OVER US.

I really could not find anything close to being suitable as a diversion today except one of the Queen meeting each of the last 12 American presidents. Click here to see this one with George Bush.


5 June 2012

Posted by DMC on 6 June 2012 in Diary |

By all accounts, it seems that we may have foolishly brushed aside the concert as not being our sort of music and in doing so acted precipitously. Most of the reports that we have subsequently heard about the concert were laudatory.

I am so glad that we tuned in to watch the service at Saint Pauls Cathedral to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee. It was a magnificent affair preceded by more ceremonials and music in Westminster Great Hall. The Royal family travelled in closed cars (presumably due to the inclement weather) but returned to Buckingham Palace in open carriages. I have no idea how many people were jammed in the entire length of Birdcage walk (the road immediately in front of Buckingham Palace, leading in the distance to Admiralty Arch) and the roads fronting surrounding Buckingham Palace but I would not be surprised if it nudged 1 million. (I have subsequently heard that a number exceeded 1 ½. Million). Miles and Kimberly attempted to join the crowds around Buckingham Palace but were not able to get any closer than Victoria station. We were very impressed to see that families with pushchairs, babies and small children, comfortably moving towards the Palace when the police allowed the crowds who had previously lined the route, to move closer. A real demonstration of correct crowd control.

There was the usual balcony appearance of the Queen; Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall; Prince William and Kate; and Prince Harry if the Queen had any doubt at all about her popularity it should have been blown away by the roar that met her when the balcony doors were opened. With the immaculate timing that we have come to expect. There was the usual fly past led by a Lancaster bomber and two out riders and other aircraft, which featured in the last war; hurricanes Spitfires and Wellington bombers. The fly past finished spectacularly with the Red Arrows display team leaving a perfect slipstream of red, white and blue over Buckingham Palace.

There was one noticeable absentee from or all the ceremonials and in particular the balcony scene, and that was the Duke of Edinburgh other members of the Royal family were also noticeably absent; Prince Edward, for example. It seems, from subsequent reports that they had been visiting their father, Prince Philip, who, it is reported, is making good progress to recovery.

There was a rather grand lunch laid on, as I understood it, for younger people from the various city livery companies and I was delighted to learn that our very own Hew Dundas, vice president of the Arbitration Club, in his capacity as Master of the Arbitrators Livery was not only invited but had the honour to be seated next to Prince William. Good old Hew. He very decently sent us a copy of the press release, I’m sure not to make us jealous but to share with us the excitement of the occasion.

The Queen will dine at Westminster Hall at a celebratory Diamond Jubilee lunch hosted by the Livery.

Some 700 guests representing the companies’ abundant trades and professions, ranging from grocers and gunmakers to fruiterers and fishmongers, will join the Queen for the tribute.

The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will also attend the meal.

William will be placed at the Engineers and Arbitrators table
while Kate will be joined by the Master Glovers and Patternmakers.

Harry will be on the Fruiterers and Gardeners table.

Among the vast range of participating Livery companies are the Worshipful Companies of Goldsmiths, Butchers, Innholders, Weavers, Distillers, Clockmakers and even Tax Advisers.

Guests will dine on marinated Uist Island salmon with Lyme Bay crab, followed by saddle of Welsh Cambrian Mountain lamb with braised shoulder of lamb, grilled Isle of Wight asparagus, Jersey Royal potatoes and an aptly named Jubilee sauce. The “symphony of dessert” is chocolate delice, bread and butter pudding and berry compote with Sandringham apple sauce.

A Ceylon tea will also be served made from a bush planted by the Duke of Edinburgh during a state visit to Sri Lanka in 1954 in the Pedro Tea Plantation in Nuwara Eliya.

The National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain will perform during the event, while the House of Commons’ speaker John Bercow will say grace and the loyal toast will be proposed by the Lord Speaker Baroness D’Souza.

The Livery Companies of the City of London originated in medieval times as Guilds responsible for trade regulation, including checking the quality of goods, weights and measures and training. Today the companies use their funds to undertake charitable and community work.

The BBC will be televising this event live (excluding the actual Luncheon itself)

As Master Arbitrator, I and my colleague will be hosting Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.

Following the conclusion of the lunch the diminished Royal family and drove back to Buckingham Palace, in some magnificent open carriages, before presenting themselves on balcony. Add the Queen the slightest reservations about her popularity. This certainly would have been dissipated by the roar of one and a half million loyal subjects, on her appearance.

To us, television watchers, like so many other less mobile subjects, this marked the end of four days of celebration, the like of which I doubt, will ever be seen again. I am equally convinced that the outcome of all of the events that went to make up this very special celebration had the effect of strengthening the ties between the indigenous population and the tens of thousands of newcomers who will now be proud to say, I am British.


6 June 2012

Posted by DMC on 7 June 2012 in Diary |

Last evening, Prince Charles did a one hour television programme in tribute to his mother. A homely affair looking at old photo albums and reminding us that to all extents and purposes they were like any other small growing family enjoying the ordinary things in life.

In the middle of all of this excitement that good Michael arrived, en route to Australia to see if he could give Alice a hand. He came at an auspicious point when I was struggling with the medical profession to understand what is now causing these panic attacks over the breathing

From the magnificent to the mundane. I must return to the question of my night’s sleep, to keep informed those other fellow sufferers and their carers, just where we are in this process.

My night’s sleep was back to normal after the broken night, the day before yesterday, however, I had a rather rude awakening yesterday. Since these four incidents of spasms, which have occurred when I have been deprived of air, we are acutely conscious of the possibility of it happening again and therefore take extreme caution when using the respirator

The morning of the day before yesterday, we went through our usual routine of sitting me up on the edge of the bed, wearing the respirator. Then ”my lovely” undid the straps and left the respirator running until I indicated that I was happy to have it removed. She did so, but still left it running at the side of the bed. I was just about to tell her to switch off the airflow when I I felt the beginning of one of these great surges of adrenaline and, just had time to tell her clamp the mask on again quickly, which she did. I experienced a full surge as I had on the previous four occasions but quite quickly calmed down having the respirator in place. After three or four min. I suggested she removed it, which she did, quite normally with no further ill effects..

What on earth sparks these panic attacks, which frighten the life out of me? If indeed that is what they are. I will drop a line to Doctor Michael Davies, from Papworth, as this is something we failed to discuss in depth on my recent visit.

Our routine, this day, long since established, followed it’s normal pattern. Michael upstairs in his sitting room, sending messages to various members of his family, or Skyping them if they are online: Young Tom in Brooklyn, USA; William in Paris; Kate on her course in Denmark and Penny heaven knows where. But what a great way to keep in touch with your family and let each one of them know what is going on.

Me, downstairs in my study, which is located beneath Michael”s sitting room so I am able to call out for help or assistance without even resorting to the alarm. As usual, I devoted the best part of the morning to the daily blog entry and answering the various e-mails I might have received in connection with an earlier entry. Before you could blink it was 12 o’clock which is time for the carer from Ross Nursing to come in and check up on my needs and that usually marks a point in time when I should rest after four hours on the computer.

By the time the Ross Nursing carer had finished it was 12:30 and time to consider lunch (already prepared and left in the ‘ fridge) the eating and drinking of which Michael dealt with, with the minimum of fuss. And in the background, Judge Judy, spelling out her form of equitable justice. Not following the normal definition of natural justice, i.e. giving each party an opportunity of presenting their case and answering the case made against them. Certainly, the judge gave the parties some sort of opportunity of stating their case but just how much seems to be just purely arbitrary.

She has read the papers and clearly holds of view as to the reliability of one party or another before she even starts case. Good television demonstrating a sensible approach to clearing up smaller cases. Clearly, the parties must have entered into some form of exclusion agreement (that is, excluding any rights of appeal they might normally have, in favour of a full and final settlement, between the parties, based on Judge Judy’s findings. (For those readers who are not the faintest idea what I’m talking about. tune into ITV plus one or 114 Free Stat. Or whatever your local station is and see if you find the judge as an absorbing as her apparent audience of 10 million viewers.)

The afternoon sped away as quickly as the morning with me now relaxing, having got up to date with my blog and e-mails, by listening to music, reading or perhaps watching a film. This merged into the five o’clock ritual of opening a bottle of champagne, admittedly much earlier than one would normally consider but with a Ross Nursing carer due at 6.00 a.m, if we were to enjoy it, we were bound to open the bottle a little earlier than we would have liked

The carer dispatched after preparing me for bed, led us to suppertime. Everything just that much earlier than we would have done in the pre-MND days. Again, a regular routine during which I am expected to swallow a large number of painkillers, relaxants, anti-inflammatory pills etc. We then tried to find something to watch on television, which ended at 8.30 – the scheduled time for the last of my carers to call, hoist me and wheel me through to the bedroom , leaving ‘my lovely’ to do all the little things to ensure my comfort in being bedded down. In the meantime, Mick had hopefully found some fascinating programme on the television, which would take him to until his bedtime. Thus, another day would have passed, not exactly action packed but more important, without mishap.

Fortunately, there is enough variety, during any seven day period, to make one grateful for the stead fastness of what most people would label, a quiet day, but, in our case and in particular on this day, it marked the end of the formal proceedings to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, much of which, we had the privilege of watching – events 2 to 3 years in the planning.

I think it appropriate to finish this celebratory section of blog entries with what had been described as wonderful photographs. Certainly, some of them might qualify as wonderful, which I wonder? Click here to decide for yourself.


7 June 2012

Posted by DMC on 8 June 2012 in Diary |

A good night. I’m now beginning to enjoy longer periods of sleep and although, as in last night, I would wake up with very painful joints, in this case hips and pelvic area, these were relieved almost instantly by my night carer turning me in bed. So, unless anything untoward happens I shall stop the almost daily bulletins on something which has played a very large role in my life up to now but, for which, it seems, we may have been fortunate enough to find a solution.

Mick made an early morning call to sonTom and ascertained that all seem to be going to plan, which is encouraging.
Talking of daily bulletins, the absence of Prince Philip from the final days of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, it seems, may have been the reason why there was such a dearth of the young royals in evidence. Prince Edward apparently was with his father in the King Edward Hospital, no doubt watching events on the television. We are now told that the Duke will spend a few more days in hospital but it is hoped that he will get out in time to celebrate his birthday at the weekend. What a tragedy it would be if anything were to happen to Prince Philip during this very special year for the Queen.

After breakfast. Michael went on to see his aunt, who lives near St Albans. She is the younger sister of his mother’s. As it happens she is 86 years old – the same age as the Queen – and with Mick’s mum being 15 years older she would have been 101 years old, had she lived. That left my ‘lovely’ and I to enjoy a quiet day on our own, which will certainly do neither of us any harm.

On the international front the rumbles about Greece defaulting on its debts or alternatively not being prepared to agree to the terms of the bailout loan from the Eurozone countries, grow louder. Whilst I deliberately insulate myself against the rises and falls in the stock exchange. I couldn’t help hearing, a day or two ago, that the world stock markets are bouncing back having plummeted by more than 10%. I suppose the reason for the equally dramatic revival of these markets is that they were oversold on the bad news and it now being forecast, that the outcome of such a default would be being potentially less destructive than originally predicted. This is known as market correction. This process could be compared with what is laughingly called ‘killed by friendly fire’. In other words, one of our home side became rather trigger-happy and was not too careful who he shot at. The financial analogy being the gut feeling selling on the world stock markets only to be corrected a day or two later when the analysts have had the opportunity of calculating the effect of such a default. From our point of view, we have no choice, but to what we have always done in the past, and that is ride out the storm. Apparently the Greek government have been able to hold back, what seems inevitable now, the default on the payment of their long-term debt. until after some important elections due at the end of summer.

So many misunderstandings occur in life between two parties who are not on the same wavelength. Click here for one such example where the little girl may not have understood the meaning of the words she was using, but she was bright enough to realise that the effect of saying them would produce the desired outcome.


8 June 2012

Posted by DMC on 9 June 2012 in Diary |

Today was one of those rare days when ‘my lovely’ was able to go to London confidently leaving me in the hands of that good Doctor Michael. It is one of those very important respite days in the life of a carer. Where, in Alice’s case, she can clock off, briefly, leaving her utterly free without concern or worry about the person for whom she is caring

I was up, dressed and breakfasted by the time Alice, came to say goodbye so the morning was able to pass like any other, me working on my blog and e-mails and, MIck in the room above. also on his computer.

We had booked in at the Cricketers for lunch at 12.30 and as it takes us at least 15 min to get ready, hoisting me from the study lounge chair into the wheelchair and then from this wheelchair into the electric wheelchair in the hall, we had just started this process when all hell let loose.

Jane the ‘sheep’ arrived in order to’ babysit’ the house while we were at lunch, Mary, one of our district nurses, turned out in order to examine and re-dress the two toes on my feet which has caused us some concern and being midday, or thereabouts, our carer from Ross Nursing turned up to do her midday stint. With me in the middle of all of these activities you can imagine what chaos it was. However, we managed to dispatch them all before 12.30 when we set out for our lunch date. Unfortunately the weather was absolutely ghastly; cold, wet and very windy Mick, after some consultation with the caring professionals decided that I should be covered by a plastic cape, which Alice bought some time ago, that completely enshrouded the wheelchair all round, down to the ground. This certainly sounded like a good idea until I got outside I started to the wheelchair down the narrow garden dividing the floral border. Then great gusts of wind flapped the cape onto my face and I was completely blinded and unable to see when I was going. The narrow garden path was bad enough, at the best of times, to navigate and avoided getting over the edge into the herbaceous border, so with the narrowness of the path and half of my face covering the cape, this became quite a hair raising start to the journey. It was with some relief when I I did get to the end of the path and was able to safely negotiating the lawn.

The Cricketers had saved our usual table so we were well away from the other people who were lunching there and we could speak without being overheard. We both noted that the pub was far less busy than it had been since our last visit and could only surmise that the credit crunch was beginning to bite, even at this level. We had an enjoyable lunch, nothing to write home about, but perfectly adequate. I started with some delicious spare ribs which Mick was able to scrape off the bone and feed me with the spoon whilst drinking his own soup. Mick chose sausage and mash – the ‘credit crunch lunch’, whilst praying that Alice would not serve us sausages this evening, knowing Mick’s propensity for that dish. I had a crab salad which I had requested the chef to prepare for me, removing the crab completely out of the shell, so I could eat it without fear of choking. No puddings, as we both, at that stage, started mumbling about putting on weight and so on. The homeward journey, although a little more than 50 yards, still meant battling against the elements and we could not help wondering what on earth is happening to the weather in what has been known for generations as ‘flaming June’

We whiled away the afternoon and towards 5.30 started touring with the idea of some champagne, when’ my lovely’ return home and took charge once more.

I’m glad to say that she had had an excellent day in London. First going to the Horse Exhibition at the British Museum and then down to Olympia to oggle at the beautiful antiques, and Fine Art, most, if not all, well beyond our pocket. I think she still gets a personal invitation to this particular exhibition because she bought some small object there many years ago, or, which is far more likely, she is invited as a connection to Smiler.

It has been sometime now since I included some beautiful nature photographs, so click here for a treat.


9 June 2012

Posted by DMC on 10 June 2012 in Diary |

The doing and froing continued right until my bedtime. First to go was Smiler. He was carrying out his weekly check on me and with the assurance of the good Doctor Michael I hope he went home reasonably satisfied that I was not in imminent danger of snuffing it. It is great seeing them both, Miles and Chloe here almost every week, since my recent setback over the respirator, leaving me weak and feeling extremely ill, whatever the reason. So I would not want to put them off completely, but merely convinced them that, in all honesty, I have had no indication from any of my medical team that I could ‘pop my clogs’ at any time. (To’ pop one’s clogs’ has traditionally meant precisely what it says, to pop means to pawn (raise money from a pawnbroker) on your clogs (wooden shoes) as an absolute extreme resort. After that there was nothing presumably that once and got to the point, of having to possibly pop one’s clogs’ you were pretty well done for.). I notice that I used an earlier the expression to ‘snuff it’ which pretty much as the same meaning accept in this case it was referring to snuffing out the candle, before the days of electricity, the simile to’ public one’s clogs’ being obvious.

Our next caller was Judith William Powlette (a W/P). She came bearing gifts, biscuits which she had baked herself. Husband, Barton, who had made the arrangement, in the event, was too busy hauling up trellises between his house and his neighbour’s. Judith was ushered out at midday when my lunchtime caller arrived. Sadly, I had not managed to complete my blog, before Judith arrived and as a result, found myself struggling, when I was completely exhausted, just before I went to bed, trying to finish it, so at least I would be up to date. Gtting up

the medical meAfter lunch Jill Simpson, who has been a real help in picking up the odd item from the supermarket, called in and shortly after that Barry, our old taxi driver turned up to take the good Doctor to Stansted airport. Readers will remember that it was about this time last year that, following my trip to my niece’s wedding in Cornwall, where I was cared for by Barry and wife Denise, that shortly after his return Barry was rushed into Addenbrookes with a serious back complaint, as then underdiagnosed. It turned out to be a series of cysts under his spine for which, I had not been responsible in any way. as we had feared, due to the extra lifting me in out of the car during this trip. Well, I’m very pleased to report that the Barry, who stood before me yesterday was twice the man I saw six months ago when he was still battling with these cysts. His overall demeanour seemed improved, his colour was good and he was beginning to put on weight again. All good signs. He whisked the Doctor off to the airport, at present, scheduled not to be seen here again until August, but then you know how it is, with the Doctor he could turn up at any time and would be assured of a warm welcome.

The next person to appear was my darling daughter Chloe. She missed brother Miles by a few hours. I had originally wondered whether they were both coming down the same weekend because of Father’s Day, which, in fact, is not until next Sunday, and had made a mistake over the weekend that I was doing was wrong over that. I have never been one for making a fuss about Father’s Day – it really is just a commercial invention with nothing like the pull of Mother’s Day. However, I’m pleased to say that I was entirely wrong in guessing this for the reason for them both appearing at the same weekend; it was a complete coincidence.

So, as I say Miles disappeared back to London to be replaced by Chloe. The dear girl, had brought us some food cooked by supermarket giant Sainsbury’s.. It was spicy and quite delicious and I seem to recall it was a Mexican or Argentinian dish called catalan. The six o’clock girl was soon upon us, dear Christian, full of fun and laughter. I was fading fast by this time. So by the time we finished supper, it was not that long before the pill popping process which preceded my bedtime, came round and I was actually hoisted and wheeled through to my welcoming bed. I never thought I would take to earlier bedtimes but I must confess, there are times, when I welcome it. It had been a lovely day seeing some of my favourite people, but to be honest, I was whacked and look forward to sleep.

For those of my readers who are dog tired and cannot wait to get to bed and then ironically find it difficult to go to sleep, click here for a few stories which may help to send you off.

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