12 Sep 2016

At long last an answer to some of my health issues September 2016

Hello folks, a few people well at least one or two have asked about my recent health issues and what I have had done and why, to create my recent hospital admission

Well over the years I have slowly added to the number of things wrong with me as they have been diagnosed by various medical professionals, sadly I was recently reminded this is a sign of a well used body over the years.  Then last year I seemed to become more breathless for no apparent reason, initially I thought it it was just a chest infection or my ME playing up, but it got worse as the weather got colder,  that much so that when I tried to cross a road I was getting more breathless and had pain across my chest.

I went to see a GP and was referred to see a cardiac consultant at Fairfield hospital,  certain tests were carried out then I eventually saw him, after a series of questions he informed me that in his opinion I now had asthma and was prescribed inhalers and discharged.  Initially they seemed to help but slowly everything seemed to get worse and I was more tired as well. Thr gp tried a range of medication to help relieve the symptoms,  but with no improvement.

The gp next referred me back to the cardiologist,  after some delay I got a letter for me to arrange an appointment through the internet website, it seemed there were none available for the foreseeable future, so I went for one at Salford which was the first that fitted my other appointments. I looked a number of times for other ones locally but still there were none.

One the day of my appointment, firstly they did a comprehensive test, then I saw the consultant,  her first question was why was I  there I explained because of the nhs computer,  she explained that because I had sern a cardiac specialist within the last 12 months that I should of been fast tracked back there within 2 weeks,  so much for how things should of been. She took my history and did a physical examination,  at the end she referred me to another consultant for more comprehensive tests.

The appointment came through quickly so I returned to the hospital for the next test.  After various processes the consultant asked me more about the history of these latest symptoms and what made them better and worse,after explaining these to him and the results his opinion was that I did not have asthma but that it was my angina creating the breathlessness and he was referring me for another angiogram and possibly stents as he felt I had a  blockage of an artery. I was agreeable to this.

Quite quickly I had the next appointment so off to another hospital, luckily I was second on the list and having had the proceedure before was not that worried. All went well until the consultant explained to me that one of the main arteries as well as two others were blocked and he would attempt to clear them and insert stents if not then he would have to stop and bring me back for a heart bypass, luckily he eventually succeeded,  by then I had been in for 2 hours, all had gone well, I then had to stay to be monitored in bed for two hours, then allowed to dress but stay on the ward,  in toral it was over 6 hours and Jane had patiently waited for me first outside then on the ward.  Eventually the ward sister explained what I now needed to do and also if I had problems. My friend came to drive us home and I was pleased it was all over.

I do worry now about the totally wrong diagnosis by the first consult and what would of happened if I had not been referred to the other hospital,  I also odd though it sounds wonder why I seem to be so light hearted about what after all was a very serious condition and presumably has not been totally cured,  but I suppose its better than putting life on hold in case. I will nit be able to fly for a month and wonder how long before my travel insurance will cover me for any trips particularly abroad, so coukd be as well I now have the caravan to give me a break from home. I will try this time to watch my diet more carefully and try to exercise to keep heart working and weight down

30 Jul 2016

Me and my Bum Bags July 2016

I dont remember when I first used bum bags as well or instead of coat and trousers pockets to store possessions in but it must of been many years ago. I still continued to keep money in a wallet and keys in in a trousers pocket, I think initially it was useful to use one on holiday for tickets etc in a fairly safe place.

On odd thing is the name bum bags, because many including myself actually have had the pockets pouch at the front, I seem to recall the Americans call them fanny bags, not sure if the name would attract me to them.

As time went on the ones I used became bigger and I stored more in them when travelling, the only downside I heard was that thieves would use a razor blade to cut through the strap in busy places and people would end up with their possessions gone.

About 10 years ago I had become quite dependant on these bags partly because it was easier to carry stuff in one bag than remember which coat etc I had left, keys money and credit cards as well as now a mobile phone, so when I was planning a couple of long trips I started to look for a better design of bag that would also be resistant to the average thief. I came across a company called Pacsafe who specialise in this sort of bag. Theirs have steel cable in the strap and all accessible parts of the bag to stop thieves as well as zipped and net sections inside to avoid pickpockets, even better is all zips and belt can be locked to improve safety. Well of course I had to have one and found I used it more and more even when at home, the only issue was I had put weight on and it was tight to wear and at times uosetting my bladder and bowel,  so I got in the habit of wearing it over my shoulder.

This as where the adventure began, because as time went on and my short term memory got worse, so did my ability to remember to pick it up when away from home whether visiting friends family, travelling, both at home or abroad. Well the good news was that however many times I left it on the back of a chair or on the floor,  people were very honest and it was either where I had left when I returned or kind people had handed it in for safety to organisations for safe keeping.

One of the best examples I can give was at Orlando some years ago at the end of the holiday we got the car hire company shuttle bus to the airport and I left it there,  only to realise when I reached the airport,  contacted the company and there it was waiting when I travelled back.

More recently when returning from Ireland with Ryanair I had left it under the seat and again only remembered after disembarking, by then I was outside the airport.  I went to the information desk and they phoned to ask if it had been found, one concern was that the flight may of takem off so it could of been a couple of days before it got back to me. Well again fortune and good luck were on my side and half an hour later it turned up at Ryanair desk, which was just as well as my phone money tickets were all in there.

Over the years I eventually decided I needed a replacement for the origional one but found out they had changed the design and that the new one did not meet my needs, luckily I searched and eventually found another model made by the same comoany that was a little larger and slightly different design that worked, but I needed to rethink what to put in and where as now the size of my mobile phone had grown, I carried a range of tablets, a bus pass and a diary and on occassion this tablet computer. Well it all seems to fit, I bought a larger Man Bag but found although it had more space it was not so conveniant to carry and was much larger most of the time. Well I am still using it but no way could I fasten it round my waist now, its getting worn so maybe soon I will start looking for its successor.  Possibly if I could trust either the tablet or phone some of the things I carry could be reduced particularly when travelling on holiday.

But what to do about losing it even more these days, is it time to start carrying items in my pockets again but then there is the greater risk of pickpockets or forgetting I have changed clothes and going out without important items, do I need to get an extension strap and start wearing it again, because actually, I realise its easier to get into when worn when trying to find things. Should I have a lightweight strap that attaches to it so even if I put it down I would be aware when I tried to leave without it. Maybe a high tech device could be used that would alert me when I moved more than a certain distance away from it. It is a dilemma after all this time and these days the items in it are quite important and would cause great inconvenience if lost, maybe they have brought out some new device to solve the problems.

But I do wish I could say, big Thank you to all the kind people who have put themselves out to reunite me and the bag over the last few years, thanks for your honesty and kindness and I will try harder in the future to look after my trusty bag, if I find a better solution I will try to remember to come back on here and inform you all.

Our last day and a trip to Ripon 29 July 2016

I had stayed up late last night to watch the first episode of Celebrity Big Brother,  unfortunately it was not particularly interesting but at the same time did not help me to get a good nights sleep. As far as I had remembered I could either leave my case outside the door to be collected or take it to the coach before departure.  I felt it was easier to do myself, so got up 7ish had a shower, packed then prepared to go for breakfast.  Then was told I should of taken my case to coach earlier so then had to return to room before going for breakfast.

As usual breakfast was pleasant,  then I returned to room to be disturbed and informed my bum bag yet again had been left behind and handed in( I intend doing a blog on its history and adventures soon ) I finished off in room then joined others waiting to board the coach,  promptly on time we set off to Ripon our final stop on the trip, I feel this was to fill in time so we would not arrive to early at the interchange for our feeder coach home.

Ripon seemed a pleasant place with lots of quaint buildings and streets. We decided as it looked like rain that we would visit the cathedral look round, take some photos and maybe if they had a cafe a drink. Unfortunately on artival I was told I needed a licence to take photos, which seemed odd in a church and there had been no such rule in Newcastle, nthere was also a funeral taking place and no cafe so we quickly left.  Andy and I discussed the difference in attitude and the effect on ourselves and other visitors being made to feel welcome. We again found a lovrly small cafe for a drink and me to try out yet another piece of very delicious carrot cake and Brian to sample their scones. We then explored the town square and some of the shops before boarding the coach back.

Hadrians wall and Carlisle 29 July 2016

Today our trip was to the famous Wall separating England from Scotland, so first our coach trip where just for a change I fell asleep,  although I do put this partly down to the lack of air con on the trip and high humidity. When we got there there was rain in the air but not enough to deter us. First we explored the museum with a range of stones and artifacts discovered here, its amazing how these had survived all this time.  Then outside to explore the various parts of the excavated fort.

I was interested in the size and range of buildings that they had built all that time ago, interesting that the soldiers shared with their horses whilst the senior ranks has spacious accommodation all to themselves.  The way it had all been constructed showed a knowledge and skill maybe some of our modern builders could learn from. Then a drink and best of all a piece of carrot cake before continuing on our trip.

As we drove along there were still small fragments of the original wall, showing its size and length.  I quickly then nodded off again until just before we reached our next destination Carlisle,  unfortunately we had not planned what to do there so when dropped off at the market we were at a loss as to where to go first. As we walked I spotted a Subway cafe so in we went for a drink and sandwich,that for £3 was very good value. We wandered round the shops as there seemed little to attract our attention here today, then back to the market before being picked up and our return to the hotel. Sadly I and the others felt we would of been better spending longer at the wall, and less at Carlisle, maybe with better planning and weather it may of been different.

Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle 26 July 2016

I got up early sorted out case, things to take on the trip including cameras food and waterproof coat before going down to breakfast. Meal was help self buffet with good selection of food, plus the toaster was much swifter than many found elsewhere.  Afterwards back to room before an early start. Brian was not very well but still wished to go on the trip.

Over the years I have come across a range of drivers on coaches, this one seemed to say what he needed and no more, although it would of been nice if he haf shared a little knowledge of the area with us,  maybe these days they are chosen for their driving skill rather than knowledge or conversation, so on our trip he explained that the tides would affect our ability to drive nearer to the island or not, luckily tide was out so able to go directly to the village, first for a drink then to walk to the castle admiring the view whilst taking photos,  unfortunately Brian felt not up to all of this so rested part of the way until we caught up with him later.

The castle was very impressive but as our time was limited we were unable to explore inside, also whilst there cloud had hidden the sun so it looked rather brooding. Along the way we came across a couple of boats in a field, not sure how or why they were not in the water, having said that the tide was out so those on the sand were just stuck. We noticed the poles that acted as indicators for drivers as to how high the water maybe when the tide was in to try to avoid cars being stranded or washed away on the causeway. We then walked back to Brian and then the coach before continuing on to Bamburgh Castle for our next stop.

Again it was a very large castle,  access was up a steep slope and given the time we had there not enough to manage to visit inside although others did. Instead Andy and I explored the local vilage whilst Brian rested on a form. Then a trip to a pleasant cafe where I noticed dandelion an burdock on the menu so tried a drink, it took me back to tastes of my youth, then a walk back to the coach and our return to the hotel.

All through the holiday I struggled with sciatic pain down my right leg as well as lower back pain, coping by taking a combination of codeine,  co dyamol and paracetamol, unfortunately they did not irradiate the pain more reduce it to some degree, but they also made me quite tired so the time spent on the coach between destinations I found I slept so was poor company for Andy, oddly my brain always seemed to know when we were close to a destination and awakened me sufficiently to prepare myself for when we got off the coach. 

On return to the hotel I had a lovely relaxing bath before lie down and recover from the exertion and pain. Then a short time watching tv before getting ready for the evening meal. This again was enjoyable with reasonable sized portions and we enjoyed chatting to the other couple sharing our table as we ate. Afterwards we decided to return to our respective rooms and meet up the following morning.  I spent the rest of the evening catching up with my usual tv, before trying out the complimentary hot chocolate in the hope it would help me sleep,  sadly this did not happen,  not because if anything wrong in the room rather me trying to cope with the pain as I tossed and turned in the night