2 Jan 2017

A Strange Year 2016

Good morning to you all, I just thought I would give an update on last year, and how I feel about it.

Well a good start sadly is my health, its been a roller coaster of ups and downs with a lot of money spent on physio, after the diagnosis of asthma I felt at least being treated would improve my health, but then to find out months later after taking my inhalers, that in actual fact I did not have the condition, but had serious issues with my heart and arteries, which luckily were eventually diagnosed and now treated. I am trying to do the things that will maintain my health but find it hard to dedicate the time and effort to exercise and maintain a proper diet, My back has really been an issue over the last 12 months and has required a lot of manipulation by physios to improve it to a tolerable state. I also saw a pain relief specialist but he said due to blood thinning medication for my heart, that he could not do anything other than provide medication, I prefer not to be doped up so put up with things as they are for now. More annoying is an area on my ankles that are painful and so far not responding to treatment, plus my legs these days seem to be very dry all the time if I dont use a moisturising cream.
The biggest effect on life this year has been problems with my hearing despite hearing aids. I changed from one hospital to another as I felt my local one was not listening to what I was saying, there seems to of been some improvement, plus now I am learning of other ways to make sure I can communicate. Recently I have taken up lip reading but not sure how effective that will be, I have finally acquired a phone that helps me to hear people more clearly, but when possible I use e mail to communicate a lot of the time, Sadly I have cut back on joining in groups due to problems being able to hear, in more than one to one situations

This year has been very exciting in terms of finding my family, and that there is a whole set of other relatives out there, plus I have found out a little more about my mother and grandfather on my fathers side. This started with a short message from someone who was creating their family tree on my mothers side, he had seen something at a cemetery about my grandfather, that I had never been aware of, then I found some more information about him, I really must go to the cemetery soon to check it out. He led to more relatives who now live in USA and I have managed to speak to, plus a relative of my mothers who I met over the Christmas period and I am hoping to catch up with again in the new year, who knows how many more there are out there

It has been great to have the caravan and to spend time there in pleasant surroundings as and when I want to, this is even better as at present I am struggling with going abroad due to my health and all the barriers these days with my mobility and security etc at airports. Plus have met some pleasant people on the site, maybe this year as health improves I will be getting there more often and explore further. For many years I had intended returning to a resort in Austria I first went as a child to back in the 1960s and last 10 years ago. I had hoped to go there in 2017, but sadly now find the festival of choirs that I was looking forward to no longer takes place so at present my feeling is that maybe dont return and stick with the happy memories from the past

This year is a special birthday and I hoped like the last one it would be easy to arrange, unfortunately the venue I had used previously has been demolished as has the local civic hall and I am struggling to find a suitable venue at present as I would like to invite friends with mobility issues so need ground floor access also am thinking of making it a theme on the forties so need somewhere that lends to this. I had hoped to sort out a date before Christmas but this has not happened, friends have suggested that I have a smaller simpler event but I am not really interested in that, at least at this time

Last year one of my grandchildren had a little boy who is so much fun I feel very proud and my other grand daughter has announced her wedding plans for two years time, so now have something else to look forward to

So life is still throwing up all sorts of surprises, last year one of my schoolboy friends made contact and we are now meeting on a regular basis, I wonder what else this year will bring

Thanks for reading this and I hope you enjoy it

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.