Monday, September 28, 2009

Glad I was lying down.

On Sunday afternoon we took a trip to the great town of St.Evenage. This was primarily to buy some more coat hangers from the ace of all shops 'Poundland' Anyone who knows me will know that I swear by the shop, you can get most things from there and all for only a pound.
Anyway we went in with two baskets and stocked up on shampoo's and conditioners and all sorts of medical bits and pieces.
Beth came with me and was fully taken in by the huge amount of Halloween goodies on the shelves, so I ended up buying her face paint, stripey tights, fangs and a cape. Carl also stocked up as he is planning to have a party or two at Uni.
On the way back to the car we passed a 'Dreams' the home of comfortable beds, well I have been thinking about getting a new mattress for some time, so I went in. The assistant came up to me and started with the bed info and corny jokes, he led me around the shop asking me to get into bed and try a few out!! So there I was with my bags of shopping laying on the beds while he told me all about their virtues, pocket springs, open coil, latex and memory foam. I tried out loads. They all seemed better that what we presently have. So as I was being lulled into full relaxation he asked me to try out his 'special' bed, a 3000 pocket sprung memory foam topped sooper dooper mattress. As I positioned myself he asked 'are you hot in bed'?? Well its been a while since I have been asked that!!! He said that if I was I might find the memory foam too warm (phew!)
So there I am in a state of pure bliss, when he hits me with the biggie, it seems that this mattress is the one that everyone aspires to, the pinnacle of mattress making in Great Britain today. He whispers to me that this mattress could be mine tomorrow if I just handed over to him £1300!!! WHAT????? How can a 4ft 6in mattress possibly cost that much? he goes on to tell me that its on special offer, 1/3 off of the full retail price and if I like it he can arrange a loan for me straight away.
That was a real eye opener, I was up and away, I am now searching the internet for something similar for considerably less money!!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

She's beautiful, Beautiful to me (sing along now!!)

Last term Beth was very lucky to be chosen for an education enrichment course held at Watford Football Club Learning Centre. She had 6 weeks of after school fun doing all sorts of things. On the last night she and her friends did a presentation on all the work that they had carried out there. Beth won an 'Apprentice' style competition and walked away with loads of football goodies.
This week she came home with a nifty memory stick bracelet and saved on there were these pictures of the two of us!!!!
They were taken on the last evening and gave us a real laugh posing for them!!

Here is Beth in her Alien phase!

What a nice square head!

Nearly a cyclops!

Mother and daughter portrait.

Looks a bit like a wild pixie.

Not wanting to be left out I had to have a go, I am sure I have seen people looking like this somewhere......
My what beautiful Eyes you have !!
If you get a chance to go to Watford Football learning club, go, you'll have great fun and might even come home with some beautiful portraits!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumn Eqinox

Autumn has arrived, although the weather we have been having has not been that autumnal. We are still experiencing 20 degrees during the day and I haven't detected that Autumn 'smell' as of yet. Yesterday was officially the first day of Autumn though.

This morning I took this photo of my Dublin Bay Rose, sprinkled with rain drops from an overnight shower. It won't be too long before we are pruning them and tidying up the gardens for winter.

Dad is doing well, he had a visit from the GP on Monday who ordered the blood tests he needed, he feels OK in himself, tired and sore but getting there. I have been painting my new chest of drawers and I am still agonising over what knobs to use on the drawers, I am torn between reusing the old ones or splashing out on new ones, oh the decisions I have to make!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home Again.

Yesterday Dad was released from captivity, so I took mum over to the hospital to collect him. He was ready when I got there, but of course the discharge notes and the drugs were not. Eventually we were on our way with a list of instructions and a bag of tablets. We have to make sure that his GP does a blood test on Monday to confirm that his blood levels are stable. If they are not it is now down to the GP and the local hospital to sort him out. He got home had a bath and watched the telly, all good things to do!!
Carl seems to be settling in well to Uni, I have no idea how he is going to be able to find time to study, its been one long party so far, which he is coping with, must be so hard for him!!!
I have been painting drawers, I bought a nice set of drawers for my bedroom, but they needed painting and tidying up. I have nearly finished them. There are 6 drawers and 12 knobs, so although I would like to replace the knobs the number will make it expensive, I may have to look at creative ways to redecorate the original knobs! So shopping today and then its headlong into another week.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September the 19th - Day 16.

Again I have failed to update my blog its all been going on here, Carl has got away to Uni, he finally left yesterday afternoon with a fully laden car. I was hoping that we would be able to go with him and help him settle in, but it seems that he had other ideas, he wanted to do it himself. He can keep his car at the halls of residence, so there was no real reason to go once he had managed to pack all his stuff in the car. I have had a couple of Text from him, one to say he had arrived and that all his flat mates were now in residence as well. Another to say that they had had a welcoming talk. Not heard a thing this morning, so he's either drunk or sleeping it off!!

Good news with regards to dad. He has had blood tests this morning and has been told pending the results he can come home this afternoon. The dialysis was stopped 4 days ago and his potassium levels have been stable and dropping which hopefully indicates that his kidneys are working again. They are expecting the results any time soon.

Sadly just after he was transferred back to the ward, there was an 'incident' a man from a ward upstairs either fell or jumped out of a window. Dad said that you feel so confused that you feel like you are living through some sort of experiment. The ICU is above where dad is so I wonder if the poor chap was confused and had no idea what he was doing. The doctors managed to save the man but he has extensive bone injuries to add to his heart problems. Poor dad was party t the whole episode as they had to go through his ward to gain access to where he fell.

So fingers crossed for today and his imminent release from captivity!!

Last week I bought myself a set of drawers from a boot sale, I am about to sand them down and paint them, a nice project for the weekend!! (I also bought a candelabra to alter, want to do that NOW as well!!!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September the 16th - Day 12.

Good News!! Wednesday evening dad finished his treatment in ICU and was returned to the ward from where he came! We are not sure as yet what is happening, he still has the dialysis lines in, mum seems to think that they will be sorting them out tomorrow. Keith is exhausted so he hasn't been in today, so we are not sure what is happening. We are pleased that he is again taking a step towards home.
Tonight we went to Asda to buy the last bits and pieces that Carl needs for Uni, It was mainly things like toiletries. We also stocked up on some basics for the food cupboard, beans, tinned stuff, pasta, rice, biscuits, nuts (?) hot chocolate, He will have to go to the local shops for perishables. Earlier in the week he went out and bought more clothes and shoes. The only thing I can see him needing is a new bag. He struck lucky at Tesco. I was lucky and got a £5 off cider till spit. So he went and bought a case, the lady on the till told him that the voucher was working twice, so he got twice as many!!
Freecycle came up trumps again tonight, last week we managed to get a washing machine for Laura, tonight the same guy was offering a cooker, I emailed him again and he came back straight away and offered it to us. I am pleased because that is the last major piece if equipment that she needs. The down side is that it is on the top floor of a block of flats with no lift, we will need to move it before Carl goes on Friday.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

15th of September - Day 11

Dad has been in ICU for the whole of the day, they have him on monitors and they have put the lines back in for dialysis. They have started dialysis and this has started to bring the blood levels down. Dad is very upset and angry and really can't see why he is back in there again. Keith has been on the ball and has asked all the questions and has told dad why. We are trying to understand why this is happening and it seems that this problem may be a hang over from a previous operation when the same thing happened. There may have been some kidney damage from that operation.
The trouble with ICU is that its a horrible place to be, lots going on , lots of seriously ill people and its very scary. This time dad is conscious and aware of all that. We just have to hope that this does the trick and he gets stronger. Hopefully his kidneys will start to get better and do the whole job required of them!!

Today I took a trip over to the Halls of Residence where Carl will be staying, we wanted to drop off a few bits, to make the final drop off a little easier. Its a typical student place. There are 'flats' on each floor with 6 individual rooms. There is one large kitchen diner with cooker, fridge, freezer and microwave.

This is the main door to Carl's flat, he looks out the back over a large patch of grass and some allotments.

He is on the ground floor, the room is tiny but adequate, he has borrowed a fridge from our neighbours which you can just see under the table behind the chair. He has been given strict instructions not to store food in the fridge, as its a special 'drinks only' fridge!!!

The corner of the room has a 'bijoux' en suite, wet room. I think looking at the position of the shower he will have to take evasive action to keep his toilet paper dry!!! He will have fun, he has already met three of the other flat residents who thought he was moving in today, so they immediately invited him out for a drink. It was hard to drag him away!! I feel happier now I have seen the place.

14th September - Day 10 Post Op.

I have been missing in action, lots been happening and no time to do anything at home. The house is a tip and I just can't catch up.
We went to see dad on Sunday evening and he seemed to be doing really well, up and about, dressed and taking himself off to the loo and day room. The staff were concerned about potassium levels and were giving him an infusion to settle that down. All seemed well and he was making plans to get home.
Last night at 10pm (Keith had been in during the evening and he was fine) The hospital phoned to say they had taken him back to ICU. Which has been a big shock for all of us. Keith chatted to the doctors and they explained that the potassium levels were very high and that they needed to monitor him closely and that was better done from ICU. Keith and I decided not to tell Mum as she was already asleep.
This morning they are still working on the problem and Keith has been in to see what is going on. They are reassuring saying that they hope to have this under control hopefully as soon as possible. So fingers crossed.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 12th Post op 8 days.

We called in to see dad yesterday, the first time we have seen him since he came out of ICU. He looked a million times better, and was chatty and mobile. He is able to get in and out of bed by himself, take himself off to the loo. We were amazed by the transformation.
I really think its a matter of time before he will be home. Mum is still finding the whole experience very hard to deal with and she gets very emotional about it, which is understandable. I really think we have turned a corner and it won't be too long now.
Horror of horrors, my Iphone threw a wobbly this morning, I had downloaded the new itunes when it went into emergency only mode, didn't matter what I did it wasn't budging, eventually I had to call 02 for assistance, they managed to sort it out remotely so that's a relief.
This morning its a Tesco shop and then I am going to scrap, I have not done any crafting fro sometime and I need to do some!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September the 10th 7 days post Op.

Well lost of things have happened in the past day or so. Dad continues to improve (thank goodness) He is now free of all tubes and today he walked half the length of the ward. I was able to talk to him on the extortionately priced 20p a minute bedside phone, he sounded weak but knew where he was, who I was and what day it was. I even tested him to make sure and he was spot on!!! I am still amazed at how quickly things can turn around, so the reverse of that is that the same must be possible on the negative side, so I am still keeping my fingers crossed!!

Yesterday I finally managed to secure a washing machine off of Freecycle. (a fantastic resourse where people give away items they would have sent to land fill) I had answered a few messages but had always missed out. I finally won last night and was offered a machine. It was a good news bad news situation, Good news got a machine, bad news its on the 3rd floor of a block of flats with no lifts. Carl and Tom managed to get it down and into the car, just need to get Andy to plumb it into Laura's flat.

Just because I have nothing else to do Carl asked if I could take him and a 'couple' of friends over to Liquid in Stevenage. So at 9.30 last night I loaded the car with five girls and Carl and took them off to boogie. They landed back at 2.30am!!

More good news, this morning Carl received a letter from school telling him that he had won two awards, The Ray McHugh Trophy for Drama award (for the second year running!!) and the snappily named 'Hill Cup for Special Contribution to Nicholas Breakspear School by a 6th Form Boy award 2008/09' !!!! So it will be a real family affair on prize giving night!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

September 8th Day 5 Post Op.

The last 24 hours have been a roller coaster, one that has been far harder for Keith than it has for me. Yesterday Dad was very confused and emotional and Keith had a bit of an evening trying to settle things down and help him understand what was going on. It all started after he was disturbed by a loud crash in the ICU and it woke him with a start, from then on he didn't know where he was or what was going on.
From the info on the net it seems that this is a fairly common thing to happen but upsetting for everyone none the less. Keith managed with the assistance of several members of staff to calm him down and he went off to sleep. Keith got called back around midnight and ended up staying with him until 4am, when he finally settled.
This morning they were able to take him off a few more machines and get him out of bed into the arm chair, he stood up but was very light headed, but at least he managed it.

The strange thing about looking into confusion after operations is that there is loads of info and it is very common, one particular info sheet could have been describing Dad. There are lots of triggers but it seems dad had been subject to just about all of the major ones, 1. serious heart op. 2. a spell on a heart lung bypass machine, 3. low oxygen levels, 4. previous occurrence. 5. large number of conflicting drugs, 6. lack of mobility (unable to get up due to the first 5!!) I can't explain how scary it is because you see him come through the operation and then it appears that he has gone mad, shouting at people, upset, confused. We were wondering if they had damaged his brain in the process.

The other strange thing is just how quickly things can turn around, they were able to take the oxygen away plus all bar two tubes today and he's a different person, so different that they have moved him onto a high dependency ward this afternoon.

Small steps forward, hopefully on his way home soon.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Monday 7th of September 2009 - Day 4 Post Op.

Well today was the day that they planned and managed to get dad up. He spent the afternoon sitting in a chair. He has come off of kidney Dialysis and is managing without it. They have given him a couple of units of blood to boost him up so he seems to be on the up. He is still bothered by the oxygen mask which is annoying the life out of him, hurting his nose and his chin. He is still confused as well sometimes not realising where he is or what is going on.
This confusion was a feature of his last stay in ICU and it didn't stop until he was taken off of dialysis. Last time he was agitated and continually rattled the bed sides and shouted at the staff. This is not at all his usual behaviour, but it is a well known side effect of heart surgery, it seems if it has happened to you once before it makes it more likely to happen.
His body is trying to heal itself and lack of oxygen and dehydration can make matters worse. We are hoping that like last time this will pass and as time goes by he will get back to himself.
So again small steps in the right direction, I hope he will soon be heading for the ward.

Today Beth started back to school, she is now year 8 and likes her new form teacher, (A young NQT very enthusiastic and as a bonus her new maths teacher!) Laura has spent the day with a mutual friend who works at a college and she has really enjoyed the experience. Carl is still planning for his time at Uni!! (still looking for a small cheap fridge!!)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sunday the 6th September Day Three post Op.

Today we started off at the local boot sale, We are in need of a mini fridge for Carl's room at Uni, but of course while there were a round a dozen of them last week when we didn't want one, there were only two this week both pink and not suitable!! It leaves me just the one week to try and find something suitable before he is off.

We then went to see Dad, I have been having regular reports from my brother and mum so I knew that he was OK. Keith had said that they had been in and made sure they encouraged him to have breakfast and lunch. He ate a big bowl of soup and two blocks of ice cream, so they were pleased. After lunch he became agitated, he decided that he didn't want the oxygen mask on any more so made a concerted effort to get rid of it. They tried to talk to him and tell him that it was essential, but he was determined, he wanted to go. He really left them with no alternative but to give him some sedation and allow him to sleep with the mask on. He was asleep when we got there and only chatted for a few words. He knew Carl, Keith and I were there, but wasn't able to chat.

On the positive side, they have removed another drain, a heart monitoring line and they have switched off the pace maker which was supporting his heart. He is still on kidney dialysis, but we think that's a good thing, giving his kidneys a chance to recover. Tomorrow they are going to get him up, hopefully getting him to move will enable him to clear his chest and as a result improve his oxygen absorption leading to the eventual removal of the hated oxygen mask!!

Carl had his first experience of ICU today (not one he wants ever to repeat) and he has made a very valid point, Dad perhaps doesn't know what is going on fully so doesn't know why the mask is there. He had been working towards a text book 24 - 48 hours in ICU plus 24 hours in High Dependency followed by a short stay on the ward, then home. Unfortunately not everyone is going to follow the text book scenario and Carl thinks that is affecting his mood and co-operation. So tomorrow Keith is going to go in and explain everything to him. He is doing well, he is just doing it at his own speed.

Its small steps but it is small steps in the right direction and that's what counts.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A few more holiday shots.

The campsite in Wassenaar had a fantastic swimming complex and as 'guests' we were allowed two free hours between 10am and 2pm. We usually got up ready for the 10am start. By the middle of the afternoon Beth was ready to go again. So that meant that we had to go to the much cooler outside pool. When I say cooler, it was unheated and freezing!

The main flumes were very impressive and in constant use, there was always a queue, so 10am was the best time to get the most rides! Its strange that we have only been back for two weeks and already it seems like a lifetime ago. I have no idea what we will do next year, I sort of fancy beaching it in France again, but I also fancy looking at USA so who knows.

Saturday 5th September 2009 - Day Two Post Op.

This morning Keith has gone in to visit, its such a bonus having the hospital virtually at the bottom of his garden! He said that dad looked fine and staff said he had a reasonable night. They are hoping to get him up today which is amazing ! He is still hooked up to a few machines, but there's no problem with that. I hope the dialysis has helped things.

Today we have a couple of gardens to water, Beth is doing next doors and we will do Dads again. Beth has spotted a jumble sale so we are off to there for the opening at 11am who knows what treasures we'll find!! I am hoping that today I might get some crafting done, I want to make some bits for the bathroom. I need to add something to make it less clinical and white. The floor tiles are a sandy beige colour and we have some similar coloured tiles as accents in the shower, so I am thinking something in the same shade. I think shaped lavender bags, I have loads of lavender and some drawers where they can slip over the handles. I'll have to get the sewing machine out! I must take some photos of the bathroom!!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Friday 4th September 2009 - Update.

Today Beth, Tom, Mum and I went to see dad. He is in ICU but he is next to the window and waiting to go in to see him we were able to see him sitting up in bed.

When we went in he was off the ventilator and breathing for himself, he was wired up to loads of machines but he was able to talk to us and he recognised us. We asked him if he wanted to see Beth as she definitely wanted to see him. He said yes and the nurse said OK for a couple of minutes. So she popped in he was pleased to see her. Beth was good but found it a bit emotional when she came out, She was glad to have seen him and she said it was worth a few tears.

Dad is making good progress, its only day one and he is looking better than he did on day 21 of the last encounter with ICU!! They are concerned about his kidney out put and they have decided to assist him with some dialysis. This also happened last time the difference being last time they didn't start dialysis until 4 weeks in. I hope that this time it will give his kidneys the best chance of recovering.

Keith and Nicky saw him tonight and Keith said that he was tired but doing well. Fingers crossed it continues.

The Day after - Day 1.

Dad had his operation yesterday lunchtime. He was planned for 12pm, but in the end went down a little later than that. The operation was a success. My brother and mum went into see him last night. Mum was very upset, Keith was realistic and said when they saw him he was only just back in intensive care around one hour post op, so he wasn't expecting him to look too brilliant.

Keith went in this morning on his way to work and was pleased to see that Dad was conscious but still on a ventilator. Staff said he had had a rough night but was doing OK, his blood pressure is still on the low side and his oxygen is also low which is why they are leaving him on the ventilator. Keith said that although he couldn't speak he was able to recognise him and let Keith know that he was cold. So all positive signs. We are going over this afternoon to see him.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Today is the Day

Here we go again, dad is in hospital and his operation is planned for 12pm. He spoke to me last night and said he has been examined by just about every Doctor in the hospital!!
He has been told that he is second on the list, the op will take around 4 hours and all being well he will be returned to high dependency unit this evening. After that if he progresses as expected he will return to the main ward in the next few days. So fingers crossed that all goes to plan.

Beth is enjoying the last few days of her school holiday, seems most of the kids go back today or tomorrow, she doesn't go back until next week. Carl is getting things together for Uni, he needs to buy some clothes and shoes. I won't be happy until I have seen where he will be staying.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Goodbye Summer.

1st of September and the summer is on the way out. Only a week until School starts again, the weather seems to have turned and I am going to have to look for my coat again.
Today has been a tough one, we have had to move our office. Its so labour intensive we packed up around 50 crates last week, only to have to unpack them this morning at the new location. We were dependent on the removal men delivering the filing cabinets and the cupboards so that we could unpack. They decided to deliver the crates first and leave us to twiddle our thumbs until the furniture arrived. The IT guys had to set the PC's up on the floors as the desks were 'in transit' The single most annoying thing was that we could see our old office from our new office and we couldn't get things moving !!
Tomorrow Dad is going into Papworth Hospital in preparation for his heart bypass on Thursday, so mum is going to stay with my brother who lives in Papworth so that they are close at hand. Fingers crossed that all goes well and that he is back at home as soon as possible.
We are continuing preparations for moving Carl into his room at Middlesex University. There seems to be a lot to do, I think we have most things, but he needs to go out and get himself some new clothes and shoes. I want to see where he will be living just so that I know where to find him!!!
To end on a positive note, my bathroom is still lovely!!!!