Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas has been and gone!

This year it was always going to be a difficult Christmas. We were all expecting things to be difficult, but we tried to carry on the best we could in the circumstances. I was lucky because I had bought most of my presents before my operation in November which was lucky as it turned out!! I was able to  wrap most of them before as well, leaving little to be done before big day. So for us it was the food shopping that had to be done, we decided to hit Asda this year for a change, their drink was cheap so well worth the change!

I am very proud to have three beautiful God daughters, and it was lovely to be able to get them together for a photo with their 'Fairy God Mother' !!!!So left to right Becca, my longest time god daughter, who is beautiful talented and lives far too far away for my liking! After me is Gracie, my youngest God Daughter and the one most likely to become Mrs Davidson (if my perfect plans come together, after all she has grown up with Carl and they have been long time friends!!) But if that doesn't happen then she will one day be in charge of Waitrose media department and will earn lots and lots of money!! Finally on the right is Emma, she is the young entrepreneur, from the low times she has picked herself up and started her own business renting baby birthing pools to mums to be. All of these girls will do well and I am sure they won't forget their Fairy God Mother!!! 

On Christmas day Beth did one of her world famous 'selfies' this time we all managed to cram into the frame!! It turned out to be the surprise snap of the Christmas. We had invested in some Christmas tops, three Elves and two Father Christmas !
Christmas was a subdued affair and I felt very blessed to have such wonderful friends and family who gave me beautiful gifts. I have some beautiful opal jewelry, perfume, photo frames to name but a few. 

Considering where we were we had a good time, we are looking forward to the new year with the hope of better things to come.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Catching up....

I think its true to say that this year has been a particularly hard one, not only for us, but also for lots of other people as well. We started with so much hope and expectation, not much of that came to fruition. 
Sadly on the 7th of December Mum passed away. She finally had her repair operation on the 6th of December and on that evening she was uncomfortable but talking to us. They had told us that she was being looked after in intensive care as a precaution. When I left at the end of visiting time, I felt positive, she looked like she needed a good nights sleep, but was with us.

When Dad and I went in the next morning we were met by the ICU Consultant and his team. He explained that overnight they had been having serious problems stabilising her, her heart was racing and blood pressure dropping, they really needed that to be the other way around. They told us that she was at crisis point and they were not sure they would be able to turn things around. We decided to call the rest of the family in, she wasn't fully conscious, but she was opening her eyes and squeezing our hands when we called her.

By the afternoon she was noticeably less responsive, she didn't seem to know we were there. The Consultant said that they were still giving her drugs but they were having no effect her heart rate was climbing and was running at 150/160 bpm . She had an underlying heart condition which had come back with avengence. The Consultant said that at this point the best they could do was make her comfortable and allow her to slip away. It was clear to us that she was not with us, the heart monitor was racing and although she was breathing on her own she was struggling, they were giving her oxygen. From that point it was a very quick 3/4 of an hour before she passed away. 

It was pure devastation all around very hard to comprehend how we had ended up here. 

My over riding emotion was anger, anger at how she had been treated by the East and North Herts NHS Trust, who had simply failed her when she needed it most. The irony of it all is that the actual fall that lead her to this final situation was an accident, she was adamant it was no ones fault, a pure accident. The previous incident at The Lister Hospital despite being reported was going no where fast until the point where Mum passed away. They have now some 9 weeks later phoned to say that they will invite us in to discuss the outcome of that investigation!!! I have no faith in their ability to investigate themselves, and I have no doubt about the outcome of whatever investigation they have 'carried out' . In the past they have only ever got their act together once we have gone outside to either the National Press or our local MP. So I am not holding my breath. 

I am not sure what to do going forward, part of me wants to move on and part of me wants to stand and fight, but I am not sure I have the fight left in me to do anymore of that. I am recovering from a major operation and if I fight them they will close ranks and it won't bring Mum back . I am very very sad that the last months of her life were so unhappy. 

So I must try and take the positives from this situation. Mum is no longer in pain and I pray that she is in Heaven with my sister and all the previous relatives that have gone. 
I will remember all the positive things and the fun times we had and how her positive influences have shaped me and my family. It has made me determined to live life to the full and not to put things off because its simple one day tomorrow will not come and it will be too late. I will try and do as much as I can now and not live to regret the things I did not do!! I need to gather myself and make some important decisions. I am a child of the 60's which put me and my fellow baby boomers at great risk as once we get to be elderly the NHS will be less equip to deal than it is now. 

On the 19th of December we celebrated Mums life at her funeral. We had a lovely Church  service at St Bonaventure in WGC. Father Norbert knew Mum, he visited her in hospital and had been the butt of her plain talking (as he called it!!) she had told him a couple of days before her passing that life in WGC was agreeing with him too well as he was putting on a bit of weight!!! Because he knew her the service was personal and a great tribute to Mum. Beth excelled herself, she was the only one brave enough to get up and pay tribute to Mum in the form of a Dear Nan, letter. She was fantastic, although it was an uplifting and funny letter there wasn't a dry eye in the house by the time she finished. 
The Church looked beautiful with both Christmas and pink flowers, we had asked people to wear a little splash of pink so Beth said it was obvious looking out at the congregation that people had done so. 

Looking back on the day I would say that we did her proud, we made the floral displays so we could use flowers that she loved, we included pink her favourite colour and it felt warm and comforting rather than bleak and upsetting.

We are blessed with fantastic friends and family who all attended the service. They have been so supportive of both me and dad, I have had a steady arrival of flowers and cards over the past weeks. Friends have stepped up to the mark and helped with flowers, cakes, transport and just being there and able to step in when the going gets tough. I can't thank you all enough for all that you have done for our family.

We are hoping for a better 2014, Rest In Peace Mum, you are missed.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

History repeating itself.

We are having a terrible time of things at the moment and I am so cross with the NHS (the part of it that is causing us a problem) This is an exact re-run of a situation that happened three years ago when mum broke her femur for the first time. 
Recently mum was admitted to hospital initially to have a knee replacement, before that could happen she contracted a urine infection, so she was transferred to The Lister hospital in Stevenage where she received in patient treatment for that infection. While she was there she was assaulted by one of the nurses who seemed to think that she should not have wet the bed, despite having an infection and no one answering her call bell. The other patients in the bay reported that she was slapped and left exposed on the bed, one of those patients got up with a broken leg and went over to cover her up. I am so angry with how she has been treated. I reported the incident to the Matron and to this date we have heard absolutely nothing, not a letter , not a phone call, NOTHING. We are not living in a third world country, this is 2013 in Great Britain. Mum was frightened to say anything because she had to stay in hospital there so declined Police involvement despite the hospital calling in the Police. If I had been there I would have ensured that action would have been taken, but I was not.
She was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth the 2nd hospital in Welwyn Garden City where she subsequently had her knee replacement. She recovered well from that until last Thursday when in the care of the Hospital she fell and fractured her ankle and femur (again) She has been in considerable pain and initially fell foul of the weekend intervening because as we all know no one becomes ill at the weekend the NHS simply shuts down and goes to skeleton staffing, so she had to wait until Monday for an operation. We then started to be told that she had a complicated fracture and she would need a specialist surgeon to deal with it, She was Xrayed and waited. Tuesday morning they decided to operate and when she was seen by the anaesthetist they called the operation off. The bloods were wrong and she needed several transfusions to build her up. That was done straight away. We have no complaints about that the operation needs to be as safe as possible, we were not seeking to force them to carry out the operation unsafely.
What truly ticks me off is the lies that were trotted out to us we have been told that there hasn't been a surgeon available because of the complicated nature of the operation, so how did that anaesthetist call off an operation where there was no surgeon?? We were told she would be transferred to a specialist hospital, then they couldn't go ahead because they didn't have a clear X-ray, apparently it had been asked for but no one had taken her there!!! You can see the X-ray department from her bed, I could have pushed her there myself. 
We asked when the operation would happen, we were given more half truths (if I am being generous) downright lies. we have had every excuse that they could muster while quite clearly no one knew what was going on!! They couldn't even tell us which consultant was dealing. 
Throughout all of this Mum has been sat in bed drugged up to the eyeballs in a great amount of pain. She is mentally and physically going down hill and we are seriously concerned for her. 

The very best crap excuse that they have come up with is that the surgeons can not operate because they have lists full of elective surgeries!!!! If they don't operate on those people they will breach the 18 week rule and the hospital will be fined!!! I can not believe that they can use such a crap excuse to keep a 77 year old woman in this position.

This morning I phoned the hospital and had a very full and frank discussion with them, I also contacted PALS and my MP. this has started to get results. Mum is deaf in both ears and while in hospital she has lost both hearing aids, these are the tiny in the ear aids which cost £1500 each. We have them insured, but the insurance company need a letter from the hospital to say that we have reported it to them. I asked for that letter nearly five weeks ago, five weeks where Mum has not been able to hear properly, five weeks where she has not understood what is being said to her. I have chased up this letter , an incident report, because I am pretty sure they were thrown away by staff changing the bed. on a weekly basis, it has not been forth coming. How dare they leave her essentially deaf because they can't be arsed???

Her operation is supposed to happen tomorrow and they have told us that the surgeon dealing is Mr Harishbhai Parmar. He looks to have a good track record, so I hope he has a good nights sleep and that he is able to repair the damage.

Please say a prayer and spread this message, people should be made aware of how the NHS treat our elderly vulnerable people, IT IS DISGUSTING.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A break in usual service!!

I hope to be able to resume my blogging very soon, but on the 14th I had an operation to replace my arthritic right hip, I had been waiting some time for the operation and I honestly thought I had gone in with my eyes open. While in the main I was prepared I was unprepared for how emotional I would feel afterwards and that has really knocked me for six. 

Anyway I am now back at home struggling with sleeping on my back and coping with the awful surgical pressure stockings which they want me to wear for three months!!! I am sure I won't manage that as they are driving me absolutely nuts . I also have to do blood thinning injections for a month it's certainly not a bed of roses.  I know in the long run it should be a huge improvement but it feels that result is a long way away at the moment! 

So once I am in a better frame of mind I will resume blogging!!!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Back to see Harry Potter!!

The weather was glorious, in the 90's it was fantastic to be able to wear summer clothes and not worry too much about feeling chilly!! We decided to make an early start and headed off down to Harry Potter Land to do the ride. Last time I visited I wasn't able to get on the ride as the seats were too small. There had been a load of complaints about the seat size and this time there were some more generous seats, however I am pleased to report that on this visit I didn't need one of those as I fit in a regular one. 

There wasn't very much by way of queue, but when we were queuing it was interesting, lots of Harry Potter stuff to look at.

Once we actually got to the ride it was a combination coaster come simulator ride. We were chasing the golden snitch! It was a very strange ride. I have a pretty good stomach for most things, but this one really made me feel queasy. I can only remember one other ride doing that to me and that was at Alton Towers back in the 80's. To be honest I was glad to be off this ride and we didn't do it again despite the very small queues!

I really like how they stage set the whole of the area, we were able to buy a post card and have it stamped Harry Potter World. There were streets and snow capped buildings, a great experience!

Laura treated herself to a 'butterbeer' so we all had a sip, it was very nice!!!

Just as you leave Harry Potter land is the entrance to the Dueling Dragons Roller Coasters. Again I had been unable to ride last time so I had to have a go this time. It was quite an experience, it seems as if were would crash into the other coaster, we got that close at one point!! I can say that I have done it now, but it wasn't a very comfortable experience as you had to sit on your shoes if they were likely to fly off. If there is a next time I'd wear trainers!!!

We headed over to wards the Superman ride and had a go on the tea cups and The Hulk Roller Coaster.

The Hulk is a massive coaster that goes upside down several times!! I loved it!!

Universal seems to have moved with the times and everytime we visit there is something new to see or do, along with some of the old favourites. They specialise in HUGE roller coasters and simulator rides, which is fine by me!!!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Home Again :(

Well time really does fly, its hard to believe that our two week holiday has been and gone and I am back home and back at work. As usual Florida was quite an exhausting trip although I did have the benefit of one of those little electronic scooter things. Without one I would not have been able to have done the parks. I simply can't walk any distance without severe pain in my hip.

So I'll tell you a little about the trip.

We stayed at The Clarion Inn, Lake Buena Vista. This was a lovely hotel, although if you look at Trip Advisor you will see many mixed reviews, I think basically it comfortable, serviceable with friendly staff, what more can you ask for? There was an on site shop and Deli, a restaurant, bar, swimming pools and most of all a very comfortable bed. 

We were on the ground floor and the only real disadvantage that we had was that in the morning people would walk pass the room talking to each other which woke us up, but we were planning on getting up fairly early to get cracking in the parks so not a huge problem.

Our first day was spent at Universal Studios. We were lucky as the crowds were relatively small so we didn't really have to queue too much. The parks were well organised for people in scooters and wheelchairs, they had easy access to just about everything that I wanted to go on. They also let all of us stay together because its not much fun being split up from your family to do the ride alone. 

On the walk through the park we met Shaggy and Scooby, Shaggy cracked a great gag, Where are you from? Beth said North of London, Shaggy said , Oh I heard you have a bridge there and its falling down!!!!

Tom met Marilyn Munroe!

The girls met characters from The Simpson's!!

The Simpson's ride was fantastic, we managed to have a few goes on that a slightly different experience each time. 

This year for the first time I was able to fit into all the rides that I wanted to go on. Luckily they have seats for you to try so that you don't have to queue up for nothing. I was a bit worried about how it would effect my hip, but as long as I was able to keep my feet on the floor I was able to brace myself against the carriage and not hurt myself. I decided against the roller coasters without floors and flailing legs would not be good for me!!! It was boiling hot, for the whole of the two weeks and although I didn't do that much walking, I didn't do that much eating either!! So I was surprised when I got home to find I had lost half a stone!!

I'll update more when I get a moment!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sunny Florida

After a lot of wondering we finally got away on our break to Florida, we travelled with Thomas Cook from gatwick. the flight was very good for the first time in a while I would go as far as to say it was comfortable! The plane seemed quite spacious with comfortable leather seats. It was one of those planes with downstairs toilets, 8 of them which meant you could get up and stretch your legs. 
We arrived at Orlando to find that they had messed up our car booking so that took a while to put right, we finally headed off for our hotel with the help of our sat nav. I had downloaded the USA maps earlier in the year whenTom Tom sent through an offer £20 for the maps. They were charging $15 a day to rent one here so I easily made my money !!!
The hotel is lovely, I had been in contact with a lady on the front desk before we arrived so she had made sure everything was top condition for us!! She arranged for us to pre pay breakfast at a reduced price plus we both had a basket of fruit and sweets in the room, a lovely touch!!
I had planned to update this as we went along but this holiday has been full on one way or another!!
We have had some fabulous weather, no rain during the day and lots of sunshine. There has been a bit of rain overnight but that hasn't interfered with our plans too much!!
It has however been quite humid, so for the first time in my life I seem to have acquired curly hair!!! I seem to have loads of photos with Curly/frizzy hair, it's quite a site to see!!!
It's nearly time to head home so I will update the blog once we are back and I will finally be able to add photos, something that blogger in Safari seems to be resisting :(

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wedgewood has no worries!!!

I seem to be settling into a weekly update at the moment!! Its funny how there are just not enough hours in the week to do all I want to do anymore. 
Last week my friend Jane and I went to Artshed in Ware to have a go at a bit of pottery. Jane went and collected the results and bought them home!!

Considering that we made these from scratch I am quite pleased with the outcome. I am still not sure about the milk jug , not sure the shape will actually hold much in the way of any liquid !!! I was particularly pleased with the little cake stand that I made. Luckily it was Carl's birthday this week so I was able to try out my new cake stand!!

I think Karen was very clever to pick green cake cases to show off my green cake stand!!

How times change, an integral part of birthdays now is a pint of something to go with the cakes, Carl has acquired a liking for Crabbies Ginger Beer, he is spreading his wings !! He spent the night of his birthday out with his mates and when he got home he was so 'happy' he had to sleep on the sofa, oddly he was that happy that he chose to try and sleep on the two seater sofa, which was just a little surprising!!!

A big 'Thank you' goes to Karen for the beautiful cup cakes, peanut butter, chocolate and gorgeous raspberry flavoured ones. I added the candles (very special ones, with flames that burnt the same colour as the wax) although I had trouble convincing Carl about that as you can see he was quite 'happy' by then!!!

This year he ended up with house presents, he has finally exchanged contracts on his flat and completes on Friday, so Laura bought him a clock and a wine bottle candle and we bought him a set of saucepans. He has expensive tastes so they were the best red saucepans to fit in with his kitchen decor!!!

At the end of last week I was away at Conference at Brighton. We went down by train and I was booked into the Hilton on the sea front. It was a strange Hotel, looked very grand from the outside and the public areas were rather elegant, with huge great big chandeliers, once in the room it all became a bit mundane and slightly run down.I have got used to sleeping in a soft bed, so the rock hard mattress was a bit of a trial, I felt like I didn't sleep well, but somehow managed to oversleep on the second morning!!

It was nice to see the sea, although the second day was very windy and chilly. We found a nice place to have lunch on the beach, it was so cold that we never risked a trip down to the waters edge.

Barb and I on the second day getting ready for a day of debates, which turned out not to be debates but a day of everyone furiously agreeing with each other! Still we did actually get a card vote right at the end on a subject that really didn't matter that much but was enough for there to be a little disagreement in the ranks!!

To finish the week Beth went to a fancy dress party dressed as a pirate!! she enjoyed herself and looked rather good without being too over the top.

Next week we are being decorated, so we have had to empty all the front room cupboards, I have ordered new furniture and Carl is taking my old stuff to start him off with. I just need to order a new sofa and chairs when the painting is finished. The house looks like a jumble sale and I will be glad when its finished. 
Mum is still in hospital but she seems to be getting stronger so fingers crossed she will be set free soon. My friend Debbie's Dad is in ICU after a pre-planned operation, we are all saying prayers for signs of improvement and  a speedy recovery for him. 

Have a nice week.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Week of Overload.

This week seems to have been one of total overload, everything is closing in on me and I can't seem to get too much finished although I have started a fair few things. Mum is still in hospital. She has had the result of the biopsy on her knee back and it appears that there is a general infection in her joint. They are putting that down to the metal work in her hip. Three years ago she fell and broke her femur and after a traumatic time she had to have a load of metal work inserted to scaffold her bone. Right from the very beginning this was infected and it took nearly four months for it to heal and stop weeping. The surgeon is now convinced that the infection is in that metal work and it has to come out. They have done a load of scans and xrays and they 'hope' that the bone is strong enough to manage without it. If it isn't they will have to put more metal back in a different place. Its all a huge worry for all of us and for Mum. The operation is planned for next Thursday. The only good news is that they are going to do the operation at the QE2 , a much easier journey for us. 

This weekend Dad has been around to dinner, he has also spent a load of time in his garden sorting out his borders ready for the winter. When I popped around he picked me some of these lovely sunflowers. He didn't plant this particular one, it must have arrived via bird poop!!! Its a really unusual one with loads and loads of heads. So we have saved some of the seed and hope we can grow some more next year!!

I now have a lovely vase full of them in the living room.
We have also been sorting out the colour we are going to redecorate the living room. I think we have finally settled on a scheme so I am going to order some new bookcases and a suite of furniture. Carl will be taking some of our stuff with him to his new flat so its a great time to have a change. 

Today I went on a great course with my neighbour Jane. It was to make a vintage tea set out of clay, the time absolutely flew and I ended up making a cup and saucer, a milk jug, sugar bowl and a cake stand. It was totally absorbing and the time flew!!

This is the kind of thing we were trying to make, looks a bit rustic, but it was a case of learning the ropes and seeing what we could come up with.

Everything started with a thumb pot, something I've not done since junior school. Its not as easy as you might think, the clay is floppy and thins out in some places and not in others!!

We also made a cake stand, which we imprinted with lace curtains!!

By lunchtime we had made the whole lot, we spent some time drying them with hair driers which meant that we were able to paint them today as well. It was great to see everything take shape. If I did it again I know that I could refine my designs. 

The paint doesn't reflect the end colour so going with my favourite colour, all the insides are painted celadon green and the outsides are painted a cobalt blue. The edges and handles are all painted with a dark metallic colour which I am hoping covers a multitude of sins!!!

We can't wait to collect them next weekend !! I hope they all survive the firing process.
If you fancy a go take a look at ARTSHED, they have some lovely courses. 
Best of all the course that we did was reduced to half price via Groupon Bargain!!!

Here's hoping this week will be better than last week.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Time to Empty the Pot!

For my birthday in 2012 Laura bought me a 'Pamper pot' It was a pink pot with a slot for saving money, with no way of getting at the money until you smash the pot. Well today was pot smashing day. We planned to do it before we went on holiday, putting the money towards our spending money. We planned to smash it the week before we went, but we weren't able to get anymore in so we decided to smash it now. 

We all had a guess at how much money was in there, we had predominantly saved 20p pieces, although right at the beginning we were undecided so we knew there were some 50p and 10p in there as well.

We just couldn't get anymore in the pot!!
So we put the pot in a carrier bag and I gently tapped the top to see if I could remove the top and keep the main part of the pot to put flowers in afterwards.

In the end I was able to tap the top off and get at the money!!

There was a huge pile silver to count. Our guesses ranged from £100 to £200, it was hard to tell just how much was in there. 

In the end we counted it all and bagged it all up to take to the bank and we were amazed to find that the pot contained a massive £249 !!! We have already bought ourselves another one because you simply don't notice the odd 20p going missing from your purse, its a great way to save up for a special treat. 
The next pot was a bargain one from Tescos sale, they were selling them off after fathers day for a couple of quid. I hope the next one will fill a bit quicker!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Trip to London.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a course in London, in the Euston Road. Its an easy train trip to Kings Cross and a small walk to the venue. I like to visit as the building has the most wonderful views all over this part of London. The BT tower is still impressive, looks like something out of Dr Who !! The spire is St Pancras Church. 

This very ornate building is St Pancras Station and The Renaissance Hotel. The flat ugly building on the left of the photo is The British Museum. 

This is looking to the west, the roof garden below is lovely on a summers day, I popped out there and the planters were full of herbs, they smelt gorgeous!

I took the photos from the board room at the top of the building, perhaps one day I'll be chairing a meeting in that board room!!!! I was lucky enough to be able to stay over for the night at a Premier Inn jut over the road. It was a typical Premier Inn with an exceptionally large flat screen TV!!
We have had a bit of hospital orientated few days. Beth went out with her work for a 'fun' evening at the Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre. She actually had a good time right up until the very last down hill run where she lost control of the ring that she was on and ploughed backwards through a small gap in the safety fence and clobbered her back and neck on a metal pylon. She damaged her back and had pain and numbness in her legs and her neck. We ended up going over and an ambulance was called and she was taken to Watford General Hospital.

The First responder was very good and got Beth settled and gave her pain relief (gas and air) We then had to wait a fair while for an ambulance to arrive to transport her to hospital . Thankfully after Xrays they gave her the all clear, no broken bones. She does however have whiplash and a very bruised back, hip and leg. I think it may be a while before she risks any down hill exploits again!! I am just so thankful that it wasn't any worse. 
Mum went into hospital today to have a knee replacement, we took her in yesterday for a load of pre-op blood tests. She went into the hospital by ambulance this morning, but at lunchtime Dad got a call to say that they were not operating because she had a urine infection and it wasn't safe to do so until it was sorted out. So this evening they gave her IV anti-biotics and we collected her and got he back home. She is pretty fed up as she was hoping that by now she would be recovering from the op and not waiting for a date to have it done again. She realised that it was for the best but upsetting none the less.  

This week I am hoping for less hospital involvement!!