Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Another problem

 Something else to add to my stress levels this morning......Betty's split claw that we took her to the vets about last week, has now split completely open from top to bottom, totally exposing the quick.  It's bothering her even more now, understandably.  We've rung and got an appointment for 3.45 this afternoon, I've also asked for the vet to ring us back asap for some advice prior to bringing her in.  She's very anxious about going to the vets, she really doesn't like it at all (probably because nearly every time we take her she has something horrible done to her, so it's a bit like going to the dentist for us!) and thus isn't very co-operative, whines and strains at the lead to try and get out.  I'm wondering if there's something we can do or give her, or they can give her as soon as we arrive, in order to reduce her anxiety (ironically, I've got plenty of anti-anxiety pills - which I shall be taking by the handful today!! - but obviously they're for humans, not dogs).  She's not very happy at all this morning, and was extremely restless during the night, keeping me awake, so she's clearly suffering.  I hate to see her in pain or under the weather, bless her, it really makes my stomach churn.

I've managed to book a haircut with my lovely hairdresser neighbour for Friday afternoon, so that's something positive.

I've done washing this morning, although it won't be going out on the line - it's misty, damp and cold so it won't dry outside, it'll have to go on the airers upstairs.  I've also made 2 pizzas - well, put toppings on 2 bought pizza is for dinner tonight, the other will be frozen, or possibly eaten cold for lunch tomorrow.  I also used up some sun dried tomatoes in oil, some walnuts, finely grated mature Cheddar, garlic puree and dried basil to make a kind of red pesto - just blitzed everything up in my mini processor and added some seasoning.  We'll have it stirred through a pack of fresh spinach and ricotta filled pasta for tomorrow's dinner, with stir fried courgettes and mushrooms.

Apparently there's going to be a big shortage of fresh turkeys this December, because of the bird flu.  Just as well we're not buying one - not that we ever do anyway, and especially not at this time of year, far too expensive.  

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Successful birthday lunch, and some answers

 The meal we went out for on my birthday was pretty much a disaster, for one reason or another, and husband had done nothing in the way of getting me anything, not even any flowers.  So I decided this morning we were going out for lunch....and then he had the cheek to say "well ok, if you've got the money"!!  Honestly, he leaves me gobsmacked sometimes - I did point out he was paying, since he'd made no effort to buy me a present, nor had he booked us in anywhere for lunch on the day (it was my last minute choice to go for the meal on my birthday, since he'd made no plans).  And this despite him taking his best mate to town 2 days before my birthday to have their regular brunch!  I can't remember the last time he took me out for a meal, prior to the rubbish birthday lunch.  With all the stressful stuff I've got coming up, with arrangements for appointments, horrendous forms to fill in, and things to organise for when husband is unable to drive for a week following his angiogram, I wanted a little bit of something nice.....the calm before the storm, if you like.

I chose to go to our other favourite garden centre, Sanders World.  It was taken over earlier this year and now focuses much more on home things and gifts, it's a huge place.  The restaurant, which was nice anyway, is now even better - as well as tables and chairs, it has lots of comfy sofas and armchairs and bookshelves everywhere filled with books old and new - some to buy (big coffee table type books) and lots to just browse through whilst you're eating and drinking.  In previous years the store has had nice Christmas displays, so I wanted to see what this year's was going to be like, given the change of ownership - not that I was intending to buy any decorations, but it's nice to look at them all.

The lunch was delicious, happily - I had a bacon, brie & cranberry toasted panini (well I did say the other day it was my favourite sandwich filling!) with nice salad, and a really lovely huge cup of frothy coffee.  Husband had a coronation chicken sandwich (his favourite) with salad.  And the restaurant wasn't very busy, thank goodness.  We had a look round afterwards, the Christmas display is massive, certainly bigger than it used to be, it was interesting looking at all the displays and gift things - and no I didn't buy anything.  However, I did get a new pair of slippers (reduced in a sale) and some nice birthday cards - I haven't really got time - or even the brain capacity - right now to make any, and there are 3 birthdays in December.  So my sort-of delayed birthday lunch treat was very nice.

To answer some recent comments.....HH, our garden's not really big enough for Betty to charge around - too many flower and veg beds and not enough grass.  But what I shall do is take her in the field behind our house - that way, I can let her off the lead as soon as we get in there and she can run around to her heart's content.  She'll get muddy though, but that's a small price to pay.  And yes HH and Joy, the AA form is horrendous!  One good thing though, it's recommended that you attach any medical correspondence in support of your application, and husband has today had a letter from his cardiologist following their appointment a couple of weeks ago, which gives precise details of his heart conditions and current problems, so that'll be a really useful attachment.  Sue, I had considered finding a professional dog walker but discounted it in the end - if anything should happen, eg Betty getting away from them and getting lost, or something else, I'd never forgive myself.  There was a report on FB a little while ago about a so-called professional dog walker who supposedly 'lost' 2 dogs in her care - they allegedly got spooked by something and ran off into the woods, never to be seen again.  The implication was that the person may have sold the dogs - which were pedigrees.  I'm sure true professionals are in the majority, but I'm not taking any chances with my beautiful baby.

Joy, you wondered whether husband might subconsciously be putting up obstacles so that I give in and do the jobs, I don't think so.  I'm sure it's just that he's so bloody disorganised and extremely forgetful - everything I tell him he forgets practically instantly.  I thought it was a side effect of some of his heart meds, which are notorious for causing brain fog, forgetfulness and tiredness, and I said as much to his doctor.  The doctor agreed, but said there was also another explanation - as his heart isn't working at full capacity, it may also be a case of the heart not pumping enough blood and oxygen to his brain.  Which was something I hadn't considered.  So now, when I have to repeat something I've already told him 6 times, I just try to take a deep breath and calmly tell him yet again.  It's downright bloody frustrating though, if I had a pound for every time I have to repeat something to him, every single day, numerous times a day, I'd be a millionaire in no time.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Frazzled brain and sleepless nights coming up

 The mornings are when I have most energy, so I try to get as much as possible done then.  This morning I got the washing out on the line first thing, then made the chicken meatloaf and prepped all the veggies for our one-day-late Sunday dinner.  I did double quantities of all the veggies, so the excess only needs reheating for another day, along with some of the meatloaf.  There's enough of the meatloaf to have reheated for another dinner, plus enough to have cold for sandwiches a couple of days this week.  We then got the Christmas tree out of the box, all the branches spread out, the lights checked and the tree put in position.  I'd bought a new tree, the one I got last year was a bit too small and, after a bit of searching around indoors and in his garage, husband remembered we'd actually given it to a charity shop after last Christmas.  I'm not decorating it until next Sunday, the 4th - that was my Aunt Sylvia's birthday so I'm decorating the tree every December on that date, in her memory.

I gave husband a couple of small jobs to do, which he did.....the trouble is though, everything I ask him to do he can't seem to do by himself without asking me a dozen questions, so I have to waste time explaining to him where things go, how I want the job done, which way up, how things fit, etc etc.  Which is why in the past I've always just done it all myself, it's easier and quicker!  But I can't do everything myself now, so he's got to help whether he (or I!!) like it or not.

We had a series of appointment letters in the post and a phone call today, they all came at once for the same couple of days......typical.  Husband now has appointments for an echocardiogram, and a urinary flow test (for his prostate problems), both Tuesday of next week, one in the morning and one after lunch.  Both in Taunton but in different places, he should if everything goes according to plan be able to do both.  I had an appointment for my diabetes review come in, for Friday of next week.  However, husband also had a phone call this afternoon to say the hospital have a cancellation appointment for him to have his angiogram.....also Friday next week.  So I'll have to rearrange my diabetes review, which is fine.

And on top of that, the Attendance Allowance forms also arrived in the post today, which was quick.  I've had a brief look, it's another 30-page form, just having a quick glance through it gave me a headache, I'm so glad the Age UK advisor said she'd come and help, I'd dread having to do it by myself.

Whilst I'm glad everything is happening quickly, and before Christmas, the sheer logistics of having to organise everything and all in a short space of time will leave me frazzled, and give me a few more sleepless nights before then, I can feel the stress building already.  Neighbour J has said she'll take husband to hospital, but I might need to arrange for someone to pick him up later.  I'll have to do the dog walking too, husband won't be able to for the week following his angiogram as he won't be able to hold Betty's lead (the angiogram is done via an incision in his wrist) - the last time he had it done his arm was heavily bruised and sore for a week.  I hope my hips are ok for then, as it'll be difficult to hold the lead and a walking stick.  Betty's a strong dog, she's fine on the lead until she sees something, a pheasant or rabbit eg, when she wants to be off chasing it.  

Luckily, there's only one thing on the calendar for the week after husband's angiogram (when he'll be unable to drive for a week)'s a Christmas fair I was hoping to go to.  It's possible though that I might be able to cadge a lift with a neighbour, who I am sure will also want to go to it.  Oh, and I also need a haircut!!

A free week so lots can get done

 Yesterday I ended up feeling absolutely shattered, as a result of all that's been going on recently I think.  I was going to make a minced chicken and stuffing meatloaf with lots of roast veggies for dinner, but was just too tired, so we ended up having jacket spuds with beans and cheese.  I slept fairly well last night and feel much better today, so we'll have our Sunday dinner today.

For once, we have a whole week with nothing on the calendar.....unless there are any appointments that husband has forgotten to tell me about or write on the calendar, which wouldn't surprise me one bit.  So it'll be a good week for getting stuck in to more decluttering and tip/charity shop trips.  Which will please husband.....not.  He's beginning to get back to his usual routine of doing nothing unless I prod him - I said this morning that it would be nice if he got up in the morning and asked "What needs doing today?" rather than coming down, putting the damn telly on and just sitting watching that, or playing chess or looking at cars on his computer all day.  I can (and do) always find something to do, so this week I'm going to get him doing a few jobs every day.  He doesn't have to do them all at once, I've told him repeatedly to do a bit and then stop for a rest.  Which is exactly what I do, although when I sit down I'm generally writing a menu or shopping list, or list of jobs that need doing, or doing a bit of banking.

According to the weather forecast, the incessant rain should be letting up this week, it looks fairly settled, albeit cold, for the week so I should be able to get washing out on the line.  Hopefully, we'll also be able to take Betty to Dunster beach one day, we all need a breath of fresh air and she's in desperate need of a good run about.  I'll have to use my walking stick, my hips and balance have been terrible lately and I'm liable to fall over walking on sand or uneven ground.  When I saw my GP to get the results of my hip xrays a few weeks back, I asked him if they showed up any osteoporosis - he said no, other than a DEXA scan the only way to find out if I have osteoporosis is if I fall over and break my try not to fall over!  His exact words!  I'll take a flask of coffee and a sandwich for us and some water and treats for Betty, which we'll have in the car overlooking the beach.  Must check the tide times before we go.

Not heard from the Council yet as to whether our housing application was successful, still, it's only been 2 weeks and I'm sure they're behind on work - everyone else is.  I'm hoping the Attendance Allowance forms arrive soon, the lady on the phone said to allow up to 2 weeks for them to come, although it should be quicker than that.....there are the postal strikes to take into consideration though.

I had to laugh at the Chancellor telling people they could save pennies by turning down their heating a notch (that's assuming people can afford to have it on in the first place), turning off radiators in unused rooms, taking shorter showers etc.....I bet he doesn't have to do any of that!  And doesn't he think most of us ordinary non-millionaires already do all that?!

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Still veggie-ish

 So how is my vegetarian diet going?  I can't really call myself vegetarian actually - I eat fish around twice a week (so pescatarian) but was having mainly homemade veggie dishes the rest of the time.  However, I began to worry that I wasn't getting enough protein - I've stopped eating lots of veggie pulse dishes....pulses are a bit of a 'meh' thing for me, I'm not really keen on the earthy mealy texture or taste.  I'd gone off eggs a bit too, just eaten too many recently I think.  So I now eat chicken once or twice a week as well as the fish.  And about once every 3 weeks, I do have a bacon sandwich for a Sunday breakfast - well, who can resist the smell of bacon?  I'm having one today actually, bacon, brie and cranberry sauce, one of my absolute favourite combinations.  But on the whole I do eat mainly vegetarian things, which I generally make myself.  I've tried a few ready-made veggie things and am mainly not keen.....I do quite like Linda McC's rosemary and red onion sausages, although I prefer Heck chicken sausages.  And there's a brand (I forget which one) of veggie duck spring rolls - no duck but jackfruit instead - which are absolutely delicious, and you really can't tell that they're not duck.  I do like some of the vegetable burger things - I mean vegetables in breadcrumbs, not mock meat burgers made with some weird fake meat thing.  I don't buy the veggie burgers very often, as it's easy to make my own....just a bit more time consuming, so I generally have a packet of bought ones in the freezer for a quick meal when time is short or I don't have the energy to make my own and have run out of frozen homemade ones.

I don't miss eating red meat at all - which is quite surprising to me as previously lamb was my favourite meat, closely followed by roast gammon.  I used to like medium rare steak years ago, but wouldn't touch it now, nor roast beef or a beef casserole, it just doesn't appeal to me anymore.  Nor would I now eat liver or kidney, although before I really liked both.  Minced beef, in a cottage pie or bolognese, eg, I did used to like but for some reason it always gave me indigestion.  I don't know why, minced chicken doesn't.

So I'm very happy with the way I eat now and can't see myself ever going back to eating red meat.  Husband continues to eat it, I'm sure he won't ever give up red meat.  I still cook it for him, I'm not squeamish about handling it, I just don't want to eat it myself.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

A minimal Christmas

 Thanks for the comments, as usual.  Re hospital transport - I looked up the transport section on our hospital website, it says that it's for patients who need support such as oxygen on the journey, or for people who cannot walk.  As neither of these apply to husband (he won't be unable to walk after his procedure), I'm guessing he won't be eligible for hospital transport.  There is a helpline number, so I might get him to ring during the week.  There is a community transport thing in the next village, run by volunteers (a neighbour used to volunteer), it's not free though (not that that matters) but you have to have a bus pass to be able to use it (I don't know why).  Husband hasn't got a bus pass, never bothered applying for one as there are no buses nearby!  It depends really on the time and date of his procedure - if it's a morning one, then he should be able to come home mid afternoon, providing there are no complications, so neighbour J may be able to bring him home as well - she said she will if I go with her and we can't get anyone else.  And there are other people we can ask.

Husband is being his usual Grinch self about Christmas, but I shall ignore him and do what I want.  After initially feeling ambivalent about it, I've now decided I do want the tree up, with different decorations to last year - I want it just simple with lights and green, red and gold baubles.  I've checked the lights from last year, they're fine, so I just need to get some red and gold baubles, I already have green ones.  I'll also have my little glittery metal ready decorated tree (bought that way) and my lovely Christmas gonks on the hall windowsill.  That'll be it, I'm not putting up any other decorations.  When I was a teenager, I spent every Christmas with my lovely Aunt Sylvia, she absolutely adored Christmas and put up so many decorations in her lounge and front garden that it was like a Winter Wonderland, she went all out.  She used to say she knew it looked tacky but she loved it anyway!  She would also play all the cheesy Christmas songs really loudly all through December.  Which is probably where I get my love of Christmas songs from.  And I shall watch my favourite Christmas films, Love Actually and Elf, much to husband's disgust - well he doesn't have to watch, but he always does!

For Christmas lunch husband will have beef, I've ordered him a small joint in the Christmas shop which is being delivered the week before Xmas.  I'll have a salmon and king prawn pie, I'll make it myself with puff pastry (I don't make the pastry!), the salmon, prawns and pastry are in the freezer already.  We managed to find a yellow-stickered side of salmon the other day, reduced to under £5 which was a bargain, we cut it up and froze it straight away.

Friday, 25 November 2022


 Thank you everyone for your lovely comments, and helpful tips.  Good idea to send the forms by recorded delivery, I'll do that, thanks.

I know we haven't got it yet so am not counting my chickens, but I feel so much better already after the lovely Age UK advisor said she thought we would almost certainly get Attendance Allowance.  And when (if!) we get that, I should apply for Carers Allowance as I'm probably entitled to that as well......the forms for which she will also come and help me fill in.  It just seems incredible that all the stuff I've been doing for husband for months and months (such as reminding him every day to take his meds, carrying cups of tea for him as he's likely to spill them, grabbing his arm to steady him when he staggers because of balance problems, and dozens of other things) are things that mean we're eligible for benefits and could have been claiming them ages ago.  I just didn't know about it, I thought that to be eligible, husband would have to be unable to walk more than 100 yards, or be unable to wash or dress himself (although his dress sense leaves a lot to be desired!).

It takes a lot of worry off my shoulders (or it will do if we do get the benefits), as the windfall lump sum pension payment husband got 2 years ago is fast dwindling away.  We'd hoped that it would tide us over until I receive my State Pension, but as that's still 3 years away and with the cost of living constant rises, it certainly won't last that long, we'll be lucky if it lasts another year.

Husband had his telephone pre-op assessment yesterday, he put the phone on loudspeaker so I could hear and contribute, as he was unable to answer some of the nurse's questions.  She didn't have a date for his procedure, but said it should be within 4-6 weeks, so hopefully just before Christmas, she said.  She also asked if he was willing to accept a cancellation or very short notice appointment, he said yes.  Just as well I've done the Christmas shop online already, as he won't be allowed to drive for a week after the op.  A neighbour has already offered to take him to hospital on the day, and will collect him if we can't get anyone else to - it'll probably be dark by the time he's allowed home and she doesn't like driving in the dark.  Understandable, the hospital is about 45 mins drive away and not a direct route.  I'm sure we'll find someone else to help.

I used my big slow cooker to bake some potatoes yesterday, I managed to fit 7 in, on a piece of baking parchment so they didn't stick.  I did them for 5 hours on High, and they were cooked perfectly, even had crispy skins, although not as crispy as if done in the oven.  I've kept 2 out for today's lunch, the rest I've frozen, to be zapped in the microwave when we have them.

We've got the plumber arriving at 9 am to fit a new part to the central heating, then we're going shopping.  I'll make sure I stock up on things like coffee, tea, milk, dog food etc, so I've got enough in for when husband can't drive.  I need to rearrange the freezer and make a bit more space to put the extra milk and stuff in, so that's my first job.