Saturday, 14 December 2019

Better day and planning for a new dieting regime

Mum's rapid onset dementia is certainly getting worse quickly.  Sis had a phone call from the hospital a couple of days ago to say that Mum was being 'difficult' (the hospital's word), apparently she'd refused to take any medication or to get out of bed.  She's seen by a physiotherapist every day, who gets her up to check her mobility - well, Mum flatly refused, and wouldn't take any tablets either.  Yet when sis got up to the ward and spoke to Mum, Mum looked blank and claimed she hadn't done anything of the sort and had in fact cooperated, both with the physio and in having her meds.  She hadn't, she just had no memory of refusing.  And Mum's brother is going up to visit her today, they haven't seen each other for probably 10 years or so (so he'll have a bit of a shock when he sees how much weight she's lost and how she's deteriorated).  Sis has had to tell Mum every single day for the past week or so that he's coming to see her, she forgets literally every day.  It's very upsetting.  I hope she recognises her brother.

I had a visit from my best friend yesterday, it was lovely (if brief), cheered me up no end.  Spending time with mates is the best thing ever.

My sergeant major diabetes nurse appointment on Wednesday went very well, she was surprisingly nice, helpful and very encouraging.  She's very pleased with my diabetes control, which she says is excellent.  As for the weight thing, between us we've come up with a plan, starting 1 January.  Rose agrees that December is not really the best time to start a new eating regime!  She did suggest, however, that it would be prudent to be sensible if possible - eg do we really want (we certainly don't NEED) a 6th mince pie?!  Or so many handfuls of Quality Street that we actually feel sick?!

Rose is a huge advocate of Dr Michael Mosley's low carb Fast 800 diet, and/or Time Restricted Eating (TRE), a kind of Intermittent Fasting, she has several diabetes patients who have lost between them something like 77kgs following his plan.  Rose even tried it (the Fast 800) herself -not that she's diabetic or needed to lose a lot of weight herself, she was keen to try it before inflicting it on her patients and fancied losing half a stone or so.  She tried it for a fortnight initially and lost the half stone easily, so carried on for another fortnight and lost another half stone!  The idea is that you eat 1 large meal, or 2 medium or 3 small ones totalling 800 calories, but all to be eaten within a window of 8 or 10 hours (8 is preferable), giving a fasting period of 16 or 14 hours each day.  So say don't eat anything at all, and drink only clear fluids, until 10 am, eg, then have your last meal before 6pm and only drink clear fluids after that, until 10 am the following morning.  During the fasting period, our bodies start 'eating' our own fat reserves for soon as we eat something, this process stops and the body uses the food instead for fuel, as it's a more instant process.  So the longer the fasting period, the better it is in terms of our bodies using our own fat stores as fuel.

I'm certainly willing to give the TRE a go and to cut down on carbs.  Rose suggested I do it for 2 weeks initially, but I'm not keen on that - I think I'd be setting myself up for failure.  I have no problem starting diets, it's sticking to them I have trouble with.  So what I've suggested is that I do it 3 days a week - say Monday, Wednesday and Friday - to start with....that way I know I only have to stick to it for one day at a time.  Rose agrees that's a good idea for me, it'll be far better to do something that I know I can and will cope with.

So starting on 1 January (conveniently, a Wednesday), I'm (well, we're - husband is on board with it too) going to have a low carb, medium fat and protein breakfast at around 10 am, skip lunch and then have a normal meat or fish and veg type dinner, avoiding carbs like potatoes, rice or pasta, at about 5 or 5.30 pm.  Before 10 and after 6 we'll just drink water, fruit tea, or black coffee/tea.  The thing I will find the hardest is missing my first cappucino of the day at around 6 am, but it's not long to wait for it really.  I'm not going to be too hung up on counting calories, the mere fact of eating only 2 meals during our dieting days and cutting carbs and portion sizes, not eating a ton of cheese (some cheese is fine, half a pound is not!) and only having 1 frothy coffee a day will reduce the calories enough without bothering to count them.  Rose is going to see me once a month to weigh me and see how I'm getting on.  She's also thinking about setting up a diabetes weight loss clinic group - I said I'd definitely be interested.

Over the next couple of weeks I'll work out some meal plans for the diet days.  I'm actually really looking forward to it.

The boob squashing was ok, although I did find it bloody painful this time.  Worth a bit of pain for peace of mind, though, and it is only every 3 years.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Busy, when I just want to curl up and sleep

Thank you once again for the lovely and supportive comments, and the emails, people are so kind (especially complete strangers!).  And Joan in Devon, thank you, you're right, I don't have to explain or justify myself.

I was told something yesterday which really upset me (nothing to do with the blog), consequently I had hardly any sleep last night....that and the noisy gale going on throughout the night (and which is still raging) kept me awake, so feel like death warmed up.  And sod's law, we have a busy day, just when I don't feel like doing anything.  Got to take Betty to the vet at 9.15, her ear infection is back.  Then it's my boob squashing, luckily the hospital is on the way back from the vets.  We need to go shopping as well, whether I feel up to doing that straight after the mammogram remains to be seen, we might just take Betty home (we'd have to leave her in the car whilst we do the shopping anyway, which I'm not keen on doing) and go out again later.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Everyone's entitled to an opinion

Thank you for all (well, most) of the comments....there were a few anonymous ones that just got binned - I don't publish comments from anonymous people who haven't the courtesy to leave a name, nor do I publish downright rude ones (which are nearly always anonymous, I wonder why!!  Bloody cowards).  Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion, including me, and it's my blog and if I choose not to publish some comments that's my decision.

Anyway, to give a broad blanket answer to a few of the comments....

We do indeed know how lucky we are to live in this country and have free and excellent healthcare.  Well, it's not entirely free as such, we've contributed with all the National Insurance contributions we've both made during our working lives.  Our NHS is brilliant, I've always said so - it's not without problems but they're largely caused by lack of funding and support from the Government.

Moving on to all the suggestions re getting husband to and from hospital, and for me to stay in a B&B nearby.  All I can say is, you don't know the intimate details of our situation, I may say quite a bit on here but I don't give the whole story - I may be blonde but I'm not stupid.  Certainly not stupid enough to tell the whole unknown world and their wife/husband every detail of our lives.  So you'll just have to accept that some of your suggestions, whilst I appreciate them very much, are simply not feasible for us, for various reasons which I'm not going into.  As for it being a question of priorities....yes, but everyone's priorities are different.

Well, it's election day here in the UK, and whichever way we vote may have an impact on our NHS.  The whole bunch of MPs, from whichever party, are a shambolic lot of incompetent liars, as far as I'm concerned - they all seem to forget they're supposed to be representing us, the common people who live in this country, it's more about squabbling amongst themselves and getting the upper hand.  And they say anything, literally anything at all to get us to back them - how many of their so-called promises will actually be carried through after they've been elected?  I will vote, but to be perfectly honest, it's a case of voting for the person/party I find least offensive, not because I have any actual faith in them.  And no I'm not saying who I will vote for, that's nobody's business but my own.

I had my nurse appointment yesterday, it's my boob squashing tomorrow (really looking forward to that one!) - hooray for the NHS!

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Oh for an easy life! UPDATED

Thank you for comments, it's all a lot to consider.  Another complication is that our rent here is relatively cheap, it wouldn't be nearer to a town and amenities.

Anyway, that'll all have to be put aside till sometime in the future.  Husband had his appointment yesterday with the consultant, the one where he was told to take a relative with him.  I can see why - there's a lot to think cancer, but plenty of complicated other stuff.

To cut a long story short, he needs an operation, and there are 3 options for this op.  One is fairly new and they haven't done many of them as yet, so a bit experimental.  He can choose which of the other two options he wants to go for, each have their advantages and disadvantages.  However, for various reasons, he may not be able to have the op at our local hospital - well, I say local, it takes nearly an hour to get there, despite being only 14 miles away as the crow flies...the trouble is, it's a bit of a convoluted route (another downside of living in a rural area).  He may have to go to either Reading (120 miles away) or Newport, Wales (65 miles).  How he's supposed to get to either place and then home again, I don't know....he might be entitled to hospital transport, I know nothing about that, will have to look into it I suppose.  Whichever it is, he'll need to be in for 2 or 3 nights and I won't be able to visit him.  

He needs (yet another) test first before anything else happens, so another period of waiting.

Why is everything so complicated?  And everything always seems worse when it's the early hours of the morning and you can't sleep.


I've phoned the hospital patient transport advisory number.  They won't transport husband, as he's not eligible - he's not disabled, has no medical need and is able to walk.  And as the transport is free of charge, they have a distance limit, unless there are very special circumstances.  They mentioned community schemes whereupon a volunteer driver takes people in the driver's own vehicle or a minibus - the customer has to pay, it's not cheap (£11, with a bus pass which husband hasn't got, to go to our local hospital, so I dread to think what it would cost to go 120 miles) and again they won't all go beyond a certain distance.  Their only other suggestion was to ask the consultant if there's a surgeon willing to do it in a hospital not as far away.  Which I assume the consultant would have suggested anyway!  Ah well, it might not happen, so we'll just have to cross that bridge if we come to it.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Our biggest regret

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it?  

As we age, and our health starts to suffer, we're thinking about our future more and more.  One worry is whether we'll be able to continue living here indefinitely if/when one of us dies leaving the other alone, or if (or rather, when) husband is unable to continue driving a car.  It's such a small hamlet, with no facilities, in a very rural area - yes it's lovely and we have very nice neighbours, but the downside is none of the necessary facilities are within walking distance, and we have no public transport here.  Our neighbours are mostly our age or older, so they're in the same boat as ourselves.  Will the surviving partner even be able to afford to remain here, bearing in mind we'll probably need taxis to take us around in the future, and they're not cheap?

We don't regret moving here to this house, we both love it and we've had 8 happy years here, and 18 months before that in our first Somerset house....moving down here from the Midlands has honestly been one of the best decisions we ever made.  But with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better to choose a house still in a rural location, but much nearer to a town, or at least some basic facilities such as a GP surgery and a shop or two, and a bus service.  Nobody likes moving house at the best of times, but the thought of possibly having to up sticks and move again, at some point in the future, fills me with horror.

But the thing we both regret the most, and would go back and change in a heartbeat if we could, is not buying another house when we sold our last house back in the Midlands in 2001.  At the time, property prices were booming and we got a very good price for our sold at the full asking price just 2 days after we put it on the market.  In fact, as it sold so quickly, we had no time to look around for another house to buy and took a 6 months lease on a rental property, planning on using the time to look for another house.  However, we really liked the rental house, it was in a lovely quiet residential area and we had wonderful friendly neighbours with whom we got on really well.  The letting agent said there was every possibility that the landlord (who had no intention of ever living in the property again) would agree to sell it to us, or if he didn't he'd be happy to have us as long term tenants.  Well, he decided he didn't want to sell it and we ended up staying there as tenants for 9 years.  After the first couple of years, when it became obvious we weren't going to be allowed to buy the house, we spent the banked profit from the sale of our previous house on a new car and a touring caravan, having decided we liked living there so much we wanted to stay.

And then everything changed and we moved to Somerset - fine, it had always been our dream to retire to the country, we just decided to do it before retirement, whilst we were still young enough to enjoy it, and were lucky enough to find a nice rental property quickly.  But because of that decision years ago not to immediately buy another house, we've been stuck renting ever since.  And will be for the rest of our lives.  Which means that, whilst most people our ages will have paid off their mortgages and have more money available in their old ages, we're still going to be paying out hundreds of pounds every month ad infinitum.  The big bonus of living in a rental property is that we don't have expensive maintenance costs, which are of course the landlord's responsibility.  BUT we're at the landlord's mercy - if he decides he wants the house back for whatever reason (it will likely be money), then we're out on our ears.  And that's always a worry.  We did go to the CAB and the Council, to see what our rights were regarding social housing....we're only eligible for a 1-bedroom flat, but our chances of getting one aren't high as we don't (at the moment!) have any special needs.

As I said, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Christmas is being put up today

Thank you for the comments, the diazepam tabs are helping and the muscle spasms have stopped now, thankfully - well, fingers crossed, I haven't had one this morning so far.  The thing I don't like about the diazepam is that it lingers, I still feel very fuzzy-headed the next morning (I only take it at night), my head feels like it's stuffed with cotton wool and my brain is frozen for hours.  Still, they relax my painful muscles and that's all that matters.  

Between the tablets and the CBD, I'm sleeping better, which is wonderful.  The past few nights I'd been sleeping solidly for the first 4 hours or so, but then waking around 02.00 and dozing only intermittently after that, finally getting up around 4 ish.  Consequently, although I was getting some good quality sleep in the early part of each night, I just wasn't getting enough and so was becoming more and more tired.  Last night I was dropping with exhaustion, went to bed at 9.30 pm and slept very nearly straight through until just before 5 am, only waking a couple of times and going straight back to sleep each time.  So now I feel tons better.

Speaking of the CBD, since mentioning it here I've been getting loads of spam advertising comments....sigh.  They get binned straight away, of course.  I don't know why they don't give up - ok I know they're bots, not people, but people must programme them in the first place - I mean, does any sensible person ever actually take any notice of what are clearly money-grabbing scams?  I suppose some must do, else what would be the incentive for them to carry on?

So today I'm going to put up the rest of my (few) Christmas decorations - I only decorate the hall window and the mantel shelf in the lounge.  Although I'm thinking about putting up something on the stair banister....which will give Grinch husband something else to moan about 😂.  I can't find the string of fairy lights I put inside a big glass bowl....they weren't in the bag with the rest of my decorations and I can't remember what happened to them last year, so may have to buy some more....cue more moaning from the Grinch, snigger snigger.  Just to add to his misery, I shall be playing my Christmas CDs, I absolutely love all the Christmas songs, whether they be cheesy pop, old classics or hymns, and play them throughout December, singing along with them.  Incidentally, I've noticed that as I've got older, my singing voice has got worse (not that it was good to start with!) - well so what, I like singing along and it makes me happy.

We have a busy week, husband's appointment with the consultant on Tuesday (the one he's been asked to take a family member/friend to) - he says he's not worried about it but I think he is.  Wednesday I'm having my hair cut, then in the afternoon it's my appointment with the sergeant major nurse for my annual diabetic review and for her to terrorise me into losing weight.  Well, I do need a kick up the bum, my motivation is sorely lacking at the moment.  And on Friday morning I have my boob squashing, which I hate but would never think of not going.  I need to write all my Christmas cards this week too.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Did the earth move for you?

This morning I had to give in and get an emergency GP appointment for my back, I had excruciatingly painful muscle spasms from the minute I attempted to get out of bed.  A couple of them were so agonising and sharp, I very nearly fell over - if I hadn't grabbed hold of something I would have been on the floor (and then would never have got up).  The GP prodded all over my back - whilst I was standing, he didn't ask me to get up on the couch, thank goodness - and said 'I think I can safely say it's painful pretty much everywhere below your rib cage'.  As I yelped every time he touched me, it didn't take much deducting.  He's given me the dreaded diazepam....I know they're a good muscle relaxant, I've had them before, and at least they give me a good night's sleep.  He also recommended I get on with the self referral to physio sooner rather than later.

I've had some heat on my back for short periods today (my microwavable wheat bag shaped like a hot water bottle) and it's helped a bit, enough to enable me to move around without wincing all the time and looking like I've aged about 20 years.  So I've been able to do a few things in the kitchen.....chargrilling a bagload of peppers I bought reduced to 28p, deskinning and freezing them, and sorting out the fridge and giving it a clean.  I've just prepped a cauliflower for cauli mac and cheese for dinner and had a bit of a surprise - there were quite a few insects nestled amongst the leaves, all dead thankfully, but also a big wasp!  A hibernating queen, I presume - it wasn't dead, it moved a tiny bit when I prodded it with the knife.  It's dead now though!  Bees are fine, I don't like wasps, having been stung a few times.

Had a few showers today but there's been a lot of sunshine too, quite a nice day and not too cold.  

Big news last night, but it completely passed me by!  There was an earthquake here just before 11 pm, the epicentre was only a few miles away, just the other side of Bridgwater.  For a change, I was fast asleep and never heard or felt a thing, our neighbours said they heard a thump and their doors rattled, friend a couple of miles away said he felt it too.  It was 3.2 on the Richter scale apparently.  So no, the earth didn't move for me (sorry, bit cheesy lol).