Tuesday, 30 July 2019

A rainy day

Thank you for all the comments, once again.  Cheryl, you mentioned Sundowner syndrome, which I hadn't heard of so looked up.  It does sound a lot like Mum, I've mentioned it to sis who will discuss it with the nurse.  However, at the moment the thinking is that Mum may well have another UTI, she's had more tests yesterday.  A community psychiatric nurse came to see her yesterday also, to do tests for dementia, but said they couldn't whilst there's the possibility of Mum having a UTI, as that could well be the cause of Mum's confusion etc and will taint the dementia tests.  She's had more aids (rails and so on) fitted this week and the emergency lifeline button is being installed on Friday.

We had an absolutely lovely time with our Kent friends at the beach yesterday, it was dry and warm if quite windy at times....I even got a bit sunburnt (doing a good impression of Rudolf the red nose reindeer today).  We had our picnic, then went for a walk and stopped at the Park café for drinks.  I hope it won't be too long before we see them again, hopefully they'll be able to come and stay with us.

Not done much today as we've had heavy showers ever since I got up - no thunder though as was forecast.  It does look as though it might be breaking up now though, the sun is struggling to come out.  We did pop out for a little bit of shopping and to post a couple of cards - I'm still making cards and still really enjoying the process.  Ideas for cards just pop into my head, which is nice (except when it's in the middle of the night!).  I have a family wedding card to make, I want it to be quite a chic and elegant design and know exactly how I want it to be, I've started on it and it's looking good.

Still no scan results for husband, which is frustrating.

Monday, 29 July 2019

There I am!

Thank you for all the recent comments....Gemma's P, you do make me laugh!  Joy, yes Mr R-M would be shocked 😉 - he's definitely living in the wrong era, that man, he's a strange one.

My faith in humanity (and the humanity of humanity!) has been restored, we've had a lot of help, both emotional and practical, from good friends lately and I'm so grateful.  I am blessed with the best of friends and I love them dearly (you know who you are!).

We are meeting up with 2 of our very good friends today, as I mentioned previously, we're so looking forward to it, they are such a lovely couple and we get on so well.  And Betty gets to have a run about on the beach, she absolutely loves the beach.  I hope it's not too crowded as it's now holiday season, but it shouldn't be - Dunster beach isn't a hugely popular one with tourists (despite having a small chalet park there) as it has no shops or amusement arcades nearby, so nothing to interest the tourists!  Give me an unspoilt beach anyday, you can forget about the candyfloss and penny arcades (do they even take pennies nowadays?).

Husband is very well at present (touch wood and whistle, as my Grandma used to say), he doesn't appear to have another UTI brewing.  I'm not holding my breath, though, it could still happen.  Still awaiting the results of his CT scan, they should be through this week.  Whatever the outcome, I'm sure we can deal with it, it's the not knowing that's horrible.

I've been having a minor problem with one of my feet....I had a diabetes review with my nurse about a month ago, she always asks if there's anything new to report since the previous review, so I told her about it.  She tested my feet (2 types of test for nerves and pulse) and they seem ok, she doesn't think it's anything significant at the moment but said it could possibly be the start of diabetic neuropathy, therefore I needed a referral to check it out.  She said she would initially refer me to a podiatrist, then if they found anything significant they would refer me on to a diabetic specialist.  Well, I'd heard nothing and was beginning to think that perhaps the nurse had forgotten to do the referral, but finally had a letter from Podiatry on Saturday.  It more or less said that I'm not a priority, they are extremely busy and wouldn't be able to see me for months, so go away!  Well, that's alright then, very reassuring!  😒  I don't honestly think it's a real problem - well, certainly not yet - but will go back to my nurse if anything changes.

My mother is very poorly and things are going from bad to worse.  She does now have carers in morning and evening, and a nurse comes every day to check her over and do blood & urine tests, which is excellent as it takes some of the daytime pressure off my sister.  However, sister has had to go over to mum several times in the middle of the night recently, mainly because mum has become very confused of late and very fearful, she keeps saying she's frightened, although can't explain why or what she's frightened of.  Her last urine & blood tests were inconclusive for infection, so they're being repeated today.  The nurse is arranging for a community psychiatric nurse to come out and do some tests, as she said it's possible mum may have a rapid onset dementia (she was tested for dementia a year or 2 ago and was found to be clear).  All very worrying.

I feel so much happier now (other than the worry about mum) - I kind of feel like I've found myself again after being lost for months.  I think a large part of that is due to my lovely friends 😊😍

Welcome to some new followers.  Lovely bright blue sky this morning, it's going to be a really nice day.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Lethargy and struggle

Last night was unbearably hot, even with the windows open.  I don't normally have the bedroom windows open at night (in case of 8-legged things coming in, as I have a phobia of them, and because the slightest noise, even an owl, wakes me up), but did last night as it was just so hot.  Not that it made any difference to the oppressive heat in the bedroom.  

Cousin has asked me to write something, a memory of Aunt, for the celebrant to include in her eulogy at the funeral, so I spent the night thinking about Sylvia and all the many good times and laughter moments we shared.  I think I've got the right one to include.  Can't believe there's still 12 days to go before the funeral, the wait seems interminable.

I just don't feel like doing anything lately.  I suppose it's partly the heat (it's forecast to be a lot cooler today, thankfully, although it doesn't feel like it at the mo), partly exhaustion as my lack of sleep has been even worse lately due to the heat.  And partly because we seem to be in limbo with waiting for the funeral and for husband's scan results - nothing through the post or from the GP yet.  I just feel like I can't move on until things have happened.  Obviously it would be great if husband's scan showed up nothing nasty....but even if it does, it'll be a positive thing because I can cope with anything, so long as I know what it is we're dealing with.  And right now we don't know.  

Things are tight financially again too, having had to pay out £73 at the vets the other day, and it looks like our kettle is on the blink.  I'm so fed up with struggling all the time....since the horrendously expensive repairs for the money pit car from hell last October, we've found it difficult to catch up.  It would be so nice to have an easier life.  Somebody said to me the other day "all you need is love".....well, a sackful of money, good health and no worries would be on my list.

I wonder where Sue in Suffolk is?  She normally posts daily but hasn't recently.....I hope you're alright, Sue.  And Pam, still no word from her.

Sue said she's taking a few days off blogging. Sorry, brain like a sieve atm.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Storms and sunshine

The night before last we (along with the rest of the country, apparently) had the most spectacular thunderstorms, they started around 11.30 pm - exactly as forecast.  I'd gone to bed early to try and get some sleep in, anticipating that I'd have to get up when the storms started, as Betty doesn't like them at all - she gets very anxious, whines and paces around.  Which is exactly what happened, so I got up and went downstairs.  I don't make a big fuss of her, so as not to fuel her anxiety, I just give her a quick reassuring stroke, tell her it's all fine, and then just sit in the armchair and read.  She kept woofing and running to the front door, so I got up and opened it for her - I knew she wouldn't actually go out, as it was chucking it down and she doesn't like going out in the rain.  She stood in the doorway, ears pricked, tail erect, big eyes, head darting from side to side, until a massive flash of lightning sent her - and me! - scuttling back into the lounge.  The first storm, although violent, was over quite quickly so I went back to bed, having first settled Betty back down in her bed.  Another one started about 3/4 hour later, so back downstairs I went, it lasted longer this time, so I stayed downstairs for over an hour.  Betty actually settled pretty fast, going to sleep on the sofa within about 10 mins, I dozed in the armchair in between the flashes of lightning which were so bright they lit up the entire room as if it were daylight.  Again I waited until the storm was over before going back to bed.

Consequently, I was knackered yesterday, what with lack of sleep and the heat....oddly, although yesterday wasn't as hot as the day before, I felt wiped out by the heat yesterday.  The thermometer read 31.5 on Tuesday, 26.5 is forecast to be 30 with wall to wall sunshine, I'll be melting in front of the fan.  Sunshine is lovely - hot sunshine though kills me, I can't cope with it.

A nice thing....we have good friends who we see just once or twice a year as they live on the Kent coast, the opposite side of the country to us.  They're coming down this way on holiday on Saturday, we've arranged to meet up with them for a picnic at our favourite beach next week.  It'll be lovely to see them again, D is on my wavelength, we're very similar in outlook and views and get on so well, her husband C is the sweetest, kindest most laid back man with not a bad bone in his body.  They're a lovely couple and we adore them.

Cousin had a meeting yesterday with the lady who's going to be conducting Aunt's funeral, she's a celebrant, not a member of the clergy, cousin said she's lovely, she spent 2 hours asking cousin all about Sylv's life and taking notes.  I'm glad it's not going to be a religious service done by some anonymous vicar who nobody's ever seen before - I detest that type of funeral, they're so impersonal.  And a religious service for Sylvia would be a total travesty, that was so far removed from what she was.  The wake is going to be in their local pub, which is so very Sylv!  She'd love it.  I'll be so glad when it's over and done with, though, it's awful being in limbo waiting for the funeral.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

For Joy

One of the things I mentioned that was causing me stress was the thought of having to change our electricity supplier (we have no gas), as our current supplier, one of the big ones who we've been with for years, has consistently raised prices to the point where we are now having to pay double what we did a couple of years ago.  Joy suggested I try uSwitch.  I just have, and it was ridiculously easy, we've chosen a new green supplier who are a lot cheaper (saving us around £35 p.m.), have no exit fees, will pay the exit fees of our current supplier and, best of all, will do the entire switch themselves, meaning I don't have to do a thing.  I just hope everything goes to plan....the new account should start in about 3 weeks, apparently.  So thank you very much, Joy.

I won't be writing many blog posts for a while, it's just too much like hard work at the minute.

Monday, 22 July 2019

It's not all perfect

Thank you for comments.  I KNOW we are blessed with living in a nice place, having each other, having a lovely dog and nice neighbours.  I know my health is fine (well, other than my always-present hip and back pain, diabetes, mild congenital liver disease, ongoing severe insomnia and anxiety, stress and depression issues).  Does that make all the other stuff go away or even lessen?  No.

Yes mum and brother are getting help, but it's not the perfect solution it was hoped it would be.  Mum has carers morning and evening, and a nurse at lunchtimes - more often than not they don't appear to have the key safe code, which means they have to ring my sister to go and let them in (my brother, with his own mental health issues, is unable to open the door).  Mum and brother are not coping well with having so many strangers in the house.  Mum is getting more and more confused and yesterday she rang my sister saying she couldn't breathe and needed an ambulance.  The very fact that she could ring and talk proved she didn't, although sister did go over to check - and the nurse had been in and checked her over less than an hour before.  Mum was fine actually, she was just having a panic attack.

Brother is showing signs of refusing to have further psychiatric help, which surprises none of us.  He's 47, if he refuses treatment there's not a lot we can do about it.

No earlier cancellation appointment forthcoming for husband yet...meanwhile, it is starting to look like he has another UTI coming on - the last one wasn't totally cleared.  His GP said the last time he doesn't want to keep prescribing antibiotics - well pardon me, but how else are they going to treat the UTI?  It can't remain untreated, it will just get worse.  So it seems we'll have to push for antibiotic treatment, yet another stress we can do without.

Our financial situation doesn't improve - we can manage, just about, but it's a constant and uphill struggle to stay within budget.  And yes we are claiming everything we're entitled to.  

I'm just so tired and fed up with struggling all the time - everything is a struggle.  And now Betty is showing signs of her regular ear infection (she will have them throughout her life because of the size and shape of her ears, according to the vet), which means another trip to the vet and another expense.  And of course it's not covered by her insurance, being an ongoing pre-existing ailment.

Good weather forecast this week, albeit too hot for me, being a fair-skinned English rose who burns and gets heat rash and headaches in the sun.  But husband will enjoy it.  We'll try to have a couple of short trips out nearby in the mornings before it gets too hot.  I shall do another freezer inventory today, and have a batch cooking day to get some more ready meals done for the freezer - we do at least have plenty of food in, and starting to get home grown veg.  


Mum fell over again in the early hours of this morning, on her way to or from the loo I imagine.  Sis had to go round again and call paramedics, who checked mum over, said she was ok and got her up off the floor and into bed.  It's just a constant worry.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Bad -v- good

1.  April 2018 - husband diagnosed with angina, necessitating 2 stents fitted, quickly followed by:-
2.  July 2018 - heart failure diagnosis for husband
3.  October 2018 - car broke down - twice, costing £1000+ in repairs
4.  November 2018 to present and ongoing - Mum had several hospital stays with numerous problems - 2 falls, repeated UTIs and related severe dehydration/confusion, erratic heartbeat with atrial fibrillation and heart failure diagnosis, red blood cells crashed necessitating massive iron injection and iron tabs
5.  Feb? 2019 - washing machine broke down twice, repairs costing over £100
6.  March 2019 - I had incredibly painful mouth abscess necessitating hospital treatment and tooth out
7.  April 2019 - Lovely neighbour died
8.  April 2019 and ongoing - husband started having repeated UTIs, found to have prostate grossly enlarged to twice normal size, ongoing antibiotic treatment, various hospital tests and scans done, some of which still awaiting results, possible bladder and/or prostate cancer queries
9.  April 2019 - husband told he's borderline diabetic
10.  May/June 2019 - work on empty house next door - completely gutted, rewired, plumbing, new roof, new kitchen/bathroom, work went on for 2 full months and noise levels brought me to the brink of despair
11. July 2019 - my beloved aunt died aged 71
12. July 2019 - one week later husband's eldest brother died aged 69
13. July 2019 - husband told he has first stage diabetic eye damage

13 is certainly unlucky for us!!

Have there been any good things?

1.  We got rid of the money pit car from hell and acquired an old but very lovely new to us car that we're very happy with, other than it being a bit more expensive to run
2.  I discovered a hitherto unknown talent for and huge enjoyment in making cards and tissue paper flowers....something easy but absorbing to keep my mind occupied rather than dwelling on thoughts of doing myself in (yes i have thought about it in bad times but I'd never do it).

Somebody more optimistic than me said to me this morning that it will come right again....oh really?!  Somehow i just can't believe it.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Mindless distraction

I need simple mindless things to keep me occupied right now.  Whilst idly watching a few crafting youtube videos the other day, i saw someone making tissue paper flowers.  Well, i had some tissue paper - had it for years actually, can't even remember why i got it originally - so had a practise with it.  Well how about that, discovered another talent i didn't even know i had:-

Bunch of flowers made for my mum - bright colours so she should be able to see them, even with her very limited sight, incredibly cheap to make....cost me £1 for an extra pack of tissue paper (80 sheets of mixed colours) and £1 for pipe cleaners for the stems, both from The Works.  And cheap to post too, packing them in a lightweight cardboard shoe box i already had, postage cost £3, so a fiver in total.  A fraction of the cost of sending real flowers by post, and a damn sight longer lasting.  And some fairly mindless, easy but quite fun stuff to take my mind off things for a couple of days.  

Husband had his diabetic retinopathy eye test result letter this morning.  Now, I've been diabetic for 8 years, had my annual eye test and have had no problems whatsoever.  Husband's been diabetic for 5 minutes...and borderline at that.  Yet his eye test shows that he has background retinopathy - first stage diabetic damage to his eyes.  Not serious or requiring treatment yet, but could progress in the future if his diabetes isn't kept under control.  How odd that he should have it, yet I haven't.  So something else to add to his ever-growing list of health problems.  

His latest wee sample still shows traces of blood and infection, despite another course of antibiotics (which he finished a few days ago).  He's fairly well at the moment, but that could change day by day.  

Friday, 19 July 2019

yes that's it

Gemma's Person, you hit the nail on the head - complete exhaustion, physically and mentally.  I've done nothing but cry the last few days.

Thursday, 18 July 2019


Thanks for supportive comments....the cake looks a mess but tastes good - we're keeping it obviously, I wouldn't pass it on.  Anyway, custard hides everything.  I'll make her another one.

Finally!!  brother has managed to arrange a care package for mum, in fact the first carers arrived yesterday evening.....first one, then another within a few minutes.  Should only have been one, bit of a mix up apparently.  Typical, just like buses - nothing for ages then 2 arrive.  He's also arranging for the lifeline emergency button thingy, and a key safe to be fitted outside her front door so the carers can let themselves in.

Yet another ambulance had to be called out for her Tues night, as she was very poorly again - having been discharged from A&E with just a packet of pills the same morning.  The ambulancemen, after thorough assessment and some treatment, said it wasn't strictly necessary for her to be taken to hospital but they would if family wanted - brother and sister both said no, as she would most likely just be kept in A&E for several hours again, which distresses her and means they have to sit waiting around for hours.  The ambulancemen agreed she needs daily care from professionals and they themselves got on the phone to Social Services and told them that.  After firm and frank discussion from my brother, who's an ex policeman, they agreed.  We're glad that it's all happening now, but have had to fight very hard indeed to get it, and we're all drained as a result.

Younger bro is now also getting the help he's sorely needed for a long time.  So at least mum and he are sorted, for the time being, which is a weight off our minds.  

Husband is feeling a lot better, thankfully - until the next UTI comes along!  He's taking another wee sample in for testing today, his wee does look a bit cloudy again so wouldn't be at all surprised if another infection is already starting.

I feel like I've been hit with a sledgehammer and then run over by a steamroller, and had my brain sucked out.  My hip is killing me and I've got a major tension headache and massively sore neck.  But at least all the pains mean I'm alive.  I'm just so tired, and tired of not being listened to.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

The last straw

This morning i made a cake as a thank you for a kind neighbour who was doing us a favour, taking husband to hospital for his first diabetic retinal screening (not allowed to drive afterwards).  I got it out of the oven halfway through the cooking time to turn it around - and promptly dropped it on the floor.  

I sat on the kitchen floor and cried my eyes out.

can't think of a title!

Since i last posted, both mum and my younger brother have been taken into hospital by ambulance, on separate occasions within a day of each other.  Both are now home but very unwell.  Elder brother has driven up there to try and get a care package organised for mum and psychiatric help for brother.  

Aunt's funeral has been arranged, 3 weeks today - why does it always take so long?  Some faiths can have a funeral arranged within 24 hours or so, because their religion specifies it, so it beats me why others take weeks.  The neighbours who usually look in on Betty and let her out for a wee when we're out for several hours will be on a cruise (I was hoping the funeral would be before they went away), so we'll have to take her with us.

It's nothing but problems at the moment.  I am trying to keep a lid on my stress levels by cutting out, or at least reducing, the smaller, less important stresses.  Eg, family members asked if they could come and stay week after next....i've said no, as i just cannot cope with the extra work involved with cooking, washing etc, entertaining them (they like to go out and do touristy stuff), even just the thought of having to paste a smile on and make small talk is just too much right now when I feel like i'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  

I really need to do something about changing electricity suppliers....we've been with the same one for years and their prices have been galloping up, another increase on the latest bill which means our monthly DD is now almost double what it was a couple of years ago.  But yet again it's another stress i can do without and don't really feel up to tackling right now.

Husband has to wait up to a fortnight for the results of his CT scan.  He's had an appointment through the post to (finally!) see a urology consultant....for the end of September.  So another 2 1/2 months of worry and pain and inconvenience for him?  When he spoke to them the hospital did say they will try and get a cancellation for him.  

We are trying to go out once a week and do something nice, like a walk or a picnic.  We can't go far though, for cost reasons and because husband needs to have a loo nearby.  It's a little bit of a break though, we won't be having a holiday for the rest of the year, can't afford it and too much going on.

Sunday, 14 July 2019


Has anybody heard from Pam of A New Life in Wales?  She's not posted for weeks, I've left messages and emailed her a couple of times but heard nothing, getting quite worried now.  She may not want to post or be contacted, of course, but if you're reading this, Pam, I'm thinking about you and hope you're ok.

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts, they are appreciated.  I'm not posting any personal stuff or saying anything about what's going on in our lives for a while, things aren't good and I'm unbelievably stressed.

Saturday, 13 July 2019


I bloody hate families!  At least you can choose your friends!

Life is too short

Husband comes from a big family, he's one of 10 kids - well, 8 now - he was 3rd in line, now he's the eldest.  His brother who died yesterday was 69, his sister was 72 when she died a couple of years ago.  No great age, either of them.  His mum was 80 when she died, his dad just 61.  Husband is 68.  

I know it doesn't automatically follow, but with me being such a worrier and with husband's recent and current health problems, I can't help wondering whether he'll be next, and whether he'll even see 70. 

Don't tell me - I know - any one of us could get run over by a bus tomorrow (well, a tractor round here, there are no buses).  Or we could live to be 100 - unlikely for us two, with our health problems, but remotely possible.

Life is just too bloody short.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Another death

We've just heard that husband's brother died in the early hours of this morning, we were told 3 weeks ago that he had incurable cancer.  There was no love lost between them but, even so, you don't wish your own family dead.  

This is turning out to be a really rotten week.

Off out for a few hours to forget about things for a while.

All sorts

Thanks everyone for the lovely supportive comments, again.  GP, you haven't upset me at all, you just made me think...which is no bad thing.  TA, you always make me smile and you envelope me in hugs, thank you lovely lady.  Viv, we had a family friend years ago who also brought his wife's coffin to the funeral in the back of his van - partly for cost reasons, partly because he felt it was the last thing he could do for her.

I shall carry on writing the way I I've said before, getting things off my chest helps me enormously.  I do reveal some personal stuff which maybe others wouldn't - we all write what we want to.  I don't say everything on here though, even though it may seem like it, there's plenty of stuff I don't write down or say in public.  

Justjill, you asked about the anti-anxiety meds I'm on - it's called Propranolol, it's a beta-blocker (for lowering blood pressure) but is also prescribed for the physical symptoms of anxiety.  It's for things like obsessive thoughts, shaking (my hands tremble when I'm suffering severe anxiety), palpitations, sweating - it stops all that within minutes.  Well, it does for me.  I can take it up to 3x daily, once is usually sufficient for me.  It's not addictive like antidepressants can be, it doesn't have reams of side effects - although it can make you a little dizzy to start with, it did me, but that's easily dealt with by taking it at night and that side effect wore off really quickly anyhow.  And it works really well.

Husband's new antibiotics have a frighteningly long and, frankly, worrying list of side effects....he's developed a bit of a cough and some stomach upset, which I'm fairly sure are down to the antibiotics.  None of the other more worrying side effects though.  Taking pills is such a pain, they all come with added extra problems. 

Cousin finally got aunt's death certificate from the hospital yesterday, almost a week after she died.  She's got an appointment with the undertaker on Monday, so things are moving forward at last.  The limbo period between the death and the funeral is the worst part, I think.

I'm having terrible trouble sleeping at the moment, my sleep is disturbed constantly, I can't stay asleep for more than an hour at a time.  I'm sure it will sort itself out eventually, one thing the sleep clinic taught me is that there's no point worrying about it and that just makes it worse.  So I don't worry about it.  I am extremely tired though, which does make life a bit difficult - well, very difficult at times.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Saying too much?

Gemma's Person said yesterday she appreciates me talking about my life to my readers, perfect strangers.  

I guess I probably do give away quite a few personal details - although not too personal, I'm not completely daft! - and thus open myself up to possible criticism or the potential for turning some of my readers off of following me.  Well, that's never my intention - my life is what it is, I say as much or as little as I want to, and what I do say is a genuine reflection of my life and feelings.

I've mentioned on several (probably too many!) occasions that I get quite stressed and anxious sometimes, and suffer with depression occasionally - although fortunately the depression hasn't surfaced for a while.  I came off antidepressants ages ago, although do still take medication for the anxiety and stress levels are HIGH at the moment.  I have always found that talking and getting things off my chest, even if only on paper (so to speak), helps me a lot....I just brood and let things fester and dwell on stuff otherwise.  

I guess I don't mind writing things on here because none of my family read my blog (most of them don't know I write one), nor do most of my real life friends....and those few who do are extremely good friends who I trust implicitly.  So it's pretty anonymous really, despite having some very lovely blog readers (you know who you are) who I exchange emails with and who are as near to real life friends as it's possible to get without actually meeting face to face.

Our GP rang yesterday to say husband's latest wee sample (he has to provide one every week) shows he has yet another infection...I thought as much, he's showing the signs.  So he's putting him on yet another different antibiotic, a stronger one which he says may have side effects.  Lovely.  (sarcastic face)

He's got an appointment (on Sunday of all days) for a CT scan, let's hope that gets to the bottom of it.

It's 1.00 am and I can't sleep.  I made 3 cards yesterday - what a contrast, 2 sympathy cards for my cousins which had me crying as I did them, and a lovely wedding anniversary one.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

No punch ups!

Doesn't the death of a loved one concentrate your mind?  You have regrets, of course - circumstances meant I hadn't been able to see my aunt for a couple of years, and I feel really bad about that now.  I did speak to her on the phone a few times, but not nearly as often as I could have.

It also makes you realise what's important in life - our loved ones are important, of course, and we should do our utmost to keep in contact as much as possible, and forget silly little niggles that just don't matter.

And then there's the funeral itself, which cousin is currently arranging.  There are a few family members who none of us has been in contact with for years, for various reasons - and they're not trivial ones either.  Sylvia herself had fallen out of contact with these particular people and I know she wouldn't want them at her funeral, as does cousin.  However, they've been in contact with cousin to express their condolences (we don't know how they found out), and cousin is now worrying that they might turn up to the funeral.  She says she'll have them ejected if they do.

It's difficult isn't it - on the one hand, they're family, they might want to bury the hatchet, they could well be wanting to say their goodbyes.  On the other, things happened in the past that were so serious that they can never be water under the bridge.  I for one have no desire to have contact with them ever again, but if they do turn up at the funeral I shan't be rude to them, if only out of respect for my aunt, cousins and the occasion itself.  But nor will I speak to them.

I know there are certain members of the extended family who think the 'black sheep' should be welcomed back into the fold - either they don't know the whole story or they have short memories.  

Don't you just hate funerals?!  Big family occasions, especially if drink is available, often seem to bring out the worst in people.

We seem to have experienced quite a lot of deaths in our family/close circle over the past few years (naturally comes with advancing age, of course).  It's made me more determined to embrace our remaining loved ones, keep in contact more, tell (and show) them we love them.  And don't mess about in life - identify what you want and just go for it!

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

A coloured hair tribute

My aunt had fiery ginger hair when young, which matched her feisty personality perfectly.  As she got older her hair turned pure white - it didn't go grey, oh no she was having none of that.  And being the feisty, individual, strong minded woman she was, she had bright pink highlights in her 60s.  She looked fabulous.

My cousin, her daughter, also had natural ginger hair....more subdued than her mother's, more of a strawberry blonde really.  However, my cousin didn't like her hair colour (I always thought it was lovely) and rebelled against it, dyeing it dark brown - which did suit her, actually.

Cousin and I have decided to have our hair specially dyed for the funeral, as a tribute to her mother.  Cousin is going red, I'm having pink highlights in my (bottle) blonde hair. 

My hair's been coloured since I was about 14 or 15 - my natural colour is (well, was) sort of a nondescript dirty blonde, it wasn't definite enough for me, so I've had it dyed mostly light blonde ever since.  I have experimented with other colours though....I once, disastrously as it turned out, went ginger, like my aunt - unfortunately though, having a pale English Rose complexion, it didn't suit me at all, so the ginger was short lived.  I also had another disaster in my late teens when a blonde colour at a salon went horribly wrong and it turned out green.  Green is so not my colour, I've always hated it.  The salon did put it right and didn't charge me for the experience!

A few years ago I had a purple phase.....I dyed it purple for a year or so - I really loved the bright purple, it was just so me (even husband liked it).  But I didn't like the muted lilac the colour faded to after a few weeks.  

My lovely friendly neighbour is a hairdresser, so she'll do the highlights for me.  I have no idea how long my pink highlights will last - I might decide to have them indefinitely, I might not, will see how I feel.  I have short hair and have it cut around every 6 weeks, so if I decide not to keep them it's no problem.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Memories of my aunt

Thank you for the lovely comments, they do help.

My aunt was first diagnosed with MS when she was in her late 20s.  For the first few years she was reasonably well in between attacks, just as my sister is.  Even when she was having an attack, though, she wouldn't let it stop her doing anything, she just carried on regardless.  This meant she was a bit of a danger sometimes, both in housework and cooking (lots of things got dropped) and in just walking outside, so I spent even more time with her, to help her out.  When she was having a full blown attack, she had very little feeling in one, or sometimes both, hands/arms, and she walked with a pronounced limp, falling over a lot.  She made a big joke out of it and just laughed things off.

I well remember one was a Sunday lunchtime and we were going to bingo, she absolutely loved bingo and was quite lucky, she used to win quite often.  She was having a massive MS attack and could hardly stand, but still insisted on going, hence why I was going with her (I was about 18 at the time and not really into bingo, but if she wanted to go then I was going too, to make sure she actually got there alright!).  It was a walk and a bus ride away, the walk took us past a local pub, which was a bit rough.  When we got level with the pub, Sylvia, already very unsteady on her feet, suddenly slipped off the kerb and fell into the road - being a Sunday it was quiet and there was no traffic, thankfully.  She ended up lying on her back in the gutter - outside the open door of the pub.  We were both helpless with laughter, I couldn't help her up because I was laughing so much, I just managed to splutter at her "Get up you silly cow, everyone will think you're drunk!".  I did manage to get her up eventually, she was none the worse for it, and we carried on and got the bus to bingo.

I've already said she was lucky, often winning smallish sums, with the odd bigger one now and then, she also often won lots of prizes.  On one occasion she won an absolutely massive bright orange hairy teddy bear, it was literally as big as her.  She insisted I have it.  Well, there was no way we could get it home on the bus - the driver took one look and said 'you're not bringing that on here'.  So we had to take it home in a taxi, we had it sitting in between us, we were talking to it (we'd had several drinks in the bingo hall) and we laughed the whole way home.

Sylvia and her first husband had a very volatile relationship, they argued and fought like cat and dog but made up very quickly.  I remember one day when I was there, they had a humdinger of a row and he shoved her out the front door and locked it.  I went out the back door to join her, he locked that door behind me as well.  Sylvia promptly went to a neighbour's house and rang the police, who reluctantly came out.  They said they wouldn't get involved as it was 'just a domestic', but asked in whose name the house was, Sylvia replied both.  So the policeman said she had every right to get back in the house.  They stood in the front garden with me and watched as Sylvia picked up a concrete plant pot and literally threw it through the half-glazed front door!  The police, me, the neighbours who'd come out to watch, Sylvia and her husband all howled with laughter.

We did a lot of laughing together, so yes I have a wealth of happy memories of my lovely feisty aunt.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

I really miss her

Last night it really hit me that I would never see my aunt again, and was in floods of tears.  She was such a huge part of my life growing up - for various reasons I had a bit of a rough time at home and spent lots of time with my aunt, who was just 12 years older than me and thus, as I said, more like a big sister.  I babysat quite often, looking after my 2 younger cousins, whilst aunt and uncle went out on a Saturday night...they always brought me back a takeaway and we would sit watching the Hammer Horror films that were on TV Saturday nights when they came home, whilst the kids were in bed.  Sylvia gave me a key and kept a pillow and blanket in a downstairs cupboard for me, so I could let myself in at any time and kip on the sofa - I did that quite often.  I also lived there for several weeks at a time when things were particularly bad for me.

Sylvia in some respects could be quite difficult to get on with - she didn't suffer fools gladly and her quick temper was legendary, although she calmed down and laughed it off just as quickly as it came.  I'm the same.  She would speak her mind, saying exactly what she thought - as do I.  She was kindness personified though and would do anything to help anyone out, I like to think I do the same.  She would defend her loved ones to the hilt if anybody had the nerve to criticise them - so do I.  She laughed, she shouted and cried in equal too.  She had a wicked sense of humour, would laugh at the silliest things till she had tears running down her face, and could swear like an Irish navvy.  Yes I do too!  And I know some people find me difficult to cope with.  

I loved her to bits, understood her perfectly and got on with her better than most people - and her children, my 2 cousins, would be the first to agree.  

Her last couple of years haven't been easy - she had MS (Multiple Sclerosis) for years, as has my sister - Sylvia's was progressive, unlike my sister's.  A year ago she went blind - she'd already lost most of her hearing - and became wheelchair bound, and from then on her life as she knew it virtually stopped.  And I know she hated it with a passion.  She wouldn't have wanted to linger on for ages - the kidney failure and double pneumonia put paid to that anyway.  I'm glad she's not suffering anymore, but OMG I miss her so much.

I didn't get much sleep and was in tears again this morning, so pulled up my big girls pants and told husband we were going out with Betty to the beach.  Made some ham sandwiches, got some treats ready for Betty and bottles of water for us and off we went to my favourite place, Dunster beach.  Busy there, clearly lots of people had the same idea - it's much nicer during the week.  We'd have stayed longer but it's too warm now, not even a sea breeze to speak of....Betty doesn't do well in the heat so better to bring her home.  She's flaked out now on her cool mat under the desk.  I'm going to get the dinner in the oven, then go for a lie down to read a book, husband will no doubt carry on dozing in front of the TV.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

My Aunt

I could see during the couple of hours we were at my aunt's bedside yesterday (she was in a side room) that she deteriorated just in that short time.  She did briefly wake up when we arrived, said a few words (not that i could understand her, with her oxygen mask on) and squeezed my hand, so I'm choosing to think that she did recognise me and know I was there.

By the time we left, however, she was comatose and really struggling for breath, she coughed up blood as well which wasn't nice to see.  

She died about 3.5 hours later, with her husband, her daughter (my cousin) and son in law by her side.  She'd passed, or they thought she had, her husband and my cousin each holding one of her hands and crying, when all of a sudden aunt shuddered and let out a loud final groan, which made them all jump out of their skins and then all burst out laughing.

My lovely, funny, quick tempered, kind hearted, feisty as hell aunt, kept them all guessing right to the end and had to have the last word.  I've always been told I take after her and I take that as a huge compliment. 

Friday, 5 July 2019

Horrendous - Updated

Husband was well enough this morning to take me to Swindon to see my aunt in hospital....I'd spoken to cousin this morning, who basically said it was now or never.

It was horrendous, I never want to see a dying person again.  Horrible for aunt, who is drifting in and out of consciousness and is struggling to breathe, even with 100% oxygen, and traumatic for family watching.  She barely even knew I was there.

I hope it ends soon - nobody should have to end their days like that.


It's over, she's gone.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

A weight incentive

Joy, who does SW, has very nearly reached her target weight, having lost just over 6 stones - how amazing is that?  She deserves to be Slimmer of the Year in her group - well, she's certainly Slimmer of the Year anyhow, as far as I'm concerned.  Really well done, Joy, I'm so pleased for you.

I did SW when I was around the time, the target I was given seemed completely unattainable - well, it clearly was, seeing as I have never been that weight since I was in my early teens.  I can't remember the figures clearly (it was a long time ago!), but think I was supposed to lose around 4 stones.  Well, I lost about 3 stones, which got me down to a (UK) size 12-14, and then everybody started telling me I was looking a bit thin(!!).  Incredibly, since I've never been thin in my life, although, having said that, photos of me before the age of 10/11 show I was gawky and seemed to be all legs.  My boyfriend at the time of SW said he would rather I didn't lose any more weight as he said I was too skinny! (must have liked chunky girls 😂).  So of course, wanting to please him, I gave up SW.  And from that time on, started putting weight back on.  (Ironically, that boyfriend and I parted company soon after - my decision - when I met my future husband, who loves me regardless of size).  

I did lose about a stone prior to my wedding - don't we all?!  But happy married life, combined with far too many takeaways, meals out (I didn't really 'do' cooking in those days) and drinking a lot meant that weight went back on, along with quite a bit more.  

Nowadays, of course I would like to lose some weight, I'm not obsessed with getting down to the 'recommended' weight, I can't ever see that happening, but a couple of stones off would be nice.  But I find it SO hard now I'm older, and all these problems and stressful stuff we keep having make it almost impossible for me to stick to any kind of healthy eating regime (I don't do 'diets' anymore) for long - when I'm stressed, it's carbs and comfort food I go for.

However....we have a family wedding to go to in the middle of August.  I've bought a dress - now, anyone who knows me knows I don't do dresses, I haven't even owned one for years and years, nor skirts - I live in jeans, jeggings, cropped jeans and leggings in summer.  Well, the dress is lovely, it's a wrapover style and fits well - it's in a stretchy fabric so is forgiving and will grow/shrink with me.  But it would look nicer and, more importantly, I will feel better in it, bearing in mind I'm going to feel awkward wearing a dress anyway, if I lost a bit of weight.  Well, to be more specific, if my fat wobbly tummy was, well, less fat and wobbly.  So that's an incentive to try harder, I guess!

Aunt is still hanging in there and, fingers firmly crossed, husband is actually feeling quite a bit better.  His urgent need for the loo is declining, he only got out of bed for a wee 4 times last night (as opposed to the 8 or 10 times he's been going up till now) and, joy of joys, he says it's not quite so painful.  His wee looks much clearer now too (he has to take another sample in to the GP tomorrow morning).  If he's still feeling better by the weekend, and if aunt is still hanging on, we're thinking about trying to go see her, it's about 1.5 hours drive.  We won't make the decision until Saturday or Sunday morning, though.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Hanging on, and more frustration for husband

Thank you for comments.  Aunt is still holding on, much to the doctor's surprise (she's always been stubborn!).  Cousin stayed with her until late last night, when the staff said she may as well go home and try to get some sleep and they would call her if necessary.  No call, so cousin went back in at 7 am, she's still there now.  Doctors say aunt is no better, but no worse either.  I hope for all their sakes it doesn't drag on for ages....nothing worse I think.

Husband got his 'urgent' urology appointment this morning - 20 September!  As we distinctly heard the GP ask for an 'urgent - within 2 weeks' referral when he was dictating the letter in front of us on Monday, the hospital have clearly got their wires crossed.  This of course meant husband had to make several phone calls back and forth to the GP and hospital, they've just rung to say he will get a phone call within the next day or 2 with an urgent appointment.  Could have cried this morning, does nothing go right first time?

As it's been another lovely warm day, we shampooed the 2 large rugs in the living room and put them outside to dry, which they did in no time.  I've also sorted out another chest of drawers in our bedroom (I did one yesterday, one more to go tomorrow).  I emptied it, weeded out all the clothes I haven't worn for ages to go to a charity shop, then put the remaining stuff back in, the drawers are half empty now (room for more clothes haha.  Erm, no, that would defeat the object).  Choosing just one thing at a time, rather than a whole room, makes the job so much more manageable.  Even if it means it'll take a while before everything is decluttered, it's not nearly so daunting and tons easier.  Husband's worn out now, he's dozing in the recliner armchair again.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

more sad news

My aunt, my mum's sister who is 10 years younger than mum, is in hospital with kidney failure and pneumonia, her husband and my cousin have been called back into the hospital this evening and told she's not expected to recover.  She's been unwell for some time but has deteriorated suddenly and very rapidly.  

I am so sad, I lived with my aunt for several periods throughout my teens, she was a huge part of my life and we got on extremely well, she was more like a big sister to me than an aunt.  I am really sad that I won't be able to get to see her one last time, although maybe it's for the best, I will have happier memories of her in better health when i last saw her.

And when i spoke to mum yesterday on the phone, she was so confused it was a really surreal conversation, quite upsetting.

Husband had a fairly good morning but is now back to feeling feverish and shivery.  

It's really hard to try and keep my chin up when all this shit is happening around me.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Some positive news re husband

Had the emergency GP appointment at 9.10 this morning, a very nice middle-aged German locum, really nice man (even if his very strong accent kept making the TV show 'Allo 'allo keep popping into my head and i was trying hard not to laugh inappropriately - love that show).  He was very thorough, confirmed husband's morning wee sample did indeed have blood in it (it's very visible anyway) and, in front of us, dictated a letter to the Urology consultant for an urgent 'within 2 weeks' referral back to him.  He also said - to us - that we should make a point of asking the consultant why husband is getting constant pain and not be fobbed off.  He said pain whilst an infection is present is normal, pain without the infection (eg when the antibiotics have cleared it up, albeit temporarily), is not.

We made a point of asking him if we need to go to A&E when husband is peeing blood.  He said no, with husband's recent medical history it doesn't constitute an emergency, as it's almost certainly just the usual UTI causing the blood.  He should take a wee sample to the GP though, on the same day (we've been doing that anyway, virtually weekly for the past 8 or 10 weeks).  That confirms my view that there is no need for us to panic and take him to A&E or call an ambulance.

I am glad though that he's being referred back to hospital.

Meanwhile, mum's not feeling well again, she was sick last night and feels under the weather and has somehow managed to cut her leg.  Not seriously, she's always cutting herself without even knowing how and, like husband, as she's on blood thinners she does tend to bleed.

Went out for a long dog walk with my best friend yesterday evening, it was bliss.  Did me the world of good and i feel so much more positive and happier today.

Having my hair cut this afternoon, so another nice chat with my hairdresser who is also my friend and neighbour.

Got a diabetic review blood glucose is fine (I've seen the results) but i have a couple of concerns which may or may not be diabetes related, I'll discuss them with the specialist nurse tomorrow.