Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feels like a lifetime

The wait for this has been 3 weeks. But now its here.... Amazing!
Regards
Michael

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Kebab for tea tonight!

Yup you read it right, I did it, I hit my weekly goal. 8lb gone this week, so I'm officially 220lb now. To some that might still sound one hell of a weight, but at the end of my diet 3 years ago I ended at 197lb which was probably a little under my comfort zone. So somewhere between 200 and 210 would be a nice place. For the time being I will head for 200 before returning to food fully. Once I get to 210 I will reintroduce a meal a day again and get the body back used to it.

So that's me, happy, losing weight rapidly and getting back to a good place.

Now onto mum. Also good news I am happy to say. After the visit to the hospice on Friday, and a bit of bullying, mum agreed to see the GP. A new inhaler, new steroids and some antibiotics and within a day she was back on her feet. A few days later, her breathing is now much improved and her strength returning too. So thankfully, as hoped, it was a bump in the road and not a downhill slope.

The week ahead is another busy one with appointments, things to plan, and the priority right now, filling out the benefits forms for/with mum. Feeling very positive right now, quite a stress free day yesterday, completely forgot my meds.

Still struggling to get a routine in place to offer mum enough support for me to return to work. In fact in the last few days, I'm sure my workload has increased not decreased.

Right, better get on, got a room to tidy up, and some bits to throw out.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
Regards
Michael

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hmmm, a downturn or a bump?

Well I'm hoping its just a bump along the way, but not too sure. But mum is now back to not wanting to eat or drink much. Becoming tired and weaker by the day, and relying much more on the wheelchair to get about.

The steroids are being reduced, and since dipping from 2mg twice a day she has slowed down. Even on 2mg once a day she was still eating and quite active. But now on 0.5mg a day she is actually using the walker around the house rather than carrying it, prefers to be IN the wheelchair when out and about, and is really off her food and drink. Its a chore to eat. My worry, dehydration.

Yesterday we went to St Thomas's hospital to get mums "surgical appliance" also known as a wig, which she seemed very happy with. However today while getting ready for St Christophers she said she would not be wearing it as it was a bad fit and looked silly, and quite frankly could not be bothered to put it on.
She added on the that she was "very very sick".

A little while later we toddled off to the hospice for a meeting with Karen the nurse. Enquiring into mums health was like asking a 2 year old where the put the car keys. Not really willing to discuss it much. Changing the subject whenever possible. All the symptoms were to be blamed on any medication that she could remember she was taking, and promises were made that she really has no interesting on following through with. Using a nasal spray, trying to drink more, and seeing the GP later. However she WILL be seeing the GP, I will make sure of that.

A number of things could be contributing to this "bump" in the road but without tests and trying meds we will never find out.

We are returning to the same familiar "no I'm not doing that" attitude, which usually results in an ambulance and a week in hospital. Sadly it seems we have again passed the point of reasoning, and she just thinks doing nothing about it, and sleeping more will solve the problem. So fingers crossed the GP can put her on the right track, although at this rate a referral to the hospital.

So, back from the hospice now, lunch made for mum, just waiting on the carer. This afternoon, dog walks then off to the GP @ 3.30 to get mum seen.

Here we go again?
Regards
Michael

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nom Nom Nom!

I have a new love in my life. Protikee Museli and Yoghurt bars.
Never liked the sound of the combo before but my god they are nice.
Thank you Protikee for keeping the ideas fresh to help me stay interested in dieting.

Weight is falling off. I am probably going to do another week on this, then get into a mixed regime.
Regards
Michael

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Its just.... one of those days!

Yesterday was no better. Started the day with the carer arriving 10 mins early, caught me unaware but a pleasant surprise all the same.
Later in the morning I received a call from the housing association to say there was a problem with mums benefits for the rent. So a series of phone calls later and it turns out the authorities have suspended mums benefits due to a change in circumstances.
The circumstances that changed were the tenancy going into my name, which was about 6 months ago. We were told at the time that they had an in-house benefits worker who would take care of all of that. Apparently not!
So a new claim has been started, and I have informed the housing association about it, so now we wait. All the while, if the claim is unsuccessful, my debt to them rises. Yay!

That was all closely followed by taking some rubbish outside to discover the garden wall had been knocked down by Savoy Patient Transport picking a neighbour up for hospital. So another call to the housing association to report a repair, which will be done by next week. Pah. Hopefully they will do repairs to the rest of the wall at the same time.

So on to today. Not a bad day really. Slept pretty well, woke with a bit of a headache but nothing serious. Got some fluids in me and that was soon gone. The carer.... Well she was late today, calling (at 8.30) to ask if she could come at 9 today. Well no, not really, seeing as we have to leave for the hospital at 9.15. So that visit was cancelled. Mum was able to get herself ready for the day, so not so bad.

She is still not eating or drinking much at the moment. We are seeing the hospice nurse on Thursday so I will mention it then, and she also has a home visit from them early next week too. Really just need someone to drum into her the importance of fluids. She is not in a terrible state right now, but a lot weaker than recent weeks, so keeping an eye on things. The cough and gunk on her chest is not really helping.

As for me, diet still rock solid. Another week of supplies ordered and I'm ready to go sub 220 at some point this week. Looking forwards to my celebration kebab lol.

Right, I'm all written out, so back to waiting in this waiting room for mum to be called.
Have a good day.
Regards
Michael

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Awww what a lovely sight.

Kimmy's Thoughts: Me and My Angel: "Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device"

Getting caught out.

There is nothing worse than being "found out" or getting "caught with your pants down" so to speak, and today it was mums turn.
When the carer arrived this morning mum was still asleep. That's a first. Well two firsts, the carer was a bit early AND mum was asleep. Anyway, as she got mum up, mum made the point of saying how poorly she felt today, just wanted a wash, no breakfast or drink.
After her job was done the carer left, mum immediately headed for the kitchen to get cereals and tea. So you can imagine the embarrassment when the carer returned five mins later to look for her ID. There was mum sitting at the table filling her face, and no place to hide. Haha. Bad start mother!

The funniest part is, the carer finally found her ID, around her own neck, as pointed out by mum. So there was no need to return in the end anyway.

In fairness mum has been poorly the past few days, weaker than usual, no more walks recently. Still not drinking very much, and appetite is down too. The weekend has been very slow moving due to this, keeping an eye on her. Its really hard to tell what is real and what is "put on"

A week of appointments ahead of us, audiology, hospice, St Thomas's to name a few. Maybe a trip to the GP too at this rate to make sure she is not getting too dehydrated. I'm sure she is heading that way, but hard to do anything about it as she still refuses to try and increase her fluids intake.

For me, well as I say other than lots of dog walking, the weekend was pretty slow really, bit of shopping, that's about as exciting as it gets. Bills, bills and more bills is the order of this week. On the other hand the diet is going well. Fast closing in on my next target, which I can't wait for as a reward awaits me lol. FOOD!

Right, time for the morning routine. Have a good day/ week
Regards
Michael

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Boiling point.

Its come to that stage this morning again, although keeping my cool. But mums persistent complaints about doctors not knowing what they are doing. Going on and on about experimenting on her with the medication etc.
She has a chest infection which is making it hard for her to breathe normally. She is also feeling very tired.

Aside to that she is also drinking less and less, and becoming dehydrated. Can I convince her of this? Like hell I can. Instead she insists she can only drink each time she eats, and as her appetite is very poor at the moment, that is equating to 3 maybe 4 cups of drink a day. Not exactly a lot to keep someone who is coughing up phlem all day hydrated. Hospital and a drip is the next step that I'm desperately trying to keep her away from, but she won't see that right now.

This is the woman who used to drink and drink all day long. It is so frustrating to see someone heading towards hospital again because they refuse to do something as simple as eating.

Then there is medication. Recently prescribed some anti depressents, she was first mad at the doctor for daring to suggest she was depressed or stressed, even though she will freely admit being very stressed (understandably) during other conversations.
Then she was dead against taking such drugs, as she took some in the 70's and they are SO bad for you.
After finally agreeing to try them, she woke the next morning feeling like crap. Later saying the cough and sniffles had developed, it was clearly down to the illness how she had felt earlier in the day.

However in the past few days she has continued to complain that the new tablets caused her to feel this way, another grand excuse NOT to take medication.

To add to the misery of the morning I got a phone call 30 mins after the carer was due, to say she could not make it, and that they were sending a replacement. An hour later, still no sign of anyone. Mum has since decided that she wants a bath, and doesn't want to wait for the carer to help her. Needless to say, while I have set everything up for her to have a bath, I have kicked her out of the bathroom until the carer arrives (whenever that might be)

And one more little dagger (yup it doesn't end there). Yesterday speaking to the hospice nurse she recommended mum see a doctor about her chest. So this morning I made the call to arrange a home visit. After giving all the details I was told the doctor would call me a bit after 9am. Its not 9.40 and no call.

So todays lesson.... Patience is a virtue! Also known as WAIT!
Fingers crossed the doctor will call, carer will show, and the day can get moving sooner or later. All this, and I have to be at London Bridge for 3.30 to see the company doctor about MY health. Like I have time for my health! Dogs still to be walked, shopping to be done etc...

Stress levels factor 9 !

Have a good one.
Regards
Michael

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oh dear, that's not good.

As I said yesterday mum was feeling a bit off colour, and by the evening she was feeling a little worse. This morning she is coughing a fair bit more, and from what I have seen of her so far she is looking tired and poorly.
However, as I write this, she is in the bathroom with the carer chatting quite freely, no coughing as of yet. So I really don't quite know what to make of it all just yet.

My main focus has been keeping her hydrated. With the addition of extra salt to her diet, adding it to her main meal, which she has always done anyway until recently. Also I decided to experiment with OXO and Bovril drinks, which she has taken to well. With some break to dip it will both keep her salt and carbs intake up a touch, as well as keep fluids in her, and the extra salt hopefully cause a little more desire to drink a bit more. Needless to say, with a little pressure and TLC she drank a good bit more yesterday.

I have also noticed an improvement in my ability to doze off when I want to. Not constantly tired, but if I put my head down for 10 mins I can drop off and wake fine, rather than laying there thinking about any subject that hits my mind.

Fingers crossed this is only a passing small bug she can shake, and she won't go into shut down like she usually does when she feels poorly. This is where the carer is handy as she gets mum up and moving about, so that is a very positive thing.

Right, almost time for the routine to begin, so I shall get on with things :)

Have a good day.
Regards
Michael

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Breakfast is served.

Todays breakfast is a fast blended banana milkshake, 130 calories, followed by a summer fruits squash, 3 calories.
Regards
Michael

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Its gonna be a long day.

Well after mum complaining the new medication had made her feel groggy yesterday, the true culprit has finally shown its face. A cold! Which in mums condition is never good news.

We also noticed yesterday that she is getting a little dehydrated. Not as serious as it has been, but needs addressing. So I am on the hunt for hydration options for her. A very fussy drinker, insists she can't drink plain water, fruit squash's, or anything like that. At the moment she is drinking a few cups of tea a day, maybe a can of drink and a glass of lemonade, which just isn't enough.

I will be monitoring her and calling in the doctor if she gets much worse, but at the moment I am keeping an eye on her to see how severe her cold is going to get. She has decided on a day in bed for today, which is probably a good idea. At least I don't have too much of a worry of her falling. I'm sure I can manage to wait on her today, she has worked hard over the last week so deserves a break. Just wish she wasn't ill.

Right, better get to work on today's revised schedule. Just wish I knew where the cold came from!
Regards
Michael

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another day, another challenge.

Today's challenges are multiple, on a number of planes.
Firstly there was sleep. I slept well, there is no doubt there, but after letting the carer in I kept dropping off and waking up thinking someone was calling me or something needed my attention. Dreaming ahead of what was actually happening. All very weird.

Then after getting up, there was mum. Looked ok to me, but insists that after starting her new tablets, anti depressants which make you sleep also, that they are not for her, she feels terrible and will not be taking them anymore. First day on new tablets, give them a chance I said... Nope, they are bad, I don't want them.
Yesterday she was complaining she could not sleep, today its that she IS sleeping.
In fairness, as I type we are in a hospital waiting room, and has dropped off. But this is not uncommon for her as she gets bored so easily.

Then there are the pikey swine in front of me. As we first walked in they were confronting a doctor, the boy was being taken in for a hearing test, and the mum wanted to go with him. No problem there, small child with a strange man, good idea. However for some reason the mother wanted to take HER mother in with them too. Bizarre!
The rooms are small, and sealed to be silent, so the idea is the less people the quieter, duh.

When they came out they have now sat there for ten mins slagging the doctor off for daring to ask one of them to wait outside. And are now complaining how long its all taking. All of 30 mins so far. If its too long, sod off, don't get treated, simple!

However all that said, she has slightly redeemed herself now. As I put the wheelchair up for mum, she helped put the foot stands down for mum, so that's something eh lol.

Right, mum is in for treatment now, so I better get on. Hopefully mum will wake up and cheer up a bit a bit later. Certainly think she will when she looks in the fridge, mmmm. Foooooooooood!

Regards
Michael

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Cravings just hit home... HARD!

Well, after a trip to the family worker at St Christophers, and then taking mum to see the doctor, we went food shopping. I will come back to the shopping in a second.

Mum saw the doctor for a top up on her meds today and a review. He has decided to put her on a low dose anti depressent to help her switch off a bit (like me) and sleep better at night. Family of druggies we now are lol.

Anyway, back to me (yes yes, its all me, me, me!)
So after the appointments we went to Tesco's. Nearest one to me has just been extended, and my god they have a big range now, amazing. However the day before when we went to a local M&S it was not too bad. But today, in a massive Tesco, with fresh Tiger Bread etc on the shelves, hold shit it was hard. Just writing this makes me wanna run to the kitchen and stuff some bread in my mouth lol.

But fear not, I am not straying from the path. Not just yet anyway. Another weeks time, I will check in with size and weight and see about introducing some food back in. Feeling like this with cravings so powerful is actually quite draining.

Right, enough talk of all this yummy food, I'm going to make a hot chocolate in a but :)

Night
Regards
Michael

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What a frickin morning!

Wowza, glad most of that is out of the way I have to say!
Usual routine to start with, carer, breakfast, meds etc. No dog walks yet as its pouring with rain, but craving some fresh air right now.

So the daily grind begun with the post arriving, just one letter today. From the housing association, Dear Mr Snasdell, you owe us £XXX..... WTF!
A quick call later and it turns out when I first set up the payments they forgot to balance the account, and had just noticed it was due. Then also forgotten to calculate my mums benefits from that, so had an astronomic figure on the bill. A few minutes chatting and it was all under control, repayment sorted and weight off my mind.

Feeling good about myself I decided it was time to tackle the council tax too. So called them up, "sorry all our operators are busy".. Yes I'm not surprised, the way you people operate. 3 months late billing me, and demanding arrears made up in one payment!
Anyway I finally got to speak to a helpful woman, who looked at the account. Unfortunately the best she could do was to knock back the first £300+ payment to 1st Feb. Better than nothing, gives me time to get sorted I guess. Thankfully its only 2 payments til the end of the financial year, then we start a fresh. So another weight partially lifted at least.

A few other financials creeping up on me too but I'm sure I can get them sorted out. Just got to stay in the right frame of mind, and be frugal with my spending. Easier said than done when your mother refuses to eat most food!

Speaking of mother, yesterdays walk took us to Beckenham Place Park, never been there before really, other than walking the dogs in the fields. Unfortunately the only footpath we could find went down a big hill and back up another. Mum battled it, we got to the top with a great effort from mum, amazing in fact. Sadly at the top was a muddy green chain walk, which was impassable. So after a short rest off we went back, down and up the hills again. I have to say I'm shocked at how well she is doing walking these days. So well done :)

Other than all that, I'm feeling a little grumpy today, not sure why, slept ok, not tired. Probably just the miserable weather outside, which I'm pleased to say is slowly cheering up, so maybe I will too.

Oh, forgot to mention, its Day 1 of Week 2 of the ketosis diet, no food since a week Sunday, just the milkshakes. Hunger is not a problem, craving the taste of some foods is driving me mad in the evenings though lol. Feeling good from it all though, and have ordered some more supplies to get me through this week. Not sure how much longer I will keep doing it to be honest. Not crazy about dropping loads of weight, just wanna get my habits back in check before I reach a bad stage where my health is affected. So progress good, health good, activity level up.. All is well.

Have a good day/week
Regards
Michael

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Well done to mum today.

Well its been a very physical day for me today, but let me open with the main point of this entry. My mum, good ol' girl.

I took her to Battersea Park today, I'm slowly upping the scale of the challenge for her, each time choosing a location and route that is manageable but can be cut short. While having interesting surroundings which inspire wholesome conversations.

So today's location, Battersea. A little bigger in circumference than Dulwich I would think, and plenty to look at (a mens hockey game certainly caught her eye lol). Its a lovely park, one full of memories for me, and one of my favourite places in London to relax. So much going on, yet so peaceful too.

When we got there I parked up by the meter, and fed it with the £2 minimum which bought us two hours. After getting mum and the chair out of the car I checked the time on the ticket and said out loud "two hours that should do". Mum replied something to the effect of there was no way we would be that long as she could not walk for that long. Needless to say she was right. She only managed an hour and 49 minutes lol. Bloody well done. Not sure on the distance but a good show! She was very surprised but pleased with herself.

Now to find a bigger challenge for tomorrow lol.

The rest of the day has been pretty ok. Let the carer in this morning, then the daily routine of breakfast (shake) for me, fed the dogs, swept the floors, cleared the garden of doggyness, however I am ashamed to say I forgot mums meds, she actually reminded me today, oops!

When I came back from the morning five miles with the dogs, the carer was waiting on the doorstep, early if you would believe it. Terrified of Aana she stood back while I opened the door, all the time commenting on how cuddly Aana looks.

After finding mum and greeting her they went to the kitchen where they sat and chatted. Mum had some toast and tea for lunch, and they spent the next almost 30 mins chatting and laughing their hearts out. Its refreshing to both see mum and the carer bonding now, and also mum socialising and being so happy and jovial.

Later as we drove to the park she got talking about her hair loss, and commented on the suggestions people made, and how she wants to do her own thing, as its one of the only things she can control. The topic swayed about from talking about what stresses and depresses you, to how you cope with the things that bother you. Another bonding and memorable moment there, where mum has opened up for a bit and let me in.
I mentioned to her during the conversation that it was clear to me that there are still things on her mind that she needs to get out, but that I respect her wishes on how and who she chooses to do that with.

Phew so there you go, digging deep mentally, emotionally and physically all on one day.
Regards
Michael

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Late Lunch.

Phew, I have been so rushed off my feet I almost didn't have time for lunch. So early tea or late lunch... Yum!
Regards
Michael

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Dulwich Park.

Just got back from a lovely walk in the park with mum. All part of her keeping moving plan, giving her some exercise, physio etc. Just got to work out how to get her moving her upper body too and build up some strength there.

She has done really well walking, managing a complete lap of the outer circle and then a lap of the lake too. All at a good pace, without rest. Very impressive if I do say so myself.

Shame it started raining, but we had a good "rush" back to the car. I have to say the conversation was wonderful too. Warms the heart having a chat like that with mum.
Regards
Michael

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Yaaaaaawwwn!.... Morning.

Well I don't know if it was the relief of finally getting the meeting with work out of the way, or maybe its the new dose of drugs I'm taking (not sleeping pills). Either way, I had a really good night of sleep last night. Woke a few times to noises I heard, like mum walking around the house, but settled much faster and feel much more willing to get up this morning.

Amazing what a change of state of mind can do, whether it be drug induced or not, it was much needed. So now I can try and get a few more awkward things out of the way today, like those damned council tax benefits people. Although I am still avoiding thinking about it too much mentally.
Not sure what sort of plan they are going to put in place to pay off the arrears, which funnily enough are their fault, but hey ho!

Another positive today too, the carer is running late today, within 3 mins of her expected time here, the phone rang. It was the agency informing us she was running late, which was much appreciated. The lateness is a pain but have nothing urgent planned this morning, so that's ok.

Just managed to book mums appointment for the GP for Monday, took a while to get through on the phone, so I took the first appointment they offered. As I hung up I realised there was something wrong with that, and sure enough I was right. The appointment clashes with my appointment with the family worker at St Christophers.
But with my clearer mind, within seconds we have a solution. Mum can come to St Christophers with me, she can relax in the lounge, and we can leave 10 mins before her appointment. Win-win I believe that is called.

Right I better get on, the 9am regime calls. (More like 9.45 today as the carer is still not here)

Have a great day, its almost the weekend.
Regards
Michael

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Phew, that's a relief!

A day I have been dreading, almost over with now. With a weight off my mind for the time being suddenly everything becomes a little clearer.
Today I have had two very important appointments (for me anyway). Firstly there was the GP, who is no easy rider. So speaking to him about how I am feeling is not the easiest of things to do. Trying to explain how down you feel, without sounding like an over dramatic drama queen is quite an ordeal. However as he knows mums medical condition too he was understanding.
In short he has doubled my medication, and signed me off for a further 4 weeks. Which is a relief in itself as it allows me more time to focus on the right things, rather than worrying about smaller insignificant details of life.

The second event of the day was a home visit from work. Standard practice for employees on long term sick, which I more than qualify as now. Now while I have nothing to hide, and am confident that all would be well, I have the cloud of doom and gloom over me recently, so feel that anything I do MUST have a negative side. So for some reason was expecting a rough time of things.

So Dave and Michelle arrived, and immediately I felt I was at ease, some tension was released. The conversation was very much informal, so didn't feel like I was under oath and on the stand. We talked for some time, discussing what's going on with me, how I'm feeling, and how I see things panning out over coming weeks of months. I was quite open and honest about everything, in fact maybe too open as there were times of discomfort clearly visible.

Anyway, the outcome is quite a relief, with a referral to the occupational health worker for Fedex (PHC) some time next week, a review on the situation the week after, and then see if a plan can be put into place to look towards returning to work in some capacity when the sick note runs out. That's an ideal in my mind anyway, as I would love to get back to work and get some structure back in my life.

With appointments all over the place for the next few weeks, I am hoping all the pieces will slowly start to slot together soon, and I can start getting myself back together, and on top of all the little things in life that I have put to one side, council tax for one, but I will come to that. So fingers crossed, positive thinking, PMA!

So yes, I mentioned council tax. A few months ago when we were transferring the tenancy over from mum to me, I wrote to Lewisham asking about how I go about taking over the payments... After 3 months of asking and getting stupid replies back I finally got an answer. I basically said "you owe us £637, pay up"
Right so I have been asking for months, then you just back date it and demand it, just like that.... Well quite frankly... BOLLOX!
After receiving the letter mid December I have stressed about it no end, until today.
As the meeting with work ended, I felt a release of stress and my mind cleared a little. Now looking at the letters I know exactly what I feel about it all, how I'm going to deal with it and where I stand. Rather than in a deep hole sinking fast.


While I have just discovered mum is no longer entitled to benefits towards the council tax, suddenly it all seems a bit more manageable. Just need to speak to someone about paying off the 3 months of arrears caused by their lazy office staff not getting the account sorted, then I'm sailing!

So here's to a more positive outlook on certain aspects of life. Clearer thinking and a smoother ride.

Thanks for reading an epic entry... Can you tell I'm a little happier? Lol
Regards
Michael

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brisbane, it just dawned on me.

I am currently sitting at home sulking that its raining because I can't take mum out for a walk. As I sulk I look at the TV, and what's going on in Australia, Brisbane to be precise. Unbelievable scenes out there, and with the river expected to rise, its only going to get worse.

Can't really say much more other than I am humbled by their spirits in the face of such devastation. I wish you all well over the coming hours as the waters rise, and hope the damage is as little as possible, and that normality returns asap.

Take care Aussies.
Regards
Michael

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The headache from hell.

Forgive the break from blogging, I have been trying to shake the headache from hell for the past 3 days now, without much success I should add. So screens, lights and other such bright things have been a bit painful. Good thing there is no sign of the sun, or I would really be in trouble by now.

So, past few days, been a little bit manic to say the least, with appointments to arrange and attend etc but we are getting there.

The other big change is, the diet is back. Over the past couple of months, with depression setting in quite deep, comfort eating became the thing to do. Needless to say, the weight has piled on nicely. So its time to tackle it. Best way for me to get a good start is to go down the ketosis route. So for the next week or 4 I will be back on the liquid only routine, just until everything is under control. Funnily enough its probably this that has caused the headaches. Dropping Diet Coke, and Pepsi Max from your daily intake starves the body of its much loved caffeine, which in turn causes headaches. But my breakfast vanilla shake with a spoon of coffee should sort that out.

Mum on the other hand is coming on leaps and bounds right now. For the third day we have been to a third park for her to go for a stroll behind her wheelchair. She is loving it and admitting to the benefits of being more active. The speed she toddles along at is surprising me to be honest as its quite a pace. Not to mention the inclines she tackles too. All without too much breathing difficulty. Even her cough has eased up somewhat.

So yesterdays appointment was with the Audiology Dept to see about getting mums hearing aid. I have to admit I loved the office the audiologist has, a sound proof room. I had forgotten what silence sounds like. So he did his tests, and is fitting mum in for an emergency clinic next week to have a good clearout of her ear and then fit her with a temporary hearing aid. She seems quite happy about that. Fingers crossed this can all be quite quick and she can get back to watching TV etc without headphones.

I do have to apologise to mum over one thing. Hairloss. Her hair is indeed now coming out at quite a rate. But as the days pass, she is less distressed about it and more concerned and focused on solutions, what to go for, a wig, a hat etc. Nice to hear her positive side coming through again. Well done mum.
We are still not sure what extent the loss may be, but today might hold some answers. We are off to St Christophers Hospice this morning to see the nurse Karen, and one of the doctors there. The idea being that it will finally get mums feet through the door of the hospice, and she can begin to warm to the idea of visiting there once a week to have some downtime (for me too) and socialise a little bit. Hopefully this will build a little confidence and make her feel a little less alone in the whole experience.

So I guess I better get my day started, carer is 45 mins late already today, still not shown up, which leaves the rest of the morning a bit of a rush. Got to feed the dogs, get mum ready and get to the hospice for 10am. Will manage ok, but I hate my schedule being thrown out by other people (little grrr) I did however manage to get the doctors booked up which is a weight off my mind. Meds running out as well as becoming less effective now, so a review is a must.

That's tomorrow, when I also have a home visit from work. Would not mind a day off right now!

Have a good day, its miserable out there, so wrap up.

Regards
Michael

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Thank you to Virgin Media.

OK first off I should say, up to this point I have loved every minute of being a Virgin customer. Sure there have been a few little nagging points, but all have been addressed successfully.... Until now.

After numerous pop ups and emails from Virgin saying "hey customer, protect your computer" (or words to that effect) I gave in and installed it. It looked simple enough and nice to use. Once installed it ran a full scan, found a few files and stuff then asked me to restart, so I did.

That's when it went wrong, Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) was immediate, and the PC has not started since. On checking the support forums and posting I have been told, if it will start in safe mode we might be able to help, other wise, sorry.

Sure I can whip the drive out, make it a slave, install another HDD with an OS on it, and retrieve the data from the drive, but come on, I installed this shit to make my computer safe, not kill it.

I am sure it never would have happened with a Mac, Apple would have fixed it for me while plying me with coffee and donuts etc, but its NOT a Mac lol.

So I am left trawling the net looking for ways to save the PC without going through all the above drama.

My advice... Think twice before installing this software!
Regards
Michael

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Its that time again!

Yup, a new years dawns, but its not because of that. Just recently I have realised how much I have been binge eating, and swore blind that as soon as I could get in the right frame of mind I would snap out of it.... So here I am.

The plan is to try and get into the routine of shakes and a severe diet for a few weeks, and see where we go from there.

The morning has been a little hectic to say the least, so believe it or not, the return to shakes is a welcome and well timed one. 1 minute meals are great, so little fuss, no cooking, and very little washing up. Now I just have to stick to it lol.

So far this morning has consisted of, up early to let the carer in, call the doctors, let workman in for the bathroom, meds for mum, feed the dogs, breakfast for me, and now time to exercise the dogs.
After that its carer in the afternoon, sister visiting, then do mums lunch and meds. Then off out to give mum some exercise.... And so on. Phew.

Had a very early night last night, so feeling a little fresher this morning, so that's a step in the right direction.

Right off to see how the day goes.
Have a good one.
Regards
Michael

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

A positive day.

So today, a day unlike any other recent day, what can I tell ya!

Had a relatively early night last night and slept well after some initial tossing and turning, churning stuff over in my mind. I have to say on heavy thought days, the meds are having a little less effect now.
So usual morning routine, wake and be up for the carer to let her in. I thought when I got up I would stay up, but once she had left and I had done mums meds I decided to nap, waking again at 11am. Wow!! A guilt free lay in, that felt good.

Finally getting up, a light breakfast and got mum arse in gear for the day. Waiting for the carer was a bit of a chore this afternoon, with her arriving over an hour late due to no buses. Not a big deal but kinda threw my plans for the afternoon a bit. However, we cope, right!

Carer left by about 2pm so it was time to spin the dogs around the block. While walking and realising it was a rather nice day, I had an idea. So I text mum to see if she fancied a trip to the park in her wheelchair. She has been commenting recently how she is bored of being indoors, and St Christophers supplied a wheelchair on request, so would be rude not to use it eh. Unsurprisingly the answer was a resounding YES! So back to the house, put the dogs in, and off to Crystal Palace Park.

The park has some great memories for us both, so with Chantal we made it a fun afternoon out. After we had got into the park some way mum asked if she could walk a bit. So taking the wheelchair for balance off she went... Like a shot! She was flying along, no stopping her at all. I have not seen her that active for possibly years. So that was heart warming to see. She did 2 walks in total, inc some slopes etc. Well done mummy.

The walk ended after about an hour and a half with a sprint pushing mum about 100 metres up one hell of a hill. I got some shocking looks, but she was giggling like a kid, and hey, I need the exercise. As we walked back to the car she said how much she had enjoyed the day. Needless to say I'm gonna see if I can get her out somewhere different each afternoon.

A few other things have happened over the past 48 hours which are all coming together to bring a certain positive feel to everything for me right now. Not out of the woods yet, not by a long way, and will be seeing my doctor again early next week to discuss where we are right now. But at the same time, change feels good.

Next week, I have decided to get a little fitter again, so off the junk, onto the good stuff for me. Saves precious money too lol.

For the first time in ages I have a few good things to look forwards to over the next 6-8 weeks, so thank you to all who have stood by me through this so far.

I shall end with saying a massive thank you to everyone who has hit and shared the website blog I have done for Sian. Once more in case anyone missed it. www.siansamworth.blogspot.com

Thank you all for reading, and sleep well ( I sure will )
Regards
Michael

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POTD, something wrong here!

Mum out in Crystal Palace Park enjoying a stroll on the wrong end of a wheelchair.
Regards
Michael

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

One day later....

How much can change in just one day, 24 hours.... Answer, a hell of a lot!

Where do I start, so much to tell, without boring you to death. So yesterdays entry points out I was going to see a counsellor, which I did and am very grateful for. Visiting the counsellor at St Christophers Hospice it was my first chance to see the inside of the place we are trying to get mum to visit on a day basis. And it is fantastic! I know she will enjoy being there for sure, especially the pampering.

I had a long chat with the counsellor, and started to find the points that were really starting to eat away at me. The lack of rest, the explosions of tempers, the constant workload and worry. She is a lovely woman and very easy to talk to, so none of it was difficult to talk about at all. And by the the end of the meeting we had agreed that I will be returning, she will be speaking to mum and my sister, and hopefully we can all start to find some common ground. So thumbs up for that part of the day.

The Virgin guys turned up right on cue, fixed the phoneline in a flash and all is working fine there now, which means the Linkline alarm and pendant is working too now. We just tested it, and all is good there. So another little worry done away with there.

I'm not sure if it was luck or circumstances, but I sure felt like I slept well last night. Waking up feeling rested in a way I have not felt for weeks if not months now. Which brings me onto the next part. Because I feel better mentally today, sitting in the house with nothing much to do is not a worry, and does not feel like I'm hiding away from the world. Fact is its a miserable day outside and really not much can be done with it like that. I will instead get some odd jobs done around the house this afternoon once the carer and nurse have been.

Karen the nurse from St Christophers is visiting this afternoon, to check up on how everyone is doing, and to see that mum is ok following a long sleepy spell she had for the past 2 days. She seems more alert today which is good. But will be good to see Karen as I have a few questions for her, and will be good to discuss them too. She is also seeing if she can get a wheelchair brought over for mum, so we can get her out and about more... Not going anyway today obviously.

Another great relief is the arrival of mums temporary hearing aid. After getting one from Clearer Hearing after mum had her operation back in the summer, things seemed much better for mum, being able to hear was a godsend. But during her stay in hospital the hearing aid broke (ripped tube) and was then lost. Since then its been difficult.
I contacted them about spares but subsequently had to replace the whole thing anyway. So I was delighted when it arrived today complete with spare tubes too... Thank you Clearer Hearing :)

Mum is now sporting her new temporary hearing aid, able to hear the tv WITHOUT headphones, which is a first for a long time now, and most importantly, able to communicate with the various people who need to see her like nurses, doctors etc. Best part is hearing the tv without headphones though, as before she was constantly putting on and taking off the hearing aid, which caused the premature wear of the tube in the first place.

Joy joy!

So there you go, 24 hours later, things are quite positive for once :)

Thanks for reading.
Regards
Michael

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Help is at hand.

Today is the day of help. With Virgin due to come and look at the phone line, and an appointment to see the family worker at St Christophers today, all seems well. With 2 things like that in one day, things will start to move along for me again soon I hope.

Phone line you say, what's so special about a phone line? Well that's really quite simple, its for mums LinkLine panic button system. Once that is up and working I will have a little more peace of mind for times like when I am out walking the dogs, knowing she is just a button press away from help.
As well of course as getting a phone service I'm paying for, that will be nice too.

As for the family worker, well that's for me. Someone to speak to about where my mind it at right now, and start finding a way to get back on the straight and narrow, as well as getting back into a good sleep pattern. I have an hour with her today to cover off all the things that are bothering me etc, and from there she can see if there is anything they can do to help, counselling, therapy, locking me up and throwing away the key!

So what else is going on today. Well first there is mum. Since stopping her steroid tablets (4 week course since she went into hospital now ended) she is sleeping. The nurse had said they had a slight upper effect, giving an energy kick, so its possible that without them she is just rather tired. Although yesterday when I tried to wake her it was quite difficult, so I am a little concerned too. Hopefully I can get some clarification on this, and maybe even look at her remaining on a small dose daily just so she has some energy.

Me, well I'm still the opposite. After getting up and staying up yesterday, towards the evening I felt tiredness creeping in and thought "yay, sleep" however when it came to the crunch, it didn't happen. I am sleeping, but its a big effort getting there, and I don't think I am reaching deep sleep. Almost sleeping with one eye (ear) open for mum needing me.
I considered a nap while the carer was here this morning, but instead just lay listening, then got up.

I have however managed to get a good walk in with the dogs this morning, lots of fresh air and clear thoughts, which is a good thing. Still trying to find that daily routine to stick with, but for now just getting pieces of it right feels good. Still eating crap, piling on the weight, so the exercise is welcomed.

I wrote a to-do list last week, and have finally managed to do one of the things from the list. Its as simple as posting a letter, but just finding the mental energy to write the envelope has been a challenge, as daft as that sounds. That's what I'm facing right now, and kind of explains where my mind is at the moment... If its for me, I can't be bothered, if its for anyone else, I feel obliged.

Right, enough whining, I'm off to get some bits done :)

Have a good day.
Regards
Michael

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sleeeeeeep, I just want some sleep!

Is that really too much to ask?
OK so over recent years I have got into a somewhat "night owl" routine, sometimes not settling for sleep til 1-2am. But that has usually been based around a routine of getting up at 9am or so (lazy I know).

But recently I just can't settle. Regardless of how tired I am, and how early or late I put my head down, it just takes forever to get to sleep. And then when I do get to sleep, its badly broken sleep, either waking up randomly throughout the night, or being awoken by my mum going out in the back garden at 3am for a cigarette (which she denies ever doing).

But now there is a further frustration, one I am suffering from right NOW! The carer. Ok I can't be hard on her, she gets buses everywhere, today is an exceptionally bad day with the schools going back and all.... But she is late!
I struggled to get up this morning, so I would be awake properly for when she arrived so I could let her in. Plan being, let her in, pop back to bed for 45 mins, sleep my headache off, be back up for when she leaves. Instead I am perched on the end of my bed, slowly waking up, hoping she shows up soon. Almost twenty past eight now, so becoming pointless to go back to bed.

It was the same story yesterday too. Pain in the ass bit is, if I wake normally and have slept well, sods law dictates that she will arrive on time. And if I decide I can't be bothered getting up in time to wake up a bit, she arrives a little early.

Now normally if I was feeling down, the world would hate me right now, and I would be feeling like such a victim of circumstances. So this is a gentle reminder to myself for such days, that the world is NOT against me, but some days its just a bit crappier than others.

On the other hand..... I still really wanna sort my sleep out. While I know I am a bit stressed and depressed which will play havoc with sleep patterns, depression making me want to sleep all day, and stress stopping me dropping off, there is middle ground to be found. I know 5-6 hours a night is not enough for me right now, and that I need an hour or two more. But to complicate things, of I go back to bed after the carer leaves I will end up over sleeping and spend the whole day groggy. Lose-lose situation lol.

Right, I'm going to commit to waking up and starting my day now I guess. 8.25, still no sign (which is a bit wrong really). So once she has been and gone, give mum meds and breakfast, call the hospital, walk the dogs, do some cleaning (floors need mopping), and all the other stuff one does daily.

Hope your day started better than mine, have a great day.
Regards
Michael

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Loosing control

Well yet another encounter with mum, and another explosive ending to the "conversation". Was just in the kitchen making light conversation with mum, and the topic of the carer came up. Apparently mum asked for a 5 minute boiled egg this morning and it was runny! This makes the carer completely useless and pointless to mum, and just reinforces the point that she doesn't need a carer. That's of course ignoring the fact that her statement before mentioning the carer was that she was very wobbly today.

She is hell bent on getting rid of the carer, proving she doesn't need peoples help, and right now, just making my life a misery. Naturally I try to put across the reason for having the carer, and explain what she is here to do, as well as "defend" the carer where I feel mum is being unfair. Mum does not seem to grasp or maybe just not accept the limited role of the carer, and how it is meant to work. Complaining that the carer does not understand her or speak english (which she actually does very well) is her main thing. When the St Christophers nurse offered to intervene the other day mum refused to let her, yet as soon as everyone leaves, I am left to take it in the neck.

Its times like this I understand why I am on medication and off work at the moment, because right now I'm in a dark lonely place, and as confused as hell. Am I doing right by mum? Am I meant to just roll over on my principals and agree with everything she says? Am I meant to do what I think is best for everyone? Should I get the carer cancelled? Or should I just take a chill pill and forget about it by yhe morning.

Problem is, if we go with the last option I am left with this burning feeling inside. I don't like brushing things under the carpet, forgetting about things like they never happened, its just not me. And then I'm left wondering if it didn't matter, why did it happen in the first place.

This is not the first argument, but they are getting more and more fiery, and possibly more frequent now, and I'm really running out of patience with mum and myself, as well as running out of confidence that I can handle this much more.

Her argument of me caring more about the carer than I do about her bites hard, and leaves me bitter and resentful right now, and my honest feeling right now is b****x, do it yourself then.

In closing the "conversation" I tried explaining that people are doing their best to try and help in anyway they can, and if she doesn't want their help, fine, do it herself. Her parting shot was "well they are not going to die in the next few weeks are they." Which brings us onto (now I say it and think about it) the key part....

Mum is yet to accept, face up to, and start dealing with the fact that she is dying. It must be terrifying to have someone put a tight timescale on your life, and know your time is short, and I respect her fear and emotions. My only wish is to make that time as comfortable and enjoyable as I can for her, but feeling like this.... I can't!

As I'm writing, I'm calming down (which to me is why I blog anyway) as well as making more sense of the whole situation and not just the flashpoint.
After taking a deep breath, I can see the carer thing is not working out, and will need to address that tomorrow somehow, that's numero uno. After that, the dynamic will change, so will be another thing to look at and rearrange. Am I happy with this situation? no!

So, as I calm, and my mind returns to normal thoughts (as normal as they have been recently) I shall start to ponder..... What next.

Thanks for reading and sharing a moment in my life.
Regards
Michael

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