A Chance Encounter.

As I stroll along the road towards the supermarket, she is coming towards me accompanied by a man that I presume is her husband. I haven’t seen her for an age. How long? I can’t remember but its a long time.  She recognises me despite the fact that I have changed so much. She hasn’t changed at all. Not one iota. In fact, it takes not a smattering of imagination to see her still walking backwards at the side of the traveller, needle in hand, stitching the ends of a rug as it emerges from my machine. She was one of my ‘sewers off’ (our description) or assistant, and we worked together for a while until she received the calling to be a nurse. I recall that time vividly because she wasn’t the only one who decided to enter the nursing profession. It was as if the finishing department had been visited by some nurse recruitment officer with a very persuasive tongue, and she wasn’t the only friend of mine to leave and take up nursing, though she was the only one who became a state registered nurse.  I can also recall at the time wondering if I wasn’t being prompted to take up nursing, seeing as everyone else seemed to be getting the calling, perhaps I reasoned it was a hint that I should also consider a change of profession?

I knew the question would come. After all, she was a nurse. I didn’t want to answer it. It’s strange how none of us like to admit that we aren’t well health wise, and as it was unlikely that I would see her again, I did toy with stating the usual.  ‘Oh, I’m fine!’ or some such and moving the conversation sharply onto other topics.

How are you?’ she asked. ‘Last time I saw you was in the Cardiac Unit, do you remember?’  Ahh, yes of course!

I told her the truth about my current battle.

Oh, I am sorry!’ How I hate it all. I don’t want any pity. Its why its so tempting to lie and say your feeling on top of the world.  Inwardly I grimace, but thankfully she asks about Kerri and how she is coping with it all. I relate about how she ended up nursing me last year and how she comes into her own if I am not feeling well.  How suddenly she becomes a different person, in her element with the tables turned. 

‘I’m pretty certain that she would have been a nurse Kath if she hadn’t had special needs, its sort of there inside her, a built in desire to care and I have been so grateful for her being there this last year.’

I know exactly what you mean! I always say, there’s always a reason why things happen. My Mum was in her early 40’s when she had me, and yet when she got older, she realised that if I hadn’t been born, there would have been no one to look after her when she became ill, and its the same thing with you.  Kerri was born to you for a reason, and now you are finding out why.

All those years that I had known her, I had never heard her say anything as profound as the statement she had just made. We parted company wishing each other the best, as she is now due to retire and I hoped that she would enjoy it all more than I have enjoyed retirement.  Will I see her again in the future?  It all depends. She has promised to stay in touch and visit in the future so who knows? But that chance encounter really gives you food for thought.

TG

Another year over.

And for me, its been a very eventful one, where I have encountered many new experiences for the very first time. From journeying down a tube for an MRI scan, to having a major operation in a hospital I have never been in before, enduring chemotherapy and all that entails including making some new friends, ending with stabbing myself in the stomach daily with a needle following a blood clot and its been a very interesting year to say the least, and one that, although it had its moments, you will all understand I am sure when I say that I do not wish to repeat any of it again. During that time, my daughter has proved how resilient she really is, and also how she continues to demonstrate her ability to adapt to any situation no matter what.

I simply wouldn’t have coped with any of it without her by my side. She’s been my full time nurse, my companion, she’s been there to cheer me up during the darkest hours, and been strong enough to take the brunt of my moods when I’ve been down. Now I know why she was sent to me those thirty odd years ago when I asked him up there why, why me? when she was born, probably in exactly the same way as any parent does when the child they were expecting to receive hasn’t materialised, and they have received an entirely different child in its place.

And she is in her element when the tide is turned, when its her looking after me, calling the shots, being in charge and she is brilliant at it. I have always stated that had she not had learning difficulties or been saddled with the label ‘Down’s Syndrome’ that she would have gone into some kind of ‘caring’ role, as a nurse or some caring profession. Its in her nature to be caring, and she went above and beyond what many people  would have done whilst I was ill. She was ‘on duty’ twenty four seven at my side, and during that awful week that followed my return home after my operation, when (as it turned out) I had a septic infection, she became who she really is, a nurse nightingale, oblivious to her own needs and focusing only on mine.

TG

P.S  I’m sorry that I haven’t been blogging of late, but intend to return to my usual favourite pastime in the new year, when hopefully K and I can resume our gallivanting around the Yorkshire countryside on numerous adventures and quests, so back to normal! (I hope!)

A birthday with a difference!

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I had a strange birthday yesterday. Spent having yet another new experience sat in a very comfortable chair, being stabbed with needles four times in total on the back of my hands resulting in some lovely blue bruises, (I shall be taken soon for an alien as I will no doubt end up blue all over) and receiving lot’s of different inputs ranging from Steroids, anti-sickness stuff to my two separate chemo’s. K sat diligently at my side, noseying as she always does at everything going on around her.

 

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A brief moment in time. Arrival.

We came together four strangers, having never met before, to share for a few days and nights a closeness and comradeship brought about by the common experience we all went through. Ward 8. The fellowship of Ward 8. M across from me in the opposite bed arrived on the same day, and would have her operation on the same day. Br on my right hand side had been here some days, and was desperately trying now to eat and drink something and keep it down. Mrs C over in the far corner had also been here some days. She was helpful and filled M and I into the nuances of the ward, showed us where everything was, explained about baths, showers, meal times, and other tips for making life bearable whilst being part of this exclusive club.

On the Monday of our arrival, M and I were hardly left alone in order to have time to think. One body and another visited the side of our beds, taking blood pressure, temperature, blood, administering two, yes two enemas to each, one about tea time and the other later that evening. I was not concerned at all about tomorrows impeding operation, but I do hate waiting, so I was so glad to be informed that I would be the first down in the morning at 08.30am.  That suited me fine! M was informed that hers would be later, about dinner time.

A lovely young student nurse came to ask me if I would mind her watching my operation? Of course I didn’t mind at all. I was also asked if the removed organs could be used in research and again I consented to this. Everyone seemed to be asking the same or similar questions as they filled in their paperwork. Mr N my consultant came to see me as did his registrar. All were polite and friendly and were willing to answer any questions or reassure you of procedures to be taken. Before you knew it, it was 22.00 and time for lights out. Hurray! ALL the lights were turned out including those along the corridor! It was nice and dark, my favourite state to induce sleep, and I turned onto my front and slept like a log on my tummy, because I was sure it would probably be a long time before I could do so again after tomorrow.

Before I knew it, it was 05.30 am and my usual time to wake up. I quietly tiptoed out to the toilet outside our ward door, and then had a circular walk around the H shaped ward simply for something to pass the time. I knew I wouldn’t get back to sleep, once awake that’s it. I made my way to the Day room and turned on the TV. I didn’t want to disturb the ladies in the next ward to the day room, so I had to keep the volume low. I watched the news. Another few turns around the ward to kill time and then it was soon time for me to walk down with my lovely student nurse to the operating theatre.

“I’ll give you all a wave on my return!” I told my three trusty companions on Ward 8. “See you soon!” I had been told I would be down there about two and a half hours or so. We walked down together chatting away about this and that, I remember a lift was involved somewhere along the journey. I was in a fetching gown tied around the back. On arrival at the preparation room, we were greeted by staff all dressed in blue hats, blue tops and blue trousers. I  had to lay on a trolley type bed on top of a green ‘bag’ with grab loops at each side to enable them to lift me from there to elsewhere. My student nurse needed to change into her operation outfit and she went off to find one that fit her. She returned looking just the part though her top half was a different shade of blue to the trousers.

Next, I was wheeled into the anesthetic room where I met ‘B’ my anesthetist who was in a very jovial mood, cracking jokes left right and centre. He had me sit up whilst he administered his ‘concoction’ of pain relief drugs into an epidural in my spine, then I lay down whilst he injected the anesthetic into my hand. I drifted off to the land of nod.

TG 

On the Mend.

For those of you who have been wondering why I have not been blogging of late, I had to go into Hospital for a major operation on the 31st January.  I expected to be on the mend after being discharged home on the 7th February, but unfortunately on my return home, I took a turn for the worse, and was quite ill for well over a week or so.  Quite how I would have coped without my lovely daughter I dread to think. She has been nursing me 24/7 throughout the whole time, sleeping next to me to be instantly on call with cleaning me up and I cannot praise her enough.

Her dedication and patience has been extraordinary, and has gone far beyond what anyone could expect a daughter to do when her mother is ill. When she was born, I can remember asking ( in my head) “ Why?” I now know the answer.  To give me 150% and more of her caring, her love and infinite patience. 

Of course, K being K she wants a new ‘Jaws’ t-shirt to add to her vast collection and also a CD and she will get them and more.

I am now at last on the mend and gaining strength day by day. The operation was a complete success but I will need to have quite a few Chemotherapy sessions just to ‘zap’ those strays and make sure its all eradicated.

Leeds City lit up at night

The panoramic photo enclosed in this post were taken from our dining area on the ward at night when as usual, TG couldn’t sleep.

TG

I wonder what this year will bring?

I planned to do a post about my new year’s resolutions.  I always vow to loose weight, be nicer to everyone, stop getting annoyed with other people in the supermarket or walking on the pavement, to be more helpful and kind to others, to do the ironing straight away instead of ignoring it until its piled sky high, to exercise more, I could go on and on, and I did toy with the idea that if I placed all of my resolutions in this blog where others could see them, then maybe I might keep to them.  But now this blog has ended up being about something entirely different.

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Jabbing Time.

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On Friday, we went down to the doctors for our annual combined flu and swine flu jab.  In hindsight, maybe I should have mentioned to the nurse who administered my jab that I was feeling ‘under the weather’ with a sore throat.  As usual I kept Mum.  K had hers done first.  She always gets in a bit of a state over it and then afterwards always says “Oh that was nothing!”  Every year.  The nurses always find her hilarious.  Later that day, I began to feel ‘off’.  One minute I felt cold, the next minute hot.

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