The past ten days or so have been a bit stressful, to say the least. It started on the Monday when my father-in-law was rushed into hospital with suspected pneumonia. My wife stayed with him until 3am on Tuesday, in the A & E department, hoping to get him onto a ward. That didn’t happen until Tuesday evening. Then on Wednesday, in a bizarre twist, my Mother was rushed into the same hospital with the same suspected condition. She too was left in A & E for over 19 hours until a bed could be found. The staff, what little there was, were brilliant and did all they could with the limited resources available, but unfortunately, they tend to bear the brunt of patient and visitor frustrations.
They are both out now and on the mend, hopefully.
Another bit of stress came when our youngest came for a home visit. He has an obsession with Mickey Mouse and his flat, at the care home has many pictures and wall stickers of this cartoon character. Towards the end of July, he came for a visit. He came with a request for “51 Mickey Mouse stickers!!” He was able to show me the ones he wanted. They were located in South Africa and at a price of 1900 Rand (plus postage), but I managed to explain that they were too expensive, as it worked out to around £100. He accepted this, but almost immediately ask for “4 Mickey Mouse stickers.” He then showed me the new ones, and I agreed to get them.
That’s when the problem started. The seller was on holiday and wouldn’t be back until the 16th of August. He seemed to accept this, but then the nattering began. He was asking everyone for “4 stickers.” We managed to order them eventually and told him that they would be arriving at his flat on Monday 22nd. All was going well but then a new phase came in. He started asking for “16 stickers on Tuesday!” Nobody had any idea about these new stickers, but he kept mentioning them.
The stickers finally arrived on the 23rd and he is very happy with them. It was later that day when it suddenly struck me where the “16 stickers on Tuesday” had come from! I had told him about the seller being on holiday and had said I would order the stickers when he came back … the 16th of August, which was also a Tuesday. I am convinced, that in his Autistic mind he was checking that the stickers had been ordered on Tuesday the 16th!
I did something unusual this week. Well, unique for me at least. I signed an ‘online’ petition. It’s not a thing I would typically do, in fact, I can’t recall ever signing one before. This particular petition is to have a complete ban on disposable barbecues. It’s been seen over the past weeks that these items can have devastating consequences when the land is as dry as it is currently. So it did make some sense. Also, I’m not a particular fan of the “Bar-B-Que”. I just don’t like the smell of burnt food mixed with charcoal and that hint of lighter fuel, and I often think we are just trying to keep up with our Antipodean friends.
I remember, back in the day when I was young (humming the music from the old Hovis advert) we never had a barbecue when we went to the country. No, we had a “picnic”! It’s funny, I remember stuff like this so well. Picnics were always the same. We kids had either meat paste or polony sandwiches. Always white bread and always cut into quarters. There were crisps, with the little blue bag of salt, ready salted crisps came later. And bottles (glass of course) of dandelion and burdock pop! Parents would have egg sandwiches. Sliced boiled egg, none of this fancy ‘egg mayonnaise stuff, with maybe a smear of salad cream. Or there would be tomato sandwiches, with sliced tomatoes and again a smear of salad cream. The adults drink would be tea! Poured from a vacuum flask (never heard it called a Thermos flask) into the cup that doubled as the lid. The tea would already have both milk and sugar, so it was too bad if you didn’t have a sweet tooth.
One of our favourite places to visit was the small market town of Otley. With Dad working on the buses, a trip to Otley was a reasonably priced day out. The day out was always the same. We would go into Leeds on the bus and then wait for the Otley bus to arrive. This was at the “Red Bus” station, where buses that were going out of Leeds would depart from. We would all have to visit the toilet (mandatory before any bus journey) whilst waiting to board the bus. Usually, it was a ‘double decker’ but quite often when the day wasn’t a busy one, we have a ‘single decker’. These were not as much fun.
Once we arrived at Otley, we would make our way to the local riverside park. There was a paddling pool here with some sheltered seats. This was the picnic area. We kids would spend a long time playing in the pool whatever the weather. That’s what kids did back in the early 1960s. After the picnic, we would have a walk along the riverside path for what seemed to us, miles, but was actually only about half a mile. We used to stop by the tennis courts to watch whoever was playing, but that was never very interesting.
Then it was back to the bus to get home just in time to watch Coronation Street on the telly.
Toward the end of last month, I had to go back to the hospital to review where I was after my stay back in February. I was scheduled to go in the middle of June, but with one illness and another, it got cancelled and rescheduled. We had been watching the news programs which showed patients waiting in corridors for long periods, waiting to be admitted to a ward. This was not our experience at all. More on this in a while.
I was to have an Electrocardiogram which shows a graph of my heartbeat followed by an Echocardiogram, to get a look at how my replacement Mitral valve was working. The Electrocardiogram showed that I still had what the medical people call Atrial Flutter/Fibrillation. This is where the heart is beating irregularly. The image shows this quite well. The large peaks show that the blood leaving the heart is going at the correct pace, whereas the small peaks show the problem with the irregular heartbeat. TheEchocardiogram however showed that the valve was behaving itself.
The next step is I will need to wear a portable ECG monitor for 24 hours. this will give the Cardiologist a more accurate picture of the problem. The stage after that is the more worrying one. Once the data from the portable monitor has been analysed, the Cardiologist will decide If I need to undergo Cardioversion. Cardioversion is a medical procedure that uses quick, low-energy shocks to restore a regular heart rhythm. It’s a treatment for certain types of irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), including atrial fibrillation.
As mentioned above, there had been TV news videos showing patients on trolleys, and in corridors for hours on end. My appointment was at 14:30. I arrived at 14:25. after both procedures and a good talk with the Cardiologist, I was out at 15:20. A total of 50 minutes. I was amazed as I was expecting to be there until 18:00ish.
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