All over …


Well … almost “All Over”. I’ve just got to get through binnedthe copious amounts of “Happy New Year” messages and we’re done until next September/October when the whole farce starts again. I think I’ve said enough about me and Christmas over the years, so I’m drawing a line under it (see below) except to say that it is only 363 days until Christmas day (again)!


So what’s in the future? Well tomorrow I have my Medication Review, whereby the doctor ‘reviews’ my current medication, and advises accordingly. Now, as I could be seriously compromised if four out of the five were ever stopped, it seems a little bit of a waste of time to actually review them. But review them he must, so that’s happening as 09:20 tomorrow. I suppose it will give me a chance to query the changes that are being made to the way my blood is tested. With being on Warfarin, I have to have regular tests to ensure the level of the medication is correct. At my end it is a simple extraction of a few millilitres of blood which is sent off to the Anticoagulation clinic in York. Two days later I get the result. At the last test, the phlebotomist mentioned that she did not know what would be happening in the future with blood tests and here words of comfort were “No-one knows what will happen in the New Year!” The health-care assistant hinted that it may be an all day clinic, once  fortnight or so, but she really was clutching at straws. However maybe, one of the senior practitioners will know a little more.

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Back on track … hopefully


My INR results came back today, and it had gone down to 2.7, which is around about the target date. The anti-coagulation clinic still wants me to be checked in a week, but strangely they have requested that I be tested on Wednesday instead of the more usual Tuesday. It’s not a problem changing the date, as Tuesday has always had issues with work. Only thing that concerns me is that is now the middle of the week, which could have implications when we have time away. However, we shall cross that bridge when we come to it.

Tomorrow sees me paying a visit to the Cardio-Respiratory unit for an ECG. I’ve not had one of these since before I had my operation, and I’m more bothered by how I can get parked than what the results will be. This is a pre-cursor for the appointment with the doctor (or Consultant as I like to think of him) next week. I’ve not seen Dr Me****y since before the procedure back in March 2014. I would have thought I would have seen him before this, but I think there has been some mix up with my post-care appointments over the past two years. It will be good to see him again

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From his ‘homebook’, R**s seems to have had a reasonable day. There had been a couple of issues at the beginning of the day, due to a delay in getting in to the unit, but they say it improved during the day. It was a little unusual, but he was apparently wearing his ‘weighted blanket’ in the taxi home. He came out of the taxi in a happy mood and seemed okay. Around about 7ish, K**h took him his usual meal and he seemed to snap, which we were not really expecting. The usual nipping occurred and it required a dose of his PRN medication. He calmed down after about 15 minutes, but one of the after effects is to reduce his hunger. So not much dinner tonight.

He is full of cold, and I think that has had an effect, but he seems a bit more settled now.

A little bit of a rant


Saturday was ‘Medication Review’ day. This in my opinion, is a bit of a waste of time. I’m currently on three types of medication: an anti-acid for my stomach reflux, an anti-coagulant for my heart valve and a beta-blocker to help my heart. Now the doctor has told me, and I have no reason to disbelieve him, that these are lifelong medications and it is something I accepted when they were prescribed. So why, every twelve months or so do I need to have a medication review? I suppose it is good that I get to see my doctor and he can see that I’m doing okay, but if a medication is lifelong…

My doctors’ surgery is in Tadcaster and many people will be aware of the events of Boxing Day 2015, when the ancient bridge was damaged in the flood. This is the only bridge in the town over the Tadcaster bridgeriver Wharfe and it has literally cut the place in two. It is going to be rebuilt but is estimated to take at least 12 months to complete.

We live, in a nearby village which is on one side of the river, and the doctors’ surgery is on the opposite side. So at the moment, what used to be a 9 mile round trip is now 17 miles , and what used to be at maximum a 26 minute round journey, is now a 42 minute one. It is worse some many of the inhabitants. I know of one person that lives very very close to the bridge that works very close to the other side of the bridge. What used to be a 3 minute walk across the bridge now is now a 20 minute bus journey.

On a more positive note, work has commenced on building a, what I understand is a temporary footbridge close to the main bridge. This will go a long way to reuniting the two halves of the town.

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I’m still struggling to find the best posting method for me. This post is being written in Word and I then intend to ‘copy & paste’ it into the WordPress desktop app. I like the desktop app, but would like it better if it had a spell checker. That was one of the better features of the old online editor which seems to be missing from the ‘newer’ online editor that WordPress tries to get me to adopt.

I suppose, at the end of the day, the best posting method is the one that suits the poster best. I still like the Word 2013 Blog Post template, but then again I really liked the Windows Live Essential Writer program (anyone remember when ‘apps’ used to be programmes?). The best thing that WordPress can do next, is to update the new editor to include some proofing tools. So if anyone at WordPress reads this … please

And so the end of the first week…..


Well here we are, six days in and I really don’t feel any different. It seems that is will make a difference being this age as things might start to get a little cheaper. More on that later.

The ‘big day’ went as well as I could have hoped. I did not want any big celebrations or fuss that I think people might have wanted to plan, so it was a quiet day. I had changed my Facebook profile to not display my birthday, to see if anyone actually remembered. Guess what? Nobody did remember. It has come to something, when people, including some family members need a social media site to remind them of birthdays and the like! What was a surprise was, when I was searching for something on Google, I hovered over the graphic on the Google web site, and saw that Google sent me birthday wishes. Was a bit of a shock, before I realised that Google does actually know my birth date.

Lots of presents and a few cards, and a nice day out with K***s parents at Harlow Carr gardens. Then lunch at The Black Swan in Burn Bridge, near Harrogate.

One of the ways that being 60 has got a little cheaper is my prescriptions are now free. After my operation, I realised that it would be cheaper if I got a prepayment prescription certificate (or PPC). This drastically reduced the charges by over half. But, it seems that when you get to 60, the charges stop and all my medication is now free. The pharmacist, told me to reclaim the balance, and it looks like I may get somewhere in the region of £25.00 back.

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On Wednesday we set off for a couple of days break at The Black Swan (different one from before) in Fearby, just outside Masham. We got there in good time and decided that we do the Black Sheep Brewery tour. It was a very interesting couple of hours, and if you are in the area, I suggest you give it a go. You will not be disappointed. Especially with the beer sampling you get at the end of the tour! Now this was another way that being 60 was a little cheaper. The tour cost is £8.50 per person, which includes 3 x 1/3 of a pint of beer as your sampling. However, and I never spotted this, if you are a ‘senior’ aged 60 or over, you get in for £6.99 and still get the beer at the end. It seems that there are a lot of places that do this kind of reduction for people over 60, and I’ll need to look out for them. One thing that bothered me a little, was that no proof of age was required ……. Maybe my little joke about being as old as I look was not such a joke after all!

We arrived at our place of stay, at around 4pm, booked in and then went for a short walk round the village. It seems that The Black Swan is the only pub in the village. It worried me a little, that it might be a bit noisy later on in the night, but it turned out not to be the case.

The restaurant/breakfast room/bar had an unusual collection. The whole of the roof was covered with chamber pots. Must have been over 200 hanging from the ceiling. It made for an interesting if somewhat bizarre display. Mind you, saying that the landlord seemed to drive everywhere in an old U.S. army jeep, so I suppose each to his own.

Thursday was the day we were to do what is known as “The Druids Temple Walk”. Now this is not as dramatic is it sounds. The Druids Temple is actually a folly built in about 1820, by the owner of the Swinton Estate, as a means of employment for local people. It is stated that it is a 5 mile circular walk, although to me it seemed to feel more like 8 miles! But it was worth it when we got there.

We had a quick visit to Thirsk on Friday on the way home. Nothing special there for me, I’m afraid, but K*** seemed to like the place. K*** likes to make our breaks last as long as possible. Me, on the other hand prefer to get home as soon as possible on the last day.

All in all, it was a good couple of days away. The weather could not have been better and the scenery was just perfect.

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Monday will be interesting I think. The team I work with now, seem to like to ‘celebrate’ people’s birthday milestones, and they seem to know when everyone’s birthday is. Thing is, that I’m not in my main office tomorrow, so I’m not sure how things will pan out or what might happen when I go to the main office on Tuesday. I think I need to get some sweet stuff to take in on the Tuesday, but I shall just have to play it by ear. Before the last workplace review, the team I was in just did not do anything for birthdays. They didn’t even send each other Christmas cards, which always seemed unusual. I did get a ‘Get Well soon’ card after my operation, but it was given to me about 2 weeks before I returned to work, so I felt a little bit cheated.

 

 

Struggling for a title …..


The title of this post actually says quite a bit. My postings are just about me and mine. There is nothing of any importance here … no themes … no political agenda … just general rants. So often when I come to add a post title, I do struggle.

Well it’s the Bank Holiday, and of course the weather is up to its usual tricks. One minute it’s dry and sunny, next minute it’s pouring with rain. We have the Leeds Festival here this weekend and if it is anything like the 2nd year I went, it will be a mud bath again! Still 99% of the fans that go have a great time. With living local to Bramham Park we are entitled to apply for a limited number what they call “Guest” tickets at a discounted rate. I’m thinking that me and K*** may apply for next year if we can get R*** on respite that weekend. Not too sure if K*** will enjoy it much, but who knows?

The Out-Patients appointment was less than interesting. I don’t really know what I expected …. maybe a chest X-ray, an EEG, an ECG, blood pressure check, weight check and maybe even a blood test! It was nothing like that at all! For a start, two of the registrars were on holiday so that left only one to take the clinic. That of course meant delays all round of about 1 ½ hours. Finally got in to see him and the conversation went along these lines:

Him: “Hello, how do you feel?”

Me: “Okay, really good. Better than before.”

Him: “Good.”

Me: “I am getting a bit of backache around my shoulders.”

Him: “That is normal. Anything you would like to ask me?”

Me: “Erm ….. can I drive now?”

Him: “Yes, but you need to tell your insurance company.”

Me: “The white stockings, can they come off now?”

Him: “Yes of course.”

He then listened to my heart and told me that the sound was good and asked if there was anything else we needed to know. Neither of us could think of anything and we came away feeling rather deflated and disappointed with the whole meeting. Apart from using the stethoscope, there was no other ‘medical’ things done. To both of us, it seemed a waste of both our time and the hospital time/resources. It could have easily been done at the GP’s surgery. I’m supposed to have a 2nd appointment in about 6 months time and then a further one a year later. Based on this last one, I don’t really see the point. I have to see my GP sometime this month as one of my medications needs a review, so I might mention this to him and see what he has to say about it.

I emailed to car insurance company yesterday morning. Nothing has come back yet, so I will telephone them on Monday morning and find out what is happening. K*** rang her insurers (I’m a named driver) and they did not seem to take any notice at all, so it may be the same with my insurers.

* * * Update * * * Received the following email from the insurance company:

Thank you for your email.

This is to confirm that there are no driving restrictions on your policy. Providing you have not been told not to drive by your Doctor or GP and you feel fit and well enough to drive.

Back to sort of normal ….


For the past few posts, I have been concentrating on my “Life changer” thread. That thread is now being wound down and I’ll continue with my normal postings.

So where are we now? Well because of the operation, I’m currently on sick leave whilst I build up my strength again. As I mentioned before, I should be off work for about 3 months or so. Given the job I do, it may be a little shorter than that, I don’t know yet and I’m not going to push for an early return to work! It’s been 4 weeks to the date, since I had my operation and apart from a response to an email I sent, nobody from my team has been in touch at all! I’m not surprised by that, but more than a little disappointed that I’ve not even had a ‘Get Well soon’ card. I did not expect anything from my previous team, but I thought there may be something from the new team.

I have for many years (at least 40 if I’m counting) had a small health insurance plan that I pay into for K*** and me. This plan pays for dental and optician treatment and also pays a daily fixed amount for hospital inpatients. I have claimed for K*** before, but this was the first time for myself. It’s not a massive amount considering what has been paid in, but it’s a nice little some as bonus.

So with some of the money, I bought myself a new camera. I have wanted an SLR (Single Lens Reflex) type camera for a long time, but I did not want one of those huge things that need multiple lenses, that I used to have before. So I settled on what they call a ‘Bridge Camera‘, a camera that is between an ‘SLR’ and a ‘Point-and-Shoot’. It appears to work very well, but I need to get some kind of bag, and possibly a better neck strap. A trip to Amazon or eBay is required now.

One of the downsides to having this new valve (or maybe an upside depending on your point of view) is that I am now limited on the amount of alcohol I can take. I’m supposed to stop all together or have a maximum of 3 units per day. Very slightly went over that limit yesterday, and I’ll explain why. You may recall, that our youngest son is Autistic. One of his obsessions is to have the VHS video player playing a video all night long. We think that it might be some kind of ‘security blanket’ for him, and to be honest, we have now got used to it. Last night there was a problem! One of the tapes he has been watching seemed to get jammed. I thought that the tape had stretched and that the player could not read it. Now for most people/kids that would not be a big problem, but for R*** it was a major disaster. As usual, this caused him a great deal of stress and this started to come out as violence. That is when the limit was breached! It was only a very small whiskey, but still it was a breach of the limits I was working to.

We gave the medication he has, to calm him down and he seemed to accept that I would sort out the problem the next day. However, the medication had the effect of giving him a new lease of life and he was up and down until around 3am. This meant that both K*** and me only really dozed during that time. I tried the tape in another machine and it seemed to work okay, so I’m thinking that it may be the machine that is at fault rather than the tape. So I have now managed to swap out his VHS machine for the one we had downstairs. We never really watch VHS videos anymore, so it will not be too much of a problem.

Fingers crossed for a better night tonight.

Life changer – Discharge Day


So now we come to the day that nearly spoiled the entire experience.

I had been awake since 6am and my bags were packed and I had geared myself up for leaving the hospital. I felt that it could be a bit of an emotional day and was beginning to prepare for it. I had packed my bags the night before, and there was only my washing stuff still on my locker. Breakfast came at about 10 past 8, and I had decided to have cornflakes followed by a cup of coffee and 2 slices of toast. I had just finished the cereal, when I was told that I had to move to the other ward and make the bed free for someone coming up from ICU. Now, I remember the day I came up from ICU, so the idea that I should make way for someone else was not an issue. The issue was that I had to go there and then!! Halfway through my breakfast!! It could not wait for another ½ hour, I was to go then. I said a quick goodbye to the guy that I had spoken to the most and I was packed off to the other ward. I had an idea, that that ward got their breakfast first, so in a moment of defiance, I grabbed two slices of toast and took them with me, must to the amusement of the duty nurse.

I was dumped (not true strong a word) into a side ward, and had to wait until the cleaner had finished before I could have a wash and get dressed. The senior nurse came in and told me that I would be discharged at 10 am, and I had to explain to that K*** was coming to pick me up at 2pm. This, I was assured was not a problem and that I could stay there until then. Where else I was going to go, I do not know!! I was given a cup of coffee at around ½ past 10, and apart from the nurse going over the same details, the only other people to see me was another doctor. Lunchtime came and I was given, not what I had ordered but once again what had been left. I had just finished my dessert, when I was told, that I had to vacate the side room and was ‘allowed’ to sit on one the chairs in the reception area. I was not happy by this time, and I tried to explain to the nurse, that when my wife came at 2, we would need to be away by ½ past three at the latest in order to get home for R***. Once again, I was assured that this was not a problem. He also said he had the medication that I had arrived with.

From there on in, I felt like nobody cared anymore! There was another older man, who had been there since 10am and he was really angry, and his anger was beginning to get me angrier. Again I checked that they had the medication that I had come in with, and the assurances were there again. I was told they were just waiting for my prescription to get to pharmacy, they I could go. K*** arrived at 2pm and again explained to the nurse the issues that we had, and the reply came back that it would be all okay.

In the end, pharmacy came up with the medication at around 10 past 4. We went through the medication (which I already knew, because the nurse the evening before had gone over it all) and I asked for the medication I came in with. It was then that the nurse decided that he would go and look for them. K*** went off to get the car to the pick-up point whilst I waited. He eventually came back and sheepishly explained my stuff could not be found. Now I knew that it had been moved to the ward I had recovered from as the nurse the night before had shown me them. By this time, I had had enough and left. K*** was now as angry as I had been before. It was a good job that S**** had said he would be at home for when R*** came home or that would have been a serious problem. All in all, a pretty crap end to what had been a very successful week.

The feedback survey was interesting to complete!!!