The 21st of January.

Happy Birthday to me!

I woke up to major snow flurries that went on for most of the morning. I had my breakfast and coffee, then opened my presents. I got several wool vouchers, a yarn bowl, two crochet hook rolls, some money, pyjama bottoms, Fry’s Peppermint creams, and multiple bunches of flowers. I also appropriated some After Eight leaves from the kitchen into my present pile.

The rest of my morning was spent writing up a blog post, watching Sunday Brunch, and talking to Christine when she rang after her run. Taid also phoned to wish me a happy birthday and make sure his card had come. He mentioned that 27 was the year he met Betty, my Grandma who died from leukaemia. I said I could only hope to be so fortunate.

Becky and Alison came round this afternoon (separately), both bearing flowers so the living room is blooming. We had some birthday cake (chocolate and cinnamon streusel cake) and caught up on family and school stuff. Nice to talk about non-hospital things.

My birthday dinner was duck marinaded in sloe gin with dauphinoise potatoes, then pancakes. It was super delicious, and I am so full, I need to sleep.

The 22nd of January.

Birthday done, and I begin my 28th year of life. Who would have expected that?

To begin, I spent most of the day crocheting. So much so, that the bunny is finished, so it has been worth it. This morning I made both legs and the tail while watching some Bones, then lunch. No fancy scrambled eggs and smoked salmon like yesterday.

This afternoon, I embroidered the bunny’s face, then put him together. While Mommy was at Grandma’s, I talked to Aunty Audrey on the phone, because she’d rung Grandma but her phone was off. I explained why, and updated her on how Grandma is. Then we had a chat about how I am, and how she chases away the cat that comes in her garden.

After that, I thought I would read some more of Gnomon. I’m getting through it, but will probably go with a smaller volume next. Not the Stephen King one I got for Christmas.

The 19th of January.

Kittens are gone! I am sad, but they’re going to a happy new home and the adopters have promised to send us photos of them in their new burger beds.

A much better night, no wind to wake me up. I spent the morning writing up a blog post, and sending a couple of Anthony Nolan emails. I also managed to spill my coffee in the kitten room and all over the table in the living room, staining it, because I am a dickhead.

After lunch, I started working on a crocheted bunny, and I filled in all the paperwork for the adoption this afternoon. They arrived quite promptly, having apparently been counting down the days. We got Autumn in the carrier first (although she escaped on our initial attempt), then we nearly got Ava but she wriggled out of Mommy’s hands. Amber did not get away, so we popped her in, and finally we lulled Ava into a false sense of security before giving her a big hug and putting her in the carrier with her sisters.

I am going to miss them, but they’ll be fine. We’ll get some new ones!

The 20th of January.

Birthday eve!

I didn’t have a great night; I kept waking up because I was cold, and I had a dream someone was trying to molest me. Not pleasant.

Amanda (Cats Protection treasurer and adopter of Harvey and Hugo) came round this morning to collect a bunch of cheques and adoption paperwork, and gave us an update on how they are. They have apparently become enormous. I do hate it when they grow up. Much prefer the tiny cats. Then I did some crocheting of the bunny I am making, so now it has a head, a body and part of an ear.

After lunch (which included a cinnamon swirl for the first time in ages because the boy who normally works in the M&S Bakery and can’t do them wasn’t there this week), Daddy and I went to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. We would have seen in last weekend, but the timings were no good. Thankfully, it was still on and at a convenient time so today was our day. I had to spend the first half of the film breathing through my scarf because the man in front of us had some sort of strong cologne on which assaulted my throat, so I needed a filter if I was going to not cough constantly. It’s such a good film – I kept seeing tweets saying how great it was and Christine saw it ages ago so I’m glad we got the chance. I laughed, I cried. Frances McDormand is excellent. It probably won’t be in cinemas much longer but if you get the chance you should see it.

We got home at six, and had about fifteen minutes before we went back out to Nosh & Quaff for my birthday dinner. I had a mimosa (in the drinks menu they say you can have an orange bellini but if you order that, they get confused), then some mac’n’cheese bites to start. They were delicious, although the cheese inside was very hot so I cut them all open to let the steam escape. There was a bit of a wait for the main courses, and I had ordered the Double Dutch chicken waffle. However, I took one bite and realised I was in trouble. In the menu, they do not mention that the coating the chicken is covered in is spicy as fuck and my mouth could not tolerate it at all. So much pain. So when the waiter came over to ask if everything was okay I was like “I have a problem”. He was very nice about it and brought me another menu after taking away the offending meal. I thought the hot dog sounded okay and he said yes that had no spice and he was correct. Just a good hot dog in a soft bun and no pain to endure. In all, I would call it a success, and would go back, but would check exactly how each dish is seasoned before ordering.

Tomorrow I will be 27 and it feels like a big deal.

The 17th of January.

Final early morning of the week today. No hospital, I was going to Black Sheep to meet Adam, the new owner (with his fiancée Sophie), and have a major colour change. He trained James, so has the expertise I need. New year, birthday, gig – all good excuses for new hair. We had a bit of a chat and in the end we’ve gone for seven different colours distributed through my hair. We had to bleach out the ginger first, then all the painting of the individual pieces took a while so I was there from 9.30 until 2. Long day in the chair!

I just had time to eat lunch, then we had to take the kittens to the vet for their second jabs. They were not particularly thrilled about it but I have since been forgiven.

Since getting back, I have crocheted the second arm of the bear, and I would like to go to sleep soon. Tired.

The 18th of January.

I got to sleep in until 9 o’clock this morning and it was so nice. I did get woken up by the letterbox flapping about in the night, but I put a podcast on and went back to sleep.

My plan this morning was to make the ears and tail of the bear, then assemble him. I got the first part done with no trouble, but when it came to putting him together, I found the snout was too big for the face. I tried all sorts of things, different wools, but in the end I created a new pattern and finally got him all sewn up.

This afternoon, I went to sit with the kittens, as they go tomorrow. I found to my delight that there was a new episode of Riverdale, still as mad as ever, then I watched a really bizarre film called This is Your Death which I hoped would be some clever Black Mirror-esque satire but no, it was just really fucking sad.

After that, I felt pretty glum, so Mommy and I watched Roast Battle and that cheered me right up.

The 15th of January.

Early start again – liver clinic this morning so we were out the door at nine. Philippa wasn’t in today, but I saw Kirsty and a nurse I know from TCT, who has changed jobs to help patients with the psychological effects of transplants and transition from BCH to the QE.

James was very happy with my liver tests; he went so far as to call them “perfect”. I’ll take that. He can’t quite believe it, after the way things were in 2013. To be 27 on Sunday is not something I thought I would do a few years ago. We weren’t sure I’d see 23. What a miracle my body is.

Got home and I had a coffee while I watched the first episode of season 4 of How to Get Away with Murder. The ending was a good twist – that’s a way to keep me watching. It’s so good. Viola Davis is amazing.

I was at the dentist and hygienist this afternoon. Dentist first, but not Liam as he has a new baby, so I met Elizabeth. She’s very nice, was very complimentary about my oral health, no problems there. Then Sandra cleaned my teeth and she was happy that we’d had success with the Oral B toothpaste.

Other than that, it’s been kittens and crochet. Make this flipping bear.

The 16th of January.

Bleah, it is too cold. Bloody winter. I do hate having to get up so early when is freezing too.

This morning it was the Women’s Hospital for menopause clinic. I got a bit of my book read, then I was called in by Elaine, Dr. Robinson’s clinical nurse. We had a chat about the past year, and about the procedure last week. Bit of concern about the coil, because that has to come out next year or 2020, and there is some worry as to how we retrieve it because last time, Miss Byrom couldn’t even see it. Will discuss it with her in follow up, although that has to be rearranged because the appointment they’ve given me is on the 12th. Can’t.

This afternoon, I went to sit with the kittens, and I watched Get Out. I thought it was really smart, the way Jordan Peele used the classic horror movie tropes like the deer hitting the car, but the most scary part is just the general creeping unease that grows throughout the film. I was glad to have my furry friends during the final sequence.

The 13th of January.

I was feeling frustrated at myself, because I had to completely unravel the bear I’ve been making because I was going to run out of wool if I continued with the hook I’ve been using. Start again! However, Singin’ in the Rain is on and it never fails to cheer me up.

I was also annoyed because Daddy and I went to see Coco, but my experience was marred by the man behind us constantly talking to his son. Talking in cinemas should be illegal.

When they weren’t blathering on, I very much enjoyed it. It’s so colourful and well told, and for once I didn’t sob so I might be able to watch it again. The songs aren’t great though. Not a patch on Moana.

Not much headache to speak of this morning, which was good because we had to be up early for eye clinic at ten to ten. It turns out that the pressures in my eyes have gone up, so I’m starting a new drop to combat that. I’m to try to bring my dexamethasone use down to twice a day, then switch to prednisolone and get that to twice a day. Every time I’ve done it in the past it’s resulted in pain but hey, I’m a trier.

The 14th of January.

It occurred to me this morning that next Sunday is my birthday and I really haven’t thought about it at all. Got no plans, haven’t asked for anything. Not my usual self at all. I suppose I have just had too much other stuff on my mind!

Today it was back to being productive. This morning, I watched Sunday Brunch and restarted the bear. Over the course of the show, I finished the head, although even with a much smaller hook, it used more wool than I expected it to.

After lunch, I had to sit in silence so I could finish writing my blog post for Anthony Nolan. I took a break to watch an episode of The Biggest Loser with Mommy while she was not at hospital with Grandma, then I went to sit with the kittens and write some more. However, they weren’t keen on sitting still, and then I choked on some of my water which was terrifying for them and for me, so I returned to the living room where I got to the end. It’s a little bit longer than they asked for, so I’ll ask Mommy to proofread it, see if any of it needs cutting, then send it to Lucy.

The 11th of January.

It’s been a much less productive day. Since the spinal injection, I wake up with a kind of pressure headache and am fairly useless. Dr. Allan warned me about “post-spinal headaches” and I think I have a very mild form of that. It can be so bad that people can’t get out of bed, and I don’t feel quite that bad. Just start off the day feeling quite shit but it wears off by lunchtime.

So, quiet morning, wrote up a blog post, little bit of crochet. Mommy went to hospital to see Grandma who is doing better, on much less oxygen, but will be in for several days.

She came back for lunch, and we gave my hair a wash before going to pick up the kittens after their spaying and chipping. They were all very quiet on the journey home and fell upon the food like they’d never eaten before. I stayed and sat with them for the rest of the afternoon and watched the last three episodes of Big Little Lies. I can see why it won all the Golden Globes! Really bloody good.

The 12th of January.

The headache was not so bad this morning – hopefully in a few days they will have abated.

This morning, after breakfast and some time for the headache to pass, I started on a blog post I’m writing for Anthony Nolan that will be used to formulate a press release for Still Standing. I’ve found that I cannot write if I am distracted by any noise, even music, now. I can’t compose my thoughts into sentences if there is noise.

This afternoon, I took a break, and did some crochet of another bear while watching some Bones. Then a lady and her daughter were coming to see the kittens with a view to adopting them, and it went really well. To begin with, Amber and Ava hid under my chair, but they eventually emerged and by the time they left, all three had allowed themselves to be petted and did some purring.

It’s a yes, and they’re coming back next Friday to pick them up. I’m glad I have another week with them; I love them so much!

The 9th of January.

Well it’s been a curious day. I had to get up at quarter past five to ensure I had time to drink a litre of water before 6am, from which I had to be nil by mouth.

We arrived at about quarter to seven, and had to wait outside the Short Stay Wellcome Unit until someone let us and the two nurses without working passes in. Then we sat in the waiting room and watched Good Morning Britain until someone came to take me to my bedspace.

I was in the corner of the room – it used to be the ICU when it was the main hospital, so the bedspaces are massive and it means I am not crammed next to loads of people. I have been here before but we can’t remember what on earth for.

Mr. Titley came to see me, and he ran through once again what was going to happen. Examination under anaesthetic, possibly biopsy, possibly smear, possibly photographs. In the end, none of those things happened, just the exam. I signed the consent form, and off he went. Then I met with the anaesthetist, Dr. Allan, who was very nice, as all anaesthetists are. We talked about why he didn’t want to knock me out – same as Dr. Thompson, in that I’d end up stuck in ICU and if they ever did wake me up, my lungs would be in worse shape than they were going in which we can’t have. He had to talk me through all the risks of epidurals and regional blocks etc, which I was happy to take, then he went away and I finished being admitted by the nurse.

Miss Byrom wasn’t expected to arrive until about ten, so I didn’t get changed until twenty to, and I’d not been ready long when a porter came to get me so my timing was impeccable. I started off in the little anaesthetic room, where the trainee anaesthetist got stuck up against a valve in my wrist, so Dr. Allan had to stick the cannula in halfway up my forearm. I needed it so they could give me a bit of antibiotics and fluid so there was a balance against the spinal injection when he did it. When it came to that time, I had to sit with my legs over the edge of the bed, and hunch over my pillow on my lap. I got sprayed with super cold cleaning spray all over my back, then there was a small amount of local which felt the same as always, and then he did the regional block injection which I didn’t feel at all. All I noticed was a spreading feeling of warmth from my bum downwards, which was sort of nice but also disarming. I could move my legs to get them back on the bed, then I had to wait for them to get heavy before we could do anything more. I didn’t expect the sensation to be so acute – despite my brain knowing that I have the muscle strength to move my legs, I physically could not lift them, not even using my arms. It is absolutely bizarre.

At that point, we could move through to theatre, where my legs were put in the stirrups, and nine strangers got to see my vagina. That was interesting, because I could see them being flopped about into different positions, but I had no feeling at all; it was like they were broken, like they belonged to someone else. Then my vagina got sprayed with the cold spray to test if I could feel anything, which I could not, so they were able to begin. As far as I could tell, Miss Byrom tore through the adhesions again, then there was just a lot of shoving – I was aware of pressure, but no pain. It is entirely scarred, so no biopsy would tell us anything, and Mr. Titley cannot do any surgery to help. It took them about 20 minutes of shoving and looking to decide this, then some packing and a catheter were put in, and they started discussing what might be done next. It sounds like I’m going to end up with some kind of custom made silicone dilator but we will have to see. Emails must be sent.

Once covered up, I was taken to recovery, where I got a hot blanket which was so beautifully toasty, and we waited for my theatre notes so I could come back to the ward. And here I have sat since twelve, waiting for the anaesthetic to wear off and the catheter to come out. I have had coffee and a panini, and can move my legs independently again, which is nice. It still feels like I am sitting on a cushion of jelly, five hours later, but the catheter is out and I’m hoping to be able to pee in the next half an hour so I can then go home.

For all the NHS crisis talk, you wouldn’t know it here. I have been taken care of wonderfully, they are showing no signs of stress and I haven’t got angry at anyone.

The 10th of January.

I was woken up by Mommy telling me she had to go to Grandma’s because she was being taken into hospital. The cough she seemed to be incubating has definitely matured into a nasty chest infection and as the day has gone on, she has had tests and been admitted to have IV steroids and antibiotics while being on 5 litres of oxygen. That’s more than I was using even when my lung collapsed so she is really quite unwell. Apparently the doctor was not exactly optimistic.

My day has been a pretty quiet one, as one would expect the day after surgery. I was supposed to be going to a clinic at St. Giles but I cancelled that – I’m not sure how productive it would have been, and we’ve agreed I’ll reschedule once I’ve had my fancy MRI.

I had a couple of other phone calls; one with Adam from Black Sheep about my hair colour, one with the eye department at the QE to sort out an appointment, one with Lucy from Anthony Nolan to discuss press for Still Standing, and one with a lady who is going to come and view the kittens on Friday.

Speaking of them, I watched some more of Big Little Lies with them asleep in my arms. I’m almost reluctant to allow their adoption!