Archives For qehb

The 9th of August. 

Well, I had a terrible night. It took me hours to fall asleep, then I woke up multiple times, too cold, couldn’t get comfortable. It is ridiculous that in August I am having to use my electric blanket. 

This morning, after a breakfast of porridge (weather appropriate), I wrote up a blog post, then I made the last two squares of the blanket. I think twenty is enough, once it has a border as well. 

I managed to spend almost all of my afternoon looking at the squares, at books and magazines, then back at the squares, trying to figure out how to join them. Tried various ways and eventually chose one, so I’ve joined six of them so far. This part will be tedious. 

Hope I have a better sleep tonight – up early for hospital tomorrow. 

The 10th of August. 

Another weird night – ages to go to sleep, then I woke at six with a horrific headache on the right side of my head, but it seemed to abate when I lay on my left. I had to get up at seven anyway and I was still getting pangs of pain, very reminiscent of the pressure headaches I used to get when I had the arm/face swelling and high blood pressure. I’m taking some co-codamol upstairs tonight in case it strikes again. 

Dr. Thompson was running pretty much to time this morning, so I didn’t have much chance to read my book. I really must try harder, because whenever I do pick it up, I want to advance the story. I really ought to just try reading it when I know I’ll have time. Anyway, I let him know how things had been since the venoplasty (arm the same, breathing slightly better) and he thinks next time I come I should do some tests so I’ll look forward to that. 

Nothing to do but come home, so I got busy assembling the blanket. I have sat in the armchair all afternoon, sewing squares together, then columns, then across the rows, then one border, and finally a second border. Now I just have to close up the gaps between the corners and weave in some ends and it’ll be done!

Oh and I have an appointment at the lymphoedema clinic, a week after I see the liposuction lady. I have to fill in a survey about my “quality of life”. Ha. 

The 30th of July. 

Not quite one’s average Sunday. The morning was fairly standard – Sunday Brunch, blog post. This week’s comedian pal appearing on the show was Joel, who ate some chips in order to make Nish lose a wager. 

After taking Grandma home from church, Mommy and I went into Sutton to get Pandora charms for today and August. I also got a chocolate dreamcake Krispy Kreme because it’s a day to celebrate. In the end, I went for the anchor charm at Pandora, because they describe it as the “symbol of hope” and hope was all we had at that point. My chances were 20% of 20%, which works out at 4%, and yet somehow, nine years since my second stem cell transplant, I am still here. 

When we got back, we had lunch, and I spoke to a girl who is interested in adopting Betty. She actually happened to be very near my house when we talked, so she came round straight away. Betty was her usual charming self, coming straight up and purring away like a champion. It seemed to go well; she’s gone away to think about it and fingers crossed she wants her. 

The 31st of July. 

My brain was very busy in the night, dreaming about all sorts of things. 

This morning, I worked on the panda head while communicating with Philippa to find out if James had sent my referral to the lymphoedema clinic. She said it had definitely gone, so then I rang the clinic who confirmed that they’d received it, but I won’t get an appointment until October! SIGH. I’m going to have to find someone else to see because I can’t do nothing for another two months. 

After lunch, I went up to the QE to see Dean. He was starting his chemo today so it was a good day to go before he starts feeling too ghastly. Although he wasn’t feeling wonderful today, bless him. Issues with chemo timing hadn’t helped, and pharmacy were being dreadful – his chemo was meant to be at one, but it still hadn’t appeared on the ward when I left at twenty to five. He is taking his mum to see Miss Saigon tonight and I really hope they got there because he’s been looking forward to this for ages. It was nice to meet his mum and younger brother; I have heard much about them so it was nice to have faces to put to names. 

Tonight I’m off to Denise’s for a Cats Protection meeting to try to work out what we’re going to do about homing. 

The 28th of July. 

I actually had a thing today – endocrine clinic, but I’d forgotten to put it in my diary. Thankfully, Mommy had it in hers, so we didn’t miss it. 

Andy Toogood usually runs pretty well to time, and today was no exception, so I got very little of my book read. He called me in shortly after half eleven, and I updated him on my current state. There’s nothing he can do about any of it but he needs to know these things. He did want some bloods to check my thyroid function, so I did that, then we had a quick trip into town. I needed to stock up on facewipes, and Mommy wanted to get her glasses tightened up a bit. We went our separate ways, and I searched all the aisles of Superdrug, but it think they’ve stopped stocking the range I use. Curses. So I bought some other ones and some toothpaste, and had a very entertaining time in the queue – a child in front was being a dick, doing fake crying because he couldn’t have some mint imperials. Then, when I had to pay, he was blocking my way, and refused to move. The woman with him (grandmother?) couldn’t get him to move until she physically moved him, and she apologised to me a lot. As I left, I heard her say “That’s it, I’m not taking you to McDonald’s now.” Bwahahaha. 

This afternoon, I have been assembling the minion. I got the arms and legs on, but when it came to attaching the eye, it was too big, so I’ve had to make it again with a smaller hook and it looks a lot more promising. 

The 29th of July. 

Finished the minion and season 2 of Zoo. What a productive person I am. 

Started my day with a phone call from Black Sheep to rearrange my hair cut appointment because Danyl has left! Don’t know why, he’s just gone. So June is going to cut it instead. Mysterious. Then I finished the minion’s face and took some photos to send to Robyn and Stu, who were greatly appreciative. Then I wrote up the blog post I forgot to do yesterday, and sorted out what I need for the panda. 

Lunch (pretzel and cinnamon swirl, thank you M&S), then this afternoon has been spent on the last three episodes of Zoo (had a tiny cry) and began work on the panda. He does not contain an immense amount of black and is less tricky than the minion so won’t be as hard as I thought.

I have also been trying to find a Pandora charm that is appropriate for tomorrow. I found a toy soldier, because I am a brave soldier? These links are getting very tenuous now but there is not much I haven’t thought of in ten years. 

The 14th of July. 

I have not really felt up to participating in life today. Not quite under the heavy cloud, but definitely not feeling myself. 

I didn’t have a great start to the day; up early again for the dentist this time. I saw the dentist first, and that was fine, but then I saw the hygienist and it wasn’t my normal one. I did not like her. She was very against me using a manual toothbrush or floss picks, and she was adamant that the kids’ Sensodyne Pronamel toothpaste isn’t minty (it definitely fucking is) and wouldn’t listen to me when I protested. She said I had loads of plaque, then cleaned my teeth really aggressively and painfully – there was blood all over my face and bib which has never happened before. She really didn’t seem to care about my history, or the fact that in all the time I’ve been at this practice and seeing Mrs. Richards, nobody has felt that I had any problems. I was very glad to get out of there. When I had to rebook, I made a point of making sure it was with my normal hygienist. Not seeing that woman again. 

Got home where I could finally have my coffee (no time before I went out), and I rang the lymphoedema clinic that has been recommended to me. They said I needed a referral, so on Monday I’ll get a consultant to write a letter. 

The rest of my day has been spent looking for something to wear on Tuesday. Fuck my arm. If I weren’t right-handed, I’d have chopped it off. 

The 15th of July. 

I am so tired. Another bloody early start for another morning appointment. This time it was to see the eye man at the QE. They were not running so on time today, so my 9.50 appointment ended up being more like half ten. Still, it was good news – said they were the best he’d seen them, which would certainly tally with how I feel. I can cut out one eye drop, so it won’t take so long to go to bed, and he’s prescribed something that might be better than Hyabak. 

Got home about twenty to twelve, and the stuff I’d ordered from ASOS yesterday had arrived. I’d sent for a couple of shirts and a dress. I’m definitely keeping at least one shirt, not sure about the other, and the dress is going back. It’s too dark for me. Shame. 

This afternoon, I listened to the tennis while writing up the venoplasty blog post, and I’ve been to pet the kitties a few times. There is interest in Bree but I really need Betty to go first, or she’ll freak out of she’s alone for the first time in a new place. Bah. 

Finally finished that doily I have been working on. I think next I will do some things for the new babies that are coming soon – Peter and Sophie’s, Michaela’s, and Robyn and Stu’s. All the babies!

The 12th of July. 

Venoplasty day!

Any day in ambulatory care means getting up before six which is not ideal, but necessary. I was last to arrive in my section, but that didn’t matter because I was third on the list, so there was no rush with my admission. I didn’t expect to go down until about eleven, so I was very surprised when a porter arrived at twenty past ten. The nurses didn’t even know, so I had to quickly go pee and put my gown on. 

Across in angio, I said hi to all the team, and Mr. Singh (who put the PICC in) came to consent me. Then Andrew came and we had a chat about the plan – it was left unspoken that this is our last shot. 

On the table, I was prepped, covered, cleaned. It is a testament to the greatness of the team that I have to be essentially naked in front of the whole room for a while but at no point did I feel undignified or unsafe. My groin was ultrasounded to find the vein, but there seemed to be trouble getting into it because I heard a lot of talk about scarring, then a dilator had to be used to hold it open so the sheath could go in. Then there were issues with the wires – people had to keep getting different ones from the wall. I think it was to do with the length or the stiffness? They were having to get all the way from the groin up to my neck, which is pretty far. They did a couple of runs with the gadolinium to check everything was in the right place, then it was time for fun and sleepy drugs. I got the nice, warm fuzz, then the discomfort of having balloons inflated inside you. I think they did maybe six inflations in total? They used the two biggest balloons available, in one site in the neck vein, one in the SVC and again a little bit further down. Then everything came out, and I had the awkward five minutes where a man leans heavily on my groin to stop the bleeding and there isn’t much to say. 

I went into recovery about twenty past twelve, where I had to stay for half an hour to make sure I was fine before they’d take the PICC out. When it came to that time, the nurses had changed, and the new one hadn’t done it before, so we had to grab a doctor to do it. The nurse watched closely, but there isn’t much to learn – just pull it out, then put some pressure on the hole. Then the nurse was able to ring the ward, where a student nurse said someone would come for me. Forty five minutes later, she rang again, and the staff nurse said she hadn’t passed on the message, and came straight away. I was fine; another nurse had shared her Jelly Babies with me and I only had twenty minutes of lying flat left. 

Back in ambulatory care, I asked Mommy to get the flowers and chocolates from the car because Emelda and Tracey would be gone by the time I’d be able to, so she delivered those and then got me some coffee and a sandwich, which I was only too eager to get into my face. Then we just had two hours to kill, so I was checking the tennis and talking to Mommy about what had happened in angio and what we do now. I have to keep my arm elevated a lot and try to squeeze the fluid down. We’re going to see if the massage people at the chiro do lymphatic drainage, and if that could help me. I’m also considering acupuncture. Anything that will get this swelling to go down. Anything at all. 

By half past four, I’d got myself ready to go, so I was given my discharge letter and we were out of there. I had a ticket to hear Matt Haig talk about his new book, How to Stop Time, at Waterstones at half past six, and I needed some dinner first. I ended up having a cinnamon crêpe and a chocolate milkshake because I am an adult and I can. 

Because of the wheelchair, I had to use the lift to get to that second floor, where the event was, which meant I basically jumped the queue. However, I chose to sit at the front which was good for watching the interview, but then I was at the back of the queue for the signing. However (and I honestly don’t know why this happened), some people near the front said I could go in front of them, so I got out a lot quicker than I might have. I just wanted to tell him how much I loved Reasons to Stay Alive. I’m so excited to read this new one. 

The 13th of July. 

Trying not to get sad. I’m pretty sure the venoplasty isn’t going to have worked. I’ve spent most of my day looking for effective treatments for lymphoedema. 

I had a chiro appointment this morning, which I was very thankful for because a) my neck has been really clunky recently and b) I wanted to ask about the massage/lymphatic drainage thing. Turns out my neck muscles have been recruited to help me breathe so they’ve got all stiff, and Trine’s not sure if they do this but she’ll find out on Monday. 

When we got back, I wrote a long entry about yesterday, watched two rather short Wimbledon semi-finals, and did a lot of internet research. There are the standard treatments of drainage massage and compression garments, but honestly they don’t sound very effective. There is a chance that acupuncture may have a small amount of benefit, but I’d want to know somebody who’d had it, not just pick a random practitioner. Or there are surgical interventions, and frankly I am leaning towards those. I will try anything. I just want my arm back. I want to not feel deformed. 

The 20th of June. 

It has been slightly less hot today. It didn’t feel like it this morning – I had to get changed after going upstairs to put on minimal make up because I was so sweaty. It was very unpleasant. 

I was meeting Sadie for waffles at one, so Mommy dropped me off in the Bullring car park and I went up in the lift to Selfridges so I didn’t have to deal with any blinding sunlight. I was early, as always, so I got a table and waited for her while perusing the menu. We decided we would have just waffles, no room for milkshakes too. I went for the Seriously Cinnamon, but without all the whipped cream and stuff they normally put on top. Just cinnamon and syrup for me please. 

I got to hear all about the debacle of her stolen phone, her dealings with the book eater (Matthew Goodwin, her PhD supervisor), and she got to squeeze my fat fluidy arm. A fair trade. Still no venoplasty date, by the way. Once we’d eaten and paid (neither of us could finish our plates), we moved to Starbucks for cold beverages and comfier chairs. Amazingly, sofas became available just as we ordered our drinks! How fortuitous. While there, we saw two children riding around the toy section of Selfridges on these houses that move around like real ones. They’re incredible and I want one. 

Back home, I managed to get the kittens to play a little bit. They will play with me, as long as I don’t make any sudden movements. Sigh. 

The 21st of June. 

Today has been the hottest. And I had to go outside. Bleah. Oxygen clinic at ten, where we saw Ben, who was very happy to see me without tubing on my face and looking much brighter. He also wanted to know what was going on with my venoplasty/PICC, and when we told him that nothing has happened, he said he would email Andrew to try to speed things up. 

Had a slightly longer appointment with the oxygen nurse, just because I had to explain everything about the pneumonia and my stays in during the past six months. She stabbed me in the ear and my oxygen levels were a bit lower than last year but that is only to be expected and they weren’t terrible.

Went into town before going home, where I bought three books (Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, The Power by Naomi Alderman and We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), an eyeliner and mascara from Boots, and a fan brush from The Body Shop. The lady who served me had to go and find one from the stock room, and came back with several which she put on the counter. I paid, and she brought my receipt and change round the counter to give to me, but not the brush. I assumed she had just forgotten to pick it up so asked for one and she thought she’d given it to me but I didn’t, so she handed it over. Then we went to Starbucks so I could get an espresso frappuccino. While I was waiting, I happened to look in my bag and saw a brush, which confused me because I was sure I’d put it in the Foyles bag with the books. I checked, and there was a brush in there too! I had no idea how the one in my handbag got there, so I got my drink and we went back to The Body Shop. I went up to the counter, where the lady was, and handed her the extra brush, apologising for my accidental thievery. She was very surprised me but congratulated me on my honesty. Sure I could have kept it, but what would I do with two? Seriously no clue what happened. 

This afternoon, I think I made some progress with Betsy and Brodie – we played games with my fingers. They don’t immediately run away from me now. 

I had an appointment with Trine at the chiro at half four, and it was much better than last time. No hospital bed makes such a difference!

The 14th of June.

It feels like we are just lurching from one tragedy to the next at the moment. Every week there is another atrocity, and it seems every single one is political. There is no doubt that the fact that this is a deprived area with poor residents, and that things have been done on the cheap will have made it worse, and the fire service were unable to tackle the blaze as effectively as they might have because they’ve been decimated by the cuts that Boris Johnson made. Heaven forbid there was a fire anywhere else in London. Just last year the Tories voted down a bill to force landlords to make buildings suitable for human habitation (surprisingly, 72 of them are landlords themselves), and Theresa May’s new top aide has been sitting on a review of fire regulations for months. They kill people. Every day. 

I had haematology clinic this morning, which was not enormously productive. I saw Praveen and updated him on my current circumstances, and he emailed Andrew. The most important thing was that we get some drugs, because my prescription got completely messed up when I was in.

I spoke to Emelda, Andrew’s secretary, and she has assured me that the paperwork has been sent and I should get a date for my next venoplasty very soon. I really bloody hope so; it was super warm today and I want to be able to show my arms without feeling like a freak . 

This afternoon, I hid from the news. I put on a sheet mask, watched Pretty Little Liars and iZombie, crocheted. I am lucky that I am able to escape from it. I can’t imagine the terror felt by those on the upper floors; if I were in that situation, I would find a way to kill myself. Absolutely petrifying. 

The 15th of June. 

I’ve been awake on and off since just before six this morning. It was too hot. Not surprising when you consider I still had my winter duvet on – it has been changed now so hopefully tonight I won’t be so warm. 

Quiet morning. Breakfast, coffee, then out to Black Sheep to get my hair cut at half twelve. Michaela was delighted by my FucktheTories necklace and immediately called Danyl over to see, who was straight in for a high five. I have decided he is going to be my colour guy now. Booked in with him next week. My hair was getting pretty long, so we decided to chop off all the back and sides. There’s only so much that can be changed when it’s this short already but Michaela can always come up with something. 

As I was leaving, I went to get in my chair and there was a lady sat by it with a great little chihuahua called Dolores. She was also a fan of my necklace and we had a photo together. 

Got home shortly before two, and this afternoon I have been crocheting, then unravelling because I changed colour and the new thread was thinner, so it has made the whole doily curl inward. Redo with a thicker one. The fluid in my arm makes it ache.