Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

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Location: United Kingdom

Perhaps you'll learn more about me as you read my blog. For anyone who translates my blog using the translator facility, don't forget if you wish to read the comments in your own language to click on the title of the post down the left hand side otherwise they will remain in english. Also I assume that the translation is accurate but I don't know, so please allow for errors.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I Don't Need A Crutch To Fall Back On...

and I hope that I am strong enough to cope with what life will throw at me but I have to admit to having a large bottle of cider tonight. I don't mean those large 2 litre plastic bottles...

No, I'm not drunk and I know exactly what's going on but I think that I deserve it. Even Mum has said "It will do you no harm!"

Mum has again let me know what I mean to her and says that she knows that I will be taken care of and to worry about what the future holds. Mum's eh? Most never lose that believe in their offspring, I know that I will lose my best friend.

She really does believe that I will be taken care of...so I have to as well.

At best my alcoholic nightcap will make me sleepy, that is all it has ever managed to do on the few occasions I have imbibed.

Of course your mind races ahead, it cannot be helped and just in my eye line are two full boxes of Christmas Crackers we did not manage to pull last year or perhaps they were purchased in one of those sales that follow soon after. Well, I won't be able to make any use of them if on my own so I guess I'll have to give them away either to some good cause or ask neighbours can make use of them.

It brings home how mortal we all are and how short our time is, how things can change so quickly. I'm not planning on rewriting my own will. Mum used to say "I don't what I would do if anything happened to you with all your stuff!"

I doubt that there is anything of real value...some old clothes, Cd's, very few DVDs, perhaps some old furniture that probably would be crushed or burned in an incinerator so why is it worth bothering? I'm not even bothering to arrange my own send off. The state can sort that out. If I had family and loads of friends I know would attend it probably means something especially to those left behind but what would it mean for me?

This also assumes that I will always be in my own home and doing what I want to, I might be in residential care, what meagre savings I have may be taken away and there won't be room to take my personal possessions...cheerful times ahead indeed.

And no I am not being deliberately maudlin or trying to reverse some of the compliments that some have been kind to pay me but its the most likely scenario. If certain medical ailments come home to roost.

It's Not Looking Good...

Back from the hospital...

Its not looking good.

The Dr we saw told me on the quiet that Chemo was out. That the growth looked bad(and he will have seen enough examples to know in his heart of hearts whether its cancer or not)but at the end having taken a biopsy he said it could be a polyp but I doubt it(I know that he doubts it too)and his reaction said it all. He felt her stomach but didn't mention feeling anything else. We go back in a fortnight to hear the results but Mum has already guessed that its not good either.

He mentioned at best they might take a bit of the growth away so she can pass motions easier but that was about it.

When they start talking about considering getting help in that sounds like she may not have that long.

Update:I was offered some dressings at the hospital to bring home...they forgot to give them so I had to hunt out the nurses and they gave me...six!

I went back to the District Nurses(a number I had been given earlier in the week)and was told Mum's case was closed and passed to another number. I phoned the Dr's surgery first to see what they could offer and they gave me the same number. I phoned, they don't supply items like the dressings etc...I was put back to...the place I started.

They have delivered some items tonight and from Monday they are going to help with Mum's care...not sure how much but Mum is ok about it. I'll still do most of the care but...they will assess both our needs.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

As I Walked Around The Shop At The Hospital...

I knew it was going to be a long day so thought I'll buy a newspaper but the headline on The Daily Express was interesting(not the one I purchased)

It said something along the lines that millions will be better off as of this weekend because the minimum basic wage will reach £6.08 an hour(I think you have to be over twenty one years of age to benefit, if not though all minimum wage rates have increased, if you are younger you do not receive that)

Really? As the cuts and economic problems hit home that extra few pence will be swallowed up and any benefit will not be felt by many.

Of course wages should not be lower than £6 an hour but is it a living wage? Of course not.

If its your first job and you live Mum and Dad it may seem ok but who could really do anything worthwhile on that amount?

More and more companies are setting the bar at that level. And wages will again have to be topped up by the state.

And now social housing is being used as a political football, the latest idea being you will be higher up the list for being offered/considered for a house if you are in employment. Not if you are struggling, you could still be genuine trying to find work and find yourself penalised.

Few jobs are secure for life. What about the tenant who loses his/her job when living in what is called Social Housing?

I wish we could stop classing all who are unemployed or living in poverty as being scroungers or not worth bothering with. Each case is different.

In the States a friend of mine(where we are always told that there you make your own good fortune)says what is happening now is that society is being divided more. I paraphrase when I say now its a kind of them and us situation.

All we see is those who make it big in the media or they look for the dregs that are probably up to no good but you don't see the genuine people who are suffering through no fault of their own.

Cynically I could suggest that they want employed people in social housing so they can avoid paying or reduce how much Housing Benefit the tenant is entitled to so they could even look at what income you are bringing in.

It was a problem with the Tories(It always has been, the Lib Dems are trying to slow down the changes but will as they work in a coalition Government have to go along with some policies they would've dismissed and now the Labour party sounds so much like the other two parties I cannot see anything between them.

And its the same in just about any Western country politically and even some traits we have had for years are starting to show in countries you once would have said was impossible.

This will sound glib. We know everything moves on and little stays static, we know that in the past life was hard of course it was, what with slavery, poverty, wars etc...(wait a minute that still goes on)but its at a different level and a lot has happened to improve our lives accordingly but I do not like much of what I see that is happening and I see little to make the future for many look Rosy. We seem to begoing into reverse. Life is precious especially regarding loved one's and family but otherwise I'm not so sure.

And I've already mentioned previously about the 46 Million on the poverty line in the US, the christian charity giving out groceries to 100,000 families in the UK, now another story has broken after a press release from Fareshare no wonder many hate those who are in charge and make the decisions that affect so many. I don't think those who rioted in London fall into this category but its a wonder there is not more unrest on the streets.

Of course it feeds into my fears of how poor my life will be. If its bad for a family, for a single person the electric, gas, travelling to and from work(if you are well enough)rent, council tax and so on will cost the same but with less income coming in it's tough. All this about moving into smaller property doesn't wash either as the rent on another place will continue to rise and ultimately you will be living in accommodation that probably would not be seen as acceptable and your living standards are dropping, you are going back over.

I cannot believe that I have written this entry with all the worries I have at present but of course at the time I had not been with Mum to see the consultant and received what is the news we were dreading.

On A Lighter Note...

Our odd job gardener gave us a second hand vacuum cleaner better than the one we had which packed up altogether and its good enough for now to do the cleaning, its a bag less VAX upright. Its a bit noisy though...

Today I discovered he'd bagged up some rubbish and put it in the wheelie bin. I thought...I didn't put that there(I opened it and there are things that I would not have thrown out)including some tin dishes with lids that you can cook food in an oven so I pulled it back into the passage. I didn't have time to check if anything else was thrown out but I'll go through the bag and see what's in it!

This is like something out of a comedy tv show or a film...Mum was about to eat some soup and he said he is wife had baked a meat and potato pie with gravy so he presented Mum with half a pie and took the soup off her but Mum wanted her soup so I later discovered she'd hidden most of it away and when asked, she said she'd eaten and enjoyed it! His heart was in the right place I know...

But I thought the time that had passed was too short so I looked and found what she'd done and cleared it away discreetly!

One piece was wrapped in kitchen roll and carried away from home in my trouser pocket and disposed of in a bin in the town centre.

What A Day!

We really had no idea what a Blood Transfusion entailed...

Obviously, there was a lot going on behind the scenes but Mum was either sitting in a chair or laid on a bed for 3 hours and then it was lunchtime...
At which surprise, surprise they decided to hook Mum up to the transfusion.
Happily Mum ate her meal(Soup, Fish, Broccoli and Potato Bake, followed Summer Fruit Crumble and Custard)

We're still looking for the Broccoli...

And though Mum wasn't exactly slow, by the time Mum got around to the crumble it was quite cool.

The nurses were really friendly and good at their work but Mum was getting quite tired of how long it was taking for the transfusion to be completed(5 hours)

It is obvious that many who attend these sessions are regulars who have to come in every so often and have top up.

In a funny sort of a way I could see similarities to Kidney Dialysis sessions. Though I appreciate a Transfusion is replacing chemicals that are missing and the other is removing chemicals from blood.

I think Mum looks more radiant since the transfusion but she is so thin. At least she still has an appetite, her blood pressure and the temperature is fine. All good signs? Colour has returned and you don't realise until you see it for yourself. They say it takes a few days for the benefits to kick in...

Mum was in quite a lot pain upon getting home and asked me to see all was well in the bottom area(there's no modesty here)I cleaned her up, gave her a suppository and a paracetamol but in doing so I had to see the dreaded growth, its so bad and has increased in size I'm not surprised she has discomfort. It seems to have happened so suddenly, I don't remember it being as it now but we'll find out tomorrow.

A shop assistant in Boots today(somehow got onto medical conditions)and mentioned that she'd been diagnosed with something over 30 years ago and she was told it could change to Bowel Cancer but she had to avoid becoming anaemic which usually triggers this off. So has Mum's Anemia actually caused this problem?

Well that's one hospital visit finished...tomorrow its the one we dread but hope we'll get a surprise and its not as bad as we fear.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Its Been Taken Out Of Our Hands...

Mum had a very, very bad night.

Just as i thought I may have to take Mum into hospital earlier than planned and try and chase things up...

Another Dr from the surgery made a house call...

It turns out that Mum is anaemic and the count is lower than when a transfusion would have been ordered if under care being at home and not in hospital they would not know that. 7.6 hemoglobin which is very low.

The Dr who called here tried to get Mum into hospital today but typically there were not any beds, so he contacted the medical day unit and the earliest they could offer for a transfusion was tomorrow or Friday.

Soon after the Dr had gone we received a phone call and she will have a transfusion at 9am tomorrow morning.

They think the transfusion will make her feel much more brighter and I assume that will improve the shortness of breath and confusion. Even weight loss.

The tumour is at the anal verge(rectum was mentioned orally when the Dr called various places)

I asked what were the probable reasons they would not go ahead with treatment/surgery. It depends on what else they find and if it has spread but they would probably still consider chemotherapy or radiotherapy to shrink the tumour we know of and tumours that we don't but surgery might be refused if they think Mum is frail.

And that for now is the one barrier that worries me the most because Mum says she will do all it takes to get better and that includes surgery and she knows its going to be tough. But if they judge her to be frail...

A kind person told me of her Mum and its virtually our situation and they thought she was too frail for surgery but she had two blood transfusions and something else done and the decision on the operation was delayed for...four months but they went ahead and all seems well. I know though that each consultant, hospital and case is different and they all have their own way of going on.

The first appointment with the oncologist is Friday around 10am so I am happy that Mum will have had the transfusion before then.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Don't Want To Go Yet!

Mum's just said that to me...I have seen the growth and it seems to have suddenly increased in size. Or is it just because I saw it from a different angle. It seemed to change very little for some time. I honestly cannot think of how long its been there.

Time passes by so quickly...I know that I took Mum to Accident and Emergency when she had a bleed I thought was bad...her blood pressure was good, they told her eat plenty of fibre and not to strain and that growth must've been missing then otherwise the Dr examining her would've said something then.

Was that a year or a year and half ago?

This hospital trip is going to be very difficult...

It gets worse...Mum's now crying and wanting me to be with her and she's saying "That she's dying!"

If only I could take the emotional suffering away...

I have heard her in her sleep/when troubled saying things "I've Done Nothing Wrong!" and even more hurtful...no matter what your age, your Mum means the world to you and I have heard Mum crying for her Mum and repeatedly saying "Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!"

Of Course It's Biased...

But there are few ways a great section of society these days can be heard in the media and by politicians.

So many have no idea how difficult it is to manage now or is going to become quite soon and I am afraid I have little if any faith in any of the major parties and the current economic situation doesn't help because it gives an excuse to bring in measures that will hurt and would normally be unpopular...

Its worth going quite a way back on the following site to see earlier posts than what may show up from recent days.

I do have a link on the left hand side of my blog but I decided that I would give this site the attention it deserves.

Diary of a Benefit Scrounger

A Not So Good Day...

Mum had a restless night but had quite a lot of pain...Upon my return at lunchtime no pain but very very sleepy. When tired she is more likely to be not so "With it!"

However, Mum promised to have some soup around 4pm and some spaghetti on toast. So that will get something onto her stomach. Mum appears to have gone off Complan...for now.

What actually happened is that Mum had spaghetti, bread and followed it with a biscuit and tea. And tonight she says she will have two fried eggs(well mainly the yolk rather the white of the eggs)or two poached eggs and one or two small mashed potato patties. Hopefully, to get something to nourish her body.

Its changed to one or possibly two poached egss at 10pm(I don't care what time Mum eats as long as I get food inside of her)

Its touching, she gave me such a lovely smile, a cuddle. Mum has a strong faith and says that "Jesus and also with the help the Dr and you I will get better."

She's taken hope(I do hope so)from people in the public eye who have either beaten or lived for quite some time with that dreaded disease that we worry she has such as football manager Sir Bobby Robson and the singer Russell Watson.

Where had I been? Trying to sort out our finances so that we both benefit.

After years of trying to have some control of Mum's affairs(which she was always for)and her bank telling me I had to be a joint account holder(which would affect my own finances)

Today I have been told that I can look after mum's account without being a joint account holder and I can also If I wish be added as a Power Of Attorney to her accounts. A case of now they tell me!

I'm not sure which one to use. In the end it may be as easy just to take a third party mandate.

Another reason, unbeknown to me and I suspect many genuine people watching out for their relatives(we're not all crooks)is that there are so many new rules to follow you'd have to be a master criminal to get away with anything.

I had the best POA drawn up possible...or its more like that I had. Its open ended but by chance on the internet just before writing this entry, I read that new rules have come in that affect some of the things you can/cannot do and it seems from 2007 they stopped issuing the type of POA I have.

But if issued before that date some of what the document allows you do is still enforceable but you've a lot of legal stuff to wade through to find out what is still covered.

It appears that I may as well leave things as they are...should Mum have to go into care her savings would have to be even lower not to be considered. Also all of it is not taken in one swipe but is reduced by a certain amount per week and then when you reach a certain threshold that is treated as allowed capital.

Another option is that if Mum is not in care you can manage the account and put money in and take it out for acceptable reasons.

There's no point Mum giving me a gift of a sizable sum because it would affect my own situation and I'd be worse off.

And if the worst case scenario happens...again I'd actually be worse off by coming into what may be seen as a small windfall. I'd have accept it! And to live and make it last(Can the authorities question what you are spending it on?)Or is it my right to do with it what I wish if I am trying within reason to live a decent life?

I'd have to become even more frugal than at present possibly cutting back on electric, gas, giving up the tv, the telephone and internet unless I can work out a way to save money...perhaps watching only free to air channels a way of cutting the line rental on the phone so money saved means I can still use the net. And we haven't talked about how my choice of food may suffer and I may see the variety of quality of food go down.

Its not as if I am extravagant or have opulent tastes.

Mum is still pretty savvy on many things(Thank heavens)and money and her trusting and wanting me to take of her finances is one aspect that for now is ok.

Again, its the people with small amounts of savings that suffer, those with much more know all the tricks to avoid such problems, I say tricks but the practices used are often legal so nothing dodgy has been done.

If you were up to something you'd probably not be in this situation in the first place. Of course you have to protect the venerable but its a minefield to walk through.

Oh I met someone I haven't seen for ages(he worked as medic in the States and the UK most of his life)and he has also told me Mum might have a kind of chest infection(I cannot spell it)can cause confusion. So there could be even another reason for this.

Worryingly, I also have heard that should we beat the growth problem the drug given for dementia is so expensive there are many conditions which will decide who is allowed access to it so we cannot guarantee Mum would get it and that's on hold because of the other problem. So I may want to use Mum's savings towards the cost of that drug if its not given to her(and its not too late to have an affect)

Of course all the above means diddly squat if I lose her and/or suddenly her savings are passed to me. Some of that will be taken up with(I cannot beat around the bush)funeral costs.

Also the headline in a national newspaper suggests that cancer experts are saying that drugs should not be given just to prolong life even though an example given suggested that someone given three months to live has so far survived five years. It could be a scare story or may be taken up as policy(who knows)It wouldn't surprise me but I also know how newspapers write stories to create a reaction.

Its a difficult time for us(and many)but I don't like the way the country is going. Help offered/given isn't as it once was. Many are being held down and just surviving day to day and many have little to look forward to and the stories that get into the media or are peddled by politicians give a false impression of how great life is for many people.

Not everyone is getting something for nothing.

A law is a law and they say ignorance is no defence. But equally I can even if I add I should not condone breaking laws in general and accept you cannot really pick and choose to follow those you personally agree with and ignore the rest, I can understand how and why some people do "Fiddle" and how they find themselves torn between what is right and wrong. If it keeps your head above water. You'll do what you can whether you are on your own or have family to think of.

If a shoplifter steals and does it because they can and they don't have to who could condone that but if you steal food because you have to eat to survive could anyone really treat them the same? There was a case a few weeks ago that came to court I believe of such a nature.

I could actually see if I am not careful a scenario where I could be homeless, I could see a time where(and I used to say this to Mum)what are we saving our meagre amount of money for? Who are we going to leave it to? Why should we scrimp and make do with furniture and carpets that have seen better days? A television etc...that is almost 30 years old and so on.

Well, as usually happens...we have done that and should I end up alone, every penny will be precious, I'm afraid I will still be living in a home that has an old interior. It will not win any prizes in a lifestyle magazine or impress any guests that call.

And I suspect as my savings will be low when if/my funeral happens, there won't be much remaining, maybe by then there won't be enough what am keeping it for? It will have to be taken care of by the authorities, I have no reason to be bothered.

They won't get much for my worldly goods...some old clothes, some books and some CD's, an old bed, an old fridge/freezer, a cooker and a few chairs.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Better Day...

Well I hope so...

I'm not saying Mum's memory is back to normal but it seemed more "With it!" Not so much repeating of things, not as many things wrong if I do one of my memory tests and all in all she seemed brighter.

I think the problem gets worse when tired.

Typically, when I went out for my tests for my consultant the nurse turned up for Mum's blood test. I thought it may happen(second sight)so I'd put a note on the door asking her to call back. She did. What a lovely nurse. Lovely bedside manner, gentle, understanding.

Mum is feeling a little apprehensive about what will happen at the hospital. I mentioned about the symptoms of anaemia to the nurse(she has it herself)and yes it can cause confusion and shortness of breath so here's hoping that its fixable. And this is not being caused by the growth...

A lot can be understood from a blood count. Also it gives a good idea if the Liver and Kidneys are functioning well.

I have an mp3 player on shuffle and its amazing how many people from nurses to Paramedics when they call compliment what we have playing and considering the different ages of those who call its amazing how many like the mix and it includes such eclectic choice it proves that there is audience out there for more than what we are usually served up by many radio stations.

Then again I have over 14,000 tunes I can choose from...

Mums appetite is holding...small portions yes but she had soup earlier and now is about to have a fish cake(cod and parsley)its deep filled so if it gets a bit hard on the outside there is plenty of goodness inside and some spaghetti hoops.

I said whatever she fancies I will go out of my way to get...

Sadly, in the supermarket I met an acquaintance I don't see very often and she told me of...three people Mum knows and they live/lived in our street and one is in another that we can see from Mum's bedroom and they have passed away within months of each other. And we cannot believe that the last person being so close was missed by us.

Then again, this part of my town has stayed quite constant over 50 years and the same families have virtually stayed put and therefore when it does happen its more noticeable.

Oh, I don't buy many CD's and at present I guess its difficult to keep an interest in things but not knowing if buying a CD will be a luxury and unaffordable I saw two that attracted me...

Tony Bennett's second in a series called Duets II(21 Tracks and that included 4 Bonus titles and an extra DVD about the making of the CD)where he sings popular standards with other well known contemporary artists and I found a three CD boxed set of recordings by Doris Day for £3 which had enough titles(60)of which 37 I did not already own so it was still a bargain.

Cold Blooded...

I think from previous entries on here you know that we are not rich but with the worry that Mum may not improve or get better I've had to try to start(probably too late)and find out what I should do with our finances so we are in the best position for both of us or myself.

I contacted the solicitors who ten years ago arranged our wills and Power of Attorney documents. And found them most unhelpful. They said that they couldn't advise, what's a solicitor for? Mum's bank has been pretty difficult to but that has been so for ages.

So once again(and even they may not be able to advise either)its back to the Citizen's Advice Bureau in the hope that they may, they could say that they are unable to help too.

Mum has said she wants me in charge of everything but she is not fit enough to start going to banks or solicitors and I'm not having much success regarding if I need anyone to come to our home to sort matters out.

In the end I may just have to leave everything as it is.

Its awful to have to think about practicalities at such a sad and worrying time.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

False Appetite...

I hope not and that it is a good sign that Mum whilst perhaps eating smaller portions is still eating a variety of food.

Recently, we've managed Special K, milk and banana. Scrambled eggs, chicken and vegetable pies and I keep suplimenting the diet with complan...but I have just asked what Mum would like tonight(It could change)but the choice is salmon and new potatoes.

We also have in the past managed trifle, cheesecake and...vienetta.

Not all at the same time...

Then again its me letting the side down, I've been off my food worrying about Mum but I have managed to "Get something into me eventually!" I can't afford to get run down myself. That won't help either of us.

Actually, thinking about it salmon is probably the very kind of thing that will build up Mum and do her good but thinking back to an earlier post where we discussed how you can survive on very little, I suspect food choice will be restricted and something like salmon would be something that you save up for as a treat.

But there's always plenty of experts telling what you should be eating.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

One Straw To Grasp...

I have discovered thanks to a site that is devoted to "Bowel" cancer that though the amount of people that seem to lose the fight against the disease, if discovered early enough the success rate is good regarding the extension of life and/or beating it.

It is a slow cancer so I have to hope that means we're in with a fighting chance and did not leave it too late before seeking treatment.

I have added a new website link to the left side of my blog it has lots of information and a forum where you ask questions, I print it again here...

Beating Bowel Cancer

Should you wish to follow my posts on the site and see the advice and help I am given on the forum look for Popperwell1.

Its not going to be easy and Mum goes through periods where she says she's willing to do all she must to live and survive, other times she says the opposite and then other times tells me to decide...is this due to the confusion and not comprehending the situation? If I have to decide on her behalf its going to be very difficult to be sure I make the decisions that are right for her.

I quote from one very detailed and kind piece of advice from someone who is up in this topic, I have been calling Mum's impaired memory dementia but could it be being caused by anaemia. If that is checked could she regain her usual demeanor?

After all we've tried the antibiotics for water infection which can cause this, don't think they've worked but were worth a try.

I quote:"So, the standard tests for this are likely to include blood tests for anaemia (that can cause shortness of breath and a whole host of other health problems too, including tiredness and confusion), inflammation, and to check the function of her liver and kidneys to make sure they are all working properly."

A New Day Dawns...

and I have no idea what will happen.

A neighbour visited Mum last night and could not have been nicer with her. Mum was really poorly and tired. But afterwards Mum said that she had enjoyed seeing her but added(even with her memory problems)she was sorry that she looked such a mess(Mum not the neighbour)and the house wasn't tidy. I am getting caught up but you can imagine its the least of my worries for now.

I mentioned something about a relative possibly coming to see her and Mum said something along the lines of "He's a relative so it doesn't matter!"

My neighbour has said that she will visit Mum when she goes into hospital. Now considering that she doesn't have to, what a nice gesture.

We may still have to visit hospital sooner than planned if certain little things persist but it has been suggested that at weekends hospitals tend to shut down a lot of their services so they prefer not to take patients in and if anything try to let people home so it really has to be an emergency. Its likely Mum would be in a bed with little to do and I would only be able to keep her company within visiting hours.

Not that there's much to do here.

Sadly, whilst trying to stay positive I have the feeling Mum is more seriously ill than we realise(I hope that I wrong)but I guess we will find out when tests are carried out.

I was hoping the water infection tablets(anti-biotics)might improve the dementia but I don't think that they have and yet this morning I asked some more questions to test the memory and all the answers were correct and they answered very quickly.

I guess I can add nothing more at present...if we get through the weekend things may start to move from next week...

Update:Whether its a good thing or not I have found forum that gives lots of support to those who may have bowl cancer and answers many questions. I have also discovered via NHS Direct that if a Dr suspects cancer you are given a maximum of two weeks to be referred to a specialist(and some friends have said)"That's a good sign that she wasn't rushed into hospital!" No, it appears if you are not using private health care that's how long you must wait.

And Cancer patients should wait no more than 31 days from the decision to treat to the start of their first treatment.

So that is not necessarily a reason to be positive.

Again today I found myself talking to some neighbours who gave me such support and a nice reaction compared to that other person I mentioned in a previous entry and said "What do you want me to do about it!"

Also, you do lose contact, I may have said before, with some family and friends, it just happens and my Father's side has kind fallen into that category but I thought as we are related, I have/should tell them what's happening. But what are they called?

Thankfully, I remembered a name, traced a phone number, chose the right person and had a lovely talk with this relative and he has promised to tell all the other brothers and sisters on their side. So that has taken some of the work load off my shoulders.

I have been through this before when I lost my dad almost 28 years ago so I have an idea what I will have to do, back then the saddest part was being given a little bag of personal items from the hospital and bringing them home and not him.

The memories are the most important thing of all but you know I cannot think of owning anything that belonged to him. Its no good keeping clothes that you cannot wear but when you get rid of them, its as if they were never here but they were.

The same will be true of Mum...there are such lovely outfits.

Mum has said she will leave me a kind of cross that means so much to her and brings her such comfort and faith and did for both of us when she was last in hospital, its very personal.

I don't wear rings and jewellery but my father bought me a black onyx gold signet ring which I haven't worn for years...I think I know where it is and I think that I will start to wear it again.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Its All Me, Me, Me...

What I have posted about Mum may give that impression so I must put that right immediately...

Of course I am scared and do not like the idea of her not being in my life and being alone, that's what comes of being part of a very close family. "We" went through this when we lost my "Dad" almost 28 years ago and we wondered how we would get over it. Not sure that we did but you carry on, I guess that you have to. In a way the blow was softened because we were there for each other.

This time around that is not the case.

But first and foremost the most important person in all this is Mum. I want Mum to be well. I want to care for her and if that means doing so for many years as long as I can I will do it not as a duty but out of love.

If its not years and Mum is seriously ill I will do all I can to ease any suffering or pain And any worry she experiences. And the one thing I do not want to see is her being distressed.

Already, I am with her more overnight sleeping in the same room rather than keep checking on her over night, if she has any concerns and is frightened I give reassurance that all will be well. I am showing no signs of fear and going on as I always have.

Some people have said that it sounds as though I have written Mum off...I honestly have not but of course we are both apprehensive of the news we may receive when she eventually is in hospital.

It has been suggested that I am spending too long on here or phoning around people telling them about "Mum" I phone so they are not suddenly shocked if I give bad news to them or they hear Mum is in hospital.

Some seem to think that I have been phoning a lot of people...there are not many to contact even if I wished to. Friends and relatives are few mainly due to age and them already having passed away or they live far away from where we live.
Its handful in reality.

The few that are around deserve to know and avoid a sudden shock of hearing second hand or possibly seeing it in a newspaper(or not finding out)

I have been on here for minutes and only whilst making a cup of tea, coffee or whatever otherwise my computers are virtually redundant and there are many tasks that I am so far behind on I am running out of hard drive space(That's almost 4TB's)and numerous rewritable DVD's, I'm not sure I'll ever catch up. In the future I may not be interested or bothered to attempt to and I may not be able to afford to access the internet. That's not important for now.

I have had some wonderful support from members on some forums that I take part in and wondered how much I should say about something so personal but that has been done via private messages not actually on the forums except one.

But when(and it is quite compliment)you have posters asking where you are and that you are missed to some extent you need some honesty.

So ok the priority is to get Mum over the next stage and stay positive. The other problem is still ongoing but has been pushed into the background...for now. We have to look at the positive signs...blood pressure was perfect, he listened to Mum's breathing and heart(but said nothing)is that good or to be worried about. As to the growth(I think it has started growing again)but the signs we are told to watch for are either non-existent or slight such as loss of blood. And none is ever on or in what is passed so it seems quite localised. A good sign?

But I have noticed more than ever today a loss of much weight and that is not good and worries me most. It worries Mum.

Some have said its a good sign that Mum was not rushed into hospital and was given a fortnight for arrangements to be made. But none of us really know.

Is it because a fortnight makes little difference either way and we all know that our National Health Service is struggling?

But unless something unexpected happens I may not mention this again until there is more news and as nothing else really matters I am unsure if I can post about things that seem trivial.

Update:It could happen sooner than planned Mum feels strange and has already been talking of me taking her in sooner. And she has convinced herself that she has cancer. It makes it harder to talk positive, if it is its whether its curable and if they'll set aside Mum's age and the cost. But we must remain upbeat.

I wrote that update perhaps 30 minutes ago...now its all change...it had stayed reasonably stable in size but I have seen it and it has grown quite considerably in a few days and Mum is talking of going to hospital tomorrow.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You Can Be Surprised By Some People's Responses...

I have been phoning, e-mailing and Messaging various people informing them of Mum's situation.

I thought that I should as whatever happens you don't want to find out by chance by seeing something in a newspaper etc...so I've contacted any fiends or acquaintances that may know Mum(its been tempting to try and be private)but however it happened Mum found her friend of many years had died by accident after it had happened and it was a shock.

Now amazingly, some people I talk with on the internet on forums have been so supportive and understanding and yet today a couple of people that I phoned were(even though I was careful how I broke the news and gave good reasons why I was phoning them sometimes out of the blue)were just nasty.

One actually said "And what do you want me to do about it!"

By the end she was different but how anyone can be that cold...I explained that I wanted to prepare and explain what's happening rather than it being a shock or having someone unprepared. And how certain places Mum frequented would probably discuss what is happening and find out even without me telling anyone.

There some very nasty people in this world but as I say that has been counteracted by the many others who have shown a compassionate side.

Update: I've taken to keeping Mum more company especially through the night...nights are restless but in a lucid clear moment in the early hours Mum asked me to be there for her and to look after her and she admitted that she is frightened dreading what the hospital is going to say when they give the result of the tests and what's going to become of her.

Not helped by the fact that even if that is ok, the dementia will not go away. How cruel all this is, for whoever is affected in a similar way.

Revisiting An Earlier Blog Entry...

When Mum was in hospital having her hip repaired in 2009 she was asked a series of questions to test her mental capacity(I think she managed to get most correct)

I found some of it again on my blog and earlier today I used some of it as a test)

Some are not relevant now but the few that she did get a little wrong were the maths question and spelling "world" backwards, some needed a bit more thought but were correct and when asked which county and country we live, the answer was given straight away.

I am supposed to be in sound mind and body, but even I would have to think about how to spell world backwards(BTW Mum spelt World correctly and when spelling it backwards she managed to get 70% of it correct)and though I answered the maths question right I still had to think about it. How simple is that sum?(See below)

Mum managed to make up a sentence with a word I gave her to put in it.

I gave Mum something to read and she managed that.

I started showing her objects to see if she could name them and she answered quickly and got every one correct.

Who knows what I will be like myself in the future...

Here's a reprint of that test given in hospital.

What year is it?

What Month?

What season?

What country do you live in?

Which county are you in?

Which hospital were you in before you came here?

Which hospital are you in now?

Which Ward?

Can you repeat these three objects?

Orange, Ball, Key...

They ask later on after a few questions if you can remember those three objects and ask you to say them again...

They ask you to write a sentence on a piece of paper...Mum wrote "I am Getting Better!"

Can you spell World backwards?

They ask you to draw(copy)a picture or pattern that they show you

They ask you to perform a task(Mum was asked to fold up a piece of paper and throw it to the ground)Another lady was asked to pick up a cup off the floor and place it on the end of a table.

There are a couple of questions about numbers...one was take 7 from 93.

That gives you an idea of the test.

Naturally at present my concern is more towards the hospital visit and whether we have to worry about the other problem.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's Not Looking Good...

Mum really is having a bad time and in one way I feel guilty that I have had to seek medical help but in another way Mum cannot continue as she is...

I have her Dr calling tomorrow lunchtime and he'll decide how we proceed.

I don't know if I'll ever get Mum home again or if she'll go into Hospital and that's it! Or they may say that she needs to go into a home. Or I'll get Mum home so I can care for her as long as possible.

I don't know if there is a drug that will slow the symptoms down.

Some friends and relatives that I have had to tell the situation to have suggested(It would be lovely if it was so)that in an elderly person a water infection can cause dementia symptoms. It has also been suggested that perhaps she's had some minor strokes or brain bleed.

I really have no idea where this situation will be tomorrow.

I have been ok talking to those I had to contact about what's happened until I talked to one of Mum's brother's and I did lose it and found myself crying. But that's a safety valve so I shouldn't feel ashamed.

But I am feeling worried and apprehensive.

I'm going to start feeling guilty for calling in a Dr, I know I am and if Mum is kept in it will pull at my heartstrings should I ever find out she's calling for me and I'm not there. I know she once wandered out of bed on a hospital ward looking for me and had to be guided back to bed.

I'm having second thoughts about calling the Dr in but if there is a chance of getting her better or slowing the problem down I had no choice.

She is brighter as I write this and has managed to eat a full bowl of cereal and banana.

Update:I never know how personal to make the entries on my blog but its no good hiding...

Mum was brighter today and answering questions I asked quite quickly but she was getting the Dr's questions a bit wrong...so there is some dementia present but he didn't seem overly concerned and he has prescribed tablets for a water infection.

Now this is personal Mum has been having problems with a pile so he said that he'd look...

Its not a pile(its a growth)he didn't want to upset either of us so may've been being kind or genuine when he said he thought all would be well...but he said it was in a place easy to get at but they'll have her in hospital for tests within the fortnight, now all we can do is hope it is not terminal or hasn't spread.

Mum knew enough to ask if it was serious and says she's not feeling too bad about it.

We could've had it looked at sooner but I'm not an expert on such matters and naturally Mum couldn't see it.

So its good that at least we are being seen as quick as we are I guess.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Constituency Boundaries...

I cannot believe that I am able to continue blogging and keeping an interest in things. I hope that I shall be strong enough to do so and that living alone with no one to share music or my thoughts with I will give up.

Many years ago...I'd hate to think how long, perhaps approx twenty years ago my town was representated by an MP who had given long service to the area. Then boundaries were changed and soon after Tony Blair was parachuted into the area . The change probably had a lot to do with him winning the seat for the next thirteen plus years.

It upset the original MP and I don't think he ever got over it. I seem to remember that he might have been offered a title to sweeten the blow but I cannot be one hundred per cent sure on that. It would appear that he was awarded a title but its more complicated than I thought.

Once again Parliament is talking of reducing the redrawing the constituency boundaries but in doing so they are talking about reducing the number of MP's that represent the population and experts think that this will favour one party over all others and some very high profile MP's could find themsleves no longer being elected and some from the same party could be in competition with each other.

My town is governed by the Unitary council based in Durham, my councillors are all there and the town is part of County Durham. Yet, should the proposals be accepted we find ourselves sharing our constituency with Teeside.

I really do get more and more disillusioned with our political system and what is called democracy.

The old and new boundaries

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life...

Mum sung that to me a couple of days ago. I wasn't even aware that she knew the song, it was so touching.

Another is Que Sera Sera(Whatever will be, will be)

Yet here I am at this early hour(It was when I wrote this)with tears flowing and the realisation that I am probably losing her.

It seems to have happened so quickly and all at once.

There is dementia/confusion which I can put up with but I'm afraid its turning into Alzheimer's. Why should my situation be different to so many others, what hurts is that there is absolutely nothing that I can do to reverse matters. And watch as things unfold.

It doesn't help when she says herself that she feels that I am going to lose her.

All I can do is be there for her.

So many times I have felt like the little boy that cried wolf and could've posted something of such a personal nature(and I have also wondered whether I should)but I cannot change things.

I do appreciate how fortunate I have been to have had Mum as long as I have when so many do not.

To be honest I cannot see a way around this(I want to say that I am wrong I pray that I am)

Its taken a lot for me to press the button and publish this...I almost feel as though by posting this I am making it happen. In some ways I feel guilty or as though I am betraying Mum.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reverse Psychology...

London our capital city and some other major cities in the UK had civil unrest in August. Classed as riots. Property was set on fire, theft, looting, damage, violence and sadly loss of businesses, homes and worst of all some loss of life.

You can look at why it happened and who was to blame not sure I am clever enough to give an answer and its not my job to do so but many of the experts called in to comment by the media during the days that followed were wrong or perhaps it was too soon after the event. These days many want instant solutions.

Politicians had plenty to say on the subject but local MP's whose areas were affected showed the expected anger but also some measure in what they said.

Overall the Government's solution seems to be to penalise many genuine families alongside those who did cause problems because they've blamed people on benefits but many who do receive help still did not take part in the unrest. Many who do work are on such rubbish wages, that many household's still have apply for help from the state to attempt to have a decent income to live day to day.

It was said without proof that many who took part in the unrest were in gangs, on benefit etc...all generalisations. And you can understand that being thought of as being a probable reason. Some will come from disadvantaged homes but even that is a stereotypical term. I have yet to see official statistics to prove that.

Many shown taking part on tv news looked older than children and teenagers, it has been stated already by some who at the time said it was mainly gang led they've had to change their opinions and few belonged to a gang. Many were below the age where you can claim benefits.

If you are already into crime chances are you will be earning more than you'd get by signing on. And if we're led to believe that many were using the internet and social networks to decide where they'd all meet up next, however they afford or acquired them they obviously have access to a computer and/or the latest mobile phones etc...

Though anecdotal there was the daughter of a millionaire driving people around to loot from shops and then motor away the goods, we had a potential sportsman who was said to be a footballer with a bright future ahead of him, a young female adult who was likely to be an ambassador to promote the 2012 Olympics taking place in London next year and who had already met the London Mayor Boris Johnson and athlete/organiser of the Olympics Lord Sebastian Coe, a teacher's helper, a male nurse and so on. So not all taking part were not in work and we can only judge by those who have been aprehended, plenty have not been.

There is a programme on the radio next week which takes a different line, it asks why did so many of the population not join in? What stopped the rest of society from doing so? It could be interesting.

Today the media(virtually every broadcaster)has mentioned in the news and phone-ins a survey that says that 49% of parents and 5% of pupils would welcome corporate punishment back into schools. I believe they were asking how people could/should be disciplined and the survey was held soon after the riots which may've coloured the views of those who took part.

The media has made it sound as though all parents across the land feel the same way but its a survey arranged by a newspaper and only one. Then picked up and used as filler, its also publicity for the newspaper but some of what I have heard has avoided mentioning which newspaper published it and I have yet to hear a breakdown as to what social classes, ages, sex, which areas of the UK were included and most importantly how many took part.

And how it was presented it is so easy for those watching and listening to take it as the Gospel truth.

Update:That programme is on air tomorrow(September 19th 2011)on BBC Radio 4 at 8.30pm called Analysis and available for 7 days via the online player. It might be available as a podcast and some programmes are now archived for longer.

Changes In Food Labelling...

I return to one of my favourite topics...food.

How much food is un-necessarily thrown away. I have mentioned this before.

Its been reported in the news today that in future to avoid this happening or to try and change our attitude to food manufacturers and retailers will/should use the terms best before and use by and sell by is dropped.

Use by for items that if eaten after the date would as likely as not cause health problems and best before which is unlikely too and probably you can eat quite some time afterwards.

Makes a lot of sense to me and I have been known to eat food after the dates shown on the product. Not weeks or months after but a few days after. I don’t imagine a scene that as soon as a date is reached, it suddenly becomes toxic. A date will be chosen that will err on the side of caution.

The term best before is still a little iffy for me, I’m looking a big bag of Cadbury’s dairy milk chocolate buttons and wondering…can eat them? Best before end of March 2011 but its now the middle of September 2011...is that too long? Should I even be considering such a thing?

Having said that I have been eating some packets of crisps dated Best before June and July 2011 recently and I couldn't’t taste any difference to how they probably would’ve been when purchased months ago.

I ate custard and raspberry fresh cream donut yesterday that was a day over its use by date and I’m still here.

But we can all remember the stories of how tinned stuff from years ago have been opened and its still been safe to eat.

My friend Span has mentioned before on an earlier post how he has eaten stuff “well past” the dates and he’s still here…

In general its commonsense, hopefully looking, feeling and smelling will decide if many items are safe and in the case of loose or fresh foods that is all that you can depend on. In my own case that is a little difficult as I do not have a strong sense of smell.

From a later feature on radio on this topic it seems it is a proposed piece of legislation that will be or is expected to be introduced as law but hasn’t been yet.

Its something that could be done I am sure without it having to be enforced. And later I heard that it is mainly voluntary so all the food manufacturer's have to do is drop the "Sell By" term. How hard is that?

Scrap food sell-by dates, government urges manufacturers

The Official Document

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nothing Much Happening...

And I don't feel much like talking about world events which are mainly bad. You get enough of that in the news.

Though I have a very personal post already written in draft form that may be put on here one day when things turn belly up which I believe will happen sooner or later.

For now once again our gardener arrived and tided everything up and today cleared and opened up more of the very back of the garden so more than ever "That" neighbour should have less to complain about. Still not sure what he was going on about.

We can see our rockery and I hope with it visible again the bulbs that have been under a carpet of ivy will pop their heads out and show themselves once more. I used have loads of daffodils and snowdrops there. I won't know until its dug over whether the ivy has protected them through the bad weather or killed them off.

If they have not survived or to add to them, I have purchased for the rockery and back garden to brighten up the borders and possibly some for the front garden some Tulips, Daffodils, Snow Drops, Crocus, and Bluebells. At least they'll show each year and give some early colour.

And I must also add that if things work out regarding my trees I am happy with the garden and contrary to some previous posts about some work that was carried out regarding a fence between our property and a neighbours its all starting to fall into place.

It looks fine, it has withstood a very strong few days of high winds and the four or five shrubs in the border have survived and flowered. I think that I can plant some more, with bulbs and possibly some tubs of flowers placed around the garden its going to be ok. I am big enough to change my opinion.

Update:How things change, I would happily give just about anything to be able to say nothing much is happening but you'll know from later posts on here I have much to worry me and nothing much else matters.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Didn't Want To Go Out...

But kept putting it off until I had no choice...

I am unable to get much more food and household items in any cupboard or the fridge freezer but I was short of two items staple to daily living...bread and milk.

I made the effort to go out(If I don't)Mum is housebound and its not always possible to expect a neighbour to help even though they may be willing.

Often I have an idea what I want to do but whether I am able is another matter.

I might have to give up, come home and try another time.

Luckily, the three or four places I had to visit were where the taxi dropped me and are virtually next to each other.

Everything seemed to be going reasonably well and though slow and I have to walk using a cane I thought just maybe I'll manage.

But as I made ready to enter the last place I put my right foot down and felt a very sharp pain in the sole of my foot, too late to stop me putting the full weight of my body on it.

Since then I have been unable to put much, if any weight on that foot without a lot of pain.

I have no idea how I injured myself but will have to wait to see if it improves with rest.

Update:It will take a few days but I think if I can keep from using my foot too much it may be slowly improving. If so I have been lucky.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Passing Of Time...

Most of the time I think only of today, I don't dwell on the past or think of the future...if you do you realise how time is passing by all too quickly. Thankfully, I often think of age as being only a number but with each birthday and festivals like Christmas you know that that's another you'll not see again...

I find that I don't notice the passing of time so much from events I have lived through and witnessed.

Generally, its more with music. And those who perform it.

Sometimes its not the music as such if you've heard it most of your life...its when they do quizzes and you have to guess the year.

It might be Lulu singing "Shout"(1965) Abba with "Waterloo"(1973)Take your choice of any piece especially if its been the charts. Its 46 years since "Shout" was issued...36 years for "Waterloo". Where did those years disappear?

Then you think of the images that you see on many TV channels of these people singing their songs and they are trapped in a time warp.

You forget that if they were in their twenties or thirties then, they are now in their sixties or seventies. You don't really notice them getting old. And as they grow old so are we...

What brought it home to me more so today is that Julian Lennon(son of John Lennon of the Beatles)is bringing out a new album and is to be interviewed. He has probably been busy for years but I only remember one song he had a hit with called "Too Late For Goodbyes"

The listing for his radio interview mentioned it being issued in...1984. That's twenty seven years ago! I don't know how old he was then but suddenly you realise that if he was twenty years that now makes him forty seven!

It just doesn't seem right somehow.

It wasn't a bad guess(A quick search on the web)suggests that he is forty eight.

I meant to listen to the interview and..forgot.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Woodman, Woodman Spare That Tree...

Went the old song made popular by Phil Harris(Baloo The Bear in Disney's Jungle Book)

He pleads with a lumberjack not to fell a tree that he climbs to get away from his wife when she's in an angry mood...

The tale says that "If you don't see me on the ground!" Don't touch the tree as that's where I'll be, hiding in the tree.

Well, with all my problems of late(which I hope are over)we're still not out of the woods yet!

So I found the following(Again involving a Housing Association again...)

Where the wrong trees have been taken down in someone's garden whilst they were out shopping and even when they returned and tried to stop the workman doing further damage he just kept on with his task...

Trees Felled In Error...

Friday, September 02, 2011

I Hate Complaining...

Seriously I really do...

But in the past 4-6 weeks(I've lost track of time to be honest)The weekly refuse collection has been as normal(No problems)but the fortnightly recycling collection has not...

I put it down the first time to possibly a refuse collection vehicle having broken down. Actually thinking the best of them and a logical reason.

Other houses around here kept their crates and bags out for weeks...I decided to phone to find out what was happening(I'd looked on the website where you expect to find things out(It was very good over the Winter telling you whether collections would or could happen due to weather problems etc...but this time there was no information to say why the rubbish had not been collected or when it would be again)I didn't want to keep putting it out un-necessarily.

Its a nuisance but also being less mobile its a bit difficult for me to take out and bring back in...

So I phoned to find out what the situation was...not a complaint as such "I just want some information!"

I was told to put the crate out this week(a day later than normal because of a public holiday on Monday)

Today in fact...so here we are at almost 3pm and no sign of a vehicle...

So I phoned to find out if I had been told the right week for collection.

I was told "Yes!" Could you tell me if they are likely to collect it seeing as it has come around to 3pm. Its possible...they work until 3.30pm. We won't know if they have had any problems until they return to the depot. Is this the correct week for collection I asked.

I'll have to put you through to another office that deals with your area...

Had to explain it all again...this office said "They are working until 4.45pm so it will probably still be collected leave it where it is"

I again asked was this the correct week and had explained how some households had been leaving their crates etc...out for weeks without them being collected but of course I was asked my name and address.

They came back to explain that the Supervisor said that "He would send someone out to collect it"

If our address has been given to him(and it must've been)so they know where to call, you always think they'll have it in for you and your name will be bad(even though you've done nothing wrong)All I was asking was is this the correct week, will it be collected today.

The truth is there is approx 4-6 weeks worth of tins and glass jars in the crate and I cannot put anymore in it. I sometimes let the crate fill up before putting it out but this time it is full because they have not collected it previously.

Apart from me today, I started to wonder if I had the right week for collection because only one other person has anything waiting to be collected. He's had his out for at least two weeks possibly longer.

I think everyone else has given up.

We are told its back to the normal collection day in a fortnight and hopefully all will be well again.

Update:It won't surprise you if I tell you that the crate is still sitting beside the kerbside awaiting collection and it is now after 6pm...So much for being told leave it there and it being the correct day for the rubbish to be collected, that they'd see it is collected specially.

It will have to be dragged in to the house again and now it will take another two weeks with more items to take away but often they will not allow you to put more rubbish out than you can get into the bins, crates or bags supplied.