A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Saturday, 27 November 2010


First of all I need to apologise for my long absense. I'm okay. I've been rather busy trying to catch up with my OU studies whilst starting my post grad studies at Newcastle University. In the past 10 days I've done six and a half weeks worth of OU work and written one and a half assignments. I've still a lot to do, but I'm getting there now.

So anyway, I realise that I owe you a story about a spider. It's from when I was in hospital the time before last.

The night before the spider event occurred I had a strange experience. I woke up several times through the night, and on each occasion I checked the time. The first time it was 1am. The second time it was 4am. The third time it was 6am. The fourth time it was 5.30am :oO Weird. The next night I told one of the nurses - R - about it and she said, 'Nooo, don't tell me that. I won't be able to come back in here now - it's too scary.' She then told me of several strange things that she's seen in the hospital over the years and that they all freaked her out.

A couple of hours later, when most were asleep but I hadn't been able to, R came rushing into my room.
'There's an enormous spider in the corridor and we don't know what to do!'
'You're not too scared to be in my room?'
'No. The spider is scarier. It's enoooooormous. We don't know what to do.'
'Um, put a cup over it, slide a piece of paper underneath the cup, scoop it up and put it out of the window.'
'We've put a cup over it, but we can't put any paper underneath.'
'Why not?'
'I'm can't touch it, D's too scared, and L isn't going anywhere near it.'

They were stuck. I was still attached to the aminophylline infusion and the oxygen, but all the same I could see that I was their only hope, so I gathered up my oxygen tubing and unpluged the infusion pump (it can run on battery for a couple of hours). I made it a couple of feet from the door before being stopped in my tracks by reaching the end of the oxygen tubing. I had no option but to do without the oxygen in order to save the nurses from the enormous spider that was terrorising them in the corridor.

I steeled myself for the encounter with Aragog that awaited me. I stepped out into the corridor, whereupon I saw the upturned cup concealing Aragog between my room and the nurses' station. I asked for a sheet of paper, then approached the cup brandishing the 'weapon'. I carefully slid the paper underneath the cup, stood up, and then wondered how I was going to carry the spider-containing cup to the window whilst still attached to the drip as I needed one hand to pull that along. I asked R for help.
'Noooo. I'm not going near the spider.
'I can't get rid of the spider if I can't get to the window.'
R conceded, although kept at full stretch of the drip line, and we made our way back to my room and to the window. After R flung the window open at arm's length, with a look of utter fear at seeing the enormous spider again, I removed the cup. I was faced with Aragog. I'd been expecting something of giant proportions. Aragog turned out to be about the size of a £1 coin.
'Honestly, R, that's not enormous.'
'Yes it is. Get rid of it. Please get rid of it.'
I shook the cup and paper and out fell Aragog.
'You do realise that we're on the 4th floor, R, don't you? The spider's probably just fallen to it's death.'
'I don't care. At least it's gone.'
I was getting rather out of breath by this stage due to the activity and lack of supplimental oxygen. R suddenly realised this and went back from terrified spider-hater to nurse. I was shuffled back to bed and had the oxygen put back on my face, whereupon I handed the cup and paper back to R, who was very reluctant to touch anything that Aragog had been near, but she did eventually take them from me, albeit holding them very tentatively.

A little while letter I was settling back down and not far from sleep when R came rushing back into the room.
'Oh no! I've just thought; the spider will probably come to haunt you!'
'The spider's probably dead. Your room must be haunted because of what happened with the clock last night. The spider will come back!'
'I doubt it. I don't think spiders haunt people.'
'How do you know? I bet they do. I'm not coming back in here.
'Um. Okay...'
R left. I went to sleep. I never was haunted by Aragog.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

A quick visit

This is a quick visit to my blog during a quick visit to London. I'm visiting my brother and his family :o) I was supposed to have been at a one-day conference on 'Conflict in Children's Literature' at Roehampton University yesterday, but I knew that I wasn't going to have the energy for that so very reluctantly had to cancel my plans to attend. I'd been looking forward to it for months, but there's no way that I'd have managed with my energy levels as they are at the moment. However, I didn't want to cancel all my plans to come to London and stay with my brother, sister-in-law, and two gorgeous nephews, so that is where I am. It's my brother's 40th birthday on Monday, so we've had a bit of a celebratory day today with present time, and cake with candles at dinner time. My sister-in-law, N, and my older nephew, O, started making the cake yesterday, with the intention of making a car-shaped cake, but not being used to using wholemeal flour (to make the cake Aunty Becky-friendly), N didn't add quite enough liquid in the recipe and it all turned out a bit crumbly. Oops. Undeterred, the remains of the cake were put aside until today, when N and O had a go at adapting the car cake, mixed the crumbs with lots of whipped cream, put the remaining pieces of cake into a rough car-shape on top of the cream/crumb mix, piped freshly whipped cream onto the top to indicate wheels, lights, and windows, and hey presto, a scrummy car cake :o) It didn't taste anything like cars, though ... not that I've ever tried eating a car...

A couple of weeks ago, while I was in hospital, my older nephew, O, had chicken pox while the family were away in France. O is fine now, and it seemed as though my younger nephew, D, had somehow managed to escape catching chicken pox from his big brother. I had a bit of a dilemma before my visit as it could potentially be very dangerous for me to get chicken pox because of being on high dose prednisolone. I wasn't sure whether to risk coming or not, when it seemed that D would most likely get ill, even though he was so far okay. I spoke to a couple of friends who are GPs to ask for advice, and they both said that I should probably postpone my trip south. I was reluctant to do so, though knew that I would if it was really necessary, but first of all I decided to speak to my asthma consultant and see what he thought. I phoned his secretary on Wednesday, but it turned out that Dr H was away on annual leave last week, so explained my situation to the secretary who'd asked if any of the other consultants could help. Just as I was telling her about the chicken pox situation, one of the other consultants I know very well (in fact I've known him since he was a new registrar) came into the office so I spoke to Dr DS, who said that I should be safe enough as I had chicken pox as a child. Hurrah! The trip was on! And anyway, it seemed as though the M, N, O, and D household was chicken pox-free so it was all only precautionary in the first place :oD ... except that when we got up on Saturday morning it appeared that D hadn't escaped the affliction and was definitely a little bit spotty. Today there has been absolutely no doubt about it - he is a spot fest. He's mostly okay in himself, but he's very itchy and that gets him miserable. And now I feel a little, um, er, irresponsible. Perhaps I shouldn't have come. Even though I had reassurance from Dr DS that I ought to be okay, I do wonder if maybe I ought not to have put myself at potential risk :o/ I'm loving being here, and loving seeing all the family - especially the boys :o) - but have I done a stupid thing? I'm not sure. I don't know whether I should contact my GP when I get home or just wait and see if anything happens, which it probably won't, but I definitely don't want it to either. Hmmm. Am I daft? Have I been stupid? I fear the answer maybe yes ... It has been wonderful, though, to see O and D (and M and N too), and I don't want to go home tomorrow.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Take two

I'm home. I got home early evening on Monday. I'm going to try to stay at home for longer than a week this time. So far the signs are good :o) I'm tired, and I get tired easily, but that's only to be expected given how poorly I've been and that I've spent the best part of six weeks in bed in hospital. Of course, being me, I've tried to jump straight back into life, albeit at a slightly slower pace.

After my cataract surgery my glasses prescription has changed quite significantly so that my current glasses are fairly useless. They're better than nothing, I suppose, but not terribly helpful, so the first thing I wanted to upon my escape from hospital was go to the optician for a sight test and to order new glasses. I went on Tuesday. While I was there I thought I'd ask the optician why the ophthalmologist had decided to make me short sighted in the left eye but keep me long sighted in the right eye - why not try to make my vision 20/20 (6/6)? The optician didn't know and couldn't explain. In fact, she seemed a little puzzled. She seemed even more puzzled that the ophthalmologist has not only made me short sighted in my left eye, but has made my overall vision worse with the lens implants he's put in. On the upside, as I no longer have natural lenses in my eyes then my glasses prescription is unlikely to change very much over the years, unless I develop fibrosis, which apparently is very likely because of the cataract surgery, although I was reassured that this is easily rectified with laser treatment. Anyway, I digress. Having had the sight test then began the awful process of having to choose new frames. I like having new glasses, but I hate the choosing of frames, partly because when you're trying the display frames on you can hardly see what it is you're trying on as they don't have prescription lenses in (of course!); partly because there's so much choice, yet often it's a case of finding what's nice amongst what I wouldn't be seen dead in; partly because whatever I choose is going to become part of my everyday appearance for at least the next year and probably longer; and partly because I'm often not very good at decision anyway. Dispensing opticians can be helpful in the decision making process, but they don't know you, and sometimes steer you towards frames they'd wear themselves rather than what you'd wear. Take the last time I was choosing glasses: I ended up having to gently ask if there was anyone else who could help me as the woman I had was 'suggesting' frames that were pink diamante things, which anyone who knows me will tell you is just not me - I don't 'do' pink, for starters - and most likely anyone who takes a minute to glance at me could probably tell as well. Thankfully, there were no such problems on this occasion, but it can be luck of the draw. So last time it took me two whole hours to choose frames! This time only an hour and a half ;o) I went for the two for one offer so that I can get one pair with reactor light lenses for driving, and also have two completely different styles to wear. The first pair I've chosen are these (in brown, not purple), and the second pair are these (in brown/green, not black/pink). Having bought them, I've now realised that one of my friends has the second pair in the black/pink combination, so that might be a bit odd, but I've warned her and we'll just have to live with it now. R, I'm not cloning you, honest ;oP I can't wait to get my new glasses because I soooo want to be able to see properly, and it won't be until I get the glasses that I'll realise the full benefit of the cataract surgery. I'm collecting them at 11.30 on Tuesday morning. The opticians can do single vision distance lenses in an hour, but I have varifocals, which take at least a week, usually ten days. I asked them if they could priorities my prescription given how useless my current glasses are to me, and they agreed to have them done by Tuesday - exactly a week :o)

The next thing I did was to test-drive a car! I have a motability car (no adaptations though), which means that I get a new car every three years. I can hardly believe that it'll be three years in January since I got my current car, but it will be so it's time to be looking for a new one and deciding if I want to stick with the same that I've had or go for a change. I've decided to go for a change. I've enjoyed the Nissan Note that I've got at the moment, but one thing that would be useful is a bigger boot as I can't actually fit my either wheelchair in the boot of this car. I can't afford a car that's big enough to take my electric wheelchair, but at the moment, even my manual/attendant assisted is having to go in the back behind the passenger seat.

I'm the kind of person who likes to do a lot of research into all the affordable possibilities before making a decision on a substantial purchase, often checking things out with Which? or their equivalent - in this case What Car? After a fair amount of deliberation and assessment of finances I decided that I'd like to have a closer look at the Vauxhall New Meriva so I booked a test-drive. I liked it. I liked it a lot. I ended up putting an order in. I've gone for the SE model 1.4litre 120bhp in Pepper Dust, with the 'sight and light' package (automatic lights and windscreen wipers). I'm also paying extra for a spare wheel because they don't come as standard (it comes with a tyre self-inflation kit instead) and after the tyre pop I had earlier this year I'm a little wary of not having a spare wheel. Those costs add up, but it's worth it. I won't get my new car until the end of January/beginning of February as that's when the lease on my current car runs out, but when the guy at the dealership looked at the computer he saw that there weren't actually any cars already built to my specifications so one is going to be built especially for me! How cool is that?! So now I have three months to get ridiculously excited about getting a new car, and I'll probably bore you silly with excitement between now and the end of January ;o)

Right-e-o, I'd better be off as W has just arrived and my step-mum is bringing my dad round imminently so that the three of us can go to a fireworks display at Segedunum. I like fireworks and didn't get to a display last year because I was in hospital, although W and I did our own display on the town moor earlier this year, which we'd postponed from last bonfire night. We had so much fun on the moor that we're actually going to do the same thing again, probably on 8th December after we've been to 'Wind in the Willows' at Northern Stage. It should be a fun day.