Thursday, November 30, 2006


Really this morning has been dealt with on Me, My Life so I won't repeat it. After all that fresh air Mick zonked out (zonked!! - haven't used that word for a while). No amount of coaxing would make him eat lunch but I wasn't too worried. He'd had a good breakfast and I knew he would wake when he was good and ready. I thought I would spend the afternoon getting some of my overdue chores out of the way. I got as far as making up the visitor's beds when the phone rang. It was my neighbour Sue; the one whose son-in-law had a stroke; "would you like me to bring over a cuppa" she said. Well decisions, decision,...HOOVERING or CUPPA?...HOOVERING or CUPPA?......................the CUPPA won!!!
I'm pleased to say that her son-in-law is recovering well and is home now. He has some more tests to be done and is another person who has fallen foul of the N.H.S. The poor chap spent 3 days in hospital without any food because they wanted to do an endoscopy on him and when the great day came the staff said "Oh we can't see you've been put down to have one" discharged him and told him to come back for the test in January!!!!
We spent about an hour chatting away; putting the world to rights. How Mick sleeps through it all I don't know. I've never been one for a "gossip" but it is interesting to hear all Sue's tales about some of the locals!!!!!!!!!................did you know that I mustn't tell......but it is juicy!!!!!!!!!!!!
I cooked some braised pork chops for dinner. My reckoning was that if the smell of food invaded the house for long enough Mick would wake up with a good appetite. It worked and he is, for the moment, eating and drinking well.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


While Mick was having his dinner this evening Lynn sent me a photo of Max on my phone. Now I have never been quite sure how Mick's eyesight is at the moment but I showed him the photo and he said "Lovely".

We also had a bonus on the patch front. Mick had almost finished eating when at 5.30pm - 2 days and 17 hours into the patch - suddenly the choking started again. I didn't even hesitate I just quickly took the old patch off and put a new one on. He had a few sneezes and a couple of coughs but it was no where near as bad as it has been in the past. Another small victory!!!!!!!!

Mick has been sleeping really peacefully this evening; only waking up to have a drink of tea. It's given me a chance to work on my Christmas card list at last - another small victory!

This past few weeks have been so much easier both physically and emotionally. To have Mick being able to eat and drink without too many problems has been wonderful. To hear him speak - well words can't describe how I feel..................


As Manda had such a wonderful moment with Mick yesterday I'm hoping that she will forgive me for showing Blogworld these photos. At the school that she works at they often have THEME days. Yesterday the theme was "Ancient Greece" so Manda duly dressed as a Greek Maiden.

The previous theme was "Pirates". She is very sweet and always pops in with her costume on so that we can have a good laugh! (didn't mean to say that honest Manda..... now where's that delete button)...........I meant to say - so that we can admire how well she looks in her costumes. I managed to get her to pose for this next one but she had forgotten to put her eye patch on. I don't know what Mick makes of it all. He may well be wondering what has happened to Manda's dress sense!!
Speaking of patches....(how's that for continuity!)...Mick's most recent patch was put on midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning. This was, almost to the second, two and a half days after the previous patch. Well (for those whose fingers are otherwise occupied) that means that his present patch would run out at 12 midday today. So far (and it's 2p.m. now) Mick's throat has not started to "mucus up" and he ate his lunch and drank tea with no problems. I am keeping my fingers crossed (now try doing that and typing at the same time!) that this means that we may be able to stretch the patch change until the full allotted 3 days.

Right I must wrap up for now as I have presents to wrap up.................(another play on words!.....I don't know how I do it for the money!!!!!)


Sending one of my blogger friends his piece of Birthday Cake. I hope it travels well by Blogpost!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Mick woke really early this morning; just before 5am. I made him a cuppa which he really enjoyed and then he dozed in and out for a couple of hours. I didn't bother to go back to sleep; I'm one of those people who once they wake up can't get back to sleep. I've always been like this; even if I've just had an hour and it's the middle of the night. I don't mean I'm not tired; I may spend the rest of the day yawning; but I just CAN'T get back to sleep! I had a cake I wanted to make ready for tomorrow so I thought I may as well make a start on that until Mick was properly awake and ready for breakfast etc. This I did and after Mick was breakfasted and dressed I thought it might be an idea to get some fresh air - by now my yawns had started - and so Mick and I went for a short walk over to the local shops. It was a little rainy; spitting with rain but quite mild. I don't have to worry too much about Mick getting wet because I have wheelchair cape for him. I took this photo of him while we were out -Yes he is under there somewhere!
I had hoped that Mick's dressings would be in at the chemists. I requested them from the doctor's surgery a few days ago. The chemist had had no notification so when we got home I made a quick phone call to the surgery to find out where they were. [I'd better explain in case it's something I've not mentioned before; because Mick's left arm is so tightly clenched to his chest it can cause a very sore pressure area on his chest, I use the dressings (which are slightly cushioned) to help counteract this.] The receptionist could find no record that the dressings had been ordered and luckily (because it would have meant getting Mick back off his bed and going out again) she agreed to take my request over the phone. Hopefully they will be at the chemists for tomorrow.
Manda popped in for her usual lunchtime cuppa and I'm pleased to say she was on the receiving end of one of Mick's special moments. She was about to leave to go back to work and gave Mick a kiss and said, "Bye bye. Love you" and Mick (who we thought was fast asleep) said "Love You". Moments like that are to be treasured.

Monday, November 27, 2006


This afternoon a speech therapist came to see Mick. Although Mick doesn't need speech therapy as such it was thought that she may help with ideas re his swallowing and choking. Well how on earth I have managed over the last 18 months without the information she gave me I do not know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • First of all she explained to me that the Thick and Easy that we had been using for 6 months has to be used as per THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE TIN!!!!! Now why didn't I think of that!
  • She then showed me how to measure200 mls of liquid into a jug (like it says on the tin) and how to add 2 level scoops of powder to the liquid (like it says on the tin) . She had already visited a number of patients before coming to us; so she showed me how to make sure that the scoopful is LEVEL. What you do is you take a finger from your unwashed hands and scrape off the excess Thick and Easy so that the scoop is level. I realised straight away that I had been doing this incorrectly as I always WASH my hands before preparing Mick's food or drinks.
  • Despite the fact that she had pointed the instructions on the tin out to me and showed me how to follow them; she was kind enough to write it all out in large letters on a piece of paper; she says that she will also get this typed up and send me a copy. How kind of her!

  • She then explained to me that there is a thing called a blender that I could use to puree Mick's food up with. Wonder of wonders! Do these things really exist!!!!!!!!!!
  • It also seems; and I am sure she is right; that it is possible to MASH POTATOES!!!!! Is there no end to the knowledge she was imparting! She said that I could do this with an item called a POTATO MASHER or failing that with a FORK!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • It seems it is also very important to remove bones from meat and fish. Now I THINK I may have heard that somewhere before!
  • A kitchen item, called a SIEVE, can be used for straining lumps out of things.
  • It is a good idea to be sitting up when eating. What a handy tip. I hope you're all taking notes.

Now I'm sure there was something else.................. What was it?......................I'm sure it was important........................ THAT'S IT...............I REMEMBER NOW!


Hang on a second while I take my tongue out of my cheek; it's starting to make ME CHOKE!

Now I know that the intentions were good and possibly all these things may be a help to some people some of the time; but honestly.................WORDS JUST FAIL ME...............

I think I shall start a book; all about USELESS INFORMATION.

OOPS! Too late.............It's already been done!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


We had intended to take a walk down to Farm Foods this morning but the rain started and I decided it wasn't a good idea. Mick had a quiet but reasonable start to the day. We started listening to the Radio Kent gardening show and all seemed well. I'm not sure if I've mentioned before, (I can't think if we've had any storms since I started blogging) but thunderstorms seem to have a bad effect on Mick since he became ill. Maybe it's something to do with all those positive and negative ions or something - I'm no scientist - but we noticed that when a storm was brewing Mick would become extra lethargic and have more of his petit mal type funny turns.
This morning was a scary one in this respect; it had been raining steadily for a little while and I could hear the static crackles on the radio. All of a sudden Mick gave out the most heart rending groan. If it's possible to shout a groan - well that's what Mick did. At the same time there was a mighty flash of lightning; all the lights in the room flickered, Mick's ripple bed alarm went off and there was a massive crash of thunder. I make no apologies for what I am about to say. If you have young children in the room please cover their ears.

IT SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not the thunder and lightening I hasten to say. No it was Mick's blood curdling groan. I know it only lasted seconds but it seemed an eternity. A hundred thoughts flashed through my mind; not now! not yet! don't let this be the end!..................................

The groan finally stopped and Mick fell asleep. He was breathing - I consoled myself with this thought because in my heart I was terrified that he would not wake again.

It was only about 11 o'clock by then. I think? To be honest I'm not sure. Suddenly time had no meaning. I sat there for however long it was; waiting, just waiting...................

At ten to twelve; this Time I know is right because I looked at the clock; Mick roused a little and his eyes opened. JOY OF JOYS!!!! He started to lick his lips; it was getting near lunch time. Lynn phoned and he kept his eyes open through her whole conversation. I made him some soup. Admittedly he only ate a few spoonfuls before he dozed off again but at least he managed to eat and swallow something!

I take no credit for this photograph; it just happened to be on my computer.

I had put this post into draft mode when I typed it up as I wanted to see how the rest of the day went. I am pleased to report that Mick is doing very well. As he seemed to have suffered no ill effects from his "episode" this morning Manda and I gave him a kitchen shower. I really think he enjoyed it. When I poured the first jug of water over his head I said "Is the temperature OK darling" and he said "Yes". He also did very well raising his right arm on his own!!!! so that I could wash underneath his armpits. When I'm washing under them I often sing "Underneath the armpits" to the tune of "Underneath the arches" ( for those outside the UK who may not know - or those within the UK who will not admit they are old enough to know) this was an old musical hall type song by Flanagan and Allen.

Well dinner is nearly cooked; a bit later tonight so Mick could have an after shower doze, so I must away. We are having SPATCHCOCK POUSSIN with POMMES DE TERRE DANS GRAISSE and CHOU SAVOY. Actually its flattened out little chicken with roast potatoes and cabbage but Mick and I would often "tart" up a simple dinner by making up a posh name for it!!!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


It's ok you can put the tissues away. It's been a S....A....D..... day not a SAD day. I had intended to do so much today but ended up having a Sit And Daydream day.
Thanks to the new patch being put on Mick ate and drank well last night. He woke up at midnight and had some rice pudding! Naturally this meant he had a lie in this morning and didn't wake until gone 8a.m. This late start meant it was nearly 11a.m. before eating, washing and dressing was finished.
I had intended to start wrapping some of the Christmas presents today; yes I know it's still only November but half the living room is in the upstairs bedrooms and I have no where to HIDE things from prying grandchildren's (and adult children's!) eyes - at least if they're wrapped no one knows what's in them. OOps, not that there IS anything in them - I just wrap empty boxes which Santa fills with presents IF the children have been good!
Back to what I was saying; I thought I had better tell Mick some of the ideas Santa had told me about for presents for people. He was quite alert and his grunts of approval told me that Santa had had some good ideas. Now all this took a while and then it was lunch time - no boxes wrapped!
In the afternoon Mick had a couple of really good minutes. I made him some orange juice and he wasNOT impressed. He really grimaced when he tasted it. I said "Would you prefer strawberry milkshake" and he said "That would be better!". He really enjoyed the milkshake and I said "I'm glad you're drinking well because you've got quite dehydrated" and he said "Oh!, Have I?" - no boxes wrapped!

He went straight to sleep after that and the rest of the afternoon just disappeared as I sat there holding his hand and day dreaming - remembering all the wonderful Christmases we have had together and looking forward to (hopefully) another - albeit quieter - one. Who knows; maybe Mick was too!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - no boxes wrapped!

Friday, November 24, 2006


Mick's patch has to be changed every three days. This means that I can't just say "Patch change Monday and Thursday" or anything like that because of there being 7 days in a week. I've put a little chart on the box now to remind me. The funny thing is though, in a way Mick reminds me! I can guarantee that once we get to the two day stage that Mick will start choking and sneezing. Such it was this morning; Mick was quite happily eating his porridge when suddenly on came a coughing fit. He then started sneezing; five sneezes in a row and the mucus started erupting. As I've no doubt mentioned in previous posts this really tires Mick out. His whole body wracks and it must be so frustrating for him. Now this morning between sneezes he was having a right old mumble. I couldn't tell what he was saying but I could tell by the tone that a few expletives were coming out. I'm convinced there was a "For F....'s sake" (apologies fellow bloggers) in there somewhere! Luckily the coughing finally subsided and Mick had a well earned doze.

All that sneezing and coughing resulted in a rather large overflow of his incontinence pad; (bladder and bowel) so it was a bed bath and full bed change morning. While I was at it I gave Mick a shave. Now Mick has never liked electric razors; even when he was fit he always used to prefer to have a wet shave; so that's what I do. I was a bit nervous the first time (thank goodness Mick didn't like a CUT-THROAT RAZOR shave!) but have got it down to a fine art now. I'm happy to say that so far (touch wood) I've never nicked him.

Unfortunately at lunch time (two and a half days into the patch) the coughing and choking started again. It went on for a full hour. I really wonder sometimes how Mick (and I) coped with this three or four times a day during the last six months. I must admit that in the end I gave in and put a fresh patch on him. They take about 6 hours to start taking effect so hopefully by dinner time it will be a bit easier for Mick. I know I probably shouldn't have put the new patch on early. If I keep doing it I shall run out before the next prescription is due but how can I stand by watching Mick suffering when I have the answer to hand?

Now to the "crosswords" part of the title post. As you may have seen from my profile I love doing cryptic crosswords. Mick and I would always do them together. If he wasn't working we would do one every day of the week. Mick always bought THE SUN newspaper - for the sports section he said and I must admit I never saw him linger on Page 3 for too long - well the crossword in there we found pretty pathetic and so started buying the Daily Telegraph as well (a much better read in my opinion). The only problem was we never really found the time to read two papers so decided that we would, once a year, buy the latest Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crossword Book. We have been doing this for almost 15 years now. Sadly the last book is only half done. I have tried doing it on my own or reading the clues out to Mick whilst I'm doing it but it's just not the same - and probably very frustrating for him if he's worked out the answer and can't tell me.

Now all this is leading somewhere, Honest!

I noticed when I was having a good blog surf the other night that there are quite a few blogs like "A photo a day", "A quote a day" or "A recipe a day", so I've decided to start a "Crossword Clue A Day" blog. I won't put in any clue unless I've managed to work out the answer myself; and the answer I'll put in the comments area. It will help keep my crossword ability alive and be a bit of exercise for those little grey cells.

As a preview I'll tell you the clue that Mick and I have always admired for its simplicity and cleverness.


And if you're wondering why I'm not doing a WHOLE crossword a day blog -


just how much spare time do you think I have!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've put this photo on because it reminds me of Mick

"my sunshine in the midst of a cloudy day"

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Regular visitors will wonder if they have dropped by the wrong blog. Don't worry this is what used to be "A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS". The last few weeks the title has been bothering me. Lately so much of what I have written has been about the good and positive things that have been happening. Perhaps at some point the old title will return but, for now, this will do.
Well with a new title I thought I would get a new template as well. You can't have new shoes without a new handbag - well so it is in Blogland! - isn't it?????
Of course I may do a bit of tweaking (my way of saying there may be a few cock ups!) but that's half the fun!
And if your wondering why I chose this template - it was for no other reason than I liked the name -"HARBOUR". All would-be psychologists read into that what you will!


Today started off so dismally weather wise and I thought we would be stuck indoors all day. Lo and behold the skies cleared and the sun shone through. I was glad we were able to get out. I needed to get Mick's prescription renewed for his steroids. Unfortunately our doctors surgery will not accept prescription renewals over the phone. This can be a bit of a bind as it means once a month either Mick and I, or one of the family, has to walk down to the surgery and put it in. More often than not I push Mick down so we can do it ourselves. Of course if the weather's very bad some poor soul (usually Chris) has to brave the elements and do it for us. Anyway, the day being warm for the time of year and sunny; I popped Mick in the wheelchair and off we went. I must say I'm not feeling too grand myself today (maybe I've caught a computer virus doing all that surfing last night- Ha Ha!); I've got what I call my jelly legs (ever since I was a child if I was getting a cold or anything I would always get wobbly, achy legs) but the journey is not too long and only ONE uphill bit so I'm glad to say I managed it.

The sun must have done Mick good. Although he didn't actually speak he was so alert when I popped him back on his bed for his pre-lunch nap. His eyes were WIDE open and he was really looking around. It's not something we often see; even if he's awake he normally keeps his eyes shut for most of the time. I didn't want the family to miss out on seeing this so took a photo.

Or better still WATCH THE VIDEO

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Nothing much to report today. We managed to get out into the garden for a while this morning; BEFORE it persistently rained. Mick is eating well, sleeping well and when awake seems quite alert. He said "TA RAH" to Manda this morning when she popped in on her way to work but apart from that has not spoken for a couple of days. Touch wood there has been hardly any choking at all for quite a few days. It's been a very peaceful evening and I've had a chance to do a bit of surfing around. Via Jen and Cazz'zs blog (I often drop by them - their jokes are great) I found Gwen's Den. Her "Guardian Angels" post is so lovely.

A rainbow for Analia should she drop by

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


No funny stories or cute photos. The following extract is taken from the CANCER2020 appeal home page:

Cancer 2020: Plan it right, make it fair
Politicians need to start planning for the future today. With your help, we can urge them to plan it right and make it fair. An ageing population and major advances in cancer treatment mean that the number of people living with cancer is likely to rise. The impact of these changes could be huge.
Urgent planning is needed to ensure the NHS is ready for the challenges in cancer up to 2020 and beyond.
We want a commitment from politicians in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland that they will prepare now for the cancer challenges ahead. But planning alone is not enough. We want to see fairness placed at the heart of cancer services.
We believe that all cancer patients have a right to expect the latest and best possible treatments available, regardless of where they live
We believe that politicians must ensure their plans address the inequalities in cancer services and treatment
We believe that the NHS must be in a position to keep up with breakthroughs in cancer research

Please click on the link in my side bar and give your support. Don't let our story become your story.

Monday, November 20, 2006


After such a busy weekend Mick has had an understandably quiet day today. He has eaten exceptionally well though and not choked at all. I made a Shepherd's pie with the remains of the lamb joint and he really enjoyed it.

One of the side effects of the patches is a difficulty in passing urine. I have noticed that Mick has been going a lot less frequently but he doesn't seem to be having any discomfort when he does and also, although less frequent, he does seem to passing a good amount.

I must say, it's quite handy using my blog to keep a record of things. It is so easy for one day to become another without me realising how much time has passed. By writing this blog I can look back at my previous posts and see when Mick did what. A sort of "log of logs" (bit of schoolboy humour there I think!).

If you recognise this flower you'll understand the validity of this photo on this post.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Lynn, Steve and Max turned up bright and early Saturday morning. They had a good journey and made it before Mick woke up. Lynn was really pleased because during the course of the weekend she got to hear her Dad's voice a couple of times. Max behaved impeccably; no loud barking or little accidents and as Leanne and the girls came round in the afternoon and Manda and co came round after dinner we all had a jolly day and evening.

This morning was really bright and sunny and so we went for a walk down to the rec. There was a game of football going on so we watched for a while, enjoying the warmth of the sun. It's so good to get out into the fresh air, and Mick was wake for most of the trip.
Lynn and Steve have left now and as I'm now all up to date blogwise; think I may join Mick in a little afternoon siesta.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Sometimes when I say something to Mick he lifts one eyebrow in what I call his Roger Moore look. He had that look tonight when I asked him if he had heard of Harry Cripps. I could tell he was suprised I asked so I had to look it up. Many thanks MileStones you have furthered my Millwall education.

Harry Cripps - bottom row 2nd from the right


I was looking back on my previous posts and realised how much I am sharing my once private thoughts. A few months ago I would have never been able to open up like this. It's good for me and it's good for the family. Sometimes it's difficult to tell the family during a phone call all that has been happening. And if we receive three or four family calls (as often happens) I have to try and repeat everything 3 or 4 times and try not to leave any news out. By reading my posts which are written during my chill out times they can catch up on anything I've forgotten to say.

For those of you who are just visitors dropping by I do hope that you will not find it awkward reading some of these posts. If it's all too personal for you, but you want to keep in touch, then switch over to my other blog. Please remember this blog is not written to gain sympathy; Mick and I are the lucky ones. Many people never get the chance to have "The Long Goodbye"; you only have to turn on the news or read a newspaper to realise that.

All that said I must tell those who are still reading about last night. Just before dinner Mick was looking rather uncomfortable and, as he has been a little more alert, I asked if he wanted the commode. He whispered "Yes Please". Now it's no easy task getting Mick onto the commode but I wasn't going to let it beat me. Thankfully I managed it and Mick did so well sitting there. I chatted to him constantly making sure he felt comfortable etc. At one point I said "You re a star aren't you" , his bottom lip dropped and he said "NO"; oh my breaking heart when he said that. I put him straight about that, telling him how proud I was of him and how brilliant he is. I then sang a little ditty he taught me "You're a star, you're a star. Great big..............." and Mick SANG "tits and a see through bra!". What a remarkable man he is and so wonderful to hear his sense of humour is still with him.

Manda turned up in the nick of time to help me get Mick back into bed after he had done his business and after a brief sleep I'm pleased to say he ate his dinner with great relish.
I don't have any star photos so will share with you Mick's favourite clematis, STAR of India.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE................

Today is one of those typically rainy "will it ever get light days?". Although its only 10am it feels like 5pm as it is rainy, gloomy and miserable outside. Mick has had a few mumblings this morning and (get ready to say ahhhhhhhhhhhhh) he said "Love You" to me. Just typing that bought a lump to my throat. Not that I don't know he loves me; its just so good to hear him say it.
As the weather is so yukky, after dressing Mick I have sat him up in bed and put on some of our SPECIAL CDs. We always have music on in the house; sometimes a CD or sometimes the Classic Gold radio station (loads of golden oldies). Because I find it so emotionally challenging it is very rarely that I put on any our Micks and mine special songs. I feel selfish sometimes because I know that Mick loves them so much but, as at the moment I am having to be so emotionally strong, I can't often bring myself to listen to them. However, once in a while, on a day like today out comes Lionel Richie and Celine Dion. Mick and I have many songs that mean a lot to us but "Hello" by Lionel Richie is the most special. I will share the reason with you should you care to linger here a while.
After my first marriage broke up I got myself into a very bad and violent relationship. We women are inclined to do things like that when someone leaves us. We feel worthless and are apt to cling to anyone who shows us some attention even if it means putting up with some horrendous times. I guess probably men can go through the same thing but I am speaking purely from a woman's point of view. Anyway, I first met Mick whilst in this relationship. Wow how he made my heart flutter and knees tremble. He still does! We clicked immediately. Our outlook on life, sense of humour, everything just seemed right. I won't go into the ins and outs of it all but Mick saved my life; not only literally but emotionally and psychologically. One day, before Mick and I had expressed our true feelings to each other, he asked me to dance when "Hello" was playing. It's a great feeling being safe in someones arms. He sang the whole of the song into my ear and we really enjoyed the "grindy" bit. I blush just thinking about it! He put a special intonation on the words "I love you". Manda was there at the time (still at school girl - how time flies!) and she whispered to me "I think someones trying to tell you something!". How right she was. Our relationship went from strength to strength from there.
Gotta have a wee break now, bit emotional!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

BACK TO NORMAL??????????

Although still quite alert in comparison to this time last week Mick has not been talking today. I have no complaints though; this time last week I never imagined that I would have days like the last few; this time last year I never imagined that I would still have Mick with me. The wonderful thing about the last few days is that it has put my mind at rest on so may fronts;
  • I know Mick still remembers me and the family
  • I know he can still understand what we say to him
  • I know that he is not worried or fearful of his present condition

and most importantly

  • I know he is not experiencing any great pain when I am dressing, moving him etc
  • He is definitely not choking so much

Looking at the title of this post has made me think "What is normal?". Our lives have changed so much in the last 17 months but so many things are still the same. Let's take an average lazy Saturday as an instance; one when we have no visitors, no outings or any shopping to do; let's compare that day to a similar Saturday two years ago.


give Mick morning cuppa in bed
treat Mick to breakfast in bed
Mick listens to Saturday sports radio
pop over shops for a newspaper
Mick and I do some gardening
listen to radio gardening programme
Mick watches sport on TV
after dinner snuggle and watch TV
Mick dozes off; bored with XFactor


give Mick morning cuppa in bed

Mick has breakfast in bed

put on Saturday sports radio for Mick

push Mick over shop for a newspaper

Mick sits in garden while I do gardening

listen to radio gardening programme

put sport on TV for Mick to listen too

after dinner snuggle with TV on

Mick dozes off; probably bored with XFactor

Not so very different. Maybe I should change the title of this post to "ANOTHER NORMAL DAY!"

Now back to this morning. Well what glorious weather. Warm and sunny. Although Mick hasn't been chatty he still seems quite alert so took him into the front garden and chatted to him while I pottered about. He did a lot of peeking and I had a few grunts of approval when I told him the odd little things I was doing. I was glad I'd only put a lightweight cardigan on Mick because I ended up just working in my t-shirt because it was so warm. All of a sudden a huge gust of wind blew Mick's cap off and the blue sky suddenly started to disappear so we made a hasty retreat back inside. We had been outside for over two hours so at the time of writing this Mick is having a well earned rest on his bed.

Rain on the way

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I really thought that yesterday would be a one off but I'm pleased to say that, although he has not been as chatty as yesterday, Mick has still managed a few odd words and one sentence. Mick's brother, Ron and sister-in-law, Brenda, came to visit and although Mick slept for most of their visit 'joy of joys' they did get to hear Mick say a couple of words. This was so great because, although Ron and Brenda visit regularly and Ron has phoned almost every day over the past 17 months, it must be a year since he heard his brothers voice.

Rocky must have followed Manda round tonight as he was waiting outside when she left. He popped in just to check we were all ok; had his usual scratch of the bottom stair and then walked Manda home. Isn't that just one of those "ahhhhh" moments.
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Monday, November 13, 2006


Now don't get excited this is not a RECIPE OF THE DAY post. Mick is a Londoner and uses a lot of cockney rhyming slang. Rabbit means Talk (rabbit and pork = talk) and that is what Mick has done plenty of today. In the last 12 months Mick has not spoken as much as he has today. His first words were "What Love" and from then on every few minutes a word or two would come out as a reaction to something I said. It was marvellous for Lynn as when she phoned he said "Hello Lynn". At one point he and I had a conservation - YES that's right - A CONVERSATION! I said something to him; he responded AND initiated a new topic. At one point this morning he had a very big cough, one that shakes your whole body and he said "I've pissed". I make no apologies for repeating his ineloquent language; he's a man and men say that sort of thing. I told him he shouldn't worry and explained about the padding he has on and he relaxed and said "OK". If this is truly a reaction to the patches then "bring it on". I know they can have side effects and I know if he does start to suffer from them then I shall have stop using them but for the moment I am making the most of every second.

Also the Hospice physio came today. She explained things about the positioning of Mick's head when eating etc and I'm pleased to say I've been getting that right. I asked about any gentle exercise I could do to help Mick to unclench his hands (its very difficult cutting his nails, which if left would dig into the palms of his hands) and to bring his arms down (very difficult feeding when his hand is in front of his mouth). Unfortunately because of the length of time his left arm has been clenched there is little I could do with it but she did show me some pressure areas to gently squeeze when I'm trying to move Micks right arm which has only been clenched for a year.

Now for the sour grapes. I won't go in for a mighty tirade it's been too good a day for that. I would just like to know WHY we couldn't have tried these patches a year ago and WHY couldn't Mick have had physio from the beginning........... Oh, one second, let me cast my mind back; I remember now! We were told it wasn't worth worth doing anything because Mick only had two months at most to live.... And in the words of Forrest Gump;
"That's all I've have to say about that".

painting by Sophie Dunlop (can't be sure if the grapes are sour though)

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I AM ON SUCH A HIGH...............
TODAY HAS GOT BETTER AND BETTER.............................

Mick has now spoken FOUR times today.

  1. this morning (see previous post)

  2. at lunch time; he had a massive fart (excuse the indelicacy of this) and I joked "I'll name that tune in......................" and he said "ONE!"

  3. when Manda came round to help with his kitchenshower he said "HELLO!" to her

  4. when Leanne was speaking to him on the phone he said "YES!"

I really hope that the doctor will allow us to have more of the patches as it is quite possible that these wondrous words are due to the fact that

  • he is now able to drink more, therefore becoming less dehydrated

  • he is breathing easier, therefore more oxygen is getting to his brain

  • because he is not choking it up, he is getting more benefit from the steroids he has to take

Of course it may be nothing to do with the patches; it may just be one of those miraculous days. Even if tomorrow things go back to normal it must be so much less stressful to him (and me) not to be choking all the time.

A feel good photo. Melissa and Grandad. Mel's t-shirt says "That's it I'm calling Grandad!"


What a wonderful start to the morning. As Mick had his patch put on on Friday we did not give him his kitchenshower as we didn't want to risk the patch getting wet and coming off. He is due for a fresh patch tonight so are doing his shower this afternoon. Over breakfast I said to Mick, "I think this afternoon I'll take you into the kitchen and give you a nice hairwash and freshen up. May even give the naughty bits a freshen up". He turned his head towards me, opened his eyes and said "WHO, ME?". Choking back tears of joy I said "Well you don't think I'm gonna strip of any other guy and start messing with his privates do you?" I swear he smiled when I said that!
Now the lows......... My dear friend Sue, from across the road, popped in this morning. Her son-in-law (only 37) has had a stroke. He doesn't drink or smoke and is not overweight. Naturally she is very upset. It seems it was touch and go for a while in the ambulance to the hospital. He is now managing to speak and shuffle to the toilet but will have to undergo a lot of tests to see what the problem is. Naturally, with her being so involved with us, she is very worried that he may have a brain tumor. I tried to console her by explaining that Micks tumor is very rare (in the pineal gland) and that in many circumstances brain tumors are operable with great success. Hopefully it wont be a tumor; in fact let's be positive - IT WONT BE A TUMOR!. It was strange talking to her because you would think that being in the situation that I am that I would know all the right things to say to her, to help her through this worrying time. It wasn't like that though; even I was lost for words. I wish there was something I could do to help; even it was just looking after her grandchildren for a while so that she and Tom could have some private time with their daughter and son-in-law, or maybe get some shopping in for them or something...anything!!!!. Alas that would all be impracticable so I hope that a cup of tea and a shoulder to cry on will be of help to her.

Had to have a CHEER UP pic

Saturday, November 11, 2006


P.S. Just heard on the radio that Spurs are drawn to play Southend in the next round of the Carling Cup. I know I sang the praises of Southend the other day but for Milestones (just in case I forget when the time comes) -


Woke up to a beautiful sunny and quite mild morning. I said to Mick, whilst I was giving him his breakfast, that I thought a little outing was in order. Mick is eating and drinking very well since he has had the patch on. They are making his mouth dry but as he isn't troubled by the mucus he is finding it easier to drink now. Breakfast etc over I heard a text come in on my phone and it was Manda asking if we fancied a walk. That was marvellous because with two of us sharing the pushing it meant we would be able to have a longer walk. We decided to walk to Homebase; a few hills but not insurmountable.

Homebase, as with most shops, was full of Christmas decorations and I couldn't resist taking a photo of these cute little mice. Friends of Mousie's no doubt! The garden centre part was a little sparse due to the time of year though they did have a lot of Christmas Trees in pots. I bought a light up Santa that plugs into my computer and a pair of singing snowmen (well actually a snowman and a snow woman); they are holding hands and sing Christmas songs. Reminded me of Mick and I after a few Christmas drinks so I just HAD to buy them. No photos yet; you will have to wait until I put the Christmas decorations up before you see them!

Manda and Mick on the journey home A quick photo shoot outside the brewery

Friday, November 10, 2006


The chemist got the patches in really quickly. I read the leaflet and its seems you can use them to help combat travel sickness. That might be handy as the pavements around here are very bumpy. Poor Mick, sometimes I think he must feel like he's on some ride at a fairground. Definitely not very wheelchair friendly. Sudbury town spent a fortune putting down really stylish paving but every slab is sooooo bumpy and every now and again there is a drainage dip which the wheels get caught in.
I digress though; I'm supposed to be talking about the patches. You have to place them behind your ear on clean skin and leave them on for 3 days at a time. They are pink in colour - I guess it would be classed as flesh coloured but I'm not sure I've every seen anyone with skin that pink! As usual I read the leaflet re: side effects etc. I don't know why I put myself through this because more often than not the possible side effects seem worse than the condition to be cured!
Then again, even sleeping tablets have a warning on them "these tablets may cause drowsiness" - well I should HOPE so!
It's just a case of wait and see now. I must admit that last night Micks breathing was less noisy. Of course that meant I couldn't sleep. Yes I know it sounds silly but when Mick is breathing very noisily I can sleep - I guess in my dreams I can hear him so know he is ok. Well last night I just couldn't settle. I had to keep popping the little torch on, that I have next to bed, to check that his chest was still going up and down.

Back to the side effects; "these patches may make you feel drowsy, confused or dizzy and may affect your vision". Unfortunately these are things that are happening to Mick anyway so HOW will I tell? I shall have to rely on my woman's intuition. At least I haven't had to worry about;

  • Are you pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • Are you breast feeding
  • These patches are not recommended for children under the age of ten

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Regular visitors to this blog will have noticed that in the side bar I have a Moon Phase item. This isn't just because it's a fun thing to have on a blog; it is slightly more useful than that. Back when Mick was first diagnosed with brain cancer it seemed that every few weeks he would have a really bad sleepy "not Mick" week. Although for a few months he would have the odd conversation; during these weeks he would not say a word, his appetite would decrease, he would have more 'petite mal' type episodes and he seemed even more lethargic. It took some time for us to realise that these times seemed to coincide with the onset of a full moon. I had always known that the moon had an effect of the tides so wondered if it could have an effect on the fluids in the brain. There are so many web sites that explain about this; some of them far to scientific for me but if you're interested have a quick look at this one as I think it clearly shows how much the moon DOES affect the human race. Over the last few months this Moon Phase effect has not been as noticeable but that could be because of the tumor growth or maybe something to do with the time of year. I always have a look though when Mick is having a really bad week and watch out for werewolves!

I have tried to get some photos of the moon but my camera is not really up to the job; but here are a few of the better ones. It's probably better to click on them and see them full size.

This one's just for fun!

The man in the moon

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Seeing Mick take his little peeks at the World Cup DVD yesterday reminded me of what a sporting guy Mick used to be. OK the last few years he has been more of a watcher but in his youth he played football and cricket; did some boxing; played pool for his local pub and was captain of one of the local darts teams. I remember a few months after we first met I was watching him play darts at one of the local pubs and he had a bit of an upset stomach. He wasn't sure that he was going to be able to play so I advised him to have a Port and Brandy to see if that would settle his tum. Well, six port and brandies later Micks stomach ache had gone but his speech was getting very slurred and he was getting slightly unsteady on his feet. The Port and brandies had been DOUBLES! and he still had his darts game to play! "Don't worry" he slurred "at the moment treble twenty looks a foot wide. You watch I'll get Man Of The Match for you." Secretly thinking that the chances of him getting through the match without falling over would be a feat in itself I just said "Oh that would nice darling" You may not believe this but here's a photo of the certificate to prove it - Mick DID get Man of the Match. Even managed a 170 finish! He did rather rest on his laurels the next day - in fact he spent the whole morning in bed with a raging hangover. Sweet memories though.

As I said previously the last few years Mick has given up active sport; especially since we have taken such an interest in gardening. Even now though he gives me moral support when I'm gardening and I always chat away to him when I'm doing anything. This morning it was cutting back and mulching roses. I so enjoy it when the weather is warm enough to have him outside with me. It seems to make the work so much easier.

P.S. A public thank you to Mousie for the flowers for Mick and I on her blog.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


A very foggy,cold,damp day today so no trips out. Mick managed breakfast well and I got him into his armchair. We've only had his armchair for a few months; we went on a long walk to Homebase with Manda and co. and it was on sale there - HALF PRICE! Previously if Mick was out of bed he had to sit in his wheelchair, which isn't very comfortable for long periods. We only have sofas and they are too close to the floor to get the hoist under. I did try putting bricks under one to raise it off the ground but it didn't seem very safe and when I did get Mick sitting on it,it was awkward to keep him propped upright. Anyway, when I saw this chair I immediately realised that I would be able to get the hoist feet around the central leg of the chair. Needless to say out came the credit card and the deal was done. The only problem was 'HOW do we get it home?' Although it came flat packed it was far too large and heavy to carry for any distance - though Chris (bless him) did offer to try. Homebase said they could deliver but it could take 10 days. I know it sounds morbid but from day to day we never know if Mick has 10 more days. Homebase were very helpful though and phoned a cab, and Manda and the cab driver took the chair home and then Manda met us back at McDonalds (Mick does love a McFlurry). Then it was just a case of walking back home, popping Mick back into bed, having a fun time assembling the chair and HEY PRESTO mission accomplished. The chair is sooooo comfortable and as it can lean back at different angles it is nice for Mick to have a little doze in but still feel involved when we have visitors, as he is not stuck up the end of the room in bed.
All that explained I'll get back to what I was started saying. I got Mick out of bed this morning and put him in his chair, put a DVD of the 1966 World Cup on the computer and placed it on a small table in front of him.
Well as soon as he heard the commentator say "Bobby Charlton" his head lifted and his eyes opened! He dozed in and out whilst the match was playing but every time the crowed roared he would take a peek and watch for a few moments. I really think he has had a nice morning and it makes my heart sing.


Christmas 2005 at Leannes and Mandas

Bought the first Christmas present on line last night. Cant tell you who its for or what it is just in case the person in question reads this. Thinking back to this time last year I remember the way I felt; wondering would my darling make it to Christmas. He did though! We even managed to get the chair down Manda's front steps so we could pay a visit to her and Leanne arranged some special wheelchair friendly transport so that we could visit her too.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Well I don't know what happened to yesterday. It came and went in a flash. We seem to get days like that sometimes.

Today has been different though as this morning really seemed to drag; I was waiting for the Hospice nurse to turn up to see if she had any ideas to help Mick re: his choking. Mick had another really bad coughing fit after breakfast but at least it cleared his throat and lunch went down with no problems.

The Hospice nurse came and seemed quite hopeful that there is a patch which may help reduce the mucus in Micks throat. She agreed with me that although it would mean Micks mouth would feel very dry; the fact that he may be able to swallow more liquids may well compensate for that. She also said that she would send a physiotherapist out to see if chest massaging would help. I was so shocked that someone was was going to TRY and help that I was almost speechless.

She did explain though that the problem may be that Micks brain is not controlling his swallowing action completely and that could account for the choking as well. Only time will tell.

It may take a few days for her to speak to the doctor and check the availability of the patches. Fingers crossed it wont take too long.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Stretched our anniversary out to an extra day as Lynn and Leanne both came to stay. Usually, because of lack of sleeping space, it is difficult for Leanne to stay over when Lynn is here (Leanne having three lovely children). As the children stayed with their dad this weekend its been nice for Lynn and Leanne to catch up with each other.

They both brought lovely anniversary gifts with them; a Dan Browne audio tape book and a lovely lava lamp. We plugged the lamp in and waited patiently for it to warm up so we could see the effect. Typically the first "globule" rose just when I had popped upstairs for a while.

I wanted to cook them a nice roast dinner and so Lynn went Tescos to get the necessary food. She came back with a HUGE chicken (think it was chicken - looked like a small turkey!) which cooked up lovely. Nice empty plates at the end so reckon they enjoyed it.Mick did well; although it took some time to eat and his throat was really rasping, he managed to eat most of it.

Being Guy Fawkes Day tomorrow there were lots of fireworks going off . Tried to get some photos but they didn't turn out very well as they were to far away.

It reminded me of last year when we all got together, wrapped Mick up warm and pushed him out into the garden and Chris let off some fireworks Lynn had bought. He put the Catherine Wheels on the back gate and they looked lovely. The only problem was we didn't think about the plastic clematis support which promptly MELTED. The fireworks were great though and it was so funny watching Chris trying to light them and find a space to run off to before they went off - we have so many plants in the garden there's not much room to RUN.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Thankfully the day has ended on a more positive note;

  1. So many good wishes and cards from relatives

  2. Our neighbour Sue brought us such lovely flowers

  3. At 4.55 the hospice nurse phone. It seems the Doctor did speak to her on Thursday and made some suggestions. Unfortunately the doctor did not follow it through but the hospice nurse is going to pop in Monday afternoon and let me know what she feels could help Mick

  4. Mick thoroughly enjoyed AND managed to eat with hardly any choking the lovely chilli that Chris had made

Our anniversary sunrise

Our anniversary sunset


The day started so well; had a lovely kiss from Mick when I told him it was our anniversary. He drank his tea and was really enjoying his breakfast and then the choking started. My poor darling was coughing and choking for an HOUR. It's heartbreaking when this happens and I feel so helpless. He must feel so frightened and all I can do is just try to tell him not worry and try to make light of it when inside my heart is aching for him. He did finally manage to bring up some mucus and at the moment is having a little doze. As usual I think the constant coughing has caused him to have another slight stroke; the right hand side of his mouth is slightly drooped.
Once he had settled I telephoned our doctors surgery to see if our doctor had spoken to the local hospice yet ( see his visit on Tuesday) about a possible solution to Micks mucus problem. The receptionist said the our doctor was off today and after looking at all his notes could see NO reference to the doctor having spoken to the hospice!!!!! and suggested I phoned the hospice direct. I've tried that but had to leave a message on the answer phone. HOPEFULLY someone will phone me soon. I really thought that THIS time, just MAYBE the doctor would try and do something to help Mick. We ask so little. All I want is for Mick to live his days without suffering and this constant coughing and choking must be hurting him so much and means that his one remaining pleasure - eating his food - is spoilt for him.
Well I've had my moan. I have no one here to rant and rave at and find it helps to get it out of my system by writing it down.
I am now going to sit and hold my darlings hand and think beautiful thoughts.


Myspace Anniversary

I am so happy today.It is our Wedding Anniversary. I think back to this time last year when I thought "This will be our last anniversary together" and here we are one year later celebrating another!
Last year we had managed to get transport to a local garden centre and bought a garden plaque which says,"OUR GARDEN IS OUR EARTHLY PARADISE". This year we havent managed to get transport so will buy ourselves something special when we can get out.
Chris is making us one of his special chillis to save me cooking. Hopefully Mick will be able to enjoy it without too much choking as he really loves hot and spicy food.

Thursday, November 02, 2006



Such a silly little thing I know but it really gets my goat. We have one neighbour who whenever he sees Mick and I always says "Hello Ruth" or "Good morning Ruth" and totally ignores Mick. I know people find it awkward when presented with some one in ill health but it's not like Mick's going to engage them in an embarrassing conversation or any thing! I feel so sorry for Mick; he must wonder what he has done to offend this person (who he has known for years and done many many favours for) when they don't even say hello. I usually say to him "I think B... must have thought you were asleep and didn't speak to you" or "B... must have his wrong glasses on today and didn't spot you there".

It brings to mind an occasion a few years ago when I accidentally bumped into a young (obviously physically and possibly mentally impaired) man in a wheelchair. I crouched down and said "I'm so sorry. I wasn't looking where I was going". The young man didn't reply but the older man, pushing his chair, said to me "Thank you so much! It is so nice to find someone who doesn't think my son is invisible ".


P.S. Manda passed her First Aid course with flying colours.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Manda brought home a St John Supplies catalogue from the course. Would you believe there is a battery powered wheel chair that you can use to get people UP STAIRS. Oh how I would have loved to have had one of those when Mick first came out of hospital. He could at that time still support himself and walk a few steps but couldn't manage the stairs. One of those wheelchairs would have meant a few more months of being able to go to the toilet, getting into the bathroom for a bath and sleeping in the bedroom. What a shame the NHS couldn't have lent or even rented us one (they cost £4,150; rather beyond our means) and given Mick a few extra months of near normal life. Too late for us now (would never be able to get Mick in and out of the bath) but thought I'd mention it just in case any of my readers know of anyone who could benefit from knowing it existed. .