Taking care of each other: as always

Wednesday:  8am the day after we arrived home from the wedding down south Steve was on the phone to the doctor surgery to get an appointment.  His eye was still troublesome.  He described the vision out of one of his eyes like looking through a very dirty window.  He said it was murky.  Good – he had a consultation for that day.  He saw the new young gp at our practice.  He looked at Steve’s eye, asked all the appropriate questions.  Told him he couldn’t see anything in his eye, gave him a prescription for antibiotic drops and advised Steve it would be a good idea to go along to the optician and get them to have a wee look – no real urgency, but don’t leave it too long.  Steve came home phoned the optician, spoke to their receptionist, told them what had been going on, she gave him an appointment for an eye examination the following afternoon.

Thursday:  both Steve and I woke up tired.  We did our usual routine.  My feed pump/flush, skin care, meds.  Steve did his eye drops, meds.  Breakfast.  Dogs.  Nurses came in for my dressings, dealt with my NG tube.  Despite not feeling like it Steve went out to work for a few hours – lifting the heavy ride on lawn mower into the van, cutting grass, hedges, weeding.   At 3.30pm Steve went the optician.  She didn’t have very good news for Steve,  two thirds of his retina was detached.  She recommended he did not drive, keep his head as still as possible and go straight to the eye hospital in Edinburgh.  Steve being Steve, said he couldn’t leave his work van in the car park so he drove home first.  Got changed out his work clothes then we headed to the hospital.  The drive into Edinburgh was tense.  Steve looked pale.  Both of us were scared of the unknown.  We chatted on the journey, shared our fears.  We thought we would have to wait in the emergency department.  NO.  We were sent straight to the ward on the second floor.  The nurse led us to a consultant waiting for our arrival.  He fully examined Steve and then explained to us what was going to happen.  He leant over a picked up a large model eye and talked it through in detail the operation Steve needed urgently.  Steve looked at the doctor and said I only have two questions:  will it get better on its own?  When the doctor said no, quite literally this operation was to save Steve’s sight.  Steve said well question number two isn’t really a question its a request.  The operation – will I get put to sleep. I would really appreciate a general anaesthetic.  The doctor explained for this type of surgery the eye needs to be as still as possible so a general anaesthetic is advised.    Another doctor came in to speak to Steve and have a look at his eye.  Whilst he was the other doctor and I had a good chat.  He said he appreciated how ‘nervy’ it is getting treatment/operations on the eye.  Particularly of this scale.  I said to him, my Steve is no cry baby – he has been through cancer twice, had three gruelling weeks of radiotherapy and all through that he coped remarkably well.

Friday:   for me – up very early; made the decision to have half an overnight feed, get up at 5.30am, bath, skin ritual, etc. all in preparation for going to the hospital to be with Steve before his operation.  At the hospital, we spent a quality hour before the nurse whisked Steve away and it was time for me to go back home.   The nurse handed me a piece of paper with the direct line phone number to the ward – I took it from her and held it as if it was a piece of priceless China that would smash if I dropped it.  I placed it into my jacket pocket and guarded it with my life.  The nurse assured me he was in very capable hands and I could telephone anytime.  The drive home was very lonely without my soulmate.  Not to mention the car was very quiet, if you think I can talk – well steve can fair blether too. I arrived home, got into my pjs, linked up to my feed pump , put on a movie and snuggled in with our Labradors.  Steve and I text each other back and forth before his surgery.  He wanted to know I was home safe and was all linked up to my feed ok, I wanted to know how his pre med was going – we exchanged texts until I got a text from Steve at 10.20am to say that was him heading to theatre.

12 noon my feed finished.  The dogs were as unsettled as me.  Clock watching certainly does make the day go slower.   Nearly 1pm – I phone the ward – Steve is back from theatre – everything has gone to plan.  I want to go see Steve for the afternoon visiting – first thing I need to do is make sure I eat plenty.   The last thing I wanted was my blood sugar dipping.  I got two ensure drinks down me and a fortisip compact before having a bowl of cereal.   I packed some extra t shirts and shorts for Steve and put in the bag sweets and his favourite oasis juice.    When I arrived at the ward Steve was snoozing.  His operated eye had a patch on.  As I approached the bed he opened his eyes.  I know the footsteps he said.  We were both as pleased as each other to see one another.  Steve was in a lot of pain and would be for quite some time.  I didn’t stay too long the first visit in the Friday, went back in the evening  for a couple of hours.

Then I went home . Had something to eat.  Smothered my body in three layers of Cream for my skin.  Took my Meds.   Then the usual pump feed ritual; hooked up for ten hours of continuous feeding.  I didn’t want to sleep in our bed on my own, so I camped on the sofa with the dogs and TV for company and comfort.   I missed my cuddly hubby.

Saturday:  rather than getting woken by my Feed pump beeping, I awoke to the familiar noise of my iPhone getting a text.  It was from Steve, letting me know what kind if night he had and asking how I slept and asking how I was feeling.  Steve was getting home later that day – best news ever.  Big downside.  He is going to need three more further operations.  For the immediate future we are taking life gently and a day at a time.

As soon as we are able we are going onto the Hotels Combined site below and booking ourselves a relaxing couple of days away.  Somewhere not too far from home – a pamper day or two sounds fabulous.   Click on the image below if you want to see great prices for hotels UK and worldwide.


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Third day in my pjs and my faithful labradors


Buddy and Bella              Buddy helps with fortisips


Thursday afternoon, was feeling very very tired.  To that point that you feel your legs just can’t carry you.  Teatime – dire need to put my pyjamas on.   The whole afternoon I slept on the sofa, with the exception of the times my Labrador, Buddy, would wake me.  He would look at me and if he could speak he would say mother just try something to eat or drink a fortisip.

Buddy is a wonderful golden Labrador.  He follows me around everywhere I go.  Sits patiently in the bathroom, always at my feet or by my side when I’m sitting down.  Accompanies me to kitchen, stands and looks at the fridge – I know he is wondering if perhaps he can have something to eat.  When I’m in

bed, his duvet bed is in our bedroom.  I’m up at night – Buddy is up at night.  He carries clothes through to the washing machine.  Most importantly he knows when my blood sugars are dropping too low.  I can be in a sound sleep, I will suddenly feel a paw on my shoulder; tap tap.  I open my eyes to see his big square head looking over me.    On checking my blood sugar levels after buddy has woken me – they are always around the 2.5 mark.  He has an instinct that i need to drink one of my fortisip Drinks.

As well as Buddy we have Bella, she is also a golden lab, 2 years younger than Buddy.  She doesn’t quite keep as close as Buddy.  However, if I am home alone.  Or on a sofa on my own, I will have a Labrador on either side of me.  Bella is protective of me, keeps her ears open for anything out of the ordinary happening.  Bella is just as faithful, and is learning the household duties and definetly likes to carry things for you.  The softness of the labs mouth, they will carry something for you for a considerable time or distance and will not damage or mark it.  however she is a Daddy’s girl and knows what side her bread is buttered on – she very much looks forward to Steve’s cuddles, playing football, letting them run free outside with him.

Friday, I was violently sick.  While shouting hughie down the loo I had both Labradors in the family bathroom with me.  I was sweating and Bella was gently licking my feet, I know to many that sounds yuk, but for me it was comforting and when your heart is pounding in your ears it’s good to know someone or something is looking out for you.   Buddy takes charge and sits upright by my side as I grip the pan.  If he could hold my hand he would.  At last I’m sure nothing more can come out.  After composing myself to get back to the sofa, we three walk along the long hallway together.  Bella taking the lead and Buddy walking by my side.  Bella only one step ahead, normally she would run along the hallway.  This day she walks slowly at my pace.  Her ears pinned back listening to my every move.  I get to the sofa, fall asleep and wake up an hour or so later:  both dogs faithfully down at my feet.

Saturday felt like a nothing day.  Disappeared so quickly.

Sunday – today.  The first day I feel up to making a cuppa.  Brian and Margaret popped in for a visit.  I’m not very good with visitors when I’m feeling rubbish, but there are some people that you don’t mind calling on you at any time.  My brother Brian and sister in law Margaret are in that class.  They don’t mind if they don’t get a cuppa, or the dogs hairs need vacuumed.  And I don’t mind what I’m like when they come.  They want to visit regardless – which is lovely.  They brought me a beautiful present.  A zebra picture.  I love it.  Buddy loved the cuddles from Margaret too 🙂

I thought I would bath and get some slacks and a t shirt on.  Alas, it’s 4.45pm – I’m washed and in fresh pyjamas.  My labs don’t mind as long as they get a hug. It’s a slow evening snuggled up on the sofa.  And I think after the busy week my hubby has had he is benefiting from chilling on the couch.


Worth breaking the rules

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For the last five years my health has dictated holidays – breaks away abroad had been a thing of the past.  Postcards and tales from family and friends seemed to be the closest we were getting to foreign lands.  Anytime we thought about going away we hit stumbling blocks.  Our general rule is usually stay in UK, go somewhere proven.

  • do I feel up to going away
  • fitting timings in with lanreotide injection every 21 days
  • is it all really worth it
  • takings unusual meds on the trip
  • holiday insurance????
  • the weight of my fortisip drinks
  • carrying tubs of creams, factor 50 sun cream, etc

Im not the easiest person to be with at the best of time.  The spontaneous hypoglycaemia attacks when you least expect it.  Those who know me know I blether a load of rubbish at the best ofdden drop in blood sugar can turn me into a raving lunatic.  This tends to make my hubby slightly nervous, after the episode of us in the centre of Edinburgh and I just sat down in a crowded street – I could go no further and needed some supplies.  I’m sure Steve says in his sleep – “eat something” or “here is ….. Get it down you”. By the way this happens very often. I get grumpier than normal when my tummy aches.  one of the biggest challenges is the thought of leaving home and not knowing where the nearest bathroom is.  We have all had diahrea or loose movements at some time – but when this is an everyday occurrence a great deal of thought goes into leaving the security of your home and the comfort of ones own loo.

This is my 49th year on earth and have been married to Steve for 29 of them.  I want to do cheery happy things with my hubby.  Sitting one evening I thought I’ve had enough of pussy footing around.  I want us to go on a holiday abroad – go somewhere no-one knows us, take in sights and most importantly spend quality time together.   So we struck while the iron was hot and booked 7 days in Ibiza.  Was this too ambitious – a sunny island and me being photosensitive.  Get a grip woman I said to myself – put on plenty of your cream snd smother the factor 50 on.

The month before we were booked to go I was in hospital with pneumonia.  The thought of the trip we had planned together gave me strength and stamina to push myself.  Every breath, step was an effort.  Combination of IV antibiotics, steroids and sheer want to go helped me on the right road.

We got to Ibiza last week and spent 7 days there.  It wasn’t always problem free but having my soulmate with me made everything easier.

  • was it worth it? – most definitely YES
  • it wasn’t always easy
  • some of the hilly streets were a tad ambitious & challenging
  • was I tired? – exhausted – still am
  • would we go back – in a heartbeat

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