Best Friend

Today is a special day. It’s the anniversary of the wedding of my hubby, Steve and me. We got married in August 1986. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. We have had amazing fabulous times, laughed so much it hurt. Gone to so many lovely places together, shared many happy times and learned to love, live, cry and smile every day. Although life hasn’t always been easy, and there have been turns in the road that have tried our strength. We have always had each other to come home to, share the burden and lighten the load. I feel very happy to have my husband as my Best Friend

STEVE AND ME IN IBIZA

Steve and I are proud of our two children and we are pleased to have beautiful grandchildren. It’s a tremendous feeling to have such little ones warming our hearts.

Our home is a happy one filled with love, laughter and most definitely plenty of chatter. Steve and I at home with two loyal labradors, Buddy and Bella. Regular welcomed family visitors keeping us on our toes and entertained. Never a dull moment in our household.

Never a dull moment in our household. On the day we got married; Friday 22 August 1986 – I woke up and realised I didn’t have an appropriate pair of shoes to wear. Steve and I jumped on his Honda Superdream and went into Edinburgh for a pair. The sales assistant asked if she could help, I told her I needed a pair of shoes for a wedding, when i explained I was the bride she was taken aback. She said I hope the groom is more organised. I laughed and said to her maybe you want to ask him and nodded my head in Steve’s direction, as he stood at my side. Oh my isn’t it bad luck to see each other before the vows. We will take our chances we said. THIRTY FOUR YEARS LATER I COULDN’T LOVE MY HUSBAND ANY MORE THAN I DO TODAY.

It started with a puppy

Most of my regular readers with be familiar with Buddy and Bella my labradors. Buddy is my assistance dog, knows when I’m especially not too great, when the old sugar levels have taken a dip, he alerts me to take the appropriate action. He knows when the old ticker is playing up, the irregularity is a bit of a pain, sometimes the palpations are bangning through and I know that my heart rate is racing, however, when the blood pressure has dropped dangerously low, Buddy knows before anyone. Bella is his wife. And a great couple they are. My life is never been dull with my amazing beautiful fox red boy labrador Buddy and delightful loyal golden girl Bella.

The day I decided to breed them did not come lightly. Both my babies have great pedigrees. Exellent temperments and I had the confidence that they would produce fantastic puppies. However, there is always the worry – will my bitch be ok? how will the puppies be? The hard work it involves. I didnt want just to have the puppies and leave them in a room. I wanted them to be socialised, toilet trained, etc. Which would most definitely be a lot of hard work. Looking after my girl through pregnancy, sitting up with her during labour and helping look after the pups till good homes were found.

Soon Bella was pregnant, quickly she was a little barrel. We made her a breading box, gave her a room all to herself, so that when the pups were born, she would have peace and quiet. Time passed quickly and the pups were born. Dad was on hand, sat all the way through the labour. On the first of March 2015, 8 beautiful puppies were born.

This is the 8 Puppies

Bella & pups 1st March 2015

Eight healthy puppies looking for new homes. Ive got to admit I was apprehensive letting the puppies go. Leave us and stay with what to them would start of as strangers. As well as the folks phoning me asking questions, I asked them questions too. Good homes were imperitive. All prospective new owners came to view the pups, made a decision, had the opportunity to see them twice again before finally getting the pup at 8 weeks. One young lady that telephoned was called Sally. She already owned a labrador, a horse and lived with her Mum. Both of them worked, but it appeared that their work hours would suit perfectly.

First visit they were fair taken with the pups. They chose the lightest coloured pup, and told us his name would be Harley. Little did we know our friendship would grow into one of the best, all I can say is It started with a puppy

Harley & siblings having breakfast

This is Harley

Harley is three weeks old here

The weeks flew in that we had the puppies. Buddy and Bella’s romance grew. And the puppies soon went from mums breast to porridge to puppy feed. I socialised them a great deal. Let them run around the house. Our hall is very long they ran along it daily when they were able. They played with toys, got used to the noise of the vaccuum, washing machine, etc. Let them get used of children and people.

Bella and Buddy having a cuddle

Over the period of a week the puppies went to their new homes. When Harley went to his new home, his went to live with Sally and Marie. Sally worked at Edinburgh airport, two minutes from her home, The hours worked in great with her mums and Harley soon settled quickly with the resident labrador Cooper.

I am very fortunate that all my puppy owners have kept in touch with me and I know how they are doing and where they are. Harley is a very lucky boy. Harley grew up in a very loving environment with the company of the other dog to help him guide him on his way. He also had a great, firm however very loving and loyal owner in Sally.

The love and enjoyment Harley gave had a huge impact. It actually was the turning point in Sally’s life when she changed her journey. And started a whole new career. She started dog walking and dog day care. Her Mum Marie is very proud of her, its a big step moving on from employment to self employment; and making a success of it is admirable. You reap what you sow….. Marie your hard work has flourished. And beautiful Harley is the proud resident Labrador of Salspals.

You can find out much more at their website Sal’s Pals

Anytime I need Buddy or Bella looked after Salspals is the place I choose for my precious labradors to go. Whether its for a hospital stay and I’m forced to stay in due to treatment or an infection and my hubby has comittments that leave the babies at home all day, we will use the services. Or most definetly when I am feeling tickety boo and we manage a travel trip, especially on the harley davidson, and meet up with friends from the http://www.dunedinhog.com to attend a harley davidson ralley. Sally does a tremendous job of making you feel welcome, she really does love the dogs. And our dogs undoubtedly enjoy their time at Salspals. Their daycare is tailormade to your needs. Salspals is special.

Salspals is in an exciting period they are moving to their new premises; this is a fantastic new time for the business. It will allow the dogs to rest in comfortable and safe surroundings. Run around in a safe and secure area. However, dont worry there will still be plenty walks on the cards for our four legged friends.

Life is short and most certainly precious. We have to look out for those that we care for and those who care for us. The familiar sound in my house is the padding of Labrador feet at my side. Buddy and Bella are never far from me and that’s how I like it. The first time I left Buddy I don’t know who was more upset, it was like leaving a child at the school gates. I could hear him whimpering. In the 5 years I had him we had never been apart. Not for one night. When I left my tummy was in turmoil. I felt tears pricking in my eyes. Phone in my bag, so wanted to reach for it and call and say I would come get him. Not that I knew what I would do with him, it was 10pm and I was due at the airport at 5am. 10.45pm my mobile made a familiar sound it was a text with an image of Buddy and Bella on the sofa cuddling in. At 4-30am I received another one to say they were both ok, and asked how I was. When I landed there was a text and photo waiting for me. Then I knew my babies were going to be ok, in fact I knew they were going to have a great time.

Sally at Sal’s Pals – it started with a puppy

Bye Lavita you have been a lifesaver

Its the start of the weekend I’m in my own home and boy am I glad to be so.  A few weeks ago I was in hospital with yet another infection.   It started of I wasn’t feeling too good, said to my nurse I felt horrid, my tummy began to swell, my temp rose, the leakage that came out of around my peg site increased, the smell began to get really offensive.  My energy became non existent.  I visited my GP, within 2 hours I was in hospital.  Before I knew it connected to IV drip and on IV antibiotics.  I was feeling absolutely awful, could hardly put one foot in front of the other.  The familiar face of SPB came to my bed.  He is the surgeon that put my gastrostomy tube in two years ago.  Lavita has been a lifesaver and fed me on demand.  After blood tests, X-rays, scans and careful discussion with the surgeon and the wonderful dieticians Bev and Marion it was decided it was time to change the tube.

 

 

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Im not going to lie, I was bloody nervous at the thought of getting lavita taken out and another tube put in.  The nurse came to tell me that I was getting my tube changed later that day.  just after lunch I could hear a familiar Irish mans voice outside my bedroom.  A few minutes later the doctor popped his head round the door, remember me Elizabeth? He said.  How could I forget.  He was the doctor that took out my jej extension.  I have faith in him.  My nervousness left me and I felt calm.  How could I forget, I replied.  He changed my gastrostomy tube.  I’m not saying it was plain sailing.   Mainly due to the infection,  I had a lot of tummy pain and there was quite a lot of discharge and blood. There was a lot of tugging and pulling.  The burning gastric acid from my stomach was trickling down my skin, it hurt like hell.  He mopped it up very quickly.  The saliva was running down my gums, yet my lips and mouth felt dry.  We agreed that a larger circumference tube would go in this time, in the hope that there will be less leakage.    We have moved up a size and a half and its fitted perfectly.    I was in hospital for 5 days, and got well looked after, support from dieticians, nursing staff, and doctors fantastic.

Its took me a while to get on my feet since getting out of hospital.    I have been very tired, in fact super exhausted to be exact.    Regular things have taken a back seat and gosh have I missed it all.  In particular not having the granddaughters at the house as often.   A couple of weeks before I went into the hospital our house was full of laughter of two beautiful granddaughter’s.  Our 17 month old princess was running up and down the hall saying Papa Papa, Broom Broom – she is desperate to go sit on her grandfather’s motorcycle.  Grace calls from the kitchen Bella Boo to one of our labs.   The girls are away on a two week holiday at the seaside.  Gosh I miss their visits.

 

 

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Since I have been home, I am getting my regular visits from my nurses.  Getting my tube maintained,  The balloon water changed. My dressings changed.  Working hard on building up the old stamina 🙂

The one important thing that needs to be done next is find a name for my new tube.  Its a balloon gastrostomy that feeds me through a pump directly into my tummy.  Im attached to the feed 20 hours out of 24 every day.  This prevents me having a hypo and helps me maintain my weight.  My wonderful hubby has bought me a lovely new Michael Kors leather backpack to put my pump in, it means I can be attached to my feed, carry it on my back and still be ‘fashionable’ as well as carry other essentials with me.

If you have any suggestion of a name for my new tube, please comment.  All suggestions, comments welcome.

 

Making The Most………

Wow its been a while since my fingers have tapped out a post.  To say I haven’t jotted down anything would not be true.  However, everything I have written recently has been very personal and Im not quite ready to share these thoughts.

It’s the beginning of July the last post was published in March.  Quite a lot has gone on in my life in the last 4 months.  The puppies have all grown, and gone to new homes.  They have left a footprint on my heart – they were jolly hard work but oh so lovely to have.  We kept one from the litter.  A stunning young lady.  We named her Bess.  And yes she is turning out to be just we hoped; a great combination of mum, Bella and dad, buddy.   Bess is already taking note to sit and wait when nurse Evelyn is attending to me.  She is intrigued in all the help that a grown up Labrador parent can be.  

We had the honour of attending and celebrating Sophie’s first Holy Communion in May.  What a wonderful day that was.  Alexandra and Grace were ever so happy to get into their dresses and drive through to Glasgow.   What a day to remember.  So happy, full of laughter and love.  Quite a memory.

Sophie trying to beat Stuart’s time completing the rubix cube. 

Sophie with Alexandra and Grace at her Holy Communion Celebration.

I felt far from my best in the last few months.  Seen my consultant, dietician, several hospital visits.  My wonderful nurses come to the house and cater to my needs.  I’ve lost weight which is a bit of a bummer.   My gastrostomy tube snapped which was slightly annoying- lovely staff from the hospital came out straight away with a new part.  Now that’s what I call service.   There has been a fault with the batch – there has been a run on broken tubes 😂 

On the 10th of each month I get the chance to meet up with net cancer patients.  Through the charity The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust.  We have a great time blethering away, sharing stories.  10th June my sister hazel drove me to haddington to meet up with the others for a coffee on a Saturday afternoon.  July 10th Steve and I went in style on steves BMW motorcycle to the evening meeting.  The meetings help me a great deal.  They give an opportunity to talk, share experience and most important be YOU.   Looking forward to the next one.  

Lanreotide Injection with a special delivery

As usual the run up to my injection was met with even more trips to the bathroom.  Bowels  working in overdrive.  The day my nurse suggested I get incontinence pads delivered, I was a tad reserved, now I couldn’t do without them.  Before I started getting the jab every three weeks I had total uncontrollable running to the loo, more than ten times per day every day.  Now its greatly reduced.  On a really good day, its three times a day, the week before my injection is due I’m met with a rapid increase of visits to the little room.   This week as well as my usual company of my companion dog, Buddy.  We had Bella getting up with us too.  Bella is our 4 year old labrador retriever.  Who is heavily pregnant.  And lets just say the puppies were moving around in a way that she couldn’t hold the loo in for too long.  Poor girl.

The night before my injection Bella starts getting even more restless, comes to me and gives me a big hug, goes into her large birthing box bed and starts digging the bed to make it comfortable.  She is going to go into labour.  Boy its going to be a long night.  Bella starts to pant and shows all signs of first stage labour and then second stage.

At 0045am the first pup is born a little girl.  She is a perfect fox red labrador retriever.  Just like her daddy.  Bella is so good, bites through the sack, cleans the little one up and welcomes her into the world.  I give Bella a reassuring cuddle.  And make sure the little and Bella are ok.  They are.  I take a photograph of them,  I tell Steve first of course, and then send proud messages of the exciting first birth.  My friend Louise lives three miles from me and asks if she can come and observe Bella giving birth and be of any assistance to me.  She is there for the rest of the litter delivery.

 

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By 0725am there are 8 puppies born into the world.   Steve comes in to see Bella and is there for pup number 9 and 10.  Bella feeds the puppies and a big rest.  Despite being on cloud nine and so happy I’m shattered and feel like I can hardly put one foot in front of the  other. I get myself washed and dressed my nurse will be here this morning to check over my gastrostomy tube, change my dressing, and give me my lanreotide injection.

10am my nurse Evelyn walks through the door.  At first Bella barks, only until she realises who it is.   Evelyn pops her head into the room to view the pups, and then walks along the hall.  She scrubs up and then does all the needful for me.  As my faithful labrador retriever, Buddy, sits by my side and watches everything my nurse does.  I get ready for this painful deed to get done.   Tummy first I think she says.  The soiled dressing taken off, site all cleaned, helan cream and cavilon applied.  And then my nice new clean dressing put on, carefully with tape not to touch my skin and cause a reaction.  Evelyn  then picks up my lanreotide injection.  I get this every 21 days.  Its your left side this time she says as I slip down my knickers.  I then have to work out which way to lie so evelyn can inject my left buttock, I have enough problems with this at the best of times, put lack of sleep into the mixture and we have a recipe for disaster.  I was this way and that way on the sofa. Evelyn said, just a minute and listen to me and then lie down like I tell you,  it worked a treat.  As she administered the injection of lantreotide buddy sat a few feet away watching all, making sure all was good.  Which it was.  All done.    Everything put in the sharps box.  A good discussion between me and my nurse, as always.  Notes written.

 

 

 

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Steve calls my name along the hall.  I take myself along inviting my super nurse with me.  Bella is having a contraction, and as in previous seems to want me to work with her as a team.  I rub her tummy and reassure her that I am by her side.  Come on Bella, one big push for mummy, I say to her.  I can see her body contracting, the pain in her eyes.  My lovely dog looks so tired.  I can see a little tail appearing and a foot, one last push Baby belle.  And so she did.  Out comes the most beautiful little puppy.  Puppy number 11.  Bella is exhausted, I hold it while Bella bites the chord, cleans him vigorously, suddenly a little squeal comes from the puppy.  Bella wags her tail.  He is perfect and she is happy.   Puppy number 11 was born at 1118am.   What a team, you both make.  Evelyn says to me.  I feel very proud.  Bella gave birth to 8 boys and 3 girls.  I’m so pleased that things have gone well.  My dog is well, her puppies are healthy and of a good size.  Buddy, the daddy, watches on eagerly, I know he is desperate to play with the little fella’s.

My nurse managed to see the puppy being born, she got more than she bargained for on her home visits for this Thursday.   I certainly do not doubt that she has eventful days but I guess she doesn’t have puppies making an entrance into the world very often.

 

My Shining Lights when the going gets tough!!

For most of us life is hard enough.  We all run along in the treadmill of life in our own way. Me, I try and make the best of it even on the bleakest day.  The last three weeks have been a struggle.  My father is in hospital, he has had life saving open heart surgery, his surgery was fairly extensive; a triple bypass, a valve replacement and a pacemaker.  He has been in intensive care, moved onto high dependency and now graduated to the specialist cardiology ward.  He still has a long hard journey ahead of him.  My Papa is made of strong stuff, he will fight all the way.   I am finding it hard, seeing him lie in the hospital bed looking so frail and lost when I am so used to seeing him going around the family home like a busy bee.  To let you understand my Dad is not one for sitting down, as you would say he has a ‘glass ass’.  He likes to keep busy, making sure everyone is looked after when they visit him.  There is always coffee and a sandwich on offer.

Ive been feeling a tad worse than usual over the last few weeks too.  On the medics advice Ive increased my steroids.  Whats keeping me going and giving me strength?  Love.  From particular special individuals: my hubby Steve, my sons Tony & Stuart and my granddaughters Alexandra & Grace.   They are my shining light, all of them fill my heart with warmth and love.   They light up my life even on the darkest days.  And make me smile – Always.  I love them so much and am so grateful to have them in my life.

 

 

 

Well I’ve Done It: I’m 50 :)

Well today its my birthday.  I am half a century – the big 50.  Many folk hide their age, dread being fifty and pretend their younger than they are.  Me, I’m happy to be here.  I feel privileged to say I have hit such a milestone.  My fortieth decade was a mixed one.  There was many happy events, lots of love and laughter which keeps me going.  However, I  also had to face a few difficult life challenging times which were so difficult.

 

Steve & Me
Happy to get up the castle

 

 

I had many occasions to have cause for celebration.  Both my sons attended university in this decade furthered their education.  Our delightful labradors, Buddy and Bella  came into our lives; the unconditional love they give is amazing, I really can’t imagine my life without the hairy beasties.  We delivered a litter of puppies from them, and have kept in touch with puppies and owners.  Now made some lovely friends.  Some wonderful children have been born in the last ten years who are really close to my heart.  There have been a few very happy weddings.  I have mad many new friends.  Need I go on.   Life is precious and for living, it is all too easy to get bogged down with our problems.  On a personal level Steve and I are as much in love as we were when we were teenagers.  I believe this is my weapon – Love.  

The one thing I am certain is in the last ten years I felt loved.  The first five years were very difficult, I suddenly lost 3 stone in weight, felt very ill, and no-one seemed to know why was wrong with me.  It took a while to get my health situation sorted out, but with the love of Steve, the boys and my parents I felt secure.   I’ve had a few hairy moments been in hospital with septicaemia for 7 weeks, and boy was that scary.  Now got my gastrostomy tube fitted.  Life isn’t always easy with a stoma.  Ive been admitted with several infections.  However, its much better than it was,  I have a fantastic medical team and nurses that come to the house which is fantastic.  And I’m still here to tell the tale and thats whats important.

The second half of my forties were slightly more challenging than the first emotionally.  Amongst other things:  A very close uncle died, my youngest son had extensive brain surgery, my Mum died, my eldest son had meningitis, hubby had eye surgery for detached retina.  But you know what we got through it all.  The boys are doing well.  Steve still has problems, and only had surgery last week again, but the brave bugger is dealing with it the only way he knows – full of courage – like a lion.  It will be three years on the 9th August that Mum passed.  I miss her every day.  We had one of those relationships that we spoke or text every day.  Mum wouldn’t want me moping around.  She was a great character, a beautiful woman that I looked up to and admired.

One day in the consulting room at the hospital my professor handed me a card.  It was for the NET Tumour Support Group that I now meet regularly with.  .  We have all became great friends.  Sadly, one of the friends that I was very fond of passed away last year.  However, I would rather have  spent time with her, laughed, cried, etc, even for one year and then felt the pain of her loss than not have met her at all.   we all meet regularly every month and have a great time.  Its not doom and gloom, we meet at each others house or in the pub.  Partners, friends, carers go too.  You can have a look at the charity’s website to see what work they do:  www.taect.scot  I’m looking forward to helping organise the tea party in Pencaitland in November for NET Cancer Day.

I’ve had cards delivered for my 50th birthday.  Including cards from friends in the Net group which is lovely.  One of my friends in the group, Barbara was very thoughtful, because my eating is restricted, she made me a flower birthday cake.  I could have cried, its so beautiful.

Looking forward to spending my 50’s  with Steve.  Doing what I enjoy.  Taking photos,  writing, cuddling my labs, crafting, etc.  My big aim is to get back into baking and cooking, just because I’m not eating as I did doesn’t mean I should stop what I love.  I got a beautiful mixer last year and boy is it going to get its ass worked off now that I have got over that hurdle.    Have a great weekend guys.  After Ive finished my treatment today My hubby is taking me to The Edinburgh Festival tonight and tomorrow night.  Tonight its Craig Hill, tomorrow its Nina Conti

 

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Some Time For Us

Back from the NET specialist just ten days and we find ourselves travelling up the scenic A9 in our Audi TT roadster with the roof down.  Boy it’s great to be travelling for total pleasure.   We are on our way to Nairn.  Going to celebrate Cousin Sharon’s 40th birthday.  This was no formal birthday party.    We were dressed in 60’s clothing.  And the venue  was a holiday park.  Most of the family stayed at the holiday park for the weekend.  Steve and I opted to stay in a hotel just for the one night.   For us this worked out fantastic.

Our friends Louise and Keith looked after Buddy & Bella for the night we were away.  It’s always easier to go away when I know our puppies will be well looked after.  We pamper our pouches and we know they will get lots of loving from Lou and Keith.

The drive up was great.  The sun was shining.  The roof was down all the

We drove into the holiday park , as we were parking the car, there were a handful of hippies walking towards the social club.  Yes we are in the correct place.   As we walked into the bar there was a  see of faces,  nearly everyone had a 60’s outfit on.  We saw a waving hand, it was Anna  signalling to where they were.  Just as well really, because when everyone is dressed up so well we were all so different – especially when we had wigs on, etc.

This is is picture I took of Steve at home when he was trying on his outfit 😀



When we approached the family, Steve’s auntie Margaret turned round and almost leapt off her seat.  She stood on the floor and hugged her nephew tight. With the height difference between them Steve was on his knees whilst cuddling his aunt and neither of them looked out of place. There were tears in both of their eyes,  without doubt they were both genuinely pleased to see each other.  Auntie Margaret’s five children, Annette, Pauline, Patricia, Jimmy Phil and their partners all welcomed us into the heart of the family.  Everyone from the eldest to the youngest grandchild made us feel welcome and at ease.

Steve and I went back to the Hotel to get ready :

When we arrived back we had a meal.   We sat in the restaurant and had something to munch before a night on the tiles.  Then it was time to party…….


We all had a fabulous time. Steve and I had to get back to the hotel for 12 midnight.  We popped over to the caravan site in the morning to say our Cheerios.  We had a blether with auntie Margaret, cousin Phil, and his wife Jackie.  Annette came round to the caravan in the morning, as did Jimmy and Theresa.  This gave us the opportunity to see them and have a coffee and a blether before we drove down the road,

On the way home, Steve and I blethered away, enjoyed each other’s company in the confined space and had the chance to take time and discuss things.  Travelling has many advantages and opens up opportunities to let us air our views and share our thoughts, worries, anxieties, etc.  We pulled in for a spot of lunch at House of Bruar, of course, we can never go anywhere without me getting treated.  Steve bought me lovely soft blue cashmere gloves and a navy cashmere silk hat.

We arrived back home.  I was shattered.  The drive up to Nairn, the late night, the socialisation all contributory factors.  It had been challenging, as always, finding somewhere to stay, packing all my meds, creams clothes, pump, and every thing else that goes with me.   Was it worth it?  Oh most certainly.  For  two days we drove in Scotland with the roof down, slept in a lovely hotel, and most importantly we spent some quality time wIth family who made us feel welcome and had us belly laughing,  would we do it all again ?  Try stopping us.

 

A Trip To Royal Free In London in April

I had an appointment with the big cheese in London:  Professor Martyn Caplin.  He runs a neuroendocrine tumour clinic at The Royal Free hospital.   He is highly specialised in his field.  And people are referred from many different countries,and travel great distances to see him.  My mere 400 miles, is starters orders for some.  I have a lot of faith in our Prof Caplin.  He is very thorough, takes time to listen to what you have to say.  And most importantly remembers you are a human being and have feelings.   I know when I go down to see him I will most likely be seen later than my appointment time.  This is because he gives every patient the time they need and deserve.

For my appointment in April I need to get myself organised. Firstly we need to book a hotel for a night before and a night after the hospital.  I’m not your average human than can just jump fly down to the smoke, get seen at at the hospital and then travel back.  I tried it once.  It took over a month to recover from the exhaustion.  Premier Inn Booked.  Now time to sort the train tickets out.  It’s great that you can book everything online.  Train booked, and we can get the tickets at the station right up to the day we travel.  Cases are packed.  Lots to go in my case, feed pump, giving sets, feed, dressings, creams, medicines, clothes, etc.  Nurse has been to change my dressing,etc.  dogs are looking at the cases suspiciously.

There has been a slight hiccup with the dogs boarding.  They were scheduled to go stay together with Sally whilst we were in London.  Sally has Buddy and Bella’s son Harley.  The week before we are due to go, Bella goes into season.  Both Bella and Buddy only have one thing on their mind and it’s not walkies.  We have to put plan B into action.  Our friends, Louise & Keith look after Bella and Sally look after Buddy.    For both our dogs this is the first time they have stayed away from home.  Anytime we have ever been away one of our sons have looked after the dogs.  This was a big deal for both the dogs and Steve & I.   I have to say both dogs were looked after impeccably.  They were walked several times per day, played with.  And when we came home we could tell although they were very happy to see us they had enjoyed their time away.

Our train journey was eventful.  We met a very gutsy lady and her 7 year old son.  They travelled from York to London every Sunday.  The young lad attended Great Ormand Street Hospital for an injection.  He was under a trial drug scheme.  He has muscular dystrophy.  We chatted, shared stories, laughed.

When we got to the hospital we used the self check in.  Before I could take a seat in the busy waiting room the nurse called my name.  We walked down the corridor and into the room.   She took my weight. she said.  The Prof wants to see you, if you just take a seat along this end.  Steve and I parked our bums on the seats and waited on Prof Caplin calling me.

Fifty minutes passed my appointment time the familiar gent calls my name.  Prof Caplin kindly waits till both Steve and myself are in the consulting room.  We take a seat.   There is a lot to discuss.  Since I saw him last I’ve had my gastrostomy tube fitted, been hospitalised several times with sepsis/infections, had feeds, cream and meds changed.   After we talk, he helps me up onto his couch, he examines my belly and has a good look at the peg site.  Listens to my chest, feels my neck, under my armpits.  He says  quite a lot of granulation there.  The general all round site and your skin is healing well but you do have a long way to go yet.   I take a seat back beside Steve.  Prof mentions my last 5HIAA test was elevated. The result was 175.  A tad higher than he would like.  He says he would like me to get a scan.  Steve pipes up,  will that be a gallium scan.  The prof immediately answers us,  I can organise that for you, no problem.  You will only wait a few weeks on the scan.  I will book it now whilst you are here.   He then goes into the drawer in his desk and takes out a card and hand it to me.  This is the number for our specialist nurses.  Once you have had the scan and the result is in the nurse will phone you and discuss the results with you.  And what happens next.
We were back home in Scotland three days later.  Two days after  we arrived home the telephone rang, it was the nuclear medicine department of The Royal Free Hospital in London.  My scan was in eleven days time.  Certainly cannot complain about the quality of the service I am getting.

 

The Pups Birthday

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Bella feeding the contented puppies

 

The 1st of March 2015 was a rather eventful day in our house.  Our loving Labrador, Bella gave birth to eight puppies.  Ever faithful Buddy looked on as she delivered each individual pup.  One year on and we are still in contact with five of the owners.  We hear how they are progressing.  It is a wonderful feeling to know that you helped delivered these little guys into the world and now they are part of another family.  We get to know what joy they are bringing to others and what their role is now they have left the nest.

 

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Buddy looking after Gunner before he leaves the nest

 

 

March 1st 2016 celebrated their 1st birthday.  I sent a message to the families to say happy birthday to the dogs and hope that they were well.  I got messages and pictures back.    It makes me feel good to know that the dogs are loved and well cared for.  And I am more than happy to be in touch and have made new friends through our dogs having a litter of puppies.

 

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Kai eager to get to his birthday cake

 

 

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Kai’s Birthday cards

 

Kai had a birthday party, with dog friends invited.  Kai got presents, cards and cake.  A lot for a one year old dog.  ‘a couple of the pics from Kai’s party. He had a great time, ran rings around everybody. Was hard to get some pics with the bedlam going on. He had 3 doggy friends in all going bonkers lol Wee Millie the cocker spaniel is knackered.  He’s totally spoilt but we love him to bits.’ Kai lives with a lovely couple who keeps up updated on his progress.  He is a lucky boy to be in this family; well loved and will always come first. You can tell by just looking at them that they were meant to be.  Kai fits into his home so well. He sits on the sofa, looking around like lord of the manor.

 

sandyspider                    sandy

 

Sandy went to live with a couple with a little girl.  He is loved to bits by the family.  I got a message that said ‘Hi Elizabeth we are all doing well.  Nobody can believe that Sandy isn’t one yet because of his height.  He has the square nose like his Daddy.  We will have to bring him to see you all, but will ring first.  This photo was taken at Halloween, he loved his spider, it only lasted a day.  Sandy loves cuddles and up at the school he barks if people don’t come over and pat him.  He’s a case, he patrols the back garden and barks if he sees something he is not happy with.  He loves the trampoline, you should see him and Aimme jumping on it, they are great pals’

 

Jake is a lovely Labrador that lives with his human parents (who love him very much) and two pussy cats.  He is a cuddly dog, who loves to be pampered and snuggled in.  He is like his parents and is quick of the mark in running around and playing with toys,  but equally likes to lie in and if you didn’t know them better you would think they were lazy and thought they were lying there all day.  Jake likes to tell you what he wants.  His folks sent me a message with a photo of him sitting up straight and it said  ‘that is the baby telling you he wants this’ and then a photo of him outside.  Clever dog.

 

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Jake sitting waiting to go gout for his walk

 

 

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Jake standing ready for the off…..

 

 

 

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Gunner and Brandy playing at the Beach

 

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Louise & Gunner

 

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Gunner & Keith

 

Gunner, is the only fox red Labrador exactly like his daddy, some of the others have similarities, but Gunner is a dead ringer for Buddy.  Gunner has gone to live with Louis & Keith, they have a boxer bitch, Brandy and a couple of cats.  Gunner has fitted in perfectly.  Louis and Keith have become our friends.  They pop down to see us, with and without Gunner.  Louise and Keith came to see me in hospital, they couldn’t bring Gunner so brought a beautiful framed photo, this fair cheered me up and let the staff see one of the beautiful dogs Bella has given birth too.   Its been a win win situation.  Louis and Keith take Gunner and Brandy on lots of outings, the dogs enjoy lots of walks .  Gunner is also getting trained to the Gun with Keith.  Merely as a hobby, both man and dog appear to love it.  Gunner is very protective like his Dad and follows Louise around the house and sits and waits whilst she has a bath, etc.

 

Harley, had a lovely birthday.  He got a cake and presents, as you can see in the photographs.  Harley left us at 6 weeks old.  He gets well cared for by Sally.  He has another Labrador as a companion, his name is Cooper.  Sally has taught Harley well, he does what he is told, gives paws on command, rolls over, does all sorts of wonderful tricks.  Harley loves long walks and running around with some of his other furry friends, but I think most of all he likes to get very wet and muddy: just to keep Sally on her toes.   We have kept in close contact and I get kept up to date with all his progress.  Sally has brought Harley back to ours for a visit.  They have visited to meet up with Gunner and had lots of fun with their parents, Buddy and Bella.  And they have visited for a quieter visit, just Harley & Sally.  Where Harley has had a cuddle and played with Buddy and Bella for a while.

 

harley              harley1

 

harley2

 

It was a big decision for us to breed Buddy and Bella last year.  Would we manage with the pups with the way my health is the way it is?  How busy Steve can be for work? We talked about it at great length.  Then decided to let nature take its course.  They mated on 1st January 2015 and Bella gave birth on 1st March 2015.  I’m not going to say it was easy.  Once the puppies got to the three week stage and they were needing weaned onto porridge, it began to get a bit of hard work.  But the first three weeks, Bella kept them clean, fed them and to be honest you hardly heard a peep out of them.  When they started eating the porridge they were like little gremlins – yum yum yum.  Got to say though, all well behaved, and kept to their own bowls.  The key was organisation.  Steve’s cousin, Anna, from Suffolk, came to stay with us for one week, she was a great help, washing floors, feeding pups, etc.  Steve and I had most of the feeding and cleaning down to a routine, Steve did all the manual heavy work.  I will admit it was hard work, however it was worth every minute of it.  The cuddles from the little puppies, the joy and warmth we get from both Buddy and Bella.  When the day came for the new owners to pick up their pup and take it home, you could see how excited they were, the looked at the puppy all doe eyed and eagerly told us of the items they had purchased for their new addition and how they could not wait to get home and show them their new bed.

When my phone texts or I get an email to say how well one of Bella and Buddy’s pups are doing I feel a sense of warmth and a big grin comes across my face.  My dogs are special to me and I’m so pleased their children are have a special place in the hearts of the people they live with.  I’m so happy we had a litter of puppies.   The company of my own dogs, the new friends and hearing how the pups are getting on and developing into fully grown dogs is great for me.  There are days I don’t feel well enough to go across the door.  The contact with others, communicating, happy stories – it all makes the world a better place.