Friday, December 31, 2010

On the Mend.

Mum is now day two post op, we went in to see her yesterday and she was awake but still somewhat confused. The nurses confirmed that she had been out of bed, they had the physios around and they stood her up and walked her around the bed to the other side and back in again. That is real progress!! Mum said that it was painful, but she knew she had to do it.
She is in a bay with three other ladies, one lady waiting for an operation, the two others are quite vocal and Mum is finding that hard going. The lady next door is a Nun and Mum is convinced that she is trying to get her to join a sect, she said that in the middle of the night people arrived and told her to change her religion, Mum said she wouldn't !! Most of last nights visit was full of bizarre conversations about religious sects and the fact that the hospital tea was undrinkable because they use grapefruit juice instead of water to make it. I was really concerned as mentally she was worse than the day before. The staff have said its the Morphine and the general, once that is out of her system she should improve.
Tonight is New Years eve and traditionally we celebrate this with Madeline and John. This year they are coming to us so I am about to go and buy our traditional Big Bang firework!!!
Happy New Year !!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

She has had the operation.

Finally yesterday Mum had her operation, she went down around 11am and made it back to the ward for 4pm. I went in to see her last night and she was awake and a little confused but she knew it had been done. She is on a self administered morphine drip so that is the reason she is confused again. The staff say that the op went well and they plan on having her up this morning. I know that she will find that tough going and that has been made worse by the delay to the operation. I know she will be reluctant to get up as she is worrying about the pain but they will have to get her going.
I have calmed down a bit now and I do realise that its hard on the staff as well they are having to deal with the back lash of the cuts which leave them short staffed and having to continue with the work. I still think its wrong to have kept her hanging around for so long.
I am back at work today so I will call in and see her later.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Still Waiting

I think its fair to say that we are not exactly very happy with the hospital as it stands, I am amazed that in a developed country (supposedly) that its OK to leave a 75 year old woman in bed with a broken femur for three days and not operate to put it right. Yesterday it was nil by mouth from Midnight at 6pm they told mum they couldn't fit her in. I spoke to the nursing staff who have given me conflicting information. One said they had run out of time to operate it being Bank holiday blah blah blah. Another said that it was because of blood results that they were not happy with. If I consider all the excuses given the run out of time is the more honest. The blood results were in in the morning and she was put on the operating list , why at 6pm were they suddenly not 'right'?? She had not had any further tests during the day so I believe they said that to get us off their backs.
We had been in to visit on both visiting times and the staff said the Doctor wanted to speak to us, they have our number and we live 2 minutes from the hospital. To date we have not been able to discuss her situation with any of the doctors looking after her. In Mums drugged up state she thinks the reason the operation has been delayed is because she is not able to pay enough to have it done straight away. She told us that the Doctor said he was far too busy to operate on her. I suspect that most of that is drug talk, but no one was with her when the Doctor spoke to her so who knows what was said.
I have checked with them this morning and they say she is on the list for today, lets see if we will be having a repeat of yesterday. What is sad and upsetting is those folk in hospital who have nobody to stand up for them. Nobody to make sure that they have access to the call bell, no one to ensure that the staff actually 'care' and tend to the needs of the patients, i.e ensure basic comfort and that their worries are taken seriously. The thing is we have no choice in what care she receives, the NHS is the ONLY provider of emergency medicine. You can have private health care but emergencies leave you at the mercy of the NHS and all their under staffing and cut backs. Until you are faced with this you have no idea.
When the NHS performs, it is exceptional and does fantastic things, but I can still remember them spending a lot of time, money and expertise operating of Dad 5 years ago after his ruptured aortic aneurysm, weeks in intensive care and high dependency. Once out of those places they virtually left him to starve to death, leaving food out of his reach, serving him food when he was asleep and not aware it had been delivered. So if we hadn't been there ensuring he was looked after he would have been forgotten and all the expertise of the surgeons lost. Can  you tell I am frustrated??

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fingers Crossed.

I have just called the hospital and they have said that Mum is on the operating list for today, her blood is now balanced and blood pressure down, she is very tearful again this morning but that's the pain and the morphine so hopefully they should have her sorted today. fingers crossed.
Beth came in to visit her last night and took her in a 'love heart' Beth had a kit for Christmas and she has spent sometime making a variety of hearts, this one was for Nanny!! (Thanks Fran, Pete and Becca)
So I hope that they actually do the op and that all goes well.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Moving On......

I have just got back from visiting Mum in Hospital. She is in a reasonable state they have her well drugged up with Morphine, her leg is in traction and she is finally 'comfortable' She was due to be operated on this morning and got as far as the theatre but they decided not to do the op as she had very high blood pressure and they thought that she wasn't stable enough. She came back to the ward in a state and they were very concerned about her. I had told them last night that they needed to keep an eye on the amount of morphine they gave her as she is on morphine patches which means she is 'used' to it. Finally this morning they have taken that on board and they have upped her dose .
This afternoon she is away with the fairies and hasn't got a clue how long she has been there or much more really. I feel that is a good sign and I am feeling hopeful that she will be able to come through this. The plan is for them to test her blood and maintain her blood pressure so that at 6am tomorrow she has the operation.
I am sorry that I have not been able to update everyone individually.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A mixed Christmas

Christmas got off to a good start, no one wanted to get up too early, I got up and put the Turkey in and Beth got up with me and helped me to do the veg. Carl had been out Christmas eve and didn't really feel too grand so he got up around 10. We were expecting Mum and Dad around and Tom went to get Laura. As it turned out Mum and Dad were both unwell with funny tummys so they decided to stay at home.The roads and paths are terrible solid ice now. We haven't had any snow for a week but its still terrible underfoot and very dangerous.
Beth was thrilled with her gifts particularly the panda hat which she had been lusting after all year.
Boxing day got off to a terrible start, I got a call from Dad to say that Mum had fallen in their lobby and had hurt herself. I got around there pronto and it was quite obvious to me that this time she had done something serious. she could not move her left leg and was in agony. I called the ambulance and they arrived and gave her morphine and gas and air. The next problem was how to get her out of the confined space with a little discomfort as possible. It took 4 of us plus drugs and a slidy sheet thing to get her out of the lobby. Once at the hospital they upped her morphine and took her to Xray. The staff suspected she had broken her hip but as it turns out she had broken her femur a bit lower than her hip and he leg was out of shape.
Then the problems started, the hospital was standing room only with no seats anywhere, all the bays were full and the staff decided that they were beyond capacity and started to shunt people out to the doctors out of hours unit. Mum was moved to the clinical decision unit. There we waited for three hours while they tried to find a porter to take her to the ward. Turns out there were only three porters on duty and they were trying to shuffle people around from one ward to another to free up bed spaces.
Mum is still in agony and they are unable to operate on her until tomorrow at the earliest as they do not have enough staff due to the holiday. Unbelievable, this is the thin end of the wedge the credit crunch hitting the NHS. I wonder if this is going to be the norm from now on, perhaps I need to call the papers and ask them what they think about the lack of facilities ? I just hope they get it done tomorrow.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Little Red Head!

Beth has been going stir crazy stuck in the house with all that snow outside. Not able to go out because of her knee. She has been pestering me to have some chunky red slices put in her hair, so I have given in and used a semi permanent dye on her hair to see how it looks. She can't have it in for school so hopefully it will have gone by the time she returns in January!
I think it has turned out well, I like it!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

This week has been dominated by the weather, England has come to a complete standstill, it has been snowing. Again a few inches of the white stuff has stopped everything. It snowed on Saturday and the airports are closed and the roads are impassable.  I took Laura home on Sunday night and the temperature on my car thermometer was showing minus 9.8 !!
When the snow is on the ground the birds somehow seem more obvious.This little chaffinch was jumping around in the fir tree right outside our backdoor. First of all I took a few pictures through the glass. The bird didn't seem to bothered so I opened the door and took shots directly. I was only a few feet away while it was feeding on the pine nuts.
They look so small and vulnerable. We have now hung up some fat balls and peanuts just outside the door and we already have blue tits stopping by.

Hunny loves the snow, she runs around like a puppy jumping all over the place and snuffling under the snow with her nose. She is always happy to go for a walk when there is snow.
I love the post box covered in snow, all it needs is a Robin Red Breast and I'd have the perfect Christmas card.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Whats going on here then????

Once upon a time four ladies took a trip to Belgium. They were quite surprised when they woke up on the first morning to find that it was snowing very hard and the temperature was minus 10!! Three of the ladies had taken the precaution of bringing along suitable footwear for that eventuality, but unfortunately one lady failed to realise that it was winter at all and did not have any boots with her. So the only thing to do to stop a terrible slipping accident was to put a pair of socks over her shoes to aid her grip!!!

So here she is with her special pixie hat and her carer trying to decide how to go about getting the socks 'over' the shoes. It was decided that the best plan of action was for her to sit down in the rather snowy bus shelter in the middle of the  Grotte Market. In full view of the market stall holders, who were somewhat amused by the antics of the strange British women, In the rest of Europe it was traditional to wear socks inside the shoes. This was a revelation!

Sitting down was proving quite difficult there was no alternative, the carer had to get up close and personal. She had to make a quick assessment and decide if a swift return to use the facilities at the nearby Novatel was in order, or if the underwear was holding up in the circumstances and could last for another visit to a bar.
The other two ladies stood watching and laughing at the antics!!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Around Ypres

I can't believe that this time last week we were glugging back Mulled wine and walking around the snowy town of Ypres. It is quite a spectacular place with beautiful buildings and fantastic mulled wine shops!!!!
So here is a glass of the famed Mulled Wine complete with a slice of clove studded orange and a piece of spicy bread pudding Mmmmm Yum. Today I have been and purchased a couple of bottles of Mulled Wine to try at home (in the interests of research don't you know!!)

One of the things that Belgium is well known for is the lovely chocolates. All the chocolate shops have wonderful window displays  full of their tempting offerings.
Here we are outside one of the shops, Sandra had been inside to buy up the entire stock of chocolate before the sold out!!!At least by the time we took this photo the snow had gone!!!
The other reason Ypres is so famous is the Last post which is sounded every night at 8pm at The Menin Gate. Its a really moving experience to be there when the ceremony takes place, it really makes you think about what so many soldiers gave up to ensure our freedom.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Fun Weekend.

I have just returned from a 'girls weekend' in Belgium. It was touch and go as to whether we actually made the trip. On Thursday last week the snow was bad in Kent and it was a big worry. As it happens we decided to give it a go, we left home at 5am Friday morning and took a steady run south. It was quite an experience. The M25 was clear so we made good progress there. Once we hit the M20 the snow doubled and there were huge drifts at the side of the road. The biggest surprise was the sudden drop in the temperature. Most of the journey it had been - 2c. As we hit Kent the temperature plummeted to -8.5c !!! I just kept things steady. We didn't really hit a problem until we got to the part of the road where the police were parking up lorries on the hard shoulder. The road became very icy with big lumps of ice. In the end we arrived with nearly an hour to spare. The Ferry was covered in snow and ice and from the restaurant we could see flurries of snow out at sea.
Leaving along the white cliffs of Dover looked as if we were going by an iceberg!!!
Once we arrived in France we stopped off at our 'usual' Hypermarket - Auchan. We stocked up on wine and nibbles. The weather got worse, more snow. That said the roads were clear and salted. The drifts were much bigger than any we had seen in England and the roads were still running. I think we could learn a thing or two!!!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Some Beady Presents

Last week we went back to Homebeads in Knebworth and took another evening class. This time we took Debbie along for a go. She enjoyed herself and together we made  a few different bits and pieces. I made this bracelet out of odds and ends of beads, so its a good way of using odd beads up. What I like about Homebeads and Charlie who teaches us, is that we make everything from scratch which means you don't have to use expensive pre made bracelets. She is also very patient as she has a range of people to teach, I am sure it would try my patience!!!
Debbie and I had a go at making feature pendants, single beads on pins attached to a central loop. Then its attached to a leather thong. It was interesting to make, quite fiddly. Another good use of odd beads!!