Thursday, July 31, 2014

Slow Recovery

 This past couple of weeks have been quite testing. The recovery from my 'minor' operation has not been as straightforward or as simple as I had anticipated. To start with I was really incapacitated by the pain and the cumbersome bandage. Have you tried to do the very basic everyday things with just one hand? Its amazing how hard it is to get dressed, all those clips and buttons are hard with one good hand. If you forget and try and use the recovering hand it hurts, shooting nerve pains into the palm of my hand soon reminds me to stop what ever it was I was trying to do!!!

The bulky dressing had synthetic padding which has been so hot and itchy it was driving me mad. I had been told it had to stay in place for ten days. In the end I called the hospital and asked if I could remove it and put something else on. The nurse then told me that the big dressing could come off and I could put a tubular bandage on. I still wasn't able to drive as the nerve pain was unpleasant. Yesterday I had the stitches out. not something I am keen to repeat, it felt horrible, made my toes curl!! Today 10 days after the operation I am finally starting to feel a bit more 'normal' for me!!

It was also nice to be able to finally wash all the iodine off my arm, I looked like I had given myself a bad fake tan!!

We are still waiting to scatter Mums ashes, it seems to have been a huge issue getting things sorted. The council who own the local cemetery have been remodelling bits of it and we have reserved a memorial space, they are now waiting on the delivery of the stones and the plaques once they have arrived we will be able to hold a service. They are anticipating that the stones will go in this week. We would like our parish Priest Father Norbert to say a few words, but he is away for the whole of August, so we are hoping we can finalise things in September.

I am excited as we have a weekend away planned with Madeline and John. We are going to guess where???? Amsterdam!! We have booked a hotel right in the middle by Rembrandt Square, it tickled me because I booked with and their head office is next door to the hotel I booked!! We plan on having a chilled weekend walking from hotel to bar to the shops another bar, you know what I mean!!!!

I wanted to say thank you to Tina and Karen, who treated me yesterday to afternoon tea, it was lovely to be driven to Hertingfordbury and then spend a while chatting and catching up. One day if I am ever a lady of leisure, we'll have to do it again!!

We are still benefiting from the  glorious summer weather, its particularly good as it prevents the grass from growing too much, so we don't have to get the mower out!! There is the constant sound of the fan 'trying' to keep things cool, but really only succeeding in blowing everything all over the place!! Long may it last!
Have a wonderful weekend whatever you decide to do

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sad Day.

The 21st of July was always going to be a difficult day. It was Mums birthday and the first one we have had without her. We have been trying to sort out the interment of her ashes at the local cemetery, but the council have been building a  new garden of remembrance, which has involved a consultation with people who already had family in the cemetery. It seems to be taking far longer than it should, originally they suggested that it would be up and running by the end of April, we are still waiting. We have prepared our dedication, we just need to wait for the plot.

We had hoped for it all to be sorted for her birthday, but it wasn't so we decided to go out for dinner and then Beth suggested that we released some pink balloons in her memory. 

It was a nice evening, looking back to last year when we went out for Sunday Lunch with Mum to The Beehive. Its hard to believe what a difference a year makes.

On Sunday I went into hospital for my wrist operation. I had seriously underestimated what they were going to do. I had thought that as it was a local anaesthetic that it would be on a par with going to the dentist ! ! How wrong I was. I got there for 7.30 am and I was taken through to a cubicle where I was given gowns and strange foam slippers. I was told to  remove all clothing, which seemed a bit strange. I was honestly expecting to sit down and for the surgeon to just get on with it, like being at the dentist ! ! !
Anyway after all the form filling and observations I was ready to go.  I headed around to the operating theatre and was surprised again to have to get on an operating table having taken off one of the gowns. Apparently I couldn't have anything tight on!! It was really odd, my hand and arm was washed in iodine then pulled through one of those green sheet things . The surgeon then injected me none too gently with the numbing juice, then with blood dripping down my arm he swabbed it with iodine again and waited for the numbness to take effect. It was very unpleasant . Once he started the op I had to have a tourniquet on my arm, but he started a timer and got the whole job done in 4.5 minutes!!! I came out with six stitches and a whacking great big bandage which has to stay there for two weeks and instructions not to drive until then.
When I got home it took an age for the numbness to go. The next day it was painful and its been hard to type with one good hand ! ! 

I really hope that the operation does what I need it to do. I am fed up with pins and needles all day and all night. 
I hope you are all enjoying the lovely weather, I expect we will be subject to flood and pestilence soon as we are due to go on holiday ! ! !

Saturday, July 19, 2014

We have some storms!!!!

These past few days have been really hot and muggy, its nice to have a bit of sunshine but this awful stickiness is something else. When we have been in Florida and its been like this you always have a nice air conditioner room, restaurant or car to escape to, here we don't have enough hot weather to justify the expenditure!

Thursday night we had a huge storm, almost continual thunder and lightening, it freaked the dog out and we all had a restless night. I didn't plan ahead so didn't get any photos, but on Friday evening as the sun set we were treated to an extraordinary sky, one that changed colour every minute. I took a photo out my back door a minute apart. Its hard to believe just how different each shot is!!

It felt as if it was brewing up for another storm, we did get a lot of rain but not very much thunder or lightening. Today its muggy again and I expect that we might a disturbed night tonight again!

Tomorrow I have an unexpected trip to hospital. I have had carpal tunnel syndrome for a fair while, they have injected the wrist with cortisone to try and take the swelling away from the nerve and avoid surgery. To get any relief I have to sleep with a wrist brace. If I don't my hand is so painful with pins and needles that I could scream. On the 8th of July I saw the consultant who told me I was on the 18 week pathway and expect a letter towards the end of October. So I was just a bit surprised yesterday 10 days later, to receive a call telling me my operation was on Sunday! It seems they are trying to clear a back log and they are operating on a Sunday to get more patients seen. So I have to be at the Lister at 7am tomorrow. I can't drive for a week, I will be in a sling for a couple of days so its not like I will be able to do anything useful. This may be my last post for a while!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On the brink of something new...

This week so far has been one of travel, I think my working life at the moment is going to be spent for a large part on the A1M heading north in the morning and south in the afternoon. People who regularly use the motorway will know that I have the best deal, because people are usually queueing up to go south in the morning, so generally I don't have that  to contend with. So far this week I have spent 6 working hours driving, which does seem a bit of a waste, but that's the way things are going to be moving forward so I had better get used to it and update my music playlists!!

The weather has been fantastic, we had a lovely visit to our friends last weekend and enjoyed an evening of cocktails. I later found out that those cocktails were very alcoholic, with that fact hidden by fruit juice!! I was fine the next morning which all that matters.  

My trusty desktop computer is on its last legs, so I have decided rather than try to keep having it repaired to bite the bullet and buy a new one. Its amazing how far things have come. The new PC will have the dreaded Windows 8.1, a system we have at work, so at least I will be fairly familiar with it. I just don't find it as easy as Windows 7. While preparing for the arrival of the new PC I was clearing out some of the old stuff that accumulates, instruction manuals and leads for machines long since departed, when I came across the spec for my original PC. It had a massive 20 Gb of memory!! the new PC has two Terra bytes!! I read yesterday that the Apollo 11 mission computer had less power than a standard smart phone of today. 
For the past week I have been transferring all my files onto an external hard drive. The one program that is being difficult is Outlook, for some reason it 'hides' the location of the email files, so I am trying to search for them, I really don't want to lose all my stored emails. I may have to seek help on that one. So hopefully by next week I will have the new one up and running and I will say a fond farewell to my six year old Acer, it has served me well. 

Last night I went to a fun night at the Diving club. They had the use of a massive inflatable, its like a bouncy castle for the water. Everyone was having a go and finding it hard to stay on until the end. I decided to do a bit of swimming and I am pleased to say that I managed to do ten lengths of the pool, the first time I have swam properly since my new hip. Up until now I have stuck to the baby pool doing my water physio exercises, so I was so pleased to be able to get back into the swing of it. I have been told not to do breast stroke legs because of the risk of dislocation so I am sticking with backstroke, no chance of accidentally doing breaststroke legs with that ! At the end of the evening Rod and I decided that we really wanted a go on the inflatable, so we egged each other on and attempted the first element which was a walk off the side of the pool and a climb up to slide down the other side. Rod also has a new hip, so we had to be careful. Anyway he went first and managed to get to the slide. I walked on and straight away slipped  flat on my face!! There was an audible gasp from the people behind, I was fine but decided to get up and get off!!! I will have to try again another day! That said it was a great swim and I left feeling that I had achieved something.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Views from the ship!

It seems ages ago that we were on our cruise, I am thinking that maybe its time to book another one!!!
I love the colours in this photo. I was able to capture a few nice sky shots....

The range of colours in the sky is amazing, I like the last photo as you can just see some of those massive wind turbines, looking tiny on the horizon!

This week was my first full one back at work, it makes me feel like researching another long weekend away, I have Krakow on my hit list! I also now have the go ahead for the dates for our girls weekend, so I'll have to get researching that as well. 

This month on the 21st would have been Mums 79th birthday. Its also seven months since she passed away. We still need to scatter her ashes but its not being to easy to sort out!! The local cemetery is full, so the council are redeveloping an area and building a garden of remembrance where we can have a memorial stone and scatter her ashes. This was supposed to have been completed by the end of April but its now mid July and we are still waiting. Finally this week we have been told that it is all systems go for next month. It will be nice to finally have a place to go. 

We have finally finished the last outstanding bit of 'officialdom' . Back in January we had to apply to renew Dads driving licence. It was a big long form which asked questions that could be answered several ways. We sent the form back only to get a letter back saying that they would need to look into his medical records. This seemed a little odd as nothing has changed. Anyway we waited, Dad was getting worried and upset because he really relies on his car and if he was not able to drive it t was restrict what he could do. His licence ran out in March, so we chased it up. They told us they had three months to sort it, they had already had three months, but that didn't seem to count. Quite clearly they hadn't stipulated which months in the year constituted the three months that they had in mind !! So could he still drive as his licence had run out?? That was another question that was very hard to get an answer to. Eventually we managed to pin someone down and they sent a letter to say that he was still able to drive until they identified which three months he would have to wait for. Eventually this week seven months after we applied they issued him his licence. I have no idea how they make the process last seven months. It was inefficiency at its very best!

I am looking forward to a good weekend of sipping cocktails, I just hope the weather stays dry!!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Jet Setter!!!

At the moment I seem to be on the go all the time!! I have been lucky enough to have had another weekend away . Last weekend I went back to my most favourite of Cities - Amsterdam!!

We had a very early start, a 6am flight from Luton. We had checked in on line, but we had to drop our bags off, so we arrived at the airport at 4.15am. The queue to drop bags was huge! They only had three desks open and the queue was out of the door. I was worried that we would not get through in time. In the end a member of staff called for passengers on the Amsterdam flight to go to another desk , so we eventually checked the bags in !
We then headed to security where I hit another problem. This was the first time that I had been through security since the arrival of my new hip, I have a metal hip, so all the alarms went off. I had the embarrassment of being 'patted' down by a member of staff. It was clear when they used the hand held metal detector over my hip that it was that which was setting the alarms off!! On the way back, it was a much better experience, Schiphol has a body scanner, so I told them about my hip, they asked me to step into the scanner and I was 'checked' in 3 seconds flat. Luton is really the poor neighbour airport. On arrival in Schiphol our bags were unloaded and we went through electronic passport control and were out of the airport in 30 minutes. Once back at Luton, we had a 45 minute flight, but it took over an hour and fifteen minutes to get out!! Passport control had two desks open and three planes worth of people to deal with! Madness. 

We dropped our bags off at our hotel - a beautiful hotel called 'The Neighbours Magnolia' check in time wasn't until 2pm, so we were hours early, they made us very welcome, stored our bags and made us a cup of tea. We then headed out into the city to do a bit of shopping. We came across a beautiful green oasis slap bang in the middle of the city, there was a church and all these beautiful houses.

The buildings are so distinctive, I love the Amsterdam skyline!

I am always amazed about the number of bikes in the city, there are thousands of them, they even have multi storey bike parks by the central station.

While we there Holland played a world cup footy match. Every bar had a TV showing the match, they were all packed out with well behaved fans.The city was swathed in orange decorations and everyone seemed to be wearing orange. It was all very good natured, but there were van loads of armed Police everywhere plus mounted police. Holland of course won. We really enjoyed the atmosphere, everyone was very happy!!! 

Its a bit of a standing joke that it ALWAYS rains when we visit Amsterdam, well we got to Sunday night before we got soaked, but when it started it was torrential and we got soaked walking from the city to the tram station !
We really crammed a lot into the long weekend. We took a tour on a small open boat, we were able to travel some of the smaller canals and we saw lots of things off the beaten track. While we were waiting for the boat to leave I saw a lady on a nearby bridge, I don't know what she was thinking, but she balanced her hand bag on the hand rail of the bridge and while she was trying to get something out of it, it slipped and fell into the canal. She was distraught, the bag sunk almost immediately and there was no easy access to the water for her to try and retrieve it, she was distraught, I can only imagine that she must have had everything in that bag, the boat man said that it happened on a regular basis.
We also decided to visit the Ice Bar, a strange place where we discovered Whipped Cream Vodka, an absolutely lovely drink, which didn't taste in the slightest bit alcoholic. It was an interesting experience, I was not keen on the sticky ponchos we had to wear along with thick gloves. We were supposed to keep a hold of three plastic tokens which was almost impossible with the gloves!

We only managed to stay in there for around 40 minutes, the ponchos didn't keep my bare legs very warm at all!
On the Sunday morning the heavens opened again and we had to wait around for it to stop before we could go anywhere, we did manage to get up to the Museum area and grab a shot by the famous I Amsterdam sign.

That was my second trip to Amsterdam in a month, we are planning to return in August, I really love the place, its so relaxed with a huge variety of people and loads going on, I LOVE Amsterdam!!!!