It’s to not myself I am referring but my next-door neighbour. If my readers will remember I mentioned she had been taken to hospital in an emergency after she had difficulty in breathing. She had been and still does rely on her oxygen bottles else she would die. Her condition has been brought about by smoking and not being able to desist after being repeatedly told by her doctor to stop. She is I think around 81 years of age. After being informed she would be coming home then later told she would have to stay in hospital and later still that she would have to spend the rest of her days in a care home. Finally on Monday last (4 th) she came home late in the afternoon. E and I didn’t pay her a visit until the following day that is after she had settled in. Though she is at home she receives palliative care and is visited daily by care workers and a district nurse who visits less frequently. E and I visited her again today, that is Sunday as I write. She is upbeat about her situation and for someone who is seriously ill she is as lively as ever. Physically she has lost quite a lot of weight though she wasn’t well-built in any case beforehand. Whilst we talked with her she kept losing her breath even though she had her oxygen supply. Any exertion, even slight and she is gasping for air. It is a sad affair but little more can be done for her other than what she receives. She is always happy to see us though and we keep her laughing and in good spirit. Obviously we help in any way we can. She hinted that she would like the tv up on the wall so I told her I would fit a shelf to take it. Buying a special wall bracket, if one could be purchased for that tv would be too expensive and not worth it. I will also help her son to remove the old and faulty built-in fridge/freezer so we can install the replacement unit. Both jobs are simple and shouldn’t take long to do. E and I will continue to keep an eye on her and help as we are able.
….and tomorrow a new month. I write this on the last day of April. It is Monday and the start of a week of unknowns. Despite not having any definite plan for the day I was very busy. I had ordered clothing, floor paint and a cordless vacuum cleaner but only one of those was scheduled for delivery that day, the vacuum cleaner. I wanted the paint delivering as soon as possible so that I could finish the cellar storage room project. As I write this I still have no idea when it will arrive. The clothing should be here within the next couple of days. There was a small amount of painting to do around the door on the inside of the store-room which was the first thing I did. Following that I went into the front garden and using a watering can and soluble plant food I fed all the plants, dug out weeds then swept the pathways. It was approaching lunchtime when that was done so I stopped work and went indoors just in time to unpack and assemble the new vacuum cleaner. I am considering purchasing another for use on the upper floors but will see how this one performs first. After lunch I made myself busy by first of all sweeping up the leaves, lots of them, from the paths in the rear garden then mowing the lawn. Next, I got out the hoe and gave the flowerbeds a make-over removing the weeds. It was late afternoon when I had finished and I spent an hour in the sunshine relaxing on the patio. When I returned indoors our next-door neighbour’s son called to update us on his mom’s condition. Late on Sunday afternoon she had been rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung and could hardly breathe. She has advanced emphysema and relies on her oxygen bottles to get through the day. The prognosis wasn’t good and the doctors thought she wouldn’t survive. Her son was calling to let us know that she had perked-up somewhat and could possibly return home. She is at death’s door and the doctors practically indicated that so even if she can return home she would need palliative care. For the moment she remains in hospital. We invited our neighbour’s son inside for a chat and he stayed awhile. That was basically my day and I was tired after it all.
After a day or so of suffering with cold symptoms I began to feel much better by late Monday afternoon. Even so I remained at home and indoors though outside it was calm and reasonably warm. I didn’t expect the weather to stay that way, just typical I thought especially as there remained a leak on the garage roof. E’s nephew was supposed to return and check it out on Monday but as seems to be the norm these days he didn’t turn up. I mentioned to E that I supposed he thought it would be a simple case of applying a little more fibreglass infused paint to patch it up. It would take far more than that especially as the chipboard beneath the paint was by then wet. More on that when it gets the repair it shouldn’t have needed had the work been done as I’d asked. Did it really matter in the great scheme of things? Not really I suppose. Our next-door neighbour on our right (depending from which standpoint you take) has had some tradesmen working in his garden removing the existing concrete posts and wood panels to replace them with the same posts and new panels. He has had many problems with this panelling over the years. In the first place the original installers of the ‘fence’ didn’t align the posts correctly. They were either listing or unevenly spaced or both! Whenever there was a high wind the panels would get blown out or be damaged in the wind. As I write this on Monday evening the workmen have completed most of the work and will presumably return in the morning to finish it. So far it is all looking good. The new panels have a latticed portion at the top which will dampen the effects of the wind besides looking much better than the old ones.
Picture taken from inside through a window. The problem we have around here is that the wind is predominantly from the west, the right in the picture, so the fence takes the full brunt of any high winds we have. There are things I want to be doing outdoors too at the time of writing but until I am feeling much better they are shelved. I haven’t been able to go for a walk for a few days either so I am keen for things to get back to normal. We often fail to appreciate our good health until we fall ill don’t we?
Not very often is it that I complain about being unwell and for reason, I am seldom unwell. That is a good thing and I am happy I can at this time be able to say it for many folk have the misfortune of having poor health. In that respect I am fortunate but it isn’t to say I never get ill or feel ill, at times I do. On Friday I began to feel a little ‘under the weather’ as they say but I soldiered on and stuck it out. I had though I was suffering the beginnings of a cold for I was beginning to feel the symptoms, dull aches and pains in my upper body, arms and back. No headaches but a general feeling of being drained of energy. I plodded through Saturday, staying indoors for most of the time except when E and I were examining the leaking garage roof (see yesterday’s post) and effecting a temporary repair until Monday when her nephew would come and check it out. Incidentally, the guys who were supposed to return on Saturday to install the free alarm unit on the new garage door didn’t arrive. I received a call on Sunday morning from one of them who apologised. Evidently his brother, the other fitter, had been involved in an accident whilst carrying out work on the installation of another door elsewhere on Saturday morning and he had been taken to hospital. It was arranged that they would fit our alarm later in the day. The alarm would be fitted one day in the forthcoming week. Anyway my routine for Saturday evening was to simply relax and watch television then have an early night. However after a couple of hour’s sleep I awoke with severe stomach cramps. Trapped air. After some time of sipping water and burping I felt more at ease but couldn’t get myself off to sleep again. I finally did get some sleep after a toilet visit at six o’clock. That meant I didn’t arise on Sunday morning until almost noon! By the time I got downstairs it was one forty-five. I felt awful and didn’t want any food. E told me to take a pain-killer but the one thing I do not do is to take medication of any kind unless it is absolutely necessary. I would rather suffer a little discomfort than take a drug which only masks the problem anyway. Obviously I would and have taken acute medication in the past and will continue to do so for chronic illnesses. So Sunday was again spent relaxing indoors trying to get my body back into sync.
Some things we humans do are never spoken about to others unless they are our doctor, surgeon or nurse in which case we open up and tell them like it is. ‘Too much information’ is often the response if we make the attempt to describe ‘a personal problem’ and yet these ‘personal problems’ happen to us all. A mark of civilization it must be that we hide away our bodily functions and intimate functions when paying visits to ‘the little girls/boys room’. We cannot even say out loud, ‘toilet’ or ‘lavatory’ and use synonyms instead which is rather pointless as everyone knows exactly what you mean. How does the name change alter the way we respond? Strange beings we are. So now then I might wish to relate an unfortunate experience I had on Wednesday morning but how do I go about revealing the details without offending? If I use synonyms you will understand because you will be re-arranging the information in your thoughts to visualise what is revealed. If I tell it like it was you may just think the worst of me. For some it doesn’t matter one hoot. I arose early on Wednesday and was showered, dressed and make-up on before eight-thirty. I thought I might go for a walk before breakfast, just taking a little drink beforehand, though I always take water with me. It was a very wet morning and that didn’t change until mid-afternoon but I was covered up with my new waterproof jacket. I returned home before eleven o’clock and prepared a coffee and a cup of tea, the coffee for E and the tea for me. I just wanted a change for a change! I sat in the rear lounge with E who was doing some craft work on her lap. Suddenly I felt the urge to go visit the lavatory and for more than just a wee. I sat there for ages thinking ‘here I am broken-hearted, paid a penny and only **rted’. Nothing happened except that I began to feel abdominal pain as if constipated but I also felt nauseous and light-headed. I sat down for a minute but had to go upstairs to fetch something. As I got upstairs I dashed into the toilet there and gave it another go. Again nothing so I went to my bedroom to fetch what I had gone up there for but as I walked into the room my legs became like jelly (jello) and I collapsed to the floor. I had fainted. E came upstairs to see if I was alright but by then I had risen and was on my way to the toilet once more feeling very sick indeed. Have you ever felt that no matter which position you try you still remain uncomfortable? Eventually I asked E if she could bring me some honey and a spoon. After taking a spoonful I began to lose the nausea but was still in pain having not passed any solids (okay poo) yet. After what seemed an age it finally happened and everything went back to normal, or so I thought. I needed some sustenance but found I couldn’t eat anything except a spoon-full of jelly or jello. I hadn’t been constipated by the way, it was just the first part…..if you know what I mean! Hopefully I will have described my bad experience without causing offence though I know that even those remotely offended know full-well what I meant.
A few days ago one of our next-door neighbours asked if she could dispose of her ‘green’ waste in our wheelie bin. We have two bins as quite often they both get filled between collections. One we keep in the rear garden and the other in the front but as the rear garden produces more waste we transfer it to the front when it gets full and replace it with the one there which isn’t. It all depends upon the time of year if we need to switch them around. As it was when she asked the bin in the front garden had nothing in it whilst the one in the rear garden was half-filled. It meant she could put her waste in the front bin. It wasn’t a large amount and only filled the bin to a third of its capacity. She brought the waste in two black bags though neither of them were full. E had answered her call, she phones us even though we live next door, I was in the front lounge and I opened the window as she arrived with the bags. After she had emptied the bags she tried to thank me but was gasping for breath. I apologised for not collecting the waste myself but I doubt it would have made much difference as she probably would have still moved it herself. The bags were not heavy as it turned out. Our neighbour suffers with emphysema and has to use an oxygen bottle for sixteen hours in the day, though eight of those hours are taken whilst she is sleeping. Her condition was brought about because of her smoking habit and though she was diagnosed with the condition several years ago she continued to smoke. In more recent times she has made an effort to stop and as far as we knew she had stopped but quite often we would see her in her garden with a cigarette. E tells her off but it seems not to have made much impact, at least until a week or two ago when I had occasion to call at her house only to find her sitting on the bench smoking! E was livid and once again had words with her. So far it seems to have worked but for how long? I know it is difficult to stop the smoking habit for many people and whether their life depends upon it or not makes little difference. My own mother died with cancer through her smoking and I remember she found it difficult to stop even after she knew she had cancer. It is easy to talk about overcoming addiction if you’ve never been an addict yourself and in today’s society there are many things which are addictive. Educating young people to encourage not taking that first cigarette or drug does not always succeed. Some people are hell-bent on self-destruction even when they know the possible consequences.
Stopped from gardening that is. I had a couple of electrical jobs to do on Tuesday morning (21st) though the first one turned out to be only an advisory visit for which I levied no charge. The work to correct the customer’s problems would be too much for me to do. I have worked for the customer before but only to do small jobs, basically what I advertise I do. As the house wasn’t far away and as I was there only a few minutes I didn’t ask for payment, though it was offered. I drove on to the second job which turned out to be more awkward in its execution than I had expected but it paid well. The house was occupied by an elderly couple and the man, who was 86 years old, was bed-ridden due to a physical deterioration but who was also suffering with dementia. He just lay there in the rear room watching television whilst his wife, a few years younger, did all the running around. She was however in good health which was just as well. My work involved replacing lighting fittings and to check out a loose wall power outlet (as shown above). The lighting part of the work was the troublesome bit, wall-mounted units, but as usual I managed. The power outlet was supplying the power to the television and to the bed on which the man lay. It powered the vibrating mattress on which he lay. It vibrated to relieve the pain in his inactive muscles. When I see things like this I am not upset but a little saddened. I realise however that it could happen to any of us. I get annoyed when I see people moaning and groaning about their problems when there are others who are unable to do anything about theirs. I think people who think everything should go their way all of the time are missing the point, at least they are in a position to do something about it if it means so much to them. There are always going to be people worse off than ourselves and we should be grateful for what we have got, especially good health. It was around noon when I drove back home in the glorious sunshine. The day was also very windy however with rain by late afternoon to follow and much the same had been forecast for Wednesday. It would be Friday and Saturday before I could consider working in the garden as those days promised to be dry and sunny. I would be dining out on Thursday with E together with my youngest brother and his wife. Thursday would be a less favourable day for working in the garden anyway.
I had a lousy weekend, especially on Saturday. I was suffering with aches and pains and although I had been sweating a lot I felt cold most of the time. I was well-wrapped up but that didn’t seem to make much difference. I went to bed around ten and a boyfriend called me in response to a text message I had sent him. I had to tell him I was in bed and about to go to sleep so the conversation didn’t last long. The following morning I was as right as rain (odd expression that one) and rearing to start my day. I felt so much better so I guess the warmth of the bedclothes and my seeming strength and ability to shake everyday illnesses off did the trick. Anyway the point was I felt great. I had an electrical job to do for the guy in whose house I had worked the previous week but didn’t have the time nor the inclination to do it on the same day. It would have meant working all day and I was tired after I had finished the job I had been doing. I went along at nine o’clock did the work and finished around noon. I had received another call while I was there. It was from an old guy living in the next town who had a problem with his kitchen light and switch. I did the work and drove back to my own town to do some shopping, nothing special, just toiletries which I buy in bulk so that I don’t have to shop for them often. I drove home but left again immediately without getting out of the vehicle. I had forgotten to get diesel fuel for my van. I arrived back home fifteen minutes later and during that time E went out somewhere for the afternoon. When I got indoors there was the package containing the new shoes I had ordered late on Sunday! Now that’s what I call service. Strange thing about this is the fact that I had been experiencing problems with the company’s signing in pages when ordering. See yesterday’s post. More nice high-heeled stilettos. I opened the box and put them on to walk around in them to check they were the correct fit. They were perfect, so much so I didn’t want to take them off because they were so comfortable to walk in. Now these are high heels and yes they are over five inches but they really are comfortable. I have to add though that I am used to heels. Just a couple of pairs of my shoes are higher and they are hard to walk in but I will soon correct that with practice. Over the years I have tended to wear heels at four and a half inches so was never happy wearing anything higher but that is slowly changing. I used to think I would never wear high heels as I got older and most people my age wouldn’t think of it but I don’t look my age or feel my age either. After I had put everything away and sorted out my business paperwork I went outside to dispose of the cardboard and plastic waste and noticed some more bluebell shoots poking out of the flowerbed. I went inside to collect the keys for the garage then came out with tools and kneeling stool to begin digging out the bulbs. There were more than just a few but I persevered and dug them out, well all the ones that I could see. There will be more I’m sure of it but if there are they will show up soon enough. I returned indoors for something to eat as I had missed lunch. I’d had a very light breakfast too. It was only four o’clock so too early for my evening meal. I decided to have a bowl of fruit but gave up on it after only two mouthfuls. It seemed I wasn’t hungry so I put the bowl in the fridge to eat it later. Even now at six o’clock as I write this I am still not that hungry but I will eat. A text message had arrived but I hadn’t noticed. It was from the boyfriend asking if I was feeling better. Ah, that’s nice.
I was a little tired after my day at work but not overly so. Late in the afternoon E paid a visit to see her mom and to post some mail. She didn’t return for her evening meal so I ate alone. She hadn’t contacted me to let me know what she was doing though she maintained that she’d tried to. She had called the house phone but it hadn’t rung and I knew that because I had it with me. Eventually she contacted me on my mobile phone and explained that her mom had taken ill and was suffering with shortness of breath. E and her brother had called the doctor and an ambulance was called to take her to hospital. I remained anxiously waiting for further news but none came. I had tried contacting E later but couldn’t connect. I went to bed and fell asleep around midnight not knowing when E would return home.
I had arranged to do electrical work the following day, Tuesday for the old couple whom I’d seen on Monday. When I went downstairs for breakfast I saw that the gates were closed and knew then that E had returned sometime during the night. She had left a message on the table explaining that she had returned home at four in the morning and hoped I wasn’t working that day. This was because we had workmen rebuilding the garden wall and they may have wanted one of us to be there. When they arrived at eight I explained that I would be out for a few hours and that E would be in bed for a few hours and not be able to cater to any needs they might have but they said it wasn’t necessary for her to be available. I drove off to the job and returned at noon having completed the work. E had arisen at ten o’clock she said and was able to make the guys a drink. I asked about her mom and it appears she had been able to return to her home in the early hours of the morning after extensive blood sampling and tests. I was happy to hear that as she is 88 years of age and I have to admit I had feared the worst. It seems she is hardier that I had thought! Still at that ripe old age any illness is a worry.
The weekend just passed was yet another long one. For some reason here in the United Kingdom we had the second Bank Holiday of the month which meant Monday off work as well as Saturday and Sunday. Of course not everyone can take those days off work because of the nature of their work but no doubt those that cannot will have extra days off in lieu sometime later. As I am self-employed I can take whichever days I like but it all depends upon the available work of course. This Saturday I was asked to do two jobs in separate locations and because I would still have two days off thereafter I decided to do them both. At most I would be away from home perhaps three hours and I would still get the afternoon to myself. It was a very sunny on Saturday after about ten o’clock and in the afternoon I was able to spend some time out on the patio with my guitar. One thing had threatened to spoil my plans to do those two small jobs for on Friday afternoon I had been out in the garden pottering about and doing a spot of sweeping when suddenly I found myself with an excruciating pain in my lumbar and sacral regions, mostly the latter, and unable to stand erect after bending down to shovel away some soil. From that point on and throughout the evening up to and including bedtime I was in great pain. At first I wondered what it might be but didn’t realise what it was until the early hours of the morning after spending a very restless night. I had gone to bed before nine o’clock in an effort to relax and ease the pain by lying down but then found it extremely difficult to get up from the bed to visit the toilet. I managed to do so however but was in pain throughout. I don’t think I actually had much sleep but by four o’clock I’d had enough of lying on the bed and got up for the day. That was when I realised I must have had a trapped nerve for when I did some neck exercises the pain eased. I coupled those exercises with others and by seven o’clock I found I was able to move about with very little pain. I have endured a similar problem with a trapped nerve on a couple of occasions in the recent past and found these exercises to be the only way to release the nerve and hence the pain. By the time I was to drive to the first job I felt much better. However, by the time I had returned home at 11.30 I found myself in pain once more. This time the neck exercises didn’t help for the pain seemed entirely muscular but perhaps the two were linked, I am not sure. I made sure I took things easy for the rest of the weekend in the hope that everything would be back to normal by Tuesday. Things haven’t been going too well for me lately in everything except work. At least the weather has improved.