Fun on the beach

Fun on the beach

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Dieting while static!

Obviously I'm out of hospital now.  It was a wearisome day as I wasn't taken down to theatre until 7pm having arrived at the hospital at 12 so there was a lot of sitting around in a hot room getting bored and frustrated.  However, everything went very quickly once we got going and I was out and home by10pm and had a good night's sleep.  Now I'm just shuffling around the house trying to avoid cabin fever and not pile on the lbs.

It is tricky to watch what you're eating while you're barely moving.  Although slightly easier than I thought it would be. I can walk around the house in my big ugly boot but must not stay standing for long periods or walk far which is a bit of a drag.  And, when I'm sitting around, I have to keep my foot elevated which is also a drag.

Having said that it is a LOT less of a drag than I expected it to be!

I'm not in a lot of pain which friends had said I would be, just some discomfort from time to time.  I'm still taking my pain meds religiously though (only paracetamol and souped up ibuprofen) as otherwise my jailor caregiver (Rich) will nag.

I had a full day off yesterday but am doing a few hours working from home today to keep work things ticking over and me from going crazy with boredom!  I don't think I could do full long days though as, despite it only being laptop based stuff, the discomfort and awkwardness does take it out of you.

It was weird yesterday though, I had felt really positive and chirpy as things were easier than I'd expected but then, later in the evening, I suddenly felt really teary and down for no reason I could think of. Rich was somewhat surprised to have a crying woman on his shoulder and I had no explanation to offer him.  A colleague told me today that he had felt something similar the day after he had a general anaesthetic so I'm hoping that it was just a side effect of that.

Foodwise, I'm trying to stick to branflakes and a banana for breakfast, a light lunch (preferably not bread based) and a normal but smaller supper.  No snacks apart from drinks and fruit.  I've designed a short upper body workout too - just arm weights, abs and a few press ups on my knees and have done that for 2 days now.  There's not much else I can do without leaning on my foot.  It is more exercise (other than walking) than I have done in a long while so I'm hoping I will carry it on after I've completed my recovery.

As I mentioned in my last post I'm definitely going to join the gym again in January too (despite the fact that January is the WORST time for gyms) just to keep the momentum going.  I was texting my sister last night and we're both really motivated for next year.  2016 is going to be our year!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Being sliced and diced

So the big day has arrived. I'm presently waiting for my operation. I was hopeful that I would be going to theatre early in the afternoon as the consultant said he likes to do the quick procedures first. Sadly that doesn't seem likely now as I've just been given a glass of water (woo hoo!). It looks as though I might have a 2 or 3 more hours to sit around. It's after 3pm now but I'm still hopeful of being let out this evening

I am starving!! We were told to have a light breakfast before 7 so I got up at 6.30 and had a bowl of branflakes with a banana. (It's very strange eating at that hour.) I went back to bed and slept for a couple more hours. Chores, walking the dogs and sorting the house out this morning then Rich's dad gave me a lift in. And now it's just a waiting game......with a rumbly tummy.

Having spoken to various nurses and a friend who has had the same procedure, I'm a bit reassured that I will be more mobile after the op than I'd expected. Hopefully this means that I can get back to proper exercise by the beginning of next year. I genuinely can't wait. I've been dreaming about running - can you believe it?! I have decided to invest in some new gear, warm running leggings, new shoes etc and really get stuck in. I hadn't realised how much I must have missed the proper exercise so am looking forward to reintroducing it to my life.

Golf and dog walking are all well and good but they're not the same as proper, sweaty workouts.

Happily, my finances are slightly improved at the moment too so I have some leeway for equipment, classes and gym membership if need be. 2016 will be the year when it all happens!!

And that means more blogging too, to keep me on the straight and narrow. So apologies for being a neglectful bloggie pal. It has been a pretty tough 6 months since Mum had her fall and the whole sad procession of hospital, nursing home, funeral arraangements and now probate started. Work is horrendously busy too both with more wogk and fewer people to do it. And all that combined with increasing pain from this dratted foot.

Now it feels as though I can see light at the end of the tunnel and that is a very positive feeling when I've been in the tunnel for quite a while.

That's not to say that we've had an unremittingly gloomy 6 months or anything. I'm still so happy with lovely Rich and we've done quite a bit and been away for a few football awaydays and golf trips. It's just that the general WORKLOAD of my life is quite heavy which gets wearying. It will be nice when it's lighter. Fingers crossed for Christmas.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Neither here nor there

I can't seem to find the time or the energy to either blog or diet but I have been out and about walking despite my poorly foot.  These pics were taken a couple of weeks ago before the leaves started to turn.  It is stunning now and I took loads of pics on our walk today so next time I'll  post 'em.

I mentioned my poorly toe in my last post.  I've had the appointment with the consultant now and it si reasonable news.  Osteo arthritis has knackered the big toe on my right foot.  It has really flared up this summer and has made walking, dancing, golf and running very sore.  I'm still doing everything but the running but I suffer the day afterwards.

So, I'm biting the bullet and having an operation to (hopefully) sort it on 23 November.  There'll be 2-6 weeks of recovery afterwards with no walking or driving for at least a fortnight.  Gah!!  I've already re-gained the stone I dropped, I'm going to struggle even more when I can't do any exercise.  Much care to be taken.

But, at least with the op there is a fighting chance that I can get on with the things I like doing next year.  Fingers crossed.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Starting again, again, again, again....

I designated today as my starting again day and I have, miraculously, started again! I didn't weigh myself although I have been on the scales in the last week or so so know roughly where I am. I'm still lighter than I was at the start of 2015 but not much. If I knuckle down I can drop a stone by Christmas!!

So, I am cutting right back on bread, butter and all other toppings, booze,  sweet treats and all the usual contraband.

I also want to get back to regular exercise but am hampered in this by a sore big toe. I was initially told it was gout so thought there was not much I could do about it. However, it has been getting quite a bit more painful recently so went back to the doctors more in hope than expectation. Well this one said it wasn't gout and that he reckoned there may be a surgical solution so has referred me to an orthopedic surgeon to check it out.

I was very impressed by the referral system. He gave me a printout with a code and password and said I could phone or book online. Expecting the worst I went online and, within 90 stress free seconds, I had booked a lunchtime appointment at a private hospital 20 minutes away from home 2 weeks today. Can't say fairer than that. Now fingers crossed that they can do something about my stiff, painful toe!!

So, progress is being made even though dancing tonight is going to be sore!!

Below a couple of drizzly, misty pics from my lunchtime dog walk. Lxx

Saturday, 3 October 2015

A good day

I haven't got time for a long post but wanted to say what a lovely day we had for mum's funeral. Sunshine, beautiful flowers (arranged by my own fair hand I tell ya), a wonderful service with lovely singing, a church full of friends and family, a pub full of chat, love and memories. It was a happy, healing day.

I watched my father stand tall through the day, from a bowed, drawn man dreading the day ahead to his old self by the end of the day, chatting to his friends and planning trips in the weeks and months to come.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Nearly there

I think funerals are normally a little quicker but we are getting there, it is scheduled for this coming Tuesday.  I think it is going to be a fairly busy event too - 90, maybe even 100 or so people which is a pretty good turnout for an 84 year old, the last in her family, most of whose friends live miles away.  Not that I'm surprised of course, Mum made great friends and everyone loves Dad and wants to support him

My sister and I have made most of the arrangements with lots of help from my brother and his wife and my Dad of course.  He has been amazing, so strong.  Endless phone calls to friends and family, talking about his feelings and Mum's preferences.

We started off going for a crematorium service and committal.  This then changed (on discovering that the music would be canned) to a church service followed by a crematorium committal with close family.  Dad then slept on it (actually he said he barely slept a wink) and thought about what Mum had wanted (even though it wasn't really what he wanted).  So, all change in the morning and now we're on a church service in lovely Coleby Church followed by a burial in the cemetary at the bottom of the village with a wake at the local pub we have been going to for decades.  It is the right choice but funny how it evolved like that over 24 hours!

My niece and nephew are each reading a short poem (one was my choice - "Success" by Ralph Waldo Emerson).  My sister, brother and I are sharing the eulogy which is going to be hard but has GOT to be done.  I haven't worked out what I'm going to say yet although have lots of thoughts jotted down.  My eldest niece Liz is determined to sing during the ceremony.  I wouldn't have the guts but she is adamant that she want to do it and she has done a lot of public performing so fingers crossed she will manage it without breaking down.  I doubt I'll make it through the hymns to be honest.  

We've gone for "Tell out my soul" (my favourite and my sister's); "Oh Lord, my God (how sweet thou art)" (chosen by the nieces) and "The day thou gavest us, Lord, has ended" (Dad's nod to tradition).  Some proper tearjerkers there....gulp.

I'm sorting the flowers, both the spray to go on top of the coffin and in the church and have decided to go with my gut.  Mum was not a pale "English" sort of woman.  She always looked best in bright colours and I think of (and inherited) her love for the African flowers from our gardens in Kano, northern Nigeria where we lived for so long.

So I've not chosen pretty creams, pinks and purples but gone for lush green foliage and brights reds, pinks and oranges in bold tropical blooms with an African theme - proteas, leucadendrons, pinheads, deep red calla lilies and amaryllis.  I'm taking more of the same to the church on Saturday and a collection of village ladies who knew my mum are going to help me deck it out in suitably tropical style.   The florist and the village ladies are all excited by the different style I've gone for and have been so kind and keen to do this for Mum and the family.

We've prepared some cork boards of photographs from Mum's life going right back to her Grimsby back garden as a child in the early  1930s.  I found pics of her looking drop dead gorgeous aged 17 in short shorts on a beach holiday with her friend Nadine who is going to be at the funeral.  Some amazing pics of their first tour in Nigeria in 1955 - the mud hut they lived in, her in a cool 1950's frock with a giant python draped around her neck, one showing her with a sheep, captioned "Mary had a little lamb, which made good chop"  (chop being food!).

So, as you can tell, we have been busy.  It hasn't really been very sad.  Sad moments, yes but many good times looking back over her loving and loved life.

We were up in Newcastle yesterday and today for a match (which Wednesday won!) and had a great time.  It had been booked and paid for weeks ago so we decided still to go and I'm so glad we did.  We went shopping before catching the train home this lunchtime and found a couple of dresses  which I can choose from for the funeral.  I shed a few tears after buying them, thinking about how happy Mum would have been at the fantastic sale bargains I'd picked up and also just because I felt happy while buying something to wear for my Mum's funeral.  A strange contradiction.  A big hug from Rich in the store and then onwards.....

That's how it's going to be I think - good times, with the odd sad, emotional moments.

Friday, 11 September 2015

From good news to sad news

Well, we got mum to the nursing home shortly after my last post and it WAS a lot better.  Dad could visit her twice a day without the long drive and spend proper time with her not on a hospital ward.  We were still worried as she seemed to have lost/be losing the will to or memory of how to get herself up and walk so was spending most of her days either in bed or in a wheelchair.  This was worrying for the future - would she ever come home?  She was so sleepy all the time and no longer interested in eating some days, although fine others.

I came over for the day a few days after her transfer and dad and I were heartened when the staff met us at the door excited with news that mum had got up and walked all the way the corridor, with assistance of course and that was how it was - some days good news and progress, other days steps in the opposite direction.

Then the home was stricken with the norovirus so no visits for a few days.  Dad got it but I must have dodged it, as did mum (our constitutions of iron!).  Once things were better and dad had recovered, he and my sister visited mum twice on Tuesday and they said she was up and about, awake, alert(ish) and eating okay. Which is why it was such a shock when the home called him that night to tell him that mum had died in her sleep.

We don't know what caused it as, medically speaking, mum was fine.  My sister (a GP) suspects a embolism, possibly caused by her fall.  (If it was the latter then surely the hospital should have caught it as they knew she had had a head injury?)  So now poor mum is with the coroner and my sister and I and various parts of her family are with my father trying to make sense of it all.

In fact the house is deserted just now which is why I'm taking the opportunity to type this post and get it all out. Hilary and dad are off picking up my brother and his wife from the airport.  They have travelled over from Malaysia and I think Graham is intending on staying for a year to do a course so that will be good for all of us.

Dad rang me on Tuesday night in a terrible state.  I had been at the cricket all day in Manchester but luckily was not too well-oiled.  Would hate to think that I heard of my mother's death while pissed.  Still, it was pretty awful.  I had felt my phone vibrating in the taxi but knew we would lose signal and just assumed it was Rich calling to say goodnight from his golf trip to Wales.  As I was letting myself into the house I heard the house phone ring so ran for it in the dark with dogs going crazy greeting me.  And then it wasn't Richard, it was my dad sounding devastated.

Of course I knew what had happened but such a weird shock.  Standing in the dark, then sitting with Minty on my lap licking my tears (she does that) listening to him pour it all out. I knew how he felt as we were both alone in dark houses missing mum.

Wednesday was hard of course.  Planning: work, dogs, what to take, who to tell, driving, hugging, talking, cooking, sorting out beds, endless phone calls and dissection, trying to persuade dad to eat a bit. Thursday was better. Dad had a good sleep and was much, much brighter.  Hilary and I had a day of funeral related chores but although a gloomy topic getting the ball rolling can be quite jolly once you get going.

Graham and Hadi have just arrive so I'm going close now as the house has suddenly filled up!

I'm heading home this evening as there are so many people around.  Then going to go to the football with Rich and our friends.  Sounds weird I know but hey, I just fancy a day of normality before getting back into the fray of organising flowers, eulogies, music and endlessly thinking about feeding people.  I also want to see Richard as I haven't seen him since crack of dawn on Monday morning and I need a hug!!

So, dieting NOT a priority at the moment but we're so busy that all is not lost.  It will not be off the agenda for long.