Wednesday, June 30, 2010

After the op - moving on

Well, that’s the theory, anyway. Sometimes, in practice, I’m not quite so dedicated. Not quite sure how I’m whiling away my time, but a lot of it is spent on my new computer game addition, Mah Jong – introduced to me by GD2, when she came to visit, just before my hospital stay.

It’s now four weeks since the op, and I’m going to start driving. I have been in prison, long enough. Other things I’m doing – a bit of cooking. I’ve moved on to my own pre-made convenience meals. Tonight we had roast turkey with ready made roast potatoes (not as good as mine) and veg. Whereas, the first couple of weeks, I asked the OM to put water into the saucepan, now I’m putting it in my self; filling the kettle, too. I may start ironing tomorrow. Next week, I hope to go to London by train with the Goldenford girls, to a meeting to promote our books, and I have a visit to the physio planned too.

The most annoying thing is not being able to lift the heavy files out of my cabinet. As a result of this, my desk is even more cluttered than usual.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Still convalescing

I've finally caught up, and this entry is current.

Another perfect day and I’m sitting in the garden. Indoor temperature 24°; outdoor temp: about 30° - warm enough for me to be in summer clothes indoors and out. True, I would like some night-time rain to fill our butts and water our New Guinea Busy Lizzies and newly planted shrubs. Other than that, it’s perfect. In my convalescent state, I can’t work. A good reason for me to sit out here, reading and writing.

I have just finished White Ghost Girls (Orange Prize Longlist). It is a slim, insubstantial book with minimal plot, heavy on atmosphere. Very readable, its short chapters offering the ability to put the book down at any time. However, I think I would have liked more of it. To be honest I’m surprised such a short book could get published, and from a size point of view only gets away with it with spaced out lines and new chapters that start one third of the way down the page. Pound for pound, my novel, Tainted Tree, is better value.

Yesterday, we were at my cousin’s Golden Wedding lunch party in London. This is the biggest trip out I’ve had since the op. Everything was fine. I only had one glass of wine, as this seems to affect the waterworks, and stuck to water and tea, apart from that. Later we went on to my cousin for tea in the garden, and sat till 9.00 o’clock. It was a lovely day.

I am gradually establishing an exercise routine, having found it all rather confusing to start with. Do this exercise three times a day, five times at first, building to ten, holding the position and counting to four or five. Too much maths. There are three exercise, apart from pelvic floor exercise. I do them all three times a day. To start with I did them five times each, holding the position for the count of five. Now I do them ten times, holding the position for a count of ten. That makes life simpler.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hysterectomy Diary

Thursday, 24th June

It’s two weeks since I came out of hospital and three weeks from the day after the operation. I removed my clot buster socks today. That’s a great relief.

It’s a nice day, but I’m tired and rather listless. I have been busyish for the last three days, so perhaps that’s the reason. On Monday, I telephoned the dentist, and fortunately for me, they had a space available for him to look at my broken tooth. The OM wanted to see if he could make an appointment for a check up at the same time, seeing that he had to chauffeur me there, but they couldn’t fit that in. So I went mid-morning on Tuesday, and the dentist saw me immediately I arrived. ‘It’s either top left or bottom right,’ he guessed, remembering my troublesome areas. ‘Top left,’ I told him. ‘I hope it’s not the crown.’ (On that occasion, I had to sit for about 40 minutes with my mouth open. Didn’t like that at all.) He checked and reassured. However, he also warned that this tooth might need a crown soon. But for the moment, he could do a patch-up job; he also spotted a broken bit down at the other troublesome area, and repaired that too. Because, he only needed to fill the two teeth, and not drill, I was in and out in about five minutes. What a relief. When my mouth was full of equipment, he asked me, was I still writing. ‘Mmm,’ I grunted, though I haven’t done much recently. That reminded me to leave details of Tainted Tree with his receptionist. My flyer gives extracts of some of the very nice comments that people have made about TT, as well as one or two extracts from reviews.

On Wednesday, still worried about the increased number of visits to the loo, I went back to the consultant. She reassured. After testing my sample with a dipstick, she was sure there were no nasty bacteria, and I needn’t go onto antibiotics. I did drink a great deal of cranberry juice, though. In the afternoon, we went to visit friends, sat in their garden for tea, and I perked up a bit. Could only manage to sit in front of the TV in the evening, though. (Lewis was on, always a bonus; the plot isn’t always coherent, but I’d watch it just to see Kevin Whately as Lewis – and the pairing with his sidekick, Hathaway, (played by a member of the Fox acting dynasty) works almost as well as the old Morse/Lewis team.

Today, out, once again, this morning. This time to the hairdresser, as it’s about three months since my hair was trimmed. The OM managed to fit in a trip to the barber’s too, and we bought some soft fruit while we were out. It’s time for my walk, now, as I now have to increase my walking to two 15 minute strolls per day, and the shopping in Knaphill can be regarded as one of them. We shall be out on Saturday morning and Sunday, again, so I may have to take things easy tomorrow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hysterectomy Diary

20th June, Sunday

Not had a good day today. Firstly, I’m very cold. Actually, I’ve been cold more or less constantly since the operation. I’m always cold but now more so than usual. We do live in a cold house – a bungalow without the benefit of an extra floor above and without the protection of other houses around – and in addition, in a rural area, so no extra heat from shop lights and vents, restaurants, traffic lights, etc.

I’m also tired. The OM got a call-out to a restaurant at 9.30 p.m. and went out, returning at 11.30. I, in the meantime, watched a Harrison Ford movie on TV, which ended after the OM returned home. After a cup of tea, we sat for a bit and ended up going to bed at 12.30.

I also today have a waterworks problem and have been going every two hours. I don’t think that can be right, so many have to ring the consultant, tomorrow.

Yesterday, as a special treat, we had roast lamb with our convenience roast potatoes and frozen peas. I had two packs of frozen carved, cooked lamb in the freezer, together with a carton of gravy, in which to reheat the meat. I have quite a few more meals that I prepared earlier (shades of Blue Peter), but I want them to last the full six weeks of my convalescence. So tonight, we’ll probably be back to Vienna sausages, which just need boiling.

Would you credit it – along with not being my best today, I have broken off a piece of tooth, eating the last of my convenience potatoes.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hysterectomy Diary

19th June – Saturday

People worry about the emotional/psychological effects of hysterectomy. I suppose it depends how old you are when you have it – and of course, whether or not you have children already. If you’re twenty, it’s a tragedy; if you’re between forty and fifty, it could still be upsetting – the realisation that your child bearing days are over – and of course that applies in other circumstances, too. As for me, I have no emotional problems. That isn’t to say I wasn’t worried about the operation. I was very dubious, particularly, as the surgeon herself warned me that one operation can sometimes lead to another; that if you can avoid having one, it’s all the better. I worried about it from the time, I first saw her in the winter. I asked lots of people who had had an hysterectomy, and also those who had the same problem as me – prolapse. I listened to people who had strong views on both sides of the debate, and I took three or four months to make the decision.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hysterectomy Diary

16th June

My cleaning lady came today and caught up with the ironing. Not too much because I had made sure all washing and ironing was up to date before I went in. We (I use the term loosely) also assembled the new vacuum cleaner – a slight hiccup when we thought it wasn’t functioning, but it turned out the top wasn’t plugged in as it should have been.

We sat in the garden the whole afternoon and friends came over. My friend insisted on sorting out tea with the OM trailing behind, telling her where things were.

In the shower is morning, I ripped off the plaster where the catheter had been plugged into me. Lots of bruising, but it looks OK

18th June.

A little bit of sunshine during the middle of the week was pleasant, but today has been rather a grey day.

Yesterday and today, I’ve been for a ten minute walk. Also caught up with a bit more filing. But by the evening, I felt tired and after dinner put my feet up and dozed for about an hour. I’ve also felt very cold. In the evening, when I’m sitting watching TV, I have to wrap a blanket around me, and one night, we even had the electric fire on.

We had a delivery from Sainsbury’s during the day, and the OH had to stay around to help put stuff away. After that he went to do a small job, somewhere. Otherwise, he’d get stir crazy. We’ve managed quite well with convenience food, including oven ready potatoes. I’ve been out of hospital a week and we haven’t faded away yet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hysterectomy Diary

Tuesday, 15th June: Day 5 of convalescence. During my first five days at home, I thought I would continue to write this diary. In fact, it wasn’t that I was too tired – I just couldn’t be bothered. I thought I would be less physically able, and in fact I lacked concentration.

The worst bit of my discharge day was when a nurse had to remove the catheter, which was secured with plaster to my groin. Ouch. ‘Think of it as having a wax,’ she said. ‘I’ve never had a wax in my life,’ I told her. ‘Me neither,’ she replied sympathetically. Then rip. Well, now I know what it’s like, I won’t bother again. Taking the tube out of my stomach was a strange sensation, but not painful.

What I have done each day, except yesterday, Day 4, is to go for a short walk – at first, up to my neighbour and back. On Day 1, I did as I was told and took myself off to bed for a couple of hours, but that night, I couldn’t get off to sleep. As I was lying there, the telephone rang. I answered it to a male soft voice – I thought it was one of the OH’s restaurant jobs ringing. ‘Who are you?’ I said. ‘It’s Tommy,’ I thought he replied. I still had no idea who it was. Could it be one of the non-English male nurses at the hospital? Then he said, ‘I’ve been a naughty boy. I have to tell someone about it.’ I definitely did not need this. I was ready to go to sleep now. ‘Well you can’t tell me,’ I said, putting the phone down. Immediately, it rang again. The OH took it and we didn’t hear any more from Tommy, or who-ever. Anyway, after that day, I only had a sleep mid-afternoon on the settee – and that’s been enough. Today, I didn’t sleep at all. I have been much more alert – and have even taken dictation and printed out a few invoices. There was also quite an accumulation of letters and I’ve been dealing with them during the last few days.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hysterectomy Diary

9th June, Day 7

A week since my admission. 7.40 a.m. and my breakfast has just arrived.

Now, at 11.30 I feel as if I’ve done a day’s work. In preparation for my departure, which surely must be in the next day or two, I showered myself and took off and replaced my socks – which I’m sure have a fancy name, and which are for the prevention of strokes, and extremely tight and difficult to manoeuvre. Having some talcum powder might have been helpful, in this respect. I was partly inspired by the fact that two male nurses were on today, and this gave me the necessary push to look after myself.

Other things that would have been helpful to have either here, or on standby at home - at least another two or three nighties. It would have been sensible for me to have selected them and put them in a pile where the OH could have found them. As it is, when I asked, he brought in a very old one with a hole in it. It seemed too complicated to explain where there might be some others.

Things which I’m glad I brought – make-up, shampoo, contact lenses; reading glasses, pretty dressing gown; indigestion tables – and sandals with velcro’d straps – more practical than slippers.

10th June – Day 8

Today, my bladder has taken over from the bag option and I’m soon to be discharged. Tomorrow will be Day 1 of my convalescence. The consultant has told me to have two weeks of pottering – walking 100 yards from my house – 2 hours’ afternoon sleep, and allowing my body to heal.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hysterectomy Diary

8th June (Tuesday – Day 6)

I feel tired this morning. Waking up at 6.30 a.m. every day is getting to me. Nevertheless, I like being here and being looked after. Who regards a hospital stay as a holiday? Let me tell you, that apart from holidays, no-one has looked after me like this for years – decades, perhaps. However, I’m not malingering. The bladder is taking its time to function on its own. No way I can push it to do what it ought to do. It has to heal first, I suspect. The rest of me is doing OK. Blood pressure, temperature, pulse – all normal. No pain and each day I go for a short walk along the corridor.

Yesterday I washed my hair, though overdid it and made my hair all flat and fluffy. On my walk yesterday, I took some Tainted Tree flyers and book marks to the nurses’ station and gave them a brief sale pitch. But I haven’t done that today. My natural reticence overcame me. Too many people clustered around the nurses’ station and I couldn’t bring up the required level of self-confidence. I did go for a walk though – around five minutes – that was enough and I had earlier walked down the corridor and up one flight of stairs with the physio. Also, now at mid afternoon, the product in my catheter bag and my own production are at more or less equilibrium.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hysterectomy Diary

Monday, 7th June, Day 5

For anyone worried about hysterectomy, I have to say that I feel very well today. All medication is now finished with and I can be sure that no pain is being masked and waiting to catch me out.

Just before I came in here, there was an item on the radio, maybe Women’s Hour or similar about nursery education. As someone who stayed at home with the children throughout their young lives, I have to say that I have no evidence now that they are adult that this has necessarily made them more loving, more attentive than otherwise would be the case. And having see in their children the situation where two have been cared for at nurseries since babyhood and one has been at home, I can see no difference in them either. The only thing I can add is that it was a very good nursery and that, had it not been, I might feel differently.

The physiotherapist just visited and we went through the exercise routine. She stressed that for the next six weeks - no lifting, carrying, pulling or pushing and two hours rest on the bed too. No telephone calls during that time, either.

Two interesting points on health in the Telegraph today. One that people don’t really care about choice – they want their local hospital care for their needs. I agree with that, for when the OH damaged his hand, it was a great relief to be able to drive for only 15 minutes to get to the casualty department of our hospital, even though, once he was bandaged up, we had an hour and a half train journey to a centre of excellence, where they eventually operated on the hand. I also believe that this applies to schools too. My son got a better deal in secondary education, when he went automatically to the next school than my daughter. When choice was available, many of my daughter’s contemporaries opted for a church school, leaving my daughter without her group of friends.

The other point was about the doctors involved in the MMR triple jab. The writer seemed to be in sympathy with those doctors and against the principle of mass inoculation. I thought it was a typical libertine, ‘freedom to do what we want to ourselves at all cost’ argument and that he was wrong in this. OK, so we don’t (I don’t) want the Nanny State, but I don’t want to veer too far in the other direction either.

Alistair Darling has been on the radio challenging David Cameron’s suggestion that we are to make huge cuts. I am happy with the new regime – it was time for a new colour government and I like the idea of the coalition. However, I also know that Cameron has to blame the previous administration and that Darling has to point out that he will automatically do this. Actually, I have a certain amount of sympathy with Darling, as opposed to Brown, the former having received the poisoned chalice of Chancellorship when it was too late to do much about it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hysterectomy diary

Sunday, 6th June

Apart from waking briefly at 4.30 a.m. and reading the paper for 20 minutes, I had a good night and at 6.30 had my first cup of tea.

I am resigned to taking laxitives, now despite refusing them initially. This is one area where the nursing staff in charge accepted my refusal without discussion, with the exception of one nurse (or sister – not sure who’s who). She was the only person to point out that they should be taken three times a day. I had assumed I was turning down a once-a-day medication. So – my error of judgement – but a discussion should have been required. Back to the painkillers – the nurse had obviously had it drummed into her that it’s better not to allow the patient to get to unbearable pain. However, it had become a mantra, where ‘no pain’ was equal to good and slight discomfort equal to bad. What she hadn’t taken into consideration was bad effect of drugs. Obviously the specific drug – codrydomol (I think) had a bad effect on me. However, Day 1 and Day 3 had the quality of living in a nightmare, whereas Day 2, when it seemed to me I had fewer drugs, was a much better day.

Today, I am alert and pain free. Moral: The idea of being pain free is seductive, but being in a drug induced stupor could be just as bad as being in pain. Note: Paracetomol was an option that should have been taken.

I am expecting visitors today and am currently clad in an inelegant hospital nightie, thanks to a leak on my external plumbing system, yesterday, which caused me to suddenly discover I was in a wet bed.

The previous night’s drama (also as a result of my stupor) was that I creamed my face with steroid cream, meant for eczema on my hands, instead of antibiotic cream for acne rosacia. I realised ¾ of the way through and washed the face thoroughly.


No painkillers at all today and I feel miles better for that. Waterworks are proceeding slowly. Ever time I go, it feels a bit like I have cystitis. So at the moment my only problems are waterworks and other related matters. To resolve the latter, I’ve put up with laxitives, and today suppositories. Other than that and having a tube stuck in my stomach, I feel in very good shape. Much better than I could have anticipated. Swallowing is a little uncomfortable, but improving and I’ve taken to leaving the crusts from my lunchtime sandwiches.

Today my SIL & BIL called to see me and the OH came for a meal in the evening. Now he’s gone and I’m comfortably reclining watching George Clooney in some chickflick – One Fine Day. I wouldn’t be watching it if I were at home. So there’s something to be said for having a private room and exclusive TV.

End of the day and I’m just polishing off hot chocolate. Delicious.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hysterectomy diary

If you are missing my normal blog, bear with me. At the moment, I'm not doing anything that warrants reporting. Once normal life resumes - so will a normal blog.

5th June

Today - Saturday – has been a bad day. At first I thought I was exhausted because I had done too much yesterday. I had a pain killer at about 8.00 a.m. and another one at about 12.00. I shouldn’t have had them. They have made me feel drugged all day – as indeed I was. I need to take control of the drugs regime here, because I am not functioning well enough to deal with other things. The catering crew have left a lunch and said they would come back later with tea – and didn’t come. Because I was not keeping tabs on this, I probably became a bit dehydrated (also because of the weather) so have gone back a stage with the catheter. (No water passed on my own.) The drugged state made me think I’ve done something when I haven’t – like pressing the call button. Or I dream I’ve discussed something with a nurse and wake up and only a minute has passed. It’s a bit like when you have a high temperate and you’re delirious.

Now the end of the day – 10.30 pm. I’ve had a discussion with one of the nurses. The medication I was taking was apparently very strong. I got the impression that I got a different strength medication because I asked for soluble, but am not absolutely sure that’s correct. However, the nurse on duty this morning gave me a speech about having pain relief before you need it, not when you need it, etc., etc. When you’re vulnerable, it’s easy to be scared of any potential pain and to be convinced that you should avoid it. Tonight, though, I have declined all medication except laxatives. Must sleep now. Close down 10.30.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

4th June

Managed to get 7 ½ hours sleep last night, although I woke briefly two or three times around four to five. I had some water as I was very dry. I am much more wide awake today than I was yesterday. Just as well, as I’m going to have to be much more active. I had a painkiller both last night before I went to sleep and on awaking at 6.30 a.m. As I will be walking to the bathroom, I need to be comfortable.

Typically, the weather has changed from cold last weekend (heating on, on 31st May) to blazing hot. My feet with support stockings on, are very warm.

Procedure 1 today, my catheter has been clamped. This stays clamped for four hours and is then released if no water has been passed. Today, I got involved in a bit of work politics, when the nurse told me to keep trying and the orderly told me (correctly) that the clamp should be released. She, the latter told me that because she is an orderly, they think she knows nothing. The Physio has also visited and showed me the exercises I should be doing. I’ve had several phone calls – from the ProdD last night and the Son&H this morning. Because he is in Cornwall with the family, I spoke to the girls too. My phone ran out of money, but I have a landline too.

I sat up till about 1.00 am in the chair – for a while I felt quite frisky. Then suddenly, I felt tired and achey. I had some painkillers and went back to bed. Now I’m going to have a little sleep.

* * * * * *

Having dosed for about an hour, I felt much better when Irene arrived visit and we had a good chat for a couple of hours. I’ve just had the second injection in my stomach. Yesterday’s one has left a bruise the size of an old penny. The surgeon has also visited today and was please with me.

The OM came to have a meal with me at the hospital and has just gone home. I switched on the TV and have found a performance of Aida. The staging is horrible – it’s all modern dress – presumably done specially for Chanel 4. I have to remember to ask Irene if she knows about it. I know she has strong feelings about avant guarde productions.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hysterectomy Diary - the day after

3rd June 2010

I finally had my op at about 5.00. It felt like a long wait. But the anaesthetic was very quick and I was out in seconds. The anaesthetist told me he would give me a spinal painkilling injection, but that happened when I was unaware of it. At the back of my mind, I remembered thinking that I was very much against the idea of spinal injections in childbirth. There were some horror stories around for a while. But as I lay on the table, I was quite philosophical about whatever was to take place.

Some time around 6.30 p.m., I was back in my room – to be honest it’s vague, because I slept on and off then for the next 24 hours. I had painkillers at about six and ten o’clock, but after that, not till the morning, and I was a bit uncomfortable during the night. Not a dramatic pain, but a dull ache like a period, or the early stage of labour. Added to that was the fact that I was checked half hourly for blood pressure. So in the morning, I was as tired as if I hadn’t slept – and carried on sleeping in between bed bath, breakfast, lunch and a three hour visit from the OH. I managed to listen to The Archers at 7.05, then slept till 8.30 and woke up for the first time, no longer feeling tired. In fact, now at 10.45 p.m. I’m wide awake.

I’m drinking lots of water and my saline drip was removed, mid-morning, though I still have the attachment, stuck into the back of my hand. In a few days, I will have the catheter, presently stuck through a hole in my stomach, removed, after some test runs to see if I can manage on my own. Not much bleeding either, I’m glad to say.

I haven’t any appetite, and because I had an upset stomach a few days before the op, I’m not forcing anything down. My throat was sore too, and it was difficult swallowing, so I asked for soluble pain killers. One nurse couldn’t find any, but broke my tablet into four, which made it easier.

I have long socks on – the ones to prevent clots – and these are a bit warm, as, wouldn’t you know it, the weather has changed from cold to sunny and warm. I also had an injection into my tum tonight, for the same reason – to prevent clots forming.

Talking of which, the OM took our old Dyson to our local recycling centre, today. He put his old bike on board, so that he could park somewhere free and cycle to the hospital. (He arrived panting, having pushed the bike up the steep hill to the entrance.) At the junk yard, he unloaded it in order to get to the bits of Dyson. Before he knew it, the cycle was being removed and he had to rush after the man who’d taken it for trash, and retrieve it. He just managed to save it from being recycled.

Now 11.00 p.m. and I think it’s time for lights out. The curtains are very light, but fortunately, I have my flight mask.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The unkindest cut?

Now that I'm back home, gradually recovering, I thought I would give details of my operation. Please don't read any further if this is of no interest to you.

My Hysterectomy Diary

2nd June 2010

Arrived at the hospital at midday. Once I am shown into the room, no-one comes back. So Michael goes home, leaving me to await instructions. We only put 70p in the parking meter (half an hour), so Michael has to go. Whilst I don’t really want him to hover around, I would like a nurse to appear and tell me what I am supposed to be doing. For the first time this year it is warm and I am not dressed for it. Yesterday, we had the heating on at home and today my short sleeved jumper is too warm.

I am in a private room at a private hospital, but I don’t know which cupboards are for my use and which for the nurses. I am despondent to find I cannot get ITV3 on the TV, so no Morse to watch.

My overriding feeling is that I am entering hospital relatively fit and I shall be transformed into someone who is weak and unfit.

I’m in a bit of a limbo – waiting for something to happen.

2.30 p.m. I have seen the surgeon, the anaesthetist and the nurse in charge of me. I am hungry now (having fasted since 7.30 a.m.) and the operation won’t take place for another hour. I am going to have an injection in the spine for pain relief. After that I shall be pretty woozy. They will check blood pressure every half hour, including through the night.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Old Man's disasters - now and then

I’ve taken photos of our magnificent rhododendrons today, but they’re still in the camera. I may add them later. As some are now fading, even though others have unopened buds, I think they’re as good as they’re going to get. Of course, this being spring, it has been cold and wet today. Forecast is better for later in the week. I wonder if there's a garden at the hospital.

The week has been full. Tuesday, of course, was Guildford Writers. I had an idea to start a children's book with with some of the OM's exploits narrated. I will not necessarily include the time he lost the top of his finger at Boy Scouts' camp, or the day he got impaled on the railings at the railway in Wellington.

We had lunch out in Clandon, with friends on Wednesday last, and a trip to three garden centres the next day. We were going to get hanging baskets, but ended up buying a vacuum cleaner and a toaster. As one does. The old Dyson started making horrible noises, and in addition I cracked one of the plastic parts, which was too expensive to replace – bearing in mind it had reached the end of its natural life. We also got about a dozen New Guinea Busy Lizzies which replace the bulbs in our front bed.

During the weekend, we had the ProdigalD and OH here with GD2 and our new baby, GD4. She is getting to know us a little, now.

We went out for a long walk on Sunday afternoon, through our woods, then as I got weary and wanted to go home, we split up with the others, the OM, leading me and GD4 home - ostensibly – while the ProdigalD and spouse, and baby attached by harness, went off on the longer route. Something went wrong with OM’s mental compass, and we ended up with a three bar fence on one side, surrounded by stinging nettles, a barbed wire on the other, and a bog in the middle. We girls were convinced he had gone the wrong way, and eventually, we walked back through the stinging nettles and around the bog, and found the right way home – not long before the others returned.

Last night, with the family gone, I prepared a double sized meal – one for the freezer and one for tonight. I am hoping that M & I will cope somehow without too much help, but both the ProdigalD and the DIL have volunteered to come for a couple of days if needed. We will have extra help with cleaning and my cleaning lady is prepared to do extra hours on ironing and preparing veg, etc. I hope to report back, as soon as I can get back on the computer.

Last night, we watched the Dr Robert Winston personality test on BBC1, and M was undoubtedly shown to be an extrovert with minimal conscientiousness – a sure-fire recipe for accidents (e.g. his hand, recently and the other events, not so recently.) I on the other hand, am probably over-conscientious, and therefore much slower than he is, neurotic and introvert. As I prepare for my last catch up day at home, M will be buzzing off to the hospital to be discharged. Then, his fate will be to replace me as chief cook and bottle washer for the next six weeks.

Thanks to all my friends for good wishes and messages of support. I hope I will be able to back with you soon.