Saturday 30 November 2013

Doctor Who 50th.

Starting my second day off for good behaviour with a lightly aching left leg, only level 1 on the pain-scale but enough to stop me sleeping. The car washing exercise was certainly over ambitious. This leg repair is going to be a long-term project for sure.  No graphic dreams last night. The previous one was more than I need, thank you. It was like one of those horror movies you sneaked into the cinema to watch when a kid but regretted for the rest of your life.  I never did, but watched a few TV programmes I later regretted. It is currently the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, which allegedly young children used to watch from behind the sofa when it first started. I never really watched it but it would take more than an upturned dustbin armed with a sink plunger to scare me.

Free weekend

I've earned myself a weekend off and the sun has come out.  It is a measure of my leg progress I propose to wash the car this afternoon. No hospital visits, only chemo tablets to take at home. Apart from an upset stomach and graphic dreams I seem to have got through the first week of treatment relatively unscaved.  Last night's dream made yesterday my last at 64 and a half years exactly. The headstone was in the shell of the old elm tree on Aldbury village green ( I was born within 1 mile) .Lynne had returned to London, and our current house was rented/leased. Luckily I was still here when I woke, if, indeed, I had been asleep? Believe me, it is a great time to reconcile any long-running feuds or misunderstandings, a couple of which I am now in the process of doing.

Friday 29 November 2013

Brain then mouth or laptop

It's raining but overall a little warmer. I have yet to get my head round how fast the internet works and how quickly my comments get transferred to people without computers. I have managed to copy Sally Bercow several times already, hence my avoidance of Facebook and Twitter, so at least national newspapers have missed a story or two.  The thought of the Daily Mail regularly  trawling through my blog raises a smile, but even so it is amazing how much interest it generates considering the content matter.  I have now reinforced my determination to engage brain (or what remains of it ) before typing blog, and apologies to anyone I have inadvertently upset or offended. The "if the cap fits" scenario.
My radiotherapy procedure takes around 15 minutes per time but it fills the day once you allow for transport and parking. I'm getting bored of it already with only 6 weeks to go. I get Xmas day off apparently.
Having reduced my drug tablet intake considerably it is time for a moan about the size of them. You swallow them, only for the damned things to stick in your throat and taste awful for ages. Whatever happened to those small, round, throat sized pills which were swallowed without choking?  They also used to be white, whereas now they are every colour under the sun and some multicoloured. (Capsules- huge rectangular things), they have to be large to fit the colour-scheme on?  White, small, smooth pills again please.

Thursday 28 November 2013

John Wayne character acting school

One of the chemo/radiotherapy side effects manifested itself las night, physical sickness, but I have been given tablets to combat it. So far so good.    The exercise I gave my leg yesterday has moved the pain from joints and nerve ends to muscles, less localised but more subtle. I removed my morphine patch yesterday and have yet to notice any difference, which raises the question what was that huge pile of painkiller tablets actually doing, apart from attacking my liver and stomach?
Having reconsidered my wretched verdict on the hospital yesterday I have no reason to change it, other than to sympathise with the front-line staff who are doing their best in almost impossible circumstances, bless them. Even they have lost faith and belief . Top Brass are trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot and failing miserably. Never mind patient care, look at the low % of deaths.
The nuclear physics department appears to be run by a group of kamikaze renegade consultants. Never mind what it actually is, let's treat what we think it is or would prefer it to be. Laboratory monkey or what? Have another banana and get on with the treatment.  
I mentioned an old film called " a man called horse" a few days ago. Did anyone manage to find it? Hopefully not because it was also crap and starred Richard Harris who attended the same character acting school as John Wayne.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Carry on nurse

At long last, my first chemo and radiotherapy. It was a traumatic experience for both Lynne and I. Without any scope for contradiction we can officially confirm Leicester Royal Infirmary is crap.   Patients confirm it, hospital staff admit it. Who am I to argue?   They could not organise the proverbial in a brewery, which does little to raise my confidence. We arrived on time for our 11.15 doctors appointment and were eventually seen at 12.30 with the reception staff recommending we never arrive on time in future. Point taken.  The asst. oncologist greeted me with "what are you doing here? " to which I replied " You tell me and we'll both know." He explained the proposed combination of chemo and radiotherapy is "unusual" but nothing to worry about, which again raised my confidence. He continued to explain the aim of stopping my tumour growing further and some of the side-effects likely to be encountered, again failing to raise my hopes.  Our next extremely long wait was for the pharmacist to supply the chemo pills, which appeared at 16.30.      One of these must be taken daily on an empty stomach half an hour prior to radiotherapy, which must be completed within the following hour.         Still with me?           We got home at 19.00. Enough said.   The staff were most apologetic and generally embarrassed. Lynne was in tears and I was close to the end of my tether.   Radiotherapy is 5 days per week so we are returning tomorrow,  hopefully in a better frame of mind. During my treatment I was enertertained by Blondies' greatest hits, all four of them. Staff have offered to play my own Cd's in future.
I left my wheelchair in the car but suffered for it by the end of the day, but hopefully the exercise will help my leg ultimately.
Thanks for the helpful suggestions on getting my new pain patches to stick to my hairy parts, requested yesterday, which generally involved waxing or tweezers. I would need the pain patches after both exercises. !!!!!
Roll-on tomorrow.

Tuesday 26 November 2013


Nothing major to report overnight other than my new "nerve pads" seem to work,if we can get them to stick onto my hairy body and/or body parts. The pads are meant to be a replacement for pain relief drugs. Quite how they work is difficult to explain,but more on that later. They look like giant elastoplasts and can be cut to size to fit the pain area. I am assured they contain no drugs.
It seems my original bullet wound caused havoc in my nerve wiring .wires have been floating around unconnected for months. I reckon the pads contain thousands of personal nerve ads. Once we can get the nerve endings reconnected walking can re commence. 
Unfortunately I am too hairy for the pads to remain in-place long enough for nerve reconnection to take place. How to resolve this problem? Answers on a postcard please. 

Sunday 24 November 2013

Something boaty

After several months of boating inactivity I feel the urge to naughtically re-link my blog, hence this photo of theBridgewater monument in all it's autumnal glory. The duke of bridgewater was a pioneer of the canal system, his namesake still serving Manchester.  The monument can be found on a huge National Trust estate in Hertfordshire where I was born. Ironically my youngest son currently lives a stones throw from the Bridgewater canal in Manchester . It is one of our must-visit canals for the future.
Remaining on a boating theme, engineers at "our" marina will be "winterising" Tardis Two this week, basically ensuring frost and ice cannot cause damage ti vital components. On her last visit Lynne noticed the first signs of ice forming on the marina and with my leg problems not improving put plan B into operation.
However, back to the routine of hospital visits today, yawn,yawn. This one is with the consultant in charge of my leg (so to speak), and should prove interesting, particularly as I intend wheeling myself into his consulting room. A picture replaces a thousand words.

We arrived late for my appointment, chiefly down to the fact we arrived at the wrong hospital. If you want to make a mistake make a big one !  Leicester has two main hospitals, the Royal in the city centre and the General on the outskirts, about 20minutes apart if you know where you are going, which we do not. Letter headings from both hospitals are virtually identical so mistakes are easy to make ( that's our excuse ) my consultant wheeled me into his consulting room and was complimentary regarding Lynne's drug reduction programmer . My athletes foot has virtually gone ( what is the singular and plural of athletes foot ? ) otherwise the message was : use it or lose it ( my leg ) whilst healing  continues, return to normal will be a very long process.

Saturday 23 November 2013

1970's revisited

Courtesy of channel 4 last evening was spent with Save the Whale comrades from the 1970's, John Denver amongst them .Not that I ever met him or even attended any of his concerts, but a fan I certainly was. The fact that Whales still exist is largely down to him, Greanpeace and similarly-minded people, all subconceously reunited last night.
Woke with no pain this morning but 10 shuffled steps to the bathroom quickly upped this considerably, which tends to indicate nerve damage to those in the know, our current doctors and surgeons excluded.   Lynne has gone to consult with the boat engineers regarding the ongoing electrics problem and I am "holding the fort", feeling generally below par and a little grouchy for some reason.

Friday 22 November 2013


A quiet day with the minimum of hospital appointments planned, this one for counselling. Nothing earth-shattering emerged, other than my present hospice cocktail intake needs to be reduced, which we are already working towards. These counselling sessions are like gold dust, few and far between. I have managed to book another one in a month's time with the opportunity of an "emergency session" whenever necessary.  From there the day was my own to use as I wished. After a 4 hour snooze I am currently watching the Brazil F1 practice sessions and surprise,surprise, both Red Bulls head the first and second times sessions.  I think I now need a second snooze, only longer.  Roll on the next F1 season.

Thursday 21 November 2013


Visited yet More doctors and pharmacies today aiming at improving/reducing my current drugs useage.I was proud of the fact I could remain awake for at leasta few hours daily, despite the amazing drugs cocktail taken. I learned today my cocktail is known as the Hospice, but it is not available outside the health services and certainly not at any reputable cocktail bar. Please note you would need your credit card if it were.   Having been assured the drugs will eventually work but not kill me beforehand I remain on the same routine for a little longer.  Ignore the above as I slept for 23 hrs non-stop and enjoyed every minute.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Have I got news for you

Busy morning answering calls from the hospital cancelling treatment appointments only made yesterday, but hey-ho I am retired with nothing better to do. The most recent blood test (I have reached the Tony Hancock "empty arm" stage, confirmed by an inexperienced blood removal nurse ) reveals I still have a small infection within my body ( surely not the leg?) by the way, the more experienced nurse eventually found some in the other arm. What is their official title?  I always refer to them as Dracula.

Tuesday 19 November 2013


Another day spent in another hospital, this time practicing my wheelchair skills in the Leicester Infirmary where final changes were made to my radiotherapy mask. Chemotherapy  via weekly tablets has been added to my treatment list by way of insurance, both treatments begin this week. winter has arrived as today was cold with lots of falling tree leaves. We are very close to having the best drug control for my leg pain.The label of unicycle refers to my previous habit of making forward progress slowly so I am hoping  to have broken the cycle (sorry). 
This morning promised to be be busy and full with another trip to Tardis two and commencement of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy on my tumour. In the event foul weather stopped the boat visit and my oncologigist postponed the tumour bombardment until my leg infection is cleared, maybe next week.

Monday 18 November 2013

Whoopee doo

Having spent yet another day in A and E we cadged a lift home from a friend and I managed a pain-free night. We have collected a virtually new wheel chair from the Red Cross, bless them, ready to launch myself on the world tomorrow.I'll be wheeling myself around the house practicing today. The key to this brighter day is a better, stronger painkiller, which only leaves the question why wasn't I on this one from the start?  

Sunday 17 November 2013

World pain elevation record

My pain meter scale burst through it's top this morning. OK I accept agony is agony whatever level of measuring scale you use but it is difficult to explain to anyone who has not personally suffered it, particularlly doctors.  I intend going fully armed for my next visit, including a wheelchair and a detailed drug chart. To a doctor treating any leg injury a wheelchair is the ultimate, and very public, admission of failure. I had considered using an elephant but getting on and off could prove difficult, and I am not entirely sure It would fit through the doors or into the lifts

Saturday 16 November 2013

Soul destruction

Rough and painfull night equals no sleep. A heavy dose of morphine sorted that out and I stupidly opted to help Lynne move the boat this afternoon. Let me tell you it is soul destroying watching someone you have only just met drive your boat around a marina. As always an experienced boater willingly offered to help. Tardis Two stil looks stunning, whoever is on the tiller It was well steered and now allows some young lady andher yet unborn child to be as near dry land as possible. However,Itmakes my one-legged hike from land to the boat much more of a challenge.

Friday 15 November 2013

11 and rising

On a pain scale of 1 to 10 I awoke on an 11, for no obvious reason, other than my leg was trying to tell me something. It succeeded. The visit of my Macmillan nurse yesterday alleviated many of my concerns regarding radiotherapy and morphine addiction and she left me with lots of usefull contacts for future discussions if required. We were able to successfully deal with my extreme pain this morning within my freshly acquired morphine boundaries. Another good tip I've found for dealing with pain is a wooden spoon. I promise I did not get the idea from 50 shades of grey, but from a very, very old film called A man called Horse. Gripping the wooden spoon handle between the teeth at the height of pain seems to help. Teeth marks in our wooden spoon handles gives an indication of useage. 
I have swopped my morphine patch for a meatier version so will review the result in due course. Remember the boat, Tardis Two? We aim to visit her sometime soon to swop pontoons with a heavily pregnant lady who wishes to be nearer dry land and the car park for obvious reasons. We need a dry windless day if possible. We may need to borrow someone to steer unless my leg makes a remarkably quick recovery.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Pain thresholds

A bright sunny day outside, whilst inside it is dark and gloomy. I always measure my pain levels on a scale of 1(low)to10 (high). Since getting out of bed it has been a constant 7 despite an army of painkillers. Having a shower is a major pain-creating excercise, as is sliding up and down stairs. No fun. I have often admired the courage of people who jump off bridges or multi-storey car parks but now realise this out-of- character courage is simply created by a set of circumstances over which you have no control. Similarly defending your family unarmed against a pride of lions. The circumstance I need to know about is my likely quality of life after radiotherapy, thus I have booked a chat with my Macmillan nurse ASAP.

Wednesday 13 November 2013


Stress is a major health issue these days but there seems to be no way of measuring it. Another Dragon's Den sure-fire winner? We have had more than our fair share over the past year or so. My tumour, and subsequent woes.Lynne having to undertake all the driving duties when she hates driving and previously did very little. Her nervousness spilling over to me .my mobility and driving going from extensive to nil. And so on. The intention of buying the boat was to relieve stress for our retirement, but having the bloody thing built proved unnessessarily stressful and now Lynne is lumbered with the full range of boating duties,pending a remarkable leg recovery for me. The hospital have arranged a leg scan for me....... But why only now for chrissakes? On a brighter note, Arsenal still top the Premier league and I am no longer ducking snowballs or jumping icebergs at home so stress levels there are reducing.

A pain in the........

Making my way downstairs for tea I was suddenly overcome with an excruciating pain from my dodgy leg. The reason remains a mystery although it should be noted morphene takes you way out of your body and into another universe, so anything could have happened. A slip?a knock? As a result getting to the loo at night is a painfull exercise, as is getting up and down stairs. I guess ballet dancing falls into the same can get pretty frustrating at times but the alternative is equally as uncertain.
One (or two plus points) is/are my athletes feet are improving. When are the next Olympics?

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Square one?

I walked back from the village yesterday without problem, although the usual leg ache returned with a vengeance once I sat down,requiring a shot of morephene for relief, which  sort of nullifies the reason for my extended hospital stay. I appear to be no further forward, which is disappointing to say the least. With the continued frosty atmosphere at home I'm beginning to think I may have been better to stay in hospital, although an eventual boxed exit would have been the likely outcome.

Monday 11 November 2013

The sound of silence

A late wake-up after an extremely peacefull night. No pain so assume morphine patch doing it's job. It also makes me sleepy apparently. I can imagine getting arrested for attempting to sell part of my "drugs haul" whilst asleep. Psst,want to buy half a morphine patch, cheap? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday 10 November 2013

Out again

A painless and relatively noiseless night resulted in me being released for a second time. Completion of my release letter and drugs haul coincided with arrival of Sunday lunch and, sadly, the passing of a nice guy in the opposite bed with pneumonia.(we noticed at least an hour before the nursing staff) So, by early afternoon I was away into warm sunshine, although the atmosphere in the car and house remained frosty. At this point I would normally say it is great to be home, so there we are, I've said it.
Nottingham hospitals have better food  and nursing care but overall Leicester wins-out, with the exception of spotting dead patients.
Hope you wore your poppy with pride and managed to reflect over the lives given to preserve your freedom.

Saturday 9 November 2013

In out, in out

Another very noisy night, more like Waterloo station rush hour than a hospital ward,caused by a group of  patients simultaneously kicking off, getting a few security guards involved. It was past midnight when some form of normality was attained and thereafter I slept till 0800. I suspect this new pain patch is not working as well as the previous one, removed yesterday for my scan. The weekend duty surgeons subsequently authorised my release and a check on my new pain patch, although Lynne is doubtfull  I am fit enough for the "real world". Hopefully she will eventually be convinced sufficiently to give me a lift home, otherwise I'll resort to a taxi.   Until then the atmosphere remains "frosty".
Wear your poppy with pride

Friday 8 November 2013

Bachelor boy

A very lively,noisy night reminiscent of university parties in the old days,but with no booze (no change there, then?)the night duty staff nurse was an obnoxious so and so and we soon came to verbal blows, ending in her storming off with my insulin and blood tester kits. My regular night nurse calmed me down and lightened the load. My pain levels have considerably lowered,which has to be good news.
The old boy in the corner bed is named Cliff, so every time nurses call him,the old Bachelor Boy hit with The Shadows springs to mind. I refuse to do Congratulations 
The guy in the next bed ate his plastic pudding spoon last night and attempted the same thing with breakfast this morning. It is a lively ward with an age likely to be of interest to the Time Team.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Houdini Porter

Still in hospital surviving athletes feet. During late evening yesterday I was whisked-off for an x-Ray in a turbo-charged wheelchair. The Porter checked me in and parked me in a doorway where I watched the world go by until the x-rayist hung me over her machine, zapped a picture and wheeled me back to reception for another porter to rush me back to the ward. Where the hell did the first porter disappear to?
Yet another wasted day lounging on a hospital bed until Lynne arrived to sort them, like a demented whirlwind. A decision was made to give me an anti-pain patch to encourage me to walk a little and exercise my leg more. T
There was talk of me returning home but with the new regime it was decided to leave me in hospital and begin a pain-management recording system,the results to be reviewed in due course.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Musical hospitals

My leg had been particularly painfull  yesterday so in desperation Lynne phoned the out of hours GP service. The days of a GP finding his /her way to your house are long gone. These days you are given an appointment time with a GP at a local hospital, so off we jolly well went to meet a larger than life character  who obviously had missed his anti-flu jab this year. He recommended we persuaded our GP to send me for an MRI scan on my leg, so next morning that is what we did. To cut a very long story short I ended up on ward 36 of Leicester Royal infirmary where I remain to this day.As usual I have spent 2 days on a very geriatric ward awaiting a doctor's visit, only to be told I have atheletes feet !  To be fair they have upped my painkillers which makes life reasonably better. This ward is particularly noisy as most of the residents are the wrong side of 75 and obviously suffer with acute wind and low pain thresholds (though not necessarily in that order).interestingly when my blood sugar was low the nurse gave me a sugary yoghurt called Farticip. No kidding.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Bowling along

We are off to Coventry today to watch our youngest daughter competing in a bowling tournament. We aim to park next to the entrance so I can hobble in without causing too much of a human traffic jam. I managed some sleep last night so our plan of 24 hr painkiller supply seems to be working, even though the pain stills comes and goes. My frustration has reached the point whereby a wheelchair may prove the solution to my non- mobility. My reluctance to getting one is mainly down to sympathy with Lynne who will get lumbered with pushing me around (no comment ). Lancashire has fabulous scenery Due mainly to sweeping hills and valleys. In other words, not ideal wheelchair terrain.
From my couch the weather looks overcast and dull. I will observe the flood plains during my trip to Coventry and report later. Wear your poppy with pride.
I can confirm the Yorkshire team won the national inter-counties bowling tournament by a very narrow margin from Surrey. Leicestershire were nowhere to be seen, indicating they must have been eliminated earlier in the season, or perhaps they do not have a team? 
The rivers are full but the flood plains are no longer flooded. My leg has been particularly painful today.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Wine supplies replenished

WearOur friends with a house in France returned to the UK yesterday, somehow eluded port customs and filled our shed with white, red and rose boxes. We only drink "socially", so we will be very social over the next few months, either at home or aboard. Drunk in charge of a narrowboat sounds an interesting charge. Looks Warm and sunny from my couch but I expect the flood plains
Wear your poppy with pride.

Friday 1 November 2013

London news

As promised, the second opinion was phoned through from London this morning. The team concluded from my scan history the tumour remains at level 2 ( non cancerous ) , albeit a bit bigger, and therefore zapping  it with both radiotherapy and chemotherapy would be " over the top", radiotherapy will arrest its growth but chemotherapy will contribute very little , apart from damaging me,although it would be needed at some time in the future.
It appears the Nottingham team may have panicked ( unless they just needed biopsy practice ) Whilst pleased, I can't help feeling like one of those unfortunate laboratory monkeys or Frankenstine's monster. Leicester are going ahead with plans for my treatment.
Leg news is less encouraging. It still hurts like hell.

Stand off

Managed some sleep last night, but only after a quite unpleasant stand-off whereby my pain killers were used as a bargaining tool. I now understand how effective torture can be. The solution is for me to take charge of the painkillers and take them as required, rather than by the recommended 24 hr maximum doseage. Surprisingly pain recognises no timetable. The new painkillers are a striking shade of blue but , despite being taken daily, apparently take up to 5 weeks to kick-in, by which time I can phase out my current pill taking regime. I will then be on only 2 pills per day, albeit very pretty. As a couch potato I can only report on the weather as it appears outside my window. Yesterday was very dull with no sunshine. Today appears to be following the same schedule, but even so it is good winter cruising weather and we are missing it. Due to my short-notice GP visit yesterday I had to rearrange my first counselling session to next week. Great. I have waited many months to get it and then had to postpone it. Ho-hum.