Tuesday 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

New Year's Eve and all is well. Another windy day with the rhino jigging about. He has had a tough week bless him. For new readers I'll explain, the black rhino head is actually a perfectly formed branch of a Corsican pine peering out from behind a chimney across the road, giving an indication of windy conditions daily. The same tree, viewed from another direction in the village, also carries the head of his mate and son. 
Lots of Happy New Year greetings at the hospital today. Tomorrow is another day off for me, and then I'm on the home straight.

Monday 30 December 2013

Nearly new year/ same hospital foul-ups

Back for radiotherapy/chemotherapy treatment but then had to wait for a review of which I knew nothing, but in the end they failed to see a need, so it was cancelled. Had what was left of my hair cut so I resemble the Strictly Come Dancing glitter ball, only more stylish.  Eating better since the children's visit and my leg continues to improve so an overall improvement is evident, although my mood remains low. Another windy, cold day.

Saturday 28 December 2013

Family meal

The weekend family get-together ended with a meal and goodbyes. Overall a great success and a massive morale boost after a series of frustrations and let-downs.
In addition I have received an appointment for my leg, only a few days after finishing (? ) my radio and chemotherapy treatments.
The new year looks to be starting on a positive thrust. Long may it last.

Friday 27 December 2013

Radio record

We set a radiotherapy record of 1hour home to home, due to a total absence of traffic today. If only....... Below is one of my Christmas presents, a fabulous Tardis Two mug which will take pride of place on the boat. The rhino was extremely active this morning indicating cold high winds, despite the blue skies and sunshine. A non cruising day.
The peace of the day was shattered by the arrival of our family, partners and grand children,13 in all.
Add 2 cats and 2 dogs in a very tiny house and some idea of the chaos can be imagined. Secret Santa proved very successful, especially the remote control model helicopter

Thursday 26 December 2013

Severe matron syndrome

I have to be on my best behaviour today after a massive fo- par late last night, adequately dealt with by Lynne and house guests. I did my usual of eating half a Bramley apple for tea, testing my blood sugar (a reasonable 8.6 ) and fuzzy-headedly collapsing into bed at some ridiculously early hour, only to awake around midnight on the floor of "the office" ( back bedroom ) with my legs somehow wrapped around the office chair , and lots of voices. Eventually I discovered Lynne had popped-up to administer my night pills with a glass of water, I had managed to spill the water on the bed, in my dozy state and made a trip to the toilet to the rear of the back bedroom, somehow ending up on the floor. It turned-out my blood sugar had been 1.8.  It is supposed to be between 4 and 8 so I had had a hypo. Lynne and Margaret managed to administer the necessary Lucozade, dry out the bed, and extricate me from the chair (not necessarily in that order) peace was restored. Quite correctly, Lynne has turned into the severe matron this morning and ordered I get a grip of my diabetes control, have a shave and generally get a grip of myself, quite rightly too.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone will have/is having/had a good Christmas, depending on your location around the globe. We are scheduled for a quiet day with the usual Xmas dinner, Morcambe and Wise on the TV and a little booze. The former I have no appetite for and the latter is forbidden with my treatment, but to hell with it for one day.

Tuesday 24 December 2013


A freezing cold day and my last radiotherapy before Christmas, but further progress on my leg. The leg doctor has actually spoken to the oncology guy and the leg op is likely to be mid-January. Considerable progress for Leicester hospitals. What could possibly go wrong ?

Monday 23 December 2013

Jaw drop

Another day blogging lost due to reasons beyond my control, but full praise to Sky who fixed it quickly once again.. Apologies.
Rain forecast for the next few days and it has just arrived right on cue, following several very sunny days.
Yesterday was full-on with a mid-morning visit from our eldest son and two youngest granddaughters and the afternoon arrival of my sister and husband. Roll on Christmas.
I managed to fall over and graze my head (indoors, fortunately). The result resembles being hit on the head with a mallet, which gives me ample opportunity to blame Lynne, if asked.
A visit to my leg doctor and radiotherapy today but at different hospitals, just to break the monotony. Christmas Eve tomorrow then a two-day break.
As usual radio treatment progressed smoothly, as did the rush across city to Leicester General where we waited a very long time to see the leg specialist who interpreted my scan results. Not good news but it could be worse. I now have chronic osteomyelitis, which basically means the shin- bone is internally infected and will require surgery to cure. Continuing with antibiotics is pointless. It is now necessary for the doctors associated with my current treatments to decide amongst themselves when surgery can take place.

Friday 20 December 2013

Righting writes

Yesterday was cold but sunny. I managed to speak to the asst consultant regarding my current bout of sickness, hoping he could up my anti-sickness pills. The answer was no but he put me back on steroids which he assured me would help, and so far they have. Lynne managed to speak to a senior nurse who confirmed a) any hair loss will be temporary and b) once the treatment is over my brain and I will retrain myself to write legibly, replacing the current doctor's style and  c) because the cells on our tongues are the most frequently replaced my sense of taste will quickly return .  My leg continues to make good progress ( it is still attached to me of course ). Each day I try to walk further although I have yet to try a village return trip.  All positive news.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Still after storm

A bright, sunny morning has followed a very stormy night. Everything seems OK.
 And very calm. Lynne has even managed to finish our Xmas cards ( the traditional posted kind ). They will not arrive till after Christmas but hey-ho, it is a Herculean achievement all the same. The job fell to Lynne as I have discovered I can't write anymore, yet another function lost, but I am assured taste returns quickly.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Zipidy do da 2

Yesterday was a much brighter day in all respects.  Brilliant sunshine and warm for the time of year. So confident was I in this new walking lark I pushed the boat out more than I should and even managed a shopping trip to Waitrose for the first time in months. ( strictly speaking I sat in the coffee lounge whilst Lynne zipped round with the trolley ). I did help pack the shopping  and get it back to the car though.
Once again my leg complained at midnight but after a couple of paracetamol I had a good nights sleep. Treatment and a blood test went well so all was good with the world. I even belatedly managed to write a few Christmas cards even though my concentration span is now smaller than a Scotsmans wallet.

Today was one of those terminally long days at the hospital. We beat the long wait to see the chemo doctor by arriving 2 hours late. We reckoned it is better to wait in the comfort of our own home rather than the hard waiting room chairs. However, one of the radiotherapy machines had broken down so long queues for the two remaining. 4 hours overall  we considered a success. No problems worth discussing.
I have Sussed-out the footwear code for hospital staff. Pretty nurses/admin staff wear clickety-clacky shoes so  they get noticed whilst rushing around carrying clipboards or patient notes. Frumpy staff wear soft shoes, but unfortunately they tend to squeak on Lino, defeating the object of wearing them in the first place. People who consider themselves to be very important  also go clickety- clacky.

Monday 16 December 2013

Highs and lows

After the highs of being afloat again I suppose it was inevitable lows would follow. Yesterday was a routine radiotherapy day. As usual treatment was on time and without incident. One of the proven siide -effects of Radio and chemo therapies is lethargy and, boy o boy did did I suffer on my return home mid-afternoon. A few hours of sleep had little affect and even tea did little to help. My appetite these days must be on a par with a mouse. We road-tested the menu of a pub near here for our planned family get-together after Christmas ( 11 so far with 2 dissenters ). The pub is very old but has recently had a badly needed change of management and the meals are huge, way beyond my current capacity.  
Our waitress kindly suggested a half portion, which was later charged as a children's meal. It was good but I could only manage half of it. No starter, no dessert.
Throughout all this Lynne manages to cope with everything life throws at her, without complaint. How? 
God only knows. Yesterday I was contemplating how to get myself admitted to hospital in the hope of giving her a break, but the idea never got beyond contemplation.
Another photo oh happier times afloat.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Poignant moment

A quiet day and we decided to make the most of it by visiting Tardis two. A very poignant moment
A bit like one of those movie moments when the navy guy returns to port after a long mission and is grabbed by his fabulous wife/girlfriend,with lots of tears and romantic music. Tardis Two is the fabulous
Wife/girlfriend and the tune in my head was dire straits "Going Home". a moving moment. She looked great. My leg was no problem for the second day running (if only I could run).
Once again I slept for half the day ( due to radio and chemo treatment I'm told ).
Apologies for the late posting, caused by technical problems beyond my control. I guess the Sky engineers worked through the night, thanks guys. 

Friday 13 December 2013

Routine break

Again slept all night, or at least until 05.30, hopefully indicating a change for the better. No radiotherapy today but I do have an MRI scan on my dodgy leg booked for midday at a local hospital. Although part of the same group as the other pathetic hospitals, from our experience, the incompetence and "why should I care" attitude has not infiltrated yet, 
so we hope to be out in time to visit our beloved boat this afternoon, something to look forward to? 
The scan was on time but it was a very lengthy walk to reach it which inevitably was more than my leg could cope with. As a result and the appearance of high winds the boat trip was postponed, in favour of a lie down, after which the leg seems ok. Don't rush me being the message transmitted.


Same weather but the rhino tells me there is a slight breeze.
Slept all night although I apparently pushed Lynne out of bed at. 0300.    Oops.   No leg pain last night but a few pins and needles attacks this morning.
I was racking what is left of my brain to remember the last time I missed an entire nights sleep ( see previous blog ). A party in Manchester and the Lyke Wake walk eventually came to mind, although there must have been one or two when camping in African Safari parks. The Lyke Wake walk is 30-odd 
Miles across the North Yorkshire moors and not for the faint hearted or sane. I completed it the day before my 21st birthday party. You try doing Rod Stewart impressions with heavily blistered feet. 

Thursday 12 December 2013

Sunny and mild

Considering it is getting very near to Xmas  the weather is very sunny and mild, reminding me of some of our boating days earlier in the year
Oh to get cruising again. My leg remained painful throughout the night and as a consequence very little sleep was obtained. The. Inflamed area remains constant but I think it is the nerve endings screaming out.
Sorry if the above scared you. It scares me every time I see it, but it looks worse than it actually is.(apart from the pain).  Apparently cellulitis of the leg is a slow healer, a very slow slow healer, as I am about to discover.
Patience is a virtue.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Intergalactic credit reversal

Me and my big mouth again. I received a text message from my hospital this morning telling me my appointment today was 12.45, an hour earlier than my appointment card. Lynne phoned to query the discrepancy and was assured the text time was correct. We rushed to arrive on time and waited four hours in the corridor, popping downstairs for radiotherapy, who kindly fitted me in at short notice. Another few hours later, in the same corridor with loads of similarly suffering patients, we reached the point of no return and Lynne popped to reception and announced we were leaving, which as usual, caused something of a stir. My leg got checked and the chemo tablets will be ready for collection tomorrow. Too many patients, doctor too slow or not having realistic appointment lengths, or sheer incompetence ? I suspect the latter.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Credit where due

We had lots to do at the hospital today. Blood test, leg check,radio and chemo, and, credit where it is due, everything went amazingly well. No hold-ups, no frustrations,nothing to complain about. The doctor did not consider my leg infection bad enough to stop tumour treatment but prescribed some strong antibiotics anyway. 
A reasonable nights sleep and a straightforward hospital visit has done wonders for my state of mind and I feel pretty good for once.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Walking wounded

As predicted,"my chiropractor" sorted out my locked ankle which has improved my walking, although both ankle and leg swelled considerably but without increased pain.
The weekend away proved a tonic for both Lynne and I , a sort of break from hospitals and grimness.
Family ties re confirmed.

Friday 6 December 2013

Journey South

With no intergalactic hospital appointments for the weekend ( they trust me to take my chemotherapy tablets at home ) we have planned a getaway and change of scenery by way of seeing "my" chiropractor in London, visiting old friends and staying overnight with my son and future wonderful daughter-in- law.
My leg has improved considerably over recent days but my ankle seems locked, something I am hoping my chiropractor will improve. 
I am unsure about a wi fi connection down South so there may be a one day lapse, or maybe not

Musical journey

The key moment tracks mentioned yesterday are not, in themselves, good or bad, they just happened to be around for key events in my life. I once compiled a life story tape ( prior to cd's ) for an aunt living in Canada, purely based on musical tracks, but with explanations, which, at the time, she and I were very proud of. I have since lost the only copy I ever made, but don't have the time or inclination to repeat the exercise. However, I am always happy for friends to mention an event in my life in return for a track title.
I have retinal screening at my GP's this morning just for a change of routine. All diabetics have an annual eye check by the NHS to spot any retinal changes early. Back to reality in the afternoon when I return to the inter-galactic Leicester hospital for routine radio therapy.
The treatment was routine with no hiccups although it knocked me for 6 and I slept through what was left of the afternoon at home.
To give you popaphiles  an interesting exercise I will now list artists relevant to incidents in my life, to whom you may be able to add a track. These are in no particular order:  Chris Montez. Joe Brown.
Beatles. Abba. Pink fairies. Hawk wind. Cat Stevens. Melanie. Marianne Faithful. Linda Lewis. Rolling Stones. Yardbirds. Jefferson Airplane/Starship. Eagles. Rod Stewart. Animals. kinks. Neil Diamond. Troggs. Simon & Garfunkel. Yazoo. Eurasure. Alison Moyet. The Who. Snow Patrol. Dolly Parton. David Bowie. Radiohead. Led Zeppelin. Bob Dylan. Everything but the girl. Walk off the earth. Dire Straits. Bread. John Denver. Buddy Holly. Joan Baez.  Etc. etc.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Back to earth

Amazingly managed to stay awake until the end of the Arsenal v Hull match. Not that it was boring (far from it) but it finished around 22.00, well past my bed-time these days. I went to bed relatively pain-free and slept until 04.00, quite a good night by my current standards. Arsenal won 2. O and remain top of the Premier league, by the way. Following yesterday's fiasco consultation I have devised a cunning plan  for post-treatment , but obviously it will remain secret as it is quite radical. Regaining control of my brain for the remainder of my life is the aim but there are a number of hurdles to overcome first.

I have discovered my taste buds and sense of smell have wained, common side effects of chemo treatment.

The rhino was very lively this morning, due to very high winds. A non-cruising day.   In fact it is positively gale force. The marina phoned to say Tardis Two is ok but the marina has Atlantic waves, no boats moving.

Radiotherapy went smoothly as usual from where we popped upstairs to the chemo unit to collect my chemo and sickness tablets as arranged yesterday. And guess what. Not only had they lost my notes but also my tablets !!!!!   Chaos ensued until the sister authorised a new prescription for my tablets, which were issued. Today I am a nonentity in the chemo department.

I am still having my ups and downs moments, not greatly helped by events at the hospital, or by Smooth Radio which seems to play "trigger tracks" on a regular basis whilst I sit in traffic. I relate all major events in my life, good or bad, to music.
"Bad" equals tracks like: The sound of silence.  Homeward bound.   There's a place.   Wild horses.
"Good" equals:  Hotel California.      Stairway to Heaven.   ( 12 string guitars, remember?)

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Another planet?

Radiotherapy went well and quickly as usual these days,despite me arriving early following yesterday's foul-up. They are a great group of people.  The consultation went well in a bizaar way . I asked if chemo would end the same time as radio. The answer was he could not say. I then asked when it was likely to end. The answer was he could not say.  
I then stupidly asked how a decision will be made to stop chemo and what criteria would be necessary? The asst oncologist merely licked his index finger and held it in the air. For non-UK residents this sign means "Christ knows" and not the driving signal meaning "swivel on that".  All informative stuff, eh?
We left wondering who was on another planet, him or us. The jury is out.

Monday 2 December 2013

Guantanimo Bay

I refuse to call what's happening to me an illness, more an invasion. This is bad enough to take, but the treatment is far worse. They tell you one of the side-effects is sleepiness, but fail to add the ability to stop you sleeping, a fact confirmed by other patients. You feel sleepy all day, only to go to bed early and not be able to sleep. An extra problem unique to me is my leg wound ache also refuses to sleep. Not an ideal situation. Now I am off those enormous doses of painkiller, enough to knock-out a rhino, the occasional paracetamol , fails to reach the same levels of pain relief.      Everyone has good and bad experiences in life, me more than most I guess, but the combination of the treatment and what is left of my brain seem able to recall and graphically edit together the bad in my dreams, whether I am asleep. Or awake.   I am told the functions of the zapped parts of my brain will eventually be undertaken by others.  A sort of multi-tasking.  I am writing this at 1.00 in the morning before attempting to achieve real sleep again.
Having already suffered water torture by being forced off Tardis Two earlier than planned I feel I am going through the entire Guantanimo Bay gambit.  What next? I'm innocent, honestly.

Talking of torture, at least I know once all this treatment is completed that will be the end of it, but there is no such hope for thousands of Spurs fans as they watch Arsenal winning game after game by large margins ( apart from against Spurs, strangely ). However, a change of allegiance and a short bus ride could quickly cure their problem and they will then be able to enjoy an hour and a half of their lives per week.

I was supposed to have a full day at the hospital today with radiopherapy treatment and a chat with the consultant. Similarly tomorrow but this time with the chemo consultant, who happens to be the same guy. Today, after treatment, a blood test and a long wait they announced they woul combine the two consultations tomorrow.   All those wasted letters and our preparations, for what?
Once again piss-up and brewery spring to mind, but we're lumbered with them to the bitter end (excuse the pun).


Not a good weekend, with yesterday either spent in bed asleep or in the bathroom. It is fair to say these chemo tablets do not agree with my stomach or my stay -awake brain cells. My last chemo treatment (over 20 years ago) resulted in a dramatic loss of weight to the point where I could have fallen into a piraña-infested lake and walked out an hour later looking much the same. A discussion with the oncologist is planned. 
Back to hospital for my "routine" radiology treatment today. My memory is starting to work in a stranger way than normal,whereby I try to remember a name or an object, only for my mind to be totally blank at the time, but whatever I was trying to remember unexpectantly appears in my memory  hours or days later in neon, uninvited

Very quick radiotherapy session today. In, bang crash wallop and out within ten minutes.

It is time for me to consider the future of my hair. (Which one? I hear you ask). This treatment is guaranteed to cause fallout.  Go for the total baldie look? Or a wig? The Sir Bobby Charlton and Jimmy Saville looks are both no no's, as is Wayne Rooney. Sir Clff Richard?  Rod Stewart. Ziggy Stardust. Art Garfunkel.  Any further suggestions?