Tag Archives: family

Bye Lavita you have been a lifesaver

Its the start of the weekend I’m in my own home and boy am I glad to be so.  A few weeks ago I was in hospital with yet another infection.   It started of I wasn’t feeling too good, said to my nurse I felt horrid, my tummy began to swell, my temp rose, the leakage that came out of around my peg site increased, the smell began to get really offensive.  My energy became non existent.  I visited my GP, within 2 hours I was in hospital.  Before I knew it connected to IV drip and on IV antibiotics.  I was feeling absolutely awful, could hardly put one foot in front of the other.  The familiar face of SPB came to my bed.  He is the surgeon that put my gastrostomy tube in two years ago.  Lavita has been a lifesaver and fed me on demand.  After blood tests, X-rays, scans and careful discussion with the surgeon and the wonderful dieticians Bev and Marion it was decided it was time to change the tube.

 

 

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Im not going to lie, I was bloody nervous at the thought of getting lavita taken out and another tube put in.  The nurse came to tell me that I was getting my tube changed later that day.  just after lunch I could hear a familiar Irish mans voice outside my bedroom.  A few minutes later the doctor popped his head round the door, remember me Elizabeth? He said.  How could I forget.  He was the doctor that took out my jej extension.  I have faith in him.  My nervousness left me and I felt calm.  How could I forget, I replied.  He changed my gastrostomy tube.  I’m not saying it was plain sailing.   Mainly due to the infection,  I had a lot of tummy pain and there was quite a lot of discharge and blood. There was a lot of tugging and pulling.  The burning gastric acid from my stomach was trickling down my skin, it hurt like hell.  He mopped it up very quickly.  The saliva was running down my gums, yet my lips and mouth felt dry.  We agreed that a larger circumference tube would go in this time, in the hope that there will be less leakage.    We have moved up a size and a half and its fitted perfectly.    I was in hospital for 5 days, and got well looked after, support from dieticians, nursing staff, and doctors fantastic.

Its took me a while to get on my feet since getting out of hospital.    I have been very tired, in fact super exhausted to be exact.    Regular things have taken a back seat and gosh have I missed it all.  In particular not having the granddaughters at the house as often.   A couple of weeks before I went into the hospital our house was full of laughter of two beautiful granddaughter’s.  Our 17 month old princess was running up and down the hall saying Papa Papa, Broom Broom – she is desperate to go sit on her grandfather’s motorcycle.  Grace calls from the kitchen Bella Boo to one of our labs.   The girls are away on a two week holiday at the seaside.  Gosh I miss their visits.

 

 

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Since I have been home, I am getting my regular visits from my nurses.  Getting my tube maintained,  The balloon water changed. My dressings changed.  Working hard on building up the old stamina 🙂

The one important thing that needs to be done next is find a name for my new tube.  Its a balloon gastrostomy that feeds me through a pump directly into my tummy.  Im attached to the feed 20 hours out of 24 every day.  This prevents me having a hypo and helps me maintain my weight.  My wonderful hubby has bought me a lovely new Michael Kors leather backpack to put my pump in, it means I can be attached to my feed, carry it on my back and still be ‘fashionable’ as well as carry other essentials with me.

If you have any suggestion of a name for my new tube, please comment.  All suggestions, comments welcome.

 

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Making The Most………

Wow its been a while since my fingers have tapped out a post.  To say I haven’t jotted down anything would not be true.  However, everything I have written recently has been very personal and Im not quite ready to share these thoughts.

It’s the beginning of July the last post was published in March.  Quite a lot has gone on in my life in the last 4 months.  The puppies have all grown, and gone to new homes.  They have left a footprint on my heart – they were jolly hard work but oh so lovely to have.  We kept one from the litter.  A stunning young lady.  We named her Bess.  And yes she is turning out to be just we hoped; a great combination of mum, Bella and dad, buddy.   Bess is already taking note to sit and wait when nurse Evelyn is attending to me.  She is intrigued in all the help that a grown up Labrador parent can be.  

We had the honour of attending and celebrating Sophie’s first Holy Communion in May.  What a wonderful day that was.  Alexandra and Grace were ever so happy to get into their dresses and drive through to Glasgow.   What a day to remember.  So happy, full of laughter and love.  Quite a memory.

Sophie trying to beat Stuart’s time completing the rubix cube. 

Sophie with Alexandra and Grace at her Holy Communion Celebration.

I felt far from my best in the last few months.  Seen my consultant, dietician, several hospital visits.  My wonderful nurses come to the house and cater to my needs.  I’ve lost weight which is a bit of a bummer.   My gastrostomy tube snapped which was slightly annoying- lovely staff from the hospital came out straight away with a new part.  Now that’s what I call service.   There has been a fault with the batch – there has been a run on broken tubes 😂 

On the 10th of each month I get the chance to meet up with net cancer patients.  Through the charity The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust.  We have a great time blethering away, sharing stories.  10th June my sister hazel drove me to haddington to meet up with the others for a coffee on a Saturday afternoon.  July 10th Steve and I went in style on steves BMW motorcycle to the evening meeting.  The meetings help me a great deal.  They give an opportunity to talk, share experience and most important be YOU.   Looking forward to the next one.  

My Shining Lights when the going gets tough!!

For most of us life is hard enough.  We all run along in the treadmill of life in our own way. Me, I try and make the best of it even on the bleakest day.  The last three weeks have been a struggle.  My father is in hospital, he has had life saving open heart surgery, his surgery was fairly extensive; a triple bypass, a valve replacement and a pacemaker.  He has been in intensive care, moved onto high dependency and now graduated to the specialist cardiology ward.  He still has a long hard journey ahead of him.  My Papa is made of strong stuff, he will fight all the way.   I am finding it hard, seeing him lie in the hospital bed looking so frail and lost when I am so used to seeing him going around the family home like a busy bee.  To let you understand my Dad is not one for sitting down, as you would say he has a ‘glass ass’.  He likes to keep busy, making sure everyone is looked after when they visit him.  There is always coffee and a sandwich on offer.

Ive been feeling a tad worse than usual over the last few weeks too.  On the medics advice Ive increased my steroids.  Whats keeping me going and giving me strength?  Love.  From particular special individuals: my hubby Steve, my sons Tony & Stuart and my granddaughters Alexandra & Grace.   They are my shining light, all of them fill my heart with warmth and love.   They light up my life even on the darkest days.  And make me smile – Always.  I love them so much and am so grateful to have them in my life.

 

 

 

30 Years On……..

Well it’s nearly 2am and I’m wide awake. It’s been a great day.  Today was our 30th wedding anniversary and we are in Boat of Garten, near Aviemore to celebrate.    I can hear two very familiar sounds.  The first is the whiring of my feed pump, the other -rumbling snoring; my hubby, Steve, this gasping pup pup sound coming methodically from him.  I wake up often at this time, giving me the opportunity to reflect on what’s going on in my life.  

I’ve had two lovely nights in Aberdeen with Steve.  We were staying in a lovely hotel, went to a great party to celebrate the 60th birthday of his cousin, Annette and the 30th birthday of her son Lee.  Great seeing the family and spending time with Steve’s aunt Margaret and her children.  Steve’s sister Julie, Nicole and jack are here too.  Lovely quality family time; had a super family meal and went back to cousin Jimmy and Teresa’s for a visit.  Steve and I had some time on own too, the drive through Aberdeen for me set of many childhood memories.  My aunt lived in Aberdeen and we visited often.  As we drove passed Duthie Park my heart leapt and I can remember it as if it was yesterday playing in the hot sun with my mum, granny Baird and auntie Nellie.  I yearn so to take my grandkids there, share my happiest times with them.  The time went so fast over the weekend.  After breakfast we popped in to see auntie Margaret.  She was telling us about manuka doctor honey.  And how it helps health conditions for some people.  She brought the jar through to show us, steve took a photo of it. We have since looked it up and we can purchase it at Holland & Barrett for £28.99 and get a second jar for 1penny.  We are going to give it a try.   For a lady of eighty years of age she is marvellous.  When I was there I had my backpack feed on.  She was open and asked me about it.  I wish there were more people would ask when they really want to know.  I really don’t mind answering the questions.  You tend to find its children and people over the age of 75 that ask.  
  

Our anniversary day was wonderful.  Drive from Aberdeen to boat of Garten was delightful. We drove passed the lecht ski centre, one of my old haunts.  For me so strange to see it covered in Heather rather than snow.  A warm welcome awaited us at our beautiful hotel, we have a garden room, so somewhere to sit out with a pot of tea 😘.  A huge six foot wide bed – could do with that at home.  We literally dropped our bags and drove into Aviemore.  We were booked on the strathspey steam railway for first class afternoon tea.  What a great journey we had.  Our own we private compartment, pot of tea, coffee, and lots of lovely food.  I thought this would be a great treat for Steve, since he is always running about after me, working so hard with his business and rarely gets time just to sit and watch the world go by.  And we both love the idea of the steam train.  An hour an a half of relaxation was wonderful.  I’m sure it did the two of us the world of good.  We had parked the car about a five minute walk from the train.  As we were walking back, I said to Steve I needed to go to the toilet.  We immediately saw a tesco – bingo, that will do,  I was bursting now, thank goodness I had an insurance policy on.  Steve put his hand gently on my shoulder you are too close to the edge of the road he said as a large lorry rumbled passed feeling like it was about to take of my nose.  At last the green man, we could cross.  Yes, they had customer toilets.  Thank,goodness.  Oh the relief. 
  

We came back to the hotel at 5pm for a rest before going downstairs for a wee while at dinner time.  I sat on the decking with a pot of tea, it was was a lovely day and at 5.10pm it was 19 degrees – in Scotland, nearing the end of August that’s pretty good.  Sitting watching the world go by, soaking in the atmosphere, beautiful.  Suddenly a wave washed over me and I could feel a chill to my bones.  The wee voice was saying watch you don’t get overtired now – you have done much more than you are used to.  The tummy started rumbling, get to the loo woman and deal with it.  I said to myself,  it’s your blasted anniversary.  So I did.  A beauty of a major explosion in the bathroom – the sweat running down my back with the pain.   Along with my teatime medication I took extra anti sickness pills.  I lay on the bed for twenty minutes with Steve.  Much better.  

We had a wonderful evening downstairs.  Gosh, not a late night for us though.  We went down at 6.30pm and we were back in our room  at 8.15pm.  Before we came to our room we walked round a beautiful community garden opposite the hotel. Lovely way to finish off the evening.    Back in our lovely room, we had time to relax and planning our Tuesday.    

We have to make sure we get plenty time to do my creams,  dressings, medications and my feed.  Two 500mls on the pump overnight, one or two 500mls during the day depending  and 4 bolus feeds during the day.   Steve is very  organised and methodical when it comes to my medication.  He sorts it all out first thing in the morning, puts it in little pots and transfers if medicine containers if we are going out. 

Looking forward to today.  We are meeting my sister hazel and brother in law alan.  Going up in fenicular railway.  

Dying To Look Good

You look great –  that’s the words we all long to hear.  We all want to look our best.  Whether we are nipping to the supermarket, having a lazy day,  or going out for dinner.  The last thing I want is folk to be surprised that I look normal”

So why is it that there are times when people say certain phrases to me that can set my tummy into turmoil and make me feel guilty for having an illness.  These words are usually said in such an innocent manner and no malice is ever meant.   Sometimes I can get upset by what has been said to me, regardless of how harmless the conversation is.  The person paying the compliment is usually always blameless.

The conversations and body language that are directed to me are intended to be kind and gentle.  A gentle hand stroking my arm and the words that first come out how are you keeping?    One of the ladies in our support network group particularly doesn’t like this phrase.  I have spoken to many people whilst I have been in hospital and yes they are affected by what’s said too.  Certain words affect folks more than others, the word keeping was one that some found hard to deal with.   I’m not quite sure why, as I say it’s always said with such niavity.  Perhaps it’s because the word keeping is associated with custody and criminal.  Many people with with chronic illnesses have life changing situations after their diagnosis and can often feel like a prisoner in their own home and need the help of others.  Maybe this is a possibility why keeping is not liked by this person.  I can’t go out on my own, and I’m very grateful for the help I get, not feeling sorry for myself – promise 😘.

Most of the time words said don’t bother me too much at all.  I can put them in a box and breathe.  What really drives me crazy is the tone that the  conversation is spoken to me in.  The very pitch can affect my mood, and hence a knock on affect on my health.  Most days I will banter and have fun, if something is said in a teasing manner I will take it like water off a ducks back.  However if I’m having a difficult day the slightest thing will reduce me to tears.

So why do we want to look good?  – why not?  I personally want to look like my old self.  I want to be my husband’s wife 💕.   My wonderful staff at Ninewells hospital in Dundee have specially manufactured coloured cream for my skin to put on every day.  The transformation is fantastic.  It covers every blemish, wrinkle, gives me a lovely colour.  And it looks so natural. Once it’s on properly you wouldn’t know I had cream on.   For me it takes a lot of work to look “normal” – I smear my entire body in several creams three times a day.  Steve’s cousin Anna commented on how much work it was and how good the transformation the Dundee cream made – this actually made me feel good that she was so open.

The good thing about the chronic illness.  It’s on the inside.  We can cover it up.  Put on the war paint and put on a smile 😀😀  it’s good to smile, it’s infectious. Smile and the world smiles with you.  When you are all dressed and tried your hardest to look good, whether you are dressed to the nines or in a tracksuit, and have make up on or not.  If I am happy I always look better.  I know I am loved and this certainly makes me happy.    It can be hard to look good for anyone at anytime but I will say my family and friends do make my life much better.

I love to buy and get treated to nice clothes and accessories.  My favourites are Ragamuffin, Fatface, Michael kors, Pandora.  My hubby, Steve is so good to me.  Steve wants to treat me and make me feel good, he is the one that sees me feeling so rubbish at home. And puts up with my grumpy pants sulking moods 😂😂 – for my sake just as well he loves me.

 

Some Time For Us

Back from the NET specialist just ten days and we find ourselves travelling up the scenic A9 in our Audi TT roadster with the roof down.  Boy it’s great to be travelling for total pleasure.   We are on our way to Nairn.  Going to celebrate Cousin Sharon’s 40th birthday.  This was no formal birthday party.    We were dressed in 60’s clothing.  And the venue  was a holiday park.  Most of the family stayed at the holiday park for the weekend.  Steve and I opted to stay in a hotel just for the one night.   For us this worked out fantastic.

Our friends Louise and Keith looked after Buddy & Bella for the night we were away.  It’s always easier to go away when I know our puppies will be well looked after.  We pamper our pouches and we know they will get lots of loving from Lou and Keith.

The drive up was great.  The sun was shining.  The roof was down all the

We drove into the holiday park , as we were parking the car, there were a handful of hippies walking towards the social club.  Yes we are in the correct place.   As we walked into the bar there was a  see of faces,  nearly everyone had a 60’s outfit on.  We saw a waving hand, it was Anna  signalling to where they were.  Just as well really, because when everyone is dressed up so well we were all so different – especially when we had wigs on, etc.

This is is picture I took of Steve at home when he was trying on his outfit 😀



When we approached the family, Steve’s auntie Margaret turned round and almost leapt off her seat.  She stood on the floor and hugged her nephew tight. With the height difference between them Steve was on his knees whilst cuddling his aunt and neither of them looked out of place. There were tears in both of their eyes,  without doubt they were both genuinely pleased to see each other.  Auntie Margaret’s five children, Annette, Pauline, Patricia, Jimmy Phil and their partners all welcomed us into the heart of the family.  Everyone from the eldest to the youngest grandchild made us feel welcome and at ease.

Steve and I went back to the Hotel to get ready :

When we arrived back we had a meal.   We sat in the restaurant and had something to munch before a night on the tiles.  Then it was time to party…….


We all had a fabulous time. Steve and I had to get back to the hotel for 12 midnight.  We popped over to the caravan site in the morning to say our Cheerios.  We had a blether with auntie Margaret, cousin Phil, and his wife Jackie.  Annette came round to the caravan in the morning, as did Jimmy and Theresa.  This gave us the opportunity to see them and have a coffee and a blether before we drove down the road,

On the way home, Steve and I blethered away, enjoyed each other’s company in the confined space and had the chance to take time and discuss things.  Travelling has many advantages and opens up opportunities to let us air our views and share our thoughts, worries, anxieties, etc.  We pulled in for a spot of lunch at House of Bruar, of course, we can never go anywhere without me getting treated.  Steve bought me lovely soft blue cashmere gloves and a navy cashmere silk hat.

We arrived back home.  I was shattered.  The drive up to Nairn, the late night, the socialisation all contributory factors.  It had been challenging, as always, finding somewhere to stay, packing all my meds, creams clothes, pump, and every thing else that goes with me.   Was it worth it?  Oh most certainly.  For  two days we drove in Scotland with the roof down, slept in a lovely hotel, and most importantly we spent some quality time wIth family who made us feel welcome and had us belly laughing,  would we do it all again ?  Try stopping us.

 

Five weeks on and travelling 400 miles again……

July was met with a busy time including travelling to Suffolk to celebrate the wedding of steph and Levi.  Five weeks later and we are returning to the same family – Adam (steph’s brother) is getting hitched to Elodie.

As usual it’s like a military operation to get organised to travel anywhere these days.  Outfits chosen, suitable clothing packed in the case.  Check and re check I have all my medication, creams, pump, milks, first aid kit, etc.  And my companion bear – Hans.    Could not possibly travel all that distance without my bear.

The nurse comes into our home on the morning we are heading down south.  This is to check how I am and to do my dressings before heading off.  My skin on my face, particularly where the tube had been resting has become agitated and red – some improvisation is needed: I’ve a cushioned dressing between the tube and my cheek now to prevent further damage.  My nose where the plaster goes is getting red and a tad sore too.  It’s all a little cumbersome but feels much more comfortable.

The day we travelled down was warm.  Sun cream, hats, oakleys and the essential good playlist on the car hifi.  Two hours short of our destination we make an essential toilet and coffee stop.  On walking back to the car Steve gets stung by a wasp.  In the matter of seconds his arm swells like a balloon.  Fortunately we have cream with us to put on his arm.  His singing is less enthusiastic and driving slower – I can tell his arm is very sore and he has been affected by the little blighter.  We arrive at our destination.   Anna has a lovely dinner on.  We all tuck in and have a good natter.  An hour later I’m more than ready for my bed.  Pjs are on, feed pump is set up and all tucked in for the night it’s been a long tiring day.



Friday is the day before the wedding.  Long lie, quiet morning then visit John and Sam in the afternoon.  In the morning Steve rescued a bird,  I was in my element taking photographs.  Visit to John and Sam was lovely – really enjoyed it.  In the evening Adam, the groom, had guests over – some friends, his cousin Megan and her husband Jason from  Canada.  Guitars were played, songs were sung, laughter filled the room.  It was so lovely to see so many smiling faces.  When Steve gets in bed he sees some flashing lights out of one of his eyes- we check the room – I assure him I can’t see any.  Perhaps he is going to get a migraine.


So it’s Saturday and the day of the wedding.  It’s also our 29th wedding anniversary.   I can remember our wedding day so clearly.  We have had our up and downs, but I have to admit I am happy to say that I still love the bones of that cocky young lad I met in high school who became my best friend, my lover, my husband, our two sons father, my rock.  I can hear Steve talking about the day we got married – me on the back of his Honda cb350 the morning we are getting married to get a new pair of shoes.  Four years ago I managed to get the very same bike for his silver wedding present.

This is Steve touching up his precious 25 year old bike.


Ahh such beautiful memories.  Beep beep bong – that’s my 10 hour feed finished.  Time to get up out of the bed.  Disconnect myself from the pump.   Get some boiled water.  Draw it up the syringe.  Flush my tube.  Deteach the tubing and the empty bottle from the pump and stand. Dispose in recycling.  Put pump on charge for later.    Steve comes back into the bedroom armed with a welcomed cup of hot juice for me and to let me know he is heading out with the groom party for the ‘boys breakfast’.  Just take your time he says you have been up several times through the night – last night was one of those nights that the bowels were in overdrive, the feed pump had a mind of its own and went off a couple of times…… I looked at Steve all dressed in his black watch kilt – yes I still love every inch of you.  Probably more so than the day we married.   The good news is Steve didn’t get a migraine, although his eye feels murky.  He wants to eye drops – not like Steve at all.   Fortunately our bedroom has an ensuite so off I toddle to get washed, apply my oilatum, then my diprobase cream over my whole body, then the factor 50 ultra sun sense sun cream.  Phew – lie on the bed and have a wee rest.  That’s one of the things that gets me the most – is the exhaustion.  Words can’t describe the feeling of fatigue.  I don’t like to sound like a moaning Minnie.  It’s amazing how applying some cream to your skin can feel like a work out.  I have taught myself to do things in stages and where possible out of the public eye.  Ten minutes later and I’m ready to put on my Dundee cream (this is special sun reflectant coloured cream prescribed by a hospital in Dundee.  It matches my colour tone, it reflects the sunlight and stops my skin burning.  My skin reacts even in winter sun for as short as time as five minutes and can peel and blister when the light has shone through glass if I am not protected.) – the cream comes in two colours; coral pink and beige, I mix them together and apply it like foundation.  Once it’s applied it looks great.  Gives a healthy glow even on the peakiest days.  Look at the watch – I’ve got a quiet hour before I need to get dressed.  Anna and the girls are away to get their hair done.



Ta da we are all ready for the wedding – and what a lovely day it was too.  I managed to stay till 10pm.  But when Steve caught me sleeping at the table for the third time he insisted it was time for us to retire to our beautiful hotel room.  I didn’t take any persuasion.

The Sunday and Monday were spent fairly leisurely, which was lovely.  Feet up when we wanted, fun conversation, nostalgic conversation &  some TV.   Just what you need in preparation for a 400 mile journey home.   Steve still kept rubbing his eye.    He bought eye drops and put them in.  He assured me he was ok, I wasn’t convinced.    Looking forward to getting home and seeing our lads and our Labradors.  And not to mention getting Steve’s eye checked out.