Thursday, 24 December 2009

Waiting for tomorrow

Usually, on Christmas Eve, I am frantically rushing from one last minute activity to another, but this year have thought it more appropriate to calm down. Which doesn't mean I am ready for tomorrow; not a bit of it: vegetables and roast joint to prepare just for the two of us, mince pies still to make, presents to wrap. I am thinking how strange it feels without small children scrambling noisily around us. But then our beloved three are now aged 48, 46 and 38! so it's been a long time since that pleasurable anticipation of the bustle of Christmas Day has invaded the quiet of the evning before. Now that the grandchildren are growing up as well (nine of them, aged 16 down to 5), it is even difficult to get all three families together simultaneously in one place. Yes we shall see them all during the coming week; the young ones will play carols for us on a variety of instruments, and sing; and update us on all their news and achievements. We will eat and be merry, exchange simple gifts, and be glad that we have all survived another year.

our Christmas cake, which I only finished icing an hour ago - hope it sets in time for tea!

Greetings to all Bloggers - and a heartfelt thankyou to all who follow my two blogs, and who leave me such precious comments.  With love and best wishes from an elderly granny sitting by the fire knitting herself a warm hat, but still the same irrepressible  'wild child' she has always been.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

An alternative Christmas

With less than a week to go to Christmas Day, we gave up searching for a reasonably priced traditional tree and settled instead for what we already had. So out from the cold I brought a lollipop holly, a sweet-bay tree (lauris nobilis) and a Christmas box (sarcococca hookeriana humilis) - all evergreens that were flourishing in pots on my mini-terrace under the cider-apple tree. The Christmas box has sweetly scented but insignificant white flowers which are just about to open in the warmth of the lounge. Decorations have been kept simple, just some red and gold baubles. We have tucked this 'arrangement' into a corner by the sideboard. No fairy lights, but we have lit three candles on a high window cill; the roadside window lacks wooden shutters (we would never reach up to shut them) and so passers-by can see into the candlelight-room as dusk approaches. That is, if anyone walks past - it's extremely cold here in the high Cotswolds, with an easterly wind; down to -9C last night (15.8F). 

And now an enormous 'thankyou' to everyone who left me such kind messages after my unexpected hospital stay. I really did appreciate them, and apologise for not responding personally to each one. I am absolutely fine, such a silly scare; but it's odd how timing can so affect the aftermath. Even after a fortnight back home, I still haven't caught up with myself; it felt as if I had lost a week of work and have much to do before I can take a break over the festive fortnight that we try to keep free for family and friends; and for me personally,  catching up on all the blog posts I have missed - and for some creative journaling in paper and fabric.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Returning to normality

A day like no other. Backtrack to Monday 30th November 7.30am; it happened like this:

Sitting in ‘the office’ in my dressing gown, sipping tea and typing magazine copy, I experienced the most indescribable pain, as if my heart was a squashy tennis ball and a clawed hand was repeatedly squeezing it. I thought it would diminish and worked on through it – I had a deadline to meet. But it didn’t, so after two hours, I rang my doctor.

“Go straight to A&E (accident and emergency),” she said. Which I did – Raymond drove me in, quicker than waiting for an ambulance. I walked into Casualty and the moment I mentioned ‘doctor’ and ‘chest pain’ I was whisked into the initial assessment area, wired up, danced attendance upon, and generally treated with such kindness and courtesy that I felt near to tears. An ECG and blood samples were taken and a vicious curved needle put into my arm through which they could feed drugs if I needed them urgently.

Once it became apparent that I did not need resuscitation, I was moved to the MAU (Medical Assessment Unit). I was seen by three doctors and assigned my own nurse. I was continually updated as to what was going on – by now I felt complete fraud but they insisted that they wanted to get to the bottom of the pain as it could be the onset of angina (a final treadmill session would reveal this). Tests were ongoing and I was wired up to a monitor which meant I couldn’t get out of bed; tricky when I needed the toilet – my nurse unplugged me and I had to walk across the ward, leads trailing, and make sure they didn’t drop into the loo!

Not a brilliant night, trying not to fall off the trolley-bed with an under sheet that kept ruckling and two cotton rugs that continually slipped off me; and it was unbearably hot. What I found amazing, as I was obviously not ill, was that I was able to listen and watch, keep an ongoing diary of my stay. The care and attention was without fault. I was actually looking forward to the treadmill, never having been on one before and I came through with flying colours: pacing slow, fast then faster, wearing nothing but pants and wires attached all over my chest, back and left breast, whilst the monitor results were being assessed by a sweet elderly gentleman technician and a dishy, tall young doctor. I was asked if I had any pain (none, except my right hip ached from the arthritis, but this lessened as the speed increased and I walked faster). I was asked if I wanted to stop; no, I was challenging myself. I did a half mile in five minutes. It was over and all was in perfect working order; indeed, I felt really fit. A final assessment by the consultant, and I was cleared to go home. The NHS at its best.

My husband was wonderful, too, collecting books, papers and laptop from home, seeing I had tasty food, sitting with me to counteract the boredom of enforced rest. Once back at home, there were lovely surprises waiting in the mail; about these I will blog in due course - visit 'Journaling the Journal' in the next couple of days. In two hours I go for a doctor's check-up. Scare over.