Saturday, 16 January 2016

The Triumph of Hope over Experience

Yesterday I had my long (3 months) awaited appointment with the PD nurse.

Those of you who read my post on October 5th last year will know that the initial shock of the diagnosis was just a knee-jerk reaction and I fairly quickly decided not to go down the 'worst scenario' route.

Initially this was easy to do while I awaited the phone-call/letter from the PD nurse who, I was told, would be able to answer my questions.

Having first read the notes on Parkinson's provided by my GP I made a list of the main concerns I had.

As the weeks went by and my medication proved very effective in controlling the tremors (to the point where there were none - at least to my eyes), I became more concerned about long-term prospects.  Some of which had been high-lighted by the literature given me by the GP.

My consultation with the nurse yesterday was really worth the effort of first finding the obscure address of the place, and secondly the rather long walk to get there.  Only about a mile as the crow flies, but I ain't no crow!

She was friendly easy to talk to and very very reassuring.

Having put me through a series of physical tests she pronounced my symptoms 'minimal' and in essence convinced me that my current way of life and activity is likely to prove beneficial and is more than adequate to maintain a good level of health.

Confessing that my two greatest fears were the possible loss of my voice and the possibility of developing dementia. I asked her if continuing to sing would cause any escalation of the disease,
She assured me that on the contrary, the more I sang the less likely I was to suffer the loss of
throat muscle power.

Dementia as I think I said in my earlier post, is something which affects 50% of Parkinson's sufferers, but as both she and a friend pointed out, it also means that 50% of patients do not develop it.

Despite the freezing weather this morning I feel more up-beat and hopeful than for a very long time.

It was worth opening Pandora's box.

Thursday, 31 December 2015


4.00pm and the engineer has just left and my icicles (fingers) are slowly thawing as the radiators return to life.

Thank God for British Gas and my maintenance contract.

The temperature in the sitting room is now up to 58 degrees and climbing.

How very lucky we are in the West to have such comfort within easy reach.

Not that I am doing anything about it but at least I can now acknowledge that a New Year begins in a few hours time.

May it be a happy and healthy one for as many of you as possible.

Power in the wrong hands - The domestic demons strike again.

I woke an hour or so ago feeling slightly chilly.

Doing my usual busy-bee activities in the kitchen I reached up to switch on the water-heating part of my boiler and realised that it was ominously silent.

It is not a very noisy boiler but its background hum is part of the soundtrack  of my daily existence, and this morning there was nothing.

Finally it dawned on me to feel the radiators - stone cold.

Deep joy.  There was a time about 10 years ago when my central heating would regularly break down in the middle of Christmas or New Year holidays.  Recently this hasn't happened and I have become complacent.

I have phoned British Gas emergency helpline and the best they can do is get an engineer out to me between 1.00 and 6.00pm today.

Luckily this is a warm house and I am unlikely to freeze to death before that time but, today was supposed to be big laundry day.

I don't like doing any washing or household chores on New Year's day so had planned to get everything done today.

As Robbie Burns almost said "The best laid plans of mice and men have a habit of going wrong",

I can't take my usual shower as cold water showers are not really my thing, so a hasty wash and a day cleaning the house looms instead.  Well I have to try to keep warm somehow.

Compared with those affected by the floods mine is a very small problem and I am grateful for the freedom from the tyranny of overflowing rivers etc, but I can't help thinking how puny an individual human being is in the war against the apparently inanimate.

More anon.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has enormous power to evoke memories of past years,  Some good, some not so good, but always there in the background waiting for the right trigger to emerge bright as daylight.

As a child I loved Christmas Eve, the atmosphere, the unrealistic hopes, the dizzying prospects of what might be.

As one of four children in a family very close but also very impoverished I knew that most of my dreams were just that, dreams, but it in no way diminished my excitement on that special evening.

Over the years, varying experiences caused me to love Christmas less and less, until finally in middle age I regarded it as a break from work at best.

As I have blogged many times before, my Communist atheist upbringing did not include any part of the Christian view of Christmas time, but was still celebrated whole-heartedly as a secular event.

At the age of 75, a few months after my husband's death I found a new way of life was christened and confirmed and joined the choir of my local church.

Starting to sing again after a break of 24 years has produced some odd results.

Once a first soprano I am now an alto (not a mezzo) and am taking great pleasure from all the church music especially Christmas and Easter with its dazzling choice of lovely music.

Slightly less appealing for me is the fact that Midnight Mass involves my leaving the house at the time i would normally be going to bed.  This year (today) I was not anticipating going out into the very strong cold wind at 11.00 pm but was otherwise happy about the prospect of this lovely service.

Just a quarter of an hour ago one of my lovely neighbours came and rang my doorbell.

"Are you singing in Midnight Mass" she asked, "if so we will give you a lift"

A small thing some might say, but for me, a massive difference in the way I view this evening's trip to church.

The greatest benefit to come from all my new experiences since I lost John has been the astonishing kindness and thoughtfulness of all my new friends, in church and most particularly, in the 'Close'.

In 2008 my mother died on Christmas Eve and a few months later I lost John, yet Christmas Eve, however tinged with sadness as it is, has brought a whole new meaning to my ;life.

Deo Gracias.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

To Kill Or Not To Kill?

Today David Cameron is taking a step forward in his determination to strike at the heart of the organisation calling itself "Islamic State".

He has made clear his intention to bomb them out of existence.

He has some support and quite a lot of opposition to this course of action.

Those who support him believe that this will end the threat to the rest of the world posed by this extremist fundamentalist group whose doctrine of hate has been clearly demonstrated by the events in Paris a couple of weeks ago.

I have no expertise in military matters but, like most people I do have opinions, and a political and ethical view of such strategies.

Many people are torn between seeking a violent revengeful solution and wanting some other way of ending this frankly terrifying threat.

My own view is absolutely unequivocal, I do not believe in killing.  Nor am I naive enough to believe that a peaceful solution could ever be found.

What I don't understand is why, if 'they' the Governments of all the countries prepared to bomb the
terrorists, know where to  find them, are satisfied that their target is accurate, and think that bombing will put an end to the threat, they cannot find a means of isolating the terrorists.  That done, the brilliant technology available should be able to remove all means of communication from them.
Once separated from all outside contact they would then in effect, be under siege, and, as in times gone by could then be 'starved' of all their support.

Game set and match!

Well it is at least a different way of tackling what threatens to be one of the greatest evils of this century.

Evil feeds on contact and support.  Take that away and it will eventually wither and die.

Naive?  Probably.
Simplistic?  Certainly.

Possible?   Maybe.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Autumn ?

The picture on the left is my yellow Buddleia about two years ago.

Today, the last day of October it is still in full bloom and to  cap it all, there were two Red Admiral butterflies on it.

I have many roses still in bloom, including Veilchenblau which blooms in May and generally has no 2nd bloom.

My weeds are flourishing as is the moss between the stones, and today was actually warm for a few hours.

After a Summer, unremarkable in every negative way, this has been, and still is, an amazing Autumn.

Since I am short of energy at present I have given in and am in the process of acquiring a regular gardener (I hope), so that some of the beauty of past years can be restored.

In the meantime, flowers please keep on blooming, and butterflies keep visiting.

Global warming or not these days are a bonus.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Missing my Mum and Dad

This picture was taken by John about 1975 and shows rather well my relationship with my parents.  Close, but not touchy feely.

For the past few months I have been feeling a bit tired and run down and a little low in spirits.

Additionally I have developed a tremor in my right hand/arm.

A few months ago I took myself to see the GP who asked a few questions, tried a few tests and found that I had an accelerated heartbeat plus high blood-pressure.  He gave me some tablets and slowly the blood-pressure returned to an acceptable level so the original problem was the only thing which needed to be addressed.

To cut a long story short some kind friends from church took me and brought me back from the hospital some 17 miles away, since I do not drive and the only bus runs every two hours.

That was this morning.

I saw one doctor who examined me closely and talked me through most of my life's health history.  He said he was uncertain and would I mind being seen by another doctor.

Another set of trials and questions and he too said "I think we need Mr............ who arrived a minute or two later.

"Yes" he said, "I can see why you are difficult to diagnose but, you have two problems:
1  You have an Essential tremor, and
2  You have Parkinson's disease"

He explained at some length what the first one meant - not much to worry about.  The second one is
of course the last thing I wanted to hear, although he told me it is very early on and the tablets he prescribed would ease the tremor and lift my spirits.

Seeing that he had winded me he said "Don't worry, you could be no worse than this in ten years time"

If I sound less than cheerful please forgive me, but this has knocked me off my perch and at present I don't quite know how to adjust my emotional barometer.

My GP seemed so sure it was not Parkinson's that  i had mentally dismissed it.

Please don't see this as a plea for sympathy, it really isn't.  It's just that my habit of blogging my angst as well as my joys has never seemed more necessary.

Missing my Mum.