Thursday, September 30, 2010

Back To Normal

i seem to have fallen back onto the ailment roundabout, fortunately it has not yet transmogrified into a full rollercoaster ride at this point. Persistent irritations, of the over production of acid and mucus variety, still make their presence felt alongside the, probably related, ache and bruise sensations (with the occasional sharp nudge) around the chest and lower ribcage area.

Now the leaden ache of the lower limbs has reaffirmed its presence, as has a gnawing ache in wrist and armpits which seems to have re-appeared on a whim and then hangs around for indeterminate / unpredictable periods of time. Even as I sit and type this I'm finding it necessary to take breaks wherein I place both forearms behind my back and push my shoulders firmly back on the comfortably supporting high back chair.

Having had a little stroll down to Open Church, this morning, my legs began to ache as if I'd been on a marathon trek; to be honest they weren't really painful, just more of a gnawing discomfort. The thought occurred that maybe they needed a further stretch so, with the aid of my trusty walking stick, I set off on a brisk walk around the block. Please note that I "set off on a brisk walk", I can't make any claims to having sustained any degree of briskness beyond the 100 metre mark. I thought at least it would prove good for the morale and, it hasn't made the gnawing ache any worse or better.

By late afternoon, an additional dose of lansoprazole (to cut down on acid production) and a couple more tramadol capsules served to alleviate the more extreme edge of discomfort. That extra bit of relief allowed me to get on with preparing a meal in time for my beloved's return from work, and even enabled me to enjoy accompanying ma belle for a grocery shop at Waitrose post dining!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Special Friend

I've started this post several times but, whatever I started to express seemed somehow irrelevant. It's not that any of my postings has much intrinsic merit, only that which a particular reader may put upon it alongside its utilitarian value, to the writer, as a discipline which places some kind of order or value on the (recorded) aspects of their everyday experiences.

No matter what I set out to express or recount this time, one primary event seemed to overshadow it. After a few rollercoaster years of brain tumour induced ill health Kate, Cathy's lifetime friend , finally lost her battle shortly after her 30th birthday, and nine months after the birth of her wonderful son Joseph. There are times that I consider myself "good with words" but then at others, on occasions like this, the appropriate words just won't fall into place. Come to that I can't even wrestle them into place!

I can't see how anyone who ever met Kate could fail to be touched by the warmth of her smile, a heartwarming smile which she could still display, even whilst undergoing some of the most distressing and disorienting effects of her illness. At times she seemed to defy the expectations of the doctors who treated her; a sturdy determination underlay a vulnerable frame as she once more fulfilled the desire to be back home with her husband and son, rather than laying in a hospital bed.

Cathy feels as if she has lost a part of herself; this is a loss for which there can never be a replacement, a very special friendship - that of kindred spirits - since pre-schooldays. My thoughts and prayers go out to all her family. The world is a poorer place for her passing but, the community of saints has been greatly enriched.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Which why what how is it - who knows + Autumn Garden

There are always more questions than answers, especially so it seems when it comes to health matters. It even seems to be the case that doctors increasingly ask the patient what they think is wrong and what action should be taken. Maybe it's a problem of just getting to see a locum but, the issue seems to go further than that. Whilst I'm looking for answers, or even probable explanations, the GP seems to expect me to recommend a course of action based on my complete lack of knowledge. Yesterday I had an appointment with a GP, following on from a continuing (almost continuous) bouts of extreme gastric discomfort and also the attempted treatment of a sore-looking patch of skin on my right lower limb.

Anyway, the stomach biopsy results had finally been received and disappointingly, but not altogether unexpectedly, proved negative; why I should have the recurring, intermittently painful and regularly discomforting gastro-oesophogeal reflux problems without any apparent cause is something of a mystery. Following the morning's consultation I'm once again temporarily doubling up my lansoprazole intake, to 2x30mg capsules per day. On enquiring whether I should take both capsules pre-breakfast, or take one later in the day, the locum suggested that although it's a once daily medication, if taking them at different times proves effective then follow that course of action; I like that -  once daily medication to be taken twice a day!

Next, to the "topical" treatment of the sore on my leg. As the recommended ten days treatment (in fact extended to twelve days), with betanovate, has produced no dramatic result I wondered whether to extend the twice daily application period. Once more, the locum asked me whether I would prefer to do that or should he write a referral letter to dermatology, it being probably unusual that the steroid cream had not cleared it up. Not being a medical expert - I don't know what's the best course of action but, I would prefer  to steer clear of dermatology for a little while after my rather dramatic recent visit (unless a further carcinoma appears on my torso), so I opted to try a little further betanovate treatment. If the "sore" doesn't clear up, as it should if it were discoid eczema, there's a possibility it may be bowen's disease. I opted to continue with the "topical" treatment for a further week but, can't help having a sneaky feeling that I may need a referral after all; I suppose that the recent basal cell carcinoma episode makes me feel (rationally or not) that it could be a squamous cell carcinoma.

All in all though, after my requisite eleven to twelve hours bed-rest/lessness, I manage to enjoy my days and, with the aid of my trusty walking stick, manage to get up a fair head of steam as I take a stroll down to Open Church or even just around the block.

Although the weather is somewhat temperamental, at the moment, I'm still finding plenty of suitable occasions to spend time in the garden, if only to be busily doing nothing in the course of these minutes and hours. There's an abundance of apples on each of our trees, three different varieties, many of the branches appearing overladen even after the autumn's swirling breezes have delivered a fair quantity of 'windfalls'. The heathers are also putting on a wonderful display.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Refreshment and Renewal

After those all too recent weeks when I was so far out of it, in that realm of drifting hollow giddiness and fluctuating levels of nausea, each days activities have taken on a sense of refreshing excitement. Of course recent days have been even more special, as my beloved hasn't been at work; we have been able to enjoy so many more hours of quite simply basking in each others company. It's as if that "being in love" sensation is constantly being replenished; not only does my love for Helen grow (impossible as it may seem) ever deeper but so does my whole enthusiasm for life, exhaustion permitting.

The rapidity with which days, weeks, months, and even years, pass by is sort of frightening. There's always so much to do and appreciate that time itself becomes a luxury, something to be caressed and indulged to the full. We've especially enjoyed Cathy enabled visits of her godson Joseph, an energetic and super inquisitive nine month old chortling bundle of joy! His eagerness to observe, and respond, to all that goes on around him proves quite infectious; it's almost as if it reinforces ones own need to ensure that we're not missing out on anything of potential value, a craving for fresh experience.

Although we've not made any effort to "get away", during ma belle's holiday, we have rung the occasional change to routine via visits to local restaurants, cafes and garden centres, as well as taking advantage of some fine weather to do a bit more planting, tidying and reorganizing of the garden. To me, part of the beauty of this work in the garden is preserving a "natural" rather than more cosmetically structured  appearance.

Friday lunchtime, on a whim, we ventured down to Brio's a reasonably local bar and eatery, even within my meagre walking range, where I settled for one of my favourite italian dishes, linguine marinara, whilst my beloved selected and enjoyed the pescatrice con speck (monkfish parcelled in speck ham).

On Saturday, late afternoon, I prepared a meal which served us for both Sunday and Tuesday lunch. It essentially utilized a 'Madras' curry paste, in addition to my own unique spice mixture, which infused the beef meatballs, sliced new potatoes, mushrooms, yellow and green peppers and tinned tomatoes; on each occasion I served it with saffron rice and a side dish of broccoli. Last evening we were invited for an evening meal at Janet (the only one of Helen's siblings who lives locally) & Graham's home where the wonderfully succulent slices of roast, lamb, served with roast potatoes and some home grown veg proved a real treat.

Today, we attended a coffee morning at Burnbridge, where the proceeds were for the MRDF (Methodist Relief & Development Fund); a guest speaker, and his wife, provided a concise and informative account of some of the projects in which they've been involved in Nepal.

An evening out, swiftly followed by a morning event, has proved somewhat demanding on my familiarly diminished stamina reserves but, I wouldn't have wanted to miss either event. A brief unsolicited afternoon nap imposed itself upon me but, I can still find time to rejoice in this day the Lord has made.