Thursday, 19 April 2012

Bluebell and Pepper.

If you have been reading this blog all the way through, then you will know that we got Ady some chickens after he had his colon cancer.
He has always wanted chicken at home . He always had chickens at his parents before, many moons ago.
We went off and bought Ingo, Snowy, Bluebell and Pepper.
Ingo decided that she was going to be a right bossy old boot and also be very broody, so we sent her off to our friends to be as broody as she liked, and they wanted some chicks, so that was good.
Snowy was quite a poorly chicken and so she died last year, bless her and that left us with Bluebell and Pepper.
Cyril, our black cat, would spend all day sitting in the garden with them, just watching and keeping guard. He would never let any other cat who came to visit, anywhere near them! They were his girls.

Ady would spend loads of time fiddling about with them and pinching food out of my cupboards for them cos they had eaten my entire garden up. They always knew when Ady was about and would follow him to the bottom of the garden when he went to turn the fish bubbles on, hoping for a few meal worms and fish flakes.
Ady would spend a lot of time, just sitting outside with them and enjoying them.

Bluebell and Pepper were very much part of the family. We even made an area on my allotment so they could come for a day trip in the cat basket when I was going down there.
Even the neighbours enjoyed hearing them chatter away while they were sitting in their gardens.

Last Monday, Ady went out with his friend for the day and said that he would be back late which meant I was on fish and chicken duty.
That evening, they went off to bed, so I nipped out and turned off the fish and fed them, checked the chickens were tucked up in bed, said “Goodnight girls” and thought no more of it.

Steph was first up the next morning. Whoever is first up, always lets the chickens out and gives them their corn. They then stay in their run until Ady gets up later to let them into the garden.
They have been such brilliant therapy for him.
Steph came running upstairs all panicked saying “Mum, mum, the chickens have, dad!!”
Well, my immediate thought was that I hadn’t shut them in properly and they had wandered off so I thought “Bugger, shit and bollocks, now I’m in really big trouble”

Our poor poor girls, Mr Fox had been to visit in the night and eaten them. All he left was feathers and blood. Poor girls. Poor Ady. He is absolutely gutted....really gutted.

The girls had a house with the nesting box jutting out. It had removable floors so you could clean it properly and that bloody fox had pushed the floor up where they were sleeping, they must have fallen out, and he killed them..bastard.

At the moment, Ady is feeling very low. Those girls meant the world to him and now every time he goes into the garden, his two girls are not there anymore, following him around singing their little songs.

I have told Ady that if he continues to feel so low, then I am taking him to the doctors. Ady told his friends up the garage what I had said, and they replied “Why, has he got some chickens then?”
Anyway, his friends at the garage happen to know of a woman who has some Bantams or Silkies, I forget which, which are in an incubator at the moment and he can have some when they are ready, so that has cheered Ady up a bit.
I went to pick Steph up from a friend’s house that evening and we were talking about it and how the fox had got in.
She suggested that we put some catches on the inside that you have to slide around to take the flooring off, from the inside. “What a good idea” I said, and went home to tell Ady.

Well, I got home to find Ady in the garden with lots of bits of wood, hammer, nails and a tube of no nails.
The chicken house looked more like a scene for Tom and Jerry!
He had stuck the flooring with no nails and hammered it all down with nails too, and put bits of wood around to stop the fox from getting anywhere near. “That’ll stop the little bastard” he said.
The remaining feathers and blood have been cleaned away and the run has been cleaned out , ready for some more chickens.
Ady is absolutely lost without them and says randomly throughout the day “ I’m bloody gutted I am...just gutted”

Rest In Peace Bluebell and Pepper, and I hope your death wasn’t too awful, you poor girls. Find Julia, she will look after you both.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Interviews and Tablets.

I was driving along in my car the other week, taking my little primary school netball team to their tournament as it happens, when my mobile rang. I pulled over and the conversation went something like this...
“Hello, this is Brenda from the department of work and pensions. Am I speaking to Mrs *****?”
Me: “Yes, how can I help?”
Brenda: “We need you to come for a work focused interview to see how we can help you get into paid employment as you are on income based ESA. Are you still a registered childminder?”
Me: “No, I have never looked after children, apart from my own cos I am their mother. I have never been a childminder”
Brenda: “Oh, it is written here that you are a childminder”
Me:”No, I do care in the community and I am a lunchtime supervisor at a primary school”
Brenda”Oh, I dont know how this has happened...when would be convenient for you to come for an interview so we can get you into work?”
Me: “Well, perhaps you can send me an appointment for your work focused interview and I will see if I can take the time off work to attend”
Brenda “ Oh, are you working then?”
Me: “Yes, and I send you my set of accounts every six months to show my income and expenditure. Could we have this conversation another time as I am a bit busy at the moment?”
Brenda “Dont worry, I will send you an appointment”

I drove off thinking to myself “Did that phone call actually happen or have I finally gone completely mad?”
Well, I hadn’t gone mad cos an appointment came through the post for May. What a waste of bleeding time!!, but I will attend, with my sets of accounts to show them that I do actually work, even if it is for peanuts.
The work I do, fits around my day  and gives me time to look after the girls and Ady. If they think I can fit anymore work in, then they can whistle!

I told Ady about the call. I should have kept quiet because he went into an immediate panic about him having to go back to work and the pressure this whole thing is putting us under. I told him not to worry cos I am dealing with it and if I get any shit, then I am phoning Iain Duncan Smiths place. God, bloody people, why cant they get their flipping act together and leave us alone!

Poor Ady has been knocked for six a bit lately, with the death of Julia and the phone call from the DWP.
When he finds things tough going, he sleeps a lot more than usual. Bless him, he is knackered enough with his hormone therapy and up all night weeing, without stress making him sleep too!

The other Saturday, he sat down with Steph to watch You’ve Been Framed. By the time Steph had got the telly on and the correct channel, Ady had fallen asleep. He woke up a bit later and said “That’s not You’ve Been Framed”
“No dad” Steph said, “It’s the adverts”
She found that hysterical and Ady went back to sleep.

Ady’s poo and wee issues seem to be calming down a lot now,and he had a phonecall from the radiographers to see how he was doing. They are very pleased with him.
We snuck in a PSA test the other week while he was having other bloods done and that is still at zero. Its nice to know we are on the right track. Christ, if his PSA is rising at this early stage while he is on hormones, then we are rather buggered so it’s nice to know that we are not.
We are seeing the oncologist in May to check everything is OK and she wants a PSA test too. Then, I assume after that, we do the odd PSA test here and there and if it starts rising, then we go back to the oncologist for more treatment. We will see, but I assume that will be the plan...?

Ady asked me to cut his hair for him the other day, so I got the clippers out and thought to myself, “If I do it on a number one blade thingy, then I will have to cut his hair more often” So I was very naughty and didn’t say anything, but clipped the lot off with no guard. It looked MUCH better, but of course, Ady was not too happy, naturally, but he is very chuffed that his hormone tablets have started making the hair on top of his head grow again!
So, he has got a bald square by his winkie, where they blasted him with radiotherapy and his bald head has hair growing!

At the beginning of April, we had to go and see the rheumatologist to talk about going back on the Methotrexate for his arthritis. A couple of days before, our rheumy nurse Lisa rang (she is lovely) to say that his bloods had flagged up to say his white cells were on the cusp of being too low.
We agreed that it was probably the radiotherapy that had caused it and what a good job we were seeing Mr Rheumy guy in a few days.
Mr Rheumy guy took some more bloods to make sure the white cells weren’t going any lower and if they weren’t, then Ady is to start back on the Methotrexate and 10mg for the first two weeks, remembering his folic acid two days before and two days after, and then move up to 22.5mg.
He is also to have blood tests every two weeks for six weeks and then monthly after that.
Phew, I am glad I have written this down, so if I confuse myself, then I will check what I have said on here!
I asked about the Methotrexate mixing with the Casodex and Tamoxifen and he wasn’t sure of the answer and told me to check with a pharmacist. I did that and have been told that although both are pretty toxic on the liver, it should be OK with plenty of blood tests.
His white cells haven’t gone down any further, so he has taken his first tablet today. I will be the wife from hell and ring to check the results every two weeks, just to make sure nothing is missed.
You’ve got to be proactive with these things ya know!!


Ady has a cousin who is a stubborn miserable old fecker. He pretty much falls out with anyone when the mood takes.
He is one of those types that will never contact, or keep in touch with anyone, with the excuse being “Well, they never ring me, so why should I ring them”.
Ady is a good boy, and makes the effort to keep in touch with him and rings regularly. I even speak to him on the phone sometimes and we actually get on well!
He has a daughter called Julia who is about my age with a husband and four year old son. He is really cute, the son that is...
Anyway, they used to travel down from the Cotswolds to spend the day with us. We would tell Ady’s other brothers and they would pop in and say hello sometimes.
As long as you got the hang of Tony, he was good fun.
Julia would spend a lot of her time keeping control of all the boys and we got on very well.

Last year, Julia was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was operated on and had chemo. All seemed well and they got on with their lives.
A few months ago, they came to see us and we had a great day. Julia, however, was complaining about pains in her stomach. We both chatted and agreed that she needed to go back to the consultant to make sure all was OK.
She did that and the consultant said that it could be pain from the op as he couldn’t feel anything else.
The pain continued and so she kept going back to the medics about it.
They eventually found that the cancer had returned, but by this time, she was quite ill. They admitted her to hospital for more tests and to get her strong enough for some more chemo.

They then decided that she would never be strong enough and that actually, there was nothing more they could do for her. Julia didn’t want to know how long she had left and they transferred her to a Sue Ryder home.

All the while this was going on, we were on the phone to Tony getting updates. He was totally devastated. His only child.
We agreed that we would come up to visit around Easter and bring the girls too cos they wanted to come.

Ady was very quiet for a few days and really wasn’t sure if he wanted to visit.
He wanted to visit, to support Tony and Julia, but he wasn’t sure that he wanted to visit a cancer patient in their final days/weeks. He was just not able to cope with that mentally while he is trying to fight his own battles. And of course, he felt very guilty that he was thinking of himself and not of Julia.
Before Ady told me how he was feeling, Tony and I had spoken and wondered if him coming would be a good idea anyway. We both agreed that if we were in Ady’s position, we wouldn’t want to make that trip at all. We also knew that Julia would completely understand.

We all ended up agreeing that I would visit on the Monday before Easter and Ady would stay at home with the girls.
I got my twat nav ready and even bought some new blu tac to stick it to the windscreen, cos I have lost the holder thingy. I got the postcode of the hospice and checked on google maps to familiarise myself with where I was going cos I am very good at getting lost!
Monday came, and I thought I would take myself a packed lunch and a flask cos it was a three hour trip there. I was going to find myself somewhere pretty to have my lunch.
In a way, I was quite looking forward to taking a day out, on my rushing anywhere, nice and peaceful and sitting with Julia for a while and comforting her and then going off somewhere quiet and pretty to eat my lunch and have a good old think and then maybe pop back in to see Julia one last time before I went home.

I rang the hospice about 9 in the morning to ask that it was OK that I came. They suggested that I rang her husband. I told them that I had been in contact with them all the way along and that I was doing a three hour journey to see her.
They said that if I was planning on visiting, then to visit today.
I asked the nurse to tell Julia that I was on my way.
Ady was going off for a blood test and so I told him that I would be gone by the time he got back and I was making my lunch and then leaving.
I had just packed my Haribo and crisps for my lunch and the phone rang. It was Tony, telling me that Julia had just passed away.
Poor woman, probably lost the will to live when the nurses told he I was coming to see her.

She leaves behind her husband, her four year old son and her father . They are all devastated at the loss of such a brilliant woman. Julia used to organise them all and keep them all towing the line.

Ady has really struggled with her death and it has shaken him quite a lot. She was 40 years old.

We are going to her funeral in the Cotswolds on Monday. It will be a very sad day for everyone and although we will celebrate her life, 40 years wasn’t that long, was it.

Rest In Peace Julia. I will miss you and our chats and laughs.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Doesn't Time Fly!

Good God, where has all the time gone??

I feel a bit bad, not having updated my blog for a few weeks, but it’s OK,it’s only momentary and I’m over it already.
From what I can remember, the rest of the radiotherapy went pretty much without a hitch, apart from delays with machines and general stuff. The staff in oncology are really lovely. They all have plenty of time for you, even if they are busy, they make time to listen and help you with a smile.
Ady and I both agreed that they put some nursing staff on general wards to shame.
Towards the end of his treatment, Ady was starting to enjoy the cumulative effects of his radiotherapy. He cant go for more than about an hour without needing a wee, and when his body says “Piss!”, then he has to go straight away...running....there is no warning system in place!
A couple of weeks ago, right at the last few days of radiotherapy, one evening, he thought,” Hmm, I think I need a, actually, it’s a, a, no, I am sure it’s just a wee” He went upstairs for a wee, pulled his trousers down and promptly shat all over the floor!
Thank the good Lord that I was out that evening, enjoying time with my friends for her birthday, so he had to clear it up himself.
Things got a bit dire that weekend and poor Ady was shitting and pissing everywhere. It really got him down actually and we thought, “Christ, is this what it is going to be like?..Have they blasted his arse away completely?” Which was the concern of the oncologist because of his previous bowel surgery.
I rang our lovely district nurse and told her of our problems. Bless her, she was straight round, doing an incontinence assessment, and fast tracked Ady for some incontinence pads.
She did say that we were the most amusing couple she had assessed cos we were just laughing about it while Ady was running to the loo every ten minutes and then coming down stairs saying “Christ Marnie, I don’t know if it’s my pisser or my shitter next, and I can’t hold onto anything. This just isn’t normal or natural” and then each time he ran to the loo, he would be saying “This isn’t natural ya know”
Marnie saved our day and some nice decent sized piss/shit pads arrived a few days later.
Things have calmed down a lot in that department now although he still gets no warning for a wee, and about a 30 second warning for a poo. He is also up between three and five times a night for a wee, so he is knackered during the day.
When he does go for a poo, he thinks he is going to do a great big wopping one, and all he does is a Barbie poop..this happens about five times a day. Needless to say, it has made him quite sore but lovely Geriant (our macmillan man) gave him some foam to squirt up there.
Ady and I agreed that he has had everything else shoved up there and a bit of foam might be a pleasant change. Poor Geriant just didn’t know how to our basic humour.
Let’s move on to the hormones. Oh...Dear....God.....there was me, being very hopeful that he would be multitasking by the end of the week, how wrong was I !!
He starts saying something and mid way, he completely loses track of what he was saying and then asks me what he was saying, so now, horror of horrors, I actually have to listen to him every time he speaks. I can’t get away with saying “Oh yes” and “Uh huh” to make it sound like I am listening *sigh*
He has become a bit hormonal too and has to check with me to see if I think he is being a bit oversensitive at times.
The girls think it’s great cos when he says “No” to something they want, they just say “But you said we could earlier” and he says “Did I”?...little buggers lol.

Ady summed himself up perfectly when he was speaking to my brother in law when he asked how the hormones were going and his reply was “Well Andy, I’m just like a woman, I can’t do fuck all all day cos I’m knackered”
I did suggest to Ady that I should take on the male role and demand rampant sex all night and then sulk cos he is too tired, has a headache and his hormones have taken his libido away.
Strangely, that didn’t go down to well, but I found it very amusing indeed.

When the end of radiotherapy came, we got all the staff some boxes of biscuits to thank them for everything they do. Ady said he felt very odd, not going back there again, and felt a bit , oh what’s the word....erm...vulnerable I spose,in a way, cos suddenly, he wasn’t seeing anyone medical who would ask how he was. Even the receptionists would ask how we both were every day, but we have been told to ring if we are worried, and they are phoning on Wednesday to chat to Ady.
He doesn’t feel like that now cos he is used to not going there now but towards the end, I had to stop some of my work cos it was just too flipping stressful worrying about whether I was going to get back in time or if I was going to be late and let everyone down, so I just didn’t go in at all. That was SO much better!
Of course, cutting down on my hours have us some time together in the afternoons on the allotment. Ady would come home and have a sleep while I did some housework and cooked dinner, and then we would go and potter.
This was much better cos he was rarely left on his own to get too deep in thought and it gave us some nice time together.
We needed to build a fruit cage and as Ady is very friendly with the guys at the fencing place, and they know his situation, they gave us a load of great big long steak things that were not really good enough to sell, but good enough for what we wanted, and they delivered them all for free!
When Ady was working, he used to do quite a bit of fencing, and he has one of those bloody heavy post rammer inners. I thought to myself “Bloody marvellous, he will ram those in within five minutes with that”
Well, we only had one of those white plastic garden chairs to stand on so I said “Dont worry, I will hold it steady while you stand on it and thump the posts in”
He got half way through with the first one before his started looking a bit white and then said “Here you are, you have a go”
Bloody hell, I could hardly lift the thumper!
It took me a good part of the afternoon, balancing on the chair ramming all six posts in. I was blooming knackered and the cheeky bugger tells everyone that HE made me a fruit cage!! I don’t jolly well think so! It must be his hormones making him think funny.

Right, that’s it for the moment cos otherwise this little bloggette will be too long and get boring, if you are not bored already.
In my next one, I will tell you all about Julia and the DWP.