Friday, 20 April 2018


Thanks for your comments - Kate, you may be right, perhaps the Diazepam is to lull me into not caring!  It's helping me sleep at any rate, and the muscles do seem to be less spasmy.  

A friend suggested I get a TENS machine, he too has a bad back and has a super-duper all singing/dancing one, which he says works a treat.  I don't know why it didn't occur to me before actually, as I've had treatment for my back with a TENS machine on numerous occasions over the years, during physio and chiropractic sessions.  The one my friend has is out of my price range, so I googled and found that a local chemists do one for only £20.99, with spare pads available for just under a fiver per pack of 4.  Much more affordable!  When we got to the shop, I discovered that they had it on offer at 15% off, even better.  And it works just fine, small and portable and very easy to understand and operate.

We've had a lovely couple of days working in the front garden, digging up the old beds, forking in new compost, putting lots of new shrubs and perennials in, laying down a mulch of woodchip.  We've erected a temporary chicken wire fence in front of the beds, to allow the plants time to get established and grow a bit before Betty starts trampling on them!  Husband has also put up a new fence between us and the neighbours - partly to get rid of a very old but still extremely vigorous passionflower which goes wild all the time, meaning we're constantly having to cut it back.  As we get older, we want an easier to maintain garden!  The other reason for the fence is to stop our and their dogs (they have 3) barking at each other.  We still have another small bed to dig out and replant, and that will be it for the time being.  We plan to dig up a small grass patch that is more weed than grass and concrete it over, and another paved area which is all cracked and uneven will also be concreted.  But they're projects for a few weeks ahead, when we've saved up a bit more.  It'll all get done in time, there's no rush.

After yesterday's efforts my right shoulder was particularly painful, more so than my lower back, so I used the TENS machine for 20 minutes and it helped a lot, I was pleasantly surprised.  Looks like it's money well spent.

Isn't it just lovely to have prolonged sunshine at last?  Even if I have already got a bit of sunburn, heat rash and a few insect bites!  Oh, not forgetting the hayfever.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

One step forward, two steps back

Well, perhaps one step back, not two.  Speaking of backs, I had a telephone consultation with my GP yesterday about mine.  She's prescribed diazepam (Valium)...I'm not very happy about it, but she assures me it's a very low dose and taken as a short course (a week's worth) it's not likely to become addictive.  Apparently it's a very good muscle relaxant - I hope so, the muscle spasms I've been having are so exhausting.  She's said to take 1 tab up to 3 times a day - I doubt I'll be doing that, don't want to be drowsy throughout the day.  

Husband's bruises are beginning to fade (he discovered he's also got a large one on the top of his thigh, inexplicably) and he's not had any more chest pains since last week.  The good news is he's now able to drive again, and do some gardening.  We are supposed to be having good weather this week - it's been sunny both yesterday and today, but with a cold wind that's been practically gale force at times, so much so that it takes your breath away.  We did try to do some heavy pruning in the front garden, but the wind was whipping the overgrown shrubs about, making it difficult.  And the bits we did manage to prune just got blown out of the wheelbarrow and Betty was having a lovely time chasing them all around the garden (at least she was getting some exercise!).

The back field has dried up a lot the past few days, but....the farmer this morning has been poo-spraying it again, meaning it's back to keeping the windows closed to keep out the smell...and of course we can't take Betty on the field.  Not that she'd mind, she'd be rolling in it - she adores rolling in anything decaying or smelly.  What is it with dogs?!

The healthy eating has had a bit of an interlude, shall we say - I haven't felt up to standing at the kitchen counter chopping loads of veggies, so it's been a case of throwing chips and burgers or breaded fish in the oven for a couple of days.  We've been shopping this morning and I've written a new healthy menu plan for the next week or so, so it's back on tomorrow.  Times like these make me realise I must have a couple of days doing a lot of healthy batch cooking to put in the freezer, for just this sort of eventuality.  No excuse then for falling back on unhealthy comfort foods.

Thank you so much for your kind comments, they do mean a lot.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Hurry up next week

Thank you for the comments, especially to Gemma's Person, who also left a comment for Kate Steeper - did you see it, Kate?  Stress could well be playing a part in my backache, although I've had back trouble for around 40 years following a slipped disc.  But it has been a stressful couple of weeks and I know stress does affect our physical health in a number of ways.  

OH, Betty and I are beginning to feel quite stir crazy, this week of enforced relaxation, no driving for OH (and I don't drive anyway so we can't go very far), short walks and no strenuous work (not allowed for OH and I can't because of my back) is starting to aggravate us all.  OH feels absolutely fine now and is raring to get going, although he accepts that he should abide by what the hospital said about no driving for 7 days and taking things easy the first week.  Betty is so full of pent up energy, seeing as she's having far shorter walks and we haven't been able to take her to the nature reserve or the beach for a good run.  She's been quite mischievous this week, which is a result of her not being able to burn off all her energy.  Monday can't come soon enough.  

It's not rained for almost 2 days now, miracle!  The field behind us has a lot less standing water, although it's still ankle deep in mud, and the lanes around us are now roads again, rather than rivers.  The forecast for next week is that we'll have a sustained period of dry, sunny and warm weather....about blooming time!!  We are so desperate to get on with the garden, so much needs doing and we're so behind due to the wet weather and this week of not doing much.  Hopefully, the forecast will be right and we'll be able to catch up next week.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Better today

Sorry to be such a killjoy yesterday, and thank you all for your kind comments.

Things are much better today....firstly, it's NOT RAINING!  There's less standing water in the back field....hopefully, if it stays dry all day (the sun has just come out, hurrah!) we may be able to take Betty in the field and let her off the lead for a good old run around late afternoon - she certainly needs it.

OH has accepted the fact that he's still probably going to have chest pains until his 3rd stent is done....he's not happy about it but resigned to it.  After me saying yesterday that he had no bruising - erm, well, today we've noticed that he's now getting quite extensive bruising, it was obviously just slow to come out.  He says he feels a lot better today, not so sore or tired, although his right arm is still sore.  He's champing at the bit to get on with things, we thought he could probably do a bit of transplanting of veg plug plants in the polytunnel to begin with, and maybe a bit of tidying up in there (he's so untidy!).

My back is slightly better - I can now at least stand up straight(ish) and am in a bit less pain with fewer muscle spasms.  Don't like having to be dosed up on anti-inflammatories all the time, but needs must.

Having sunshine makes such a difference.  I know 'they' keep saying we're going to have a heatwave next week, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

He's had it done but.....

The angio/stent procedure went off was done through OH's wrist, he had 2 stents fitted and was back on the ward in less than an hour.  Had to spend another 4 hours in the bed, being checked every 15 mins or so.  They'd put a kind of pressure cuff thing on his wrist, it was pumped full of air which they were releasing, gradually.  However, after about an hour his hand had swollen quite alarmingly....the head nurse (who we saw at OH's first cardio appointment and was the one who diagnosed his angina) came and took the pressure cuff off, she said it had been fitted too tightly.  She put a large dressing on instead and instructed him to keep his hand raised and came and checked him every few minutes.  That seemed to do the trick and the swelling went down quite quickly.  

OH was told that a 3rd artery is significantly furred up and will need to be cleaned out (they called it 'drilling'! - although I don't know if that's the exact procedure) before another stent is fitted, he will have to go back in about 6 weeks or so to have this done.  Why they didn't do this worst one first I'm not sure - perhaps because it takes longer and they had a lot of other patients in on Monday, all waiting to have stents fitted.  He's also got to go back before this procedure to have an echocardiogram.

His wrist seems to be fine - no bruising!  However, he says it aches quite a bit, as does his other arm where a cannula was fitted and he had several needle stabs for bloods to be taken (the nurse couldn't get blood the first couple of times so had to try other places).

However, yesterday he had chest pains again and had to use his spray, which made him feel quite down.  We had been warned that he may still get pains until the 3rd artery is dealt with, but I think he'd kind of blocked that out and thought he'd be fine!  He says it feels like the problem is neverending and that his life's on hold until he can get the other artery done.

Meanwhile, my backache (which I've had on and off since I had a slipped disc at the age of 18) has chosen this week to have a full-on painful hissy fit - really painful, muscle spasms in my stomach, sciatica down my left leg, can't stand upright as I'm sort of twisted and bent to one side, unable to get up out of a chair unless I can pull on something.  Dosed up to the eyeballs on anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants so I feel woozy all the time.

And it's hardly stopped raining for days - the lanes are flooded, mini waterfalls streaming out of the fields through the hedges, the fields (including the one behind us where we normally walk Betty) are total swamps.  God we are so fed up of it all.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Decision made....I'm not getting old yet!

Went to Wilkos to stock up on toiletries yesterday, they had the brand of hair dye I always use on offer at 2/3 off the price! (well, only 2 or 3 of the colours...including mine...not sure why, perhaps they're discontinuing them?).  So that decided me and I bought 4 boxes, enough to last me a year.  So it seems I'm not yet ready to go grey :-)

We did a big food shop yesterday too, as the hospital said OH isn't allowed to drive for a week following his angio/stents tomorrow.  That's assuming it's still going ahead....he has to phone early tomorrow to make sure they've got a bed for him.  I do hope they have, we both want this sorted, we feel a bit in limbo at the mo.  

Still following our healthy eating and enjoying it.  We did relax it a bit yesterday - OH saw a hot cross bun loaf in the shop and said he fancied it, so we got it - who am I to deny a man a treat on the eve of his op?!  So we had a couple of slices each toasted and buttered.  Well, Bertollied actually lol.  We'd changed to Bertolli from our previous real butter about a month ago, because it's a lot less saturated fat than butter.  Also, whilst it's ok, it doesn't taste nearly as nice as butter, so we're not tempted to slather it on!  Win win.  

We've changed to low fat everything - Greek yogurt, milk (well, semi-skimmed as opposed to full fat), cheese (not as nice as full fat mature Cheddar, and melts a bit oddly when cooked), cottage cheese, mayo, Elmlea single instead of full fat double cream.  Some things are ok, others not so, but we're more or less used to it all now.

The other big change we've made is simply not to buy things like crisps or salted peanuts, which we both love - if they're not in the house then we can't be tempted to eat them.  I expect we'll have them as a very occasional treat in future.

Thank you for the comments yesterday, as always.  I'm sorry I don't reply to each one individually - sheer laziness!

Oh, I'm very pleased to say that my final dental treatment on Friday went very well, no problems at all, and I now don't have to go again for another 3 months, just for a check up.  I even gave my dentist Emma and nurse Emily a hug, as their kindness and care has cured my dental phobia.  Husband has even said he wants to swap over to my dentist - he doesn't have any problem with dental treatment, but doesn't really like the quick, impersonal, conveyor-belt approach of his current large practice.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Oh happy day!

Weighed myself this morning and am happy to say I've lost the pounds I'd put on whilst we were away.  We're loving our new healthy eating and it's clearly doing us good - not only are we losing weight, but I am feeling better already, my joints don't ache as much and my gut problems have settled.

Yesterday's food:-

B - Overnight oats with stewed apple and flaked almonds, soya milk.  OH had porridge.

L - 2 eggs fried in spray oil on 1 slice wholemeal toast for me, 2 for OH, followed by a nectarine for me, banana for him (which he shares with Betty - she loves banana and pear).

D - Liver and bacon in onion gravy, swede & carrot mash, Brussels sprouts.

One of the biggest changes is that we're not snacking between meals...OH in particular is normally a grazer, he often had a handful of dried fruit and nuts in between meals, he doesn't now.  And I don't have a sneaky piece of cheese every time I open the fridge!

Thank you for all the comments regarding dyeing hair or going grey gracefully.  I'm still undecided.  The pale grey that's showing through at the moment fortunately just seems to look like highlights in amongst the dyed light blonde.  Looking at my older maternal grandmother and grandfather both had pure white hair, paternal grandmother had pepper & salt, as far as I remember, don't know about paternal grandfather as he always had a hat on!  Father had fair hair, what it looks like now I've no idea, haven't seen him for years (he left when I was 13).  Mum's hair, naturally light brown, has just sort of faded over the years rather than actually going grey, it's just very very light now.  Her 2 sisters both have silver hair, her brother's is white.  So mine could be pure white, or pepper & salt, or silver!

Another reason I'm happy is that I have what should be my final dental treatment this afternoon, and I'm not dreading it at all.  My lovely dentist Emma and her equally lovely nurse Emily have been so kind and have completely calmed my fears, I owe them a big thank you.