Easter Weekend Weather

 Happy Easter


Happy Easter

It’s been a wonderfully cool Easter weekend. After days of warm sunshine, April remembered not to steal summer’s thunder entirely, though there may be rumbles tomorrow afternoon, and doused the temperatures for Good Friday and yesterday. Both days started fine with blue skies and sunshine, but a chill wind was on bass, and clouds made occasional percussion like appearances. On Friday a friend and I poked about the City, and yesterday I ventured North for a splendid day with people I have known for thirty years. Today has been equally good. Heavy showers and light rain. A great day to curl up with a book, submit to a sleeping cat across my knees and later sift through papers, do the dusting.
It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed the foretaste of long days, open windows and the promise of open toed sandals; the near future banishing of socks to the back of the hot press; light lingering in the skies until ten in the evening. I have loved it. Quinoa salad is firmly back on the menu. The garden dances with colour. But a long wam weekend means people nearby staying up late, probably drinking too much, shouting, singing along to favourite songs, talking animatedly into the night in their gardens and on their balconies. And unless you are one of those who falls asleep easily no matter what noises echo off the sun warmed walls (and I am not), that means enforced late nights and tired mornings. Continue reading

Anniversary Days

It’s a year since I wrote this post.
I am so glad I was blogging a lot then. Now it is the anniversary of Mother’s last weeks and by reading back, I can follow the trajectory of those days; my visit in mid April and then the call to say she was dying; the five days leading up to her death. Afterwards.
Octavia and I were talking yesterday about the power of first anniversaries. Why does it feel so important that this month, day by day, I follow, relive, what happened then? The waiting for the inevitable; the knowledge that each time I left her might be the last time I saw her alive. Dementia robbed her of so much, but she was still recognisably my mother. Still someone I loved, with whom the connection was strong. So often those living with dementia are spoken about as though they no longer exist; no longer have rights; no longer have claims to be as human as us.
In the current issue of of the reader there’s a poem written by a woman about her mother who has dementia. It’s warm, celebratory, about the person not the illness. Continue reading

Playtime

Morning Sunshine Cat

Morning Sunshine Cat


MasterB is convinced that the moments following his breakfast (and before mine) are for playtime. He seems completely impervious to the fact that before I am outside a bowl of porridge and a cup of coffee the day has not begun. So my porridge stirring is disturbed by cries and noises off as things crash to the floor, or I hear suspicious tearing and scratching sounds.

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A Bit of a Wallow

To be honest, I am feeling rather low today. A bit sorry for myself. The excitement of yesterday’s new dressing, the anticipation of how my wrist was healing has given way to the sombre reality that it’s still weeks before I can start to use my hand properly again. Suddenly that feels daunting. Weeks of one handed washing up; weeks of struggling to push the vacuum cleaner round; in short, weeks where hitherto simple tasks to which I generally do not give much thought, are effortful and time consuming challenges. So I am allowing myself a little wallow this morning. A few what if thoughts that I have so far banished. I guess this moment and those thoughts were inevitable. By this afternoon, I hope to have reconciled myself with this reality, and found new interim goals to enjoy and aim for, and to be grateful for what I have. Patience is not one of my strongest suits. It is something I had to learn as a teacher, and in a professional capacity I became very good. Now my body needs a bit of that patience and understanding, and some of the motivational skills I used to effect with my pupils. Continue reading

All Change: What the Well-Dressed Arm is Wearing for April

I’ll spare you the goriest photo featuring stitches and bruises. I sent it to Octavia, but she a) is a doctor, and b) while I was still digesting my breakfast, sent me a photo of dead rat her cat had caught .

Once again the NHS did its stuff beautifully. I arrived at the fracture clinic and was despatched almost immediately to x-ray. Then a short wait and I saw the consultant, this time in shirt and tie and minus his blue scrubs. He was smiling. In moments he removed the smelly old plaster, and my new lizard skin was revealed. Though I suppose that should be old lizard skin. Suddenly the dinosaurs seem like near relatives. He showed me the x-rays; a sort of t-bar plate with lots of screws sticking out of it so it made me think of a broom. Everything seems to be healing nicely. He wouldn’t be drawn on whether I shall have a lump on my wrist or what degree of moevement I can hope to achieve in the future. But I am not a trained journalist for nothing. I asked a different question. Pushed, he said we could hope for 80-90% of my previous rotational skills.

Back to the waiting room where a small child looked worriedly at my exposed arm. There was a list of things to be done.

The Checklist

The Checklist


I had just about got my phone out when I was called to the plaster room. Ruth, the staff nurse who attended to me, is the daughter of a seamstress. It showed. I shouldn’t be surprised to see her fronting her own craft show on tv one of these days.

underdressed

underdressed

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Of Fractures, Achievements, Independence and Care

Tomorrow I have a check up at the fracture clinic. I can hardly wait. At the very least I shall have a new dressing which will be wonderful in itself. This one is starting to smell. What I am really hoping for is a set of X-rays that show my bones are knitting together well, and that I’ll get a date for my first physiotherapy appointment to start the journey back to being able to use my wrist, which several people have warned me could be a long slow business.
Maybe I had been told fractures make you tired and had not believed it. I mean, it’s a broken bone, right? Not an illness. Yet I have been coming home from work and slumping on the sofa. MasterB is all that has kept me from my bed before ten o’clock. The odd hashtag game on twitter and a Terry Pratchett novel almost the extent of my activity. My WordPress presence has been negligible. Last night I changed the bed linen. I worked up to it, and afterwards felt I deserved a medal. Continue reading

Of Birds, Domesticity, Sleep and Good Catteries

Breakfasted with the lark this morning. Or, more accurately with the blackbird. There may be larks in this patch of London, but I have not heard them. The blackbirds, Mr and Mrs, are increasingly strutting their territorial stuff, reminding all comers, whether human, avian or cat, that this is their manor. There’s a lot of proprietorial sitting together on walls. As they haven’t dive bombed MasterB, I’d say they don’t have eggs yet. The bossy wren who did not conform to the bird book’s description of a shy bird, is nowhere to be seen, or indeed heard. I think he had his singing lessons from the local corvids, and they are strangely quiet this week too. Normally the waist coated chuck of the magpies accompanies each day, while the crows laugh and chatter high in the trees by the railway line.
I have two new domestic challenges today: vacuuming and ironing. Octavia lent me a rather fab fluffy duster on a handle. It made me feel I should be wearing pearls and a day dress whole I floated it gently over the bibelots. By the end of my labours I was a bit doubtful. She gave me a snowy white duster that now looks very grubby. I am tempted to buy my own, but it isn’t very environmentally friendly. The instructions say you can ‘just throw it away’ and install a new one. Maybe not. Getting the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard, attaching the hose shouldn’t take more than an hour, and it will be good to remove fur and crumbs from the floors. The ironing poses more of a problem. Those of you, like Cousin, with utility rooms where the iron and ironing board are in a state of constant readiness, may not understand the difficulty. I reckon I can iron with my left hand, but setting up the board, uncoiling the iron from its home on the wall, and more significantly returning it there, feels like my own personal Everest. Honestly, I take my hat off to Nelson. Though maybe someone else did his ironing. Continue reading

Milestones

A week ago today I broke my wrist and everyday activities are new territory. I am (proudly) notching up my achievements. They may not seem impressive, but remember this is my right wrist, I am right-handed and I have never claimed to be ambidextrous. So, here goes:

  • Washing my hair. Well, I thought that I’d start with the most impressive, so basically it’s downhill from here. Coordinating taps, shampoo, jug and above all rinsing, left me so tired I had to have an afternoon nap.
  • Having a bath. In the hospital I had a fabulous wetroom. I took pictures with my ‘phone which I must download.  At home I feel less confident about using the shower over the bath, not least because I fear getting my plastercast wet. But strip washes palled very quickly, and the joy of a shallow bath cannot be underestimated.
  • Frying an egg. Actually I cut and fried scallions and mushrooms too, but it was the one handed breaking of the egg, extracting it with the yolk unbroken and cooking it without large quantities of accompanying shell that made my head swell.
  • Poaching an egg. One up from frying. Obviously anything involving boiling water requires a lot of caution. My morning coffee is the top feat of each day.
  • Paying in  a cheque at the bank. With enormous concentration and my tongue stickung out through my teeth, I used my left hand to complete the details in a wobbly, though legible scrawl.
  • Getting in and out of bed. Cycling is out for the moment, as is hulahooping as I need two hands to get me started. However, my stomach muscles have been getting a work out to lever myself not just from bed but also from armchairs.
  • Doing the washing up. I lied about the hairwashing; this is my hardest task each day. Especially the porridge pan on the morning when I took my eye off it for a moment and it erupted like an edible Vesuvius all over the stove.
  • Getting dressed. Each sleeve has to be tested to discover if it is navigable. I’m pretty good with the socks and knicks, but the bra took a few days to work out.

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