Category: General diary entries

DECOMPRESSED

I’ve just had a lovely few days in London with Marji, one of my daughters.
She had brought me a hidden cinema experience for 2 at TT Liquor for Xmas and we’ve been waiting for the right time to go.
She had arranged this week off work for a break, and after a think, I decided to take the week off too and we also arranged to see Mary Poppins as my cousin’s little girl, Sophie, is currently playing Jane Banks in the show.

So! Monday 2nd May
We headed into London on the train. We arrived at St Pancras International just before 11:30 and we checked into the Hotel at Midday.
The hotel was nothing special.
We usually stay at the Travelodge in Beckton and hop on the DLR into London each day. Beckton is easy to drive to and the hotel has cheap parking.
However, this time, we wanted to stay centrally, so we got the train in and stayed at the Travelodge London Bridge.
To be honest, I wasn’t impressed. Don’t get me wrong. The room was clean and had everything we needed for the stay, but it was a lot smaller than at the Beckton and had an underground running right past the window so we couldn’t sleep with the window open. It was also twice the price the Beckton would have been.
So lesson learnt.

After unpacking, we headed straight over to the the Tower of London.
We fuelled up on a cone of chips before heading into the Tower. Marji was an idiot and pinched one of my chips before realising I had covered them in vinegar which she can’t have as a Coeliac!! Idiot.
We had done the Tower during our last trip together with Dharma, my youngest daughter but we only had time to do the battlements and the crown jewels, we didn’t have time to see the White Tower. So this time, we arrived just in time to get a Yoeman Guard Guided Tour. Barney, the Yoeman, was hilarious and this lead on nicely to seeing the crown jewels again before we finally got into the White Tower to see the armoury.

After this we went for a walk around St Katherine’s Dock and stopped for a drink at the Azimut Cafe where Marjorie found an incredible Gluten Free Brownie. Warm and served with icecream. She was in heaven.
Then we walked over the Tower Bridge and had a stroll up the South Bank to the Hays Galleria where we sat outside The Horniman pub for another drink.

Then we headed back to St Katherine’s Dock where we had dinner at Zizzi’s.
You can usually guarantee that an Italian restaurant will do Gluten Free and we have found that Zizzi’s is one of the best. This one was no exception. We had a lovely meal before heading back to the hotel.

We were shattered and fell asleep quite early but unfortunately, someone tried to open a hotel door by hitting the fire alarm at midnight and HOLY COW was that alarm effective!!
We were up and flinging on clothes and flying down the hall with everyone else before we got to the stairs only to find out it was a false alarm and we all trudged back to our rooms. Now wide awake.
The only problem now was the alarm which took another half an hour to sort out.

Tuesday 3rd May
We made an early move to South Kensington because we had tickets to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exibition at the Natural History Museum.
We arrived a bit too early so we went for a walk up to see the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens. We found a little coffee shop by the memorial and sat and soaked up a little sun before heading back down to the Natural History Museum.

The exibition was really good and I decided to get the coffee table book of the photos to take home.
We had a wander around the museum and I think that because I’ve seen it so many times in the past, it’s lost a bit of it’s sparkle. I certainly think the exhibits are showing their age a little more, but it’s evident that there’s a lot of modernisation going on so it will be interesting to take the grandkids there in a few years time to see what they do.

We were thinking about getting a little something for lunch but unfortunately there was nothing Gluten Free.
I did get a little annoyed that a Museum as big as the Natural History, with the amount of visitors it sees, did not cater for the Gluten Free. Aside from a little pre-packed flapjack, there was nothing in the the cafe and the menu for the restaurant was marked up for vegetarians and vegans but nothing for Gluten Free.
We ended up walking down the road and popping into a lovely pub called the Hoop and Toy and they couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful and Marji was actually able to get a Gluten Free sandwich.

Then we headed over to The British Museum for a couple of hours because Marji wanted to see the egyptian exibitions and apparantly ‘they filmed Primeval’ there too.


Then we went and did a little shopping in Forbidden Planet and took a walk down to Leicester Square where Marji did a litte more shopping in the Lego Store before heading back up to Seven Dials and having dinner at Rossopomodoro.
Another Italian restaurant so Gluten Free options available.
Then it was back to the hotel for another early night.

London is very hard going at the best of times, but when you have joint issues it really takes it out of you.
We were both shattered.

Wednesday May 4th.
Unfortunately Marji was really sick from around 5am this morning.
Obviously something she ate yesterday was contaminated. It could have been the vinegar on the chip she pinched from me at the tower, it could have been the sandwich at the pub, but she thinks it was more than likely to have been the pasta she had at the Rossopomodoro as it was pasta she was throwing up at 5am!
Anyway, this forced a bit of a re-think.
We had planned to go to Little Venice and take a canal boat ride into Camden but Marji wasn’t up for this so I messaged the Canal Boat company and they actually refunded us which was really good. They state that they need 24 hours for cancellations on their website but because we had let them know not to wait for us, they refunded us anyway.
I let Marji sleep for a bit and she eventually got up and we headed out of the hotel at about 11.
We walked down past the Tower of London as Marji got some air and drank some Lucozade and by this time she was feeling much better so we decided to take a boat trip to Greenwich instead.
We had a quick pint and some chips at the Gypsy Moth before going onto the Cutty Sark.
Then we had a quick wander over to the Old Royal Naval College for a ‘Thor: The Dark World’ photo oportunity.

This is where the Dark Elves ship lands and tears up the square between the college towers.

After this, the weather was getting a bit wet and we needed to think about getting over to TT Liquor for our hidden cinema experience, so we walked over to Greenwich DLR station to catch a train to Bank before we realised there was actually a station at Cutty Sark and we didn’t need to do all that walking!! DOH!
When we got to Bank, the Northern line wasn’t running to Old station where we needed to go so we hopped into a cab instead.
After arriving at TT Liquor the heavens had opened so we ran into the nearest chinese restaurant and hoped for the best. It was a good move. We were the only ones in there and they were really friendly and actually had one of their menus completely marked up to show what was Gluten Free! and the food was fabulous.

Then it was time for TT Liquor. We headed through to the back of the shop where there was a small lounge with the cinema at the back and then literally down some old stone stairs and into the cellar was the cellar bar where we got our complimentary cocktail. We sat in the lounge for a while before getting another drink and then heading into the 52 seater cinema space to watch ‘Aliens’ on classic old referbed cinema seats.


This was our latest night out as the film didn’t finish until 10pm and when it was over we hopped into another cab to get back to the hotel.

Thursday 5th May
Thankfully Marji had a much better night and woke up feeling refreshed and happy that she hadn’t reacted to anything she’d eaten the day before.
We were taking things easier today and had a bit of a lay in and then we headed into Leicester Square to have a mooch around M&M World before heading up to Old Compton Street to get our bearings for the Prince Edward Theatre for Mary Poppins and Patty & Bun for lunch.
I did a bit of research before I booked a table at Patty & Bun and the reviews all said it was excellent for Gluten Free.
We arrived really early and as it was such a sunny day we went and sat in Soho Square Gardens for a little while before heading back over to Patty & Bun and having the best meal of the week!
OMG! I have to say that it was the best burger I have ever had and Marjorie was almost in tears. It’s been almost 4 years since she’s been able to have what she classes as a ‘normal’ burger because of her Coeliac disease and the Gluten Free burger she had here was amazing. She was very happy.

The face of pure joy!

Another small wander before having a drink at the Three Greyhounds over the road from the theatre and then it was time for Mary Poppins.
It was a wonderful show and I found myself getting quite emotional at the end.
Little Sophie was amazing and she is obviously loving what’s she’s doing. She’s a very talented young lady.

Friday 6th May
I had paid for a late checkout at 2pm to make the most of our last morning in London.
We did the London Bridge Experience with the glass floor! I’ve thought about it before but I always thought you had to climb the stairs to get to the top which always put me off and then I discovered that it’s ‘fully accessible’ and therefore, has lifts at both ends, so I couldn’t resist.
It was an amazing experience.

This was followed by one last walk along the South Bank for a drink at the Horniman before heading back over the bridge to St Katherine’s Dock because Marji just had to have another piece of warm chocolate brownie from the Azimut Cafe before we checked out of the hotel and headed to St Pancras International Station and catching the train back to dreary old Bedford.

We were lucky with the weather. I only wore my jacket once when we had a downpour on the Wednesday evening but otherwise it was warm and the sun came out quite a bit, especially on Thursday and Friday.
Now we are home, I’ve already done 2 wash loads and one blog post now finished and I feel like London is already a distant memory.
But it was a great week!!

TIME TO VENT

OK, so I think I’ve mentioned the difficulties my husband has been having for the last few months, although I haven’t gone into any great detail.

Well, enough is enough.
Forgive my angry typing. This blog will be full of mistakes as I am actually quite fuming while I write this.

Ian suffers from psoriatic arthritis and has had neck issues before and even had to have some pretty major surgery on a couple of vertebrea in his neck a few years ago. He’s also had surgery on a shoulder in the past too.
His condition will not improve, in fact it will only get worse.
For the past few years he has suffered with numbness in his left leg which would come on without any warning, making days out a bit tricky because he just doesn’t know when it would happen. This is something he’s seen a Dr about and apparantly they couldn’t find any problem because every time he finally got to see a Dr, there was no flare up!
The fact that his leg becomes numb without warning is apparantly not an issue.

Way back at the beginning of october 2021, he started having difficulties with pain and numbness in his neck, arms and hands. He has been working from home since the start of the Pandemic and this had actually worked out well for him. It meant less time driving too and from work and he was able to spend more time actually working. He was more relaxed.
This all changed in October when he got to a point where he literally coudn’t sit at his desk and do any typing because he was in so much pain in his shoulder and the tips of his fingers became too painful and sensitive.

He was signed off work and is still signed off!
However, when his current Dr’s note runs out, his sick pay from work may also run out.

The frustration we have had in the last few months has left us angry at the system and worried for our future.
The next few months are going to be extremely worrying with a very real possibility of losing everything we’ve worked for.

To try and put things into perspective, this is what has happened since October.

In October Ian went to the GP to talk about the issues he’s been having and was signed off from work to rest.
The GP referred Ian to our local Muscular Skeletal Service (MSK) as and URGENT referral and Ian was advised to contact his rheumatology team to check for arthritic flare up. Rhuematology pulled forward an appointment.
Rhuematology accepted that he was having a flare up but they could see no issues being caused by it, therefore gave him a cortozone injection and said they would review him in 6 months. This week he finally got a review date in August!
The week after this, the numbness spread from his neck and arms and worryingly into his face and he started getting dizzy spells. Dizzy spells that he gets every time he stands up and has even had him hitting the floor!!
After several more reviews with the GP, blood tests were done and he got diagnosed as type 2 diabetic. Just to add to his problems!!
Following a review with a senior GP at the practice, he was also found to have very high blood pressure (not surprised considering all the worry!) and the Dr also accepted the possibiity of a re-occurance of the neck vertebrea issue from the past.
This GP tried escalate the MSK referral several times but MSK would not respond to him. Ian also Ian found it impossible to get hold of MKS so the GP bypassed the system and begged Bedford Hospital to give him and urgent neck MRI.
Bedford Hospital accepted this request and in December an MRI was done which highlighted issues with C5, C6 and C7 vertebrea, with a recommendation for referral to nuerosurgery at Addenbrookes.
This request had to go BACK through MSK!!.
Ian finally got a reply from Addenbookes in January and was given a PHONE consultation on April 12th!!!!! So much for urgent!!
The GP also arranged a brain MRI due to the dizzy spells. This was done in January and luckily did not show any worrying issues.
MSK arranged a review appointment in early January for possibe carpel tunnel but this was pushed back two weeks.
At this consultation it was confirmed that they believe Ian did have carpel tunnel issues (even though he has already previously had nerve conduction tests a couple of years ago, through MSK, to prove this but nothing was done at that time)
MSK referred for more nerve conduction testing which was finally done at the end of March and this confirmed severe carpel tunnel syndrome in both wrists and severe cubital tunnel syndrome in both elbows.
Ian has now been referred for surgical ‘opinion’.
It took 3 weeks to review the report from this testing and at that point, Ian has now been referred for surgery to Bedford Hospital and they apparantly have a 20 week waiting list just to SEE a surgeon. Who knows when the surgery will happen?

With all of this, we still have no idea what the outcome will be from the phone consultation with addenbrookes next week about his neck. I suspect they will want to physically see him and he will be back on a waiting list for that appointment.

It has been extremely frustrating at every turn.
Ian has obviously got two different issues on the go but nobody is looking at him as a whole.
MSK are absolutely bloody useless and can’t handle the service they have been contracted to do.
Nobody is seeing the fact that this is now having a HUGE impact on our lives.
Ian may well have to be medically discharged from his job.
There is a very real possibility that we could lose the house we have lived in for the last ten years.
We still have two kids living with us, but because they are both ‘adults’ they will not be taken into consideration.
So it’s now not just affecting Ian and me, it’s affecting them too.

I am getting extremely worried about what will happen over the next year.
I have no idea where we will be by the end of this year or even if Ian will have his issues sorted.
We are not living, we are existing and we are at the mercy of the NHS.
Technically at the mercy of the MSK service which is beyond useless.

Ironically, the only solution to possibly speed this all up is to go through the MSK private service who have just quoted £2000 for surgery on just one wrist (not the elbow) with an initial consulatation fee of £150 – £250, bareing in mind, they AREADY have a consultation stating he needs surgery!!!
We simply can’t afford that.
The money we have set asside at the moment is to tide us over for a few months while we sort benefits out if Ian loses his job without destroying what’s left of his pension.

So for anyone that knows me personally, please forgive me if I seem a bit pensive and quiet when I see you.
I’m actually worrying about an awful lot at the moment.

On the bright side, my job is going really well!!
I’m thoroughly enjoying it and it is the only real thing taking my mind off of everything at the moment.

A GOOD WEEK

It has been a good week back at work after a week of annual leave followed by two weeks of Covid!

I am certainly feeling it this evening though, as my voice is struggling and this damn cough keeps catching me out, which is most annoying. The thing I am noticing the most though is that I am so tired.
Covid has really knocked me out.

Anyway, I will be heading to the pub over the road in a bit for a catch up with my mate Debbie.

This weekend I plan to do as little as possible.
With that said, I’m getting my hair trimmed tomorrow.
I could do with getting my nails/talons done but when I had to cancel my appointment due to Covid, I couldn’t get another appointment until the 9th, so that will be 7 weeks since they were last done.
They still look great, but they are getting very long and are now getting in the way a bit. Especially when I type.

If the snow/rain holds off, I might cut the grass before it gets too long and plant my runner seedlings before they become too straggly.

We are due to get a large tree removed from the back garden on the 13th and I have become accutely aware that I will lose the privacy in my kitchen.
The kitchen has a very large window that we have never had curtains or blinds at. We’ve never really needed them.
However, when the tree is gone it’s going to be really exposed and I don’t want blinds or curtains, so I have ordered some one way mirror film that I am going to attempt to put up. That should arrive at some point this weekend.
It’s either going to go well or it will be a complete disaster and we’ll have to have a re-think.

I will have to get a Tesco run in there at some point, and the obligatory washing will need to be caught up on.
I might even think about getting to the cinema to see Morbius, so not a completely quiet weekend.

I had a surprise today. One of my cacti have decided to produce a flower and it looks like there may be several more buds ready to open up too. This has cheered me up because it looks like I’ve manage to kill my big barrel cactus!!

Who would have thought I’d ever get excited about a cactus flower!!

WELL THIS IS THE STORY ALL ABOUT HOW….

It’s back to work today!!
It took me 12 days to test Covid negative.
The first week was really rough and the second week just felt like a cold.
It has left me with an irritation on my chest which makes me cough, particularly after some exersion, and I still feel like I have my head in a bucket of water, but the good news is that my ears have started ‘popping’, so hopefully that is beginning to clear up too.
It has also left me getting tired quite quickly. I may be back to work today but I think it will be some time before I’m back to 100%.

Anyway, the reason for the blog this morning.
I am enjoying my morning cup of milky coffee and I remembered that the Oscars was last night, so I have been checking out the results and the red carpet looks.
Turns out there was some real drama on stage last night when Will Smith took offence to a Chris Rock joke and he stormed on stage and slapped him!

Then he won an Oscar!

Going through the list of winners, I actually pretty happy.
It may not have won Best Picture or any of the big Acting awards but Dune came out a clear winner last night with 6 Oscars to it’s name!
The film was visually beautiful and this was awarded with Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Production Design.
It also won for Best Editing and Best Sound and one of my favourite movie music composers, Hans Zimmer won for Best Score.

But as wonderful as that is, these Oscars will always be remembered as the one where Will Smith assaulted Chris Rock live on TV.
It remains to be seen what damage he’s done to his career and reputation.


OK, MAYBE NOT

Wow, I decided to spend a bit of time in the garden this morning and make the most of the early sunshine.
It’s so nice out there that I decided to uncover the furniture and sweep the last of the winter leaves up so I have somewhere to sit.
After just 30 minutes, I feel like I’ve had the wind knocked out of my sails!
Because I’ve been shut in the living room and done nothing for almost 2 weeks, I didn’t realise how much COVID had taken out of me.

It begs the question, how bad would I have been if I hadn’t been vaccinated?
I dread to think.

At least I can now sit in the garden.
When I do go back to work, I’m not going to be on my feet and doing a crazy 12.5 hour shift.
I just need to pace myself and look after ‘ME’ for a change.

DAY 10

Day 10 and STILL testing positive.

I honestly didn’t expect to be testing positive at this stage.
I had a really rough first week.
I woke up on the Sunday with what felt like a cold and tested positive.
On Monday I tried working from home but by the end of the day I was feeling rubbish.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were a nightmare. I just couldn’t stop coughing and I got no sleep.
Ane I mean, NO sleep.
Then over Friday and Saturday, the cough really eased off and I just felt like I had a bit of a cold.
I have been waking in the mornings from that point on, thinking that I have got to be negative at some point soon.

It hasn’t happened yet.

Looking at Government guidance is worrying.
I had been hoping that I would test negative last weekend as Friday and Saturday were day 5 and 6 and my cough had really eased. If anything, the positive line on the test strip was getting darker.
But Government guidance then says that if I’m still testing positive on day 10, I can return to work after just one negative test.
I’m actually OK with this one and if I wake up tomorrow and I test negative I will be more than happy to get back into the office and get back into a routine.
However, it also states that if I’m still testing positive on the 14th day, I can STOP testing and return to work on the 15th day after a management risk assessment.

Seriously?!
Surely if I’m still testing positive, I’m testing positive for a reason?
I would feel extremely uncomfortable returning to a busy office and seeing vulnerable clients knowing that I was still testing positive!

Typhoid Mary springs to mind!!

Thankfully work also feels that coming to work while still testing positive is a bit reckless.
At least I am well enough to field a few calls from home and trawl through all my e-mails and try to catch up with all that has happened in the team before I physically get back into the office.

When will that be?
Any day now….. it’s got to be. I am improving daily.
I literally just feel like I have a mild cold. I have a bit of an irritation on my chest which means I still have a small cough.
My ears are still a bit blocked and I feel like I have my head in a bucket of water, but these are all minor irritations that I would normally get with any cold. They wouldn’t usually keep me off work.

Ironically, it is 2 years to the day since we went into our first lockdown!
I clearly remember going over the road to our local pub with my best mate Debbie on the eve of lockdown, to enjoy one last drink and face to face chat before they shut their doors indefinately.

I spent the last 2 years working in a hospital on the front line and I finally fall fowl of COVID while working in community and I wasn’t even at work when I caught it!!
I had been on annual leave for a week and it was my last day of annual leave when I tested positive!

Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting out and really enjoying that spring sunshine we’ve been having over the last week. Standing in the back garden just doesn’t hit the same spot.

ANY. DAY. NOW!!!

DAY 8

Day 8 of COVID and I’m still testing positive!

Not feeling too bad though. Still got a bit of a cough and just feel like I have cold.
Current guidance states….

If I’m still testing positive on day 10, I can return to work after just one negative test.
If I’m still testing positive on the 14th day, I can just stop testing and return to work on the 15th day after a management risk assessment.

WTF!
How uncomfortable would you be knowing you are still testing positive and being allowed back to work?!
Thankfully, my place of work see this as a bit reckless and I can at least do some work from home for a while.

Chances are, my tests will clear over the next few days, or at least, I hope they do because I’m going a bit stir crazy now!!

DAY 6

Day 6 of the COVID saga and I’m STILL positive!!

However, I have downgraded myself from a nasty flu to a rotten cold.
The cough still catches me out but at least I’m not coughing up a lung and I can actually sleep.
My poor voice.
If I talk too much my voice starts to disappear.
I tried to call someone from upstairs yesterday which proved a bit too much as no sound emerged.
I’m just feeling wiped out most of the time.

But it’s an improvement!

DAY 4

Day four of the COVID saga and I still feel poo!!
Still positive.
It has now gone to both of my ears and I feel like I have my head fully submerged in a bucket of water.
I hurt all over but my ribcage and back are the worst because of all the coughing.
With that said, the cough did actually ease off a little last night and I managed some sleep, which has helped.

Seriously hoping this means i’m over the hump!

SHOOT. ME. NOW.

Seriously! If I was a dog I would have been euthanized already.

I cannot remember the last time I ever felt this bad.
The cough is the killer.
I cannot lay flat without coughing up a lung.
I will just get comfortable in a chair before coughing again and having to move.
I haven’t slept properly since Sunday night.
I hurt all over and the cough hasn’t helped this either because my ribcage and back now feel like I’m getting stabbed every time I cough.
I can hear my breathing which is now crackly on exhaling.
My nose blocks when I lay flat and runs like a tap when I’m sitting. I’m now getting the subsequent red, sore nose.
My head feels like it’s exploding.
My eyes are puffy.
My ears are beginning to block and I feel like I have my head under water.
I haven’t exactly lost my sense of taste but nothing actually tastes right and I’ve lost my appetite.

I’ve had flu before, but this is something else!!
If this is something we are now going to have to live with, all I can say is, MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR VACCINATIONS!!
This will more than likely become an annual vaccine like the existing flu vaccine.
Train your body to fight it before you get it.

I dread to think how poorly I would have become if I hadn’t been vaccinated.

I have been sleeping and existing in the living room since Sunday to stay away from the Hubby and so far, fingers crossed, he is still testing negative.

It’s definately COVID.
I’ve had three positive LFT’s since Sunday and I had to get a PCR to confirm for work.
Marjorie is now free after two clear LFT’s on day 5 and 6 and she’s actually feeling much better, so I’m hoping that on Friday this week I will be over the worst and getting my first negative LFT.