Monday, 26 November 2012

November Check-Up

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Had a very pleasant visit to the hospital. We avoid any parking problems these days by just going straight to the multi-storey car park, rather than hunting for somewhere closer. It is just as easy to walk down to the Main Building. We saw that they were planting shrubs in front of the main entrance. There are also areas of grass - so it is looking very pretty.

It looked pretty busy inside the main atrium, but I checked in at the machine and walked down to the ENT Department, where it was much quieter. Nathan had brought his Kindle this time. last time I left it in the car - and neither of us had anything to read - and we had to wait over an hour. N's theory was that if we both came prepared - then we'd be in right away! So we bought a newspaper at the shop inside there - before going down to the ENT Waiting Room. Sadly we didn't see any sign of Frank. I had been hoping to see him so we could catch-up. Hopefully he's doing okay.

Needless to say - it worked! We were soon as to move to Sub Wait 1 by the Argos-type screen that flashes up numbers. I was 1303 today :-) As soon as I sat down there, a male nurse came out and called my name.

We went into the consulting room to find Mr Uppal. he was soon joined by Julian of the Awesome Hat (who had done a couple of my biopsies at the end of last year). i had just been saying to Nathan that we hadn't seen Dr Gahir for ages - when she came in too! She said hello - but I couldn't reply right away as Mr Uppal had a camera down my throat at the time.

It was lovely to see her though - she is expecting a baby! She said it was due in March. She looked very happy. She told me that I was looking well and she admired the thickness of my new hair. She told me that they had been discussing my case - as usual, and thought that maybe they should give me a scan. Seeing as I had adenocarcinoma, which is NOT usually found in the head and neck, they felt that they should keep an eye on the rest of me, periodically. She thought maybe once a year. It seems that I have had quite a lot of radiation already - so they do need to be careful not to give any more unnecessarily. So she checked when I had my last CT Scan - and it was back in June. So she said they'd do another next June.

She was scanning the results of the last one - she mentioned an unusual mark in the chest area. They had done the super-mammogram and ultrasound not long ago - and as I didn't have any symptoms of chest problems - like a cough - they wouldn't do a chest x-ray.

So they will continue with these monthly check-ups until June. They will also investigate unusual symptoms - if I get any! I told them I was feeling great and Mr Uppal said that I had recovered well from everything they had done to me!

I did ask him one question which I had been wondering about. Why I had never had a blood test. I thought that they could detect cancer in blood samples. I know that my dad has them - and if a certain chemical is raised - they would know whether the prostate cancer had come back.

Mr Uppal said that not many cancers have good markers - prostate is one that does - but most don't. So it wouldn't help in my case. "Maybe in 100 years we might be able to tell from blood" he said. Hopefully research will make it sooner than that!

So that was that. We were out before noon and I went off to work. My next appointment is on Christmas Eve!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Four weeks go by so quickly!

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I have my regular four-week check-up tomorrow. It doesn't seem two minutes since the last one! I can't believe how fast they come around again. Must mean I'm keeping busy :-)

Well, I have started my Christmas shopping :-) Had a quick visit to Hanley on Wednesday afternoon with Janet. (Get well soon J!!) No I didn't injure her or wear her out shopping til we dropped - but she wasn't well the next day! I think I might do the rest online - it's getting far too risky to go to a crowded shopping centre. You never know what germs you might pick up!!

Serenaded while we ate
This week we tried out another new restaurant. Nathan said he'd seen a new place opened up in Newcastle - called Primus Bar and Grill. So on a very rainy Thursday night we decided to go and check it out.

It was pretty empty - but I think that was because it was such a filthy night outside - and there weren't many people about anywhere!

We were shown to a table downstairs by the bar - slightly disappointing as I wanted to go up the grand, sweeping chrome staircase to see what was upstairs.

Glitzy and very red!
 The menu looked intriguing - not a massive choice but unusual offerings - such as Pork Wellington. That is what N chose. I went for the chicken in parma ham with herby roast potatoes. There was quite a wait - which meant that they were cooking everything from scratch.While we were waiting the young bespectacled waiter who had seated us, suddenly got up, picked up a guitar and started to sing! he was great. He did Ed Sheeran songs, some Oasis, Stereophonics and David Grey. We really enjoyed listening to him, and made the wait for food very pleasant. Then the piping hot meals arrived and they were delicious. Beautifully presented and extremely tasty.  I loved the chicken and the gravy was yummy - it also came with cabbage and apple. N loved his pork Wellington with apple champ.

We decided to have desserts as the mains were so nice. I thought the Rum Ba-Ba would be nice as I'd had them a long time ago. I remembered them as doughnut shaped and soaked in rum. What arrived was a raisin sponge cake in custard. I have no idea why. N was happy with his chocolate fudge cake - especially as it came with chocolate custard! I tasted that - it was nice :-) So overall a good experience. It was a little lonely as there were so few people in there - but the live music made up for that. Definitely worth a visit!

We saw quite a lot of floods today - going over to Cheadle to see my parents then on to Stone to see N's. The A34 is still closed completely at Meaford. We had to find another way home. Hopefully there won't be too much more rain this week......

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Random activities

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What have I been up to since I last blogged? Well, I am almost back to full time at work - I have now added Fridays back into my working week. Feels very good to be back to normal - and not too tired.

Could come in handy...
It did make me smile when I saw a new book just arrived on my desk - especially after what I wrote in my last blog. Fate must be preparing me...

Away from work - but connected with Nathan's work - we did go out last week to meet up with some other app developers in this area. He had spoken to them online - and we met a couple of them  when we went to the Windows8 Launch - but they thought that regular meet-ups might  be good for networking and sharing info, news and and tips.

So on Monday night we went along to a new place (to us!) a Japanese restaurant in Stoke called MISO. It is kind of opposite Sainsbury's - but a little further along the road. We found a handy car park just across from it. It was pretty busy inside - as it seems that Monday night is all-you-can-eat night. It is not a buffet though, You have waiter service - and you are given a menu order form and each person can order up to five items off it.

 Then these dishes all come - and you are given another order form and you can all order another five items - and so on until you can eat no more!

N and Katherine at Miso

It was pretty nice food too. Lots of chicken, beef and pork dishes. plenty of sushi - fish or veggie style. Lots of rice, dumplings and spring rolls.

We met Chris and Katherine from Lightwood Games and Dave and Nick who some times work with them. I can't pretend I understood everything that they were talking about (I was the only one there who isn't actually a programmer) but it was very interesting and I had a fun night. Plus - the plum wine was gorgeous!!

We said that we would all do it again - maybe in Stone next time. it seems an age since we went to Chicos.

As part of my duties at clerk to Silverdale Parish Council I attended to the Remembrance Day Service last Sunday at St Luke's Church. it was a lovely service and it was sunny and not too cold as we stood in silence outside by the war memorial to honour the local men who had given their lives in the two world wars.

Gorgeous new window
Our Jack

Part of the Display

I was back at St Lukes again today - as it was the unveiling and blessing of the new stained glass window in honour of Lord John Cadman, Baron Silverdale. (1877 - 1941) The present Lord Cadman and his wife and family were present and the service was conducted by Bishop David Bentley.

Oil on Water Design

The window had been designed by Graham Chaplin from Hednesford and was really beautiful. It is a modern design - compared to the other ones - but it fits in so perfectly.

The background was meant to represent the patters and colours of oil on water - as Lord Cadman - or Our Jack as he was known in Silverdale - was a very important person in the oil industry - especially in the 1930s and during the war.

The "bubbles" contain pictures of him and his life and Silverdale.

After the ceremony there were refreshments and wine at the back of the church. the people of Silverdale are so lovely - and many of my library customers belong to the church - so I had plenty of people to chat to. I even had a word with Lord Cadman - he was telling us of his one previous visit to Silverdale when he was very young. The family live in Northampton now.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

I KNEW I shouldn't have said that....

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They do say "be careful what you wish for." :-)

I was just saying the other day that although I have seen lots of the new hospital, I have never seen the new Accident and Emergency block.

I had a very nice weekend. I worked on Saturday and then went to a (slightly belated) Halloween party in the evening. Then on Sunday I was determined to have a pyjama day - where I didn't get dressed at all but lounged around in my pjs all day. I like it because it felt a bit decadent.:-)

This was all going well until it came to bedtime at 11pm.

Now at the top of my stairs there is a step up to another little landing and the office and another set of stairs on the right - and a step up into my bedroom on the left. So I popped into the office to talk to Nathan who was still working. Then he went downstairs and I stepped down from the office and went to step up to the bedroom. Except I missed the step completely and fell headlong into the room. There is a fireplace just inside with a wall that comes out - and I hit the corner of this wall with my forehead. Rather hard.

I sat there dazed for a couple of minutes looking at my head in the mirror which seemed to be swelling up before my eyes. N came back upstairs and I told him I'd fallen into the wall. He looked at the egg-shaped lump on my head and insisted I got dressed as he was taking me to A&E. He did look a little alarmed!

So I got out of my pyjamas and into some random clothes. N helped me out to the car and we went to A&E! There weren't many people in Reception - and three members of staff on the nice new desk. One took my details and then directed me to sit on the red seats. I sat opposite a very smartly dressed man also with a head injury. He seemed to have a cut over his eye and blood had dripped onto his lovely white shirt. he was dressed in a dinner suit and looked very dapper with the shiniest shoes I've ever seen and a walking cane. Not sure what had happened exactly. he didn't look the fighting type!

Haha - maybe he was wondering the same about me.

Anyway he was called into a Triage nurse's office right away - and then a few minute later emerged and was directed to a different part of the waiting room.

I was then called in.

I thought she would stick a plaster on me and send me home but after hearing what had happened she went off, got a neck brace then lay me down on a bed and but some blocks round my head and secured me to the bed! I couldn't move.

She said she was worried about me having broken a vertebra, from whiplash due to the impact of wall.

I wasn't really expecting that! Next a porter was summoned to whisk me off to the "Ambulance arrival bay" as they were full everywhere else. I lay there for a little while, then was quickly moved to Bay B - like a small ward with cubicles. We had a bit of a wait there - and could hear lots of activity around - but I couldn't see anything except the ceiling!

Around 2am a nice young Irish doctor called Dr Eakins came to see me. He carefully undid my brace and blocks and had a feel of my neck and spine. he tested my reflexes and said that as it was painful at the back of my neck then I would need to be x-rayed before they could let me go home.

Just back from the hospital
So I was wheeled to another area to wait for the x-ray. Had a chat to a lady in the next cubicle who was waiting for her friend to come back from x-ray. he had fallen and head-butted a table. He returned with no broken bones but needed to go and get stitches.

Then it was my turn. I was taken into a huge room and a nice nurse put x-ray plates under my bed and I was x-rayed from above and from the side. It didn't take long. Then I went back to  Bay B to await my fate.

After a while Dr Eakins returned and said that  there was nothing broken - which was a great relief!
I was allowed up off the bed and he gave N a list of symptoms to look out for - he was to bring me straight back if I developed any over the couple of days. They included blurred vision, pins and needles, sickness, headaches, any excessive drowsiness..

By the time we got home it was 3.30am and I was starving! After a quick snack we went to bed.

24 hours later - a nice black eye!

Thank-you fate for arranging that for me!! Hmmm I was just saying the other day that I have never won millions on the lottery....

Friday, 2 November 2012

Appointments This Week...

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I've had a couple of medical appointments this week. What is great is that I hardly think (or stress) about them anymore! Just routine :-)

On Monday I went to the hospital for my monthly check-up. We ended up waiting for quite a while - as my notes hadn't been taken through to the consultant - so they didn't realise I was there until Wendy my ace special nurse spotted me in the waiting room.

Earlier a nurse had come out to tell some people that they would have to wait (or could make another appointment if they didn't want to) as their doctor had been called up to the ward on an emergency - as someone's airway had become blocked. That seemed fair enough to me - and most folk there accepted that. Except for one couple who were whinging and moaning about it to her. She explained as much as she could be they still stormed off.

I'm sure if they had been gasping for breath on a ward they wouldn't have minded if the doctor didn't come for a couple of hours because he was treating some mardy people in out-patients!

Anyway we eventually got in to see a new consultant. He was determined to do everything possible - so he was very thorough. Not just a camera up one nostril - but both! Plus a good look around the throat and vocal chords. He felt all around my neck and under my chin. He pronounced that all looked and felt good  though - so it was very reassuring. I am back there again in four weeks.

Today (Friday) I went to see the physiotherapist at the Bradwell Hospital. I am lucky that this is just round the corner from the house. I saw Paul and we had a chat about what I'd been through and had a look how far I could move my arm and neck.

He said that my joints are fine and I don't have a frozen shoulder - but the soft tissue, muscles and nerves are causing the problems with mobility and pain. He told me how nerves usually glide through soft tissue when you move - but when you get scars the tissue is very tough and can adhere to the nerves - so it hurts to move. The only thing to do is stretch - very gently at first, to try to make things better. He said (like the consultants have said) that nerves do take literally years to mend - so I need to keep up with the exercises he gave me.

They are a lot gentler than the ones from the last physio. So I hope they'll improve things for me gradually :-) I have to go back to see him in a month.

If you see me around - just ask me "Have you done your exercises today??!!" I need encouragement!!

The amazing main atrium

Fascinating Rosetta Stone

Outside the British Library

Egyptian hieroglyphs

Looking down at the main atrium

A Mummy!!!

I forgot to mention the other day that when we went to the Microsoft launch - we also visited the British Museum the same day. We got to London a little early - so wanted to make the most of it! I have been there for years - and had a hankering to see the mummies again :-)

We had a very interesting hour wandering round the exhibits in the Ancient Egypt section.

The Rosetta Stone is one of their prize finds - it is written in three different languages - so enabled academics to start to actually translate Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

It looks very different from last time I came. It is much lighter and more spacious than before. The atrium is huge and really lets in the light. Although quite a few of the exhibits have low lighting to protect the precious ancient artefacts. We saw quite a few mummies before it was time to go.

It does make you wonder about the rights and wrongs of having all this priceless and ancient art here. Looking at the mummies and reading how carefully they were prepared for the afterlife, all the things that were put in the coffins with them - favourite jewels, food and even  tools to help them in the afterlife.

They would never have imagined they'd end up in rainy London being photographed on iPhones in the future! It is quite sad that they have ended up so far from home.