Monday, 27 April 2015

Camilla bombed

Always concentrate on what you are doing where animals are concerned.
It's a good lesson that not always remembered.
The phone went early this morning and as expected it was Olwen who told me that Bob had died peacefully.
I went out to sort the animals out and got to thinking how awful it is for anyone who has lost a loved one when the sun shines and the world looks as though it is going on as normal.
We have all been there have we not?
On the surface everyone else's life is unchanged when your reality has crumbled
My thoughts are for Olwen and her family today.

It was this preoccupation that made me sloppy this morning.
For after emptying the goose house, I crawled inside , grabbed this morning's laid eggs and stuck my head back out , squinting into the sun.
Then Something  smacked me very hard in the eye


Hell hath no fury than a broody Canada Goose called Camillla Parker Bowles

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Home Nursing

There will be no church service in Trelawnyd today. Gaynor, the hilarious Church organist told us somewhat breathlessly yesterday.. The vicar took a tumble in a local stately home the other day and is recuperating at home.. I shall miss the church bell ringing before service tine.
It looks as though its going to be a bright day here today, a day to catch up with jobs. The Prof will send some time holed up in his office, which gives me a chance to deliver eggs, drop off a glut of goose eggs to Auntie Glad and Ian & Jo in the village. I am buttering Ian up with the eggs in order to get him and his partner to enter the cookery classes in the flower show ( he's a mean baker by all accounts)
I also need to call around to my friends Bob & Olwen in their neat little house in the centre of the village. Some years ago, Bob taught me how to cull a group of unwanted cockerels. An experienced and responsible poultry farmer of many years, Bob insisted that the job was done with gentleness and respect. The birds were handled in an almost zen like way, relaxing them in an almost hypnotic stupor before " the dispatch". and after the deed was done, he taught me to prepare the carcasses from plucking to gutting with considerable patience.
I felt I had the rare opportunity to learn from a master
Bob giving me my first plucking lesson!
It wasn't a buxom cockerel was it not?
I have a feeling he's still in the bottom of the freezer

Unfortunately Bob has been poorly in hospital recently and Olwen took the brave decision to nurse him at home as his condition deteriorated. Palliative care nursing at home is a hard road to walk is it not?
Chris and I have always told each other that we want to die at home. I want to be surrounded by dogs under a patchwork quilt, but that's my Hollywood version of what I want I guess.......
The reality of home nursing is sleepless nights, a whole marching band of visiting, well intentioned professionals and a home that is transformed into cross between  care home and hospital ward.
I saw all this when my mother cared for both of my grandmothers at home in the months before their deaths and I saw it all again when my brother died peacefully in his own home.
It's bloody hard work
Home nursing works, if support is ongoing, you are mentally and physically strong enough to cope with the day to day workload and you have pragmatic nursing cover.

So , I will call up to Bob and Olwen's today. I take the Sunday paper. I will offer to sit with Bob if Olwen wants to pop out and I will listen to the day's events with hopeful alacrity. That's all I can do

And Up and down the country thousands upon thousands of Olwens are home nursing their loved ones behind closed doors and curtained windows.
Hey ho



Saturday, 25 April 2015

Having A Larf

Chris is having a lie in, so I am making him eggs and toast......I'm having a grey hair moment for I cant quite remember if I washed my hands after picking up a hard bit of poo from the stairs......

It'll be right.....

Anyhow I can hear Chris tittering at " Curse of the were Rabbit" which he's watching on his ipad.....and I've got to thinking just how important it is to have a good titter.

The Unalaska Police Force

The Unalaska Police Blotter has made me titter for several years now, and I think it's time to share this phenomenon with a wider audience. Unalaska is a small town situated on the tail of the Alaskan Aleutian Islands. An isolated " frontier town" Unalaska suffers from it's own very individual crime wave , which is chronicled by Sgt Jennifer Shockley, somewhat dryly in the Unalaska Police Blotter.
It makes for hilarious reading


Below is a snippet from the " tater-tot incident"
I loved it

03/15/15              Sun        0058       Assault – Two men got into a fight after one man, attempting to protect his buddy’s tater-tots, told the tater-taker that he was the bigger and badder man. The tater-tot skirmish ended with one bloody nose and two ripped shirts.
03/15/15              Sun        0100       Trespass – Officer issued a trespass advisement, per bar management, to a belligerent patron who was instigating altercations.
03/15/15              Sun        0111       Assault – A drunk who offered to help police with an assault investigation walked up to one of the tater-tot combatants, shoved him across the face and identified him by labeling him with a vulgar, Oedipus-type epithet. Brent D. Thomas, 45 yoa, was subsequently taken into custody for Harassment II.
03/15/15              Sun        0120       Trespass – Various people involved in the tater-tot skirmish were issued trespass advisements.

If you need a smile........have a look if you have a minute or three to spare......

Friday, 24 April 2015

Autonomic Dysreflexia

This post is an example of " everything went wrong that could have gone wrong".
Yesterday, I recalled the story of Sue a patient who needed and received some excellent nursing care from a curly haired, potty mouthed and naturally funny staff nurse called Ruth, who I have been dear friends with for over 25 years.
The story, had a somewhat sad ending for after four months or so on the rehab ward, Sue suddenly suffered a major physical complication and died unexpectedly on intensive care . She was only 26 years old.
We had become very close with Sue during her admission, and so it was natural for us to want to attend her funeral, which was across the Pennines in her home city of Manchester, and so early on the morning of the service three spinal injury nurses and three spinal injury patients left Sheffield in two cars to show their support.
Now Ruth and I travelled in one car and with us was a young man called Nick who had been paralysed from the waist down in a car accident and Marie, a young woman injured from the neck down following a fall. Both were wheelchair bound and both had developed a special bond with Sue during their admission.
The other car was driven by a nurse called Paula and with her was another patient called Pete, who was able to walk very shakily on two sticks.
Things didn't bode well after we stopped at traffic lights in rural Derbyshire  for as Ruth muttered her signature oath of " Hell's Teeth!"  her car stalled and refused to start. It was only then when I realised that we were totally responsible for three patients, each one with their own individual care needs.
It was a sobering thought.
Anyhow we eventually arrived at Sue's family home in a back street of Manchester just as the hearse left for the Church, then everything went tits up.
  • Ruth's car finally died, leaving us stranded with no knowledge of where we were going
  • Ruth started to flag down passing cars in a desperate effort to elicit help as Paula and I managed to lift Nick and Marie into her car so that at least we could get them to the service
  • Ruth then incredibly stopped a cheerful plumber called Mick who agreed to transport me, her and the patients' wheelchairs across the city as a favour. Never was a stranger so helpful
  • After getting to the Church we unloaded both van and car, set the patients up in their chairs then bolted to the service which was just finishing. By this time Ruth was literally inconsolable 
  • The " wake" we were then told was located in a working men's club back across the city and Sue's family insisted that we all attend, so after organising more spaces in more stranger's cars we eventually arrived fraught, sweaty, and extremely stressed at one of the grottiest  council estate clubs I have ever seen.
  • Then everything REALLY took a turn for the worse. 
  • As we were setting up the wheelchairs ( brought for us by a couple of pensioners driving a nissan micra), Marie suddenly complained of a pounding headache. She looked flushed and unwell and couldn't quite focus  and we all suddenly knew that she was suffering from autonomic dysreflexia, a condition that is a medical emergency in high spinal cord injury patients. The condition can occur when a urinary catheter is blocked and if the cause is not rectified patients can have a pathological rise in blood pressure which can effectively kill them. The only treatment is to immediately change the patient's catheter.
  • " Get her into the club" Ruth yelled and between three of us , we lifted Marie out of the car and raced THROUGH the wake where a few hundred people were drinking beer  and eating sandwiches) 
  • Luckily a white faced club official saw us coming and pointed to the " ladies snug" which was deserted and on a polished table top , Ruth and Paula managed to change the blocked catheter which immediately reversed Marie's symptoms. 
  • While we were busy, several red faced drinkers had helped Nick and Pete into the club and were plying them with bottles of beer. This was just after 1pm
  • By seven pm, the AA had got Ruth's car started and we were on our way home. Nick and Pete were much the worse for wear and Ruth was beside herself with the stress. " I'm going to get sooo drunk tonight " she promised as we eventually got back to the spinal injury unit and after having to explain ourselves to the matron for our late return, she did exactly that, after talking a bottle of rum from another friendly rehabing patient!
The last thing I remembered of the evening was when I opened the taxi door  outside Ruth's house in
the wee small hours and she fell out onto the road drunk as a skunk. " HELL's TEETH" she slurred cheerfully "'I think I've just broken me finger.........hey ho" ......and I am afraid to say that she indeed had...but it wasn't diagnosed until the following afternoon....
Now you all know where " hey ho" comes from!
Me, Ruth's husband Allan, their kids and Ruth on a visit to Wales
Several years ago!


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Gays At Work

It was a busy night at work last night. Over a snatched cup of tea at 6 am the nursing night shift got into conversation about homophobia within the profession.
It wasn't THAT long ago that I had to pull up a colleague short who refered to a patient to ME as " being one of  YOUR lot" .
It was an unthinking and stupid remark which got short shrift from me.and I hope that the nurse involved learnt from the following telling off I gave them. At this time in the world there is absolutely no place for such silliness, I remember saying.
When I was a nurse in the early 1990s attitudes generally were not as accepting as I would like to think that they are today and I remember one young patient  in particular who struggled with her own sexuality whilst at the same time dealing with a catastrophic spinal injury.
The patient was called Sue and she was admitted following a motorway accident. She was place on , what was referred to then, as conservative bed rest for a back injury, which meant that she was placed flat on her back for 12 weeks!
Sue came from a large, bickering but loving family, and every day her parents, brothers and sisters crowded around her bed, effectively closing ranks in a protective huddle.
An old boyfriend was brought in by her mother to aid moral but it was clear that after a week from admission, Sue looked dreadfully depressed.
Her nurse, a real psychologically based rehab character called Ruth, came to me to discuss the case.
" I think she's gay" Ruth suggested, noting that one of Sue's visitors was a quiet, intense girl called Debs who seemed to always be pushed out at visiting times by the more needy and ever present family. " but it's only a hunch"
I suggested that Ruth explore the issue which she did in her own direct and very effective way when we went to turn Sue in bed shortly after.
With the family out of earshot Ruth gently asked if Debs was Sue's girlfriend.
It was done in a matter-o-fact way, which was pitched just right.........
And the floodgates opened.
Sue told us that for weeks the two women had been effectively separated and isolated. They had been lovers for over a year, but because both were in the closet  , both had to cope with the accident and a devastating paralysis alone.
They had not had a minute together in private since the accident.
Within an hour , Ruth had sorted the issue. The family were sent home hours later under a pretext of  some extended personal nursing procedure and after a flurry of phone calls, Debs was contacted and brought into the ward for an incredibly emotional and loving reunion with her girlfriend.

Ruth's hunch provided Sue with the support and love she desperately needed at a time of great distress, and although still firmly in the closet, Sue was helped through those dark days until she got up in a wheelchair to start rehab proper.

Now that was holistic care.


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Nothing Happened Today

A few unconnected thoughts of the day.


  • Pippa, the doctor's wife caught me stealing flowers the other day! In her best Lady Bracknell voice she demanded to know what I was doing lurking behind the old shed on the  small building plot behind our cottage with a pair of secateurs in my hand but seemed satisfied with my honest explanation. 
  • I took William to the vets last night for a review of his itchy / dry skin. Unfortunately neither the George Clooney or the young Russell Crowe vet were on duty so we had to settle for the rosy faced Irish vet who seemed stumped with his symptoms. She promised to discuss the case with a small animal vet expert and asked me to get a sample of William's skin with some selotape as she couldn't find any. She asked me if William was a stressed dog then took the question right back when he started to examine her ears for wax as she bent down to check his anal glands! I told her that I would ask blog readers if they have any ideas?
  • I hand washed our old patchwork quilt and hung it over the field gate to dry this morning. A woman ambler knocked on the door and offered me £40 for it. I told her to get knotted
  • Our most junior Flower Show Committee member Cameron called around to discuss the design  for this year's publicity posters. I cant believe that he's sitting his GCEs for it only seems like yesterday that he was walking to the primary school in the village. Funny how quickly kids grow up...he gave me an informed lecture of how to obtain sponsorship from local businesses!
  • Winnie is constipated today following her egg stealing of yesterday....I noted this morning that there has been much grunting and groaning at toilet time. It all sounded like a bad porn video!
  • I've eaten too much boiled beetroot on weightwatchers because my pee is ever so slightly purple!
  • I am now off to bed as I'm on nights tonight. The Prof gets home after I go to work so ..I've left him a quiche in the fridge for his tea.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Egg Heist

I was just in the process of making the bed when I heard a God awful commotion on the field.
It was Camilla and she was honking like an express train.
I ran to the window thinking a fox had struck, only to see Winnie struggling to squeeze herself under the dividing gate from the bottom to the top field. Camilla was behind her honking angrily and was snapping at her struggling bottom while the other dogs gleefully bounced around behind the fencing obviously enjoyed the drama.
Some egg thievery was afoot!
I grabbed my ipad and jogged over to capture what was left of the drama on film
It is the ever resourceful George who has taught Winnie to steal eggs, but wisely George has never tried to nab one of the goose eggs when they are broody. Winnie's greed obviously had got the best of her and when Camilla was off the nest for a moment she had ventured into the goose house, grabbed an egg and had legged it.
Unfortunately for her Camilla had seen the theft and had launched what can only be described as a spirited defence.
But Bulldogs love their food, and a few bites up the arsehole didnt upset Winnie too much for when I got over to the field, she was busy eating the contents as Camilla sulked on the sidelines.

Monday, 20 April 2015

A Little Chaos

I'm on the train back to Trelawnyd.One minute I am sipping a nice coffee in a very select hotel just off Tavestock Square, the next, I am sitting in the middle of an entire troupe of very loud Irish folk on the way to the ferry in Holyhead.
It's like the potato famine in reverse.

Anyhow, today's thought for today is just when did Kate Winslett reach 40.?
It only seems like yesterday that she and her teenage  cupid bow lips ran amok in Ang Lee's masterpiece " Sense and Sensibility " and look at her now, all curvy, womanly and  bravely showing her age in Alan Rickman's second feature as director, the period drama " A Little Chaos".
In it, Winslett Plays Madam Sabine de Barra, a self taught garden designer , who is hired by King Louis XIV to design a garden feature in his Palace at Versailles. Sabine is somewhat of a free spirit with a sad past, and her designs and way of life come into conflict with the ordered life and ways of senior garden guru Andre de Notre ( the smouldering Mathias Schoenaerts) and the claustrophobic intensity of King's court.
Sounds good eh?

Well, in parts it IS .Winslett is quite magnificently buxom,  sexy and rather beautiful in her role. Without a scrap of make up ( yeah right) she outshines any actress half her age but unfortunately the storyline changes from one of path of a self determination woman in 17th Century France  to one of a fairy insipid love story c/o Mills and Boone.
However, I did enjoy Rickman's vulnerable King Louis and Stanley Tucci was on top form as the king's wisecracking bisexual brother Phillipe, I could have easily watched an entire film just about them!

If you go and see it, look out for one emotionally powerful scene,which is remarkably well done.
In it Sabine finds herself shut away with the women of King's court, women who are not allowed to talk about grief or personal unhappiness. An impromptu therapy session starts with the woman and eventually Sabine sharing stories about the children they have lost and for a short moment we see the film's heart and real emotion for the first time.  Phyllida Law and the wonderful Jennifer Ehle literally shine in this scene.
So, if you want a sweet undemanding movie to end a wonderful day in London " A Little Chaos" is the perfect choice. 6/10

Right, I'm now home....again big thanks to Eirlys, John amd John& Mandy for the exemplary animal care.......it's back to normal......i've got to pick old Trevor up from his physio appointment in an hour or so, Winnie's fanny flannel is on the side just begging to be used and there is a decomposing corpse of a rabbit on the living room rug that needs disposing of thanks to Albert
Yes back to normal
Hey ho