Sunday, November 26, 2006

Take that, tonsils!

After all the trials and tribulations of Tuesday 14th, I was then de-tonsilled the very next day! All very last minute, we arrived in the waiting area at 8am, calculated that if I hadn't been called through by 11.30 they wouldn't have time to do it that day, and got on with knitting/reading. At 11.05 a nurse appeared and said "They want you in theatre NOW!" so I hurtled through to the ward, was given a bed, changed into a gown, oops we haven't given you a pre-med, oh well, never mind and walked through to theatres. I walked into the Anaesthetic room at 11.20! (this is a much better way to do it, as all the lying round on a bed wearing a theatre gown the day before had made me nervous!)

It was a little frustrating on the walk through, as you get to go past the anaesthetic rooms of all (10) theatres, all of which were in action and all of which looked interesting. I'd had to leave my glasses behind at the ward as I can see well enough without them to read my consent form so I couldn't really see what was going on and I'd have loved to be nosy and have a gawp in through the doors on the way past. Everybody was really nice and friendly in anaesthetics and talked me through what was going on (possibly I wasn't supposed to ask so many questions?). I came round in the Recovery Room at 12.15 (although when I read my notes the next day it was actually 11.58, but it took until 12.15 for me to remember how to tell the time), so the whole operation only took about 30 minutes!

Then I was wheeled back to the ward, but onto a different bay, which was a little confusing. I'd had my bed re-allocated whilst I was in theatre! It was in my favour though, as I'd started out in a bay with 3 men, and ended up in one with 3 other women! I felt pretty grim by then as I'd had plenty of morphine in Recovery and then discovered back on the ward that morphine makes me spew! LOVELY. I ended up being kept in hospital that night (it should have been day surgery) because I hadn't managed to eat anything but the night was enormous fun! We were all relatively young in my bay and it was a bit like having a pyjama party as we swopped our cancellation horror stories and kept getting the giggles. Two of the others were waiting for surgery the next day and the other one had just come out of theatre like me. The next morning Georgina, who had come in at 8am on Wednesday just like me and had waited for surgery on her kidney for the whole day before being found a bed for the night in my bay, had her operation cancelled 10 minutes before she was due into theatre. An emergency had come in and taken the High Dependency bed she might have needed when she came out of theatre.

On Thursday I got some Rice Krispies down and was discharged just before lunch. Mum borrowed a wheelchair to push me the 20 metres (!) home from the ward, which was a little scary when she insisted on going down the middle of the road rather than on the pavement. And that was it, really, for the next 10 days or so. I'd been warned I'd feel increasingly worse for the following 4-7 days (that's SO encouraging when you've just come out of theatre), and this was very true, as by the weekend I'd never felt so crap in my life. It's settled down a lot since, and now just feels like having tonsillitis. You're also warned to eat rough foods such as toast and bran flakes as this keeps the throat clean and helps prevent infection. That advice actually worked really well, and, although people kept talking about ice cream I really wasn't tempted by it, I think it would have felt really clogging and definitely wouldn't have helped clean my throat! Mum provided some great meals and I managed to eat quite a variety, which I think helped the recovery and meant I didn't lose too much weight, thank goodness. It was really slow progress though, as it was taking an hour every morning just to eat a bowl of porridge! Anyway, it's going OK. I saw my GP for the 7 day follow-up last week and everything is healing well and he told me to stay off work for another fortnight (damn!) to make sure it's healed properly.

And, what did I get up to whilst lolling round at home? Well, I read a pile of books, watched some films and did plenty of knitting. (I also knitted in hospital, although knitting with a cannula in is bloody difficult!). It was quite entertaining at first as I had trouble concentrating and remembering things and it took a few days to regain the ability to multi-task (eeek, is that what it's like being a man?!). The knitting update will have to wait as I'm still at Mum's house on pay-as-you-go dial-up so can't upload pics but this is what I read:

"The Conjuror's Bird" by Martin Davies. This is a fun and interesting read, and reminds me a lot of "Possession" by A.S. Byatt (but a third the length and without vast chunks of "Victorian" poetry). It's all about the hunt for a taxidermy specimen supposedly brought back by Sir Joseph Banks intertwined with two love stories set at different times (see, I did say it was like "Possession") and the characters spend quite a lot of time rattling around Lincolnshire villages. There are chunks of truth in the story, especially about Banks' expeditions. The author has NO idea of the differences between a librarian and an archivist though (honestly, humph!).

Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean. The sequel to Peter Pan, commissioned by Great Ormond St Hospital in order to keep the royalties flowing. I didn't really enjoy this one much (although I read it when my brain was most anaesthetic/morphine addled which probably didn't help) and I never really "got" Peter Pan when I was younger anyway. However, the story rattles along (if slightly confusingly, but that might be the morphine) and lots of old characters come back and some new ones who don't turn out to be very new after all. And it's printed in a big typeface which is excellent when your brain doesn't work well.

"Theodora's Baby" by Penny Culliford. Sequel to Theodora's Diary and Theodora's Wedding and continues much in the same vein. It is very funny, and isn't intended to be taken seriously (ie perfect post-op reading). I did get slightly annoyed by the lack of research (there's one point where the vicar is talking about something that happened at theological college which just couldn't have as the C of E would never have allowed the person concerned through a selection conference and into theological college in the first place! For a start she'd have been too young.) But then, it is a book that's meant to be silly and make you laugh more than anything else. which it does. And thanks to Anne for sending me it, and Theodora's Wedding, to read!

"Mr Phillips" by John Lanchester. A man is made redundant, can't bring himself to tell his family and spends the day wandering around London, pretending he's been at work all day. It reminds me a lot of "If nobody speaks of remarkable things" by Jon Mcgregor(another book, like "Possession", that I loved) because it's all about noticing the things that go on all the time that nobody normally notices. Mr Phillips wanders around, mainly thinking about sex, and a few things happen, but that's not really the point. Anyway, I thought it was quite cool, and one of those books that makes you think more about lots of things.

And I'm still in the middle of reading "After the Victorians" by A.N. Wilson and "Knitting" by Anne Bartlett.

Films? Well, I watched a few of the good old Colin Firth standbys, and also had a selection from my rental list at Lovefilm, which included some of season two of "Spooks" (a current addiction, but I only started watching Spooks last year on TV so I've got some catching up to do), "Birth", which is about reincarnation when a 10-year-old turns up claiming to be Nicole Kidman's dead husband, just as she's about to marry again. I rather enjoyed this one, it was another one that made my brain do some work. Unfortunately my laptop didn't like it which made watching it hard work as the computer kept crashing! Think I'll have to get it out again once I'm back home to see whether I missed anything. And "Amen", about the Church's ineffectualness (is that a word?) about doing anything about the Holocaust despite knowing what was going on. I originally saw this at the cinema when it came out (the wonderful Picturehouse cinema in Exeter, when I was working in the city in 2001) and it's excellent. Quite quite scary, as you watch the trains repeatedly running across the screen, knowing they're taking more and more people to be killed, and the desperation of the men who know more are being sent to their deaths and are trying to get the word out, but are repeatedly ignored. When I originally saw it the Catholic church stood out as the main culprit, knowing full well what was going on, but refusing to stand up to Hitler, but on viewing again, the Protestant church didn't come out much better either. But then again, I doubt very much that I'd have had the guts to do much about it had I been in a position to warn people then.

Golly, this is a long post! Congratulations if you've made it to the end! And thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post. I have replied to some, but I'm very behind with emails and comments at the moment, and I think it'll take until next summer to catch up on reading blogs...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Humph, as I feared yesterday, today's tonsillectomy was cancelled. And, even worse, cancelled at the last minute.
I'd gone in at 8am, completed the pre-op assessment, met the consultant and anaesthetist, been given a bed, changed into a theatre gown, had my pre-meds at 9.30, due in theatre at 10am. And nothing happened. I lay there, Mum sat next to me. We twiddled our thumbs. I knitted. I read. I slept. Mum read. We talked about every topic under the sun. My tummy rumbled (having not had anything to eat or drink from 11pm the night before!). What was worse, they kept pushing the ward tea trolley past with a giant tea pot full of tea on it.

At 12.55 the consultant reappeared and said he had to cancel as they'd run out of operating time in theatre. They've told me to come in again tomorrow, as there's a chance I'll get it done, but I'm not holding out much hope. Today I was no. 3 on a theatre list of 6 and got cancelled. Tomorrow I'll be the extra one on the end of a theatre list of 6 so the chances of getting through that are fairly remote. And this consultant only operates on Mon-Wed mornings, so that'll be it for this week.

The frustrating thing is that there isn't anyone in particular to be angry with. It's not the staff's fault that they ran out of theatre time (either an earlier op. was more complicated than they expected or an emergency came in) and there isn't any slack in the system to allow for them to go over the allocated time. It just seems such a waste - the system won't pay overtime to allow all the day's operations to still go ahead, yet has to bear the cost of my half day's occupancy of a hospital bed, clean laundry, pre-med drugs, staff time and probably a repeat of it all tomorrow. It's also the attitude of the "system" that annoys me. That I haven't got anything better to do than lie around all day waiting for a non-existent operation, and do the same tomorrow, and probably next week too. The same thing happened to an elderly family friend last week. She was going in for a hip replacement, and got as far as being wheeled through the theatre doors, then the intensive care bed she needed for afterwards was taken by an emergency case and she had to be wheeled out again and sent home. That operation has been rescheduled for December...

But look, I did get LOADS of Noa done today! ;-)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bye for now

This was going to be a long post, featuring, among other things, my thoughts on different socks heels and their wearability (after a week at work wearing handknitted socks, with different heels on). But then stuff kept happening over the weekend, and I kept meaning to post and didn't find time. And today I've been trying to catch up with some work, as I'm having the tonsillectomy tomorrow and needed to get some money earnt before that! And the joy and rapture at the thought of another Incapacity Benefit form to fill in tomorrow. Oh Grrrrrrr. Of course, the operation might be cancelled, in which I'll be back tomorrow going GRRRRR in a very big way. But otherwise, I'll only be in hospital for the day, but am then going to stay with Mum so my internet access will be a little limited. Which probably means no blog posts for about a fortnight. I'm already behind (as usual!) with reading other people's blogs, and I'm going to be even more behind soon, so apologies there...

The weekend disappeared (apart from a lovely fluffy Knit Lincs meeting) under a pile of boring mundane things, like altering curtains, washing socks and attaching heat reflector panels behind the radiators (I do have an exciting life, don't I?!)

Supposedly these bits of bobbly plastic will cut my heating bills by 20% and mean I don't have to have the heating on as much. They're very Blue Peter to fix, involving copious quantities of double-sided sticky tape, and lots of trying to wiggle them in behind radiators.

I have been knitting, and there should be more pictures, but again, time and the total lack of decent light (apart from about 2 hours around lunch time!) mean that there's not a lot to show:

This is my first Mermaid sock completed. The pattern is from Lucy Neatby's "Cool Socks, Warm Feet" book and is supposedly at "Sock Goddess" level. Am I really a sock goddess? I don't think so, it was actually quite an easy pattern once you get into it. Lucy is also very good at talking you through what you're doing in the pattern. It can make it look intimidating, as each pattern goes on for pages, but a lot of it is different options for cuffs, heels and toes. The yarn is the Opal Seide 4ply, which my One Skein SP Angel, Maylin, sent me. The garter stitch cuff and short row heel are on 2mm needles, the rest on 2.5mm. I also really like the way Lucy explains short row heels, I think they're the clearest instructions I've used, although it does look slightly intimidating - at one point I had 7 DPNs on the go!

I also have Noa and Devan on the needles at the moment, but you'll have to be patient to see pics of them!
So bye for now, and I really hope I'm not back posting tomorrow...

Friday, November 10, 2006

A meme

I've seen this on various blogs and thought I'd give it a whirl...

1. Flip to page 18, paragraph 4 in the book closest to you right now, what does it say?
"A third feature of Grey's personality ws his collegiality. In an interview late in life he was asked by F. Edmund Garrett: 'Looking back now over your long career, Sir George... what is the thing that most strikes you about it - you yourself?' After some hesitation, Grey replied: 'I think what strikes me most is- how I have been helped.' 'Helped?' replied Garrett, 'How helped?'. Grey responded: 'Oh, by everybody [...] Everybody has been so kind to me, and helped me on so. Things have come to me.' And 'things' did, in the form of books and manuscripts from 'persons in every rank of life'... D.J. Kerr Amassing treasures for all times Oak Knoll Press 2006.

2. If you stretch out your left arm - as far as possible, what are you touching?
Another dining chair.

3. What’s the last program you watched on tv?
BBC news.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is.
Around 4ish - It's actually 16.07.

5. Except the computer, what can you hear right now?
The Last Word on Radio 4 and the washing machine.

6. When was the last time you were outside and what did you do?
Walked to the post office (or does going down the garden to the compost bin count?)

7. What are you wearing?
Jeans and a pink stripy jumper from Next. And my yummy scrummy thick warm walking socks from Crookabeck Angoras.

8. Did you dream last night? If you did, what about?
No, I slept like a log. Hardly surprising as it's been a long week and I was finally back in my own bed!

9. When was the last time you laughed?
Erm, probably when I knitting away on Noa, and thinking what a total prat I'm going to look at work wearing a balaclava, along with a dust mask and a woolly hat.

10. What’s on the walls, in the room you’re in right now?
In front of me there's a framed exhibition poster from this summer's Van Gogh and Britain exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland. To the right a framed Ordnance Survey map centred on my postcode. Above the piano is a clock and on the left some family photos in a couple of clip frames.

11. Have you seen anything strange lately?.
Well it depends what you mean by strange...

12. What do you think about this meme?
I liked the questions. A lot of memes are very "samey" and I often don't bother reading them and wouldn't bother doing them myself. Oh, and I am putting off doing the washing up! ;-)

13. What’s the last film you saw?
Fahrenheit 9/11

14. If you became a multimillionaire, what would you do with the money?
I'd make sure me and my family were all happily housed and could afford to do whatever courses/job etc they wanted to do. .
I'd want to give a chunk to charity but I'd want to do a lot of research first.
I'd also invest some so that, in the future, I'd be able to have some life choices - like whether to stay at home with children or go back to work etc.
I'd really like to live in an environmentally friendly self-sufficient house too.
I'd get a cleaning person (!)

15. Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
Erm, I'm not sure. I already talk about a lot of things on here, and the rest I'm not going to share! ;-)

16. If you could change ONE THING in this world, without regarding politics or bad guilt - what would it be?
I'd like it if the West could stop thinking it was always right, and take into account other cultures/countries.

17. Do you like dancing?
Not really, and I'm not very good. I do enjoy barn dancing though, as doesn't matter if you're bad or good or how old you are etc. Weddings with barn dances are usually good fun.

18. George Bush?
Why? How? I still can't believe that he managed to get to be President. And look at the hash he's making of it.

19. What do you want your children’s names to be, girl/boy?
I'm not sure as it's still a long way off. I prefer traditional names though, and not the strange alternative spellings you get of some of them nowadays (yes, I know I'm an old fart!).

20. Would you ever consider living abroad?
Yes, I'd like to, although I'd prefer to be somewhere not obvious (ie not somewhere like the US or most of Western Europe). I worked briefly in Switzerland and enjoyed the surroundings (although not the place I was working in!). I'd love to go to Scandinavia and Africa, although I think my language skills would limit where I'd be able to work.

21. What do you want God to tell you, when you come to heaven?
That cats definitely do go to heaven, not just humans.

22. Who should do this meme?
Anyone who wants to or anyone who's bored!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Being British, I am now going to talk about the weather. Last Sunday I tootled off to London wearing a short-sleeved top and Tubey. By Tuesday the temperature had dropped about 20 degrees and it's now FREEZING! What happened?!?! I know October was very very mild (can't ever remember going for a walk on my birthday without a coat on before!) but the sudden change is taking a bit of getting used to.

Mum bought me some bird feeders a while ago, and now seemed like a good time to start using them, so I had to go to the garden centre to find some kind of bird table to hang them from. I decided a traditional one just wasn't going to work (there are far too many cats around here for it to be feasible), but this one, that's "hangy" rather than "tabley" should do the trick, I think.

I've been meaning to do stuff to the garden for ages, but just haven't been at home to do it (and when I have, I've had tonsillitis!). So, I went a little mad at the garden centre (where they were very nice, and didn't mind answering idiotic/clueless questions) and bought the Buddleia I've been planning for the back corner to disguise the Very Ugly Concrete wall. I also bought a large bag of "Farmyard Manure" (why do I think it's funny to buy a large bag of what is, basically, poo?) and then had a most entertaining time trying to get the ****** thing out of the boot of my car and into the back garden. Presumably this is why men are useful to have around. Unfortunately Monkey wasn't feeling helpful so I had to shift it myself.

My garden is covered with black plastic, and then gravel, which supposedly means the weeds don't grow through. It doesn't work. And I hate the fact the garden is covered with plastic. I've been planning a bed at the bottom, so started clearing gravel, and discovered that there's ******* concrete underneath the gravel for the final metre of garden. GRRRRRRRRR. Looks like the flower bed will have to be further from the wall than I intended. Unless anyone has a miraculous means of getting rid of concrete?

By then it was getting dark and cold outside, so I pootled off inside to plant some bulbs:

these are Narcissi and Hyacinths. And yes, that is Lincoln Longwool fleece in the background.

I did do some knitting last week:

I was in London last Sunday/Monday for a conference and took these two down for Gypsy the cat, whose owner had invited me for dinner. Gypsy was very pleased, but I forgot my camera so couldn't get a piccy of her playing.

Friday, November 03, 2006



I've been trying to decide all week what I think about Halloween, and Anne's post has pretty much summed it up for me! I spent Monday and Tuesday this week trying to decide what I was going to do about the Trick or Treaters. I hate them coming round (it's a relatively new phenomenon in this country, they've only appeared in the last few years). Last year, when I lived in Lincoln, we had some fairly aggressive teenage boy Trick or Treaters round demanding money, and who did damage some decorator's equipment in our porch when we only offered chocolate. Even when it is small children coming round, I don't think it's right that children are encouraged to knock on strangers' doors and ask for sweets. We spend the whole year telling them not to talk to strangers or take sweets from strangers, and then encourage them to do just that on Halloween! Hmm, mixed messages or what?!

It also seems so commercial (presumably that's why it's now so popular over here as it's been heavily promoted by various companies) and an excuse to market more plastic tat at children (and which then mostly ends up in landfill).

The French seem to have the right idea, and, according to this report, Halloween festivities there are on the wane. Ah, if only that would catch on the UK...

Anyway, I considered going to the police station for one of their "No trick or treaters here" posters to put in my window, but thought that might just lead to more problems. Fortunately we had a Guide meeting on Tuesday night, and we'd already decided to go ahead with the meeting to keep the kids off the streets and away from knocking on people's doors. We had a good evening, with a party, fancy dress competition, apple bobbing and soup and hot dogs. The girls had a whale of a time, no one got scared, no one intimidated anyone else, so I think that was a success.

Being at Guides meant I missed the worst of the Trick or Treaters (although I saw some going round in a pack of about 30 as I walked home). I did have two lots at my door before the meeting, two little girls dressed up (accompanied by their Mum), who were rather sweet and very polite, and three teenagers (unaccompanied) who were also polite. They all had some chocolate (although I did feel intimidated enough beforehand to go out and buy a box of little chocolates in, which I resented doing). But I feel very sorry for those people (especially those living on their own) who did get the marauding packs of teenagers at the door later that evening. And what about the elderly on a very limited income who can't afford to go and buy sweets to hand out (and then feel intimidated because they haven't got anything?)

Dilemma: should I have bought the chocolate? By handing out chocolate I've encouraged the kids to think that Trick or Treating is good and they'll be back again next year. But by buying chocolate I've avoided potential eggs thrown at my house/windows/car (parked outside house), flour in my letterbox, doorbell being ripped off, marauding people getting into my back garden and overturning all the tubs...