We’ve had the best part of a month with no significant rain, and for the past week daytime temperatures have been over 30C. I’ve been spending part of every afternoon in a cool bath!

It’s now still very hot, but thunderstorms are becoming “a thing”. They finally hit us here last night. The initial deluge only lasted about fifteen minutes, but was most welcome, and an hour later there was a long period of more gentle rain.

Click the link for a short video: 20200812 P1010684

hospital again

Tuesday (2nd June) was not a good day. Actually, it started on Monday, during my walk: I started getting angina twinges as I was walking (on the level !) back through Perdiswell Park. It persisted, with varying strength, until after lunch on Tuesday. Not exactly painful, more of a squeezing sensation.

So, I thought I’d better check it out. I called NHS111, who sent an ambulance. A couple of ECG scans and some blood pressure monitoring later, they decided on hospital. That was what I’d been worried about – not that I dislike hospitals, but at the moment fear of catching CoViD-19 is still very high, as I have a couple of areas of “vulnerability”.

So, off to WRH. A&E was not crowded – I think I’m not the only one still worried about coronavirus! I was parked in the converted corridor, and bloods taken. Unfortunately, I was parked nearly opposite the doors to the Resuscitation Room, which was clearly getting prepared for something serious – as the doors opened, I could see staff gowning up in full protective gear. Then an emergency team rushed in, in full breathing apparatus, surrounding a patient in a tent-type-thing. Pretty scary. Then the team in Resus. obviously wanted things – ordinary staff were allowed as far as the doorway, but had to hand things through and were not allowed in. All was explained when notices were stuck on the door: “Covid RED ROOM” “Full PPE must be worn” No admittence except to authorised staff” and so on.

I saw the Duty Consultant in pretty short order – only a couple of hours. He was great, and immediately confirmed that I has not had a heart attack. However, he was worried by my dizzy spells (I’d just about fainted when I sat up from lying down, so he could listed to my back), and suggested he discuss me with a colleague and that I stay in overnight, to which I agreed. A transfer to an actual bed in the Medical Assessment Unit followed.

Fortunately, although there was no phone signal, the NHS WiFi proved excellent, so I was able to email Sim and ask him to call Mum – I didn’t want to alarm her by just sending a bare email! Too late for a proper meal, but a couple of NHS sandwiches at 300+ calories each stopped me starving. After further discussion, it was decided to take more blood, to do a d-dimer test (which checks for evidence of clotting such as deep vein thrombosis,). First attempt to take blood went really painfully wrong, but a second attempt an hour later went OK. There was an outside chance my symptoms could be attributed to something called “aortic dissection”, which is an emergency requiring rapid surgery. Fortunately, this proved not to be the case!

A rather disturbed night (the ward was noisy), and I gave up and got up just after six. I did try to keep my strolls out of the ward down to once every two hours – necessary not just for a quick e-cig, but also (actually mainly) because my back was really painful. The chair and bed were not good for me: I painfully hobbled out of the ward, with my ability to walk gradually improving on the journey through A&E and the reception area, and by the time I’d walked around for ten minutes I was walking normally on my return to the ward.

A very stodgy lunch (veg soup, chicken casserole with croquette and mashed potato, very overcooked mixed veg and leeks, followed by sticky toffee pudding and custard) played hob with my calorie count and attempts to avoid high-GI carbohydrates, but was tasty enough. I had a little snooze straight after it! It was decided that my dizzy spells might be related to taking non-modified-release isosorbide mononitrate, as that meant peaks and troughs of it in my system, so I agreed to try modified-release once a day. Previously it hasn’t worked for me, but they’ve upped the dose a bit, so we’ll see how it goes. My blood pressure does seem to vary – usually around 127/85, but sometimes about 115/65 which is really too low. Doesn’t seem to be related to posture, exercise, or anything else much!

Released just before 4pm, and home by cab (still wearing my hospital-supplied mask), so I was away for almost exactly 24 hours. Between stress and lack of sleep I was very wrung out, which continued into Thursday (when I did absolutely nothing and didn’t leave the house).

I’ve typed this up on Friday afternoon. Halfway through, I went out to the pharmacy (prescription from Elbury Moor has not arrived, although ordered last weekend), and Co-Op for milk. MapMyWalk tells me it was 0.72 miles, 2012 steps, in 23 minutes – rather slow, even allowing for time spent in shops. Still, I was deliberately not walking fast … I’m not over the “episode”, still feeling a bit breathless, occasional angina twinges, and generally a bit under par. Hopefully that will improve over the next couple of day and by the time the weather gets warm again I’ll be able to go for more sensible walks!

chocolate pods and tadpoles …

There I was in the Co-Op, shopping for milk (essential) and mayo (‘cos I feel too lazy to make my own) when I became aware of a strange object. I’m not really one for Easter eggs, and this isn’t one … it seems to be a “chocolate pod celebrating 25 years of FairTrade, and is therefore completely different!

It’s now “decontaminating itself” in isolation in the front room, for several days. And will have to be consumed in minute portions, due to diet.

Back from shopping, and a quick check round the garden …

TODAY is tadpole-hatching day! I’ve been keeping an eye out several times a day – last year they hatched on 28th March, so they’re a bit late this year. Six balls of frog-spawn all hatching simultaneously, in my tiny (6′ x 2’6″) pond … wonderful stuff.

chocolate pod


tadpole video on Facebook post

back at Mum’s

Well, I managed 24 hours at home, having got back rather after 6pm on Monday, and leaving rather before 7pm on Tuesday. Mum had had another “event” – this time, while her hairdresser was there, fortunately. She got very confused, and didn’t even recognise my sister Jane on the phone. Ambulance called, taken to JR2, and a scan showed no TIA or stroke, so they decided not to keep her in overnight.

Mum wasn’t best pleased about this, but the excessive blood pressure events (240 upwards) so far haven’t actually produced any bleeds to the brain, and it just takes a while for the swelling of the blood vessels to go down and allow a return to normalcy (or as close as she gets).

Fortunately, local friends Sue and Pippa had noticed the ambulance, and kept family informed. They went to visit Mum early evening in hospital, and were there when she was discharged so were able to bring her home, which was massively helpful. I arrived around 8.30 (train to Hanborough, then cab) about ten minutes after they all got back.

Later on, Mum was worrying about the electrode stickers that had still been left on, and I noticed that they’d actually still left a cannula in! A quick call to my sister (‘cos she’s up to speed on local medical services), then a long call to NHS111. “A doctor will call back within the hour“, which duly happened. “A paramedic will come and remove the cannula in the next hour or so“. They turned up at about half past midnight, having had a spot of difficulty in finding the house (why do they never ring for directions, as we always tells them to – the place is a bugger to find in the dark if you don’t know it!). Anyway, I was much relieved once the cannula had been taken out.

Exhausted, I slept from 1am until the alarm went off just after 8 – the first uninterrupted sleep I’ve had since the New Year, as the cold / nasty chest and sinuses I’ve had has been waking me a couple of times a night.  This morning, my sister had managed to re-instate the morning carer who has been cancelled when Mum went into hospital, which was good news (though a bit of a shock, as she arrived unexpectedly when I was in my dressing gown making my first coffee of the day – not my best time!).

I expect Mum will spend most of the day in bed, dozing. I’ve done most of the routine chores, and will try to get out for a walk – it’s a glorious sunny and rather frosty morning.


Remembering all those who we have lost.

I was given this beaded badge (which I’ll be wearing today) exactly nine years ago – the first time I took Maurice to an appointment at his HIV clinic.

beaded AIDS ribbon


A couple of weeks ago, the train I was planning to catch over to see Mum was cancelled. It was a Sunday lunchtime, and trains are only every two hours, so I gave up. I put in for “delay repay”, of course.

This morning my compensation arrived. Rail travel vouchers – which I specify as they cause the much-loathed GWR  much more inconvenience and cost than refund to debit card (and I don’t particularly want to email GWR card or bank details). It will come in handy for my next visit (which has been postponed from today to the weekend).

rail travel voucher

An interesting day spent wrestling with WordPress themes and styles. I think we’re about there for now, though it can always be changed later.

I discovered that some of my last blog can be accessed through the Wayback machine, so not quite all of it is lost. That gives me some encouragement to start again – especially as I discover that my web host now offers a backup service (at extra cost, naturally), so hopefully even a catastrophic crash like the one that killed my last blog will not lose masses of data.

With all that firkling on the web, I was late cooking supper. A rummage in the freezer found some pork-‘n-beans of indeterminate age, so I’ll have that with a couple of slices of garlic bread.

An early night is called for tonight: I’ll be standing outside a local Polling Station wearing a Green Party rosette from 0700h onwards!

Having flowered profusely in late November, both my “Christmas” cactuses have now started flowering again – thus cunningly avoiding the actual festive season itself!

cactus flower