Thursday, April 29, 2004

I'm Jake the Peg, diddle-iddle-iddle-um

Tuesday was Mum's birthday and she was getting a bit fed up with still being in hospital. It has been over a month now since she was admitted, see blog entry: Not a very good Mother's Day. Dad and Ian went over; they dressed her in normal clothes and "smuggled" her into the staff restaurant for a birthday meal.

She is getter steadily steadier on her feet, she has progressed from a zimmer frame to crutches. Getting up and down stairs is, apparently best done with one stick and the bannister. But you need two when on the flat, upstairs and downstairs. So you leave one stick at either end and use a third while in transit, picking up the other when you get there.

When Mum heard she was getting a third stick the nurses wondered what was so funny. It was that in her head she could hear Rolf Harris singing "I'm Jake the Peg, diddle-iddle-iddle-um, With my extra leg, diddle-iddle-iddle-um".

Monday, April 26, 2004

Having trouble taking off are we sir?

Traditional Traffic cop humour. Mary picked up her new toy on Saturday - a shiny new BMW X4. Machina multo sportivo! She informs me that she had a very pleasant conversation with the nice policeman with the blue flashing lights on the A3. I will not reveal exactly how fast she was going. He invited her to inspect the radar gun. Just then another call came in and they had to go without issuing a ticket. As he left he informed her that she was a very lucky woman. Amen to that!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

Mum has now moved to the "fast track" physio ward. This means she will get more exercise than she was wont to do. They say that anything she could do before the op she should still be capable of after. However it must be said she was not noted for the amount of exercise she took before. Maybe she will end up fitter after than before!

As an aside: one good feature of Frimley Park Hospital is that she has a direct phone line to her bed-side so I can keep in touch on my travels. The down side is that every time she changes ward (this is her sixth) she gets allocated a new number and I have to keep re-programming my phone.

* You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) by The Beatles

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet

I have just finished delivering a two day training course on Business Analysis skills and I am drained. Stumbling back to the apartment to relax the line "My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet" pops into my head. But now, checking my references (Bob Dylan - Mr Tambourine Man), I discover I have been suffering a mondegreen all these years; I had always thought it was "Landed" - Oh Well.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Under the Tuscan Sun

Currently reading "Under the Tuscan Sun" by Frances Mayes by way of preparatory research for our imminent Puglian purchase. She referred to her daughter's upcoming visit. Now American English has contributed many fine words to world English but "upcoming" is, I am afraid, not one of them. I find it an ugly word and how could a poet (as she is described on the cover) use it? What is wrong with 'imminent', 'forthcoming', 'impending', 'approaching' or even no adjective at all?

Monday, April 19, 2004

Upstairs, downstairs

Mary and I called in to see Mum yesterday on our way up to London. The latest is that the medics expect her to be in hospital for about two more weeks. The swelling caused by fluid retention has almost completely gone; her legs are back to their normal shape - more or less. The bruising on her left arm has started that interesting rainbow cycle that healing bruises go through on their way back to skin colour. The plan is to move her to a "fast track" physio ward where she will get more intensive physiotherapy to get her fully mobile again. Key to that is that she can get up and down stairs since my parents do not live in a bungalow.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

The game is afoot!

The financial wheels are in motion. Our NatWest PAM (Personal Account Manager) Daljeet rang to say the deposit money arrived from the Woolwich today and is already winging it's way to Gruppo D'Amico's bank account. I told Daljeet what it was for but she will probably have to report it to her compliance officer under anti-money laundering legislation regardless.

Mary's key milestone will be standing on top of our very own Lamia (farm building with barrel-vaulted roof) drinking a glass of the local Locorotondo white wine. Mine will be sometime later when we bake our first pizza in the outdoor pizza oven :-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

It's getting better, growing stronger

Steady improvement in Mum's condition. Most of the stitches are out, only a few to go. She spends most of the day in a chair rather than lying in bed. Getting herself in and out of bed. Regular physiotherapy to get her walking.

Haven't spoken to Mum for a couple of days, partly because her direct line doesn't seem to be working and partly because I am running a training course in the US. What with the flight and the time difference it is difficult to find the conversational window.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Home from the hills

The Puglian hills that is. A small portion of which shall soon be ours. On Thursday, in Italy, we signed the preliminary contract on the purchase of our holiday home in Puglia. See Trulli photos. With the aim of completion of the transaction last week of May. It will only have taken a year since we first made an offer but sometimes things are worth waiting for.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Take up thy bed and walk

Mum walked from Acute Dependency to a general ward today. This is definitely downgrading to "Condition Blue". Now it is a case of getting her well enough to discharge. Her arms are very bruised where the medics used her as a pin cushion - apparently her veins are hard to find and of course they needed to take regular blood samples. Eventually they stuck a Dracula tube in her neck with several small bore tubes fanning out to taps on their ends; that put an end to the voodoo doll approach.

Mary and I are off to Italy for the Easter weekend so this is me signing off for a week.

Graculus the great green bird

They might be rooks, these large black birds cawing down our chimney. They are trying to build a nest on top of our stack. On account of it being a wide inglenook fire place all they succeed in doing is throwing twigs down the hole. I went into the living room yesterday to find heaps of twigs in the grate and all over the hearth. They are birds of very little brain.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Monday, Monday

Got to Frimley Park Hospital at 5pm to discover that Mum had been moved from ICU to an Acute Dependency Ward (one down from High Dependency) with 1:4 nurse:patient ratio. Great to see continuing improvement. She is now on pureed food, although she does say that liquidised ricotta and spinach lasagne is not the most visually appealing meal. Well, what she actually said was "It looks pretty disgusting" :-)

Had a brief chat to a charming (and very young looking) doctor who confirmed the details of the operation and that she is - now - doing well. Particularly circulation in the legs can be a concern but not here.

About 6:30pm the food trolley arrived with something brown and pureed, with a scoop of mashed potato so I left her and Dad to it.

BTW I should introduce my parents by name: my Dad is Michael, my Mum is Geri. Her full name is Margery and all her life she has been Gerry. Then a couple of years ago she announced that henceforth she wished to spelled Geri - like the spice girl! A woman of character my Mum.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Friday on my mind

Friday night it was just a short visit as I was in transit from Heathrow to Avon Cottage. I do not feel like a particularly dutiful son just popping in "en passant" but with both Mary and I working abroad - in different countries at that - I *also* feel the need to get home to Mary most speedily.

Anyhoo, Mum was much more alert and chatty, telling us the full details about the day her legs went (only two weeks ago yesterday!). Ian and Sarah were visiting as well. It was my first visit to the Intensive Care Unit, just like in the movies with monitor screens and electronic boxes that go "ping". Mum gave us a jiggle of the legs to show us they are working. She is off intravenous feeding and was being fed some kind of slurry through a tube up her nose. I learned just now from Dad that she ate some porridge the last two mornings and some mashed potato last night. So they are starting the proccess of weaning her back onto solids. All good news :-)

And finally... Spring is here. We had our first al fresco breakfast of the year. Wonderful to sit eating sausage butties in the sunshine and admiring the garden.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Aorto-Bi-Femoral Bypass

That appears to be the correct medical term. Google "aortobifemoral bypass" for more. Plus a blocked aorta in the chest as well. Both unblocked now. Just spoke to Jane who just got home from visiting. Mum is a feeling lot better. The surgeon who operated is on holiday this week so will will not be able to quiz him until then. That's all for now.

BTW she is at Frimley Park Hospital, the same place she went for her mastectomy in January. Some year she's having so far, eh!