It is now January 6th. Christmas and New Year have come and gone and so far I haven’t been called into hospital. In the meantime my days have been full of family and friends. Several outings and a lovely camping trip to Gloucestershire. The last real update we had was on New Year’s Eve when we went to the hospital for a blood test. At that time I was 9th in the queue. I will find out more on Tuesday when I go for my bone strengthening infusion, Zometa.
Christmas was quite busy as I expect it was for most of you. I attended several lunches and Christmas get-togethers. I met up with my colleagues from the charity I volunteer for at the yearly party. It was so good to see them and catch up with all the news. I also had a very posh lunch having been invited to join Martin’s work Christmas lunch. Lovely food and company though I did feel quite tired by the end of the day. There were also several informal lunches with a variety of friends and we had a lovely tea party after our last Sing and Tonic session of the year in Bromsgrove. It was very well attended and I was very kindly given a Spa voucher which I will use as soon as I am fit enough after my transplant. Such a thoughtful gift.
Then at last the 21st December arrived and off we went in our tiny car to collect the Greeks from Birmingham Airport. The luggage plus Emma and Anna travelled with Martin in the car home and I led the rail party consisting of myself, Yanni and Georgie back to Bournville where Martin collected us from the station. At last we were assembling together and Katie, Jacob and Isobel arrived the next day. We converted our front room temporarily into a bedroom so now had 5 bedrooms for the 9 inhabitants. Normally it is easier to house everyone because Martin and I usually sleep in the van, but this year Martin thought that because I need to rest a lot I should stay in the house otherwise I would be away from everyone for long periods.
Christmas passed in a blur, highlighted by a lovely Christmas lunch courtesy of my ex-husband Jerry and his wife Leslie. On the last day before we all departed in different directions, we had a lovely outing to the Clent Hills followed by hot chocolate in the NT café. It is a great outing for those convalescing or who don’t have too much energy as the slope to the top from the car park is very gentle. On a clear day you can easily see across to Wales. A friend of mine, local to the area, who died a few years ago, once told me that the Clent Hills are the highest point looking eastwards until the Ural Mountains. I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s a good story.
All too soon the 28th arrived and the Greeks left in the early hours of the morning. The taxi came at 3.30 and apart from a little bit of difficulty prising Anna out of bed, the departure went smoothly, if sadly. Their visit gone in a flash. Then a few more hours sleep and then Katie and her two got packed up to go as did we. The van we packed with food and warm clothes and after saying our goodbyes and a certain amount of tidying and one load of washing, we left for Gloucestershire. Straight down the M5, one hour and 10 minutes away to a small campsite situated on an organic farm. It lies enclosed in a loop of the River Severn, which almost meets up, so that from any point you can quickly walk to the river bank. The campsite has an electric hookup so we can have the heating in the van on all the time. It is very cosy. Nearby is a community pub serving really good food. We parked up and a while later our friends Val and Chris arrived. We don’t do a lot when camping. Meals are often prepared ahead and then frozen. Each couple makes one meal and as we were staying 3 nights, the third night was in the pub. When it is daylight we go walking. We were lucky that the days were fine and sunny and mild. We walked by the river mainly and always ended up in the pub.
Late afternoon we had a rest, something we rarely bothered with when the four of us first got together nearly 30 years ago, but Tempus Fugit. I am not the only one with health problems, we all have something. An hour or so later we feel recovered and the evening entertainment begins. Alcoholic beverages always seem to figure plus a few games of Brändi Dog. This is a Swiss Board game totally unlike any other board game I have ever played. We are all hooked on it as are many of our friends. One of Martin’s large family first played it unusually when out in the occupied territories in Palestine as part of a Human Rights Watch and that’s how it began. One box was purchased and then others were bought and now whenever we are together somebody brings the game out. The best made version of the game, constructed in wood which slots together, with coloured marbles for pieces, is made in a small factory employing people with various disabilities, in Switzerland. It is not cheap because of postage in particular but it is well worth owning. Children start really to be able to play it from the age of 9. My Grandaughter Isobel just started this Christmas and will make an excellent player. Although chance is involved, a lot of skill is also required. You play with a partner which means an adult and a child can play together, enabling the child to learn.
On New Years Eve we came home and were joined by friends Andy and Nicki for a sedate evening. A nice meal, fizz and more Brändi Dog. On New Years Day they returned home and we had just the rest of the day together, with Martin back to work in the morning, but just for 2 days and then it would be weekend again.
Generally I have been keeping well. Having had no treatment since November with my blood levels quite good, not on any tablets, life has been semi-normal. I still get tired quickly if I do too much but then I can do so much more than I could in the summer. Currently I am washing and ironing all the sheets and bedding used over the holidays.
Well, my bags for going into hospital are partially packed, but there is a list. I will take my own duvet and pillows and lots of clean covers. I have also bought lots of new nightwear in the M&S sale, which is all washed and ironed and ready to go. I have sorted a few books and there is good WiFi. I am also taking some knitting! I will be in for around 3 weeks and am able to have visitors too, so hope some of you will come and see me.
I think I am as ready as I ever will be. Some feelings of trepidation but not overly anxious. Having worked in hospitals for most of my working life I don’t have some of the anxieties many other people have. What I am going to get is routine. It is not cutting edge or experimental. Every year the QE does hundreds of these and only a very small percentage go wrong. I am a glass half full kind of person so anticipate all going well for me. I am not a religious believer myself but know that a lot of my friends and family are so I would not feel adverse to any paid up members putting a word in for me, where they think it matters.
Hopefully my next report to you will be from hospital and very soon. Until then, keep well yourselves.