Thursday, 4 October 2012
Thought I better do another blog as I have just had another review at the oncology clinic and I know lots of friends are too polite to ask how things are going. So here is an update.
Cancer-wiser things are okay . I am, as they say, in 'stable disease mode'. However my back problems are far worse. I have a bony spur - due to arthritis - sticking into my sciatic nerve radiating from my spine which is causing me no end of pain most of the time. I have now been referred to Kings College Hospital for a surgical review. Hopefully the surgeon will agree to operate and the spur will be removed. Thankfully it is not a lesion (metastatic change), just a result of calcification due to spinal arthritis. I have all the luck with my chosen diseases!
Still getting around a bit though and on Monday I am taking Bex - youngest daughter, on a cycling holiday in Italy. I did the same with Sarah before she got married. As Bex and her boyfriend are buying a house and moving in together, I best get this last holiday with single daughter and mum in. We are cycling about 50 K per day south from Bolzano to Trento, then to Lake Garda, Then east to Verona, then to Vincenze and finally Padova. I have it all organised now. Booked hotels, flights, bikes etc. It is not a tour but something I planned looking at the itinerary of an organised tour. We therefore have to carry our own luggage.... I have to get everything into two small bike panniers. No jewellery, minimal make-up and only one or two changes of clothes. That is the harder bit for me. The cycling is a breeze compared to trying to pack minimally!
I did my first granny sitting for Sarah on Tuesday - she has started back at work for three days a week and we are child minding one day every fortnight alternating with Tim's parents. So not too onerous. Tuesday however, Dave was working so I did the day alone. All was going well until I needed to take him out. I, as instructed, had booked an appointment at the local GP practice to have Ralph checked over (he has had a cough and cold for a long time). I arranged the appointment whilst he was down for a short nap, Started clearing breakfast things, pegging washing etc, etc. Then thought best set up the pram system (chassis and attachments are separate). I managed to get the push chair bit down from its hook - hung at a height of about 6 foot on the hall wall) both son-in-law and daughter are virtual Amazonians in height, compared to me, who stands 5 foot 2 in my stockinged feet! After leaping up several times, balancing on the first stair and using a long handled broom, I managed to pull the hook out of the wall and get the push chair to come crashing down on my head. That achieved I searched around for the chassis (pushchair/prams are all modular systems now). The said object was nowhere to be seen. It is usually kept in the boot of daughter's car. I thought I better check there. Yes I could see it in the boot, but you guessed, it was locked. I thought they would have a spare key in the house (this assumption was based on the fact that the previous week Sarah had managed to close the car to go back in the house, having securely attached her son to the car seat, only to find when she returned a few seconds later to the car, that she had locked both her son and her keys in the car. After calling her husband back from London - he had just started his new job the previous day, the fretful Ralph was finally released over an hour later and a not very happy husband returned to work. After such an incident, I felt sure that domestic bliss would have been improved by a spare car key kept securely at home.) I rang Sarah's mobile hoping that she wasn't in the middle of a session (she is a speech and language therapist working in paediatrics). The phone starting ringing as a dial tone and simultaneously ringing loud and clear in the sitting room. Sarah had left her mobile phone at home! So no way of getting a pushchair sorted and no way of ringing her until I found out her phone number. I knew she was working quite close and I could perhaps find out where the spare key was kept. By this time Young Ralph had woken up. I scooped him up and decided to ring Tim. Tim was in a meeting but whispered ...there is no spare key! He promised to ring back when his meeting finished. I told him no probs. - (displaying more confidence than I felt) I would sort it - you like to look in command with your son-in-law. I had two options. Drive to the doctor's surgery- not too far away, or sort out how to put on the very complicated baby carrier and walk to the surgery. As my back is bad, I opted for the former. I got Ralph into the car seat, he was all smiles and didn't look as if he needed to go to the Doctor's at this point. Fortunately Sarah had left the car seat in the house. Whilst Ralph was in the car seat, I thought I would work out how to put the baby carrier on. It is a mass of canvas, straps, slots and buckles. I managed to work it all out and preceded to remove it. This proved impossible. I then had to get Ralph into the car with carrier strapped to my body - already sweating and hot. As I was driving into the surgery car park - which was of course full, Tim rang me back. I pulled in answered the phone and my first question was how to remove the carrier. He was able to explain with scientific accuracy (he is a scientist). I removed the carrier and he said he would text information about Sarah's workplace to me. I then had to reverse back into another section of car park - if I continued I would have to go around the one way system, so I annoyed the odd person in the car park by sticking to the one way system but reversing having seen a space I could get into. Grandmother on mission was not going to let a few angry patients in the car park get in her way. By this time and with only 3 minutes to go to the planned appointment, Ralph was asleep in his car seat. There was nothing for it, but to take the car seat out of the car and sort of drag it along the floor to the surgery on the other side of the car park. Ralph in his seat is too heavy for me to carry. I arrived at the receptionists desk on time, but rather sweaty and flustered looking. She took one look at me dragging the car seat along the waiting room floor and said
"Err forgive me for mentioning this, but don't know if you are aware, those things come with a bottom bit that turns them into prams - bit different from our day. It is much easier with the bottom bit attached."
So there you have it. Perfect day with grandson. Ralph turned out to have a slight fever and probably viral ear infection. Calpol and or infant Nurofen would do the trick. Wonderful friend Teresa, who lives in Dorking not far from Ewell, was free to meet for lunch and we would share carrying Ralph in the baby carrier whilst lunching and shopping in Epsom. So I contacted Sarah, informed her we were having a wonderful time, might collect car keys if needed or will see her when she finishes work. Lunch went well. Ralph was a happy smiley baby - even tolerated his grandmother and friend trying to work out the high chair harness system without causing him mortal damage with the tray - having worked out the strapping system we had to try and get the tray over his head. No end of squeezing and pushing would work, so we had to start again. He took this in his stride, but it really amused the other diners. Think I need to create a badge to wear - New grandmother, please pass, just running in.
Back at home now and making very short list of things to take on cycling holiday in a few days time.
My next blog may even have a few pictures from Italy. As I have been learning Italian for the last year, I am hoping I will be able to order the odd pizza and coffee in Italian not to mention 'where can I buy an new inner tube please!'