Friday, 27 July 2012

Respect to the Bear

Carers are very much unappreciated.

I'm a lucky Stroke Survivor in that my intellect, on the whole, hasn't been affected. Some dips in that direction - for instance, I could, given the time, read a book in a couple of hours. Now - nah. I just can't concentrate more than a couple of chapters. Anything, and I mean anything, slightly convoluted just annoys me. My perceptions of everything are a bit off, but I'm aware of it. Later. I believe I'm called 'eccentric' :)

Bear helps me in the shower, hovers outside the toilet door (we have two, but yes, she could help me in there, but I wasn't having it) Helps me walk. 

Walking. I have wheelchair, but I can't operate it independently. Mainly because we are surrounded by very steep hills. Bear had to be almost horizontal to push. I have a crutch and and a walking stick, but they're meant to support a leg. But if the arm on the side of the leg doesn't work well either, (try it!  :)  ) a Bear to lean on comes in very handy.

She cleans, she's the washing machine goddess, does my tablets for me once a week in advance correctly - I can't in case of mistakes  (155 tabs a week), and does most trips to the shops and supermarket alone. On top of that she's battling to get our granddaughter and daughter in law from across the Atlantic (fat chance), and insists on keeping an eye on the kids that have left home too. 

She cuts up my food, likes to stick around when I eat, does anything that means bending down. I can bed down, but bent over double with your arse in the air is quite undignified. So I need help getting back up again. 

But lately, I've made a real push for independence. Problem is, Bear isn't used to that. I don't go out alone. She's got used to being out and about and independent (I don't even know my card security numbers)

So what other people take for granted, like having cash in their wallet, fetching a newspaper or buying themselves a coffee, clothes, an all-day breakfast, meeting friends or relatives for a coffee, I feel imprisoned because I can't do it alone. 

Nothings changed. It's just that Bear was used to a lot of independence once I'm dealt with, and I want to do what I used to do. But that means Bear being even more more available. See the conflict and the financial impact?

Respect and Love to The Bear. She's got a tough time ahead.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pushin' it.

Oh, my. Been misquoted three times in two days, all about the same thing. I was told I had written 'somewhere' "Must spend more time with the wife and kids". Nope. Never did.

I have been out more lately than I have done in years, and that's true. But just to a local shop and supermarket, and always with The Bear. I simply can't do it physically alone, I need someone to lean on. I have some lovely neighbours who've offered, some of them with cars, but that would defeat the object.

The idea is to push it as far as I can, and know when to pull back when it gets too much. Rest awhile, and try again. Anyone who's ever been a weight trainer or runner will know what I mean. 

I think being a Stroke survivor is all about effort, optimism and determination. It's Nasty, no two ways about it. There's nothing wrong with the affected bod parts usually, though it might feel like it. It's the control centre (brain) that's suffered damage. 

I've come across people who think that exercise (usually using some branded commercial equipment)  and some kind of evangelical faith is a solution. Rubbish. Yes, it can help, with some people, because some of the brains pathways are reformed and re-routed, but a perfect cure? No. There isn't one yet.

But it's important to note that Stroke affects different people in different ways, and that everyone is individual and there is no generalisation. 

But it's nice to find your limits. And maybe push a little :) If you can.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

In a jokey post to Rare Lesser Spotted I said that "If my two elder kids, in their 20's, ever wanted to come back home, they'd be met by a sharp pointy stick"

Not quite true of course. My eldest lass has a partner and 20 month year old. They're in private rented accommodation.

Son'o'mine rented a three bedroomed from a private landlord too, until he lost his job at a major high street bank. He was immediately hit with the double wammy of a change in immigration policy, and the rules for housing benefit.

His wife and child are American. When people think of 'non-EU' countries, they tend to assume east of the European Union. Almost as soon he'd lost his job, he was hit with a new change in the rules that meant he had to earn above £20,000 a year for his wife and kid to join him.

At the same time, the payments made to Brits on Jobseekers changed so that Housing Benefit won't be paid to anyone, even married like my lad, with an absent partner and child, living in more than a one bedroomed home. He lost his home.

He has been given priority by the local council, but the social housing list is clogged. 

Private landlords with one bedroomed properties are few and far between, and they don't like to let to the unemployed.


Luckily, my elder daughters landlord came up with an enterprising solution. She gave him a bedroom, her landlord had a long chat with the council, and in return for a small reduction in rent for her, he charges a tiny rent to my lad for the room, that puts the landlord £20 a month ahead.

However, the sad fact is that because of the earnings limit, we are having to sell off the baby stuff waiting for his daughter (it would cost more than it's worth in total to post it to the States) and his wife can't travel to the UK.


And things are much, much worse in America. 

I've had to fight off financial scammers  in so-called Christian churches, ie. "Get your whole family to raise funds for her or we'll 'take legal action'". 

My daughter in law has been offered a small wage at a motel, with  childcare and accommodation and meals, only to be attacked and asked to 'get Brit relatives to pay up' when she got there.

They seriously underestimated the Bear and Dray.   

I'm getting info back from other American friends, of people living in car lots (car parks) using public toilets to get clean, put on suits and ties and going into work and going back to their cars.  Tent communities in public places of pensioners and once affluent Americans who've lost their homes.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Animal Farm

My Bear is getting crafty in her old age. I've put a total ban on her lending to anyone, because we'd had a couple of instances were we'd gone without because she'd been a big daft softy. Our circumstances and my financial acumen are such that, that should never happen. 

So how's she worked around it? Buying silly stuff off people. For instance, a pair of flip flops from someone for a fiver. Cheap? Not when I know they cost £2 originally. Multiply that up a few times...?

My girls need shoes like a Giraffe needs a neck extension.

Worse, that means the buggers not only make a profit, but don't have to pay back. Eeeek!

Still, only myself to blame. She has spent 27 years watching me make a few quid here, a few quid there. Sigh. Now then, how the heck do I stop her, AND stop myself being hoisted by my own petard. Answers on a post card please, for which by the way, I only charge £3.50 each ........
One has rather overdone it lately. I've tried very hard to get out more, which means a wobble to a local shop once a day with Bear, a journey that with rests that's taking about 50 minutes. It takes Bear alone 20 minutes.

It's been painful, stressful and exhausting, and at least I've found my original plan to go it alone would have been impossible. So the quadrophonic nagging I get if I should suggest that I go out alone means they were right. To quote Terry Pratchett - bugerit, bugerit, bugerum.

The neighbours have been marvellous. Lots of leg pulling and "Oi, what are you doing out?" and "Don't drop 'im Bear". Ha Bloomin' Ha.  :)

Still, I'm inordinately pleased with myself. But I'm taking a long break now. Overdoing everything and being available 24/7 is what got me into this mess in the first place.

My Tots has brought home Hammy The Hamster for school holidays. Bear has agreed to look after Marco the Dog for a few days. So, lets recap. Three Cats. Two dogs. One School Hamster, who seems to be fascinated by Sigma the dog. What with wife, kids and pets, it's like a bloomin' zoo around here. 

Hang on? Who's paying for all this? Er... where did everyone go?..............   

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Never let me go.

This, should worry you. (linky)

But not too much if, such as Bear and I, you've signed the Official Secrets act - in my case a number of times. It's the price you pay for employment even vaguely involved with public service, even a private contractor or out sourcing. No Sign. No job. End of.

Don't ever kid yourself that if you are in a private company you are exempt. Government contacts are lucrative and sought after. If you are iffy about it? Good luck. I once turned down a job drystone walling in Derbyshire because of the crap I had to sign. Forestry?  Nope. Smallholding, Laying paths, hedging, milking, mountain rescue? Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope. Ah, and Remploy too - for two days some years ago.

The Official Secrets Act never lets you go.

Just sayin'. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012


I hope Daz is feeling a little better today. Daz, in his mid forties, who I've known for many, many years, is in hospital suffering from complications from Diabetes. Again. When you read this mate, as I know you will, I have a request from my neighbours. Please promise me to try not to frighten the life out them - and my lad - again. They thought the first responder car and ambulance was for me. Lovely!

And you can quit grumbling about my lack of blogs now, yes? :) (Tongue firmly in cheek)

Actually, I'd totally forgotten I have two very experienced First Responders living next door. Who were in. Blush. I *think* they're still talking to me....

I, like Daz, am a Type 2 diabetic. Type 2 diabetes, often refereed to as 'late onset' diabetes has many causes. Daz is a good 10 years younger than I, though we both were diagnosed in our thirties.

Though we have the same condition, it took us in different direction. He's had lots of complications recently, and has needed insulin injections for some time. On the other hand, I've had it longer, and just take 3 tablets daily, Metformin and it causes me no problems whatsoever, and never has. Mine is inherited.

If I may take the opportunity to dispel a couple of  myths about diabetes?

Diabetics have it because they eat too much sugar? No. I wish it was that simple. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas develops an inability to regulate blood sugars. I don't, and never have done sweet stuff. I'm into savoury. 

Recently, there have been some exciting developments in the treatment, such as stem cell injections that restore normal pancreatic function.

Diabetics are overweight? Sometimes. Being very overweight puts too much strain on everything, including  the pancreas. Ever heard the phrase "In every fat person is a skinny trying to get out" ? There's a little truth in that. Anatomically, it's like putting a two stroke engine into the frame of a 1500 cc BMW motorbike. Will it move? Possibly. But it will crawl and almost certainly burn out, and never make it up that hill. The answer is to lose weight, and for those people, that's a cure. Actually, if you're that overweight, diabetes is the least of your worries.

As always, eat well, exercise often - I mean, just keep moving. You don't need hours in the Gym. It isn't rocket science.

Diabetics bring it on themselves.  Sometimes. See above. It often has no obvious cause. I went in hospital with a stroke, and came out with a stroke and diabetes. That's because they test for diabetes on a stroke ward  because Low blood sugars have similar symptoms to stroke. Again, the pancreas has gone bonkers. 

Diabetics need special diabetic foods. Absolute rubbish. A marketing ploy by unscrupulous companies. Just eat healthily. Wassat mean? Heck it's the same as everyone else. Blow take-a-ways. Eat what you want. Nothing wrong with a treat now and again. If you fancy steak, sea food or fish, magic. My golden rule is same weight (about 6oz max) protein to veg, and veg is carbohydrate, and carbs break down into sugars.

Some are born with it. Absolutely true. This often called 'early onset', but also known as Type 1 (one). Born with it, or developing it between zero and twenty ish. Without regular insulin injections it can lead to death. A slow and nasty one where limbs, internal organs and eyesight jack in. 

The solutions nowadays include the insulin injections, or insulin pumps where electronics detect blood sugar levels and automatically inject insulin. 


But those problems can affect type 2 too. I'm a lucky one. I have no problems. But for whatever reason, those who's diabetes leads them to have too high or two low blood sugars, the biggest problem they face is diabetic neuropathy. That's where the nerves everywhere just stop working correctly. 

So, for instance, you get out and about. A shoe rubs on a toe, a heel? Or you get a little nick on a finger?

But you don't notice. You can't feel it. Untreated, it becomes infected. A diabetic is slow to heal.  Even treated. This can lead to, and often does, to amputations. 

Eyesight can fail because tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye can fail.


Not good. If you have any questions, feel free to comment.


My apologies if there are strange formatting problems and highlighting. I am aware of it, and I've found a temporary solution to compose in a text editor and cut and paste. Googles (Blogger) problem.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


I've done my seven days of trying to get out with The Bear at least once a day. Gawd, she's a hard one to pin down that one. But I'll tell you what, it's been an absolutely exhausting week, so I'm going to put the brakes on that for a little while.

After all, it was being on my feet and being available 24/7 that got me into this mess in the first place. That and weight training every day. No-ones fault but my own. Thinking of which, I heard recently that my old church elder, a GP - who's actually much younger than me - has been dropped down a grade for a while and ordered to rest because he was burning out. About bloomin' time too. We didn't call him 'Tigger' for nuthin'. Bouncy, bouncy.... :)

Anyways. walking. Or to be accurate, wobbling. I have perversely enjoyed it, but because  it's taken so long (50 mins for a 20 min journey) even with frequent stops, I've spent a deal more time on my pegs than we anticipated. So it was cool to get out, but I was in serious danger of overdoing it again. Uhuh. No way. Folks, there's nothing big or clever about pushing the limits of physical endurance. Well, ok. It's satisfying, but the body will bite you back eventually.


Don't imagine for one minute that I sit here and vegetate though. There's always something to do around the house, and if not that, 'my little lifeline' ie. This infernal machine. My extra eyes, ears, and communication tool. Except F*book. Can't stand it. Watching Bear on it, and trying to talk to her while she's on it is really annoying. Give me real people, email, forums and even Twitter any time. In that order. Computers are tools, and powerful tools at that. It still amazes me that someone will spend hundreds on complex pieces of machinery and software just to use F*book. But they do. Amazing.

Ooh, before I go for the day. Bear has cut my hair. My long, grey locks are no longer. I bet you really needed to know that :)

Friday, 13 July 2012


My apologies for not posting for a while. I decided to prioritise as Bear and Tots needed my attention.

I've made some changes to my lifestyle. Most importantly, my strokes left me with an inability to walk far. I also suffer from unusual patience and tenacity. Which is good, if you don't take it too far. I decided being stuck in while my family did their thing was not a good thing. 

Oddly enough, it's been the constant rain over the last few weeks that's been the trigger. I love walking in the rain or snow. Always have, and I suppose I always will. I felt closed in. Leaving the front door open in the rain wasn't enough. Unfortunately, I have to be accompanied. Just an arm to lean on, and for some other reason that seems somewhat woolly.  But that means someone being available.

So I decided to try and get out once a day. For Bear, this has proved difficult.  She's bright, sociable, and likes to be out and about visiting our out-of-home kids, friends, shopping, parties, whatever. For me to get out of the house, she needs to be here, and that means me spending money too.

As you can perhaps imagine, it broke a routine of years. It's been tough. Today I walked to the local Asda. For those of you who know me, feel free to check the route. It took us 1 hr 7 mins in total. Not going to do that again in a hurry. The pain and effort required is just too much. But I'm very pleased with myself :) xx