Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunny Monday morning

John just rang. He has spoken to the Matron at the Nursing Home, and she will go to the hospital to assess Dad tomorrow morning. They may move him as early as Wednesday.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Found some just started socks!

I seem to have started this sock maybe in 2004... I've picked it up again, and done about 4 rounds today I think. Lots of mistakes, but John won't notice or care.

Rust coloured socks WIP

I knitted a pair of socks from the same issue of Vogue Knitting ages ago. Certainly more than 10 years ago. Initially I used them for Yoga Classes. Now I use them as bed socks very occasionally. They were my first foray into cable knitting.

Purple socks

Today I have been reading lots of knitting blogs, and succumbed to some yarn to knit more socks. But have decided to concentrate more on plain knit socks as I just want something really easy to work with. Something I can just pick up when waiting for whatever.

I'll still keep plugging away on the rust coloured socks, but right now I need some easy knitting.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Back yard update

Am thrilled to see some of the seed from the really sweet-scented day lilies that I sowed last year has germinated. :-)

Day Lily Seedlings

A gazillion violets are flowering, and got a fair amount of ivy leaved toadflax (officially a weed, but I just love it and spent years tryingto spread it round the yard!) flowering too.

Ivy leaved toadflax closeup

The agapanthus seedlings are getting quite big now, might even flower in a couple more years if I can give them some good plant food... I really really want a wormery! ;-)

Agapanthus seedlings

Looks like some of last year's lilies that we brought back from Abersoch in October may flower too. We brought them home to give them a chance to get big enough to flower - the bunnies eat them as they emerge from the ground otherwise.

Lilies from above

Lots of violets too.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Another difficult day

Things are rather tough around here right now, but here's another cat video that made me laugh.

Went out in the back yard about an hour ago. It's full of violets, and some of the day lily seeds I planted in Abersoch last summer (we brought them home at the end of the season) have germinated. Next time I make the trip downstairs I'll try and remember to take my camera!

The Mock Orange bush has a bad case of black fly already, and the rose bush has greenfly. I pulled out about half a dozen weeds, and then had to take a rest.

Atlantic Tower

Atlantic Tower Hotel

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Before anything else, take a look at this video, but be warned it's not safe to have food or drink in your mouth while viewing unless you want a be-splattered monitor.

We went to the case conference yesterday, which makes it 3 trips to the Wirral in 4 days. And every time involved using the wheelchair, which gives me a numb bum and does my back in. So today I'm just surfing the web and resting up.

Liverpool Cranes

Liverpool Cranes

Monday, April 23, 2007

Liverpool skies

Saturday we went to visit Dad in hospital. Coming out of the Mersey Tunnel at the Dock Entrance on the way home we were stopped by a red traffic light, so I took the opportunity to shoot one of the Liver Birds.

Liver Bird

The whole of central Liverpool is in a state of flux at the moment, with skylines of cranes everywhere. This was the best of a disappointing bunch of photos - the light was just too poor to shoot from a moving car.

Cranes on what used to be Chevasse Park I think

We had a very difficult weekend, but I can't really talk about it much at present. And today hasn't been any better so far, just hoping it doesn't degenerate as much as yesterday did.

Tomorrow we have a Case Conference at the hospital about Dad's discharge. Please send us all your positive thoughts at 4pm!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Slugs and snails and other tales...


It's obviously that time of year... A few days ago someone came to visit this blog searching for stomping snails, and today it was chucking slugs. These creatures do seem to bring out the violent worst in gardeners! I've seen quite a lot of slugs in the back yard, so I guess it's time to bring on the nematodes. Sadly this week has got away with me, so it'll have to be next week now.

My Father is still in hospital, but they want to discharge him. We are going for a Case Conference on Tuesday afternoon. I have been trying to find out about continuing NHS care. Seems I will have to write to the strategic health authority to get a copy of the the local eligibility criteria. I hope they are a bit more helpful than the hospital concerned. Getting any information out of them is like getting blood out of a stone.

I wrote on 4th April (and it was hand delivered to the ward on that date) requesting the medical assessment for Dad's discharge. Yesterday I received a letter from the Operational Management Directorate which said "We note that you have requested information regarding your father's discharge and the Ward Manager has confirmed that you have now been given that information."

This is news to me. We haven't received ANY information. My mother had a letter some weeks ago (April 3rd), but apparently it was just a pro-forma with no details. I was very angry about it at the time, Mum is in her 80s and has age related macular degeneration, so it seems a bit pointless writing to her. I know Mum wants Dad to go back home to her, but I don't think it will be feasible unless they can arrange more or less round-the-clock care. Which seems highly unlikely.

Hospital discharge is supposed to be a process that involves the patient, their carers, and relatives. I can't say I've noticed much in the way of involvement of either Mum (Dad's primary carer), myself or John (my husband, who does his best to give some care for Mum and Dad additional to that provided by Social Services since I can't). Other than that John (at work) and I (at home) get phone calls from social workers who can't get through to Mum, probably because they call when she's out visiting Dad in the hospital.

This is what is supposed to happen according to a very helpful document from the Alzheimer's Society.

Assessment for hospital discharge

Before a person is discharged, their needs must be assessed so that any support or care services that they need can be arranged before the person leaves hospital. Any organisations that will be providing these services must be made aware of when the person is due to be discharged and when they should be visited.

If the patient’s needs have changed considerably since they were admitted to hospital, they may require a multidisciplinary assessment. This might involve the person’s consultant, nursing and ward staff, local authority staff, the person’s GP and their carer. If the patient’s needs have not changed considerably they may need a simpler assessment.

At the time of the assessment the person with dementia, their carer and/or their relatives are entitled to written information that explains:

* The health authority’s eligibility criteria for NHS continuing care
* The services that the primary care trust and the NHS trust will provide
* The services that the local authority will provide, including the likely cost of these and any welfare benefits that the person or their carer may be able to claim to help pay for them
* The NHS trust’s and local authority’s complaints procedure.

So Mum/I/John should have been sent or given various documents a while ago "at the time of the assessment". The assessment was apparently completed on April 4th, but only reached Dad's Social Worker on 17th April (probably typed up in India?). Nothing in today's post, will give it till tomorrow. Next move will probably be a phone call to PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Services).

I am concerned that we had a very "heavy" warning from Dad's first consultant that he has something nasty in his lungs (we haven't yet managed to find out what) and that we MUST be very careful to use the alcohol wash after visiting. I hasten to add that we always did that anyway - I have worked in a bacteriology lab, admittedly many years ago. Even back in the 60s some people were concerned with emerging bacterial resistance.

John asked last week if Dad had been re-tested for this "organism that has colonised his lungs" (as the consultant put it). I was rather shocked by the response, which was along the lines of "Oh we've treated that so it's gone, we don't bother re-testing". Surely this can't be right? When we saw the first consultant he seemed to me to be saying that the infection wouldn't clear completely, and pneumonia would continue to be a danger.

I think I've blogged long enough on the worrying scary stuff for now. So here's some good news!

We make a big deal of the Grand National these days. Choose horses, lay bets, try and memorise the colours of the silks, and so on. And open a bottle of Fizz just before the race starts. I had £1 each way on five horses. John only bet on three. I couldn't keep track of which horse was where, and who had fallen, but towards the end it appeared at least two of my horses were still running.

And one of them won! And the other came third. So thanks to Silver Birch and Slim Pickings I am £52.50 better off than I would have been otherwise.

Tonight's sunset

Sunset April 19, 2007

Friday, April 06, 2007


We have had a number of very bizarre phone calls with my Mum over the last few (3?) days, but this one from last night takes the biscuit.

8.45pm (after numerous other calls from Mum)

Mum (M): Where is John, your son John, sleeping tonight?

John (J): Do you mean your husband John?

M: Yes, him. Where is he sleeping tonight?

J: He's in N Ward, at C Hospital.

M: No, he isn't. He's here with me in the flat. But he won't say anything.

J: But we both know he can't be, because he's in C. How could he have got to the Flat?

M: I don't know but he's here. I can see him here.

J: You have to remember that you're very tired and you've had a lot of stress recently. Could it be that your senses are playing tricks with you?

M: No, I'm perfectly aware of what's happening. Someone just closed a door in the flat above and I heard that.

J: But there's no way John could have got to the Flat.

M: (sounding irritated/peevish) I knew you wouldn't be any use. (emphatically) He's here now! I went to the bathroom and when I came back he was here. I suppose I'll just have to get to bed and try to get some sleep.

J: That sounds the best idea.


This morning I stuck "hallucination in blind" in Google, and lo, there is a possible answer. Mum has age related macular degeneration... I think she may be suffering from Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS).

Royal National Institute for the Blind - fairly dry and factual

Fantastic and interesting description with some visualisations of what the visions may look like.

We will be contacting her GPs on Tuesday, to let them know, as they may want to speak to her about it. I'm sure that Mum will believe her doctor more than John and me that it's a recognised condition in people with failing eyesight! ;-) Plus doc will be able to check for other possible causes too.

I particularly liked "I knew you wouldn't be any use. He's here now!"

John and I are going hysterical together. Every time my Mum phones at the mo she seems to say something that has us rolling around the bed laughing our socks off. Or tearing our hair out. ;-) Ah well, laughing is good for you, isn't it! And less painful than tearing yer hair out!

Disclaimer - I am not a Doctor. If your loved ones have similar symptoms, please contact you GP/Family Practitioner. Do not rely on my blog, or on the links I give. Links are for interest only, and are not intended as medical advice in any way. I am not a Doctor.