Friday, 29 January 2010

Friday update

Bored bored bored.
What a strange week. I've just got back from attending the eye clinic again. They want to see me in two weeks. What have I learned? I'm squeamish when it comes to touching my eyes for a start. I've struggled to apply the eye drops they gave me, so they want me to keep applying them for two more weeks.
My blood pressure is high, about 170 over 90. Considering that I spent a week in hospital in November with almost zero blood pressure, that's quite a swing. I don't know what has caused it, or if it will affect my treatment which is due for next Monday. I called in to the clinic on my way to the car park and bumped into Dr Littleton. He didn't seem too concerned, but then he wouldn't say either way would he?

What else is new?
They finally fixed the central heating boiler yesterday. It originally failed on December 9th. I've had the spares since before Christmas and it took a lot of calls to get them to fix it. One excuse was that it was a two man job (as it turned out, two men turned up but one could have done it). Another excuse was that they needed to order the spares (no you don't I have them here).
I hate calling helplines. I hate the rigmarole of pressing option one for this, option 2 for that, etc. I hate the cheerful voice saying how they apologise for keeping me waiting, instead of employing more staff. Most of all, I hate the music they play. Grrrrrr!

So, my next appointment at the hospital will be on Monday morning. All being well, I'll start chemo session number four.
I hope it starts warming up soon.
Don't forget you can keep up to date with my regular postings on Facebook and on my other blog www dot daveclemo.blogspot dot com

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Saturday 23rd January

Here we are at the end of another week. My chemo has been postponed to Feb 1st, for two reasons. The first was another attack of arthritis in my hands, which coincided with an eye infection. I saw my specialist at the clinic who looked at my most recent blood test and decided that my treatment could be put back.
He arranged for an appointment at the eye clinic, whcih was very hot and very crowded. As a result, I've had a streaming cold all week. I was prescribed some eye drops six times a day, and some pills for the arthritis. The drops are impossible to apply by oneself, so I only have them as and when. I went back again on Friday and I have another appointment next Friday. My eye is clearing up by itself.

I've been following the news and reading the blogs. I've been posting all week on my other blog as well as regular posting on Facebook. If you use Facebook why not be my friend?

I saw this quote from George Orwell today
"In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
It reminded me of this line from Paul's letter to the Galatians (4:16)
"have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?"

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


My eye doesn't hurt today. The hardest part of the treatment is trying to get the liquid into my eye- and repeat it six times a day.
Other than that, I'm sniffing and snuffling my way towards a two barrelled (or nostrilled) head cold. I drove to Northampton with Chris yesterday afternoon. He had some business to do, including the transfer of his customised numberplate to my van (which I had to pay for) My tourbus now carries the numberplate C3EMO, which kind of ruins the anonymity that's desireable when you carry high value musical equipment around. We called into a music shop for some drumsticks and I had a play of a Gibson J45-50 that was for sale. I've always wanted one,but that was a bit expensive, especially for someone who's only getting Statutory Sick Pay and a medical insurance payment each month.

So Cadbury's have been bought by Kraft. I can't think of a single product that Kraft makes that tastes good. Everything is processed to death. They make Toblerone, a chocolate bar that hurts your mouth when you try to bite a chunk off the bar. So Kraft will need to tread carefully.

My main concern (and one which I suspect is universally shared) is that they keep the original recipes for the products. US chocolate is foul stuff, worse than Belgian chocolate. Any moves to tinker with a quintessentially British taste experience will destroy the brand.
Whether Cadbury's continue to produce their confectionery in the UK, while of concern to the local communities involved, is less important. If they change the recipe, it won't matter where they make it.
And I enjoy my daily fix of Cadbury's. It's only a few hundred grammes a day. I've got it under control.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Tuesday 19th January

I woke up on Monday morning unable to open my eyes because the light was too bright. My eyeball hurt and it was very bloodshot. I rang the surgery and was given an appointment for that afternoon.
Having done that,I rang the Treatment clinic at the hospital. My next bout of chemo was due for today Tuesday. I told them about my arthritic hands and wrists and the bloodshot eye. They rang back a few minutes later with an appointment to see my specialist at 12.00, and to have a blood test beforehand.
Sue and I set off from home at about 11.30 and my day of sitting in hospital waiting rooms began.
First of all I queued for my blood test. It was only about five minutes, so we got to the Leukaemia clinic in good time and found two seats and sat down. Someone kindly brought us a cup of tea, and we sat and I read the newspaper from cover to cover as the staff worked their way through the day's appointments. Eventually we got to see Dr Lyttleton, got weighed and inspected and pronounced upon.
My blood test was very good again. White blood cells good, platelets double what they were when treatment started, and leukaemia cells negligible. I'm back over 100kg again (which has its own problems, as I'm seriously unfit and getting bloated from sitting in front of the TV all day. It didn't help being housebound in the recent snow either.)
Anyway, a plan was agreed. First of all, my chemo could safely be postponed for two weeks. Dr Lyttleton was to arrange for the hospital eye clinic to look at my eye, and for the arthritis specialist to look at my hands, to see if there is any underlying condition. He said to go and have a coffee in the canteen while he made some phone calls. I'd not paid for my coffee and sandwiches when he was at my side saying that the Eye Clinic could see me that afternoon. I went back to the Centenary Wing, collecetd my notes and an explanatory letter and headed to the clinic by myself. Sue went to collect her mother who also had an appointment that afternoon in the same eye clinic. We were able to cancel my appointment with my GP and I walked to the Eye clinic along miles of corridors. I arrived and presented myself at the reception and looked for a seat. Every seat was taken. Eventually I found a seat and drank the latte that I'd bought at the canteen. My name was called and my eyesight was tested and blood pressure taken. (It was quite high, which made a change from a couple of months ago when it was very low)
I rejoined the queue and Sue arrived with her mother. Eventually I was seen by a specialist who shone a bright light into my eye (not good), then gave me some eyedrops to dilate the pupil and sent me back out into the waiting room. After a while she saw me again and then took me to another room where she sought a second opinion and they did an ultrasound scan of my eye.
I was then given a prescription for some tablets and eye drops, with a further appointment later this week.
I finally got home at 5 o'clock after 5 hours of sitting in hospital waiting rooms.

Today I have the early symptoms of a cold. I don't know if it's the results of sitting in crowded waiting rooms, of coming into contact with someone who has a cold, or something else. My eye is less bloodshot and isn't painful today. I have to apply drops six times a day, which is a pain.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Sunday night

I'm due to see have a blood test and see the specialist on Tuesday. If everything's ok then I will start the next round of chemo.
However, I've been sufferering with swollen fingers in my right hand the last two days and one of my eyes is very bloodshot and painful. I don't know what this is, so I'm going to try and see my GP tomorrow.
Other than this, life has been uneventful since the last post. I've even been to the shops to buy a paper. It was good to get outdoors after being cooped up for weeks.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Tuesday 12th January

I'm not feeling too bad these days. My illness and treatment undergoes a four week cycle.
Week one- I have the chemo. I can just about get through if I take the anti-nausea pills from day one.
Week two- Still feel ill. Usually have backache from where my kidneys have had a bashing
Weeks three and four- feel much better. I'd be out and about if it weren't for the cold weather.

Next week is week one again. This will be the fourth cycle of six. So far so good.

Here's a video I found on Youtube. It was shot during the 1963 freeze. If you like steam railways and 60s music you will enjoy this. This is an excellent film.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Friday 8th January

It's cold outside apparently. I've not ventured out for a day or two. There's enough food and drink, the central heating's still holding on,and I've a book of word puzzles for when I get fed up with reading, blogging or watching TV.

The news is full of shortages. We're short of salt and grit for the roads. We're short of gas and some businesses have been cut off. Some homes are without electricity because the ice has brought down power lines.

I'm a fervent denier of Man Made Global Warming. I say it again and again that we have more to fear from the cold than the heat. Recent winters have been increasingly hard. Each year it takes longer for the ground to warm up in the Spring, so the ground gets cooler each year. Governments take decisions based on information given to them, and the BBC and Met Office are in the pockets of the global warming conspirators. The forecast was for a wet and mild winter, so nobody is prepared for this. People will die. I posted a table showing the numbers of deaths each year that can be attributed to the cold. It's on my other blog.

The central heating boiler is working after a fashion. We daren't turn it off. We have two boxes of spares waiting to be fitted, but I can't get through to arrange an appointment. As I write the lights keep dimming as the grid struggles to keep up with demand. I prophesied this back in October.

Some people will insist that two bad winters do not mean that global warming doesn't exist. They claim that weather is not the same as climate. OK.

Let me say this. Two hot summers do not mean that global warming is the cause.
Weather is not the same as climate remember?

As I write I've some pills to take and another ten days before the next round of chemo. Assuming I'm not frozen in that is.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Lazy day today

I'm having a lazy day today. Maybe it's a reaction to the housework I did yesterday, but boy is it cold outside. It hasn't snowed for a couple of days and the ice is slowly thawing, but this part of the country is one of the few that hasn't had loads of snow dumped on it.

The central heating is still working after a fashion, and we have plenty of food in the house, so we ain't going nowhere.

There's an article on the BBC website that tells of how the cold is a killer. Here's the link
This is the first paragraph
"Global warming dominates the headlines, but in the UK the cold of winter is much more hazardous to health - especially for the elderly and the sick.
For every degree the temperature drops below 18C, deaths in the UK go up by nearly 1.5%. "

I've blogged repeatedly that we have more to fear from the cold than from global warming. We have more to fear from the adherents to the new global warming religion than global warming itself.
We're in the grip of the worst cold spell since the big freeze of 2009, almost one year ago. Our winters are getting colder year by year. The Northern hemisphere is much colder than it was ten years ago. The world is cooling.

But, if local authorities base their salt purchases on the Met Office long range forecasts, what do we get? That's right, they're all running out of salt to put on the roads, and now they've stopped gritting all roads except the trunk roads and motorways. They're quiet at the moment because no-one can access them because the local streets are impassable. I've lived through the big freeze of 1962-3, and the bad winters of the late 1970s, and if I'm to live through this winter, I'm staying indoors with the heating on, assuming it keeps going and we don't run out of gas.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Wednesday morning 10 am

Some of us may be old enough to remember a Simon & Garfunkle song called Wednesday morning 3 am. That's the significance of the title of today's post.
I woke several times during the night and checked that it hadn't snowed any more. Chris has/had to drive to Harlow for 7.00 this morning and so went last night. I spoke to him a couple of times and he'd loaded up but so far was unable to get out of Harlow because the lorries were stuck on the hill leading to the M11. If he hadn't made any progress by lunchtime I suggested that he go back to the depot, unload and try to get home. It hasn't snowed more than a few flurries so far today.

I decided to walk to the local shop to buy a paper, about 200 yards each way. It's the furthest I've travelled in days. Boy am I stiff from inactivity. My hips just seem to lock up. I'm walking around the house to try and keep supple, and Chris is arranging for a treadmill later in the week. My brain is still active, I gotta keep my body active as well.

I had an email from a friend yesterday to say that I'm scheduled to play a set at a charity all-day festival in March. If I juggle the diary by a few days I should be able to do it and then have my last dose of chemo the following week. I'm playing my guitar most days. If I don't, my fingers lose their callouses, and then it's painfull to play.

I shall be posting on my other blog as well today

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Tuesday 5th January

I woke up early and saw the fresh snow in the garden. That put paid to any idea that I'd walk to the shops to get a newspaper. I'm so unfit. The most exercise I get is walking up and down stairs. Two weeks in every month all I can do is lie in bed or on the sofa, and as I'm in recovery mode at the moment it'd be good to try and exercise my joints with some walking. But it's snowing, so I'll be peering out the window for the next few days.
I tried to contact the boiler repair people. I've had two boxes of spare parts since before Christmas and no-one has yet called around to install them. The phone was constantly engaged yesterday (surprise surprise) and when I did get through I was given another number. Which rang and rang. And rang and rang.

I'm also trying to sort out my mortgage protection insurance. They made a mistake calculating my annual salary so I rang them before Christmas and the staff member I spoke to agreed that they'd miscalculated. I chased them up yesterday to be told that they'd looked at it again and no, they hadn't made a mistake, and it's up to me to prove how much I earn per year. So I'm waiting for their letter before responding.

More later.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Sunday bloody Sunday

Today I did something different. I sat on the sofa in the conservatory. I also walked to the shop to buy a paper. That's it really.

I've posted some more articles on my other blog

Friday, 1 January 2010

New Years Day

A Happy New Year to you all. Yesterday was a non-day. I got up and sat in a chair, read a bit, drank cups of tea and coffee and ate from time to time. Watched some TV, read the newspaper and completed some word puzzles, and read some more of Ayn Rand's brilliant novel "Atlas Shrugged". Then went to bed at about 11.00. Chris had gone out for the night. Sue had gone upstairs suffering from almost terminal boredom. I set the recorder to record Jools Holland's Hootenany and went to bed. I read a bit and then slept.
What an exciting life.

I'm using my other blog to write and comment about non-medical matters. So from now on, music videos, cartoons, my thoughts on music, books, global warming and other stuff will be posted over there, so that those who are using this blog to keep up with my health can read about that here.
I've written a short piece about catching up on my reading today and posted it on teh other site.