My Life in 2020


Too much stress ….

We knew our friend was on a programme to aim for bariatric surgery as he wanted to lose weight. The day came round for the operation on Thursday so we got him there as he needed to be at the hospital by 7 am. The operation went well and we went to see him in the evening.

Yesterday Rick and I went to visit him in the morning and found out he had had a fall but wasn’t concerned about that. He did seem rather drowsy and then we found out he hadn’t used his sleep apnea machine. The nurses’ didn’t even know he should have used it so they took that as the reason for him being like he was.

Yesterday afternoon we took his girlfriend to see him whilst we went to the health club. She was quite upset as he had discussed a DNR form as she didn’t know he had one and his surgery had a copy of it. We hadn’t known either and we’re down as his next of kin and then we found out he has a living will. It’s not that we mind as we know him well enough to respect his wishes but we don’t even know where they are. It’s something we need to sort out when he is home so assuming he dies first we know where the documents are.

The other issue that really upset all of us is he took tramadol before we got there in the morning. This is what contributed to his fall. Our friend knew that he couldn’t have any solids so any medication that doesn’t have a liquid equivalent has to be crushed. Water has to be added and he also knew he should have his medication when given and if he was in pain he should tell a nurse. His medication had been locked in a cupboard but he didn’t tell anybody he was in pain or that the Tramadol was in a pocket.

By the time his girlfriend turned up, the nurses knew what he had done and asked her to check his room. Subsequently, this was why he wasn’t quite his normal self has. Subsequently, our friend had a minor bleed and went to theatre last night and is in ICU now till at least Wednesday or Thursday. So … our friend has a catheter, various drips and is on oxygen but not the usual cannula type tubing, this tubing is bigger and fixed in place into his nose. His blood pressure is too low and his sats are all over the place so those need to be back to normal before he is allowed home.

When we saw him today he denied taking Tramadol but his girlfriend floored him and reminded him that the nurse had spoken to her about it. His next lame excuse was it is medication, not food so was reminded that we knew he couldn’t take medication unless it was crushed with water added or in liquid form.

Our friend doesn’t know yet we took in a slimming aid (tablets) and codeine which I thought was on prescription but it isn’t. I looked online and found out it is okay to take it with Amitriptyline but not if taken with that and other pain relief. He is very fortunate he isn’t in a coma or worse dead. The nurses had to write up a report and are arranging that we talk to one of the surgical team.

Medicate or not medicate

I never thought I would see the day where I would be taking so much medication. It was a gradual increase with starting with finding out how high my blood pressure was resulting in being prescribed two lots of medication.

Since then the increase has been due to severe depression and osteoarthritis. A few years ago I was having a lot of discomfort when eating so I paid a visit to my GP about it. I got asked questions such as a history of ulcers in the family and stomach cancer so it was a straight ‘yes’. He put in a request for an endoscopy and was told I would get an appointment in two weeks’ time, this was on a Thursday. On Friday I got a telephone call from the hospital asking if I would accept a cancellation appointment the following day which I accepted.

I found out that there was erosion on my oesophagus and two tiny ulcers in my stomach. It was a relief to know what the problem is and I have been coping okay. My GP advised me to stop taking Naproxen which is an anti-inflammatory which I have done as it’s the drug that is most likely to cause this problem. Since then I haven’t been tempted to take it again and have got used to having swollen fingers.

I have been weaning myself off Gabapentin and Tramadol over the past few weeks after speaking to one of the doctors at the surgery. Now I am Gabapentin free and slowly getting off Tramadol. I’ve had days when I have felt sick and had headaches but the pain I suffer isn’t any worse. The main improvement is I don’t feel tired all of the time now.


For the second year running, I am doing the Swim22 challenge for Diabetes UK and started today. The only problem with going to the health club on a Saturday is it’s busy yet the children were good in the pool. It was the parents who were annoying as they were very good at getting in the way of all the swimmers. At least I was able to do 400 m as Rick had had enough by this point – we had also been in the steam room for 20 minutes.

I hope to do much better than last year but voluntary work didn’t help last year as we weren’t going to the health club often enough. Sadly I’m not expecting anybody sponsoring me even though I do sponsor other people. I have sponsored a niece who is doing a half marathon for Tommy’s in memory of her sister’s baby, Chloe, whom we knew was going to die due to Edward’s Syndrome. Chloe survived a day but it doesn’t make it any easier for my niece and nephew in law. Last year only two people sponsored me and I contributed as well. It would be easy to say I won’t sponsor other people but I can’t be mean.

Since my last post, I have dwelt too much time dwelling on the unhappy memories of my past. It’s nighttime that’s the hardest time so I appreciate the dogs going to bed with me as they know my moods. Sometimes I wish I could relive my early years as those memories are generally happy ones. The problem with that is knowing I would live through the dark times. Depression is a terrible thing to live with and can be a very real threat to a person’s life.

Only once have I ended up in a hospital due to an overdose but nobody could force me to stay any longer than one night. I couldn’t explain to anybody why I was so depressed and I was ashamed of the way I felt. It wasn’t the first attempt either, there were several before. Since then I managed to control that but it was a few years after that before I stopped self-harming. Cutting was the only way I could let the emotional pain out and the cuts didn’t hurt.

Happy, depressed and loneliness

Until I moved up to a comprehensive school I remember being happy most of the time. My sister and I were very much typical siblings and I had friends that lived on the same street.

Going to another school was frightening as I went from a small primary and junior school to a comprehensive that had about 2000 students. What made it worse was I was split from my friends which added to me feeling scared. The teachers, who thought they were being helpful, wanted me to sit near the front and on their left-hand sides. I am deaf in my right ear so my mum made the school aware of that. That just made me feel even more uncomfortable so I told the teachers I would move if I had problems hearing them.

I was fortunate that a girl from another school latched onto me who had plenty of confidence, enough for both of us. That friendship was strong for the next five years and helped me get through some difficult times. One of the first ones was to do with a family matter but I couldn’t tell her exactly what it was. Just being there for me was enough to help make life easier.

What I didn’t understand at the time was I started feeling depressed. I couldn’t talk about it to anybody including my family as I didn’t know why I was feeling so low. It just became a pattern in my life that I could be happy then suddenly felt miserable so I tried blaming it on hating school as I really did hate school. I would become moody at times so of course, I would get comments about it at home. I would just freeze up completely which just made it worse for me emotionally.

Valentine’s Day

We haven’t bothered with celebrating Valentine’s Day in the past but this year we decided to go out for a meal and a night’s stopover at Bannatyne Hotel in Darlington. It was a lovely meal with a free cocktail each although I had Rick’s. I wasn’t expecting so much food on our plates for the main meal.

The hotel is a Grade II listed building so we were expecting the period features and we weren’t disappointed. Even one patch of the floor was a bit squeaky. Of course, Rick had to have a moan about something and it was the bed which was too hard for him. There were also two single mattress toppers that hadn’t been secured which were also room to complain but I thought it was funny. Despite that, we had a good night away and had a dog-free sleep – our angels are spoilt and sleep on the bed. An added bonus was we got 20% off the bed as we are members of the health Club.

At last …

We finally got our mattress this morning so I am hoping it has been worth the wait. It arrived rolled up and vacuumed packed so initially I wasn’t convinced it would go back to the size it should be.

Before we had to go out for our retinal scans it was well on the way of filling up the space it needed to fill and was rising up. It still needed to stretch a bit further length way but I haven’t been in the bedroom since. It better be worth the wait particularly after sleeping on a normal size bed double mattress on a king’s size base. I was glad that I had been able to get stuff packed away in the drawers as it makes my life easier,

We got to our appointments early and got seen early so when we left it was at the time of the second appointment. It took a while for my eyes to stop stinging from the eye drops and that was the worst my eyes have felt when at a retinal scan. From what I could of the pictures of my eyes they looked okay but who am I to comment?

Now I feel we can get back to normal now that we have got various appointments out of the way. Vet appointments aren’t such a big issue unless we are getting a pet neutered. The last one was Bandit and he has healed up nicely. We know we need to get our youngest cats, Storm and Shadow, neutered but cats are easier to deal with than dogs.

… and the wait goes on

It’s now Tuesday and we are still waiting for our mattress. Rick made a couple of phone calls this morning and by early afternoon he got a text message stating the mattress is on its way. We should be getting the mattress sometime tomorrow and we both have our yearly retina.l scans at the hospital in the afternoon.

Getting back to my life, in general, I have good memories and some not so good memories but that’s normal. I always loved the autumn from my earliest memories. It was fun on the way to school and home again going through the leaves on the ground. Of course, we liked collecting the leaves to go into our ‘guys’ for Guy Fawkes Night. It was a great day to have my birthday on as I got the bonfire night party which was also a joint one for a couple of years with one of my friends as we shared the same birthday. The time came eventually when I was asked if I wanted a party or a ‘special meal’ so I went for the meal. It was a family tradition to choose what we wanted to eat on our birthdays.

One of my favourite memories was of growing up was watching my dad have a go on my space hopper as he thought it looks good fun watching me. He got from the house, round the fish pond and straightened up to go back to the house. Then my dad ended up on his back and I was almost in tears laughing then I got the ‘you could have helped me get up instead of laughing.’ My mum was laughing too and said basically the same but I will always remember the laughter.

I have so many good memories growing up such as watering the garden for my parents and turning the hose onto my sister or having the hose over the line and running through the water. We would wash my dad’s car or help with picking fruit or get veg in with my dad. When the weather was good we and other children would play out on the street as it safe and if it snowed we would build snowmen. I suffer from poor circulation so if I stayed outside too long my hands would go blue and I would cry as it hurt.

When I got older I wished at times that I could have stayed younger as life was simpler. The change of how I felt generally was a gradual change but by my teens, I was unhappy as often as I was happy. I couldn’t explain why and I felt guilty as I didn’t have a reason for this.



The time came sooner rather than later that we needed a new bed thanks Bandit aka Bam-Bam, our Saluki. The mattress was getting threadbare even though it’s only about 5 years old and Bam-Bam made it worse as he decided to start digging holes. Cassie, our happy staffie, decided this was fun and has helped in the destruction. I managed to stop too much destruction so I could go to bed at night until we got another bed.

It was decided to go through Buy as You Go Carpets as we got our living room carpet through the company which was a reasonable price. This went well and we chose a bed base with headboard and a decent mattress with us paying a deposit, delivery charge and one month upfront. On Wednesday I got a phone call saying we would be getting the bed on Friday.

Yesterday, with help from our friend, our bed was dismantled and taken to a dump and between us we got the floor cleared of rubbish, hoovered and clean. It’s amazing how much rubbish can collect under a bed but I also found my prescription long-distance glasses that have been missing for months and so money.

We eventually got the bed frame/base mid-afternoon but then found out the mattress is being delivered separately. The bed frame is assembled, two of the drawers were left till today and we have been able to borrow a mattress until we get ours. At least I have a bed to sleep on!

Early Life

4th February 2020

I don’t remember much of my first four years when we lived in Tilbury except I do remember that the kitchen seemed big to me. Then there was what must have been the last Christmas there as I remember a huge Christmas tree but it could have been in a neighbour’s house. I remember my sister and I having a picture taken at our front door wearing our nighties. We also shared a bedroom even though it was a large house. Years later I knew it was because it was expensive to heat the house hence the need to keep costs down.

My memories really started when we moved to Grays. I loved that house and the garden which was long with plenty of room to play in. We lived in a quiet street so it was safe to play outside with our friends. My sister and I had separate bedrooms but we had to share if relatives came to stay.

My dad, at some point, started growing vegetables at the end of the garden and got a greenhouse. We also had a cooking apple tree, pear tree, rhubarb, blackcurrant bushes. redcurrant bushes and gooseberry bushes. I have fond memories of picking fruit off the bushes then ‘topping and tailing’ them so they were ready to cook. I was a fussy eater but loved the fruit pies and crumbles my mum made. As I got older I got better for eating vegetables but probably because they were home grown and tasted nice.

Pip’s World

1st February 2020

Today is the first day that the UK has been out of the EU and it’s about time too.  I am old enough to remember the UK joining the EU and I remember being told about it at school.  From a child’s point of view I wasn’t all that interested but we did have a few discussions about it at

Now, after three years of discussion, the UK officially left the EU at 11 pm last night.  It’s been boring though seeing so many posts on Facebook last night and that’s with us going out for a meal.  I am hoping the money being chucked at the EU due to membership will now be spent on the NHS, the homeless, unemployment and other worthy causes.  Life will stay very much the same for us no doubt and we are happy living where we are.

We have been having a ‘wonderful’ time with Bandit, our Saluki, who had to be neutered on medical grounds.  One of his testicles was retained so we were keen to get that sorted as soon as possible as there are health risks if not dealt with.  We got the obvious advice of keeping Bandit calm for a few days which has been impossible as he is such a happy dog who bounces of the walls when he is awake.  Having Cassie, our very happy staffie, has made it interesting with trying to get her to be quiet as well.

We rescued Cassie from the Newcastle Dog and Cat shelter not far off three years ago and it didn’t take long to fall in love with her.   Cassie spent most of her first four years at the shelter and the only reason we can think off why she was repeatedly taken back is because she is boisterous,  However, Cassie gives so much love back to us.