Sunday, January 13, 2013

Last look at the factory for the sick, shrouded in freezing fog.

Back home at last, after three and a half weeks in the mad house. The utter peace of it.

The first nights sleep was very fitful, still institutionalized from the hospital. Tiny snatches interspersed with visions & sounds of the institution: the constant glare of neon lights, the ever present doo-dee-doo bleeps of someones drip needing attention, my arm encased in Velcro & pumped tight to read blood pressure, the single high pitched note of the latest type of thermometer screaming in my ear; and of course the ever present sound of someone close by, coughing their heart out.

Waking at dawn in my own bed; how amazing. Alive for another day - a survivor. Listening to the world outside stirring: 6.40 am and the first cars go gently by, taking their owners to work; and just beyond the window somewhere, the beautiful quiet morning serenade of a Robin.

My friend is back


A while later I am discovered by my affectionate old 'Extrapuss' (back from her usual dawn adventures). She settles down on the bed between my knees, purring loudly & staring at me with half closed ecstatic eyes. Then the heavenly picture is complete. Flu racked & exhausted, Christine arrives with a morning cup of tea.

Now there's just this shadow of my former self to restore - down from 10 st to 8.5st. Looks like a lot of bananas, pasta, and Christmas cake ahead and some very slow shuffly walks by the two of us.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Caerlaverock Nature Reserve; with Criffel beyond the mouth of the Nith

Criffel from Glencaple on the banks of the Nith at ebb tide.

It has been so amazing to be whisked away from the confines of hospital these last few days at visiting time. Swap the unchanging air and relentless neon lights for some sunlight and a fresh zephyr.
All these vistas just 3 or 4 miles from the place.  Home made coffee fresh from the flask... shear heaven.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mad Man caught trying to escape hospital. Happy New Year from the mad house.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Well who would of thought back in August that I'd be writing from Hospital over the Christmas period. I don't recommend anybody to be ill at weekends and as for Christmas holidays - what a joke. What happened to dedicated Doctors: they are only interested in pay and conditions. Labs are closed and New Year is fast approaching. The skeleton crews on duty don't know what's wrong with me and there is no information filtering down to them on which they can take action. Right - that's my rant, sorry about that.

I came in to Hospital a week last Monday with a few odd spikes of Temperature above 38°,  a suspicious tightening in my right chest and a slight discomfort swallowing. Since then my body's gone completely nuts. Lost grip in my right hand, no rotation of the wrist - couldn't pick up a glass of water with it. Then it moved on to knee joints - pain so bad I couldn't stand. Been on Pireton to calm the immune system and Co-Codamol to ease pain and my right hand above my head in a sling.

That pain problem is now calming but my stomach... Complete blockage for days now - that's Co-Codamol for you combined with 3 different antibiotics. One wonders how I would have fared without any damn treatment. I definitely picked up a secondary infection in here. All three guys in the ward went down with it on the same day. Temperature hitting above 40° for a couple of days which was scary and very debilitating.

Don't think anyone's taken my temperature since mid morning... it's now 10.40 pm. Night Night I'm definitly here for New Year. Aargh!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Last Post ?

Not sure how many more of these blog pages I’ll write (never seem to have enough time to devote to them, just so busy with ‘things’) perhaps it’s just summer, although more likely it’s because I have been feeling so well. Seem to have got the thyroxine balance sorted to match my present physical state, so no more afternoon sleeps (they were quite nice actually but never had much sense of achievement out of the day).
    Today I met my consultant, Dr. Clark at the McMillan Centre in Dumfries: last time we met was 2 months ago. He speaks with wonderful clarity and lays out all the facts in such an understandable way. My chances of survival have increased from 30% to 50% ! The 30% that die in the first 2 years after transplant have died by now so that leaves the 30% MRD’s(Minimal Residual Disease) and the 30% GvHD’s (Graft vs Host Disease) in equal measure. So that’s good then.

    He’s decided not to go ahead with the bone marrow biopsy because there is no indication that further investigation is necessary at this stage. He warned that at some point in the future the clone lymphocytes may find a new form to get past the donor immune system; at that point  a lymphocyte transfusion from the donor would be an option but it would most likely spark off GvHD. But heck ! that’s all in the future and is speculation. The thing to do is just get on with living and take each day as it comes. I still have no immunity to infection and could get ‘blown away’ at any time but my day to day quality of life is great, as long as I can keep out of trouble.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Summer is always such an infectious whirlwind of activity, sucking one along. I’m still trying to let go of the trivia of everyday living but tempted to indulge in it the stronger I feel.

The vegetable garden has transformed itself from this....

into a colourful jungle...

I’ve allowed so much space for poppies this year that the sugar peas are in danger of being swamped.

The build-up over the last fortnight, to the prestigious ceramic fair ‘Potfest’, was overwhelming but sales made it all worthwhile and it’s lifted Christine’s spirits to have experienced such a positive reaction to her work.
Meanwhile the hospital consultant continues to be pleased with the results of the transplant: haemoglobin almost back to normal, a healthy number of neutrophils, and a chimerism of 98% donor at the last count, about a month ago. The big gap remains in the Lymphocyte count (hardly any) and its associated protein CD4 count (stuck around the 100 mark) - they’d like it to be over 300 before they dare reduce the dependence on all the ‘anti's I’m on just now. However, so far so good, no infections to speak of and managing to keep out of harms way. Fingers crossed. X

Saturday, May 28, 2011

24 hours before we open to the public and the contents of a big glaze firing are on every surface, bases to be smoothed and all yet to be priced.

The count down to the Spring Fling Open Studios weekend is just about up.

The disruption caused by the Heat Pump installation is subsiding and for now the work space returning to normality ( but the domino effect has still some way to go - more on that later !).

At the back of the kiln, where once there was a small table and an old school radiator, there now stands a 90 litre warm water Buffer Tank with shiny new copper pipes. ( It stores the heat produced outside by the Pump - allowing the fan coils mounted inside to draw on the heat when the room temperature drops ).

The down side was that the new Buffer Tank was taking up valuable space alongside the sink and draining board so a replacement work surface was essential. I was quite pleased with the solution - fitting it in between the pipe work. Cutting through the old heating pipes and getting the immensely heavy cast iron radiator out was an entirely different sort of job - difficult and messy but worth it for extra space.

That all happened a fortnight ago. As usual I’m behind schedule writing this. Spring Fling is now upon us. Indoors the showroom has been stripped down, windows and shelves cleaned by Allie and Christine, and then rearranged with new work. My job was to solder copper hanging rings onto the backs of the long dishes and wall hangings and glue ‘D’ rings onto the big picture tiles.

The topiary is trimmed, the grass cut, the showroom exterior walls given a lick of white paint; and the foundry emptied - cleared of accumulated junk - leaves and debris brushed out. Trying to turn it from this....

...into this.