changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

in…out…in…out, ooooh errr…don’t shake it all about December 27, 2012

Filed under: cancer — eclectic chicken @ 11:17 am
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Out of hospital on Christmas eve and Christmas morning I began to suspect it hadn’t been a totally wise decision as I got up and felt breathless and tight chested.

We had a quiet Christmas just me and Jane and the boy and much of mine was spent lying on the sofa or back in bed trying to get to the end of the day without having to phone the hospital again…. unfortunately this meant waiting mostly for lunch and present opening. Yes you did read right..presents come after lunch in this house… an abomination and a cruelty (not for children as they get a stocking in the morning) but for grown-ups used to the 6am unwrapping fest… its torture.

NB this unkind tradition comes from Janes side of the family…. and weirdly my ex-husbands family have the same tradition…. HOW did I find two of them?

By the time the boy foisted presents onto my knee I was sort of beyond registering what was in them… and straight after decided to head upstairs to lie down and perhaps ring the hospital.

Top of the stairs on all fours with a tight chest and whirlwind round my head…. complete with cackling witch on a bicycle… I decided the phonecall was probably qute important.

The Haem/Oncology nurse took one look at my red blood count from the other day and couldnt understand why I’d been let home with a borderline count and put my name on a bed and said come in via A&E to be processed.

I havn’t got the energy for a full scale rant today (I’m recovering from eating a piece of toast and short shower) but three hours in A&E with a junior doctor before they decided ‘its probably’ something to do with my chemo therapy….’

no shit Sherlock!!!!! thats why haem/onc have a bed for me.

but weirdly I ended up in Emergncy short stay for observations over night….

as I walked into the room an old lady shit herself (nothing personal I don’t think) and a coughing lady was watching Eastenders full blast at which point I gained a dose of tinitus, told the staff I wanted a quiet room away or I’d discharge myself. I then wrapped my cardigan round my head and had a self indulgent five minutes of weeping and muttering.

Later (11.30pm)… in a bed in Haem/Onc (that had had my name on it since 7pm) in a totally silent and empty (apart from me and apologetic nurse who’d been told I wouldn’t be needing the bed after all) I went to sleep.

Now I’ve always been curious about this running for cancer malarky…. cancer survivers …running marathons… miles… etc etc. But having had my first day where a trip to the toilet and back is a Herculean task to get through, where each step is an accomlishment …it suddenly makes sense. The thought of walking the dog, swinging my arms and whistling Tyrolean folk songs on my way feels like another world, another life and one that looking forwards is like surveying a mountain from under a few breezeblocks and the contents of a bottle of whisky and wondering if I’ll ever get under way let alone to the top.

Two pints of blood (I’m B+ but they gave me  O – so if i start belching whilst I eat and shopping at Primark you’ll know the common blood took over) and my blood pressure returned to normal (strange how in A&E it was fine whilst lying still in a bed for several hours and how general doctors don’t know whats ‘normal’ for a ‘normal’ person may well not be ‘for someone having chemo)?! and my daughter and her boyfriend (having had all the fun of a wheelchair and empty late night hospital corridors) came to take me home.


actually… that turned into a full rant again didn’t it?


Today…. I’m thinking differently… to get through this is going to take a military campaign. Just to start the day means my bed needs changing , breakfast, shower, establish basecamp downstairs, get dressed… each a huge effort…  and then tomorrow and the next day and the next etc etc…. each day only so much energy to go round.

Like I said… military campaign.

Im going in….slowly.


It’s beginning to feel a lot like cancer…. December 24, 2012

Filed under: cancer — eclectic chicken @ 4:55 pm
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(all hum along now….)

Second cycle of chemo and like a 5 year old expected to go to school Tuesday as well as Monday… and slowly dawning on them that they have to keep on going whether its fun or not, I’m slowly waking up to the reality of a long haul.

The difference between being ill and taking some medicine to get better and being ill (well …self destroying) and poisoning oneself to out-poison the interlopers is HUGE.

Saturday night found me with a post lumbar puncture headache (well…i know that now..and also am told the best thing for it is Coca-Cola) trying to juggle phones, emergency services and sick bucket becuase I thought I’d be alright on my own for a couple of hours whilst my designated carer – my daughter in this instance- went to a late night showing at the flicks).


She never got to the end of the film… but was still the fastest option for getting me to A&E and coped brilliantly with me vomiting in the passenger seat as we sped through the night…only stopping once to empty out the sick.

Arriving in A&E, they were forewarned by haemotology…I had my magic ‘i might die’ laminated card… but I think what got me straight in a wheelchair and into the depths beyond the waiting room was the chemo haircut… wild eyes…pj’s and fluffy slippers and..oh… I was clutching an old porcelein potty as a sick bowl.

It was more One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest than Love Story 🙂

So another 24 hours in short stay emergency… where this time I felt in total safe hands.. they remembered all my drugs.. and I got an emergency referral to a dietician (who says if I feel like chocolate eclairs for breakfast I should just go with the flow and the calorie intake…andI’m not going to disagree with that)…

The upshot is stay as flat as possible… drink as much as possible (these two things are usually reversed at Christmas I know)… and hopefully the headache will slowly go…

… this morning I managed toast and a shower (not together but both upright activities) which didn’t result in me wanting to curl up in a ball and sleep in agony for several hours….. So they said I could come home for Christmas.

I’m not a fan of Christmas… I’m a bit bah humbug and curmudgeonly about the whole thing as a rule… but I did cry (just a little bit) when the doctor said I could come home.


a reminder December 27, 2011

Filed under: home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 10:56 pm
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Christmas was good, bad and indifferent in parts. I hope you all enjoyed at least a part of yours and carry on doing so for the rest of Christmas until the decorations come down on twelfth night. One of my pet hates is the early start of Christmas and then the fact that for so much of the commercial world the decorations come down shortly after boxing day and the whole shebang is considered over.

I’m not particulary religious…. not believing in god kind of puts a dampner on religion… though once upon a time I nearly gave the quakers a go. They make me think of chocolate and the smell of beeswax and they once told me belief was optional. I think for me that would work. To sit quietly smelling old wood and beeswax, under no duress to actually state a belief in any greater being, maybe it would be just the quiet contemplation i’d need to feel closer to god…if indeed he’s out there to feel closer to.

The moment I enjoyed best on Christmas day came after the fun of present opening…. the pleasure of being amongst my family… and just before the total debauchery of a totally splendid dinner (so many pigs in blankets there were some to spare).

Everyone sat, plates piled high and a slight lull as all 13 of us looked up and down the table to see if it was okay to start eating…. and then the boy said ‘we should have a toast’.

What to? I asked

‘To god’ he said.

And we all raised our glasses to baby Jesus on his birthday (or approximation thereof).

I love that my soon to be seven year old cut through the debauched commercialism of Christmas and reminded us what it’s all about in such a simple and apt way.


International Sky Pixie Day – or how i learned to love Christmas December 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 3:20 pm

I’ve spent maybe as long as the last decade saying I’d like to either do Christmas somewhere where they don’t do Christmas… Morrocco? A small remore cottage on the west coast of ireland with only me in it? Or go and give dinner to homeless people… or pull crackers with alcoholic one legged dogs in Romania.

Its not that I hate Christmas… well… apart from the prolonged commercialism of it… the high expectations every one has… the panic…. the enforced bonhomie… see there I go again.

I love the tree… my decorations are a lifetimes eclectic collection., things the kids and I have made and inherited baubles.

I love getting presents.

I love a big roast dinner along with the next person. (though I snobbishly shun turkey for goose and then complain about the lack of left overs).

So what am I railing against?

I think I dislike the formulaic approach…. I dislike being in a rut…. but enjoy tradition.

Its such a difficult time of year.

Its not helped by the fact that the two people I had my children with both insist on present opening waiting until after lunch…. or even the queen’s speech. (though one of them softened the blow with a tradition of early morning small stocking presents).

This year…. I’m not feeling too bad. We are high tailing it over to see relatives for Christmas (therefore no cooking needed) and having gone into peterborough just the once I gave up on the will to live and came home and did the vast majority of my shopping online.

But it still doesn’t feel ‘quite’ right.

So i thought maybe i should think about my most memorable Christmasses….

The first started on the solstice…. my boyfriend and I started off at nine ladies stone circle in Derbyshire… decided the vibe wasn’t right and drove spontaneously to Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey.  from there we drove the short distance to visit friends just up the road…. and we stayed for Christmas in a house with no fridge, no tv and only a baby belling cooker. There were five of us plus a child and we ate nut roast and musical instruments were played and wine drunk.

The second was the year I left my husband (at the end of November) I thought it was fairest to our daughter for her to go back to the house she’d thought of as home for a long time for her Christmas and I was determined to be on my own and be miserable. It was a year when many unexpected people gave me thoughtful presents (all of which I opened at about three seconds past midnight on Christmas morning – and then regretted doing so in the ‘real’ morning) and lots of people offered to share their days with me.

I caved in at about half ten in the morning and rang up friends…. their house was full of people who hated Christmas on principle… we ate and drank and played twister and had etcha sketch competitions…. it was probably my best Christmas ever.

This year I know what I’d really like to do from a totally selfish perspective is spend Christmas with my cigar smoking bear…. it would involve food and drink and presents and zero pressure other than having to get out of bed at some point or dinner won’t happen. (we are both habitual hibernators).

And as Christmas is all about children I should spend it with my children.

But then a lot of Christmas with small children is about making them conform to the structure of the day… no you can’t open presents yet…. no you can’t eat chocolate all day…. we all have to watch the queens speech/go for a walk/sing to the sky pixie or whatever else families insist on doing that makes their particular Christmas special.

I’m not sure where that leaves me…. mostly I think what I dislike is the pressure that the day has to be the best it can or else its a Christmas wasted…failed…. a Christmas you’ll never get back where the sprouts ran out and you only received socks.

Right… with that ramble over… I’m off to write Christmas cards… I like that too… other than the pressure that it has tobe done dusted and posted before Christmas.




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