changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

Interminable medical stuff…. February 8, 2013

Filed under: cancer,home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 4:50 pm
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What’s that?

You wanted a blog about my medical emergency vomiting skills and what you got was a ramble about the National Curriculum?

Sometimes dear reader(s) [in case both of you look in on the same day]… you are so predictable.

Meg has been at home… originally with the intention of covering a day and evening where Jane was in London – but the London trip was cancelled so Meg just made herself generally useful – keeping me entertained, lifts to appointments, distracting the boy and the dog (sometimes at the same time) and cooking me things I fancy to eat.

This time she caught me on my steroid days on which, if nobody feeds me, I will eat my own feet and my elbows too.

Her final days cooking was THE. MOST. AMAZING. cake. Image

Its a gluten free cake.. so its base is ground almonds… its chocolate and orange, almond cake and it has cherries on the top – so the theory was it was almost a fruit salad for someone who doesn’t get to eat much fruit and vegetables.

And to go with the cake… a beef stew…. weeeeell… it started off as a vegetable stew with some beef in it but once I’d crossed off all the veg i’d struggle with or don’t like it was a beef and carrot and neep in beery gravy stew with DUMPLINGS… big dumplings.

I have to admit… I ate three.

And quite a lot of cake.

And stew.

And the truth of it is… that THAT sort of thing isn’t what’s meant by ‘little and light and often’.

(though the dumplings were admirably light by dumpling standards).

So not long after Meg texted me to tell me she was back up North I decided that I was feeling kinda queer in a…distended stomach….headachey….crampy….shallow breathing sort of a ….and then I was sick.

I woke Jane up… rang the hospital (who said I should report to A&E)…got dressed… woke the boy and we all bundled into the car at about half one in the morning.

Blah blah blah…. A&E….copious amounts of vomiting (proving once and for all I really should chew my food more as well as eat less)…. there even came a point where the best option I could think of was to lie in a bed and shit myself…. except… it wasn’t happening.

When my system shuts down like this its like it just gets stoppered where my colon is encircled by the lymphoma and anything below that just carries on as normal and anything above gets thrown back up violently and painfully. Along with a good dose of the shakes as all my blood rushes to protect my internal organs.

(enough information yet)?

Eventually it started to calm down but they’d efinitely be keeping me in… Jane and the boy went home.

As the hospital was chocka and there were no beds on the wards to be had, the hospital kindly brought me a bed down to A&E (as opposed to a trolley which doesn’t count in their bed providing policy) and me the bed and a friendly commode sat in a small side room and waited until half eleven the next morning for a bed in Emergency Short Stay….

…and THAT’S how ill I felt… I didn’t complain about going to ESS at all.

Actually it was a bit like Waiting for Godot in there…. a ward with three old ladies, very old ladies. I’ve decided there are two main catagories of old ladies… happy ones and miserable ones. There was one of each on my ward, plus one so out of it it was hard to tell.

The miserable one spent her time doing three things…sleeping…eating and complaining to her family that she wasn’t sleeping and eating.

The happy one I would have brought home, even though she couldn’t toilet herself but they moved her to another ward before i could persuade her.

I hope I’m a happy old person.

At supper time I went mad and had two teaspoons of orange jelly before Jane and the boy visited and then I was asleep and seriously dribbling when a nurse came to tell me they had a bed up in Haem/Onc.

As you all know… I LOVE heam/onc.. there’s nothing like specialist staff to make you feel special and nothing like other cancer patients to know that whatever weird shit your body is throwing at you its fine ‘cos cancer’s a bitch.

The first thing heam/onc do when you arrive to set themselves apart from ESS is ask if you want another pillow…. some people even have three pillows. Two pillows and a working drip stand and I’m happy.

This morning my body took on board two slices of toast…. which were weird.¬†Toasty… almost bread like and there was some warmth involved that actually melted butter. I think Mark that pushes the food trolley (I think he’s officially a ‘ward host’ -and one of THE most cheerful men on the planet) may have made some sort of step for toast and mankind in the storage of hospital toast… or if not him… someone.

And then my body decided what it likes best in the world isn’t vomiting but shitting.

(nothing to do with the toast…. just process)

As with any good organised hospital the registrar came round early morning and told me my problem was probable a chemo side effect (combined with being a silly sausage with my eating) and I’d be able to go home ‘sometime’ over the weekend.

shit. my weekend is all planned…Annie is coming to stay…we’re going to crochet and drink tea…and eat…erm… Annie is going to eat cake. Not me.

Luckily the registrar went away and came back as part of a posse along with my lovely consultant who agreed that having diarrhoea in your own toilet at home is a lot more pleasant than doing it anywhere else… so I could go home as soon as I had my letter and my canula out. (I was very careful to avoid eye contact with the registrar at this juncture in case they conferred).

Phone Jane for lift.

Canula out (about time as arm swelling – I think I’d hit saline drip saturation point).

And off home – asking them to stick the important discharge letter in the post.


Taste of childhood. June 23, 2012

Filed under: home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 10:04 pm
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I had a bit of a strange day yesterday and came home with the urge for a Vesta meal.

I’m not sure I’ve eaten one since i was about twelve… but I definitely needed one last night… so as Jane was off to Tescos I asked her to get me one.

Beef chow mein with crispy noodles.

I was so excited… the deliberation over which were the soft and which the crispy noodles (printing on packets too subtle).. the pouring of water… the stirring of stuff… the frying of the noodles.

The boy and I had eaten most of the crispy noodles by the time the ‘chow mein’ had cooked..and they were good…crispy and noodley.

The chow mein, however, was pretty foul.

Bore no resemblence to anything else I’ve ever eaten by that name.

But then… Vesta made its name with its ‘meals for one’ in the 1970’s… such things were almost space-age let alone ‘foreign’.

At that point in our house you could pretty much tell what day it was by what was for….oh…. I was about to say supper and then remembered as a kid meals had different meals.

Until my mum went back to work when i was mid junior school we all went home from school or work and had a proper cooked dinner…. then tea at night.. the supper was a drink of highly coloured and sugar saturated squash and a biscuit to help me sleep.

No wonder I got confused by my first real rub up against the middle class when my (eventually to be) ex-husbands parents invited me round to meet me and have supper!!!

Anyway…you could tell what day it was by the food…with some seasonal adjustments…like a scarcity of dumplings in summer and the introduction of salmon loaf (how to make a tin of salmon serve 8) and cold sliced egg salad.

My mother was a good plain cook… well..when i say ‘good’…..

rissoles, liver and onions, boiled mince with a bit of bisto in, potato and meat pie with a suet crust, belly pork, stew and dumplings, sunday roast served VERY thin and then again cold on Monday.

Rice was for puddings…macaroni too.

I believe people did attempt foreign delicacies at his time… my friend jon has a childhood meal he recreated for me once called ‘sweet and sour spam’…. but not at our house…oh no.

So Vesta gave me my first taste of chinese, indian and spanish cuisines… totally inaccurate…. but a chink in the meat and two veg wall my childhood built around me.

I’ve tried to explain to my kids ‘just’ how different food was then… how narrow the range.

I remember my first olive at about 16. (the same night i was introduced to saki, lentil loaf and Hampstead pubs)

My first chinese was a business mans lunch, three courses for a set amount in st Ives in Cornwall… my sister took me when i was about 12. I’m pretty sure the first choice was prawn salad or soup… the pudding iced-cream… but I’m sure here was something chinese in the middle.

Until i met my husband I didn’t know how to peel prawns…or that pheasants were for eating.

Compared to my daughter born 19 years ago…whose favourie snack was olives… who sat in a restaurant at about 3 and ate mussels..

the foodie world is a totally different place… but is it all good?

I always remember my grandma telling me to eat seasonal and eat local… to her, i think it was a very holistic thing that the place that grew you must grow the food most ideally suited to you. A way of thinking that predates families moving willy nilly round the country.

When we used to holiday up in cumbria where my grandma grew up she’d tell me where to go and find watercress growing to take her some back… that and local honey.

A fusion perhaps of trying to refind her ideal diet, but also to regain the tastes of her own childhood….

its a bit sad that the taste of my childhood is a vesta meal*…. that sort of epitomises why there was the whole foodie swing back towards my grandmas way of thinking.

I’ll have to ask my daughter what she remembers as the tastes of her childhood.

*its probably as much a taste of rebellionism as childhood as it was never something served up as a family meal…but a treat that had to be asked for.



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