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CFM Babs from Chorley FM


Phone Misery!

Posted by CFMBabs , 13 November 2008 · 879 views

Yes my head is ringing -- not with the sound of my telephone but with a rather disgusting response from my phone service provider. My last blog explained my position, but the events that led up to my complaint was much more intense than just 5 rings.

I was upstairs in the bathroom. The phone began to ring downstairs. I pulled my pants up, barged through the bathroom door, slid down the banister rail, threw open the French doors, leapt over the couch, hurdled over the table, jumped over the cat, dived on my phone and it stopped --- Not!!!

That's what I imagine my phone company would expect me to do, although I kept my elaborate thoughts to myself! Well, I went through the series of options again. Not one of the options related in any way to my complaint. Totally fed up with chasing my tail, I rang the telephone regulatory commission, not satisfied with the excuse I'd been given previously. They were very helpful and gave me a direct number to the inner sanctum that was not contaminated with robotic voices!

I dialled the number and a rather sad and forlorn sounding voice picked up and in a long drawn out drone, introduced himself as a representative of the company. I honestly wanted to wind him up in the turn of a key sense, not in the wrong way! But when he listened to my plight and through the many sighs he kept periodically blowing out, it was clear that he had no intention of listening with any sympathy.

"You have a free answering service for which there is only provision for the phone to ring 5 times before the answering service kicks in," he droned.

"Yes I know but is it so difficult to change the length of the rings to more than 5?"

"Not possible Ma'am -- you have to pay for extra rings!"

"Well, I understand that you charge but I think it's unfair when people like me and the elderly find it difficult to do a pentathlon each time it rings."

"My dear! I have spectacles and I have to pay for them," he retorted

"What? -- You're comparing a disability to wearing specs? -- I wear them too but if they didn't suit the job in hand, I'd complain and not expect to be charged for any slight adjustment!"

I could not believe this man's total arrogance in an explanation that only served to infuriate me further. I reported him to the commission and they were just as annoyed as I was.

I'm considering changing my supplier and fixing myself up with a phone that I can carry around like my mobile -- No more leaping over obstacles for me.

How infuriating.


Seven Rings -- Kerching!

Posted by CFMBabs , 12 November 2008 · 803 views

I scratch my head in disbelief. I'm rubbing my head with red tape and a sense of pure idiocracy. Just read on .......

My telephone company, a nationally recognised business, and for integrity purposes I've been with them for as long as I can remember!

Well it all began today when for the umpteenth time it rings just 5 times before the answer messaging service kicks in. Now, unless I can run the London Marathon in record time -- I simply cannot get to the phone from the other side of the house in time to answer it. Simple you may think? -- have another line put in. Well yes that's an option but before doing anything so drastic I thought it best to contact the company to extend the amount of rings it does on the line.

I spoke to numerous people who weren't really real people because it was automated. I went through every number on the keypad, finally succumbing to an option that did not suit my needs. Argrhhh! I screamed in despair. I tried once more after calming down with a quick coffee and chose any option just so I could speak to a living breathing soul who may, just may, be able to help me with my plight.
I hit success when a guy answered and I began to explain my problem with 5 rings not being enough on my line.

"Madam" he said! " 5 rings is standard you cannot have any more"

"What, you are telling me that 5 rings is all I am allowed?"

"Yes ma'am -- you can have 7 but it will cost you £7.50 per quarter"

"£7.50 for two more rings" I asked

"Yep that's right"

I was struck with silence at that point because I could not believe that my telephone is not allowed to ring 7 times without charge.

"Excuse me but, I can't run to the phone, I'm disabled actually and 5 rings is not enough. Do you know how many calls I miss because of this?"

He went on to explain a rather bizarre charging system which would increase my over extortionate bill even further.

I cannot believe the cheek of the matter. How can they warrant charging so much for two extra rings. It's my phone and my bell -- if you want to get picky! And if I have to drop everything and run to the phone to save £7.50 I will. Surely an unfair, bewildering system and there's a letter in the making as I write.

Simply weird.


Smile For Raynaud's

Posted by CFMBabs , 12 November 2008 · 828 views

Batten down the hatches, bring out the winter attire
Put on the layers and move closer to the fire
Don't go out in the wind and rain -- for sure a blue attack
Before you've even got there you'll be wanting to come back

You'll be wanting to drink plenty - no ice or fizzy juice
With fingers gone into spasm they won't be much use
You'll curse your condition, how it spoils the fun you have
And for a little spot of cuddling, your hubby will need Sat Nav!

You sit in an office waiting for the nurse to call
Looking at the ceiling and staring at the wall
This place is cold and lonely I'd go home if I could
I know I'll be ages coz the vampire's after blood

I hope the one they send me isn't a trainee nurse
I'm not really moaning but it couldn't really be worse
My veins are very choosy and just a little shy
I find I make excuses, for each time they try

The fifth time of trying, the nurse begins to shake
My arm is full of pin holes and both begin to ache
She got a little spot of blood, I ask if that's enough
But I have so many tests, they simply need more stuff

The attempts are now too many and she admits defeat
So I go back into the waiting room and sit upon on a seat
The room is full of strangers, a woman starts to smile
How long have you been here? -- I say well, quite a while!

We begin a conversation and I suddenly realise
That they all have sclero -- What a surprise!
Put the heating on full blast we're having an attack
Someone left the door open and didn't put it back

The life and times of a sufferer, sclero is the pits
I never feel beautiful, never get out my bits
I never eat a single meal, a funny woman indeed
When I use a whirring pump to deliver all my feed

So why am I complaining as I look around the room
I see smiling faces not dread or doom and gloom
I think life's what you make it and always keep a smile
It's not a special requirement but important all the while!


Mad Farm!

Posted by CFMBabs , 11 November 2008 · 766 views

I walked into a sad looking town this morning. My usual trip to the weekly market was just about as damp as the weather. I knew there wasn't the usual entourage because I got a disabled parking space without squabbling or fighting for the one nearest to the market place itself. Could this be the result of the credit crunch I ask myself?

Well the stalls looked very sparse. The little man who stands in the middle with his materials and cottons, hadn't bothered to turn up, which was rather disappointing for me seeing as he was the main reason for my visit! There stood an empty stall just rattling in the wind. I'd forgotten to mention the wind! It was raw, swirling and howling with fast moving dark clouds -- we were in for a downpour never mind a downturn. I wandered aimlessly then decided to go home before I got a soaking to add to my frozen feet.

There was always the supermarket on the way home. I spend more time there these days than in my house! I think it's boredom or the lack of company I yearn for when all the family are out. Anything has to be better than listening to all the racket outside and the embarrassment I feel when the postman gets his trouser leg pulled by our Jack Russell Terrier. I hear him scream but dare not show my face -- he blames me for the dog's behaviour and the last time I ran out to help, I picked her up and she nearly pulled the tube out of my stomach. Now I'm not about to go into the ins and outs of my condition with a grumpy postie who I think quietly hates me, for the sake of a dog who's lost the plot.

That dog needs re-training or something. Ever since my dad left, the dog's gone barmy! We try our best to calm her down but she's a highly strung pooch and we haven't got the heart to chain her up. The geese are just as bad and they encourage the dog by mimicking her bark! It's utter mayhem out there -- no wonder I enjoy the solace of the supermarket!

I very often hear a distant "H-e-l-p" from someone who really shouldn't be in my field. It's either the goats or the geese that have them cornered, they mean no harm. Any kind of bag, means food to them and the gander is very forthcoming when he thinks there might be a titbit for him. He stands tall, right in your face honking, and the more you back off, the closer he comes!

I've had to rescue quite a few people, and what do I get -- abuse! They refuse to accept that they're in the wrong for being there. I mean you wouldn't wander into someone's garden and pick their fruit would you? I despair at times, and when it comes to someone sawing my trees down for fuel -- Hey! They're my boundaries!
I don't know -- the cheek of it!

The postman's just been. I heard his wheels spinning at the end of my drive. I know it's him because the dog shot past the window with hair stood on end. I heard a bang and then a quick getaway! What a place to live when you have to escape the wrath of a mad farm and a farmer's wife who screams like a banshee down the road.

It's raining, in fact it's hammering down. I got home just in time. The wind is getting stronger and I can hear all the debris next door as the wind howls through my great hole in the wall -- yes! I still have a great hole in my wall. If this wind gets any stronger, I'll have every leaf from every kind of tree inside my home. I'll put some coal on the fire -- at least I'll be warm but let down that my plans for today ended before they began!


Raynaud's Buddies

Posted by CFMBabs , 08 November 2008 · 804 views

Why can't we hibernate? Seems to me like a very good idea and I might just do that! Some people just don't get it when it comes to how cold a person like me can feel. Sure I look like an Eskimo when I go out and always commandeer the seat next to the radiator. Everyone in the room looks relaxed, rosy and dressed for the occasion -- I'm blue, frumpy and look like I've been dragged in from the street in sympathy.

I hate the prospect of going out with new friends. I'm not antisocial although it sounds like it! No, I'm just not at my best in cold weather and quite frankly I could be mistaken for the weirdo in the corner!

I shuddered not with cold but dread, at the prospect of going out with my daughter's new beau's parents at the weekend. It was inevitable, our path's had to cross at some stage and it happened to be on Saturday. Of course the venue had to be a restaurant/pub, neither of which appeals to me any more. I realise there is nowhere else suitable -- we could hardly have gone to the movies or 10 pin bowling could we?

So I put on my best thermals, boots, thick jumper, gloves and faux fur jacket for my expedition to the one place I avoid - usually! We met inside. I thought it felt cold so whilst others were removing their attire, mine stayed wrapped around me. Stuart -- thats my daughter's boyfreind, arrived with his parents just as I was cupping a mug of coffee in the middle of a severe Raynaud's attack! We introduced ourselves and his mum pointed to the coffee.

"Oohh I'll have one of those, and are we near a radiator?" she asked before any conversation began. Now she's my type of woman, I thought. We'll get along just fine.

The men conversed about football -- we conversed about the weather, and when the meal arrived, instead of asking why I'd not ordered, she went on to say how much she hated to eat late. I was beginning to really like this person and we had much in common -- how much was about to be revealed.

"Take your coat off, Dawn" Her hubby said, "She's always cold, well she has Raynaud's!"

I spun around so fast and nearly cricked my neck. "You have Rayanud's?" I asked.

"Yes, do you know what it is?"

Know what it is! I'm knowing more than what it is, in fact if it had a chief sufferer I'd be up there with them. I told her that I also had it and the conversation went into hyper- mode. So hugging the radiator and drinking coffee -- I'd found my best buddy.

My daughter may have got herself a boyfriend but I've got myself an understanding friend and I can hear wedding bells, I'm almost buying a new hat! Hope they stay together -- I can see many more nights out!


Wilderness Years -- In Rhyme!

Posted by CFMBabs , 05 November 2008 · 798 views

With head in hands -- How will I cope?
No cure to be found -- no hope
What will I become, the future is bleak
A word I'm not sure of, even to speak

It hit me so hard like a runaway truck
It looked like my life had run out of luck
I closed my ears not wanting to hear
Couldn't even shed a tear!

Would this thing be my demise
No information before my eyes
A condition so vague, misunderstood
And I'd just started motherhood

I went away with heavy heart
Not knowing where to start
What would happen - I shrug and sigh
And all the time I question -- Why?

I looked at my baby as she crawled on the floor
This life I'd created was beautiful and more
To her I was mum not some medical term
She needed a mother not one who's infirm

17 years gone like I'd flipped through the pages
Each chapter a joy, the years and ages
No time for myself it was all about her
My beautiful babe with long dark hair

Seventeen and just as sweet
The nicest kid you'd wish to meet
She's all mine and I'm so proud
I even tell her that out loud

This dark little place I go to think
How many years I've had in pink
Scleroderma lurks behind
I wish a cure they could find

My front is of humour how happy I look
But go back a few pages in my life's book
The wilderness years and, yes, I came through
And I can sit here and write this for you!


Wilderness Years

Posted by CFMBabs , 05 November 2008 · 769 views

Y'know, Serena --- The hardest thing coping with a chronic illness is admitting to yourself that you're no longer the person you once were and the uncertainty. The saddest thing is knowing that your family feel the same!

My daughter grew up knowing mum wasn't like other mums. I spent so much time in and out of hospital that in her primary school years she was almost part of a one parent family! For most of her young life she never understood the full impact of the disease and kind of accepted that mum wouldn't be able to go to certain places or do things other mums could do. I guess I was so wrapped up in myself and so alone in the early days, which I like to refer to as my wilderness years! that I had little time to worry about how my family were coping.

Our children are much more resilient than we give credit for and in some ways I feel that my daughter has matured into a warm caring person because of it, take the fact that she wants to become a nurse! I'm sure at times she must have hated the situation, as we all did. But she made the best of it and came through.

I think we have to stop blaming ourselves in the beginning. We have no choice when it comes to illness -- it's not made to order! It's how we deal with it that matters. My daughter is a typical teenager who does typical teenager things. We have our moments just like any other, mainly the slamming door type. Like you, I don't wallow in self sympathy and I try to carry on as normal. But it's always mum she runs to in a crisis, always mum to do her deeds and most importantly I'm here to do it!

Your boys have a very special mum because not only is she dealing with her own problems, she dealing with parenthood immaculately. Your boys will become loving and selfless young men and when that day arrives -- tell me I'm wrong if you dare!

Sometimes it's better not to know the truth and sometimes it's hard to take. One thing to take credit for in raising kids with morals and dignity when there is so much bad in the world from parents who care nothing about what their kids get up to on the streets.

Carry on regardless, my friend. This condition may be rare but so are we!


The True Impact On Your Family!

Posted by CFMBabs , 03 November 2008 · 822 views

The full impact of having a chronic illness and how it affects the family is never really discussed unless the need arises, or you find yourself in a situation where the conversation cannot be avoided.

My daughter attends college; her course work is Health and Social Care. She wants to be a nurse -- Why? I do not know. My father was a male nurse and although I have the utmost total respect for the profession, I still think it can be a thankless job these days! Never-the-less she has my support in whatever she decides and I have to give her great credit for wanting to help sick people.

It was a difficult question when asked how my illness affected the family? In my heart I know it must be difficult but I never had the courage to ask, and even if I had, would they have answered truthfully? I guess it's something you would never know unless you are given the opportunity to eavesdrop, or let your family loose with a personal account on paper (not intended to be read by me).

It was a half term holiday assignment that brought my illness to the fore. Her tutor had set an example for the students entitled; Impact That Changed Your Life -- Positive And Negative! Her chosen assignment had to be me!

She sat tapping on the keyboard, occasionally asking for help in spelling and time scales. It was a lengthy piece on which I was totally banned from any input other than a few questions. She closed the laptop whenever I entered the room and frowned each time I asked if I could read it! Funny thing being written about and not allowed to have any say, libel perhaps, but I kept her wishes as she printed off four whole pages, popped it in her bag and ended the matter right there.

First day back at college and I had the computer to myself for a change. I had a couple of things to do -- letters to write that sort of thing! I logged on and clicked a programme used solely for text such as spreadsheets, letters, graphs, Y'know the stuff! I scrolled down the documents and saw the assignment Steph had written about me just staring me in the face. Well you just would -- wouldn't you? I knew it was personal but I just had to read it. Call me awful but I'll take it on the chin. How else would I ever know what she really thinks about our family situation, and would it be so bad or something I didn't already know?

I opened the document it began: Mum. Mum was diagnosed with a condition known as Raynaud's in her late teens. Raynaud's is a condition that affects the fingers and toes causing a lack of blood flow and sometimes gangrene!

I read on with an element of awe. I was surprised by the amount of knowledge she had about my condition when she always seemed so disinterested! I could never remember discussing any part of a conversation which related to the subject in such detail -- I was amazed! Paragraph after paragraph of detailed text, much better than I could ever have done myself! and then came the reality check.

The impact upon family life beginning with the negatives. She described how when she was taking High school exams (GCSE's) she sat on the rear seat of the car racing towards Manchester to visit me in hospital with revision papers on her knee and writing coursework trying to keep the pen on the paper. She described all the sleepless nights she endured with worry, when she should have been worrying about her exams, she was worrying about me instead, and how she felt she could have done much better than the results she finally got!

She went on to say how my condition affected our social life as a family. How we used to go out for meals and with friends. How we eat differently now that I can no longer sit and eat a meal, and how I've changed from the cuddly Mum I used to be to a skinny shadow of my former self. She felt sorry for her Dad because she felt that he suffered too, not having the same social life and feeling guilty for drinking alcohol when I could not.

The positives came in the shape of still having me around even though I would never be the same, and she went in depth to describe the relief of having me home after long spells in hospital. I read with tears in my eyes. I guess the full impact on my family is something I never really thought about. Most importantly was the realisation that my condition affected my daughter in such a way that she felt she'd let herself down in relation to exam results, when in fact I was so proud of her achievements! I closed the document with a feeling of guilt. Had I been so selfish not realise how much this had affected my family? How could I ever make things better?

I'm glad that I read her assignment. It was a harsh truth and hard to swallow but at least I now know her true feelings. If she doesn't get "A" Star for it --- I'll be yanking the tutor out of her classroom by her bare neck. A beautifully written piece of work, and I just want to hug her!


Tea Loaf!

Posted by CFMBabs , 26 October 2008 · 800 views

Trying new recipes, I came across one on the net! ---- Irish Brack Tea Loaf! So with all good intent, I set myself up in the kitchen with the ingredients and a tingle of excitement. I love baking and I have the chance to show off my fayre this week as I've been asked to provide cakes for an upcoming charitable fund raiser. With scales at the ready, I began to weigh the flour, fruit and sugar.

My daughter sat in the front room occasionally screaming "What are you doing?" but I was engrossed in my work and feeling warm all over. I placed the mix in the tin, popped it in the oven and then pondered about what else I could make.

"What about dinner?" my daughter sarcastically remarked.

My hubby came home from work lifting his nose in the air "What are you making, it stinks" That's about the level of encouragement I get, so I just ignored his comment.

The loaf seemed to take forever -- far longer than the recipe had stated. I checked through in case I'd missed something but I'd done everything to the book. One and a half hours it said -- it was fast approaching two and still not done! It was beginning to burn around the edges - "This thing will take forever," I thought as two hungry mouths mocked my attempt.
I took the decision -- It's coming out no matter what! I placed it on the cooling rack --it was heavy, it steamed and looked very un-appetising.

"What's that?" my hubby remarked pointing his finger -- "It's rock hard", knocking it with his fist. "Tell you what-- make a couple of hundred of those and we can use them in the gable end!"

Cheeky monkey! I had a sunken heart. My hopes for a lovely tea loaf, a blackened brick. I don't know where it went wrong? I'd done everything right but obviously it wasn't.

The geese will get a feast today -- if they can chew it that is!


Coal Supplies!

Posted by CFMBabs , 25 October 2008 · 852 views

Okay time to stop feeling sorry for myself -- sympathy bottle all out of contents! not that I got any of course! I'm still barking like our Jack Russell Terrier and when I kick off, so does the dog, geese and goats. It's comical -- you should hear it!

I was having a mad session when the coal merchant came. He avoided me like I had a medieval plague and I can't say I blame him. I've never seen him tip bags of coal as fast and in a way I was quite thankful that he left so abruptly. I wasn't feeling so great as to enter conversation about the credit crunch, which in his assumption happened 10 years ago. I'm not saying he's a bore -- I just don't see the point of moaning all the time.

Well the geese kicked off in a frenzy the dog ran round in circles -- the goats joined in and we had a farm yard choir. He was off down the drive faster than Lewis Hamilton with the dog hot on his heels. I couldn't shout so I shut the door. The dog came back like a bulldog with shoulders bigger than the shoulder pads in Dynasty. The geese came back also with wings outstretched all hooting and honking in a flurry of white feathers. The dust had hardly settled and along came the goats, just being goats really, inquisitive!

I had a chicken on my window bottom trying to keep balance in the mayhem. How can anyone be ill here with any sense of peace and quiet? I smile to myself, at least it's not dull. I wonder if the coal merchant actually enjoys paying me a visit? I'm sure he'd rather we convert to gas! but then there would go my entertainment..

All in all, not feeling great but good enough to carry on as normal. Miserable day outside, damp, squib Saturday. My fire is roaring half way up the chimney. I can hear my chest wheeze and with hubby home from work the TV goes on for the soccer reports. My daughter said a fleeting goodbye as her boyfriend sneaked up the yard as far as the geese would allow, then took to his heels as the goats made an appearance.

Another cup of coffee is ordered and I just have time to finish this blog before the next wave of excitement begins, whatever that may be!

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