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CFM Babs from Chorley FM


All That I Am - Part 1

Posted by CFMBabs , 05 October 2007 · 808 views

A friend once asked me, knowing that I love to write, "Why don't you write about what it's really like living with a chronic illness?" Of course I've written so much about the disease itself, but I've never written a biographical account of my day-to-day life. I decided that if I was going to do it, it would be my own story, not about my journey to diagnosis, nor my condition in medical detail -- just my own day as seen through my own eyes, in the hopes that others may have some understanding.

I guess the worst aspect of any chronic illness is the impact it has upon yourself and family. Sometimes it's more difficult dealing with the effects it has within your family than coping with the disease itself. On some days I feel selfish and worthless. Family can be a problem, too -- if you have children, their needs come first! So it's not all about coping with the illness itself, it's coping with all that goes with it -- the entourage you might say!

The alarm clock rings, it's 6.30am. My hubby groans and I turn over. "Is it really morning so soon." Fact is I'd only just closed my eyes and the night was gone! Another night of restless sleep. The alarm rings on until it finally stops and my hubby moans again, this time with one leg out of the bed. The duvet slides over my warm body as he climbs out like a Neanderthal man, stretches and yawns and then makes his way downstairs. I don't want to get up although I know inevitably that I have no choice. My daughter is at college with no other means of transport except 'Mum's taxi'. Reluctantly, I slowly begin to climb out of bed, waking my daughter as I do so. "Steph, time to get up." I hear the groan from behind her closed door as I go downstairs to a half-boiling kettle with three empty cups.

It's 7 am. I add instant coffee and pour the hot water into the cups, then make my way into the living room where my hubby is sitting putting on socks and fiddling with the TV remote. "What are you doing today?" he asks.

I reply sarcastically, "Going up Everest before lunch and then -- well nothing much." His silence says it all. In reality I may as well climb Everest -- every day feels that way. My little backpack and layers of clothing resemble Scott of the Antarctic! The only mountain I'll climb today is getting through it! Off to work he goes and I'm on my way to college with my daughter. She's reciting a to do list for me: Washing, Ironing, Can you get, Can you do and can you pick me up at 4.30pm? I nod my head like it's on a spring, her own personal lady in waiting!

Back home -- what a relief. The early morning traffic -- Rat race! 'Mums with Missions' on the school run and stressed out business men late for work. My living room is my sanctuary and the kettle goes on again before my daily chore of hooking myself up to the machine which delivers my nutrition. Of course I wasn't always like that! I could eat, too much I'd say (well you don't get to 168 llbs eating carrots do you)! I'm a mere snippet of my former self these days -- almost half that weight. Still, I consider myself a 'Babe' and don't take that away from me.

Okay! normal life over and I unravel the tubes that connect me to a little battery pack. The bottle of sticky fluid all shook up and looking like vanilla milkshake is ready for me to screw onto the cap of a newly unpacked giving set. Carefully I screw it on remembering the one time a newly qualified nurse failed to do this properly. This stuff is as sticky as honey and not nice when it's poured all over one's head. That's what happened! The nurse set the bottle on a drip stand and pulled the tube -- unfortunately for her, she was stood right under it when the cap came off! It was hard not to laugh but it was one of those situations when you couldn't help yourself. Since then, I've always been careful, but accidents happen and one too many occasions has had me scrubbing the carpet from my neglect. Cap on, bottle in housing, pump connected, tube attached and I'm ready to face the day! Up goes the zip on my little rucksack and away I go.

The weight pulls on my shoulders and the long tube that delivers my feed is wrapped up and stuffed into my pocket. I have to be careful of kinks or else an alarm sounds, usually in the most awkward of situations. Try standing at the cash till of a busy supermarket when you start to go, "Beep--beep!" It's amazing how many people dash into their bags for a mobile phone only to find it's not them at all but a woman with a computerised bag that's about to explode or something -- rather embarrassing, don't you think? Back to my car and I strap it into the seat with a seat belt.

Off I go into town -- it's Tuesday. Tuesday is market day and I'm all for bargains. Today is unusually sunny. I say unusually because I can't think of a day this year when it didn't rain! Then again, the day is young and anything can happen!


Hope When There Is None!

Posted by CFMBabs , 30 September 2007 · 736 views

Things we take for granted like, a washing machine, refridgerator, cooker, tumble dryer -- er! Tumble dryer! I haven't had one of those for 5 years on account of our ever ongoing renovation work. I've sure missed that machine. Believe me, hanging out your washing to dry in weather we've experienced this year, was and is a nightmare! I mean how much can a domestic queen like me suffer? It was not right to hang washing in front of the fire particulary when you had the minister coming for coffee. My smalls, and not so smalls, all hung ceremoniously for everyone to see. My Gran used to say, " Never mind, love, at least they're clean and paid for." I shudder to think at what point in my life she said those words -- perhaps I showed a little too much even then -- who knows? I cringed each time my daughter asked for her favourite jumper, I tell you the whole prospect of the laundry routine was no joke what-so-ever.

Today is a momentous occasion -- The new tumble dryer arrives. It's not that we couldn't afford one, well let's face it, who can? It was more to do with where we would put it! My house is so full of building materials and unfinished projects that our larger than average home is one of living area and warehouse! Sometimes I wander into the stores of my unfinished dining room area and rummage in the boxes we packed some 5 years ago when life was an adventure about to begin with the prospect of renovating our own home. My visions of a country dwelling complete with roses, have all but diminished and all we have is a shell and a summer which put an end to our dreams this year. My husband is philosophical -- "There's always next year!" And if that's the quote of the century, I've heard it all before! My outlook is more sceptical -- I'll believe it when I see it!

Back to the boxes and I keep pulling out more memories. Old photos I'd long forgotten about. Some made me smile, especially the ones of my daughter when mum was mummy not her personal slave, but that's not a fair statement, she's a really good kid for a teenager and those little tantrums have long gone. Some made me throw them back in the box quicker than the click of the camera -- Me! Goodness I have changed so much. I was, dare I say, fat! Frumpy and a hairstyle that was ancient in the 80's. I should be lucky to have gotten married at all looking like that! But hey, I was okay in my 20s and I prefer to look at those -- and I'll keep them on top!

My day goes so quickly when I'm reminiscing. Then I realise that I have work to do before the rabble comes home. Back in the boxes the memories go and back to reality as I walk into the part of the house that actually looks like a home. Dreams of roses around the door may have wilted and died but there's always hope when there is none! And I'm sure my gran said that too!


Winter Woolies

Posted by CFMBabs , 27 September 2007 · 786 views

Well, I might have been poetic about global warming but there's nothing poetic about waking up to a hard ground frost such as experienced this morning! I could hardly believe my hubby was scraping the ice off the car windscreen -- but he was!

I immediately put plans into action. My day would be spent searching for all my winter woolies and perhaps adding a few jumpers to my collection. I built the fire right up the chimney, slipped on my favourite heavy jacket and hastily headed for town. My daughter who has a permanent appointment with the boutique, was rather excited at my sudden urge to buy clothes and I gave her free rein to choose some decent attire for my Raynaud's ravished body! True to form, she chose all the trendy gear and the fool that I am, went along with her choice. As a recovering frump, I have to admit that her choice does rather suit me, and if I don't say it -- no one will!

I slipped on two pairs of tight jeans and bought a very modern pair of fluffy type boots so if I don't look trendy I can always sign up for a festive elf. I certainly fit the criteria -- 5ft 1" cheeky grin, big red face and an overwhelming urge to make stuff, particulary at this time of year.

October brings in the silly season and although I will surely be enjoying myself doing all the things that kids go wild for -- toffee apples, pumpkin head sculptures and all the mayhem that goes with it -- I think you get the picture. In the UK we have a celebration on Nov 5th to mark the non blowing up of the houses of Parliament. Quite why we celebrate this escapes me as it was quite a stupid thing to do. Still it's a good excuse to get rid of all your unwanted junk in the form of a bonfire and it's a ###### good excuse for me to get warm. I don't mind the bit where you stand around the fire, it's the fireworks that worry me! Especially if you have a daft husband like mine who sticks a rocket in a tube that falls over at the point of launch and the ###### thing screams across the lawn at the speed of an exocet missile towards your good self who was just enjoying the warmness in her gloves. If you think I've lost the ability to move like a Gazelle -- think again? Needless to say I've banned rockets or any exploding objects from this year's celebration.

Back to the fire and I'm stoking up for this evening. The lounge area is around 95 degrees and feeling tropical. Still, it's just fine by me anything below 75 degrees has me blowing into my cupped hands and wriggling around like a bored child.

So, what about global warming then? How much longer do I have to wait? My personal opinion guys, don't quote me on my negative outlook even if the worriers of this world do -- serious stuff I know and although the implications for future generations is bleak, I can't help it if I'm selfish! But I actually do care!!!!


Where Is Global Warming?

Posted by CFMBabs , 22 September 2007 · 777 views

Global warming what, where and when will it begin?
I'm counting on my chickens for when it finally comes in
For the very thought of warmness fills me with such glad
I haven't been warm since Greece, the best warm I've ever had
I was just alright in the sunshine whilst others wilted and hit the shade
And I lounged just like a lizard, coz that's how I'm made

At night I wrapped up in clothing before we hit the bars
And all the tourists looked at me as if I'd come from Mars
For they were dressed in skimpy wear with hardly anything on
And I was shivering for them after the sun had gone

Where is this global warming? Oh, I wish it would hurry up!
As my lips sipped a coffee, my fingers round the cup
And when I'd finished drinking I simply asked for more
Then moved further inside the room away from the door
"Don't tell me that your'e freezing," my hubby said with shock
"We're almost on the coast of Egypt, over there by the rock
"If you can shiver here, my dear, then pity you when we get home
"You'll freeze like an ice cube right through to the bone."

At night the air conditioning was sneakily switched to low
And underneath the duvet I would always go
Whilst hubby sweltered in the heat and moaned that he was hot
I was nice and warm that's all, and that's all I ever got
Still I never once got bitten, those mossies kept away
They had a feast on hubby and then went their merry way

Back home again in England and I'm sitting by the fire
In my furry little boots and fluffy night attire
I've got my regular position stoking up the grate
And my hubby in his undies in a melting state
Where is this global warming? It can't come soon enough
For someone who had Raynaud's, the weather here is tough
I'm sorry for the penguins, the polar bears and the seals
But unless you have this condition you don't know how it feels!


Reaction To Cold (poem)

Posted by CFMBabs , 18 September 2007 · 794 views

I'm writing from a personal experience with the public toilets in town. Sometimes these little havens can be a very cold place, particulary if you have Rayaud's and people know nothing of the condition. I'm not blaming individuals here, but it kind of makes you aware of the lack of understanding and awareness of the condition. I have sclero too, but it presents itself with no visible scars, unlike some conditions. I don't think it's pity we're after, just an understanding that being cold is not just about putting on extra layers or shivering, it's about the very real effects the cold can do to people who have this kind of reaction to it.

There's no fun living in a cold climate, no sir! no fun at all
For someone who has Raynaud's and heading for the fall
The summer sun never came this year, in fact, we've had none
And now the season's changing and the hope of respite gone

My fingers tell a story and I swear with each attack
I spend my hopeless day trying to get the critters back
My toes have gone in spasm, I'm marching on the spot
People think I'm barmy and they tend to stare a lot

Can't bear my useless digits as I fiddle in my purse
I didn't have a wee back home and now the feeling's worse
I really need a piddle and 20p's a joke
Why can't I be just like the other folk?
I finally grab a coin and place it in the slot
But I can't get my pants down, my finger's hurt a lot
Oh what a palaver just to have a pee
I nearly didn't make it and what a fool I'd be

I'm heading for the dryers, the air will ease my pain
And a snotty woman says "hurry or I'll need to go again"
On go my little black gloves, relief at least for now
I'll be glad to make it home, today sometime, somehow
I'm walking on blocks of ice my feet just won't relent
The socks I wear not warm enough, they're what my auntie sent

I'm such a funny woman I'm sure I'm not alone
There can't be just little old me out there on my own
My funny hat, my clothes and shoes, would suit an expedition
But I'm only going shopping, and that's become a mission
47, and like my gran, as to my car I go
Thank goodness for the heater, I'll have it on full blow

Now you think that I'm complaining and I guess that's how it goes
But how would you like frozen fingers and frozen little toes
How would you feel if you were like me, frozen to the core
Just going to the toilet can sometimes be a chore
And simple things we take for granted become an impossible task
To go outdoors without any pain is simply not too much to ask

The moral of this rhyme is just, be thankful it's not you
Or I'd switch off the hand dryer and leave you there wet through!


Nightmare On Holiday

Posted by CFMBabs , 12 September 2007 · 791 views

If my life was a soap opera I'd still find most of it hard to believe -- much more fiction rather than reality. In my last blog, I was writing about our forthcoming trip to Greece, how happy I was soon to be basking in warm sunshine. All my plans of total relaxation with some normality to my circulation, went right out of the window the minute we arrived and dropped our luggage in our hotel room.

My hubby was uncomfortable on the flight mainly due to an insect bite picked up while he was weeding at home. The bite, we thought, had been taken care of after his early morning visit to our general practitioner who prescribed an antihistamine pill and some cream. Clearly, and to our horror,we saw this course of action did not work as he was standing in the hotel room with skin like Freddie Kruger. The bite had worsened and now at least 70 per cent of his body was covered in sores, even the parts we don't talk about on this site. We were tired and worried, but it was such early hours, we decided to sleep on it until later in the hope that the pills would take hold and the cream had time to work.

I awoke to the searing heat from the sun filling our room. It was 11am, time to get up and explore, but there was just one problem and he was asleep in the next bed. He awoke and the decision to find a doctor was made, so off we all went, not to the beach, nor to explore, but off on a quest to find a good English speaking doctor.

The medical centre was just in town but closed for the day so we asked at the tourist information where the nearest open medical centre was. "No centre open today -- good hospital up there" I looked up this enormous hill and believe me it was a huge climb.

"That one up there?" I asked, and she nodded! We began our climb. No wonder it's a good hospital, I thought, you'd have to be well to get up there in the first place. I was sweating -- I sure had my long awaited warmth but not this way!

We finally arrived and the language barrier was the first problem. I'd learned a little Greek some years ago but not enough to explain that my hubby had sores all over his body and it was a horse fly that did it! We were escorted to another room where my hubby began to undress slightly to gasps from the Greek medical staff who immediately left the room and ushered in a little doctor who remarkably resembled a Super Mario Brother,which tickled my daughter so much she had to leave the room. After a lot of oooh arrr! they decided to take some blood.

"Go away, come back two o clock," they said. We walked around the grounds -- there was no way I was walking down that hill again and then walking back up. Some holiday this was turning out to be! Two o'clock came and we waited in a small room until Mr Mario appeared with the results.

"You must go right away to University hospital in Heraklion," he said rather worryingly. "Your results not good -- go now." We sat rather shocked as he pointed towards the door.

My hubby stuttered."We'll go home on the next flight." But the doctor told us he wouldn't get a certificate of fitness to fly! We knew it wasn't contageous and he'd had something like this before from a plant -- the same rash, so we were'nt worried about risking anyone else's health. We hurried back down the hill and pondered and argued and emotionally made the decision to return home no matter what. We booked ourself a flight but the first one home was Tuesday and it was only Sunday. We could only get the one to Glasgow which meant a hefty journey home even after our arrival in the UK.

We enjoyed the few days we had in our resort but by Tuesday we were ready to come home. We flew to Glasgow through two thunderstorms,easily the worst flight I've ever been on. Then we caught a small propellered plane back to Manchester which was equally bumpy. Arriving home, our trip a disaster and hubby at the hospital in town, I avoided saying, "Why does it always happen to us?" There's far worse goes on in the world, but can we never do anything right?"

Home at last and hubby is much better -- it was only an allergic reaction to the bite. Try telling him that -- in his version of this holiday nightmare he was at death's door. With that, I'll say no more!


Warmth At Last!

Posted by CFMBabs , 29 August 2007 · 760 views

There's been no end to this dreary summer -- it's almost autumn and all we've had is winter weather! No surprise then -- we're off to Greece! Tired of aching muscles, constant blue digits and persistant colds, I'm looking forward to the sun. My preparation began yesterday with a visit to the hairdresser's. My mop of straggly unkept locks were in desperate need of a makeover.

"Take it all off," I begged. Not literally, though! I watched in the mirror has she hacked chunks of half tinted and grey pieces of hair that had seen better days, though I can't think when.

"You need a tint, dear," she remarked, but I was going on holiday and the last thing I needed was a tinting disaster. "It might turn green in the sun," she said after I explained that my destination was somewhere warmer than here.
"I'll wait -- I don't want to look like a budgie on tour."

She laughed. "Well that's one way of putting it," and then carried on with her crop.

The end result is a style I'm less familiar with and one my family have yet to get used to. It's short, neat and multi-coloured with shades of brown, grey and a colour I don't recognise but one my daughter has taken a fancy to. "That's the colour I wanted my hair," she says with envy -- her hair is naturally dark. I look totally different -- a new me and I quite like it.

I'm looking at the pile of washing and the suitcase alongside. I'm kind of expecting the clothes to iron and pack themselves and of course that aint gonna happen! Why is it you pack everything but the kitchen sink and then your thoughtless hubby wants to wear his favourite shirt, which happens to be at the bottom of the case, to travel in? This morning he's gone out with my daughter in clothes I'd just ironed ready for packing -- I give up!

We did manage to pull up all the weeds that paraded along our drive yesterday. The sun actually shone for a few hours and it didn't rain. The weeds took over in the wet and it's just not been the kind of weather to tend to gardening needs. So it's not just me who's had a crop, the garden and drive have had one too. My hubby actually climbed a ladder for the first time in months and painted a window. Now I have 3 nice window frames and one which hasn't had a lick of paint since Cromwell marched up my drive. Did I ever tell you we found a musket ball in the wall? Perhaps that was a disgruntled Mrs. Roundhead fed up with her lazy hubby -- now I'm digressing! So all we have to show for yet another year of planned house renovation is, three painted window frames, and a half-painted bit of render.

Still I'm going to Greece on Friday -- Warmth at last, thank goodness!


Who Needs Fingers?

Posted by CFMBabs , 09 August 2007 · 761 views

It's Thursday and today is my regular spot on the airwaves. My hubby is quite taken aback by the response I'm getting -- he never realised he had such a famous wife! I find myself being approached in the street by people I've never met before -- "Are you Barbara?" they ask. Even somewhere as grim as a hospital waiting room I'm recognised as a person they know from somewhere! I guess I must have a good face for the radio, as the song goes! Here's a woman who reads out recipes live on air and who hides a dark secret within -- if they only knew! They don't know that their resident cook can't eat and uses artificial nutrition -- why should they? I'm still the same person and I still make meals for the family. What better judge than my own clan to sample my delights -- if it's rotten they tell me so!

I've been missed for two whole weeks. My mother's funeral and a dreadful cold took care of my little show but I'm back on air this morning, 11am. My life is never dull. I've been to a place I didn't like and that was as a stay at home mum. You see that's not me! I've always been employed and even ran my own business so looking at four walls every day was driving me close to madness. I'm much more relaxed and at peace with myself knowing I'm doing something worthwhile and that I'm still a useful member of society, despite my illness.

And the cake icing class? Oh yes! I went to that also and y'know what? I probably learned a little more than I thought. Twenty-one years of making and icing cakes, who said you couldn't teach an old dog new tricks? I learned how to make swags and bows out of sugar paste. I was thoroughly entertained throughout and couldn't wait to get home to attempt my very first swag. It was a disaster. My fingers are just not as nimble as they used to be and this is something I forget. I had icing everywhere from my feeble attempts and no matter how much I tried I just couldn't do it! I guess I have limitations after all and when I look at my fingers I realise that the scars on each of my forefingers tell the truth about my culinary skills. I get my daughter to cut up veg now since I nearly lost a finger to a potato. Tin cans are my worst nightmare, jars and bottle tops are a pain. I sound just like my gran here -- she had arthritis!

So as I type this with my poor fingers (and before I go into depressed mode) I'll blow my own trumpet to the skills I still have. I've no problem talking, much to the disappointment of my hubby, so I'll stick to what I do best -- who needs fingers?!


The Icing On The Cake

Posted by CFMBabs , 03 August 2007 · 782 views

I put myself in some situations, quite why I'll never know! I have a hobby that has occupied my youth to some degree and it's not your usual kind of thing, y'know, like horseriding which most girls in these parts did at that particular age.
It's not anything sporty -- is that really any surprise? So, okay -- I make cakes. I make wedding cakes, in fact any special occasion cakes, and I spent 8 years at evening classes learning the art -- if you can call it that!

My fingers are not so delicate now and I have trouble squeezing the icing out of the bag, in fact it's very difficult for me to complete a cake without some degree of excrutiating pain, so why am I doing yet another one? My friend's sister's son who has very little money decided to marry his girlfriend of 5 years. All the family decided to muck in -- my friend made the dresses, her friend is making the flowers -- the only thing they can't do is perform the service themselves. There's me right in the middle of a conversation suddenly sticking my nose in and announcing that if they provided the materials, I would make the cake! Am I stupid ar what? Well! my hubby certainly thinks so.

Anyway, about 3 weeks ago my friend came to my house with a box full of goodies including 3 cakes, pillars, almond paste, cake boards and ribbon and a little ornament for the top. When I opened the box however, I nearly died! The cakes were all the same size -- 8". The pillars were gold and this is a blue and white cake, the boards were all way too small and the colour of ribbon is one you couldn't get even if you scoured the earth and went to some sleazy baazar in Turkey. My job was going to be tough.

I pondered for days and then decided to ring my friend. I needed to change the whole idea. First I would need to make a 10" round cake for the bottom and then cut down the one for the top. The pillars were a no, no, blue white and gold just do not go and the conversation went on until finally I had my own way, but had talked myself into a huge job -- and where am I going today? An icing class. I got so stressed out with this that I enrolled myself on a daytime refresher course. I haven't done this for years so please tell me I'm doing the right thing!

The class begins at 10am. I'm learning about the new sugarpaste icing. What's wrong with the other I use? I don't know. It takes about 2 hours. My hubby thinks I'm crazy but I already know that because who in their right minds would offer to do a wedding cake under those circumstances anyway?

It's true that I had visions one time of owning a shop and turning my hobby into a business but I did have a business and it was far removed and a lot harder than cake decorating. My hubby thinks I may be looking down that road again, with visions of owning my own shop. He'd be right to think that. Being home all day watching TV can make any sane person fantasize. Maybe I'm being too naive. If I get so stressed over one cake how would I be over several at one time -- could I actually do several cakes at one time -- would my fingers allow?

Just for now I'll take the job in hand, do my best with it and see what happens. I made my friend's daughter's wedding cake last year and it was to some a masterpiece and I'm not blowing my own trumpet here -- I've had my share of disasters in the past! My daughter shows some interest in my hobby -- maybe she'll take up the challenge. I could teach her. I'm not so stupid after all -- there's method in my madness!

Better get dressed and face my new tutor. Hope she doesn't ask me to demonstrate anything -- that would be the icing on the cake!


The Sun Appears

Posted by CFMBabs , 31 July 2007 · 787 views

Oh dear. All I ever seem to do is moan. I know that myself and I'm being truthful about it. It doesn't take a wise bird to recognise the fact that I'm in danger of becoming boring. Sure in my head I'm 16, fact is I'm 31 years older than that but, Shhhh tell no one!

My daughter and I linked arms as we walked in bright sunshine -- Hang on, did I say bright sunshine? Yep! I did, seems like summer paid us a visit today although rather late. It was a comfort to walk around without a jacket, I nearly took off my jumper, but Hey! As I was saying! We walked into town and it was full of smiling faces and jolly tradesmen who thought all their birthdays had come at once. People buying summer attire and taking interest in the salad stall -- it was all too much by the end of the day.

Parking, Argggh! dare I say, ''Nightmare?'' What is it with some folk, pushing and shoving, arms waving all because of a little vacant oblong slot. Disabled bays all full and the occasional look of disgust as I appear to get out of my car without any aid. I'm sorry to say that the more mature generation are the worst. I'm just waiting for the first person to ask me why I need a disability badge and I've been practicing my reply for years. Of course, should that situation arise, I'd probably be struck dumb. I'd be tempted to lift up my clothing and reveal my feeding tube then knowing me I'd probably get arrested for indecent behaviour.

I guess I'm a true moaner. I never used to be. The older I get the worse I seem to go -- hence my quote about the mature generation above. Perhaps it is an age thing! I'm hoping not. So a trip around the market and then off to the hospital to see my dad. He's sitting pretty in bed and I'm half dead with a blistering cold. It's hard to tell who the patient is except I'm not in pyjamas. " Wash me these will you love -- Oh! and can you post me this and get me some new undies?"

Hold on! I'm actually a bit ill myself and I'm running round like a mad dog. My dad thinks I'm wonder woman and of course, I am! I arranged all of my mum's funeral, took care of all the legal stuff, entertained the relatives at the wake and now I'm nursemaid to my father who's in hospital more for convenience than sickness. He's waiting for a scan and an endoscopy and it all takes time, so they decided to keep him. I know he's not a well man -- he has COPD and angina, but they're under control. He has a bad stomach, though, and my own assumption is nerves. Well he has had a lot of stress with my mum and all but so have I.

Back home the house needs cleaning. I have all of one hour to do it before my other patient comes home -- the hubby! He'll have had the worst day on record, starving and ready for his nightly sprawl across the settee. By 7pm he'll be snoring and we'll be turning up the volume on the TV to drown out his grunts, except if it happens to be football (or soccer to you) then it's a different story. Put the soaps on and he's away with the fairies.

My life isn't so bad, so I keep telling myself, it could be worse! But then again it could be better -- some folk have all the luck. (Are they really that happy?)

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