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CFM Babs from Chorley FM


When Needs Must

Posted by CFMBabs , 29 July 2007 · 799 views

Life has handed out some cruel dishes over the past few years, none more so than bad health, if not one thing it's another. I swear I have my own personal parking space at the local hospital and before long I'll have a whole wing named after me!

My Father, who unfortunately suffers with Angina and COPD, collapsed straight after my Mum's funeral and consequently went into hospital. My role as daughter has never been as testing and I'm back visiting yet another parent. My face is so common in the corridors that even the doctors think I work there! Okay! I say -- time out! I need some TLC myself. I've had a whirlwind 7 weeks; in fact where have they gone?

I have an incredible sniffly cold and I'm using handkerchiefs at the rate of knots. I have a bright red nose, puffy eyes and I look like Coco the Clown. The weather isn't helping either, I don't think we've had one day without rain! So much for summer. It pretty well sums up just how I feel actually.

My daughter yearns for a vacation trip to Greece, I yearn for a completed building project and my hubby yearns for peace, with head in hands. I can almost hear him calling me the nagging housewife. What can you do when the weather is so inclement -- go to Greece?

I have a very inviting bath tub beckoning me to just climb in. I hope to soak all my troubles away -- well, some of them anyway! I'll see what August brings since July was a wash out. What more can any normal person take? If I was prone to depression, I reckon I must be cured. Such a hard person I've become, but then again, when needs must!


Head Full Of Cotton Wool

Posted by CFMBabs , 22 July 2007 · 811 views

I thought my worst day was the day my mum died -- the next worst is her funeral!
We're all dreading that last journey, and this blog is becoming far too sad for me to carry on with, so even at this very depressing time my mum sent us some humour to laugh and cry about at the same time!

Making arrangements at the funeral parlour was our first stop after registering her death. Believe me it was difficult to bear! We were ushered into a small room, offered cups of tea and left for a short while on our own. I sat on a beautiful French settee and rested my arm on the armrest. Suddenly it snapped and I fell off the seat to the side.

"Oh ****," I screamed "I've broken it." My Father began to giggle and my daughter was hysterical. I looked around the room with the piece of broken furniture in hand -- do I try and repair it or do I shove it in a drawer and pretend nothing had happened? I was about to open a drawer to do the most stupid idea I've ever had when the lady attending us waltzed into the room with a huge grin.

"It always does that love," she said and then she pointed to a CCTV camera in the corner.

Our giggles turned to sadness once more as we flipped through pages of flowers and caskets. My mum would be smiling and at the same time scorning my stupidity. Funny how such simple silly things happen at the most inopportune moment.

As for me -- I'm doing fine! Bear with me whilst I ride out this most difficult time.
Head full of cotton wool as they say?


The Worst Day Of My Life

Posted by CFMBabs , 17 July 2007 · 734 views

I've had many occasions on which to say, "That was the worst day of my life." I thought I'd been through them all, but none of them tops this one! My mum died yesterday and although expected and long overdue it still hurts with a degree I can't come to terms with. To say it was long overdue is not a callous remark -- she suffered greatly towards the end!

She suffered with Alzheimers but it was slow in progression. The last six weeks however she became less aware and then the realisation set in. For a mother not to recognise her own daughter, husband or family is more than one can bear. She refused food, liquid and medication; thus was her decline. She suffered blood clots, chest infections and finally two heart attacks, the last one I believe was fatal.

In my heart I hope she finds a better place beyond, at least to have the dignity she didn't have towards the end. The realisation for me is that it's happened -- you never think it will happen! You never think that your parents are going to die, that always happens to someone else. I guess it was my turn yesterday.
A friend once said to me. "Your 40s and 50s are horrible because you're always losing someone." How true is that!

Today I will kiss her goodbye -- maybe today will be 'The worst day of my life' too.


Rain Rain Go Away

Posted by CFMBabs , 15 July 2007 · 779 views

Oh this weather! It's said that the Brit's are ruled by it and I think I understand why? Every day -- rain! My only sunshine this summer will be my last trip to Greece (I'm working on my husband for another). My daughter anxiously buys new clothes in the hope of us jetting away. I'm just putting plans into action! My hubby is slowly coming round to the idea.

Another weekend and a wasted Saturday and Sunday not able to complete any work on the house or round the farm. My dining room in the old part of the property is flooded, still I could always boast an indoor swimming pool! The old wall leans more each day -- it will go eventually and perhaps for the best, saving us the bother of careful demolition.

My daughter moans "Will this house ever be finished" My sentiments too, but the fact is the British summer has stopped any kind of construction and garden work.
It's July and we're still having coal deliveries. The coal merchant is going to the Bahamas soon -- I wonder why? It's not that he's fed up of the weather too. Oh no! he's made so much money this year and who can blame him!

There's a break in the clouds and I think high time to put on a clothes wash. It's not the washing it's the drying since I don't yet have a tumble dryer. I did a huge amount of washing last week and the ###### stuff isn't dry yet! At this rate Britain will sink and won't our European neighbours be glad about that! We don't conform to all things European. Our currency remains the Pound. We drive on the opposite side of the road and hate metric conversion. We do not adopt a second language and we have a huge royal family. And what do our neighbours have? They have the sun and other things of course far greater. We have a depleted health service -- sure it's free but wait a minute -- someone has to pay for it somewhere and that someone is us, so it's not exactly free at all.

I had one foot on my soapbox then, but I havent the energy to get up there so I'll end this right here. Have a good day everyone -- I'm going swimming!


My Quest

Posted by CFMBabs , 11 July 2007 · 792 views

Another week gone by and each day an episode in itself! My endless quest for medical supplies, hospital visits and my job as a dutiful daughter are taking their toll. My job as search engine for medical necessities is high on my agenda. I have a whole new collection of equipment to complement my new feeding tube but laying my hands on the stuff is like going underground to a sleazy club and doing the deal!

My need for new size syringes and newfangled tubes has caused quite a stir at my village general practice. My doctor (who actually hates me I'm sure) is none too pleased that she has to do some work on my behalf. I've made endless rounds of phone calls to and fro with no real answers; even my dietician has been left scratching the old cranium. Anyone who says "Life is a battle" can fight mine any day!

Oh what's the use of moaning -- Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Cry and you're on your own! And that's just it! I am on my own. As for my mum well, she's still extremely poorly in hospital and I'm fighting a daily battle for her. The things that put her there in the first place are a saga I may write about one day but not yet -- the chapter is nowhere near completion. So my hospital visits, although tiresome, are not for myself surprisingly! I feel a sense of dread whenever I set foot in the place, with good reason too. I'm all too glad when visiting hours are over. Don't get me wrong I love my mum and I'm always pleased to see her -- it's the other lot I shy away from.

So another day dawns and I'm beginning my quest for today -- a meeting with social services, hospital visit -- oh, and I'm on the radio too!

C'est la vie!


Lazy Sunday

Posted by CFMBabs , 08 July 2007 · 760 views

A very lazy Sunday, only rising from my bed at 9am, and yes, it's raining.
We had plans today, my daughter and I, a mother and daughter thing, y'know like shopping or a wander round the seaside which isn't too far away. Instead I've lit a fire because believe me it's July and 50 degrees. The birds are singing with rain coats on and the dog is so wet it's grown flippers. I'm joking of course -- who'd believe that? But this relentless bad weather is getting everyone in the country down. We had a great April/May and we thought that the summer would be unbearably hot, we were led to believe so. So what's happened?

I'm wearing jumpers and shoes I normally wear in winter, well when needs must! My house is still unfinished. The plans we made for a building fiesta this summer have gone well and truly out of the window. We're waiting for a break in the clouds and a decent spell of dry weather to take down an old outside wall and rebuild it but the rain keeps on coming!

The whole farm is sodden wet. My wellies or gum boots have never seen so much action. There's a river of mud outside my front door and the geese are squelching around in the yard -- they used to be white! We have stinging nettles at the gate which I pull up on a weekly basis but they simply love the wet weather and grow quicker than I can catch. The colourful language of the postman tells me they've stung him again and then they get me when I collect the mail. Poor postman. If the dog or the geese don't get him, the flora will. I think my farm is an occupational hazard for him.

Okay, here goes my day. I'd better put on some decent clothes instead of my night attire. Get the chicken out of the freezer, and spend some quality time with my daughter who constantly mourns for Greece. At the moment I'm gonna mourn with her. Three and a half hours on a jet plane is all that seperates us from paradise and rain soaked Britain -- It's very tempting indeed.


Summertime Blues

Posted by CFMBabs , 06 July 2007 · 802 views

Too much can happen in the space of a month --- was it really that long since we booked a vacation to Greece then swanned off? It's true that I'm pining, even yearning for the country I call second home but reality kicked in the moment I boarded that jet homeward.

So back in Blighty! -- that's knickname for Britain. The sun hasn't yet caught up with summer. It's never hit anything above 60 degrees since our return and yes!, I'm pretty fed up with grey skies and the relentless pouring rain. We've had floods, yes floods! I'm seriously considering building an Ark. A whole month of rainfall in one day fell in the north of England causing chaos to every law abiding family -- and those who are not! My good friend in Yorkshire rang me to say she was heading for the hills, a scene reminiscent of the film Armegeddon! "A tree fell on my little towing trailer," she said "and the police have just called to inform me of a dam about to burst." This lady was stricken and I was powerless to help.

Typical England. The world gets global warming and we get the rain! Oh I may sound flippant (and global warming is indeed a serious issue) but for someone with Raynaud's, I consider myself unfortunate not to have a piece of the problem the scientists are informing us of! Where the **** is summer? The kids will soon be out of school and with the weather in prospect, I reckon many parents will be crawling the walls with bored teenagers and equally bored kids before long. Six whole weeks -- I've been there. " What can we do today" A miserable child staring out of the window drawing on the pane of glass with a grubby finger. "Can we go shopping, to the cinema, go somewhere where it's not raining?" What a summer!
The BBQ grill hasn't been out of its box since new and the weeds are growing out of control. I may even find a long lost tribe out there in the long grass if I look hard enough, even the geese have given up trying to eat it as fast as it grows. Every day waking to the torrent of rain lashing past my bedroom window, will it ever stop?

What's this? A big yellow ball in yonder sky, it couldn't be -- could it? It is! -- It's the sun! It's been so long I forgot where it rises and sets. It's setting now, we'll get a full hour of sun and then it goes off to Australia or somewhere that appreciates its presence more than our country. "Don't forget to come back tomorrow, will you?" But before it sheds its warm light, it's gone below the hill and the storm clouds hang in a darkening evening sky. Huh! they'll be the first thing I see tomorrow, and then the rain! Living on an island, in Britain, in a wet cold climate. Global warming! Bring it on.


Come Fly With Me!

Posted by CFMBabs , 24 June 2007 · 783 views

Just when I was beginning to think it was all so not worth it, we boarded the 747 jet bound for Heraklion Crete. I'd had little sleep and the slight delay caused by bad weather over Europe had me worrying slightly about the inpending flight, I'm not the greatest flyer!

I was squashed in a seat designed for a dentist chair, I'm sure! I was also commanding the window, not that there's much to see flying through the night and definitely not my prefered time to travel -- my outlook is if It's gonna crash, I'd like to see if I need my lifejacket. I mean what's the point of the safety procedures before take off; "Your lifejacket is located under your seat armed with a light and a whistle to attract attention." It always makes me smile -- If you're bobbing about in the ocean, what use is a whistle? I'd rather have my cell phone!

Anyway the flight attendants sat down, the engines shook and we catapulted down the runway, overhead lockers rattling and wheels bumping on the tarmac. The nose lifted and the little lit buildings on the ground became little dots, we were off to Greece! It was almost two hours into the flight. The flight meals had been served and my circumstances of not being able to eat were not an issue. The little packages of food served in cardboard cartons did nothing to whet my appetite. I was beginning to feel very cold. There was a draught just above my right shoulder and one directly on my feet. The window was iced and I was shivering! "Not much longer now," I thought as the flight attendants began to clear away all the goods. Then an announcement from the pilot told us that we'd be landing shortly,

Phew! we'd made it so far. My ears began to pop, stomach quiverred as we began our descent. Bump, bump! we were on the ground. It was breaking daylight and I could see the beautiful green sea on my right. I could smell the warmth and when they opened the cabin doors the warm air rushed in to a " Wooo" from the passengers. It was 4.45 am and 84 degrees a far cry from Manchester's cloudy cold skies and 52 degrees of English summer.

By now we'd made it into the airport building, passports in hand and a face staring back at me from the days when I was very different. "Was that really me and was I really ever that big" I'm talking about my passport photo! I handed it over to security and he took a long look at both me and the photo -- "I'm gonna be on the next flight home at his rate," I thought. He waved me through and I caught up with my hubby and daughter who were waiting rather impatiently beside the luggage collection.

Tiredness was setting in. Tempers began to fray, people arguing, children crying. Get me on that bus! We'd had our own little tiff by then and I was quite frankly ready to strangle my hubby who constantly fiddled with the wallet containing all of our documentation. "Passports, tickets, money, vouchers," he kept saying! I just headed for the bus marked Stallis with suitcase in tow, marvellous invention trolley cases! Hubby scuttering up behind and me and my daughter seated on the bus, we were off to our resort and bed, I hoped.

Manolis greeted us at the hotel and gave us the keys to our room. Bags dropped, we climbed into bed in a warmth far greater than that at home. After resting up, at 2pm we ventured into town. with the warm sun on our skin -- it was all worth the wait!

Ah! memories are all that's left but we spent our week in paradise and we have the brown skin to prove it. Roll on August our next planned return.


New Model!

Posted by CFMBabs , 10 June 2007 · 752 views

Twas the night before the procedure and all through the house,
Not a single thing was stirring not even a mouse

-- Okay! Okay! We've all heard that one before? I'm just about ready to put myself through yet another stint in hospital all for the cause of scleroderma! True, it's for my own good and I appreciate the necessity of the situation -- I need the job done to stay alive so it's an absolute done deal! I'm talking about (in case you didn't know) a new feeding tube, state of the art I'm told! It's much smaller and less trouble to hide, and I do try to hide it, you know? There's nothing worse than an 8 inch tube sticking out of your pants when shopping in the mall and being stared at by some snotty faced kid and equally snot-faced adult with a degree in mocking anyone they consider beneath them.

It happened today, in fact, would you believe it? I thought I'd secured the ###### thing in a knot and tucked it firmly down my pants. It was only when I saw this kid pointing and the adult sniggering like I had a male part of the anatomy strapped to me, that I realised my tube was making an appearence ---Thank goodness for tomorrow! I've learned to get over these situations and believe me you have to if you want to live a near normal life.

I was shopping for summer clothing, what a difference to some years ago when I bought clothes best suited for the high school frump! I'm almost a size zero these days and the choice of clothing is much more extensive. I'm almost on a par with my daughter, it's only my age and self worth that prevents me from wearing the stuff and I suppose I have the tube to consider! My suitcase will be full of the stuff I've longed to wear, toned down of course! But I do look better in shorts, except for the legs they look like something the cat brought in in it's mouth or something hanging out of a nest! My hubby says they look like knots in string -- he's talking about my knobbly knees.
My bottom is much smaller but it's awfully hard sitting on wooden chairs I'm missing the padding!

So my last blog for a couple of days at least. Next time I write I'll have my new model tube -- Watch this space!


Losing Mum!

Posted by CFMBabs , 09 June 2007 · 783 views

I've never thought of getting old in a way that I couldn't do the things I can now. I'm under no impression that getting on in life is a joyride. Things start to fail --- simple as that! But of all the misgivings of age, I think there is none more distressing than Alzhiemers/ Dementia. My mum suffers with this condition and what I'm about to tell you are my inner thoughts and agony as the daughter of a sufferer. So, with tears streaming down my face, here's my story. If you don't want to be depressed -- please click off this blog now!

Y'know we all have our moments -- brain fog, forgetfulness and " Why the **** did I do that?" I believe this to be normal! But what happens if it's much more than that.

My mum started with the disease 5 years ago when she was 76. I can recall the day, I found her wandering around in the yard looking for her brother -- my recently departed uncle! I thought his death had just hit her hard until I spoke to dad about it and he began to tell me things that began to worry me. "She's talking funny," he said "About her family and folk I dont know. She's put things away wrapped in newspaper and always wants to go out in the car."

Soon after this conversation, she fell down the stairs breaking her collarbone, wrist and ankle. In hospital she was quiet but we thought It was shock. But this was the start of a very slippery slope. Then she became ill with a pulmonary embolism, was in hospital for another long stretch, and when she finally came home, it simply wasn't my mum! I cried for many days, always with a huge lump in my throat.

My own health was failing and to add to all the bad luck -- I went in hospital for two desperate years of my life. Things began to calm -- the dust settled and I was back home. My mum had been attending a day centre but she was steadily worsening. She wouldn't speak very much and, when she did, it was to complain about the day centre -- "No one spoke very much!" We laughed because she didn't speak at all! The farm was going into total disrepair. My hubby and I wanted to help so much but it's difficult to pressure old people out of their home, even though moving would eventually become the best thing they ever did. In this country, you own your own home -- you get no help! My mum couldn't manage the stairs, my dad had COPD and angina, so the situation became impossible for them both.

They moved 3 years ago into accomodation suitable for the old. They have their own apartment with carers bobbing in and out during the day but still have their own privacy. The heating is free, rents are almost non-existant and the government provide them with the extra money they need. My dad's own words are " We've never had it so good"

Except for my mum that is. I've watched my mum slowly slip into a lonely existance. Gone is the sparkle in her blue eyes; her jolly red face grey, wrinkled and sunken; her little frame hunched, twisted and frail; her slient world looking not at me but through me! She's lost the ability to communicate, to dress herself, to go to the toilet herself, and now, to eat! I ask her "Who am I mum?" She gazes at me for a few seconds then looks away. Silently in my mind I say "I'm your daughter" but she never tells me so! A once proud parent, face smiling and outstretched arms for that cozy little hug and the gentle kiss upon my cheek. "My Barbara," she used to say! The nights we spent just giggling like schoolchildren and dad frowning on our stupidity -- those were the days! And the day I married, she sobbed throughout the ceremony, I guess this was her losing me!

To see this woman I love with all my heart become a complete stranger is worse than her demise. A nurse told me "She's okay, love, it's the ones around her that suffer." The most truthful word a health professional has ever said to me! Am I heartless waiting for her death? This woman is not the person she was: no dignity, no interest in the world; a lonely existance -- I wouldn't want to live like that! My memories are locked inside my head. I can hear her voice, the times we had, the woman I loved -- my mum!

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