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CFM Babs from Chorley FM


Here Comes Summer!

Posted by CFMBabs , 31 May 2007 · 783 views

Here comes summer -- that time of year when your attentions turn to happy days in the sun, cool drinks and light clothing.Along with that, however, comes the dreaded holiday preparations. I don't know about you, but I hate the manic dash for items to squeeze into a suitcase the size of a large drawer and the pile of clothes that grows by the day in the corner near the washing machine. Do they think it will put itself into the wash? One day they may get a shock and realise that I do have a hand in packing a case full of freshly cleaned, crisply ironed clothes. I'm like the proverbial sherpa: "Have you got the passports, have you got the tickets"? The insurance is arranged by none other than me and the whole booking procedure is also arranged by whom? ---- Well me! I'm the free of charge Vacation Planner.

Right now, I have an excited teenager chewing at my ear! "When are we going? Where are we going? How long are we going for?" By the looks of things in her bedroom, it seems like we'll be going for an entire year. The usual cry of "I have no clothes," comes to mind. Then, as if by magic, a pile of shorts, skirts, dresses, tops, shoes and handbags litter the floor like a free-for-all store sale. "Did you say you had no clothes, dear!"

My husband is easy: 3 pairs of shorts, 2 shirts, 3 swimshorts, a pair of flip-flop sandals, a pair of deck shoes, 1 cap and a bandana for his bald patch! I can remember the time he had less, though how that could be possible is beyond belief! What he doesn't realise is the work I do behind the scenes, so what he thinks is a reasonable amount of attire for a vacation, I do not! It's amazing that he goes away on holiday thinking he only has the aforementioned and then every day for 14 day's he has something new on -- work that one out! He never does, but he expects a full change every day. Are all husbands short of a few marbles or is it that he believes in fairies who place new clothes in the drawer each evening? Whatever it is, he can't work it out and I'm left scratching my head too!

As for me, well things have changed -- I worry more about how my stomach tube looks than my own overall appearence these days. Trying to hide an 8 inch length of tube under skimpy clothes is an acheivement, even more so in the pool. Although I look normal and no one would ever know, I spend my time just hiding the fact that I'm not exactly 'normal' and that's the way I like it! My clothes have changed too, and with it I'm a frumpy old bat on holiday with two designer wear freaks. I look like they just brought me along to make up the numbers, but without me they would never be there in the first place! "Come along mother -- keep up."

Still, if it means a trip to Greece I'll endure anything. I'm franticaly searching the internet for a bargain trip to Crete. Vacation looming, better get out my holiday file. Anyone care to join?


It Never Rains But It Pours!

Posted by CFMBabs , 30 May 2007 · 799 views

It never rains but pours! That was my Gran's favourite saying when things go wrong. I guess in my case it's considered torrential. My very good dietician pointed out that the end bit of my tube needed to be replaced, with very good reason in fact! She decided to mail some new parts to me and I duly recieved them on Saturday. By Saturday afternoon I was rather wishing I hadn't tried to fit them myself. I pulled at the end bringing some of the tube with it and soon realised I was in a storm without a jacket. "Oops," said I and Oops! it ###### well was! A frantic call on Tuesday (Monday was bank holiday) and I had my dietician running around like a headless chicken. "Don't use the tube," was her word of warning so I didn't. Today I received another call asking me tentatively to go to A & E (the equivelent of ER). They aproached the subject knowing full well that I would be less than happy to spend any time inside hospital grounds. They were right! I weaved my way out of making the trip by telling a little lie, no way did I want to go near anyone or any thing even slightly connected to the medical profession.

"I haven't got my car today and my hubby works inside the prison -- he's got the car and doesn't come home till after 5pm."
"Oh ****!" said my dietician. "I'll come for you"
I stuttered "B..but my hubby won't know where I am?"
"Then that's a problem then isn't it! Let me think."

I imediately began to put a plan into action and came up with a compromise. "I'll ring the GI speciaist nurse," knowing full well that she goes home at 4 pm. My plan worked but at a cost. She told me that she had a super dooper new turbo tube for me -- the latest model! "This one is more discreet and less trouble" she said!"

I'm booked in for a small surgical procedure on 12th June, hence it never rains but pours! So what is this new fangled piece of equipment? All I know is it's supposed to look like a valve on a beach ball and it's placed in the small bowel protruding out of my abdomen. Now! what do you make of that? What will happen if I accidently pull the cap off -- do I deflate like a balloon and fly around the room making flatulent noises -- or do I shrivel up like a prune? I'm not keen on this idea at all.

Still, I'll look much better in a swimsuit! Last year I had to hide it in a pouch which kept coming off in the pool and my tube floated to the surface like a submarine. Good job I didn't go in the sea or I may have caught some unsuspecting fish. Greece looks a better prospect next month! Yes! we're planning a trip some time soon and me with my new modern state of the art tube -- a new me. I can hardly wait. There's just the small matter of having it done, of course, and, well, let's just say I haven't been too lucky with hospital stays in the past! What started out as just a few days, turned into months and then a year. I'm not going to think about it and I'll just take it as it comes.

I think it's turning into a storm!


Socialising With Sclero

Posted by CFMBabs , 27 May 2007 · 887 views

The few friends we have remain our friends no matter what! I guess what I'm trying to say is, although we don't have very many these days, the ones we have understand that I'm no longer the person I once was physically -- confusing isn't it?

Before succumbing to this awful condition, we socialised with a huge circle of so-called friends. I became ill and, well, quite frankly we were dropped like a stone.
I couldn't believe how people we considered close buddies closed the door! I'm not saying we had the plague or anything but it sure felt like it. I often felt like painting an X on my front door and wander round moaning, "Unclean, Unclean."

Of course I held on to my dearest friends (without them I would have found life very difficult indeed) but they were my personal friends, not family friends. The days we went out in couples, dare I say got drunk in each other's company, and spent many weekends away from home are well and truly in the past. We found ourselves looking for new friends who would accept my predicament.

3 years ago we went to Kefalonia, just before the surgery that was to start the longest road I've ever climbed. There we met a circle of friends with whom we have stayed in contact to this present day. Last weekend we visited the ones we kept in touch with most, Terry and Tracey, who have become our closest friends. A short trip over the Pennines into Yorkshire and we had a wonderful day. Just before we set off on our journey, they rang to see what I could eat. Armed with recent information there really wasn't a lot I could eat so I said, "Ice cream." We arrived just after 2 pm with welcoming arms and a quip from Tracey " Oooh lass, you're a bag of bones." In we went and out came the ice cream. There was every flavour you could think of and ones that you could never have contemplated, even strawberry cheesecake! We all sat round scooping ice cream on our spoons and joking that this was the strangest dinner we'd ever had!

With sclero you have to find friends that accept you for the way it is, not sympathising. Maybe it's hard to accept that I'm no longer Good old Barbs, the one who could make a fool out of herself, the one who was first up for a laugh, the one who could stand the longest on a night out with the girls, and perhaps the most important one of all, the one who was a soft touch when it came to paying. I don't know, but the more I think of those days the more I realise that they were'nt our friends at all.

Life moves in mysterious ways. We have genuine friends now who see me as Good old Barbs for different reasons. My condition doesn't spoil our friendship and although we ate ice cream (and I have to say that I felt a little guilty) we get along without any mention of my illness and life is like it always was. I guess socialising with sclero is different but it's not the end. I like to think it's a new beginning -- new life, new friends!


That's My Girl!

Posted by CFMBabs , 24 May 2007 · 785 views

My daughter begins a new era in her life today as she leaves high school for the big wide world! I gave her a cuddle this morning, then kissed her off to school, a far cry from the first day she started. I remember anxiously waiting for her to come home, wondering if she'd made new friends, would her teachers be nice and above all, would she like her new surroundings? That was 5 years ago and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then.

She was such a shy kid. She was tiny compared with the other kids in school. She wore a smart new uniform with a school tie and neat sensible footwear. Her bag was a rucksack and her hair was neatly tied back --- so what happened? Five years on she left this morning, a grown young woman, tie loosley knotted like a noose, shirt hanging out, skirt up to her buttocks or there about and shoes you'd go out to a club in. Her hair long and straightened like string and foundation make up. Where has that little shy girl gone?

"Pick me up at 12 mum?" she asked. "We can go shopping afterwards." If life was that simple everyday, who'd complain? She's off to college in the autumn studying art, fashion design and media. I guess the whole process begins again and in 2 years time I'll be writing about her last day at college and first day in a job -- hopefully!

I'll have all summer with my daughter home all day. There'll be disagreements by the bagfull and cuddles by the pound. There'll be boredom, stress, and probably times when the bedroom door stays shut and hence the silent treatment -- of course, all my fault. I guess it's part of growing up, a teenager, weren't you ever one? I gave my mum some grief because, well what did she know? What did she know about my life, what did she know about dating, socialising, friends, fashion -- me? Funny how things come back to haunt and I can almost hear my own daughter reitterating those very words like a mini clone of myself. Whether I approve of boyfriends new or old, they'll never be good enough for my daughter, until one day, one will come along and take her away with or without my input and I'll have to accept just as my mum did that she's not a little girl any more.

I'm not that bad really and I do take an interest in all that she does. We have secrets kept away from her father that only we will ever know, like how much that dress really cost and who she's really going out with tonight -- there's just some things you don't dicuss with dad and those are but a few. All I can hope for is the decisions she makes in life turn out the way they are intended. I can guide her through life's ups and downs but decisions are hers alone!

There have been so many changes over the past 5 years. A little girl grew up! But in all the highs and lows there's still a little girl inside, especially when she asks to go to Greece with us again this year preferring to go with mum and dad instead of friends or is that just bank of mum and dad -- whatever! She's a good kid, not just by my assumption, but by others who meet her. She's kind, considerate and always has a smile for everyone. I guess I have to say, 'That's my girl!'


Week Of Appointments

Posted by CFMBabs , 22 May 2007 · 799 views

My head feels as though it's permanently in a spin, especially this week as I have way too many appointments all at different times of the day -- I'm all mixed up!
Today I have a speech and language therapist coming to my home to assess me. Now don't ask me why I need a speech therapist unless she's coming to shut me up -- I can talk under water! No! She said it's more to do with my swallowing.
The last time I saw someone I think was a speech therapist who told me to place my chin downwards towards my chest whenever I swallowed. This was to help the food go down. I nearly choked trying to do it and now I have arthritis in my neck I can't see how this would work.

Yesterday I visited my general practitioner but, not surprisingly, she wasn't in. My general practitioner's are always doing something other than the job they're supposed to be doing. I have visions of seeing them on a cheap talent show on TV before long. It's not long ago that one of the general practitioner's climbed Everest, Yes Everest as in the big hill in the Himalayas! Okay he was doing it for a good cause but he left his post and quite frankly left one general practitioner in charge who happened to be mine. Now my general practitioner, who has no time for me, or anyone else, in fact, was none too happy being left in that situation. She opted to see less patients than she normally does which is as few as possible. Sure the other general practitioner got loads of credit for his triumphant climbing attempt, but he left his patients without medical care and in the hands of my unsympathetic doctor. The term 'rats leaving a sinking ship' comes to mind and I'm sure the surgery is losing more patients because of it.

Friday sees my dietician, who I actually like a lot, coming over to review my nutrition. Without this woman I would probably be dead -- I'm not over exaggerating here! I went through what can only be described as a living nightmare: absolutely no one listened to me as I wasted away because of a faulty tube that everyone dismissed as okay! My dietician fought with the doctors and eventually I had the necessary tests that showed a split in the tube. I was very lucky not to have had peritonitis which would have been very bad in my situation. I also had pancreatitis -- awful pain which the doctors again dismissed as surgery pain. My dietician knew me too well to know that when I screamed in pain I wasn't faking. I owe this woman a lot and I'll be so pleased to see her on Friday. A busy week in all.

My daughter leaves high school tomorrow, it's the bank holiday weekend and next week I have numerous appointments with all walks of life. For the moment I'd better prepare myself for the pending visit. Where are the geese? And where is the dog? I don't want another runaway guest. Better get a move on!


4th Dish Of The Day

Posted by CFMBabs , 17 May 2007 · 863 views

My Fourth Dish of the Day is about to be aired on our local radio station. How contradictory am I when you consider that my ability to eat solid food has been taken away from me. My dietician is due to pay me a home visit next week but I had to rearrange her appointment due to my commitments at the radio station. Her tone of voice said it all when I explained my purpose for being on air.

"What, you're reading out recipes live on air? Wow! what a brave thing to do -- and why?"

The truth is I don't know why at all! I guess it always been my passion -- food that is! And in some ways it's a cruel blow not to be able to eat my concoctions. I spent the whole time in hospital drooling over magazine recipes and vowing to make the dish when I got home. Maybe it's psychological and my interest in preparing food some way feeds my hunger. What ever it is I have no explanation but I really enjoy having some purpose after years of being active then hitting a brick wall.

My show goes out at 11am every Friday. This week I have a very strange recipe.
I'm making Nettle Fritters Y'know the stinging type. I believe they taste very much like spinach so my daughter went round the fields last night collecting all the nettle tips in a plastic bag. I washed them then placed them in boiling water and blanched them for 2 minutes. I added flour, parmesan cheese and 4 eggs to a large bowl then strained the nettles, squeezed then dry then added them to the bowl. I then fried them in oil and drained them. My hubby tried them with chilli sauce and said they were definately different! They looked like owl droppings to me and my daughter refused to try them point blank!

Anyhow someone may like them and it's a change from the norm. Going for my shower before I go to the station. --- Break a leg they say?


Market Day

Posted by CFMBabs , 17 May 2007 · 815 views

I never keep a diary -- I should! My list of things to do keeps on growing by the day. To say that I'm a housewife is an overwhelming understatement. I'm Head Cook, Domestic Cleaner, Secretary, Taxi Service and Mum! And to cap it all --- I'm employably indisposed --- something I've just made up! I'm given a zillion instructions before the family leaves the nest each morning, don't forget to do this, don't forget to do that -- Oh! and don't forget to sort out my car insurance!
If you ask me if I'm unhappy, well no! I quite enjoy having a purpose even if it's that of the family slave. What ever happened to equal rights? I sound thouroughly Victorian. Perhaps it's in my roots. My Great Grandmother after all, was in service as a cook in a large home. My Grandmother was a Farmer's wife and my mum broke the mould when she became a cotton weaver in the mills around Lancashire. Perhaps my purpose in life is to serve others?

My weekly chore list say's that Thursday is market day. I have help today in the shape of my daughter who has nearly finished high school but still goes back the odd day or two. When I was at school you had no excuses! You attended 5 days a week and then when you left school for the big wide world -- you left Friday and started work the following Monday. I did just that, but it's not so today. My daughter starts final exams in June -- GCSE's we call them. She has college in mind in the Autumn but has other plans much closer in the summer. Her thoughts are with a trip to Greece -- why not? But mine are very much with the completion of this house which is taking forever to finish. I don't want to go through another year without a proper roof. The rear wall needs taking down and rebuilding and we need an extension, not to mention a chimney stack for our lovely planned log fire in the other half of the house.

Well sitiing here chatting about it won't do! I've got to get the day started and I think it just has with a call from my daughters bedroom, " Mum, put the kettle on." Well I would but I can't get my arms through the spout --- Get it!

So it begins.........



Posted by CFMBabs , 16 May 2007 · 837 views

I remembered something today which made me smile
Something I've not spoken of in a very long while
This wise old man I ran into
Began to chat about someone he knew
He first enquired about my health then began his tale
The sadness in his tone of voice made me turn quite pale
For he told me of his closest friend who had recently passed away
He was going to the cemetery when he stopped me along the way

He reminisced along each step and I laughed at every joke
Said they were the non-complaining sort, never bothered other folk
And when he stopped to catch his breath, joked it would be his last
So we'd better get a move on and get to the cemetery fast
He asked me about my condition but all I said was, "Fine"
Said his friend was like me and and their illness just like mine
Never moaned or grumbled just got on with their life
Never blamed the doctors throughout their toil and strife

He told me of his rheumatism, how it plagued his tired feet
And with that we looked around to find a little seat
Oh Yes! my dear I'm lonely and I miss my dear old friend
I never thought it would happen and this is it -- the end!
I'm sure they'd want to trade with me, bad feet instead of death
Well they could have them any day along with my short breath!

We chatted for an hour or so then he said he had to go
His missus would be calling, of that he told me so
The flowers he was clutching he left upon the seat
And as he wandered in the distance I took on a feat
I'd find the grave he was looking for and place the flowers on
And when I looked again, that old man had gone!
I was looking for a Frederick on each and every stone
I found a new dug grave but Fred wasn't on his own
It said his wife was with him a cold shiver down my neck
That very man I'd spoken to was Fred -- Oh ****!
I'd been talking to a spirit and boy! was I afraid
I put down the flowers and out the cemetery I made.

Years passed by, I never went back, I often thought of Fred
If it was true he was a ghost, well by now he would be dead
Funny how time just flies on by and people you often meet
But none like dear old Fred and his aching feet!


Green Monkey Disease

Posted by CFMBabs , 15 May 2007 · 995 views

I sometimes want to get off this merry-go-round but it won't slow down enough for me to jump. I try to get on with my life however each day begins but I have this constant reminder that keeps bobbing up its ugly head. I go for my clinic appointments every six months and as far as I'm concerned, that's that! I forget about everything and try to carry on as normal, until a call from my general practitioner's secretary bursts my ego bubble. They need to repeat blood tests and my general practitioner needs to see me. Well I have to say she's the last person I want to see! I will go in my own time and, to be honest, she can wait.

What is it when all you do is base your life around scleroderma? I have the unfortunate pleasure of knowing someone with CREST who lives close by. The chance of meeting someone with CREST is in itself rare and I have every sympathy with this person, but I say unfortunate because the topic of conversation when we meet is never anything but, "me, me, me". I dare not ask about her health because I get an in depth medical run down of all her aches and pains from A to Z. Now, I'm sorry if I sound uncaring and I know that's how it looks but, please, I have enough problems of my own without listening to someone who finds the whole episode of being ill a pleasure. The truth is I'm not the only one who feels this way about her. No one in her company dare mention anything about their body albeit nothing to do with a complaint. She dives into a conversation and then goes off on a tangent like the old veteran reminiscing about the war. Personally I'd rather listen to stories of the war, they're far more interesting than listening to someone describe each and every spot and every surgical intervention she's ever had. I know the script! If she tells us a story once, she tells it a hundred times again and again and..... you get the picture!

I had a severe Raynaud’s attack and who should be in my company but this lady. I then got a run down of how she nearly lost her entire hand and on the scale of severity, mine wasn't half as bad as hers. Ugh! How many fingers does she have -- all mine were out so how bad does it get? I walked away only to find her following me into a room wanting to compare illness. "For goodness sake woman get, a grip!" This lady lives close by my parents so it's difficult to avoid her. I cringe when I see her cross the road and I have to admit that I've hid from her in my parents’ bathroom before now. Today is coffee morning and one I must go to for my parents’ sake. She will be there, in the corner and centre stage. Here goes -- "Today I have Green Monkey Disease". I wish!


Car Clean

Posted by CFMBabs , 15 May 2007 · 884 views

Spondylosis! "What's that? I recieved a copy of my clinic letter, closely followed by a call from my general practitioner's surgery. I hate going to my general practitioner but I've been summoned to attend. I think it may have something to do with my neck and lower back, y'know the little tail (coccyx). I get the most unbearable pain in my derriere when I've sat for any length of time. I've complained about this on my last visit to my very unsympathetic, or rather pathetic, general practitioner who told me on no uncertain terms to go and buy a cushion on which to sit. Huh? That's about as much as I could expect really and something I could have prescribed for myself without the need to face old polecat features! It finally took a letter from my rheumatologist to force her hand and now I have the daunting task of going to her surgery to ask for it. I feel like Oliver Twist!

I cleaned my disgustingly dirty car this morning after many comments from friends. It's a new car and I think it's blue/grey, or rather it was when I bought it. For the last 4 months it's been a sort of grey/brown and the alloy wheels, well! They may have looked alloy but it was hard to tell. "Shame on you!" I hear you say but without any offers to do the job from my family and coupled with the last time I took a car to the carwash I almost wrote it off and scrapped it to the junk yard -- I wasn't doing that again! I don't know about you but the whole episode of car washing in a cold climate has me in pain with my fingers, my poor tummy just aches from all the bending -- the tube in my tum doesn't help, and now I have a bad back, so all in all I'm in no shape to clean a car.

I braved all the elements just before lunch. I gritted my teeth and bore the pain, then spent half an hour in a red hot bath which I struggled to get out of afterwards. For all my pain, I decided to show off my new, new car down at the supermarket. I parked up in the disabled bays quite proud of my vehicle, I'd been ashamed all these past months to place my car next to anyone's, theirs always seemed so clean and well looked after. I did a little shopping, came out and then walked straight past my car in the bay -- I didn't recognise it! " How awful" You might say, and it's true I'm a disgrace, but I am considered disabled and I have the proof in my inability to clean a car without pain.

I returned home admiring my handywork and then---- It rained! Ugh, so much for my gleaming car! "Just my luck" I thought, still it's better than it was.

I'm waiting for a delivery of soil. We have 22 acres of the stuff but it's covered in grass. I just want a little for my new poly tunnel, Y'know to put some veg in. I would like to bet that although I've waited in all afternoon, the blighter will come when I'm out. Serves them right if they do coz they might get through the gate no problem but they won't be leaving so easily. My geese are terribly nosey and very unsociable so they'll gather round for a toot and then attack. I did warn them and they did promise to deliver on time -- We'll see?

It's stopped raining at last and out comes the sun. Everyone will be home soon and they'll have plenty to talk about! And I will just say " I cleaned the car" They won't have noticed and all I'll get is " Have you, how nice?"

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