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CFM Babs from Chorley FM


Photo's Bring Back Memories

Posted by CFMBabs , 14 February 2007 · 794 views

I was browsing through some of our old photographs when I came across a packet containing some really old snaps of myself and hubby, boyfriend as he was then, on vacation in Rhodes. My daughter let out a shriek as I passed her one of my then favourite pictures of her dad. He was leaning against a rowing boat in long shorts, flip flop sandals, sporting a truly 1980s hairstyle with an earring. "That's never my dad"? she yelled but it was. " Who is that in the peach dress -- don't say it's you mum"?--- it was! " My dad's so thin and you look, well-- er...... young"
It was almost 21 years ago I explained and looking closer I realised just how we'd changed over the years. That was the holiday that gave us the shock of our lives and maybe the reason they were so carefully filed away.
It was our first holiday together. Steve really wasn't impressed that I'd chosen Greece as our destination. He was a real party animal and had only ever been to Ibiza where the nightlife begins in the morning. Greece on the other hand was picturesque, sedate and the pace of life so slow it was almost stop. It didn't take him long though to appreciate the Greek way of life and now, well he's an addict!
We stayed in a small hotel right beside the beach, The mosquito's were an absolute nuisance, they weren't very interested in me but they loved Steve and anything, and I mean anything that wasn't covered was a feast for the little blighters. He was so covered with bites he looked almost disease ridden. One night however he thought he'd teach them a lesson by buying a repellent spray from the local supermarket.
English for the Greeks in those days was very broken. Our Greek however was intangible. He bought a bag full of goodies, the most delicious grapes, peaches, nuts and the spray. The day had been a scorcher, the rooms weren't air conditioned and the nights were unbearable. Now without sounding like I was a brazen hussy, I slept naked and so did he, but we'd been together for 2 years so we were hardly one night stands.
We went to bed around 3am, my how you change-- 3 am is usually my wandering round time of late, in your 40's 3 am never exists! We'd been in bed for a short while when the familiar buzz began. Steve jumped up and almost emptied the can spraying everywhere and swearing. "That'll teach you" he screeched and then climbed back into bed. A few moments later my chest began to tighten and I began to cough and couldn't breathe. Steve was also coughing and gasping for air. He grabbed my arm and we both shot out the double doors onto the balcony naked as the day we were born. We both hung over the balcony trying to catch our breath and thankfully we both recovered to find two adjoining neighbors staring at us from their balcony -- to make it worse they were German so we didn't understand what they were saying but guessed anyhow. They were laughing and pointing at us so trying to cover up we fell over each other into the room and landed on a heap on the floor.
The next day breakfast was full of raised eyebrows and pointing fingers and I felt so ashamed but what the **** -- they didn't know us! -- we didn't know them! and we'd never meet them again in our life so we just got on with eating breakfast.
That night the spray can was peeping out of the bin and it remained there for the duration of our stay. Poor Steve put up with the bites.
Later that week, I'd been washing some smalls and hung them out on a line I'd brought with me on the balcony. We went down to the beach as normal. I was lying on a sunbed, slapping on the factor 8 when Steve announced he was going back to the hotel room for some bottled water and fruit. I lay there soaking up the lovely Greek sun then was shook by the arm, it was Steve looking rather bewildered. "Did you hang out your knickers to dry this morning -- on the balcony"? I answered yes! "Was the balcony okay" he asked. I thought for a moment then wondered what he meant. The balcony was fine, " What do you mean"? I asked sitting up on my lounger.
" It's gone!" he cried. " Gone! -- what on earth are you talking about!" I cried.
"The olive trees are wearing your knickers below and the balcony has gone."

I'd stood on that balcony not one hour previous and it had simply fallenl off the building. We were several stories high and I'd have surely been killed. The Greeks were extremely apologetic and it was embarrassing for us as they came every day afterwards with gifts of food and never ending hospitality. As for my underwear, they were retrieved by an old Greek man who came to our room holding them in his hands. I can't remember who was the most shy.
You probably wonder why we love Greece so much? Our first vacation there was anything but restful but we loved it all the same and give and take a few years we've been going there ever since.
This year it's Skiathos again. Can't wait till summer and as for those photographs well, they're so much more than that!


Personal Family Taxi Service

Posted by CFMBabs , 13 February 2007 · 781 views

When I retired from work through illness, I thought that my life would change in that the rat race only ran around me and I not around in it! Memories of the past two and a half years are by no means sweet and I'm at pain to remember just how bad things got -- did I really go through so much? Here I am down the line and I should be enjoying relaxation and peaceful days - not so!
Living on a farm has visions of fairytale proportions " Ooh aren't you lucky" some say imagining me in boots, tweed and deerstalker hat. The reality is me in rubber boots, body warmer, gloves, scarf hat etc.....and up to the knees in goose poo!
That mean old gander is getting meaner by the day and it's operation dodge the goose every time I go outdoors for fuel! The ###### gander ended up wearing the bucket I was carrying after he lowered his neck and made a 20yd sprint across the yard. There were feathers everywhere as I wrestled with a manic bird. The postman arrived during the fracas and duly leaped back over the gate to avoid the confrontation -- the result, no mail for 4 days, still the winter bill's won't come in at this rate and we live to breathe a sigh of relief for a few more days to come.
My husband fancies keeping chickens again. I say again because the last attempt ended up being Mr Fox's supermarket list as one by one they disappeared. It was horrible finding a cloud of feathers on the garden and realising it was your best bird. I vowed never to keep them again unless he built a proper chicken house for them -- **** he's not finished the family house yet so no chance is the probability.

My daily list grows. Take my hubby to work, my daughter to school, to my dad's in the mid morning, home for hubby's lunch, back to hubby's work, pick up,bring home, feed then back to work again. My daughter arrives home at quarter to four and I pick her up from the next village, my hubby finishes work at half past four so round to collect him, need I go on! Then they ask me " What have you done today"? Well I suppose after all the driving and ferrying to and fro, I have loads of time left to do the chores and where do I come into all of this? I'm on enteral feeding and haven't the time most days to connect to my pump -- then it's all my fault if I lose weight , Arrggghh! I sometimes wonder if going back to work would make my family appreciate all that I manage to do, things I'm not supposed to be doing at all. So many possibilities but who would employ me? A 5ft gnome with no circulation to pick anything up who is strapped to a machine housed on her back and who would need to sit beside a radiator if the room was less than 100 degrees. I can't picture any line of work that would suit me -- there's the health and safety law in the workplace that would surely stop me from doing anything.
The government would love to get disabled people back to work and on paper it looks great -- in practice it stinks! I can picture a job chosen by some government office that puts me in a freezer center stocking the cabinets such is the mentality.
For now I'll just take being at home. The personal family taxi service is about as much as I'm worth but at least I can do it!


Turning Into My Gran

Posted by CFMBabs , 13 February 2007 · 777 views

The snow never came and to say I'm a bit relieved is probably an understatement. I was, like all kids in my day, excited when the stuff fell and couldn't wait to get home from school and get out my sled. Looking back, and if I'm honest, I think I may have had the beginnings of what was to come! My fingers, toes and lips used to ache beyond the pain barrier when I returned indoors and my gran used to ward me from the fire exclaiming, "You'll get chilblains -- come away" But when you're a kid -- what do grandparents know? They've always been old and you're the kid, you're supposed to like the snow. Funny how I hear myself repeating that to my own daughter and the look I get reminds me of how I reacted in those days.
The prospect of snow, ice and the cold has me fearing the outdoors like I would melt over the threshold and snow may as well be nuclear fall out avoiding it at all costs. So I'm a shadow of my former self. Memories of childhood in the snow make me shiver at the very thought -- the fireside is much more inviting.
Global warming can't come too fast for me although the implications of such a catastrophe is serious for all mankind which kind of makes me selfish to write such a statement...but when the cold effects our condition so relentlessly, who would blame me.
Thank goodness for spring. I hear it's on it's way, not by the so called professionals, but the real experts -- the birds! My geese are laying and the birds are raising the level of the dawn chorus. Daffodils are bursting and the buds are appearing on the trees. Life is worth every penny to see such wonder and aren't I lucky to appreciate it.
Forward into March and what was it my gran said? "March, comes in like a lion -- out like a lamb" She was a wise old bird and finally I get it! . 46 and the sense is kicking in or is it I'm turning into my gran? Well that wouldn't be so bad after all!


Snowmen Or Snowgirl

Posted by CFMBabs , 08 February 2007 · 822 views

I thought we were in for a record year of having no snow and not much ice. The temperatures have been very unseasonal, I suppose rather worryingly, global warming seems more like a reality rather than fiction.
I've never known a winter like it, I've actually been known to venture outdoors with just a jumper and no jacket such as never been witnessed in January before.
Here we are in February -- here is the snow! Weird though it may seem, we live in the far north west of England quite close to coastal areas and famous for inclement weather. The south of England are experiencing 6 - 8ft snow drifts whilst we are getting just a mere dusting of the stuff -- having said that just watch this space!
Whenever there is snow I cast my mind back to last year when looking through our bedroom window was pure entertainment. We live in a small valley with two very steep inclines either side of our property. What amazes me is the absolute stupidity of some drivers. Our little lane is a minute shortcut to the main road and really not worth the trouble of risking life and limb. It was like a car crash derby as one car after the other slid down the hill, into the field and into the previous car in front, We had so many cars in our field it looked like a junkyard and the language of some of the passengers was colorful to say the least. We placed bets on which car would be the next down the hill and in the field and it was just ridiculous to see the speed that some drivers came down one side, hitting the brakes on the bend and sliding straight on. Yes! it was entertainment and will they learn this year? I think not!
I'm looking out of the window and I can see little flakes floating down the pane. The sky looks full of the stuff and my daughter will be coming home excitedly preparing her yearly snowman which at 16 she still retains her childlike ambitions. The one last year was huge and when I couldn't find my hat and scarf, I noticed Mr Snowman was looking rather snug outside. I was probably as cold as he looked but he got to wear the hat and scarf. Lucky I had another set or I might have been undressing him. He stood there for a few days then melted along with any plans we had for finishing the roof on our house, still it didn't cause any damage -- thankfully and just sitting here reminds me of living in the tin can ( Trailer) throughout the last 4 winters. I shudder at the thought and marvel at my own spirit.
Not a day to venture out, so I'll build up my nice warm fire, make bread and watch the snow.
Winter's finally here!


Getting Through A Party

Posted by CFMBabs , 04 February 2007 · 793 views

As far as weekends go, this one was hectic! It was my daughter's 16th birthday and of course she wanted a small party. She had only her closest buddies and we invited several of our friends. I was stuck in the kitchen for pretty much the duration making Hors Dourves or ' horses doofers' as my hubby calls them.
She made her own cake which I thought was quite impressive for a first attempt and the feedback was good too!
There was a real sense of homeyness as the fire jumped high up the chimney. The wine flowed and the younger members disappeared upstairs, I guess with a sneaky glass of the red stuff but, hey! it's only once and if she was sick then that would have been a valuable lesson -- more worrying that she wasn't actually.
The only downfall of the evening was my inability to join in with the scoffing. I'd stood there all day making delicious dishes but could only watch as the guests devoured them all. I had a taste of course I did! but a taste was all I could muster. The best thing was that my friends didn't ask why I wasn't eating, nor did they give me pity, that's the worst thing. I got through the evening just fine and I think everyone enjoyed our little get together.
Today I'm feeling pretty tired. Last night we had relatives over for dinner and although it wasn't on a grand scale, I was feeling tortured by the end of it.
The clean up campaign has begun but not before a trip to the dentist for my final treatment.
Today will be sedate -- I hope! It's freezing -- minus 4 this morning. My digits are about to snap and I'm typing this with my middle finger and my toes -- Oh! don't mention the toes, where are they? I guess they're in my shoe but I can't feel them.
I'm about to do an interview on the radio -- Yes me! I'll keep you posted on that one. I'm highlighting Raynaud's since it's the annual Raynaud's and Scleroderma Association awareness month in the UK and I'm adding my penny worth.
Hope my fingers thaw for then and my toes return --- if not then I'll get them out at the radio station and the DJ can do the show --Ugh! Can you imagine that?


Hurting Head To Toe

Posted by CFMBabs , 29 January 2007 · 787 views

I'm hurting from head to toe and a little bit in between
And I'm feeling very sorry for myself, life can be so mean
My teeth are hurting and keeping me awake, my hemorrhoids in full bloom
Try going to the toilet when everyone's left the room
It really makes me wonder how I ever go at all
I never eat a morsel my appetite's so small
And yet I produce a parcel, not easy by any means
I wish I could get stuffed on fiber filled baked beans!

I went along to the dentist -- Dick Turpin wore a mask!
He twiddles a little molar then for the money he does ask
This fee is quite extortionate, he sure knows how to extract
I'm not talking molars here just money to be exact
I came home with just a filling but it somehow felt much worse
The money that weighed so heavy was now minus in my purse
There ought to be a law that gives your treatment for free
My dentist is a rich man--- yeah! all because of me.
My teeth yearn to be perfect, to shine and stand out a mile
Whilst my body needs attention, all that will be left is my smile

So typical of me with priority I have trouble putting myself first
So full of silly stories and life experiences to burst
And all my friends are laughing true to my expense
I've built around my heart the strongest tallest fence
And as I sit here with my tin of cream waiting for the push
I have my suppository ready for my little tush
Is life with scleroderma, the same for one and all?
Constantly hitting a daily imaginary wall
Philosophy is the word of the day as I sit upon the loo
I've nothing else to occupy myself, nothing else to do
Funny how you get deep in thought waiting for a p....

It's going on 10 am and I really must make a start
And if nothing happens shortly from the bathroom I must part
So many things to do today and not enough precious time
So here I must depart my friend and end this sorry rhyme
I come away disgruntled with nothing more than wind
And another spent suppository down the pipe, binned!
For now I'll do the housework through all the dreaded pain
I'll make another effort this afternoon again!


The Importance Of Support Groups

Posted by CFMBabs , 29 January 2007 · 747 views

My grandmother always said, when making conversation one's private life should never be hung out like dirty linen on the clothes line for all to see! Her point was always taken and I was raised to keep all my problems behind closed doors.
It's therefore most unlike me to have become someone who actually enjoys sharing my pitfalls in life with complete strangers and new friends.
I'm talking about support groups. Who would have ever thought it.... me of all people, Yep! I hang all my smalls on that clothes line, telling everyone about my little troubles and you know what? It's great! Okay, I admit that I sometimes find it difficult to discuss things we never talk about! and I'm being very sketchy there.
There are things I could never discuss with normal folk, I mean the one's who live their life without ever suffering the misfortune of a chronic illness, they just wouldn't understand. I know I can discuss anything and someone in that group will have been there at some time, got over it and continue with life as only we know it.
It's good to talk and, let's face it, I can talk for England when I get going. We have such an amazing crowd. I mean who almost gets thrown out of a pub for laughing too much .... we do! Who helps each other through the worst days .... we do! Who helps with family matters .... we do, need I go on. With friends like these it almost makes having a chronic illness an advantage because without them where would I be. Of course having scleroderma isn't an advantage at all but I think you know what I mean.
My support group meets tonight. I'm bursting with things I need to tell them. We haven't met for a couple of months and I think tonight will be quite lively, maybe we will get thrown out of the pub this time.
The importance of such friends is immeasurable --- Support groups are just so important and then last but not least there's you!
What a lucky lass I am!


Just Can't Sleep!

Posted by CFMBabs , 23 January 2007 · 755 views

Our first night's slumber in our almost new home turned out to be the most disappointing action we've taken this year so far. We longed for a lovely bed, new linen and our own space instead of in a tin can.
We went to bed early and the room was warm -- bed inviting, hot water bottle under arm, bed socks and a tummy full of warm milk. We each let out a moan of comfort as we slipped between the sheets, then silence! An owl hooted in the distance, the hot water bottle made a rippling water noise as I moved it around the bed and I turned over and buried my head in a new soft pillow -- this is great! I thought. The clock ticked, my hubby began to breathe deeply and then a sudden twitch told me that he was deep in slumber. I shouted " Goodnight" to my daughter but no answer -- I was alone and awake! I snuggled down further, pushing the hot water bottle almost beyond reach of my toes and I pulled the sheet up to my cheek, turned again and began to literally count sheep!
My hubby moaned and then spun over so violently I nearly catapulted out. " OY! I shouted and my hubby replied " Can't get comfy, it's too warm" It was indeed warm. I was sweating, my feet throbbing and I threw the sheets off my shoulders.
" What's up!" my hubby snapped. "Can't sleep either" was my reply.
The clock ticked. I picked it up and through tired eyes it read, twenty five to two.
My throat was beginning to burn. I was too low. I sat up and re-arranged my pillows. " What are you doing now!" was my hubby's irate question. " I'm too low" as I punched my pillows. " Why don't you get up" was my hubby's solution. But I was too warm and sure I would drop off eventually. A car sped around the bend, music so loud my wardrobe doors vibrated. " ****, what did he get for the festive season!" I groaned. " Will you shut up!" was my hubby's snort as he spun over with his back ignorantly facing me.
I looked at the clock, five past three! My mind was telling me to go to sleep but I couldn't. I had heartburn so bad by now. I moved further up the pillows again, my hubby sneered, so I prodded him sharply in the back. " What's that for -- are you going insane" He snapped, " No I can't sleep and you're getting on my nerves snoring and breathing heavy" "I'm not snoring" was his defense. Then my daughter shouted " Will you two shut up and Dad will you stop snoring"
" See I told you" I said triumphantly and with that he jumped up and stormed to the bathroom. Whoops! I thought.
It was quite a while before he returned to bed. He was freezing and I let out a moan as he snuggled in beside me. " Are you still awake" he asked . Yep! was the reply.
The clock ticked and then it began to alarm -- 7 am! What a night! Our first real night in a proper bed, proper bedroom and proper surroundings -- it was a disaster
I'm lethargic and bog eyed this morning. Roll on tonight!


Rag Doll

Posted by CFMBabs , 22 January 2007 · 803 views

All I ever seem to do is wait! My life is one endless waiting room, let me explain.
To my family,I am wife, mum, daughter and niece!
I was a business woman. employer, independent, confident and self motivated in a male dominated environment. Now I'm nothing more than a stay at home mum.
I'm skivvy to my mum and dad -- not that I mind and every other Tuesday I take my aunt out for the day as she's in a residential home.
Today I have a quest, like every other day in fact. I'm taking a trip to our local open market for some bed sheets. It's minus 5, freezing cold and I'm making my bed in the house not the tin can where I've froze my digits off for the last 2 days.
Let's talk about patience! My family have none -- zero, zilch! My father is a born worrier and extremely eager. My hubby is slightly chauvinistic has less patience than a cat with a ball of twine and my daughter is hyper with raging hormones. To say that I'm the one who is technically ill --- I'm normal in comparison!
My father paces the floor with a bright red face if I'm more than 10 minutes late. My hubby stresses if a bag of trash is left in the kitchen for more than one day -- okay it happens! My daughter is somewhere in the stratosphere with an out of place piece of hair and then there's me holding the entire thing together.
The waiting scenario begins at 7am -- waiting for the alarm to sound and family to arise. Then I wait for things that happen during the day such as the coal supplier. My hubby insists that I watch him drop each bag and count. It's difficult to judge how much is in a bag and once dropped he could be short changing us. It's true we have a lack of trust, years of experience has taught us that lesson.
I have my sound system on high downstairs it's that kind of day. My geese are happily grazing on frozen grass and my fire is roaring warming the living room for me to put up my feet and sip a milky coffee.
My day is pretty much mapped out. For someone who no longer works for a living I have a pretty hectic job at home! So much for being medically retired. It was easier employing staff and dishing out the day's agenda. I think I was a pretty good boss, not at all stern and we had a pretty good laugh to boot. My girls were all mum's just like me and the job was a release from being mum. Independence is such an essential part of your life, to lose it you become a rag doll and that describes me very well.


Risk Of Being A Moaner

Posted by CFMBabs , 18 January 2007 · 781 views

I can relax now if only for a short time! I had my endoscopy -- un-sedated but thankfully all over in a matter of 15 minutes or so. Thankfully too that he found nothing to alarm him although it would have been to my horror if he had. I kind of like my GI, he's young and quite funny! I get along just fine with him and he's not one bit snooty quite unlike some doctors I come across.
I was waiting patiently beforehand in a room full of other patients when I began making conversation with a lady in the next cubicle. She was shaking from head to toe, dreading the endoscopy. It wasn't her first time and judging by her condition, it wouldn't be her last. "I'd simply die if they couldn't give me sedation" she said and then glared at a nurse nearby making absolutely certain she'd heard.
"I have no choice" making it sound as if I was a martyr to the cause.
"You brave thing" she said and with that the nurse sidled over. "You can have sedation if you want, or do you prefer not to" she asked rather sarcastically.
I didn't feel like explaining myself so I just said I'd rather not! I felt a bit awkward at that point. I wasn't being brave at all--in fact, I was trembling not because I thought it might hurt but more the thoughts of two years of endless messing with my stomach. I didn't want to start all over again and that's what scared me most.
My name was called and a nurse escorted me into the the treatment room. She gripped my arm for grim death. Did she think I was about to do a runner? My GI greeted me with a handshake then began to explain my condition to the nurse.
"That's why you don't want sedation -- you are brave indeed" she said.
She's extremely brave" said my GI " This lady went through the mill and came out with a smile" he boasted. "And I put her where she is today -- I wish I could have done more."
Please! I thought, this is all too much!. I don't want praise just stick the tube down and get on with it! I lay on my side and then the rest, well! Y'know.
One thing about being totally aware is you can hear all that is going on -- no hidden cliche's. What he said was exactly to the point. I knew I was okay before he even told me and in my book my braveness paid off.
On the way home I was thinking -- what is life really like for those who share my condition -- are we all the same? Do we take each day as it comes and do we feel as though no one understands what it's really like?. I looked at my husband driving. It was like any other ordinary day, like we'd been out shopping. ****! I'd just had a tube the size of a garden hose shoved down my throat and in a traumatic way. But for my hubby it was just another day! I got home. My daughter was waiting -- no mention of "Are you ok", just " What's for dinner?"
I guess the only people who really know what it's like are the one's who share your condition and you don't want to keep going on about it do you? Your friends don't want to hear of your life for the risk of being a moaner and a moaner you are if they seem disinterested. Your head tells you to get on with it and get on with it we do!
I'm here today, making the most of a bad day. Nauseous this morning and completely tired out. " Don't forget to put out the rubbish" my hubby's last words before entering work. I might jump in the trash myself. Yeah! what a way to start the day!

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