Friday, 28 September 2007

Now We Can Relax ..

Yesterday I said that 'tomorrow he can be paley interesting and loiter abed'. Talk about the best laid plans of mice and men .....

Our friends arrived - the phone went and suddenly the aerial man informs us that he has booked us in to come and change the TV aerial at 10.30 a.m. Our friends also decided to call in for coffee at the same time before continuing their journey into the depths of Cornwall. All day long we seemed to have various people calling in on various diverse errands - it's been all go. No peace, no quiet.

Yesterday evening went well. A glass of wine perked me up no end. It relaxed me too - I slept well once I got to bed. My Man coped very well - he enjoyed the visit. But this morning he was suffering more pain due to 'sitting around' chatting. It can't be too bad though as he is currently 'sitting around' again but this time watching the rugby. I know that 18 months ago he would not have coped at all well with having a visitor. He had no resources and wouldn't have had the strength to to raise his game - even for a couple of hours. Therefore - he is still making progress. Also as his energy levels slowly improve so the little walks he is taking are become more regular. Which means that his muscle tone is slowly improving. Small but noticeable steps forward.

We have nothing booked for Saturday. I am ignoring all phone calls. We are going to pretend to be 'not at home' and we are going to have a very lazy day. We are both going to loiter around and linger in bed late if we wish. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I don't sleep like a log tonight, wake refreshed and get up with the thought of doing a 101 things....

Thursday, 27 September 2007

On the Way Up?

Well the increase in the Escapism pills are now well into MyMan's bloodstream. The side effects beginning to wear off. Now the Mirtazepine has been dropped MyMan's having difficulty sleeeping once again. I'm hoping that he'll slowly adjust. When he does sleep he sleeps more 'gently'. No deep earth shattering, rumbling, vibrating snoring. Surely that has to be better for him. I'm having some difficulty in adjusting too. When he is asleep; gently asleep, with no deep rumbling snorting breaths I think he's stopped breathing altogether. The only sound that disturbed the peace of the night last night was the trap catching yet another mouse. I almost picked all the traps up when I vacuumed last week. Glad I was too lazy to do so.

I didn't sleep at all after 4 a.m. It's full moon again. It shone in through the curtains as bright as day. I must get some black out linings. After tossing and turning for an hour I gave in and got up to blog and read. I wished MyMan was awake then. I could have vacuumed. I had the energy then.

We have visitors this evening. Some long standing friends are travelling from Essex to Cornwall. They intend to stop off in east Devon overnight. We are supplying supper in my vacuumed free zone. I did shift some dust from here to there but that's all.

We haven't seen them for nearly 3 years. I'm sure I'll have plenty of chat when I get going. But I'm so tired I may find it difficult to get going. They are more MM's friends. Ed was in fact MM's best man when we wed. MyMan was looking forward to seeing him again. But then he arranged a treatment for this morning. Now he is suffering and wants to do nothing more than lie abed popping painkillers. I told him that this time as they are his friends he'll have to be sociable. He should have been more thoughtful when arranging appointments. I'm into tough love at the moment. Tomorrow he can lie around and be 'palely interesting' but not tonight. Tonight, once I've provided the supper, it's my turn. I hope their B&B has a 'closed doors by 12' policy - I know I wont be any use to anyone beyond midnight.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Carers Count

There is to be a National Carers Summit and the AGM of Carers UK held in London, at Canary Wharf on 8th November - details can be found here. This is to be an important meeting as the idea is to draw up a list of 'wants' to be included in the Govt plans - National Carers Strategy.

Now there is also the question of whether carers should be counted in the next census which is due in 2011. The census of 2001 was the first time that a question had been included to find out how many people were acting as a carer - for family member, friend or neighbour. There is some doubt as to whether this question should be included in the next census. Although the information has proved invaluable for the planning of health services, social care and respite care etc. - there is chance that the question will be dropped in 2011. All questions for the next census have to be approved by Parliament.

Carers do not get much recognition of the role they perform. It is important our Government know just how many people are helping out by providing unpaid care in the community. Often in an informal, unrecognised way.

Everyone is asked to write and request that the questions on caring for others is retained in the next Census to:

The Census Director
Office of National Statistics
Segensworth Road,

Copying your letter to:

Karen Dunnell
National Statistician and Registrar General
Office for National Statistics
1 Drummond Gate
London SW1V 2QQ


Ivan Lewis MP
Minister for Carers
Department of Health
Richmond House
79 Whitehall
London SW1A 2NS.

The letter to the Minister is critical as the Department of Health can fund the carer question. You could also send a copy of your letter to your own MP. If you are not sure who your MP is you can find out by inserting your postcode on this website. Just click on the link which follows:

More information on this can be found on :

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Lacks Concentration

I'm once again having to check up on what MyMan is doing. He is not thinking straight. His mind is elsewhere. He checked over the car for me the other day. Windscreen wash, tyre pressures etc. Luckily I only did a short round trip to the local supermarket. When I got back home I found the radiator cap had not been replaced. It was still perched on the top of the engine where he placed it while checking the coolant levels. No harm done. But I need to keep and eye on what he is doing again. He's like a dreamy teenager.

It just goes to show how carefully I drive though. AS demonstrated by the fact hat the cap remained perched in its resting place while I was driving around these twisty, narrow Devon lanes!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Turn Around Again

It's strange just how quickly things can change again. MyMan only started on the slight increase of the Esapism pills yesterday. The side effects have returned again. He has a stomach upset and feels anxious and vulnerable again. I keep reminding him he felt like this when he started the pills and the doctor told him it would return. I keep reminding him of how much better he has been. And that feeling of improvement would return once again after another week or two.

Friday, 14 September 2007


Henry was kind enough to leave his professional opinion the other day [?week] on my entry Black Dog Days in the comments section. He thought MyMan should have been on a regime of Venlafaxine and Mirtazapine.
Well that's what has been tried over the last xx months. MM was started on the Venlafaxine nearly 2 years ago. He always 'felt' it wasn't working. But if it was reduced he would become worse - so it was obviously doing something, but.... Then Mirtazipine was added earlier this year. He had a bad reaction to that so had to be reduced to lower dose. However, it did help somewhat with his insomnia. Now he is on something that he calls his 'Escapism' pills - an SSRI. He feels more alert brain wise and is showing some return to his normal humorous self. But it is slow and we both feel a bit disheartened when he suddenly has a Black Dog Days. But the psychiatrist could see a definite improvement before MM even had chance to speak. We were reassured that improvement isn't a steady upward process ... with no looking back. The 'escapism pills' are to be increased a wee bit and then to see what the reaction is to sleep patterns if the Mirtazapine is discontinued. If he comes off that with no return of the insomnia then the esapism pills can be increased a bit more. A period of juggling and re-adjustment to go through yet. MM has been advised to continue with the counselling sessions. If nothing else they do help back up some of my points about his being too stubborn or bloody minded [keeping pills to a bare minimum] or not being kind enough to himself [continuing to try and do everything as he used to when fitter and younger - a perfectionist]. He listens more to the counsellor than he does to me!
As it is when Black Dog revisits there are some signs that he doesn't stay around for quite so long. But attending medical appointments is guaranteed to bring one on within a few hours. The sooner we can get him sorted and reduce the number of times we have to talk to doctors about his mental and physical health, the healthier it will be for the both of us.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Fingers Crossed

My fingers are crossed. I am hopeful. My Man is feeling more alert and positive than he has for many a long month [years]. Maybe, just maybe, these anti-depressants are having a positive effect? He has been on them now for almost 6 weeks. His sleep patterns are improving. We'll know a little more when we see the psychiatrist. Then its back to the family doctor again for the X-Ray results on spine and to see what the next step is to be - orthopaedic specialist or a rheumatologist. He usually finds all medical appointments incredibly depressing. If he manages to accomplish the next few appointments without a down turn in his mood I may well begin to believe we have reached a turning point. As it is for a few days I've not felt as if I'm walking on egg shells. Like tooth ache you are not aware of how painful it has been until the pain ceases. The feeling of relief is huge. Meanwhile my fingers are crossed.

Saturday, 8 September 2007


I was being very lazy today. I decided we'd eat a ready meal from the freezer. From the main freezer which resides in the garage. The fridge was entirely empty. Some fresh fruit. But no main meal. That's what the stuff in the freezer is for. Days like today. When I wake late and feel lazy. An hour before tea I go down to the freezer to make a choice and collect some frozen vegetables. Maybe a small homemade cake too, for Sunday tea.

As soon as I opened the door and picked up the first packet my mind registered that it felt 'soft'. Then I realised it didn't feel cold either - not one bit. It's an old freezer so I assumed it had 'died' on me. Then I saw the push in button was not IN for ON. It was OUT for OFF. Nothing for it, it all had to be binned. The bin men may get a hernia just trying to lift the bin next week.

I reckon that MyMan when he was trying to help me last weekend inadvertently knocked the button. He'd been down in the garage sorting out little maintenance jobs on my car. Windscreen wash and such. He'd also tidied some things high on top of the freezer. But as he struggles to move the slightest thing I think he must have leaned heavily against it. He has been very forgetful and inattentive for the last 4 weeks. Often, in a world of his own, he doesn't notice if he leaves a trail of minor havoc after him. I've been tired and down so have not been keeping an eye on what he's up to.

After clearing, drying and cleaning out the freezer; getting it all fired up again there was still no meal. I had to drive over to Waitrose for some salad and a Pizza for tea. That will teach me not to be lazy. Not to lie in bed late rather than going out early to the shops. As it is I've now I'll have to get on and re-stock it.

On the negative side - I've just lost all the plums I froze down a couple of weeks ago. And my last batch baked fruit cakes and cherry cakes. On the positive side: I now have room to freeze down some of the apples which are falling off the trees left right and centre. I'll also have room for a good baking session again. That will be good, I find baking really therapeutic.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Gloves Off

for the next round! That's what it feels like sometimes. The Sunday Tea Party went reasonably well. I was an attentive hostess but I felt distracted. MyMan wanted to help share the hosting duties. We agreed he would pass the tea cups around. I remember exactly how different peole like their tea. From black and very, very strong to one that is weak as water with a very small dash of tea and milk. Except MyMan disappeared when I was making the tea. He seemed to not want to stay with our guests unless I was in the room. Then when it came to handing around the tea he forgot our arrangement. Never mind we muddled through. Friends said it was good to see him brighter and happier. So that's good then!

Monday we had a few disagreements and minor niggles. I returned to the subject of wishing to have a dog or to plan for a dog in our lives again at some point in the near future. If only he had held out the promise of 'maybe, at some time, but not yet' I would have agreed. But it was the definite 'no we can't cope' and 'you're not being realistic' that fired me up. He is definitely against the idea. He said we'd need to move to premises more suited for a dog. He doesn't like this house and wants to return to a more rural existence. So I go to the estate agents and come home with several house details. But he has no energy to even consider making a move at all in the near future. We also know that our next move should be more in line with a move towards town, in readiness for our older age, rather than further out into the country. But if I can't have a dog until we have moved to somewhere more suitable; then a house move may be on the cards sooner than MyMan thinks. Either that or we go for his and her homes: "My Wife Next Door".

As it is - while My Man was out at his counselling session I played Westlife's "Allow Me to be Frank" - very loudly. And I danced, pranced, foxtrotted and quick stepped around the whole place for half an hour pretending I was Ginger Rogers. Today I ache in every joint and am pleased that I've not to go around clearing dog/cat fur off the furniture or dragging my aching legs around the woods behind a gambolling dog.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Black Dog Days

We have a small tea party this afternoon. MyMan felt that as we had not entertained for a few months)that we should invite our close friends around. I thought I would keep it short and sweet. Afternoon tea seems suitably 'old fashioned and genteel'. Not too demanding on time if MyMan doesn't feel up to coping with being sociable for several hours. He seemed very quiet and withdrawn again this morning. I've been making savouries, sandwiches and cakes. I asked him at lunchtime 'are you OK?'. No, he's not. He told me he suddenly has the 'Black Dog Visiting' again. Everybody is looking forward to seeing him. I'm not sure how he'll cope. Maybe some gossip and news, old friends, easy conversation will lift his mood a fraction. Or he will act bright, breezy and the 'joker in the pack' but retreat straight back into his dark mood once they've gone: exhausted by his effort. It's at this point before people arrive that I wonder whether the effort is worth it for either of us.