Retail Therapy

My recovery from my op. was mostly uneventful, apart from resembling a boiled lobster when the Morphine allergy hit. It felt like I’d fallen into a bed of nettles and been bitten by thousands of midges at the same time. My face was fat and I invented a new dance, lift one knee tuck your elbows in and wiggle, and hope that the other customers in Lidl don’t notice. Thankfully it’s passed and I can now go out in public without frightening people.

Actually I’ve been out and about quite a bit. Youngest daughter and I had a birthday shopping trip to Oban, as our birthdays are only two days apart. We decided to go by bus as the Rev. is not good at shopping and gets very distressed if he has to open his wallet too often.

The day we caught the bus ,was the first time this particular driver had driven this route, and I gathered hadn’t driven a bus this size that much before. I call it a bus, these are the large coach sized ones that fill the road from kerb to white line. So he took it pretty steady. If you are unfamiliar with the route, I should explain that it climbs up and down hills just under mountain size (my measurements!), winds around Lochs, with usually only a grass verge or a tiny crash barrier between the road, a long drop or deep water. In a car it doesn’t seem too bad but sitting up high in something that takes up all the  road , with an inexperienced driver and on the day the Forestry Commission decided to send loaded log lorries in the opposite direction, i.e . straight at us, it was a bit nerve wracking!

An instructor sat behind him offering advice as when to use certain gears and where to pull in. We only missed one bus stop and the folk kindly toddled down the road and caught us up. It is necessary to take a short detour to collect passengers from a tiny Lochside village. This means that this elephant of a coach turns off the main road and travels for a couple of miles on a road where it touches both hedgerows with tiny passing places dotted here and there that are practically on the beach. On arriving at the village it reverses into the fire station and retraces the route!

After an hour and a half,we arrived safely, spent rather more than we ought and went to catch the only return bus for that day. Now you would think that you would catch it from one of the stances at the “bus station”, after all that’s what they are for. We checked each one but unless we wanted to go to Fort William and beyond, there was nothing. So we asked those waiting in these perspex boxes. They were all tourists who had no idea. We tried a shop, “opposite the bank ” she said. We’d already been there! As we wandered back towards the bus shelters I spied a woman with shopping, who looked like a local, ” Do you know where we catch the bus to Lochgilphead?” I asked. ” Oh yes!” ,she replied, “It’s the green lamppost by the blue van.” Of course why hadn’t I thought of that! Derhhh! I hope for the summer tourists sake, the council put a notice up. May be I should write to them as well.

The bus duly came and the driver grinned, it was the same one who had driven us on the journey up. We pootled back down country and he dropped us off at the bottom of the Glen. “Hope it wasn’t too harrowing! ” He laughed. Not at all we lied, had he noticed me kiss the ground when I got off??


I seem to have spent most of my weekend with animals, I am not speaking about my family!

I have always hated standing around in playgrounds making small talk to other parents, sounds unfriendly, but there is a certain amount of competiveness among Mothers and Fathers,when it comes to their offspring. “My little Alfred can play the fiddle standing on his head and speaks 9 languages fluently”, You know the kind of thing.

Now I have joined another breed of parent, “The Pony Club” set. Oh yes, the green wax jackets. Last term I just sent my youngest off every Sunday morning with her lesson money and let someone elses Mother sit for two hours at the stables and wait, but now it’s on a Saturday and I went along myself.

During “Stable Management” I read my book, all the waiting is done  out of doors. I wished that I had worn a few more layers, especially as snow was still on the mountains on the other side of the Loch. I noticed that a few other parents chatted together, but after a few polite niceties, they ignored me. That was fine, I know nothing about  how many hands high the new pony is or how little Lucinda did at her jumping.

There were two small terriers running about, so being a doggie person I spoke to them, one jumped onto my lap, he smelt rather suspect, but he did keep my legs warm. I think that his affection had more to do with my daughters packed lunch on the table next to me. A scruffy cat joined us and they were my company, whilst I watched children trot, canter and practise steering their mounts in the right direction.Some were more sucessful than others. The ponies either had a mischevious  glint in their eye and took off, or looked bored stiff as yet another child sat on their backs and tried valiently to speed them up or slow them down, the latter proving most difficult, it seemed.

At the end of the session D and I wandered up the road to meet the Rev. The furthest I have walked since surgery. I found that I was feeling the cold more than usual after sitting for two hours, but the walk warmed me up.  The Rev. had attended the church coffee morning , promising to pick us up on time, but as our half an hour wait ,turned into an hour and it began to rain heavily I began to wonder if hyperthermia was setting in. He did eventually turn up, claiming he’d had to wait for the hamper draw.

We are also looking after a friends sheep and hens. We dutifully went off to feed them this morning, I let D. take the “nuts” out to the trough as thirteen ewes vied for position and tried to get their heads in the bucket.  We fed the rams in another field and stuffed their net with haylage and hung it in a corner of their field, Fed the hens and collected the eggs. D and I walked back to the yard, and watched The Rev, standing gazing across the field, after a while he came back and informed us that he was sure that their were supposed to be only nine ewes, and he thought that we must have allowed the rams in . So I set off across the fiels again counting sheep and having a quick glance at their nether regions. As far as I could see they were all “ladies”, but he insisted that he could only see one ram, so off I went, puffing a bit, I’m only supposed to get back into exercise gently, but it was no good asking the panic stricken one to do it. At the next field three rams were hiding in a corner, one looked at me very slyly, I think they did it on purpose.

Thinking about people who join clubs, or whom we consider to belong to a group with whom we are not comfortable, they could be us in our churches, Do we offer a quick acknowledgement of a visitors’ prescence then continue to chat amongst ourselves. Do we use a language that others do not understand, without even realising that we use “Church Speak” ?, Do we really include new people, especially if they appear “different”.

Thankfully the one who feeds his flock, sees each of us as an individual, each as important and loved as the other.

Heart Warming

Having emerged from my medicated mist, I can now write without “brain ache”. Well, what a difference in my hospital admission! I was treated like a V.I.P! I trundled up to the waiting area at 7.30 a.m along with a large group of very nervous looking folk. I sat down next to an elderly gentleman who told me how worried he was, ” Don’t worry” I said ” Look I’m back for a second time, they treated me so well!”. He laughed and relaxed a bit ,and I thought “you are a bit of a fibber Jen”.

A Nurse came to collect us and said to follow him to the day unit, so we all got up, then he said , “Unless you are waiting for an Ablation.” I was the only one for this surgery, funnily enough, so off I trotted round to the Cardiology ward as he directed. I was met at the desk and escorted to my room.  No plastic recliner for me then! It had pretty blue curtains and a blue bedspread, and I was told to rest on it!!

My Kenyan Nurse was lovely and so knowledgable, and I found out that in the last 6 weeks they had appointed a new charge nurse and she had the ward running like a dream. However, I did discover that some of the staff involved in my care at my last admission no longer worked for the Hospital, and I did feel a pang of guilt, but not for long.

I was first on the list, the” Consultant Cardiologist, ablation for AF and Lead investigator of clinical trial of AF ablation in patients …” came to see me with none less than Dr. “Large Handbag”! She would not make eye contact with me at all, and I felt sorry for her.

No small gloomy catherisation lab. for me this time either, I was taken to a huge brightly lit theatre ,where I was introduced to everyone, and there were even two “REPS.” because the equipment was so new!I sought out “Large Handbag” and gave her a pat on the arm and told her that it was OK to talk to me and I wouldn’t bite. I couldn’t help sniggering as I thought of the “Vampire treatment”, she’d given me last time, i.e a stab through the heart , well I found it funny. Anyway she smiled and spoke to me for a bit.

No embarrassing audience experiences while I was prepped, and we were off. Lots of sedation, so I felt very little, but I was able to watch my heart being fixed on a screen, most interesting, when I was able to keep my eyes open! The only uncomfortable bit was when they actually froze bits of tissue around the pulmonary arteries and made my diaphragm flip to check on the nerve. They said it caused a pain in your head similar to that  you get when you eat ice cream, in  my case it felt more like someone was crushing my sinuses in my cheeks, but it was all worth it.

I remember them telling me that they were going to “zap me” to put my heart back into rythmn, I have two patches from this with the outline of the sticky pads on my skin, and I noticed this morning that the one on the side of my ribs is now heart shaped, that made me laugh  too! For this I was “put out”, their words. They apparently went back over their work while I was quiet and couldn’t interfere, with a bit of  cauterisation and, so I was informed, got “silence” , not just from me but my heart, so when they “paced “it ,it stayed in rythmn. This sounds very good!

When I returned to the ward , I think I slept until the Rev. turned up. I remember him talking but I kept drifting. Nothing unusual there then. In fact I think I slept through most of my time in the ward! The Night Nurse remarked ” You certainly had a few drugs!”. Sedation mixed with Morphine plus anaesthetic,I suppose thats one way of shutting me up.

I honestly cannot thank the staff enough this time, they were caring ,considerate and professional. I just wish that I hadn’t had to shake them up so much. I have written to the “powers that be” at the Hospital, and praised them for implementing all the changes that I suggested, and told them that I hope this treatment extends to everyone admitted there, not just the vocal ones like me.

Now take heart from this (snigger!! oh sorry) you do not have to put up with bad trearment, you can get things changed. Don’t focus on the negative, but suggest ways that they can improve procedures and talk to the people involved.

I thank you all for your prayers and concern, God listened and answered you.

I am recovering well, my no 3 daughter looked after me for 3 days, and returned home yesterday, so I am back in the saddle today, but not overdoing it. I’ve kept The Rev. in his routine , that way he doesn’t get stressed and nor do I, so he’s gone off for the day to swim and a run with his mates.

Well I need to sort out “Frankie and Bennies ” now, I have always had good food and service in their restaurants but the one in Clydeside… oh yuck! But thats another story……..