Monday, September 26, 2011


I know, I know, I've been very lax lately - no funny stories, no disability rants, no wondering of any kind. I'm guessing that my followers out there in blogland are wondering things about this on my behalf, assuming of course that a) I still have any followers and b) that they are wondering about me at all.

The thing is, I have an excuse and it's something to do with what seems to have been a long summer for our family. Way back just before Easter, my FIL had a stroke. It was a bit of a shock (to say the least), as my MIL only passed away in January and we hadn't really finished getting over that. It was especially tough on my BIL as he lived in the same house as them both and suddenly found himself in the house on his own, dealing with all the paperwork, laundry and such silly things as putting the bins out on time. For us, when it happened, it was deeply unsettling and worrying, but we really didn't know what was to come or really even what had happened.

My FIL is pretty tough; a few years ago, he was rushed in to hospital with heart problems and before we knew it was having a triple heart bypass. The surgery went well, but immediately after being transferred back to the ward, he stopped breathing and ended up being ventilated for some weeks. All in all, with the visit to intensive care, high dependency, an internal bleed in his stomach and exploratory surgery and a dose of C-difficile, he was in hospital for months. It was tough, but he battled though it all and entertained us frequently with all his stories of heroic derring do (of the things he had hallucinated whilst under the influence of morphine after the op), where most often, he was a fireman rescuing children from burning buildings!

I think, after all that, that we almost expected him to pull some miraculous recovery out of the bag after his stroke. To start with, it didn't look likely - he was paralysed all down one side, and could only say yes or no (and even then not in the right places!), but his speech recovered quite quickly and he started to get the use back in his right arm. Physically things have improved, but the type of stroke that he had means that some of his brain tissue has died and even though brains are very clever and can rewrite pathways, sometimes they can't and he's pretty confused much of the time. Mostly he displays all of the symptoms of vascular dementia which is very sad for everyone. It's sad for him, it's sad for his friends and family and the people that visit, to see a man who has lost such grasp on his life.

So, here we are, many months on and now it is clear that my FIL won't be returning home. We are currently trying to find him somewhere nice to live where he can be looked after in a way that any of us would be unable to do.

Forgive me then if blogging is a bit sporadic...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Are there voices in my head?

I turned up the other day to a small gaggle of people, all egging on CUB*1...."Go on", they urged, "Tell her....tell her about the voices...." - and so she did. This is her story...

It was a Wednesday night like any other, apart from the fact that CUB was away with her team and was in a hotel. She was sharing a room with WMW*2 and they were both in bed, having turned the lights off and were warm and cozy and just dropping off to sleep. CUB was tired and sleepy and just dozing off when she heard a rustling sound from somewhere in the room. Puzzled and half asleep, she lifted her head off the pillow and thought she heard a whisper - a whisper that sounded like someone was softly calling her name. She turned to WMW, who seemed oblivious to the noise and so she thought maybe she'd imagined it - she was after all, half asleep and so she started to settle back into bed.

It was then, that she heard her name again...a bit louder this time. She sat up wildly and put the light on. Now she really was freaked. She started throwing questions at WMW - had she heard it?...where was it coming from?...OMG...OMG. She heard her name again and was now pretty frightened. She got up...where was the noise coming from? She made WMW check the phone and she rushed over to the dressing table where she thought the noise was coming from. It seemed to be coming from her glasses case, so she picked it up and looked inside. In her sleepy and befuddled state, logic had completely deserted her...and still, she could hear her voice being called...

It was at that point that she spotted a small hole in the wall and scrambled over to it. The voice changed and suddenly told her to look at the wall and then she really panicked. She thought of peeping Toms, she thought of how she was wearing Disney pyjamas and how she looked without makeup and what had she been wearing when she came out of the shower. She was so frantic that WMW started to get really worried...........and cracked! She wandered over to CUB's bed, lifted the end, and retrieved the walkie talkie that had been hidden there!

Well, CUB was furious and screamed down the walkie talkie - "I'm gonna kill you!!!!!" - without even knowing who was on the other end....all she heard was Click! as the person the other end rapidly flicked the off switch!

Well, who was the culprit? In the end it turned out to be none other than the BMB and our new MIC*3 and WMW had been in on it, having been the one who hid the walkie talkie. How she kept a straight face I will never know!

I am just hoping now that this isn't some kind of new hazing ritual - one where we will all be subjected to something similar in time. I must admit though that I will be checking under my bed for a bit...and I bet CUB will too...!

*1 CUB stands for completely utterly bonkers...which she is!
*2 WMW - Warped man's wife. WM has his own blog.
*3 MIC - Our new Man in Charge

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Priceless? No, not really...

A while ago (a long while ago now, but it's been a long summer*1), we went away with PTV and HLW. It's not the first time we've been away together and I hope it's not the last, because I, for one, had a lovely time, but it's the longest we've been away together. You always do that thing, don't you, where you'll be away for a bit, where you hope it all works out and that you're not at each others throats within three days, but I needn't have worried at all as it turned out. One of the worries with other people is that you won't agree on what to do or what to visit, what to eat or even where to eat and even in this we didn't fall out, even when we fancied a drink stop and HLW picked the closest cafe.

Now, we should have guessed it was expensive from the people we saw exiting, as we stood in line waiting to be seated (by a man in a full suit with bow tie). On his way out was Michael Keaton (at least it looked like him, but in Vegas, who can tell...!), and several very rich looking people accompanied by burly men wearing sunglasses indoors and with suspicious bulges under their armpits, where they might be carrying a perfectly legal, concealed weapon. Of course, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was beautifully decorated, real birds were swooping around the open windows and it all looked very swank to me...

Eventually, we were seated and looked at the menu. There was a sharp intake of breath as both hubby and PTV looked at the prices and did their best impression of a car mechanic/ electrician/ plumber/ builder before submitting their best estimates for work. HLW and I were captivated by the description of the cakes...a Tuile with strawberry, with ganache and fine patisserie and all sorts of other things which sounded exquisite...with or without ice cream.

I only wanted coffee, but hubby pointed out that coffee at $15 a cup and cocktails at $20 a glass almost cost the same and so, that was how we found ourselves drinking cocktails at 11 o'clock in the morning. The thing is, even though we didn't go in wanting cake, there were all the wonderful descriptions and so we decided to share 2 cakes between us - partly because we only wanted a taste and partly because they were stupidly expensive.

We went for one chocolate option and one strawberry option. PTV and I had the latter and it seems a light sponge with a soft mouse of strawberry topped with real cream ice cream and a spun sugar birds nest (complete with lots of French words I can't remember) looks very posh. The thing is, it was early and we were drinking cocktails - you just knew things were going to get silly and predictably it was PTV who started it. The thing is, our birds nest of sugar was spiky in a prickly way - the kind of prickly way that loft insulation is prickly and some conversation ensued about why there was such a need for such a spiky topping. In the end, I think we decided that it was protection for the cakes from the birds that were flying around and ended up laughing so much that the rest of the very posh clientele all turned around and looked at us.

So, is this story so funny that I had to tell you? No, not really, as it was actually one of those things where you had to be there. Was the expensive cocktail and cake worth it? Well, maybe not in themselves, but for the memories they provided, they were worth every penny and more besides. I guess sometimes it proves that if you do something unexpected, the rewards are unexpected too!

*1 For reasons that I will tell you about at some time...I promise!