Friday, 3 June 2016

From One Weekend to the Next

It's been a few weeks since my last post, so here's a catch up on all that's been happening over the last week or two. Life has been a little hectic with both things we've had planned and things we didn't have planned! 

A few weeks ago we had a fabulous weekend in the Lake District and visiting family in Lancashire.  One of the things I've been desperate to see is the bluebells at Rannerdale. Obviously they can only be seen for a certain few weeks in the year, while the flowers are in bloom and this year our visit was perfectly timed. It's a unique setting where English bluebells flourish on an open fell that runs down to the lake, Crummock Water. We spent most of the day in the vicinity, visiting Buttermere and driving past a variety of other Lakes on the way - Windermere, Rydal Water, Grassmere, Thirlmere, Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite - and then on through the spectacular scenery of the Forest of Borrowdale and the Honister Pass. All pretty amazing and breathtaking and always, however many times I've done this, an unforgettable experience.

Check out my garden blog for more information on Rannerdale. 

Honister pass taken from the car

The beautiful Buttermere


Ted and me enjoying the scenery

Another day we drove through the Western Lakes, via Coniston Water, Broughton-in-Furness and the Duddon Valley and spent time walking on the beach at Silecroft and had a picnic. It was great to be outdoors all day, walking amongst views of stunning scenery and just enjoying the fresh air. Once we were back home I'd kept saying how well I feel and how it's the best I've felt in ages. 

Silecroft Beach 

Ted and me again having a little rest! 

Idling around on the west side of Coniston Water

Magnificent views

A few days later I popped up to my hospital, Papworth, to drop off a box of books so that they can stock and sell 'Life is for the Living' in the Papworth Hospital Charity's gift shop. I'm delighted at this and hope it helps raise some much needed funds. The charity is raising funds to help with the funding of organ care systems, which help facilitate the DCD donor heart programme. This programme has seriously helped to increase the number of much needed heart transplants being undertaken and is not yet fully funded by the NHS. Papworth is leading the way on this programme, being the hospital which introduced this programme in the UK and are continuing to undertake more successful transplants by this method. The programme is being rolled out to other transplant centres and Harefield Hospital are also successfully undertaking the programme too. 

I've also been up at the hospital a couple of times, as I'm in involved with the Transplant Patients' Representative Group and we've been busy planning our next support and social meeting, which is on Saturday 25th June. (Contact me for more details should you be a Papworth transplant patient and wish to attend) We will be having a talk on 'Life as a carer' and our usual buffet lunch and raffle. Also, we've been working on our new notice board in clinic, there's still more to come, so keep a look out if you happen to be visiting transplant clinic. 

Boxes ready to go to Papworth Hospital Charity Shop

Then followed the not so planned weekend, spent in hospital. We were planning a fairly quiet weekend and got up last Saturday morning quite early, as we thought we'd go out early, beat the crowds and buy some bedding plants for the garden. I hadn't been up long when I thought I felt a bit odd, then I felt ok so just carried on with breakfast. 

When you've had a transplant, you do find yourself quite tuned in to what your body is doing, especially when you have to do daily observations like weight, temperature and lung function. I try not to be obsessed, but I do find myself wondering if something is going on at every twitch, twang or ache or pain - it's like a knee jerk reaction I think,  to all the traumas of the last few years, the fact we have it drilled into us by our medical teams and the uncertainty that still lingers there somewhere. Usually in the same split second I can just dismiss it, which I did in this case.  About half an hour later though, I had the same funny feeling again and then I found myself with Rob standing over me on the kitchen floor. 

A faint is a worry for anyone, sometimes it's nothing serious, sometimes it is, but when you have transplanted heart and lungs then you can't dismiss it and wait and see. The nurse at Papworth advised to dial 999, and when we did the operator wanted to stay on the line so they could talk Rob through CPR if needed - funnily enough he'd signed up for and had CPR training at work that week. I'm not sure I can say he was stood there hoping to give it a try, but at least he had some confidence. Then the ambulance arrived. Of course, Ted was all over-excited at all the goings on and the paramedics with their bags, so Rob had to put him out in the garden while they did their initial checks. 

I had to be taken into the local hospital and after going through the resus unit and two acute assessment wards, seen by quite a few doctors - cardiologists, neurologists etc - I went on the cardiac ward to have my heart monitored for the night. They were all so fantastic with me, couldn't do too much and ran every test they could to rule things out. In the end we couldn't get to the bottom of it and on Sunday evening I was allowed home with a few follow up tests still to be done. I'm also going for a full MOT at Papworth in the next few days just to be on the safe side.

It was good to be back home and very uplifting when I received a few cards and letters in the post thanking us for donations to Papworth Hospital Charity and Papworth PH Matters Support Group. The donations were from the proceeds of my book 'Life is for the Living'. I just want to thank everyone who has purchased it, reviewed it and help spread the word about it, as it's thanks to you that I've been able to give donations to these causes that are dear to my heart. 

There's been no more blips since, but I've been mainly resting and using it all as a good excuse to read a few books and here we are again about to start a new weekend. I'm feeling back to myself again - I think - I don't know whether I should dare to say that as the last time I said I felt good...

I know this has been a long one, so if you're still reading - here's to a good weekend for everyone, make the most of the good days and enjoy them.

Here's a few pics of the cards and letters - I just wanted to share as it's also thanks to all of you for supporting my book.

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