I look into blogworld so infrequently now that I find it a bit difficult to negotiate my way around (or is it just my age - 70 earlier this year)!
At the time of writing it is 1.20 am. I have got into a silly habit (not every night) of going to bed, and then sleep, at the usual time and waking about half a hour later feeling completely refreshed. So tonight I thought instead of reading or playing games on my kindle, I would use the time to see what is happening to my blogging friends and acquaintances. I am amazed to see how many, like me, have "fallen by the wayside", but I have looked up a few old friends and left a comment.
A quick update on what has been happening to me and mine.
Husband Bob who suffered an unexpected heart attack in January has been signed off from the hospital. He just has to "keep taking the tablets" and see his GP if anything else occurs. He is keeping very well, staying sensible and pacing himself. We had 3 of our grandchildren (aged 10, 11 and 14) to stay for a few days last week and he was brilliant.
As far as my mum is concerned - well that is a bit of a story! On her 92nd birthday in early March I felt that she possibly wouldn't see another birthday. She was sleepy and uncommunicative most of the time, wouldn't do anything or go anywhere. I asked the staff at her residential home to mention this to her GP. He is not a new doctor just new to the home as the previous one (who I never really rated very highly) had retired. So the doctor said to reduce the dosage of the antidepressant that Mum had been on for about 3 years and I noticed the difference within a few days. I've got my mum back, it's like she has woken up. So now she enjoys going out in the wheelchair and in particular going onto the sea front and having an ice-cream. There are other age issues but as I say she is 92 and most of them are to be expected.
As for myself, I keep very well and count my blessings every day.
I imagine that most of us take things for granted. I know that I do. And sometimes circumstances give us cause to think about that.
Until recently husband and I have said that we know just how lucky we are to be in such good health, given that we are 72 and 69 respectively. Many of our friends are not so fortunate and are having to undergo treatments and operations and to take all sorts of medication to get by. We have had to do none of this. Only the odd headache pill or indigestion tablet and our annual 'flu jab. Until recently. Bob was lucky that his heart attack actually occurred whilst he was in the care of the medics in the ambulance. So now he is on prescribed medication to keep him fit and well and will have to undergo an MRI scan in a few weeks to determine what further treatment may be necessary.
Yes, we did sort of take our good health very much for granted. Last autumn some friends suggested that we go on holiday with them in March and we all agreed on 2 weeks in Lanzarote, the holiday was booked and the balance paid just before Christmas. As we are hoping to go to New Zealand to see step daughter and family for Christmas 2014 we decided to wait until nearer our March holiday to take out travel insurance. Why not, we are fit and healthy, or so we thought. Then husband, completely out of the blue, had a heart attack. His heart specialist has said he feels that we should not go because it is in such close proximity to the MRI scan. So we have had to cancel our holiday and, naturally, although we have had some money back from the travel agent we did not have travel insurance and have lost about half our money! A timely lesson.
A few days ago, as we were sat having lunch, stepson turned up with a large bouquet of flowers for me.
What's this? It is not my birthday and Mother's Day is a few weeks away yet (March 30 in UK). They were to say thank you for looking after his Dad so well since his heart attack. Obviously I thanked him very much and said how much I appreciated the thought. "Well" he said, "everyone is fussing around Dad and no-one has asked you how you are".
Not completely accurate but at least he hadn't taken me for granted!
2013 proved to be a really good year for me and husband Bob. It all began with his being awarded and MBE in HM Queen's New Year Honours (although we knew about it in late November 2012). Early January saw us jetting off to the other side of the world to visit daughter and family in New Zealand as well as visiting some other Antipodean countries and returning via Fiji and the USA. We were away for just over 6 weeks. Then after a few weeks we had another holiday (this time with friends) in Goa thus spending the best part of winter in lovely warm sunshine whilst the UK was freezing in the ice and snow.
All through the year we had some lovely weekends away, two more holidays (in Spain) and of course the highlight, in June, was Bob being presented with his MBE by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace - a very special day and many happy memories.
This year hasn't started so well. We had a lovely Christmas with family and saw the New Year in with friends. However on Wednesday 8 January, at around 6.30 am Bob woke saying that he felt unwell and that we needed to call someone. After a brief conversation when he explained that he had been having burning pains in his chest whenever he walked upstairs and they were now much worse (after 7 hours sleep) and seemed also to be in his mouth and gums, I dialled 999. The ambulance was with us with a few minutes and although Bob said the pain was now lessening they decided to take him to hospital in Weston Super Mare to be given the "once over". Did I want to go with them?
I decided against it as I would need to get back home and would need transport for Bob anyway. They told me to give it about an hour then ring the hospital to clarify the situation. I went back inside and made another coffee!! A few minutes later the phone rang and it was the medic to say that Bob was actually having a heart attack and they were now taking him to Taunton (in the oposite direction) and I should make my way there. That was about 8 am. I rushed around getting essentials to take to Bob, not really thinking straight, and drove to Musgrove hospital in Taunton (about 35 minute drive). On arrival at the coronary care ward at 9.10 am I found husband sitting up in bed, quite chirpy and feeing much better. The doctors and staff had been waiting for him in the car park, took him straight to the operating theatre and inserted a stent into his main artery, job done! Incredible. I still haven't really taken it in. He was back at home 3 days later.
We cannot praise too highly the NHS doctors and staff and the ambulance crew (and the paramedic they also called to administer care on the way to the hospital) for the care and attention he was given. His other 2 arteries aren't looking too good and he will have an MRI scan in a few weeks to determine whether or not to stent them also. He is doing really well now and getting stronger each day. No more pain! He had had a bad cold over Christmas and he thought the burning pains were a chest infection and had resolved to see the doctor later in the week. He hadn't mentioned anything about it to me! Of course we now know it was angina pain.
We are in the second week of February and now all is well!
As you know, until a short while ago I have not been posting anything recently. We have had a busy year so far but more of that at a later time. What I would like to tell you about now really began back in late November 2012.
One morning, about the third week in November my husband received in the post an official looking letter. Now these letters are not completely unfamiliar because he has, for the past 25-30 years, been very much involved in tourism and has had on occasions had correspondence with our local MP.
So he opened the letter and just stared at it, saying "I don't believe it". It was a communication from the Prime Minister's office informing him that he had been selected as a recipient for an MBE (for services to tourism in Somerset) in H M Queen's New Year Honours. If he accepted the honour he was to reply immediately but was requested to say nothing at all until it was announced in the London press on 29 December. He would hear nothing further until he was sent the date for his investiture.
He was delighted to accept, of course, and I was thrilled for him.
We both kept the secret but on the evening of 28 December we rang our 4 children and broke the news, daring them to say anything at all to anyone else, particularly on Facebook, until the following day. They were all thrilled too.
So the news broke and Bob received countless congratulatory messages but also contacted the investiture office to inform them that we would be away for most of the first 3 months of 2013. He was duly sent the date of 7 June, to attend Buckingham Palace. We had 2 months to prepare. He was allowed 3 guests so for many and various reason he chose our daughter who lives in Stratford on Avon and a colleague of 35 years who has always been a staunch supporter of what my husband has tried to achieve. And me.
Daughter and I had fun shopping for our outfits and a hat each! Husband decided to hire a morning suit but stopped short of a top hat.
We made our way to London the day before and were excited to see that the Royal Standard was flying over the Palace indicating that HM Queen was in residence but the following morning the news told us that in fact Her Majesty would be visiting the BBC that day so we were doubtful that we would actually see her. In fact it HRH Prince Charles who carried out the investitures that day (97 in total).
We arrived at the Palace in due time and showed our invitations and were able to walk through the gates then through the archway that is situated under that famous balcony. Once inside the Palace we were impressed by the splendour of it all including the horseguards who were stood to attention at various points inside. We then had to part company with Bob and took our seats in the ballroom (the room where the royal wedding photos are staged). Bob and the other recipients were in a room to our left receiving instructions for when their turn came.
It was marvellous. Just before 11 am 5 Yeomen of the Guard marched in and took up their positions on the dais. Then the National Anthem was played and the Prince of Wales entered with his entourage and the business began. It was timed to perfection, each participant being presented and the Prince having a few words with each. He appeared to be warm and welcoming and very friendly. Finally Bob's turn and I have to tell you that I was immensely proud. It was all over by 12.15 pm, we met up with Bob and then made our way to a celebratory lunch at a restaurant overlooking Tower Bridge.
There is so much more I could tell you but have tried to keep it relatively concise. However, below is a photo of him with his medal, and one of the Yeomen preparing to get into their transport back to the Tower!