Tuesday, 15 June 2010

And So To Bed

I'm writing this at 10.30pm which is well past my bedtime. Things were going so well. It had been a busy and fun weekend; we'd had the local carnival on Saturday where the boys had gone on the Ghost Train and climbed inside inflatable plastic balls to roll around a huge paddling pool. We'd watched reluctant birds of prey take part in a falconry display like sulky teenagers begrudgingly performing their party piece at the increasingly irate behest of their parent. We'd watched marching bands and cheerleaders put on displays helped and hindered by an intermittent fault on the PA. All jolly good fun. On Sunday the boys and I watched Polly run a 10k race around and around our local park which took up 65 minutes and 31 seconds of a sunny morning. The race was billed as a fun run which conjures up images of people dressed as Buzz Lightyear jogging alongside groups of firemen chained together waving buckets to collect coins for kittens stuck up trees. Forget that. This turned out to be an excuse for the local running club to put themselves through their paces under race conditions. There was a lot of Lycra on display. The male winner whizzed home in just 31 minutes and 39 seconds. Polly came in a very respectable mere 15 minutes after the fastest female.

Now the reason I tell you all this so past my bedtime is because I am awaiting an engineer to come and repair the hoist in the bedroom. The carers had come as usual to lay me down to rest and we were at the final stage of hoisting me from the wheelchair into the bed. The hoist, after some coaxing, lifted me airborne and over to the bed. What it would not do was to lower me down on to the aforementioned bed. I was left hovering like a fatigued Thunderbirds puppet two feet above my mattress. No amount of button pressing had any effect. The emergency release cord had mysteriously disappeared so I had no alternative but to dangle helplessly while Polly and the carers tried turning the power on and off and swinging me around a bit in an attempt to unstick whatever was stuck. After a few minutes I was beginning to feel distinctly uncomfortable, scrunched up in the sling as if I was a particularly large and unappealing fisherman's catch of the day.

Eventually, just at the point where I was considering having the straps of the sling cut through so as to allow me to tumble down on to the bed with a hope that the resulting dislocation of joints wouldn't be too painful, I had a brainwave. My super-duper wheelchair is capable of raising up several feet in the air. By carefully moving the hoist and therefore myself over the chair and by me performing a kind of wriggling contortionist act as the carers eased the sling off around me I would only need to fall inches. With a defiance of health and safety and with a bodily dexterity that would surely have earned me a place in the semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent I fell gracefully in to my risen wheelchair seat. Meanwhile Polly rang the emergency engineer.

The next day. . .

Well, the engineer came at 11.00pm, cheerfully declaring that he had had one foot in the bath when his supervisor rang. Apparently a previous engineer had fitted the strap back to front causing the whole kit and caboodle to get tangled up. It took him 20 minutes to undo the mess. It took Polly a further 20 minutes to transfer me to bed on her own, the carers having long since departed.

At least the emergency engineer turned up quickly and fixed the problem efficiently and without a fuss, unlike another company who have a contract to maintain my wheelchair. More details forthwith.

Until next time.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Watch The Birdie

Once again Polly and I dragged ourselves over the speed-bump strewn roads of South London for me to attend the Lind clinic at the Royal Brompton Hospital. Once there, and having located one of the rare and obscenely expensive parking spaces, Polly vanished to have coffee with a clown doctor friend who lives conveniently nearby, pointing out that she hadn't taken a day off from working in a hospital to spend it sitting in another hospital, especially as she wasn't being paid. I sat reading and patiently went through the whole blood-letting experience so my blood gases could be analysed. Sometime later I was seen by a stereotypically efficient German doctor who informed me that my CO2 levels had fallen satisfactorily and that they won't need to see me again for a whole year. Polly reappeared and we stop-started our way back through the London rush hour just in time to take Sam to his first ever Beavers meeting.

I am, of course, delighted that all that faffing about in March when I had to stay at the RBH has paid off and that the changes of masks and BiPap settings have achieved what they set out to do, namely make me feel better. It is a slightly unsettling experience to be in a position where at least one aspect of my condition is improving rather than spiralling ever downwards. It is my ambition to confound all those health professionals who anticipate the worse. Viva Stephen!

On a completely different subject altogether, Polly, as you may remember if you have been paying attention, has spent months renovating my sisters house in Surrey while my sister runs what's left of the global oil industry. The house is still looking for a tenant and has a couple of agencies squabbling over who should manage the property. Last week we got a phone call from one of them to say that a bird had flown down the chimney and expired in the living room. “It's made a bit of a mess, “ they said. Sighing, Polly made her way to the house armed with some cleaning equipment to discover just how much mess a trapped magpie can make. It turns out that it makes a lot. She phoned me to say that the house looked like a scene from CSI Surrey. “What should I do with the. . . er. . . body?” she asked. I suggested she put it in a plastic bag. It was only on the way home that Polly realised the irony. She'd interred the magpie in a Sainbury's Bag for Life.

Until next time.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Whole Tooth

It is half term already and it seems as if the boys have hardly been at school since Easter what with in-service training days, bank holidays and elections. To compensate for the lack of orthodox education we have enrolled the boys in a couple of courses at a local theatre. Today Matty learned to be a stuntman taught by someone who worked on Sherlock Holmes. He came home confidant in his ability to be zapped by Harry Potter or to burst through a wall made of foam blocks. Tomorrow Sam is going to learn African drumming which given his complete lack of rhythm when playing Lego Rockstar on the PS3 might present his teacher with a bit of a problem. Sam has discovered that by hitting any random drum in any random order very very fast can get him a higher score than his equally tuneless brother.

I celebrated half term with a visit to a rather jolly dentist who poked and prodded and declared all well except for a dodgy wisdom tooth which needs x-raying with a view to having something done to it. I have to go back in a couple of weeks. Next time though it will be without Sam being an aeroplane around the surgery.

Right, I'm off to watch dancing dogs on Britain's Got Talent.