Another not-really-a-post for now (sorry, no pictures) but I thought my family-followers might welcome a health/medical update and a few random jottings. If you have come on here looking for smallholder adventures, then I am sorry to disappoint you again. That version of Deefer-Dawg may well be back but for now she is still on holidays.
We have been in for two out-patients 'follow-up' visits this week, so I have some medical updates though, sadly, not yet that 'first prize' of a date for the heart surgery up in Dublin. That is the 'big one', the one that I hope will finally sort this breathlessness, fluid accumulation and congestive, ticklish cough and allow me to finally bounce back to full health and ability to do useful work round here. Meanwhile, I am still so short of breath that a walk down to the front gate to check the egg honesty box has me pausing at the lane to get my breath back. I can just about do the livestock rounds morning and evening (feed poultry, let them in/out) and I am OK getting coal and kindling from the carport in the fire bucket and getting the home fire(s) burning. That, though, is about the limit. Pathetic and frustrating.
So.... these out-patient appointments, then, one with the main 'heart' guy, the other with the respiratory lady. Regular readers may recall that previous visits in August involved the TOE (Trans-oesophageal echo-cardiogram) tube down the throat job which, in my case, necessitated a total knock-out sedative. That gave the docs the best ever pictures of the state of my heart damage including one important change.
Up to then 'we' had been talking about a replacement Mitral valve, either mechanical or pig spare-part. This is now no longer thought to be the case because my damage is a tear in one of the 'cusps' of the valve and can be fixed (they tell me) by sewing the tear, make do-and-mend style. The doctor here is, I know, in contact with the surgical team at St James's Hospital in Dublin (they don't do the surgery out West here, only the stents etc) so we are all just waiting on a date. Weeks? Months, After Christmas? Watch this space for updates.
The respiratory team, you may recall, had me in the 'Tardis' booth for some breathing tests (50% normal volume, if I remember right, and 63% flow) but also gave me a sleep monitor pack for the one night, checking for sleep apnoea, snoring and other breathing problems. I saw a more junior member of the team this time but I noticed that there were some comments written on the notes by boss-lady. I may not have mentioned in here that the night chosen for the sleep-pack was not a good one for the coughing - there is a bit of a pattern here where too much walking around hospital corridors seems to stir up the congestive fluids and ensures I have a bad night.
I'd had to hand back the sleep-pack with a little hand written note in it explaining to the technician that she should ignore the 10 pm to 2 am period as the data would be rubbish;just go with the 2 am to 8 am bit where I slept like a log. They obviously didn't need this as their print outs show in great detail where I was asleep, with every breath a little stroke of the 'pen', and they can even tell whether I was sleeping on my left or right side, my back or my front.
In those 6 hours, apparently, I did not snore and nor did I have any full, stop-breathing, apnoea episodes but I did have a couple of what they call "sub-apnoea events", where your breathing slows right down but does not quite stop. However, when we discussed these and the coughing all agreed that it was not worth trying to 'cure' them while my heart valve is still leaking. Much more sensible to sort the valve, stop the back-pressure and congestion, get me into a steady state (I do pray that that means OFF the liquid intake restrictions and the diuretics!) and then look at it all again from the sleep-pack stage. Then we will know whether we still have a problem and can address that.
So we shook hands and said our good byes and promised to meet up again in 4 months which we all hope will be AFTER the heart op. We were half way down the corridor to the exit and suddenly heard our names being called - a nurse had been sent to chase us with one last easy option. My sub apnoea events, apparently, all show up when I am sleeping on my left side, so if I can sleep propped the other way (there are long-ways pillows, apparently) it might improve my sleeping comfort and be a "quick fix". I am happy to give it a try (I did last night) but my sleeping style seems to involve a lot of tossing and turning and I wake up every which way.
Finally, the non-medical news. The calendar eventually clicked round to the much heralded and eagerly awaited US mid-terms. Elizabeth, in particular LOVES her US politics and had been main-lining podcasts on the various 'races' House, Senate, State Governors and so on. That night was always going to be an all night vigil for her. She sets herself up a little "War Room" in the sitting room with the open fire lit, with a supply of blankets for her feet and the sofa equipped with lap-top and the i-phone, chocolate 'Mikado' biscuits and fancy crisps, plus tea on tap.
This is a US election and count, so she also had a little plan of the time lines for GMT (our local time, obviously) but also the "Eastern Time" equivalents in which the live feeds and pod casters tend to report. Polls close for some states at 7 pm (ET) which is midnight here, for example. Most states had closed by 23:00 (ET) which is 04:00 GMT. Hawaii and Alaska come along at 05:00 GMT but by then enough 'mainland' stuff has happened that our all-nighter has a clear picture of 'how it went', so she leaves me a little summary in case any interested parties should call and goes off to catch up on some sleep with a request to be awoken with tea at midday. History will show that the Democrats took back the house and gained some good Governorships, plus got back one Nancy Pelosi as Leader of the House, but lost ground in the Senate.
And there you have it till next time.
Thursday, 8 November 2018
Sunday, 4 November 2018
|Near neighbour and local florist supplied these gorgeous |
The menu was as follows......
Salmon Fish Cakes with salsa of tomato and cucumber.
Steak with roast-on-the-vine cherry toms and duxelle (mushrooms)
Pear and chocolate tart
Cashel Blue cheese with slices of pear and water biscuits
'Fizz' - McGuigan's (Oz) frizzante
'Fleurie' Beaujolais from Francois Dubessy
Nom Nommetty Nom!
|Ooops. Looks a bit black in the pic but trust me, that's |
just the mushrooms (Duxelle). Steak was deliciously rare
It all added up to a superb, splendid day and evening and, for me, a lovely relaxing spoil. The Lady of the House, of course, was on duty for which I am so, so grateful, swapping between accessorising her floaty dress and pearls with a champagne coloured shawl and the kitchen apron, one minute 'Domestic Goddess', the next 'Domestic Help'.
|Pear and chocolate tart to the right..|
The steak had come from our good friends and local butchers, Ignatius (and Joe) Gannon down in Castlerea, who "deal with" our lambs when required. Joe had thrown a couple of burgers into the bag for good luck and both congratulated us on the 25 years.
|When you can't have many cc of liquid in|
the day, might as well make them count.
After a suitable rest (a 'trou Normande'?) to let the pear and chocolate tart settle (I love that combination of flavours) we segued into the Cashel Blue cheese and with that cleared away, we played a couple of games of Quixx (one to me, one drawn) and adjourned into the Sitting Room for a nice long evening of reading and total rest congratulating ourselves on a Celebration well planned and excellently executed.
We also thoroughly appreciated the blizzard of congratulations and good wishes that come to us via Facebook and Twitter whenever we have one of these family type things to 'announce', so if you are an FB-er or a Twitterer and happen to be reading this too, then thank you very very much if you supported us that way. Plenty of jokes about the "next 25 years" too of course - I'd be 86, which is quite do-able if I can get through the current hiatus. Who knows what the future holds.
Ah well, just a couple of unrelated pics to use up. The 'pie' is my Turkey-Shepherd's pie.
The picture of Deefer is one Elizabeth took of her asleep on my lap last night. Have a good weekend, all.
* Charlotte of the Mini Horses has pretty much handed the horses (Romeo, Bob and Cody) back to Mum and has branched out into 6 (at the last count) goats. Good luck with those, Char' !
Tuesday, 30 October 2018
|A first frost and an icy sunrise across the East Field|
|Vicky doles out breakfast on the early morning livestock rounds|
|The ducks get their breakfast.|
|First frost for the Help-X-ers' final morning|
|The ducks hesitate when they see the frozen pond. "There's|
something wrong with the water, Dad!"
|Khaki drake does "ice breaker"|
That was pretty much it for the girls. Elizabeth did them the house speciality "Eggs in Purgatory" as a light lunch before I dropped them to Castlerea railway station and hugged them a fond farewell. They would spend a couple of days in Dublin doing 'tourist', flying home to Germany on Monday (yesterday). They are, you will recall, 5 years into their Doctor-training, so they have completed the basic course and now get a year of learning their chosen 'specialities' (one "radiology", the other "internal medicine"). This is going to be a parting of the ways for them after spending 5 years as best mates and fellow students. Judith will do one of her specialities in the island of Reunion, off Madagascar. They were sure they would meet up again in the future but possibly not work closely together again.
|I have taken up card-patience again as a way of passing the |
time while I can't work any sense.
|200th and possibly final post|
Friday, 26 October 2018
|Lidl 'special' pressure washer.|
|It does a good job of stripping the algae from concrete.|
|Judith focuses on the knife-work.|
|Robyn in elabourate costume|
|Showery day. This picture taken by Vicky.|
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
|Season of open fires in the Sitting Room|
|Sheep field mowed in stripes|
|A bit lost in the acre field. Our 16" cut mower.|
|Towser is in the sink here and has both girls "at" him!|
|Veg lasagne, Medical Student style! Delicious.|
|Goose eggs for breakfast, Cheers!|
Finally on the Help-X-ers for this one, they took today as a day off going touristing to the coastal town of Westport. I dropped them to the railway station for a 10 am train and collected them again at 20 past 7. Elizabeth and I had an easy, free day.
|Brushing the dogs out after their shampoo.|
Mark is similar to us in having retired early and now 'living a dream' but his dream (as is only right) is very different to ours. He was never a one for the farming. He and his wife (Susan) spend their days travelling all around the world, cruising or rolling their own holidays, walking nearer to home, seeking out good eateries or interesting shopping in cities. They are an amusing read on occasions, especially knowing Mark well and being able to see how he is seeing things.
His most recent post has them headed to London to see an exhibition of "affordable art" but accidentally clashing with a gazillion other people packed like sardines into the train, headed for the "People's March" for a 2nd Brexit Referendum. The 'madding crowd' had them changing travel plans quite a few times as they tried to get to the art and then later to Fortnum and Mason for some shopping and I was chuckling away at his description of the polite, middle-class, 'protesters' obediently leaving their placards with the Fortnum's door man while they nipped out of the march for a little shopping on the side, presumably to collect them later. Nice one Mark.
Friday, 19 October 2018
|Help-X-er Judith turns out to be a nimble whizz at the tiny|
Origami. Here are 3 crane-birds with normal dice for scale
|Judith gets loved up by Poppea and Towser|
|Vicky with Towser.|
|Ah the mowing!|
|Hidden between the trees, Judith mows the drive banks|
|A tidy front lawn.|
|A 'Kanzan; flowering cherry tree for the|
Auntie Mary Memorial garden
|Beech in the Pig Run turning colour.|
Tuesday, 16 October 2018
|One of my favourite pictures of Auntie Mary. It is fairly old at |
this stage - Friends of the Blog may recognise the little girl here
as (now) University Student, Emily Jane.
|Storm Callum clears away so the sheep|
get to rest on the good grass in the sunshine
|Did I mention that the goose egg season|
|The small-batch gin makers are getting|
a bit lairy with their branding. The gin is
very nice, says Elizabeth but definitely
|'Parma' ham leg now sleeved and air-drying|
|Lamb leg (plus a whole bulb of garlic in the wee 'tagine' thingy)|
|In the down-time, such as it is, Mrs C gets on with some|
furniture restoration 'homework'
|Completed piece. Elizabeth always was THE|
BEST gloss painter I know.