Tuesday 2 October 2018

Few Words, Fewer Pictures

We are in the quiet times between the end of a  busy fortnight of hosting our latest Help-X couple and anything else happening. In line with my policy of "If you've nothing to say, then say nothing", this will be the shortest post in recent weeks, with few words and even fewer pictures.

That turkey-tom got himself plucked and jointed up for the freezer. He was enormous - we didn't weigh him but he must have easily been up at the 10 kg mark. The thighs alone were over 500 g each. The Woman of the House estimated up the portions for each freezer bag and thinks the bird will go 29-30 portions total.

I have mentioned before that turkeys form a very strong pair-bond and the surviving bird, when he/she loses the partner, can go into a decline and pine away, dying of what some would call a 'broken heart'. I'm not so sure about that, but we have had a male bird die in the past for no apparent reason and after some odd symptoms (heat stroke?) when his wife went off to go broody in a hedge off site and never reappeared. Fox attack? We have no idea.

At times like this the catering goes into 'tidy' up mode, using up a rake of small bits of left overs from the Help-X meals (pig kidneys and apple sauce anyone?). We hate food waste here and we are pretty good at the left overs. This form of cooking we call "bottom of the fridge".

An opportunity, perhaps, to give you a health update. I was called in to the GP yesterday for a flu' jab and a pneumonia shot. Elizabeth tells me I may well be in a "high risk" category. Can't imagine why, can you? :-) So, I am now 10 weeks out of hospital and have achieved the planned "stable" state - neither getting particularly better or worse. I am not congesting up with fluid and most nights I sleep soundly from 10 pm through to 7 am, with very little now of that ticklish cough which was killing my sleep. The cough gets me some nights, but usually when I've maybe overdone the day-time napping I'm not as tired as I should be.

I am still very short of breath and any attempt to walk at normal speed or lift/carry anything results rapidly in a tightness of chest and internal 'Whoa' warnings - slow down, lean on that fence and gaze at sheep while you get your breath back. I assume that the leaky heart valve just leaks more when put under stress, so I do not get the expected surge of good, oxygenated blood. I am waiting, then, on the valve replacement surgery which will happen when I am called into Dublin Hospital (St James???). I am relying on this work to give me a good effective heart again and to relieve me of these frustrating and depressing feelings of being, simply, SO BLOODY ILL. In my dreams I will then be able to start IMPROVING again back to normal breathing, normal strength and ability to work.

If I'm not struggling for breath, of course, and if I've been sitting or standing still, my oxygen sats come back up to 96% and I am in the pink of a healthy, smiley, farmery glow. Friends and visitors come expecting me to LOOK ill and relief spreads across their faces..... "You look WELL, Matt.. good to see you back on your feet". They assume I am fixed. It makes me feel almost fraudulent to have to disillusion them with my "Well, not actually....." On the plus side, this reminds me every day that I am a long way from being the worst off heart patient out there.

More news next time, I hope.

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