Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All's Well that Ends Well!

So where was I?

I looked down at my hands and was startled to see some blood. "Oh, I seem to have cut myself", I said in a puzzled kind of way...

The Man and Sam said together, "You've got a nose bleed!"

Paper towels suddenly appeared on my plate and I was barraged with advice, I knew from past experience to be wrong ... Namely to put my head back and hold my nose. No, no no! I was about to panic, but knew from past experience that was not a good idea. I needed to stay calm, not easy when the red stuff was gushing -- yes gushing -- all over the paper-towelled plate!

Seventeen years ago was the last time I had a nose bleed. I woke up in the middle of the night to discover my pillow completely saturated. We lived in Germany at the time and fortunately our next door neighbour and friend was also our Internist. He was able to stem the flow that night, but for the next two days the nose-bleeds recurred until I ended up in hospital being treated for extremely high blood pressure. The positive side to the saga is that without the nose-bleed it would have probably been a stroke -- so lucky me!

As I said, that was seventeen years ago and since then my blood pressure has been very good. But last Thursday, all I could think was my pressure has gone haywire again. I couldn't understand it, but it was all I could do not to panic and to remember what to do. I leaned forward and with more paper towel in hand, applied pressure to the fleshy part of my nose. 

In the meantime, The Man, after an initial panic, called the emergency surgery and after talking to the lady on the other end I had to go to the phone myself to answer questions. After what seemed like an eternity she advised me to get to the emergency room -- within the hour. I was feeling quite worried -- especially after a huge blood clot deposited itself into the paper towel I'd been using. Within 5 minutes we set off for the hospital, leaving Sam with a family of friends nearby. 

Southport Hospital is about  10 minutes away. It was around 7.30, there was no traffic and the hospital was very quiet. There were two or three people in the waiting room when we walked in and up to the window to make ourselves known. We were directed to have a seat and told that the triage nurse would be with me shortly. Less than a minute later, I was called in to be assessed. Passed experience had taught us that triage would see you and then you would wait and wait and wait.

Not so ... not last Thursday night. After checking me out I was led directly to a cubicle and a trolley brought for me to rest upon! Within 5 minutes I was seeing the doctor -- who was the loveliest man -- named 'Mike'. Old enough to be my son!!! I explained to him what had happened and about the blood-pressure problem. 

"But," he said, "your blood pressure is quite low!" I was so surprised -- so pleasantly surprised! By this time the nose-bleed had abated and after a good look up the nostril with his little flash-light had determined that the next step would be to apply a pain killer to the affected area before cauterizing the blood vessel that had ruptured. After the procedure was completed he wanted to keep me for a while to make sure things had settled down and The Man was allowed in to keep me company. And also I wanted the doctor to explain to him what he was explaining to me.

The Man looked at me and suggested that we really should cancel the dinner party the following day. And I had to agree. We were both mightily relieved that all this had happened when it did and not in front of guests and we didn't want to take a chance on a repeat performance! Besides I was feeling quite exhausted -- as much from relief as anything else. We both agreed I should rest for the next few days.

Amazingly, we left for the emergency room at 7.30 and I was back home again by 9.30 -- two hours later. Well done, NHS. At no time did I have to look for an ID. They asked for my name and my doctor. Within a short time I had a bracelet on my arm with my name and NHS number -- one, two, three. I didn't even have to go to a pharmacy for the antibiotic cream. Mike handed it to me himself.

Fortunately, I had forgotten to take the lamb out of the freezer until just before dinner so we were able to put it back for another day. Our guests were of course completely understanding and they got together anyway, which made me feel much better about having to cancel. 

As far as why it happened -- there is no telling. It could be the lining in the nostril was weakened by a cold or become dry from the central heating. The doctor said he could see the blood vessel affected so I'm believing it's now been fixed. So far so good ...

I'll say one thing more though ... there is nothing that ruins the look of a beautiful manicure more than seeing it caked with blood...

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Best Laid Plans -- as They Say...

Last Thursday started off very well, indeed! Which just goes to show you ...

Friday we were to have a dinner party with favourite friends. The Man and I were  looking forward to the occasion as it had been a long time since the six of us had been together -- one couple is now living on the other side of the country and the other couple travels the world -- a lot. So just being in the same part of the world at the same time was a rare event.

Four days later and still looking good!
Anyway, back to Thursday -- morning -- at 10.00 I had an appointment with the manicurist. Just before Christmas, I had discovered the latest technique for a long-lasting manicure -- shellac! Now I expect I am the last person to have discovered this but just in case you are as new to it as I was let me tell you it is fabulous -- it is also time consuming and not something one can do oneself as it involves a lot of preparation and several layers of various coats of whatever, not to mention drying each coat under a UV lamp. But the end result lasts for two weeks and I found someone who does it for just 10 pounds. My hands looking great, my BFF and I then left for lunch -- a perfect way to spend time with a best mate!

I was home by mid-afternoon and off to the before home again to make the planned dessert -- lemon meringue pie. I never had a lemon meringue pie turn out so perfectly. Everything was in order for the next day and for the meal to be prepared ...


Prawn and Crayfish cocktail with Avocado 
Sauce Louise Marie
brown bread and butter
Leg of Lamb
Roast Potatoes
Green Beans wrapped in Parma Ham
Honeyed Parsnips
Mint Sauce and Gravy
 Lemon Meringue Pie
Cheese Board 
Coffee and Mints

With all systems 'go' I prepared a quick meal and the three of us sat down to an enjoyable and very simple repast! I was tired, but pleased with  myself that the day had gone as planned -- I'd catered to myself, I'd had a nice lunch, I'd gone shopping and I'd made dessert for the following day. I was geared up and ready for the preparations to come...

And then there was blood...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Snow upon the Cherry Tree

Everyone's been sharing pictures of the snow where they live. The above offing was as good as it got here. By the following day the snow was gone from the little cherry tree outside my window. There are still vestiges of snow and bits of ice here and there so today for the first time since our snowfall I dared to walk into town -- only a couple of blocks away. I am such a 'wuss'!  Enough weather already ...

But cherry trees remind me of American Presidents, George Washington, in particular, and Washington reminds me that ...

Yesterday was the public inauguration of President Obama. Not the splash it was four years ago -- Especially not on this side of the Atlantic. I thought the President's address was much more commanding, much more inspiring than this time. Even then he had to think about re-election, about consequences about how each word, each phrase would be interpreted.This time he seemed more relaxed, more himself, more assured.  Suddenly, I was reminded of Ted Kennedy -- it must  have been his last public appearance the day of Obama's first inauguration -- and he was taken from the lunch in an ambulance. I miss that old Senate lion. But I do believe he stayed alive by his determination to witness that event.

Mitt Romney was still hurting too much to accept the invitation to attend. Not that I can blame him -- he'd really thought he was going to be the one walking in to the sound of 'Hail to the Chief', taking the oath, giving the speech... It would have been a good thing to have seen him there -sn- not as the 'loser', but as the 'worthy opponent'.

Next week it's The State of the Union and business as usual. I hope that 'the usual' has changed for the better ...

Nice frock for the ball, Michelle!  Whoo Wu! ;-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It All Depends on Where You're Standing

Last week the British press was in mild furore in response to the temerity of some American diplomat daring to suggest that it would not be a good idea for Britain to leave the European Union. Actually what he said was that Britain's membership in the EU was "in the American interest"! 

Whatever the hell that means...

The reaction of the British pundits was that American officials lacked an understanding of the issues. This is probably true, but it is also true that sometimes it is easier to see things more clearly from a distance.

As could be said, for example, of the European perception of the gun control issues in the United States...

My initial reaction to the remarks was that perhaps Americans should be more concerned about the recent poll that showed the majority questioned said they preferred cockroaches and lice to Congress! I have to confess that even at my most cynical I prefer Congress...

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Washing's almost Done ... But the Ironing is Piled High!

Happy New Year! Now that life is back to 'normal' and the madness of 'The Festive Season' has abated for at least the next 9 months, I find the will to live has returned! Only remnants of the past month remain -- especially the laundry.

We do not use the clothes dryer in our house ... The Man's rule, not mine. Over the '12 days' at least 10 sets of sheets and duvet covers, numerous pillow cases and the Lord only knows how many bath towels piled up and at last count over 50 table napkins!

Today for the first time in my life I considered all the work my mother put up with for all the years she did! My parents always wanted as many of as a possible for the holidays. I figured out today that she was my age in 1986 and she carried on valiantly until 2003 -- in 2004 they sold their house and moved into the retirement home where Mom still lives. She loves it there and I don't think she misses all the seasonal falderol one little bit. If I follow in her footsteps that means I've only 17 years to go.

It was easier for her in this respect. Christmas is one day. It's not Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and then New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. And I almost forgot the Grandson's birthday popped up on the 27th. We had a birthday party for him after they went to play laser war games. His three school friends sat at the table and played games on their smart phones and turned down most of the food! His Grandparents were aghast...

Not that I'm complaining, mind you!

I have really missed you all and it's good to be back ... so here's a something for your enjoyment...