Category Archives: garden; robin; birds; gardening failures

The Old Bat has a M.R.I. scan on her back and emergency surgery on her stomach.

I am hoping to have a spinal operation soon, most readers know how  this came about so I will only give a brief summary. When I was in my teens,I used to train racehorses for my father. During this time I injured myself,  I am now in my eighties and the damage  has got a lot worse, I am unable to move without a lot of pain. An operation has been planned,  the surgeon is going to remove the piece of bone that is crushing my spinal chord. Until that time, I am in the hands of a band of people working for the NHS. In the past, I have heard so many grumbles about the NHS, that I feel that I must tell you how it is for me.

Up to Christmas time, I  worked  as a receptionist, I loved it because I met people who became friends. I had to leave because it became too difficult to leave my flat, too many steps between my front door and the pavement. I then made the decision to ask for a bit of help because I could not get in and out of my shower. This is when an army of helpers arrived.  The first to arrive was the practice nurse who came to take a blood sample, then a number of carers arrived . One came to help me wash myself properly.  I was able to wash everything except my back which she did for me. It was  then discovered that I had a small sore which had to be cured before I could have the operation, so another nurse arrived to put sterile dressings on that. This meant that nurses comes to look after it twice a week. When I asked the carer if she could put the cream that had been prescribed for my back, she said that she was not allowed to do it without permission.. Permission arrived, in the form of a piece of paper on Easter Sunday, in the evening.  I am truly grateful for all the help but feel that I am having a bit too much.

Years ago, in 2008, I made a living will which clearly states exactly what I want to happen if I am unable to speak for myself. I thought that I had covered every eventuality, so when a senior nurse came along with a lot of paper work, I was a bit annoyed. I had to answer many questions about my ‘End of Life’ care. I thought that I had more than covered that in the living will, I do know that there can be problems when things go wrong. All my treatments had to be covered legally again in detail, from the’Health and Safety’ point of view.. It was not a jolly couple of hours.

Yesterday I went for my M.R.I. scan at the hospital.  Because I cannot walk down to the pavement, I had to be taken by ambulance. The ambulance men came to the door with a carrying chair in which I sat until I transferred into the ambulance. It was great being driven along because I could see all the gardens springing into flower, masses of daffodils camellias and magnolias in full bloom. The scan went well, and I was taken home by ambulance three hours later. I found the waiting hard because I was stuck sitting in a very hard chair the whole time. On the way back I saw my own garden for the first time in months, it looks wrecked with many tubs filled with water, probably drowning my favourite fuchsias. The  day had gone well, the ambulance men were friendly, the radiographers efficient,  the scan was completely  pain free, the nurses kind, however, I felt completely exhausted. Today, I am still feeling the effects of yesterdays adventures, I am very glad that the scan is over, it is quite difficult to remain completely still for 15 minutes, locked in a noisy metal tube. I am  lucky that I am not not claustrophobic, and that I was given ear plugs to help with the noise. For any patient that cannot cope, there is piece of sponge that they can squeeze to stop the whole process. There is nothing to worry about, you just have to relax, there is no pain at all.

The Old Bat is rushed into hospital..

One week later. April 15th,  shock ,horror, I was taken ill during the night with non stop vomiting.The ‘out of hours service’ sent an ambulance and I was whisked off to hospital. I cannot remember what happened next. I have lost a whole week.  All I can recall is having vividly coloured morphine dreams in which I starred, and had a wonderful time. I eventually came back to the land of reality in the high dependancy unit having had serious  surgery on my stomach. I was connected to many ‘drips’ and such. For the next week I had ‘nothing by mouth’.

I was very curious to know what had happened. I knew that I was going to have a back operation, hence the MRI scan, but I did not expect  major surgery on my stomach. It turned out that the problem was nothing to do with my back but had everything to do with an operation that I had fifty years ago for diverticulitis. Apparently a small bit of tissue that had been left behind had grown and grown until a cobweb of tissue had completely blocked the small bowel.  The surgeon had been very clever and had cut out the blocked part and had sewn it all back together again.

I remained. in hospital for 16 days. I have to say that the nursing care  was wonderful.The young staff nurses who  ran the ward were amazing, In fact all the staff were both efficient, caring and overworked. Many thanks to staff nurses, Becky, Fred, Lauren and Hazel, who arrived at 7.30 am in their running shoes, every hair in place, and left at 7.30pm  completely exhausted  and dishevelled.  Many days they had not even  had  time for a lunch break. Nurses, Charlotte and Mark were outstanding.

I am now home again waiting for a date in June for the back operation. I have recovered quickly from the stay in hospital and I am quite happy to be managing at home with the help of carers.

May 19th

I received a letter this morning from Mr Chopra’s secretary, informing me that I have a pre-admission examination and assessment on Tuesday June 26th..I was very pleased to receive this long awaited appointment but disappointed to have to wait another 5 weeks. I just have to have bit more patience. I am helped in this by my extremely good friends and family who visit me regularly. Except for my 16 days in hospital, and my trip for the MRI scan, I have not left my 2 roomed flat since Christmas. Thank goodness for the TV and books .However today, I am determined to get outside with the help of a  friend and a four wheeled ‘walker’, I want to see my garden and feel the sun once again.

June 6th.

I have just been to see another flat, which is just five doors away, but has entrances straight off the streets, no steps at all. My very good friends pushed me in a fold up wheel chair, It was hilarious, it took three strong people to get me there. The flat is very nice. It has two bedrooms, a cosy living room, an adequate kitchen,. and a nice little garden which faces south. I am going to take it as I will be able to get out and about again and not feel like a prisoner. My children and friends will be able to drive up to the gate and I will be able to step into their cars.  I hope to move in  two weeks time. It will be a new start which I will tell you all about.

Many thanks for all your good wishes, many beautiful cards delivered to my hospital bed.






My Garden

When I restarted my blog a few months ago, I promised that the Old Bat would not go on and on about her garden, boring everyone to death.  I did say that I might write a little update,  so this is it.

I have only a very small plot,  a patch of grass in front of the house running down to the iron fence next to the pavement.  There is a lilac tree on one side of the gate and a weigela on the other side.  Both are mature trees that have to be kept trimmed. Just beyond my large bay window there is an old camellia hedge which spoils the view to the park beyond, but is home to a variety of birds. I keep my bird feeder beside this hedge and spend quite a lot of time watching them come and go. My neighbour in the flat next door enjoys them so much that she came around with a bucket of fat balls to help with the feeding. No bird needs to go hungry this coming winter.

My garden has not been a great success this year  – in fact, it has been a disaster. The main problem is that the garden faces north, so it only gets  good sun in high summer, at other times it gets a few hours from the east or west. My old garden faced south. It was a big shock for my fuchsias in their pots to be placed facing north east or north west. They certainly protested: instead of flowering in July they left it until October or not at all. The frosty nights have started catching my favourite plants in full bloom.

Last year I sowed a few trailing nasturtium seeds below the camellia hedge. What a big mistake, they all flowered, dropping their seeds on the leaf compost below. During this fairly wet summer these seeds grew into extremely strong plants and became a green and orange hedge throttling everything in their path. I had to cut windows in this monster so that my fuchsias and my collection of hydrangeas could get some light. Yes, I know that the leaves make a good salad and the flowers and seeds are also edible but I will never plant those seeds again. By the end of the summer even the grassy lawn had been taken over by these dratted plants. As I now look out of my window in November, there they are, still creeping all over the camellia hedge, their orange faces grinning at me. There will be hundreds of seeds dropping later so I will have to root them out next spring before they get too big. It will be an uneven battle, as they have crafty methods of surviving.

My bird feeder has given me great pleasure. It has two hanging feeders which are always kept full, one with seeds, the other with fat balls, with a bowl of water nearby. All the common garden birds visit, lots of sparrows, flights of long tailed tits, blue tits and great tits, nothing exotic. About three weeks ago a very bossy robin appeared, taking complete command of the whole feeder. Any bird that dared come for their normal feed was chased viciously away, feathers flying everywhere. In between fighting off all the birds  he was fighting his reflection in my large window. This behaviour lasted about ten days. I enquired about this of my bird expert friend. She told me  that this was  the time of year that robins mark their territory. At the moment he only visits now and again so all the other birds have come back to feed. I have always known that robins are not the charming birds pictured on Christmas cards but I did not realise that they are quite so  nasty.

One little garden surprise, early in the spring a friend gave me five bulbs. The label had come off the packet so we had no idea what they were. I planted them just below my window and then forgot about them. It is now November when everything is starting to die except under my window where I have five beautiful large white freesias.