Category Archives: health, sporting injuries,

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The Old Bat visits Rookwood hospital for an elderly care assessment.

Yesterday I went by ambulance to a different type of hospital. Rookwood is a place devoted to the care of the elderly. I am elderly and certainly need help to go on living independently. I looked forward to this assessment as I need help badly.

I was taken very gently from the ambulance to a small room where several machines waited  to test me. I was weighed, measured, told to stand up, sit down and do some memory tests. I was particularly interested in the last test as I felt that I had struggled lately remembering  a friends address. I was relieved when I scored full marks. The first person to appear was a physiotherapist, I am very fearful around such people as they all want me  to do exercises that are very painful.   Not this one. Having heard the truly dreadful cracking noises coming from my knees when standing up, he very quickly told me that exercise was out of the question. I was just to keep moving as much as I could without too much pain. This was a great relief,  I had left the surgical hospital with a whole programme of exercises that were painful in the extreme. I just could not do them/ What a relief.The next person to appear was the phlebotomist armed with many needles .I am not afraid of needles, but I know that most practitioners finds it difficult to find a vein. to get blood. Not this on one, she found a vein straight away and filled all the syringes. Next came nurse with the E.C.G. machine, and so it went on until they ran out of tests, and gave me chicken sandwiches, and a glass of milk.

I was most relieved at the result of the memory test, as losing my memory is one of my greatest fears. I will get the results of the other tests later, but I was also enlightened that the reason that I  have so much pain in my feet, when they are either too hot to too cold, is that I have Raynauds disease, lucky old me.

 

Monday March 11th

Another ambulance ride to the Dermatology dept of the local hospital. I have regular appointments looking for skin cancers caused by my life time farming  in all weathers. All seemed well today. Later on in the afternoon I had a phone call from my  Dr.She rang to tell me that she had the result of all those tests on Friday. My blood test showed up to be hugely high in potassium, probably due to my fondness of bananas, So more blood tests.

I would advise all elderly people to have as many health tests as possible.You might also be eating too many bananas or something else. Good luck.

 

 

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The Old Bat has two visits to hospital

I had been looking forward.to this week for some time, because I had two appointments at the orthopaedic hospital where I hoped to get help. I knew that it was going to be a bit difficult because I can only walk with the aid of a frame. I cannot negotiate the steps leading  from my flat to the pavement,  Because of this, I have not left my flat for nearly two years. When I  have appointments, I have be taken by ambulance with its carrying chair. I have traveled this way many times picking up other patients on the way .All the ambulance men  and women are very kind and gentle.

The first appointment was on Tuesday morning. As usual, the ambulance collected me an hour after the appointment time, which is quite normal. As soon as I arrived I was taken to the X—ray Dept where my spine was X–rayed from every angle. This was quite painful because I cannot stand unaided.

I was then taken to see the surgeon who explained that the operation on my spine had healed perfectly. The injured vertebrae had been removed, its place taken by a metal scaffolding, all was well.The improvement in my back will take some time before I will feel  the benefit of it. The metal work has to become part of the back protecting the spinal chord. The second appointment was on Thursday. The same routine,I was whisked off to the X-Ray Dept, where I had many pictures taken of my knees and legs  .After this, I was taken to see the surgeon, who was very pleasant and kind, even though he gave me bad news. In his opinion, as a knee surgeon, my hips are in a worse condition than my knees. He explained that the hips affected the knees, so should be done first..I felt like bursting into tears, but didn’t. I know that there is a very very long wait for hip operations, about six months before you get on the waiting list to  see a surgeon let alone have an operation.This was bad news  for an eighty two year old.  The surgeon then injected my knee with some painkilling fluid he hoped would help. It had no effect the last time that I had something similar.Perhaps,  it has been improved. Apparently, I have to wait three weeks before finding out if it works or not, so I still live in hope of some improvements.

 

To complete the day, I vomited in the ambulance on the way home.Thank goodness, I had the sense to ask for a sick bowl, before this happened. I have never been a good traveler. It just seemed the perfect ending to a disappointing day.

I feel a lot better about everything today, I live very comfortably in my flat  where I am near good friends and family,.  All visit often, making sure that I am O.K. Many elderly  people are not so well treated.  Being house bound, I watch a lot of news programme on T.V. and am daily horrified to see how they have to live in poverty and squalor.

 

HEALTH ALERT

Apparently it is Breast Cancer Awareness Week so please take advantage of all the help you can get about looking after yourself. Start off by examining your own breasts, it might save your life.

THE OLD BAT hates the non stop use of ‘Tablets and Smart Phones’.

I know that I am an old grumpy woman and  have strong views on a wide. array of subjects .The main object of my wrath at the moment is the non stop use of ‘smart phones’ and tablets. I always look forward to visits from my grandchildren when we share all the family news. This no longer happens because they come armed with their phones and tablets. The last visit was such that we did not have a conversation,  they just continued playing the game on their phones that they had started outside.. I did not like it so I was a bit grumpy.

When my Grandson came to stay for two weeks I worried about his overuse of his phone He never seemed to be off it, always talking to some one all day. Many nights he was still chatting away at midnight, even one o’clock. I could not see any evidence of homework being done.This very day, the four chief Medical Officers  of the Government discussed this problem on T.V ..Apparently , when playing these games, the drug dopamine is produced in the brain, as it is in gambling/, which is not to be encouraged in young brains.The Doctors recommended that the phones and tablets should be left outside the bedroom doors and that they should not be taken to the dining table. I heartily agree.The four Doctors are the four main ones in the Government who try to look after the nation health. I wonder how old little baby Frankie will be before she plays online.

Life is quiet at the moment. As many of my friends  are Chinese we had a lovely Chinese meal the evening of the start of Chinese New Year. This was not a ‘.takeaway’ type meal but a genuine home cooked one meal of ‘prawn dumplings Dim Sum,,prawns with snow peas and crayfish,  Ginger Tofu, Korean chicken, Baked Sea Bass and many others which I enjoyed very much. I avoided the red pepper spiced noodles. too hot for me. .We had a lovely evening listening to many of our old records now stored on a. gadget, every record that we wished for at the touch of a button  One good thing to come from the new technology. I had forgotten just how much I had loved some of them. ‘Only the Lonely’ by Roy Orbison for example.

Next week, I am going to see the surgeon about my knee. I hope that he is going to give me a date for the operation. I am getting fed up limping around with my ‘frame’.

I have many flowers on my camellia bush, so Spring is on it’s way. Best wishes to you all.

The Old Bat becomes a Great Grandmother

I Have not written for a while, I just could not get into the right mood, mainly because all my plans had gone wrong. I had expected to move into a different flat, one that was well suited to my situation. It had no steps at all, with a front door opening straight on to the pavement. This would have enabled me to get outside for the first time since January. Plans had been laid to move on my birthday, my family were coming down from Oxford to do the work.The day before the move I was told that the present tenant was not moving, even though he had given written notice to our joint landlord. The reason was because the house he was buying might have Japanese knot weed. I was devastated. When I recovered, I decided to make the best of it as my family were coming anyway and it was my birthday. I organized a party for the friends that have helped me during the last six months. It was going to be a ‘No trouble party’.Having asked around which ‘takeaways’ were the most popular I settled on an  Indian takeaway. As some of the guests had different dietary needs I chose dishes from a Vegetarian takeaway and others from an Indian takeaway that had meat dishes. A very good friend made a beautiful lemon drizzle cake for desert.

The party was a resounding success. The food arrived on time, it was hot, and  was pronounced of very good quality. I could not tell because Indian food is too spicy hot for me. The evening then became very lively as we all sang to music played by three of the guests, two playing guitars and one playing a balaphone, a West African instrument, We had a great time and as one guest remarked ‘not quite the party one would expect for an eighty two year old.’

Sept 8th.
I have not written for a while because I was so disappointed about the non move. It has been a beautiful summer and I have not been outside at all, so I have not seen my garden. However, yesterday while being carried to and fro from the ambulance on the way to a pre assessment appointment at the hospital, I saw my garden and its’s plants. On the whole I was disappointed because both the fuchsias and the hydrangeas had grown a lot of foliage but had not yet flowered, perhaps they will in the Autumn.

The visit to the hospital went well, a lot of paperwork, and a few tests which I passed well. All of my ailments are kept under control by various medications. As a result , I was given November30th as the date for the operation on my spine and told that I should be in hospital for between 5 and 10 days.It is good to have a defiant date.

My big news is the birth of my great grand child, Frankie, who weighed in at 6lb 13oz. She is very beautiful with straight back hair, with the look of both her parents. It is wonderful to have a baby in the family again.

November 11th.

I have got my mojo back again. I have settled back again in my flat where I am visited by my good friends often bringing food. One pair often bring their evening meal, with a portion for me so that we can eat together at my dining table. How kind and thoughtful.
Having had two very minor falls I came to the conclusion that I needed a bit of help. So with help of a care allowance from the Dept of Work and Pensions I have a very nice carer who helps me wash and get dressed two mornings a week.It is great that the same woman comes at a time to suit me, not too early.

I have had many letters and cards from friends that I met at work. Thank you very much, they really cheered me up.I can assure you all that I am not ill just badly disabled which is going to be made a bit better on Nov 30th.

Decision Time for one Old Bat.

It is very difficult for some people to admit that they are getting old and need help. I admit that I am one of them. I have lived on my own for sixteen years and so far, I have managed reasonably well, but not now. In previous blogs I have written about the injuries I sustained as a young woman when I helped train race horses  for my father, who was an international horseman. These injuries have now got to the stage that I cannot walk very far, and I certainly cannot cope with steps. Living in a ground floor flat is good, but unfortunately the front door is eight steps up from the pavement, so it is getting more and more painful  to leave the building.  In fact, I have not left the flat for nearly three weeks, so I have to make a decision about my future.

It is not an easy decision. If I move I will not be able to see my wonderful doctor. I learned this morning that boundaries have been moved and I am not actually in the area served by my surgery. I was only allowed to stay here because I had been with them before the  change to the boundaries.

During the time that I have lived in my flat, I have made  many good friends and I am extremely reluctant to move away from them. They all make sure that I am not lonely. Loneliness is the scourge of old age,  and the company of really good friends makes life worth living.

Yesterday, I had a visit from a representative from Disability Wales, an organisation that helps people stay in their homes. Unfortunately, they could not help me.  The suggestion of replacing the outside steps with a ramp instead of the steps is not possible, because the gradient is too high and the distance  too long. A big disappointment, as I thought that this was the answer to my problem.

Days later

In the mean time, I have been in touch with the Housing Dept in order to put my name down on the waiting list for ‘sheltered’ accommodation’. It is almost impossible to get a flat in this district but I have to be on the list to be considered in the future. I am also going to get in touch with the local estate agents to see if they have a suitable flat.

The estate agents say that there are no suitable flats available.

Many days later

I was woken up this morning by a telephone call from the Surgical Unit at the hospital, offering me an appointment with the Spinal Surgeon next Tuesday morning at 7.30. They had a cancellation so I was very pleased to say that I would gladly take it. Such good news, I will let you all know how I get on. I am not expecting miracles, but a little less pain would be wonderful.

Tuesday January 30th

This morning, I had an appointment with Mr Chopra, the surgeon at Llandhough Hospital, to discuss my pain problem. Mr Chopra explained that as I had not had any relief from the spinal injections, the only step left was to have surgery. He put the MRI scan picture on his screen, and explained to me that it showed my spinal cord being  crushed by the bone of a damaged vertebra. The only hope of pain relief was to remove the bone, and replace it with metal and screws. This would mean quite a stay in hospital. There was no 100 per cent guarantee that this would work. If I did not have the operation my condition would continue to deteriorate until I would not be able to walk at all. He told me that after another MRI scan, he would operate in April.

Now, I can postpone all decisions until after the operation, and recovery time.  When, with a big bit of luck, I will be able to walk and navigate stairs. This will  enable me to remain in my present flat and on my doctor’s list. This is all thanks to our wonderful National Health Service, which is free. If things do not go to plan, I will have to face up to the situation of having to be looked after by professionals, and make arrangements accordingly.

The OLD BAT IS NOT HAVING A GOOD WEEK

This has not been a very good week for me. The week before had been good, with the book group meeting being a success. I had also come to terms with the fact that I would have to wait a very long time for an operation on my spine. It seems to have been one of the longest waiting lists. Now that I am sleeping better, with the help of strong medication, I can manage the pain and do the best I can.

I have also made a big decision about my future.I still work a day and a half a week as a receptionist in a chiropody clinic. It is a job that I enjoy because I live on my own: I enjoy meeting and talking to clients. When I first started work the clients were just names on record cards, now they are my friends. I have just come home from work having decided that I will only work on Tuesdays in the future: the effort of getting there and back is no longer outweighed by a half day’s work. Tuesday is the day when most appointments are booked. I will make sure that all my best friends have future appointments on a Tuesday.

In the meantime, it suddenly struck me that I was drinking an awful lot of water, and losing weight. It was lucky that I had an appointment with Dr Davies to discuss the failure of the spinal injections, so when I told her about these new symptoms, she took a blood sample. Dr Davies rang up today to say that the sugar in my blood is very high so I shall have to take yet another tablet: I have developed type II diabetes. Dr Davies made an appointment for me with Sarah, the practice nurse, so that she can take more blood samples and explain the new situation. I do not know much about diabetes, except that it can occur in old age when certain organs do not work properly. I am certainly going to find out and let you know. I do not feel unwell, just thirsty, very very thirsty. I have never eaten a great deal of sweet food, as I prefer savoury.

Today, Tuesday, is my one day of work so I was looking forward to seeing my best friends who come in on that day. What a surprise when I got inside. The main shop had been broken into. Six electric bikes had been stolen and the Chiropody Clinic had been completely trashed. Every drawer and cupboard had been thrown to the ground, papers and instruments had been kicked all over the floor. It looked as if the thief had lost his temper because he could not find any thing to cash. I returned home before the police arrived. All appointments had to be cancelled. There was nothing that I could do as we had to leave the crime scene untouched, so that the police could take finger prints and so on. Apparently they were a long time coming to investigate because there had been a bad accident on the nearby motorway. When the police arrived they found a lot of evidence to identify the burglar. There were large fresh foot prints on the clean floor of the surgery, fingerprints everywhere, and a metal implement left behind covered with fingerprints. It will be interesting to find out how the investigation turns out. The police have, to date, no suspect.

Next day Dr Davies telephoned to give me the result of the blood test. It was not good. I do have diabetes, my blood is showing a high blood count. A normal count is between 5 and 9. At the moment mine is 22, so this has to be lowered gently with medication and diet. No carbohydrates, nothing containing refined sugar, no bananas because I have high levels of potassium. All this amazes me as I have not felt unwell at all. I have just complained about my long term back injury, while this other problem lurked. Apparently it is not caused by me eating too much sugar, but more by old age and my pancreas not working properly. I might be wrong. I am telling you this so that if anyone develops an enormous thirst,or starts to lose weight suddenly, please go and see your Doctor straight away, it is better to treat an illness early.

A week later.
I am not finding it easy to change my diet. I used to eat either a baked potato or baked sweet potato with salad as the main ingredients of my main meal. No more, they are forbidden, as is the biggest culprit, bread. Now I have to eat vegetables that grow above ground, fruit not containing sugar and proteins, i.e. bacon, eggs, meat and fish. This is quite expensive, therefore not so easy for someone living on their own. No sugar for my coffee until I find a replacement sweetener. I am gradually coming to terms with a new era. I do not feel at all unwell, thank goodness.

I hope that you have all had your influenza jabs.

THE OLD BAT is going to have a spinal procedure next week.

Sixty years ago I trained race horses for my father. During this time, I fell off a few horses while training them. In those days these incidents were not taken seriously, I just had to get back on the horse and get on with the job, whether it was jumping over high fences or galloping around twenty acre fields. On one occasion, while exercising a particularly highly strung race horse, a mare called Come Lucky, a blackbird suddenly flew out of the hedge, frightening the mare who jumped sideways.  I only stayed on her back by twisting around awkwardly.  I now think that this was the beginning of the problem with the discs in my lower back.

When I got married, left my childhood home, and became pregnant, I started to have severe back ache. This pain became so bad that I could not walk. A slipped disc was diagnosed. I spent most of the pregnancy having bed rest. I recovered after the birth and spent the next few years practically pain free. I had also finished riding horses which might have had something to do with it. When I was about thirty, I developed nasty pains in my neck. On this occasion I went to the hospital for an X-ray. The radiographer told me that I must have been in a bad car accident, because all the vertebrae in my neck were fused together in one piece and calcified. There was nothing that could be done about it as it was too late: the damage had been done years before. The doctors fitted me with a neck collar, gave me pain killing tablets and sent me on my way. I had not been in a car accident but in my youth, long before the accident with Come Lucky, I had a particularly bad fall training a young horse called Sherry over show jumps. We were preparing to jump a straight gate – which is fairly difficult – when, cantering to the take-off point, Sherry stopped dead in her tracks at the foot of the gate while I sailed straight on, landing on my  head on the other side. I felt a bit sore but remounted and was successful at the second attempt with the help of my father, who rushed behind waving his arms  and shouting. I was still at school at this time and this happened during the half term break.  Afterwards, when I started to run in the school sports races, I found a stiffness in my joints and I could not run as fast as I had previously. I now realise that this event probably contributed to my present problem.

During my working life I worked physically hard on the farm, lifting heavy bales of hay, also sacks of feed for the sheep. I also abused my body by recklessly running, catching heavy sheep, being dragged around whilst restraining them when they needed treatment. It was all part of farming life when you had to do all the work yourself.

I am now old and my back and legs are extremely painful. I have had wonderful  medical care, having had every X-ray and scan that it is possible to have, all on the NHS. The MRI scan showed that the damaged vertebrae at the bottom of my spine are pressing on vital nerves, causing the pain. I am lucky to be having this procedure so quickly. I do not know exactly what it involves but I believe it is a series of injections around the damaged area under anaesthetic. I will be writing next week to let you know if the treatment is working and if I am walking better. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Please remember to get your ‘flu injections!