Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 9 May 2016

The birds are battling, who can sing the loudest. It's 5.00a.m. and I've played musical beds.

On Thursday we drove to Stanstead airport. Dropped the car off and boarded a flight to Edinburgh. Picked up a hire car and drove 72 miles to Aberfeldy, a lovely little town on the way to Inverness. The landscape was the colour of a very fancy tweed jacket.

We arrived at 8.30 just in time for the last dinner order at The Townhouse Hotel. The decor was the colour of a very fancy tartan kilt.

Then into No 7, a crisp room with a bed throw the colour of the Highlands.

We watched the local elections, I fell asleep and dreamt I was perfectly well. When I awoke I had to check that the miracle hadn't taken place. It hadn't but it was a deliciously prophetic dream.

We had truffle oil scrambled egg on Aberfeldy bread, left the car in the hotel car-park and set off to the Scottish Doctor. if we hadn't have bumped into the local postman we would still be looking for him.

Jumped into the car and drove out of town, past the caravan park but not as far as the Distillery, under a railway arch, and there was the tall Canadian sitting in his window. His long haired crossbred wolf met us at the gate.

After one and a quarter hours I left the surgery with a glimmer of hope. It seems that over the last six months, my body has gone into full time war mode. This organ fighting that and that organ not knowing how to fight back. The long and the short of it is that slowly, with the help of the gentle doctor, I should be able to get well again.

I still await the results of two MRI scans, and I fully expect to have more pipes inserted where the sun don't shine, but for the first time in 6 months there may be an answer to the pain.

We left his house and Jim wandered round the distillery. We set off, observing the Scottish speed limits and dropped the car off at the airport.

'What time is our flight?' I enquired of the 'oosbind.

'Don't know love.' He said nonchalantly. Took out the flight schedule. The gates closed at 1.55. It was 1.49.

So begun the quickest dash to the gates that the airport had ever seen. Himself running with a heavy bag, me running with a heavy heart. Dodging lazy tourists, a slalom through bags and baggage. My bag was re-routed to the security man.

'Are you carrying liquids?' he asked accusingly.

'I don't think so.' I said - given the state of my adrenals I started to sob.

He took out a little bottle of scent and a pot of Nivea. Clearly I was carrying liquids and clearly he was thrilled at his discovery. If he had been a snail he could have not gone any slower. He let me off. We ran to Gate 3A. The gates should have closed fifteen minutes before but thanks to Easy Jet everything was held up and the long line of cheap travellers was still winding round the block.

We had made it, by the skin of our teeth.

The journey back was easy, the pick up was easy, The journey home was hassle free and we arrived back at the cottage at 5.45.

The trip was done and dusted and I was looking at a pain free future. Inevitably on Friday night I had a melt down, the pain was not going to go away immediately and what if his course of action didn't work.

The white wolf had lay next to me in the treatment room, gently snoozing, I had to believe that she knew better than I.

Saturday and Sunday was full of sun, and I even managed to mow the lawn. I even managed to do the washing. I even managed to eat something. We had surprise visitors who were shocked at my weight loss. I'm on the inside so I still feel the same, but my mowing shorts did hang a little loosely round the non existent nether regions.

So now at 5.21a.m. I start a new week. I have to take various supplements and remain positive.

I have a meeting scheduled for June so I'm now believing I can and will and am better.

I met Ros at Plawhatch organic shop. She used her pendulum and talked to her son who lives in another realm. If her dousing works all is well, if it doesn't it was still lovely sitting in the sunshine drinking raw chocolate with her.

I'm going back to bed, although I don't fancy my chances of sleep as the birds are babbling, chuckling, whistling and shouting the odds. I may just get into a bath and dream of Scotland.

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Trying to stand up date....

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 29 April 2016

Worry lorra time twixt now and then.

So, as I write the sky's grey, even though the primroses, forget-me-nots and Tulip tree and carpeting the garden. My feet are freezing, the old git has just laid a big log fire, and I've had a mug of homemade veg soup. Onions, leeks, parsley, potatoes and tomatoes. I bunged in a knob of turmeric as well. Simmered very slowly for 4 hours then put the veg through Simon Rimmer's ricer, the first ( and last ) gift he ever gave me.

I've had more tests and now I've been passed on to a gastroenterologist. None of which will happen until I've had my Bank Holiday Monday MRI - yippee -and my Bank Holiday Tuesday MRI. One sitting up one going in feet first. I'm like the Spanish Senorita who married a Rabbi, I don't know whether I'm Carmen of Cohen.

I have different sensations now like roller skating gerbils whizzing through my digestive tract holding a besom. My German Acupuncturist arrived last night with a box of needles.

'Ve'll get to ze root of zis' she said stabbing my belly.

And indeed we will but not before a trip to Scotland to meet a Dr. who may be able to help me, and not before we've remortgaged the house and sold off the family jewels to pay for it.

My tests have been sent to the Highlands, Lowlands and Manhattan, to all three doctors working on me AND STILL we are none the wiser. My hot water bottles go everywhere with me, my salty baths reduce the discomfort for 20 minutes and my darling 'oosbind massages my feet whilst watching the news, which given everything that is going on with this extraordinary Government could make me worse than I am if I let it.

One wedding, four parties and a funeral have been cancelled, trips to London are a rarity and I cant remember what a good curry tastes like - indeed I cant remember what a bad curry tastes like for that matter.

The buds are popping, the birds are feeding, the squirrels are chasing and before you can say pass me the painkillers it'll be May. By the time we get to Christmas I should be better, smaller but better. I am utterly supportive of the NHS, I blame the managerial bugger ups that keep people like me standing in queues, waiting in line and forking out for private medicine. Jeremy 'unt, supply your own consonant, should be ashamed of himself. I wonder how he would deal with 7 months of agony?

I thank you all for your support. x

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Broken Promises

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 13 April 2016

Forgive my absence. Tests unresolved, pain unresolved, this morning the consultant sent me a letter that was so out of date I nearly chewed my own eyeballs.

It's tricky isn't it, that as a long standing member and supporter of the Welfare State, as a long time supporter of everything that is good and noble, I find myself at the butt end of bureaucratic bungling.

According to the consultant's letter I'm an old lady with constipation, who has mismanaged her own body. Well tomorrow - I have a meeting with him at 9.30 - the proverbial may well hit the fan.

I am tired, sad, angry, confused, frightened, and above all in pain. Whether its gas or gastritis, whether its pancreatic problems or intestinal turbulence, whatever the bleep it is nobody is doing anything about it N0W.

My life is on hold, the old gits' life is on hold. A second opinion; private treatment? Should I just eat a box of pain killers so they have to put me in a hospital bed to investigate. Desperate measures......

I won't of course, but at 3.00 a.m. whilst the rest of the world sleeps and I am pacing around the living room wondering how to manage the discomfort my mood turns to darker thoughts.

My humour is buried somewhere under a pile of hospital appointments. My positivity lies somewhere beneath the discarded banana skins in the compost.

I read in the bath, I read about taming the Zen Bull. I meditate in the garden to lift the pain, I take phone-calls and try to sound jolly. But it's hard.

I'm not sure whether this is a good idea to post. I'm not sure whether a jolly one liner would suffice. Or whether to just tell it as it is. I'm bored. 'If you rest you rust' - somebody wrote on Facebook. If that's the case I'm an old tin can.

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Banana Split

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 20 March 2016

Trying to remain positive, although my pain would test the patience of a Saint.

Spent yesterday in A&E. Blood tests, urine tests, x-ray. They sent me away telling me there was nothing wrong. Even though I was doubled over in pain.

An elderly woman in the ward asked everybody that came in her orbit to 'talk to her'. I said I was sorry but I was in too much pain, she said mental or physical, the conversation ended there.

The nurse was less than cheerful. When she put the canula in my arm, you could have sworn I was an effigy for her worst auntie....

Today I have had my salt bath, will be meditating then going for a slow walk to try and shift the discomfort. On Thursday, my birthday, I will be standing with radio active fluid going through me. I am trying to remain positive for the outcome.

The Magnolia tree is flowering, the daffodils are nodding, the primroses have taken over the garden. The old git has filled all the bird feeders so we have our daily pheasants, Jays, tits of all varieties and blackbirds,I sit near the rose wall, camomile tea in hand, and remember that I still have all my senses.

I look yellow since I'm living on bananas, anything else gets lodged in my concrete setting gut. I've taken to eating them in thirds, if anybody tells me too many bananas are bad for me I shall throw the skins at them. Jim makes me Slippery Elm and I watch the buds burst.

So in answer to your queries, the Consultant was less than useless, the tests continue, my tears fall and my family and friends and support me, as do all your lovely messages.

I am alive. I am ticking over but I am bored, frustrated and angry with the pace of my recovery. I have a life waiting to be grabbed, and the minute I am solved I will be out there grabbing it.

As for now have a lovely Vernal Equinox and may Spring time spring for all of us.

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Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 4 March 2016

It ain't been easy, I will admit.

The pain has been so excruciating, changing its nature, that I've been sleeping on the settee, living on bananas and crying more rivers than Julie and Justin put together.

I've seen healers, doctors, homeopaths, and nurses. I've had appointments and talked about the pain so much I've taken to cleansing the house to get rid of the negativity.

Last night was so bad we nearly went to A&E, but this morning the cruel pinching has subsided. Nobody knows what the issue is so there's no point in speculating as to why, and what the pain is, I have another appointment with a surgeon on March 10th.

I'm saying affirmations, bathing in salt water, chanting, listening to healing CD's, watching telly and being comforted by the old git. Who has been remarkable. Watching a man, who fixes things, not being able to fix me, has been wretched.

Then on March 2nd we drove to Hackney, Delivered new speakers to BB then took the bus and tubes to the Natural History Museum. Her treat, every year, to see the Wild life Photography Exhibition. I lasted until the 'Snow Hare' then the pain kicked in. We sat in the caff and drunk tea. Then it was the tube and bus back to Hackney, where she made me my trusty hot water bottles. We set off. Back home by 6.30

29 years ago the midwife shouted at me to hurry up and get on with it so she could see this baby come into the world, she knocked off at 7.00. After meditating my way through the birth at 6.55a.m. precisely, a beautiful baby with a head of black hair arrived, looking exactly like my mother,

Jim held her, and off he went to finish making an attic door. We were taken to a private ward because I'd opened the hospital fete. They thought I was a film star. My daughter and I were left alone. 7 hours later we were being driven down Bunny Lane to the Cottage Hospital. The birth was announced on telly and the ward filled up with so many flowers they were distributed round the hospital.

9 days of bliss - it was like that then - the nurses talking me through feeding and nappy changing, whilst the unnamed baby lay in her crib with headphones hanging over the cot. She's listened to music every day of her life since. We went home. It was cold and snowy. The next door neighbour named her when she was ten days old. She's never forgiven us for being so tawdry.

When she was two and a half I asked her why she chose him and me as her parents. she said because we were warm and musical. She still has headphones over her crib.

29 years down the line she's still beautiful. They say that only 2% of parents enjoy their children through the different phases of their life. I've loved every single second, even when she was a disgusting teenager. She called me up three years ago to apologise for her disgraceful behaviour. I'd forgotten.... Had I realised how lovely kids are I would have had six.

But then how would I have slotted in GFL, LBC, ITV, BBC and this bleeding' blog.

Happy birthday to all the early March babies.

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Night time.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 22 February 2016

When we had the flat in Battersea walking outside, when it got dark, was magical. The lights on the river, the lights in houses, red buses with their lights on, restaurants, pubs, 24 hour shops - you get the picture - walking outside in the countryside in the dark requires a torch, sure footedness and some simple knowledge of the terrain.

In 1976 I was touring in Wales. We stayed in Crickhowell, the night walk down an avenue of trees terrified me. I was the London born, city girl, who had about as much knowledge of the countryside as an untrained astronaut. When I woke up in the little cottage, pulled the curtains, I screamed, we were at the foot of a mountain.

It couldn't hurt me, it wasn't going to fall down, but it was nothing like Aldgate, Kentish Town or Wapping. It took me at least seven years to get used to the rural England.

I've just come in from a small walk down the hill, round into the fields and down the avenue. Hugged my tree, turned round and walked home. It was cold. Cloudy so I couldn't see the stars, an added bonus of no light pollution, past the Chestnut tree, alongside the sheep field, past the long houses with their shutters and back into the stove warmth of our Hobbit cottage.

Februry 22nd, and the one year anniversary of me breaking my elbow. The first day of Annus Horribilis. Nobody knows any more about what inflicts my pain, so I'm working on it with more meditation than a Pondicherry Ashram, kilo salt baths and pitch black walk abouts.

Tomorrow I will do more of the same.

I hope you are all blessed with good health.

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End Os Copy that

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 9 February 2016

I have been sitting in my silence.

Sitting in my own pool of fear, which seeped under the doors and through the windows.

I have been awaiting the Endoscopy, which everybody had an opinion about.

Have the sedative.

Don't have the sedative.

You'll gag.

You'll burp.

You'll panic.

At 7.45 this morning the 'oosbind drove me to the hospital.

Checked in to the Endoscopy unit which is open seven days a week, all day every day. Are you listening Mr. Hunt.

Went and sat with senior nurse Sally who asked me my name, age and an assortment of medial questions.

Then into the Endoscopy room. Monica, the Portuguese nurse, talked me though the procedure. I've learnt during this marathon ordeal, not to ask any unnecessary questions, not to speculate and to trust that my meditation and calm thinking will get me through.

it certainly did this morning.

Mr. Sharma shook my hand then put on his latex gloves.

Monica sprayed my throat with a banana tasting spray,to numb the back of the throat, I was then instructed to lie on my your left side, in with a green gum shield with a hole in the middle.

I breathed deeply, intercostal diaphragmatic breathing, down went the tube with the camera attached. Looked liked ET's finger. Took pics round my internal world, routine biopsies of a polyp in the stomach, three burps and up I sat.

The whole procedure tok about 5 minutes.

I shook everybody's hand and filled out a form telling the hospital that everybody involved was wonderful.

I waited for the read out, Jim came in to the cubicle to listen with his ears. The polyp, was being sent off for diagnosis, a little bit of gastritis in the stomach and a little inflammation in the duodenum. So nothing really to report. Exactly one hour later the old git drove us home.

The phone kept ringing from my army of supporters, and at 10.25 I was allowed to eat.

A lovely pea green soup, I made yesterday.

I may have to have a barium meal since the instructions were to check my swallowing. Apparently I had said I had difficulty with swallowing - I don't know where they got that from - still any results that I need to know will be sent to me by letter.

I have to face a consultant on March 10th to try and establish what is causing the pain, but each test eliminates another area of concern.

So now at 11.15, the damp grey morning has been taken up with sprays and form filling. I'm going to slide into the bath, read and remind myself that I am totally healthy, its just some buggering thing that's causing the pain.

Maybe I swallowed something on my American tour, although I think it was mostly my pride.

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Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum, Ad Infinitum | 28 January 2016

Its a cold bright day. My fingers are cold, only just put the heater on in the attic, haven't been up here for ages.

Spent most of my time in front of logs fires, which Jim has lovingly laid.

Tuesday night my doctor called at 7.00 p.m. Anybody that says the NHS are lazy should visit my surgery. They start at 8.00 and finish God knows when.

So there I was lying on my bean bag, flanked by two hot water bottles, when the phone rung. The scan is all clear, theres a bit of this and a bit of that, what you would expect for a woman of my age, but in the main its very encouraging. However, the pain is still rampant so I'll be referred to a specialist that will hopefully identify the problem.

I'm no longer living under a shroud of fear.

But our world was turned upside down.

Last week little Solly was taken to the vet. He was the runt of the litter, he was silly, funny, fluffy and endearing. He was rescued by us from the dawter and her errant friend who, on a hangover whim, decided to spend more money than sense buying him from a shyster in Hackney.

Solly came to live with us. He was nurtured, fussed over, fed, watered and generally spoiled to within an inch of his overgrown coat. We loved him.

The Hackney shyster sold a dud. For however beautiful Solly was - and he was - Solly had a faulty heart. From the moment we got him his breathing was shallow. We, as you do, ignored it, burying our heads in the dunes.

Last week we took him to the vet, he had 220mls of fluid drained from his chest. Two shaved patches on his lovely fur, and a four different drugs that had to be administered.

In one week I learnt how to roll the meds in bits of smoked ham. He gobbled it up with relish, including the bitter pills.

Yesterday, at 11.15 we took Solly back to the vet. The pills were the highest dosage they could give, but still the fluid was building up. So at 11.25 our dear little cat was laid out, on his blue and white towel, and given a lethal injection.

Too short a life, too short. Jim cried, I cried. The vet cried with us.

The cottage feels empty. The Guernsey sweater he slept on, in the wash, his bed, and toys removed. His eating dishes put away.

And the attic, where he nibbled my work boards and played with my pens, where he opened the box of cat biscuits, littering them over the carpet, my room where he tore chunks out of my chairs and climbed into the plant pots, feels lonely and cold.

Of course it will pass, but in the middle of my aching distress we've lost a delightful little life. A mischievous ball of warmth.

King Solomon Bywater you will be sadly missed.

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