Wednesday, 28 February 2018


If it's not one thing, it's another! Today's new medical problem, to add to the ever growing list of problems, is to do with my right eye. I woke with all the symptoms of a detached retina - flashing lights, clouded vision etc., so took myself into town for an emergency optician's appointment. Lots of eye examinations and tests later and she thinks it may be to do with age related shrinkage of the vitreous humour in the eyeball collapsing away from the retina rather than an actual detachment. I have to go back in tomorrow morning for the final test but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the collapse rather than the detachment as that doesn't have any concerns about permanent loss of vision or a need for surgery. The vision tests confirmed that my eyesight has actually improved and need new glasses so I'll be choosing new ones some time next week. 

I've had to cancel my teaching commitment for tomorrow as the eye drops to be used in preparation for the final test will blur my vision for anything up to six hours so I won't be allowed to drive - I'd driven to the optician's so that's why she couldn't do the test today. I admit that I'm secretly quite glad about having a good reason to cancel commitments as the local forecast is for snow and ice so I don't really want to be out driving in it. 

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Knee Update

It was the return visit to the doctor today - some good news, some not so good. The recent x-ray of my knee has revealed mild/moderate arthritis and a narrowing of the space where the cartilage lies. The cartilage doesn't show on the x-ray so the extent of the tear isn't known but my symptoms seem to confirm that diagnosis.  Pretty much what the doctor was expecting and the confirmation of arthritis explains the aches and pains I had before the recent injury.

The good news is that, if things continue to improve, I won't need a referral to the hospital and won't need surgery. I can start slowly increasing the amount of walking I do but it has to be all on level ground with strict instructions to stay indoors if it snows! The not so good news is that Nordic Walking is out of the question as is the photography holiday to Dorset in four weeks time (because of the terrain and the risk of further injury to the knee). I phoned to cancel the holiday and was delighted to be told that I can transfer my deposit to a different holiday later in the year. I need to inform them of the change by Sunday so will spend this evening choosing a different type of holiday. This also applies to the other photography holiday booked for May. There are plenty of other types of holiday to choose from so I'm sure to find something I like, maybe one of the choral singing ones or a crafting holiday. 

The other not so good news is that my blood pressure is still higher than usual so he's increased the dosage of one of my tablets. I have to go back to see him in about three weeks.

And to end on some good news, I came away from the consultation with a book recommendation - 'Instrumental' by James Rhodes. He thinks I'll enjoy all the music references in it so I've ordered it from Waterstones. 

Thursday, 22 February 2018

WPSH, Home Improvements and Knees!

The new boiler has been installed and is proving it's worth already. The house is toasty warm in every room, something which has been difficult to achieve since the heating was turned back on in the autumn so I assume that the old boiler was struggling long before I realised that it was on it's way out.  I'll turn the heating down tomorrow and reset the thermostats in some of the rooms but tonight is all about checking that every radiator keeps it's heat properly. The new boiler is more energy efficient so running costs should be cheaper and I have also changed my gas and electricity supplier from next month, which will theoretically save me £230 a year. Best of all, the hot water is 'hot' again so I've had a long soak in the bath and am currently rocking the 'wrinkled prune' look!

I'm sharing a couple of photos for the scavenger hunt. The first one is for no. 1| men at work and was taken in Bath outside the Theatre Royal.

The second was was taken at home during the boiler installation and is for no 24 | steam, smoke or mist and shows the steam from the vent on the front wall of the house. 

On the health front, my knee is feeling much better though still not completely healed. I can walk without limping for most of the day and am not waking in pain during the night though this is still based on just doing only essential walking and doesn't include any exercising. I see my doctor next Tuesday and am hoping for the go ahead to start slowly increasing the number of daily steps and maybe some exercises to improve strength in the joint. I'm feeling more positive about it than I did when I last saw him but it has knocked my confidence a bit. I'll get over it but it has made me realise how important my mobility and independence is to me and has reinforced that losing weight and improving fitness is absolutely essential.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

New Boiler Day

It's celebration time! Work has started on installing the new boiler so by tomorrow afternoon I will have heat and hot water again. 

There's not a lot I can do around the house until he's finished as he's in and out of every room checking radiators and I'm trying to stay out of his way. I can't easily get to my computer upstairs as the upstairs landing is blocked by the access ladder to the attic and I can't easily squeeze past it without twisting my knee - I speak from experience having tried earlier this morning! I've decided that the best thing to do is to stay out of his way by curling up on the sofa with my latest book and regular supplies of steaming hot coffee ... no hardship really!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

A Marked Improvement

Well, much as I hate to admit it, the enforced inactivity is doing some good. My knee is much less painful and walking is easier, although this situation deteriorates as the day progresses. It's not a 'real life' situation as I'm consciously keeping my weight off my knee as much as possible but I'm now hopeful that a non-surgical route may see the problem solved. This, of course, is my own take on things as I haven't been back for the next consultation with my doctor!

It's starting to feel like I never started my fitness regime and some of the aches and pains I was experiencing prior to starting the Fitbit daily steps are back. I wasn't at a particularly high level of fitness but it was definitely making a difference to how I felt and was improving ease of movement so I'm very aware of how quickly my overall fitness level has reverted. The thing I'm holding on to is the fact that I did it once so will be able to do it again ... once I get the go ahead. In the meantime I've been searching YouTube for seated upper body exercises but so far haven't found anything suitable. 

Lady Ella's recent post about her choice for 'one little word' prompted me to look back at my word and assess my progress and I'm pleased to report that there is some! My word is 'fulfil' and one aspect of this was to complete the decluttering and home improvements, and there is progress on both fronts. Admittedly, the decluttering involved friends doing the lifting and me sitting on the sofa supervising the work, but I now have a pile of stuff to go to the skip and another pile of donations for a charity shop. I'm now in the middle of sorting through all the books I've been given; my sister passes all of her books on to me and I have two bookcases full of unread novels. I used to keep pace with her but lagged behind when I was caring for my late partner and have never been able to catch up, so I'm being ruthless and getting rid of the ones that I'll never read. I only want one bookcase in use (the other one is in my music room and I need the space for other things) so over half of the books need to go. I've also started taking photos of things to be sold, ready for listing them on eBay or Gumtree. 

As for the home improvements, the new boiler will be installed next week. I've also placed the order for the new windows and that work is scheduled for mid April. I've asked the electrician and builder for revised quotes with a view to them starting their work after the window installation is complete but I'm still waiting to hear back from them. The work may not be completed but I have started looking for ideas on decorating and for lighting in the living room - this is the best bit!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Rest, Painkillers and Ice Packs

Frustratingly, Nordic walking and my daily 10,000 steps are on hold for the foreseeable future and rest, painkillers and ice packs are the order of the day. I twisted my knee when I went to London on Jan 24th and I've been hobbling about since then, finding it almost impossible to bear weight. My doctor thinks that the most likely diagnosis is a torn cartilage. I go back to see him in a couple of week, by which time he should have the results of the x-ray and will decide on the way forward. The x-ray won't confirm the tear but will provide information on the general state of my knee - there's a real possibility that it will also confirm the start of arthritis, which is expected from symptoms I've had for a while. 

Luckily it's now half term so I have a whole week to prop my leg up and rest. Yesterday and today I've only moved to get food and drink or to use the bathroom. It's made some difference already as my knee now only hurts when I walk, but the pain goes when I sit still. Hopefully, a few days of this will see a change. The last thing I want is a surgical solution.

I've just received a text from a friend to say that the logistics for Wednesday and Thursday are sorted. We have theatre tickets for both days and I offered my tickets for one of her friends as I knew I wouldn't be able to drive to the city, park and walk to the theatre. She doesn't drive but has arranged for her son-in-law to drive us and drop us right outside the main entrance, then pick us up from the same place. She's also borrowed a wheelchair (!) so I will only have to walk along the row to get to my seat each time. That means less walking than I'd be doing at home so I'm going along with the plan. I'll still have from Friday till the following Tuesday to rest properly and then I'll have to make a decision on whether I need time off from teaching.

The problems with intermittent internet access are ongoing and it seems that some of the neighbours are having problems as well. The BT Openreach van has been in evidence over the past week but so far there's been no improvement. On top of that, Blogger seems to have a bug (it seems that lots of people are having this problem according to Google) and most days I can't view my blog, just an 'oops' screen. It also happens when I try to view other people's blogs as well, so I will have a lot of catching up to do at some stage.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt - 2nd Link Up

Apologies for the lateness of this post but I haven't had internet access for a couple of days. It's back now but is intermittent, so it's taken me all afternoon to load these few photos. I have more but have given up for now! Moaning over, here's my progress on the Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt.

No 2 | luggage, taken in King Cross Station at the entrance to Platform 9 & 3/4. 

Also taken in Kings Cross Station this is for No 5 | passengers although it could also be used for luggage.

Next, taken at the Crammer in Devizes, this is a possibility for No 7 | on the water.

Here's one for No 11 | library, taken in one of my schools.

Back to the Crammer in Devizes and a possible shot for No 13| a line of ..., or No 17| many

Finally, one for No 15 | bow or No 23 | heart

Here's the linky - please add a link to the actual post. I look forward to seeing how everyone is getting on.