Not much happening, but . . .

Japanese Acer turned brilliant red in the autumn.

When I bought this years ago it was a twig. A tiny little twig. It’s in a pot so I can keep the soil ericaceous as that’s what it likes. It’s just outside the patio door so it’s protected by the house on one side and the fence behind it. I just love it. It needs very little maintenance. Every other year I scrape off the grit and top compost and put new ericaceous compost on top.

Still not started knitting yet – I have settled on a pattern and some yarn (Bergere de France Ecoton in this colour). I’ve gone off the original pattern I bought the yarn for, and found another pattern. (I prefer the shawl collar in this one). Then realised I needed more yarn. Luckily you can order from Bergere de France by dye lot number! which is excellent. However, what has happened now is that the extra yarn has arrived, but the original yarn has not. Apparently their system removes my house number from the label, so it’s probably gone back to the factory. In France. Yeah. Still, I’m enjoying the anticipation. And the colour of the yarn is even better in real life than I’d hoped. Mm.

Youngest granddaughter has lost her first tooth! Her mum has made a special pouch for the tooth so that the tooth fairy can find it easily. Her cousin (who lives in Southampton) is a year older than she is, and he decided to keep all his baby teeth in a box, so he can throw them at people should he want to. Love it.

Yesterday I made a cake. Different from my usual – a recipe from Nadiya Hussain. It’s apple and almond, dairy free. It was really good. My last efforts (muffins) eventually went mouldy, they were so dreadful. But this is nice. May well make it again. In fact, just thinking about it I want to eat some! but will wait till I’ve had my lunch.

Progress

Of a sort, anyway. The pain in my hand is almost negligible now, and I hardly need any painkillers. Still stiff and a bit swollen, but I have my exercises which I do several times a day and physio tells me I’m doing really well.

However, I’m still not regaining the weight. 8st 6lbs now. Saw the doctor who arranged blood tests and a stool sample test, so am waiting for the result of those.

I feel generally better but am still very tired and it seems to be taking a long time to go away. Surgery was on 21 July, so nearly 3 1/2 months ago. But then I’m older now and really don’t react well to general anaesthesia. Ho hum.

The garden is a delight. Just beautiful. And very busy with birds! Nuthatches, sparrows, blue tits, great tits, wrens, and the occasional greater spotted woodpecker. I do love Autumn.

We have family all over the place – Dublin, Southampton, New Zealand, and friends in France, so I’ve been busy wrapping Christmas parcels (a few birthdays in there too!). Got a good routine now and lots of boxes piled up in the study awaiting further attention.

On Monday it was hubby’s birthday. So last week his son (who lives in Dublin) came over as a surprise with his wife and little boy. I knew about it but was sworn to secrecy. Managed to keep the surprise until we actually got to the restaurant, and he was just so pleased to see them. Also, his son who lives in Malvern came along with his daughter. Just lovely.

I’m late to the party I expect, but have recently discovered new authors. John Sandford, Tony Kent and Zoe Sharp. Absolutely unputdownable. All of them. I’m delighted to discover that there are lots and lots of the John Sandford and Zoe Sharp books. Can’t wait for Tony Kent to write another one. And Lynda La Plante has introduced a new protagonist, Jack Warr. Also very very good. Meanwhile I’m reading John Le Carre’s final book, Silverview. I am enjoying it but it’s a bit confusing. Nearly at the end/denouement now. Mm.

Getting There

Improving but slowly. It’ll be eleven weeks tomorrow since the op. Swelling in my hand is less, pain is less, but still very stiff. Things I can now do include showering, hair washing, dressing myself, eating mostly right-handed, even started a bit of crochet (a few minutes at a time, with an ergonomic hook).

(This is an older photo)

But. I lost all the weight I’d regained. I now weight 8st 7/119 lbs/53.9kg. I was 9st 7lbs. So even my skin is too big. Am weighing myself every week (too depressing to do it more often than that) and the doctor is aware. I am to arrange a phone consultation if I lose any more, or don’t put any on, within 3 weeks of when I last spoke to her. That means another week.

I do feel ok though, perkier generally, but more tired than usual.

Yesterday went to the osteopath. Today took the cat for her annual flu jab. She hates the car and howls the whole journey, but is quite happy at the vet, even purring while she’s being examined. And she takes absolutely no notice at all of the injection!

Tomorrow we’re going to the tip (recycling centre). We have to book now because of Covid but that’s ok. No queues! and once we’ve booked it means we have a quick sort out to make sure we are taking everything.

Almost done with the Christmas shopping. A couple of gifts to get, but mostly done otherwise. Parcels arriving almost every day. Thank goodness for internet shopping!

The state of the UK is dire though. And the government will simply not admit it’s because of Brexit. And why is anybody surprised that hardly any HGV drivers have applied to work here? why would they? Brexit made it clear that the right-wingers don’t want “foreigners” here. It’s our own stupid fault. So we have queues at petrol stations, shortages of workers, and we insult the NHS staff by offering them a paltry 3% pay rise. After all that clapping to make sure they know that they’re valued. Harrumph. Just Harrumph. I try to avoid the news because it’s so damn depressing.

However, our garden looks lovely. Despite everything.

And I’m back!

It’s almost 9 weeks since the surgery. I’ve managed to regain half of the 14 lbs/6 kilos I lost, so I’m a bit thin but not too bad. Appetite still not great though. The hand is still painful and very stiff, but I’m doing my exercises. Physio on Wednesday so we shall see. I can drive – although it’s uncomfortable it’s so much more convenient.

Managed to do a little bit of gardening – planting mostly. Some alliums – I love those, they look like fireworks when they bloom – and some pretty tulips (Carnaval de Nice). Will have to wait for next year for those to grow though. So today I planted some winter pansies and a white heather in a pot each. Lovely.

One of the things I did each day while I was feeling so poorly was sit outside in the garden for at least half an hour, just sitting. It was lovely. So good for the soul.

The plumber is currently here. I’ve been able to hear a dripping noise for a couple of weeks now. Hubby’s standard reaction to anything like that is 1) it’s not happening. 2) well, it is happening, but it doesn’t matter.

It’s not until we get to stage 3 (damp carpets) that he finally agrees we need to do something. So now the plumber has found at least two leaks, and may have to knock a hole in a wall. We have water dripping through a ceiling, a very wet carpet in the study, and a big old mess behind the washing machine. The water is turned off, so no hand washing or going to the loo. We shall see what develops.

Ooh. Another plumber has arrived. So we have two here, making plumber-type noises. I expect we’ll need some repairs and redecorating done. Hmm.

The pest control people have managed to get rid of the rat who was living under the shed. Ewww. We have some special wire mesh which we are going to fix to the shed supports so that nothing else can move in there. The squirrel has been exercising us too, damn thing wants to eat all the bird food. But he can’t get at it now. Hubby has devised a rather Heath-Robinson but very effective system which stops the squirrel, but allows the birds to get in to the bird feeder. In fact, the pest control guy said feeding the birds was a sure way to attract rats. Mm. So we moved the bird-feeder further away from the shed.

No knitting or crochet yet. I did pick up some stitches for a friend the other day, which was quite complicated, but I managed it ok. Paid for it later though! thank goodness for ice-packs and Co-codamol . . .

Some ups, some downs.

Got a Date

Not that sort of date, no no no. I’m very happily married thank you very much.

No, a date for the surgery! on 21 July they’re replacing both wonky knuckles. I’m excited and nervous in equal measure. Altering things so it’ll be easier afterwards – brought haircut forward, ordered LimbO arm protector, preparing hubby for all the extra things I’ll need help with . . .

I did have an arm protector, but can’t find it anywhere. I may have given it to Mother when she had arm surgery. If not, it will turn up immediately after the first use of the new one.

It’s my right hand, and that is my dominant hand, so quite a lot of things will be difficult for a while. But I have suitable clothes from when they did a trapiezectomy on my left hand in 2013 – elastic waisted clothes because I don’t expect to be able to manage zips or buttons . . .

And most of all I’m very impressed with how quickly it’s happening! possibly because it’s hand surgery, and I’m not sure how many people are waiting for that. Hip replacements and bigger operations I guess have a much bigger waiting list. It is through the NHS, so it’s remarkably fast.

It will be a general anaesthetic, which always knock me about. Always. For several months. But still . . .

I’m burbling now. I’ll stop.

Next Exciting Instalment

I can’t believe England beat Germany. (football). Excellent match, both sides played really well, and it was so exciting to watch. It’s been 55 years since we managed to beat Germany. But I was horrified, embarrassed and angry at the boo-ing during the national anthems though. Rude, ignorant, boorish and even racist. Nobody else does it. Nobody. Harrumph. We shall see what happens at tonight’s match against Ukraine. Mm.

Saw the consultant about my hand. The short version is that he is going to replace both wonky knuckles. Hooray. I don’t know when, though. The recovery time is about 3 months (he said six weeks . . . but I checked online). And the joints are made from silicone plastic, and should last at least 10 years. That’ll do me.

Meanwhile we managed to find a wonderful handyman. I’ve been agitating for the carpet in the porch to be removed for several years. It was dark pink (ugh), then replaced with pale grey (not a great idea). But underneath are lovely quarry tiles. Unfortunately they were covered in sticky plastic tape. We knew what we needed to do, but neither of us have the physical resources to do that stuff any more. A wonderful guy came on Thursday morning with special solvent spray and removed all the tape, then removed the solvent, and it looks So Much Better. I love it. It’s much easier to clean (even for me!) and looks like a porch should.

Oops. Just noticed some earth/dead leaf/whatever on the floor. Ah well.

So today I have wrapped my friend’s son’s birthday present and organised its collection. I have written three birthday cards (daughter, 40 on Monday, her uncle who will be 70 the same day, and of course friend’s son’s). I have ordered holiday type toiletries – sun tan lotion and after sun.

And on Monday I need to phone the vet to arrange to pick up some flea and worm treatment.

Very pleased with a summer dress I’d ordered which arrived today. Reduced to almost half price, tiered so it’s nice and swingy and cool, and it’s cheesecloth type fabric. Love that. Also some earrings – called “irregular” but I think of them as “wonky”.

Also am halfway through week 2 of the new antidepressant regime. The side effects are starting to fade a little (nausea, excessive sweating, fatigue) and I do feel a little brighter. Which is great!

Wimpy Me

Last week I had x-ray and ultrasound scans of the wonky hand. That was ok. Then they did an ultrasound-guided steroid injection into the thumb of same hand. That was not ok. I am a total wooss when it comes to such things. I manage blood tests ok because I don’t look.

I didn’t look this time, either, and it felt like there were three different vials of stuff going in – one was the local anaesthetic so it shouldn’t hurt (ha!), one was the actual steroid, and the final one was another longer-lasting anaesthetic.

It was all horrible, and as per usual I had to have a little lie down afterwards so I didn’t actually pass out. Everybody was very kind, but I always feel so pathetic!

Large, ugly, black-purple bruise where the injection went. A good 2″/5cm long. It’ll fade though, eventually.

And on Monday I am to see the consultant so he can decide, based on the results of the scans, what he’s going to do about the arthritic knuckles (fuse or replace).

Ho hum.

But all is well otherwise in our little world. Could do with the gardener coming and doing stuff, though. The weeds are learning to answer the phone . . . . .