You will be able to tell by the time of my writing that I'm still having difficulty motivating myself in some areas. But my life has continued with enough activity to warrant a blog. I should really do one more often, but there is still no real organisation in my life despite the fact that I am packing into it as many things as I can. A pattern will become apparent as I near the end of this blog and you will understand perhaps what is really going on in the mind of Barbara Glassey. I hope you do, as I have an awful job understanding myself.
When I finished my last entry I mentioned I was having a an early retirement get together. I did have one and it was held in the Viking Garden room. There was a great buffet and I had a good time with my mates from work both past and present. A few of my old workmates turned up who had moved on from Zurich and it turned out to be a reunion of sorts as well for everyone. Some of my friends and family came as well and it was a successful evening with still quite a few having to be ushered out at kicking out time which I'm told is the ultimate barometer for measuring an event.
On the following Monday Toms Mum Nel, my friend Eileen and I set off for Dublin for Nels 82nd birthday. Nel looked like the Queen as my sister in law Rosie took us all to the airport. Luckily Nel didn't forget her Id and we were on our way quite quickly. We flew out of Ronaldsway at 10.25 and we were in the Gresham Hotel in the centre of Dublin for just after 12 and that included picking Nels sister Kathleen up on the way. Although Kathleen lives in Dublin, I thought it would be nice for both sisters to stay in the hotel together and enjoy each other's company and be waited on. I booked Nels and Kathleen's room for early occupancy so they could settle down and we all had somewhere for our cases. I'd arranged for a bottle of wine, chocolates and flowers for the birthday girl which finished off our arrival at the hotel nicely. The Gresham is a beautiful hotel of a type I have never stayed in before. Marble, wood and crystal chandeliers greeted us as we entered the massive reception area. The staff all seemed handpicked for having wonderful Irish hospitality and in the few days we stayed there, I never saw a glum face amongst any of them. That in itself was worth the stay. The rooms were massive with Double and single beds, easy chairs, coffee table, desk, TV with a keyboard and free internet and wifi. I loved it. Eileen and I hit the shops as soon as we could and kept that pace up whilst we were there. Eileen has the ability to make me laugh until I cry. We seem to bounce off one and other somehow and we got on great as it was our first time sharing a room and being in each other's company for longer than a shopping trip or a pudding night. She was a bit unwell on the Tuesday but I maintain it was because of the amount she ate at breakfast when she saw the unbelievable selection of everything spread before her in the dining room. If she could answer, she would argue and might even mention my snoring and other noises that I made whilst asleep which she kindly said reminded her of her late husband Derek whom she misses so much, and with her eyes closed could imagine he was in the next bed. I soothed her to sleep. I've never been told that before. It was normally a gentle push to turn me on my side and a gale force wind blowing in through the window to keep the air flowing. Apparently that stopped me! Anyway, we had a great time and I burst the seams of my case bringing back my wares.
The Saturday after we got back, I decided to do another first. Castletown Band were playing in Castletown Square for the switching on the lights. I decided I would take my cornet along and make that first step to playing with the band again. Every time I thought about going to the band room for a practice, I felt anxiety at being there after these years and breaking down. I thought turning up casually in the dark and just playing along would be much better and so I did. I felt very emotional to be honest and every time anyone spoke to me, my throat tightened and tears filled my eyes. Quite why I felt like that I can only reason as to the last time I played with them, Tom was very much alive and well. All my other activities that I do now seem to be new in my life since he died with a large part of me being involved with the church. Anyway once the playing started I was ok. It was an awful night with the rain coming down in buckets and members of the band making jokes about the blue flash that would make its way towards us when the lights were switched on. Thankfully it didn't. The band were lucky enough to have a temporary cover, but the unfortunate public got a drubbing. One thing that gave me a lift in my spirits at the end of the evening was the sight of a couple who had been waving to me. Norma the Vicar who buried Tom and her husband David had come along to support me on the night. They stood there dripping and smiling at me and it didn't half give me a lift to think that someone would come and do that for me.
The next week was taken up with me worrying about Suzie the cocker spaniel and her impending operation. I had spoken to the vet after the results had become known to them and we agreed that an operation would take place, sooner rather than later. With lumps in both mammary, I had it explained to me that it was a very large operation and I could phase it or do it in one go. If I phased it, the spaying would be first and the mammary's later. The vet had already said he needed and x-ray to check if her lungs were ok as there would be no point operating otherwise. That left me in no doubt about the seriousness and haste was what was needed. I had to go for the full operation. She had an chest x-ray when she had her heart scan and so there was no need for another one and the results showed she was clear. The operation was going to be adlib due to her heart condition with spaying being the 1st. If she appeared strong enough the left mammary and then dependent on her state, her right mammary. I took her to the vets on the Thursday morning and she clung onto me for dear life. My heart went out to her but it had to be done. I left her and went to do a grocery shop to take my mind off it. Karron had offered to do my birds for me and so I was in no rush to get home. After I did the shopping I called at a garage on the way home. I have decided I can't just manage with a motor home as an only vehicle. Nice idea, but not practical and I wondered how on earth I was going to carry Suzie up the steps when it was time to get her. I've always been impulsive and so was Tom, but when we were together we discussed things before we did it and quite often we'd suddenly realise the cons in our scheme and laugh at what we'd nearly done. We could just as quickly talk ourselves back into it again and we were intent, but that has gone now. I don't think things through and even if I did, I would listen to Tom, I don't listen to me. Enough waffling, I bought a car on the way home for the Nissan garage. I wanted it to be less than £3000, low mileage and it was to be for the dogs and shopping. I bought a 2004 Kia Rio with 23,000 miles on the clock and got it down from £3500 to £2900. I gave up the £300 warranty for that and reasoned that it had a full service and had only done 3000 miles since its last service. It's a smart car and does the job. Suzie came through all her ops and stayed at the vets for a few days so they could monitor her, give her morphine and she had drain tubes in her.
From the day of the op my spirits have gone down quite dramatically. I think it was the stress of putting Suzie through all the op that was the trigger. Who knows. All I do know is that this is the month that for the previous 2 years has been the most anxious and unbelievably stressful of Tom and my married life. Waiting for scans and results the 1st year. 6 weeks of waiting through Christmas and the new year to find out what the problem was if it wasn't pneumonia and all the time trying to banish the ultimate word out of our minds. Hoping that a life wasn't going to be lost through negligence or endless waiting. Do you know that if you are an animal it is lightening fast getting an animal sorted. Someone said that's because we pay vets privately. Tom would have reasoned it all out to me. Now I just spout what I think without putting too much thought into the process. Last year we had the result that Toms cancer was back before Christmas. We saw the specialist on the Thursday, got a CT Scan on the Friday and then hoped chemo would start straight away, but another long seasonal holiday ensued. Why wasn't there haste my mind screamed. Let's get it started and Tom just waited again. Of course there was no haste as they knew that the cancer was bad and although chemo did start again in January, the cancer had already gone out of control. At least we had hope for a short while. So now I cry, but not for me but for all the people who are going through it at this time. Those who are waiting for results, those who are waiting for treatment to start and basically for anyone who feels that they are on their own in a dire position. I have been there and my heart aches for them all. So yes, my tears fall and I say it's not for me, but perhaps there is a touch of transference here and that my own loss now is what is really behind it all. I don't know myself. I don't know if you have experienced depression, but when the low comes like this it is very hard to function normally. Everything takes so much longer to do. It is easy to forget to eat and drink. Sleep is either to much or not enough. Well enough of that for now. That is just where I am at this moment and like Tom used to do, I have to be honest in what I am experiencing. I have seen the doctor and she amongst others have suggested I paint. I can't as the motivation is just not there. I have been put on steroids due to my eczema being so bad and my hands so cracked and painful, so that is why I'm blogging in the middle of the night again. They stop me sleeping. Now back to more cheerful things.
I brought Suzie home from the vets last Saturday and although she was very sore at first and needed lots of TLC she has bounced back like a little trooper. She's raring to go now, but she is full of stitches and so I have to be very careful. At least it is over and hopefully she will be well. Another lump was found in her uterus and I have asked for it all analysed so I will know whether I have to be vigilant.
Yesterday I had to go to the dentist again as I have an chronic abscess. I know, there's no end to it is there sometimes, except when its chronic it isn't painful but they can turn acute. I thought with Christmas coming up and on steroids which lowers resistance, I'd better get it sorted so I took my chief cheerer upper Eileen with me and went and had a root canal. The dentist was convinced that I was in for a few torrid days after the treatment he has done but said it should settle down. Anyway all is well, so it's not all bad.
Today I am having my Marks and Spencer's furniture delivered that I bought a couple of months back and tomorrow I am having new carpet laid on the stairs and spare bedroom. My mum is coming to stay with me a week today and so I want it all nice for her.
I haven't been able to motivate myself to send out Christmas cards and have put a greeting in the local newspapers for 2 weeks from both Nel and I wishing everyone every blessing for Christmas and the New Year. We will make a donation to the hospice. I never did say how much was raised when Tom died in lieu of flowers. It was just over £1400 and that was without the retiring collection at the church. So thank you everybody that made a donation.
For those living off Island that I haven't been in touch with I will give you a ring if I know your number.
It must be long this as I started at 5 this morning and its gone 7 now.
This is Barbara on the Silverburn River wishing you all every blessing for Christmas and the New year if I don't blog again beforehand. God Bless.
Photos below - ist 2 are me at my retirement do minus glasses.
Nel raising a glass. Nel and Kathleen her sister. Under the Christmas tree with Nel, Kathleen, Eileen and Kathleens son and daughter in law.
Kathleen posing under a chandelier