I was intending to do a Christmas day bloggeau complete with a few autumn photos but, as usual, what with one thing and another, I sort of ran out of time. Am now just about to watch the Queen's speech on telly before hurtling downstairs to knock up smoked salmon with scrambled eggs followed by chicken with spuds, sprouts, carrots, bread sauce and gravy followed by mince pies, ice cream and lychees. Ooh, it's all go.
Nearly September. Evenings are drawing in. Sun's heading south down that western horizon at sundown. Summer's almost over. Hasn't been a good 'un. Few sunny days but nothing special. Might be something to do with that mild winter we had. Normally summer and winter are pretty extreme. But not this year. Seem to recall that summer sort of began back in May with a few thunderstorms. One particularly noisy one blew up my laptop. And the livebox thingy. Luckily the local computery man managed to rescue my old hard drive (whatever that is) and load it into the new laptop so all was not entirely lost. Hard to believe but it's taken 'til now for me to work out how to load photos onto this new laptop. Actually Georgie did it. So, correction - it's taken 'til now for Georgie to tear herself away from her work and spend ten minutes solving the mystery of my photo loading system. All perfectly simple to her but clear as mud to moi. So..., have now loaded up, er, downloaded, the batch of photos that I took at odd moments throughout the summer. Probably boring as hell to anyone reading this gubbins but sort of interesting to me. Never ceases to fascinate me how the simple view out front changes with the weather and light.
So..., there I was, back in May, just about to visit the heart specialist for another check up. Well, it didn't go too badly from what I recall. Seem to remember him saying my heart was pretty strong which was a bit of a surprise. Told me to give up salt and lose some weight. And he changed one of my four daily pill things for one that he reckoned would reduce the swelling (water retention?) in my gammy foot. Can't remember what else he said. Left there feeling quite relieved that death didn't appear to be imminent. Popped into a big supermarket on the way home to check out grub that didn't have salt. After much reading of the small print on backs of packs Georgie and I concluded that there was no such thing as a salt-free food item. So much for the quack's instruction to give up salt. Left the supermarket thinking I was now confronted by two ghastly alternatives: death by salt, or death by starvation. That was three months ago. Bit of a surprise that I'm still alive considering my salt intake. Ah well, ç'est la vie.
Since then I'm chuffed to say that my foot swelling has gone down so I'm now able squeeze into my shoes. Haven't really done so though 'cos I've sort of got used to wearing sandals everywhere I go. Apart from when lawnmowing, of course. Feet get smothered in chopped grass and mashed dog poo due to non existence of the rear tray thingie. Hence the wearing of scruffy mountain boots when cutting the grass. Left foot couldn't squeeze into left boot when the foot was swollen. Had to wear a sandal then stick foot into a plastic carrier bag which I then taped up on lower leg. Looked stupid but worked a treat.
Anyways, I wasn't the only one in our gang with a foot problem. Poor wee Jock somehow got a cut between his toes which then turned a bit septic. We didn't know this though. He wouldn't let anyone near his foot. All we knew was that he was limping on dogwalks. Thought it might just be sensitive footpads. Or maybe a cracked pad. Things didn't improve so we took him to the vet. Had to leave him there for a couple of hours and come back later. Vet knocked him out, cleaned up the cut (which we didn't know was there), then put a few stitches in and bandaged him up. He also cut Jock's nails and, for some reason - I still don't know what - he also did something to his other front paw and bandaged that up too. He's right as rain now though. Well, apart from a gungy ear problem. Probably means another vet visit. Might have to knock him out again. Georgie and I do our best to clean out his ear but have you ever tried holding down an uncooperative Westie? It's an almost impossible task. The vet, Georgie and I have the scars to prove it.
The jingly janglies are out. Loads of 'em. Up the cemetery run. Went there for an evening stroll yesterday soirée. Millions of other wild flowers too. Purpley thingies. And sort of orchidy looking thingies. Flowers all over the place. Haven't a clue what they're all called. Georgie knows though. Keeps reciting Latin names whenever she spots something. Like the jingly janglies for example. I've forgotten what their proper name is, but no matter, not important. I call 'em jingly janglies 'cos they remind me of a row of bells. Perhaps 'ding dongs' or 'clangers' would be better, but jingly janglies it is. Goes back to The Byrds and their guitar sound which is commonly known as jingly jangly. Jingle jangle morning I'll come following you. Johnny Marr of The Smiths apparently tried to copy that sound. Failed miserably though, so he's miserable now, ho ho! Anyways..., according to Georgie, these plants are available to buy on the internet for around six or seven quid. If anyone wants some I'll sell 'em for a fiver. Bargain, huh?
It's gone. The end of my second toe, left foot. Chopped off over Easter. Three days in hospital then chucked out with stitches in toe. Drove home. 75 miles with a gammy foot operating the clutch pedal. Stitches removed about a week ago. Laurent, the visiting nurse, paid his last visit a few days back. Gave me the all clear so daily visits now terminated. Currently enjoying the odd lie-in without having to get up at the crack of dawn to prepare for when the nurse comes a-knockin' to change the dressing. Or jab a needle in my gut. Or nick an armful of my blood for 'testing'. But the saga's not over yet. Have to go back to hospital in about three weeks' time for yet another heart check-up. I think they're still a bit concerned about my swollen feet and ankles. Could be water retention. Might be caused by circulatory inefficiencies. Or maybe there's still some chlorestoroly stuff blocking up some arteries. Ah well, heigh ho, c'est la vie.
Anyways..., haven't bloggeaued for ages. Which reminds moi..., many thanks to all those very kind people who've sent me messages to check up that I'm still alive. Thanks too for saying you've been missing my postings. Trouble is, as I've said before, my focus for last five months has been on that damned foot problem. Which I first thought was gout, but which turned out to be a dodgy ticker and blocked artery. And bloggeauing about that every couple of days would have been really boring. Besides, I also found myself repeating things from a year ago, like being snowed in. Or having Christmas lunch with the neighbours. Or dogwalking over the same old tracks. Difficult to avoid repetition when one's been bloggeauing for years. Better to stop and give it a rest. Which is what I did. And then there's the fact that my bro-in-law sadly passed away recently. Alzheimer's and lung cancer. Poor chap. He really enjoyed my rubbishy scribings and regularly phoned to say so. Now, with him gone and Georgie out here, it's hard to think of a reason to continue bloggeauing. Which is why I really appreciate messages from anyone who enjoys my written meanderings. So yes, thanks again to those kind folk who've messaged moi. Mucheau appreciated.
So..., we're almost at the longest day already. Hard to believe, but there you go. Seems only a few weeks ago that the Christmas lights were glittering in the puddles of cobbled streets down in Felletin. Been a mild winter though. Didn't have much snow. Fewer stove fires means the woodpile has lasted longer this year. Haven't had much rain either. Mind you, having said that, it's been cloudy and rainy for about a week now. Managed to take a few snaps of the irises before the rains came. And the leafy lane out back. And Georgie doing a bit of gardening. Talking of which, she's been glued to the telly recently. Chelsea flower show. Can't get enough of it. And me, I know nothing about gardening but, surprise, surprise, I know who won the golds and silvers at this year's show. Scary, huh? Talking of which, the green-fingered lady's outside at the moment, au jardin, doing whatever gardeners do. I'm indoors of course. Better get out there and show willing. Get that lawn mower fired up and start trimming. Ah well, here goes...
Oops. Long time no bloggeau. Laziness I suppose. But there again, nothing much has happened. Anyways..., thought I'd do a quickie just to say I'm off to hospital tomorrow (Thursday) for a Friday op on my toe. I gather the surgeon chappie is going to slice the rubbishy end off and then send me home on Saturday. I understand I'll be able to drive with a damaged left peg, so I won't have to catch a bus or invest in an automatic gearbox jam jar. Was intending to bloggeau after the op but so many extremely kind people have ear'oled moi for a progress report and to make sure I haven't fallen of me perch. Your concern is much appreciated. Apologies for lack of riveting news. Looking forward to scribing a more interesting posting next week. Toodle pip.
Been very lazy. Haven't bloggeaued for ages. Not much been happening. Never does in winter. Rubbish weather and rotting toe means stay indoors. Reduced mobility gets boring after a time. Then a bit more boring after a bit more time. The clock ticks and the days roll by. Dull skies mean dull routines. Staring out the window. Watching the rain. Thinking how times have changed. Memories of strolling over those distant hills. Now I just limp up the back lane. C'est la vie.
Went for a check up at that Limoges hospital a couple of weeks back. Half expected the surgeon to chop off the end of the rotting toe. But he didn't. Told me instead to come back again in another month's time. I presume he thought it just might heal. He might be right. But I think he's wrong.
Went back in again a couple of days later. Saw some heart specialist. Stuck electrical thingies all over my chest and stuffed a drip thing in my arm. Didn't really know what was going on. Turned out he was reading my heart workings on a telly screen. The drip thing apparently pumped some liquid into my bloodstream which quickened my heart rate. Apparently at 130 beats a minute my heart misbehaved a bit. Doctor wasn't sure why. He's now booked me in for a minor exploratory operation in about ten days time. I think they're going to pump dye into the heart area to see if some of the tubes are blocked. Not sure though. Anyways, I gather I'll be hospitalised for just two nights. Then I presume they'll know a bit more exactly what the problem is. Then..., I presume they may have to operate again to put it right. Maybe another stent or two. Or maybe just stretching or expanding hardened or partially blocked arteries. Don't know. Haven't a clue.
However, I now have a slightly clearer idea of what's been going on. Originally I thought it was a simple case of gout. May well have been. But added to that was a blocked thigh artery which meant blood couldn't reach the left foot toe area. Didn't realise it at the time though. I now know that that blocked artery, or my present heart condition (whatever that may be), has been around a lot longer than I originally thought. Maybe up to a year or more. Maybe even longer - at a medical check up about ten years ago I was told I had high blood pressure. So, for over a decade my heart's been having to pump harder to get the blood to circulate. And now, I presume, it's just a bit knackered. I guess that's the price I pay for smoking since I was sixteen. Given up now though. Two months. And counting.
In my recent 'Stent' posting I mentioned that my surgeon at the Limoges hospital had booked me in for a check-up at the end of December. This was to see if the op to insert a 'stent' in my left thigh had had the knock-on effect of renewing the circulation to the toes in my left foot, thus saving them from being amputated (same condition as frostbite). At the time of the appointment being made I was horizontal in hospital with a useless left foot. This ruled out driving the 70 miles to Limoges for the December check-up. Looked like the only way to get there would be by coach and cab. However, Donnie very kindly flew out to spend Hogmanay with us and, at the same time, drive my car to and from the Limoges hospital. By the time the appointment had rolled around, a semblance of life had miraculously returned to my big toe, but the adjacent one remained dead as a dodo. For that reason I fully expected to be kept in hospital for a quick op to remove said toe before being sent limping home a few days later. However, the surgeon seemed encouraged by the big toe's recovery and so decided to allow a stay of execution for the adjacent toe. Another appointment was made for a final check-up. The poorly toe now had thirty days to recover, or it was due for the chop. With that, Georgie, Donnie, Jock and I piled back into the car and headed home. That was ten days ago. Twenty to go.
Since that Limoges trip, life at home has become a sort of dull routine of lazing around doing bugger all apart from popping pills and feeling extremely guilty about Georgie being carer. Have to admit I'm a rubbish patient. Having been virtually immobilised for about a month now I'm beginning to notice a distinct drop in fitness levels. Whereas before I used to think nothing of an hour or two's stroll over the hills with canine company, I now feel knackered after hobbling about a hundred yards. And that's despite giving up the fags and booze three weeks ago. Surprisingly, giving up the fags was easy. Always is when you have to. Well, I presume I had to. After all, some of the medics reckon it was smoking that originally caused the chloresterol build-up in the left leg artery which nearly killed me. Could have been diet of course, but test results showing 'normal' chloresterol levels suggest otherwise. Must be saving around 40 quid a week by kicking the nicotine and whisky. Or maybe a bit less. Pricey stuff these addictions.
Can't really comment on how things are going in the toe department. I get occasional jabs of pain which I presume is blood blasting its way into dead areas of flesh, but I might be wrong. Maybe it's just nerve endings on their last legs having one final fling. Who knows. And visually, there's not much to see. The big toe is now pink (was black, but a nurse pulled the old skin off - a bit like a snake shedding its skin) but remains a bit swollen. And it looks a bit of a mess (blackish) where the old toenail fell off - a new one will apparently grow back, according to Laurent, one of the nurses. However, the adjacent toe remains stubbornly black in its upper half with no apparent signs of new skin growth. I only get to see its condition briefly in the mornings when I remove the bandage and dressings in order to soak the foot in warm water before the nurse arrives at around 10am. Not a pretty sight. The toe that is, not the nurse.
All we can do is live in hope. Maybe that toe will suddenly shed its black coat and return to full fitness, but I remain somewhat pessimistic. And although the big toe seems to have escaped the chop, I have my doubts. Still, we'll just have to wait and see. Fingers crossed.
Bohemian hermit recluse hiding in the mist-shrouded hills and backwoods of central France; went to art school in the mid-Sixties and never really left; smokes like a fish (now given up) and drinks like a chimney (now only occasionally); fervent supporter of Aldershotnil FC; fascinated by the mystery of disappearing odd socks; follically, cosmetically and vertically challenged but horizontally unchallenged, otherwise perfect (it says here); probably one of the luckiest geezers in the whole wide world.