Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The 'Flu

It's now twelve days since I had my tooth out. The pain has almost gone but the gum is still much too tender to let me eat on that side. What is worse is that the gumboil is still there - and that was the reason why the tooth was pulled out in the first place! How can I possibly still have any infection there with my decaying old tooth gone? I am rinsing with warm salt water and rubbing Corsodyl on it but nothing seems to work. Any ideas, anyone? I really don't want to have to resort to antibiotics.

Last time I was at the doctor's she merrily offered me a flu jab and I turned it down. The only time I ever had one was in 1996 and three days later I developed full-blown flu with a high temperature and all the aches and shivers, and then my poor mum died so I had to drag my flu-ridden body onto a train - on a Sunday, with engineering works turning a 2 1/2 hour journey into a 5 hour one - and arrived to find that the police had taken her away to the police mortuary, and wouldn't let me see her for a whole week. I was desperate. It was January 1996 and every day I would walk into the police station and beg tearfully to be allowed to see the body of my beloved mum. And each time they said no, because the doctor hadn't issued the death certificate yet.

Eventually, I went to see him. By this time, I was beyond speech. My voice had completely gone, I could hardly breathe and as soon as he saw me, he said I had laryngitis and a chest infection as well as flu, and gave me antibiotics. When I got back to London, I visited my own doctor only to be told I was no longer a patient of theirs. I broke down in the surgery, thinking that I'd committed some misdemeanour and been struck off their list. In fact, due to an administrative error, all my notes had been transferred to my mother's GP in Liverpool.

This episode ranks alongside the day my daughter's father ditched me for another woman when I was pregnant with the child he'd said he wanted us to have, and the day I had to hand her over to the adoption society, as one of the most wretched times of my life. So when my GP gaily asked if I'd like a flu jab, I said no, because it brings back very unhappy memories.

I don't want to get flu, of course, so in place of a jab, I am taking a homoeopathic remedy called Triple Flu Defense - http://www.triplefludefense.com/ - which is formulated afresh every season to protect against the latest strains. 20 drops on the tongue every Sunday. I shall let you know if I manage to dodge the virus or not. Last night, I went for a meal with an old friend in North London and stayed over. Her lodger had just come back from Sweden and brought a nasty cold with him and by this morning she had started going down with it. Will I escape their germs? Watch this - atchoo! - space!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Resplendent orchid

My much neglected orchid, which was a gift from Mr Grumpy's step-daughter five years ago, has done me proud. Last time it bloomed, it produced seven flowers. Now it's given me thirteen beautiful blossoms and all it's had is the occasional drink of water and one drop of Baby Bio. Isn't it glorious?

This week Molly wears...

... a lovely cotton kaftan-style top from Oxfam with a squiggly blue pendant from the Thames Hospice charity shop. Not a bad little haul! Her nether regions look rather chilly so I suppose I should drape a scarf round them to protect her modesty.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Horse sense

I had the oddest dream last night about my sister and her horse, Millie. Here they are in this photo taken recently in Cumbria in the North Lakes. In the dream, I walked into someone's lounge, and there, spread on a sofa, sound asleep, was Millie. She was lying on her side, like a dog. I sat beside her, stroked her neck and muzzle and confessed that I had always been nervous of horses. Whereupon Mille opened an eye and told me I had no reason to be scared of her and that she wouldn't kick or bite me. We proceded to have a long chat. Sadly, I can't remember what about! I must have still been under the influence of the three jabs of Novocaine and the several painkillers I had taken while having my huge molar removed yesterday afternoon.

I now have a hole in my gum an inch long and about 3/4 of an inch wide. It took an hour to remove the tooth, with much wiggling and rocking. My neck and shoulders are killing me. What a pity I wasted money on a massage on Wednesday. I'd really appreciate one now!

To minimise the risk of knocking out the clot and getting 'dry socket', which is agonising as it means the nerves in your jawbone, and even the bone itself, are exposed, I am under strict orders not to eat or drink on that side for a fortnight, not to touch it with my tongue, not to sneeze, blow my nose or make any sucking movements (drinking through a straw would have been SO much easier), and to rinse with warm salt water after every meal and before bedtime. I have had to cancel arrangements for meals and parties for the next fortnight and am living in fear of the dreaded 'dry socket'. I'd never heard of it till yesterday. I most certainly do not want it! Wonder why they couldn't have put some stitches in to hold the wound together?

As for what happens next... In two months' time I can have either a bridge or an implant. I'll need something, as the gap shows when I smile. But I shall have to shop around because my dentist's prices are sky-high. Trip to Budapest? Hmmm. Too far to go if something goes wrong. Now, if I'd have been younger, I'd have looked around for a dentist to seduce, but no chance of that now!!! I knew someone who did that. She had an affair with a driving instructor and got all her lessons free. Then she ditched him and dated, in turn, a dentist, a doctor an estate agent and a builder. She's probably married to a cosmetic surgeon by now and eyeing up an undertaker.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Spot the cat!

Can anybody explain to me why cats are so attracted to clean laundry? You'd think they would opt to sleep on a heap of dirty clothes that smelt comfortingly of their pet humans, rather than a pile of newly washed stuff stinking of the chemicals in the washing liquid and fabric conditioner.

And another thing... How come they always know that you have just carried some clean garments up and laid them on the bed? There could be no cat in sight, but within moments, one has morphed into being, beamed up from the bottom of the garden, or beneath the table, and is furrily, almost invisibly, ensconced on  your nice, clean (?) laundry.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Wedding Anniversary Party

My friends Mo and Jon celebrated their silver wedding anniversary by throwing a big party for friends and family at the fabulous Pitzanger Manor in Ealing, West London yesterday. http://www.soaneeducation.org.uk/project/pitzhanger/index.cfm

Mr Grumpy couldn't go because the nearest parking was a goodly hike away and he can't walk far since his strokes, so, dressed in all my finery (fabulous purple, silver and cerise striped Per Una skirt I'd bought for £3 in a charity shop, red tights, purple shoes, cerise top and black lace jacket), I went there by bus, which took an hour due to the usual traffic jams in Southall, but the weather was fine and sunny and I was lucky enough to find a seat on the bus.

On arrival, we were all handed a glass of champagne and after an hour of milling around, Jon made a lovely speech and we then found our allotted tables and served ourselves from the buffet. Mo and Jon are known for fine dining and the food, provided by a personal chef and caterer called Phillip McMullen, was out of this world. I have never encountered such combinations of flavours and textures - macadamia nuts, quinoa and wild rice, watercress salad with all kinds of additions, mouthwateringly tender beef, squash and beetroot mixed with flavoursome things I couldn't even name. And with a constant supply of wines, the guffaws and screeches coming from each table soon scared the squirrels on the rolling, sun-dappled lawns.

We had to vacate the building by 5pm and the party was due to continue at Mo and Jon's house from 7pm onwards, but after an hour on the bus home, I really didn't feel like spending another one going back to their house later, and anyway, I felt far too bloated to move. You don't have to look too closely at the photo of me (taken after I got back) to spot the spare tyre. It truly was a wonderful day. Most of the adults present, including myself, had been to their wedding 25 years earlier. When asked to put up our hands if we'd been at the wedding, their son George raised his, as he was born six months later!

The top photo shows Jon on the left, making his speech, and Mo in the lime green top at the far right. In the middle photo, the friend who was best man at their wedding is speaking (I included this pic to give you some idea of the wonderful ceilings) and the bottom one is bulgy me with my bright orange hair! The figure behind is a dressmaker's dummy called Molly whom I dress in a different outfit every week. This is a great way of finding out what goes with what.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Brain-rot sets in

My mother started developing dementia when she was around 80. Not Alzheimer's, but the kind of dementia you get when your arteries fur up and your brain isn't getting enough oxygen. Vascular dementia, I think it is called. She would ask for a cabbage in the off-licence and go to the butcher's for a bottle of whisky (and probably get it, knowing her butcher). It was confusion rather than outright memory loss. For exaample, she would get out some fish fingers to eat, remark that they were rather tough and not realise that she was supposed to have cooked them.

Like all people who have seen it, I fear it. And three days ago I downright terrified myself by being unable to remember a simple word. I had a splinter in my finger. I wanted to get it out. "Have you seen the..." I asked Mr Grumpy. "Seen what?" he asked irritably, because the poor thing has raging toothache in his top left wisdom tooth again. (And won't go to the dentist, but Mr G and his teeth are another story and a very long and ugly one, too, just like his tooth.) "The... you know, the things you pull things out with, like chin and eyebrow hairs," I said crossly, angry with myself for not being able to think of the word and madly stirring the old braincells into lumpy porridge..

In an insufferably patronising tone, he replied, "Last time I saw the TWEEZERS, they were on the shelf behind the scissors."

Tweezers! Of course! That was the word. How could I have forgotten? But then, when was the last time I used them? Six months ago? (Not having enough eyebrows left to merit plucking.) It wasn't a word I ever used in conversation. Can a word evaporate from non-use in just six months? If so, then why haven't I forgotten tampon? I haven't used one of those since my hsyterectomy in 1998!

It was a very scary moment and it has worried me sick ever since. Isn't this the kind of symptom you have to watch out for? Is this the beginning of the end? Will I soon have to go around wearing a label saying, 'If found, please return to...'?

This led me to wondering why we are not all chipped at birth, like cats and dogs are, with our name, date and place of birth and parentage. That way, those fraudsters who assume multiple identities and claim thousands of pounds in benefits wouldn't get away with it. And if they tried to remove or change the chip, some alarm would go off somewhere and inform the authorities. Smacks too much of 1984 and Big Brother? Maybe. But at least, in the (I hope distant) future, it might help me find my way back home, along with Rover and Fluffy and the tortoise from No. 49.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A picture to make you smile

I call this Double Doze. Flad in his favourite position, legs akimbo, and a recumbent fox. This really is a crazy garden!