The Adventure Continues

Day 2 Saturday

Off we set for Manchester. We had previously contacted the local authorities and got information on where was safe to overnight park, details inserted into sat nav and away we went. Our daughter is living in Manchester and the purpose of our visit was to visit her so we needed a car park very close to her apartment which is very central. Sat nav was a bit odd as it led us into the city on a route we hadn’t previously driven before, however, we did notice that there were serious roadworks so thought that maybe our sat nav was super intelligent and was bringing us away from the mayhem these were causing. Ha ha – more was to come on our crazy sat nav!

Now I should say that when we were looking and subsequently bought the MH we told no one and indeed the first our children learned of it was the day our son drove us out to collect it and as we were transferring our stuff from the car to the MH he was taking as many pics as he could and sending them to our daughter. The response from her was hilarious, first she didn’t believe we had actually bought it, then she questioned our sanity as she hadn’t ever thought she’d hippy parents – her words, then she asked what we were doing with the house and proceeded to text us on how we were getting on in the caravan, eh we’re not tuggers! We had told her we’d meet her in the car park at the back of her apartment so when we turned up she was roaming between 6 car parks looking for us. She was stunned when she came into it and was surprpised at how self contained we were. An afternoon was spent shopping and having a mother/daughter catch up, Rupert was walked and that evening we went to www.akbars.co.uk where first we had a row with a taxi driver who couldn’t split £50 note and refused to take a card payment, when finally I managed to get change in a shop he had the cheek to take his tip without asking. We waited 2 hours for a table, we’d been told it would be a 30 min delay and service was appalling. Food was wonderful, however, it was just way too late for us all by the time it eventually arrived. The promise of after dinner cocktails went out the window and our daughter headed back to her apartment and us to our MH. After a good nights sleep I cheated the following morning, all due to the wonky heater, and had a luxurious shower in her apartment, accessed wifi and watched the news on TV. It’s always the simple things I miss. With tears in all our eyes we left a sunny Manchester with promises to visit soon again.

One incident today, OH decided to move the MH, I said watch out for Ruperts bowls, he said they’ll be fine, result one bowl left in smithereens!

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Motorhome Adventures to the UK

Motorhome Adventure to UK

So we’ve tried, tested and had a couple of incidents in Ireland in the first few weeks so a decision was made to see how we get on in the UK. We’ve done the overnight with Rupert so know he’ll be fine and will sleep but also as our MH is under guarantee we want to fully debug it before guarantee expires. Having said all the above this trip did come as a surprise to me.

I came off the course on Tuesday 7th to a text that my OH was in the process of booking sailings with Irish Ferries that coming Friday. I got home before anything was booked and paid for and suggested he change the sailing to an earlier time thus allowing us arrive in daylight! That evening I pointed out that we would need to know where we were stopping over each night before we travelled as we wouldn’t have access to wifi and so the hunt started.

One website we found particularly good was http://alanrogers.com/ We also emailed a few tourist information sites requesting information on overnight wild camping. The replies we received were very helpful and I would advise anyone to try this.

Day 1 Friday

So Friday morning dawned bright and early, I was sleep walking, not the best first thing in the morning. MH had been packed from the night before, dog was woken out of his deep sleep and half fed and off we went. Having gone to the trouble and expense to get Rupert his pet passport I was there at the ready to hand it over – never asked for it or ours. As we’d a kennel booked we settled Rupert in, padlock and bed and off we went. It was lovely sailing out of Dublin Port at dawn and overall it was a very pleasant crossing.IMG_1253

Once we docked we got Rupert settled back into the MH and off we went on our adventure. Priority was to let him have a run so we drove to Trearddur Bay. This is a blue flag beach and it is lovely, the tide was in so we didn’t see it at it’s best but went for a lovely long walk. Once back in the MH we set off again. I had already stated that the maximum time we would drive without a break was 2 hours as I wanted Rupert to have loads of walks but also my OH is inclined to drive and drive and we were not in any rush, after all this was supposed to be a leisurely week in the UK. Having stopped a couple of times along the coast, one particularly nice place is Llanfairfechan Beach we eventually arrived in our parking spot for the night, and what a parking spot it was. IMG_1259The village was Neston in Cheshire, lovely to stroll around and we were parked, with previous permission granted at The Harp Inn, 19 Quayside, Neston, Merseyside, CH64 0TB This is a very small pub on the Wirral and its very popular with walkers as there are beautiful walks in the area. Having explored the village, fed ourselves and Rupert we all took off to the pub – wasn’t far, maybe 20 yards! It was fantastic, they don’t serve food but serve everything else with a smile and not only are dogs welcome but Rupert and 3 others were running and playing in the bar, all trying to sneak behind for crisps – unsuccessfully! So far so good! Rupert slept like a log that night, we had brought his crate with us so we knew he wasn’t going to wander around and climb up on us.

The following morning we decided to turn on the hot water for showers and head out for breakfast to a fab café, about 10 mins walk, which we had heard about the night before. Net’s Café is just superb, the will do up whatever you want. As this is all part of the Wirral marshes walk it is full of, yes, walkers but also cyclists. There are areas for dogs with drink bowls left out for them. Upon return to MH we ran into a problem. The water hadn’t heated, we did have a problem as everytime we tried the red light came on and shut it down. After many many attempts we finally got it going but this was to be the story of our week – well I did say we were debugging.

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Road Trip no 3 and 1/2

So, we’ve a motorhome that we can’t drive without incident, now to see how we’d manage with our dog.  He’s not a small dog and not a terrible quiet dog so meet Rupert IMG_0440our Airedale who is a big part of our family.  So first I had to sort out a car harness and a tether and with much research I bought a Bergan Car Harness from http://www.easyanimal.co.uk and next thing was a trial run in our car – he got out of it, so another fail.  Last week we decided to try again, refitted harness on Rupert, attached the tether to the seat belt anchor in the motorhome, took off the soft furnishings, put his bed up and away we went.  He was not happy.  We drove to Greystones and took him for a long walk on North Beach.  We then bought the necessary scones and back to the MH, attached Rupert to the door catch and made our coffee while he sat happily watching the world go by through the open door.

Finally, we drove home, yes I drove too on the M50, Rupert was happy on the return journey and we’d no incidents!

Now for an overnight.

The plan was for Bob to play golf on Saturday morning then we’d load up and head somewhere not too far away for the night to see how Rupert would get on.  Best laid plans of mice and men meant that our local trip turned into somewhere much further with Rupert getting a baptism of fire in spending time in the MH.  Towards the end of the week we discovered we’d not one but two funerals to attend in Cork, thankfully both local, Ladysbridge and Castlemartyr at 12 and 14.30 on Saturday.  We decided, despite having accommadation available that we’d stick to our original plan and off we would go.

It was an early start on Saturday morning and Rupert was quite happy sitting up looking out the window.  We had a stop on the way down and eventually arrived in Ladysbridge in time for Mass.  There was no question of looking for a quiet parking spot, we just parked down from the church. As I hurridly changed, the table was adjusted and Rupert’s crate put up.  Bedding thrown into it and off we went.  We heard a whimper for a few minutes then all quiet.  When we returned he was fast asleep, so far so good.  We then drove down to Garryvoe, more coffee and a good run for Rupert who by this stage had decided he actually wanted to be in the MH.  Due to overhead barriers there is no parking for MH’s in Garryvoe, however, if you continue just past the mobile homes there is a parking spot down to the beach. For the second funeral we had been advised that we could park behind the houses in Castlemartyr resort, again, crate appeared, Rupert jumped in and away we went.  We left that church to head to funeral reception No 1. Both these funerals were in the same parishes albeit in different churches and there was a huge crossover of mourners.  After this, it was family time so I walked Rupert down to visit one cousin, MH followed.  I was unsure of directions and was told I’d see the MH, yes I did but not ours!  From here it was off to another cousins house where we were parking up for the night.  Rupert was sent out to garden – huge shock for him but as you can see he’s a little bit big to be in anyone’s house.  He was fine.  More cousins arrived, pizza, wine, beer, not for me and cake.  Bob got Rupert to bed no bother and when I followed at some ungodly hour he barely made a move in the crate and slept all night until Bob woke up.  As we didn’t want to wake anyone we decided to make our own coffee in the MH only to discovered we’d no gas!

I should add that there was a bed made up for us but we were insistent on this being the trial overnight with Rupert, however, my cousin did leave a key out for me in case I decided to bale during the night – I didn’t.

So now we’re on a hunt for gas.  Over a late breakfast we looked at http://www.calorgas.ie for locations where we could buy a 11kg red propane cylinder with an F valve – at least that’s what I think we were looking for!  Being it Sunday, most places were closed and those that weren’t didn’t stock it.  It was time to leave with fresh eggs and cake – don’t you just love your country cousins, well I do anyway – you can’t beat a true free range egg.  The hunt for gas started and continued to Tramore.  Nope no gas to be got.  We parked up on the sea front and went for a beach walk, a very wild and windy one, bought our own coffee and settled in for a while watching the waves crashing over the promenade and looking at all the MH’s passing, we counted 9.

It’s a record – we got home in one piece, I even drove, motorways only, Rupert had a great time, we got a night’s sleep and have now decided to take off for the UK and the Motorhome Show in NEC.

Wonder how a sailing will go with Rupert in onboard kennels!

By the way we got gas on Monday in Dublin but think we’re going to have to buy a spare and now the research starts as to which we should get for european trips

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Road Trip no 2 Thursday 18th – Sat 20th

Busy week as one of the things I did was to organise a pet passport for our dog, Rupert, so we can take off abroad when we choose. I also sourced a car harness for him and a non spill drink bowl. This time we were heading to Donegal, Inishowen Peninsula and, yes, for more golf. We had a detour on the way to collect a new wheel in Letterkenny. We stayed at Pollan Bay, another wild camping spot from MotorhomeCraic and it is just fabulous despite the idiots doing donuts for around 20 mins in the car park. There is a fabulous 4 mile marked walk on the beach which I would highly recommend doing.

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The following day we were booked to play Glashedy Links at http://www.ballyliffingolfclub.com/ but the general manager suggested as we had driven up that we play The Old Course too. As we were booked to play http://www.northwestgolfclub.com/ the following morning our plan was to stay at a wild camping spot in Buncrana that night. We were, however, advised that this isn’t the safest spot unless we got a place at the tourist office and there was nothing more to it than for the general manager to go to the trouble to find us a hook up in the car park and stay at Ballyliffin. There was music and craic that night and too much wine.

 

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Our adventure continued with golf on the Saturday and another incident – as we were leaving my beloved, with the entire mens committee watching, reversed into a flag pole and broke the back light! Will we ever have an incident free journey? Thankfully no damage to the flag pole but brake light was replaced and now the hunt is on for a new tail light box.

We are thoroughly enjoying our new adventure albeit we haven’t quite relaxed into it yet. I would like to stay with and meet other MH owners as I’ve no doubt that we are missing many tricks and have so much to learn. Rupert’s harness and bowl have now arrived so for our next road trip there will be no golf clubs but walking boots and our dog.

I would like to thank everyone I’ve chatted to online for all their help and do hope to meet up with some of you at some stage in the future

 

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Road Trip no 1 Friday 12th September – Monday 15th

Once again, with thanks to www.motorhomecraic.com I learned about wild camping and as a subscribed member of the group was able to download sites on our Garmin. Off we chugged, it is a long journey so we had a few short stops on the way. On Friday night we stayed in a terrific spot on Blacksod Bay, sorry you’ll just have to become a subscriber to find out exactly where. There are 3 different wild camping spots, one had a triathlon starting on the Saturday so we decided we didn’t want to get stuck in traffic, another is a fabulous beach and at the 3rd, where we did stay we met an American who was travelling around Ireland photographing ancient sculptures and monuments – hated to tell him but he was looking at modern ones! After fabulous golf at http://www.carnegolflinks.com/ we headed off towards more fabulous golf at http://www.countysligogolfclub.ie/ another long drive. This time the general manager had given me permission to park in their car park which we were grateful of. There is a wild camping spot locally and also a caravan site but we found the owner of this site very unfriendly when we called to make enquiries.

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We really enjoyed our 2 nights away in our MH. Found a few little things that need to be fixed, we have a list. I slept like a log on both nights. We are still learning how to operate fridge, where to put everything and how to get water hot without the heating. It really has been a massive learning curve. So we set for home with the intention of getting back in day light so we could find the best way to park in our drive.

We are motoring along happily – we sort of, problem with the radio, both tired after all our golf and having to concentrate on how to operate our new home on wheels. It’s time for me to take over the driving. Open road, not a motorway, and I’m sitting up, driving away delighted with myself when suddenly, after 10 mins, there is a bumpity bumpy. Driving into Carrick I hit the kerb stones on the right hand side and the wheels immediately went flat due to damaged rims.

Shit

We limped into a car park, now what to do? I immediately get on to twitter where I get loads of advice including a phonecall from @doogarry and her husband offering to help. MotorhomeCraic were also giving me advice, I just couldn’t believe my stupidity. Breakdown Assist is the obvious place to call but having just got the MH we hadn’t got our documents through yet and I didn’t have the details with me. Lucky I’m a member of the AA and they said they would rescue us the following morning. Next thing the guards arrive, I’m thinking there will be fun if they decide to move us on but no, it was a friend of Mairead and Gerards (@Doogarry) checking to see where we ok. I have never met either Mairead or Gerard but they went out of their way to help us and I am so very grateful to them both. So an unexpected night in Carrick – could be worse places! Priority was to get the phones charged, indeed if anyone has tips on how to charge phones in a MH please do let me know, so off we went, found a pub, got everything on charge and settled down to watch the golf with a few glasses – as you do.

Following morning the rims were battered back into place and, thankfully, the tyres kept pressure so off we headed for home. With much toing and froing we managed to get parked in our drive just as a neighbour was passing asking where we now in the business of selling ice cream!!! It was a long journey home stopping at every tyre/wheel centre en route to see what needed to be done and could they help us. Advice was new wheel for front right and one new hub cap. The following few days were to be spent sourcing a wheel

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Tales and Adventures of a Motorhome

First a little about us, we met in school so, yes, childhood sweethearts. We were broke, oh so broke when we were students that we saved up and bought a tiny tent that took us everywhere. We had great fun and laughs and still have the memories of trying to put it up one night and the next thing there’s a crowd around us – apparently we were being blown towards a cliff! The other memory I have is staying in a field in Dingle, when I went to pay only the Granny was in the house. When she discovered we weren’t married, she doubled the rate!

In time we got married and, with a little more cash, started to fly abroad for holidays. In time a dog arrived and eventually we were blessed with 2 children. As they grew beyond the nappy stage off we went and bought a family size chalet tent and once the forecast looked reasonable on a Thursday night, the car was packed and off we went absolutely anywhere for the weekend. This went on for many years until we started taking our children abroad for a variety of adventures but without the tent.

Now we are at that stage in our lives where the children are now adults, dogs have come and gone over the rainbow bridge, we’re reduced to one again and we are back travelling on our own. When we were young we always said we’d love a motorhome and envied those we saw on the road. During a week in Sardinia this summer we started to see so many of them and this wet our appetites to maybe, just maybe, look at a few and see what they are like.

Where to start?

What to look for?

Who do we know that has one?

Are we serious about this?

As with everything else these days all research starts on the internet. I have read almost everything there is to read on owning and maintaining a motorhome and found www.boards.ie very interesting

http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=884

However the main help and assistance I got was from http://www.motorhomecraic.com/forum/ as I felt the information was of total relevance to me. I was so delighted to find this site that I quickly became a subscribed member which gave me even more access to the information I needed.

As everyone suggested we looked at so many. We fixed a budget, needed to be low profile – these words I had never heard of before – and have a fixed bed. We also met up with people we know who own a MH and they kindly invited us up to see theirs. We looked and looked. We drove around the country and back again, we made calls and even more calls and having started out just having a look to see what was available, then deciding we would do nothing until next March we ended up putting an offer in for the first MH we saw and collected it on Friday 12th September 2014. As we had golf booked for the Saturday in Belmullet the original plan was to collect on Thursday, get familiar with it and head off early on Friday, but unfortunately it wasn’t ready on time so MH was collected, loaded and driven to Belmullet while I was still wondering what was going on.

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5 Day Detox with @juice_2_go

imageFirstly I’ve no association with Juice2Go, and paid for my juices like anyone else but as so many people have asked me how I’m managing I thought I’d write about my 5 day detox. I’ve never done anything like this before and consider myself fit and healthy, despite waging an ongoing battle against skin cancer. I’m a healthy weight, carrying a few extra lbs since Christmas, a wedding and my sons 21st all in the space of 10 days.  I keep active, don’t work outside the home, play a lot of golf, sit on 4 committees and walk my dog for up to 2 hours daily. At the moment I’m also doing 2 challenges

#absfit  and #squatsfit

imageSo why?  Well since I finished the chemotherapy drug, interferon, I have never really got my joie de vivre back. It’s an extremely toxic drug and I was told it will take at least a year for the toxicity to leave my system and also that I may have some of the side effects forever.  Around Christmas I came across @juice_2_go on twitter, looked into it and, some would say, in a moment of madness I ordered 5 days detox juices online. Now they do a 3 day one, but, typical of me, it’s all or nothing.

imageLast Sunday my juices arrived, actually they almost didn’t as my husband told the delivery man that no one had ordered them and I’d to send him running after the car! I sorted through them, you get a list as to which ones are for which days, and put the first 2 days in the fridge, remaining in freezer. Word of caution, some of the bottles were filled to the brim and expanded during freezing.

Daily you drink 5 x 500 mls.  Breakfast is a litre bottle which is split between breakfast and mid morning, then there are 500 mls bottles for lunch, dinner and evening.  I drank a lot of water too and some herbal teas.

DAY 1 – it was with much trepidation I poured my first green drink, to my surprise it was delicious.  I had some business to do in the club so, as the morning was nice, took my clubs with me and played 9 holes.  Retuned home to my mid morning drink, and so the day progressed.  I took dog for a walk, did my challenges and was surprised at how I didn’t feel hungry, I do like my food in case anyone thinks I’m not a good eater! I was peeing a lot and I mean a lot and was very cold.  I’m not a fan of cold drinks at the best of times so decided to bring my juices to room temperature before I had them, this helped.

DAY 2 – woke up feeling fine, I was playing in a golf competition so was wondering would I last a round without my usual snack of a banana half way through. I was fine but decided not to go into the clubhouse, thought the smell of cooking might tip me over so home, more juice, took dog for a long walk and back to club for a committee meeting. Day 2 I breezed through but everyone has said Day 3 is the hardest.

DAY 3 – woke up feeling wobbly, as if my sugar levels were through the floor.  Got a bit concerned as have been advised to eat regularly due to another condition and was aware that I might have to stop at any stage.  However, once I had my breakfast juice I felt 100% again! Got stuff done around the house and headed out with dog for another walk.  I had an interesting challenge ahead though as 3 of my friends had arranged to meet for lunch! I had my mid morning juice a bit later, took my lunch juice with me in the car and headed out.  I had pre warned them so while they ate I’d 2 pots of herbal tea.  Honest to God the sight of them eating bothered them more than me, I wasn’t the slightest bit hungry.  Meanwhile they thought I was totally nuts and had, yet again, completely lost the plot. They also thought €99 + €10 delivery for the juices was expensive. I don’t really think it is, my juicer was kaput anyway also I felt by there being a financial outlay was motivation in itself to sticking to it.  On the way home I bought Seville Oranges with the intention of making marmalade later in the week but I was absolutely buzzing with energy that evening so successfully made some.  Shame I couldn’t taste it!

Day 4 – more golf but this time I went into the clubhouse following my round and had more herbal tea.  Now instead of friends thinking I’m mad they’re asking me how I’m finding it and are genuinely interested. I feel terrific, skin is glowing and I’m sleeping like a log, better than I have in 2 years. Again home, dog walked, my challenges done and, of course, housework.

DAY 5 – I’m a bit all over the place today and my routine has been interrupted.  I’m feeling tired, still managed to get everything done including a 2 hour walk but think I’ve let myself become dehydrated.  Despite the tiredness I feel and look terrific.  I didn’t start this with the sole intention of losing weight, the few extra Christmas lbs can happily go. I weighed myself before I started, haven’t stepped on the scales since but will do tomorrow.  Results will be interesting. I feel more toned but my intensity of exercise has increased over these 5 days and no doubt #absfit and #squatsfit are helping. I’m beginning to think what I’d like to eat tomorrow and I haven’t a clue.  I’ve no cravings, not even for chocolate, which is really strange for me.  I found the evening very difficult but convinced it was all psychological. Found myself thinking looking at food pics on twitter and that small little voice was saying, go on, have something it won’t matter now, but I didn’t!

Detox finished – so I woke this morning after another wonderful sleep with the knowledge that I did it! I’m thrilled with myself and always enjoy a challenge. My husband, remember he initially turned away the driver saying no one in this house has ordered juices from @juice_2_go is now saying it’s a terrific idea to do, especially after Christmas.  I cannot stress how good I feel the bounce is back in my step, I’m rearing to go.  My skin is glowing, hair shining, eyes clear and the result from the scales – I lost 7lbs. Some people reading this will say it’s all water loss, maybe it is, I don’t know, I can only state that the bloated feeling I had is gone and my clothes are loose.  Would I do it again? I would but not necessarily the 5 day detox, I would hope to recognise when my body needed a kick start and do the 3 day detox instead. Would I buy in my juices again? Yes I would unless I decided to start juicing on a regular basis myself, for me, part of the motivation in sticking to it was the financial outlay.  Would I recommend it? Unhesitatingly, my friends who were initially laughing at me are now genuinely interested because the benefits are obvious.  I will yet again reiterate that I have absolutely no connections with http://www.juice2go I purchased my juices online and never even met the driver.  The company have not asked me to write this blog nor are they aware that I am doing so.

Now I’m off to taste the marmalade that I made!

Thank you for reading

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Dental Phobia

Dental Phobia

Why do I hate the dentist? No hate is too mild a word, I’m totally phobic.

It starts with making the appointment, takes me forever just to pick up the phone and ring, then the tossing and turning starts leading up to the appointment with a totally sleepless night the night before.  Then arriving at the dentist in a state of total nerves, getting to the waiting room, freezing and when it’s eventually my turn having to be coaxed in and that’s only for a check-up!  If anything further is needed I go through it all again but get an injection which puts me out for the count.  I’ve been wondering why it has come to this and why it is only getting worse as I’m getting older, so thought I’d ponder my dental experiences over the years.

My very first memory is when I was very young, definitely before starting school, being horrified looking at my Dad with what I remember to be blood pouring out of his mouth – surely an exaggeration.  He came from a rural farm where there was no thought put into dental care, back then, and, somewhere in my mind I have a recollection of him being also terrified of the dentist.  Well on one visit, he was told he needed a couple of fillings and he was having none of that so elected to have all his teeth extracted and get fitted with dentures and that would be the end of that!  He was only 34 years old or thereabouts.

Next memory is me aged 7 waking up totally hysterical during the night that there were little men living in my molars.  I remember clearly my father trying to soothe me but there was no way I was closing my mouth because I was convinced that once I did I was killing some of these little people.  It turned out that I had a raging fever and indeed spent a month in bed.  Measles were rampant at the time and unfortunately I got them very badly but for some odd reason the spots didn’t appear for weeks, very serious dose I believe which almost led to me missing my First Holy Communion.

I can’t ever remember the tooth fairy appearing in our house so have no positive memory of losing teeth.  My first visit to the dentist was when I was aged around 9 and I needed a filling.  The dentist, for his own reasons, decided to pull the tooth instead!  When I was in boarding school I had a dreadful toothache and the nuns sent me back to the same dentist expecting me to return with a filling, I returned minus another tooth.  Strange dentist!

It was now getting to the stage that I was never going to attend a dentist again.  I left school, started working and one of my colleagues told me of her great dentist who used laughing gas and would definitely put me at ease.  Off I went, hmm. He checked my teeth, said I needed one on the top left filled and made an appointment for me to return.  I did, oh boy what a mistake that was.  I arrived at 8am terrified. In I went, the dentist was a total charmer who I felt wanted to be a Hollywood dentist.  As he was going through my notes with me strapped into the chair, he referred to me by a different name and then began working on a tooth; I’ll call this tooth, Trouble, on the right hand side.  I’d only gone and got a dentist who bloody well filled a tooth which was giving me no trouble at all and thought I was someone else.  I still can’t believe it.  When I got home later that day the tooth was aching a bit and continued to do so for a few days. I went back to see him again and he filed down the filling and more or less told me to get used to it.  Remember this tooth had never given me a bit of bother.  During the night I woke in absolute agony, I was down on my hands and knees from 2am washing the skirting boards, scrubbing the floors, tears of pain running down my face, trying to distract myself.  First thing I rang his surgery; agh he was on holidays, so I then rang his emergency contact and took myself off to yet another dentist.  It appeared I’d developed an abscess, what followed were antibiotics and root canal.  The dentist started shouting at me at one stage that if I didn’t open my mouth he’d have no choice but to pull the tooth. He never realised how lucky he was that I didn’t clamp my teeth shut on his hand.

It was a few years before I got the guts to visit yet another dentist; this was a female in a large dental practice that my sister in law recommended.  I went, not for a check-up but the tooth called Trouble was hurting.  I needed a pinned filling.  This lady was a lovely dentist but I was nowhere near going to biannual check-ups.  She only saw me when I was in trouble with the tooth called Trouble.

A few years ago I was playing a golf match and on the 4th hole my opposition gave me a wine gum – yikes it broke the pinned filling and I continued the match with a pin sticking into the side of my face – I won and won early, anything to get off the course.  I rang my husband’s nephew, he’s a dentist, and asked him what I would do.  He said to physically try to bend the pin flat against my tooth and get to a dentist as soon as possible – it was Good Friday.  So next working day, I’m on the phone again and my lady dentist can’t see me but someone else in the practice can.

I arrive; having gone through all the panic attacks you can imagine and am put into a different waiting area.  The nurse calls me in and I’m rooted to the spot, rooted as in a physically cannot move, I try, but no, my limbs just will not move.  She takes my hand, the dentist comes out and they both slowly coax me into his room.  It’s Trouble again!  Yet another pinned filling with the tears running down my face.  As I leave he sends his nurse out after me.  She says that whilst they are not allowed take patients from other dentists in the practice she wants me to know that this particular dentist offers full sedation.

Full sedation – as in he gives me an injection into my arm, I fall fast asleep, I’m collected from the dentist, return home to bed and sleep for hours.  This to me is just what I need.

There have been more problems since but I am now at the stage that I can walk into the dentist, well for a check-up anyway, in the knowledge that if anything needs to be done I will return and get the sleep of my life.

As for the tooth called Trouble – it ended up being extracted 2 years ago but yet another dentist but one I was referred to by my own.  It had very deep roots and he didn’t think he could do it without complications so this lovely dentist in Dalkey did it having first knocked me out, of course!

So, why am I so phobic of going to the dentist?  Could be anyone of the above reasons, all I know is that if I hadn’t found the dentist I’m with now I would probably have gone down my father’s route and said get rid of them all.

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A Look back and a thank you to my twitter pals

2nd January 2013

A look back at 2012 and a look forward to 2013

Yes it’s been a while since I updated this but there’s been a lot for me to get my head around.  This time last year, despite my best efforts, I was so very sick.  My dog Rodney was also on his last legs and it was an awful time for us both.  I decided that the only way to get through this year was to book a holiday for Oct/Nov, a week in the sun anywhere, I’m not fussy but something for me to look forward to beyond this awful drug.  The Oncologist in my Nov visit following 3 weeks on 9 miu’s reduced the dose back to 6 miu’s thinking I would be feeling much better.  On my last visit to the oncologist, Jan,  I yet again told his nurse that my confusion was getting worse, I was slurring some of my words and becoming more and more forgetful.  She, yet again, replied – Oh that’s a side effect!  It wasn’t even charted and I now know that this was a significant side effect which should have set sufficient warning bells ringing to be taken off interferon immediately.  My weight loss is also dramatic and overall I was feeling just awful.  A few weeks into the new year and I had decided that on my next visit which was due to be March I was calling stop, I’ve had enough, I’ve given it my best shot, I want my life back.  Oh but life, as usual, has it’s own way of dealing  with things!

After a number of very stressful weeks Rodney was put to sleep on 30th Jan, I was heartbroken then our daughter was made redundant on 1st Feb  It was a huge shock to her as her team were looked upon as being untouchable.  She had already made plans to move out and, having paid her deposit, feels she will get a job and it is worth making the change at the end of Feb.  So life motored on with me looking forward to my appointment to finally come off this awful drug when my life was suddenly turned upside down on 22nd Feb.  I will not go into details, just can’t put it into print as I’m still in shock, but it ended with me being taken to hospital via ambulance, coming off interferon immediately, more tests and scans the outcome of which is I’m not allowed drive until May 13.  In the space of 3 weeks I lost my beloved Rodney, Daughter made redundant, Daugher moves out, with our insistence and I end up back in hospital.  I sat in my kitchen and cried the day she moved out, I was happy for her that she was going but I felt that day that my life was spiralling out of control.

So what is it like not to be allowed drive?  Its crap!  In one foul swoop I’ve lost my independence.  I feel a prisoner in my own home needing not only permission to leave but also a reason why I want to go somewhere!  Men you really don’t have a clue.  My OH is happy to drive me wherever I want but it’s followed with the question why do you want to go there and what do you want to get.  Grr!  He just doesn’t get it.  My golf has more or less fallen by the wayside as am totally dependent on other members giving me lifts.  I’m the worst in the world to ask.  The side effects of interferon take a minimum of a year to leave the system so it was really the end of the summer before I began to feel normal again.  Some side effects will linger forever and if I knew then what I know about this drug I’d never have gone on it.  I also feel I am suffering from survivor’s guilt.  So many people I know have died this year, either from MM. an online supportive friend of mine who had similar side effects to me and came off the drug after my experience in February died in May.  Another lady I have known for years was diagnosed with a tumour in March and we buried her last week.  There must be some reason why after 6 malignant tumours I’m still here but I’m struggling to find a reason why.  There is nothing special about me, I’m just a normal, stay at home Mum who has been unlucky with her health but yet I’m still here whereas others with better prognosis than I are gone.  Really don’t understand it at all.

So the year continued. I got a puppy called Rupert who is an Airedale Terrier who by default ended up attending dog shows and doing very well – this is worthy of another blog because the show dog scene really is another world!  Rupert, however, was neutered before Christmas so that’s the end of his career.  We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in the Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore which was wonderful and had our anniversary meal in The Tannery in Dungarvan, again wonderful and a 2 night break I hope to repeat.  Michael, @DiamondsIrl organised my present to my OH for me and kindly wrapped and delivered to The Tannery for me.  I got him a set of cufflinks and a tie pin made in the shape of Africa, long story but he’d been looking for them for years.  You can imagine my surprise when, for the first time in 35 years, he actually managed to not only surprise me but also made me cry by giving me a present of a trip to South Africa.  We are flying to George in less than 2 weeks and driving through the Garden Route, into Cape Winelands, have a few nights in Cape Town before boarding the Blue Train and finishing our trip in Sandton.

Our daughter settled into her new apartment only for her boyfriend to get a transfer with his job to Dublin and for them both to get their own place in September.  So I guess she is on her way to being settled.  She was only out of work for 3 weeks in the end and also in September was head hunted by 2 different companies so big changes this year for her too.

Our Son is settling into student life, studying, working part time, planning holidays and social life.  He is still as steady as ever and I’m in shock to think that he is only days away from his 20th birthday.  He is my gentle giant and will make a terrific husband one day.

In Nov we went on that holiday we had planned in Jan.  My cheap week away ended up a Caribbean Cruise which was fantastic.  I will post my review to my blog.

So that has been 2012, quiet for me not being able to get around by myself but I’m feeling so much better than this time last year.  Hair has fully grown back and I’m now at a good weight, don’t want anymore thank you!!!  So I now look forward to 2013 – I will be driving again!!!  I’m planning on doing a twitter tour as so many of my twitter friends have been my rock during this past 2 years.  They have no idea how much they helped get me through the dark days  of which there were many.  I tried not to moan and indeed looked forward to my twitter chats to keep me interested in the outside world.  Twitter pals I thank you more than you will ever know.

After SA I’m heading to Crufts for a day, something I’ve always wanted to do and I am really looking forward to this.  I am also hoping to do fun stuff with Rupert, Agility, dog club etc but again until I am back driving cannot really plan.  I am also planning on staying healthy despite what my team think, they’re expecting another tumour at some stage in the future and something is being monitored now, if it happens it will be disappointing, however, I will fight to the end!

So 2013 please be a nice year, I and my family have now had 2 bad years and could do with a good one.  My wish for everyone is for health and happiness in 2013

 

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One knock after another

12th October 2012 – What I wouldn’t give for a full night’s sleep, if I could sleep this is something I would dream of.  I have started taking neurofen plus at night which is helping with the pain but I’m repeatedly waking up spiking a temperature, at least 6 times per night.  I am also getting really bad joint and muscle pains which I think is indicative of a low grade infection.  I will know soon enough but I am managing on the increased dosage.

The other problem is weight loss which I’m sure will annoy people when I say it is a problem.  I didn’t have that much extra weight to start with and I’ve now lost almost a stone.  I look great, my face is a bit pinched and I really don’t want or need to lose anymore.  My clothes are literally falling off me.  I’m sitting here in a pair of jeans which are hanging! It is the one time in my life that I should actually be eating high fat, high calorie food but I can’t bloody well taste anything and therefore have no appetite.  The nurse was supposed to contact me with an appointment to see a dietician, just to see if they can suggest other foods I can try – that hasn’t happened, why am I not surprised?

Then to further add to my litany of being poked and prodded this year I’ve been called to breast check today.  I think it is a fantastic service and it has certainly caught many of my friends early.  The last time I went I was recalled which put the frighteners up me as it was less than a year since my 5th MM.  Thankfully everything was ok, they thought, they weren’t the most reassuring.  Today should be fun – not!  It starts with a form to complete which, if memory serves me right asks any recent surgeries, taking any medications etc.  I’m going to go early as I suspect I’m going to be causing a few raised eyebrows.  I questioned my oncologist on whether I should go at all, considering the scans in January and PET in April but he said it would make sure I’m still in the system which is important.

It was my birthday on Sunday and we had a lovely day out.  I couldn’t help but think back on last year’s when yes I knew I had something funny growing but had been told it was nothing, so maybe I was just a little concerned but my memory is one of feeling so carefree.  Little did I know what was ahead?

17th October – I’m sitting here absolutely steaming.  Had my mammogram and tried to tell the nurse what was going on in my life this year.  Really got the feeling she wasn’t that interested, only in any breast changes.  She asked if I’d any weight loss, I replied yes loads since July due to the treatment.  She said she was only interested in case my breast size had changed.  Having been squashed and pummelled which brought tears to my eyes she finally said I was free to go.

Was I worried?  No as I feel I’ve had enough scans etc this year that if there was something else there it would have shown up.  However, I was surprised that she wasn’t more interesting in my surgeries this year and also in the fact that I’m on interferon.  The only thing she wrote down on my form was that I was on interferon.  I thought, considering my history, she should have arranged for me to speak to the doctor or at least taken some notes.

So why am I now steaming and raging?  They’ve only gone and recalled me for breast assessment this Wednesday.  Firstly I think this is a waste of time, secondly I feel that if I’d been taken seriously last Wed this wouldn’t be happening and thirdly I can’t attend.  At 9 on Wednesday, same time, I will be getting my bloods for my oncologist done and getting my flu jab.  I am surprised that they have recalled me so quickly, last time there was a 3 week break.  Hubbie, meanwhile is away this week so I’m not going to tell him or the kids.  No point in stressing everyone out!

4th November – Oh Boy was that a bad week and that is the understatement of the year.  I got the letter on the Monday and proceeded to try to just get through things until my appointment on Wed.  First up was the flu vaccine and the bloods.  It took them 6 attempts until they could find a vein.  I know they’re bad at the best of times but the nurse herself seemed to be getting more and more flustered.  She asked me if I wanted to leave it for another day – eh no I can’t these have to get to my oncologist before I see him.  Finally she called in a second nurse and first go and she’s in.  Thank God for that!  Then I headed over to BreastCheck.  The last time I was recalled I brought my OH with me and he was the only male there, this time I was the only person on my own, there were 2 ladies with their doctors and everyone else had their partners with them.  The heating was off which they apologised for, didn’t bother me as I was roasting at this stage!  While I sat in the room and waited I wondered what everyone else’s story was and also how many of the group of us sitting there were going to leave after hearing bad news and have a tough few months/years ahead.  Their lives, as they knew it, were going to change and I felt very sorry for them.

Not mine though!  Another blinking cyst and again on the left side.  They’re not worried about it, no need to aspirate except that this one is quite big; however, a decision is made that because of the risk of infection due to the interferon they will leave well alone.  I skip out! Then world comes crashing down again.

I arrive home to hear that a pal of the boys has commit suicide.  I am just so upset and in total shock.  It wasn’t a first attempt, he and his family have their own problems but it is still a huge shock.  He was found dead the morning after the debs which he chose not to attend, so sadly that memory will live with the boys for their lives.  They will also have to deal with the fact that a classmate of theirs had commit suicide.  The funeral was just heart-breaking, his mother was so strong, we all assumed she had taken some medication – she hadn’t, it just made us all the more upset.  She spoke of her son and said that although she couldn’t sing, when he was sad she used to sing this song to him and he’d give her a kiss and a hug afterwards.  None of us will ever be able to listen to it again without thinking of him http://youtu.be/I85ApzR43jU

When we left the service I got a genuine fright when I saw the boy, he was ashen faced and looked absolutely exhausted.  All the boys were in bits and totally shocked and upset.  It is very difficult to see a group of pals, all 18/19 years old on the brink of manhood and all in excess of 6ft tall so upset.  Set off us mothers again.  I spoke to him at length that evening and he really is shell shocked.  He is clinging onto the fact at he saw his pal at a party a couple of weeks ago and he was in good form.  He asked me what I thought of the Humanities service, the eco-friendly coffin and the cremation.  Then I got the biggest shock of my life, this poor boy had discussed his funeral in great detail with all his friends and it went exactly as he wanted.

My Oh arrived home the following morning and the upset started all over again.  He too is just shocked, dumbfounded and greatly saddened.  This has not been a good week and seems to have been a trigger for bringing the black dog to my door.  I’ll soldier on.

So back to the oncologist on 26th October and the news this time is

Neutrophils haven’t dropped significantly but still very low.

Creatinine levels up despite me trying to drink 3L a day they tell me to drink more agh!

Weight considerable and noticeable and now being monitored

Hair loss also noticed so also being monitored, told not to wear hats!

Sometimes people give up this drug because they cannot cope with the side effects sometimes their bodies can’t cope.  He has never had a woman go as far as me before and only ever got 1 man to 9 miu’s and he lasted only a couple of days.

Plan now is to do another week at 6 miu’s, I started this dose on 25th September and this will be 6 weeks.  On the 6th November I increase to 9 miu’s!!!!  As I am always sick first week of a change in dosage and don’t really settle down until end of week 2 it was decided that I get my bloods done on week 3 and see him at start of week 4 unless I’ve to contact him otherwise.

He said I’m one determined lady – my response – you don’t live with this since 1989 without becoming determined!

So if my body accepts increased dose I’ll finish on 6th November 2012, if it doesn’t I’ll revert to 6 miu’s and finish on 25th September 2012.

Still sounds like a crap way away but at least I know officially now there is an end date!

Not sure how I’m feeling about it all to be honest, they’ve given me a script for solpadol to see if that will help the joint pains at night – they are pretty much all over now, can cope ok during the day but pain wakes me at night.  Food has turned into something akin to brushing my teeth, as in it’s something I have to do and make myself take at least a few bites.  Wine thankfully still tastes fine but I’m a very cheap date as half a glass and I’m feeling it.

Would love a holiday, however, with the neutropenia I couldn’t risk a flight at the moment so I’m going to wait until I’m settled on some dose and then talk to him about trying to get away for a week.  Sun would be lovely as dampness here isn’t helping with joint pain.

Oh he lost me – I overheated so nurse opened door to courtyard for me to get some air and never told him where I was!!

I’ve been struggling now for a few weeks so yesterday went for a Reiki Healing Session.  The girl, who was recommended to me, was very perceptive and intuitive and lots came up.  To be honest I am not sure how I feel today.  I need my mojo back quickly.  The Solpodol are helping me sleep better but 2 is too strong and I’m like a zombie in the mornings so have cut back to 1 with the interrupted sleep but I think it is better than it was.

So onwards and upwards from here on in.  I need to get motivated again, I need to wake up every morning with a reason to get out of bed, I need to find things to do and quickly, I need to turn my life around!

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