25 August 2011

Countdown ... He's Coming Home ...

Thank you all for the wonderful messages and emails, texts, Tweets, FB comments, blog comments, phone calls, face-to-face contact and general loveliness over the last 19 weeks. You'll never know just how much you've all kept me going whilst Pauley's been in hospital.

And finally, on Tuesday, he's coming home ... after 20 weeks (bar 2 days). That's almost FIVE MONTHS!  After the awful 13 weeks in Yeovil Hospital he moved to St Mark's Hospital in Harrow on 13 July and began to improve from day one. Having lost so much weight he weighed just under 8 stone, he is now, thankfully almost at his target weight of 10st 7lbs. This is due to the nutrition mentioned in the last post, which will continue once Pauley gets home. He will be 'hooked up' to it every night for 12 hours for as long as it takes. It may be for life, or it may just be for a few months, or somewhere inbetween. Only time will tell us the answer to that one.

A fridge is being delivered tomorrow for the nutrition bags to be stored (they're delivered in weekly or fortnightly quantities), together with all the other required apparatus. Then on Tuesday the first batch will be delivered before Pauley arrives home. He should arrive early-mid afternoon and initially a nurse will come in every evening and morning until we're both proficient at the sterile connecting and disconnecting of the line for the bags. Once we pass that test she'll come once a week as I understand it.

Life is going to be very different both initially, while Pauley gets used to the outside world once again and I get used to having someone else in the house after all that time on my own(!!), and also long-term once we adjust to the (albeit minimal) constraints. He eats and drinks normally, but very little nutrition is actually absorbed, but there are a number of no-go foods and drinks. Low fibre, high fat, plenty of salt; full-fat milk, nothing fizzy. So, definitely no beans of any sort, no broccoli stalks, no potato or fruit skins for starters!

But we have ... LIFE ... and for that I am exceedingly grateful ... and having had time to take stock over the last few months I think we both realise that life is for living, not for racing from pillar to post, chasing tails and worrying that we're not achieving, but for enjoying each other's company and taking time to smell the roses ...

Sue x

20 July 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel ...

Thank you all for the lovely messages we've received over the last few weeks. This post is once again about Pauley's progress as I don't seem to be doing anything at the moment other than concentrating on his state of health.

However, we do actually have some progress at last. You may recall in my last post I said that Paul was on the waiting list for St Mark's Hospital in London or Torbay Hospital. Imagine my surprise when he called me at 7.45 last Wednesday morning to say he was off to London. I thought he was joking ... after 12 weeks in Yeovil it seemed as if nothing would ever happen. I leapt out of bed when he said he was going that morning and could I take in some clothes as the ambulance was booked for 11 o'clock.

So, there he is, in the Lennard-Jones IF Unit at St Mark's within Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow - a teaching hospital of mega proportions - and I went up from Saturday to Monday to visit. Within the 'campus' are bedrooms with own bathrooms which can be rented on a daily basis by visitors, so I was able to stay for a couple of nights in comfort without having to travel off the hospital site which made things less stressful. They have a shared kitchen and sitting room so I was able to make cups of tea and could have cooked a meal if I hadn't been fed well enough in the restaurant and Costa on-site. Patients are encouraged to be up, dressed and away from their beds wherever possible, as long as they return at appointed times for whatever procedures are required. We were able to go out for a drive round, sadly no walking about as the rains came down! We stopped off at Tescos for Pauley to buy lots of cream and otherwise stodgy cakes. So unfair that he has to eat these to try to build up the fat in his body again, when I dare not look at one!

The plan is that they will carry out scans, tests, assessments, mapping, measurements etc over the next few weeks to ascertain how best for Pauley to be treated for, basically, the rest of his life.The doctors have explained various options although it is too soon to know exactly what the outcome will be. However, we have already come to a joint decision on what we think will be best for us if one of two options is necessary, and he is now in their hands for them to determine what, how, why and when. They have a target time for his discharge of the end of August/beginning of September, hence the heading of this post. Obviously this is not cast in stone, but it's good to know that they have a target. Once discharged they are suggesting that we might be supported by Bournemouth Hospital which, as yet, I know nothing about.

Everyone at Dairy House has been so helpful, and the shop has been manned by a number of dealers over the last 13 weeks. None of us envisaged such a long haul when I phoned in one day to say Pauley had been rushed to hospital. I am, however, planning to be at Dairy House on Saturday morning, and then go on to see him, provided the tickly throat I have today doesn't turn into something that ought to keep away from hospitals.

Everything has its lighter side though, despite all the anxiety. Those of you who know Pauley will know that his haircuts are not particularly frequent and his style is in a 60s timewarp, cared for lovingly with Brylcream (I know, I can hardly say the word!!!!). Anyway, it grew to such a length whilst he was in Yeovil that he wouldn't have looked out of place living in a cardboard box, but wouldn't make use of the hospital hairdresser. There's a hairdresser's shop within the hospital complex at St Mark's and he had a haircut within 24 hours of his arrival. He didn't tell me and I can't believe I didn't notice immediately when I walked into the ward on Saturday. He had asked for a trim. Silly boy! He was attacked with clippers and ended up looking like a convict (with no disrespect to any convicts out there). The length varied from half to three-quarters of an inch all over, instead of the dated side parting and six inch top length of the last 40 years. It was shorter than when he joined the RAF as a Boy Entrance in 1959!!! Personally I like it, but would like it more if they'd removed the 10 weeks of grey beard as well! I've wanted him to 'start again' with his hair for years and he's always refused. But I won in the end, and didn't have to do a thing!!!!

A long post, sorry! I hope some of you have managed to stay to the end. It helps to write it down.

Thank you all once again, and hopefully I'll soon be able to tell you that Pauley's on his way home ...

Sue x

23 June 2011

Long, long winding road .... Updated

It seems a lifetime ago that I said I was going to begin blogging again in earnest. The intention was there but since 21 April my life has been turned upside down, my brain has gone into meltdown and I have concentrated all my energies on hospital visiting and willing Pauley to get better.

Nine weeks on he is still in hospital after an emergency operation which removed a large section of twisted bowel. This has resulted in a stoma and unfortunately a condition known as short bowel syndrome. Recovery is slow and the hospital's hope is that eventually he will be transferred to either St Mark's Hospital in London or Torbay, both of which support home TPN (total parenteral nutrition - see previous link) should this be found to be necessary.

The highlight of these nine weeks is that Pauley is being allowed home for a few hours tomorrow (provided BP, temperature etc etc are OK), just for a change of scene (not with a view to imminent discharge). He is so looking forward to it, but is still quite weak so I hope it won't be too tiring for him. I know I shall be on tenterhooks and very anxious, but I'm sure all will be well, even if I am totally exhausted afterwards.

My time at Dairy House has been very limited as you can imagine, but the dealers have been incredibly kind and the shop has continued to function with no disruption to customers. Obviously I have had to cancel any Fairs I had hoped to participate in, and other than a few free hours here and there I envisage a similar outlook for some time to come.

I'm still hoping to get back to blogging soon but at the moment, as I'm sure you can imagine, I haven't got anything very interesting to say ... other than the fact that Florence is now 13 months, has finally decided to crawl but would far rather be up on her feet.

I'll end this post with grateful thanks to some lovely friends, Bloggers, Facebook and Twitter friends and one lovely Mummy-of-four (she knows who she is) who has helped me, through late night texts and messages, far more than I ever imagined possible.

Updated Friday 24th - Pauley was able to come home for 3 hours! A wander round the house, lunch and back soon after 2 o'clock made such a difference to him (and to me). It was a treat to see a smiling face and proper clothes instead of jimjams! We made sure we were back on time so no black marks so that hopefully we'll be able to do it again before too long.

Thank you all x

21 May 2011

Planning Doesn't Always Work ...

You may recall that in my last post, or maybe it was the one before, I said I hoped to be back in blogland and get back to posting on a regular basis.

Sadly, the best laid plans and all that ... I have spent the last month going back and forth to visit my husband in hospital. It is turning out to be a much longer recovery than originally anticipated, with no idea as yet when he is likely to be able to come home.

Whilst I don't wish to go into details here on the blog, several of you have enquired as to my whereabouts and I just wanted to let you know that I will be back ... it's just that blogging isn't top of my list of priorities at the moment.

When I get the chance I'm keeping up with what you are all doing, and hope to be back with you soon.

Sue x

08 April 2011

Sun, Sun, Sun ...

I do hope the BBC Weather forecast is correct. Sunday in Shaftesbury is sunny intervals with some cloud, 19 degrees and only a slight breeze. I think we might be OK for the Vintage Textiles & Costume Day at Dairy House from 10-4 on Sunday.

Of course you've already heard about it from everyone who's anyone, but just in case you haven't do come if you can!

I've spent the day using the back of the car as a table and sitting in the sun pricing up everything I'd omitted to do earlier. At least it killed 2 birds with one stone as I didn't then have to cart everything to the car after pricing! Those of you who do this sort of thing for a living will know the joy of not having to lug stuff too far.

Nothing much else to report as I seem to be focused only on Sunday, so hopefully next week I'll be able to regale you with some interesting snippets.

Have a lovely weekend, and for those of you attending the Vintage & Handmade Fair at Chipping Sodbury tomorrow, either as sellers or buyers, then do have a wonderful day.

Sue x

03 April 2011

Working my way back to blogland ...

I can only apologise for being so dilatory with blogposts over the last months. Life has been very busy what with one thing an another, and by the time I've got home in the evenings I have been switching on the computer less and less. I've missed so much of what has been going on in blogland and realise that I've become somewhat isolated in that respect. I'm hoping that once all the Dairy House excitement has settled down I shall have a few minutes spare in which to catch up with your lives.

I haven't had much opportunity for pointing my camera at anything either, although last weekend I went on Poppy Treffry's first stitching workshop - a two-day course at the Bedruthan Steps Hotel in Cornwall. What an experience!

A walk on the beach

Ten Green Bottles was my plan - here are 5 practice ones, with the real thing in the second photo!

This became a lined bag but I was under a certain amount of pressure towards the end after a problem with breaking threads on Sunday morning when I was planning to forge ahead. However, I managed to complete it by the end of the course, and here's the finished result, along with those of some of my fellow course members. Other photos may follow when I transfer them from my phone. There was certainly some stitching talent on display that weekend!

So, it's nearly on us - the 2nd Annual Vintage Textiles and Costume Day @ Dairy House. Suddenly it doesn't seem a year since the last one and the frantic rushing around with mile-long lists is on us again!

I've been filling cellophane bags with odds and ends as 'bags of inspiration'/'bits and bobs'. I used to make up these when I first began selling haberdashery but over the last few years I've just stockpiled the goodies waiting for the right moment enough time to make more. Hopefully these will sell on the day, but if not I have a few other Fairs to attend this summer. Having had to cancel several last year for numerous reasons I'm hoping to "get out there" again this summer. More on that another day.

I've also been filling these keepers with ribbon, lace, braid, bias binding and strips of tiny French monograms. These will be available at Dairy House later this week, and on the Textiles Day. (Apologies for this one being out-of-focus!)

Dairy House Antiques has seen a few changes in the last couple of months, with dealers swapping spaces, and furniture whizzing back and forth like a "Changing Rooms" Special. Possibly it's been more like Musical Rooms - when the music stops put down the chest of drawers you're carrying and go and fetch something else. There were a few days of 'amalgamated' space where 3 or 4 dealers all had their stock in the same area, but we're getting there, and by next Sunday all should be shipshape and Bristol fashion. (Does anyone know where that expression came from? Many of you will probably never have heard it, but it's one that I grew up with!)

The main entrance has moved again, and visitors now come into the large main room (the one with the woodburner - which is currently out of action after dying a rather spectacular death early in February). Thankfully the weather is now warmer and by next winter I hope to have a smart new wood gobbler installed ready to send my money up in smoke!!!!! The joys of  having a shop in an old dairy which was obviously designed to keep everything just a few degrees above freezing!!! Roll on summer!

There is other Dairy House excitement afoot, but it's a bit too soon to broadcast that just now. Another month or so should see us in a position to 'go public'.

Meanwhile, Florence the grand-daughter is 10½ months old, is already a comedian like her mother was at a very early age, has two bottom teeth and I hear today that two top teeth have come through, too. We haven't seen her for nearly three weeks so we shall certainly notice a difference. She has particularly rosy cheeks - a farmer's daughter of course - and incredible blue eyes. I'd love to show you photos, but Hannah is obviously very protective and prefers that I don't show them on my blog.

This evening we are having slow-roasted lamb with maple syrup and chestnuts, as per Cherry Menlove's recipe. If you haven't tasted any of Cherry's recipes I suggest you seek out her website (just Google). Well worth trying. It smells ready, so this will have to be all until next time ... and I sincerely hope that 'next time' won't be too far away!

Have a jolly week, and I look forward to seeing many of your next Sunday at the Dairy House Textiles and Costume Day. Full details on the Dairy House blog.

Sue x

28 January 2011

The 2nd Annual Vintage Textiles and Costume Day @ Dairy House

It's that time again - 10 April is coming round rapidly, so I thought I should jog your memories. Don't forget to put the date in your diaries. If last year's Day is anything to go by, this year will also be a brilliant day out - an opportunity for those of you passionate about fabrics and vintage costume to also enjoy the antiques and decorative items that Dairy House itself has to offer.

The 2nd Annual Vintage Textiles
and Costume Day 
@ Dairy House

Sunday 10 April 2011
from 10.00 am–4.00 pm

Another opportunity to enjoy our unique combination
of Textiles, Vintage Clothing, Antiques and many other
Decorative Treasures at this Annual One Day Event
Station Road, Semley, Shaftesbury  SP7 9AN
Tel: 01747 853317; normal opening Mon–Sat 10-5; Sun 11–4

3 miles N of Shaftesbury, 5 miles S of A303.
Turn off A350 (Shaftesbury–Warminster road) at sign to Semley Industrial Estate

Free admission & ample free parking

Once again there will be 9 or 10 visiting textile dealers sharing the day with our Dairy House dealers who will be bringing in textile-related goodies to display on their individual areas within the shop.

Guy and his Silver Coffee Machine plan to join us - if you came last year you'll remember he had a disaster with his van just as he was setting out, and consequently didn't reach us - and will be offering yummy coffee, hot chocolate, tea, traybakes etc. There is the distinct possibility that one of the Dairy House dealers who is a whizz at cake-making may bring some cakes to help the day go sweetly!

The list of visiting dealers is almost complete and once the list is finalised I'll post links to all the names. In the meantime I think you will recognise most of these: Tracey Hewlett, Donna Flower, Loveday James, Niki Fretwell, Helen Roskell, Caroline Bushell, Chloe Antiques, Hetty Purbrick and Tamsyn Gregory. Liz van Hasselt and I will of course be there with our regular Dairy House stock, together with some interesting bits and pieces brought in especially for the day and at least 10 other Dairy House dealers will be in the shop on the day and will be pleased to chat to you about their stock.

Any enquiries can be addressed to me via this blog, the Dairy House blog or website or by email, or have a word with Liz van Hasselt at one of the many Fairs she'll be attending between now and then!

Last year we had between 600 and 700 visitors on the day. We look forward to seeing you all again, and maybe even more! We can promise you a jolly day!


07 January 2011

Happy New Year ....

Hanging my head in shame as I realise it is 7 January already, but better late than never ...

A Very Successful, Prosperous
Exceedingly Happy 2011
to you All

I look forward to seeing lots of you again and hopefully meeting more of you over the coming months! And who knows ... I might even manage to blog more frequently!

Sue x