24 February 2009

Poultry Magic!

After getting over the trauma of losing one of our chickens last week I am finally getting back to enjoying going out to feeding and watering them. I think I could sit and watch them clucking about indefinitely. We’re starting to get a good crop of eggs from them considering it’s only just beginning to be spring time and hopefully their outside coop will be finished soon so we can finally get them out into the garden without fear of them being taken by foxes. Currently they’re in a big room in our shed with open windows for fresh air, plenty of sawdust for them to scratch around in, some chicken acrobatic apparatus for them to hop about on and keep themselves occupied and a few nesting boxes which they are most definitely using!

We’ve a handful of pheasants now too, although I’m not so sure about the likelihood of getting any eggs off them we’re definitely hoping for more pheasants to emerge! They are unfortunately still very flighty and are definitely not used to us yet so we try to disturb them as little as possible and hopefully they’ll settle down into their new home soon. I’m still not 100% sure how many pheasants we actually have as they are really good at hiding – every time I go down and count them I never get the same amount but I reckon maybe we have 5 (1 male and 4 females).

I’m not sure how many more birds my hubby intends to bring home to inhabit our back garden but I’m pretty sure this isn’t the last of it! I did hear talk of turkeys at one stage but we’ll have to see about that…

14 February 2009

A bit sad today

Today was the funeral of my friend D's father. He was a well loved community man and died suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday.

I didn't know him well but I went to the funeral to be there for D and I am so terribly terribly sad for her. I hope that the funeral today will have helped her to say goodbye to her father and that she and her family will have the strength to carry on without him.

R.I.P. Danny.

12 February 2009

Since the Mysterious Pains!

Just a quick one to get us back up to date:

  • After my operation I stayed with my parents to recover as I wasn’t allowed to climb stairs and I could live on the ground floor in their house.
  • Missed out on 1 trip to England & 1 trip to Prague as I wasn’t fit to travel.
  • Me & my dad started a wine tasting course as something fun to do while I wasn’t well and because he has a new found interest in wine. I have been trying to get him to do one of these courses with me for years!
  • Went to England with Annabee to see Darwi before she headed off to the sunny shores of California (or the snowy mountains I should say really. We went to London & had dinner in Jaime Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen which was amazing, and I got to meet Aaron Craze! Then we travelled to Birmingham to stay in Darwi’s flat for a couple of days. We were all supposed to go and visit Warwick Castle but I was too wiped out from London so I let Darwi & Annabee go on their own which ended up being the best course of action by far as there is very limited access for people with restricted mobility. I got wheelchair assistance in the airports as all the walking/standing & stair climbing would have been too much for me – as it was it took me a week to recover from the trip anyway but I’m very happy to have seen Darwi before she left to move to the other side of the world!
  • Me & the hubby moved back to our home town where we are finally settled into a lovely big house complete with garden & chickens!
  • I passed my wine tasting course with distinction & beat my dad by 4%!!!
  • Christmas & New Year came and went with a bang. Since our parents both live so close to each other this year we had early chrismas lunch with my in-laws and late christmas dinner with my family. Oooh... never again I think. I could barely move afterwards and I only had little meals at each sitting!!! On New Years Eve we had a wonderful party in our new house with all our family and lots of friends, it was really fantastic.
  • In January I finally started back to work, it was such a culture shock after being off for 4 months. I am still finding it difficult to get back into the swing of things.
  • I have started studying for my insolvency qualifications. I’m hoping to sit 2 out of the 3 exams in November and complete the last one next year.

And that’s about it! I’m now up to date and you know everything that’s been happening for the last lot of months and I can get back to writing about more recent stuff again.

5 February 2009

Mysterious Pains!

I'd been getting really bad abdominal pains for ages and had no idea what they were. When I say really bad I mean rolling around on the floor in agony clutching my stomach kind of bad. The last time they went haywire I got my big sister to take me to the hospital feeling like I was about to die. They did some tests on me and didn't know what it was so they sent me home with a bucket-full of painkillers and told it was probably IBS.

This time the pains started over the weekend of 12th/13th Sept and my hubby gave off telling me that it was all down to eating crap and drinking - and given the diagnosis of the last doctor I'd seen I thought he was probably right. On the Monday morning I was driving from Belfast to Newcastle for work and when I was passing through Ballynahinch I felt the pains starting - kind of a stabbing pain in my lower right stomach area, right where your appendix is supposed to be. I thought it was probably due to the chilli I'd had for dinner the night before though! As I carried on down the road the pain got worse & worse and I just about managed to make it in the door of my folks' place before keeling over.

I found the painkillers I'd been given the last time and managed one before I started feeling really violently ill and started throwing up. My parents got on the blower to our local GP's where they were told to get me in the car and to the nearest A&E in Downpatrick so they did. That was not a fun journey...

When I was seen in triage in the A&E they seemed to take me slightly more seriously than they had in the City as I was taken straight through and put in a little side ward on my own. They dosed me with morphine to ease the pain - since I'd been admitted with abdominal pain I was allowed no food or drink so it was injections in the bum thank you very much! They poked and prodded me for a bit and managed to x-ray my chest (not quite sure why...) I had to have a pregnancy test before they could x-ray my abdomen so that was more waiting around in pain. The morphine helped dull the pain but it never fully went away. Eventually they decided that they wanted to send me to the Ulster for the surgeons to have a look at me as they figured there was definitely something wrong but they didn't know what.

When I got to the Ulster I was seen by some doctors who told me they thought it may be early symptoms of appendicitis but they were unsure. My blood work came back as if nothing was wrong with me and there were no obvious give away signs of what was wrong so they decided to keep me under observation until they could scan me.

On the Tuesday I woke up with a massively distended stomach - I looked about 6 months pregnant and felt like I could barely move. They took me for an abdominal x-ray which showed fluid somewhere it shouldn't have been like outside my bowels or stomach - I can't remember exactly what was wrong as I was still tanked on painkillers. I wasn't able to have an ultrasound scan until the Wednesday as there were no spaces available so I was left for another night.

On Wednesday I woke in the most pain I've ever felt in my life. No matter what painkiller they pumped into me I was still in agony. I hadn't had food for the enitre time I'd been in hospital but I'd been allowed some water. For the ultrasound they wanted my bladder to be as full as possible which was unfortunate because just before I went for the scan I threw up pretty much everything I'd drank that morning. The scan showed feck all except that my bowels were seriously blocked, the doctor doing the scanning could barely pick out my ovaries/womb or anything else in the pelvic area. When I came back from the scan some doctors came in to see me. They were worried because something had finally started to show in my blood work but I'll be buggered if I have any idea at all about what they were talking about.

I was asked to move from my chair to the bed so they could examine my stomach properly - fat chance. As soon as I started to climb onto the bed I started throwing up even more when there was nothing to throw up so they decided the best thing to do would be to put a tube into my stomach to clear the contents. That was gross. The tube had to be covered in lube and put up my nose and down the back of my throat into my stomach. The first 2 tubes they tried were too big and when they finally found one that fit I couldn't stop choking on the blasted thing they had to take it out and re-do it.

I am a bit lost at how things proceeded from here. It was decided that I was going to be operated on pretty much there and then. An anaesthetist came up and talked to me and explained what was going to happen. Some nurses appeared with a gown that I had to change into and these giant anti-clot stockings that had to be pulled onto me then I was carted off in the bed I was in and taken to theatre. I had about 20 minutes maybe from being told they had to operate on me until I was in the room where I was put under. It was pretty scary - I had no-one there with me and I had no idea what was happening. The doctors didn't know exactly what was wrong with me so it was explained that they would be making an incision from the bellybutton down to see what was wrong. The incision might be a tiny one or it might be right down to my pubic bone depending on what they found and how far in they needed to go - all very lovely thoughts.

The last thing I remember is lying on a table with an oxygen mask on and I'd just been given an injection. Then I was a bit groggy and there were loads of doctors around and I didn't think I was in the same room as before. I was given a little button thing to push and was told it was morphine and I could push it once every 5 minutes for pain relief - that was possibly my most favourite thing of the whole experience :-D I remember people talking to me but I've honestly no idea what they said until the consultant who'd been dealing with me came over. He asked did I know what had happend and I said no - I wasn't even sure the surgery had been finished at that point!

Anyway... it turns out that my right ovary had been twisting and when it twisted it would cut off the blood supply to it. It would untwist and the pain would go away again. This could have been going on for years, there was no way to tell but I do remember getting the pains as far back as my 1st year in Uni. This time it twisted and it didn't twist back. The blood supply to my ovary was completely cut off and it died. When they removed it from me it was about 9 times the size of a normal healthy ovary and had gone black. The black meant it had gone necrotic - the dead tissue would start to eat away at the healthy tissue around it and kill it too. They took out the fallopian tube connecting that ovary to my womb as it was a bit redundant now - I'm not 100% sure if it had gone bad or not, I assume it would have been a bit dead too. They also removed my appendix which I gather is more a matter of proceedure just in case of future appendicitis I suppose.

I had more tubes sticking out of me than anyone really has any right to when I came out of the surgery. 1 in my nose, 2 in my right arm with multiple taps and a catheter (ick...) I was also had an oxygen mask just to keep me fresh. They sliced me from bellybutton to pubic bone and I managed to have an impressive 20 staples holding me togther. So the mysterious pains have stopped and there is no more mystery - hurrah! I just have to finish recovering now!!!

Since my Last Post (be warned, it’s a long ‘un!)

I have been very lax in posting to this blog so an update is in order. Since my last post:
  • I had the best hen party ever. A boat trip down the Lagan with lots of my very good friends, good scram in McHugh’s & lots of drinking afterwards in the Kitchen Bar. Everyone who came was in their best 80s finery – I think we managed to have the best night’s craic and gave most of Belfast a good laugh at the state of us.
  • Anabee & I helped our friend Darwi move to Birmingham. We loaded the car up & took the boat from Belfast to Liverpool and helped her get settled in.
  • My second hen party should have happened closer to the wedding but unfortunately Newcastle and the surrounding area got completely flooded. A few of us made it back to my mum’s house before it flooded too badly & we couldn’t get home but some were cut off on the other side of town. At least we had some wine & food to keep us going!
  • My something blue arrived – a garter with our names on it that was at least 10 sizes too big. I had a bit of a panic getting something else but the dressmaker who was altering my dress came to the rescue with a beautiful blue flower embroidered on the lining. What a champion!
  • The day before the wedding was a bit of a panic for me. I spent the whole day in a terrible mood, smoked too many cigarettes & cried a lot. I’m still not quite sure what the problem was!!
  • THE WEDDING DAY!!!!! This was without a doubt the best day ever! I was awake at 6am or slightly before it and got up and organised myself, got my makeup started, watched some Stargate & then went to get my hair done. Arrived back to a full house & my dad making everyone breakfast. The champagne started flowing and the morning before the wedding was lovely although I couldn’t wait to get into my dress and kept bouncing around the house in anticipation. Eventually we were all dressed & ready, the car arrived & whisked my family off leaving me & my dad to enjoy a final glass of bubbly together before heading off to the hotel. The rest of the day went by in a bit of a haze but the highlights were:
  • My little bro playing us down the aisle & forgetting to stop then when he realised everyone was looking at him he fluffed the last few notes and let out a big sigh of frustration into the microphone which left us in kinks of laughter.
  • The Registrar commenting on my friend Darwi’s beautiful reading & her lovely “Polish” accent (she’s really Bosnian!).
  • My new hubby trying to escape the photos by jumping over a balcony.
  • Surprising my new hubby with a 1st dance that he wasn’t expecting.
  • Getting to have all my friends and family share a very special day with me. I had such a wonderful day and it wouldn’t have been even remotely the same if they hadn’t been there.
  • After the wedding my new hubby & I spent a few days in Cork and got to see some very rare birds, a yellow warbler & a northern waterthrush. They are American migrants and have only been seen in Ireland a couple of times. This was a bit more special for my husband, the birdwatcher, than me but I’m glad I saw them all the same as it will annoy other more serious birdwatchers who didn’t get to see them!!!
  • I got all my horrible long hair chopped off – it has been chopped a couple of times since & I now have a fab crop instead of lots of long, thick, annoying hair.
  • Then, and this has been what has been what most of my life has revolved around since then, the mysterious pains came back and I am finally rid of them! I’ve already written a blog post about that so I will post it here now too and have a follow up blog on what I've been doing since then!