Letter from the North

Ride on mower, drying oneself, chutney making and whatever is a NAS – 07-Apr-2018

My replacement for Proper Job at the North!

Sat 07-Apr-2018

Today I spent a lot of time sorting out my new (commercial instead of ‘home brew’, but very effective) NAS/Raid storage we use here.

Now Teresa tells me I must explain to you what NAS/Raid storage is, the autistic me does not understand that you might not know and are incapable of using google, but the “people liking” me accepts there may be the odd person who doesn’t ????

Network Attached Storage is a disk drive attached to a network (Ethernet, WiFi, …) that is accessible (usually) to everyone in the building. So, in our case, mp3s’s and photos all go on the shared storage and everyone can get to them. Raid (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) is a better way of using the disks so that if one dies the others can keep going with ALL the information until you replace the dead one.

I’m not convinced that makes it any clearer but a proper answer is a full day’s talk and I’d have to charge you for that!

Once I’m no longer capable, Teresa will still need to use (the NAS) and “fix” it, so something more mainstream is best.

Also, once Teresa got back from town with all my ingredients, I started prep for what has to be one of the strangest meal inventions I’ve ever come up with – with an inspired suggestion from Teresa that made it work.

  • A layer of cooked and sliced (but not pickled) beetroot
  • A layer of chickpeas slow cooked with some hot chillies so the chickpeas themselves are spicy hot
  • A layer of cooked and sliced potato
  • A sauce based on one given to me by my daughter for Coronation Chicken.

It cannot possibly work … and yet it does, it’s really scrummy.

This was the second time I’d made it, the first was pure experiment but I did write down what I’d done, nevertheless I was still concerned I may have missed something out, but no, all good

Sun 08-Apr-2018

A day to sort hanging the blind in the bathroom, but I stalled because I found I needed a mini angle grinder and thin blade metal cutting disc which I will pick it up from Screwfix on Monday. It would be nice to cut the metal header by hand, but there’s no way my shoulder will tolerate that. It’s hard enough putting in screws for the brackets at shoulder height (or a bit above) and I may well need to carefully use an electric screwdriver (easy to go mad with one of these, and strip the head if not careful and it’s still an awkward height for me, but probably easier than all that twisting to screw in things).

Finished my meal-making, assembled it and an hour in the oven it went. It was just as scrummy as last time, which was a relief.

Mon 09-Apr-2018

This morning I woke up to find half the power off in the house. One of (two) Earth leakage trips had gone, taking out much of downstairs – luckily not all because the wiring in our house is so weird. By process of elimination I worked out that it was “kitchen sockets”, except here that means the sockets on two sides of the kitchen, but not on the third side which are, I think, fed from upstairs, or at least are on a different breaker for those sockets and shared with some upstairs!

I tried all the sockets and none of them was to blame, so since I wanted breakfast I moved the microwave (for my ready brek) and kettle to a working socket, grabbed a multi socket adaptor and got the fridge and them working from the cooker power socket (which was working).

After breakfast and a cup of tea I remembered that the boiler was powered from a socket hidden behind our cooker. Quick check and yes, it was the boiler. The boiler has also been losing heat on the hot water side for a day or two so we were already planning to ring our boiler man, now it was essential. Our boiler man, Duncan, is fantastic. Teresa rang him first thing and he said he would be out this afternoon – brilliant.

Wet shave again (using a kettle of hot water) – this wet shaving is clearly working and I can now “file away” the electric razor I have been using since the accident – hooray.

Popped to Screwfix to collect angle grinder and extension bar for screwdriver (electric). The screws for the blind clips are right at the top of the window reveal and being classic Cornish granite, that’s a foot away from the surface of the wall and you can’t hold a screwdriver within the reveal without scraping your knuckles and pushing the screwdriver off the horizontal so it slips and rips the screw heads.

After Screwfix it was off to the optician, no problem, in and out, I like the glasses:

Mind you I seem to cause quite a few injuries as I walked along Market Jew Street to the opticians and back (well, waddled really, I’m rather slow and ungainly with the Paz feet and dodgy hip 🙂 ). So, several twisted necks and a number of people getting dizzy as they span 360 degrees to check what they’d seen. For goodness sake, have they never seen a bloke in a frock before? We wondered whether it was the fresh influx of tourists over Easter, as the locals are surely used to me by now?

We had a lovely drive home, along the prom and through Newlyn, the sun was shining and the sea was bright and calm – what a wonderful place to live and what a lovely day to be alive!

We got home and found a letter from the DVLA saying they are happy that I am medically fit to drive. I had to notify them about the broken bones and the cancer; I was sure it would be Ok as Mr. Butler had said I could drive, but there was still a worry in the back of my mind, so very pleased to get the all clear in writing.

This afternoon Teresa went out with daughter for a cream tea and so I was left at home to work and look after the boiler man (not that he needed my help!)

A couple of hours and a few spare parts later, and all sorted and hot water is back.

Tue 10-Apr-2018

To work in Penryn as usual, all went well, including the drive. I continue to be much more “chilled” in my driving, which Teresa is very happy about ????

When I got home, I went over The North to meet a friend from Cambridge who has a cottage down here. Came home about 5:30pm and continued to be quite awake till 8pm or so, which was rather nice!

As I’ve said (I think) I no longer drink alcohol, so at the North, it’s J2O, Appletise and my latest hard drink is a pot of tea!

Wed 11-Apr-2018

Just getting on with work

YEAH, showered and more to the point dried myself without help today. As it was last time, the shower bit was ok, except this time I didn’t need a sponge on a stick for my left underarm. I still use a cloth on a long stick for my back but didn’t need it for either leg, so good progress. Drying has been difficult (impossible without just hanging around waiting for it to air dry!) without help because of very limited shoulder movement, that has eased enough that I could manage today (uncomfortable but doable).

Thu 12-Apr-2018

Washed and dried without needing “aids” (like sponges on a stick), still restricted mobility in the right shoulder (rotator cuff I suspect) but we are clearly on the move, phew, taken long enough. Physio on Friday and so will get some feedback on my progress. The main thing is that I have to be careful to pace myself, be guided by pain, little but not too much, bit of masochism really, without pain there is no progress, too much pain is damage!

I finally bit the bullet and the ride on mower (aka mobility scooter) is on its way, the only nice thing is that it matches my glasses (pale blue, turquoise or sommat like that).

A bad evening. I had just been talking to Teresa about how manageable the Paz side effects have been, when I was hit by severe diarrhoea, two rapid trips upstairs and one dose of Imodium plus another of Imodium Instant (I find it truly does work much faster) and things slowed down, but it was a reminder of just how “on edge” poo can be. Given the only “unusual” thing I had with tea was some (frozen, but cooked) broad beans, we wonder if that was the cause. I’m not getting a lot in the way of fruit or veg at the moment and having the broad beans was an experiment as I do like them. I also love broccoli but I lost the ability to taste that. I might try the broccoli again to see if it’s any better and leave out the broad beans for now and see how things go.

I appreciate I have been somewhat of a failure in the “poo reports” of late, but I felt the squeamish amongst you needed a break and things were basically Ok, good days and bad days, but the bleeding problem had gone. Mind you, having a goodly amount of beetroot for tea earlier this week meant things turned pink after a loo trip, but that’s a well-known thing, beetroot is just so strong in colour, it taints absolutely everything, wee included!

So, rest assured, the “poo reports” are never far away, so if you are missing them, they can return at the drop of a hat 🙂

Fri 13-Apr-2018

Quick trip to Physiotherapy at 8:30am. As usual, I have been ignoring their exercises which were far too simple, and frankly, boring. What I do is use my arm as much as I can whilst being sensible and letting pain guide me. This was approved of by the physio and my progress deemed excellent! The physio’s normal process would include a lot of joint manipulation (as the shoulder was out of action for a long time) but because of the poor healing of the collar bone, she can’t, so it’s down to me to work out what’s best and she just monitors progress and suggests if I’m not doing enough in one area. I’m very happy with this approach as I know what I can and can’t do and I WILL always push myself (and Teresa will always take me to task if I let things slip at all) so I don’t need a stranger doing it for me.

I was very scared before going as this was the first “medical” trip I’ve done on my own since the accident. Teresa has always been there, not always with whoever I’m seeing, e.g. she has dropped me off and collected me from the GP. But, she has ALWAYS been a part of the visit. Today she went off to a sing in a choir she joined when we first moved down here, but hasn’t been to for some years. So, I drove myself to Physio. At one point Teresa said she wouldn’t go to choir, but we decided that was just silly.

Of course, it went all ok and yet it was frightening at the same time. No matter how you fight it, there is always a bit of liking to be looked after, being a victim, especially when it’s all so scary (the cancer, not the broken bones, but it’s hard to separate the two) and escaping from that “need” to be cared for and to be your own (non-gendered specific) person, is not easy. I certainly wanted it for Teresa’s sake as much as mine, but that didn’t stop it being hard. I can see how easy it would be to settle into a “being cared for” state and we neither of us want that to happen, for us as individuals but also because it’s a slippery slope on the road to giving up, and I’m not interested in that!

Increasingly, I will just do the medical stuff on my own unless it’s something Teresa wants to be part of, that way she can get back to her (new) normal life and that has to be a great thing for both of us, but (so far as I’m concerned) especially for her.

Working out what I can eat is an ongoing issue for me, driven by ‘dry mouth’ syndrome and wonky taste buds which are side effects of the drugs. One of the things that makes my lunchtime bread rolls work for me, is tomato chutney. I use quite a lot as it’s what gives me the moisture I need and tomato is something I can still taste, but I hate having to constantly buy it, especially when I used to make my own apple chutney in vast quantities (well it would be vast if I do it). So, I have researched some recipes for red tomato chutney, found one that has a lot of potential for “tinkering” and will pick up the ingredients tomorrow to make a small (for Bean) batch to test. If it works, actually with both Teresa and I being good cooks, it WILL work, then we’ll grow some of our own tomatoes (in grow bags, as we don’t have much in the way of garden for growing food) and then I can make proper home-grown chutney. I’m looking forward to that. All part of getting back to “normal”.


On a different note, an interesting, albeit “headlines only” article on the BBC Web site Why some cancers are ‘born to be bad’. Research is not clinical practice, so this does nothing for people like me, but in time, …, it does however highlight why kidney cancer is so difficult as the tumours vary so much from each other, as does their aggressiveness, which means treatment is somewhat hit and miss!

One phrase I found interesting was “The studies also revealed that the earliest mutations that lead to kidney cancer were happening up to half a century before the cancer was detected.”, for me that could be back when I was 13, how scary is that???



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