Sunday, July 13, 2014

The life and times of our darling Geri

Little Geri came into my life in August 1998. The cutest little bundle of fun. An 8 week old collie cross Beagle.  We had lost our previous dog Teo a couple of months before, and we were desperately missing a dog in our house hold.

We had looked at a few rescue centres as it is where I personally prefer to obtain pets from.  We found a wonderful place near East Grinstead in the UK called Last Chance Animal Rescue, and we were actually toying between a huge English Mastiff or an 8 week old puppy. In the end the puppy had us.  I remember the day we brought her home so vividly. My dear mum had suffered a stroke about 18 months previously, and would often have mini strokes, always at such inconvenient times too!  This day was one of them.  I remember her sitting down on a chair and her face changing as I was looking at her.  I went into slight panic mode and the lovely people at the rescue centre dialled 999. Within minutes an ambulance arrived and the paramedics gave mum a good check over, but it was a slight mini stroke or TIA (transient ischaemic attack) Luckily within a matter of about half an hour she was already starting to feel better.  My dear mum loved a trawl around second hand shops,  and one time she had a TIA in the Heart Foundation Shop. Another ambulance!  Honestly what some people will do for a bit of attention!

So we brought little Geri home and oh boy was she hard work.  I'd never had a puppy before, and she would chase us around, nibbling at our heels. She probably thought she was rounding us up, or she was at least trying to. She developed eventually however into a beautiful dog, in every sense of the word.  When we moved from our house in Brighton, after we lost my mum, to Peacehaven she had regular walks to the park which was only two minutes away, and to the beach, which also was just a few minutes away.  We had 10 great years there.  It was a wonderful family home with great Christmasses, one of which Geri ate a large box of chocolates plus most of it's wrapper's that had been left under the tree. Another time my son was trying to stop smoking and Geri ate multiple packets of nicotinell chewing gum.  Luckily for us Mark's gf at the time worked in a pharmacy and insisted we telephone our vet as she was concerned it maybe poisonous to her. Good job we did, they insisted we brought her straight in and she had to stay in overnight.  They believed her heart would speed up, and then slow down to an alarming rate, and possibly stop.  They wanted to put her on a drip to try and control her heart for the night. The following day we brought her home, having been told she had enough nicotine in her to have killed her 10 times over... tough cookie, somehow she got through it!   I'm actually smiling whilst I'm typing this as I remember one day Geri came across a  partly decomposed seagull, and picked it up and carried it proudly along the seafront promenade.  It's wingspan seemed huge and were sticking out horizontally, held together by  a part of a skeleton.  I chased her to try and get her to drop it, but no way.  It was her prize possession she was so proud, I was so embarrassed!

Geri at home in Peacehaven 

The years passed by and my children were growing up fast.  When Geri was 10 years old, we made the decision to move here to Spain.  Geri had her jabs and her passport photo taken, and we were ready for the off.  Crikey did she cry when we left her at Gatwick to go into the hold.  I hated thinking about where she would be.  Would it be freezing cold? Noisy?  Would she be with the luggage?  I had no idea.  She was a terrible traveller at the best of times, and would cry continuously for the duration of any car journey.  We knew that a couple of hours on a plane would be easier than a couple of days driving.

Geri's life here in Spain was basically a lovely outdoors lifestyle.  We had a large area that she could simply live outside as much as she wanted.  As the years went on she developed arthritis, but I'm sure it would have been so much worse if we had been still living in the UK.  When we had our alpacas join us here, she enjoyed spending time with them, although she was understandably nervous at first.  Then arrived her best mate in the world, Carlos.

Carlos's first day

Carlos I found in the bushes outside our house one day, just a few months after we arrived.  Carlos and Geri got on like a house on fire. He was, and still is such a gentle soul. Then came along Arthur and Blue the mastins. At about 12 weeks old they were huge bundles of energy, that Geri would try and control but she was still the leader of the pack. Next came little Miliko, again another puppy with endless energy.  It was getting a bit too much now and Geri would watch from afar, and have a snooze unless she would feel she needed to let us know the pups were getting out of hand.

Geri's trying to be in control

With our little Miliko

The year after we arrived here, my son and his gf came for a visit.  Geri was so incredibly excited to see him, she ran around the small courtyard at top speed, then charged up a flight of stairs then suddenly yelped in pain. We immediately knew she had done something major.  She had, she had completely torn her cruciate ligament.  I was so upset when I realised she needed an operation.  The operation was done at a vetirinary surgery in Cordoba where she had excellent treatment.  Alan then spent a chilly April helping her rehabiltate in our swimming pool.

Last visit to the vet after her operation

Sadly a couple of years later, Geri suffered a cruciate ligament problem on the other leg. We think she just knocked over by one of the other dogs. This was not so bad, probably some fibres were torn, but we decided not to put her through the operation this time. She was fine, just a little slower than usual.  Having said that she would sometimes run for her dinner as fast as the others would!

Our lives were plodding along all very nicely when suddenly a couple of months ago Geri had a bit of a mishap.  I did a blog post about it.  If you need a little reminder click here......

We were well aware that Geri approaching her 16th birthday was very frail now.  She was extremely short sighted due to cataracts and totally deaf.  Although she would some how spot Miliko running around like a crazy thing if we passed through the old wooden gates into the part the little dogs lived, by our apartment (We had kept the mastins seperate for a while in case Geri got bowled over, which would occasionally happen)  To be honest when Geri had this last accident we knew the end wouldn't be to far away.  We made her as comfortable as we possibly could. She had her own sofa with the cushions taken off so she could get on and off without too much fuss.  Every morning we would wake up and she was alive, would be a bonus. Whoever was up first out of Alan and I would stroke her gently to wake her gradually, pop to the bathroom, which would give her a few minutes to come to.  She then had to be supported whilst getting off the sofa. Having said that sometimes she would be up herself, and often we would hear her up and down all night long.  Her little claws pitter pattering on the tiles as she would wander around the living room.

Last Thursday became a nightmare day for us. When we came back from a hospital check up from me, I went to check on her and she was lying on her side in the sun. Luckily it wasn’t too hot! She was trying to get up but couldn’t.  She seemed to have a problem with a front leg! We carried her in and gave her an anti-inflammatory pill, some food and water and let her sleep.  At first her breathing was very hard and fast, and to be honest I thought her heart may just have stopped at any time.  Unfortunately I had an appointment for a CT scan, that same evening, but Geri was sleeping soundly having had the pill.  We did discuss Alan staying with her, but in the end he didn't, and luckily she stayed sleeping soundly until we got back.  During the night we put cushions beside her sofa in case she tried to get up, and she was up a few times in the night. Part of the time we let her sleep on the floor, on her side where she seemed to be the most comfy. Or we would lift her back onto her sofa after we have helped her have a little toddle.

Alan emailed our vet Andres on the Thursday evening and we told him what had happened. He suggested we bring her in the following morning  for an anti-inflammatory injection.  I was very nervous of what may happen when we took her.  Deep down I thought he would say it was just a slight injury to the front leg, suggest giving her the injection and she would be ok for another few months.  There was the real worry however he would say it was indeed something major.

The devastating news was that her front leg, that we could see was injured, her shoulder was broken, and possibly dislocated too.  Andres explained we could take her to Cordoba to the vet that did her cruciate ligament operation for an x-ray and second opinion if we wished. They could operate on her, but to be honest at 16 she would probably never get through it.  Her back legs with her age were so brittle they would never stand up to having all the extra weight on them. Andres did not try and lead us one way or the other, leaving it completely up to us, but we knew she had no quality of life.  If she wanted to go anywhere we had to carry her.  What a difference a day makes!  Andres gave Geri an anti-inflammatory injection, plus he gave us 2 injections for her, for Saurday and Sunday too.  We told him we would like to take her home for the weekend and discuss things. Really what we wanted to do was hold her and cuddle her over the weekend, before making that awful desicion.  A decision I had never had to make before. When we stepped outside of the door I said to Alan, maybe we should go back and do it now.  Alan said "No, let's take her and and give her a lovely weekend at home!"  

We hoped after Geri had her anti-inflammatory injection, she would at least have a good night. Alan and I however were both up numerous times in the night.  Every movement had us leaping out of the bed to check on her. Sometimes she wanted to get up and we would have to support her tummy, as she would try desperately hard to walk.  We realised of course that she would not be feeling much pain but the broken / dislocated shoulder was not going to heal with an anti-inflammatory injection.  She was still totally unable to walk without us totally supporting her.  Alan and I understood that waiting until after the weekend was not being fair to her.  So on the Friday night we emailed Andres, and asked if he would come to our house on the Saturday morning.  Andres replied by saying "He respected our decision" and Alan was to pick him up at 9am!

Geri and I spent the time sitting on the floor together whilst Alan went to get him, and I put her on the sofa when he arrived.  The whole procedure was so kind and gentle. I've never seen it done before but I won't go into the details in case people find it upsetting, but it was over within about a minute, whilst I sat on the sofa with Geri holding her head in my hands.  Andres kept saying how sorry he was, and when the 'procedure' was finished he said "She's sleeping now" and stroked her tenderly. He continued by saying, how all we want to do is to give our pets a lovely life with us, and when they are in pain or discomfort it is good that we can help them too.  

Geri and I spent an hour together on the sofa, whilst Alan took Andres home.  It was very strange, I kept expecting to see her breathing.  Like when you look at them occasionally and they apear to stop breathing, and then they take a deep breath. Actually elderly sleeping relatives tend to do the same! Having lost alpaca cria and know how bereft the mums can become, we decided to bring Miliko and Carlos in to see Geri.  We didn't worry about Arthur and Blue as they hadn't seen her for a few weeks. The both suprised us in their own way.  Miliko is usually like a whirl wind, we lifted him onto the sofa and he extremely gently sniffed all around her head and face, very loving.  Carlos was another matter. When we lifted him up, he wouldn't look at Geri, he turned his head and he looked the other way.  We are not sure if he understood or not, but he didn't want to be there, or to see Geri like that.

One week on and we have had a busy week.  Which I'm sure was a good thing.  Alan and I have shared many cuddles (Sorry Alan ) and I have shed many tears. Arthur and Blue spend most of the day and night sleeping... nothing different there, especially this time of the year.  Little Miliko seems to have a new liking for baby bats, and seems to always have one in his mouth at the moment, bless him, and bless the poor baby bats.  Carlos is very sad, every time we walk passed him we are aware of giving him extra cuddles and more of our time.  He's been indoors this afternoon for a siesta, Miliko got thrown out as he tried to bring his bat in, but Carlos has broken into our bedroom and was curled up on our bed.  Hopefully he will be ok in a few days time.  And Geri, well she's been laid to rest inbetween two lovely olive trees.  I know that was a difficult job for Alan.

Thank you for 16 wonderful years Geri.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

It's Time for some new Chickens... Yippee!

Our original girls were down to just two, Auntie Mabel and Auntie Marjorie-Jess.  Yes you've got it, we are not a hundred percent which she is, so she now has joined the prestigious double barrelled group. We decided to wait until spring, when the weather was reasonable and also when Greyhound man's dogs were not lurking.  Grehound Man works on some of the land around us and is named as he has greyhounds... you would never have guessed!  He's not our favourite person.  He leaves his dogs in the house that he uses when he's here for a few days at a time, and we know for a fact he doesn't come back and feed them every day.  To be honest if his dogs are hungry and they come looking for chickens what can we say, nothing, the poor dogs. So we hadn't see GM for a while so we thought we would do a chicken shopping trip.

Auntie Marjorie-Jess and Auntie Mabel, before their new play mates arrived

We went to the same place in Cordoba we bought our last ones from. Well when we eventually found it again. We arrived about 20 minutes before siesta, struggled to find somewhere to park the car as two dogs were sprawled across the allocated parking area. We expected to look at a 'menu' as previously, but no this time we were allowed to follow the two young men and see for ourselves.  We explained that we lived in the campo and wanted the chickens just for eggs, we wouldn't be eating them.  We 'Ooohed and ahhhed' over some pretty ones but were put firmly in our places and told we need strong campo chickens, that would be hardy.  True of course.  There was also a gorgeous little Silkie but it was a male, and we really just want females, so he was out of the equation too.  A pure white  egg was shown to us, proving some of the chickens were already laying.  That didn't matter to us, we knew it would take them a few weeks to settle in their new home before laying again.

We chose our new girls, two of each, white, brown and black, and watched whilst they were unceremoniously hauled out of their cages, and shoved into a big box.  It always looks so undignified but I'm sure upside down is maybe the way it should be done.

A hour back home in the car, and we took them straight round to there newly cleaned out chicken room. Even the boys knew something was going on!

For a few mornings we kept the new girls in, Alan would pop round and manage to let Auntie Mabel and Auntie Marjorie-Jess out, to give them some peace from these new youngsters.  Luckily they all seemed to get along just great, with no squabbles that we were aware of.  A few days later we opened the rustic old doors and let them feel the fresh air on the faces and be free for the very first time.  Wonderful! 


Friday, June 6, 2014

Eye Eye!

You are up to date with my gnashers, now my other problem, my eye.  I have been going to the eye department every month at the Reina Sofia University Hospital in Cordoba, and really cannot fault any part of my treatment.  After a few months of steroid eye drops, which haven't worked, I went onto a course of four steroid injections under my eye. When I attended the next appointment I thought it was simply going to be the same again. These injections have caused me no problems at all, although it's rather a strange feeling as you can feel the steroid fluid fill the baggy bit under your eye, as the contents are being flunged in. It remains puffy for a few hours, but it's not painful.  

I had a shock when my consultant, that I see every time, informed me the treatment was not working (which of course I was aware of) but she wanted to try a different treatment. She said those words I had been dreading (in Spanish of course!!)  "We need to change the treatment.  You need a steroid injection into your eye, or we need to try some steroid tablets!" GULP!

It was something Alan and I had discussed may happen at some point, but we have been waiting for an appointment from the rheumatologist.... ok that's something to complain about, as we have been waiting a few months now.  I wussed out of the injection in the eye.  I know people say you have drops in it, and you don't see the needle coming etc, but I couldnt find the words to ask her!  When I said to Alan "Did you think I was a big baby?" He said he thought I had done the right thing. We had discussed it would be a idea to have a consultation with a rheumy consultant first, and he or she would be looking at my sarcoidosis as a whole, and not just in my eye.  That didn't make me feel so bad.  I was prescribed a huge dose of 80 mgs every day, along with a stomach protector, and a vitamin D pill also to help prevent osteoperosis.  This is a bit of a concern as it is a known fact that people with sarc should not take Vitamin D, but once again, I struggled to find the words and took the presciptions knowing that at some point I can ask another consultant. 

Of we went to our pharmacist friend, armed with pages of prescriptions and a new stage of my life as a 'pill popper' has begun.  That first month I was taking 6 tablets a day! 

The steroid pill I have been prescribed is Prednisone. Apparently has many side effects, especially when reducing the doseage.  I have purposely tried to avoid looking at these, as I don't want to be looking for what could be a side effect, if you know what I mean. One of the the main problems with them is that they make you want to eat your body weight in food. I have looked up why your appetite increases so much, and it seems to give a false adrenaline.  For me I can feel very shaky, almost like I'm low in sugar, but even when eating, this feeling doesn't always go away.  I have also had palpitations that wake me during the night, and I will be awake for a good couple of hours, plus severe hot sweats, again especially at night time.  Of course 'me age' doesn't help, but I never had that before these pills.  However..... I have felt better than I have physically for years.  I was aware after just a few days, I wasn't reaching for headache pills.  I have suffered with headaches most of my adult life.  Not migraines but severe enough to take tablets most days.  In the three months of taking the steroids so far, I had one slight headache one day, that's fantastic for me!

My consultant saw me one after a month as usual, when all the normal tests were done on my eye.  Although I could see no difference with my sight, the scan of my retina showed an improvement during that first month, which was fabulous.  We were able to already begin to reduce the Prednisone already!  I am now taking 40 mgs a day, which is still very high, and my doseage is lowered every ten days.  Until next week when I only drop 5 mgs. Off to the hospital again on Tuesday next week, so let's hope she's still happy!

I have now sadly put on about three quarters of a stone in weight.  Having said that, if I hadn't of been doing the 5 x 50 challenge, (I shall tell you more about very soon) it would have been sooo much worse.  I also now have, well I don't think it could be described as a moon face... more Sponge Lorna Square Face!

My eye after an injection under it

Strange pupil shape, after drops to dilate my eye
Sorry about the smudged mascara!

Some great jokes for people on steroids!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Teeth Update March... All Done Wooo Hooo!

As I said in my last blog post, which was about my trip to Brighton for Maisie's birthday, I had to extend my holiday slightly... terrible shame. When I had gone back in December for Baby Jaxon's birth, I had the bite registration plus impressions done. That was all ok apart from as my old nan would have said "I'm a good 'ealer!" Whenever the posts of the implants had to be exposed for impressions to be made, the skin on my gums would grow over the posts again very quickly. This meant I would have to have lots of injections to numb my mouth (as I'm a coward with pain, but I'm fine with injections) to expose the posts again. Well this was done however the laboratory were not completely happy with the results. We considered finding an English speaking dentist here, but then thought it was better to just extend my stay in Brighton so the same procedure could be done again, and then hopefully the implants would be all sorted for my return back to Spain at the end of the week.

Just a little reminder.... For a few years I had a problem on the left top side of my mouth, with old crowns, and a chipped front tooth that was failing very quickly. I knew eventually something sensible would need to be done but I was dreading the thought of what.  

The first consultation when the decision was made, not just to do a couple of extractions but four, and I would need a partial denture was a tough one.  As a child I had a brace and hated the feeling of it on the roof of my mouth.  It made me feel sick whilst eating, and I never kept it up.  I feared I would feel the same way.  

The extraction process and drilling into the jaw bone for the implants caused me very few problems. I was sedated, although I think I remember most of what was going on, but I really couldn’t have cared less what was being done.... it’s good stuff, you know! Having to be without a partial denture for just a few days was difficult. I felt old and ugly but hey it was only a few days, then I got a phone call a day earlier than I was expecting to say it was ready.

The denture looked amazing and it was great to have teeth again, even falsies. I have to admit I felt rather down wearing them though. I couldn’t eat lots of things, even a nice salad would be too crunchy, and I really hated that feeling of the plastic in the roof of my mouth. It rather felt like a made to measure shoe horn!

Because I live in Spain, I opted for a dentist in the UK I trusted, and of course could understand. It did mean that the length of time between the first appointment with extractions to the final fitting of the implants was a year. It would probably have been around 6 months if I had lived locally, with healing time included. 

Well I now have had my new implants for a couple of months and I find it difficult to find the words to describe how they have changed my life! I feel much more confident just knowing I don’t have a denture, AND I can eat and totally enjoy my food again. I would advise anyone considering for a moment about getting implants, that ok it’s not the nicest of procedures. I wouldn’t say painful as there can always be a top up of injections to anaesthetise any pain. I did feel a little wiped out after long procedures in the dentist chair.... BUT ... Is it worth it? Totally! Would I recommend it? Absolutely! Would I go through it again? Yes I would!

Is this an advertisment for implants? Well it wasn't meant to be!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Brighton for the Beautiful Maisie's Birthday

The beginning of March saw me budget-airline-hopping back to the UK, to celebrate my beautiful granddaughter Maisie's fourth birthday. I had been in touch with Maisie's mummy lots before the trip, and I was over the moon to be invited to watch Maisie in both her swimming and ballet lesson during the week. Getting permission to watch a ballet lesson is a pretty big deal too, so I was very grateful!

I had actually booked to travel to Brighton the week after Maisie's birthday as I knew Mark, my son was having Maisie that following weekend.  I also sneakily extended my stay as my dental procedure needed another appointment too.

I arrived on the Friday, and was very happy to hear that plans had been made for Maisie to have a sleep over at my daughter Frankie's house with Kaci.  They are so alike, they think are are total princesses, so girly, into hair and nails and all things pretty.  It was great for me to read them both a bed time story that first night.  Plus at four years old they are not yet thinking about staying up all hours chatting, they were happy to just turn over and go to sleep!

On the Saturday we celebrated Maisie's birthday.  First stop  was to meet up with Mark and Maisie, plus a good friend of Mark and Frankie's, Martin and his little boy Dillon. Dillon is two weeks younger than Maisie.  Mark and Martin were in the same year as each other at school and were mates, but he will always be remembered by me for looking after Frankie when she had too much to drink one night when she was under age, naughty girl!  Martin looked after her and brought her home... good lad! It was great they were able to share the day with us.  The Sea Life centre was the first port of call and the kids loved it.

Touch a starfish... poor starfish!

Mark with Kaci and Maisie

Martin and Dillon

Next stop the pier and chips!  It had to be done, and it didn't disappoint!  It's one of the few things I miss here, chip shop chips... yummy!  The kids had a great time on a few of the rides too.

Photo bombed by a seagull!

After a super day all together Kaci went to her daddy for the rest of the weekend, which gave me time to have lots of cuddles with my gorgeous new grandson Jaxon.  Little Jaxon was 3 months old, and had already changed so much.  Bless his heart he has had a few health problems too.  He has been suffering with reflux, and a flappy or floppy larynx.  In other words he kept bringing his milk back up, and he had terible tummy ache since he was born.  Poor little mite was always crying, and almost constantly bringing his knees up in pain.  It must have been so difficult for Frankie.  Time after time at the doctors they told Frankie there was nothing wrong.  Eventually one day Frankie, going on her mum's intuition, paid a visit to the children's accident and emergency department at the the local childrens hopsital.  A doctor diagnosed it within a couple of minutes.  At least that put her mind at rest and they are keeping an eye on him, plus he has some medication too to try and control it. 

The following day the sun was shining brightly and Mark, Laura (Mark's girlfriend) and Maisie all came over to Frankie and Jordan's flat and we had a lovely walk along the seafront.  Although I have to admit these days, I see the sunshine and expect some heat from it.  Yes I know it was only March.  So a hot chocolate was the order of the day, before heading back again.

The holiday flew by, as it always does.  I loved spending my time with my children and gorgeous grandchildren.  It was great to be able to let Frankie have that extra hour in bed some mornings. It's not easy with two little ones. As for me, I loved my early morning wake up calls. 

I watched little Maisie in her swimming lesson, although she had a few tears, I think she was tired after a busy day at nursery.  Her ballet she got totally stuck into and concentrated really hard, bless her, even though I was watching.  Good girl Maisie, Nanny was very proud of you!

As always I managed to catch up with a few special friends, not all of course... some are already on my list for next time. I, of course managed to see Uncle Charlie, who thankfully was keeping well.  It was my job, this trip, to try and organise him a free buss pass. What an ordeal!  Having tried three different offices in town, we were told "I can see your uncle is over 65, but I'm afraid if he doesn't have a passport, driving licence or birth certificate with him, we cannot issue him with a free bus pass!"  Uncle Charlie's answer to this was "Tell the lady I swam the channel, a couple of months ago... and I did it in record time!"  Bless him!  Still no free bass pass  So we went back to his pub instead!

Kaci and I had a little scoot along the seafront one morning.  Well Kaci scooted and I walked and we enjoyed an ice cream together, whist her mummy had a bit of time with Jax. She wanted to wear her Spanish flamenco dress, but it was a bit nippy so she was wearing lots of other clothes underneath it.

Two more exciting things to do before travelling back to sunny Spain, the first was the final part of my implants (yes, the teeth still)  the second was a lovely night with the family.  As I'm not the worlds best cook, Jordan (Frankie's boyfriend) who is a very good cook, offered, or maybe I even asked him, if he would cook something nice on my last evening.  We invited Mark and Laura over too.  It was a really lovely evening, and the food was lovely, thanks Jordan.  It really finished off a lovely holiday.  Thanks so much for having me!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Our Geri

One evening a few weeks ago now (as I'm so behind ... sorry) the dogs were going bananas!  There had been a stunning cream mastin wandering around at the bottom of our track.  We were unsure if it was the one belonging to one of our neighbours, Rafa. We could see one on the hills with him earlier during the day, or was it another, that had just turned up?

After last years summer guests left, Alan and I decided to move upstairs for some comfort during the winter. The last couple of years we have used the same apartment throughought the year but it's not great in winter. There is a fire place for an open fire, but depending on which way the wind blows, most nights we had to have a window open as we were getting smoked out.  Defeating the object really!
We were sleeping upstairs, Arthur and Blue, the mastins were in the big kitchen.  This is the best place for our Big Arf as he knows he's off duty, and sleeps all night unless something wakes him.  The little ones, Geri, Carlos and Miliko were sleeping in our bottom apartment, where we normally sleep.  Carlos and Miliko sleep on one sofa, and Geri on another.  We removed the cushions from hers so it's not so high.  She likes to jump on and off the sofa, all night long.  Mainly to have the odd drink during the night, and to have a potter around, and at nearly 16 years old she could just manage this leap without too many problems.  

After a noisy night with the dogs, the following morning I  found Geri lying on the floor with her back legs totally in the splits, the following morning.  Her breathing was fast and shallow and her heart going really fast.  I thought she'd lost all the power in her legs. Our poor Geri is totally deaf, and practically blind with cataracts. I carefully picked her up, bringing her little legs gently together and lay her on her sofa, whilst I lay next to her.  I knew Alan would come looking for me if I wasn't back in the kitchen thinking about breakfast, pretty soon... and this he did.  When Alan found us laying on the hairy Geri sofa, I was really thinking the worst but Alan, ever calm said "We'll let her rest, see if she wants a little food or water, and we'll give her an anti inflammatory." She suprised us by eating a little, so the pill was no problem then we rested her for a hour. We stayed with her and got her up after an hour, but still she had no strength in her legs.  She had a little more food and drink, which was a good sign, then we rested her again and she slept quite soundly.  The next time when she woke up we carried her outside, and stood her up. Previously we had been standing her on the tiles inside the apartment.  I kept one hand under her tummy as a bit of support, whilst Alan spent most of the time trying to distract 'The nightmare that is Miliko' from getting excited seeing her, and bowling her over with affection. After about 10 minutes of me practically crawling around on all fours supporting her, I took my hand away, and she walked a bit.  We took her back indoors again, so not to over do it, where she slept for another couple of hours... well she is an old lady! When it was time to take her out again, we still carried her, and after just a few minutes of me supporting her, she took off and almost ran round the corner, squatted and weed.  We were delighted!

Obviously we moved back downstairs that same day, there was no way we could risk that happening again, we were feeling so guilty as were were not sure how long she had been in that position for.  The barking from the other dogs was of course them trying to let us know something was wrong.  They are always right too!   Bless her, she did take a few days to recover but she is doing well.  I thought we were going to lose her that morning. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Bless my Uncle Charlie

Regular readers of my blog will remember me mentioning visiting my Uncle Charlie, when I'm in Brighton.  He is some character! He is my mum's brother, and she followed him at school. Unfortunately his reputation meant she had a bit of a raw deal!  Uncle Charlie and my dear mum were two of seven children, a good catholic family from Glasgow.  U.C was the sickly one of the family and as a youngster was in and out of hospital with health problems, I'm not sure exactly what but I do know he only has one kidney. Would you believe he is the only one of that generation alive.

I remember very clearly when he and his dad, my papa, came down from Scotland to live with us.  Papa was becoming frail and U.C just happeened to still be living at home.  U.C however has always liked a bit of a drink, so he didn't stay too long.  I'm sure mum would have encouraged him to find a place of his own. I remember us having great fun together. For a while I started judo and he was only 4ft 9 short, and we would do judo together, in the living room.  U.C travelled the world fighting for his country during the war.  He says he was in the SAS, I'm not sure if they had an 'SAS' in those days, or if he was in an elite group that was similar.  Even now he loves to talk about his paratrouping days.  He loves to remind us he was always first to leave the plane, and last to land, due to his height and weight.

This February he reached the grand age of 93.  He is doing well but getting a little more confused, as you are allowed at that age.  A couple of months ago, I had a panic phone call one morning from Frankie.  She is first point of call with any worries with him.  He has a carer once a week, plus people doing quick calls twice a day, mainly to ensure he is eating.  Touch wood this works well most days. I received the call from Frankie it was to say U.C hadn't been at home for his evening meal.  That is quite unusual as he tends to go to the pub Monday to Saturday with a day off on Sunday however he's usually home by late afternoon. Luckily he goes to a regular pub where everyone knows him.  He doesn't realise it's a gay bar (that's why he left his last regular) everyone is so friendly towards him, and the bar staff really look out for him.  I'm not sure what goes through his mind when he sees the occasional act performing there.  Regulars are called 'Sally Vate' and 'Miss Jason' possibly he blames it on his cataracts!  Anyway.... Frankie received a phone call to say he wasn't at home, so she didn't worry too much thinking he had just stayed for a slightly longer session than usual.  The following morning another phone call came through, he wasn't there and his bed hadn't been slept in.  Could this have meant he had been out all night?

Frankie phoned this hospital, he is quite a regular sadly.  He does have the odd fall, and is quite well known to the staff.  This day however there was no sign of him.  The next call was to the police station, plus Frankie and I both put his photo on facebook, and it zoomed around Brighton in no time.

I was distraught!  We know he will not live for ever but it was devastating to think he may have collapsed somewhere in the street and been there all night.   The next couple of hours went passed in slow motion. Things weren't looking good.  I then got a quick message from Frankie, "He's in hospital, but we don't know how he is yet!"  At least we knew where he was.  There wasn't much of a jigsaw to piece together but apparently he had fallen in the street and some kind soul had phoned an ambulance.  It seemed a little strange that when Frankie initially phoned the hospital they had no record of him being a patient, they simply said he was between wards?  Luckily he was back home the same day!

Low and behold he did the same thing again a month later, however this time, he was missing for dinner and breakfast once again.  No signs of U.C in the hospital and once again the community police kept a look out for him.  Facebook pleas were posted and shared all over the Brighton community. The bar has a facebook page and the regulars were aware he was missing once again.  Mid afternoon I received a message "Charlie's just walk into the bar, and he's fine!"  No one could get out of him where he had been!  He was totally unaware that half of Brighton had been looking for him.  He just sat at his favourite table and ordered a double brandy (they always give him a single) and spent the rest of the afternoon there! He is a worry to us all!

My dear Uncle Charlie and I