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Posts tagged ‘hospital’

A bit too much going on

When we moved here and “retired” – at least from full time paid employment – we expected to have more free time.  There are quiet days but more often times when there’s a bit too much going on.  Take this last fortnight.  A roller coaster of events and emotions have swept us up and left us a bit drained.  The underlying emotion was sadness as we said goodbye to a close relative.  As Jacqui has not yet had an answer on whether we could travel we couldn’t attend the funeral, a source of great sadness.  It does highlight one solitary good thing to come from Covid however.  The live streaming of these family ceremonies has become much more common place and we were able to watch and say goodbye, even from another country.

The start of the “rockery”
The way we were

The weather has been very busy – definitely a bit too much going on there.  Cloud, drizzle and then bright sunlight swept over us, seemingly at random.  In the brighter intervals Jacqui hurried out and began the transformation of the wall that has replaced the pump house.  A dash into town helped us get the first of the bedding plants and she filled the blocks and planted. I tackled some of the more determined growth around the walls.  The end result looks very promising with a mix of flowers including some Pinks, my father’s favourite.  He showed me how to remove the side shoots and root them to make new plants so we should have an impressive display in a few years.

We were lulled into a false sense of security by the relative absence of flies this summer.  They are still about but in far fewer numbers.  We attribute this to the removal of the Leylandii trees (fly tenements, all of them) and the new rules banning slurry splash-plates.  The latter, in particular, has made life much better here.  Unfortunately the tiny biting flies seem unaffected and as soon as we started working outside we were bitten.  All over.  The cry in the evening was “How the hell did they get in there?”  I leave the rest to your imagination.  So its back to the “Naff Off” bracelets, one of which Jacqui has looped around the back of her cap to keep the little horrors off her neck.

The garden and surroundings are full of life now.  It appears the birds have decided we are fairly harmless and ignore us much of the time.  In fact I was filling the bird feeders and a goldfinch flew close enough to brush my face.  He then sat on the top of the feeding frame and shouted at me, presumably to hurry up.  He was down at the food before I was three steps away. 

Pine Marten scat!

Something has been pulling egg shells from our compost bin and Fergus suggested it was a Pine Marten.  He found Pine Marten scat on one of the walls and the paw prints on the bin match too.  Pine Martens can be fierce and territorial so I’m careful about the dogs at night. However they also kill rats, so “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.  I also spotted a little shrew scuttling across the gravel drive much to my delight.  Less welcome was the sight of a tiny field mouse inside the back porch.  It shot out of a corner and disappeared under the shelves and I hope it left through the open door.  Certainly the dogs showed no interest in it and Charlie has caught a mouse before.  We love the variety of wildlife but mice constitute a bit too much going on.

We had several medical visits this fortnight as well including another trip to the dentist at Roscrea.  After the frustrating and futile visits to the Limerick Cardiac clinics Jacqui was transferred to the local hospital for follow-up care.  A long-awaited appointment to see them proved to be more constructive than all the other clinics put together, with the exception of the nurse-led Limerick venue.  In fact the nurses have been wonderful throughout.  This time we got some answers, the young Doctor listened and explained issues clearly and will push for a place on the rehabilitation programme they run.  Overall we felt a lot better about the situation, especially as she can dispense with some of the medication next month.  There is some hope she may get better, despite the occasional days clouded by exhaustion and nausea. 

Now, I know I promised a picture of me using the mower but it refused to start once again.  I’ll give it another once-over but if it is not reliable then we will trade it in for spares. Hopefully we can do a part exchange.  The little bit of cutting we managed was so easy and so quick. We really would benefit from having a mower to help the ongoing fight against Ireland’s prolific green.

The guest room
Plenty of reading material!

Most of the rest of our time has been taken up by preparing for our first visitor.  The spare room has been storage since we arrived, though we have been putting up shelves, assembling the bed and sorting.   We were pushed into top gear by this imminent arrival, helped by Ikea who sent the fixings for a cupboard.  Something else lost by the idiot movers.  I’ve done some of the work I failed to do before the move. Filing important stuff, ordering books on shelves and spending a lot of time going, “What was I thinking?” Then I found once I got over the initial block it was strangely liberating.

So there we are – a sad, liberating and very busy few weeks with a bit too much going on.

Thank you for reading and I hope you all have a good few weeks.

I will be back in two weeks and you can hear the back issues on

An apology for the lateness – but I do have a note

First an apology for the lateness of this episode – but I do have a note to excuse this tardiness.  This last week has been interesting – a bit more interesting than we wanted, to be honest.  For the past month Jacqui has had recurring attacks of breathlessness that we had attributed to asthma.  Late-onset asthma is a family trait and the house has been full of dust from building work so the idea seemed reasonable.  However on Sunday last she had a very nasty attack and I almost called an ambulance.  Then we went to see the doctor and he took one look at her and ordered us to the Regional Hospital – in Limerick, 40 miles away.

We had been rolling down the roads, happy that our car insurance problem was finally at an end.  Thank goodness it was or we would have been in deep trouble!  Public transport is a bit patchy round here (and non-existent this far out).  The few cab drivers in the area had shut up shop due to Covid and the waiting times for a cab in the local town can be hours long.  We got to A&E at noon and after four hours and several tests they whisked her upstairs.

Now, I was in a strange and very busy town and in shock.  I was also frantic to get back as we had not expected this and the dogs had been alone for almost six hours.  And I’d never driven in Ireland.  I was going to take it slowly, getting used to quiet roads first.  Dyspraxics find it very hard to automate anything physical and driving unfamiliar roads with slightly different rules in a huge strain.  Then a lovely, kind and helpful taxi driver arrived.  He drove me the whole way home and came to collect me the next morning, round trips of over 100 miles.  At least I could take some clean clothes, a toothbrush and some things to keep her occupied.

It’s just as well Jacqui was in the hospital that night as she had what they refer to rather delicately as an “episode”.  I found out about it when I rang to see if she could come home and encountered a bit more Irish candor than I wanted.  The staff were, by the way, overwhelmingly well trained, efficient, kind and helpful – we cannot thank them enough, but this was not a conversation I expected.

            “Oh now, Jacqui.  Well she’s having a bad day of it.  Whatever could go wrong has, you know.  Oh, it’s terrible for her.  She’s not well at all.”  Right. 

Looking back I can actually chuckle about that encounter.  Jacqui’s abiding recollection is the clear organisation and teamwork which made her feel in very safe hands.

I drove the car back that morning following clear directions from Kieran, the wonderful taxi driver.  He gave simple instructions on the easiest route, pointed out landmarks and said, “Don’t worry about anyone else.  They want to pass you, that’s their problem.  You just drive as you feel comfortable.”   The next day I had to go into town for food for the dogs and then set to making the house clean and safe for Jacqui’s return, whenever that might be.  When I went to change the bed linen I was horrified to find it full of little bugs.  Then I put my glasses on and swept up all the biscuit crumbs left by Charlie, the youngest dog.

We got her home yesterday, a long and horrible week later, and she is doing okay.  It was Kieran who did the journey one more time as we couldn’t get any notice of her leaving and all the delays ran through the day and into the evening.  These, by the way, were caused by an extraneous department and not the unit she was in. The next four weeks are to help her rest and recover a bit before they decide the best way forward.  We are revising plans for some of the building work, doing only essentials for the time being.  I have to drive for a while.  But the outcome has been a lot better than we might have expected. 

We are settled into this lovely house and with a new boiler and almost finished extension we will be warm and safe as winter draws on.  So many people have been so kind and helpful offering emotional and practical support.  HSE Ireland were magnificent, even letting me visit one afternoon.  I did have to wear full PPE and apparently resembled a blue jelly baby but it was worth doubling as a Smurf to spend that precious hour with her.

So, that explains the lateness of this episode.  I hope you agree this note does explain my tardiness.