Sunday, 17 October 2021

Older & Wiser!!! Reflecting on a wasted life.

Not sure if it's just me but I think the older you get the more you tend to reflect on the life you have lived.

Around the age of 50-ish is when I think it tends to start. Before that age you still have time to do the stuff you've maybe always wanted to do but after that age you tend to think that maybe you've left it too late.

When we are younger we have all these ideas of what we want to do with our lives; what kind of job we want; where we want to live; where we want to travel to; things we want to see and do. If we are lucky then we get to do some of it.

But for many people those dreams never turn into reality. Not for want of wishing or trying - but sometimes, everyday "life" just gets in the way and you spend so much time existing that you never get the chance to do what you really want to do.

When I was younger (which was a long time ago!!) I wanted to travel the world, like a lot of people do. I wanted to be a photographer, going from country to country, capturing the culture and people there in images.



But, that never happened. 

"Life" happened though and in a couple of years time I will be 60 and I wonder where all the time went.

I look back on my life and wonder what happened; life just slipped me by somehow. 

I got as far as 46 with nothing major happening and then cancer came visiting. Like most people who hear the word "cancer" I felt that my life was over. 

You tend to get very reflective when something major like a major injury or health issues occurs but I had nothing to look back on - and nothing much to look forward to either.

The ongoing health issues resulting from my cancer diagnosis has meant that my quality of life has been close to zero since then and sometimes, in the depths of depression I wonder what the point of it all is. 

I don't like the "fight" & "battle" language that is used around cancer but I often wonder if it was worth going through all the treatment, pain, discomfort, worry etc. 

Cancer patients often talk about their life in 2 parts - BC (before cancer) and AC (after cancer). For me, AC has been a waste of time. I know some people reading this will be shocked at that, but hopefully some will understand what I mean. 




Because of my ongoing health issues, which are mostly as a result of the treatment I had (chemotherapy & radiotherapy), I have said many times that if I knew then what I know now I would not have had the treatment. 

When people hear me say that some say things like "but you've had all these extra years" but what is the point of having "all these extra years" if I've not been able to do anything with them? I would rather have had a year or 2 (maybe more who knows) of being able to do something in what time I had left. Knowing that my time was possibly limited might have spurred me on to do some of what I had always wanted to do, but now I can't.

So less than 2 years until I hit 60. I'm not afraid of getting older or even of dying. It's the one thing that we can all be certain of - that one day we will die. However long we live, whether it be 10, 20, 30 or even 100 years - we will all die eventually.

I can't understand these people who want to live forever. WHY? 

I would just like to be able to do something with what is left of my life before I die. Something that gave my life meaning; something worthwhile; something that gave me enjoyment and made me feel alive.

Is that too much to ask?






Thursday, 7 October 2021

1 Year On.

 

12 months ago today, 8th Oct at around 9am I called the local health centre to ask if a GP could do a home visit as I was unable to leave the flat to go up there due to various reasons. However the GP refused to come see me and sent out an ambulance & 2 paramedics to take me up to the local hospital. I felt this was totally unneccesary and a complete waste of money.  

They arrived around lunchtime & strapped me into some metal chair which was very uncomfortable and dragged me down the stairs like I was a sack of coal. I was getting increasingly stressed and they wouldn’t stop despite me screaming at them. They could see I was severely agitated and crying yet they refused to stop. By the time I got into the ambulance I had almost passed out and needed oxygen. Yet before they arrived I was walking about in the flat, albeit slowly but ok. They way they treated me was not what I expected and it left me extremely traumatised & distressed.

I aksed to see a GP because I had a large abcess in my groin area but by the time I got up to the hospital I was virtually unable to breath without oxygen and was highly distressed.

At the hospital I was seen to by a couple of nurses and then the rest of it is mostly a blur. I remember seeing a couple of faces I recognised (it’s a small island and you get used to seeing people around even if you don’t know their names) I must have passed out a few times because when I woke up my clothes – my top & bra (both brand new) had been cut off me as had my knickers & trousers and I was in the obligatory hospital gown – which as always is never big enough. I was told I needed to go to the mainland and would be airlifted over once the helicopter had landed over the road on the local football pitch.

I spent the next 2 weeks in Paisley hospital in the coronary care unit – seems I had something called “Atrial Fibrillation” which is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. I was told it was like a mini heart attack.

You can read the blog post I wrote when I eventually got out of hospital here 

I ended up back at the local hospital a week after coming home as I had a mini stroke – so heart issues, diabetes & a stroke. I don’t do things by halves me!!!!

So a year on, nothing much has changed. Health is still bad, I’m still on meds for the heart issue, and the diabetes, which I was told I had less than an hour before I was discharged from the hospital after nearly 2 weeks – is causing me a lot of problems. I had asked to be referred to mental health services but they are totally overstretched here on the island and not taking new referals apparently so nothing came of that. 

I’m still housebound, so in total (apart from the trip to hospital) I’ve not been out of the flat for nearly 20 months since late Feb. 2020.

Still not seen a GP either!!!

 

Friday, 9 July 2021

Why Freedom Day is anything but for many people.

 

The last 16 months or so have been a difficult time for many people. Since Covid came into our lives, what we think of as our “normal” has shifted and many of us no longer know what normal feels like.

So much has changed; so many things we used to take for granted have been lost, destroyed or otherwise altered.

Talk of so called “Freedom Day” on 19th July rings hollow for many people like those who have lost loved ones, either due to covid itself or as a result of other issues that have taken a back seat during the pandemic.

No matter how many times we hear that it is business as usual during the pandemic either from the NHS or from GP’s & Doctors there are many, many people who have stories of cancelled appointments – for screenings, treatments, surgery etc.

From the work I do running Womb Cancer Support UK, I hear constantly from people who have struggled to get a face to face appointment with a GP to discuss heavy bleeding or pain; those who have been diagnosed who have had their hysterectomy surgery cancelled at the last minute; had their chemo treatment delayed, etc.

It seems like cancer has been forgotten about and the only thing that matters is covid. This isn’t a dig at the NHS but it is to the people who run it, especially to government who seem determined to run it into the ground and sell it off.

Now I’m not going to turn this into a political post because anyone with eyes & ears should be able to see what is happening & why but there are many ill, disabled & vulnerable people who have been forgotten about or ignored (depending on your viewpoint) during the pandemic, and all this talk of “Freedom Day” means nothing to them other than dread. Because they know that once again their lives mean little to those who run this country.

Many have had their support cut during the pandemic and unpaid carers have been hung out to dry by having to take up the slack and look after family & relatives.

I know from my own experience just how little support there is for those of us that fall through the cracks of an already fractured care support system. Both myself & my husband have complex health issues but we have been left to just get on with it during the pandemic (not to mention the last 12 years since I was diagnosed with cancer, but that’s a whole other story!!)

The point is, that many vulnerable people are still scared to go out; to go shopping; to go to work. Going to the pub or a football match is not a priority for them – staying alive is. To see 60,000+ people in Wembley this week makes many of us feel that all those months of isolation & struggle have been a total waste of time. All that for nothing. The coronavirus is still here, it is mutating and despite the vaccine rollout out the numbers of people being infected is going up and the number of deaths as a result will climb again.

More familes loosing loved ones – and it could all have been prevented or at least not been as drastic if this whole thing had been handled properly, if the scientists had been listened to and common sense had been used rather than the irresponsible contempt that has been shown to the citizens of the UK.

Friday, 7 May 2021

The Red Rose of Labour has faded

 

The youth of today are much more clued up about politics than I was at their age. The internet has made it much easier for them to find alternative narratives than just what their parents believe so they are able to form their own views and opinions about things. They are also more likely to have experienced negative things that have affected their short lives like cut backs of school funding, parental unemployment, maybe homelessness, long NHS waiting lists etc.




I was born in 1963. My parents were working class but my Dad had aspirations for his children and wanted them to have a better life. They managed to buy their own home a couple of years before I was born and lived in it until the day they died. To them a house was something to live in not an investment. They never thought about how much the house was worth and whether they could sell and make a profit on it. They were lucky that for 25 years they had a fixed rate mortgage – something many homeowners would no doubt love these days.

Politics was rarely discussed in our home, infact I never knew who my parents voted for until it was time for me to vote for the first time at 18 in 1981. Can’t remember much about it, but I think it was local council elections. I remember being scared of what to do on the day and as we sat at the breakfast table on the morning of election day I asked my Dad what to do when we got to the polling station. He said just take the paper they give you, go into the booth and put your X next to the name that says CONSERVATIVE – so that’s what I did, to my now eternal shame.

The constituency I was in was a tory area, although I didn’t know it at the time. The local MP was Norman Fowler &the local council was tory run. 1 year later I moved away to a small mining village in north east Derbyshire when I married & shortly afterwards the miner’s strike happened. That’s when I started to learn about politics. Dennis Skinner was the local MP there. I’m proud to say that I voted for him every time there was an election during the 10 years we lived there. I also voted Labour at every local election too. Then in 1992 we moved to another Labour area where the MP was Alan Meale.

In 2002 we moved north of the border to Scotland and I soon realised that politics up here was a whole new ball game. Here on west coast, Labour are virtually non-existent so voting for them seemed a wasted vote. The local MP was Lib Dem with the SNP always close behind. Even the tories got more votes than Labour come General Election time. After the awful coalition with the tories, the local MP Alan Reid lost his seat to the SNP and so it remains, at the moment!

I did vote for Labour at the last General Election because as a Socialist, I believed in the vision of Jeremy Corbyn. We have lived in sub-standard rented housing and lived with the fear of being homeless; we’d seen how the mining community had been torn apart by Thatcher’s determination to crush Scargill and the miners union in the 80’s; we’d seen the rise of hatred towards ethnic minorities with frequent EDL marches in town during the 90’s.

When Tony Blair became PM in 1997 I, like many people thought things would change and to some extent they did. We had a Labour government, finally everyone in the UK would benefit, not just the rich like they did under the tories. We have a fairer society with more equality. Well, we did for a while until New Labour started to look like Old Conservative.




I had never regarded myself as particularly political but when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party in 2015 I realised that my views that had been formed over the years had found their home in a man of principals who wanted everyone to have a good home, a good job with decent pay, access to good healthcare & education. I began to believe that there was hope for a better future for everyone in UK but sadly the backstabbers in the Labour party & the MSM began to circle almost immediately. It became apparent that there were many in the Labour ranks who were not as red as they appeared to be. I believe they are called career politicians; people who go into power with the sole aim of climbing the ladder to the top, doing whatever it takes, including betraying the very people who elected them in the first place, to bolster their own ego.




I’m not a political analyist or a journalist or anything like that. I’m just an average person who believes that everyone deserves the chance to live a full and content life. Under the tories we have seen social housing decimated; our infrastructure like public transport, utilities, our NHS etc sold off. Capitalism & economics rule under the tories. As we’re seen over the past year with covid, lives mean little to them if there is money to be made.

127,000+dead bodies – that’s a huge pile, right. After everything that has happened over the past 12 months – the corruption, the lies, the incompetence over Brexit etc – last night the people of Hartlepool basically decided “We’ll take more of that, thank you very much”

I can understand them maybe not wanting to vote Labour at the moment but why the hell did they vote tory? Do the voters of Hartlepool have a serious masochistic streak or something? Was there no credible alternative? OK, maybe that’s a daft question!!

We’ve had a tory government since 2010, that’s 11 years of austerity, destroying civil liberties, incompetence, lies, rising homelessness & poverty – the list goes on and on and on.

I don’t know what the answer is but I do believe that Jeremy Corbyn offered a better future for everyone but it seems that is not what enough people wanted. That is the reason why Hartlepool went blue on 6th May 2021. 

I guess turkeys really do vote for Christmas.

 

 

 

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Finally we can say goodbye to 2020.

 Well, 2020 is almost over. Just a few hours now until we can finally say goodbye to what for many of us has been a dreadful year.

I think if anyone had thought a year ago on the eve of a new decade that we would end up in a national lockdown due to a virus pandemic that has killed well over 72,000 people, you would have been accused of having a fertile imagination or having too much to drink on New Years Eve!!!

It has been a tough year for a lot of people; from those cancer patients who have had treatment postponed to others who have had long awaited surgery cancelled. The many people who have been working on the frontline in the NHS and the countless people who have lost loved ones to this pandemic.

We face more of the same in 2021 unfortunately unless things change dramatically. I'm not going to get too political here but most right minded people can see only to well and clear that this whole covid thing has been handled disastrously by those supposedly in charge. From the lies & corruption to the total disregard for the value of the lives of the young, the elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable members of the population.

Hopefully things will improve soon but it is going to take everyone pulling together and doing their bit. Standing in the street and clapping for the NHS is not enough, 

Let 2021 be the year that people stop being selfish and start having some compassion and respect for others. It only works if enough people do it. How many more people are going to die before we say enough is enough? 

Those off us that care will continue to care but we can't do it all on our own. We all need to care for each other. 



Goodbye 2020. Please close the door on your way out.


Thursday, 12 November 2020

Diabetes & Me.

 If you read my last blog post, you'll know that my ongoing health issues are causing me problems yet again.

I was taken into hospital over on the mainland back in the beginning of October and spent 2 weeks there. 

On the morning I was released, they told me that a blood test they had done when I was admitted had shown that my blood glucose levels were quite high but it seems that they had somehow overlooked this fact and only noticed it at the last minute.

So instead of leaving hospital thinking it was going to be good to get back home, I spent the whole journey back worrying about how diabetes was going to ruin my life.

Three weeks on, and I'm a little less pessimistic about the future. I am on drugs (metformin) and have altered my diet and have managed to loose some weight.

I was recomended a book by one of the GP's - The 8 week blood sugar diet by Michael Moseley - and found it quite interesting. He advocates a mediterranean diet to help reduce blood sugar levels and says that it is possible to come off medication in the long run which is exactly what I want to hear.

I eat a healthy vegetarian diet anyway which is full of fresh fruit and vegetables so basically it was just a case of cutting out the carbs and 3 weeks later I can definetly see the weight loss.


It is taking some adjusting too though as its hard to find recipes that are low carb, vegetarian & diabetic friendly but I will stick at it. At the moment, I'm eating lots of salad but it's getting a bit chilly for that now so I need to look for some alternative meals. There is also the issue of availability as the choice of fresh fruit and veg here on the island is often quite limited. I've not been able to get my hands on any radishes for ages!!!!


Until next time.

Kaz 😎


Thursday, 22 October 2020

Air Ambulance, Antibiotics and Atrial Fibrillation

As some of the people wh read my blog may know, I have long term on going health issues as a result of being diagnosed with womb cancer at the end of 2009.


On 8th Oct 2020, things took a turn for the worst and I was taken up to the local hospital here on Bute and then transfered to the mainland where I stayed for almost 2 weeks.


Due to living on an island, some patients are taken off by air ambulance rather than by ferry, which is usually the only way on and off the island, so I had what turned out to be a rather nice trip over to Paisley in the big air ambulancc helicopter. Probably not the best way to experience your fist ever flight but I was accompanied by a couple of rather young, good looking medics so who am I to complain!!!


After being assessed and covid tested, which was defenetly not a pleasant experience (and was negative by the way) I was rather surprised to be admitted to the coronary care unit. Turns out I have something called atrial fibrilation or an abnormal heart rhythm which means I am now on heart medication. Took a while to get things under control in the hospital but after lots of tests and a good Consultant I am now doing ok and happy to be back home. 


I also had an infection, which was the reason I ended up in the local hospital in the first place. 10 days of anti-biotics which played havoc with my tummy but did the trick.


Whilst that was all going on, covid 19 hit the ward I had been moved to and we all had to be tested again (another negative thankfully) This all added to the issues I had in getting home but after 3 false alarms I finally escaped on Wednesday and am now back home.


It is going to take some time for everything to sink in but I will go with the flow and see where it takes us. I used my time in hospital to raise some awareness of womb cancer and also lymphoedema so a bit of good came out of it.


If you are still reading this, then thanks for sticking with me. 

Until next time.  😄

Kaz