Sunday, 14 September 2008

back to regular programming

To make up for the last two posts, let me tell you about something nice that someone did for me. My friend E, who lives all the way in Edinburgh, sent me a lovely little get-well package which I got in the post on Monday. It was a wonderful surprise and truly made my week. Inside the package were a little handmade monster softie, now christened Mr Mumu, a mix CD (!!! - I had not received a mix CD since 2001!) and a couple of Divine chocolates. It was the perfect present, something that only E would think up.

I found myself eating most of the milk chocolate on Thursday, which I felt a little guilty about, because I had intended to share it with Simon and the kids. To make up for this thoughtless act, I decided to use the dark chocolate to make chocolate chip cookies. Reading soulemama's post about The River Cottage Cookbook inspired me to get my copy out and try the choc chip cookie recipe. Yesterday afternoon, with Lucas and Simon out in Cambridge, and Sofia down for a nap, I decided it was the perfect time to bake the cookies. I had never made chocolate chip cookies before, so I was a bit apprehensive. I ended up with a rather tiny amount of batter, but the book assured me that the little dollops of cookie dough would spread in the baking process. And boy, did they spread! By the time they were cooked, they were a lot bigger than the cookies you get from Millie's.

The cookie batter

which produced these cookies (and four others)

The cookies were a big hit with the family. Despite their size, they had been gobbled up quickly. Simon said they were just perfect - slightly crispy on the edges, soft and chewy in the middle. Yum. I'm thinking of making another batch this week, although I might use milk chocolate this time. I love dark chocolate, but I think milk chocolate will give the cookies a creamier texture.

One happy cookie eater (she kept holding her bowl out and saying 'More?')

E, I wish I could send you some cookies, but I'm not sure if they'll stay fresh. Maybe when we meet up again, I can bring you some.

someone else's right foot

I've always avoided writing about unpleasant things in this blog because I use it as part of my relaxation process, but after Simon sent me this link the other day, I feel I just have to write just once more about broken ankles and plaster casts. Reading this article just left me feeling really angry. First of all, was the hospital involved running low on plaster supplies that the orthopaedic staff could not even be bothered to take off the old man's cast, have a proper look at his leg and then replaster it? If he had been going to the hospital every day to complain about the pain, the least they could have done was take off the cast instead of just cutting a bloody slit on it! It's so easy to say it was a mistake and apologize to the victim, but we're talking about an 80-year-old man here, who is his wife's main carer. The last thing he needed was to become disabled because the people who were supposed to help him get better just didn't care.

This whole thing got me thinking about how lucky I was. The first time I complained about my heel hurting from my cast, the orthopaedic technician told me to go to the hospital straight away so she could take the cast off. And when the second cast still hurt, the consultant didn't hesitate to give me a removable brace. When I asked the technician what could have caused my foot to keep swelling up in the cast, she told me that there are some people who cannot tolerate plaster casts. I now know that she wasn't just being nice to me so I wouldn't feel like a wuss, because my foot is still badly bruised from where the cast rubbed against it, and the skin still looks awful. So, if it is a known fact that some people do not tolerate plaster casts, why did the staff at Fairfield Hospital refuse to listen to Mr Talks's complaints?

All I can say is, shame on you, people. I hope you lose your jobs and are never allowed back into the medical field to ruin other people's lives again.

Mr Mumu was as indignant as I was when he read the news item.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

my right foot

Sofia and I a few hours before the accident. Those jeans had to be binned because I couldn't take them off after my leg was plastered.

Oh dear. I've just had a look at my last post, and, in the light of what happened a few days after that post, I can see that I had tempted fate by saying that things were good. To which it replied, 'Hmmm, if things are so good, that probably means life is a bit boring right now. So shall we make it more interesting by, say, letting you break a bone? How about an ankle? That wouldn't be so bad, would it?'

So yeah, that's what happened. I fell down the stairs one Sunday afternoon, with Sofia in my arms. I knew as I was falling down that I had broken something because I felt my right foot twist and heard a popping sound. Gross, I know, but I just had to share it with you. I dropped Sofia just as I hit the bottom step. The poor little thing fell face down but immediately sat up screaming at me. I was screaming for Simon to come and help me. Simon, who was painting the lounge, came rushing out into the hallway and wasn't quite sure who to help first. Despite his panic and the wailing noises Sofia and I were making, he managed to phone 999 and three paramedics arrived a few minutes later to sort me out and bundle me off to the A&E. They also checked Sofia but she wasn't hurt at all. That was a big relief!

The fracture didn't turn out to be so bad, so my leg was put in a cast. But my leg did not like being in a cast at all. My foot kept swelling up so I was in more pain a week after the accident. My leg was replastered, but a few days later, my foot swelled up again. Things were not looking good.

The painkillers and the lack of sleep from the pain drove me crazy. And I mean really crazy. I was having several panic attacks each day. If I wasn't panicking, I was crying uncontrollably. Worst of all, I could not eat. Me, the food junkie, unable to eat. I would cook my favourite dishes (cooking was the one house chore I refused to pass on to Simon) to try and whet my appetite, but once the food touched my mouth, I was off it.

Me at a children's party, trying to keep my spirits up with a glass of Pimms. Notice the mad glint in my eyes? That's because my cast was squeezing my heel, and it hurt a lot!

That was it for me. I couldn't take it any longer, so I did some research on alternatives to plaster casts. It turns out that there is an alternative to plaster casts - removable braces. I found a few being sold online in the UK, although they were quite expensive - a hundred pounds for the cheapest. I decided that I'd rather shell out a hundred pounds than endure three more weeks of being in a cast. So I phoned the hospital, in tears, to try and convince the fracture clinic sister to let me use a removable brace. She felt sorry enough for me to give me an early appointment the next day. The consultant immediately said yes and the nice orthopaedic technician told me as she fitted my brace that they had all heard about my crying fit and talked to the consultant about letting me use the brace. How embarrassing. But I don't care, because I've been happy ever since, and now I actually feel like I'm recovering. I've been moving about without my crutches, and tomorrow, I shall see the consultant again. I'm hoping my X-ray results will be good and I'll be allowed to walk without the brace and my crutches.

At a friend's wedding. See how much happier I look?

At the wedding reception, with my human crutch, who looked after the children and me and kept our household from descending into chaos

Needless to say, my kids also kept me from totally losing it. They cheered me up, gave me hugs and helped me out by fetching my crutches (yes, even Sofia) and opening gates and doors for me. Oh, and Sofia and I had lots of little tea parties using her new tea set. I love having a daughter as I get an excuse to play with the toys I enjoyed most when I was a child! But Lucas loves joining in the parties too. In fact, we borrowed the cooker that we use for roasting chicken and baking pizzas and cakes from him!

Sofia makes tea for Baby Doll. The cooker and the washing machine are both Lucas's, bought when he was three.