Happy New Year, 2011!

December 31, 2010

….Wow! Where did the Christmas Week go?!….

It’s suddenly that time where we begin to make resolutions, and look back on what we achieved or maybe what we failed to do!

Whatever your aspirations and inspirations for this New Year, I wish every one of you a joyous, peaceful, happy, and above all healthy one!

I got the best Christmas Present of all this holiday-the gift of feeling better after a lengthy poorly spell. I pray you all steer clear of these rotten winter flu’s that are doing their rounds, and you start the New Year on a positive health note.


Here is  a photo montage of our 2010!

….Happy New Year, Everyone!….


Season’s Greetings!

December 24, 2010

….Wishing all my friends in blogworld a really Happy Christmas. I hope Santa brings you lots of goodies and you all have a really Happy and Healthy Holiday Weekend…..Ho ho ho,

….Merry Christmas, Everybody!….


The Tortoise won!

December 22, 2010

….I am not good at being patient!….

But since becoming ill at the end of October I have had to lose the ‘hare’ in me and develop an uncustomary amount of ‘Tortoise’ in my persona!

I am very happy in these final days before Christmas, to be reporting that I have finally, hopefully conquered this long and really nasty bout of chest illness and am now up and about doing Christmassy type things like playing Carols in the background and wrapping presents. I suddenly feel I have more energy and verve and do not feel like I am being dragged into gloom and doom by my lungs, like I have been for so long. In fact I am probably more fully functioning than Heathrow Airport in this dreadful snow we have been having.

I guess I am lucky that the snow hit when it did, as just as I was thinking I was Wonder Woman again and could perhaps venture out further than the Drs or a hospital Appt, we all became housebound due to the weather!

It has taken a great deal of recovery and drugs to get me through this. And now, looking back on it, I should have given in and gone into hospital for IV treatment, but my track record of hospitalisations in the run up to Christmas is not good and I was so worried I would still be incarcerated on December 24th, but I’ve done it, the Tortoise has won.

I’ve taken a total of 5 courses of 3 different antibiotics, have dosed down 4 bottles of Mucodyne Syrup and have so far had 5+ weeks at 40mg of Prednisolone. I’ve also been through 5 boxes of Hypertonic 6% saline nebs (that’s 15mls a day nebbed on average) and countless, yes countless boxes of Ventolin nebs-I’ve been nebbing PRN but up to 2 hourly, and on a few days hourly. My GP said to keep all nebs and meds at their max in this time so when I announced last week that I was hoping to reduce the Pred, she said “not at the moment”. But I’m more or less back to my baseline drugs of 2 -3 Atrovent nebs and Ventolin nebs 1st thing in the morning, lunchtime, evening, and night time with puffers in between. This is brilliant for me. My Aminophylline level came back as 15.1 so that is also very good-high, and no doubt the result of all the antibiotics I’ve been on which have pushed the level up! But I’ve been told by the hospital to stay on the Mucodyne Syrup for the time being. It really works for me.

I’m still in a whole lot of lung pain and am still harbouring a gunky cranky cough, which I have to produce yet another sample of this morning-cue the picture of the sputum pot-no, just joking! But my breathing is, I guess, fair to middling, Yayness! I beat this pneumonia!

So my one final thing then is to show you the weather and the proof that this little Tortoise is now alive and kicking!

I also figured that to stand outside in the freezing cold for a few minutes would probably do me good! Apparently snow gives off a lot of oxygen and the extreme cold would have killed off the remaining bugs in my airways (I so hope!)

….And I would have asked J to take me to the Club for a Sauna afterwards, except they’s sent out texts to say they were shut due to being snowed in. Fail!!!….

Track Santa Here!

December 18, 2010

….For all my Crazy Christmas and Santa loving Fans, you can use Norad to track Santa around the world….

Here is a clip from some of last year’s exploits! The scenery and music are magical!

….Watch, listen and enjoy!….

12 of 12: December

December 12, 2010

…. So here follows my series of 12 photographs taken throughout today, the 12th of December, 2010….

If you have been following my blog recently, you will know that I have been quite poorly for about the last 6 weeks. I am, much to everybody’s relief, slowly recovering bit by bit, and beginning to try to reintroduce myself to the world having been on total bed rest for so long, so I’m starting today to think about conquering a few Christmassy things.

Anyway, read and enjoy!

1 ) 8am We awoke to another frosty and slightly foggy morning. Our snow has gone for the time being-but is expected back again midweek!

2 ) 8.10am I downed my revolting cough syrup, and morning tablets, as usual, with a shot of ice cold grapefruit juice!

3 ) 8.15am I started a pot of turkey broth soup on the go. I’d finished the last of the chicken soup I made on Thursday, yesterday, so it was time to make more. These were the bones and left overs from Mummy’s birthday turkey last Sunday.

4 ) 9.30am I plonked myself on the spare bedroom floor, wrapped up in my dressing gown, and started sorting out the myriad of Christmas Cards we needed to send out. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too hard a task and I enjoyed the feeling of euphoria that I had actually got around to writing them all!

5 ) 11am My soup was ready, so I removed the turkey bones from it and blended it in the saucepan with the immersion blender before transferring it to the kilner jars ready for freezing.

6 ) Lunchtime I had some of my fresh soup, and rested back on the bed , doing some more of Saturday’s Times Jumbo Crossword.

7 ) 3pm Julian had been putting up more lights and then popped out to Duck’s Hill garden Centre to have a look at their icicle lights as we still haven’t managed to buy anymore this season. He took this picture of their Christmas grotto garden for me. So darling!….

8  )…. and he came back with this bag of goodies. I’d asked him to see if he could pick up a few of the present requests for gardening gloves and jars of lime marmalade for various family members! He got everything sorted!

9 ) 4pm I settled down to watch the UK premier of Barefoot in London. Those of you who know me sure know I’m a major Ina Garten fan, and when I found out she’d been in London filming this special Holiday show, I was champing at the bit to watch it and see all the food adventure places she’d visited on her trip so we could go to the same stores and eat and buy the same things!!

10 ) 5.50pm I put my long coat on and stepped outside into the real world to take a photograph of our Christmas Lights. We always have these warm white Christmas lights. There are still a few to wire up, but with J on nights last week, progress has been a little on the staccato side! Happy holidays!

11  ) 6.50pm The bath photo! And this month I can have a glass of wine, so it’s a Chardonnay in the photo-and not a glass of ribena like in November, as I am finally (well, temporarily at least for now), off antibiotics. This bath had lavender essential oil rather than bubble bath in it, and smelled delicious!

12 ) 8.10pm The Pizza photo-it is J’s American Hot Pizza Express take out-as I had their chicken and avocado salad-I so did not want to get glutened this close to Christmas so I had the yummy  salad and some of my own warmed GF pitta breads and melted cheese for supper!

Good night all. And here comes the X Factor result……and the winner is…….???

…..Edit: Matt!!!!!!

H A P P Y   H O L I D A Y S !

See you next month!

….If you’d like to read other bloggers’ 12 of 12′s, go to Chad Darnell’s Blog….

That’s One Super Soup!

December 9, 2010

….Of course you all know what I am talking about here, don’t you?-Yes! Chicken Soup!….

When I lived at home, my Mother would often ask me what to cook for dinner, and my Mum is a great cook, so I could have said anything really, but I always wanted chicken soup! Every Family has it’s own version-and no, you don’t have to be Jewish to eat it, make it, or like it! Our Family’s method is to boil up the chicken carcass left over from a roast dinner. My Mother’s freezer would always contain several of them, and turkey bones too. Some people make stock this way but we also add the giblets, maybe some extra chicken pieces, and lots of assorted vegetables-whatever’s in the fridge really. After two hours the pot of broth would be de-boned and left to sit until dinner time when Mum would make dumplings-our equivalent of matzos.

Chicken soup is just about the most nourishing, warming, calming bowl of yumminess you can have when you’re feeling poorly. It’s something that since I’ve had this bout of pseudo pneumonia, I have eaten every single day. It’s also very light on the stomach, and naturally Gluten Free, so in my book, perfect! And it’s not called Jewish Penicillin for a joke. There is so much documented through history, and particularly recently, where doctors and scientists alike have tried to find out just what it is about chicken soup that gives it it’s healing properties.

Some say that the steam rising from the bowl when you eat it is the real benefit. But of course. Sipping the hot soup and breathing in the steam helps clear up congestion. Therefore it seems a very true fact that a 12th century Egyptian Jewish physician, Moses Maimonides first prescribed chicken soup as a cold and asthma remedy. In more recent years, Irwin Ziment, a pulmonary specialist and professor at the UCLA School for Medicine, has said chicken soup contains drug-like agents similar to those in modern cold medicines. For example, an amino acid, cysteine, released from chicken during cooking chemically resembles the drug acetylcysteine, prescribed for bronchitis and other respiratory problems.

Now, I’ve been taking another ‘cysteine’-carbosisteine, via cough medicine, for 5 weeks, and it really does help thin the mucus.

So how does a bowl of the above ingredients contribute to us feeling better? Many of these vegetables and herbs are well documented for their health benefits anyway, vitamins, fibres, anti inflammatories-and of course, the fresher, the better and even better still, home grown or organic! Some people add spices to their boiling pot-the usual ones that are added are garlic and pepper and these in themselves are ancient treatments for respiratory diseases. They also work in the same way as modern cough medicines, thinning mucus and making breathing easier.

Another theory, put forth in the 1990’s by Stephen Rennard chief doctor of pulmonary medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, is that chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory. The soup, he says, keeps a check on inflammatory white blood cells (neutrophils). Cold symptoms, such as coughs and congestion, are often caused by inflammation produced when neutrophils migrate to the bronchial tubes and accumulate there. Therefore, according to science, Chicken Soup really is a bowl of nature’s Penicillin.

And it’s not just Jewish Penicillin at that. So many cultures make their own versions of a healing chicken broth soup: the Thais, the Amish, the Lithuanians, the Colombians, the Jamaicans. I’ve already said how my Family make our own version of chicken broth soup.

And this is a bowl of my own. I made it with what I had in the fridge-chicken pieces, carrots, onion, a leek, a potato and some turkey bones boiled away in it.

But OK, while chicken soup isn’t an exact total cure for a cold, it really does help alleviate some of the annoying symptoms that come with it. And, if nothing else, it is definitely a delicious, comforting meal that helps keep your body fuelled and importantly, hydrated.

….And that is in fact what is on my healing lunch menu for today! Try it!…


Let it Snow!

December 3, 2010

….And I don’t just mean the new Christmassy effect on my blogs….

As this picture shows, the whole of the UK is under the above thick blanket of snow. It seems no one has escaped the weather this week. Even though people were prepared, it is the same old story of the snow causing total havoc to shops, transport, airports, businesses and schools. We in the UK do not do SubZero very well.

Weirdly, when I am in my normal state of ‘wellness’ I find the event of snow ok for my lungs. If it is dry and powdery, and as long as I go out resembling an Egyptian Mummy, I can cope to breathe okish. Obviously this time round it’s a different story as I am still so poorly, but of course, I am not going out in it. I always find the thaw harder than the snow itself. Once that cold damp wetness reappears in the air, I’m back to being a coughing wheezing gonner, plus I really feel the cold and the thaw saps all the heat from the surrounding atmosphere making it feel even more cold and damp.

Who knows how I will fair when the temperature does eventually climb above -0C again.

Interestingly: A while ago, and yes, it may take me a bit of searching as to where I got this next gem of information from, but…

I read about the case of a severe asthma sufferer who was sent to the high Alps of Switzerland and after 6 weeks in the freezing dry powdery snowy air, she found that her symptoms ceased. In fact her asthma was so substantially improved that her lungs returned to normal. The article, I remember, talked about ‘resetting the lungs’.

If only I could recall when and where I heard this. I think it may even have been a study by either Southampton or Manchester Universities/Hospitals.

I would gladly put my life on hold and go and spend a wintery month or so up in, say, Teluride, CO or Springdale, UT: somewhere in the US where there is high altitude coupled with that dry powdery snow.

….If you’ve ever heard this story, please let me know, I must get googling while I am thinking about all things snowy….

EDIT: I’ve found the story on YouTube….I didn’t quite remember it all properly-she initially went for 3 weeks then 6 months, and it was a treatment offered by Birmingham Children’s hospital. But anyway-result!