Blown Away!

January 29, 2011

….It’s been a crazy week of emotions….

Last Friday I heard a good friend of mine had passed away. RIP Dear Bex.

Last Friday we thought we were going to adopt a 2 year old doggie then the owners decided to keep her after all.

Last Friday Julian started a week of Nights-the worst working week of his 7 week shift pattern.

But last Saturday after hours of internet searching I found us Anna-Bell and rushed to meet her and secure her with a deposit

School was tough this week-I felt exhausted, I was worried about Julian at work and I was also feeling coldy.

Today my cold has come out, and I feel pretty pants but I am being loved to bits by our new little doggie!

….I’m simply blown away with how when life can throw you a curved ball one minute, things can even out the next. I just hope my cold goes really quickly and I can really enjoy our newest little member of the family!….


Happy 1st Blogiversary to Me!

January 24, 2011

….Today, January 24th, 2011, my Blog is exactly one year old!….

It remains to me to say a huge Thank You to my loyal group of readers. Without you I wouldn’t have the need to write a blog.

I hope I can continue to find interesting asthma and music and life related topics to tell you all about, and that just occasionally, what I write may be of some help and use!

Bless you one and all.

….Happy 1st Blogiversary to me!….

Bex. RIP. A Tribute.

January 22, 2011

….I had some very sad news on Friday evening….

Becky Harvey, Bex to those of us who knew her, was a good friend for 5 years. She sadly passed away at her home in Devon yesterday morning, peacefully. I met Bex as we were both patients under the same team of Lung Doctors at the Royal Brompton Hospital. She had severe brittle asthma and used to cause them a merry song and dance trying to sort out some sense of stability in her condition. She was a lively intelligent person-the same age as me, but also the Mother of four teenagers.

In the last few years Bex had gained a myriad of serious health problems on top of her asthma. A severe, life threatening problem with her bowel nearly led to her demise, but after 5 months in hospital she pulled through. Bex had a wondeful network of Family and Friends caring for her, which she really needed, but she still insisted on doing anything medical herself, needling her port-a-cath, injecting her many drugs, flushing her IVs through. Bex was quite a pro at everything she had to deal with.

Her sense of humour was something I latched onto-that sense of not wanting to be ill and desperately trying to ‘crack the code’ and beat this illness. Bex was a dab hand at the Times Crossword. I remember having a competition with her once when we were both in patients at the RBH-we tied-we both couldn’t get the same answer!

On another occasion, I was visiting her in hospital and was so wheezy that when the Drs came in to see her they ended up carting me off, and low and behold I was admitted too. I always thought she’d secretly arranged to have me abducted so we could have fun together!

And another time, fearing we would both be in for our 40th birthday’s we decided to plan a joint celebration on the ward should that happen. It kept us going-dreaming of filling IV drips with champagne, which she loved.

Well, dear Bex is now breathing easy and drinking champagne with the angels. Se will be sorely missed. A larger than life personality, she was also, even with her extreme illnesses, a moderator on Asthma UK, an enthusiastic football supporter, a campaigner for the Liberal Democrats, and a Pagan!

My love and prayers go out to her Sister, Jo and her 4 children who she leaves behind so prematurely.

She is at peace from her illnesses now,

….But I know she’ll be ramming a few ankles in heaven with that electric wheelchair of hers….

The Headache From H*ll!

January 18, 2011

….I keep thinking my head has exploded….

Since Saturday I have had the most G-d damn awful migraine I’ve had in years. I have thoroughly depleted my supply of Imigran tablets, nose sprays and I’ve even had 2 injections, but the exploding headache is still there-right through my eye like I’ve been shot.

On Sunday afternoon I felt quite delerious and just went to bed. Couldn’t even think about facing the Club and having a swim. Ack.

And last night I was writhing in agony feeling about as sick as a parrot could be and this morning I succumbed to the toilet bowl being my best friend. I feel most peculiar, weird really, dizzy, flushed, and very odd.

However today, Tuesday, I now know this isn’t a migraine. But a latent reaction to my body making it’s immunity to that ‘Flu shot I had a week ago. Yep-it’s mini psudo ‘Flu, or Sus ‘Flu!

Hence this headache is actually that horrid ‘Flu headache-you know, the one accompanied by a temperature and aching limbs-both of which I have, and flushed red cheeks too.

So countless Imigran doses and mega Paracetamols later I still have the Headache from H*ll.

OK so I might not be going to get the real oink ‘Flu this year (having had a pseudo Pneumonia already),

….But what that silly Nursey didn’t tell me last week was that my head was going to blow up….

From Igloos to Greenhouses!

January 15, 2011

….I know I’ve said I’ve had such a good 3 days at school….

But Oh My Goodness, oh my goodness, if only they could and would do something about the ridiculous air supply to our department. I suppose most people have learned to cope with it or just get on and work in it without realising how bad it is. And this is mid-winter. Last summer we had such a bad build up of CO2 it was totally unhealthful.

I feel every breath is a case of my learning to compensate.

The Music Tech room where I teach most of my classes is far too cold. I often feel the need to allow pupils to keep their coats on, some even wear fingerless gloves. It’s not just that we are the thin end of the ‘Wedge’ block and have 2 large outdoor walls, but the internal thermometer on the air con just doesn’t seem to work. There is also a huge IT suite upstairs where you can apparently see your breath!

The Large Music room I teach in on Thursdays and 1st thing Friday morning is absolutely stifling. I always prop the door open with the percussion trolly, but then have to suffer the noise of the drum lessons as the sound proofing doesn’t work.

Going from one room to t’other all day long over 3 days is just about the worst thing to do to an asthmatic’s lungs. I find it absolutely dire and just cough and cough. My last rehearsal with Emily on Thursday afternoon was like one long asthma coughing attack.

The heat and stuffiness also make it so soporific for the pupils. But we just can’t seem to do anything about it.

The Music Dept is the white square bit

on the right of the ‘wonky cross’ chapel

shown in this picture.

No rooms have opening windows.

The Music Practice rooms are like slow cookers or microwave steamers.

The Chapel, I will add, is another veritable igloo. I cough my way through my weekly Wind Band rehearsal as the cold gets to me when I have come from the heat of the large Music room.

For those of you who know my school-we are a new campus, we have been on this site not even 2 years and have complained fruitlessly countless times. But nothing seems to have been done about it.

All we can do is dress in layers and pull off or put on as necessary!

….And go outside the main hub area for some deep breathing and real fresh air, if and when our timetables allow…..

12 of 12: January 2011

January 12, 2011

…. So here follows my series of 12 photographs taken throughout today, the 12th of January, 2011….

This is a School Day for me-something my last two 12 of 12s have not been able to show as I was off sick for that chunk of time in the run up to Christmas.

I hope all of you reading have been having a Happy New Year so far!


1 ) Took My Early Morning Meds at 5.15am today. New regimen is to have a Benecol yoghurt with them. I’ve recently discovered my Cholesterol is too high so we’re tackling it the Benecol way!

2 ) Packed my bag ready for School-had to remember that I’ve got Choir before school so dug out my long lost hymn book and Choir music books.

3 ) I arrived at school at 7.30am. The dark wet morning made it look surprisingly Christmassy for mid January!

4 ) And school was so eerily empty at that time.  I had to sit outside my room on Scootie waiting for my key possessing colleague to arrive.

5 ) 8am. Choir in the Chapel was eerie and dark too as I was 1st to arrive. But I noticed the way the light shines through the wonky cross on the wall and thought it looked quite magical.

6 ) The music in choir is really great. We’re doing a gospel arrangement of Bridge over troubled water and this excellent Beatles medley which they started before Christmas and were singing really enthusiastically.

7 )  11.50am. I popped  home during period 3 for my lunch. It is too much for me to do the whole day without a decent break and so my time table is adjusted to allow me a ‘time out’ slot to rest and take my meds. I therefore just eat anything on a school day, and often at a strange time. I  quickly nuked this tin of Ratatouille and warmed my stat GF roll!

8  ) 1.55pm. Meanwhile back in my Period 4, Year 8 lesson introducing Indian Music, I was wrapping up our Raga work and promised to play them a youTube clip (always a treat) as they had worked so hard. They were fascinated by the speed of this Tabla players hands!

9 ) 2.50pm. Period 5 I was rehearsing with Emily. We played through her Suite Antique by John Rutter. It was so hot in the room and I was really struggling with my asthma, coughing every bar. Darn crazy air system!

10 ) 3.20pm. Julian picked me up from School and we dived straight into Waitose as we needed to do a biggish shop. Unfortunately the cold classroom/hot classroom/damp air outside had set me off something more than just a little bit and the flowers in Waitrose only added to it. I stood here taking my picture, sounding like I’d just smoked a packet of full tar. Embarrassing, yes!

11 ) 6.35pm The bath photo! I am currently using my Christmas gift bath smellies. The yellowy sprinkles on the bubbles are from Marks and Spencer. They are lemony fruity zested bath caviar sprinkles and wash off you like soap. Makes my bubbles more fun, plus my glass of wine and olives!

12 ) 7.40pm. Julian put himself in charge of supper. We haven’t had a take out ‘healthy’ kebab in ages so he went to Taste of the Mediterranean in Eastcote to pick these up. Mine (on the right!) is an Adana kebab-spiced lamb with  tomato sauce and greek yoghurt. J’s is a chicken and lamb shish. Plus he ordered some humus. A delicious end to a long school day. I’ve been up since 5am!

Night, night and see you next month!

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

((….Thank you, Chad for agreeing to do this for another year! ….))

Oh No! The Shot, and I got Reviewed too!

January 10, 2011

….So it’s Winter in the UK, and Two things are definitely certain….

It will snow. There will be ‘Flu.

And 3rdly….I will be forced to have The Shot!

And 4thly….Incredibly, I just got Asthma Reviewed at the same time!

My GPs surgery has been trying to give me my ‘Flu shot since late October, ie, since when I first got sick last term. Trouble is, I haven’t been able to have it as I’ve been too sick! And now I am over the pneumonia I had before Christmas, the country has run out of this year’s supply of ‘Flu Jab. And so my Doctors have had to track me down the 3 in 1 jab for this year’s dose in order to immunize me safely. Unfortunately, last year’s Swine ‘Flu shot was the one that made me very ill with an allergic reaction, and there is no way I was going to be put through that again. So I’ve had to wait until today, when I’m better and when they now have a dose of the 3 in 1 set aside for me.

So I turned up at 5.15pm to get my shot. Coughing, wheezing, and still on 30mg Pred and possibly not sounding exactly well enough to receive it.  At which point the Nurse got concerned, called the Doctor in and together they proceeded to give me a full on asthma check.

Out comes the PF meter.

I scored 260 (about 60%).

I was instructed to take 4 puffs.

  • “Good technique, why don’t you use a spacer?”

“Because if I need 4 or more puffs I use a nebulizer”

  • “Do you use a nebulizer every day?”

“Yes-(Sus thinks, ‘Oh My Lord’….and ‘can we please get on with my flu shot now’!)”

So anyway she documents my (low) PF, huge wheeze, (I’d just walked in from the car park twice, as the Waiting Room was too busy and too germy for me) weight, height, and then queries why I haven’t had an asthma check with her in like 2 years.

((Probably because I’m terrified of scaring her and I’m under the country’s top Lung Drs as it is, so pretty much, no need!))

At last, sidetracking done with, the Doctor slips out and the Nurse walks to the fridge and unwraps my Flu jab (wash your hands Nursey…..aaargh!)

And the Doctor  comes back in and gives me this drug leaflet to take to my upcoming hospital appointment. And gives me a stern lecture about not getting ‘all allergic’ to it this year, and to ice my arm and take paracetamol if it swells up even the tiniest bit.

And then I spotted her entry on the computer, you know, that bit that flashes up when there is a likely interaction. Apparently this 3 in 1 ‘Flu shot is likely to shoot my Aminophylline level up. Heck. I don’t want a sicky migraine toxic attack on top of cruddy lungs and post jab sore arm. Grrrr!

So I roll down my sleeve and the Dr wants me to take another 4 puffs of ventolin then repeat my PF (270)…. 8 puffs and I gained 10 points…. Oh dear! Then I still had to sit back in the Waiting Room for 15 minutes, and she came out to check on me, as did the Doctor. And then they told me to rest this evening if I felt ‘funny’. Ooo that’s a whacky medical word, ‘funny’!

So obviously, now I’m home, 6.20pm, and I’ve just had a peak at ‘the wound’ and I think ….so far so good, it’s understandably a  tad red but not throwing a swollen strop at me, there’s plenty of time for that!

But isn’t it weird, my shoulder already aches, I feel weirdly sick and I’m developing a mild headache.

….Oh well, I’ve got tomorrow to recover from The Shot before school on Wednesday, and even more germs….