A Cracking Christmas, 2011

December 30, 2011

…..It’s been the most amazing Christmas Period. Let me tell you why….

  • Julian and I have seen every single one of our relatives, close and distant, on both sides of the family. My cousin Mark’s wedding on the 10th of December brought together my Mum’s long lost brothers, their children, my cousins and their new babies. I haven’t seen such a gathering of my mother’s extended family since my Gran’s funeral a few years ago. And on Boxing Day all of Julian’s brother’s family-plus their au pair-came. Again we seldom see them! We have had several visits with Aunt Margaret-106 years old and still going strong, and on Thursday, Auntie Trudi arrived to stay with Kizzie for a days, from Portugal. It’s been an amazing and emotional gathering of all the various factions.
  • I’ve managed to stay pretty well. Well, no dashes to the hospital for Bipap, at any rate. And no horrendous chest infections like last year. And even though my neb and O2 usage is still greater than normal, I’m coping with my increased SOB, and I am getting out every day and walking the doglet and I have managed a few swims.
  • I’m seemingly playing my Oboe again. Spurred on by a new friend over the pond with a similar lung situation to mine, and an oboist with it! I even knocked up Jonny a couple of reeds and had a blow with him on our Fake New Year’s Day on Thursday!
  • We’ve laughed and laughed. So many funnies. Mum’s paper games were ace. Pomegranates anyone? Jonny’s F1 helmets quiz-OMG. I missed out on Oliver’s Simpsons quiz, but I’ve heard it should be on Mastermind. And I did fairly ok in Julian’s Film Posters quiz at our luncheon.
  • Anna-Bell has continued to make us proud and prove that she really is one of the family-the dearest sweetest little doglet, all dressed up in her Christmas finest. Everybody adores her , and has had a long cuddle with her, and we’ve now had her 11 months.

And just to prove it, here are a few photos from Rounds 1, 2 and 3. New Year’s Day is still to come, but you can bet it will be a blast!

…..What a brilliant time we had!…..


Happy holidays!

December 24, 2011

…..Anna-Bell just wanted to say…..

((…..You will not believe how hard this photo was to take-She kept nodding off!…..))


Surviving With SOB

December 19, 2011

…..So many people remark they are SOB, but I think we all deal with it and suffer from it differently…..

Whilst there are varying degrees of any symptom, there are also some pretty uniform ways of self helping your SOB. I do not profess that any of these truly work for the most severe of symptoms but on a day to day basis this is what I generally try to do to cope with mine. If like me you have a COPD element to your asthma then these steps will make sense and you may have already been taught them and/or PLB techniques.

  • I get myself in a comfortable position with the medicines I need to hand, and take them, an extra dose or two is not an overdose in this example!
  • I try to calm myself down and prevent panic. I reassure anyone I’m with so that they don’t panic and set me off. I always let them call for help if I feel I’m not getting my breathing under control. ((You can always cancel the call if you don’t need assistance.))
  • I find I like to go outside, or anywhere where the air quality is different-by a window for instance. I know that even if I’m gasping for air, there is still some oxygen going into my lungs. I tell myself I will be okay.
  • I try to relax shoulder and neck muscles. ((When we panic our muscles tighten and make it more difficult for the diaphragm to do its job of drawing air into our lungs.))
  •  I also know that I can’t draw air into my lungs if I already have stale air in there. So I stop trying to breathe for a moment-I actually practise breath holding for as many seconds as I can manage to slow myself down, it helps to relax and calm me.
  • I also slowly squeeze all the air out, using my stomach muscles as well. I try and breathe out for about a count of 8 to really empty my lungs before  I inhale as deep and as slow as I can manage. If it doesn’t feel like the air is going all the way in, I don’t worry about it – I know to just breathe out slowly, and breathe in slowly again.
  • Hopefully, after a few regulated breaths, I should start to feel things  are calming down and my lungs are “opening up” “better” and the air  is getting to where it’s needed. Remember this is how I deal with SOB episodes and not asthma attacks as such-I’m not talking about coping with the tightness, just the horrid air feeling of “air hunger”.
But please be wise and seek help and advice from your Doctor. I’m not a Doctor these are only my first hand ideas of how I get through the tough SOB times.
…..Peace of mind is worth a lot, and if your shortness of breath is caused by illness, early detection is your best bet for dealing with any problems that arise, oh, and maybe a trip to the ER for BiPap….

Hark, the Herald Angels Are Singing “It’s the Last Day of Term!”

December 16, 2011

…..The Christmas Holidays start TODAY!…..

The Newsflash!

  • I made it!
  • I’ve only had one day off sick this term!
  • I am actually more pleased with my teaching than I have been in recent years-(thanks to my lovely supportive department & colleagues)
A distant memory!
  • This time last year I was sick for 5 1/2 weeks-thankfully no repeat!

The Big However!

  • I still have a rotten sinusitis and earache and am rattling away here.
  • My lungs are struggling to keep up with my head, at around 40% and I’m finding the slightest thing tough.
  • It’s just started sleeting outside and snow is forecast for later today (Luckily the doglet has snow boots!)
  • All I want is a duvet day! (Tomorrow-legit!)

And if I have any puff left in these rattly old bellows, here’s an alternative carol for today:

Asthma Boys, Asthma Girls,

Wheezing all the way

Oh what fun it is to take

Loads of Pred a day!

Asthma Boys, Asthma Girls,

Coughing all the way

Oh What fun it is to take so

Many nebs a day!

….. Congratulations to all my Teacher colleagues for surviving another gruelling Autumn Term and for all my pupils for surviving my broken sentences!…..


It’s The ‘Pepper Nose Feverish Coldy’ Time!

December 14, 2011

…..I have a cold!…..

But not that you’d really notice, I just feel utterly crap as opposed to those who sound coldly crap or look it with their noses running down their face. Mine never does that. It’s the low grade fever and headache and my itching peppery nose that makes me feel so  bleugh!

Having survived almost the whole term dodging germs of all sizes, we went to Mark and Kate’s wedding on Saturday and it seems I’ve brought more than memories away with me. Somebody I hugged or air kissed has breathed the lurgy of the moment over my persona and I’m now riddled with a pepper nose (feel I want to sneeze all the time), ear ache and a fever.

Oh well, nothing I can do really except take the Lemsip to school with me and keep warm-fat chance in our ‘practically below the legal limit music room that I’m teaching in first thing!’-and drink loads to wash it out of me. Doesn’t feel like this is anything more than a head cold, so I shouldn’t be fussing, but it’s already got me in a quandary over my Pred reduction. I’ve been struggling on 30mg-and already so SOB that things are really tough and very uncomfortable-and to think, the plan was I was actually going to go down to 25mg on Friday-big problem there, me thinks that may have to wait. I’m racked with aches and pains as it is and feeling yeuch from the less Pred, how simply dare a cold now show it’s ugliness. As if I haven’t got a big enough case of the reduction blues already.

…..Oh well, off to school to mingle my germs with those of approximately twelve hundred others!…..

Post Script: The second this hints at going south I’m bringing in the SAS!

 


A Special Day at Denbies

December 12, 2011

…..Saturday December 10th 2011…..

My Cousin Mark and his Girlfriend Katarina held their wedding at Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey.

It was a lovely cold frosty atmospheric December afternoon and a gathering of our extended family, most of whom we haven’t seen in four years. How nice to all be together again to celebrate a happy event.

The food was lovely, albeit lacking in meat!, and the wine certainly flowed. We were treated to a tour of the estate on a little train and a private wine tasting which was very fun.

The Bride and bridesmaids looked beautiful, and my cousin Mark and his Best Man, his Brother Peter both looked very dapper in their tails.

Anna-Bell had a lovely day at Kizzie’s cuddling up on the sofa with her and playing with Poppy.

We got back at 9pm after a fast frosty drive, and flopped in front of X Factor!

…..No doubt, my late Grandparents would have been looking down on us all at the event and smiling with pride at their lovely family……

 


A Visit from Elisheva!

December 6, 2011

…..So a 3rd member of my worldwide online community came to visit with us at home in London…..

Or as my Dear friend, AG, who started this whole visiting ball rolling back in June said, our house is fast becoming the Asthma Embassy of London!

I picked Eli7 up from Ruislip station on a cold and frosty Monday morning, after her early 6am start from Luton airport. Geez, why do people visit England in the Winter! Brrrr.

We went home and settled her in comfortably on the same sofa Steve had sat on, 2 weeks previously-(I should get a plaque of the names of all my visitors who have sat there, actually!)

And the doglet appeared and jumped all over Elisheva and had her usual tuggie tuggie fun and games! AB was extremely fascinated in Eli7’s rucksack-could have been due to the enormous stash of chocolate she had with her! She gave us lovely gifts of Israeli Halva and Bittersweet chocolate with nougat in which sounds amazing.

We chatted away happily -Britain’s Got Talent, Eurovision Song contest, all things Jewish, and of course, Eli7’s WAD party!-and at 10am decided to go to my Club to have a posh coffee. It was a nice drive in the frostiness and I hope she enjoyed seeing something of our surrounding area and actually how rural we are here.

The Club was bustling. They had a Christmas bazaar on and everybody was wearing funny hats which really amused her. I showed her my pool where I swim so she can now picture me there. She seemed amused by the reserved parking space up front that I have my badge for!

We got back home at about 11.30am and Julian was awake and up (he’d been working all weekend and was whacked out!). This meant we were able to get him to take the statutory photo.

I then did my ‘Jewish Mother’ impression and made her a packed lunch of kosher cream cheese and bagels to eat on the long train journey up north, and got her back to Ruislip station at 12pm in time to get to Euston for her 1.30pm train.

**J and I were very relieved to hear when she was on the train, munching and ready to depart.**

It was such a lovely morning, meeting with a special friend who had journeyed so far. And so confident to travel alone in a strange country and I’m glad that now she is back on her Symbicort – she was breathing excellently.

…..However, I have a strong suspicion that when she arrived in the Lake District that evening, they’d had heavy snow! Safe travels, Eli7 and enjoy Barcelona next week…..