Never Say Never

I've been very quiet lately, haven't I?

And quite anti-social too. In a social-media kinda way. Although I am slowly gravitating back towards my snuggly little social media niche.

You can rest assured though- it's me, not you.... and I do still care about you all!

I just don't have a lot to say right now, or perhaps I don't know what to say? Which, admittedly, is a new one for me!

I'm finding this phenomena very, very strange. People deal with stuff in different ways and I've long since hailed blogging as being free therapy. Which it is, absolutely, yet right now I find myself pulling away from it.....

Admittedly it has been an emotional roller coaster of a few weeks.

To update, without boring you or being too revealing, the patient continues to confound and baffle the medics. Good for her I say. The Tough Decision was made and the patient returned from whence she came, without much hope.

However, as is her wont, the patient clearly has other plans for herself and is alert and chatting to people at times. Even calling them by name. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, you silly medics!

I am a tad upset that the doctors didn't listen to the possible alternative reasoning for her presentation but, onwards and upwards, as much as is possible.

The situation remains serious but like I say she is such a fighter. We must acknowledge that and patient care must and will be patient led. Part of the dilemma? To feed may cause aspiration (as might ones own saliva) but to not feed will cause starvation. Turns out it's not such a tough decision after all. Not really... not if you let the patient lead you. And you have a team behind you who know her well :-)

In fact it's onwards and upwards on all fronts here, as my horrible three week long cough-from-hell and sleepless nights abate and the Pre-Teen returns to school, all hail and hearty! Finally!

So, we'll continue on this roller coaster ride and see how it all goes. What will be will be...

And we'll have no wallowing in doom and gloom.

I've a nice bottle or two of  Pinot Grigio for that, a perfect wallowing vintage.


Tough Decisions

It comes to us all I know, but when parents are aging and unwell with underlying-can-happen-any-minute conditions, it can be a roller coaster ride of worry and emotions.

First comes the dreaded phone call, then the rush to whichever hospital, the inevitable tests, the prolonged monitoring and possible decisions on future care and perceived, potential 'outcomes'.

It can be such a nightmare and it's the unknown, human factor that can confound and ultimately amaze.

Or not.

We have been through this before and we have been going through it again for the past week.

I almost feel sorry for the doctors, trying to get a handle on the enigma that is my mother!

They have a difficult job, doctors. I admire them and appreciate the professionalism, understanding and care with which they they have treated us over the past few months. Whilst in hospital that is, post-stroke follow-ups leave a lot to be desired in my opinion.

There is no denying it, strokes are serious business and specific, prompt care must be afforded in accordance with accepted hospital practices. Depending on the resources of the hospital, that is. Other co-morbid conditions can cloud and confuse the issue so must also be taken into account. Although ultimately pleased with previous care received in a small local hospital (in acute ward only) there is no comparison to the care currently being delivered in a more acute hospital. None whatsoever. In fact I think all future medical emergencies should be scheduled to occur at certain hours in order to gain access ;-)

They do seem to be quick off the mark to make the tough decisions though. However doors are being kept open, within a time frame. A movable one, I hope.

See, I know there's an accepted time frame in which a patient should show signs of recovery post-stroke, in order to provide the 'best' outcome. Based on that doctor's will make decisions, or encourage the family to make the decisions, as regards further 'interventions'. Like feeding for example, where speech and swallow are affected. Such a terrible, life altering after-effect of a stroke. Truly awful.

However, sometimes the patient can defy the odds and decide what an acceptable time-frame for their recovery is. Quality of life and ultimate outcome is of course a whole other issue.

No-one wants to prolong the inevitable or to offer food in a way that may constitute 'force feeding' but neither do we, or the medics, get to play God. Sometimes patient care and interventions must be patient led and, in my experiences, doctors get that and amend decisions and treatments accordingly.

How do you respond, apart from becoming a sniveling and emotional wreck, when a doctor gives you some gently delivered yet brutal news as regards feeding and most likely outcome, within a set time-frame? Try to remain practical, the brain can only take so much battering from strokes after all, and re-iterate her amazing recovery stories?

The power of the body and brain to heal and the human spirit to fight never ceases to amaze me.

Yesterday, within five minutes of the above conversation my mam woke up and tried to talk, treating to me to a spark of her former self by giving out to me with eyes briefly bright in her head, before succumbing to more nurturing sleep!

Then today she was full of chat, stories and laughter with obvious improvement in speech! She adores her new night dresses, wants to get her hair cut and would love a cup of tea thanks-very-much!! Unfortunately she cannot have tea, or even water. Yet.

I am under no illusions here, who knows what tomorrow will bring as the risks are high, but you cannot deny a person fighting back to this extent. She deserves every chance.

Last night I was torn between saluting and encouraging her now legendary fighting powers and praying for a miracle. The miracle of release.

I know tough decisions still lie ahead but, for  today, I simply give you my mother.

The Fighter.

The Bounce Back Queen.

Never to be under-estimated.


PS: Please keep her in your thought and prayers.... 

My First Car: The Little Red Bomber

I was in my mid twenties, many moons ago, when I decided that I was finally going to buy myself a car and learn how to drive . I was always a determined person and when I set my mind on something I usually follow through.

I had not the first iota of driving, nor of cars, but off I set with excitement and determined ambition.

My dad appointed himself as my 'car broker' and found me an 8 year old, little red Ford Fiesta (1981) in a back street garage off Dorset Street in Dublin, going for a song.

                                                                  (image via flickr)

Unfortunately that's about all it went for, as it stalled halfway on the day we took my new red beauty home! The garage man had to drive over and get it going again.

Not an ideal start and it sure was a real quirky car. It had great 'character' had my little red car - that was once painted mustard as we subsequently discovered! You can tell where this story is going, can't you?

But I loved it, I loved the freedom and independence it gave me, and the many unforgettable memories...

I recall my dad bullying convincing me, only two weeks into driving lessons, to bring him to a relatively nearby builders providers yard to pick up cement or something. I was terrified and remember stalling, completely confused and disorientated, in the middle of a busy junction whilst all other drivers kindly held back to let the silly learner driver re-correct!

I'm sure the look on my face was one of pure terror. But that was nothing compared to the look on my driving instructor's face as we passed him by on our way home! I swear he almost made his charge crash the car as he looked at me with his jaw on the floor! He had serious words with me at our next lesson. Which I duly passed on to my dad.

Me and my little red car got on very well though and I eventually reveled in driving everywhere. She brought me to work, to dance classes and to my show rehearsals for a national variety competition, where she ultimately earned her nickname: The Little Red Bomber.

Oh, she was a real show stopper alright, my little red bomber, as she regularly stalled at the traffic lights on the way home from rehearsals! Seven traffic light changes was our absolute record, as I recall. Although that may have also been due to my driving abilities.... at the time, I hasten to add! She also got stuck in the sand on Dollymount Beach when we were all leaving, in convoy, after our after-show reunion party following our success in said national competition! We won!

The little red bomber brought me many places in the following year or so. She even chugged her way around France, the poor thing, finally crawling home off the boat like a dying Love Bug on her last wheels. Or her last engine as it turned out. After completing 100,000 miles (that we knew of) her engine had finally clapped out.

Being raised in an era of 'waste not want not' a refurb engine was purchased, rather than buy a new car, when I hadn't even finished the loan repayments on this one. Boy, was that a mistake.

Let's just say that within a few short months the little red bomber had a short trip to the local shops as her final voyage, going up in flames on the way home. Quite literally, with me sitting behind the wheel! Seriously, I was driving along, minding my own business when I spot smoke coming from the bonnet. I pulled over and suddenly the smoke turned to serious fire. I jumped out, wildly seeking help from the bus behind me, full of passengers. The funny thing was I had stopped outside the house where my friend who normally lives abroad was staying. I knew she was in Ireland as this was her wedding day, but had no idea that she was in that house! You can imagine the shocked reunion when I knocked on the door to suggest they might want to move their car unless they wanted it toasted, along with my car with it's vast collection of cassette tapes!!

Within a week the car was removed by Dublin Corporation and no doubt squished into oblivion, forever.

At that time I was dancing in Dublin's Gaiety Theatre, on a two week run with the Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society, and the joke doing the rounds was that I was getting a new piece of jewelery for Christmas: my Little Red Bomber on a chain!

I subsequently bought a new car, another Ford Fiesta, blue in colour this time and in much better condition.

In fact, despite tough beginnings, I have always driven Ford cars and find them to be fantastic cars to drive.

My first car was the worst car I ever owned but gave me the best memories.

I will never forget my Little Red Bomber.

May she rest in pieces!

Note: This is my entry into Carcraft: My First Car Competition. I entered this competition because it's a fun one that appealed to me. I doubt very much that I will win the iPhone 5 but if, by some miracle I do, then I will donate my relatively new iPhone 4s to campaign to help a child with Autism or Special Needs with communication.



You can find other #SilentSunday posts at Love All Blogs.




Curves: Working Out for Action Breast Cancer

It's been almost 5 years since I put myself through the mental work-out of  'will I won't I', eventually walking myself through the doors of my local Curves  gym. I can honestly say that I've never looked back.

My Curves gym has a long held reputation of supporting charities and often have offers to entice new members. When I joined they waived the joining fee, asking that new members offer a shopping bag of food to support a local charity instead.

Right now Curves-Bray have another offer in place for the month of October, extended until the end of this week. This time, supporting Action Breast Cancer. In fact this Curves branch has been fundraising for breast cancer charities for the past 9 years, raising in excess of €10,000. They hope to raise more vital funds with this campaign and are waiving the service fee to new members, in return for a small suggested donation to this worthy charity.


For me my Curves time is my 'me time', taking a mere 30 minutes, 3 times a week out of my weekly travails. It's a small, comfortable ladies gym with a lovely clientele, of all abilities, and staffed by helpful, friendly ladies.

Throughout my membership Curves really did have the power to amaze as I saw inches almost magically disappear, along with some weight loss. My current, determined weight loss mission has seen me drop almost 4 inches in 6 weeks! That includes a whole glorious inch off each thigh! The battle of the bingo arms is also being valiantly fought.

Of course the last 5 years has also seen the inches magically creep back on. However, once I get back on board the Curves circuit, with the encouragement of the supportive staff, I'm back on track in no time!

See, any weight loss system is only as good as the determined effort you put in, and exercise is only one part of any system. That's why Curves sometimes runs an additional Weight Management course, for those who want itto increase the members success.

So, what is it about the Curves circuit of pre-set resistance-based machines and recovery boards that makes it so successful? Well ladies, hold on to your Lycra and I'll tell you ......

This Curves interactive video  explains how each machine works in detail and tells us how a 30 minute Curves workout can work off 500 calories! Now, that's my kinda gym.

'Curves works to give women a fast, efficient 90-minute workout in 30 minutes. To achieve that, we combine strength-training, sustained cardio-activity, warm-up, cool-down and stretching.' 

Curves also does more than it says on the tin as there are other health advantages to be gained. Click here to read all about the beyond the circuit benefits.

So, now that you are aware, get fit and run on down to Curves-Bray and sign up! Hurry now, only a day or two left for this fantastic opportunity to support Action Breast Cancer ..... and your own health.

And I promise, there's not a scrap of leotard Lycra  to be seen!


Note: This is not a sponsored post, I was not paid to write this. Nor was I asked to write it, I offered because I wanted to!