Tuesday 26 August 2014

There is nettle in Jelly Babies

I have not lost my mind due to stress.  Obviously there wasn't that much mind to lose, but seriously - nettle in Tesco own brand jelly babies, you can check the ingredients here

As I get to grips with this gluten free business I am reading more and more labels.  I have blinked a bit at the nettle, but I'm going for it - sweet, inexpensive and gluten free.  What's not to like?  If you add in the nettle then that's practically nutritious as nettle is full of iron.

I'm considering starting a separate blog to chart my discovery of stuff like nettle as an ingredient and my chase of the gluten free.  If nothing else it can record my moments of stopping, staring and thinking, 'What?!'

Bear is doing fine

Bear has had a lazy day.  He dragged the box of Doctor Who Trading Cards downstairs at 7.30am, pootled around the YouTube videos, wandered happily over with me to the doctors where the nurse changed my dressings (bear stayed in the waiting room!) and then got to hang out with one of the neighbours and play Skylanders.

We had a baked potato with sauce tonight.  The sauce was onions and a pepper softened and a tin of borlotti beans added then a half tube of tomato puree added with oregano and paprika.  This is tasty, healthy, relatively inexpensive and gluten free.  Bear insisted on adding raisins.  I really just go with the flow.

Tomorrow I am up early, drop bear off at martial art boot camp, dash home, get a delivery, pick up bear, kill some time in town, meet with DH and go out for a meal.

Father is continuing to do well and the Occupational Therapist seemed to think he would come home at some point.  My sores are improving although I feel the soreness sometimes.  Things are looking up.

Monday 25 August 2014

Same old Same old

Matters continue much the same.  I am trying to be positive and we are watching the Big Bang Theory on DVD.  That is, DH and I are watching the Big Bang Theory on DVD.  Not only is the content unsuitable for bear but I don't want him to take Sheldon as a role model.  Bear keeps asking for maths books.

Bear has been to martial arts boot camp today but managed to come out with a few gems regardless.

Bear:  (said very seriously) Two things: one is that I hurt my chest pulling the box with my Doctor Who Trading cards out from under my bed and two is that my bedroom is now a disgrace.
DH: You can tidy it up tomorrow with mummy but now it is bedtime.
Bear: You are always telling me to tidy up my bedroom
DH: That's because it always needs tidying
Bear: But I never tidy my room
DH: We know.  We really, really know.

Bear: I don't like tomatoes but I like raisins.
Me: Since when didn't you like tomatoes?  You've always loved tomatoes.  And since when did you like raisins?
Bear: (airily) Since the start of the holidays

He has eaten tomatoes recently and utterly rejected raisins last week so I guess that terms and conditions still apply when it comes to bear and food.

Father coughed his feeding tube up again today.  Sometimes he coughs up the feeding tube up twice in one day.  I think the longest it has been stable has been 36 hours.  They tried him with some yogurt on Friday but he choked badly.  There is still no response from his right arm or leg.  I am going to get dressings changed again tomorrow.  I am feeling a bit low.

Friday 22 August 2014

Things Seen From a Bus

As I was on my way to visit father the bus passed a house where a policeman was standing by the doorway and an ambulance was parked outside.  It made me wonder.  If it had been serious I am sure there would have been a lot more police and a lot more commotion, so what could it have been?  There is nothing in the news.  I hope it was nothing serious.  I can make plenty of stories up, but stories are just stories.  Real people and real life is a different thing altogether and I would hate anyone to be upset.

I also noticed that the specialist cookware shop that has been in town since the Flood (well, 1899) has closed.  I loved going in there, it was ripe with possibilities and inspiration.  I bought my pans from there.  They cost an absolute fortune (to me) and were half price and still a lot of money.  However they are still looking good ten years later on and likely to outlast me.  I am really said they are going.

Bear went on a playdate with a friend from school who has a new kitten.  I described it to father as black, white and evil.

Father was helped to try to eat something today but it didn't work.  He choked too much.  However he is much brighter and I am optimistic.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Bear has been bitten by a Dinosaur

Tonight bear was exhausted and when bear is exhausted he speeds up.  DH and I sat in the living room and listened to him running repeatedly from one side of the room to the other.  Thud, thud, thud, thud.  Thud, thud, thud, thud.  Thud, thud, thud, ow!!!  Bear had tripped, fallen and landed on a small plastic dinosaur which managed to leave a very small scratch on his leg as it shattered into a dozen plastic pieces.

Bear was appalled.  Bear was horrified.  Bear put on an operatic performance and wailed as if he was about to be taken to field surgery.  There was a hint that a drop of blood might - just might - ooze out.  I had to put on an emergency plaster before his leg fell off.  I am definitely not taking bear to drama school.  He is bad enough as it is.

To be fair, bear is not the most stoic of children but he is pretty exhausted and he just was beyond himself. After some heavy duty cuddles he calmed down and flaked out.  I shall go up and retrieve him from wherever he switched off and put a duvet over him.

Father is much the same.  He coughed the feeding tube out twice today.  He was sick when we were there.  I am a bit worried.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Matters Continue

Father is much the same.  Uncle is much the same.  I am less itchy after going gluten free but I am still getting dressings twice a week.  Baked potato and baked beans is gluten free.

DH is still a star.

Marks and Spencer's Coffee Liqueur that father bought me at Christmas is gluten free.  I took advantage of that last night.

Bear is doing great.

Things could be a lot worse.

Saturday 16 August 2014

I smiled

Apparently someone applied under the Freedom of Information Act to find out if Wigan had any plans to deal with an attack of dragons.  The link is here if you don't believe me.  I feel almost compelled to ask my local council about their vampiric precautions or have they made plans for the local parks in the even of a Zombie Apocalypse.

The photo is one I got from Wiki Commons which hold pictures and images in the public domain or published under Creative Commons which means you can legally share them.  I have made the occasional minimal donation to Wiki and I encourage anyone who uses it a lot to do so as well as it is such a fun resource.  For example, when I searched for 'dragon' in the database there was a category for 'realistic'.  How would someone know?  I mean, realistic dragon - who is checking and have they requested a FoI application to their local council?  I feel a bit mundane after reading that.

Father has moved hospital to a more specialised rehabilitation ward.  They are talking a very long haul.  This is going to make things interesting.  Visiting hours and school pick ups overlap.  Fortunately I have a very understanding husband, brilliant neighbours and the bus runs from a few yards from my front door to outside the hospital father has been moved to.  It is all doable.

Haribo starmix is gluten free.

Thursday 14 August 2014

Thank you for the comments

Hester - thank you, but I'm not being brave, I'm displacing.  I can wibble about gluten free and not think too hard about father or uncle.

WitchHazel - that is really interesting.  And slightly unnerving.

If the doctor at A&E is right (he sounded absolutely convinced) then I have this - DO NOT CLICK IF SQUEAMISH, EATING OR WANTING TO AVOID YEURK  I am really struggling and due to all the itching I have been short of sleep, unable to settle, I can't knit because of blisters on my hand etc.  Basically I am covered with itchy sores, spots and blisters.  It is very yeurk indeed.  I have dressings on my leg and arm, after insisting firmly at A&E that I got them.

I am seeing the GP again on Monday, and at the moment I am avoiding gluten.  It may be faddy or unhelpful and I have started with steroid cream but even before there was a slight reduction in itchiness.  As I have been beside myself for nearly three weeks I am hanging on to that.

So I am hanging on to the faddy, potentially silly, gluten free stuff and focusing on that instead of thinking of the implications of taking letters for father into the hospital and working out whether we can do the power of attorney and whether anyone will object.  I don't have to think of my lovely father completely unable to walk, or talk or eat and completely unable to enjoy his Famous Grouse and the start of the Premiership.  I don't have to worry about how to crowbar in some time to get to see uncle and knowing that when I finally get there I will hear no sense at all from him.  Instead I can rejoice that Heinz Tomato soup, part of my stockpile, is gluten free and worry about that rubbish and chaff instead.

Bear has noted that I am looking at English Grammar for Dummies and asked if I will buy him the Maths version.  My brain just walked off at that point.  If I do get it - and it is a big if - not only will I not be able to help with any explanations but I imagine the teachers at school being unimpressed.  I don't even know where to start with what he wants.  Good to think about that, it's a good problem to have.

I know lots of other people manage with far tough situations and actually there are lots of bright sides, but I am finding it a bit tough.  Bright side for the day - if father is going to come home I need to completely declutter and clean to make it fit for social services.  That's a great incentive.

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Another Day

Thank you for all the comments, I feel very hugged and it is very welcome. It is also very useful.

I went to the GP.  He looked a bit grave and the infections have been swabbed and the swabs sent away.  I am getting them re-dressed on Friday.  He didn't want to hear about coeliac.  I am seeing him again on Monday.

Apparently coeliac can present on the skin in yeurk form.  It fits with my description and if I am getting new spots after a fortnight then it isn't chickenpox.  The GP has given me some cream.

Regardless I am going to try gluten free.  It may be all in my head, but since Monday lunch time I have avoided gluten and I feel a tiny, tiny, tiny bit less itchy.  It may be all in my head, but to be honest, anything that gives even a slight improvement, even if it is placebo, has to be a good thing.  The doctor in A&E was absolutely convinced.  It gives me something to churn around in my mind rather than father and uncle.

Father is much the same.  I visited tonight.  I don't know how we are going to manage if he continues to have no movement at all in his right side.

DH is being a hero.

The bright side is that if I do go gluten free then I have great incentives to bargain hunt, recipe hunt and think about a whole new set of food.  I have bought a cookbook.  I also think it is a great chance for me to lose weight.  I won't be able to tuck into biscuits and cakes so much.  It can be a great adventure.

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Somewhere there is a Bright Side

I am a bit fed up.  Yesterday the sores that are (apparently) infected eczema were so bad that they were leaking through clothes.  I went to the Minor Injuries Unit who referred me to A&E.  The dressings I got at around midnight have already started to slip and I'm supposed to leave them on for at least three days.

One interesting part of the visit - the A&E doctor didn't think it was chickenpox that had been making me suffer.  He said it was coeliacs.  I am reluctant to google but the little I know (low energy levels etc) makes sense.

Darn it to heck.

I've just had a bowl of porridge.  I hope that is gluten free.

Monday 11 August 2014

Bear and Screen Time

Bear has been slumped in front of a screen all day.  I was hoping to get to a walk in clinic but my neighbour had to go out, so I am waiting for DH to get home.

I thought about bear slouched in the computer chair and suggested that he helped by taking some stuff upstairs and doing twenty star jumps when he got there.  I was expecting resistance but bear was fine.  Not only that but he did 80 star jumps.  I say star jumps, DH calls them comet jumps because they are like stars but they travel.  Bear starts off in great style but by the time he got past number forty he was sort of bouncing with flapping arms and drifting towards the door.  

Bear has also allegedly done push ups, sit ups and punches.  I think the intention was there but there was more puffing and panting than actual muscle use.  His heart was in the right place, even if the actual exercise was a bit limp.

He is now back in the computer chair.  For now.

Sunday 10 August 2014

Working on Things

Father continues much the same.  Also uncle rang my brother asking where he (uncle) was and why was he there.  Uncle does not remember being in hospital.  Brother is checking today and it is a question of whether it is another infection or dementia.  I am still very crusty and still on antibiotics but hopefully taking up duties again tomorrow.

We have had a leak in the porch with the recent downpours.

Bear is obsessing with Skylanders.  He plays Skylanders when he stays with the neighbours and is getting very into them.  He can name all of them, has views on how to play them and is generally an armchair expert.  We don't have Skylanders at home.  It can't be played on the PC and I refuse to get him an X-box or similar.

Bear is not happy about this.  I have limited knowledge of the X-box but apart from the cost (which to me is far too high) you can access chat and tv and all sorts.  It is also the sort of thing that could get taken into the bedroom and I will be hanging on to the 'no electronics in the bedroom' for as long as I can.  Bear isn't even 8 yet.  I can foresee battles at Christmas.  Fortunately I am likely to be doing the Christmas shopping for father and uncle or by New Year's Eve we would be working out how to fit an X-box in the study.  Neither of them are good at saying 'no' to bear who is, in my opinion, getting very spoiled.

I'm finding it a bit hard to find the bright side at the moment but I did see The Big Bang Theory for the first time last night.  DH and I watched the whole first series and laughed our socks off.  Another star for me is DH.  He is being a complete hero.  I have also got the Light and Shade Challenge cued up until the end of September.  Thomas is being amazing. I suspect there are a lot of good things about and I just need to look harder.

Friday 8 August 2014

Keeping On

There isn't that much happening at the moment.  Father continues, uncle continues, bear is overdosing on screen time, DH is overworked at work (and being a hero at home) and I am still crusty.

We are almost half way through the summer and bear has been very short changed when it comes to experiences, days out and adventures.  Mind you, if he was given the choice between screen time and days out he would choose screen time without hesitation.  Getting bear out of the house is a lot of effort which I am not currently fit for.  Hopefully I will be able to put things right in the next week or two.

Mind you, I am in favour of chilling time for kids in the holidays.  I actually think it is healthy to build in some daydreaming time.  Besides there are two family days out planned, the start of the new season of Doctor Who and another week of Martial Arts camp.

I think I shall mention handwriting practice.  Bear's handwriting is so atrocious that it could be mistaken for a doctor's scrawl.  I don't think much will get done but the outraged shouts will give his lungs a work out.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Spotty and crusty

I went back to the doctor today.  There was yeurk.  Parts of me look like an effect from Doctor Who.  It is also very itchy and quite painful.  The doctor told me that you cannot expect to have two skin conditions at the same time - chicken pox would be quite enough.  Then he had another look and said my psoriasis was infected.  By the way, when did I develop psoriasis.  My guess is that it started about three months ago.  Sigh.

Still the chickenpox is running its course, the antibiotics will no doubt take care of the infected bit of the psoriasis and all will be well.  I will be able to visit father.

Now all I need to do is work out what the appointment I have with the nurse tomorrow is for.

Father is doing well and keeping up his spirits.

Monday 4 August 2014

Random Thoughts

WitchHazel - I hope you are feeling okay.  Chicken pox for the first time when you are past childhood is tough!  I've had chicken pox a few times and I've had shingles once - apparently it was the perfect presentation of shingles on the sciatic nerve.  I am going back to the doctor on Wednesday.  On my arms and legs (I am covered!) it looks like chickenpox, on my hands it looks like a type of eczema and parts of my arms and one leg look a little like psoriasis.  The last GP was a bit new, the one I am seeing Wednesday is lovely, probably technically insane and brilliant.  DH is being an absolute hero.

I have just read an article on the BBC here about washing machines controlled by smartphones and accessing wifi and reporting back.  This seems a little odd to me.  I struggle to see the benefit and it looks like just one more thing to go wrong and make you buy an expensive new one, but who am I to talk.  I won't be buying anything so expensive as to need smartphone operation for some time if ever.  I don't know why they would report back, unless they are studying the under use of the extra rinse cycle.  The article also talks about the washing machine being hacked.

Why would anyone hack a washing machine?  Is some trench-coated agent sitting out there chortling evilly and putting your delicates on a boil wash instead?  I mean, really.  I can imagine elves and werewolves in modern day Britain.  I can imagine a medieval fantasy landscape with sweeping armies and grand castles.  I cannot imagine any point in hacking a washing machine.  Perhaps it is because I am under the weather.  Besides, anyone hacking my kitchen equipment would just snigger and send a how-to booklet.

Father is apparently bright in himself but problems with feeding continue.

Sunday 3 August 2014

Washing Blankets

The washing machine is one of the greatest inventions known to woman.  The automatic washing machine even more so.  Being able to put things in, press a button and walk away just to come back some time later to clean clothes is a wonder.  I have used a twin tub, one of the tiny caravan type washers with separate spinner and at one point washed everything in the bath including duvet covers.  I really, really love my washing machine.

When the weather was really hot I was looking at bear's huge tiger blanket.  Uncle bought it for him a few years back.  I tried washing it in the bath years ago and it was not a success.  I couldn't get the dratted thing on the washing line.  By the time you added water it was just far too heavy for me to lift.  It is absolutely huge, at least superking size and very thick.  I did consider trying the bath route again in the warm weather but other things got in the way thank goodness as I can't see that it would have ended much better.  I shall have to grit my teeth and pay for it to be dry cleaned.  I have to get it cleaned, though, as bear has slept on it, under it and wrapped around with it and it must be due.

I have a furry blanket of my own.  It is not nearly as large as bear's and is a very plain purple.  I've been snuggling into it for the last few nights and I am very crusty with the chickenpox so it needs a wash.  The big question is - will it fit into my machine?

Most washing machines have a maximum weight limit.  I can't remember if my machine is 5kg or 7kg.  I doesn't matter that much as I don't have scales that would weigh it.  I suppose I could have a guess but my washing machine is getting very frail and I don't want to risk it breaking just at the moment.  The weather forecast for the next few weeks doesn't look like it will be blanket drying weather, at least not blankets washed in the bath.  So I risk breaking my machine (or it just not washing very well) or having to pay out for dry cleaning.  I think I will wait until I am less crusty to make a decision.

Father's speech is improving but it is far from easy to understand and he is still frail.

Saturday 2 August 2014

Spots Continue

I am still feeling a bit poorly but I feel slightly ashamed of feeling sorry for myself.  There is a fair helping of yeurk around, but I can type, browse, play computer games, listen to music (I found this incredibly soothing) and the new Sky remote came.

I spent more than perhaps I could have getting the remote from Sky.  You can get them on ebay and I'm sure a lot of other places.  I am very cautious with electrics and electronics, however, as I don't really know what I am talking about and I am aware that I could very easily be ripped off by poorly constructed fakes.  Our old remote was fading away with use and old age, so if we wanted to change channel we had to get one and I bit on the bullet and paid a fortune.  However when it came, not only was it the right one but it also had the batteries included!  They were separate to the unit, neatly packed and while they weren't exactly duracell they were included.  I never expect batteries to be included.  It just goes to show that sometimes things still work.

Father continues the same.

Friday 1 August 2014

Continuing with Sums

Approved Food have a very good deal on condensed soup, around half price and a lot better than any of the recent deals I have seen at the supermarket.  I use a lot of condensed soup in cooking.  It is a handy short cut and everyone except father loves beeferoni that has condensed tomato soup as a main ingredient.

I have quite a lot in.  I am not sure how much I will use before it expires in June 2015.  If father is home, not so much.  If father is not home soon then I will use loads. It's the same with pasta.  Everyone loves it except father, and I will probably do kedgeree on the next delivery day as bear loves it but father loathes it.  I feel guilty making food that father doesn't like when he isn't here.  Then I think that I may as well make it when he isn't here as when he is.  Then I feel disloyal but we do like different things.  I have a stash of Goblin mini steak and kidney pies for him for lunches.  I keep looking at them and thinking, 'will he be able to eat them?'  I  thought about the soups, and the current stockpile and I am not getting them now, but may get them later if they are still in stock and I am putting in another order.

When I rang the ward father was quite unchanged, and I continue spotty and worrying.