Currently dealing with… Update 3

Hey Peoples,

I hope life is treating you kindly, I sincerely hope that your friends are treating you kindly too.

Weird thing to say right?

Well, under normal circumstances, (whatever they are), I would think it was weird but after a really dreadful visit from a long time friend on Thursday just gone I am beginning to wonder if I ever knew her at all.

I haven’t seen this particular friend more than 3 times since 2020 lockdown happened and I had my attempt at dying from sepsis thing at the beginning of the lockdown. She lives in the same village as me, although we are far enough apart we can go weeks without bumping into each other. We have been friends for 25 years. Or at least I thought we were…

Anyway, she turned up on Thursday morning and immediately she sat down, she rushed to tell me all about her life, how she is on a short waiting list to have her hips replaced, wondered why I hadn’t had the same treatment for my knees? Oh I see, just a little jibe there, just a tad too gloating for me, she is pointing out that she is worse off than me. Okay, who the fuck cares? Let’s face it if things come down to who is suffering more, I would rather be glad that it wasn’t me. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to rub my friend’s nose in the fact I was getting seen much more quickly than they are, meh, It is what it is. I honestly couldn’t give a flying fuck right now…

So after her 15 minute download of every single comma, full stop, exclamation mark of the entire conversation with her hip specialist she finally got around to asking how my son was. As you know he is still in hospital and actually on Thursday last week he had taken a downward turn and was not doing well at all. Unfortunately for him, he has no sensation, so his body is doing one thing, as in behaving really fucking badly right now and his brain is doing something entirely different and telling him he is absolutely fine and he should be at home getting on with his life and picking things back up again.

I said this to her, I said, he just wants to come home now, he’s had enough of being in hospital just sitting in a hospital bed playing mindless games on his iPad and avoiding talking to cranky old geezers in the beds facing him.

Her response floored me, and I quote, ‘He needs to get over himself, he’s not doing anything different to what he does at home, so what difference does it make where he is?’

Wow! I never realised how little she understood or knew about my son, whom she has known for 25 years. How she has the nerve to sit in judgement of his lifestyle is beyond me, she has never worked a day in the last 25 years nor has her husband. They have sat at home and played computer games and been armchair twitter trolls who mud sling at anyone who is different to them, as in anyone who happens to be religious. That should have told me I suppose, but I have a disconnect regarding their online activity as I don’t follow either of them, I just get told when she thinks she has said something cutting and oh so clever.

How did she miss the fact that he is out of the house daily, going on a two mile push in his wheelchair so he can give his dog a good run every day? How did she miss the thousands of photographs he has taken and has shown her when she used to call round prior to 2020? How did she miss the conversations he’s had where he’s said he wants to create a book of his photographs showing life in pictures from the vantage point of a wheelchair user.
How has she forgotten that he played wheelchair basketball for 15 years culminating in a victorious International career playing for his country? She was sat facing his huge cabinet of sporting trophies and accolades ffs. How is it possible that she could think he sits around all day doing fuck all with his life so it doesn’t matter where he does it? Either at home or in hospital attached to drips and machines?

I am now sitting facing this woman wondering who the fuck I have called friend for a quarter of a century. Her dismissive and derisive attitude towards my son has been flying very low beneath the radar. I never picked up on it before. I am absolutely furious, how dare she sit in judgement of my son? Jesus, he’s currently in hospital fighting for his life, his infections were raging on Thursday, they are stable again now (Tuesday) but it has been a hell of a long 6 days from where he was to where he is right now, and there is no guarantee he will stay stable at this point.

I asked her to leave. She doesn’t understand why I am upset with her and told me I wasn’t thinking clearly because I was worrying about him. She said she would come back in a few days to discuss things calmly with me.

Good luck with that… I am currently not taking prisoners, I am only leaving dead bodies in my wake.

Currently dealing with… Part 2

Hey Peoples, me again.

I’m tired, cranky and in need of some kind of magical intervention in my life right now. If it can go wrong, it is doing and with alarming regularity.

I have a question, why after six weeks of my son being in hospital does anyone think it might be, that I still have to explain to the nursing staff on his ward, the reason WHY a pressure sore on my son’s right buttock needs the specialist HEALING CREAM and a DRESSING?? And also, WHY it is dangerous to leave it both uncovered and untended.

So, he has been in hospital 6 weeks now, going into his 7th and every single day has been one problem after another, generally created by either a lack of understanding of his core disability (Spina Bifida) or a lack of understanding of how to dress pressure sores correctly, and how to change a stoma bag.
Now, Okay, I know the stoma bag and pressure sore thing is something that a district nurse would be better placed to deal with, but that’s not on the cards as he is in hospital with hospital nurses looking after him. I am fairly sure that they all went to the same nursing colleges though. Maybe I’m wrong.

I would expect them to have at least a rudimentary understanding of how it all works and WHY it needs to be done on a regular 24 hour basis. I thought that would be nursing 101.

Anyway, that aside, (but only slightly as it still features) he has now gotten over Covid and has the all clear since Tuesday the 13th. So imagine my absolute horror and frustration when I received a phone call from the ward staff nurse on Wednesday the 14th telling me that he has tested positive for MRSA a hospital superbug. I am beside myself, because my understanding of this particular hospital bug is that if the ward is kept properly cleaned at all times, the bug can’t thrive, let alone infect already sick patients.

They tempered their news with this, ‘please don’t be too worried, there is a very effective dual treatment that works to kill this bug and it is no longer considered to be the killer bug that it was originally.’ OH well, that’s alright then!!! Isn’t it??? NO!!! It bloody isn’t!

He is currently sitting on an open wound, the MRSA is around the groin area, it is not a great journey for the MRSA to travel to the open wound on his backside and infect it. We are then dealing with a whole different level of infection. Please also remember, he is currently in hospital because he has a massive septic infection in his hips, liver, right kidney and stomach, apparently caused by his right kidney leaching infection into his system slowly over time. It has flown under the radar of detection via the usual routes of blood tests and urine samples. It only showed up on an MRI scan and everyone was duly shocked. They are still trying to identify the infection so that they can match the antibiotics to it to clear it up properly. we are 6 weeks in.

Now he has another infection, this time picked up in hospital. The thing I don’t understand, is MRSA is apparently a one to one contact bug, it’s passed through human contact. He has not been out of bed in 6 weeks, only nursing staff have touched him and the radiology staff. That tells me one of them has passed this bug onto him. How on earth are we supposed to have any kind of faith in these people to fix him if all they keep doing is give him more infections?

Okay, so back to the open wound, if the nurse did as she was supposed to and dressed that sore on his behind with the specialist healing cream and the correct wound dressing every 24 hours, then I would not be concerned about the MRSA travelling to that area as it would be sealed off. Currently he is sitting on an inco sheet which is rough on his skin and that is actually breaking down the pressure sore further so I am as mad as hell that I am still having to spell out the very crucial need to keep that sore tended and dressed properly.

Now, cast your mind back to that ‘please don’t worry’ statement. The treatment for the MRSA is a dual treatment. He contracted the bug on wednesday 14th September, and up until yesterday, Friday 16th he was only applying a cream to the inside of his nostrils 3 times a day. A full medicated body wash was supposed to be being applied once a day along with the application of the ointment to his nose. When do you suppose they did the first body wash?

Oh , that would be Friday afternoon after I had raised the roof because it had been sat on his cabinet for two days still in the pharmacy bag, unopened and ignored since it had arrived on Wednesday.

I despair. I truly do despair.

He finally has the stomach drain fitted to remove as much of the infection from his stomach as they can, only a week after it was supposed to have been done, and only because on the 13th I came away from a respite break and drove over to the hospital to find out what the hell was going on. He had the drain on the 15th. He should have had it on the 8th Sept.

It’s only a week, not much time to wait is it?

Except that on the 7th of September, the doctor who told me he needed the drain also informed me that it was urgently required because of a complication with the end of his VP Shunt tube in his stomach sitting in the pool of infection. If the infection got inside the tube it would travel up the tube and to his brain. No prizes for guessing the horrendous outcome if that happened.

So an extra week sitting in all that currently unnamed infection, are they sure that’s not a week too long now??

For those of you who don’t know, a VP Shunt is a piece of equipment that is fitted into a ventricle in the brain to drain off excess fluid in the brain when the ventricles either don’t work properly or at all due to hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a condition closely associated with Spina Bifida that causes a buildup of excess fluid in the brain. Most children born with Spina Bifida would normally have hydrocephalus as well, the stats when my son was born was only 1 in every 100 born with SB would not have hydrocephalus.

A tube runs from the shunt in the ventricle down the side of the skull, along the neck and down over the collar bone and into the stomach where the excess fluid drains off into the system safely. The tube is roughly 4 or 5 feet long to allow for growth and is never interfered with unless the shunt develops a problem. My son has had his shunt since he was 9 months old. He’s only ever had one problem with the tube when it kinked because the hydrotherapy pool at physio was too hot for him and it made him ill for 3 weeks. He was 10 years old then. Unsurprisingly, that happened at the same hospital he is currently in. The ineptitude appears to span 20 years and counting.

My apologies for the medical lesson, I just need to dump all this stuff somewhere before I go stark raving mad and end up needed a white jacket with shiney buckles up the back and wrap a round sleeves, or a new heart.

Currently my palpitations are actually visible to the naked eye they are so severe and constant.

The nurse told me not to worry, she would do the medicated wash down every day from now on… she never agreed to dress the pressure sore….

Why do I need to worry?

Currently dealing with…

Hello lovely people of WordPress land, how the bloody hell are you all?

So, as the title of this blog suggests, I am currently dealing with some stuff that is bigger and scarier than anything I have ever dealt with before in my life, and that is not an exaggeration.

My son, as many of you will know, is severely disabled. He is usually a strong, kinda healthy individual that takes all things disability in his ‘stride’. He’s wheelchair bound so the term stride is used loosely. We haven’t invented a suitable alternative for people who cannot walk. The english language needs an update. I digress…

Currently, my amazingly resilient son is lying in a hospital bed attached to an IV antibiotic drip that is fighting off an infection so big it registered as 367 on the infection scale. Normal non infection levels would register at below 5. He’s very, very poorly. He has been in hospital since the 6th August, exactly one calendar month today. The Doctors have indicated that he will be in hospital on IV antibiotics for another month at least.

On the 4th August, our GP (whom I rate highly and have the deepest respect for) came out to our home to examine my son because he had a lump in his stomach that was causing him untold grief and pain. Briefly, my son does not normally experience pain from his torso down to his toes. He is numb internally and externally, which brings with it a lot of problems. The fact that he was in pain and could feel it was sending alarm bells off in both mine and our GP’s head and he came out to him.

He carried out a very thorough examination and tested all Obs, BP, Temp, checked eyes, mouth, ears, listened to his heart and lungs, did a spot check urine sample, and all of his stats came back well within normal parameters. He puzzled over the results, When he had tested for a UTI in the urine, there was absolutely no indicators to say that an infection was present. Bloods had been taken two days before and the results had come back clear of any infection. A kidney function test had been carried out just two weeks prior to August 4th and the results for that were 90% functionality, the best they have ever been in his entire life.

The GP confirmed that he was as concerned as both myself and my son were, but for lack of any evidence of infection, and lack of physical manifestation of illness, it was decided that perhaps constipation was causing the problem and a course of treatment was agreed upon. The GP had instructed that a short course of treatment for constipation should be carried out, but if it did not resolve the issue immediately, he would order a CT scan to see what else was going on. We never got that far.

Two days later my son was admitted into hospital after a 12 hour wait in A&E. (Accident & Emergency) In the two days from the 4th to the 6th, his infection rate went from Zero to off the charts registering at 367. A CT scan was carried out, it came back showing a ball of infection in his stomach, but more worryingly it also showed abscesses on his liver and his right kidney was enlarged to 48mm, while his left kidney was at 32mm. His right kidney was so full of infection it is non-functioning. Because of the massive level of infection and the areas it was covering, an MRI scan was ordered for better clarity of image. This turned up septic arthritis in both of his hips. My son is literally chock full of infection and it didn’t show up in any blood tests or urine samples. No one is to blame, it just is what it is and has managed to fly beneath the usual radar levels.

Currently after four weeks of constant IV super antibiotics, his infection rates have come down from 367 to 72 a drop of 295. The problem now is that the remaining 72 is proving to be resistant to the antibiotics so other options are being discussed. Currently, the option of choice is to put drains into his liver and kidney and the sack of infection in his stomach and drain them off. They have yet to decide on a course of action for the septic arthritis in his hips.

The problem with this is, he already has a stoma site on his right side, but the radiologist is unsure how to proceed using that as the exit point for the drains. He wants to create a new exit point to have the drain come out of, the problem with this is, it would be around the back edge of the right flank of his side. This would be semi-permanent until a decision is reached about the future of the right kidney. If they put the exit hole there my son is not going to be able to sit in his wheelchair without applying pressure to the drain. It opens up further risk of infection and when the drain would be eventually removed, it would leave a hole. My son does not heal quickly, if at all. He has pressure sores all over his backside because he doesn’t heal. They have been around for two and a half years now. They have barely made any progress because he has to sit on his behind constantly. He’s disabled. He has to put pressure on the area, he has no choice.

He is in a mess, and there is only one small light at the end of the tunnel right now, that is, his surgeon and urologist that performed the urostomy surgery on him 7 years ago and consequently saved his life, is now being contacted to come and give his expert opinion on the best way forward, and hopefully to perform any surgical procedure that may be required.

He is deeply trusted by my son and myself as a man who can do the job, who has the presence to calm my son when no one else can, and he is acutely aware of the complexities of my son’s health.

It took me 4 weeks to get anyone to listen to me about contacting him and a shouting match between me and the radiologist before he threw his hands up and agreed that it was the best way forward. I am mentally, physically and emotionally spent and broken. My son is my life, I cannot bear the thought I could lose him, but that thought has been ever present in my mind for the past 4 weeks. Yesterday I was told he has contracted Covid which has run rife on his ward. The ward has been on lockdown for the past week trying to contain the outbreak. He is coping with it, it doesn’t seem to be affecting him adversely at the moment for which we are most grateful. Neither of us is sure how much more we can cope with and we are trying to hold each other up with sarcastic humour and hysterically funny moments from the past stays in hospitals over the years. So far, we haven’t had one of those moments this time and that scares me a lot. The worst part about all of this is that normally when you are ill and you end up in hospital, you breath a small sigh of relief and think, I’m safe now, they will fix me. With my son, that isn’t the case. I have had to literally train up health care workers on how to change a stoma bag, how to dress pressure sores, what to use and which dressings to apply in which area for maximum skin protection. I have had to order the hospital Urologist consultant out of the room because he couldn’t deal with the complexities of my son’s case 7 years ago and almost killed him with his inaction, he was not getting a second chance to try again now. If he was too complex a case 7 years ago, then it could be taken to the bank that he is most definitely more complex now than he has ever been. Still, no one contacted my Son’s proper Urologist Consultant for his opinion until today.

A health care worker instructed my son to get out of bed and sit in the chair, you’ll feel much better Mr S if you do that. He and I are still wondering if he has learned the art of levitation yet. She has been ‘informed’ of her crass error. She no longer deals with him, neither does the Jnr. Ward Doctor, who after two weeks of IV antibiotics declared him ‘clinically well’ and said he could go home with tablet form antibiotics, and attend outpatients when his course ended. She needed the bed for a sick patient so my son could go home. After asking her if she was authorised to override the consultant Orthopaedic surgeon’s decision to keep my son in hospital for a minimum of 6 weeks on IV AB’s, she said she was just trying to reduce the risk of my son catching a hospital infection through long stay. Not as she had previously stated, she just needed the bed for a sick patient. Move over son.

She no longer works on his ward, for this I am truly grateful. I have spilled many words into the ears of the people who are supposedly looking after my son, they are now looking after him properly and following a tried and tested protocol that works. Mine. It isn’t rocket science, but it does require a degree of common sense, which unfortunately is thin on the ground.
Everyone has been telling me we need a care package putting in place at home to allow me to step back and have a ‘well earned’ rest as they put it. Retire they said, you’ve earned it, they said. The reality? They can’t find enough people to do all the things I normally do with my son on a daily basis. The logistics of it all have flummoxed them. I am not holding my breath for the care package, it is a pipe dream that will probably come to nothing. They have to be seen to be making the right noises, but that’s all it is, white noise in the background.

If you got to the end of this post, thank you. I appreciate you reading it. I just needed somewhere to put it all down safely.

Sleep Paralysis

It isn’t a myth, it isn’t some wandering spook come to visit me, it is NOT a supernatural event or phenomenon. It is a very real and nasty experience that is hitting me almost every night currently and it is being created by my own mind. That’s right folks, my brain is doing me over and I can’t stop it from happening.

No, it isn’t a demon

Have you ever experienced it? It is the sensation of someone or something sitting on the bed, (and you can feel the weight of their presence on the bed,) and laying over you (very bad and freaky when you are sleeping alone) and you literally cannot move a muscle. or speak. You feel as though you are being pushed down into the mattress and held captive by the bedding being held in a tight band around you. You feel terrified as you fight to wake up and scramble to try and move your arms to fight off whatever it is that is laying on you. And, you wake up screaming, and I do mean full on blood curdling, I am being murdered, screaming. But, as soon as you move, the sensation is gone, the fear/terror however is very real and very present.

It has left me exhausted, physically and mentally. I read up about the condition, I searched under night terrors, it came up on our NHS website as sleep paralysis not night terrors, and it is an uncommon occurrence that can afflict a person maybe once or twice in their entire life time. Currently I am on four weeks solid and counting, that’s almost every night, sometimes twice a night for four weeks. The website advises that if it occurs more frequently than the once or twice in a lifetime, you should talk to your doctor because it is being brought on by an underlying medical condition.

It is brought on by stress, insomnia, and PTSD. I deal with all of those conditions on a daily basis.

So, how can it be dealt with? How do I stop it?

Apparently I can take a sleeping tablet that moves me from waking sleep to REM without the paralysis but I can’t afford to take a sleeping tablet in case I need to see to my son in the night. If I have to drive to hospital I can’t be under the influence of medication, I could kill us both. Oh and I shouldn’t sleep on my back. Not very helpful in either case as I sleep on my stomach? It doesn’t mention that one.

So, I am learning to meditate, that isn’t the easy option for me, it requires stillness of mind and I struggle terribly with that. I persevere, but I am fighting with my own mind on all fronts at the moment and I want to scream with the frustration of it all. I have black rings under my eyes that rival a panda and I am short tempered (more so than usual) and irritable, (again more so than usual).

But, I am determined. So, if anyone can offer me any advice or insight into both the condition and how to meditate successfully, I would be forever grateful!

That’s all for now folks… except…

As a footnote: Speaking from a truly atheist viewpoint, I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits. But, and this is where my mind is messing with me, last night, I experienced what can only be described as the phenomenon of the phantom shadow coming at me with mouth agape and sharp fangs on show, something akin to a gargoyle like appearance, or a cat on steroids. I felt it’s breath on my face and could smell it’s breath, it was downright nasty! I lashed out and it disappeared. I felt entirely too stupid for words but my heart was pounding like I had run a marathon. The whole event lasted less than ten seconds. Possibly the longest, scariest ten seconds of my life to date.

That one has freaked me out entirely, because, I know I saw it. I was sat up and wide awake after fighting out of the paralysis. I had just settled back into bed after stomping around the room swearing my head off at the tricks my brain was playing on me, I then calmed down and had a warm water drink to settle me. That was when the mad cat gargoyle thing happened. I have no explanation. I refuse to believe I am going mad, I don’t believe I was hallucinating, the night light was on so the room was not in complete darkness, and… well… fuck it, I don’t know. Feel free to draw your own conclusions! 🤷🏽‍♀️

On another thought… I wonder whether my stress is escaping and running amok around the bedroom while I sleep and is then trying to get back inside me when I am beginning to wake? That would explain the manic cat/gargoyle thing, it’s the best explanation I have come up with so far anyway.

Anyway… that really is all for now folks…

Avi Kaplan – Bass Singer extraordinaire!

Everyone knows by now I appreciate singers who go that extra mile to delight their listeners with their voices. None is truer in that respect than Dimash Qudaibergen and for a while now I have struggled to find anyone who is even remotely comparable in vocal agility. Until I tripped across Avi Kaplan.

Avi Kaplan is a Bass vocalist who has an impressive 4.5 – 5 Octave range and his voice is so smooth and dark and rich that I could literally listen to him forever and never get over his voice.

The first time I heard him sing was when he did a guest performance of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire with the incomparable vocal harmonies group, Home Free.

In this performance, Tim Foust (beautiful bass vocalist) of Home Free begins singing the song and Avi comes in with the second line, Austin Brown brings in that crystal clear tenor and then we are off and running with what can only be described as one of the best versions of this song I think I have ever heard, (and it’s been butchered by many for a very long time.) It is such a pleasure to hear it sung so beautifully and by so many talented individuals all in one place all at the same time!
As an aside, this post is going to be largely about Avi Kaplan but a huge acknowledgement of appreciation for the mega talented Home Free, their harmonies are so tight and on point they give you chills, Adam Rupp on the beatboxing sounds like a real drum kit! I will be covering this fabulous band in later posts but for now enjoy this brilliant version of Ring of Fire. (Oh and just for the record, Avi is my kind of man! His charisma leaps off the screen and drags you right in there with him!) You can see just how much he enjoys singing with these guys at the end with that beautiful smile.

So the next song I have posted here is Avi Kaplan – Change on the Rise. This is an absolutely stunning piece of work. I believe the backing vocalisation is also Avi and a layering effect of his voice has been used to provide the beat and percussion. I sat down to listen to this and was putting on basic makeup for the day, I ended up with a warrior streak down my cheek and I was ready to go into battle by the end of the song! So very powerful and inspiring!

In this next video, we hear Avi singing in a much gentler higher octave, but equally as rich in tone and emotion. The lyrics to this song reach inside me and take me on a journey into my own past and brings me back into the present with a smile on my face for the successful journey I have been on, for the realisation I won enough battles to win the war. A beautiful song written and sung by a superbly talented gentleman.

Avi Kaplan was the original Bass vocalist for the ACapella group Pentatonix. He left the group to pursue his own solo career and I for one am very glad he did. In my opinion his talent was stifled in Pentatonix, there are too many singers competing for centre stage and Avi was largely left sitting in the back singing the bass notes. He did get solo opportunities but they were few and far between.

As a solo artist he is finally able to show his full and impressive vocal range, performing the music he wants to be known for. Beautiful.

Avi Kaplan music and information can be found on his official website

Or find him on YouTube under AviKaplanMusic

As always, I hope you enjoy this selection of music by some of the finest musicians out there today.

Dimash… Again…

This is Dimash paying homage to the iconic ancestors that have founded & shaped his beloved Kazakhstan. He released this video on the 30th anniversary of the nation’s independence. He has said repeatedly that he always thinks of the day that he himself will leave the stage & join the audience. And that he wants to keep his integrity until that day. Here he gives us a vision of that, integrated with the struggles of the past while looking at the hope of the future. I just have no words for this powerful piece of art. I know of no other up & coming superstar with this much wisdom, humility & self reflection.

Dimash is still quite young in the next video where he performs ‘The Crown’. But I just like this song. The word repeat pattern and flow is charming and draws you into the story.

I am aware this song was one I posted recently, but as with everything Dimash, it doesn’t matter, because his voice is worth listening to over and over.

As always if you wish to see more of Dimash take a quick trip over to YouTube and visit his official YouTube channel at:

You won’t want to leave, I promise…

Some Positive News in Gem’s World

The breast cancer scare has been resolved and I have the all clear thankfully. The clinic I attended was full of women all with the same expression of terror in their eyes, all with the same fear and it was awful. I was desperate to be away from that reality and it cut into my psyche deeply. I was the only one on Monday out of 5 women who got the all clear. 4 women’s lives were devastated in the space of an hour. I didn’t feel like I had the right to celebrate my victory in that place, it would have been wrong. I have quietly rejoiced since, but still don’t feel right about doing that dance of freedom when so many others were struck down with it. I know, it’s something like a case of survivor’s guilt and I am sure I will come to terms with my gain and their loss soon enough. I don’t know those women, but that doesn’t make their devastation any less to me. We forged a silent bond in that room, we all quietly supported each other and talked of normal things and tried to hide our minds from the reality of why we were suddenly in each other’s company. 

I learnt an awful lot about a condition I don’t have (thankfully) in a very short space of time. What I learned most though, was how quickly your life can go from hero to zero in a heartbeat. I feel so fortunate to have come through this experience unscathed physically, but mentally it has definitely left its mark on me.

I just want to say to every woman out there, if you are offered the opportunity to have a mammogram, take it. It could save your life. The nurse who was dealing with my case said that 6 out of every 10 appointments they send out for breast cancer screenings are ignored. Women phone up and tell them they don’t need the appointment as they check their breasts for lumps and haven’t found any so they don’t need the screening.

That doesn’t even make sense to me. My own experience was a milk duct had twisted and folded in on itself and it showed up on the screening as a little lump behind the nipple. Had I not gone for the screening and subsequent tests, I personally would not have had a problem, given what it turned out to be, but, and this is the most important factor, it could have been the start of breast cancer and I would have missed an opportunity to have it dealt with swiftly. If diagnosed in time the rates of recovery from breast cancer are high. The medical advancements in breast cancer treatment we have available to us is so much more advanced these days, it seems foolish beyond measure to ignore those opportunities as they are presented to us, to keep ourselves healthy.

In other news, my heart monitor is full and isn’t working properly, my son has Covid as well as an ongoing kidney infection, my lover has had covid and it wiped the floor with him, he is still quite ill in the aftermath of it. My mum is doing okay but the Bell’s Palsy is causing her a great degree of pain and discomfort. My step dad is floundering under the weight of all of the worry and my best friend is finally getting her divorce hearing today after 4 years of her soon to be ex husband dragging things on and stalling, using delaying tactics and generally thumbing his nose at Judge’s orders and ignoring them. She is currently in the middle of her final hearing. I have absolutely everything crossed for her, her mental health is in complete crisis now, she also has to represent herself as a litigant in person because the soon to be ex has literally starved her of all funds and forced her onto benefits. She can no longer afford the legal fees for a Barrister or a solicitor.

Meanwhile, he owns and runs three businesses, which she worked at with him. He never paid her a wage, refusing because he said they had enough money coming in with just his wage and he would take care of the money and she should just take care of the family and work with him for the greater good of their future. When you have no private income of your own, you have no choices. She did this for 17 years in total. At the very least he owes her in excess of £100,000.00 in back pay! Everyone send positive vibes, thoughts, whatever, she truly needs them.

There is always someone worse off than yourself. I have lifted my head up this week and smiled properly for the first time in a long time. Here’s hoping it continues…

There is no good News Anywhere in Gem’s World.

My life has fallen to pieces in the past few weeks. If you read my previous post you know my Mum had a stroke and has been blighted by Bell’s Palsy. Her recovery has been greatly hampered by the fact that her ear is now very infected (apparently this can be a side effect of the Bell’s Palsy) and she is having violent headaches on top of everything else.

I am doing my best to shore her up but I have some serious health issues that have cropped up in my own life. My son has tested positive for Covid this week, on top of having a kidney infection from a kidney that only operates at 13% anyway. It is wreaking havoc with his whole system. He is struggling with his mental health as a result of constantly feeling ill, which is no surprise really. Who wouldn’t? His determination to always be positive no matter what, is crumbling around the edges. Currently his attitude is, ‘What’s the point? If I stay positive or feel shit, I’m just going to be ill again anyway. I may as well just sit here and vegetate. No hope is better than having hope taken away every time.’
I don’t know how to fight that, I don’t know how to help him. My heart hurts for him so bad right now, but there is absolutely nothing I can do to change his circumstances or his health.

My own health is suffering greatly, I am currently wearing a heart monitor after having some rather severe palpitations and chest pains, I have put them down to stress but the cardio people want readings for a month to see what is going on.

I went for my 5 year Breast test exam two weeks ago and this week I received a call back letter telling me they have to run more tests and they want me to be aware that the tests will take most of the afternoon to complete on the day of my appointment. That sounds really fucking scary quite frankly and I feel like I am staring down the barrel of the breast cancer gun right now and playing russian roulette with it.

Add to that my physical health is not the best, osteoarthritis has set in to most of my joints and my doctor is looking to see if there is any rheumatoid arthritis present as well. I already have gout, so if the rheumatoid arthritis shows up too then I have the hat trick of all three of them.

Tom had Covid and it wiped the floor with him, he is currently recovering 267 or so miles away but he is not fit to travel and come home.

My whole family is ill, my own health is a huge question mark right now and I can’t see a bright spot anywhere. I’m going on the silent list for the foreseeable. I highly doubt that, unless there is some good news, I will be posting anything at all.

Stay well people, look after each other and be kind to those who are struggling, I will return when I have some positive news to share.

Gem’s World, an Update

Hello my lovely peoples, I hope life is treating you kindly.

This is not a happy post, nor will it be a long one. I am exhausted by recent events within my small family unit and there is no let up of the pressures on the horizon.

It’s all a mess. It’s downright scary as all get out and for the first time in my life I am actually scared witless that my Mum isn’t going to be around for much longer.

My beautiful, lively and amazingly spritely 81 year old Mum had a stroke on 25th February which has left her with a loss of sight in her left eye, her speech is badly affected and her left side is very weak. Her recovery has been greatly hampered by the unwelcome arrival of Bell’s Palsy, which has managed to confuse what was a definitive stroke diagnosis. Now the new doctors she is seeing are scratching their heads and wondering on one day if she has had a stroke, and then on another day, whether it’s bell’s palsy, to yet another where they are saying she has had a stroke and has bell’s palsy. I would just like a definitive diagnosis because if it’s just bell’s palsy, she is winning in spades. It is a benign condition that while it looks scary because it mimics the symptoms of a stroke, it is actually nothing to be overly concerned about, there is no real understanding of what causes it, it can just come on for no reason other than it arrives and it can take anything from a few weeks to months to years or never to recover from the facial drop it causes.

Obviously if it is a stroke as first diagnosed, then she could be in a world of trouble. Her age is against her, her general health is against her and she could be left severely handicapped from the symptoms.

I took her to the opthalmist today to find out how badly affected her left eye is, and he can’t tell us because he can’t see behind the eye because of the ointment they are giving her to use on it to stop it from drying out, Her eyelid won’t close at all. The problem is further exacerbated by the cataracts that have appeared almost overnight in both eyes. He will have to wait until she has at least finished the course of treatment with the eye ointment before he can see behind that eye.

My Mum also has a three line pacemaker fitted that has recently started to play up. She had her battery checked the week before her stroke hit and they said she needed it replacing as soon as possible because it was coming to the end of its life. They can’t change it now due to the complications of the stroke.

I probably won’t be around much, I am struggling to run two homes and my Mum’s business, not to mention my own life. I haven’t looked at that in a while but it isn’t in good shape either. Nothing too scary there just a great deal of neglect on my part, I shall get to it all eventually.

Stay well people and I will return eventually with new updates when I can. I might even get on top of everything and have it all running more normally in a few weeks when life settles down a little more. If that happens, I promise you, you will be reading new work from me. I need to lose myself in some fiction for a while, real life is just too damned painful to deal with constantly.

Bye for now …. Gem xx

Angelina Jordan

A Tiny Singing Phenomenon!

Remember this song anyone? Cher sang it in 1966, it was written by her then husband Sonny Bono and released as an album song. I never gave it much credence as a folk/blues song until very recently when I happened upon a 7 year old Angelina Jordan who sang it as one of her contest round songs on Norway’s got Talent, Norway really does have talent, this young lady is phenomenal both at 7 and at 16 when she covers Adele’s Easy on Me.

She’s SEVEN years old People! SEVEN!

So this young lady won Norway’s got Talent at the tender age of 7. It’s not hard to see why. A child prodigy, yes, but not just any cute little 7 year old can take on the old classic blues/jazz songs and sing the hell out of them! Her repertoire is extensive and covers a number of different genres.

In this video, she is just 16 years of age and singing a cover of Adele’s ‘Go easy on me.’ Now far be it from me to say anything controversial about Adele or her undoubted talent, but I have to say, I prefer the warmer tones of Angelina over the sharp clarity of Adele’s tone in this song. Don’t shoot me, it’s a personal preference and I adore Adele and respect her ability to write some absolutely stunning songs, but Angelina has a softer, more rounded vocalisation that just makes my ears sing.

Hope you enjoy these two offerings from a very talented young lady who just keeps getting better.

.*♥**♥*★ *♥*..*♥*. BERNARD *♥**♥*★ *♥*..*♥*.


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