I promise…

I will not change my blog’s theme again for at least 6 months. (This doesn’t mean I promise not to make changes using the same theme!)

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Babymouse goes to Glasgow

At the end of March, we went to Glasgow for Mr C’s brother’s wedding. It was a lovely wedding, and a good time was had by all. Babymouse undertook her first journey on an aeroplane. She was all right on the way there, as she was asleep for most of the way, but on the way back she got a bit fed up of being strapped onto Mr C in a chair and I think her ears hurt during the descent. Otherwise, she had a lovely weekend being picked up and carried about and played with by various members of the extended clan.

I do like Glasgow. It reminds me of Wales – possibly because it was extremely rainy when we were there, apart from, fortunately, the day of the wedding, when sunshine streamed in through the stained glass in the front windows of the Glasgow Art Club. I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures of the wedding itself, but here are a few around Glasgow (taken on my phone – I managed to forget to take any other kind of camera and ended up using a disposable film camera for photos at the wedding, which made it look like we were almost in darkness!). Anyway…

Easter eggs

Marvel Easter eggs at the No. 1 Chocolate Factory

Glasgow in the rain

Glasgow in the rain, from near the School of Art

Glasgow School of Art + model

Glasgow School of Art + model. I tried to get the model in to show what it should be like when not hidden under scaffolding (because of the fire, poor GSA). The model is in the building across the road.

Kellenberger-White exhibition at the Glasgow School of Art

Kellenberger-White exhibition at the Glasgow School of Art



On the plane home

On the plane home

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Batteries not included

So, I went for my pacemaker check yesterday and ended up staying in hospital overnight!

It happened (vaguely) like this:

I went to the pacing clinic as usual and a nice man started my pacing check, and within a couple of minutes asked me, ‘how have you been feeling recently?’ ‘Very tired’, I said. He replied that he wasn’t surprised because my pacemaker had very nearly run out of battery and had set itself into a different mode [power saving?] which was pacing my heart really slowly. Apparently, pacemaker batteries don’t run out like normal batteries. He drew me a diagram:

Batteries diagram

I drew this diagram

Normally, when the battery is getting flatter and it’s got to about 15% charge it goes into the mode where it paces slowly and you have about three months in which to get the battery changed before it completely conks out. No one is really sure when mine started seriously running down, but I (and the medics) think the tiredness I’ve been experiencing in the last few weeks is more than likely due to the faulty* battery rather than other factors (although they may have contributed).

*Apparently, pacemaker batteries don’t normally run out so soon. I’ve had my pacemaker since 2009, and I was told it would last 8-10 years, and it’s only lasted five and a half. The medics were rather shocked that this had happened and they’re going to send my old pacemaker to the manufacturer for analysis. I don’t know whether it is just because it had been working extra hard for me, but they seemed to think it was a mechanical fault rather than anything else. Which is a bit worrying really! As several people have said over the last couple of days, it’s a good job I went for the pacing check when I did!

Anyway, pacing technician was kind but firm and said he thought I should have my battery (just the box part of the pacemaker, not the leads) replaced as soon as possible, ideally today (yesterday). Needless to say I was a bit taken aback at this – not the day I had in mind at all! Fortunately, my mum was already looking after Babymouse and staying until Thursday anyway, so at least that was one thing I didn’t have to worry about too much. The pacing technician phoned the cardiologists and one of them came down to the pacing clinic to discuss options with me. There weren’t really many options! He had already booked me a bed on one of the wards, so I decided to just go with and get it done the same day.

Once I was on the ward I went through the usual joys of pre-operation stuff – showering in the sheep dip, as I like to call it (antibacterial soap) and changing into the fetching gown which I can never do up on my own. I now also had wet hair and no hairbrush or comb! Yay. I know this was the least of my worries really but my hair is untameable at the best of times, plus, there’s the psychological factors to consider, which I will (if I get round to it) consider in another post. Anyway, I phoned Mr C, who made his way over (his boss is very decent about things like this) and my mum, who was her usual calm self. Then I (then we) waited.

We had to wait until about 4.30 pm (having got to the ward at about 11.15 am) because I’d had an early lunch/late breakfast at about 10.30 am (not having had any proper breakfast) and there has to be six hours without any food or drink before you can have the procedure. 4.30 arrived eventually and I was wheeled down to the catheter lab where they performed the procedure. I was awake for it – they just use local anaesthetic, although I did have a tiny bit of sedation because I got a bit upset – and it was not a particularly nice experience, although I’ve had worse! It was rather odd and uncomfortable to feel someone rummaging around in the side of your chest trying to find a pacemaker. We could see where it was on the x-ray but because it had been in for a few years it was quite embedded and there was a lot of scar tissue around it. Once the surgeon had removed the old pacemaker box it seemed to be quite a fast process to put the new one in and sew me up,

After being unplugged from everything (lots of monitors) I was wheeled back to the ward to see Mr C, have a very welcome cup of tea and eat some sandwiches. All was OK overnight, apart from my pressure dressing falling off and having to be re-stuck (with the medical equivalent of duct tape), so I was allowed home late this morning.

I have to go back for another pacing check in six weeks. Hopefully the next check will be more routine! All the NHS people who looked after me were lovely and made what could have been a very stressful experience relatively all right.

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Crochet Class Cowl

Here is the crochet cowl I was making:

crochet cowl crochet cowl 2

It’s not the neatest piece of crochet ever, but it was good to practice stitches with. The pattern is Crochet Class Cowl by Jennifer Dickerson. I decided to add the edging to make it look a bit neater, but I’m not sure this worked! I think if I did it again I would have changed the number of stitches when the type of stitch changed to make the edge less wavy and untidy, but the untidiness probably has less to do with the pattern and more to do with my lack of experience in crochet!

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This is a blog post about how tired I’m feeling. There, now you know you can either (a) stop reading because you can tell it’s not going to be very interesting or (b) carry on at your own peril – perhaps it will send you to sleep, which might be good if you’re tired as well.

Despite work actually being somewhat of a rest I am feeling very tired at the moment. I’m not sure whether this is because Babymouse is getting heavier and therefore harder to carry and push round (and up the many hills in Medway) in her pushchair or because I’m now working and looking after a baby (although of course not at the same time and my mum and Mr C do lots of the looking after baby bit) or whether the heart is just not very happy at the moment.

Lulu's first day out

A tired cat. Picture by hehadan on Flickr

I think perhaps it’s all of those things. I’ve changed my medication from the ACE-inhibitor to something with an even longer name, an angiotensin II antagonist, also known as an angiotensin II receptor blocker. We (the doctor and I) decided to change it as the ACE-inhibitor was (we think) the cause of an irritating tickley cough I’d had since November. The good news is, the cough seems to have gone, but the bad news is that we have to go through the whole rigmarole of starting on a low dose, having blood tests and gradually increasing the dose if all is OK…which is fine apart from I’m now on a low dose of medication again and I suspect it’s not doing very much – at least it doesn’t feel like it is. I don’t like it. I’m having trouble pushing trolleys round at work – something I used to not have much problem with, but the worst things are not being able to carry Babymouse for long and it is a massive struggle getting back up the hill with the pushchair when we’ve been into town. I have to stop lots of times! It’s frustrating and makes me feel a bit sad for some reason.

Let us hope the medication makes a positive difference once the dose is increased. I’m having my pacemaker checked on Monday. I’m (weirdly) slightly looking forward to this – time out on my own and time to read!

In other news, I finished my first proper crocheted item. Pictures may follow.

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February frolics

Yesterday, I found myself saying

It’s so relaxing being back at work…

I can’t believe I actually said that, but I guess it’s all relative, and, compared to wrangling a very active baby all day, going to work and cataloguing books is relaxing!

In other news, we had lots of celebrations this month. Babymouse turned one year old! I never thought I’d say this either, but the last year has gone really quickly. She also had her dedication service at church which was a  lovely time with friends and family.

Sleeping baby

The excitement was just too much… (Photo courtesy of my father-in-law)

As well as these events, it was my birthday, and my mother- and father-in-law’s birthdays…and I went back to work. I’m not sure that counts as a ‘frolic’ though, despite it being a welcome change.

Sorry this isn’t a very detailed post – I just don’t have very much time to write these days!

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Happy Chinese New Year!

Lanterns, Chinatown, Singapore

Lanterns, Chinatown, Singapore

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