Beginnings

Just heard today from John Rudd at New Forest Log Cabins that he’ll be doing my drawings and costings tomorrow.  Hope so.  Impatient to get started now, after years of dithering!  Once we’ve got the drawings, we can meet up again with Chris (Bennett, Project Manager) to make sure we’re all on the same page, and then set up a three-way meeting with Chris, Peter and the planning officer he spoke to informally a little while ago, Stephen Baughan.  Assuming that all goes according to plan, we can then proceed to formal planning permission.

According to Mr Baughan, there shouldn’t be any problem.  Yeah, well, we’ll see.

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Therapy Dog Debut

 

29-may-2016

Dr Oscar – Therapy Dog in Training

Oscar and I had our first trial run as a therapy dog last Friday at a local hospice.

I was a bit anxious in case he got over-excited or nervous and went into full-bore Schnauzer Scream mode.  Wouldn’t be good to start off terrifying the patients and causing  heart attacks!  He did squeal a bit on arrival.  I think he was excited by the new environment and lots of people coming and going.

We were greeted and taken into the Day Centre and met some of the nurses.  They said they’d thought it was a child crying!  But fortunately they all loved Oscar on sight and he of course lapped up the attention.

Unfortunately the nurse usually in charge of therapy dogs and their handlers had gone off sick that day so no one was exactly sure what the procedure should be but the nurse who looked after us (L) gave me a cup of tea and talked me through a few things.  She put Oscar through a few simple tests like ‘does the dog allow his ears, back and tail to be touched’, ‘does the dog take treats gently’, ‘does the dog sit quietly by the owner’s side during conversation’, ‘does the dog walk on a loose lead’.  Oscar passed with flying colours!  Except maybe when his tail was touched – he’s not keen on that.  But didn’t react over-much either.  So everything was fine and L said a little screeching now and again wasn’t going to matter so much – phew!

We then spent an hour or so talking to various people in the Day Centre.  Here, patients are in the last year of life.  Some weren’t particularly ‘into’ dogs, which is absolutely fine, so we left them alone.  Others loved to see Oscar, pat him, and give him a treat.  One lady was blind so I balanced Oscar on her knee so she could reach him and I put a treat into her hand so she was able to hold that out for Oscar to take.  He was soooo gentle!

We were shown around the ward where patients are End of Life.  Because we hadn’t completed our paperwork or been fully instructed in all the procedures, we weren’t allowed to visit patients in their rooms on this occasion.  Oscar, however, was very keen to visit – he kept poking his nose around the doors to patient rooms!

We spent about half an hour in admin, going through some paperwork, including a DBS check.  Again, Oscar was good as gold, standing and waiting patiently and quietly while we went through everything.

After another half hour or so with people in the Day Centre we headed off home.  Oscar was completely blotto in the car!  He was knackered, poor boy.  But he had been an absolute angel – I was sooooo proud of him (gulp).

Stay tooned for more tales of Dr Oscar.

Therapy Dogs Nationwide

Osteoporosis treatments

Well, I guess the day had to come some time.  I was first diagnosed with early osteoporosis back in 2007 when I fell off a chair and broke my shoulder.  At first they thought I was drunk!  At 11am?!  I’m not that bad!  But then they decided they’d better check my bones and said I had some signs of osteoporosis.  I think they recommended bisphosphonates even then, but I didn’t like the sound of them so gave them a miss.

Unfortunately, I can’t take calcium – it makes me sick – so I had to rely solely on vit D3 to protect my bones to some extent at least.  And HRT.

I’ve had several DEXA scans since that first one, each showing progressive deterioration, and each time being offered bisphosphonates.

Last week, however, my latest DEXA scan results came with huge pressure to take bisphosponhates.  With scary phrases like ‘significantly below average’, ‘significantly increased risk for future osteoporotic fracture’ and ‘a definite requirement for consideration of bisphosphonate prophylaxis’.  Hmmmm.  I don’t think so.

First, my results state a 34% 10-year risk of ‘major fracture’. What ‘major fracture’?  It’s only my hips that are particularly worrying.  And, in any case, my positive brain reads that as a 66% 10-year risk of no fractures!  The results say a 15% 10-year risk of a hip fracture.  So an 85% chance of no hip fracture? Doesn’t sound so bad to me!

Also, my 2016 results are not so very different from my 2013 results:

2013            2016

Spine t-score                                             -1.7            -1.9

Femoral neck t-score                             -3.0            -3.08

So then I went and revisited research on standard osteoporosis treatments.  And confirmed my horror of them. Oral bisphosponates irritate the oesophagus and can cause oesophageal cancer.  I am already prone to oesophagitis, and have several inflammatory autoimmune conditions; I don’t think deliberate oesophageal irritation would be in my best interests.  The GP suggested taking omeprazole for a day or so either side of taking the tablets; I’m not encouraged to take a drug that requires another one to counteract its negative side effects! Plus, omeprazole and other proton pump inhibitors reduce stomach acid.  The bisphosphonates can cause ocular inflammation; I have Sjogrens which already makes my eyes vulnerable.  They are poorly absorbed into the GI tract – and I already have malabsorption. The drugs can cause osteonecrosis of the jaw.  And are associated with more ‘atypical femoral fractures’.  Plus, they only preserve old bone, they don’t promote new bone growth, in fact they reduce it.   And they make the old bone more brittle.  So the drugs don’t even do ‘what it says on the tin’.

So, all in all, I’m not impressed with what the orthodox medical profession has to offer in this case!

I turned instead to sites and groups discussing natural therapies.  And I’ve already done my first day’s 50 heel drops!  This apparently has been proven to prevent further bone loss in the hip and even to promote new bone growth.  Other exercises include wall push-ups, one-legged swings, and lunges.  In addition, of course, to everyday exercise such as walking.

There are mineral and vitamin supplements to consider as well, along with a healthy diet. Apparently,  70% of the Western diet is made up of just four foods: dairy, sugar, grains and potatoes – no wonder we’re all sick and (literally!) cracking up. I can’t claim to strictly adhere to the ‘stoneage’ diet but I do avoid some of the worst culprits, including those four above.  I already take many of the recommended supplements like Vit D3, Vit C and magnesium. Calcium is not recommended as a supplement – it should ideally be obtained through diet and assisted with Vit K2; something I probably shouldn’t take as Vit K promotes coagulation and I am already prone to clotting.  I might consider adding boron into the mix, as this is shown to aid bone health, but I understand you can get it from prunes.  Ten a day are recommended; not sure I’ll be taking 10, I’d be constantly on the loo! But luckily, I do love prunes and am happy to have some for breakfast every day.

There are a lot of myths out there about osteoporosis and the medical profession doesn’t seem up to speed on either causes or treatments.  I’ll be doing my own thing and asking for a retest in 12 months.

 

Camilla Long

Dear Sunday Times,

Get rid of Camilla Long!  Her smug reviews are full of unedifying self-satisfied gratuitous vitriol.  For instance, in today’s review of Bridget Jones’s Baby, she writes: “But if she [Renee Zellweger] has done anything to her face, as everyone suggests, it hasn’t worked. She looks so old, it is difficult to believe she can fall pregnant.”  That is just plain rude.  And adds nothing worthwhile to our understanding of the film.

Moving on to Bryan Cranston’s new movie The Infiltrator, Long writes: “The film is ‘based on a true story’, which as I’ve mentioned before, is a second-rate excuse for any movie.” The implication seems to be that, once Long has declaimed on a subject, we are to take her views as gospel.  A view moreover that in this case is a smartarse cheap shot. Why on earth shouldn’t a film be based on a true story?  And use that as a marketing tool?

Long proceeds to first mock the undercover cop story genre saying, “As far as I can see, the story… is exactly like every other undercover drug cop’s story”.  So what?  Many of us enjoy undercover drug cop stories and are more than happy to see another one of the type, as long as it is a good example.

Long then directs her bile at Cranston.  She says: “Beyond satisfying his late-life fantasy of appearing in a big drugs film, he clearly has no idea what he is doing here at all.” What right does Long have to ascribe this ‘late-life fantasy’ to Cranston?  What right does she have to claim that Cranston ‘clearly has no idea what he is doing here at all’?

It is interesting that Long gives Bridget Jones’s Baby three stars and The Infiltrator just one whereas every other review I’ve seen gives both of them four stars.  I seriously doubt that Long is the only reviewer capable of arriving at the ‘correct’ assessment of movies.  Her views are rude, self-serving and unhelpful.  Please sack her and replace her with someone who will provide more balanced and mature reviews.

And, while you’re at it, ditch Gill as well – they’re cut from the same offensive cloth.

Martha in the woods

Martha’s latest adventure (are you sitting comfortably?)

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I was out for much of the day and hadn’t seen Martha since breakfast. It looked like she hadn’t been back at all because her food was untouched. Most unusual – she likes her grub and makes numerous visits during the day to her trough.

I called and called but answer came there none. Until about 9pm, when of course it was starting to get dark. It sounded like she was in next door’s garden so I asked for their help. They searched their garden, including the greenhouse, kids’ toy houses, sheds etc. No Martha. Then they checked all the rooms inside their house as she sometimes goes in through their catflap. No Martha. But we could still hear her. In the end we decided she was in the woods behind our houses and John from next door and I went out, calling. She’d answer some of the time, but not every time we called.

So I decided to give her a bit more time. For all I knew, she might have been having a lovely time, thank you very much, and thinking, ‘well it’s nice to hear from you, mum, but I’ll come in when I’m good and ready’. So I came back indoors. It was still only about 10pm, on a very warm night, and she does sometimes come in quite late.

But after a while I thought I’d better have another go at finding her, so out into the woods once more, now completely black. She was still calling and I was sure she sounded in distress. But I didn’t think there was anything I could do until I knew where she was, and I was unlikely to find that out until morning.

So back indoors I asked my other neighbour, Jenny, if she might be around in the morning to help me search. Instead she came round with her powerful torch. And a golf club – for thrashing through the undergrowth! Out the back gate once more and still we could hear her calling but no sign of her. So we decided to come round the other way, but walking into the field behind the woods. As we approached roughly where we thought she was, her calls were definitely getting much louder. So we scrambled up through the brambles and stopped under some trees. Something made me think to shine the torch up into one of the trees – and there she was, the little madam, stuck in a cleft about 15’ foot up a tree! Aaaarrghhh. It wasn’t that far to the ground, but the tree trunk was quite smooth and over a mass of branches and brambles on the ground so she obviously didn’t like the look of the descent!

No amount of pleading and persuading and encouraging would induce her to move from her ‘safe’ perch so I did have to leave her there overnight. Panicking that she would fall out during the night, injure herself, run off and be lost all over again!

So, after not much sleep, was up and out again at 6am this morning. Thankfully she was still there but still just as reluctant to take a leap of faith. I managed to borrow a very long narrow plank/stick from another neighbour, hoping it might act as a flimsy ramp for her to trust. But nope. So in the end, in desperation and exasperation, I nudged her bum with the stick instead and she fell to the ground. Completely unhurt of course!

And not a word of thanks! She just turned up indoors a few minutes later, scoffed several plates of food and headed straight back out into the woods. Harrrumph. This girl is in serious danger of being redesignated an Indoor Cat! My nerves can’t stand much more of this!

Turmeric

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This is a fascinating article about how turmeric can beat steroids hands down.

http://www.turmericforhealth.com/…/why-turmeric-beats…

I certainly hope so!  Desperately trying to get off steroids.  Over the last three years I have experienced steady weight gain, especially truncal weight, that won’t shift no matter what I do.  So every time I go out for a meal and put on a pound or two, or go on holiday and put on several pounds(!), that’s it; they’re stuck there for life.  Doesn’t matter that I go back to my normal diet, or even less than usual, it just won’t move. And I hate my newly flubbery blubbery belly and hips.  I have also had increasing depression/mood swings (which is most unlike me, I’m usually a pretty upbeat, positive person) and insomnia – that the doctors strenuously resist treating (thanks for your ‘understanding’ chaps).

So after 2 months, I’ve got down to 3mg/day.  And it bloody hurts!  Big-time pain and fatigue, haven’t lost an ounce (grrrr), still insomniac.  Mood improving but often still slightly depressed – which is depressing!

But since I’ve been using GP (golden paste) the pain is noticeably less.  I think my head is clearer too.  And my bowel activity seems better.  Still no weight loss (grrrr) and still insomniac, though perhaps that has improved minimally.

So I would recommend anyone suffering from pain and inflammation and/or on steroids to take a serious look at all things turmeric.  For starters, there is a FaceBook group – Turmeric Users Group.  This has countless useful files with all sorts of information on turmeric benefits, uses and recipes.  And there is the http://www.turmericforhealth.com website.

 

EU scaremongering

So last night Osborne revealed his latest treasury report on the likely implications of leaving the EU.  What another load of baseless scaremongering and disinformation.  Implying through manipulative presentation that leaving the EU would leave each household £4300 p.a. worse off.  Scandalously misleading.

And why are we not hearing more from the Brexit campaign?  It all seems to be Stay In hysteria.

There don’t seem to be any balanced arguments being put forward, only dogmatic alarmist fixed positions.

Broken leg?

Major drama last night with Oscar.

So I was in the lounge, Peter was in the kitchen and Oscar had just been called in from the garden.  Peter called frantically, ‘Judy! Come quick! Oscar’s lame’.  So I rushed to the kitchen and, sure enough, Oscar was holding his left front leg up, hopping, and looking very alarmed and sorry for himself.

By now both of us are thinking he’s done a major damage, maybe by stepping on something sharp in the garden and shredded his paw, or he’s twisted his leg and broken it.

So Peter held him up while I checked underneath.  What do I find?  He’d stepped on a half nut or fruit shell of some kind and it had stuck to one of his pads.  What a prize wuss! Lots of reassuring cuddles and a treat and he was right as rain.

Jury Service

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I have just received my first ever jury summons.  At 63!  Why now??!!

Anyhow, there’s absolutely no way I would be able to cope so I have completed the form and whizzed it off saying:

“I have Antiphospholipid Syndrome, Sjögrens Syndrome and hypothyroidism.  These conditions cause chronic fatigue, joint and muscle pains, insomnia, depression and mood swings, ‘brain fog’/poor concentration/poor memory.  I need to sleep every afternoon to have enough energy to get through the day.  I would not be able to attend all day, because of pain and fatigue.”

I gather from a hypothyroid forum on FaceBook (Hypothyroid UK) that many people have successfully requested excusal on health grounds including hypothyroidism.  So I hope that works for me too.

So far, I haven’t submitted any supporting medical evidence.  But if there’s any quibble about an excusal I shall certainly get some!