Nurse Pigeon

To begin where I left off last time, Leo is fine. He was checked out at the Walk-in Centre on Thursday evening and the various grazes were superficial. Apparently, at the Walk-in Centre, they’re not allowed to x-ray children under two (who knew) but the nurse was 95% sure that Leo’s finger wasn’t broken. As she didn’t want to send the Cole boys to A&E at 8pm to wait for four hours for an x-ray to confirm that it wasn’t broken, the nurse told Graham to check the next morning that the finger itself (as opposed to the slug-looking blood blister – see below) didn’t look swollen.

If his finger was not noticeably worse then we were to pop the blister with sterilised needles that the nurse had given to Graham. So yesterday morning, as the lion’s paw didn’t look any different, Graham implemented Operation DIY Surgery. The Walk-in Centre nurse had suggested doing it during Leo’s nap as he won’t be able to feel anything. As they say, it’s not what you know but who you know. A paediatric nurse friend suggested a combination of his favourite TV show, some yummy treats, one person to hold his hand behind him so that he can’t see and someone else to do the deed!

Being less than a week after Easter, chocolate is not in short supply around the house so that was the yummy treat. That, and a couple of Grandparents to entertain/hold Leo meant that the Silver Pigeon* managed a successful procedure. This is the very same Pigeon who fainted the only time he has ever had a blood test and can’t watch the gazillions of times I’ve been stabbed with needles. Kudos Mr Pigeon!

From the first two photos pre-procedure to the third photo post-pigeon’s handiwork:



As for me, whether or not it was down to my strategy of eater less food later, I’ve not been sick since my tea was evacuated on Wednesday night. Long may that continue! I’ve been sleeping well. On the seizure front, I’ve had only one Doozie recently and even that was a relatively “good” Doozie. I would categorise current seizure activity as slow and steady. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m winning the race, the reduced seizure activity is welcome as it has given me noticeably more energy. I’m therefore able to spend less time lying in bed and more time with family and friends. Long may that continue too!

I’m a Natural Blue**

As well as struggling with articulating my thoughts clearly because of my mild speech issue, I’ve been struggling a tiny little bit with my short-term memory since my surgery and radiotherapy. My long-term memory seems to be intact. There’s a reason that I was – affectionately, I think – nicknamed Rainman years ago.

Increasingly, in the last few weeks, my short-term memory has failed me. As well as trying to remember what I’m looking for in my bag, for example, if I’m in the middle of a sentence and am struggling with articulating my thoughts or get distracted/interrupted, I often forget what I’ve been talking about. If I remember, or am reminded of, what I had been saying, I almost always remember where I was going and can continue. So there you go: a sure-fire way to stop me rambling on is not to remind me of what I was talking about (if you could work it out in the first place)!

I was told that memory loss was a possible side effect of both the Hannibal surgery and the radiotherapy. In the case of the surgery, as my brain collapsed into the cavity created by the removal of some of the Squatter, the unsettled grey matter will have moved (and might still be moving) as it’s settled/settling into its new home (with cavity insulation?). The radiotherapy was zapping through my brain so there’s no surprise that it might affect brain function! I seem to remember (but I’m no longer a reliable witness) that my oncologist said that the chemotherapy might affect my short-term memory and a quick Google suggests that this is true. One website suggested that the risk of Dory-like symptoms is increased in patients who are taking Keppra (which I am). The fact that my memory has noticeably worsened since I started chemotherapy leads me to conclude that it’s primarily the chemo to blame.

Any Other Business?

Otherwise, it’s been a quiet week:

  • Graham and I watched Rogue One and enjoyed it. Last year, when we went to see Episode VII: The Force Awakens, I felt a bit guilty that I (a non-Star Wars fanatic) was watching a new film in my brother’s favourite franchise that he will never see. With Rogue One, for some reason I just felt closer to him.
  • We had a couple of trips to Tesco. One was noteworthy because Leo was repeating “moo” and pointing. We looked where he was pointing and saw large boards with Friesian cows on them above the dairy section. Neither me nor Graham had previously noticed the colourful and large item-specific boards above each section. Does anyone who goes to Rowlands Gill’s Tesco know if these have been recently added or if we are just not very observant?!
  • Jennifer was assigned a place in the school we put down as our first choice.
  • Oh, and yesterday we bought our tiny little hobbit house, so we now own two houses, neither of which we currently live in! The building work and “updating” of the bungalow starts on Monday. As well as converting the garage into an en-suite bedroom and a utility room, we are doing a bit of renovation in three of the six existing rooms. We are also redecorating in all but two of the rooms.

The previous owners have looked after the house and had recently redone the kitchen and shower room. To give you a flavour of the updating required elsewhere, however, here are close-ups of the existing wallpaper and carpet in the living room, which might bring back memories for some of you:



*Graham described himself this morning as a “decrepit knackered silver pigeon with tennis elbow” so I think that he has embraced his new nickname with gusto!

**I could be but I don’t have enough hair to be sure!


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