Going Viral!

The Quarantine House has opened its doors once again because Leo has gone viral for what seems like the millionth time in his short lifetime: he’s got Chicken Pox! My Cole boys are therefore cooped up once more with feeling. Leo woke up early this morning with a temperature and this afternoon the first spot appeared, followed fairly quickly by a dozen more.

My chemo starts again on Wednesday so my immune system will be weakened again: perfect timing from both of us for causing maximum disruption! Leo still has a temperature but it is being kept under control with Calpol. Thankfully, before he had another dose of Calpol earlier, his temperature wasn’t as high as it was when he had a febrile seizure a few weeks ago. Let’s hope it stays that way. Poor little Drama Boy!

Egg on Her Face

This afternoon, Jennifer brought me a pile of A4 paper and asked me to make some paper aeroplanes. I did a standard simple one which was, in Jennifer’s words, “a bit rubbish”. After my first effort’s maiden flight, she said to me in a surprisingly gentle way: “you’re not very good at this, are you Mammy?”.

At this point, my competitive nature kicked in and I Googled how to make paper aeroplanes. I attempted to follow four designs. One I gave up on as by step three I was already baffled. I followed the other sets of instructions (one of which I chose because it was called the “Piranha”). We ended up with three more paper planes with varying speeds and flight paths to add to our collection! One in particular does a good backwards loop, although I’m not entirely sure that it’s supposed to! Can anyone point me in the direction of failsafe paper plane designs (so that I can prove my four-year old daughter wrong)? I’m serious, I need a good one to impress her!

The hilarity of paper plane making and flying gave way to preparations for tea. Just as we were about to sit down and eat, Jennifer fell in the living room (she later said she had tripped over a blanket) and bumped into the side of the door. Immediately, a mottled, bruised egg appeared above her left eyebrow. We put a cold compress on it and she said it felt ok after a while. It looks pretty sore but she’s a tough little cookie. Poor little Drama Girl!

Date Night

Last night was the first evening that Graham and I have been out since before Squattergate. I think the last time was a family member’s 40th birthday party a week or so before I was diagnosed. Coincidentally, a 40th birthday was the reason we went out last night for drinks (mine’s a half of water: H1O?). It was at the local “pub” at Gibside, which is open from 6-9pm on Fridays and Saturdays.* Gibside is literally a stone’s throw away from the Rents’ house so it was a fairly low-risk place to go if my leg started playing up!

I had had a lovely day yesterday with visits from three friends (and a little dude who is nearly one!) so I was a bit tired. After a rest and some tea, I felt well enough to go; assuring Graham that I wasn’t pushing myself and that we could always come back at any time, we seized the moment and went along. I’m so glad we did. It was lovely to do something so normal and with great company! As an added bonus, as we went along to see friends, Graham and I didn’t actually need to speak to each other on our date night (phew)! Seriously, we both had such a good time for the hour or so that we were there, it was wonderful.

Tardisian Hobbit House

These three lovelies came over from Cumbria last weekend to do some glossing in the “old” part of the bungalow:


As of today: all the plastering in the garage conversion and renovated dining room has been finished; new doors have been hung; new skirting boards have been fitted in our bedroom; the walls in the en-suite shower area have been tiled; and, the en-suite, kitchen and utility rooms are ready for floor tiling. The electrician and plumber are coming back this week to do their respective final fixes.

Now the conversion is structurally complete, it’s looking like a small but reasonable family house, although it still looks tiny from the outside! We are getting ever closer to the Little Move. That said, we decided last week that we might as well skim some of the walls in the “old” part of the house now before we get carpets fitted and move in our furniture etc so that plaster dust isn’t an issue. It would be silly to paint the walls and regret later on that we hadn’t skimmed them. Thankfully, the plasterer is kindly fitting us in and coming on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the end of this week. A team of painters is lined up for the following Wednesday so it’s all systems go!

Graham had been hoping to do the bulk of the sealing/sizing of the plaster this week but the pox has now stopped him in his ambitious tracks!

Mine’s a Half

I’ve had a fair few twitches and short seizures in my foot calf this week, all but one of which didn’t last too long. It could be down to tiredness, stress (about the election among other things) and/or steroid reduction as of last Monday. I’m now down to half a milligram of dexamethasone a day. That’s reduced from 8mg a day just two or three months ago. I’m hoping that I’ll go Down to Zero in a couple of weeks, assuming that I don’t have any noticeable side effects caused by lowering the dose. Fingers crossed.

My mobility is generally the same as it has been for the last month or so. My stamina is slowly increasing so that a short walk doesn’t seem to wipe me out quite as much as it did. I still need a nap or rest in the middle of each day and really struggle with fatigue if I don’t get one. What seem to be permanent mobility issues (as they haven’t improved since my first and worst seizure over nine months ago) are:

  • I’ve got good strength through my ankle but very little upwards, downwards and sideways movement in my ankle. This means that I can, for the most part, walk straight (albeit for short distances) but I struggle with corners! It’s also why I wear my splint to help prevent me going over on my ankle.
  • On my best days, I’ve got very little movement in my toes. The rest of the time, I have zero toe movement!

Speaking of the splint, I bought two pairs of “summer” shoes the other day that are both splint-friendly (a light pair of walking shoes and some walking sandals). My only splint-friendly shoes before my shopping spree are Gore-Tex ones (so not breathable) and they were only comfortable with walking socks so my feet were already getting overheated in them. Now I’m ready for the summer that we might not get!

Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!

I have so much to say about the election result and subsequent shambolic shenanigans that I don’t know where to start. Even if I did, I fear I would never finish! One thing I would say is that hubris is the word that has sprung to mind over the last few weeks in relation to Mayhem and her immediate predecessor.

Instead of waffling on further, I’ll give you a few of my favourite tweets from Friday/yesterday:


Perhaps we will look back on these shambolic political times we are living through and see that this was the storm before the calm. I hope so because another alternative is that it could be the storm before the apocalypse! I forget where, but I saw this Heaney poem yesterday so I hope a tidal wave will soon be upon us and sweep away the rubbish:

History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave,
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

Maybe the tide is already starting to turn with today’s announcement that America’s Toddler-In-Chief won’t come until we promise to play nicely with him. Shame. I was looking forward to heckling him in person!


*I feel the need to point out that I’m not getting paid or even encouraged by the National Trust for plugging Gibside and Cragside!


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