Wednesday, 28 March 2018

WOYWW 460 Interlude

I am writing this on Tuesday evening, because I am due to go into hospital tomorrow morning early (really early – 7.30 a.m. yikes!) and won’t be able to post it then. Zsuzsa has kindly agreed to sign me up for WOYWW.

WOYWW 460 Interlude

Not much on my desk. Originally I thought all I’d have would be an empty desk, but yesterday evening I made a tag with my name on it, to tie to my wheelchair so that it ends up in the right place after my operation. I’ve done a blog post about it here. On the desk, from left to right: my box of ink blending pads, on top of which is my notebook with Cuttlebug sandwich recipes and other notes in it. Stacked up plastic bowls with flowers left over from the Floral Album (mystery project). In front of this, a strip of scrap card with some inking experiments on it and a trial run eyelet. Some kitchen roll used for mopping up inks from the tag(see below). Distress Re-Inker and Stickles – both empty bottles given a new lease of life with the addition of some water. Bits and pieces from Dad’s workshop, left out when I was looking for something else. Instruction leaflet for Crop-a-Dile Big Bite.

Here is the finished tag before I wrote my name on it.

11 Finished Tag - No Text

I used some of the flowers left over from my mystery project. For those of you who didn’t manage to see the big reveal, please go here to see photos and a video. Here’s the front cover, for starters.

01 Front Cover

We went out for lunch with our friend on Thursday (postponed from Monday because of the snow) and I gave her the album then. Before we set off, I wrapped it for her. I didn’t have enough tissue paper in a single colour, so I did a bit of eccentric parcel wrapping, using several colours and holding it all together with hot glue. I embellished the parcel with a length of yellow ribbon and some of the flowers left over from the project. I do like to be as creative as possible with my recycling!

79 Wrapped Album

I am pleased to say that she loves it. I finished it on Sunday night with several hours to spare before our planned lunch on Monday – why was I worrying haha! Plenty of time…

We went to a fabulous place recommended by our friend, an old water mill, and the food was quite excellent. There were all sorts of extra little touches that showed that they had really thought about what their customers would enjoy, for instance, just inside the main entrance was a bowl marked “Doggie Treats.” My hubby, who has been told not to eat sugar if he’s to avoid diabetes, always has a cheese board instead of dessert, and for the first time ever, he was allowed to choose which cheeses he had. Here is his board – actually a piece of slate.

01 Cheese Board

For my dessert, I couldn’t resist a popcorn and caramel pannacotta! It was scrumptious.

02 Sweetcorn and Caramel Panacotta

All this was a special treat because of going into hospital to have my parastomal hernia repaired, and I won’t be able to eat normally again for about six weeks. I am hoping against hope that the NHS won’t postpone the operation. Given their past track record and reports I keep hearing from other people, it seems to be almost inevitable to get postponed. I am trying not to get upset about it and get in a state if they do postpone it, but I confess to being quite anxious about it – we psych ourselves up for surgery which is a big thing to face, however often we may have undergone it in the past, and the powers that be seem to have no concept of what we go through. For those in work it’s even worse, because they have to arrange cover etc. and it really puts a lot of people out if the NHS messes them around at the last moment. The hospital staff at the sharp end – my lovely surgeon, and all the nursing staff and other health professionals, are not in control of this situation and it must be extremely hard for them, trying to provide a first-class service. Torbay Hospital is a wonderful hospital and the staff are second to none – never have I experienced such care and compassion, friendliness and cheerfulness, and being treated as a real human being who matters – and not just for myself either; we experienced exactly the same level of excellence over the care of my elderly parents at the end of their lives, and my hubby recently had the best of care and attention over his broken leg. It grieves me that these superb professionals are undermined because of government policy and financial cut-backs. The recent bad weather hasn’t helped the already over-stretched system either, so I think I’ve got to be prepared for the worst.

Well, maybe I won’t get postponed… My hubby said to me the other night, “I don’t think you will be. I feel it in my bones.” I said, “Oh, really? And just how reliable are your bones?” He replied that they were thoroughly to be relied upon. Again I said, “Oh really? As I recall, one of them broke not so long ago! Very reliable!!” Haha!

If things do go ahead as planned, I shall have my iPad with me in hospital, and as soon as I feel up to it, I shall be online, and hope to be in contact with everyone, and will let you know how I am getting on.

The standard letter for this type of surgery says I shall be in for four nights. However, they judge each person according to their individual needs and how well they do post-operatively, and because of my ME, starting with a lower baseline, I tend to take longer to bounce back than normal, which means I’m usually in for longer till they are happy I’m well enough to go home. In addition, four nights would mean I’d be discharged on Easter Sunday which certainly wouldn’t happen – there’s a skeleton staff at the weekend anyway, and also we’ve got the 2 bank holidays (Good Friday and Easter Monday) so the earliest I could anticipate being discharged would be the Tuesday, six days after admission.

In January when I last saw my surgeon, he told me that after the operation, I should expect quite a bit of discomfort. He will be inserting quite a large piece of biological mesh to reinforce the area and hopefully prevent future herniation. It has to be larger than usual because my muscles are weak due to my ME. The hole in the mesh for the stoma will be the size they anticipate the stoma will eventually be after the swelling has gone down, but while everything is healing, things are going to be quite tight and I could experience quite a bit of pain. No doubt they will be prepared for this – their previous record on post-operative pain management has been excellent, so I’m not too worried. In any case I’ll get through it, and the long-term benefits will far outweigh any initial discomfort. He has to make incisions either side of the stoma in order to get the mesh in, which may cause me some problems with the adhesion of the bag initially, but the stoma nurses will be on hand to help with everything. Also, because access will be through the hole in my abdominal wall that was made to form the stoma, he is having to remake the stoma, so it will be the equivalent of starting again from scratch with a new stoma, and I have no idea what size or shape it will be, and whether my existing bags will still work for me. At least this time around, I have three years’ experience under my belt (literally!) and I am approaching this knowing how to manage most problems, and I won’t be freaking out about the whole thing in the same way that I was at the start. The stoma nurses will be available during my hospital stay and afterwards and they will know what equipment will suit me best.

The great advantage of this approach is that I will not be undergoing such major open surgery as previously. Each time they open you up, your body responds by creating adhesions – fibrous bands of tissue between the internal organs, preventing them from sliding freely over one another, and potentially causing major problems. If these immobilise the loops of small intestine they can cause an obstruction. A large proportion of the time taken during my emergency surgery last year was spent in separating adhesions, but this very interference can cause more to form. I am glad I am not being opened up right down my abdomen again because my stomach is already an awful mess, having been opened up twice! My hubby says it is my badge of victory and I shouldn’t be ashamed of it – I went through a lot to get it!

I hope the kittens won’t forget me while I am away! On Saturday they were 10 months old. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. They are now so big but still babies – they regularly suckle together on the little fluffy black toy. This past week, Ruby has become slightly less teenagery and has allowed me to cuddle her and has purred, so I think things are looking up! Typical adolescents – babies one minute and pseudo-adults the next…

A strange thing – exactly 3 years ago I was also in hospital over Easter, having my first operation to remove my cancerous colon, and Kermit, my ileostomy, was born. His birthday is on 27th March, and Kermit Mark II is being created on 28th! (I wonder if I will recognise him…) I can’t believe I have had him for 3 years. Where does the time go?

When I developed my hernia in the autumn of 2016, I had to give it a name, and what else but Miss Piggy? Kermit hates this monstrous interloper and regularly retreats from her – retracting till he’s level with the surface and causing me no end of problems with leaks etc. It’s poetic justice that the dreaded Miss Piggy is going to be finally defeated by the insertion of a mesh derived from pig skin!!! I’ve had enough of all this constant fighting over who’s to have supremacy over my belly, so I’ll be very glad to have her retreat back to where she belongs, allowing Kermit and me to resume our hitherto peaceful and happy relationship.

These few days between finishing the mystery project and going into hospital have been by way of an interlude, and much of the time has been spent organising things on the home front in readiness for being away, and for my return when I will initially need a lot of help from my hubby. I have organised the freezer so it’s easy for him to find things, and written out instructions on how to use our rather complicated combination microwave, got plenty of food in, got the laundry out of the way in good time, and packed the stuff I am going to need. It’s a rather strange limbo period, made all the worse by the uncertainty as to whether anything is actually going to happen tomorrow at all!

Regarding the mystery project, I have now started uploading the daily blog posts I wrote and saved on my hard drive in anticipation of the time when I could reveal all after our friend had received her gift. They are appearing in order below. So far I’ve only done the first four, and the rest will have to wait till I’m home from hospital. They detail, step by step, the whole process of creating the album from beginning to end.


  1. Hope the surgery went ahead after all Shoshi and everything went smoothly. Perhaps your hubby's bones are to be trusted despite your expectations to the contrary! I didn't see your post until 3 pm when I got home from work - Wednesday is the only day I have to leave early in the morning, which is very unfortunate. Your projects are so stunning with the little flowers and the distress ink backgrounds - very impressive indeed! Long live Kermit II - I'm sure you'll be back on your feet in no time! That is quite a coincidence with their birth dates! xx

  2. Hope you surgery has gone as planned and you are soon home with your adorable pussy cats to comfort you.
    Hugs Monica

  3. The album is utterly beautiful and hope your appointment today went well
    Ellie #27

  4. Hi Shoshi, firstly I want to say how much I loved your mystery project. It is plain to see how much love has gone into creating it. I giggled at the funny sayings - my daughter says such similar things we have nicknamed them Jo-isms. I wish I had more pictures of my mum so could attempt something similar. Her death was quite unexpected, 30 years ago just after the birth of my second daughter, and sadly I have no idea where her photo albums went to. I have a handful of photos, but nothing at all from her childhood, or early adult life. I have an elderly cousin, so maybe I will see if he has anything he can give me.

    I hope all goes well with your operation, and that it does not get cancelled. I'm looking forward to the blog posts. Have a lovely week, Heather x #37

  5. I hope by now you're recovering from the op and it wasn't postponed! I'm late visiting as I had a long lunch with work and had to sleep it off when i got home! Take care Helen #1

  6. Hi Shoshi, I'm late getting to this, as I got distracted by having some fine weather yesterday, and managed to do a little more gardening! I do hope all has gone according to plan, and you are in and having your op- possibly even as I'm typing this. Sending you much love and gentle hugs, I shall look out for more info on how things have gone! Love to you both, Shaz XxX

  7. Loving your tag and sending you best wishes for your hospital appointment. Have a great belated woyww and a happy Easter, Angela x19x

  8. Hi Shoshi, I was thinking about you on wednesday. I hope all went well and that things weren't postponed. Hugs and best wishes for a rapid recovery! Meow to Ruby and Lily. Saarh #7

  9. Oh wow - I really hope your hospital visit goes without a hitch. Your tag is just beautiful. Sending lots of positive thoughts.

    Carmen x #26

  10. Wonderful post! I spent a good bit of time going back and looking at the various posts. I love that tag! I am going to make a few to take on a cruise soon! I love the photo album commemorating your mother! I want to make one for my sister someday soon and give it to her family! Hope the surgery went well and you are on the mend. I have fibro and ME and I dread it when I have anything done cause recovery is always longer! Thinking about you! ...I am late getting around as usual! Vickie #39

  11. Happy Very Belated WOYWW. As all is quiet on your blog, I assume that surgery did go ahead as planned? Hope you are recovering well and back at home. Again, I wish we lived closer so I could come over and help (even if it is just help with the complicated microwave or fuss the cats!). You are in my thoughts. Ali x #19 (on WOYWW 461)


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