Friday, 30 December 2016

This used to be a caring nation

This year has highlighted just how far the UK has slumped over the years.

We used to be a brilliant and very proud country where everyone helped each other, and that included the wealthy, but this no longer happens anymore

People used to help each other when the need arose, but these says it seems it's everyone looking after themselves, and forgetting other people.
It seems that in many places the community spirit has disappeared completely

This country is now a tax haven for many wealthy foreigners, who know how to get away without paying their taxes etc, yet they use our health service free of charge.

This includes some politicians in the UK, who don't pay their right amount of tax,  if they pay any here at all, yet they are still fiddling expenses, even though they know it's illegal.

Yet while this is going  on, millions of people in the UK are becoming poorer, and many are left on the streets at night, because there is no where else for them to go, and that includes many ex services people
The same people who fought for this country,  are discarded like rubbish by  this uncaring Government.
But it's not all down to the Tories, because Chairman Blair was no better when he ran the labour government

For years this country has called on corrupt Governments around the world to sort themselves out,  but it seems now that this country is run by corruption from one end to the other

We have more and more food banks in the country, and it seems new outlets are opening each week, simply because people are becoming desperate for food.

This country also sends out subsidies or foreign aid to many wealthy countries these days, and this beggars belief, because if they can afford missiles and vast armies, they can afford to pay their own way.

The other day we saw a programme on television where a gentleman had fallen out hard times through no fault of his own, and was evicted.

His dog who he had looked after for years, was taken to battersea dogs home, because he could not allow the animal to live a rough life  with him in a tent.

Both the owner and dog were very distressed and it's understandable, because like it or not, a dog or cat becomes a member of the family, and are not simply animals.

This broke my heart, because it now proves that this country no longer cares about anyone. By this I mean those running the country,  no longer care

I dread to think how far this will go before things will change, but I cannot see it happening soon, as we don't  have a viable opposition party in this country anymore, and I cannot see things changing until we get a better opposition party willing to stand up to this corruption.

Let us all,  hope that things change and politicians start working together so that we end up with a better and caring society, the type of society many of us grew up in.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

A long year

It seems to have been a very long year, but I guess that's because if all of my chest infections, which according to our family doctor seem to start all over again within 6 to 8 weeks after taking antibiotics.
However it seems that this could be down to the Heamophilis Influenza bug which is firmly implanted in my lungs, and could have been there since early childhood days.

I am now seeing a new chest consultant who has done a lot of tests etc, and tomorrow I go to Bishop Auckland general hospital for a CT scan.

As far as I know,  this will be the last test before I see the consultant again in the new year,  when we hope to get the answers to the problems.

He already thinks that I have had Bronchiectasis since early childhood hood, caused by Whooping cough Mumps and measles.

When I had pnumonia in 2001 I was told that I had scarring tissue in my lungs, which it seems could have been caused by wood dust among other things.

I also had heart valve problems, which were detected around 1970s and it appears that this could be making things worse

I had an echocardiogram last week, and they had problems finding one of the heart valves,  and then a doctor was brought in to look.

So now it's a case of waiting to see what the new year brings when I see the consultant next

However I am now more positive than I was under the last consultant,  because he seems to want to find the answers and that has to be a good thing.

At least things seem to be moving in the right direction now.

Monday, 26 December 2016

A year to remember

This has been a year which  was nice in some respects,  and weird in others

This year we saw our son Mark get married, and now he and Tracy are now expecting their second child early  next year.

Their son Jacob started infants school this year, and already seems to have grown up


This was taken at Mark and Tracy's Wedding

Our daughter Claire has two lovely girls Lucy 12 and Emily 10, along with a son Matthew 7 who seems to have grown up a lot, since he joined the girls in a theatre group.




All seem to be doing extremely well at school which is lovely to hear

Its also been lovely to see all of our 4  grandchildren growing up, something that I never expected to see when I was originally diagnosed

This year I met someone I have contacted often over Facebook and that was, Kate Swaffer from Australia.

Kate is a hero of mine, and is also a Dementia Advocat who travelled the world giving presentations with her husband Peter.

It was a real pleasure to meet them and an honour, two lovely people. 

This year I started seeing a totally new chest consultant, and it seems that he has confirmed one thing,  that is that I may well have had Bronchiectasis since early childhood

He is  doing further tests to ensure that there are no other medical problems in the back ground
So health wise we seem to get getting  somewhere at long last.

This year has been notable for other reasons to.

My blog which I was going to close down,  has now got over 175-000 readers around the world, something that I never expected

A strange year when my diagnosis went from Lewy Body Dementia to Mild Cognitive Impairment, then back again to the original diagnosis

I finally gave up driving, something I have been doing since 1969, but it means that I have now accepted that my eyes are no longer up to the job.  I only wish others would follow and do the same these days.

But this has been a year of political surprises all round.

I guess no one expected the country to vote to leave Europe, which they did, and then our prime minister resigned, leaving others to sort the mess out

I never expected to hear about so much racial  hatred in this country, something which I find so so hard to accept

In America they voted to elect Donald Trump a billionaire with no political experience. Very strange
The rise of ISIS in the middle east, and the bombings in European countries

Hearing of  thousands of people being killed in Syria, while the United Nations sat back and did nothing.

I hope that next year is better for all concerned and things be one more stable around the world

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Sessional Greetings

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my friends a Merry Christmas, and a Happy new year when it comes.

I also hope that the new year brings new beginnings for us all, and hopefully a healthier year

As this is  going to be a busy week, due to the need of a hospital visit for a echocardiogram etc, and the family coming up for a week, I thought it best to write this now

Best wishes to you all


Saturday, 17 December 2016

Brexit and immigration

Over the last two years there has been a lot of upset caused by some sections of society over immigration, and it's got a lot worse since the referendum on Europe

Yet when we look at one particular section there has been little or no mention

This is professional football, where we are seeing vast numbers of players and managers moving into this country

Yet it appears that little has been said about this, which seems a little odd.

More and more football players etc are coming into this country on fast track visas, yet I don't consider them to be important to the country.

I doubt if many if any, are even paying tax in this country, yet they play in the richest football league possibly in the world.

This makes me wonder why supporters don't say a lot about this considering the cost of tickets to watch football matches these days.

Why should supporters pay the high cost when many players don't pay their full portion of tax in the UK, it's so wrong and should be stopped, especially as British workers are being hammered with tax, yet the wealthy get away with out paying very much.

This all seems so wrong to me.
To add even more insult to this, when you see a game on television there is always an NHS ambulance standing by in case of an accident on the pitch.

Surely this all needs to change to make things more even in this country.

Far too many other foreign workers who came here to work and pay tax here have been victimised by Brexit while football players,  etc get away scot free.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Social care lost

I fear we are seeing the end of social care in the UK, and the Government is not helping the situation.

However many councils are struggling to cope with  savage cuts to their budgets,  and social care is one of the worst hit sections being cut, all of which has a knock in effect.

Most of the local council care homes in County Durham, have been closed and pulled down, simply because they were out of date.

While I can understand this,  i do feel that councils have neglected the care sector for more high profile projects, completely forgetting about those who have worked hard all of their lives.
These days it's possible to build a care home which could if needed, be upgraded to suite without too much trouble,  but no one wants to know about it. 

Social care has been struggling for years now,  even under the last Labour  Government, and these cuts are making things much worse, while the government sits and throws money around on useless projects like HS2.

When  I think of the cost of the two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers which will not be in use until at least 2020, and the billions being spent on HS2, it's staggering, because we could have ensured that of care homes and hospitals were running properly and efficiently.

I believe a lot if this could have been resolved, if this country had a viable opposition party, who were respected, but it's been a long time since this happened

Along with this hospitals are struggling to cope with the vast numbers of elderly who are in hospitals simply because they have no where to go.

These people should either be at home, or in care homes, but these days even care homes are struggling to cope. Many of these people are unable to go home because they possibly live on  their own, or their local social,  services  cannot cope

Like it or not social care is a right these days, because many of us have worked all of our lives and have paid social security,  yet this seems to have been forgotten about by those in power nationally and locally.

This could also be down to the fact that many politicians these days are wealthy or are  very well off, and don't consider anyone else.

To me personally, if your local councils cannot provide social care, it should be taken over by the Government and NHS.

However it's now time to sort out the political mess in this country, and resolve issuses like the security services, armed forces, health and education by using cross party committees,  and stop these unnecessary and needless changes we have everytime a new  Government gets elected

We should have ministers who have been trained in certain areas like health, running projects instead of some local idiot with no health service knowledge running the NHS etc.

This is not a business, but people's lives at risk, and while the NHS is in a mess it needs sorting out properly by those who really do understand what's needed.

I fear too much of this NHS  mess goes back to the days when a hospital board was disbanded and replaced with a chief executive.

At least the board was made up of health service professionals like Doctors, Matrons, Engineers etc, and all stores were bought centrally from the NHS stores, so every hospital was the same.

These people were also accountable, and they got the sack if they underperformed,  unlike today where they get a golden  handshake

However I do feel that it's perhaps time for the social care to be taken over by the government, as they have been taking the money for it for many years, while blaming others

Local councils should also shoulder some of the blame rather than blaming others all of the time because they have neglected to do their job properly, by not looking after the elderly

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Looking back

I worked in an Oxford University College for twenty years as an engineer, and until my last 6 months I really enjoyed the job,

I guess that after I had pnuemonia things changed, and we got a new boss
But I confess that I was not fully thinking clearly at times, and i should have retired a lot earlier than I did,

However I have just heard that my old Boss who did my original interview, has now got the mid to later stages of dementia

We called into her house and saw her two years ago when we were going to farnborough to see the family, and she seemed different then, and seemed to be talking about a different college to the one I knew.

I wondered if there was something wrong then, and it looks as if we were right, because that must have been the start of the dementia

She was a formidable lady, who never took prisoners, but would stand by you if you got into a sticky situation

When my wife had a serious road accident, she had a direct line to the hospital, so that she knew what was happening. This carried on for nearly three years until my wife's treatment finished

Through her the  College also hired a solicitor, to look into the road accident,  and then hired a barrister to look after us
She also put me on flexible hours so that I could look after the children, and also go into the hospital as and when needed.

No other boss would have done that for us, but I could be wrong

She also worked hard to hang onto staff she really wanted to keep on board

Being on call 24 hours a day, it was not unheard of to see her waiting to meet me  in the College, in the middle of the night, when things went wrong

Once she was happy that you had everything in hand, she would disappear back to her flat and leave you to get on with the job

I guess she kept her finger on the pulse, and ran a tight ship.

If I was not satisfied with something I had done in the College, I was told off for having very high standards. But at the same time she admired those who were not always satisfied with what they had completed, because they were in her eyes perfectionists.

It was not unheard of, to be invited into her large office to discuss a project or a problem.
But I always felt out of my depth sitting there in her armchairs.

I was always sure that she could read people's minds, because she always seemed to know what  was going on before I did, and that was weird.

Because I was on call 24 hours a day, and had young children, she gave me her pager, so that I could get on  with life at weekends, and not get tied down to the telephone all of the time.

This was a few years before mobile phones really came out, so this meant that we could go down to our allotment garden etc, and relax while being on call.

While I know that she was a lot older than we were, we admired the way she ran  things.

However it seems so sad that someone who was so formidable and knowledgable  has been reduced to this.

She did so much for the family that she will always be remembered and respected

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Flooding and stress

There has been so much on the television etc, about the floods which hit many parts of the UK last year

I confess that as someone who was hit by the floods of June 2012, I can understand the distress caused.

But it's not just the fact that you lose so many possessions, and belongings, it's the after care or lack of it in many cases

We had 90 cms of water coming  into the house with 20 minutes, so fast that there was little we could do about it.

We lost so much good furniture etc during this,  that it was very upsetting

It did not come from the obvious place, which is a  burn near to the house,  but from all of the blocked drains in the town centre.

At first the insurance assessors were brilliant and sorted out all of our costs for the lost belongings and possessions within the week, including our car which was a right off.

Then things went wrong because they brought in their own builders and clerk of works, who in my own mind, were not fit to do the job to my own standards.

I say that because the tradesmen could not even use hand tools, something which shocked me.

It was obvious from the start that because I was going to push to get the work done, that they were going to drag it out, and take as long as they wanted.

It took us a long time to get the house dried out properly, and then the builders did not come back for around 6 weeks, by which stage the house was becoming damp all over again.

After blasting they clerk if works, about the standard of work,  I was told that I expected too much, and my standards were far too high. That's something I was shocked to hear.
If you are trained to do a good job, you expect the same from others

Thankfully I don't remember a lot about this period, but my wife said the other day that I told the clerk of works, that I would not hire these builders to build a dog kennel

While the house was drying out, we had both set too, to clear the silt and rubbish out from under the floor joists, after which they tried to have us banned from entering the house again.

The trouble was that the floor was covered with 50mm of this wet silt, and until it was removed the concrete was not going to dry out.

The insurance companies always say that they will reinstate the house to its former condition, but I think that was a statement that was never going to be true.

Even though we moved back in again in the January 6 months after the flood, we were in for a rough ride, when the plaster and paint started to fall off and crack.

They had used adhesive to stick the skirting boards onto the walls,  which may be fine when the walls are dry, but when they are damp,  the adhesive fails to work, and the skirting boards simply fell off.

After several arguments I told the builders to  get out, and said that I would put things right myself

So these days when I see people complaining on television, about the state of their homes after flooding,  and the treatment they have received from builders etc, I can honestly say that I agree with them all if the way.

It really is time that insurance companies started to treat people with respect and use quality builders to do this work.

It's time that they respected other people's homes and possessions.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Drinking plenty of water

These days no matter what illness or multiple illnesses you have there are always lots of experts telling you how to remain active or keep fit.

But in all reality there are no two people the same, and therefore, it's not the trained expert who knows best,  but the person actually living with the illness.

No matter what illness you may have, there is always a charity or website explaining symptoms etc, along with possible symptoms

However many specialists are keen to point out, every person is a  individual and have to be treated as such, because no matter which way you look at it, one size does not fit everyone

Many of these experts tell patients that they need to keep fit, but they never look at other symptoms which may restrict some types of exercises.

One thing I find amazing these days is that those people with chronic chest problems, are all told to drink lots of fluids.

But when we are weighed at the doctors etc, we are then told that we are Overweight?

I always get weighed in the morning straight after my shower, so I know what weight I am before getting dressed and having breakfast

However,  as I was told by a nurse recently, that simply does not matter, it's the weight you are when you are at the hospital, not first thing in the morning.?

So how can this work in reality, if you have been in bed all night, you are not nessessariy getting up to have a drink. If like me and many others like  us,  you get hot during the night through chest problems, you may sweat any moisture out of the body, and then the rest is drained off when  you go to the toilet first thing on a morning.

That to me gives me the correct weight, not fully dressed fed and watered much later.

Yet the article below in the Independent Newspaper seems to raise interesting  issues with drinking water, which are not discussed by the medical profession   

Drinking too much water can be deadly, doctors warn 

Report comes after 59-year-old woman admitted to hospital with 'water intoxication' 
Indy Lifestyle Online 
Doctors are questioning whether there is a safe amount of water to drink Rex Features  
Healthcare professionals have warned of the dangers of telling people to “drink plenty of fluids” after a woman was admitted to hospital with water intoxication.  
After developing symptoms of a urinary tract infection, the 59-year-old increased her water intake, drinking more than half a pint every 30 minutes, which she hoped would “flush out her system.”  
However, she quickly fell seriously ill and was admitted to King’s College hospital with dangerously low levels of salt in her blood, a potentially fatal condition if left untreated.  
Now, doctors are questioning whether there is a "safe" amount of water to drink, and called for greater evidence to know how much water is too much. 
In the British Medical Journal case report, doctors Laura Christine Lee and Maryann Noronha asked: “We frequently advise our patients to ‘drink plenty of fluids’ and ‘keep well hydrated’ when they are unwell. But, what do we mean by that? Are there potential risks of this apparently harmless advice?” 
The report describes how their patient’s condition continued to worsen after she was admitted to hospital.  
“During her visit to the emergency department, she became progressively shaky and muddled. She vomited several times, was tremulous and exhibited significant speech difficulties,” they wrote. 
“Throughout the day she had consumed several litres of water based on medical advice she recalled from previous similar episodes.” 
Water intoxication is a well-documented symptom of some endurance sports and the use of certain drugs, including MDMA, which can cause excessive thirst.  
However, the condition can be deadly with symptoms including nausea, vomiting and headaches and in serious cases, brain swelling, confusion, seizures, coma and death. 
Patients with abnormally low salt levels, as a result of hyponatremia or water intoxication, have a death rate of almost 30 per cent 
“I have patchy recollections of being asked questions I understood but seemed unable to articulate answers for and found this distressing. I remember seeing my partner looking grave and forlorn, which was more frightening than what was happening as I did not know or understand what was happening,” the patient, writing of her own experience in the same journal, said.  
“I remember seeing my hand in front of me shaking rather violently and I wondered why I could not stop it, then realised that my whole body was shaking.” 
Dr Imran Rafi, chairman of clinical innovation and research at the Royal College of GPs, said it was important to stay hydrated but there was no steadfast recommendation as to how much water people should drink.  
“'Drinking enough water is important in keeping healthy, both physically and mentally, and patients should keep their fluids up when unwell, particularly in conditions that can cause dehydration,” he said.  
“We would encourage patients to drink more if they have symptoms of dehydration, such as feeling thirsty – including in hot weather or when exercising – or passing dark-coloured urine.  
“There is no steadfast recommendation as to how much water people should drink in order to stay healthy, but the key thing is to keep hydrated – and passing clear urine is a good indication of this. 
“This case report highlights that excessive water intake can have important consequences for patients, and this is something that healthcare professionals, and patients, should be mindful of.” 
Public Health England recommend drinking between six and eight glasses of fluid a day, while current NHS England guidelines suggest drinking “plenty of water”.  
The Independent had contacted NHS England for comment. 

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