I can do this

I know it’s been a long time since I posted here. I did write a number of posts that just never made it to the publish stage.

2020 has been a strange year for everyone so far.

I started the year having a rough time health wise. I was  on one course of antibiotics after another.  In mid February I got the news I had been waiting for. 6th March was the date I would have my much needed major surgery. My energy levels had run down quite a bit so I told most of my Avon customers that I would be out of action from the end of February.  I put myself into self imposed isolation. I didn’t want to run the risk of catching a cold or anything else before my operation.

10 days prior to my surgery date I had my pre op appointment. A blood test revealed that I was severely anaemic. I would need to have an iron infusion before I could undergo any surgery. The date of my operation was pushed back to 3rd April.

I had been struggling to get into the right mindset and now had to do it all again. I wasn’t afraid of going under the knife. It was the thought of the pain and possible problems during the recovery period. It would most likely be a number of months before I could get back to life as it should be. (I won’t say normal because my life has not and will not be normal, it will hopefully be improved).

Then Covid-19 happened. Everyone was told to stay at home and only go out if necessary. It was announced that most surgeries would be cancelled from 10th April to allow for the Covid-19 crisis. Great! I should be starting my recovery by then and looking forward to going home. A week before my new operation date I went to the hospital for my Iron Infusion. It was really weird going to the hospital. There were security guards on the doors making sure that only those who needed to be there were there. The usually bustling corridors were empty. I made my way to the day surgery unit. All the usual obs were done and I was being prepped for the proceedure. The nurse looking after me went off to get the prescription but came back with the specialist nurse who I had corresponded with but not previously met. She explained that my surgeon had had his theatre time taken away because of the coronavirus epidemic. I was sent home. No Iron infusion.

I settled down to lockdown. My life became a round of knitting (for two little girls, my baby granddaughter and her little cousin). Reading, playing games on my computer, growing seeds and looking after my mother who has mobility problems. All the time Keeping my Avon business ticking along slowly. I could have gone all out to grow my business whilst being stuck at home. However I couldn’t get my head into the right space to do so. I have done a little to keep going.

In some ways I have enjoyed the lockdown. I didn’t have to feel guilty for not doing much. I did find it hard not being able to see my grandchildren. Neither of them live locally so visits take a fair bit of arranging. Luckily I had spent a little time with both of them in February. Finally I got to have a socially distance visit with my granddaughter and family a few weeks ago. She is now 9 months and crawling. The last time I had seen her she was just 4 months old so lots of changes since then. My grandson turned 2 in April. We had a family zoom to celebrate but its not the same as being there.

As time went by and the number of Covid-19 deaths started to go down I started to panic. When will they be able to start doing the operations that had been cancelled? Would I be classed as urgent or pushed to the back of the queue. Should I be getting myself mentally prepared for this operation that I am terrified of having? According to reports that I have read and heard it could take a year or two to catch up with the backlog. I was beginning to fear that I might still be waiting until the end of the year and possibly next year.

Most of the time that we have been in lockdown apart from a lack of energy my health has been better than it had been. I put this down to being at home all the time not rushing around. In recent weeks though I can feel my condition worsening. As the days and weeks pass the amount of time that I feel rough is increasing. I don’t say anything just take pain relief when I really really need to. I have been finding recently that it is getting harder and harder to be the cheerful optimist that like to be. It isn’t all the time but my spirits have been flagging which is not like me.

My GP phoned me yesterday following the results of a test. I have yet another infection but the best antibiotic for this particular infection is only given intravenously so not going to happen. I now need a further blood test to see where my iron/blood count is. She wrote to my surgeon last week to remind them that I should be a priority. If I don’t hear from them in the next few weeks she will write to them again. I spoke to her about my fears that it would be months away. She told me that I should be an urgent case, my condition is very complex.

In the light of that conversation I am trying to be positive and think that I won’t have long to wait. I am planning to get my hospital bag repacked . I still don’t want this operation but I know that I need it. The sooner I get it over with the better. I can and will do this. I have been through so much in my life and come out the other side so I can do this.

If I was Boris I would be creating a new mantra

I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO THIS

Bowling along in Sonoma

Friday 7th June

After spending the day on Thursday at the new local Outlet stores, where we bought more t-shirts and new Levi  jeans for Owl. We had spent the evening ten pin bowling with Missy M and Mr T.(We played three games which were won in turn by Owl, myself and Missy M) then on to the diner where once again the portions were so huge that Missy M and Mr T took the remains of their meals home with them.

Friday was to be our second attempt to visit the vineyards. Out came the maps again. The plan this time was to drive north along the 101 to Windsor where we turned off west on to a side road. We followed a lane that headed back in a southerly direction before turning west, crossing the river. We were somewhat perplexed as to why a major river in the west of California would have the name ‘Russian River’. We had followed its course on and off during our day in the Redwood Valley.

Anyway once we had crossed the river our route began to take us back in a northerly direction again. With my copy of Wine Road northern Sonoma County map in hand. Each winery is listed along the road. We decided not to just stop at the first winery we came to. We would be selective. Driving along the lane to the left of the river under a canopy of trees with flashes of sun filtering through we were rather astonished to find a Ford Deuce Coupe coming in the opposite direction. No sooner had we commented on it than we saw a rather nice looking Chevrolet Corvette Coupe following in its wake. Soon we passing the first couple of wineries, the sun was high and hot, our stomachs were beginning to feel the effects of not having breakfast (I had had a cereal bar) so we pulled in to Thomas George Estate in the hope that not only would there be wine but also something to eat.

The sign said wine tasting in the tunnels. So we parked up ready to find out what it was all about. Just as we were walking away from the mustang (which we had been travelling in with the roof down (as you do on a hot sunny day in California). The Ford Deuce Coupe that we had passed going in the opposite direction pulled up next to us. IMG_0724 It was in great condition, Owl had a few words with the owners (as he does). The blow me down another car comes into the car park and guess what it was only the Corvette we had also seen earlier. IMG_0726 It seems that the two couples were travelling together.

We wandered inside the open door of the first tunnel, admired all the barrels and bottles. Strolling along one of the tunnels we were joined by one of the staff who talked to us about the estate and the wines they make there. He was a very interesting man to talk to. However now more than a month later I have forgotten most of what he told us. Next we took a stroll around the grounds close to the  main buildings.IMG_0727looking down from the car park.IMG_0729looking up towards a seating area.IMG_0731

Anyone for a game of petanque?IMG_0733

It was getting hotter by the minute almost so we set off in search of lunch. None of the other wineries on our route were showing any sign that there might be any food. I don’t understand why establishments asking you to try their wine, don’t also provide if required any food to soak up the alcohol. (even snacks or bread sticks??). I personally wouldn’t try any of the wine because of this. Even though I wasn’t driving I wouldn’t drink on an empty stomach.

Eventually we found a store and cafe at the entrance to one of the winery estates. It absolutely packed, both inside and out. Owl bought some bottled water and some bread.

Now we thought we would (ok so I thought we would and Owl agreed) drive to lake Sonoma. Only we didn’t realise looking at the map that the road leading to the lake didn’t go downhill as we expected but up. It went up up and still up until eventually we came across a steep turning that immediately ran back down hill. It was a long way down and steep all the way. We had been going down hill quite fast with a 4 x 4 right behind us, when we came across a car park on our left. We continued down a little further (about 100m) where we came to a halt. It was a case of no entry past this point unless you had a permit. We swung around to go back up to the car park.

Here we got out and drank some of our water. It was about 104 degrees by this time. I took a few photos and walked part of the way down but didn’t go down to the water as I knew I would struggle to get back up again especially in this heat.IMG_0744 the water was very blue and looked so invitingIMG_0444Changing maps we decided to stay on the road leading to the lake and drive west towards the coast. From this map it was quite clear that we would be going over the mountains and the road would be as steep and twisting as the road 2 days earlier. But the saving grace this time was that the road was wider and in better condition. Ok so it was wider for a fair few miles. then it gradually got narrower and the edges became broken. I was onto the door handle trying not to look scared. I couldn’t decide if it was best to stay in the middle of te road and risk hitting anything that came around the many sharp bends or stick to the out side of the road and risk slipping off the edge to hurtle down the steep slopes. I kept telling myself  ‘trust him trust him’. That was such a nerve wracking drive I was so relieved when finally we came to the junction with highway 1. Now we were going to follow the coast road down to Bodega Bay before turning inland again.IMG_0448

After the earlier it it was disappointing that when we reached the coast road there was a thick sea mist. The temperature halved. I kept hoping that once we got around the next bend the mist would disappear. We still had the roof down and it was getting mighty cold. There was an odd smell in the air, Owl attributed it to lavender however to me it smelt more like cat pee. We had been driving in and out of this sea mist for miles when we were so cold that we pulled up at the side of the road (even though there were the usual ‘no parking at any time’ signs. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked down at the water crashing below whilst I retrieved my hoody from the trunk/boot of the car.IMG_0751miles of wood washed up on to the sand.

We continued our drive south still looking for somewhere to eat lunch. It was getting towards late afternoon by now but we didn’t want to just stop anywhere. We did see a few places where we could have stopped for a meal but these were all lapped by sea mist and we preferred to find somewhere that we could sit out in the sun.

We drove as far as Bodega Bay which Owl was excited about with it being the location for Alfred Hitchcock’s film ‘The Birds’.IMG_0451IMG_0449

Turned around to head towards Santa Rosa. The road here was fairly quiet but most importantly reasonably flat. We passed farmland and small villages until we reached a larger town Sebastopol just west of Santa Rosa. We found a restaurant that looked quite interesting from the outside.IMG_0453

It isn’t often that you see the back end of a train embedded in the wall of a building. Once inside the building we found a whole carriage which had been turned into a restaurant. The Starlight.IMG_0455It was early evening so there were not many other people there. When we had finished our meal we sat outside in the sun for a while, not wanting to get caught up in the evening rush hour traffic.

In honour of James

Last night I went with Owl to our favourite local country pub. They have live music on Friday evenings, we have not been for a while as we are both tired at the end of the week. But we had agreed earlier in the week that we would go. The entertainment for the evening was Shep Woolley which we thoroughly enjoyed.

I had seen him once before when he was the after dinner speaker at one of the Rotary dinners I attended with my mother (probably 3 or 4 years ago).  If you have never seen him then you have missed out on a very entertaining evening. Not only does he sing and play guitar oh and also a ukulele and mouth organ to boot. But his anecdotes and impressions are hilarious.

Usually when we go out I stick to drinking either orange juice or other fruit drinks, I am the only driver in this household at the moment. But last night I allowed myself to have a glass of merlot.

I had some sad news yesterday, a very close friend of my mother’s died, James had been moved into a nursing home last week. I knew he probably wouldn’t be with us for much longer but didn’t expect him to go quite so quickly. During the break in Shep’s routine I had phoned my mum to see how she was, I am concerned about her as she had been extremely close to James, at one point I wouldn’t have been suprised if they had married. I was telling Owl about various memories I have of James. He was in fact the master of ceremonies for the Rotary club up until about 18 months ago and so would have been at the time when Shep was entertaining us. It was James who at one of the many dinners/and other evening events I had attended had introduced me to drinking red wine. Until then I had preferred to drink white.

So it was in honour of James that I decided to have a glass of the red stuff.