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Life Blog – Days 308 – 310 The Blue Peter Beastie

Saturday 28th May 2011. A day to gloss over. My recovery continues but my beloved Manchester United were played off the park by a simply astounding Barcelona team which truly deserved their victory in the Champions League Final. Well done Barcelona!

Sunday 29th May 2011. Two things about today. First, I have had a stitch in my side and a very upset tummy and these have made me pretty darned fed up all day – it has been a day of pain to be honest. Second, for a little while I have been hankering after an iPhone but today I discovered Instagram and now I want one even more!

Peanut was at work today so my sore tummy felt even worse without my fave nurse to tend to my needs. Peanut has been off work with me since I have been out of hospital and  as lovely as it has been I had not realised just how much better she made my life over these days of recovery. This first day without her brought it home to me very quickly. Peanut has been simply brilliant in taking care of me. Something else I have to say too. Peanut has been worrying about me for a long time now and the strain was showing in her face and she often looked tired. Since the success of the operation she has changed dramatically, her whole demeanour and looks  tell me that she really feels that things are looking up. Quite simply Lady Peanut looks radiant and if I sound mushy, I make no apologies.  Mrs P has been through the grindstone of late and it now makes me so happy to see her shining, radiant and beautiful, all full of happy bounce!


Peanut The Skydiver - Instagram

My sore tummy curtailed a lot of my activities today and I spent the day on the couch net browsing and watching the Monaco GP and wishing I was in Monaco too! While browsing I discovered Instagram. This is a photo sharing social network which integrates beautifully with the likes of Facebook, Flickr and Twitter. It is designed for the iPhone and basically you take a pic with your phone, apply a cool looking filter to the pic and then share it on your social networks. The process works perfectly and quickly and you can take a pic and share it in seconds. I love it, all I need now is an iPhone!

Monday 30th May 2011. The day began wet and miserable and it has not improved as the day has gone on. Perhaps then it is no bad thing then that the highlight of the day for me is having the 48 staples holding my tummy together removed. Well the nurses have just left and to be honest it was pretty painless having the staples taken out. However, the wound has gaped in one or two places though the nurses have assured me it is fine and nothing to worry about. They have pulled the gaps together again with a few bits of sticky back plastic. Yep it is official I am now a Blue Peter Beastie held together by Sticky Back plastic! :mad:

That’s all for now – Enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday! :)


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Life Blog – Days 304 -307 Warning Horror Photograph – Avoid if Squeamish.

Sunday 22nd to Friday 27th May.  Patience is the name of the game now as I wait to get fitter and stronger and bit by bit that is happening. Monday saw Chris’s Mum Brenda return home to Ashford after doing some sterling work supporting Peanut while I was in hospital.

Monday 23rd May 2011.Monday evening saw Anne and Gordon my bosses from work pay a very kind visit to see me. They brought a simply humongous bunch of flowers from the staff at Exception which added lots of colour to our living room. They were amazed to see me stood at the door to welcome them and I felt really pleased about that and it was good to be fit enough to receive visitors and have a bit of normality return to our lives.

Tuesday 24th May 2011.Tuesday was a techie day. Since the first update of the software on our iPad it has been intermittent and patchy with the WiFi on our home connection. Everywhere else perfect but at home, where we use it most it was poor so we decided to get to the bottom of this. I put Peanut on the case and she googled about and we discovered that the iPad often doesn’t like it if the software on a router is not bang up to date. Previous searches we had done had been looking at issues with the iPad so this was a  breakthrough. We updated the software on our Netgear router (a fraught and stressful experience but we got there in the end) and voila a lightning quick iPad on our Home Router. We were pathetically chuffed and since then the iPad hasn’t been out of either my or Peanut’s hands.

Wednesday 25th May 2011. Good friends of ours Rose, John and their daughter Sophie came round in the evening and Peanut served her Cottage Pie which was delicious. My appetite is pretty normal now and I was able to do it the justice it deserved. We had a lovely evening and proud Beastie made them watch the video of Peanut’s Sky Dive on the TV. Damn I don’t know how I let Anne and Gordon getway without having that inflicted upon them on Monday!

Thursday 26th May 2011. We awoke to a rainy day so I hatched a plan for a bit of nest loving. The Thai restaurant behind our house burned down last year and finally the outside has been renovated and all the scaffold taken down. This had left the back of our house dusty and webby particularly as the scaffold had caused a lot of shade. I despatched Peanut outside to hose that side of our house cleaning off all the dust and the webs. While I am not fit for work yet, I am without doubt capable of doing a Supervisor’s job so naturally I was outside to oversee the operation with my raincoat and brolly, gleefully pointing out any bits she had missed.

I then spent the afternoon telling Peanut how gorgeous and radiant she is looking despite being drenched all morning and I am now happy to report that Divorce proceedings have not been instigated!

Friday 27th May 2011. While my recovery continues to progress with pace it is not without pain. 48 staples in my tummy see to that so it is still quite tender. There is a saying that a worry shared is a worry halved and so I decided to see if it was the same with pain. To this end I had a shower and cleaned up my wound and decided to photograph it for posterity and to share with you lot! It’s not pretty so if you are squeamish look away now!

Well the instant I decided to share my pain, I felt even stronger so went to Waitrose with Peanut to er… supervise our shopping trip! I was slow walking and enjoyed holding up the traffic in the Waitrose car park as I sauntered through it (God I am going to be so like Victor Meldrew when I get older). The afternoon saw a visit from another of our good friends Linda. Everytime she visits Malvern she gets a hankering to move here so she needs to be very careful visiting me as I love spending other people’s money and I’ll have her moved in a shot if she is not careful!

Good luck Man U for tonight bye for now!

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Life Blog – Days 290 – 303 The Liver Operation and After

Sunday 8th May – Thursday 12th May 2011. This was the last week before my operation and slowly, quickly, relentlessly the operation took over everything. I busied myself in work until Thursday my last work day not only with work but by running around collecting on the donations that had been pledged for Peanut’s simply epic Sky dive. I felt very proud of Peanut and my son-in-law Driverman for doing that jump for charity!

Friday 13th May – Sunday 15th May 2011. Work ended on Thursday night as on Friday I had to go to the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham for a pre op assessment. We reported for duty at 10.45 and escaped at just before 3. Lots of questions, an ECG, blood samples, a weigh in, a urine sample and plenty of waiting around in between. Then we had to escape Birmingham which was gridlocked. A fatal accident had occurred on the M5 between Junction 3 and 4 where a lorry had swerved across 6 lanes crossing the central reservation and killing two women in a car which it hit head on. At the time we did not know the cause but afterwards  when I  fiound out I couldn’t help but think about me driving into Birmingham with a heavy heart worried about my serious fight with the Big C, while these two women, who were fine one second were wiped out the next. They had no idea what the day was bringing them and I just felt so sad for the loss of their lives.

At the time though we were oblivious to the cause of the gridlock but we were not moving. We programmed Tom Tom to divert us away from a jam a mile ahead and it went to work diverting us left and soon we were on the move again.  We joined the M5 at junction 4 but approached from the Lickey Hills and we just squeezed onto the motorway at that junction and entered an empty motorway as it was closed north bound from us.

We just got to Malvern in time to collect Peanut’s Mum Brenda from the train station as she arrived at 4. She had come to stay for a week or so to lend moral support to P while I was in hospital. Saturday  daytime saw us have a big session of pruning and tidying in the garden so it would look nice for when I got back from hospital. Then on Saturday evening Brenda took us both to Ask, an Italian restaurant in Malvern and we all enjoyed a lovely meal out together. In my mind I kept thinking of it as The Last Supper but then your mind plays with you when you are a bit scared, so I shook the thought away. Noneheless it was lovely and just what I needed for the weekend before my op.

Monday 16th May 2011. The big day had come. We had to be up at 5 to report to the hospital at 7 am. Bam bam bam it was all go and suddenly it was really happening. Yes I was darned scared but I kept my composure and stayed calm as we drived into Birmingham. The roads were fairly quiet and that helped too.

As we checked in there was a chap in front of us who was later on my ward. For some reason they had no record of him being due so understandably he was quite distressed. I’m sorry I had troubles of my own, “Sod off, sod off, go away, let me check in!” I screamed at him in my head. Outwardly I smiled at him sympathetically. Inwardly, by now I had shot him twice at point blank range with a Glock.

Finally he moved away and I checked in and was quickly ushered into another room where I changed and  we went through a routine of making jokes about the sexy paper knickers I was putting on. I kept my upper lip very stiff. Then a waiting room and a vacant flick through some girlie fashion magazines, a chat with the anaesthetist and about seventeen checks that I had signed the consent form. I was getting the idea that they were doing something serious to me! In truth though, this process was smooth and well handled and it kept you moving.

A little after 8 they called me through – it was time to go. In Worcester when I had my bowel op they had collected me from my ward and wheeled me to the theatre( at about 100 mph – another story but it’s in the blog) but this time two nurses collected me. I could walk and Peanut could walk with me. One of the nurses  was dresed in blue and was a Muslim. She had a black cover over her head and she walked in front. I followed behind holding Peanut’s hand, feeling little and vulnerable in my paper knickers. I looked ahead and saw her covered head and I thought of an axeman leading his victims to the block!

I arrived in another reception area and was put on a bed and spoken too briefly by a couple of nice nurses and still P was with me. They left us alone to say goodbye and have a quick snog. Now I’d like to say that it was at this point that I pounced on Peanut and recreated a scene from Carry On Up The Liver Op but er… I didn’t.  Peanut at this stage was a zillion times more scared than when she fell out of a plane just 10 days ago, so it wasn’t an option.

The Big Kiss and I was wheeled away. next stop the anaesthetists just before Theatre. The Anaethetist got me talking about car racing which we had recently seen at Donington and he too was a car enthusiast. He got carried away a bit talking about track day experiences, and I remember smiling to myself thinking I’m sure he’s not supposed to say “It was fucking ace” in a situation like this! Next second Pow I was under!

I must have come round at some point but the next thing I remember, is Peanut walking towards me with a big smile. “Hello Peanut” I said and everything was all right again.

This was about three o’clock and I remained in the High Dependency unit for the rest of Monday until lunch time on Tuesday. I looked like something out of Star Trek, with four tubes coming out of my left neck, an oxygen mask, a wire down my back for the epidural, a drip, a pulse thing on my finger and electrical connectors all over my chest. I did not look pretty and it is good that they warn you about all this prior to the operation so you know what to expect.

By Tuesday afternoon I left HDU and was feeling well. The operation had been a success we had been told and all the cancer was gone – the reality is now it is a waiting game to see if that remains the case. We had been advised that I might not recover this quickly so my Mum was not coming to see me until Wednesday.

However, Tuesday afternoon saw Peanut visiting me and my friend Dealmaker came too. He wanted to pop in because he was off holidaying in the South of France the next day and hoped to see me before he went. I was quite perky that day and wished Dealmaker a great holiday and said I would be thinking about him enjoying himself while I was sat here!

Wednseday and I was still very perky when my Mum and Auntie Enid and Uncle Jim came to see me and indeed we had quite a laugh.  Epidurals are wonderful for blocking the pain. I even joked that it was typical that the first place for me to get any feeling back was in my willy!

However, perhaps that should have warned me that something was amiss. When Peanut came back at 6.30 I asked her to check my back which was uncomfortable and we found the epidural had come apart and all my pain killing fluid was a big pool on the floor! By this time I could feel more than just my willy and ouch it hurt! After an initial promise of a morphine pump I was kept on oral painkillers all night and had a very very tough night indeed. In the short term it was painful, but longterm I think it speeded up my recovery as I got mobile quicker so they discharged me on Saturday afternoon just 5 days after the operation!

The Friday before this  passed with visits from my Mum, Auntie Enid and Uncle Jim and then in the evening  RVW and Storm came over from Boston to say hello before they too went on holiday – cruise up the Nile for them! The same gritted teeth that I used when wishing Dealmaker a great holiday were used once more as I promised to think of them too while I got better! Seriously though it was great to see them both! :)

Saturday came and to check out Peanut collected me in the Opel GT, bringing with her my watch of choice and we headed off for our next adventure!

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Life Blog – 279-289 Lady Peanut Biggles SkyDiver

So we are in the period of waiting around for the big operation, kicking our heels. Peanut though had filled the gap by raising money for Cancer Research UK by doing a Sky Dive. Finally her Big Day arrived.

Saturday May 7th 2011. We had travelled across to Bicester the night before and stayed with the Elf and Driverman as they are just five minutes away from RAF Weston where Peanut  and Driverman were doing the sky jump. After weeks of lovely weather we awoke to skies thick with cloud and heavy rain and our hearts were as gloomy as the skies, as we doubted if the sky jump would even go ahead.

Nonetheless, 8 am saw us sat in the mess at RAF Weston drinking coffee and eating bacon butties.  Well that isn’t quite true! I was eating a bacon butty – Peanut and Driverman didn’t fancy one for some reason! They had checked in and we were advised that we would just have to hang around and wait for a break in the weather. StarGirl and Dealmaker joined us to watch the fun too, which helped make the waiting pass quicker!

After about an hour a briefing was held for the skyjumpers – about a dozen in total – where a few safety issues were highlighted and  what the jumpers had to do during the jump and upon landing was discussed.  I thought they would all be jumping off steps to practice landing safely but there was none of that. Then it was back to the mess for more coffee and hanging around while the Heavens opened.  By now of course this was all pure Biggles in my mind and we were all waiting around in the mess ready to be scrambled into action to see off the Bosch! In truth, in an odd way, the waiting around added to the fun by building up the excitement.

A cloud moved from infront of another to reveal a tiny gap and a sliver of blue sky. the rain stopped and it began to look promising. Then the jumpers were called to the hangar to kit up.  As we walked across, I saw the plane looking mean and cool in black with orange stripes. That would be a good colour combination on a MINI I thought…

Driverman was kitted in a very sporting modern jumpsuit which suited him well, while Peanut’s attire was more conventional and matched her very Biggles like parachute helmet. As soon as Peanut had her helmet on she turned to me, smiled and looked about ten years old. My heart melted and I thought, “Golly” (or something like that) “is she really going to jump out of a plane from 13,000 feet?”

There were a few  flights as only four jumpers could fit on the plane at once. Peanut and Driverman were jumpers three and four on the first plane and before long we were watching them take off. Their jumps were being videod and they both had a personal photographer who would jump with them  and film them on the way down. At the briefing, it was mentioned that this was a good thing to do as with all the excitement and adrenalin it would all be over so fast that some bits they would not even remember! Sounded logical to us, so we booked the photographer. I thought of all my pals who were keen photographers and many of them would love to make a living out of photography and I thought, “Yep, jumping out of aeroplanes to film sky jumpers is a very lucrative niche market in the world of photography and it would make a change from shooting the odd wedding!”

The plane took off and quickly disappered into the clouds. After about ten or fifteen minutes twe saw the first parchutes. First down were the Photographers. they had shot them leaving the plane, caught them in free fall and then had dropped to earth at pace. They landed very fast and in great style, swooping down behind the check in building , over the roof and along the fence in front of us before coming to a running stop about twenty yards from us. All very dramatic.

Then looking up we saw Peanut and Driverman. Peanut had an all pink parachute while Driverman’s was pink and grey. I snapped as best as I could and thought Thank God we have paid for the photographer as I really struggled to lock onto her with my focus. In fact I think she will have to do a few more jumps before I get this right! As she came closer they swooped about a bit and it looked fantastic and I briefly caught Peanut grinning from ear to ear.

Down safe. Brilliant!

We have had a massive £ 305 in on line donations and we have about £500 in offline donations which we will be busy collectiing this week, so when it is all collected we should have raised over £800 for Cancer Research UK, while Driverman has raised another £400 or so. As soon as it is all collected we will update with the final amount. Click on any of the photos here to see a small slideshow from the day and watch this space for the video of the jump which we hope to have on line about the 12th May!

Thanks to everyone for their donations and well done Lady Peanut and Driverman for your brave efforts – a great distraction for me as I wait around in the mess waiting to be scrambled for my battle on the 16th May!