Sunday, 24 February 2019

Still Breathing

Good Evening everyone,
Profuse apologies for my failure to update you on the events of the last year. Contrary to some reports, I haven't expired. My lack of posting is solely due to an incredibly busy last fourteen months.
Starting with the medical side of the blog, which is why most of you log in, there is very little to report. I now have a fixed schedule of visiting Mr.Parmar, my consultant, once a year. The appointment rarely last more than 10 minutes. A discussion followed by a check of my neck for lumps, growths etc., but I have the added security of being able to contact him at any time if I suspect anything unusual. My dental work is examined every three months (twice by my NHS dentist, Jose Lopez Garrido, and twice by Khallid Malik my dental consultant)who travels from Birmingham to Peterborough for a weekly clinic. Once a year, the construction (bridge) is removed,deep cleaned and replaced. I have had a problem with a small area around one of the steel pillars since they were installed six years ago. Its a small growth which comes and goes;but it never disappears for long. The leg is now almost as strong as my left but because of the paper-thin skin I don't take any risks with it as it takes so long to heal when I get a cut or similar.
On the social front, life has been incredibly hectic.A couple of years ago, a group of us decided that there was a lack of understanding, information and advocacy around Head and Neck Cancer. We set up a group named Head and Neck Cancer UK (HANCUK) . I was appointed Chairman and have spent hours travelling around the country meeting people and giving talks to publicise what is now a Charity. After so many false starts and obstacles we are now up and running with a website www.hancuk.org  which has been very well received - have a look , see what you think. It has been written by patients for patients in a language that most patients will understand.
I have given presentations in Cambridge, Hertfordshire and in the marbled halls of the Royal College of Physicians in London; taken part in events in Amsterdam,met some really committed ladies in Glasgow,been featured on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and voiced a video for a pharma company, which is due out sometime soon.
Because of the workload involved with HANCUK, I have had to drop out of many of the organisations I have been involved with for so many years. My last production on stage was January 2018 when I played Sheriff of Nottingham in Touch of Class' performance of Robin Hood. I resigned as Chairman and later as a member of our parish council and umpired my last cricket game in September. Something had to give but I retain my season ticket following Lincoln City (magical times) and still organise the former players group.
Life is good. Every day is a good day. I hope to blog again at more regular intervals. Enjoy life.
Best wishes to all
Chris

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Good Evening All ,
Its been almost three months since my last blog and a very hectic three months it has been.
On the medical front, my dental surgeon removed my plate . There was no need for local anesthetic  as there is very little feeling in my lower jaw . The plate was in very good condition ( probably because I spend around 15 minutes each day cleaning it as best I can ) and following a good clean was reinserted for another year.
I met Mr Parmar, my surgeon at QE Birmingham, in October. He was content with the state of my jaw and my general health, but arranged for a CT scan earlier this month, the results of which I'm currently awaiting.
The last three months have seen a lot of work whilst we have been trying to bring a couple of projects to fruition. Initially, and most importantly, we now have Charity Commission approval for Head and Neck Cancer UK, which will allow us to operate officially raising awareness of a disease which kills more people in the UK than road accidents; and lobby for equality and decent outcomes for patients. We have a volunteer preparing a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account so will hopefully be in a good position to launch in the next few months.The final audience figures for our radio broadcasts in September were published in October, we were astounded to read that we had reached 4.4 MILLION listeners. Finance will be a perennial problem but we are working on that. I am Chairing the Trustees at present until such time as the project evolves into a more professional organisation.
My second project could be more described as a labour of love. I was asked in April if I could use my organisational skills to create a Former Players Association for Lincoln City Football Club.After a few stops and starts it was formalised last Saturday. Over 100 former players are in contact and 20 of them met to officially establish the organisation . The oldest player was 94. Most of them did a lap of honour around the ground and were roundly applauded by 7500+ spectators.
Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. You never know I may be coming somewhere near you sometime soon.
Best wishes
Chris

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Six years on. Time to help others

Good Evening All,
Apologies for the delay. I didn't realize that almost a year has passed since my last post. I've been busy living my life. A procession of Football, Cricket, golf,skiing, meetings etc., A really enjoyable year( and amazing insofar as Lincoln City are concerned).
I have no medical issues to report. My new Dental Surgeon is intending to remove my denture for inspection and cleaning next time I visit.Mr Parmar has arranged to meet me on an annual basis unless I have any issues with my operation but as almost six years have passed since the operation, it is very unlikely that there will be problems now.
I have been heavily involved in creating a new charity , Head and Neck Cancer UK, which is currently awaiting Charity Commission approval. The purpose is to advocate on behalf of patients and carers ;and attempt to provide information and signpost support for people affected by the disease. I was in London radio broadcasting studios earlier this week doing live broadcasts with Mr Parmar as part of the Head and Neck Cancer awareness week. It is suggested that between 250000 and 500000 listeners tuned in to the dozen or so broadcasts.
In addition, I have begun to give lectures on patient experiences to medical professionals, which seem to have been very well received.I hope to be able to report substantial progress in the next month or so, but the whole aim is to ensure that anyone else finding themselves in the same position as I was, can find information and support. After all, over 3000 people are killed every year by Head and Neck Cancer in the UK. Another 11000+ are diagnosed and are given various treatments, some more successful than others.
I hope to post again on a more regular basis but I will sign off as usual. Every day is a good Day.
Best wishes to all,
Chris

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Still here, Still going well.

Good Evening all,
As promised, I'm writing another post following my latest visit to QE Birmingham. Pleased to report that all is well, there are no visual signs of any recurrence and we negotiated a further review in another 12 months with the caveat that if I felt there might be a problem, I can contact Mr Parmar and arrange an earlier consultation. That gives me a lot of confidence.
My social life continues apace - cricket season has finished, golf presentations were very satisfying and my visits to watch my favourite football team ( Lincoln City) are currently very pleasurable after years in the doldrums.
Still struggling to get HANCUK up and running whilst I am trying to get my head around all the different organisations involved in various aspects of this type of cancer. The 2016 Make Sense Campaign, which is pan-European, featured many more British participants this year ( made a nice pleasant change not to be the only Brit ) but there were no major British initiatives during the week which is a little disappointing but I can understand the reasoning and confusion with so many related projects taking place around October and November.
I will continue to update this blog from time to time but I wish you all good health and happiness.
Best wishes to you all
Chris

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Coming up to five years

Good Evening Friends and welcome to any new visitors.
I appreciate that it is over four months since my last post but I am fortunate to have a very busy life and ,whilst it fills my time, it might not be very interesting to most of you.
On the medical front, I have very little to report.Due to a series of cancellations, I haven't been back to QEHS, Birmingham as a patient for over a year but I have seen my Consultant, Mr Parmar ,on several occasions as we try to get HANCUK ( Head and Neck Cancers United Kingdom) up and running. There are lots of hoops to negotiate to make sure that it is set up to create maximum impact and dovetails nicely with existing groups. The September launch date looks unlikely, I was hoping to launch during Head and Neck Cancer Awareness week across Europe which is co-ordinated by the Make Sense Campaign but it is better to get it right rather than rush it out. Mr Parmar is always available if I have any concerns and I am due to see him as a patient in October.
My bridge was removed at the new Birmingham Dental Hospital in April. I must confess that I was not looking forward to it, but , apart from the ridiculously early start and a few injections, it turned out surprisingly painless. The screws came out relatively easily considering they had not been touched for over 3 years and ,when the bridge was removed and deep cleaned, the Dentist remarked that it was in very good condition- considering the time I spend each morning cleaning it in situ, I wasn't too surprised. I spent an hour with Kate looking at options for her studies after my visit - hope it comes to fruition.
Perhaps one of the more challenging dates came in late April. I was asked to speak to a group of dentists about my experiences. A twenty minute speech to 150 newly qualified dentists was not as daunting as I was anticipating, given that it was almost 5 years since I spoke in front of that number of people. It was a little concerning to be introduced and, whilst walking to the front of the room , noticing an extremely large picture of myself laid out in theatre with all of my lower jaw missing but it didn't take too long to compose myself and get on with the job. I received a lot of very positive feedback after the speech.
Socially, life goes on apace. The family are all well - both sons and their partners have new jobs and my grand-daughter,who is now twenty months old, came to stay last week- visits to the seaside and the local horses home brought back memories of our own children. We have had holidays in North Wales, Portsmouth, Minehead and Durham so far. Golf is going fairly well. I got my first 'hole in one' in early August - costly exercise that; and had a couple of wins in our weekly competitions. Cricket is also going well, umpiring at most levels throughout the county and enjoying the banter. Football season has started again with the usual level of optimism.
I'll close now but I'll blog again after my next visit to QE.
Enjoy the rest of the summer.
Very best wishes
Chris
 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Looking forward to summer.

Good Morning to you all, and welcome to any new readers;
I trust that those of you from the Northern Hemisphere have survived the winter without mishap and my antipodean friends have not baked too much over your summer. And so, another year is well on its way.
I know that 3 months have passed since my last blog and some of you may think I've either passed away or decided to stop blogging. The truth is that I still wake up in the mornings breathing ( which is always the best way to start the day ) and I have been very busy over the winter months. I had a relatively long list of things I intended to do during the cold winter period, including updating this blog. However, we didn't get a cold winter . Yes, it was a bit wet but not sufficiently bad to encourage me to stay inside ( I'm a country boy and prefer to be outdoors ). Consequently, things on the list didn't get done.
Medically, there is nothing to report. A visit to my Dentist, who found my sarcoma in the first place but despite having no natural teeth ( or jaw) in the lower half of my face, still wont give me a discount - NHS rules,I guess. This was followed by my annual visit to Birmingham Dental hospital , who designed and fitted the bridge ( false teeth) to the steel pillars which Mr.Parmar installed in July 2012. The Dental Consultant responsible for the original design, Mr Geoff Bateman, has left to pursue other avenues in the Dental trade so I have been allocated to a new young Dentist, who sent me for X-rays and subsequently has decided to take out the bridge and give it an 'MOT'. I must confess that I'm not looking forward to that. Partly because I fear that disturbing the screws might loosen the steel pillars and partly because he wants to see me at 9am, which, as most of you who know me will realize ,is around the time I normally crawl out of bed - I'm more of a night owl- so a 3 hour trip to Birmingham means getting up around 5.30 ( I used to come home at that time ).
In mid-February, I was asked to participate in a BBC television documentary featuring the prosthetic s work at Queen Elizabeths, Birmingham. I agreed but knew what I was getting in to. The documentary was intended to feature the work of the Hospital and the mental effect on patients. As a relatively successful survivor, I was asked to go to Birmingham ( 6 hour round trip) to speak to Emma, a young lady who had undergone treatment, having a substantial and prominent part of her face removed and fitted with a prosthetic replacement. She was finding reintegration difficult, being very self conscious of the prosthetic, but wanted to be filmed talking to me. I think she found me slightly different to what she expected and told the producer that she had got a lot out of it. A week later, the BBC turned up at my door (by arrangement, I might add) and interviewed me for almost 2 hours on camera. I guess I didn't turn out to be as interesting as they had hoped. When the programme was broadcast ' Inside-Out' BBC West Midlands Monday 7th March, I was featured for all of 90 seconds. But, if I helped someone and highlighted the phenomenal work being done at QE, Birmingham, it was well worth it.
In January, I, along with a small group of other patients attended a meeting in QE to discuss the whole spectrum of Head and Neck Cancers, from diagnosis, through treatment and on to recovery. There were folk from across the UK and many had similar experiences. On the back of that meeting, it was agreed to set up a group to raise awareness of the incidence of Head and Neck Cancer, the sixth most common cancer in the world, a sort of advocacy group trying not to tread on the toes of the local support groups ( not that I knew they existed prior to this meeting). It is not easy setting up these things when delegates live across the UK and many seem unprepared to commit to anything other than the idea but I have found a chap who is similarly passionate so this thing will get off the ground.Looking to launch in September.
I'm also helping a Doctor from Birmingham University who is undertaking a study of ways of improving the patient 'experience'. Its a little theoretical at this stage , particularly for my more practical mind, but I can see the potential benefits from her research.
On the social side, life goes on. The village pantomime was successful, my part as Boris the bad didn't receive as much abuse as I expected but another £1300+ was raised for the Village Hall. The golf is still patchy, my beloved Lincoln City FC are still lurching from failure to success to failure ( Manager gave notice yesterday). I've been to see Tottenham again, probably for the last time in that stadium and I've watched Gainsborough Trinity a couple of times. We've been out and about for our weekly visits and had a few meals with friends and former colleagues; so now we are looking forward to summer. Cricket season starts in a fortnight ( I'm doing another season umpiring) and our first Holiday is mid-May.
Hears hoping for a good summer.
Best wishes to you all.
Chris

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

Good day to you all and my very best wishes for 2016.
Without the efforts of Mr Parmar and his team,I would have been dead for four years. But as I think I've still got some living to do, I'm going to try to stay around for some time yet - hopefully.
2015 was yet another excellent year for me and my family. The retirement, coupled with the jobs I have taken on give me just the right balance of leisure time whilst retaining sufficient time to stretch the brain and further increase my confidence - maybe too much ?
Family are doing well, my grand daughter was one yesterday and is growing daily.Dan and Han have coped really well, despite lack of sleep.Simon is just a few months away from piloting you to Europe and back;and Becky is really good sorting out head of household problems whilst he is away.
I took part in the Head and Neck awareness campaign over the summer but was not overly impressed with the editing.But, I suppose if you stick your head over the precipice, you half expect some bright spark to try and make a fool out of you. If it achieves the aim, I really dont care too much, I'm past worrying about public perception of me or my actions - I guess when you've spent some time as a panto dame, there is not much that fazes you.I'll wait and see what the proposals are for the next campaign. I did learn a lot during the campaign , I didn't know that Head and Neck cancer is the sixth most prevalent cancer and the chances of recovery are very limited unless it is diagnosed early. I am a very lucky boy.
We are about to sort out our Holidays for 2016.We'll probably go for another six between May and October.My golfing exploits are beginning to get me a reputation.Having won the weekly competition three times in five weeks during October/November,I've noticed a number of references to big hats and guns and other bandit references-if you dont play golf you'll not understand the significance.Broad shoulders are required.This years panto rehearsals are going well, I play an escaped prisoner this year so plenty of booing I suppose - Broad shoulders !Trips to see Lincoln football club are much better than previous years. There's usually a more than even chance they wont lose.I got involved in the resurrection of the Supporters Trust, which owns a large percentage of the club.That was really difficult but the working party is well on the way to sorting it out.Had a trip to see Tottenham play Monaco just before Christmas with Simon, but not had chance to see Gainsborough Trinity yet due to fixture clashes.
As far as medical matters are concerned, my 5 monthly appointment has spread to 10 so ,I guess I'm not considered to be much of a problem these days.
Well thats as much as I can tell you now, as you can see its no longer interesting, I'm just getting on with life.It still amazes me how many people read my ramblings - over 14000 now.
Very best wishes
Chris

Monday, 10 August 2015

Make Sense Campaign

Good day to you all (and every day is a good day),
Those of you who have read my blog before will know that I have been fortunate enough to be treated by Mr Sat Parmar at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital in Birmingham. Mr Parmar is a member of the Steering Committee of the European Head and Neck Society (EHNS), which is running a pan-European head and neck cancer awareness campaign called the Make Sense Campaign. Now in its third year, and active in over 14 countries across Europe, the campaign seeks to engage everyone –  members of the public, patient groups, healthcare professionals, and Members of the European Parliament. This year, the awareness week is taking place between 21–25 September 2015.
I recently became involved with the campaign and its activities when we realised there was no patient groups in the UK that were concerned specifically with head and neck cancer.  Patient groups are an important part of any process of recovery and coming to terms with diagnosis, so we are working to get this initiative started, and getting involved in this campaign is one step closer. Its a lonely, scary old place with no-one to talk to.
Participating in the campaign this year will allow us to spread the word around the UK by Uniting Voices. In the past few years, the Make Sense Campaign has used a number of different fun and innovative ways to raise awareness of head and neck cancer. This year, the theme of the campaign is #UnitingVoices .There are several ways to participate in this initiative.
How you can get involved!
(1) By participating in their very own virtual choir! The Make Sense Campaign will be filming a formal choir made up of laryngectomy patients, and inviting other people to support the fight against head and neck cancer.
To support this activity, I would like you to film yourself, your family or your doctors/nurses singing to the chosen song! The campaign have selected   John Farnham’s ‘You’re the Voice’ – you’ll remember it once you hear it!
Once you’ve completed your video send it to makesensecampaign@axon-com.com,   they will combine the videos together and host them on their website; and use it during the awareness week.
(2) If you’re a patient, film your own patient  testimonial . It’s really easy – all you have to do is use your smartphone or tablet and film yourself talking for around a minute about how your diagnosis has affected you and how you are overcoming it.
      Once you have completed your video you can send it to makesensecampaign@axon-com.com and post it to your own social media network – but make sure you use #UnitingVoices!
To find out more about the Make Sense Campaign and the activities planned for this year , the 3rd Annual Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week (21–25 September), visit the following sites:
-          Twitter: https://twitter.com/makesensecmpn
o   @Makesensecmpn
-          GoFundme: http://www.gofundme.com/ufrp7q4
-           There is a lot of information available, and the team behind the campaign are supportive and truly want to support us.


If you have any further questions about how to get involved, feel free to contact me or the Campaign Secretariat at: MakeSenseCampaign@axon-com.com. Any contribution you can make, would be much appreciated!
Best wishes to all,
Chris

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Almost Four Years

Good day to you all,
A very warm welcome if you are visiting for the first time.Welcome back if you are returning to the page.Having checked the stats,I see that I now have over 13000 visitors to the page.This is well beyond the original idea which was to inform family and friends and to use as a method of communication if my voice didn't return.
I am well aware that blogs are getting further apart - the reason being that I am now living a normal (And very enjoyable) life which most of you would not find particularly interesting. I have now got used to the concept of retirement from full-time work but still need the stimulus from my part-time/voluntary jobs to keep the adrenalin flowing and the brain sharp.I know that I am back on form - last week I drove a 29 item parish council agenda ( complete with public participation) through in just over an hour. Everyone had their say and our Clerk will be spending twice as long writing up the minutes- everyone's a winner , including the local hostelry which half a dozen of us visited afterwards.
As a general brief update on my social life since the last blog ,which was over eight months ago, by far the biggest events have revolved around my two sons. Daniel, my eldest, became a father, hence I became a Grandad ( I'm far too young to be a Grandad !!) on New Years Eve 2014,so I now have a healthy bouncing granddaughter who is now just over six months old. Simon, my youngest, coolly announced that he was giving up his job and re-training to fly aeroplanes .He is in Arizona,USA at present but has just a few more months to go before he qualifies, so listen carefully to the announcements next time you get on a plane, you might just be piloted by my youngest son.We didn't ski this year because they were both otherwise engaged but I hope to go again soon.The annual village pantomime broke all records yet again.We did a version of Dick Turpin - I played a supporting role as Dicks right hand man,confidant and ultimately rescued him from the rope by dressing as a very attractive lady and serenading the guards whilst he made his escape (yes,I can still belt out Abba songs).This was my twelfth year on stage.Its something I really enjoy, and it raises a lot of money for the community village hall.This year saw parish council elections for the first time in decades ( there are usually just the same number of candidates as there are places) but this year there was a person with a grudge who put up.Unsurprisingly,the existing members were re-elected by a large margin, I came second in the poll,which really amazed me and I was re-elected Chairman,in my absence,at the next meeting- not that there are ever many volunteers for the role.The last year saw some interesting potential developments in the village ,which necessitated several visits to address the relevant committees of the District Council to ensure they made the right decisions!! - all videoed and published on the net, On a sporting note, the golf continues to frustrate. I won the winter competition this last time ,after being runner-up in 2013/14, and have had some good rounds ( and a lot of poor ones).I managed to get to all but one of the Sporting Club Dinners ( male only,black tie events)and heard some very interesting speakers in the company of some very good people.The football season at Lincoln degenerated into the usual disappointing end so there has been a major clear out of players, 10 new ones have joined and pre-season optimism is high - will it last ? Time will tell.I have got a little more involved over the last year but cannot divulge details yet.
Cricket season is going well after a poor (weather wise) start. I've officiated in a couple of County age group games as well as the various County and local league matches and have the local Albion Cup final tomorrow night,which could be a spicy affair.We have had a couple of summer breaks so far , to the Cotswolds and South Devon; and have plans for Norfolk,North Yorkshire,Scottish Borders and TBA before winter sets in.
On the health front,I had a bit of a scare earlier on this year.During my regular check up with Mr.Parmar, he suggested a CT scan might be a good idea ( that's the one where you're passed through a large doughnut - without the taste sensation).The result was a couple of abnormalities , one of which was in my lymph nodes - cue panic- however, a week or so later,we drove down to QE Birmingham for an early evening prod into my neck with a large needle ( no pain- I have no feeling there ) and it was found to be not cancerous - cue relief. Unfortunately,the dental surgeon who created my current smile ( or grimace) has moved on the pastures new ( no,He hasn't died, he just got a better job - for him) so next time I go to Birmingham Dental Hospital,it will be a new consultant.
I think thats as much as I can say for now.Enjoy your summer - every day is a good day.
Very best wishes to you all,
Chris

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Is it really three years ?

I find it hard to believe that its been over 3 years since my first operation. Life is very different now - every day is a good day, every day is a plus so we make the most of every day, without being overly ambitious.
We have settled into retirement ( in a fashion ) fairly well. We make a point of going away for at least a week every month during the summer months. This summer has been superb, of the 50 plus nights we have been away we have had only a few wet days.We have visited North Yorkshire,Devon,Cornwall,Gloucestershire,Hertfordshire,Derbyshire,Cambridgeshire,Kent and Suffolk during the summer, lots of travelling but well worth it. It takes time to appreciate the variations in the countryside.I had a week ski-ing on the Italian/French border with Dan,Simon & Becky and Beckys brother in January taking in parts of the 2006 Olympic downhill run (at a slightly more sedate pace !!).
The Golf continues to frustrate, I've had a few good days ( runner-up in the winter eclectic ) with a couple of weekly wins and places ; but it all went to pot in June and is only just coming back into something like decent form
I've had a decent season umpiring cricket , I dont bother checking my marks but I know that whilst I'm being allocated to a decent standard, I must be doing something right. I refuse to stand up to the stumps as I know my reactions are not quite as quick as they were but no one objects.
I keep visiting Sincil Bank ( home of Lincoln City ) more in hope than expectation, but after watching the football there for over 50 years I can hardly not go now, just when they are on the cusp of ........ ( how many times have I said that ). On occasions, I'll go to White Hart Lane to watch Tottenham and down the road to Gainsborough to watch Trinity in Conference North - I dont care about the standard - football is football.
On a more exciting front, I am going to become a Grandad in December and, within a week of Dan and Hannah giving us their news, Simon told me he was giving up his job to learn to fly aircraft - he's now in the third month of a 20 month course.
On the health front, all is going well. I had a little scare in May when I had a growth on one of my steel posts but after a biopsy, it turned out to be nothing of concern. I continue to go to Queen Elizabeths Hosp. in Birmingham to see Mr.Palmar every 3 or 4 months for a check up, the odd X-ray and a general update to find out which country my pictures/videos/x-rays have visited - pity I cant go with them !  The dental surgeon is very pleased with the way that the implants have settled and now only wants to see me every 6 months ,which may go to once a year after my next visit.
So thats about it, 3 years on, I look very much like I did before the op. The minor problems I have are merely because there is no feeling in the jaw but ,on the plus side, where there is no feeling, there is no pain.I have learned how to eat and drink without spilling ( most of the time ) and my speech is now back to normal - I have no qualms about public speaking , last Wednesday nights effort at a West Lindsey planning meeting was videoed and published on their website. Nearly back to my best.
I'll blog again, just dont know when.
Enjoy every day
Chris

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

What a summer

Good evening to you all,
I am amazed at the number of people who continue to read this blog - well over 10000 now. Thank you all for taking an interest.
On the medical front. I continue to visit both my Dental consultant and the team at QE .Birmingham, who fixed me originally, on a regular basis.It may be a four and a half hour round trip but it gives me confidence that I am being kept under close observation by people I know,trust and respect.
 I came clean with my consultant last time out and he agreed to be identified, so, for anyone in similar circumstances, contact Mr.Sat Parmar at Queen Elizabeths Hospital,Birmingham. He is the miracle man who has given me my life back, the chap who organised the operation and led the team which did such a good job that no one can tell that I have had any surgery.
On the social front, I've had an amazing summer, aided and abetted by superb weather. Travelling abroad is a little problematic as insurers are a little jumpy if I admit my medical past so we have had a number of 7 to 12 day breaks in the UK, with a few more breaks planned before the end of the year.
 The golf is going fairly well but the handicap is not reducing as I cant seem to put together a good round. I'm still scoring 30+ regularly in the weekly stableford but that usually includes a good number of blobs, One day it might all come together,
.Umpiring is also going well, I've had a really good reception from teams that haven't seen me for a couple of years and I can now umpire on 2 successive days without any adverse reaction.
I decided to renew my first aid certificate in June and thoroughly enjoyed the course and the banter with the tutor and some other participants.( the sense of humour has not diminished)
We've been placed as runner up in the best kept garden competition in the village which came as something of a surprise as all I've done is keep the grass cut and demolished any weeds which try to invade the borders.
Football season has already begun and Lincoln look promising this year ( how often have I said that?)
On the professional front, I have a couple of part time jobs with local authorities ensuring that elected members adhere to the Nolan principles (the tax man has gleefully taken a great lump of my very small salary). I am assisting a city centre church which helps homeless folk ,by organising and balancing their accounts on a once a month basis ,preparing final accounts for a pensioners club and I have been elected Chairman of our local Parish Council after a 4 year break .
All in all, my life is now back to normal, albeit not quite as hectic as previously but still interesting and challenging.
None of this would have been possible without Mr.Parmars skills, it all looked very glum at one stage.
I will blog again sometime in the future.In the meantime,enjoy the rest of the summer and thanks again for showing interest.
Best wishes
Chris

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Bucket List complete

Good morning to you all,
I know its been some time since my last blog, but life has gone on with little respite. How much do I like life now.
 My bucket list is now complete. To those who are not aware, I had a compilation photo at my bedside during the dark days following my op, which detailed all of the activities I enjoyed and intended to replicate as soon as I could. The photos ranged from a pint of Guinness ( completed upon release after my first op-thanks Si ) included various foods, driving again ( January),watching football ( January if you count Lincoln as football!!),playing Golf ( March) umpiring a cricket match ( September),appearing in the village pantomime( January 2013) and finally skiing.After much debate with my consultant, misgivings from my wife and agreeing to a whole host of safety measures and other constraints,my two sons,Daniel and Simon and I flew to Kitzbuhel in Austria for a few days for some spring skiing.Whilst I was told that it would take two years for the bone in my leg to regrow totally, I was confident that I had enough power and strength in my legs to do it. We skied the Hahnenkamm, the steepest of the six hills in the winter world series, from top to bottom without a stop twice.Albeit our times were considerably slower than those recorded by  Ligerty , Raich and co ( They clock around 2 minutes, we were nearer 20 ) but we did it. In total we skied 53 km in the three days we were there and had a really good time. Unfortunately, the shine was taken off the holiday as I caught a bug on the way home ( possibly on the plane) and from the Sunday morning to late Tuesday had to stay in close proximity to a loo. Lost 8lbs in those three days, but gradually putting it back on again.
Now getting well used to the new teeth, eating remains a minor problem as I'm much slower than I used to be, but maybe that is good for my digestion.
I feel fitter now than I've done for years and have taken on a few jobs with various councils and a church to keep the brain cells ticking over.
Its back to Birmingham on the 17th for my check up with my consultant, armed with a video of the skiing which he wants to use for his illustrated talks around the world. I knew I would be famous one day, problem is no one will know who this person behind the mask and helmet is .
I'll blog again soon. Enjoy spring- when it finally arrives
Chris

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Made in Lincolnshire, re-built in Birmingham

Good Afternoon All and greetings from a particularly wet Lincolnshire,
More good news.
I have been totally re-built.The £40000 man has been completed. The final fix was screwed in on Thursday 31st Jan. I now have a plastic (or some similar type of synthetic material) gum with teeth attached.The whole procedure took barely 20 minutes. The original implant heads were screwed out and the construction was dropped in. The whole lot was screwed into the fixings which remain in my new jaw bone and, finally, the screw heads were filled by some medium similar to mortar, and cured using some type of heat or light sabre.The teeth are an excellent match with my own and I am slowly coming to terms with reconfiguring my lower lip to avoid the impression of being 'vacant'.Initially, it felt as if I had a bag of marbles in my mouth but over the last few days , that feeling has subsided as I have become more used to it, having had 16 months with nothing there.I was told that it may take me a while to speak properly again and to be careful , initially , when eating. It took me around 20 seconds to talk properly and we went out for meals on the two following evenings. Yet to eat steak as Simon has requested a delay on that particular cut of meat until he takes me to a restaurant local to him ,which specialises in steaks, but to date I've eaten toast, lamb,biscuits,pork and a whole host of other difficult foods - maybe have to watch the waistline again !! We go back to Birmingham in March for a dental check and April for a cancer check but all looks good. I feel really fit, I look almost as handsome as I did before ( no laughing out there ).Would I go through it again? You bet. Not that I had a choice and it was a long hard road, but better a few scars and a bit of discomfort than dead.
I will keep blogging occasionally as I know from your comments that some of you have found this interesting. If anyone wishes to find out more or wants to contact me, you must do it by e-mail to ; chriselkingtonsbs@hotmail.com as I cannot reply to messages left on this blog - some technical issue.
Thank you all for reading and many,many thanks for all the very kind messages.
Best wishes
Chris

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Almost there

Good Afternoon All from a snowy Lincolnshire,
Trust that all my readers are well. I've had some pretty decent experiences of late as my re-construction continues. Whilst we have had the odd re-arranged appointment, which is not unknown at this time of year, it is all positive. I have had the synthetic gum and teeth screwed into the  implants, a perfect fit as far as I was concerned, but my dental consultant was not happy and decided to make some very minor alterations. Teeth in on 31st January so look out proper meat, no more risking horseburgers !! Visited QE Birmingham on Wednesday. Consultant is very happy and requested that I visit him again in 3 months, bringing a video of me ski-ing ( looks like I've got to go now !! ), so that he can use it in his lectures. He's tripping off to India to do 15 lectures in the next 10 days,I wont have my trip sorted by then- I dont think they would understand the concept of snow there anyway- unless there are parts of the country which are not on my radar.Had another set of photographs taken for his articles , really testing the reliability of their cameras - I did ask where I should hold the number, but I dont think the photographer was blessed with much of a sense of humour, at least he didn't tell me where to stick it ! Thats all for now folks - I'll try to get a photo put on when I'm finally re-built.
Kindest regards
Chris

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas - 2012

Good Afternoon to you all and my very best wishes for the festive season and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
I realise that it is a while since my last blog, but I really dont want to bore you with the minutia of what has become an almost normal life. I'm doing everything that everyone else does, with very few exceptions and I'm quite sure that you dont want to know where I've been , who with and what I've been up to, hence the gaps between blogs.
The latest medical news is that the reconstruction of the remainder of the lower jaw and implanted teeth is progressing. There was a minor hiccup in mid- December when my first real implants were fitted. Whilst they were a good fit, the teeth were a perfect colour, but , when I was offered the mirror to gauge my views, I realised that I now know what became of Shergar ( for those of you who are not British, or cannot remember, Shergar was a highly successful racehorse who mysteriously disappeared many years ago )- loses a bit in explanation , but never mind,I guess that everyone now understands why the Dental Consultant agreed with me that a good few millimetres needed to be removed to make a good fit. Dick Emery - eat your heart out!!
A visit just before Christmas to try out the latest version was much better.This version will now be tarted up for a second fitting in mid-January , incidentally the day after my cancer check at Queen Elizabeth s ,Birmingham - so we will stay overnight. Then the final version should be bolted in to place on 31st January. I had to delay that appointment by a week as I'm appearing in the village pantomime during the preceding week and I didn't think the front row would appreciate being sprayed during my various renditions.
Looking forward to 2013.
Very best wishes to you all.
Chris 

Monday, 19 November 2012

All I want for Christmas is ..........

Hello Everyone and welcome to my latest offering,
We have just returned from my latest visit to Birmingham Dental Hospital , chauffeured both ways ( by choice this time ) I had a good long chat with the Consultant who told me exactly what he has done, and intends to do in the next month.
Today was my third appointment and it seems certain that they are going to extraordinary lengths to get 'the look' right. The tops of my implants in my jaw are similar to bolts, whilst the base,which remains captive in the reconstructed jaw are similar to nuts ( I'm talking fixtures !!! ). The Consultant screws the bolts off and takes impressions every time I go. This afternoon was the first fitting of a wax mould (bridge)constructed from the last set of impressions. It was designed to drop into the two outside implants and fitted perfectly. A few minor adjustments to make sure that the bite was even was followed by another impression taken between the bridge and the top teeth. This one was taken using something akin to bathroom sealant using the same type of applicator gun. Several heaves later,followed by 5 minutes of not moving, it set and was taken out. My consultant took some colour matches of my top teeth to colour the new set when they are made, and tried to colour match my gum but agreed that as part of it was donated from my thigh ( deep red ) and part from my upper arm ( almost white ), it would be impossible to match. As people very rarely see lower gums, I dont see that as a problem.
Next visit is in a fortnight when there will be a fitting of my first set of teeth. These will be designed to be altered before a final set are manufactured. I'm really impressed at the efforts they are going to.
Socially,life is good. I'm doing everything I want to do, nothing is preventing me from joining in any physical or intellectual activity - no pain, no more reactions to anaesthetics - bring it on, I'm good for a few more years yet ( I hope ).Every Day is a good Day !!!
I'll blog again before Christmas.
Very best wishes to all who read this
Chris

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Happy Birthday

Good Evening All,
Today, my jaw is one year old. It is exactly a year since my jaw was removed and replaced with this titanium/fibia construction which now forms the lower part of my face.My jaw even received a first birthday card from Lynn.It looks like we will celebrate its birthday every year because No one can tell the difference. I went to a Sportsmans Club Dinner last Friday evening ( Black Tie do ) and met a chap who is a member of one of my former Boards  who I last met in August 2011; and a former rugby team mate, who I last met around 10 years ago, both were adamant that they could not tell that I had undergone any form of facial surgery ( the first chap knew what had been done).
I have had my first dental consultation when impressions of both my upper teeth and my lower jaw were taken.These will be analysed and it is intended to form a bridge to attach to the posts in my lower jaw into which a number (yet to be confirmed) of prosthetic teeth will be implanted.The experts will try to match my lower teeth to my upper teeth. I have a series of appointments booked at Birmingham Dental Hospital between 5th November ( there will be fireworks that night ) and Christmas at fortnightly intervals.
I am fitter now than I have been for many years- carrying less weight, not spending hours crouched over a desk and taking much more exercise.I tend to sleep much more but when I am awake I'm up for anything-well almost !!
Thank you for all the kind messages, I will keep writing.
Best Wishes
Chris

Thursday, 27 September 2012

I cant believe almost a year has gone

Good Evening to you all,
     This is my 50th blog and its all good news this time. Had my scheduled visit to QE Birmingham on the 19th which was mainly a check-up and update. All has settled down well and the restorative dentist is happy that he can work with the implants which were exposed during my last op.That means that my operations are over and ,apart from 6 or 7 dental procedures, all is done.The new teeth will be permanent as opposed to traditional false teeth.  The dental appointments should commence shortly and ,hopefully, be complete by Christmas.
We had a week in North Yorkshire before we went to Birmingham, I had smuggled my skiing gear in to the car and had an hour on the slopes at Castleford ( no falls , no problems and no near misses ) so that is one more goal achieved ,I can still ski ; One more goal to go, but I'm really pleased about this one, given that its less than a year since a section of bone was taken from my fibia, I thought my skiing days were over ( there are some who hoped they were!!! and that doesn't include those who experienced my escapades in the past 4 years ).
Started doing a few consultancy jobs to keep the brain going as well as working for a couple of organisations     and I've been re-elected on to the Parish Council, so we are slowly getting back to normal.
Just watched the op. on Channel 5 , we were filmed but I had already had my op before they started filming and they decided to run with a chap who had exactly the same op as I had. It does look gruesome but will be available on Channel 5 catchup from tomorrow ( we found it by Google ing 'Channel 5 internet' then clicked on 'Demand 5 ') . The series has been re-named 'Making Faces', this is episode 2 .
Its my birthday tomorrow, a year ago I was sure I wouldn't make 59 but, due to some really excellent work from some very skilled surgeons and care from nurses ( District and hospital ), it looks like I might be here for a good while yet.
I'll blog again within a month.
Best Wishes
Chris

Monday, 3 September 2012

Almost back to normal

Good Evening All,
I've been reminded by three friends over the weekend that I haven't posted recently so here is the latest.
Following the shock of  the last operation, I've slowly improved, the swelling has reduced and I am back to where I was in July. The mouth has changed shape , all 6 anchors which were on the X- ray on my 20 June blog are now visible, the two front ones being most prominent, and, whilst there are still a few internal stitches left to dissolve, it all looks good . I believe the plan is to create a bridge to attach to the anchors and then insert teeth in the bridge, however, getting the restorative dentist and my consultant together has proved impossible during the Holiday season. We've had 3 cancellations to date and are next scheduled for 19th September.Hopefully, we will all be there on that day and we can discuss the next steps.
Physically ,I'm getting closer to full fitness. The skin graft donor site on my left arm continues to prove troublesome ( it decided to blister this morning ) but I managed a couple of rounds of Golf last week, bedding in my retirement present ( an electric trolley). Trolley was excellent, but the Golf has been better.
I managed my first full game for over a year,umpiring a local Cricket match last weekend.Not too much reaction, but I knew I had done it.  Just two more goals to complete my set.
Aiming to get another weeks Holiday in next week, then back for a hectic week. I like hectic, sitting on my rear end doesn't appeal, I've had my fill of doing not a lot.
I'll update after my next visit to Birmingham.
Very best wishes to all,
Chris

Friday, 10 August 2012

One year on

Good Evening All,
Well, today is the first anniversary of being told I'm going to die.The news is that I'm still here. Its been a roller-coaster year.I've experienced the very best and the very worst of the NHS. Surgeons and Doctors with supreme skills and organisation abilities, Nurses ( both ward and Community ( District) ) who show great knowledge and empathy. Regrettably there were a couple who couldn't care a **** as long as they got paid.Most of the ward non-nursing staff were very friendly; cleaners and cooks were very upbeat.But the bureaucracy is almost unbelievable. The unnecessary paperwork, waste of drugs, rules with little or no sense- I would love to get stuck into the organisation. The principle is sound, the medical staff are, in the main, brilliant, some of the administrative procedures are excellent but there is a stark lack of common-sense and I've just become a victim again ( you may be surprised to hear that I have circumvented the latest rule change- I'll let you in on the secret when my treatment ends).
There has been a few changes since my last blog.
Last Friday, the padding within my mouth started to disintegrate ( it was a bit like hard chewing gum ). After a series of phone calls between Lynn and Birmingham Hospital, it was agreed that providing it didn't all fall out it would be OK - Guess what- it all disintegrated and fell out on Saturday.After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing.It was thought that it should have done its job and to leave it as it was.
Over the weekend I didn't feel too well, I continued to spit out gallons of thick,gungy bile but I had Olympic athletics tickets for Monday so I was going if it was the last thing I did . It became apparent over the evening that all was not well, but I enjoyed the day ( Simons organisation was,as usual,first rate) and saw some cracking events ( and Bolt ).We stayed at Simon and Becks overnight but next day it looked as though both my skin donor site and one of the wires through my jaw were infected, so we dropped in on the District Nurses ( by arrangement) on the way home.Swabs taken,wounds redressed and phone calls around resulted in an unscheduled trip back to Birmingham on Wednesday.That turned out to be a very good move. It was agreed that both sites were infected, so a dose of Penicillin was prescribed and as it was considered that the exterior stitches had done the job, so they were removed. That means I can talk again and can eat a much more varied diet.
Next Wednesdays scheduled visit has been cancelled ( well it would have been if the new junior Doctor on his first week had remembered to set it up - he'll learn ,I hope).We now go back on the 20th,when we will find out how successful  the op has been and what the next steps are to be. Whilst I'm still sore and slightly swollen , it looks pretty good inside. we will see.
Football season starts tomorrow ,which proves that life goes on.
Enjoy the next week or two
Best wishes
Chris

Thursday, 2 August 2012

That came as a shock

Good Afternoon All,
I'm back home now after my latest operation.The op was designed to expose the 4 covered implants, but when they opened up, it was decided to do a bit of 'tarting up'.The net result is that I have gone back months. I cant speak and cant eat as my mouth is wired inside and out with 3 stitches going through my gums and through my jaw before being tied up under my chin with some sort of plastic tubes holding everything in place.They will be hidden when I go back as my beard will have grown over them.A skin graft was taken from my left arm to cover the latest work, this is still bleeding and my mouth,  now disfigured ,is now oozing puss - not a pretty sight, I've already gone through 2 big boxes of tissues.I go back in a fortnights time to have all the stitches and  various aids removed and hope that I get back to the state I was in before the latest op.
I did find out a couple of items of note, apparently my low heart rate (50 ish) is due to being surprisingly fit (some of the soldiers come in around 45) and my consultant told me that he was able to use such a good portion of my leg bone because they were so thick as a result of the sport I played as a youngster.
So thats the update, I feel OK now that the anaesthetic is wearing off (this was a 3hour op) and all bodily functions are working except the mouth so now I will have to consider what effect this might have on the social life for the next couple of weeks- I'm due to go to Olympic Athletics on Monday, Weston Rooms meal (no chance) on Saturday. Had a good day at Beach Volleyball on Monday this week except that my titanium jaw set off the security system as we went in and the soldier who frisked me didn't believe I had a metal jaw ( he would if he saw it now).
I'll blog again soon but I wont be making any phone calls in the next 2 weeks.
Kind regards
Chris

Friday, 27 July 2012

Next Stage looms large

Good Evening All,
I know that it has been almost a month since my last blog but I've been on Holiday again ( Norfolk Broads this time).Its fair to say that it was pretty wet but every day is a good day, wet or dry;the only difference is that when its wet now,I dont have to worry about sorting out peoples flooding problems - I still get a few phone calls every now and then, but I expect that these will reduce when the next telephone directory is published.
Tuesday is my next visit to QE ,Birmingham for the next major foundation reconstruction operation.The first reconstruction in April has settled fairly well but only 2 of the 6 implants are visible so it will be to either expose the other 4 or hide the 2 which are exposed, no doubt I will find out before they put me down ( not literally I hope ).I didn't have a pre-op check this time as my consultant reckoned I've had enough checks over the past few months and he is happy that the weights and exercises I have religiously completed since my first op, has improved my fitness to a fairly decent level. I must admit that there is a part of me that is a little apprehensive but,then again,the team know what they are doing,so I will put my trust in them again.I'll blog again when I get back home.
Kind regards to you all
Chris
p.s. message to Ran and another anonymous commenter - The blog does not allow me to respond to comments but if you want a private chat , my hotmail address is 'chriselkingtonsbs@hotmail.com'

Friday, 29 June 2012

At Last

Good Evening All,
Good News. After 8 and a half months, my leg has healed. The wound has finally closed together and, providing I take care of the scab which covers the last little bit and make sure I dont rip open any of the new skin, I've done it - the Guinness has done its stuff and I'm healed ( well, at least my leg is ).No more District Nurse visits, no more dressings, creams and bandages, no more going to bed with a tuba grip from ankle to knee, my leg will have to adjust to nakedness.
The next op.for my gum reconstruction was due in mid-July, but I've had to defer it and am awaiting another slot.
Socially, my official retirement party (2012) took place on Tuesday night. I was over whelmed to see so many work colleagues from all over the Country come to say farewell.I've been very fortunate to work in such an amicable industry and make so many good friends over the years. Now, I have to adjust to early retirement. With the general improvement in my strength and fitness, I should be able to do everything I had planned to do before this setback, just a couple of years earlier than I had originally planned. I'm not certain what path I intend to take for intellectual stimulation, but you can bet I wont be wasting my time.
I will blog again soon, when I know my new date.
Best Wishes to you all.
Chris

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Look away now if you're squeamish

Good Afternoon All,
Its been over a fortnight since my last blog but I've been waiting for the right opportunity to contact Simon, my personal IT teacher ( and youngest son) to help me load the photo.
Since I last wrote, we've been back to QE Hospital,Birmingham for another consultation and update.Whilst I was there,I took the opportunity to have a photo taken of the consultants computer ( well it is my mouth after all ) so that I can share it with you.



The photo is of the X-ray I had taken just before I was discharged after my last op. in April. It shows the titanium frame which is now the basis of my lower jaw, the pieces of bone taken from my fibia (leg bone ) can be clearly seen, together with the six screws which were inserted in April, which will form the base as my lower gum is reconstructed over the next few months.Only two of the screws remain visible at present, as the skin and fat removed from my right leg has grown over the other 4 inserts. A small op. to expose them is the next stage.The small white marks under my new chin are the staples ,which were used to close off the flow as all of the glands were removed from my neck.
Reconstruction of the lower gum will now take place over the next few months. I understand that there will now be 1 or 2 small operations to prepare the framework before a series of Dental procedures to create a new working lower gum ( complete with teeth). I'm currently eating by using my tongue as my lower gum for chewing, as best I can, but , whilst I now have a very strong tongue, it is not able to help me bite, or chew anything which is not well cooked.Teeth will be a great bonus if it can be done.
I still dont have good news about my leg, which has not yet been discharged by the District Nurses, but its almost there and doesn't cause me any problems.
The social life is going very well. As I get stronger, my capacity to take late nights in my stride increases and I can get out and about wherever and whenever I want. We had a very good night out with a couple of friends and then went on holiday to Bury for a week. We are away to Essex at the weekend to help Dan and Han ( eldest son and wife ) move house as I'm no longer a liability and can lift and carry almost as well as I did before the original op.I've had a couple of offers to assist organisations using my skills ( such as they are ) and have agreed to help one, so far. Life is good.
As soon as I get an update of the schedule for the next stage, I'll let you know.
Enjoy the summer, it will start soon.
Best Wishes
Chris

Friday, 1 June 2012

Its June, but not yet Summer

Good Evening to my friends,
Its a few weeks since my last blog and ,whilst things have been a bit steady, there has been some progress. Starting from the top, the consultant at Worksop Hospital has pronounced my skull as being perfectly repaired, in fact, she was quite excited that it had healed so well in a relatively short period of time.It is said that God made very few perfect heads, the rest he covered with hair !!
Moving down a little, my physio at the Hospice has declared that my shoulder movement is as good as it will ever be. I know that it is actually better that its been for decades, due to the exercises, which I have been told to keep up for the rest of my life. I can cope with 5 minutes a day .
The mouth is healing and the swelling continues to reduce to the extent that I can now feel my jaw line.The stitches in my mouth have finally dissolved ( I think ).We will see what Birmingham makes of it when we go next week.The hot weather earlier in the week had an effect on the jaw, it felt as if it had expanded. I dont know if that is possible, I know that metal expands in the heat but I doubt whether my mouth would reach the temperatures required to make it expand.
The only slow part is the leg which stubbornly refuses to completely heal. I'm going to try Guinness again on Saturday night, see if that helps, it did last time.
My social life continues to improve in leaps and bounds. We had a few days away, 4 in Welwyn and 5 in the Cotswolds. It was not the warmest week on record, but the temperatures soared as soon as we returned home. Had a good night watching the drama group last week, nice to see the ladies performing again. Had a run of 11 successive correct answers on the quiz ( aided and abetted by Lynn and Jo and others ), then spectacularly had a run of 6 wrong ones.Lost by one point in the end.
Golf is going very well ( see shoulders above).Played for IDB's at Boston last week and scored my first ever eagle on a 239 yard hole - 236 drive followed by 9 foot putt. Then on Tuesday, Simon and I played the ADA national competition at Abbotsbury, nr.St.Neots. We finished second on countback, but both days were pretty exhausting, pure adrenalin kept me going.
Jubilee weekend will be spent at Dan and Hannahs preparing their new house ready for the move at the end of the month. I didn't expect to be able to do any of these things so soon after the op so every day is a plus.
Happy Days
Will blog after 8th June
Best wishes to all
Chris

Friday, 11 May 2012

Still here

Dear all,
Apologies for the delay, but the blog has been changed by some bright spark and I had to find my way round it ( as many of you know, I'm not the most techno-savvy bloke in the world ).
The mouth is healing well but the stitches remain.Apparently they are supposed to self-destruct but mine seem to want to remain in situ. but then again, I never like parting with anything.The swelling has gone down and I am back to my normal ( for me ) diet. Still not able to bite but I can give most things a good suck. Drinking through a straw was interesting. Guinness through a straw was not as different as I expected,but it still doesn't beat using a glass.The next visit to Birmingham has been deferred until June 8th,so I can get on with living for a while without waiting for my next appointment.The plan changes regularly, the latest is that I will be complete by Christmas after one further op and a series of procedures ( whatever they may be ).
The leg stubbornly refuses to heal.  District Nurses continue to try different techniques/creams once or twice a week. Its almost there but not quite.
I have kept quiet about my television career, but can now confirm that I was filmed as part of a documentary focusing on the work of the consultant who remodelled my face. However, my bit has been pulled from the final programme called 'Men who make faces' on Channel 5 in a few weeks time  .I guess that my face didn't fit ??
Social life is going well.We went to Essex for Hannahs 30th, my new daughter-in-law had organised a group to go for Sunday lunch. I met with some people who had been to the wedding (which I missed) and I was able to hold my own.The lunch was excellent but I had a much reduced choice from the menu.
Tuesday night was my first since the op. having a couple of pints with one of my male friends.It was good to get out and talk engineering and football.Saturday night was our monthly dinner dance ( bit of a misnomer for me as I dont dance at present and dinner is sometimes a challenge - but the company is always good) Had a superb lunch in midweek with some friends in a pub in the south of the County.
Managed to get a few holes of Golf in despite the weather.The course has suffered over the past few weeks, one of them has been closed regularly. I managed to get a few overs umpiring in last week with no after effects but I need to stand for a full 40 overs before I decide whether to umpire weekend games. We are going away for a few days, just a short break in the Chilterns/Cotswolds.Watch the weather improve !!
Blog again soon.
Best Wishes
Chris
.


Friday, 20 April 2012

Next stage completed

Good Afternoon All,
As promised, my latest blog following my latest surgery. Sorry its a bit late but I haven't been on top form since the op.
I was due in at QE , Birmingham at 11.30 on Tuesday, but it was getting on for 5 before I went down. It seems that the list was re-prioritised, possibly to allow more time at the end of the day- I was followed by an Indian chap who had a complicated lower eye socket replacement. Net result was that I was advised to stay in overnight ( which I did ).The op. went well as far as the team were concerned.
I walked down to theatre,as is my usual custom and started the job off , after signing a last minute amendment to my consent form ( dont really think thats supposed to happen on the slab just before you are due to go to sleep, but I suppose its a case of covering backsides ).Op lasted just over 2 hours, consisting of 6 holes drilled in to the titanium jaw and metal pegs inserted ( I think the pegs may be titanium too but will check next time). It is anticipated that the metal will fuse together in the next couple of months to enable the next stage. The good news is that the bone taken from my leg , which was enmeshed with the titanium jaw line, is already fusing together,obviously as a result of the infusions of alcohol taken on an irregular basis.If it doesn't fuse together, I guess that a man with a welding torch may be required ?
I stopped bleeding profusely around 11p.m. and made a bit of a mess of the gown and the sheets, so much so that the gown was replaced, but I wouldn't let the nurses replace the sheet- it was only a bit of blood and a few hours wouldn't make much difference ( and I had got warm !!) Not the best of nights, but I got some sleep and got my blood pressure down low enough to be discharged on Wednesday.Didn't feel too well on Wednesday, and Thursday was not at my best, but starting to get out of it now, the anaesthetic  does some strange things to me. I'm sore and swollen - look a bit like Clement Freud, for those of you who remember him- and back to soft(ish) diet and drinking out of a straw . District Nurses told me that it enhances the sensation of some types of drink - we will see.
Leg wound is now 6 months old and still doesn't want to fully heal. It is slowly knitting together and I think another couple of weeks should see it complete, but I've thought that before.
Football watching going well - Tottenham /Norwich was interesting,and Colchester/Sheff.wed was educational ( always is when you're surrounded by ex-steelworkers). Lincoln/Hayes tomorrow, all being well, then a few play-offs if I'm lucky. Golf deferred due to weather- drought conditions continue to prevail. Its not stopped raining since it was announced- again ( anyone remember Denis Healey- Minister for Drought in 1976? It didn't stop raining for 8 weeks after he was appointed).Had a couple of invites whilst I've been away and looking forward to improving my social life.
Due back at Birmingham in 3 weeks but will blog before then.
Best Wishes to all
Chris

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Easter

Good morning All,
Ever had that feeling when you get out of the shower that its good to be alive ? Its something I rarely experience because I'm not a morning person ,as many of you know, but the last couple of days I've had that sensation. Ok, it may not be morning in the sense that many of you get up and warm the world ready for my entrance, but its still morning to me, and I feel good.
Now to the basics. We went to Birmingham on Wednesday , lousy journey but the Elkington map reading radar got us there when the Tom-Tom couldn't recognise a motorway pile up in time - just 5 minutes late for an 11 appointment which, in the circumstances was pretty good, and no one noticed. First appointment was for pre-op checks. Lynn recognised the nurse as the same one who did the checks prior to my first op. I didn't notice first off but then she was pregnant. Nothing to do with me, the timing is pure co-incidence. It seems that I'm fairly fit , blood pressure a bit high but otherwise Ok. The blood test was interesting- last time she took it she failed and had to have the doc round as I was not feeling well.- as I told her, I've not been looking forward to it all day, she had only been dreading it for a few minutes. Nevertheless, she found blood without me feeling much - have I got used to it ? I doubt it .
Afternoon appointment was brought forward so that we didn't have to hang around ( they really do look after me there ). Slight change of plan. The dental implants will go in on 17th April as scheduled, then there will be another 8 procedures starting 3 months after the implants are put in. It will take around 6 months, so should be totally rebuilt by Christmas . I dont see that as a problem as I can cope fairly well with what I've got now so anything extra is a bonus. I know that the surgeon wants to do this job really well because it puts the final polish on an unusual and complicated procedure and I dont mind being a guinea pig.
Leg not quite there but improving all the time. I can now stand, so umpiring may become a more viable option.Walking is not a problem, the 6000 yard course at Gainsborough ( 7500 when I hit it from side to side ) is achievable with only a little tiredness at the end, but very little leg pain.
I will update after my next op in a fortnight , so Happy Easter to you all.
Very best wishes
Chris  

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Progress

Good Evening All,
I've not updated the blog for a week or two because there was not much to report, but I've had some news today so its time to update.
As far as existing problems are concerned, I am progressing slowly. Now playing full rounds of Golf, but totally exhausted after 16 holes- operating on pure adrenalin for the last 2. Stamina is improving but I dont think I will make the Olympic marathon team . Physio is happy at progress made on shoulder re-alignment,encouraging me to use the weights to build up the muscles which failed so spectacularly after my stay in hospital.It seems that a combination of the operation and the lack of movement whilst I was tubed up was the main cause but years of leaning over a desk hasn't helped. My left shoulder is now looser than it has been for years, the right still has some way to go but it can still hit a ball a fair distance.
 The leg continues to test the patience of the District Nurses.It has almost healed, but not quite   .I developed a rash around the wound 10 days ago, but my GP sorted it out with a steroid cream.   A different regime is now being tried to see if it will finally heal.  Time will tell.But ,in the meantime, I have to make sure that it is well covered when I'm outside.
Todays news is that the date for my next op has been set for 16 April,with pre-op tests next Wednesday,just before my routine check.That works out fairly well as I have tickets for both Tottenham/Norwich and Colchester/Sheffield Wednesday during the preceding week.This op should be around 90 minutes so it should be a doddle compared to the 10 hour session in October- famous last words ?
Hopefully,I should be able to take up all the various invites I have for May.
I'll blog again next week after I've been to Birmingham.
Best Wishes to all.
Chris

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Nearly round to light nights

Good Evening all,
Sorry I haven't blogged for a couple of weeks but there is not a lot to report. The shoulder exercises have gone well and the physios recommendation that Golf is good for shoulders has really helped. I've been round a few times, gradually increasing the number of holes played, now up to 14 and starting to score fairly well.
News on the teeth is not quite so good, I've been in touch with Birmingham and there has been a further delay due to surgeon scheduling. It looks like there will be no teeth until after Easter , but at least I can suck chocolate now and again, so no excuses.
The leg is healing slowly, the change of routine with me visiting the District Nurses instead of them coming to see me means that I'm getting more consistency in treatment.The dressing is now down to 3 x 2 (inches) and the wound is less than a 10 pence piece, the skin has slowly covered over the wound. It doesn't look pretty and the skin graft donor sites look red raw, but there is no pain and everything works. Now, all I need is some intellectual stimulation- I've got one or two ideas up my sleeve but I'd welcome any suggestions.
I'm currently waiting results of my latest swab test but I'm fairly confident this time.
Social life is getting up to speed, the fitter I get, the more I want to do.
Blog again soon
Best Wishes to you all
Chris

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Spring is on its way

Good Afternoon to you all,
Another week, a little more progress and a little more frustration: and a couple of pleasant visits.
The week didn't start too well as my physios secretary rang first thing Monday to call off the appointment because she was ill. We re-arranged for next Tuesday, so I decided to continue with the exercises but bump them up a bit.District Nurse called- yet another different lady, this one was very thorough and cleaned the infected area better than it had been done for over a week- they are all very nice and wrap it well but I'm beginning to get a bit concerned that the plan is not being reviewed, it seems that everyone wants to put a different type of cream/lotion on different bits. Its a good job that Lynn has seen it all and remembers what goes on what bit but I think that some of the ladies are here to visit, change dressings and go away again, rather than trying to repair it as soon as possible.
 I decided to see if I can still ride a bike and after a bit of pumping up tyres, set off .Thats where the frustration sets in. Yes, I can still ride a bike, but after half a mile I ran out of breath - lots of work still needed on the fitness front.
Waited in on Wednesday for District Nurses but by midday was getting a bit concerned, particularly as last week I had visits on successive days. My fears were well founded, I rang the answerphone and eventually got a return call from someone saying that there had been a change and I was now down for a visit on Thursday. I've been in management long enough to see the signs when cracks appear in organisations and I had my doubts last week. What has gone wrong is that the managers decided to review the organisation rather than replace the case handler who left. Naturally, the system is now short of staff and there is no leadership or organisation, so we get seconded staff, bank staff and all sorts ;and no-one seems to know who is doing what, where and when. I guess that the same applies to the whole area but it really annoys me that the managers cannot see that their lack of foresight impacts on everyone.
Had a series of visits over the week, including an unplanned knock on the door - Thanks J, nice of you to call round. Decided to play a few holes on Thursday. Hooking, topping and drowning a few balls, but after the first 2 holes, parred the third and hit a 225 drive on the 4th, so the shoulder exercises are working.
Saturdays visit to Sincil Bank resulted in the usual mix of effort and tripe, but at least they are trying now and its worth watching , as long as you dont expect skill or success.
The next op has been delayed a little as some parts have to come from Belgium,If thats going into my mouth, will I be speaking flemish or dutch ? or remain with my usual gibberish.
Thats all for now, must be getting better cos I like a good rant.
Have a good week ladies and gents
Chris

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Another week, another step on the way to full recovery

So here we are, this week marks four months since the operation. Its frustrating that progress is up and down , but given that I was not expecting to eat or talk for many months, I cant complain.
The good news this week is that , for the first time in months, the leg is not infected- the swabs results came back negative, so no anti- biotics. The last week has seen a succession of different District Nurses, as they are short staffed at present, the net result is that the wound has been treated differently by each one, as they all have their own way of dealing with it. The leg is now improving and is now back to the state it was a couple of weeks ago.
Eating is going well, there is very little I cant manage - chips and crisps remain off limits for now, but I can even eat sandwiches now - albeit I dont bite, its more a question of ripping them apart.
Driving is going well, trip to Nottingham last week with no ill effects except for a feeling a bit tired afterwards, but my confidence is back. Going to try a few holes this week if my physio doesn't put a spoke in it tomorrow, it looks like its going to be a good week.
Blog again, next week.
Have a good week
Chris

Friday, 10 February 2012

Almost four months gone

Good Afternoon All,
Another week gone and not much to report. The foul tasting anti-biotics have been consigned to history but appear to have done the job as the wound continues to heal. The shoulder exercises are going well, I've got much more movement and can now swing a club, so a bit more leg improvement and we'll be chasing white balls around Thonock Park. Worst comes to the worst, I could hire a buggy , but you all know I'm a bit tight.
The exercise regime is now in full swing, I'm walking just over a mile every day without much after effect but I've been warned not to overdue it by the district nurse ( perhaps she might have had a different view if she had seen me last Saturday ). We had a blockage in the sewerage pipe ( lovely ). I managed to get 27 yards of drain rods down it before I found the blockage , which was under the footpath outside our house.Good news, the change of laws last year means that the problem was in Anglian Waters bit, so a quick phone call and out came a man with a van - an hour later, problem solved, so my 2 hours of rodding in sub zero temperatures was not in vain, but I'm a long way from fitness.
Birmingham hasn't set a date for my next op yet but I should know in a fortnight or so - I hope I get a bit of notice as I'm setting up dates for the next few months. Booked 4 holidays to date ( not a ski-ing holiday yet, but it will come next year).
Fridays meal at the Cross Keys went very well, apart from the lack of alcohol, I managed to pick enough from the menu to have a nice meal without having to chew. Social life somewhat curtailed due to the snow fall over the last week but gave me a chance to catch up on all the filing I had stuffed into a heap over the last 3 years- didn't realise how much time my job took up but everything is in order now.Time to take on the utilities !
Best Wishes to all
Chris

Friday, 3 February 2012

Ups and Downs continue

Good Afternoon All,
I'm starting to think that all these changes are designed to test my sense of humour. After the last week or two I was getting more and more confident that I was on top of these little problems and that it was only a matter of time before I was out and about doing everything I wanted but .......
The week started well - I sold the raffle tickets at this years pantomime.This gave me the chance to see what reaction, if any, I would get from people who meet me only occasionally.There were no odd looks or comments, in fact, the only comments I got were from people asking why I wasn't in this years production and one asked if I had broken my leg.That gives me the confidence to know that my appearance has almost returned to normal- what I see is not what other people see. I stayed for all 3 performances, which all went down very well. The male contingent ( now up to 4 ) all performed extremely well - a far cry from being the only male on occasions in the past. The ladies always perform well, but ,then again, some of them have performed more often than some professionals. Three good shows and another £1000 + raised for the village hall.
District Nurse arrived on Monday to dress the leg, all looked OK, but the results of last Wednesdays swab were still awaited,so, on course for the fitness regime to start - for all of ten minutes. Thats the amount of time between one District Nurse leaving and a second one arriving with the results of the swab ( yet another infection ) and a prescription of some of the foulest tasting anti-biotics I have ever had the misfortune to swallow. These are particularly strong - absolutely no alcohol and a long list of common side-effects. Considering that I've planned meals out tonight and tomorrow ( Saturday ), that really puts a spoke in the wheel.
Tuesday was a little better, the physio is fairly pleased with my progress to date and suggested a few additional exercises but swimming is not a 'runner' until the leg heals.Started with a cold, but two days of nose running and doses of hot lemon has sorted it out.  Wednesday saw the visit to Bassetlaw Hospital where I saw a very nice young Asian female doctor  who examined my skull, pronounced my wound as 'sun damage' and proceeded to fire a carton of liquid nitrogen at the wound. The temperature of this stuff is minus 'a lot', it felt a little like a red hot poker but I've had worse and let her keep going until she had finished the treatment. Looks sore at present, but not much pain and I'm due back in three months, but it is not skin cancer.
Thursday saw the return of the District Nurse, having decided to let it go for another day. Removal of the bandages showed a deterioration in the wound, it is now back discharging slough, so back to 3 visits a week.
I've decided to walk on it to get my fitness back and did a mile this morning with no pain, so we will see what the next visit brings. Expect another swab next week - at least I will get one week to get a pint or two in. I'll let you know how I get on.
Best Wishes
Chris

Friday, 27 January 2012

First Round to me

Good Afternoon All,
Good news all round.District Nurses continue to call 3 times a week, but my favourite nurse has just left for another job.She tried to get my leg repaired before she left and almost made it. Since last week,I've been taking intravenous Guinness and , guess what, its just about worked.As at Wednesday, the original 12 x 2 inch hole has now reduced in size to three small holes around the size of a 10p piece. No more blood oozing through the dressings, no more nasty surprises when I wake up , we are almost there.
Wednesday saw our latest visit to Birmingham. I AM CLEAR. The operation removed the tumour and everything else. My surgeon wants to finish the job as soon as he can, it will take a few more operations but they will all be relatively small ones which are 'run of the mill' dental work.When he has finished, I will have a bottom set of teeth and nothing will stop me eating that piece of cow ( medium/rare).
Swelling continues to reduce, we dont really know what I will be left with, but I am more than satisfied with my face as it now stands ( couldn't really improve on perfection anyway !!).I tried to see my GP last week but couldn't get an appointment which didn't clash with other medics,one of his colleagues has sent me to Bassetlaw Hosp. next week to have a funny looking skin blemish on the top of my head examined ( no, not to get my head examined !!).Birmingham had a look while I was there and believe its a typical sun blemish which bald men get. Dont know why I've got it, I'm not bald, just got a wide parting !Anyway, a different Hospital will make a change.
Social life going well - Lincoln won on Tuesday and 3 friends turned up, much better watching with others.Thursday night saw a cabaret act which I wasn't expecting, but a good night anyway. Tonight and tomorrow I'm selling raffle tickets at this years pantomime ( no Dame this year ) Its about the only job I can do sitting down but I will enjoy the company. Thanks for letter G, nice surprise .
Best Wishes to all
Chris

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Steady Progress ?

Good Evening All,
Its been a week now since my last offering and there is not a lot to report. The trip to Birmingham was very interesting as I met up with the people who are producing the project which I cannot tell you anything about yet  but if this blog interests you, I'm quite sure you will be interested in the project when it is released.
The surgeons are so pleased with the way that the jaw has stabilized and the movement in it ,that an appointment has been made next Wednesday to meet the dental expert who will be inserting the dental implants ( teeth ) in my lower jaw at a date to be agreed in March. I've agreed to have the operation filmed, not that I will know much about it, but at least someone will get something out of it.
The swelling has reduced substantially over the last week, so much so that I can now sculpture the beard back into the shape it was prior to the op. Its me, again ! The leg continues to annoy me, I can walk a reasonable distance now without any pain but I cant stand still for more than 5 minutes .When I meet anyone on my way to the paper shop, I have to give my apologies after a few minutes as my leg starts to throb, but as soon as I start walking again or put it up on the pouffe, the pain disappears. Looks like golf is a possibility soon, but umpiring may take a little longer.I've still got a few days of penicillin left so intravenous Guinness on Monday night then the repair of the skin will kick in at a greater rate of knots.
My shoulders locked on Sunday so I stopped the exercises.The physio released them on Monday, moaned at me for pushing too hard and not taking pain killers, so more gentle exercises this week at a slightly slower rate
Socially,I'm getting out much more now, went to watch Lincoln and Carshalton on Saturday just to remind me what depression really is, went to a concert in Gainsborough on Sunday , once again it was OK while my leg was raised, but it gave me a bit of jip when it was down. Going to see Dan and Han ( eldest son and daughter-in-law (that sounds odd)), this weekend- first time away since coming home, proving to be a logistical exercise remembering all the pills,creams,bandages and other aids but I'm looking forward to it.
Blog next week.
Best Wishes to all ( there are 4000+ of you now )
Chris

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

New Year, same old problems

Good Evening Friends,
Had a very interesting last few days, some improvements, another target achieved ,another setback and an interesting take on cutbacks.Not bad for five days.So lets start in chronological order.
Friday was my first visit to the Hospice for physio on my shoulders or so I thought. It turned out to be an administrative exercise to determine whether I was eligible for treatment. Whilst the staff were very friendly and welcoming, it became more obvious throughout the hour long form-filling exercise that the services provided by the Hospice had been severely curtailed since my father accessed them less than a year ago.As the tumour which was killing me had been removed, the question of whether or not I remained terminally ill was the focus of the eligibility process. Eventually, after much discussion, it was agreed that as I remained under treatment from QE and had not been informed that I was not going to die imminently, then I could access the physio and an appointment was set up.
Monday started in a dis-organised fashion scuppering the planned quiet day. The phone rang at 8.30 - yes that was a.m. Rob- with my GP informing me that the swab from the leg wound taken on the previous Wednesday had shown an infection and a course of penicillin was required. Shortly afterwards,QE Birmingham rang to ask if I would go to clinic on Friday of this week. The QE text arrived around half an hour later showing an appointment time 5 hours before that agreed earlier,so another phone call to find out which was right. Net result is that we are off to Birmingham for 1.30 on Friday.What delights await me there ?
Today was my first visit with the physio who very quickly identified the problem which had been caused as a result of the aftermath of the op.A pressure point massage and a few exercises helped to increase the flexibility of my shoulders and I was given a few exercises to undertake 3 times a day. The dumbbells have to go back into storage for a month or so because I was building up muscles which might permanently stop the shoulders sockets from returning to normal, so exercises and pill taking will be this weeks plan.
Socially, all is going well. Friday evening I called round to the pantomime practise and read in for a couple of characters who were missing - I found that that helped develop my speech further and my fellow cast members felt that I had lost none of my volume.
Saturday, I went to watch Lincoln City ( fourth goal achieved ). Lynn drove me in and picked me up after the game. The match is better described as a typical Lincoln effort - 93 minutes before a shot on target. Saturday evening we went out with friends - we usually share the driving ( I drive there, she drives back ) but now she has to drive both ways. Sunday we went to a Luncheon / Dance to celebrate a friends birthday and Monday evening we went out to celebrate Petes birthday. As I'm not taking as much exercise as I used to , I will have to watch my eating soon as I've already had my stomach disapprovingly poked by you know who.Pills means less Guinness so that may help  - not ?? Time for exercises ,so bye for now and thanks for reading.
Best Wishes
Chris

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Happy New Year

Good Afternoon ( or whatever time of the day it is for readers ),
Happy New Year to you all.
We are now 5 days into the new year and it has been over a week since my last offering so here is the latest update.
Starting as usual with medical matters, after all this is what this blog is designed for ! Still progressing, still proving difficult to heal and testing the experts.The good news is that the donor site for my second skin graft ( which fell off ) has now stopped bleeding, the scabs have all dropped off and whilst it looks red raw, there is no pain and parts (around 5%) have already reverted to normal skin colour. The second good news is that the swelling continues to recede around the jaw , so much so that I can now open my jaw to its full extent ( just in time to start yelling at those lazy articles turning out at Sincil Bank ) and my tongue can extend far enough to feel the internal stitches which have yet to dissolve in my mouth. That means that all above the knee is progressing well.
The main wound, that bit where a part of my fibia was relocated into my mouth, is healing at a different pace in different areas of the leg. The top section and the bottom section are over granulating ( which apparently means healing too quickly - I had the same problem with the trachy hole healing) .That means that the proposed doppler exercise is pointless because a compression bandage will speed up healing over all the area and now we are trying to slow down some parts - bugger it !!
I have been given an appointment at the physio at the Hospice tomorrow as I'm having some difficulties with my shoulders ( must get that right before my first round of Golf - not that it would make much difference - I'm no bandit at 26 !! ). I have had some discomfort since my first operation, but thought it was because I was propped up in an awkward position 24 hours a day for over a week. When we went out on new years eve, I had much difficulty putting on my jacket, it was then that I realised that my shoulders had fallen forwards giving me a humped back. The District Nurse felt that I might be doing more harm than good with my dumbbells so I've stopped that until I get advice from the physio.
On the social front I've had another good week- had a couple of visitors and a good many phone calls as people begin to realise that I can hold an intelligent conversation ( dont know how the surgeons managed to implant that ability).The New Years Eve dance with Jo at Morton Village hall was a really good do. It took me a long time to get ready, almost 20 minutes to tie the bow tie and almost as long to get into my dinner jacket. I was allocated a corner seat so that I could have my leg raised without being in anyones way and I was really looked after by Ann, Pete and Jo, including  special puddings and extra cakes as my bun eating is not yet up to scratch. Leg started to give me a bit of jip around 10.30 , thats when I realised that I didn't have it high enough but another guinness took the pain away. Its nice to see in the New Year with friends , especially when I didn't expect to see this one in at all. Monday night we went round to Ann & Petes for a meal and a natter , haven't done that for some time but it was a good night and Ann cooked according to my eating abilities.Hoping to get out a bit more this next week or so.
Bye for now
Chris

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Happy New Year

Good Afternoon Friends and welcome to my latest offering.
On the medical front, the swelling around my face continues to recede and I can now shave the bits I traditionally keep whisker free. The jaw is still a bit square but I can now feel my jaw line under the swelling and I can see that eventually I will look like me. The mouth has totally healed up although I'm still using the antiseptic mouthwash as not all of the stitches have disintegrated yet. The leg continues to cause concern amongst the medics- its healing very very slowly. the latest attempt involves monitoring of blood pressure in various parts of my body to see if I can stand a compression bandage,whatever that is. Friday may be monitoring day but we will wait and see.
On the social front, I've had a cracking Christmas - Pam told me it would be special - whilst it was almost traditional (except that I wasn't able to take my 2 mile Christmas Day walk), we had a really good time. Dan and Hannah and Si and Beck came for Christmas Day, even though it was partners turn this year,and we had some good games, plenty of food and copious amounts of liquid. Dan tried to get his own back for me landing him with ' Boutrous Boutrous Ghali ' when we played 'Who am I ' 2 years ago. I expected some kickback but even when it came, I got' Banc Ki' Moon faster that he could establish 'Captain Haddock' from Tin-Tin, so nice try Dan but your Dads brain is still in good working order.
Just before Christmas I went to Gainsborough Organ Society Christmas concert in my traditional role as 'clothes horse' .This time the coven who organise this thing decided that I may not be up to a female part, so dressed me as an Edwardian Carol Singer ( pictures on facebook ). Made a pleasant change from the usual slappers which they dress me up as!!!!.Lynn was dressed  as the Fairy on the Christmas Tree ( same photo ). Good costume but when she tripped, she found out that the wings were not up to the job, she is now known as ' Orville' the duck that cant fly !
Managed to walk to the 'Lion' on Christmas Eve and whilst I'm still regulating my alcohol intake, had a good couple of hours. The frustrating thing is that I cant stand for more than 2 or 3 minutes before my leg plays up . Its Ok walking but doesn't like standing, so propping up the bar isn't an option at present.
New Years Eve is planned for Morton village Hall, so hoping for a good night.
Best Wishes to you all for the New Year - I'm really amazed at the number of people reading this thing from so many different countries, so my very best wishes to you all and I sincerely hope that the New Year brings you peace, good health and happiness.
Chris