#Jaye’s Week …

Anita came home from the hospital after having the pacemaker fitted with a digital monitor, something that will be plugged in next to her bed to record her heart activity while she sleeps. This amazing gadget is linked to the hospital and can alert them and us in the event of another heart attack. It will also record if it has been called upon to restart or shock Anita’s heart back to a normal rhythm.

Knowing what to do when or if this ever happens, is extremely complicated, so the next home visit from the heart failure nurse will be full of questions.

And speaking of questions, there seems to be far too many answers now, none of which are helping us to know what is really going on at any one time.

In fact, we are more confused than ever as each doctor/person we speak to, seems to have a different explanation of what’s going on.

Anita is progressing, albeit slowly and that’s what really counts, isn’t it?

Ten days later, Anita began to have trouble breathing again, so it was back to the hospital to have her checked out.

It all seemed like the worst kind of Déjà vu.

Before the pacemaker was fitted, Anita was getting on well, doing small jobs around the house and even walking to town almost every day.

This simple procedure seems to have sent her back to how she was in the beginning, something she is not happy about!

They were very thorough with their checks, and everything was deemed normal apart from the fluid in her lungs, but no explanation as to why.

As the next lockdown starts, I am hoping to knuckle down and finally get cracking with the writing as my muse is getting so tired of waiting for me. 

I just wish she could learn to type!

Good luck to those of you who are taking part in NaNo this year!

The Force…

Image by Rondell Melling from Pixabay

The night of the storm I couldn’t run for shelter
I run into the dark funnel wanting to be lifted
Carried like a small child
Go where the storm takes me
Be in the place where it ends
A place nobody visits.
Where hundreds of sighs gathered after the storm
Carried by the last of the wind
As those on the ground stand and stare
at the devastation left by the storm
I stand in the empty space where it all began
There is no silence
I hear a sigh echo in my head
Nothing vanishes
The changing force will return…

©anitadawes 2020

#Tuesday Book Blog ~ CrossFire…with poem by Anita #MysteryThriller

CROSS X7.jpg

Excerpt from CrossFire

‘Do you know why we have brought you here today, Ann?’

Ruth thought she would ease her way in, rather than accuse her straight off, for triggering any hostility wouldn’t get them anywhere.

The woman stared at Ruth, her pale, colourless eyes searching for clues. ‘Nah… but I ‘spect you’ll get to it pretty quick…’

Ruth indicated a brown paper bag on the table beside her. ‘We found a pair of work boots at your house, Ann. According to your husband, they’re not his. Are they yours?’

Ann Taylor glared at Ruth. She seemed to be enjoying the interview, her arrogance showing through the previous nervousness. ‘Dunno, can’t see them can I?’

Ruth undid the bag and placed the dirty boots on the table. Most of the mud had dried and fallen off, but still didn’t seem like the kind of boot a woman would wear. ‘Are these your boots, Ann?’

Without looking at the boots, she shook her head. ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’

Ruth looked at Snow, but not for confirmation. She wondered why he was choosing to stay silent. What was the point of sitting in if he wasn’t going to contribute? Not that she cared, one way or the other. She had only looked at him to signify inclusion.

She looked back at the woman. ‘Are you quite sure, Ann?’

The woman shrugged her shoulders and refused to speak.

‘For the benefit of the tape, Ann Taylor has refused to answer.’

Ruth decided to read out the coroner’s report, detailing every bruise and damage to the child’s body. When she read the part about the boot imprint on the child’s back, she slid the photograph across the table in front of the mother.

‘Did you do this, Ann?’

When the woman didn’t answer, Ruth decided it was time to play the ace card, and she looked forward to it. This cold-hearted bitch of a woman was about to be arrested, but not before Ruth had enjoyed herself. ‘Are you aware that the person who wore these boots would have left significant DNA inside them?’

Ruth paused, watching as the realisation sunk in.  ‘And are you also aware that we have tested your DNA and it has been proved that you are the owner of these boots?’

The fear and shame were beginning to show on the woman’s face, and Ruth watched, wondering what she would do now. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.

Ann Taylor’s face seemed to implode, as the terror of being found out took effect.  ‘I swear I don’t remember that part… I know I were angry, but when she fell over and banged her head, I thought she was dead…’

‘So what did you do then, Ann?’ Ruth knew what had happened next, but not which one of them had done it.  ‘Were you aware that Amy was still alive when you dropped her into the canal?’

The horror was all-encompassing, as the woman realised the enormity of what she had done. She looked around the room, just once, before she started screaming…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

#FlashFiction Challenge for Carrot Ranch Literary Community

It was my turn to tell a Halloween story
as we sat around the campfire
The stories before mine had been tame
And most were ready to call it a night
I picked up my knitting and smiled
Thinking of my story and how boredom
Would be the least of their worries
With each row of knitting, the tension grew
Made unbearable by the mysterious sounds
Of rustling coming from the trees behind us
When the screaming began, my story lost listeners
I cut the yarn, leaving the old branch it was tied to
To rot in the woods…

© Jaye Marie 2020

The Waiting is Over!

The Waiting is Over!

Of course, it had to be raining the morning we left for the hospital.

It was early and the sky matched our mood, grey and sombre.  Which was strange, as this day was supposed to have felt wonderful for all that it signified.

I couldn’t believe we had arrived at this day with no delays, complications, misunderstandings, or backings out (from anyone!)

If Anita were worried or nervous, we couldn’t tell, as she was unusually quiet. But it was early, and she was never at her best until at least two cups of coffee had been consumed, and today, she wasn’t allowed anything to eat or drink.

We weren’t looking forward to leaving her, literally at the hospital doors and having to walk away. We would all be there at her side in our minds but that had never compensated before and made none of us feel any better.

We had been instructed to return home to wait, no hanging around in the car park, as the procedure and all the safety checks would probably take most of the day. The house seemed dreadfully empty and lonely when we walked in, reminding us of that last awful time when we didn’t know whether she would be coming home at all. I didn’t really want to be there, stewing in memories and trying not to worry, but Anita had made us promise to be at home, so I did what I usually do when I am miserable or worried. I started to clean house.

I cleaned and dusted, hoovered, and tidied the entire house, but when I ran out of jobs it was only 1pm. This would have been a golden opportunity to catch up with some writing, but my head and heart were out of sync, so I curled up on the couch with my laptop and waited for the phone to ring.

When the call came, we were amazed at how cheerfully normal Anita sounded. She said she felt fine and had spent most of the time chatting to the consultant while he pushed and shoved the pacemaker thingy into her chest.

I had a bit of a shock when I had a peek at Anita’s chest, expecting to see a small dressing on what was supposed to be a small incision. It looked far from small and the dressing was already soaked with blood. The surrounding area was badly bruised, leading me to imagine they might have attacked her with a bread knife and not a scalpel.

Not a pretty sight!

Anita seemed in good spirits, although very tired. There was no pain in her chest but her left arm was aching. It would be several hours before the pain from the surgery would kick in, leaving us with just paracetamol to control it.

Getting comfortable in bed would prove to be almost impossible for her, so the next few days would be difficult, for Anita would need her sleep.

Will this pacemaker/defibrillator improve Anita’s quality of life?

Only time will tell…

Too Much Information!

Life in the Dawes household is on a knife edge now, as the date for Anita’s next and hopefully successful visit to the hospital draws ever nearer.

They plan to be fitting Anita with a pacemaker/defibrillator on Wednesday next week to persuade her poor old heart to start behaving normally. In preparation, we have been bombarded with a cart load of instructions, safety checks and medication updates.

There is so much to remember, and even more information that we really didn’t need, but you know doctors, they must tell you everything, including, in great detail, everything that could go wrong.

Me personally, I like to know what might happen to me, even the bad stuff, but Anita would rather not dwell on that side if things. She hasn’t said as much, but I know she would rather carry on as she is, even with all the breathlessness and fatigue, than walk into that hospital again. If we do get her there, she will be doing it for us, her family and not for herself.

So when the consultant began to describe, in detail, about how he would be feeding several wires through her veins into and around her heart, and that she would be awake while this was all going on, I could clearly see her having second thoughts. 

He then made a tricky moment even worse by rattling off everything bad that could happen while she was on the table. Anita didn’t need him to describe everything she would hear and feel either. I could tell by her face that she desperately wanted to tell him she had changed her mind.

Apart from childbirth some fifty years ago and a broken leg a while back, Anita hasn’t had much to do with doctors and hospitals. Just by osmosis through me and all my many medical problems. For sisters, we couldn’t be more different, even though we look alike…

So, understandably, she is becoming extremely nervous and hating every minute. It wouldn’t take much to have her making for the hills!

These next few days will be an extreme test of everyone’s patience, tact, and diplomacy as we all try to convince ourselves and each other that everything will be fine. Anita will have a Covid test on Sunday and be confined to barracks until the day we leave for the hospital…

Hell of a Week…

It would be lovely if I could think of one thing at a time these days, but it’s not happening. I have been trying to publish shadows, Anita’s new book of poetry. Fate is conspiring against me, but I aim to release it next week.

And the more I struggle to think about writing, it opens the floodgates for a ton of ideas to jump into my head. I often wonder if I am on the wrong horse, so to speak.

Wrong house more like, as we have had major roadworks outside the house for two weeks. They have moved along the road today, but I can still hear their infernal noise. 

And now we have these temporary traffic lights right outside the front door!

So concentrating has been a mite difficult, to say the least.

Making sure we have enough medication for Anita is proving difficult too, as our doctor’s surgery is obviously being run by a bunch of idiots. That is probably a little unkind, as I’m sure they are doing their best. I keep sending them the updated lists from the hospital whenever the meds change, but they still don’t get them right.

Then today, the heart consultant telephoned to talk about the pacemaker/defibrillator and to reassure us that it will happen soon. This will be the last piece of the puzzle and will finally fix Anita’s wagon!

Petersfield Pond

This afternoon, the family took us out to our local lake, affectionally called the Pond. We love this place, but it seemed as though the whole of Petersfield had the same idea! There was no room on any of the benches and the lovely cafe had removed all their seating, so I had to forego my usual mug of hot chocolate. 

All things considered, it was wonderful to see the water and the wildlife and the walk was undoubtably good for us both…

I don’t want to be here…

From the hospital bed…

I don’t want to be here
I shouldn’t be here
They changed my pills
Brought me back again
Far worse than before
Now more tests
Needles everywhere
To see if they can fix me
Keep me from coming back
Now I’m stuck inside
These four grey walls
Feeling a little sorry for myself
As I shouldn’t be here.
The upside is the people I have met
They are wonderful
They keep me from screaming
I am counting the bruises
Up my arms instead
Thank God for the phone
I can talk to Jaye
Drive her mad instead
My son drove here
Like Mad Max on super speed
If he had not run that last red light
They say I would have been
Floating above their heads
Thank God they ripped
My clothes off in time
To keep me earthbound
More tests tomorrow
Home soon after that
I hope!

©anitadawes 2020

Jaye: just received a phone call from Anita… she’s coming home this afternoon!

The Update I never wanted to post…

This is the most upsetting post I have ever written, but you have all been so kind and supportive of Anita, I knew I had to tell you what’s been happening and ask for even more thoughts and prayers…

Waiting and worrying was bad enough, but when Anita began to show signs of distress, we were thrown into a very different ball game.

She kept insisting she was fine, but late on Saturday night her breathing became seriously laboured and alarm bells were ringing loud and clear. We managed to persuade her to go back to the hospital as we thought she was having another heart attack.

On the way there, she deteriorated rapidly, moaning in pain, and gasping for breath, causing Stephen (number one son) to drive like a boy racer and run at least one red light, as we knew every minute counted.

Just the mention of a heart attack set the well-oiled wheels of the emergency department in motion, leaving me and Stephen standing outside the hospital, barely holding back the tears.

That’s when it became serious.

Within minutes, a nurse came out to us to say oxygen was being administered and a full barrage of tests had begun. Anita’s blood pressure was so low it was on the floor and there was fluid in her lungs again. Her heart was failing and she had been put on life support.

Last time we were here, just 10 weeks ago, we were not allowed inside the hospital and had to wait in the car. This time, however, we were taken to the relative’s lounge, causing weird alarm signals to us both. Were they just being kind now that lockdown was easing, or was there a more sinister reason?

An hour later, the on-call consultant came to update us, and he didn’t mince his words. He said that Anita’s heart was failing, and she was extremely poorly and that we had brought her in the nick of time. A few minutes more and she might have died.

He went on to talk about resuscitation, that due to Anita’s age and condition, resuscitation would not be in her best interest. He didn’t ask for our permission to do anything, but the message was clear, he didn’t expect Anita to make it.

After he left, we clung together and bawled like babies, desperately praying he was wrong.

We later found out that they had to cut Anita’s clothing away, such was the urgency, and this still makes me cry every time I think about it.

But…

 sometime on Sunday, Anita began to rally, surprising the medical staff. They couldn’t figure out what was causing the problem, for all the tests were coming back normal but she wasn’t about to go anywhere! 

When we mentioned the recent MRI, we had the feeling they didn’t have any information about this. I wonder if they might have lost it.

Early on Monday, I picked up the phone to hear Anita’s voice! She had begged to use the hospital phone and it was beyond wonderful to hear her voice and she sounded so normal as she listed her requests. She was still in intensive care, so hardly normal, but she sounded great to me!

Tomorrow, they have a load more tests lined up, tests that they are confident will give them some important answers…

I was just going to post this when some welcome news turned up!

They have discovered a blood clot inside her heart, and her arteries are no longer clear. There will be further tests, including an angiogram tomorrow, which may result in the application of stents.  All this, although distressing, is proof that this time she won’t be coming home until fit for purpose!

As testament to her improving health, she is busy writing in her hospital bed, and we talk frequently on the phone about everything!

Updating Anita…

I have been wanting to write this post for ages, as I hoped to have good news to share about Anita’s poor old ticker. I seem to be complaining about everything, but we are so grateful for the care and support she has received from the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. and do appreciate how difficult it must be.

After 10 weeks of recovery, we have no clear idea of how she really is, medically speaking, although she does look a lot better these days and seems more like her old self. The breathlessness is easing a little, so using the stairs is less of a worry, and although we have had no news yet, the cardiac failure nurse has visited twice, and she says Anita is doing very well.

We are not however, totally convinced.

We really need to know what the recent MRI showed, the extent of the damage and/or how much it has recovered, for then we could possibly relax a little. (or maybe not!)

A letter arrived from the hospital yesterday with an appointment for a contrast echocardiogram next week.

Something else we will have to wait forever for a result, I suppose…