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My Diary/Blog For the Month of
September 2013

Sunday 29th September 2013
 07:27 BST

  At some time, perhaps around 5pm, there was a light splash of rain yesterday, and a slightly damp look to the road suggests there could have been a shower sometime in the night, but it is dry now.  The sun is now climbing over the horizon into a cloudy looking sky, and the current temperature is 14 C.  The BBC seems to think that much of today could be sunny, and the temperature should peak at 17 C during the late afternoon.

 Having a totally lazy day, over half of it laying on my bed yesterday, was pleasant enough at the time, but brings certain problems today. This morning I woke up plagued with aches and pains and stiffness. Some have reduced since taking a hot shower (actually a little too hot to really luxuriate under), while others are still just as bad.

 There are various places on my chest that were almost numb until recently. As the feeliing comes back to them I suffer increased amounts of pain. It is usually fairly short lived, but it all adds into the general mish-mash that is making this part of my recovery far worse than the first part. Various movements and/or postures can trigger all sorts of exciting pains around the wounds in my chest.

 Fortunately other bits of me seem to be far better behaved. I can't recall any significant pain or tightness from my leg wound for quite a few days now (maybe longer). I'm still getting periods of pain from my left arm as the nerves there regenerate/heal. There is a certain amount of potential reward from those pains. I seem to be getting more feeling back in my left hand after those periods of pain. Bits of it are almost normal, but other bits are taking an annoying amount of time to recover.

 My doctor, or at least one of them, says it could be weeks before my hand recovers, but every so often it feels tantilisingly closer than that. I guess there is nothing I can do to speed the process up, and I just have to be patient......and that's difficult. I have this romantic notion that once I have two strong hands again I will be able to tackle anything,

 Later this morning I should be getting a visit from Aleemah. I'll be meeting her at the station, and then, depending on how I feel, we'll either walk down as far as Tesco to buy some sandwiches for our breakfasts, or we'll walk all the way to the Wetherspoons pub where Aleemah can get a cooked veggie breakfast, and I can have a pint of beer.

 I hope I have the energy for the longer walk. In theory I should have, and in theory, after a sit down in the pub, I should have enough energy to go shopping in Aldi - which is practically on the way home anyway. There are a few things I could get from there, but none are urgent, and in some ways it might be better not to go in there and risk the temptation to buy stuff that I really ought to be avoiding (in theory I am still intending to lose some more weight, but it is not easy while I am following such an unstructured life at the moment).
Saturday 28th September 2013
 09:48 BST

  It felt like this morning would turn out brighter than it actually is right now.  It's not exactly grey, but close to it. The only positive aspect is that it is 16 C - one degree warmer than it was yesterday morning. The temperature could rise a couple of degrees by mid afternoon, and by the afternoon there is a small chance of a spot of rain.

 Once again the nurse declared that my wounds were healing very well indeed. While she attended to the few dressings I still need, I occasionally coughed and wheezed. It was enough to convince her that a doctors opinion would be a good idea. So she made me an appointment to see a doctor in the afternoon. Sometimes it seems the only way to get an appointment at the surgery is to get one from the inside - cold calling almost seems to fall on deaf ears !

 After seeing the nurse I took a wander up the high street, and visited a cash machine for the first time this month. I withdrew some money, and the balance left in my account was roughly half a months pay.  This was good news. I'm not expecting to get much in the way of sick pay, and starting October with half of last months pay still in my account is comforting.

 With some money in my wallet I walked back along the high street to the 99p shop. I wanted to buy some shower gel, shampoo and conditioner from there, but I also wanted to buy something "naughty". Naughty, in this case, was mostly the bag of chocolate drops, but the crinkle cut crisps came a close second. I also bought a few borderline foodstuffs, but I couldn't find any shower gel to my liking.

 If it hadn't been for a couple of painful coughing fits while I was out, it would have been an effortless shopping trip. When I got home I decided not to touch anything I'd bought until I'd seen the doctor. One of the "joys" of the group medical practice is that you are never sure if you will see the same doctor twice. One this occasion I didn't.

 I can't recall the name of the young woman doctor I saw, but she seemed quite good. She had a listen to my chest and declared that it was all a bit raspy, and yet she wasn't convinced that it was an infection. She too thought that a lot of it was just the reaction to an absence of smoke, but she prescribed some anti-biotics just in case there was some underlying infection.

 She also prescribed something far more useful - and effective - a Salbutamol inhaler. Normally these are used by asthmatics, but a quick squirt of it dilates the airways enough to make coughing so much easier, and far less painful. It is possible that I am using it a bit too liberally, but the relief is really good.

 On the whole I had a fairly comfortable afternoon and evening yesterday. Eating "forbidden fruit" is a habit I can't allow myself to get into, but it satisfied a certain itch last night. One area where I still suffered was my left hand (including wrist and elbow). I am sure it is actually a good sign that the nerves that give me feeling in the left hand are regenerating, but while doing so they can be quite painful. This morning I can definitely sense a change for the better in my left and. There is a hint that the last numb fingers are getting some sensation back in them. I think this is quicker than expected, and I am very cautiously optimistic that this time next week could see almost normal function from my left hand.

 I am not due to see Aleemah, or any other visitors today, and I'm not sure how I'll be spending the day. I think I will make some sort of effort to go for a walk in the park today, but I must admit I don't feel very keen to do it right now. It is more likely that I may go to Tesco today, even though there is very little I need from there. I'll be seeing Aleemah tomorrow, and that might even include a walk to the pub where she can get a veggie breakfast, and I can get a beer, but that's tomorrow. Right now I fancy another lie down, and maybe study the inside of my eyelids :-)
Friday 27th September 2013
 10:46 BST

  The weather continues on a stable path of cool, sometimes grey mornings, and better than mild, but not exactly warm afternoons. Right now it is bright outside. Although it's not exactly full strength sunshine. The temperature outside is a slightly disappointing 15 C, but a few more degrees could be added by the end of this afternoon. In the longer term the weather will deteriorate as autumn gets it's grip on things.

 I thought it was time for a gruesome picture......
staples in my chest
.....one final souvenir picture of the staples that were holding my chest together after the operation just 3 weeks ago now. They were taken out last Tuesday, and in a few places the scars are fading far faster than I could ever have imagined. I expect I'll have some sort of scar there for the rest of my life, but just maybe it won't be quite as prominent as I thought (or even hoped for in my more reckless moments).

 As many parts of me heal, I have had one significant set back. That is the cough that I mentioned on Wednesday. I think the doctors assumption that it is a reaction to not smoking is most probably right. On the whole it is a mild and intermittent affair, just a clearing of the throat, but at other times it can be shear agony. Every so often something appears in my airways that needs a more vigourous type of cough, and that feels like it is really tearing my chest muscles. The worst is the even rarer dry cough - there's not even any payoff for the agonies involved.

 I am also having intermittent trouble with my left arm and hand. Sometimes it gets quite sore, and I am sure this is to do with the bruised nerves regenerating. There are hints that I am starting to get something close to more useable feeling back in the little fingers of my left hand. They are still very tingly, but I think it feels something like the other fingers felt as sensation came back to them. It is a very slow process, but at least I can kid myself it is progress.

 I am making progress in the exercise I am taking. Yesterday morning I went shopping in Tesco.  Apart from inconveniently starting to cough while at the checkout, it was no big deal to walk there, and walk back again - and that included carrying two 2l bottles of Diet Coke back. Although I suppose I could admit that I would not liked to have walked much further than that in one hit.

 In the evening I went out for another walk - to the pub ! I met up with a limited sub set of the "Thursday gang", and had three pints of Guinness with them. I guess I was in the pub for about 90 minutes, and that felt about the right time. It also coincided with me almost emptying my wallet.

 I still have a 5 note in it, and that is quite remarkable considering I last visited a cash machine before I went into hospital at the beginning of this month. The two or three shopping trips I've made to Tesco now were all paid from my Tesco Clubcard Plus, and I haven't touched my wages for this month apart from standing orders. This is all rather for the good because I am expecting my sick pay to be minute compared to my normal salary, and I'll have to survive on that pittance for two months at least.

 At 12:45 today I am seeing the nurse for a general check up. Hopefully she will just concentrate on my healing wounds, and hopefully we can have a discussion about this cough, and see if there is any way of regulating it short of taking up smoking again. After I've seen her I think I'll be topping up my wallet. There is practically no chance that I'll be going to see Chain playing tonight in West Wickham, but I'd like the resources to do so if my brain does some sort of flip out. One place where I think I will spend a little money is the 99p shop. Even though I know it will do me no good in the long run, I may even buy some chocolate as well as some shower gel.
Wednesday 25th September 2013
 11:20 BST

  Both yesterday and today have ended up bright and sunny after appallingly grey starts to the day.  The current temperature is just about 19 C, and it may well rise a degree or two before the afternoon ends. I believe yesterday hit 23 C.

 Yesterday was a busy day. In the morning I saw my doctor. He was very satisfied with my progress. He was also the first person to be able to explain to me why my left hand suffers from numbness, and was able to reassure me that it will eventually return to normal. The key information I was able to tell the doctor was how one side of my hand was almost normal, and the other wasn't.

 This ties in perfectly with how there are two bundles of nerves from the hand that take slightly different routes up the arm. It seems that while I was on the operating table these nerve fibres could easily have been "bruised", and now it is going to take a couple more weeks before the "bruising" heals. It all sounded feasible enough to convince me !

 After seeing the doctor I went next door to the pharmacy to pick up some fresh supplies of drugs. While waiting in there I got a call from my doctor . He said he had decided that I may as well have the staples that held my chest together removed, and suggested I make an appointment with a nurse to have it done.

 I managed to get an appointment for 2.30pm, and that gave me a couple of hours to go back home, and waste some time before making my second trip to the surgery. Getting the staples out was easier, and more comfortable than I had imagined. One or two of the 34 staples did give me a twinge, but the rest were close to painless.

 With the staples out of my chest, and my leg healing really well, I should have been well on my way to recovery, but there is a fly in the ointment. I have developed a bit of a cough. As coughs go it should be mild to insignificant, but trying to clear my airways using my bruised and battered chest muscles can be nothing short of agony ! Last night, when, like most nights since getting home from hospital, I was trying to find a comfortable position for sleep, I had double or treble the trouble. It really was a very uncomfortable night.

 Today I still have the cough, although it is more under control, but each cough can still be a very painful experience. Hopefully this cough will soon be over, but if it doesn't shift soon it is possible I'll be put on more anti-biotics.

 Today I have nothing to do, although there is a possibility that I might have a flying visit from Jodie. Mostly I want to devote all my effort into throwing off this cough.....and by effort I mean snoozing ! If I can get to feeling good again by late tomorrow afternoon, and the Thursday gang are drinking locally, then I think I rather fancy a pint tomorrow !
Monday 23rd September 2013
 15:37 BST

  It's actually beginning to brighten up after a day and a half of gloom. Yesterday was particularly gloomy, and although it wasn't cold, it seemed to extract any joy out of the air.  The temperature has probably been milder than I might expect recently. Right now it is just over 20 C, and if the sun can shine a little brighter it could go up a degree or two before sun set.

 I felt very tired and uninspired yesterday. Much of the tiredness was probably all in the mind, but with nothing to do all day, it was hardly worth trying to raise any energy for no reason. Under ideal conditions Sundays can be a bit like that, but while I am recovering, and sometimes in pain, Sundays can be far, far worse.

 One highlight was a brief visit from Chris. He brought back the laundry that Jo insisted I give her to do on Friday night. Chris also brought me a couple of bottles of Diet Coke to save me going out and carrying heavy stuff. How I am ever going to repay all this kindness is a mystery to me.

 I think I slept better last night, but I don't know why or how - particularly after taking very frequent snoozes during the day. Maybe having an agenda for this morning had something to do with it. After not bothering to wash yesterday, and not particularly thoroughly on Saturday, I thought I ought to make some sort of effort before seeing the nurse this morning.

 I don't know if I am just getting used to it, or if more sensation is returning to my left hand. It still wasn't easy, or comfortable, but it definitely seemed less difficult washing this morning. I left the area around my chest which is still stapled together, but managed to have a pterry good clean up.

 I arrived at the group practice/surgery a little early. First stop was the top floor where I gave some blood samples. It took less time than I anticipated, and that meant I was very early to see the nurse downstairs. To make matters worse, she was running late. So I had quite a long boring wait before seeing her.

 Now the silly thing was the nurse seemed to have no idea why I was there, nor did she seem to be able to find any details of my current treatment. So I showed her the long scar on my leg, and she re-dressed the two areas where there is still some seepage. I'm seeing a doctor tomorrow, and hopefully he'll have a better idea of what's going on.

 After leaving the surgery I decided that I should have enough energy to walk down the high street, and pop into Tesco to get a few items of shopping. It was possibly equal, or even a tiny bit longer than some of the short walks I've managed as part of my rehabilitation, and once the deed was done I still had to walk from Tesco to home.

 I was far less careful about what I bought in Tesco, and although I was concious of not buying anything too heavy, I didn't seem to care about only buying healthy stuff. In fact I bought a few very naughty items !! When I got it all home I felt like I had done just about the right amount of walking. I was still comfortable, but losing it fast.

 Since then  I have eaten some of what I shouldn't have, and I've basically setled into slob mode again. I've watched some TV, done a little reading, and snoozed a couple of times. I'd like to do more, but various pains intrude now and then. I seem to be getting more pain from my chest recently. It often feels like the wound is pulling. Laying down cures it, but then my shoulders often ache !

 The most annoying pain is because I don't really understand it, and it is a mix of joint and muscular pain from my left arm. Sometimes it can be really annoying, and sometimes, quite frequently in fact, there is no pain at all. I'm sure it is something to do with the numbness that remains across the little fingers of my left hand, and some of the general weakness in the hand. I hope it's not my imagination that it does seem to be improving, but at a damnably slow snails pace.
Saturday 21st September 2013
 15:29 BST

  Yesterday was like a watered down version of summer. It was bright, sunny, and just about warm.  Today is not exactly cold (16 - 17C), but it is grey, grey, grey !  It seems tomorrow could be almost warm eventually (21C) but the morning, while staying dry, is going to be greyer than grey. Only late afternoon might have a brief bit of watery sunshine.

 On Thursday morning I went out to post my sick certificate off to work, and to pick up fresh supplies of Diet Coke from the corner shop. When I got back I found the district nurse had finally turned up, just a week late, to change the dressings that the nurse at the the practice had changed the day before. She had the briefest of looks at my wounds before declaring everything was OK, and going on her way.

 Early in the afternoon I was visited by my friend all the way from the other end of the country, Barbara (otherwise known as Ruby). She brought me a little present of chilli sauces made in her home town of Keswick.  The timing of her fairly rare visits to London, and my hospital treatment, worked out rather well, and she was able to see me pre-operation, and now back at home on the road to recovery.  It was a pleasure to see you Barbara.

 Yesterday was a wholly different sort of day. In the morning I made another visit to see a different nurse at my doctors premises. She was very pleased with the healing of the very long scar on my left leg, and re-dressed the wound is a couple of places with little more than a large sticking plaster.  Walking to the surgery, and back again, is still slightly taxing, but not too bad. However, compared to what I did in the evening it was probably rather simple.

At a little after 5.30pm I set out for what was possibly my longest walk since getting out of hospital - but only longest by a handful of yards - all my common destinations all seem roughly the same distance. I walked non-stop all the way to The Catford Ram to see Chain play an early evening gig. I wasn't sure it was the wisest thing I've done, but I was determined to do it, and for the most part it was very enjoyable.

 It was the first time I've had any booze since before the beginning of this month, and it was the first time in countless years (probably over 40 years) that I've been to a pub with no sources of nicotine. I did have a few cravings for a fag, but somehow, much to my complete surprise, they seemed easy to overcome.

 It was a long night out, and ultimately I found myself feeling exhausted towards the end, but I very much enjoyed it. The curious looked at the metal staples in my chest, and Chris dedicated the Fleetwood Mac song, "Don't Stop" to me. Naturally I took my camera along...
Jo Corteen and Chris Mayer - Catford Ram - 20th Sept 2013
Jo and Chris (not performing "Don't Stop")
Jo Corteen at The Catford Ram 20th Sept 2013
....and Jo doing a solo number (Gold Dust Woman maybe).

 I faced a slight dilemna at the end of the gig. I had been almost ordered to hang around so that Jo and Chris could give me a lift home. If I hadn't waited, and had left very quickly, I might have been home an hour earlier, but I was feeling pretty tired, and gave in to the offered lift. Perhaps the worst thing about waiting was that it was starting to get very chilly - and I had come out in just my shirtsleeves.

 I probably slept better last night than since getting out of hospital, and if I had drunk more than 3 (or  4) pints of Guinness I may have slept even better. It still wasn't what I would call a good nights sleep, and today I've been feeling it after last night.

 Today I had a visit from my friend Aleemah, and this time I promised I would meet her at the station like I would usually. I left with loads of time to spare, and initially started walking far too fast towards the station. Things became a little easier when I slowed up a bit, but at no time did I feel any particular strain. I still feel something like a bit wobbly, but not actual dizzyness when walking, but it's probably getting better day by day.

 We walked back from the station at a slightly more sedate pace, but I was still very happy to get home again. We watched a DVD and had chat, but I was not a very good host today. At one point I dozed off !  Aleemah seemed to take that in her stride, but around 2pm I suggested that maybe she would like to go home - which she did, and I lay on my bed and snoozed for a bit.

 Today I am obviously tired, but I continue to heal. The scars on my leg are a lot less red, and the same is so for the scars on my chest. My main area of annoyance is the lack of feeling, or tingly feeling, and lack of strength in my left hand. It is made worse when sitting here typing. So it's lucky I have little more to say except that I think that the hand is still improving - just that it's in bloody small increments !
Thursday 19th September 2013
 07:20 BST

  Yesterday was not exactly sunny, but it did seem bright most of the time, and it was a lot less cool than it sometimes seemed to be. Today is forecast to reach 16 C by early evening, but it is going to be a very dull day with some showers in the first part of the afternoon.

 I had quite a busy day yesterday. In the morning I had a visit from the cardiac liason nurse. She seemed pleased with my progress, but was slightly concerned with the state of the wound on my left leg. So she arranged an appointment at my doctors for the nurse there to dress the wound, and for one of the doctors to prescribe some anti-biotics.

 I was only informed about that appointment in the afternoon after embarking on a test of my stamina. I decided that if I could get to the corner shop so easily then I should be able to walk all the way to Tesco. So just before midday I set out. I bought a few lightweight items when I got there, just enough to almost fill one carrier bag, and carried them home again. I think the entire exercise took me a tiny way beyond what I might have chosen as my comfort zone, but that probably just made the achievement feel all the better.

 During the afternoon I had a visit from my friend Jodie for an hour or so. After she left I had a little time to kill before going to my doctors. I think I managed a short snooze before it was time to get dressed and go out again. I think I found this second walk of the day a little more taxing than the first to Tesco, but at least I did have a rest while the nurse dressed my wounds.

 The other thing I picked up at the surgery, as well as the anti-biotic tablets, was my sick certificate. I've been judged unfit for work until the start of November, and that date could be extended if there are any set backs to my healing progress. I must get that certificate posted off to work today if I can.

 I felt quite tired yesterday evening, and I rather hoped I might sleep extra well last night, but I don't think I slept any better last night than the previous couple of nights. So I expect I'll be taking the odd snooze today - so no change there ! Some changes are getting harder and harder to detect. It would be nice to say that my wounds are getting less sore now, but I'm not sure if they are.

 It is still rather painful when I lie down. Some of the pain is from the front of my chest, but most is from the back, and along the shoulders. It passes after a time, and that is when I am able to get to sleep. One area that is still giving me a lot of grief is my left hand, and left arm.

 I think I am slowly getting more sensation back in my left hand, and I can certainly do more with it now, but progress is excruciatingly slow. To make matters worse, it seems that the more my hand improves, I get more pain and discomfort from the arm joints and muscles. I can only hope that it all comes out right in the end.

 Today I have a semi busy day. Sooner or later I have to clean myself up - perhaps washing my hair if I can raise enough enthusiasm. Then, assuming I've found a suitable envelope and stamp, I've got to go and post my sick certificate off to work. At the same time I'll buy something from the corner shop. What I am most looking forward to is a visit from my friend Barbara. The only trouble is that I have no idea when she is thinking of coming. I must contact her to find out what sort of time she thinks she will be visiting.
Tuesday 17th September 2013
 11:39 BST

  Yesterday afternoon, and into the evening, remained dry, and on the whole, not too cool. There have been a few (semi) sunny spells this morning, but mostly it is overcast. There seems to be some disparity between the forecast temperature and what I seem to be measuring. I reckon it's almost 15 C, but the forecasts suggests it should only be 11 C. This afternoon is forecast to be no warmer, but definitely wetter ! I hope that that the long term forecast for this coming Friday is correct. It could be bright, sunny, and almost warm at 17 C.

 It was a joy to see my friend Patricia yesterday. She turned up here during the afternoon, and we spent an hour or two catching up with the news, and then she did a little light shopping for me. Late in the afternoon she went out again to meet up with her other friends. The original plan was that she would return by mid evening, and we would have dinner together (probably a pizza), but I was feeling too tired to eat when she arrived back.

 Patricia stayed the night here in the spare room that I had just about managed to tidy up for her, and I was able to enjoy her company, and to accept some help from her this morning. One invaluable thing she was able to do for me was to clip my right hand fingernails. Although my left hand seems to be improving, I still cannot control nail clippers with it.

 The other thing Patricia did for me was to accompany me on my first little walk. I was not sure how well it would go, but I was determined to walk to the corner shop. It's only two minutes there, and two minutes back under normal circumstances, and it seems it took no longer this morning. I bought a magazine, a packet of crisps, and a couple of 1.75l bottles of Diet Coke while I was there. Patricia insisted on carrying the stuff back home for me, but I am sure I would have managed it easily by myself.

 Just over half an hour ago Patricia left here to start her way back to Spain. So I am back on my own again, but I'm sure I'll be seeing her sometime next year (she'll be spending the winter in Argentina). Now I have to fight with boredom again, and this time it is enhanced by the knowledge that I now know that I could go out for short walks if only there was any destination that would give any point to a short walk.

 I continue to heal, but it is a tediously slow process, and the improvements so small that it is hard to know if I am just imagining them. Maybe the ease with which I walked to and from the corner shop is the best proof that I am on the mend. The next big improvement I am hoping for is to get some proper feeling back in my left hand. I can feel texture, but it's overlaid by a tingling sensation. However I did manage to use my left hand to operate a can of deoderant for the first time this morning. So maybe even that is improving.

 My next big "excitement" should come tomorrow, possibly in the morning. The cardiac follow up nurse is due to visit me. Perhaps between us we will make an appointment to see my gp, and get things moving in that direction. I'm looking forward to Thursday too when Ruby will be dropping by.
Monday 16th September 2013
 09:29 BST

  This morning has started out very much like yesterday - it's bright and sunny, and rather cool - just 11 C as I write this. The temperature is only due to rise by a couple of degrees at best for today, but the sunshine, with a few scatttered showers mixed in this afternoon, should continue until late afternoon/early evening.

 I had another visitor yesterday. My friend Jodie dropped by for half an hour or so. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling too good when she came round. It seemed I had expended most of my energy during the morning, and was ready to have an afternoon rest. My energy levels seem far too erratic to really say whether I have any energy or not.

 For instance I seemed to feel quite lively earlier this morning, but now I fancy laying down again. I found it impossible to find a comfortable position to go to sleep in last night. My upper back, and the wound on my chest seemed quite sore, but eventually I found that if I assumed one position for long enough it became comfortable enough to fall asleep - and sleep quite well for a couple of hours in one instance.

 So I probably ended up getting more sleep last night than I have done since coming out of hospital. I even had a bit of a lay in this morning. That made me feel good, but washing my hair, and taking a shower seems to have knocked all that energy out of me. I feel clean and knackered now ! Once I've finished writing here I am going to lay on my bed again, and if I fall asleep again, then so much for the better.

 There is one thing I should be doing this morning, and indeed I should have already done it, and that is to call my GP and make an appointment to see one of the doctors. I can face open heart surgery without blinking, but I am having a very hard time raising the courage to face the dragons who man the phones, and protect the medical staff from the unclean. The very thought of it is raising my cigarette cravings to all time levels.

 I wish there was a way I could actually measure in some accurate way how much my left hand is, or isn't, improving. It feels like it has more sensation in it this morning, but it also feels weaker. The trouble is that all these things are so subjective. Maybe I am just being too impatient again.
Sunday 15th September 2013
 10:28 BST

  A bright sunny morning came as a bit of a surprise this morning. Initially it was rather cool, just 9 C, but somehow the temperature has risen to just over 13 C. It's unlikely to go much higher, and I think we are coming to the end of the sunshine soon. Rain is forecast from mid afternoon.

 There is some good news this morning - just not much of it ! I managed to find a semi-comfortable sleeping position early this morning, and managed to get a few hours of almost quality sleep. I think, but I am not totally sure, that I feel slightly better for it.

 I'm finding it very frustrating that my left leg is still stiff and painful at times. Maybe not as frustrating as the continued weakness and tingling sensation in my left hand. It is improving. Of that I am fairly sure, but it is a tediously slow and frustrating process. To make matters worse, as more sensation returns to my fingers, so more sensation appears to be returning to my left elbow, and that is not feeling too great at the moment.

 I think that frustration is the name of the game at the moment. There are several things I want to do, but can't, and many that I shouldn't. Depriving myself of all the things I want - tobacco, booze, certain foods - is hard enough, but even simpler things like having a nice hot shower are tricky right now. However I have had some very limited succcesses this morning.

 It is possibly proof that I am growing stronger again that I managed to do a tiny amount of very limited tidying up in my spare room. There is a lot more to do, but it was a start. I'm doing it for some ridiculous unfounded bit of optimism that my friend Patricia will be visitng me Tomorrow and will be staying the night before flying back to Spain on Tuesday. After all the other times it didn't happen, I am unsure why I feel it might this time.

 Clutching at straws seems to be the name of the game right now. I frequently have to remind myself why I am going though all this, and all too often the answer seems to be totally artificial. There seems to be no long term game, but I seem to owe it to those who have shown much kindness over the last fortnight.
Saturday 14th September 2013
 17:03 BST

  The weather was pretty horrible this morning. It was very dull and wet, but eventually the rain stopped, and for a while it looked as if it was brightening up. Through all that the temperature managed to creep up to 15 C, and while rather cool, it did at least make it easy to keep the house warm and comfortable.

 I'm sure I got more, and slightly better sleep last night, but there still was not enough of it. When I got up to take my medications at 6am I had to use a lot of imagination to find some improvement in my condition, but I think it was there. It wasn't so much as improvement, but change heading in the (hopefully) right direction.

 For instance my do-it-yourself leg re-dressing (because the nurse was was apparently supposed to be doing it never turned up) seemed to be quite succesful, and the long wound down my leg seems to be healing OK still. As the scars continue to dry and harden some are getting a little uncomfortable, and I might have to take some extra care of them tonight.

 My blood pressure was a little higher than I hoped for this morning, but nothing outrageous. On the other hand, my blood sugar level was maybe a little lower than I expected. So things are headed in the right direction. There's even a little more strength and feeling in my left hand today, but I definitely wish that would improve a lot faster than it is.

 I had a visitor today that both helped and hindered. My friend Aleemah dropped around with a small bottle of Diet Coke, and  Tuna sandwich for me, plus a DVD to watch. It was nice having some company, and something to do, but it was also tiring in a way. I guess she was here for between 3 and 4 hours, and that was about right. After she left I had a nice lie down, but didn't manage to fall asleep.

 I continue to feel weak. Just going downstairs to fetch something from the kitchen, and then coming back upstairs again, seems to be reaching the limit of my endurance right now. I do wonder how I am going to feel when I have to walk around the corner to visit my doctor on Monday or Tuesday. Maybe it is just a bit hard to raise much optimism in this gloomy weather, or maybe I am just too impatient to get better - probably a mixture of both !
Friday 13th September 2013
 11:08 BST

  This morning has started off very damp, and yet not fully cold. It's around 18 C at the moment, but grey and drizzly. It seems it is likely to stay like this all day until the temperature drops by 3 or 4 degrees in the night. The drizzle and damp will continue tomorrow, and the temperature will stay a very autumnal 12 or 13 C.

 I was expecting to get a good nights sleep back in my own bed last night. I couldn't have been more wrong. I kept wanting to cough, and in my current state that was very painful. I know that one full breathed cough from the bottom of my lungs would have cleared enough mucus to enable me to sleep comfortably for perhaps an hour or two, but I just couldn't manage it. So I was awake for most of the night listening to the radio.

 I must do some experimentation with extra pillows or something today. After having some breakfast, a pile of pills, and watching some TV, I laid down on my bed, and promptly fell asleep. I guess it only lasted 20 minutes or less before I woke up partly choking. This is not making me feel better at all.

 It is not easy to describe exactly how I do feel right now. I guess I feel rather vague. I'm not exactly dizzy, but I do feel potentially unsteady on my feet, and have to plan each movement in advance. Quite how much of this is lack of sleep, how much is caused by all the pills I'm on, and how much is just part of the healing process is impossible to say.

 Some time later this afternoon, although I have no idea when, I am due a visit by the district nurse to change my dressings. Let's hope she is broadminded enough to work in close to my dangly bits. There was one nurse at the hospital who probably botched one of my dressings because she was scared of my genitals. Fortunately she was not the one who had to shave me from neck to toes - and everywhere in between before the operation !

 One of the things I was hoping to do this morning, and may yet still do, is to wash and condition my hair. After only washing it through a couple of times with special hospital disinfectant soap, and then not having a brush to brush it afterwards, it's feeling pretty horrible right now. I think it will be easy enough to do, but I can't seem to find the enthusiasm for it just yet.
Thursday 12th September 2013
 18:50 BST

  We are definitely heading towards winter now. Some of the last week has been bright and sunny, and one or two of the days have been fairly warm, but there is a definite chill in the air today.  I don't think the temperature topped 20 C, and may have been a degree or two less.

 It's been an eventful fortnight, but strangely enough, not terribly traumatic - that comes later when I try and live off sick pay !! When I last wrote I mentioned that I was feeling off colour, and was thinking that I might have to hand my body over to professional body mechanics. Well it finally happened, and on that Sunday afternoon I finally plucked up the courage to dial 999.

Here's some cut-n-paste from other sources.....
Just to recap about what's been going on with me recently - just in case you haven't seen the full story....For much of this year I've been getting chest pains while walking. In the last months things got worse, and on Sunday 1st this month, when I was notionally semi relaxing, those pains started getting a little strong, but not as strong as on some previous occasions. I decided it was time to bite the bullet and hand myself over to the professionals by dialling 999.It wasn't long before I was in Lewisham hospital with an interim diagnosis of angina. Some tests in Kings College Hospital confirmed that 4 of my coronary arteries were congested and needed grafts.So on Friday morning (6th Sept) I had open heart surgery. Yards of artery were stolen from my left leg, and transplanted onto my heart. The first part of recovery was really quick, but now the really tedious bit starts.I am back at home on the strict understanding that I have someone to watch over me for a few days (I haven't ). My left arm, or mostly hand, is partly numb, but is improving (and the hospital know about it). My left leg is healing slower than expected following a possible allergy to one of the adhesives used on a bandage. The main problem here is that the bandage is now so thick that I cannot get any trousers on ! I had to wear a hosptital gown to come home. This rather spoiled my triumphant return !Loads of rehab to come that is going to be long and tedious, but once I am back in trousers I hope to get to a gig some how - even if I have to sit at the back quietly. Could be 2 months or more until I'm back at work - and with this scrooge like governments sick pay, I'll be broke for even longer !Just to gross you out (I don't see why I should have all the fun) there is one other thing that I didn't dare admit to the hospital for fear of never getting out again - 6 days of not "going" and then starting with a bit of a bang has left me with the most delicate piles I've ever known !

 That's about the briefest precis of the last 12 days I can think of. So now all I have to do is to heal as quickly as I can. The first vital bit will be my left leg so I can wear trousers again. They are the key to getting out again, and the tedium of countless doctor/clinic visits, and eventually to pubs and gigs. Work will have to take third place in the grand scheme of things.

Day one or two in hospital
There weren't many opportunities for photography while I was in hospital, and all I had was my mobile phone camera with an ever weakening battery in it it. That didn't stop my getting one "selfie" while I was in Lewisham hospital - not easy to do when the shutter button is on the wrong side of the phone ! Note all the wires and tubes coming out the top of my gown.
hospital vital signs monitor
Those wires and tubes were connected to this monitor - night and day ! They provided a readout out of my heart rate, beat, oxygen absorbsion, and blood pressure. My pulse rate is a fairly good 79. My oxygen level is an excellent 99%, while my blood pressure is a very high 202/97 !! A shed load of pills, plus the arterial grafts have got my blood pressure back to ext book levels.
dinner at Lewisham hospital
 Here's one of the more tasty, and probably rather healthy meals I chose for myself in Lewisham hospital. It's cold mixed bean pasta with salad. Rather surprisingly, considering how the advice from doctors to anyone still displaying signs of life, is to cut down on salt intake, this still came with a packet of salt - that I didn't use.
bangers and mash at Kings College hospital
 A slightly less healthy meal this time - bangers and mash. I had this while feeling rebellious after the operation. Before I remembered to stop eating and take a picture of it there were two bangers and two scoops of mash.  Once again, it came with a sachet of salt. Out of all the meals I had in hospital, only one was less (quite a bit less on this occasion) than rather nice.
High Dependency Unit of Victoria and Albert ward of Kings College Hospital
 This where I did most of my recovery after the operation - the High Dependance Unit.

 Now it's probably time to work out how many thousands of pills I am due to take tonight !!
Sunday 1st September 2013
 18:07 BST

  Yesterday was pleasantly sunny, but no more than warm. Today has seen far more cloud, but it has been mostly bright, and there have been a few sunny spells - mostly in the morning. The temperature yesterday probably reached about 22 C. Today it was a couple of degrees cooler - still comfortable, but heading in the wrong direction.

 It was nice having a couple of halves of beer while my friend Aleemah had her breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub yesterday morning. In the afternoon, after Aleemah had gone home, I had some dinner, and it was not exactly one of my most healthy meals. The main "bad" thing was a large smoked sausage. Although cooked and ready to eat I put it in the grill for a while to see if any fat would come off. I don't think more than a trickle came from it. I had it with a large serving of processed peas.

 Later on in the day I had other "naughty" stuff. It may be a legacy of that, that is afflicting me this afternoon, but more on that soon. It didn't have a particularly good effect on me yesterday either. I felt quite sluggish by early evening, and instead of going out to see a gig I spent many hours finding old photos of, or about my good friend Patricia. She has recently joined Facebook, and I thought her pages deserved being clogged up with loads of pictures.

 Last night was one of those nights where I slept very well until the early hours of the morning, and then woke up unable to go back to sleep again for hours. I can't recall exactly when it was that I went back to bed, and got to sleep. It may have been as late as 7am. I think slept, only waking once or twice, until about 11.30am. In theory I should have got enough sleep from the two periods of sleep.

 When I woke up I felt a bit off colour - sort of achey, and initially a bit light headed. It wasn't long before I felt happy to do some laundry, and washed 5 shirts for work. I still have other stuff to do, but that will have to wait. Doing that laundry didn't feel that great, but I didn't seem to feel particularly worse after doing it than I had before I started.

 I had a very healthy main course for dinner today, but after that things went a bit downhill.  The most healthy part was grilled skinless chicken breast with a heap of watercress. After that I wanted a bit more, or maybe some sort of dessert. So I had a very large, and very ripe banana.  I was watching some TV while I ate, and the curse of TV is that it makes me want to eat. So I had a look in the kitchen, and spied a small tin of mackerel.

 In fact I spied three, and they all came in different flavoured sauces. I couldn't decide which to have, and I pigged out on all three. That may have been a decision that was, or could be fatal. Since eating all that I've had quite a few nasty pains, and more dizzyness. Until about 15 minutes ago I was feeling very poorly, and wondering where it would all end. It is feeling a bit like last Tuesday morning. I can foresee a possibility that I won't be at work tomorrow.  Maybe I'll have to admit defeat and go see a body mechanic, but I really don't want to do that until I've lost another stone or two - and that in itself could be a temporary cure for what is obviously a degenerative disease.

 In the meantime, I've got 4 or 5 days to get fit enough for a visit or two to Greenwich. So back to the lettuce tomorrow !