Browsing "Blog"
Jan 30, 2017 - Blog, Margaret one year on    No Comments

Saturday 30 January 2016

After yesterday at the hospital I had a very restless night. I do not know why or will never be able to explain but I went through and got Philip and Jacquie up at 4am as I had decided to get Matthew home from Oman if it was possible. You can call it whatever you like but my feelings were not in a good place especially after yesterday in the hospital. The time difference is three hours between UK and Oman thankfully Matthew had his phone in his bedroom and we were able to make contact over Skype.

I was very concerned about Margaret and I think if it was at all possible for him to travel home as soon as possible. He was scheduled to travel in a couple of days so I left it with him to arrange what he could. Received a call back to say he had sorted flights and would arrive in Glasgow late Sunday afternoon via Schipol airport. 

We travelled through to Edinburgh but decided to make a call over to Leuchie House to collect Margaret’s belongings it also gave us a chance to speak with the ladies to update them on Margaret’s condition. Lunch was taken in the dining room before we set off for hospital.

What greeted us was again not what we had expected Margaret was clearly very unwell difficulty breathing and her lips were very dry etc. I had a further chat with the doctors which was not very encouraging and I became quite concerned as to whether Margaret was going to get over this particular episode.

I made my own personal decision that I would ask whoever was visiting during the day/evening if they wished to sit for a while privately with Margaret. I had by late afternoon reconciled myself that this was going to one battle that Margaret would not be able to recover from and have a similar quality of life that she was comfortable with.

My time with Margaret was very special I spoke to her about all the things we got up to but what you do not know is what response you are going to get. I like to believe that there was reaction especially when I held her hand and played with her ring finger. I clearly remember saying to her that I was happy for her to go to be with the Lord as I could clearly feel that Margaret was in great difficulty and showing some signs of discomfort with her medication and clearing her throat.

Philip and Jacquie, David and Janice followed by Steven had their moment during the afternoon.

The staff were excellent coming in regularly to dab her lips as they were quite dry.

I was comforted to hear that Matthew was on his way from Oman to Schipol and taking a hotel bed on arrival.

We left around end of visiting time and I asked Steven not to stay too long because I believe it was about to snow and we had Harthill on the motorway to get over.

It did snow not a pleasant journey back to Carrick drive.

UK information update done.

 

 

 

Jan 29, 2017 - Blog, Margaret one year on    No Comments

Friday 29 January 2016

Philip and Jacquie arrive early morning through the wind and rain so grateful to see them.

Standard call to hospital re overnight report and told that another move was made to another ward which took a bit of time to get through to.
Report was a little limited on information so we decided to travel through to hook up to the visiting times.

What we found was surprising as Margaret did not look at all well, lacked colour and had difficulty breathing etc. managed after a while to get a moment to speak with the doctors and the allocated nurse as to what they thought was happening to Margaret. I was not used to seeing her battle on as she is always so positive despite her MS. The ward was not the quietest one with so many distractions so we made representations to see if we could get her into a room on her own so she could rest. 

Today was a sad day as we could only sit with Margaret and stimulate her hand especially as Philip and Jacquie had only just made it up from Northampton. I think Janice, David and Steven were surprised also especially after the previous two days.

Margaret is now on full dips for food as far as I can tell she had not eaten since the meal last evening but not 100% sure. 

I am now quite concerned about her condition but I had to place her in the doctors hands.

UK report update to family done.

 

Jan 28, 2017 - Blog, Margaret one year on    No Comments

Thursday 28 January 2016

 

Early call to Hospital re Margaret’s overnight report again a positive reaction from nursing staff. Set off again mid morning/lunch time.

I find Margaret looking OK considering the last two days and a little more herself. I was able to feed her evening meal of Steak pie followed by apple pie and custard. Today was very much spent just being with Margaret chatting without tiring her out.

Report to the family made late on.

Philip and Jacquie decide to travel up overnight from Northampton.

Left hospital after visiting time around 8 pm.

(Yesterday)
Wednesday 27 January 2016 (This does not seemed to be published on Facebook)

Early call to hospital for an update how Margaret had spent the night. Reports positive so set off to the hospital early morning.

Arriving at hospital found Margaret sitting up but tired and asking to go home. Margaret had had a couple of moves already and another one was planned to another ward.

Settled Margaret in new ward unfortunately we had to relay all the information again as it was not the same doctors but all sorted OK and we were able to chat a bit. I am now becoming a bit more hopeful that Margaret might well be able to recover. That evening I was able to feed her Haggis, neeps and potato and Ice cream.

Today has been a good day compared with yesterday a good day with more hope of a positive outcome. Information passed to Leuchie House re Margaret’s condition.

David, Janice and Steven were about most of the day but I left after evening visiting time for home.

Jan 28, 2017 - Blog, Margaret one year on    No Comments

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Early call to hospital for an update how Margaret had spent the night. Reports positive so set off to the hospital early morning.

Arriving at hospital found Margaret sitting up but tired and asking to go home. Margaret had had a couple of moves already and another one was planned to another ward.

Settled Margaret in new ward unfortunately we had to relay all the information again as it was not the same doctors but all sorted OK and we were able to chat a bit. I am now becoming a bit more hopeful that Margaret might well be able to recover. That evening I was able to feed her Haggis, neeps and potato and Ice cream.

Today has been a good day compared with yesterday a good day with more hope of a positive outcome. Information passed to Leuchie House re Margaret’s condition.

David, Janice and Steven were about most of the day but I left after evening visiting time for home.

Jan 26, 2017 - Blog, Margaret one year on    No Comments

Early morning Phone call

Tuesday January 26 2016
The call no one wants to receive especially at 04.00 in the morning.

To my dismay it was from Leuchie House telling me that Margaret had been admitted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and an ambulance was on its way. We agreed to rendezvous at the infirmary which for me was about an hour away. In quick succession phone calls made to Steven, Philip and Matthew in Oman and David her brother re the news that their mum and sister was in hospital with no further information at this stage.

Travelling through to Edinburgh was one of worst experiences on the M8 the rain was lashing with very strong winds and at the time in the morning I cannot believe the amount of traffic there was. Attempted to make more mobile calls but eventually as I found out when I arrived in Edinburgh the phone was completed discharged.

Now I am not able to communicate with anyone and I have not seen Margaret yet.

After about twenty anxious minutes the doctors etc come and see me and inform me that Margaret is very ill with suspected seizure etc. I had no idea how bad this was but eventually I was able to get into A & E and see Margaret.

What confronted me was Margaret really not looking at all well she was unable to communicate anything at all. The monitoring equipment was just buzzing away and bleeping with information on the small screen. Eventually a doctor came in and we able to establish that Margaret had not had seizure but a respiratory problem. I was now able to brief the medics of Margaret’s condition re her MS and any symptoms that I was aware of leading up till going to Leuchie namely some difficulty in swallowing but able to take most food and drink. 

She was clearly dehydrated etc so fluids added by drip etc.

Communication was now concerning me as it was fast approaching 10 am and I have not been able inform any one. Thankfully Leuchie House had called so I was able to tell them who to inform and that my mobile was down till I got it charged.

Today was following Burns Night celebrations and I cannot believe how full A & E was with all cubicles full and trolleys around the central area as well.
Doctor came and spoke to me that beds were short but he thinks he can get Margaret in the ITU section to get her more stabilised. A move is made late morning to ITU with Margaret looking a little better.

Just settling in ITU and David and Janice arrive which I was not expecting but most grateful for a shoulder to lean on. I made the decision that following the latest assessment that I wanted to go home take a shower and come back immediately with hopefully Steven driving me across.

Made contact with Steven to update him and asked him to meet me at home and drive me back through after a spot of lunch etc. I had not eaten or really got my head round what was happening over in Edinburgh. Back on the road asp getting back mid afternoon and a further assessment with the medics showed that the drips etc. were doing their job but she was clearly not out the woods yet. 

Following further discussion with doctors and another move into the general ITU area we decided to leave Margaret for the night and make our way home around 8 pm or so. 

Updates to family around UK to let them know that Margret was in Hospital.

Jan 25, 2017 - Blog, Margaret one year on    No Comments

Margaret goes to Leuchie House

Margaret goes to Leuchie House 25 January 2016

Leuchie House, North Berwick

It is one year ago that Margaret travelled to Leuchie House for the first of her two trips in 2016.  This section of my blog is going to record what was to become a very sad week for me, my family and friends. It will as far as possible try to recreate the weeks events on a daily basis one year on.

We got up as usual on the Monday morning and Margaret commented what a great nights sleep she had – all packed up and off we travelled through to Leuchie House in North Berwick. She was so looking forwarded to meeting up with the ladies there for a good social gathering over the next eleven days.

On arriving the usual checks were done by the Leuchie staff and a sandwich lunch taken and a welcome cup of tea.
Most of the group had arrived and were in the quiet room, yours truly was now redundant so a quick kiss goodbye and homeward bound for me arriving back home in Carrick Drive around 4pm.

I cannot recall if I had anything planned for the eleven days that Margaret was at Leuchie House.

There was some gardening to be done as usual I think the word was chill out Michael.

 

Dec 4, 2016 - Blog, South Africa    No Comments

South Africa Day 11

My final day in South Africa.

As they say all good things come to an end. Anne and Stan have been wonderful hosts introducing me to many of their friends and educating me in all things African.

Travelling with Anne to her school at Tanda Tula was very special seeing her class perform their end of school presentation. The game drive before hand took my breath away a kill on day one EPIC. Breakfast on the river bed was one of the best I had ever had OK I was up at 4-30 and in need of fuel.

The wild animals – Elephant so huge and so close almost touching the landrover. Lions in their natural environment and still as close as 10 m and closer on one occasion. Good number of Giraffe so huge and graceful in their movement as they picked up speed. There were numerous Zebra, Wildebeest, Impala and Warthog. The experience of seeing many Rhino especially as we in the UK hear so many distressing stories about poaching and the barbaric way the horn is severed from the Rhino.  We saw approx 6 all together and all with horns fully attached – a great sight.

Go home I must strong in the knowledge that I placed Margaret’s ashes just how she would have wanted – overlooking Vutomi Dam where many animals will come to drink a lovely tranquil spot chosen by Anne. I was so pleased to have Anne and Stan’s  company but especially Anne. I can see how close Margaret was to Anne they mirrored each other in thought and just the odd high jinx during their school days. 

Just a few pictures and video to collate and make something meaningful from my experience here in South Africa.

My final evening was spent inside the Traverse Reserve next door to Raptor View. A lovely tranquil setting to be enjoying a small drink or to in Anne and Stan’s company. The dam was not very full but the sunset over the nearby mountains made a fitting finale to my most wonderful stay in South Africa.

Totsiens- Raptor, Anne and Stan.
Totsiens - South Africa

Can't wait to come back

 

Dec 4, 2016 - Blog, South Africa    No Comments

South Africa Day 10

It is Saturday now I think each day has flown by almost without taking a breath to catch up on something happening whether in the Park or here at Raptor.

After breakfast we sat down to watch the video with Anne, Stan and later Paige and Mark. Their reactions said it all. I know that I have become a little involved and emotional in putting it together over the last few weeks. It has been absolutely something that I have wanted to do and never found the correct time to tackle it. To think as I write this on 4th December 2016 that in 24 days time I would have seen Margaret for the first time in 1969. 

Reading through the letters which took me over 3 days – Margaret was 2-1 up on my replies, collating photos and film clips brings it home to me even more so what a wonderful person she was. Do I have a favourite picture it would be the school photo of 1969 and the one that I kept with me taken in Aviemore in 1969.

The chats I have had with Anne going over Margaret and their exploits, summer working at Hutton Park Hotel in Largs, brownies and many other hilarious moments. We seemed to also be laughing at the same time like Anne in the eerie in Balule sorting the inside out. I enjoyed my chats with Stan also learning a bit about life in Raptor and their travels around the globe.

The evening was complete with a sumptuous braai of fillet beef, ribs, sweet corn and boerewors (farmers sausage) finished off with a wonderful salad made by Paige and wine.

 

Dec 4, 2016 - Blog, South Africa    No Comments

South Africa Day 9

 After the storm last night we decided to head back to Hoedspruit for some welcome R & R. We seemed to be racing about The Kruger National Park from place to place stopping often to take in the sightings of the game that you become overwhelmed with what you are see so close and in a natural surroundings. The diversity of the Park is so dramatic that you have days with lots of sightings and then others very few but then you stumble on a sight so wonderful it takes your breath away every time.

Arriving back at Raptor to be greeted by Anne’s granddaughter Paige and her boyfriend Mark a quick unload and a cup of tea was most welcome.

Later I set about completing the video I had brought our with me just adding the Ashes scatter to already completed story so far. First part done in about an hour but then I was still up adding touches to bits I was not happy with. Bed midnight

A lovely meal cooked by Paige rounded of the evening nicely.

Dec 4, 2016 - Blog, South Africa    No Comments

South Africa Day 8

Margaret’s Ashes

Early start today as we are traveling north to our overnight camp at Balule near Olifants river. On the way we are stopping at Vutomi Dam as this is the place that Anne has chosen to scatter Margaret’s ashes.

Today was a poor day as regards wildlife sightings that was until we joined the S36 on the way up to Vutomi. The most gruesome sight was a tree with about 10 or so Vultures and then just round the corner was a headless Buffalo and the vultures on the ground were going to town ripping apart its intestines from any direction.

That was gruesome just a little further on there were 3 Lions one large male and two younger ones had killed a Buffalo, this one was fully incapacitated. Each lion would take turns in having their fare from the Buffalo, two kills during my stay unbelievable. 

We arrived at Vutomi Dam at around 10 am.

Anne’s chosen place could not be more perfect, a natural waterhole with development of the road infrastructure creating a dam just below the two trees that Anne had pinpointed to scattering Margaret’s ashes.

The trees are Buffalo-thorn (burial tree of the Zulu) they grow near water courses and are deciduous with mistletoe growing within its canopy. The Buffalo-thorn is particularly significant in Zulu lore, especially in burials of chiefs and royalty when branches  are laid on their graves.

Anne found a rock and wrote her name on it and spoke first about Vutomi Dam and the significance in her family of the place and why she chose this place to scatter Margaret’s ashes. I spoke about how much Margret would have loved to experience the magnificence of South Africa, Anne’s life and friends here. I read a poem that Margaret wrote in her many letters to me on 15/04/1969 called:-

The Search is Over

The thought had been there , though it was hidden,
It took someone new to prove this too me
We had met, certainly fated, the truth was there, covered
by confusion, disillusion which I couldn’t see
Uncovered now, was my aim and my longing,
Those of another struck home, sound and dry,
My life in a nutshell displayed before me,
By he desired what in mere shall try
to find. For we know what the other has dreams of
The longings ambitions and the feelings so strong
For love between two, which will not be destroyed.
By time, or man ,or death,
The growing affection and love of two bodies,
The one and the other are united as one.
Yet the miles between us don’t hinder, but nurture
This growing love growing deeper with each thought and deed
As if geared tomorrow, its hopes and its sorrows.
Together we two will be united as one.

Anne than placed the rock between the tree and a termite mound which as we stepped back appeared to be shaped like an M we were taken aback at this final thought as we departed for Olifants.

An emotional moment of reflection that Margaret’s journey in South Africa was complete.

We made our way to Balule for our overnight camp, pitched tents and had pasta with beef stew for dinner with our headlights on. The wind got up and Stan thought we may have a storm. Storm it certainly was from around 10pm till about 11-15pm it raged, lightning making virtual daylight and overhead we had two tremendous thunder claps that shook the ground. I had closed my vent flaps in my eerie on top of the land rover but Anne and Stan’s tent had not been closed down because of the heat so Stan was up whilst the storm raged to close up.

 

 

 

Pages:«123456»