Technology to the Rescue

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We have had a mixed start to 2017. On the one hand I am now in gainful employment for the next couple of months and I am enjoying the experience of working in a new team, it sort of clears away the cobwebs of complacency.

On the other hand Lady Ann’s back has decided to give in again and she is resting horizontally for the next couple of weeks which means I am head cook and bottle washer. Now it’s not serious, I have shirts in the wardrobe and I do know how to use a microwave and a frying pan.

Seriously though Sciatica is one infliction I do not want to experience any time soon as she is on enough pain relief to stop a herd of elephants but she still has spasms every now and again which mean when you are asleep you are woken to the sound of screaming like an axe murderer has broke in and is setting about them. To say the least my nerves are a little jangled at the moment but who needs sleep anyway.

Now this is were technology has come to the rescue. I have found I can do almost anything as long as I take guidance from Ann (her words not mine). This comes in the form of FaceTime. She has the iPad upstairs and I am like a robot slavishly following her every command. So far we have done FaceTime clothes washing, FaceTime cooking and if Im a good boy tonight I get to FaceTime Dishwasher loading.

Now I know this makes me sound like a useless lump but Ann wants stuff done in a certain way, which is definitely not my way. My way is more along the lines of minimum effort maximum productivity.

I don’t mean I don’t do anything domestic in the house, I have a few times during the last forty years and in the past when Ann has been hospitalised my daughter Sarah is always at the end of a phone to give me advice should I need it. This time however I have decided that I can do it myself mainly because at Christmas Sarah grassed me up to the whole family that I couldn’t use the washing machine. They say the truth often hurts and they are right.

So tonight I sit here having made my lunch for tomorrow, done all my chores and in a couple of hours my final act will be to take Ann her Horlicks up something I have religiously done for the last twenty or so years.

On a serious note though to all the people who are caring for loved ones, I take my hat of to you, you are by far the unsung heroes in our society, people who do it out of love and not duty. It doesnt make it any less hard whichever way it is.

I only hope that Ann is soon back on her feet and we can go out into the great wide world again. That is the bit we both miss, this weekend our world has shrunk substantially but we have a roof over our heads, food in our fridge and are still together and in this day and age is something to celebrate.

My friend Sheila needs your help!

Sheila

My wife and I have known Sheila for over twenty five years and during that time we have shared all sorts of experiences that have made us both laugh and cry together in equal measure. Now Sheila is one of life’s troopers. She never complains and is always there to help anyone who needs it, and very rarely asks for anything in return, other than a thank you.

The last six months have been a challenge for this lady. In November last year she was diagnosed with Leukaemia, bad news by any measure, and since then she has been through various courses of Chemotherapy and spent endless weeks in Hospital.

Not once has she complained with her lot. When we visit she is alway very positive and talks about getting better rather than how ill she must feel. So this weekend we went to see her at home, to catch up with what’s happening in Sheila’s world. She and her husband explained that the situation had now changed, and without a bone marrow transplant the prognosis isn’t very promising.

So like any friend, I immediately volunteered to put my name on the transplant list as a donor. But here is the kicker – I am to old. Donors need to be between the ages of 16 and 30.

Here is the problem.

Every 20 minutes in the UK, someone like Sheila are told they have a blood cancer such as leukaemia and for many of these people a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant is their only chance.

They need cells from a healthy person – with the same tissue type – to replace and repair their own damaged cells.

About 30% of people in need can find a suitable donor in their family. But the other 70% rely on a stranger to save their lives.

The Anthony Nolan Trust is the organisation that helps that 70% to find those precious matches.

The Trust has over 500,000 donors on it’s register and they are constantly working to increase that number.  Every time someone needs a transplant the register is checked for a match and they make more than 1,000 matches every year.

Now thats not great odds – in betting terms thats 500-1, but when you need a transplant any odds are better than none! To reduce those odds more people need to register and become donors. So here is my challenge to everyone who will read this.

What is needed is people between the ages of 16 – 30, or parents of these people to visit the Anthony Nolan website and register an interest in becoming a donor.  It is easy and more importantly its painless. Your results will be put on a register with the other half a million other people. If you are a match, you will be contacted. It may happen or equally it may never happen, but if it does think of the difference you can make to someones life.

I will be championing this cause with every ounce of energy I have, not only because of Sheila but because I hope I can make a difference and help someone who really needs it.

So before you dismiss this without a second thought, what would you do if Sheila was your friend!

Also just think about how awesome it would be to know you have saved someones life.

Please have a look and see how you could help. http://www.anthonynolan.org

Anthony Nolan Trust

 

 

Taking Stock at the End of the Year

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I don’t know about you but last time I blinked it was Easter and now I have just returned from my grand daughters school nativity and I am looking at the impending Christmas celebrations in a state of shell shock. 

As another year grows to a close if you are like me you will mentally taking stock of what has happened through the past year and how you have faired in the grand scheme of things.

So how do you judge how well or otherwise you have done. I suppose its all down to your own personal experience. Now I am a fairly positive individual, I am in the cup half full brigade opposed to the keeping up with the neighbors gang so my outlook is obviously coloured by this.

Now at my age the first thing on the list in your health, without it your life becomes instantly more complicated, and your time is consumed by waiting in crowded hospitals with people who could infect you with the black death at any given moment. This time last year I was recovering from what everyone thought was a heart attack. It wasn’t and I am still here and even more of a bonus I now know I have a perfectly healthy heart so I can now eat butter again for the first time in a decade.

So the next thing on the list is my Family. My long suffering wife who has had serious health problems in the past appears to be recovering. I know this because she is showing signs that her lust for life has returned and has made this year very special, its as though I have the woman I first met back in my life and that is priceless.

During the past twelve months my offspring have both found partners who will put up with them and there foibles and who are blissfully happy. I know this because the phone has stopped ringing quite as often. The only drawback to this scenario is that the number for Christmas dinner has doubled and the presents under the tree mean I cannot see the television without sitting up straight in my chair.

Unfortuately this year saw the passing of my cousin Jennifer who passed away a few weeks ago and my thoughts are with her family at this time, I find myself feeling a little guilty because I should have taken the time to keep in touch whilst I had the chance.

Friends are the next on my list, this year has been an exceptional year, I am lucky to have friends who always know when to turn up just when you need dusting off and leave when they think you can stand on your own two feet again. More importantly I haven’t lost any or been to a funeral which is always a bonus. It appears that living through the sixties and seventies was very detrimental to your health and longevety. 

The last thing on my list is my job. I am one of the lucky ones in life, I love what I do, I suppose my wife is right when she says I haven’t done a days work in my life, and I hate to admit it but I think she is right. The great thing about my job is the people I meet and try to help deliver various projects. From students who are at the start of there chosen career through to business men who need a hand in trying to understand the brave new digital world in which they have to exist. 

The most rewarding part of my role is helping community groups who are trying to improve were they live with very little in the way of resources, these people are the true heroes of modern society, people who share the little they have to help the communities they live in. 

So back to my opening premiss, How do you judge how well are you doing? It’s very simple, as long as you can cover your bills, have your health and are surrounded by people who love and care for you, you are better off that at least half the planet. 

According to my wife, if you add someone to do the ironing, copious amounts of Mince Pies and Horlicks into the mix life doesn’ t get any better. So all that remains for me to say is I hope that you and your families have a merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.