Summer 2019

Les and I Pole position...
Views from my hospital bed…

24 June 2019  To all my Council colleagues, Facebook friends…Since Easter I have been unwell with suspected issues of the heart… unable to work it has been a long stretch of inactivity that has been difficult… Last Friday I attended a cardiograph appointment at Prince Philip Hospital and as a result of the test I was admitted to the coronary care ward for further investigation. Today I was informed that I need to have an operation to correct an issue with the valve of my heart… This is going to be a long job and will need some recuperation afterwards… Being laid up in hospital is not my preferred activity but needs must so FB will be an activity that will not leave me breathless, along with Candy Crush I have two activities at my fingertips…My family is my support at the moment… thank you… Wish me luck in the next challenge facing me… I will beat this as I have defeated everything in front of me in my long working life…

27 June 2019 Good morning everyone… looks like it is going to be a lovely day, perfect for walking, having meals in the sunshine and having that good feeling… I will be in Prince Philip Hospital having my obs taken every four hours and doing my best to get my head around the fact that I am going to have open heart surgery soon… I am in a good place and will recover, I might be rechristened Steve Austin, but spare a thought for those in hospital, care homes and other facilities that will not get that opportunity… Sometimes life is dreadfully unfair but with compassion and empathy it can be improved for a great number… Breakfast in Prince Philip Hospital is looming, not the Grand in Brighton or Metrepole in Llandrindod Wells but will be a repeat of yesterday… More repeats here than ITV, wish I could share my toast with the boys tho… that day will come and when it does I will have been to theatre and will be in recovery mode… Have a great day all… wish I could join you…

28 June 2019 Good morning from Prince Philip Hospital, coming to the end of the first week of my stay and although I feel well in myself there is a long way to go before I will be able to resume running up stairs and walking uphill as I used to do last year. According to the consultant I am in good health but there is one thing not quite right… my heart…but as Arnie would say… “I’ll be back”… Apart from the dilemma I find myself in, I am amazed at the commitment and dedication of the staff that look after me and my fellow patients… My great thanks to you all… Another day of sitting, taking short walks, the hospital menu, visiting time and starting a new book coming up…not forgetting the time for my obs and tests that also fill part of the day… Enjoy the sunshine today and if you have time try to support the Armed Forces Day and events going on in Llanelli Town Centre tomorrow… unfortunately I cannot make it…I have tendered my apologies…

29 June 2019 Good morning… the weekend is here at last… sunshine and perhaps a wee drink for you all… council lemonade for me… Tomorrow schedules include the “we can rebuild you” plan… nice way to spend a Sunday but needs must… Breakfast next… might have porridge for a change… Have great day today, there is plenty going on in Llanelli…lovely summer’s day on the cards…

30 June 2019 Good morning all…another day another 4:45am wake up call… it is said that sleep is the best medicine but if it is I am on minimal dosage… obs done at 6am… then another needle into my pin cushion lookalike body to check blood sugars…but if it gets me out of here sooner then stick them in… Breakfast at Prince Philip Hospital will be the antidote(ha)…. but I will have a treat today… my wee man Alfie is visiting teatime ending 10 days of not seeing his mischievous face and experiencing the morning “come on wake up” lick of my face… Have a great day whatever you are doing and wherever you are… and… Remember… “Be careful out there”…

1 July 2019 Good morning from Prince Philip Hospital… dressed in a gown and special underpants, ready to go down for an Angiogram to see what bits they plan to replace in the engine room… Have a good day… c u all later… The good news is that my arteries are all fine so no by pass required…

2 July 2019 Good morning all… looks like another fine day for getting out and about…unfortunately I do not have that option at the moment but will hopefully catch up soon… Another early start, morning obs at 6am, BP, Sugars, Temp and Pulse all fine… Let’s do it… Get out there and enjoy your day in the sunshine…

3 July 2019 Good morning from Prince Philip Hospital… another 5:30 shake for obs and another prick of my finger to see if there is any blood left…Looks like a nice day for going for a walk or going to work… both of which I am not allowed to do at the moment… Tomorrow a visit to the dentist, this is another stage of my journey to the operating theatre where the faulty component will be replaced… Have a good day… it is the middle of the week so downhill to the weekend from here… I think a day of cricket on the iPad at bedside for me…but really would like to be somewhere else…sadly that choice is not available… I am fine and looking forward to getting back to normality well aware that it might be some time before that is achieved… Enjoy the sunshine.

4 July 2019 Happy Thursday morning from Prince Philip Hospital…a reasonable night’s sleep even though staff carried out obs at 2am on the new patients admitted yesterday… I am getting out of here today, only for a visit to the dentist to get an assessment in preparation for the major service of my heart that is on the horizon… as if I haven’t had enough pins and needles stuck in me up till now… but at least I get to see the outside world…

6 July 2019 Good morning from you know where… breakfast over, medication and injections completed, now to decide how I am going to spend my day… Choices are limited so might go to the shop and buy a packet of crisps… not sure what flavour though… also have cricket on my iPad… spoilt I am… Plenty going on around the area today so have a good day and be careful out there…!! Would love to take Alfie out to water the trees but that will have to wait a wee while…

7 July 2019 Good morning from here… Breakfast on its way…think I will have a quiet day… going to revisit Game of Thrones from the beginning… hoping this week will bring a move to Morriston Hospital for the operation that will mean at some point I get to go home… Have a lovely day out there in the sunshine… what I would love most is to go for a run in the CAT…

8 July 2019 Woken up to the sound of Sid the seagull and the night nurse saying “sorry to wake you” but… 05:30am and obs and bloods need to be done… Monday morning is here… weekend over and time to start another week… Hopefully this week sees a change of location to carry out the necessary repairs in my engine room… new valve and eventually a better quality of life… Nice day for taking my old mate out for a spin… Murphy loves people, dog and cat watching from the front seat of the CAT… Have a good day at work or play and remember… Today’s thought for the day is…

You are in charge of how you feel today and today you must choose happiness…

9 July 2019 Morning greetings from Ward 4 where my heart monitor appears to have decided to have a morning off… Constant attempts to boot the unit into talking to my heart have proved fruitless… I can assure you that I am fine as my obs and bloods are normal… time for me to investigate… No news yet about my transfer… think PPH and Morriston are still discussing terms… Think I am staying here today so cricket is on the menu…should pass the day nicely… Do have a good day whether you are at work, rest or play, remember your Mars bar to see you through… Today’s thought for the day is…

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader…

10 July 2019... Morning from the place I am calling home at the moment… a quieter night and for a change got some sleep… another day dawns and the hope is that someone will come and give me the news that I am going on a journey… everything is crossed… Looks a wee bit grey outside but I am sure that sunshine will break through for everyone to go about their day with a spring in their step and a smile on their faces… even though I am in a place not of my choosing I will continue to smile and look on the bright side… Today’s thought for the day…

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning…

11 July 2019 Well another day dawns…Feeling good this morning, sometimes feel a little bit of a fraud being in Prince Philip Hospital, but the doctors have assured me that I need to be here… Anyway, good news yesterday, the service on my heart is scheduled for 30th July in Morriston so I will be here until the transfer the day before… at least I now have a date and some idea of when I will return home… and I can possibly have some day release from the shackles of Ward 4…I am the ultimate patient patient… More cricket to pass the time today… a walk to the paper shop and Candy Crush… if you have a more exciting day planned then enjoy everything that you do… Today’s thought for the day is…

Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it…

12 July 2019 Morning, another day dawns and from my hospital bed it looks like a nice day…the chorus of birds is in full swing and the seagull soprano is giving it the full treatment… Three weeks ago today I stepped over the threshold of this place and have not left, I would like to thank the dedication and care of the doctors, nurses and the hotel services staff for their support and care… a brilliant team that all too often get forgotten… Good news, I am being allowed out on day release, no ankle tags involved, have to be back by 7pm and next Tuesday is the date… My Friday will pass quietly, might involve a visit to Costa, a walk to the shop and a day to decide what to do on Tuesday… Make sure you enjoy your day cos it’s Friday… be nice to others and remember to say thank you… Today’s thought for the day…

Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude…

13 July 2019Morning greetings from me on this bright Saturday…Surrounded by individuals that care for our every need to get us through the pain and sometimes suffering of cardiac health… I am also surrounded by some that think they are competing in the world snoring championship… The weekend is upon us, please enjoy time with your families, friends and be nice to people that cross your path…It is not as hard as you think… I am upbeat… clock is ticking down on my next journey, so be positive and smile… it is the best medicine… Today’s thought for the day…

Remember, for everything you have lost, you have gained something else. Without the dark, you would never see the stars…

14 July 2019... Morning all, it’s Sunday… the proverbial day of rest… for some, but there are many others working and missing out on family time… Feeling a bit battered and bruised now… 3 weeks of twice daily injections and blood sugar testing 4 times a day has me sore at midriff and fingertips… but no gain without pain… Cricket and reading is the order of the day… there is also a game of tennis being played…The sun has appeared this morning after its day off so it is a perfect day for whatever is planned…Think I will relax in front of the iPad for a change? Have a lovely day whatever you are doing, stay calm and please be careful out there… Today’s thought for the day…

Hello, its Sunday. When life give you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile…

15 July 2019 Bore da from Ward 4 of Prince Philip Hospital… It’s Monday morning and the start of a new week… Only two weeks to go now before my transfer to Morriston Hospital for the aortic valve replacement operation, looking forward to getting it done and dusted so I start the road trip to recovery… no light yet at the end of the tunnel but I am positive that it will appear at some point… I have a day release from here tomorrow so that is my next focus… can’t wait…Anyway, if you are going to work have a good day… think the sun is going to appear… Today’s thought for the day…

Walk tall on a Monday because you never know what big thing awaits you outside your door. Step into the new week with every ounce of pride and preparation…

16 July 2019 Morning all… Tuesday has arrived and the main gate is being opened for me to escape the shackles of Ward 4 for a couple of hours…after nearly a month incarcerated in his ward I am being released… curfew ends at 7pm this evening… I can assure you that I will be having a good day, however short it will be… Today’s thought for the day…

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions…

17 July 2019 Good morning everyone from the cardiac ward of Prince Philip Hospital where the individuals that populate this part of Ward 4 change on a daily basis… some go to Morriston Hospital and never return by being discharged from there… and some come back the following day depending on the treatment required to alleviate and fix their heart problems…I just go out for the day and return to the residential suite I seem to have reserved for me… The clock is ticking down to 30th July and the oil change operation… the day release yesterday was a welcome change of scenery from the 4 walls I have become accustomed to… thanks to Rebecca for chauffeuring me around in the CAT… Soon be Friday and schools will close for the summer 6 week break, looking forward to spending some time watching the Ashes cricket with Joshua, perfect post op medicine for getting back to full health… Enjoy your Wednesday whatever your plans…I will be engrossed in The Supervet autobiography and trying to avoid the Prince Philip Hospital menu wherever possible… Today’s thought for the day…

The biggest mistake you can make is listening to people who’ve given up on their dreams telling you to give up on yours…

18 July 2019 Another early start to Thursday at Prince Philip Hospital Ward 4… 05:30 obs check by night staff completed…time to get the morning routine out of the way before another needle is pushed into my finger… More ins and out yesterday, happy to see patients getting the treatment required and then being discharged… as soon as some leave, their beds are refilled with new patients… cardiac problems affect so many, both male and female, but the medical staff are brilliant here getting the issues investigated and resolved, some with simple procedures others like myself with more invasive treatment… The days in the calendar are being crossed off now and the big day is getting nearer… Think I have been incarcerated here long enough now so my visit to Morriston Hospital cannot come quick enough… Weather forecast looks fair, if you are working, tough luck, if you are off enjoy… I might have another release day on Sunday… Today’s thought for the day…

Be thankful for what you have and you will end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough…

19 July 2019It’s my anniversary today… 4 weeks since I stepped over the threshold of Prince Philip Hospital for a cardiograph… after the test I was told… “we have a bed for you”… a journey with no destination… as yet… Been a pleasant trip so far… at least I know that I am in the best possible health, apart from the most important part of one’s anatomy…but they will get to the heart of the matter on 30th July and that will then open the door to my future well being and recovery…it might not cost 6 million dollars but I am assured I will feel like the man in the famous television series… Today is also the last day in primary school for many children, including Penygaer Primary where I am Chair of Governors… May I extend my best wishes to all the pupils of Penygaer and all other primary school pupils who are leaving for the “big school” today… enjoy your 6 week break and please do not stress out your parents too much… I am going to try and complete the autobiography of the Supervet… we have all been amazed at his skill of putting our beloved pets back together… a miracle worker to some… have a great day, the weekend is around the corner… Today’s thought for the day…

If you are having a difficult time, remember that trees lose their leaves every year, but stand tall because they know better days are to come…

20 July 2019Saturday morning usually means a lie in… but hospital stays do not have sleep added to the prescriptions… 05:10 this morning was the wake-up call that the obs trolley was heading in my direction… hide under the duvet I said to myself… too late… spotted… Today is hopefully my last Saturday in Prince Philip Hospital for the time being… this time next week I could be waking up in Morriston Hospital in readiness for the procedure that will make me breathe easier…no definitive transfer date for me as yet though… but at least a couple of my fellow patients will be going home today… Last evening I had a visitor from patient services asking if I would provide feedback from my stay at Prince Philip Hospital… my question was “how long have you got?” Another release day tomorrow, home to see the boys and puss, have lunch and get some fresh air… see… there are treats to be had…But all in all I have got through the last month by having support from my family and great support from the doctors and nurses in Ward 4… the journey is not over yet but the number of stops left are getting less… it will be my turn soon to open the door and get off… Today’s thought for the day…

Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen…

21 July 2019 Good morning, today is release day, at precisely 09:30 I will be driven away from the front of Prince Philip Hospital for 8 hours of freedom…Ward 4 to home. A walk is planned with the wee man, some shopping and lunch… just getting out is better medicine than I have had up until now… Today is hopefully the start of my last week in Ward 4… Movement to Morriston Hospital at the end of this week is planned… let’s do it… Have a lovely Sunday and I might see some of you on the outside today… Today’s thought for this Sunday…

The harder you work for something, the greater you will feel when you achieve it…

22 July 2019 Morning from Prince Philip Hospital… Into week 5 of my stay, this should be my last week here… free transfer to Morriston Hospital on the cards for the end of the week… My thanks to everyone at home for my day out yesterday including Alfie & Murphy… puss did show her face but not for long…Thanks to Joanne & Gareth for slaving over a hot stove making lunch… back to the menu at Prince Philip Hospital today… Had a bit of a lie in this morning, 05:40 wake up… every little helps… breakfast is next… the Hilton it isn’t but it is edible and a reasonable start to the day… Today’s thought for the day…

Never regret a day in your life. Good days give you happiness and bad days give you experience…

23 July 2019 Wide awake at 5am… it is a good morning from me to you all… I am still here marking the days down to next Tuesday… All morning obs fine and dandy… Looks like the weather will be warm today; summer has arrived for the day… remember the sunscreen when you venture out… Going to be another day of a walk to the paper shop, reading and visitors, being poked, prodded, checked and used as target practice whilst I have my twice daily injections in my midriff area… Enjoy your day at work, the sunshine, ice cream and if needed a glass of the amber liquid that aids restful sleep… medicinal use only though… Today’s thought for the day…

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence…

24 July 2019 Greetings from the place I have called home for what seems like forever… more reassurances yesterday that the repair to my heart will go ahead next Tuesday so getting itchy feet for the transfer to Morriston Hospital… Had a lovely surprise yesterday, a former colleague from UNISON Regional Office called to see me and it was great to catch up… made a dour day in Ward 4 become a lot brighter… Today will be another packed day of reading, medication, dartboard practice by the nurses and the menu that time forgot… The school holidays have taken off with some lovely weather for the children and the opening of the paddling pools around Llanelli has come at the right time… enjoy the water but do not forget the sunscreen… Today’s thought of the day is…

Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes them meaningful…

25 July 2019 Yet another fine morning at Prince Philip Hospital… Patients leaving for Morriston Hospital woken at 5am, some happy to be going, others disappointed that it is not their turn yet… and me? going up on Saturday for the planned Tuesday rummage around to fix my valve… Another hot and sticky day coming up, difficult working conditions for most, keep cool and drink plenty of water and eat copious amounts of ice cream… Also in the news today… Boris… appointed another team of failures to the new Cabinet…god help us all… Thanks to those that have come up to see me…even had a visit from one of the individuals that I have provided support to over the last 10 years… will have plenty of time to catch up when this interlude in my life is complete and I am back to full fitness… Today’s thought for today…

Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it…

26 July 20195 weeks today I was dropped off at the front entrance of Prince Philip Hospital in the CAT… tomorrow I leave in an ambulance bound for Morriston Hospital in preparation for my date with the surgeon on Tuesday… I have been a patient patient but there is a limit… yesterday was a day of movement from Ward 4, patients going home, patients coming from Withybush in preparation for a number of procedures that will be carried out after the required Angiogram has been done, stents, pacemakers, valve replacements and bypass surgery can be the outcome after that Angiogram…heart issues are resolved one way or another…The staff are brilliant at what they do… Today’s thought for the day…

Believe in yourself, and the rest will fall into place. Have faith in your own abilities, work hard, and there is nothing you cannot accomplish…

30 July 2019 Good morning Tuesday…Patients are coming and going every day…I am still here… being told one thing and finding that the complete opposite is going to happen is now a daily occurrence… I should move today but there is no guarantee… I will try and keep focused but it is getting harder… life seems to be on hold… I will keep smiling as there are patients in Ward 4 in far worse health than I am… Confirmed that today will be my last day at Prince Philip Hospital… off to Morriston for the operation that will correct my aortic valve… Today’s thought for the day…

You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life…

31 July 2019 Good morning, my near 6 weeks of patience comes to an end today at 13:30 as I am wheeled into theatre for the surgery… It is going to be a morning of preparation, body shave and doused in antiseptic… a little anxiety but I am in good hands and by this evening I should be back in ICU sleeping like a baby… I might not be in a fit state over the next 24 hours to reply to posts but be assured I will be back shortly… See you all soon boys and girls… Today’s thought for the day…

Every day may not be a good day but there is good in every day…

2 August 2019 Good morning all… I am stuck together with superglue… a bit uncomfortable with a catheter but hopefully go down to the main ward later today…have wires and pipes coming from everywhere… so can’t move without help… I’ll be back…

3 August 2019 Good morning… Another weekend is upon us… and guess where I am…Still in HDMU… Morriston Hospital…move to the main ward in on the cards today… but good wishes to everyone and thanks for many good wishes that have been sent to me…

4 August 2019 Good morning from the Mumbles Bay Ward of the Cyril Evans Ward at Morriston Hospital…All these wards have become part of my life over the past six weeks but on the homeward stretch now… Life at the moment is still painful and with all the monitors I have attached to me coupled with the cabling makes it difficult to do the simplest things… 10 minutes to put a pair of underpants and baggies on this morning… Pain is at a minimum at the moment but trying to do the simplest of tasks and you get reminded why you are in here…I have the dressing from hell on my chest with wiring underneath…I would post a picture but it might put you off your breakfast… Hopefully I might be able to leave by the end of the week… leaving one prison for another but at least I will have the boys at home… Have a good day all…Today’s thought for the day…

Always ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow…

5 August 2019Top of the morning to all, another night over and another Monday morning awakens in the NHS…Without the dedication and care of the staff of Prince Philip Hospital and Morriston Hospital I am not sure where I would be today… but here I am getting better by the day and finding it easier to move and actually sleeping at night…It is however still a major job to get washed and dressed and get to the chair where I pen this morning ode…but every day will bring ease and less pain… Experienced some pain yesterday when they removed the dressings, stitches and wires that were attached, really tender for a while but that was no comparison to the pain of trying to eat the nut roast served up for lunch… Today will be a day of reading, perhaps watching England win the cricket and consuming a Smartie tube amount of medication, might even have a bit of chocolate as a treat… Hopefully I will not have many more days writing these from here as I heard the word “discharge” yesterday…I will keep you posted… Whatever you are doing today, do it to the best of your ability and say thank you because it does matter… Today’s thought for the day…

The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary…

6 August 2019 Morning all, looks like it has been a wet night, let’s hope the day brightens with news of me leaving here… Great news yesterday that my pal from Prince Philip Hospital the one and only Les Jones finally got his move to HDU, motoring now towards improvement every day and making the prune mountain smaller… I am fine, a wee bit of pain from the entrance to the heart of the matter but I was given a discharge information booklet yesterday and sadly for me it was read by Joanne & Rebecca so there will be no shortcuts. Just waiting for my INR readings to improve and when they reach the required levels I am outta here… Been a long road since June 21 but would not have got here without the support of my wife, daughters, fellow patients and most importantly the staff of both hospitals that have looked after me at every corner… I spoke to sister in Ward 4 in Prince Philip Hospital yesterday to update her as it appears that the ward has not been the same since Les and I left… Have a good day all and may every patient in both hospitals improve enough so they are 1 day nearer going home… Today’s thought for the day…

We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special talent…

7 August 2019Bore Da, 7 days since the surgeon took a scalpel to me and I can still feel the pain… the pain is easing though and the news is that as long as my bloods are ok I should be leaving here in the CAT  for home at some point today… The last 7 weeks have been difficult but I have soldiered on and come out the other side… determination and strength should never leave your side as in most cases it is better than any medication on offer… The staff of both hospitals have been brilliant and I can never thank them enough… I will recover fully in time but my best wishes also to the patients I leave behind, some will follow me soon, some in a while, but some might be in for a long time… You might see this post again tomorrow if the blood work does not favour me… but if all goes well I will be penning the morning post from far different surroundings… Have a good day whatever is planned… Today’s thought for the day…

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact…

8 August 2019 Good morning, first night at home over, so nice to wake up in my own bed…This has been some journey, from the edge of the abyss to the field of dreams where I will be remaining as long as I do what I am told… Without the skill and care of the NHS in Llanelli & Swansea I would have been in a darker place without a light switch… To all my fellow patients too for your support through the period of recovery, seeing me leave will give you the impetus to follow me out through the front entrance of the hospital and in through the front door of your own homes. The process of real recovery starts straight away with an appointment at the Warfarin Clinic 9am today… let’s do it… more to come but rest as well over the next few days before the last of the stitches are removed… Remember we are all not as invincible as we think… Today’s thought for the day…

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind…

9 August 2019 Good Morning Friday…I can assure you that open heart surgery is not the best way to have an enforced holiday…I can think of better ways to spend time off but here I am… I am home and finding it difficult…never can anyone say I allowed others to do things for me… now it is a mantra that I sit, ask and wait until whatever I need is delivered to me…Thankfully I have everyone around me doing just that… I thank you all… I have also realised that this is not going to be a 5 min recovery process, it is going to take a while, being in discomfort is not a status that I like but it will recede in time, with the aid of the handful of medication I have to take, some of it disgusting… but necessary. Another hospital visit today to see the superstars of the NHS, more pricks in fingers and blood tested… Looks like a wet weekend coming up, but at least the end of the week is here and time off for some…enjoy… Today’s thought for the day…

There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits…

10 August 2019 Good morning all, another day of recovery passed, wish I could say I am feeling better, but I am not… the wound pain is harsh, keeping me awake and I am finding it difficult to get comfortable in the sitting position, after several weeks sitting and laying down it is the last thing I wish to do but at the moment the options are limited… It will get easier but feel a wee bit impatient at the moment, nobody said it was going to be easy and I am aware that the operation was slightly more involved than a stitch in a cut… but… Stitches out on Monday and another visit to Pathology for blood tests but have to get through this weekend, weather not too great, think it is going to be a rugby weekend kicking off with Aus v NZ at 10:30 am. Armchair is going to have to be the best seat in the house here… I hope that whatever everyone has planned will be what you wished for… Not many outdoor events to attend today…I have my medication, squash, TV and anything I wish to eat… and… I have just swallowed the last of the most foul tasting potassium drink ever… Today’s thought for the day…

You just can’t beat the person who never gives up…

11 August 2019 Good morning, a bit late posting today, feeling a little bit ugh this morning, but will hopefully get more myself as they day wears on and the sun comes out… Sunday is the ever present day of rest, something that I am going to experience a great deal over the coming weeks, possibly months… likewise my fellow patient Les who could be leaving Morriston Hospital today for home… best of luck for today, a great feeling when the chair pulls up at the bedside to transport you to the car… No DIY scheduled for today… orders from above, going to have to manage with Wales beating England and hopefully start a new book… whatever I end up doing there will be eyes watching to make sure it is within the boundaries that I have to adhere to…rest assured I will have Alfie by my side…Have a lovely day, less windy and more sunshine today… Today’s thought for the day…

The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with joy are goodness, beauty, and truth…

13 August 2019 Good morning, today marks 16 weeks since I first went to my GP with concerns about my health… The outcome of that initial consultation has far exceeded what I thought was wrong… Fortunately the interest of the NHS to get me diagnosed and treated has also far exceeded my expectations and gladly I am here this morning writing this post whereas according to the surgeon a further 6 months delay might have seen me in a permanent horizontal position. I say this to bring to your attention the need to check out your health regularly and not to ignore symptoms that might escalate and become serious. I also make this point as it has become obvious to me that although I was here, there and everywhere with UNISON for members benefit my experience of interest of some by the biggest union in the UK since I became ill has been disappointing. Fortunately some work colleagues have been with me the whole journey… you know who you are… thank you… I have had many wishes of get well soon from the UNISON family around Cymru/Wales but very little contact from individual branch staff I supported on a daily basis and even helped the branch win an award in 2018. I take my hat off to one Regional Organiser who took interest and visited me in hospital… but I have felt cast aside and discarded by a number of people that I have supported and assisted over the years… no need to name names… There will always be someone ready to step into your shoes should circumstances be necessary, ambition by some will always outweigh capability. The ignorance of non returned voicemails and emails is unforgivable… It will take a while to get back to full health, that will bring some major change to my life, but I will always be around to assist everyone… Enough gloom, dwelling on the past is not worth my time, let’s look forward to full health and a return to the streets of Llanelli and assisting constituents with everyday issues, selling the importance of a NHS service that is second to none and documenting my experience of open heart surgery that might make patients in the future a little more confident about the outcome of what is in front of them… Another day of rest coming up, never have I enjoyed being still in bed at 06:50 so much…Cup of tea time…Have a great day and remember we are not machines… just humans… Today’s thought for the day…

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all…

14 August 2019 Good morning friends, colleagues and former fellow patients… another summer’s day of rain on the cards and the outlook is not too great for the coming days unless you are being discharged from hospital when every day is sunny… Funny old day yesterday after I outed my feelings but I have had that festering inside since I became ill and bottling things up has never ever been my way forward… Test cricket was supposed to be on the cards for today but the great British summer looks like it is in charge so that will be a no go… a day of repeats and reading instead…might even try some chocolate during the interval… Sad for the organisers of summer events that involve children on school holidays that will have to rearrange schedules… Can’t wait to be strong enough to go out for a walk, fresh air has been at a minimum for what it seems like ages, might be another couple of weeks yet as I still have pain and that might take 6 weeks to subside… Today’s thought for the day…

Enjoy life, study hard, play hard, be kind to other people, set high standards, and don’t be afraid to say No…

15 August 2019 Good morning, moving towards another weekend in convalescence mode, pain is receding nicely and I am moving a little more confidently, so I must be on the mend… Big day today for all A level students… hope the envelopes you open contain the required grades… A quiet day on the cards, might get a bit of Test cricket as surprisingly it has stopped raining… Tomorrow looks like a busier day, early visit to Prince Philip Hospital for blood tests followed by a full English breakfast… reminds me of the days I spent in hotels with UNISON… they will never return…and I get to have a ride in my CAT… can’t drive for at least another 5 weeks…☹️ Next week hopefully will be a milestone, hoping to go out for a walk and revisit the sights of Llanelli town… Today’s thought for the day…

Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm, and genuine people…

16 August 2019 Hello Friday, the weekend has arrived with a wet morning and afternoon but hopes of an improvement tomorrow… Talking of improvements, yes I am, less pain and discomfort but at least another month before I am without some sort of pain…the four walls are starting to close in, concentration is at a minimum and I am getting extremely bored… Today is treat for Dad day, first my Warfarin blood test and a visit to Ward 4 Prince Philip Hospital…but then a full English courtesy of my daughter, I remember those days of Facebook photos from around the UK, today’s will be local, taste nice… the previous ones might now have a sour taste… Think the cricket might be rained off again so out the old films come and a book to pass the time… and just in case you are wondering… no… I am not missing work… that at the moment is furthest from my mind… Today’s thought for the day…

Choices and decisions must be supported by your passion, resolve, and a productive work ethic. If these meet opportunity, your success has finally come…

17 August 2019 Good morning to all on this Saturday morning that looks like it may even turn out dry for a change… Operation AVR is now approaching 3 weeks post op and I am slowly getting my strength back, post op wounds are still a little painful but when your sternum is taken apart and then put back it is little wonder that there might be a wee niggle or two… there is no finish line for me so just one step at a time…I get there when I get there… Anyway today is dominated by a couple of rugby matches and a cricket game at Lords. the day finishing off with an open air showing of “The Greatest Showman” at Penygaer, I am not well enough to attend but I send my best wishes to all and hope that the turnout is amazing… Thoughts also to my AVR buddy Les Jones who is still in hospital, the coming week should see him discharged… everything is crossed for him… Today’s thought for the day…

This is the real secret of life, to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realise it is play…

18 August 2019Another weekend upon us, wish the weather would make its mind up… Feeling a bit tender this morning, according to the discharge notes one is supposed to sleep a certain way at night, it appears I am not and that is the reason for the pain… Rain at Lords so no cricket… looks like another long day, boredom is taking on a new meaning for me and it isn’t getting any easier being stuck at home day after day… I hope to do some test walks this coming week, no marathons or sprints just walks with a capital W… Sunday papers are also a no no, full of Boris, Brexit, bombs at a wedding and other political bollocks, given the cost of the Sunday papers, waste of money… Today’s thought for the day…

A big part of being a well adjusted person is accepting that you can’t be good at everything…

19 August 2019 Good morning world… another  Monday, work for some, bed for those unfortunate to have worked the Sunday night shift, long faces for others who have to try and come up with ideas to keep the children entertained during this summer break… Next week is the last bank holiday before Christmas… It has been a long summer for me since June 21… at least I am now at home and making strides towards a pain free period where I will actually not wince when I move… Fortunately I am wincing at home not in a hospital ward where I know there is someone waiting to escape… I had a call from Keith Davies in Norway last evening, one thing is for sure I will not have to put any time aside today for phone calls from UNISON to see how I am … Today should be a quiet day, have a little trip out in the CAT, visit the cardiac nurse to check on my progress and possibly a visit to the surgery for Warfarin tablets…exciting times… Appetite has been an issue since the diagnosis, not only because of the al a crate (carte)menu in hospital but knowing that a major surgical procedure is coming towards you like a intercity train tends to take away the want for food… Improvement is slow but a long way off yet… I am reliably informed that there is a heatwave on its way for the Bank Holiday… might be pain free enough to try a pint of that amber liquid that aids restful sleep… just the one mind… Today’s thought for the day…

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away…

20 August 2019 Good morning from Llanelli, where we have blue skies and the sun is out…a day of rest today, a little bit too much yesterday so quieter today… Visit to the Cardiac nurse went well yesterday, BP is fine and the wound is healing nicely, I will experience some pain for a number of weeks but that is to be expected, old North Sea bear can cope with that… but easy as it goes… Home alone today, apart from the animals, it is lovely to have some quiet after the last 8 weeks being in hospital wards where there is something going on 24 hours a day… although daytime TV has not improved… Think a bit of reading and eating might be on the cards today… Another morning of Boris and the royals in the papers, whilst they flit about Europe… Sadly, food banks, summer lunch clubs, homelessness, poverty and the sham of Universal Credit for the many…criminal… Today’s thought for the day…

The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity…

21 August 2019Morning all, middle of another week, time moves on apace, the days are passing quickly taking the pain away slowly and quietly from my previously intact torso… eventually to be as good as new… Tomorrow I plan to go back to Morriston Hospital to visit someone that has been in longer than anyone I have met on this journey… I will also see some of the amazing NHS staff that got me through this tour of the wards in Morriston Hospital until I was wheeled out to the car park to be reacquainted with the CAT. Where would we be without the NHS…certainly a lot poorer and in a sorry state of health… Enough doom and gloom…The sun is out, events locally today, I will spend the day having a measured walk, throwing Mickey for Alfie and generally taking it easy, as tomorrow could be a long day starting with blood tests at 9am… and I get to sit in the CAT… Today’s thought for the day…

Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave…

22 August 2019 Hi everyone, a bit late with the post today due to visits to pathology and surgery… Feeling OK today, a bit sore around the chest, would be better if the sun shone for a bit, so I could sit in the garden… dismal day weather wise and not a day for being out and about… sadly the cricket did not fare any better in Yorkshire… Been to Morriston to see someone who is stuck in hospital due to complications after the same operation as I had…sadly I will be driven there as I am prohibited from driving for another 4 weeks… Had a chauffeur to go to Morriston Hospital… CAT is going well, will go better when I am back behind the wheel… Today’s thought for the day…

Today, wherever you go, carry the intention of peace, love, and harmony in your heart…

23 August 2019 Good morning, start of a Bank Holiday weekend, great for some, not so good for a large majority of NHS and social care staff… the weather promises sunshine but remember when Monday is over thoughts turn to Xmas… Home alone weekend for me, except Sunday, just me and the boys, not forgetting puss, might even take a walk out on Sunday… Nice to see my fellow patient yesterday, hopefully all will come together and you will be home soon, also nice to see some of the nurses that are a credit to the NHS who looked after me and Les and are still smiling… All quiet here at the moment so going to take this opportunity to get changed ready for a possible good day of cricket… a bit of Andrea Bocelli via Alexa… lovely…have a good day and an even better weekend whatever you decide to do… Today’s thought for the day… if it hasn’t crossed your mind then I do not believe you…

It’s easy to identify people who can’t count to ten. They’re in front of you in the supermarket express lane…

27 August 2019 Hello everyone, I am back posting, another bank holiday over, back to work for those that enjoyed the break, continue as normal for a large majority of NHS and social care staff, back to school next week so mums can have a rest and recess is over so council meetings resume… Nearly a month now since I underwent the operation and I am feeling more myself apart from the chest pain that has arisen from cutting through the sternum then wiring it back together. I am told it might take 12 weeks for it to subside, seems like a long long way off… no gain without pain… Going to try a walk to town this morning, test the new valve to see if it did the trick… Looks like summer is over for another year, think I missed most of it… but perhaps an Indian one might show when the schools return… Hope my mate Les is getting released this week… Enjoy the sunshine today as rain is forecast for tomorrow… eyes and blood tests for me tomorrow…more drops and needles…love them… Today’s thought for the day…

You get older and you learn there is one sentence, just four words long, and if you can say it to yourself it offers more comfort than almost any other. It goes like this: At least I tried…

3 September 2019 That’s it, summer is over and we are officially into autumn… School holidays are also completed and the new term starts for the many today… My enforced Summer holiday is not over though… mine started on April 23rd and still goes on… yes I have had all the tests and surgery and fortunately I am up and about and recovering as well as can be expected but the boredom is killing me… Another 3 weeks or so before I can drive, I am walking and not suffering from the issues that put me in this place so something was rectified…but not being able to carry out the menial daily duties is hard work… patience is the key but sorry that is something at the moment I am short of… Never mind, time will tell, at least I have Boris Smart’s circus to keep me entertained, an abundance of clowns and jokers performing in the ring of Parliament with Boris as the ringmaster… entry is free… Today’s thought for the day…

The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity…

18 September 2019 Good morning everyone… I thought it was time to resume the morning post… Yesterday was the 6 week threshold after the operation and although I felt that everything was going well I needed it confirmed by Morriston Hospital… The response from the doctor was that everything has gone as well as they could expect… after all the X-rays, ECGs, canulas, catheters and all the needles and probes that have been stuck into me I appear to be recovering very well…if I could lose the chest pain it would be brilliant but that will be present for at least another 6-8 weeks… I hope… Cardiac rehabilitation is next on the agenda, 8 weeks at the Leisure Centre coming up… but one plus is that I can drive again… behind the wheel of the CAT gives me back my independence… an outlet to alleviate the boredom of the last 3 months or so… On a sad note, Murphy returned home yesterday to join forces with Taffy and Tilly, nearly 17 years of love and affection from Murphy will be greatly missed but at least he is now at peace and pain free… Today’s thought for the day…

Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that certain things will never go back to how they used to be…

3 October 2019 Those legs were made for walking…the time is coming… Cardiac Rehab on the horizon… 8 weeks of exercise, BP checks, pulse rate checks and presentations from the medical staff on AVR, Cardiac disease, Stress and Mental Health, Nutrition, Relationships, Medication, I think they cover it all… enjoy… Postings will now take a back seat whilst I enjoy the next 8 weeks…