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It was Gillian's class again today.  On the way I stopped off at Starbucks and naughtily ordered a mocha coffee to take away.  I was surprised that it was only £2.30, which I thought was not at all bad for the very centre of the city, because I've paid those sort of prices, or even more at those crummy motorway coffee bars.  It's so silly that we need to buy coffee from outside because the Methodist Church, where we have our class, has a really good coffee bar of its own and the coffee smells wonderful, but they don't open till 11.15, even though there are lots of staff there making sarnies and so forth when we first get there at 9.30.  Wasted opportunity in my opinion.  There are 17 of us and most of us would buy coffee there if we could.

We spent rather a lot of time discussing what to do with the extra money we've amassed.  It makes me cross, because Gillian has organised everything and charged what is reasonable, and I think that after she has paid the expenses and paid herself, she should keep the rest of the money in case we hit problems some time, but she is so painfully scrupulous that she feels that after she's paid herself on the highest band of what the local Writing people get, she should give the rest of the money back in some way.  I think this is madness.  It's a business and she needs to make provision for hard times and a pension.  I think I shall e-mail her about it.

I enjoyed the class but I wasn't feeling so great today, owing to extra breathlessness and my horrible bloody knee playing me up again.  I didn't produce anything I'm likely to develop, still, you can't expect it every time and it was quite fun.

I looked up pulmonary hypertension on the Internet and I was very struck by the entry in Wikipedia which stated

"A history usually reveals gradual onset of shortness of breath, fatigue, non-productive cough, angina pectoris, fainting or syncope, peripheral edema (swelling of the limbs, especially around the ankles and feet)"

I haven't experienced angina, or fainting but I certainly have the other symptoms.  I've been complaining about the cough since long before the breathlessness started and just last week it was so bad it gave me painful ribs.

Charles is upset because he thought I should immediately feel better on taking the beta blocker, and for all I know he is right, perhaps I should, but I rather imagine that the effect is cumulative as with so many medicines.

He is thinking that he may be allergic to wheat or gluten, so he's in the first 48 hours of giving up bread, cake and everything else which might have wheat or gluten.  He has an awful headache and is feeling unwell, so maybe he's right, perhaps it's withdrawal symptoms. I have to say I know nothing about this condition, although I'm thankful not to suffer that as well as everything else.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get to the the Lit & Phil, because my writing has come to a full stop at home, owing to constant interruptions.   I planned to write this afternoon, but Charles asked me to cut his hair, which takes ages, because he has curly hair which he lets get rather long and every time I think I've sorted out a lock of hair, it starts sticking up in the opposite direction.  No sooner had John realised what I was doing than he booked me to shave his neck and shoulders and then it was time to help Charles with the dinner.

Now I can barely stay awake although it's not yet 10 o'clock!

I wonder whether I can stay awake long enough to start on Un Lun Dun by China Mieville.  I heard part of it on Radio7 a few weeks ago and it sounded quite fun, so I thought I'd give it a try when I was at Waterstone's last and got my three books for the price of two.
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I had a longish session with my Lovely Lady Doctor this afternoon.  It made me laugh actually, because I had a list of things to speak to her about which read


so we had a good giggle about that which made me feel loads better straight away.

I just told her for her information what happened yesterday at the eye clinic, and she was interested to hear that they thought it might not be caused by diabetes but by marginal hypertension.  She said that Dr Adams was beginning to think that the problem might be caused by a kind of increased blood pressure going the wrong way between heart and lung.  Or something like that, if that isn't completely mad!  We had a long discussion about how my blood pressure always seems to be on the high side of "just all right" and in the end she prescribed a Beta Blocker, to see if it might help. 

Later I remembered how I was always fainting when I was a young woman,  so maybe what would be normal blood pressure in other people might be, in fact, high blood pressure for me.

Strangely enough, this evening I was reading in today's Telegraph about a little lad who needs Viagra to keep him alive because he has pulmonary hypertension which causes the blood pressure in the arteries to rise, putting strain on the heart and reducing oxygen levels.  This little lad cannot walk more than a few steps without getting out of breath.  It also said that only 4000 people in the country have the condition which usually affects middle aged women and can lead to heart failure and damage to the lungs.  I was kind of hoping that this might be the answer until I read that it also said the survival rate for most patients is about five years.  So now I'm hoping it isn't that, because I've had the bloody thing for over a year already.

I was going to tell Charles and John about the newspaper article, but I'm not going to now, because I know Charles will automatically assume the worst and get upset, not to mention driving me mad by asking if I'm all right all the time.

She thinks the cough was probably an infection, since it seems a bit better now, she's prescribed more painkillers for the knee and thinks the feet will sort themselves out when I've seen Dr. Adams on the 27th. of this month and he decides what to do next.

I told her how desperate I am to get some proper exercise and she said she would discuss with Dr. Adams whether I could be included in one of the exercise programmes for people with heart disease.  There are a lot of those, but there is no help with exercise for people with atrial fibrillation, which seems mad to me.

Charles has started to wonder if he has a wheat intolerance.  He's certainly had digestive problems for a couple of years, so he's decided to give up wheat for a few weeks to see if he feels any better.  He would tell me this just after I've stocked up the fridge with bread and pizza and have bought a couple of boxes of cereal!  I've told him to go away and research it on the Internet and then come and tell me what he can eat!  How he'll manage without being able to eat the quantities of bread and cake he eats at present, I simply don't know.  My suggestions of carrot sticks and apples were not well received.

I'm just about to go to bed and have to take the first of the Beta Blockers.  She told me to take it just before I go to bed in case my blood pressure drops dramatically and I get dizzy.  Presumably I shan't notice if I'm asleep!
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How perfect!  Swing Time was on BBC4 this evening.  I am such a sucker for Fred and Ginger!!

And those clothes.!!!.......................just once I would have liked an excuse to wear a dress like those she wore in those films.

My face-ache has subsided, but now I have a very sore throat!

I do hope it doesn't mean I'm sickening for something because the hospital rang this afternoon and offered me a cancellation appointment which I accepted for next Tuesday, for the myocardial perfusion scan.  I'm not exactly sure what it is, but it sounds quite complicated and I shall have to be at the hospital for at least 2 hours, one hour of which I have to spend waiting for the second part of the procedure, whatever it is.

And I'm not allowed any coffee, tea or caffeine drinks for 24 hours beforehand.  Torture!

At least I was able to eat proper food again this evening.  We had a lovely risotto made from the left-over goose and stock I made from the goose carcase yesterday.  I still have enough stock left to make a small bowl of soup for yours truly, but tomorrow we shall have lentil and ham soup made with the stock left over from cooking the gammon after Charles had made the pease pudding.  Afterwards perhaps we shall finally be able to eat some of the Christmas pudding.  We didn't have it tonight because everyone wanted to sample the Christmas cake.  It was very good!  I think it was one of the best I've ever made because it's moist and alcoholic without falling apart.  The icing was a bit hard for someone with a fat face, but I womanfully struggled my way through a piece.

I've been seeing rather patronising advertisements for using up left-overs, saying "We call them ingredients".  I simply cannot believe that people don't use them up.  What does this paternalistic gummint think we are?  Whose daft idea was that?

We still have loads of gammon to eat and a little beef. Hardly anyone has touched the cheese yet.  I have three-quarters of a Christmas cake and half a dozen mince pies left.  There are loads of chocolates and chocolate biscuits to be eaten.  They should keep John and Charles going for weeks!

I shall certainly make more mince pies, because I have loads of lovely mince-meat left.  On the other hand, I have Delia's recipe for mincemeat cake.................

I shall probably have to do a little shopping tomorrow for things like butter, eggs and bread, but we don't need anything else at the moment, not even vegetables.

Except I've just remembered that Charles is planning a game stew for New Year's Eve.  We have venison in the freezer, but I shall have to see if I can get a couple of pigeons or a mallard or something from North Acomb  or Brockbushes tomorrow.

I'm absolutely shattered!  It must be the anti-biotics.


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