Following on from yesterday’s post Mobile telephony and the reaction to ICE numbers, my mind went into overdrive last night…

  • By law, all dogs need to be chipped before you can buy a dog licence. These microchips are inserted under the skin along the spine area with details of the dog and the owner. If a dog is found wandering, any vet can read the chip to help locate the owner.
  • Prisoners who are considered a danger to the public, can be tagged when paroled or waiting for a case to go to court.
  • Trolleys at supermarkets now have tags that prevent them from removal outside the boundary of the shop car park.

Surely we can do something like that to help keep track of vulnerable Alzheimer’s patients. I have know of many cases of these patients wandering.

Annie, an elderly widow, was found wandering up the street of her small town, late one wet and blustery evening. She had rollers in her hair (usual for a Saturday night), the apron she wore on a daily basis while doing household chores and her slippers. She did have her Sunday Best cardigan on over the apron and a large handbag over her arm, it contained only the church envelope with her weekly contribution. Thankfully she was found by someone who recognised her, but it took them time to convince her that it was not time for Sunday church service and to turn her round and bring her home.

Robert, was a widower and when it became unsafe to live alone, his daughter arranged for him to stay in an Abbeyfield house local to her. It was many miles away from where he had lived all his married life. A couple of times he went walk about, but was found before he ventured too far. One day he was not found in time. Robert went ‘walkies’ one bright morning and was found about twelve hours later, on a pavement not far from his old home, a victim of a fatal hit and run motor accident.

Then there was the sad tale of Peggy Mangan, 65, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. Peggy took her faithful dog Casper for a walk and never came home. I wrote about her in an earlier LBC post Ego,

Surely, if we have ways of tracking dogs, prisoners and supermarket trolleys…..

Alzheimer patients are more important and worth protecting from themselves, if not from accidents or lonely deaths, and their families from unnecessary heartache!

Drugs, food and science

Brighid sent me a link to a very interesting post by Anne, last night, I thought many of you might like to read it.

Drugs, food and science.

I suggest you read the article first before  my thoughts below.

I am no scientist, but the part about the medications, particularly statins, I certainly agree with. I was prescribed statins a number of years ago, and ended up almost bedridden, unable to stand upright and in constant pain. I could not remember what I was supposed to be doing half the time, though I put that down to my being in pain.

Statins are cheap and that is why they are so widely prescribed. Two of my brothers, one in Australia and another in Dublin, had the same trouble as I had with meds. Each spoke to me at different times without knowing the other had done so. The common denominator for the three of us was a problem with Statins. I gave them the name of my replacement drug and told them to go back and talk to their doctors. Thankfully they listened and life has improved for all of us.

There are people out there who are on prescribed medications , and without consultation buy over the counter rubbish because Joe Soap swears by it. They forget it can react in a bad way to the prescribed items they are swallowing.

Now, the story about Mr Green Smoothie, pleading for donations to make a video, scares me. We are told he says:

He has everything he needs to make it (except money). He is an experienced film maker, has the necessary equipment, has doctors lined up to do blood work, has amazing athletes to cooperate — presumably to consume green smoothies. All he needs to prove his hypothesis — that green smoothies enhance athletic performance — is money.

If the evidence is so strong, how come some professionals are not ready to back him?

The GMO argument is another mine field and alas, I do not know enough to make any claims one way or the other. I do know that every second person I meet these days seems to suffer from some allergy.

I wonder if it is the age of the internet and the speed of how news, both good and bad travels the globe. You know how it is: A first hand story, becomes unrecognizable by the time it is fourth hand. This article is a case in point:

Could new polypill save thousands of lives?

The National Health Service (NHS) is our UK government provided health care. It shows how stories can spread like wildfire.

In my grandparents day, they did not have modern medications and antibiotics, so depended on the local ‘healer’ for remedies. We had a book at home years ago of these ancient remedies and they would scare the life out of you.

Enough from me, I need to make my breakfast.

Doctor, Doctor I think I’m a butterfly

Dr: Will you say what you mean and stop flitting about!

Right so, here I go……

The health care we receive, be it NHS/Medicare or care paid for by private insurance, can only be as good as the people providing that care.  Doctors & nurses are human, with all the same stresses and worldly cares that we the patients have. It might be troublesome teenagers, aging parents, grief at loss of a loved one or signs & symptoms of their own ill health knocking at their door.

When I was young we had a family GP who worked his practice single handed 24/7. He held two ‘non appointment’ surgeries, five days a week: 2 pm for one hour, and in the evening from six pm to seven thirty, the latter clinic often went on until nine pm, nobody was ever turned away. The remainder of the day was spent making house calls or arranging for hospital admittance or appointments.

DR H, lived along the avenue from us and had his surgery in a converted shed in the garden. It was divided into two rooms (I am going back to the 1950s &60s here).

You opened the outside door and entered the waiting room. A dozen unmatched dining chairs were placed around three walls. A well trodden square of carpet covered the floor and the remaining furniture was a coffee table with a scattering of well thumbed and dog-eared old magazines. Heating was provided by a two bar electric fire.

First patient in plugged in the fire to take the chill off the air, then went and sat next to the internal door to the Doctor’s surgery. Next patient came and sat beside them and soon there was a confessional queue of patients waiting to be seen. As a patient went in to see the Doctor, the others waiting their turn, all stood up as if in unison to move along the row of seats – sure it was good exercise and kept the blood flowing!

The surgery was no more modern than the waiting room. It had an examination table along one wall. On another was a lockable glass cabinet where he kept his few drugs and below it a small wash hand basin. On the floor near his desk and chair was a single gas ring on which sat a saucepan to boil and sterilize his syringes and needles. Finally there were two more chairs for patient and carer and at a safe distance, another two bar electric fire.

 How different that all seems to the clinics and surgeries of today:

  • Appointments to fit our timetable
  • Touch screen arrival check-ins.
  • Bright spacious waiting areas with comfortable seating (Thankfully the blasting television screens seem to have been removed).
  • Bleeping signs that show your name when the Dr is ready to see you.
  • Digital records and up to date results from X-Rays and hospital visits.
  • Out of hours doctors panels to deal with emergencies or see urgent cases in their own homes.

GPs today, mostly work in group practice. They spend their day seeing patients in surgery, on house calls or speak to them on the phone. Paper work – be it hard copy or digital – is the major headache and dirty word that they all have to deal with on a daily basis. Letters to Consultants and hospitals. Results of consultations, X-rays or blood tests all need to be read and decisions made. They have stats to fill and targets to meet and at the end of the day about 200 repeat prescriptions to sign. That last one is not as easy as it sounds. Medications that can cause so many complications by being added into the wrong mix – patient charts need checking – drug bibles need checking – eyes get tired, bodies need food, fathers and mothers need to get home and see their families…… They are human!

Many medical procedures are taken care of at the local surgery, or as a day patient in a hospital. Hospital stays are much shorter than in the past. When I had my appendectomy in 1966, the norm was a fourteen day stay in hospital. I was in bed for one full week and ambulatory for the next seven days. Nowadays that operation, like so many others, is most commonly performed as keyhole surgery and the patient discharged in a couple of days.

Today we have vaccines help us avoid:

  • Flu
  • HPV (human papilloma virus)
  • MMR – measles, mumps, rubella
  • pneumonia
  • polio
  • scarlet fever
  • Typhoid
  • Whooping cough
  • Antimalarial prevention comes in tablet form.

Cataracts, hips, knees, hearts, lungs and livers can now be replaced. With the possibility of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) (taking donated egg cells from women and removing their genetic material. These are then fused with human cells – in this case skin cells – and the fused cell begins behaving in a similar way to an embryo by producing human stem cells) the future holds great possibilities.

BUT, yes it is a big one:

For every ailment or disease we seem to overcome, there are plenty more coming to our notice every day with no cure and at times no knowledge of how to treat them.

The medical world is changing – AT A PRICE!

Back in August 2009, Ronni Bennett from Time Goes By asked bloggers from both within and without the Unites States of America, to take part in a discussion on how healthy we found our Health Service, and link to her Health Debate on 20th August 2009.

I added my My Tuppenceworth to the debate finishing up with this paragraph:

Modern medicine is both wonderful and cruel, amazing advancements have been made over the years, but we have outlandish expectations for miracle cures. We are all living longer and the way the health service works will have to change.  Illnesses such as cancer, once considered fatal, are now becoming chronic. Joints and internal organs can be replaced, but there is no such thing as a free lunch… the price is often with (like me) constant reviews and extra medication all costing the state and our pockets to stretch a very long way. We seem to have forgotten that we must die at some stage. I would like to live for another ten to fifteen years, but please don’t keep me hanging on like a vegetable, for another twenty, thirty or forty years, somebody show mercy, open the door and push me outside the igloo!

Over my lifetime, I have witnessed the results of wonderful work both at the hands of public and private health care, but I have seen some dreadful mishaps too from both sides of the coin.

The medical world is changing – AT A PRICE!

Now I wonder if shackman agrees? He was responsible for setting this topic of national healthcare vs private on the table today. Now it is time to don the scrub outfits and enter the theater to see how the other members of our team are approaching the cut: The Old Fossil, Ramana, Delirious, Maxi, Shackman speaks, Ashok, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, Padmum, Blackwatertown, Will Knott Rohit

Photographing the Alphabet ~ E (Part Two)

E + Egg.

I know. I know. I covered the letter E a couple of weeks ago, but, but……

I found an egg!

Yes. I found an egg when I was down in Dublin. Mind you it would have been difficult to miss it.

2.4 m ( 7ft 10 inches) high.
880kg ( (1940 lbs) in weight.

That means it was as heavy as 7.6 baby elephants (average elephant calf weighs 115kg). Or more than 15 full grown pot belly pigs (125 lbs each).

Or to put it in more manageable figures:

17,600  BARS OF CHOCOLATE! (50g each)

It was behind protective glass, so not so easy for me to capture.

To date it is the Largest chocolate egg ever created in Ireland and made entirely of milk chocolate. The egg was crafted by Lily O’ Brien’s in celebration of their title sponsorship of The Big Egg Hunt in Aid of Jack & Jill.

The Egg was decorated with white chocolate lilies, decorative leaves and jewels by Charlotte Marrifield.

This egg was not hard to find. Pity it was on my last morning in Dublin or I would have had fun for a few more days….

It was all part of ‘The Big Egg Hunt 2013’ an interactive public art display where 100 exquisite and uniquely crafted eggs designed by leading artists and celebrities took to the streets of Dublin. The Eggs were placed in key locations of the city from the 12th February to the 15th March before they were brought to one central location at CHQ building (IFSC, Docklands, Dublin 1) and displayed for one week.

During the initial period the general public were invited to take part in Ireland’s biggest Egg hunt and an online auction for the Eggs.

Supporting The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation

The event will culminate in a Gala Black Tie Ball at the Four Seasons Hotel Dublin Tonight 23rd March where the top 30 Eggs will be auctioned live. This event will bring old and new together by uniting the tradition of the egg hunt with cutting edge technology and beautiful art, which will be a first for engaging mass participation in this way and on this scale.

The main point of the whole endeavour is to raise awareness of & funds for the wonderful work of The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation and the 300 babies nationwide currently under their wing.

You can see the amazing eggs here best to view them as a slide show.


I met Brian & Maxine at Junction 1 Shopping outlet several months ago. Brian’s pink polo shirt caught my eye with Pink for October in mind. He willing posed for me and I liked the shot. I am happier with the ‘pink’ in this one than with some of my earlier attempts. Each time I try I discover something new. Hopefully I will remember what I did for the remaining few photos in the folder!

I wanted to have a male model at some stage of the month because breast cancer is not the preserve only of the ladies. We all need to be diligent in examining our breasts. If you have a partner then make it fun and a pleasurable experience. Grannymar encourages you to do so. Make it a regular part of your calendar.

I’m all for the Electric Chair

Now hold on a minute! I never said anything about killing folk. That is not in my nature. I am talking about health here and keeping everything soft and supple.

A chair that does all this:

  • Real massage chair mechanism
  • Shiatsu and Rolling massage: 4 independent rollers travel up and down back
  • Targeted relief of any back area
  • 6 programs: full, lower or upper back in either massage style
  • Spot Shiatsu massage: massage action just where you need it!
  • Adjustable roller width to comfortably fit your body
  • Vivid LED illuminates massage mechanism

I saw one of these last week and just had to try it. It was wonderful. Elly was with me and of course she had to have a go as well. It was good that there were two chairs in operation at the time because I was not about to stand and watch her have all the fun!

Apparently I was moaning and groaning with pleasure! My daughter kept telling me to be quiet. In fact the words she used were ” Mammy, please! Anyone would think you were having sex!” What a thing for a young lady to say to her dear old mother! Chance would be a fine thing! 🙄

Well you know what’s coming…

“Well, it is the nearest thing to sex that I have had in a long time” says I.

There was only one solution for it. I bought one and took it home. I have it here on my chair by the computer and twice a day when I need to think and rest I sit back and switch it on.

Pure heaven.

Just like a Toyboy dancing up and down my back!

Is it any wonder I have a smile on my face. 😀

October is a Special Month

With thanks to Laura for the timely reminder and Image.

For several years now we have set aside the month of October as a time to draw awareness to the scourge of Breast Cancer. We all need to be aware and do what we can to help eradicate it.

We must not however allow it to draw a veil over all the other Cancer sufferers out there.

Cancer has played a part in my life story and taken away loved ones and friends over the years. I am also travelling the road with several good friends as they journey through the minefield that Cancer is. These wonderful people have taught me acceptance, patience and how to take life one day at a time and I am thankful to have known them and have them touch my soul.

Tomorrow I hope to include the Pink for October link.

I had my eye wiped!

Well not exactly. But I want you to listen up and pay attention.

On Sunday I was busily sorting and organising the very first Grannymar International Sports Special for 2012! It was fun with plenty of suggestions for events.

Now what happened next is a bit of a blur. Literally! It might have been the glare of the lights (inside my brain) or all those sequins suggested by Steph, but something happened. I know I turned my head to the left and felt a pain in my right eye. Now all my life all you had to do was say the word ‘Eye’ to me and they went red. In fact my mother often called me ‘scaldy eyes’!

So now back to Sunday.

I pushed on and tried to ignore the problem thinking like a man – if you ignore something it will go away! 🙄 It didn’t and it seemed to get worse. Knowing there was a history of eye problems in the family I decided as evening went on to have it checked out. One of my younger brothers had a problem a few years ago and ignored it for a few days. When finally pushed into going to see about it, he was given a dressing down and admitted for immediate surgery as the retina had become detached. In this kind of situation it is imperative to seek help ASAP. Alas the problem was not resolved and he has since lost the sight in that eye. Since another brother has been diagnosed with Glaucoma I am sure you can understand my concern.

Being a weekend I called the local out of hours medical service for advice and they suggested I head straight to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. Since my newly returned friendly neighbour was not at home I called a taxi. So armed with my permanently packed overnight bag we set out on the nearest thing to a Formula 1 race. I did say that I was not pregnant and that we could slow a little but the driver was not amused. Racing down the M2 is a little like the M50 in Dublin right now, a chicane of cones all the way. Thankfully I was trying to keep my eye closed and could not see the speedometer!

We arrived safely and I was seen by the triage nurse quickly, followed by a rather long wait. I did not complain. I have gone through A&E before and each time the need was really urgent and I was seen to immediately. While I was looked after others had to wait. Sunday night was my turn to wait. My turn eventually came and a handsome young Toyboy took great care to check me out thoroughly. He even tried turning me into an ‘orange woman’! The dye he used for one of the tests was bright orange and some of it overflowed onto my face. It clashed with my red rims and flushed cheeks.

Finally we discovered there was no major damage but the cornea was scratched. I was given some drops and allowed home. I was assured that I did the correct thing by having it checked out. So please mind your eyes they have to work for a lifetime!

Imagine not being able to see my Toyboys…..

Boob Tube


No, not for himself but for a very good cause. Are you aware of the Pink for October internet phenomenon? This is a breast cancer awareness programme, where websites and blogs go pink for the month, and photobloggers show pink photos that change daily or weekly throughout the month.

Will has the idea to raise cash for the Irish Cancer Society! I am currently trying to make contact with Action Cancer a Charity based here in Northern Ireland. So while thinking Pink and displaying pictures on our blogs, Will suggests we donate the photos to the charity not just for display, but to be sold and raise money for the charity.

Now this is not confined to Ireland. We are in a global world and anyone is free to take part. Go to your nearest Cancer Charity shop and ask the manager of that shop if he or she would be willing to accept the donation of photographs as part of the “Pink for October Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign“, display and sell them.

Now Mr Knott the clever fellow that he is, covers all angles.

  • He wants to raise money – Good for our egos and the Charity.
  • He wants us to take photos – Thus increasing our skills and take exercise.
  • He would like us to perform a selective colourisation on the photograph so that it becomes a black and white photo with only the pink area coloured – A learning process (for some of us) (major for me).
  • Then he wants us to print up our pictures in A4 size and present the collection of A4 printouts to the charity shop in the middle of September for display and sale during October – Printing costs will be our contribution to the cause.

We might need to bring some model release forms before approaching people wearing pink. See Will’s blog for details.

Pink Ribbons

Cancer is a disease that we are all touched by at some time in our lives. If not we ourselves then our loved ones, wider family members or friends have become patients needing surgery, chemotherapy or radio-therapy. Action Cancer now provides a breast screening programme from the age of 40 but is it enough? Is the screening sufficient to cover all types of cancer?

At this stage we are all aware of checking for lumps, but do we? How often? It should be as natural as drying yourself after a shower or bath. We are told to get to know our breasts – Men have them too and they can become victims just as much as women. So make a habit of checking once a month and pick the same time each month to do it. The breasts do change with the hormones so get used to the feel of you own breasts; you will quickly come to know what is right for you.

While I am at it Gentlemen, are you listening? Move downstairs and have a little touchy feel around. Behave! No giggling at the back there, this is serious stuff. Get to know how your equipment should feel, any unusual or strange lumps or bumps should be reported to your Doctor quick fast!

In this country breast screening consists of Mammography and physical examination. Is that sufficient, will it show up all types of cancer in the breast? I thought so; until I read this: Inflamatory Breast Cancer, the silent killer over at Alice’s My Wintersong

I beg and plead with you to watch this You Tube video it might save a life!