Monday, March 26, 2007

Fracture Clinic

"So where does it hurt exactly?" says the consultant.

We have been sent to the fracture clinic. "But there's nothing broken. We know that from the X-ray", I say to Hubby. But the fracture clinic it is - because it is an easier word for people to remember than the Orthopaedic Department.

It's a bit like when I was having babies in hospitals. One set of paediatricians used to refer to themselves as "paed's" apparently. One paediatrcian who visited us, told us a story that he thought very funny, when one woman, clearly a little post maternal, had been asking to see "Pete". It had taken the staff a little while to sort out the confusion. I think that now they refer to themselves as children's doctors.

"It's my knee." I say, earnestly.

He looks at the mad woman who has fallen off a stage in a very kind, very nice but ever so slightly patronising way. He gives the sort of look that you might give to a slightly helpless and dumb animal.........

"Yes", he says. I think that we have established that.

Just then, the phone rings. A mobile. I panic and think of all the notices around the hospital asking you to switch off your mobile phone. Did I switch mine off I think? Or is it Hubby's?

No, it's o.k. it's the consultant's mobile phone.

His bank manager or someone needs to speak to him about pressing matters.

At least it wasn't my phone that sent the heart monitors flying. Phew!

"You need complete rest." He decrees. "And this thing isn't doing any good at all." He is referring to the stocking that they provided me with in Casualty on THAT Saturday night.

Instead, he rolls out draconian nurse to place leg brace on said knee.

After much huffing and puffing, she finally manages to get on said leg brace. It looks like a sort of blue corset for the leg, pulled together by Velcro. Very nice!

The only problem is that it goes right into my crotch as I stand up.

"Is this the right size," I ask?

"Oh yes" she says. "They are big and uncomfortable." I look at hubby. He looks back at DN. Surely not? We eventually persuade her that perhaps the next size down MIGHT be a little more comfortable.

More huffing and puffing and a smaller leg brace - still very big though - is produced, and put on.

I get sent round to x-ray to make an appointment for an MRI scan. Unfortunately it is a wild goose chase. Contrary to what had been believed in the fracture clinic, appointments can't be made on the spot and so I huff and puff all the way back, on my crutches, back to the front of the hospital again with the VERY large, but slightly less large than the last one, leg brace.

We get into the car.

"Have we got the instructions for this leg brace?" I say to Hubby.

No evidence of any. So off he goes, back into the hospital and claims a new set of instructions. I read them avidly. With a cocktail of analgesics affecting your brain powers, it's amazing what you find interesting.

"This leg brace is for someone of 5'10"!" I say. Slightly on the large side for someone not quite 5'3".

Hubby turns the car round. Goes back into the hospital AGAIN. Negotiates with DN. She isn't happy. Apparently they are sized according to leg width as well as length. Hubby, who a scientist and so very good at understanding things like measurements, points out that all the lengths come in different widths, so there is one designed for my, clearly very wide, but very short, leg.

He comes back to the car triumphant.

I get home and realise that I haven't asked the consultant any of the questions that I wanted to ask.

So I call. Trouble is, that I don't have his mobile number like the bank manager, so unfortunately his secretary is unable to help.

Never mind.........

Thank goodness for common sense in the place of six years at med school!

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Day in the Life of the Lomax Family

Now with thanks to Enidd for the idea of "Day in the life of", this is a normalish day. That is normalish on the days that I am not hampered by a leg brace......................

I do have to say however that you will probably fall asleep half way through reading this.............

And it's not funny............

But then, I wasn't funny enough to be one of Mike's funny bloggies for Comic Relief. Boo hoo. So I won't do funny. I'll just write what is. And this is what is. Well for today anyway. Maybe by tomorrow I'll forget the indignity of not being funny and try to be funny again.........

So, here it is, a very unfunny, long and slightly dull description of what the Lomaxes do with their ridiculously busy day..............

6 a.m. The alarm goes off.

I ignore it. Hubby snoozes it.

We go back to sleep.

6.10 a.m. Ditto.

6.20 a.m. Can't ignore it any longer. Hubby goes to wake up older three.

Next forty minutes are usually spent negotiating bus fares, school trips, sandwiches (hubby does those. Call's them Derek specials. DS's), lost bits of uniform, notes to the teachers for whatever might be needed in way of notes, arguments about whether or not all three should go to school today, as it might be snowing, one might have been sick in the night, they have had an exhausting weekend.............

During this time there are at least three more alarm calls to eldest three children.......

7.10 a.m. Horrible parents discharge eldest three children onto the bus, ignoring any reasons (usually from ESOS - eldest son only son) as to why they should not attend today. There is usually a pantomime which ensues at this point, as one or other child goes out and tries to hold the bus, conveniently placed outside the door, while lots of screams and "hold on a minutes" are put forth by the other two, as last things are gathered and last two children are pushed out of the door for the bus.

7.13 a.m., assuming that no-one has missed it, hubby and I breathe big sigh of relief.

7.13 a.m. on other days..............Lots of shouting. Hubby gets into car with errant children who have missed the bus, often in dressing gown and without shoes and drives to the next but one bus stop taking a slightly more direct route than the bus. These are not good days and cause much angst.............

7.15 a.m. We have some breakfast and a cup of tea. Daughter number four - child number 5, aged 6 - is usually awake by now and comes to find us and have some breakfast. I may have a bath and get dressed at this point, or if things are going slowly I leave it until the other two have gone to school.

8.a.m. Wake up Daughter number three - child number 4 aged 8, if not already awake. Has breakfast.

Spend next half an hour making more sandwiches, writing notes, getting bits of uniform, checking extras for the day, writing reading folder notes, doing hair, finding shoes, getting coats on and making sure that no-one leaves the house with smelly breath..............

8.45 8.52 on bad days..........

Dispatch youngest two to lollipop lady, further up the road, to cross road to school, which is across the road. Strict instructions to come back if no lollipop lady present.

Hubby leaves for work at different times each day, depending on his schedules, so if he hasn't left by now, he does.

If I haven't had a bath by this point. I do! I love my bath. It's my daily dose of sanity. It's often invaded by children when present, but occasionally I do manage to sneak one on my own, and when I do, I love that..............

9 a.m Make a cup of tea. Check post. This usually takes a very long time. We seem to have a ridiculous amount of paper work to manage, between personal matters, all the children, my work and prospective work, and everything else. So I start working through the mountain of paperwork and phonecalls. Spend a great deal of time sorting out banking queries and problems, as unfortunately most people don't seem to respond to The Tin Pot Banking system.
10. a.m. Make a cup of tea. On days when I think about it, this is actually a good time to walk the dog - but it rarely happens, because I get easily distracted. If I do manage it though at this point, it makes for a better day!

Sometimes see friends first thing. That's good thing to do too.

Do a bit of housework, tidy up, maybe put a washload on (although Hubby is good at doing most of the washing), put the dishwasher on, empty the dishwasher and other stuff.
Have a cup of tea.

11 a.m. (Maybe earlier if can)Make some more tea and check blog for comments and if I have a post to write, do that.

but on Fridays: I go to do my radio show............

12.30 p.m. Other days..... Prise myself away from the blog and try to do some work. Currently trying to get more voice over stuff. Often have radio show bits to do. Need to talk to theatre school parents. Check emails etc etc................ The time just goes.......

1.30 p.m. Get some lunch and a cup of tea and when I can, watch Neighbours at this point.

2 p.m. Do some more work. Go up to the village maybe for some bits and pieces. Maybe walk the dog. Have a cup of tea.

3.20 p.m. Collect younger two from school.

Make a cup of tea.

Snacks, homework, drop off/ collect from after school clubs (much of these are in school, but 8 year old has gym twice in the evenings each week and on Saturday a.m. which is a ten mile hike away).

5 p.m. Oldest three return.(Although often not eldest daughter who has many after school dance lessons) Have cup of tea with at least one of them. Start to make dinner.

6.30 ish Hubby returns - variable time.

6.45 ish. We eat......


7p.m. Monday ESOS goes to Air Cadets.(Newent, 7 miles away)
9.p.m. Eldest Daughter needs collecting from Gloucester.
9.30 p.m. ESOS needs collecting from Cadets.
Hubby plays chess.
Youngest two somehow get bathed read to, do their school reading and get put to bed during this mayhem.

5.30 p.m. Aged 8 goes to gym. (Coleford 10 miles away)
8 p.m. ED needs collecting from Gloucester.
8.30 p.m. Aged 8 needs collecting from Coleford (wrong direction)
I sometimes rehearse on Tuesdays.
(Youngest two somehow get bathed read to, do their school reading and get put to bed during the mayhem.........)

Night off!! (Although last week, we had a parents evening in Gloucester and ED was at a dance show with one of her dance groups in Coleford. (Wrong direction again))
I might rehearse.
(Youngest two somehow get bathed read to, do their school reading and get put to bed during the mayhem.........)

7.p.m. ESOS to air cadets
8 ish collect ED from Gloucester.
9.30 p.m. collect ESOS from Newent.
(Youngest two somehow get bathed read to, do their school reading and get put to bed during the mayhem.........)


5.30 p.m. Aged 8 to Gym
8.30 p.m. Collect from Gym
(Youngest two somehow get bathed read to, do their school reading and get put to bed during the mayhem.........)

10 p.m ish much of clearing up and stuff usually done, little ones in bed, some of bigger ones just about in bed...........

On evenings when I am not rehearsing or acting, I Have usually fallen asleep by this time, so drag myself up to bed, often leaving hubby and ed up. ED doing her homework which she has no time for at any other time. Hubby always puts the breadmaker on before coming up, and tries to have some time off by playing chess, and if he really wants some relaxation I let him read my blog too.

It's quite busy really. Fortunately we have weekends to recover.........


On Saturday's...........

I go to my theatre school.

ED goes to dancing in the morning.
Daughter number two (child number 3)goes to dancing in the morning.
Daughter number four aged 6 (child number 5), goes to dancing in the morning.
Daughter number three, aged 8 (child number 4) goes to gym.
ESOS might go on a Cadet activity which keeps him out of mischief.

In the afternoon, hubby brings all available children to the theatre school.............

Saturday Evening and Sunday..........

We collapse amongst piles of dirty washing and whatever else is on offer, and have a great Sunday roast, cooked by Hubby - his day for cooking.

Assuming that is that no-one has a dance exam (yesterday). Needs collecting from a weekend away with Cadets (yesterday), needs to go to a friends house, be collected from a friend's house, have a friend to sleepover (often and many and without much notice it seems), play in a chess match (hubby) or act in a play (me.............)

Fortunately, to ease any stress, we can always have a cup of tea.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

In the Hereford Times today........

Crash, bang, wallop

By Adrian Kibbler

A LEADING lady with a Herefordshire theatre group had a flying start when she starred in Memory of Water at Fownhope Memorial Hall.

Sally Lomax had been urged by family and friends to break a leg' - and she almost did it when she dramatically crashed off the end of a 4ft-high stage.

The 44-year-old actress, who was with the touring Bare Bones theatre group, said: "Had it been Peter Pan or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the West End it would not have been a problem, but the Bare Bones Theatre Company in rural Herefordshire do not stretch to wire for flying purposes "The audience seemed to think that flying was part of the action, albeit ambitious for a performance in a village hall."

Calls for a doctor or even a vet failed to bring a response but one helpful theatregoer with some knowledge of first aid enabled Sally to be sufficiently patched up for what was feared might be an appearance in a different kind of theatre at Hereford County Hospital.

At first Sally, who has been acting for 25 years, recovered her dignity and tried to carry on.

"I stood up ready to continue and my leg collapsed underneath me in a sort a graceful but highly inappropriate way.

"As I did so the room spun round and within seconds I was down on the floor again."

After an interval the audience had not bargained for, an understudy took over while Sally was taken to hospital without a final curtain call.

The actress made a change from the usual fare of football injuries, black eyes and drunks for the casualty team at Hereford County Hospital.

"It seems that falling off a stage is not a common accident for a casualty department - I can't think why! Anyway, I was glad to have given them a chuckle on a Saturday evening," added Sally.

The mother-of-five from Mitcheldean now faces several weeks on crutches at best. An initial assessment indicates damaged cartilage and torn knee ligaments with a future scan needed.

Sally is hopeful that she may return to action before the end of the tour in six weeks but might need the help of a pantomime fairy godmother if she is to make it.

12:30pm today

Sunday, March 11, 2007


It was just about there. The play that is.
It's called "Memory of Water", and I had finally managed to drum the lines into my own, apparently slightly absent, memory. Well, just about. The odd word in the wrong order, and the odd line slightly shorter than originally written, but it was more or less there and I felt comfortable with the part. Finally.

We performed the first night and were given a warm response by the audience.

The second night my biggest fan, my longest supporter of all things artistically pursued by me, and biggest critic, was in the audience. My Mum.

My parents, just back from a cruise holiday, slightly late due to a storm in the Atlantic a diversion via the Bay of Biscay had been due to watch the first night. As it was, it was the second night, and just my Mum. My Dad had had a long drive from the port, and knew that he would have another long drive home the next day, and so decided to give the play a miss.

So, we started the show.

All was going well. I exited the stage in the middle of a speech to collect an item - all part of the action.

And then as I went back on stage again, I flew.

Had this been Peter Pan or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, in London, this would not of course been a problem. But "Bare Bones Theatre Company", performing in rural Herefordshire do not stretch to wire for flying purposes.

So when I landed, in front of the stage, with my leg twisted in the wrong direction, bringing part of the set with me, it did ring a few alarm bells with the director who had been watching from the back of the auditorium. The audience seemed to think that the flying was part of the action. Ambitious for rural Herefordshire. Flying from a four foot stage.

I needed to say my next line. "Brown one and half pounds of shin of beef in a heavy casserole, remove and set aside." All I could think about was that line. I was lying on the floor, in front of the stage feeling very faint, and thinking about shin of beef in a heavy casserole, when in fact it was my own shin that was causing a bit of a problem. Well o.k., knee.

Somebody arrived with a pillow, the cast and crew had by now all gathered around me, and a very knowledgable man who seemed to know lots more about joints and things than everyone else said that I should really go to hospital. I asked if he was a doctor. Somebody said he was a vet. That would have done in the circumstances, but in fact he was neither, just more knowledgeable than the rest of us...

No, no I said. I won't need to go to hospital. I think I'll be fine. It feels much better now. So I stood up, ready to continue and my leg collapsed underneath me in a sort of slightly graceful but highly inappropriate way. And as I did, the room spun and within seconds I was down on the floor again.

At the check in desk in casualty I was all ready to announce how the accident had happened. However my kind chauffeur, hubby of fellow actor, had already announced my mishap when collecting a wheelchair for me to travel from car to hospital entrance. It appears that falling off a stage is not a common accident in a casualty department. I can't think why. It caused a ripple of amusement amongst the staff behind the check in desk, so I was glad to be able to provide them with something to give them a chuckle on a Saturday evening at 8.30 p.m.

Daughter number two - child number three - was with me, as was my Mum. Hubby then arrived, with my Dad, who, (realising that we would have great difficulty in rescuing my car) instead of having a quiet night in, in huge house with huge mortgage for huge family with no heating, decided that he might like instead to drive my car home from rural village, to save my mother the job of doing same such thing. It meant that he would have a couple of hours of warmth at least. He probably realised by then where he would be better off.

It was a bit like a family party really.

Except for the the setting, which wasn't too salubrious. For a Saturday night out with the family. Although, as hospitals go, Hereford is very nice, and new, and clean. And even though I wasn't allowed any myself, the vending machine provided stuff that was, well available....

And it has to be said that in a crisis the NHS is pretty good really. The staff were lovely.

When I went into x-ray though, I did feel mortally wounded that they didn't even ask me if I was likely to be pregnant. I mean I know that I am 44, and I know that I was in pain, and feeling faint, and that my vanity wasn't the most important issue at stake here, and it's not as if I am planning on any more children, BUT Cherie Blair had a baby at 45, so I'm not SO decrepit that they shouldn't ask! And I was wearing stage make-up, so I looked better than normal too. So they could have asked... But they didn't....

For my little moment of glory I started to tell each one of the staff that I came into contact with what had happened. The triage nurse, a nurse who needed to prod and poke me, the radiographer, the doctor...................

They knew already.

News like that travels fast....

And now I have crutches, a leg support, a very wobbly knee that doesn't seem to want to support the lower part of my leg, and a cocktail of drugs that would keep the average addict going for a good month. I'm told there is nothing broken, but apparently ligament damage can't be seen on an x-ray...........

So back to Hereford on Monday where I have an appointment to see someone who can throw more light on the injury we hope..........................

And in the meantime, they did the show without me. I was "read in". Bare Bones, broken bones, break a leg.

Whatever next?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


"In 1875, along with his assistant Thomas A. Watson, Graham Alexander Bell (1847-1922) constructed instruments that transmitted recognizable voice-like sounds."

This was the start of the telephone that we know and love.

Graham Alexander Bell is quoted as having said this:

The most successful men in the end are those whose success is the result of steady accretion.

By accretion, he means, growth by addition, I believe.

So, tell me, do you think that this is the type of growth by addition that he envisaged those 132 years ago?

Phone Rings:

OCD Mortgages: "Hello" Can I speak to Mr. or Mrs. Lomax please?

Me: And why do you want to speak to them?

OCD: "This is The Outrageously Corrupt Deals Mortgage Company (OCD Mortgages) and I would just like to ask you a few questions about your current mortgage."

Me: I'm sorry but Mrs. Lomax isn't available at the moment, and isn't thinking of changing her current mortgage right now.

OCD: "So when would be a better time to call?"

Me: As I said, she isn't available and isn't thinking of changing her mortgage at the moment.

Ends call. Firmly and politely.

Phone Rings Again:

Chatter Chatter Phone Company: Hello, this is Chris calling from Chatter Chatter. I'd like to talk to the person who pays the bill please.

Me: Why is that?

CC: To give a you a price comparison and see if we can save you some money.

Me: So that would be a price comparison with yourself then Chris?

CC: So you are already with us?

Me: Yes.

CC: How long have you been with us?

Me: Four months, and I am seriously worried that your database seems to be so inefficient. It doesn't say much for your organisational skills as a company.

CC: Ah, well, you understand, if you have only been with us four months, then that won't show on this list. This list of prospective customers is six months old.

Me: I appreciate that it is not your fault personally Chris, but I would like you to tell your powers that be that as this is the FOURTH time that you have called me to resell in the contract that you have already sold me, I suggest that they get their database in order, otherwise I may take my business back to TB.

Call ends.............. firmly and mostly, well nearly, politely.

Phone rings again:

Caller from poor unfortunate company who drew the short straw on my patience levels: (The PU company) Hello. I'd like to speak to MRS.LOMMAX please.

Me: I'm very sorry, but I think you must have the wrong number. That's not our surname.

Caller from PU: But I just want to offer you............

Me: Sadly for you I have already been called fifteen times today, and I don't want to talk about what you might have to offer me any more.

Caller from PU: I haven't called you fifteen times Ma'am.

Me: Perhaps not, but you are unfortunately the person who has drawn the short straw. Now if I may please end this call, as I have got better things to do?

Phone rings again:

Me: HELLO. (Cross, impatient tone).
Eldest Daughter: Hello, Mum? It's me...............

Grovel, grovel................. Bad mother feelings.

This is what accretion has done to us Mr. Bell!

Friday, March 02, 2007


So we were plodding along using a woodburner for heat and an immersion heater for water.

The weather was improving and it was all looking quite rosy really. We could possibly wait until the Autumn to replace the boiler and we might have won the lottery by then, or maybe someone would give me a huge voice over contract, or offer me a book publishing deal. Something would happen. Life was fine.

Then we had no hot water.


Something had gone wrong with the immersion heater.

Now that made me really unhappy. It's one thing having no heat. You can always put an extra jumper on. But no hot water. No baths. That is not good. I am a serious bath person. And now we were down to one - not brilliant - electric shower between the seven of us, cold water for washing your hands and kettles if you wanted to wash up.

I think it's the timer said hubby. I think I can fix it. I went to bed, confident that it would all be all right in the morning.

Instead, the next morning I was greeted with the news that we had a mouse, and plenty of cold water. Hubby had been working late on the immersion heater and had found evidence of such. Mouse that is. He may have found evidence of cold water too, but the mouse was his worry. We didn't want an electrical fire, caused by hungry mouse eating through all things edible to mouse and rodents generally.

So where was the cat?

Nowhere to be seen of course.

The cat is a pacifist.

Any sign of action and he's gone.

Lucky mouse!

..............And we still had no hot water.

So off went hubby to the hardware shop that day, bought a new timer, fixed it on, and hooray we have hot water again. For now at least.

The pacifist cat is another matter however.

Less easily solvable.

I guess it's off to the hardware shop again.

Sorry mouse, there's no room at the inn.