Saturday 21 October 2023

Across the Divide

My (adult) daughter and I went to see my dad yesterday. He's nearly 89, has late-stage Alzheimer's and lives in a care home a 40 minute drive away. I try to get over for an hour or so every fortnight, although it's more for me than him, as he doesn't remember my visits and forgets I was there by the time I've signed out at reception.

He does appear to get some comfort from our presence though. Yesterday was particularly strange. Dad has a habit of getting stuck in a loop and he'll repeat the same words, sentence or idea over and over for a few minutes until he spins off into a new sequence. Sometimes he knows who I am; mostly he confuses me with mum. Yesterday he was at peace. I was there, he was there, Clare was there and he was at peace and happy. He told us he'd died several times and come back again but that in the end it didn't matter as he was at peace. He was holding our hands and he was frightened, but it was all OK.

At this point, both Clare and I had shivers down our spines! He's looking wide-eyed across the lounge at things we can't see - his eyesight isn't good these days, but he seemed to be seeing something. And he tells us that all his brothers and sisters are there and that makes him happy. He's one of the youngest of a very large family and I think there are only four of them left.

And then he slept. And Clare and I wondered if he'd wake up again or whether that was it. I like to think he'd stepped very briefly close to the veil, that he's standing closer to it every day, and one day - when he's ready - he'll take that final step across.

Love you, dad xx

Thursday 24 August 2023

Aunty Debbie's Advice Column, part 6 of the trilogy

Sixth instalment, eh? Who knew this advice lark could get so exciting? My first agony column (and yes, it really is agony most of the time) was waaay back in 2013. Bad writing has of course been around for much longer than that, but I like to think I've helped so many people better themselves over the years.

I thought it was worth pulling together my occasional agony-aunt column I've written on my monthly post over at AuthorsElectric. You can read more here ... and there are links to the earlier posts at the end.

It's all a bit tongue in cheek. For those lacking in my admittedly offbeat sense of humour, don't take it too seriously!

Sunday 30 July 2023

Nantwich Bookshop & Coffee Lounge

So I'm now in our local independent bookshop! If you're out and about in Nantwich in Cheshire, I thoroughly recommend you visit this amazing place where you can not only buy books, but eat an all-day breakfast, drink coffee and eat cake too! And all in a medieval timber-framed building with an attic they let you explore ... 

Saturday 7 January 2023

The End of 2022

2022 was not one of my better years. I think I achieved very little in the grand scheme of things and certainly no writing of any importance at all. But I have been blogging the story of the dental implant surgery I had last month. It wasn't a good period in my life - it still isn't - and I wanted to help anybody else considering the options I had.

You can read more here. This is a separate page on this blog that I will keep updating until I get to the end of this journey, but I'm keeping it off the menu tabs above as it's not directly related to my writing catalogue - and not everybody wants to see my X-rays!

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Richard and Judy and Me

 Richard & Judy. I remember them as the king and queen of daytime television in the year or so of my life with a small baby when daytime television kept me sane. I don’t know when they stopped presenting This Morning, but these days it’s all about books isn’t it? I’ve not done any Googling or other research to write this, but the R&J book selection seems to be everywhere and being selected pretty much guarantees a book a place on the best-seller lists. Are spots for sale or sponsored in any way? I genuinely have no idea of the integrity of the spaces on this list and I’d be interested to know. Read more ...

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Life Imitating Art?

Gosh, is it a year since my last blog? To be fair, 2022 has been one of the worst years of my life. My dad's rapid decline into Alzheimer's and moving into residential care, getting their bungalow sold and helping my mum move into sheltered housing, and culminating in facing and dealing with childhood trauma this last couple of months.

I've just got my teeth 'done'. After a childhood accident, I had extensive cosmetic dental work in my teens and early twenties. Now, as I'm approaching 60 at ever-increasing speed, my young, cool and scarily-experienced dentist at my new shiny modern dental practice told me my bridgework was failing and the remaining teeth would not support a simple repair/replace job. So after much discussion, I opted for full dental implants and had the surgery a few days ago. It's not been an easy journey as I've never really dealt with the childhood trauma; I haven't slept properly for a month or more and the whole experience is occupying 95% of my brain right now as I sit on the sofa on sick leave from work and looking like a hamster. I'm seriously considering some counselling in the New Year. Things can only get better!

But the reason for the title of this post is to do with the actual surgery. I opted for for full sedation and was slightly amused when they told me it would be midazolam. In the second book of my series Paying the Piper, that's the drug my bad guys use to sedate Michael when they have to take him into town to meet with other bad guys. I researched delivery methods and effects and I'm pleased to say I got it spot-on! One syringe into the cannula in my elbow and I felt like I was two bottles of wine down on a good night out. Apparently I had another two syringes and I don't remember anything of the first couple of hours. Andy says he could see my blood pressure dropping as the stuff was going in, which considering my BP was probably stratospheric at the start, can only be a good thing! After that I was conscious and I recall vague snippets of conversation and things happening, but I wasn't the least bit bothered by any of it - it was like watching a movie.

So a drastic way to do research. But why let an experience go to waste? I might as well let something positive come out of it. At least I got it right as I'd hate having to do a rewrite! Onwards and upwards.

Monday 6 December 2021

Blogging Arvon

Scary stories read out loud late at night in a big old barn. Yorkshire, middle-of-nowhere, halfway down the valley at the end of a steep lane. It’s late November and the weather forecast is for high winds and snow tonight. 

Sounds a bit of a cliché, doesn’t it? Read more ...

(c) Ariell Cacciola