Playing The London Board Game

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Today we played this board game which was a birthday present from Kevin. The London Board Game is for 2-6 players and being suitable for people age 7 +  we thought we might be in with a chance of getting to grips with it!

The concept is based on similar games usually involving maps and destinations. You have 5 places to travel to (randomly drawn from a pack). Players move along routes by the throw of a dice and the winner is the first to visit each of their destinations and back to their starting point (which you also choose).

This game uses a map of the London Underground and your destinations are 5 of the stations.

Unlike the real thing, this one has stations easily accessible to wheelchair users and their train playing piece. It would be a totally different and much shorter game if we were using a map showing only step free stations – only 66 of the 270 are accessible.

I’ve never been on the Tube because there is no access to places I’ve wanted to visit. The Olympics and Paralympics brought temporary ramps to 16 stations and an extra 19 ramps were placed at stations this month to bridge the gap between platform and train so a few improvements are being made.  These are now permanent but, like the board game, if you travel you will find hazards along the way….

In the game you pick up Hazard cards if you change lines – the first one I picked up, amusingly, was a Birthday card – which sends other players to pick up presents for you at Aldgate.  Hazard cards generally send you or other players to different places and mess up your route strategy. If this was the accessible version there would be flights of steps, no lifts, broken lifts and escalators, rerouting you all the way up a line and back down to the other side of the platform where access is only in one direction, huge gaps between the train and platform, no staff to ask for help or having to get out of your chair and crawl your way up a flight of stairs whilst someone carries your chair…. .

If you are interested in access to public transport around London – Transport for All and Transport For London have full information for people with a range of impairments (and different formats).

The board game is really good for getting to know  places around London and brief facts about attractions or famous buildings near to those stations… and best of all – I won our first game lol.

A day with the ducks

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Having picked up an antique measuring thingy from Kew, we spent the rest of the afternoon just up the road at the Wetland centre.

We slightly missed the turning but arrived there about 1pm and headed straight in for lunch. The entrance to the area is via a little wood bridge and each plank and metal fixing jogged my wobbly body all over the place. I entered with hubs holding my head, inching forward at about 0.1 mph.

Once in, most paths are Tarmac, smooth stone or boardwalk type surfaces. We walked round all afternoon in the sun enjoying the ducks and catching a glimpse of the otters.

Disappearing act

There is a round tower that has different levels to the hide to look out from. In the centre is a lift or the stairs. I tootled off and saw a lady getting out of the lift so I quickly went in whilst the doors were open. Then the doors closed and I waited for hubs to press the lift button behind me. Suddenly I realised that I was on my own! He had seen something to photograph and when he turned around I’d disappeared. 30 seconds is a long time to be sat in a lift going nowhere and unable to get out. I had a little panic thinking hubs might have thought I’d fallen in the water or something. Then the door opened. He found me and we had a good chuckle 🙂

Sleepless in Seattle

Ok so technically I should call this post Sleepless in London – or even Night of the Living Dead would more accurately reflect the experience that is the Sleep Study. Then again, at times it was comical… so here goes…

Quick catchup.

This was the first one since I started using a ventilator (BIPAP) machine to breathe for me at night. The machine blows air into me via a face mask. My lungs are that of an athlete – but the mechanics have failed (muscles defunct).

Why overnight monitoring?

You know when you wake up and can’t remember where you are or what day of the week it is?

Add in:

  • an intense fear and certainty that a burglar is somewhere in the house yet at the same time your head is telling you that is ridiculous
  • feeling drugged like you had one bottle of wine too many – chilled but about to slump into a coma
  • saying things that make perfect sense – but only to you

all making an appearance during the night. One things for sure – this seemed suspiciously abnormal.

Then I’d huff and puff all day feeling like each breathe wasn’t worth the effort , pop on my vent and reach the same drunken mind altering state within the hour.

It’s the same state people strive for who are turned on by PVC, whips and strangulation…. apparently *cough

So … on with the post (I’ll come back to sex later on).

Connecting up

We arrived with the kitchen sink and were shown our room. My sister in law was in a new hospital with her little one – and posted a picture of this huge plush room with en-suite. This is what we got in comparison!!

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That’s hubs changing the channel as people had nicked the remote :-/ and yes the room is that yellow and only 3 foot longer than the bed.

Access for wheelchair users

Well obviously changing the TV channel is out (and we were there from 3.30 until 10.30 ish the next day) and there was no level entry shower facilities in the ward area (the one in the accessible bathroom at the end of the corridor was broken). I was told the sleep study area had an accessible bathroom next to the room but it was small and had no grab rails if you needed them. Not that it mattered because once they connect you up at 8 (or 9 if you smile nicely) then you can’t disconnect so everyone has to use a commode (painful, awkward and my dignity trickled away in one piddly audible moment 😦 ).

How many nurses does it take to demonstrate a call button

A smiley nurse popped her head in and demonstrated the call button aeroplane style. The big red one for the alarm and the little one right under it for the light and you can move it around like so… (demonstrates lifting and putting down so said item – twice)… Oh my life, yawn.

A bit later another one wanders in ‘this is the…’ we nodded politely and saw the whole routine again. Thank you very much that’s great (not that I can press it or that it would reach the floor where hubs ended up sleeping).

Nurse number three got a a less than smily welcome as she launched into ‘this is the…’ finishing with ‘oh let me start again, ‘my name’s …’.

Noooooooooo….

Scrabble anyone

I think she was bored as she struck up a conversation of the merits of the 4s and her mirror screen protector. I also suspect she was sponsored by Zynga?

Still, we couldn’t talk iPhones all night. The doc had blood to suck out of me and I had a bed to get into with more buttons than an Apollo rocket.

It took about 2 hours to ‘get into bed’ and I departed for planet Gaga.

Meanwhile TOSCA (below) stored the data for another doc to have a quick squint at in the morning. This is a clip on your ear, heated to Sahara Dessert at midday temperatures probe that measures Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide and your pulse rate. A good figure is 98 for O2 and about 6 for C02.

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With a patient screaming, my air bed mattress buzzing with the aggression of a killer bee and general freaky noises – sleep consisted of about 40 winks.

On the plus side I was fairly pain free in my lovely squishy bed.

Boy did I feel like S*#t in the morning. Hubs too. TOSCA gave up recording at 7.30 am but I stuck with him for an hour to see what he would say once I’d got out of bed. I wanted to experiment with different breathing techniques and observe the figures.

I googled the manual and read up about the device – because I could.

The verdict

I am breathing too much! People with mechanical failure retain CO2 – especially at night and during dream sleep when the body totally goes floppy. The vent keeps them normal by keeping good breathes going all night.

However, my vent was taking me past normal – and making it really low. It’s like when you hyperventilate but without the panic (or the quick shallow breath in/long breath out breathing that some find enhances sex – whichever you relate to more 😉 )

My Swiss cheesed brain now thinks a low of 2-3 is normal during the day and makes me feel ill.

So what now?

I’ve got to use different vent settings – but the effect makes me feel like I’m being strangled so this is going to take time and mind control not to freak out.

So with advice on settings we trundled home via a cab that smelt like a kennel and a train that oozed happy staff (no really – train was so good, top marks).

… one more thing

If we chatted on Twitter you will appreciate why the food wouldn’t have made the next round of Masterchef. Cue the Monica scowl.