I’m here in our office at 4am thinking over all my years as a chicken keeper and breeder; there have been highs and lows, lots of love, laughter and fun, more than a few tears when we have lost our featherd friends. I’ve met lots of wonderful people: Dar and T, Tara, Mandi,Nannette, Kirsty and her family, Pauline from Essex, Melanie from Sussex, Ann from Lincolnshire, VETS ONE NORFOLK @power_katharine the best chicken vet I know. Vicky from Malta. Also famous and infamous who wanted in on chicken keeping (you know who you are). And that’s just to name a few of the good friends I’ve made. I love you all.
Last week I sat and watched as all of our beautiful brahmas, pekins and faverolles left home for the final time. I think it has been one of the hardest things I have done. The coops had to go as did the incubators in case I got tempted (I know I would be); you cannot keep an old chickeneer down.
Why… well it all started with the loss of my wonderful old Mum in June. I had not been feeling very well, but because I was worried about her I put it to the back of my mind where it belonged. Until just over two weeks afer the funeral I woke in the early hours with a pain in my chest and I had problems breathing. Hubbs dialed 999 and anambulance was here with us within 15 minutes. A very nice young man by the name of Justin helped me to keep calm all the way to Queen Eliabeth hospital Kings Lynn. His co-driver was just as nice but I did not get his name. I was deliverd to A&E where they quickly assessed me and sent me for an X-ray. Then the fun began…
The X-ray was followed by body scans CT’s, PET’s and MRI’s – yes about 7 in all. I was admitted imediately, they found a bed so quickly it was like ‘whoosh’, instant pop-up doctor and nurses. So to cut some of this out I will get to the end. A team of doctors came to see me, they asked if my husband was around or would he be arriving soon, then they told me there news. I have tumours in my lungs and I need a bi-op like yesterday. My first reaction was ‘I don’t smoke’, then the floor opened up and I fell in it… Hubs arrived thankfully and took over, they said the news was bad, really bad. That seemed like an understatement, zero to 100 in secounds.
I met other doctors over the next few days, all very nice and a bi-op was arranged. Unfortunately it was then canceled only after getting me ready to go down. I asked to go home, they said yes and in an instant I was back in my beloved garden.
The following week was a mix of hospitals, telephone calls and my lovely GP who brought sense and peace to a very difficult situation. Another bi-op arranged for Monday 22nd July, hoping to get it out of the way so I can start my treatment……….
We arrived for my bi-op but it never happened because I was too sick with a lung that would have collapsed – they took one look at me and said “Give that woman a bed”. I was back in hospital, more doctors, more tests, more drugs. And finally we have our lives back and our future. I have a lovely consultant Dr Elradi who discovered I have a very rare illness – Sarcoidosis. It looks exactly like cancer until you start to investigate further, hit it with really strong meds and things start to happen. The airways start to work and instead of struggling like a fish out of water you get air into your lungs, it was wonderful.
I’m still rather fragile and in time will learn to live with sarcoids just as diabetics live with theirs. But the sad thing is not the illness but the chickens have to go. I will remain too ill to look after then and I cannot be around the dust from their feathers and dander. I have spent my whole life loving and caring for chickens and a few ducks along the way. So I’m a little bit down but not out, I may not be able to keep the amount I have had before, but we will keep around 12 of our very best birds and Hubbs will look after them. I can enjoy eating the eggs and watching them scratch aroundand roll in the dust . I can have my time. I can help and advise others on chicken problems or point you in the right direction. I love a good natter about my girls and boys as you will know if you have ever spoken to me. I love it, so just pick up the phone or write. I may take time in getting back to you but I will and I WILL continue to write about them so please stay tuned.
Life is wonderful, make the most of what you’ve got.