Author Paul Rance's website

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thelma Rance Biography - Chapter 17 Extract

Extracts from Chapter 17 of 'Mother Becomes Stardust'. See my other blog posts for more details about this book, which is about my late Mother's struggle with the twin effects of breast cancer and a stroke.

Chapter 17 - Chinks of Light (extract)

I would walk up to Cedar Falls with stuff like The Sex Pistols 'Pretty Vacant' on the MP4 player. It'd get me to get me pumped up as I strode towards the home. It'd feel almost like a marching song at the beginning, and prepare me for any confrontations.

Mum has another hospital appointment, on October 4th. Dad was buried 10 years ago on this date, so another thing to think about.

The writing work had been picking up again, but in the morning I get an email from a writing website informing me that they're letting most of their writers go. You couldn't make it up really. No wonder the doctor in the hospital asks if I'm okay, as I'm obviously looking stressed.

At Cedar Falls, Mum enjoys her orange juice: "Oooh. Lovely." Since her stroke, Mother seems to be more enthusiastic about things she likes, and more angry about things she doesn't.

Mum, up until her stroke, had a photographic memory. She was a big film buff, as well as having wide-ranging musical tastes. Mum would rattle off names of obscure film stars from the '40s and '50s, and name films that they were in. I remember telling her that Morrissey, whose first name is Steven, was named after B-movie actor Steve Cochran. Mozza has said that he didn't think anyone would know who Cochran was, but my Mum did.

There's still good signs re Mum's fight against the dreadful disease. I'm regularly told that the cancer that's already there can only be contained and not eradicated. I'm aware of that, but I appreciate the honesty.

I've bought a Charlie George autobiography for Vaughan, my bus driver and Arsenal fan, as a leaving present. Another driver I liked, Mick, had left in July. I tell Mum: "Reading about (former Gunners star) Charlie George. Do you remember him?" Mum: "Yes, I remember him." She actually remembered a lot of football stars from the early 1970s, especially players at Arsenal, Leeds United, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton, West Ham, Spurs, and Chelsea - though she wasn't into football. Mum had a soft spot for gentleman footballers, including Bobby Moore, Bob Wilson and Frank McLintock. But Mum also liked George Best...

The Breast Cancer Bombshell

More extracts from my book, 'Mother Becomes Stardust', which is about my late Mother's brave fight during her final months on Earth - and what I also often experienced within the system.

Chapter 10 - Cancer (extract)

Cancer, the real c-word. The word itself still strikes terror in people. On March 8th I was talking to Anita, a nurse at Cedar Falls, and she let slip that my Mum had terminal breast cancer. She presumed I knew...

That my Mum had cancer had been known for months, but nobody explained this to me. I'm my Mother's only child and easily her closest blood relative, but that didn't seem to matter. On my Mother's Service Option Form it stated quite clearly that, in the client group, my Mother was classed as suffering from "frailty/temporary illness". Being terminally ill is not a "temporary illness". Whether Social Services were as ignorant of my Mum's condition as I was is open to question. Going back to Mum's Reassessment of Needs form I again looked up "fumigating mass", but I came to realize that it should have read "fungating mass". The verb 'fungate' means: "To grow rapidly, like a fungus." For example, cancer. The reassessment was dated November 12th, 2010. All these months I had been thinking: "At least Mum hasn't got cancer..."

After hearing the news, if a truck had hit me I wouldn't have felt it. I said to nurse Mary that "The brown stuff is going to hit the fan", and, bless her, she was outraged on my behalf that I hadn't been informed of my Mother's condition. She rang the doctor concerned, and I was then given a copy of my Mother's Inpatient Letter, which certainly explained things more clearly. It had also earlier been deemed, by the Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust panel, that my Mother's prime need was social rather than health. My Mother had inoperable breast cancer and couldn't walk since her stroke. I've learnt since my Mum's death that, depending on what prime need is deemed appropriate, there can be differences with how a patient's care is funded. When needs are deemed as social then loved ones are expected to pay more.

I possibly wouldn't have signed Mum even going into temporary care if I had known that she was terminally ill. I also wonder how ill you have to be to stay in hospital exactly. If Mum was going to die, I and she would have wanted it to have been at home surrounded by her two beautiful cats. That wish was denied her.

'Mother Becomes Stardust' is available through Amazon in Kindle and paperback format. Check my other blog entries for more info.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy May Become America's Biggest Ever Storm

Hurricane Sandy, aka Frankenstorm, may become the biggest storm ever recorded in the United States. Though, on Sunday, considered a category one storm, Hurricane Sandy is certain to cause major flooding issues along the eastern seaboard due to its sheer size.

Sandy is expected to make landfall in the US either late on Monday, or early Tuesday. Several states have already declared a state of emergency, and New York City has closed its subway, rail and bus services from Sunday evening. States of emergency have been declared, due to Sandy, in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

Though winds may exceed 70mph, it's really flooding and high tides that are of most serious concern, as Sandy will merge with another more wintry storm. With Halloween and the US Presidential Election days away it's another example of Mother Nature not wanting to be outdone.

Hurricane Sandy has already caused dozens of deaths in Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas. The danger zone for US citizens ranges from North Carolina to the New England states, and the cities affected could be New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

The First Few Paragraphs...

...of 'Mother Becomes Stardust'

1. Friday the 13th Does Its Worst

Thursday evening, August 12th, I watched a DVD of the Alfred Hitchcock classic, 'Notorious', with my Mother. I said to her after the film had finished: "We'll watch the extras later." Later never came, as this was to be my Mother's last evening in the family home.

I'd never seen what all the fuss was about regarding Friday the 13th - until August 2010. I woke up late on that day and saw that the time was 10am. It was a time my Mother and I would normally be on our way to the nearby town of Spalding to do some shopping. Not this time. I couldn't find my Mother anywhere and, when calling her, I received no response. I went into her bedroom and found Mum collapsed by the side of her bed. She could have been lying like that for hours. All the signs indicated that she had suffered a stroke.

This was confirmed when I called 999. I was asked, by a helpful guy, to try and get a series of responses from my Mother. She made drunken responses, but her smile reassured me.

The paramedics arrived very quickly and got Mum to Peterborough District Hospital in Thorpe Road just as quickly. It's a distance of some 16 miles. I remember that the driver looked like a New Age traveller and that we talked about music. A surreal image, but this was just the start of a what would be nothing less than a surreal journey for the next 18 months.

'Mother Becomes Stardust' is available at Amazon. Links to both the paperback and Kindle versions of the book can be found on the Amazon pages below:

Monday, October 01, 2012

John's Lennon's Best 10 Songs - in My Opinion

Below is a list of what I consider to be John Lennon's 10 greatest songs.

1. Imagine (1971)
2. Strawberry Fields Forever (1967)
3. A Day in the Life (1967)
4. Help! (1965)
5. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (1967)
6. In My Life (1965)
7. Across the Universe (1970)
8. Happy Xmas (War is Over) (1971)
9. Love (1970)
10. Jealous Guy (1971)

Check out our Beatles Portal

Saturday, September 08, 2012

A Thank You

Thanks to everyone who showed my Mum and I kindness over the past two years. I've mentioned as many people as possible in the acknowledgements section of a book detailing my Mum's final months - 'Mother Becomes Stardust'.

The book is now out on and in both Kindle and paperback format. Click the 'look inside' link on the Kindle links, and then scroll down to see the names mentioned in the acknowledgements.

Introduction to 'Mother Becomes Stardust'

On Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 my beautiful Mother, Thelma Rance, was laid to rest in the Lincolnshire village of Whaplode Drove. She was buried next to my Father, Peter, who had died in September 2001. The last 18 months of my Mother's life had been traumatic, as first she suffered a stroke and then it was discovered that she had terminal breast cancer. This is a story about my Mother's brave fight and my fight against a system which made things as stressful as possible.

If you believe the scientists we are all made from stardust - literally. My Mother always loved looking at the stars, and as life is cyclical it's nice to think she is now among the objects she so admired - as eternal stardust.

- Paul Rance, August 30th, 2012.


Thanks to the kindness of the following over the past two years: Colin, Myrie and Edie, Joyce and Susan, Norman, Wendy and Mick, Leila and Nicholas, Chris, Richard and family, Brian, Cynthia and Maurice, Iris, Andrew Bruce, Andrew Savage, Andy Xport, Francesca, Dorothy and family, Rosemary, Irene and Bill, Christine and Richard Bruness, Irini Kotroni, Danielle Olivia Tefft, Mary McGihon, Dave, Shaheen Darr, Larry Burke, Shelly Starkey, Joanne Lynch, Pat West, Tony and family, Rill and family, Valerie and Bertha, Joyce Wilson, Dot, Janet, Hilda, Belinda, Beryl, Ric Klass, Ingrid Riley, Gwynn Watt and Jane Foulger, Leilani Holmes, John Smither, Pat, Margaret, Wendy and family, Greg Brian, Julie Bodeeb, Denise Perrin, Cardinal Cox, Esther Newton, Steve Sneyd, Daisy Hickman, LuRain Penny, Jaipi Sixbear, Vaughan, Hugo, Malcolm, Ali E. McCartney, Lady Samantha, Dan Reveal, Cassie Antares, Bethany Marsh, Theresa Wiza, Susan Elliott, Kira Stann, Natasha Head, Langley Cornwell, Maria Roth, Mary Oberg, Bridgitte Williams, Parm Gill, Tina Twito, Donna Morreale, Diane Zoller-Ciatto, Shana Dines, Valerie-Ann Risely, Bridget Ilene Delaney, Kimberley Beckom, Han Van Meegerin, Loki Morgan and Patti Walden. The staff at Tanglewood Cedar Falls, the nurses at the various Peterborough hospitals, Leanne and staff at Debonair - and the kindness of strangers.