Tuesday, 29 December 2015

UPDATES for my non-Facebook users

It's been a sad few days on the Bodrum peninsular.  This was my post on Sunday:

Poisoning of animals ..dogs and some cats...happened yesterday in Yalikavak. As many as 15, but figures are yet to be confirmed. The police have been informed and an investigation is taking place.
A similar incident took place this time last year in Yalikavak, and also in our village. We all know how difficult it is to find the perpetrator of these murders, but someone must know something.
Please be vigilant with the animals you feed and care for all over the Bodrum peninsular. Watch out for any suspicious behaviour. We have to do what we can to protect our street animals.
In the meantime my thoughts are with all the lovely volunteers who care for the animals in Yalikavak. It's devastating and I feel your sorrow xx

By yesterday the story had reached the national press:

20 DOGS KILLED BY POISON İN WESTERN TURKEY.  Link to the report from Hurriyet HERE

A petition has been started and we need to get as many signatures as possible in the hope that some action will be taken.  This is happening far too often all over Turkey and to kill dogs is against the law here.  Sadly it is not taken seriously enough and there is often no justice for these innocent and harmless animals.

If you would like to sign the petition, you will find the link if you click HERE


And another dog rescued today in our village:

Kaya saw this dog today while he was in the village and noticed a large growth around the genital area. He followed the dog but couldn't get near enough to get hold of him. So he drove into Milas to get a sedative from our Vet.
After some coaxing and with the help of the Muhtar he managed to sedate him and return to the Vet.
The dog is about 5 years old. We've not seen him before so assume this is another one dumped.
The growth is a tumour. Our Vet has seen similar cases and is certain its cancer. He is operating on him now. Obviously he will be neutered at the same time and we hope that the tumour will be removed successfully. He will also be vaccinated and any other necessary treatment given.
We will cover all costs.
The Muhtar's wife had already tried to feed him earlier today and she has offered to take him in. We will help with anything that they need and will give them a sack of food to get started.
At last we are getting through to people here. They see what we do and are willing to help.
Fingers crossed for him please


Operation was successful and the growth removed. He is now sleeping off the anaesthetic.
It was decided not to neuter at the same time so he still has his collybobbles (as Kaya calls them). This can be done later when he has recovered. He has been vaccinated and he has antibiotics. The Muhtar and his wife have made a warm safe place for him and Kaya will take him there later.
We will check on him every day to make sure he is recovering well.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

The spirit of Christmas

Here we are, the day after Boxing Day, and another Christmas has been and gone.

What does the spirit of Christmas mean to you?  I'm not religious so I don't celebrate the occasion in anyway related to religion.  I see it as a holiday.  A time for families to get together.  A time of excitement and the make-believe of Santa for children.  

Here in Turkey of course it is not celebrated, although there are gatherings of ex-pats who will do their best to create a Christmassy atmosphere.

Elsewhere we see the insanity of crowded supermarkets.  People emptying the shelves of food even though the shops are only closed for one day.   Food that will be wasted after everyone has over-indulged.  Excessive spending on presents leaving people with debts to pay for months of the new year.

We don't normally do anything special on Christmas Day, but this year we spent it with our dear friends David and Abdu.  We had a lovely meal and I ate a lot more than I usually would, necessitating the removal of my surgical corset for the rest of the day!   No excessive spending because our friends are much like us.  Just a  very pleasant time with people we care about.  Just as it should be.

It's a difficult time for so many people.  Those who live alone.  Those who have lost loved ones at this time of year.  Those who suffer from mental illness.  The homeless.  The millions of refugees and displaced persons all over the world, who don't have enough to eat at any time, let alone at Christmas.

I have many friends who do so much to help those less fortunate, but so many more don't because they live in their own little bubble and ignore what's going on in the world, or somehow believe that it's not their problem.   And there are those that buy into the right wing propaganda spouted by the UK gutter press that brainwash the gullible into believing that refugees are some kind of threat.

I make no apology for what might be seen as a "bah humbug" post.  I sincerely hope that all of you who celebrated Christmas have had a wonderful time with your friends and families.  I just hope that the coming year will see a change in attitude and that more people will stop and think about those in desperate need.

Here's wishing you all a Happy New Year,  one of peace and an end to conflict, but mostly one filled with hope for a better future for those who desperately need it.

How to help Syrian Refugees

Homeless Charities in the UK

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Update on the back pain

My back had become excruciatingly painful and I knew it would be impossible for me to wait two weeks for an appointment for an MRI scan with the devlet hospital so we decided to check out the cost with the small private hospital in Milas and got an appointment for yesterday.  The total cost was 150 lira as part of it is covered by our government health insurance, so not too expensive.

Here is my Facebook update:

Thanks everyone for your kind wishes today.
I had a further x-ray and an MRI today at the private hospital in Milas and at last after about 16 years of constant visits to hospital with the same problem I now know what causes it. I have an old fracture of the T12 vertebrae in my spine. This also seems to affect muscles and joints including the stomach. The spine degenerates as we get older so its to be expected.
I have stronger painkillers, muscle relaxant, gel pain relief and joy of joys an orthopaedic corset to wear for a month! I will be checked again in 10 days time. I'm still in a lot of pain but at least hopefully this will be manageable in the future.

The pain continues, which makes it difficult to sit for any length of time so no lengthy blog posts from me for the coming days or weeks.  Hopefully all will improve once the medication kicks in and  I get used to the corset.

So that's all from me for now xx

Monday, 21 December 2015

Turkish state hospitals

The state (or devlet) hospitals here in Turkey vary from town to town, some being better, or worse, than others.

Every time I have an appointment and enter the hospital, as I did this morning, I am filled with dread.  It is always packed and Monday more so than other days. Every seat was taken and people stood shoulder to shoulder, filling up all the corridors.  I always assume I am going to be stuck here all day, but surprisingly that doesn't happen.

If you removed all the people who don't actually have appointments, I reckon you could reduce the crowds by at least 50%.  The Turks do love to take their families along with them for hospital visits, and seem happy to make a day of it.

I should have had an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor this morning, to check out the problem with my hands, but I'm afraid this was rather overshadowed by excruciating pain on the left side of my back that gradually spread to my abdomen which started on Friday.  This problem has been recurring for years.  It has been due to kidney or urinary tract infections in the past, and more often than not a bowel infection as the result of eating something dodgy.  It usually clears up on it's own but if it is particularly bad, a trip to the hospital and a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers does the trick.

Kaya spoke to his surgeon friend yesterday who suggested a different doctor at the devlet, so the appointment with the orthopaedic doctor was cancelled and another made for 9.00am today with a general doctor.

So, in spite of the crowds in the hospital, the system works remarkably well.  My name flashed up on the screen to enter the consulting room at 8.55am.  I was examined then sent along for blood and urine tests and an x-ray and advised to make another appointment regarding the problem with my hands.    No waiting about.   There are eight members of staff just taking blood samples so that was very fast.  My name appeared on the screen in the x-ray department as soon as I arrived so I was in and out in a flash.   We came out of the hospital at 9.20am having established that the results would all be ready by 11.30am at the latest.

We popped into Milas for a coffee and had a long chat with the manager of the coffee shop where we found Sadie, who was delighted that she has settled in so well with us.  

When we returned to the hospital at 11.15am we established that the results were all with the general doctor.  When we arrived at the consulting room, we waited 5 minutes then my name appeared.

No infection.  Mostly everything was fine, Except that my cholesterol is high (I asked for this to be tested as suggested by the eye doctor on Friday).  I was advised to watch my diet and get more exercise.   As usual I was given a prescription for vast amounts of medication..... gel to apply to the painful area, painkillers, and as there appears to be gas under my ribcage (albeit on the opposite side to the pain) 3 lots of medication to deal with this!

As not everything shows up on x-rays, I have to make an appointment for an MRI scan.  We phoned but they don't have the appointment list as yet so we have to phone again later today.

I collected my prescription from my favourite eczane in Milas where the pharmacist speaks English and as normal we discussed how doctors here always over-medicate.   "It's all about capitalism.  The drug companies are in control", he said (as he always does).  

As always, I am amazed at the efficiency of the Turkish health system.  The NHS could learn a lot from this.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Seasons Greetings

To those of you who don't use Facebook or prefer to catch up with my blog,  I want to wish you all the very best for the festive season, and a peaceful, happy and healthy New Year.

With lots of love from me, Kaya and all our furry friends xxx

Friday, 18 December 2015

Going with my gut instinct

You may recall a recent post when I mentioned the problem with my eyes (you can read it HERE)

My gut instinct told me that I should cancel the planned operation on my eyes, and explore the problem and other options.

I made enquiries at a Mugla hospital and was given the name of a doctor should I wish to make an appointment.  I googled him and discovered an article about him in a Turkish daily newspaper concerning his unprofessional practices so gave that one a miss.

It was suggested I talk to our local doctor (she visits our village twice a week and performs a GP role)  to see if she could refer me to the devlet (state) hospital in the hope any op would be covered by our government health insurance, but she was unable to do so.  She suggested going direct to the devlet hospital.

So this morning I had an appointment with an eye doctor at the devlet hospital.  I was filled with confidence the moment I walked into the consulting room, and delighted that the doctor was a woman who spoke perfect English.

She thoroughly examined my eyes and listened carefully to the problems I was experiencing.  She says that I will eventually need the operation but not yet..maybe in six months or a year, but she will monitor the situation.  It seems that I also have dry eye syndrome which is not helping. She also asked if I suffer with rheumatism or arthritis because at my age these things can be connected.

By coincidence I have an appointment on Monday with an orthopaedic doctor.  I do have arthritis but I don't take any medication for it, other than an occasional dose of ibubrofen.  Recently I have developed problems with my hands which show all the signs of carpal tunnel syndrome and this is what I need to have checked on Monday.  The eye doctor said that if any medication is prescribed for my arthritis this may well help with the eye situation.  She noticed that I have yellow cholesterol spots on my eyelids which can be removed at some stage, and said I should get my cholesterol levels checked on Monday too....and that I should tell the orthopaedic doctor about my consultation with her today.

So I have a huge quantity of three different types of eye drops.  If I paid the full price for these the chemist informed me that the cost would be in excess of 300 lira.  Instead, with our insurance, all I paid was 21.5 lira.

These should keep me going for a while!!

These things are all signs of the aging process of course, but we need to keep eyes and hands working well for as long as possible, so I am relieved to be getting things sorted out.

Have a good weekend everyone xxx

Thursday, 10 December 2015

NO SENSE OF DİRECTİON (or getting lost in Izmir)

I have never had any sense of direction...ever.   I lived in my home town for more than 40 years but still got lost on more than one occasion.

I set off for Izmir on the bus from Milas this morning.  I decided to take a taxi to the apartotel as from the reviews on Tripadvisor, it wasn't easy to find.  However I didn't bank on the taxi driver not knowing how to find it either.

I tried desperately to follow the route he was taking so that I could get my bearings, but once we hit Alsançak he hadn't a clue where he was going.  He stopped and asked people, he set lost again, asked again...set lost again, and so on.  A journey that should have taken about 20 minutes  maximum actually took almost an hour.

Eventually I booked in.  I  had reserved a standard double room but on special requests I had asked for a bath and also a smoking room.  To achieve both these requests I had been upgraded to an apartment, with a double bedroom, sitting room, kitchen, dining area and bathroom with an enormous bath.  All this at no extra charge!  The kitchen is equipped with a full sized fridge, pots and pans etc, so as I didn't want to be out after dark in an unfamiliar area, decided to find the nearest supermarket.

I got directions from reception and a map (at this point I would mention that maps are of no use to me at all...can't read them and they confuse me even more than I already am).

I found a Migros supermarket and bought a few things to eat for tonight and tomorrow night, and then I spotted a bottle of Prosecco!!!  I almost danced around the store.  I didn't think it existed in Turkey.  So I hesitated, because the price on the shelf said 45 lira...I hardly ever buy wine and if I do it's cheap plonk at around 9 lira a bottle.  Anyway I justified it because my friend had paid for my hotel, so I thought I would treat myself.  I was so busy getting anxious about finding my way back to the hotel that I didn't stop to think about how much my total bill was....more of that later.

I came out of Migros and headed back to the hotel (at least I attempted to head back) but I got hopelessly lost.  I had the number of the street, but there seemed to be no logical order to the street numbers.  I must have asked about 20 people where the hotel was and no-one knew.  I walked up and down the same street about 6 times, stopping to ask directions...but no-one could help.

Finally I went into another shop and asked and one of the customers said he knew where I needed to go so he kindly escorted me all the way to the hotel.  The kindness of Turkish people never fails to amaze me.

I am meeting my friend Maxine tomorrow to spend the day with her.  She is flying tonight.  I am very much looking forward to catching up with her again.  But if you are by some chance reading this Maxine, please please come and find me tomorrow morning.  I don't dare set foot outside again on my own or I could be lost for days.

Oh and the bottle of Prosecco....when I checked the receipt it was a hell of a lot more than I thought.  So much so that I am too embarrassed to say.  I phoned Kaya and told him, explaining that I would take it back to the shop tomorrow.  He told me not to be so silly and that I should just enjoy it.  Of course I feel guilty, but he did a lot to make me feel less so.

So now I am going to have a long hot soak in the enormous bath, followed by a glass or two of wine and some food.

Hope you are all having a good evening wherever you are.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Getting back into the blogging mood

It's been difficult for a while now to find inspiration to blog as much as I used to.  Those of you who blog will know that the longer you leave it, the harder it is to get motivated.

So I was rather surprised this week to learn that my blog is still in the Top Ten Turkey Blogs on TURKİSH TRAVEL BLOG.   The blog's author, Natalie, first produced her list in 2010, and since then many great blogs about this country have appeared on the scene.  It's not easy to find the time to read them all, but there's something for everyone ...take a look.

Thankyou Natalie for keeping me on your list, and I'll try to do better from now on!

It's proving to be another busy week so far.  Sadie, the golden retriever that we found in a Milas shopping centre, has settled in well with the rest of the crew.  She was checked for a microchip on Friday, and when none was found we went ahead and had her spayed.  This afternoon she will go for her vaccinations.
Sadie after her op

While we were in Milas on Monday we stopped at the coffee shop where we found Sadie.  One of the girls who works there wasn't working on the day we found Sadie but the guy who owns the place told her that we had taken Sadie and left our phone number in case anyone was looking for her.  The girl told us that Sadie had been there for about a week (not two days as we were first told) and that she had been feeding her.  She said no-one had been looking for her, so she is sure, as we are, that Sadie was dumped. She asked how Sadie  was doing and said she was really happy that we had given her a home.

I noticed a lump on Fistik's side last week, but a few days ago I couldn't find it.  However, it has appeared again so she will also be going to the vet to be checked this afternoon.  She has started to lick her paw pads again, which we established was a yeast infection so this will also need to be checked.

My neighbour Dursune has adopted a kitten.  Here's my Facebook update about this:

We don't see much of our neighbour Dursune these days as she has moved down the hill but she comes back to her old house occasionally. This morning she was followed by a kitten. She introduced him to us. He is about two or three months old and she found him when he was only weeks old.
She calls him Tekir and he follows her everywhere, even when she goes up to the hills to collect kindling and sometimes has a ride back in a bag on her donkey.
We gave her some catfood and will continue to do so. He has fleas so we will collect treatment tomorrow from the Vet and will also worm him.
He is a delightful little chap 
Dursune and Tekir


The cathouse is being put to good use, photos here of three cats who are using it and eating the food we supply.
Tabby cat
Button (because of his/her button nose!)
Casey (meaning brave) who inspired us to build the cathouse. (Taken through window and mozzy screen)

Yesterday we stocked up with more dogfood and delivered sacks to the sanayi, the shepherd and Annie's mum.

And that's all for now.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Facebook Updates

I don't have much time to blog at the moment but for those of you who don't do Facebook, here are some updates copied and pasted from when I last did a blog post.

24th November
For those who read my latest blog post this morning, Kaya has made a start on the cat house. It is under the carport so sheltered, but it will be covered in something waterproof. Three sections with room for at least two cats in each one.

25th November
Just had a phone call from the man who went with Kaya to collect the Bodrum pups a couple of weeks ago and adopted one of them. The pup is poorly and Kaya has gone to check on him. He hasn't eaten much for a couple of days and now has diarhoea. It's not severe and he is drinking water ok. Kaya spoke to our vet on the phone, and he will take him to the clinic first thing in the morning. Fingers crossed for him please.

26th November
he has been at the Vet clinic since early this morning. He has been diagnosed with parvovirus but I think we have caught it in time to allow him to be treated. My Vet is always willing to euthanise if there is no chance but on this occasion he feels he will recover.
He will need two further days of treatment and he has to be isolated for about a week.
There is no room to isolate him at the clinic so Kaya will now take him back to his owner. He will help him to bleach the area, and make sure that he knows how to continue with this to stop the spread of the virus.
All treatments will be collected from the Vet and we will administer them. We can only do our best to give this little chap the best chance of survival.
I would really appreciate some help in the way of donations at this time. It had been an expensive month for us. Stocking up on food, worm, flea, mange treatments, cream for eye infections, etc. We are using our own money at the moment and the Vet bill will have to wait until my regular donations start to arrive next month. So anything you can spare, no matter how small, will be very much appreciated.
As always thankyou to all of you who have supported us so far heart emoticon
My wonderful husband, knowing how difficult it will be to isolate this pup in the village and stop the spread of the virus has now collected all treatments, which we will pay for, and spoken to the Belediye vet. He agreed to keep the pup in quarantine in the belediye shelter for as long as necessary. (Kaya also spoke to the Belediye Manager first to get his make sure that the vet agreed).
Kaya has just taken him there and he is now in isolation.

27th November
His name is Karlos by the way. Kaya went to visit him at the shelter today and spoke at length to the vet. He asked him to confirm that it was parvo and it is. However he is doing well on the treatment so far, which we supplied. If he needs any further medication we have said we will pay for it.
He has eaten today and no diarrhoea after, so a good sign. We are not sure that the guy who adopted him is really capable of taking care of him so we will have to think again at some point about where he will go once he has recovered. In the meantime, the vet is happy for him to stay there and Kaya is happy that he is getting good care.
We sent a bag of dogfood to the shelter as a thankyou, and will continue to do this as and when we can afford it. We are slowly building a good relationship with this vet and are hopeful that we will be able to get more street dogs neutered by him, and poorly dogs treated. We need to tread carefully to keep on his good side, but I am cautiously optimistic. It will certainly help us to keep costs down. Something that we are having to seriously consider at the moment.

29th November
Sunday Update:
We have no further news on Karlos the pup with parvo who is at the belediye shelter. We are not concerned about this because the vet will inform us if there is any change. We are mindful that he is very busy and does get bogged down with so many phone calls, so he gets a bit irritated when we keep phoning up to check. We don't want to annoy him because he is helping us. We want to maintain a good relationship with him for the future.
The cathouse at the side of our house is being used. Food is being eaten every day and there's evidence that more than one cat is sleeping in there. I think they come late at night and disappear before it gets light in the we aren't able to get photos of them yet. I think the trust will take time, but I'm happy that they have some shelter, particularly with the bad weather we've had for the past few days.
Kaya saw a kitten in the village yesterday that had been hit and killed by a car. Another kitten was sitting next to him. He approached slowly to try and rescue the kitten but it ran off. He searched everywhere but was unable to find it. He has asked men at the teahouse to look out for it and let him know. If we find the kitten we will bring it to our cathouse to look after.

30th November
Some very sad news. We had a call from the shelter Vet to say that Karlos passed away this morning. We went to the shelter and spoke with the Vet. We are satisfied that he did all he could to save him. Even though the treatment seemed to be working a couple of days ago and he was eating he deteriorated rapidly this morning.
Parvo is such a dreadful virus. It sometimes gives you false hope as it did with Karlos. So sorry we couldn't save you. Rest in peace dear little boy heart emoticon
While in Milas we stopped at the Kipa shopping centre for a coffee before the supermarket. No sooner had we sat down than this beautiful golden retriever came and sat next to me, put her paw out for me to take then rested her head on my lap.
We asked at the coffee shop if she belonged to them or anyone else in the centre. We asked several people and a couple of them said she had been there for a couple of days and that they recalled first seeing her with someone but then she was alone.
Another one dumped. It makes me so bloody angry. How many more times do people need to be told that a dog is a commitment for life.
She has a collar on. She isn't very old. I would guess perhaps a year old. She is gentle and trusting.
We did our shopping and when we came out, she was waiting for us. We just could not drive away and leave her so brought her home. She jumped into the back seat of the car with no prompting and was as good as gold.
We left our phone number with the coffee shop just in case someone is looking for her.
We have spent the last two hours introducing her to our other dogs and apart from the usual bum sniffing and a few scuffles, they have all settled. So far so good.
We've called her Sadie.
So then there were 11 !!
She needs to be checked over this week but she seems in good health and well fed. She hasn't been spayed which we will need to get done asap as well as vaccinations etc.
And much as I always hate asking, I would appreciate some financial help at the moment. We are getting through a lot of dog (and cat) food now. There are always more animals to feed in winter. So if you would like to matter how small an amount... It would be so gratefully received. Thankyou xx