Got up late and felt sluggish. Socks went on OK but the trousers fought back and it took some time to sort out. After that it was down to the pharmacy to sort things out (again) which took nearly half an hour). Then, with what was almost a bin liner of dressings and bandages, I staggered across to the doctor. Here I had a blood test. The nurse in question has a good record of getting the blood, but clearly learnt her testing technique in a time when patient pain was not such an issue. They are still short of tubes. There was a short wait after that as I changed nurses and gat new bandages. The leg is looking a lot better. I’m still not keen on having it attached to me, but it’s not as repulsive as it was last week. I now have,enough bandages to make myself into a passable mummy for Halloween.
As I left the surgery I had a phone call – it was the shop asking if I was anywhere near McDonald’s as we had visiting London dealers and they were making a day of it.
That was about the end of the excitement apart from the tempura pork. We had a pork joint at the weekend and still had some slices left so Julia did it in tempura batter and put sweet and sour sauce on it. It was delicious. We also had stir fried vegetables but, as you know, I consider them a penance rather than a pleasure. Fried pork in batter with a sticky sauce, on the other hand, is a real pleasure.
I’ll get back to you about the diet.
The picture is an old selfie from a day when Julia left me waiting in the car and I ran out of inspiration to write haiku. At that point it’s either turn to limericks or selfies with special effects . . .
A woman rang today and asked if we bought unusual American coins. I passed her on to the proprietor, as he has a wide-ranging knowledge of American coins. It turns out she had found a rare Buffalo nickel (1913 San Francisco Mint – I’m hazy on the rest of the detail as I wasn’t listening). The Buffalo Nickel is a lovely coin, and if I were American I am sure they would be a pleasure to collect.
This was unusual because “rare” coins usually aren’t rare.
Earlier in the week we bought some coins off a man. He brought two small lots in- one bag of coins from his wife and one from him. He told us his wife was making him sell the coins he had inherited from his mother when she died last year. They came to £17.50. The wife’s coins only came to £5. So he signed the form and went off with his money. Six hours later we had a phone call from the wife telling us he shouldn’t have sold hers. He had to sell his but she wanted to keep hers. Then she told me she wanted hers back. That was, off course, a problem, as we had already sorted the lot into various other places.
She told me they were worth a lot more than £5. I couldn’t help it, I just laughed. It was the end of a long day (in fact it was 15 minutes after closing time and we were just parcelling up a couple of late orders) and I really couldn’t be bothered. They coins were rubbish, her internet search was misleading and her grading, as usual, bore no resemblance to the reality of the condition of the coins.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, we sorted out a selection of coins that resembled the ones she had and the boss, worn down by her whining, just gave them to her to get rid of her, and to reinforce the idea they were virtually worthless.
It’s her husband I feel sorry for, he had to get rid of his but she keeps hers. (He’s a little older than me, by the way). His must be quite a cheerless existence.
You see all sorts in a coin shop . . .
In other news, my blood test was OK this morning, though I still have to go in next week. I really must start applying pressure about less testing.
Wednesday produced some brilliant service from the NHS, who sorted a problem out in five minutes and had my delivery with me inside 24 hours. If I were a curmudgeonly sort I would point out that if they had done their job right in the first place three weeks ago there would have been no problem. However, it is the system that is at fault and an individual who sorted it out, so credit where it’s due.
Then tonight the warning light came back on in the car. Did I tell you about that? Ys, I checked and I see I did. So far that Engine Management System has failed to flag up a single problem but it has cost me hundreds of pounds for replacing a faulty valve and several trips to the garage to get lights reset. It’s the next step in consumerism – first we had planned obsolescence, then we had vacuum cleaners that need replacement filters all the time instead of a new bag every few years, and now we have systems in cars that need repairing even though there is no actual fault with the car. This is either brilliant or very annoying, depending on your point of view. To me, it feels like Volkswagen are picking my pocket on a regular basis. Technology does not seem to be good for me.
And that’s before I get on to the story about how I had to open a HP account to use my own scanner on my own computer. I couldn’t work round it by downloading a fix from Microsoft as they don’t recognise my account details. I answered a lot of stupid questions to try to retrieve the account and they told me I hadn’t answered enough. A big sort out is coming and the machines are going to come off second best when I raise the New Luddite standard. Thirty minutes messing about just to scan something for Julia, when in the old days, before the “new and improved” system, I could have done it in ninety seconds.
The first half of the morning’s plan is complete. I got to hospital for 7am, found the last remaining parking space (as someone left), had my tests done (3 tubes this week) and went back to the car park to find a number of empty spaces and several people wearing NHS lanyards getting into cars in the (visitors only) car park. At the moment I am filling in time before going to the doctor to be lectured on my weight. She dressed it up as a discussion on anti-coagulants, but weight came into the conversation at the end, and I can imagine what is going to happen.
I am now off to complete the second half of the morning’s plan.
That was the doctor’s visit. It started badly when I was held up behind a couple demanding information on getting a Covid Passport so that they could go away on holiday and help spread the disease. Bad enough they want to go abroad, without cluttering up the surgery when I need to get to the desk.
The good news is that I am the same weight I was when they last weighed me four years ago. That’s even better when you think I ddi put weight on but have managed to bring it down again over the last few months. I’ve used the Tootlepedal diet – cutting out a little bit here and there, and it’s working so far.
The doctor was able to make some helpful suggestions and has also changed my anti-coagulant to one where I will only need one blood test a year. I can’t start it until the blood results come in, but if it’s OK I will be able to have blood tests every year instead of the current weekly tests.
It’s all looking quite good at the moment. I’ve been advised to lay off the cereal and go onto eggs for breakfast, which is good, as I like eggs. However, it’s also bad as I can’t prepare them in advance or take them to work with me. Swings and roundabouts, as we say.
The third part of my plan, which I forgot about until just now, which renders my maths obsolete regarding halves, was that the pharmacy had all my stuff in and it was correct. I didn’t bother complaining that they hadn’t texted me last Friday as promised. There’s just no point…
This started of as the second post of the day, but I fell asleep around 11pm and so this is now the first post of the next day, written just before leaving for work. It may be a bit rushed. It is also the second successive post featuring me being punctured. It’s a wonder I haven’t deflated.
I failed the blood test. My INR went up despite my dose going down. My dosage has been cut down yet again, but the trouble is that once you start losing it, it can take ages to get things back on an even keel. After a couple of years of good results, I have now gone haywire. They say it is due to lockdown, but a friend who had been on Warfarin tells me that it has always been a feature of his dosage – you get up to widely spaced tests, enjoy a year or two of stability then suddenly it all goes wild,
A few years ago I had an accusing phone call from a student nurse who had been given the job of ringing people and discussing their test records with them. Mine was about 75% – a sign that I wasn’t taking the Warfarin regularly, I was told. I pointed out that my record over the last 12 months was actually 100% and that all the bad results came in the first few months as the “highly trained” nursing staff failed to get the dosage right. There was a pause. Then she agreed with me and rang off. I don’t mind being accused of medical delinquency, because I am an appalling patient and very bad at remembering pills. However, I can analyse stats.
Falling asleep at 11pm could have been a side-effect of my vaccination yesterday, but it’s also consistent with my normal routine, as regular readers will know. I also have a slightly sore arm, but it’s only sore when I catch it on a door frame, as I managed to do last night and again this morning. It is also a possible side effect of the vaccination. Or possibly just consistent with being stabbed in the arm with a needle. I didn’t even bleed from the injection site, which always seems to scare them due to my Warfarin.
For the purposes of posterity (I’m thinking of that future PHD student reading my blog as valuable historic document) I’ve had no side effects from the demon vaccine apart from a little soreness in the arm, and that is consistent with being stabbed in the arm by a needle. As far as I can tell, I have had nothing that can be attributed to the vaccine, but nobody interviews people like me for the paper – they just want stories about pain and death and misery. That’s why I chose the title for today.
It’s 7.57. On a normal day I would just be lacing my shoes up, ready to take Julia to work. But today isn’t a normal day. I was at hospital for 6.55, securing one of the few remaining parking spaces. Either there are an awful lot of visitors outside opening hours or the staff are using the visitor spaces. I think you know where my money would go if I were a betting man.
I had a twenty minute wait at Phlebotomy because they needed a chat about gloves and the faults with the label printing software. During this time I also noticed that although we have “social distancing” in p[lace for chairs in the waiting room, the chair I selected was not socially distanced from the store cupboard.
When one member of staff used it, we were around 3 feet apart. When four members of staff needed it at the same time, three of them with trollies, I became part of a milling crowd of phlebotomists. I’m going to take a guess here, but my conclusion is that the person who drew up the seating plan had never been to outpatients.
I could go on to offer some suggestions for improvements, and discuss management and leader ship, but I’m eating my breakfast with one hand and typing with the other, thinking is probably a step too far. Anyway, next door’s builders are using power tools and it’s difficult to concentrate. There’s just something about getting the simple stuff wrong that really brings out the worst in me.
8.26 now. I’ve blogged, I’ve breakfasted and I’ve just checked the work eBay sales. It’s been a quiet week. I can’t see the day being distinguished by urgency and hard work.
Next time I post I will be fully vaccinated. It’s an all action day – blood test in the right arm this morning, vaccination in the left this afternoon. How’s that for advance planning? Two arms, two needles. I’m glad I don’t have a third needle to accommodate, as it would be a tricky choice.
I woke several times during the night and at 5.48 decided it wasn’t worth going back to bed as the alarm was set for 6.30. This allowed me to have an unhurried breakfast, a reflective cup of tea and a few minutes answering comments. What it didn’t allow, was a parking space when I went for my blood test.
Parking has been getting tighter down there, and this wasn’t a total surprise, though it in’t normally full by 7am. It is supposedly a car park for visitors only, but I’m not sure this is true. When they first made it free they had a staff member on the entrance checking that you were a visitor. Since that check has been abandoned it has been steadily more difficult to find parking. The cynic in me, seeing a variety of clues inside the cars, and seeing drivers dressed in NHS uniform, tends to think the staff are ignoring the notices and taking the spaces meant for visitors.
The other part of me, the part that wants to believe they are all heroes and angels, doesn’t want to believe it. “Say it aint’ so, Joe!” my inner, innocent, self cries out. However, when I think back to the times I have been in hospital, including the time I was left glued to the bed by dried blood despite a request for help, I do start to wonder. If they are capable of leaving me stuck to my bedding, they are certainly capable of stealing my parking space.
I will, however, cut them some slack, because they generally do a good job and it’s a lovely day. The sun is shining, there was minimal ice on my screen this morning and the Robins were singing in the hospital garden.
The blood test, performed with the panache odf a world class fencer, took mere seconds. Touché, you could almost hear her cry.
And now, having got home in time to write a post, I will go to work.
Julia just woke me up with the words “You’ve done it again.”
She has, it seems, spent the last two hours in the company of a man who has been resting his eyes, and another evening has passed. Even the offer of a Club biscuit, which I found alongside my cold cup of tea, had failed to persuade me to open my eyes.
Looking on the bright side, I will be well rested when I get up tomorrow morning and head off for my latest blood test.
Today did not continue in the useful way of yesterday. I fell at the first hurdle. My initial to do list contained one item – write a to do list – and I failed to do that.
At work I packaged items which had only been listed on Tuesday. It is strange how things sell. Three of the items were newly listed – one of them had been listed for 18 months (the market for Edward VIII Coronation keyrings does not seem strong). You just can’t tell.
My first task, after seeing off the biscuit, was to make sandwiches. It is sandwich-making at its simplest – open a cob, butter it, insert a cheese slice and add pickle – but it is also at its finest. The classic simplicity of a cheese and pickle sandwich is hard to beat. We had tomatoes in it today, but I don’t feel up to slicing tomatoes tonight. It is a technical job and not one well-suited to a man who is half asleep.
The same could be said for blogging, but I seem to have managed…
I went for a blood test this morning – got off to a slightly slow start as I don’t have to take Julia to work this morning, and nearly missed getting a car parking space. Mental note – remember that the spaces are just about gone by 7.30. Despite notices about it not being a car park for staff several members of staff in uniform were either arriving or leaving as I took the last available space.
Two women, talking about how to handle a booking system on a computer, walked straight into the hospital in front of me without pausing to put masks on. Looks like we are back to ignoring the rules, however, as it’s allowable to stage mass gatherings, despite the law, I don’t suppose you can blame them. Once you see one group treat the rules with contempt I suppose we all think we can do it too. It’s the Cumming’s Effect.
I’ve decided to take a neutral stance on the events in London, by the way. It would have been better if the Police hadn’t been so heavy-handed, but it would also have been better if there hadn’t been mass disobedience to the law. All that happens now is that the Police have to answer complaints and write reports instead of doing their job, while politicians posture and pressure groups make an issue of a personal tragedy. Nobody looks good as a result of this.
Meanwhile, I had a swift blood test but needed holes in both arms to find any.
The morning was quite different to the last test morning, just a few weeks ago. Last time the image I took away was a Dunnock singing its heart out in a sparkling silver birch against the backdrop of a bright blue sky. Today it was a Wood Pigeon cooing on a murky morning – grey bird, grey tree, grey sky.
Some days make it easier to be a poet than others.
(Sorry – the pigeon isn’t in a tree, but it was the first picture I came to as I scrolled down and I need to get off to work.)
Today was the first day of Real Spring. We have meteorological Spring – that starts on 1st March – and we have Traditional Spring, which starts on 20th March this year. Neither of them are particularly realistic as they can both be quite dismal days, and it’s hard to feel springlike on a dreary day. No, you need Real Spring, which is the first day that feels like Spring. It has been getting closer, but today was the first day I really felt spring had arrived.
It was a lovely morning with a slight nip in the air, and a very light frost. There was just a touch of colour in the sky as I headed off for a blood test, and my feelings of wellbeing were enhanced by the lack of traffic – a lovely lockdown bonus. The sunrise was fading as I went to hospital, and by the time I returned home the sky was bright blue and cloudless.
The sun, hitting the silver birches, produced a magical effect, further enhanced by a meeting of magpies. There were only a dozen of them, a long way from some of the groups I’ve seen at this time of year, but it’s nice to see that breeding is on the agenda.
As I turned into the hospital entrance, the area under the trees was alive with snowdrops and small tete a tete daffodils.
In the car park a dunnock was singing its heart out, though, now I know more about its personal habits I’m not sure this is a bird to use as a celebration of spring.
There was no queue for the blood test, but that was the last good thing to happen for a while, as they managed to hit a nerve when taking the test samples (I was in for a double lot today) and that wasn’t fun. First, my arm hurt, then it started to go numb. The hand, which I’d ben told to clench, began to open. It took about twenty minutes to recover, so it wasn’t bad, but it’s still a bit sore sixteen hours later and there’s quite a lot of bruising. Normally I say good things about Phlebotomy at City Hospital, but this was not one of their better days.
I just woke up in front of the computer screen. It’s 11.27 and if I can’t stay awake while I’m writing a blog it suggests that the post isn’t worth finishing.
My alarm was set for 6.30 this morning as I had a blood test. Naturally I woke at 6.12. That is a bad time – too soon to get up and too late to have a nice warm snooze. A bit of lateral thinking and I went back to sleep with the clock now set for 6.45. Good plan, but poor execution as I then slept until nearly 7.00.
Next bit of bad planning – the car has been parked up for five days. It started, but with an outside temperature of -4°C and a five day coating of ice and frozen snow, it took a bit longer to de-ice than I had planned.
The Road through Clumber park
Non of this actually mattered because when I got down to Phlebotomy, there were two phlebotomists looking very lonely. The one by the door actually told me not to sit in the waiting area a they were ready for me. It took two attempts, the car parking is still free and, unlike the last few weeks, it was actually light. There are no actual flowers out now, but the snowdrops are on the verge of opening. It was not a bad blood test, all things considered.
The trip into work was uneventful, though there did seem to, be more traffic than you would expect from a lockdown. This agrees with the figures about the number of people in work, compared to the first lockdown. I didn’t find any figures when I looked for them but I did find a story about the problems of hippos in Columbia. They are taking over the waterways after being introduced, via the private zoo of Pablo Escobar.
In the Mencap Garden
Currently, after waking up, I am trying to concentrate as workmen build a drum in next door’s drive. It was meant to be a wooden garage, but the noise indicates it is a drum. A big one.
I’d better get some work done as this could be my last day in lockdown. Tomorrow I’m going to the shop to work on my own – I offered to do it because everyone else is working and it seems a bit unfair not to do it. I will wipe everything down before leaving.
Then next week it looks like I will be back in work. By Monday I will be at the end of the self-imposed 14 day quarantine. I still don’t see why we are going back to work, but the owner has paid us full wages through three lockdowns and I suppose he’s getting fed up with it. This is known as Pandemic Fatigue, and is not to be confused with the fatigue that lingers after Covid. That is Post-Viral fatigue.
Off the Coast at Southend on Sea.
The photographs are some I have dredged up from old memory cards – some really good memories. They are random, and nothing to do with the content of the post, but I hope you like them.