Tag Archives: covid

Day 209

Three unusual things happened today.

One, I went for my blood test at hospital after a week of avoiding it. Took a COVID test the night before, as I had been in contact with someone who is positive, and I didn’t want to spread anything. I am clear so I went. There were spaces in the car park and a man on the barrier, which I linked in my mind – there used to be space when they had someone there before. Walked in, hardly had time to sit down, was tested (though she only took two tubes when I was expecting three) and left.

Despite the ban on staff parking in the car park, two doctors were leaving as I left. Couldn’t get out. That’s why there was a man on the gate, they have a new system of number plate recognition. No free quarter hour now, just a Big Brother system where you are automatically In The System. Had to pay using debit card. More Big Brother – all my spending monitored . . .

So that was unusual thing one.

Number two. I had a parcel delivered. It contained  a medallion I had seen on eBay in the “sold” section as I browsed. I complained to Julia that I would have liked to have bought it. It seems that I must have done. I checked and saw I had used the “Buy it Now” feature. I must have bought it in my sleep. This is a worrying development in both the “Senior Moment” department and the “eBay Addiction” department. I have promised Julia that I will only go on eBay in the hours of daylight.

Finally, a man came into the shop. He had a mask.

“I’ve got COVID,” he said, “But I have a mask on so it’s OK isn’t it?”

My workmate muttered something unintelligible. He doesn’t like to say n0. I rolled my seat back and said: “I am on medication which lowers my immune response, so no, don’t come in.”

I actually thought something which had a lot more swearing in it, but I am a retail professional.

He was slightly taken aback by my refusal, as if he honestly thought we would want an infected person in the shop.

Apart from the possible health consequences to us and our families, did he really think we wanted to run the risk of shutting the shop because he’s too stupid to stay at home?

Even after being told to leave he insisted on telling us about the coins he had to sell – I doubt they came to more than a couple of quid, but they were, in his mind, worth enough to justify infecting a whole shop. remember that my work colleagues have frequent contact with two others and a mother in law who are all 80 +, one being over 90. That’s why I’ve been testing again.

It’s not about me, it’s about my responsibility to other people.

Grumpiness Personified

Day 33

Today has been a complete write-off. I had a lie in, got up very slowly and he did nothing. It reminds me of the days (was it only three months ago?) when I had cellulitis and covid one after the other. I’m going to test myself later, and hope that I don’t have covid again. It seems that you can catch the new Omicron variant even after having the Delta form, which was the main one when I had it last.

It’s strange how quickly things become established as “normal”. Three years ago there was no covid, no variants and no testing. Now it’s  firmly established as one of the top topics of conversation. The weather still dominates, but I’m not sure where I would place covid, politics and global warming. I suspect covid is in the second spot with the other two lagging behind.

I watched a TV programme about a Farmers’ Market in Somerset once I started taking an interest in the day. Then I cut the swede (rutabaga) for tonight’s vegetable stew. When things get tough we revert to comfort food. Julia is  feeling under the weather too, so it has been a subdued day. Swedes are hard work and it requires a man and a large knife to cut one. It does in our house anyway, I’m sure there are lots of homes where tricky veg are not seen as a man’s job.

On the other side of the coin, I’m hopeless at dumplings, so rely on Julia to make them when we have vegetable stew, so it all works out.

And that, as I sneak past the 250 word mark, is enough. I am feeling tired again and need to rest. Pathetic, isn’t it?

The picture is a reminder that things will get brighter.

 

Simon Wilson, Nottingham Poet

Miserable Old Git, Moaning and Methotrexate

Julia picked up my methotrexate earlier in the week. It’s for my arthritis and acts by supressing my immune system, which is what is causing the problem. Well, that, my weight and 45 years of manual labour. There was a note on the form that came with the pills, saying that I was behind with my blood tests and they would not dispense more until I was up to date. They worry about it destroying my liver. There is no such thing as a simple drug, they all come with side effects.

Anyway, last time I had a note like that it took weeks to sort out and then a month or more to return my fingers to a reasonable condition after missing the medication. I don’t want that again.

I’m not sure if I covered this in the blog before, but over the last three months I have been arguing about it with the pharmacy and wrangling with the GP surgery to have the inaccurate note removed. I was up to date when it first appeared on the form and have remained up to date – even having two goes at the last one when the laboratory had to retest due to “technical reasons”.  I’m not sure what the “technical reasons” were, but it makes a good excuse.

I have just written an email to the surgery asking for the record to be corrected, citing my previous email on the subject (because I have now started filing all my dealings with them) and asking that they reply to confirm they have made the necessary correction.

I am now taking things more seriously, being fed up with shoddy record keeping and the rest of the things that are happening (appointments disappearing from the system, prescriptions sent to the wrong place etc).It is time to sort things out.

Meanwhile, as our Glorious Leader launches “Plan B” to divert attention from the Christmas party scandal, we have a strange situation. We can’t hold Numismatic Society meetings (twenty middle-aged men meeting to talk about coins), due to “Plan B restrictions”. Boris didn’t mention this, but that’s what the owner of the meeting room says. However, under Plan B, football matches, bars, clubs and restaurants are all still allowed to operate.

Of course, if I’d been in charge it wouldn’t have been Plan B, as Plan B lacks gravitas, being the name of a rapper and reminding me of Bela Lugosi’s last film. Even without that, there are just too many words that begin with B that could be used in a disrespectful fashion.

However, that may just be me.

Slowly Bleeding to Death

I have atrial fibrillation, as does Mark Spitz, the record-breaking American swimmer.  Mine isn’t as dramatic as his, mine was simply discovered when I went to the doctor and she listened to my heart.

“You have an irregular heartbeat.” she said.

“I know, I’ve had it for years.”

“We really should do something about it.”

That’s why I hate going to the doctor – I always come away with more than I take in.

I have an International Normalized Ratio (INR) test every few weeks to see how my blood is clotting. I need this because the doctors make me take Warfarin to stop my blood clotting too quickly. Until a few years ago I thought of Warfarin as a very effective rat poison.

If you have a normal set-up you have an INR of around 1. If you have atrial fibrillation they try to get it in the range 2.0 -3.0 which stops it clotting and prevents strokes and heart attacks. If you have a mechanical heart valve they like it to be a bit higher. It’s nothing special, a million of us have it in the UK and ten percent of the over 75s have it.

However, it can be a bit variable, and you may have noticed that I often complain about the testing, as the results can be very imprecise, which annoys me. I do my bit – eat a dull and unvaried diet, take the pills at the same time each day and let them take regular bloods. They, on the other hand, don’t do much, as I recently pointed out to them.

So, I believe I had got as far as 3.5 for people with mechanical heart valve and similar problems. The next step is 5.0 – 8.0. They start getting twitchy at this sort of level, particularly if it is accompanied by bleeding, and start threatening vitamin K injections. At 8.0 they start getting very twitchy . . .

And at 9.6, if you haven’t admitted to any bleeding, they tell you to stop taking the pills immediately and to go for another blood test in two day’s time.

I’m not sure whether to worry or claim it as a personal best.

 

 

 

 

Looking Forward

It’s not been one of my better times. Starting in August and continuing to the present, I have been dogged by a variety of conditions, which have all contributed to wearing me down. I’m hoping that there will be better times ahead. However, in August I seem to have thought that a week or two should do the trick, and that proved to be a hopelessly bad assessment of the situation.

Hopefully, I am now back and will be improving over the next few weeks. Having thought that in August and then again in September (just before I caught Covid) I am going to be slightly less vocal about my likely improvement. Even my ten days in isolation turned into twelve when Julia tested positive. Everything in my life seems to take longer and be less good than it once was. I suppose this is old age.

The good news is that I have definitely lost weight. The bad news is that none of my trousers fit and that although braces (suspenders) are a useful solution, they aren’t the full answer. I won’t go into all the details, but they aren’t quite as practical as a belt in some ways, and they carry a continuing risk of injury if over-stressed or under-secured. I’m thinking of wearing industrial safety glasses as  a precaution against eye-injury.

I’m also thinking about going the classic route and sewing buttons to my trousers but that involves serious thought about the style of braces and whether to go for six or eight buttons. Six mean less sewing, but eight mean you can use better quality braces. Decisions . . .

Positive!

Yes, I have Covid. It seems that lateral flow tests are not a lot of use.

I probably have the Delta variant according to my sister. The symptoms are different to the original variant, which is why I didn’t realise what was happening. The Government, for some reason, isn’t publicising this. As a result, it looks like at least one nurse from the practice will be off work for ten days.

I feel bad about this, and have sent my apologies.

I’m isolating until next Thursday.

More later.

Covid Paranoia

On Tuesday I spent several hours in the back room of a shop with two people who texted on Thursday to tell me that they both had Covid. I tested immediately, and was negative.

Today, waiting between my two appointments at the surgery, I started with a small, dry cough. During the day, it carried on . . .

By the time I got home I realised that I had probably passed it on to several people, including my two workmates. They have both visited their elderly parents during the week and this clearly is not good.

As soon as I got in, I tested again and watched for the result.

Single bar next to the “C”. I’m still clear. The cough is still here too, but yet again a simple cough has been magnified into something it isn’t. This is a relief because I didn’t want to be responsible for spreading the virus to vulnerable people.

Both my friends are double vaccinated and so far, despite one being over 80, are reporting symptoms like those of a heavy cold. This is good.

Medical report – I have a cough and a case of paranoia. I also have some exercises from the physio and am feeling better already. The nurse is impressed by my capacity for recovery and thinks I will be able to take over my own dressings quite soon. Flu vaccine is due at the surgery this week and if it arrives they will vaccinate me during one of my other appointments.

It’s all looking good.

Diet report. We are only dealing in broad figures as I had my shoes on and didn’t count the decimal places but I have lost around eight pounds in the last two weeks despite eating apple crumble and ice cream, a McDonalds and chicken kebab meat with chips. You can see why I struggle with my weight, can’t you?

My breakfast of wheat biscuits, fruit and toast and marmalade remains the same. My lunch is just one sandwich with fruit or tomatoes (that’s reduced by one sandwich). In the evening I try to eat smaller portions in the evening but haven’t made any other changes.

If I cut down more i could probably loose more weight, but I may not feel quite so good about it if I cut out all the stuff I like.  It’s a balancing act, but it’s working.

A Grand Day Out, Social Distancing and a Poem

We had a pleasant day out, pottering up through Sherwood Forest and looping round into Derbyshire. It was particularly pleasant as we were had air-conditioning. Air-con was an option I never knew I wanted until I had it in my previous VW. After that it became a necessity. That, I suppose was how Rome fell, as luxury became necessity and civilisation grew soft.

I would like to say I came back refreshed and full of poetic ideas, but I didn’t. However, I did come back refreshed, so one out of two will have to do. There are a lot of wild flowers about, which was nice, but everywhere was crowded and all the views were hazy. I’m still not at a stage where I want to walk through streets that are crowded with maskless strangers. It might be, as I have seen written in various places, that we have to get back to normal, but this is generally written by healthy people.

I have the choice of taking pills that dial down my immune system, or having useless arthritic hands. I prefer the former. I dropped the pills for a couple of weeks round the time of my vaccination as this seems to give a better chance of effective vaccination. I took three weeks off and spent four weeks struggling to dress myself or write. When the time came for the second dose I carried on with the pills. I’d rather risk Covid than have arthritis.

However, when I weigh up the pros and cons of Covid versus walking down a street full of maskless strangers, I think I’ll stay in the car and wear a mask if I ned to get out.

It’s a question of risk. I have buildings insurance because the consequences could be severe if I don’t.  I don’t have contents insurance because I’m prepared to take the risk on that. When I was gardening, I had insurance for Public Liability, but not for long term illness or injury. Again, it’s a question of how much risk you are prepared to take on.

I don’t feel the need to mingle and a mask isn’t going to kill me, so I’ll carry on living a quiet life and wearing the mask. If anyone wants to offer me advice on this, as seems to have happened here, i hope I can come up with a witty reply. Experience suggests that although I will find a stinging riposte, it will be ten minutes too late. I may start thinking of them now.

I may even write them a poem.

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
Darwin was right,
about people
like you.

 

 

Less Hectic Than Saturday…

It was a better day today. Last night’s test was negative, Julia’s regular test was negative and the boss, though wan and drawn, was (a) negative and (b) recovering.

His wife rang for a test on Friday night as he was exhibiting all the symptoms. They filled in the forms and were then told them were no available testing slots. His wife, being a forceful woman, got in the car, drove down to the local testing station and found the staff all sitting round with nobody to test. This is mainly how it is (I drive past several times a week and rarely see anyone there). It doesn’t fill you with confidence.

Anyway, his test result came back negative.

The temperature was slightly lower today, which is good for a man who spends his day in a room with no windows. It’s badly insulated and has a flat roof so it’s cold in winter, hot in summer, noisy when it rains and generally dull. However, conditions were passable. I would complain about working conditions but that might invite comparisons between me and the ideal shop assistant. I fail to measure up in a number of ways, including telling customers i know nothing about coins and don’t see any need to change, as I retire in three years. I feel honesty is important, and it also means less work for me. Customers come in and ask for mark or Eddie, but they rarely ask for me. It’s a bit like DIY and other jobs once you are married – mess it up the first time and you never get asked again.

A Busy Wednesday

Looks like I’m going to be having a busy day.

First, there will be a lot of teeth gritting to be done. They are drilling again next door, though it is gradually dawning on us that it might be floor sanding. It’s noisy, annoyingly irregular and travels well through the connecting wall.

Second, I have to book my vaccination. Or I assume I do. Julia has just had a text telling her she can book hers (though she has, of course, already had it). I haven’t seen a text yet but assume I will have got it too. (See below).

Three, I have to go to the shop because I left my phone there when we packed up yesterday. I was thinking of not going back for it, but if I ned to book an appointment I will have to go for it.

Long Tailed Tit - Rufford Abbey

Long Tailed Tit – Rufford Abbey

Four, I have to pick up a prescription and put a request in for another one. At that point we will start the game of NHS Roulette to see what I actually get.

Five, fill up the car. We haven’t been going out, so we haven’t used much fuel, but it has now come to the end of the tank and the warning light is on. With not going out much we tend not to pass anywhere to refuel so it needs a special trip.

Six, then there will be more gritting of teeth as the chimney man seems to have arrived, judging by the debris now clattering down into the back garden. Drill, drill, drill, clatter, clatter, clatter…

I’m going out now, and I could be some time.

Grey Wagtail - Rufford Abbey

Grey Wagtail – Rufford Abbey

The photos are some old shots from Rufford Abbey – I was particularly happy with the Grey Wagtail (though it’s not great quality) because I don’t see them often, and they are quite flighty. Long Tailed Tits are tricky to photograph, but at least they are common and you can keep trying.