Tag Archives: health

Bullied by a Nurse

Today I went to see the nurse. She had look at my toe and decided that I have to go back on Friday so she can dress it again. No wonder the NHS costs so much to run. It’s a toe. It needs a plaster. It doesn’t need a whole appointment.

I hope that appointment runs better than it did today. I was there five minutes before my 8.45 appointment and had to wait until 9.10 to be seen. As far as I could tell the nurse had no patient in, she was just doing some admin. As a result, I ran late, was caught in traffic and ended up being late for work. It was only two minutes late, but I hate being late, full stop. I particularly hate being late because someone else has delayed me.

Wednesday should have been my day off but I agreed  to go in because a number of things cropped up yesterday. It just goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished. You try to do a good thing and karma creeps up behind you with a sandbag.

We had an interesting conversation about health. I will paraphrase but give a general idea.

The nurse asked if I had thought of going onto statins then said:”Oh, you’re already on them.”

“Are you sure? Nobody has told me that I am.”

“You must be. Your cholesterol is only 3.7.”

In broad terms 3.7 is considered good, though it doesn’t do to get too smug about this stuff. After years in the poultry industry, and watching research and marketing collide, I know that cholesterol changes from good to bad on a regular basis.

“I don’t think I am.”

Clatter of keyboard

“Oh, you’re not, but you should think about taking them.”

“If my cholesterol is so low you think I’m already on them, why do I need to take them?”

“Er . . . well, your triglycerides are a little high and recent research shows that you’re more at risk of a stroke and heart attack.”

There is always some new research. I am actually at risk of a  stroke and heart attack because I’m far too heavy and because I don’t exercise. I don’t need “recent research” to point that out.

Nor do I need more tablets. I currently take seven sorts of tablet. Two of them are to counter the effects of the other five. The last thing I need is more tablets.

This is probably a good place to leave it. I am going to give serious thought to lifestyle changes and new strategies for avoiding contact with this particular nurse.

 

 

 

A Badly Filled Evening

I came home, I did some reading, and took a call from the GP Practice Nurse who rang to nag me about various tests. It ended slightly uncomfortably when I pointed out, after a discussion about cholesterol, that she was trying to make me appear ill to satisfy some NHS agenda. We had the same  sort of discussion a few years ago. I just have naturally low cholesterol. It’s due to my genetics, not to a a virtuous diet, but I do object to them trying to turn me into a cripple. I’m overweight and have  a few problems associated with that. This is my fault and the remedy lies in my hands, or in the case of cake, in not having it in my hands. It is time to start work on my weight. I have never had a problem with cholesterol and I object to them trying to get me on even  more medication. I already have more than enough, and they can’t get that right much of the time. Why give them a chance to foul up even more.

We then had tea (pasties, cauliflower steak, cheese sauce, carrots and roasted leeks in case you were wondering). hen we had a bit of cake because w had some left from the tip to Scarborough. I proceeded to watch too much TV and read a book about writing poetry that was written by a poet who should have paid an editor to edit her prose. It was also probably not a good idea for her to suggest reading good writers to improve my writing. It’s not bad advice, it’s just that her suggestions we (in order) her, Hemingway and Dickens.

A touch of modesty would not go amiss.

Just Another Rant

After a painful day yesterday I am enjoying my day off today and am feeling quite sprightly. There’s a slight bittersweet quality about the pain free nature of the day because I achieved it by taking a double dose of paracetamol (which is a bad thing to do) and a double dose of ibuprofen (ditto). There’s some reason that I’m not supposed to take ibuprofen. The doctor did tell me, but I’ve forgotten. They have given me a gel to use, because I can have ibuprofen as a gel, just not as a tablet, unfortunately that has one major fault – it doesn’t actually work.

The other, minor,  problem is that my knobbly fingers have an unsettling quality at the best of times. but when coated in a shiny gel they look like the sort of low-budget horror make-up associated with British TV of the 1960s.

I wasn’t actually going to talk about my delinquency regarding over the counter pain remedies, I was thinking of a piece on a social issue, or  something philosophical on writing. Somehow I just seem to find my level chatting about health, TV or sleeping. Not even talking about health really, my subject is mainly  unhealth, which probably isn’t a word. However, it stands in relation to unhealthy as health and healthy stand together, so it should be a word.

I haven’t been keeping up with drinking guidelines recently because I stopped drinking  thirty years ago. I just checked them up and see the Government suggests limiting alcohol consumption to six pints a week. Beer, that is. I was going to check it up in terms of vodka but you have to download an app to check that. Download an app? What is the world coming to? It’s bad enough that I had stop smoking and drinking, now they want me to clutter my life with apps. I really would rather be a drunkard with  a hacking cough than the sort of person who browses a mobile phone and uses apps. No wonder the world is in such a state.

Next thing you know we’ll have  a Police App. Been the victim of crime? Download our app and press a load of buttons. It won’t solve your problems with anti-social behaviour and it won’t catch burglars, so in that respect it will be just like the real police.  Oh yes, it’s that time again, voting for our local police commissioner. I will, as usual, be taking a stroll down to the polling booth to spoil my paper with the words “Why are we wasting money on this nonsense?”.

 

 

Early to Bed…

My new health regime, which consists mainly of going to bed at a sensible time and turning down offers of a second slice of cake, have paid off – I’m already feeling a lot better than I was at the start of the week.

Today turned out to be another busy day. The sales promotion has not only brought a surge in sales but an avalanche of enquiries – many of which are time consuming and lead nowhere. However, like many things, you have to sift through to find the nuggets and as one of the queries led to a £275 sale, it was worth the sifting.

Nothing else of note happened during the day. I watched a little TV, snoozed and ate stir-fried vegetables for tea. I’ve also been going through magazines of Readly. I’ve managed a bird watching magazine, two writing magazines, the TLS and an art magazine tonight. Not bad for a monthly subscription that is the equivalent of buying two magazines. OK, so I only browsed the last two as I wasn’t feeling very intellectual, but it’s still good value.

If anyone is doing ab thesis on the life of an average middle-aged man in the early 21st century – this is it. This what I spent 60 years training for – a life of quiet mediocrity and vegetables. I always wanted to be rich and famous and eat steak…

I had an article sent to my email about the cherry trees in Washington DC – very interesting. I like cherry trees. My Mum and Dad had several and when Julia’s Mum died the village planted a cherry tree in memory of her contribution to the local community., so they have always ben part of my life. Of course, now that I write poetry in Japanese forms I am virtually obliged to write about them.

I seem to be deficient in cherry blossom pictures, so you will have to make do with apple blossom.

Spring in the Mencap Garden

Gratitude

I’ve just been looking at how to write a Gratitude Journal.  There are mixed views on the best way to do this but one way which is, according to a research study, very effective, is to write a list of three things just once a week. It seems that less is more in this area. Al the information is on the link. Having established that minimal effort produced good results, I stopped reading.

So, here we are. Three things for me to feel gratitude for.

One, fruit crumble. We had apple and dried apricot crumble last night. It was a decision aided by the presence of just one apple and the remains of a bag of dried apricots. The rhubarb is currently looking a bit sparse and needs time to revive. We have, in truth, picked too much. We have been neglecting it, so a good measure of manure will be needed this autumn.

On the crumble, we had custard. We have been having either cream or milk or nothing with it, depending on the supply situation. They are all pleasant ways to eat crumble but custard is the best.

The fact that I have plenty of food, and Julia to cook it for me, are the icing on the cake. This is perhaps not the best figure of speech to employ at this point, but it puts things across nicely, even if it is culinarily confusing. The spellchecker doesn’t like ‘culinarily’, but it is a proper word, so hard cheese.

Two, my health. It might not be the first thing you expect me to say. I’m obese, hypertensive and arthritic with a variety of other faults that keep me involved with doctors and phlebotomists, but in general I’m OK and while I may not make 91 like my Dad, I’m not feeling too bad at the moment. In fact, I’m feeling downright perky at the moment. It could, of course, be a lot better.

I should. I suppose, be ashamed of myself for getting into this state. However, let it never be said that I have gone to my grave with a song still in me. When I am old and huddled in front of Countdown, I will have many a disreptuble memory to bring an enigmatic smile to my lips.

Three – WordPress. What would be the point of writing all this if nobody read it? Or if there was nobody to discuss it with? Plus, I can be nosey, and live several lives apart from my own. Within moments of switching on the computer I can be riding my cycle in the Scottish borders, walking in the New Forest or sitting my Maine woodland garden. Or watching the Oregon sunset with my cats, making demented videos with an iconic yellow bear or gardening in Leeds.

There is just so much to do and so many people to see. And that’s before I start on the other sites. My grasp of American military history, with associated cartoons, and the archaeology of death is now much better than it used to be, as is my gardening and cookery knowledge.

Without the writers of WordPress my lockdown would be a dreadfully dull and lonely place.

That, I think, will do. It seems you can wear your gratitude out if you use it too much, and I don’t want to risk it.

 

 

 

Some Thoughts from Lockdown

I have just been complaining to Julia about the unfairness of life. Not the big unfairnesses like the lack of a lottery win, or not being born into generations of privilege, but the irritating little ones, like failing to go shopping the day before the panic started. Or being 61 instead of 59. (If you are 59 you are a lot less likely to die than if you are 60, according to the Government figures). And let’s face it, if you can’t trust the Government, who can you trust?

We bought memberships of the National Trust and English Heritage for Christmas, with the intention of visiting a lot of their properties this year. This  would have kept us active and given me plenty of photographic practice.

It hasn’t happened, and it is looking increasingly unlikely that it will happen at all this year, with most things being closed. To be fair, it isn’t all the fault of the virus, a number of local English Heritage properties were undergoing renovation anyway, and weren’t in a fit state for photography.

Looking on the bright side, it could be worse. We might have taken out Life Membership.

Having looked at the mortality figures for my age and underlying conditions in relation to the coronavirus, this would have been a poor investment. It’s always been ironic that by the time you feel able to take out a lifetime membership of one of these organisations it probably isn’t cost-effective.

From a bug that could be defeated by handwashing, and which only affected the over-70s with health problems, it seems to have changed into a bug that affects over-60s with a few health problems I hadn’t even thought of as problems. And it can now only be cured by spending 12 weeks locked in your house.

If I’d known that 12 weeks of lounging round snacking and watching TV was a cure for serious illness I’d have taken this medical stuff more seriously. In fact, considering my lifestyle (or life – there is, let’s face it, no “style” about the way I live), I really shouldn’t be ill at all.

I’ve also been reading articles on how to spend weeks cooped up with Julia without a murder occurring. I told her this, and she muttered that it was already too late. From the fact I’m still able to write I assume she’s forming an intention but hasn’t quite got round to method and means yet. I may have to start feeding her chocolate. It doesn’t mention chocolate in the articles I’ve read, but I’m pretty sure it will work.

Today’s header picture is an interesting stone from the car park at Aldeburgh. We were there in East Anglia for three days last week – which will form the third part of my A Week I Wouldn’t Want Again series.

If you are planning on three days away my advice would be not to set off on the day the Government tells you not to travel.

 

 

 

A Week I Wouldn’t Want Again (Part 2)

The day after the hospital trip we both had the day off. Julia didn’t feel like doing much so we sat at home and watched TV. Little did we realise, but within days this would become official Government advice.

After an hour I cracked and went out. I had errands to run and, as Julia pointed out, although I was trying to be solicitous and empathetic, I can be irritating in large doses. It was a bit of a strain for me too, as solicitude and empathy are not my natural territory. I tend more towards grumpy and sarcastic.

Julia decided to go to the gym while I was out, but after walking to the bus stop decided that was enough exercise for the day.

Thursday followed much the same pattern, though this time I went to work and Julia walked to the shop with a borrowed shopping trolley in search of vegetables for tea. There was still a reasonable selection of goods on the shelves, apart from toilet rolls and pasta, but we have plenty of toilet rolls and enough pasta so why worry?

There was, at that time, no sign of the Government descending into headless chicken mode, or the impending retail apocalypse.

On Friday Julia was back in hospital having a number of tests, including two brain scans which found nothing.

When she told me that, I smirked.

“You’re going to use that as a joke on the blog aren’t you?” she said. She has a low opinion of me as a humourist.

“No,” I said. “What sort of man would make light of his wife’s ill health.”

I think we all know the answer to that question.

The flowers – primroses and forget-me-nots – are from the Mencap garden. We are on holiday at the moment but nipped down just to check everything was alright.

 

A Packed Day

I am writing this on a computer that has, according to the date of the last file I saved, not run since 2012. It has been switched off so long that we had to reset the clock before Google would allow us access. And, to even get to that point, we had to find the yellow cable that connects it to the router, as it has no wireless capability.

It runs on Vista and Microsoft Word 2010 and is a pleasure to use after so many weeks on the netbook.

The netbook was a mixed blessing, but it kept me going and I have been very grateful for it, despite my more than occasional criticism of its lack of speed.

All I need to do is wipe away six year’s supply of dust and spider webs, and it will be almost as good as new.

I say “almost” because there is the question of the On/Off switch.

There isn’t one. It broke and for the last six months of its active life I had to start the computer by hotwiring it, or, for those of you unaccustomed to the vernacular of the street (well, the 1970s street) touching two bare wires together.

It works, and more important, it cost nothing to do. These are two factors that are close to my heart.

That’s probably the biggest news of the day, though my three-centre medical excursion seemed big until we got the computer running.

It started with a visit to the doctor at 8.00 to discuss the pain in my little finger. At this point I’d like to say, because I have difficulty getting this point over to the medical profession, that although I don’t like to complain it is very difficult having an arthritic little finger. It doesn’t seem like much but it can be remarkably painful and it makes everyday life (like tucking my shirt in, packing parcels or washing up) painful and difficult, though the washing up water is very soothing.

So far it’s taken me a week to get the X-ray appointment, ten days to get the results and ten days to get this appointment (that could have been a week, but it would have meant missing work, and I don’t want that).

So are they going to give me anti-inflammatories, you ask, or an injection, or even a new wonder drug?

No.

The X-ray, I’m told is not typical of osteo-artritis so they need to find out exactly what is happening. Two arthritic fingers, two different types of arthritis. What are the chances of that? I can’t win a lottery, but when it comes to medical curiosities I lead the field. Having said that, I just looked up the different sorts of arthritis and am feeling slightly less blase about it now.

They sent me for blood tests. Eight blood tests. That’s nearly an armful. (I put that bit in for you Derrick).

After the blood tests I went for my 9.30 chest X-ray appointment.

In a week or so the results will be in.

At that point, you ask, will they give me anti-inflammatories, or an injection, or even a new wonder drug?

No.

At that point they are going to get me an appointment with a specialist.

If this carries on much longer I may have to resort to drastic measures.

We went for a drive in Derbyshire after the excitement of the morning and ended up buying raw milk from a farm. I’ve been meaning to get some for a while to see if it has any effect on my health.

When we got home we found a Painted Lady on the front garden, which gives me an opportunity to re-use the pictures I took earlier in the year.

We had more poppies too.

 

WordPress is a lot easier on a proper computer.

A Difficult Day

I’m typing and watching TV. John Torode, the Australian cook from Masterchef (where he is partnered by greengrocer and pudding-eater Greg Wallace) is drinking mate in Argentina whilst learning about Argentinian beef.

Even Argentina, with all its open space is moving to rearing beef in feed lots.

It’s sad, but true. I was tempted to use the word “irritating” about Torode, and “even more irritating” about Wallace. But manners got the better of me, so I didn’t.

I’m intrigued by mate, but having read about the preparation I may give it a miss. I’ll add my favourite bit of mate trivia before leaving. It’s the bit about the South Africans around Groot Marisco, in case you were wondering. I have covered it before, I think, though I can’t find the post to confirm that. It’s a bit like the Burnley and Benedictine story. Or why they speak Welsh in Patagonia. Or Afrikaans.

I do love trivia. I quite like Argentina too, after watching today’s programme, but that’s mainly based on the fact that they eat a lot of meat. Even their truckstops serve barbecued beef.

On the other hand, I don’t like laundry and I don’t really care for six hours of decluttering, but it was my programme today, as dictated by Julia. (And yes, I have selected my words with care.) I did manage some deadheading, so it wasn’t an entire waste of a day.

Tomorrow we are starting our holiday, though we aren’t actually going away.  I have a blood test tomorrow and have to book an X-Ray appointment for my left hand, which will probably see off another day. I was hoping for anti-inflammatories and a steroid injection rather than another bloody visit to the hospital.

More medical discussion tomorrow, for those of you who are interested. It’s nice to be able to discuss medical matters without the necessity of removing my trousers.

 

Wasted Wednesday

Had a lie in this morning before dragging myself from bed, fighting with my trousers (second leg only, the first goes well most mornings). and eating breakfast.

Then I lost control of my day as Julia took over, sorting, decluttering, throwing away.

It’s not easy. We’ve just about filled the first skip and haven’t made much impression on the clutter mountain. I also had six bags of clothes in the back of the car, four bags of books and a bag of recycling.

However, when we left the house, the first job of the day was to buy replacement ear rings for Julia, who lost one yesterday. The books went to Age Concern, just along the road from the jeweller.

Then we went to a clean Salvation Army clothing bank. The local one is surrounded by rubbish and broken glass and we’ve stopped using it. After that we went to a supermarket car park with the paper recycling and did some shopping. Pasta bake again tonight.

After that it was Flu Vaccine for two and then home to tidy up.

We ran into some friends we hadn’t seen for a while when we were in the surgery – a sign of getting old I suppose. They are our age, but are grandparents now and have many more health conditions than we do. It sets things in perspective when you realise how ill some people are. When I’ve spoken to a man who takes 20 pills a day my five don’t seem too bad.

Julia is out at a meeting, as I write. She never stops.

I’m going to make tea in a minute.

It doesn’t seem much of a day. No visits, no scones, no bookshops. Pretty pointless really.

The featured picture is a fallen leaf – very haiku. It’s a reminder that I didn’t get my nature walk today.