Tag Archives: health

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.

 

 

The Trend Continues

I forgot to tell you that another of my shirts disintegrated yesterday, I was tucking it in when I felt it give. That’s what happens when you have cotton shirts and a disinclination to spend money. It’s always a bit of a downer when an old favourite disintegrates, though not so much of a downer as when trousers disintegrate, I admit.

After posting I took Number Two son to work and dropped him off for an 11pm start.  About 1 am I had a text.

“Are you awake?”

I was naturally inclined to answer “No.” but decided I’d better admit that I was still up.

“Can you leave the chain off. I’ve been throwing up and I’m coming home.”

Oh, the language of Shakespeare…

So, to cut a tedious story short, I went to pick him up. If I’m going to get him to leave home he needs to save his money, not squander it on taxis. We nearly reached home before he decided to throw up again. Fortunately he managed to get out of the car before it happened.

I think it’s true to say that he has the same gastric bug as Julia, He just doesn’t handle it with the same panache.

We returned home around 2.30 am, which left plenty of time to write my haiku quota and get to the hospital for a 7am blood test. This was handled so efficiently that I was back at the car and out of the car park before my free half hour was over.

I had the results by 11.20. I passed, though they have adjusted the dose and I have to go back in two weeks.

I wonder if this is a sign that things may be looking up.

More Blood…

Blood test again, and I went down for 8.20 this time, to avoid the queue.

It started going wrong when I was prevented from entering the car park by a man shouting at the machine in a haughty and peremptory manner (which immediately made me assume he was a doctor).

“I’m at the car park in front of Maternity and the barrier won’t lift!” he said.

They raised it for him. When I pulled up at the barrier I found that he’d neglected to take the ticket from the slot, which would have raised the barrier. It worked for me.

By the time I’d parked, he was walking into Maternity with an expensive leather bag over one shoulder. If he has such trouble extracting a ticket from a slot I can’t imagine he’s much of a gynaecologist.

As I walked across to the blood-letting department it started to rain – small, sharp, freezing droplets.

It got worse when I entered the waiting area and took a ticket. I was 11th in the queue. Not only that, but after doing ten people the service seemed to stop. even the people behind me noticed it, and they weren’t next in the queue or  in a hurry to get out and have breakfast with their wife before going to work.

I had “the trainee” again. She’s making progress because, after two multiple failures she nailed it first time. They now use a piece of arm which hurts more than usual, but if it works I suppose it’s better than multiple stab wounds.

As I walked back to the car it rained. This time the drops were bigger and less icy. They were still cold though. The roof of the shelter over the ticket machine, I noticed, is just the right size to channel drips of cold water onto your head as you feed your money into the machine. For an extra £20 in materials they could probably have built a shelter that kept people dry as they paid.

It occurs to me that the NHS is missing a trick. Charles Saatchi once owned a frozen sculpture made from the blood of the artist Marc Quinn. Despite it nearly defrosting in a builder-related incident, he managed to resell it for £1.5 million.

Clearly, as the NHS has plenty of blood going spare, there’s an opening here for an enterprising artist, an Arts Council Grant and one of those marketing companies that knocks out limited editions via the colour supplement on Sundays.

You can do 150 heart valve operations for the cost of one frozen blood sculpture. Or 1,500 cataract operations

I’m not saying that it’s the solution to NHS funding problems but it might help.

 

 

Saturday

I prepared Julia’s day this morning and laid it all out within arm’s length of her chair.

Remote control, Kindle, newspaper, flask of green tea, cereal, milk, sandwiches for lunch…

Then I slipped out to work and left her sleeping. Sleep is a greatly underrated as a curative measure and she generally resists it as she thinks it’s being lazy. She also believes that the best way to deal with a bad back is to work it off, and we all know how that worked out.

I think it comes from being a mother. Mothers, like ideas and the Pinkerton Detective Agency, never sleep.

Me, I have no problem with sleeping, and often take a preventive nap in front of the TV. Sometimes I take several, because you can’t be too careful with your health.

In fact I’m going to go to sleep now.

Henry Ford said: “I never stand if I can sit and I never sit if I can lie down.”

I tend to agree with this as a philosophy, though I’m not going to adopt all his ideas.

Blood Test Day

I cut out the middle man this week and went straight to the Phlebotomy Department at City Hospital. They looked at my veins, stuck a needle in the more promising one, drew the blood and sent me away.

It only took nineteen minutes from entering the car park to leaving.

I know this because it says so on my car parking receipt. If I’d been there fifteen minutes the parking would have been free.Instead, I paid £2 to park for four minutes.

So, am I happy because they took the sample first time? Am I glad I was seen free of charge, quickly and efficiently?   Am I pleased that I was able to get the test done and still get to work on time?

Of course not. I’m complaining that it all took four minutes too long and cost me £2.

That’s life.