Monday, May 15, 2017

Compression Ratios and Ailments

Come Friday night, after all the preceding days anxieties, my only concern as I got into bed was whether I’d be able to get ready on time the following morning; more importantly would my beloved, ma belle chauffeuse be ready to transport me to the hospital for my day surgery. By 4.30 on Saturday morning I still hadn’t managed to grab any sleep but, I then re-awoke by 6.30am in preparation for the days events.

Quite strangely, by this time I was totally calm and relaxed in preparation for undergoing the surgical procedure. I duly arrived at Harrogate District Hospital before 7.30 and made my way to the Day Surgery Unit. The staff were all reallyquite brilliant in making one feel relaxed, and re-assured, about the procedure which one was there for: nurses, physiotherapist, anaesthetists and the consultant all introduced themselves and had a few word about the procedure. When I told the physio that I wasn’t too keen on the prospect of using crutches, owing to sundry aches and pains in elbows and upper arms, but I’d be happy to use walking sticks, she measured the stick I had with me and, a matching stick was cut and ready before I even went to theatre.

I wasn’t first on the list for the knee surgery but, nonetheless, I had undergone the op under general anaesthetic and was back in the bay by shortly after 9.30am. Were it not for a glitch with the computer printer, delaying printing of the discharge letter, they would have called my beloved earlier than was the case, for her to come and collect me. All that having been said. we still arrived back home by 11.40am. The nurse had laughed as she informed ma belle that I insisted on walking out and, wouldn’t take a chair. It really seems that all my anxieties had centred on pre-planning, not the event itself. Mind you, I’ve always preferred spontaneity to planning.

This morning, 48 hours after the op, I removed the bulky dressing from the wound and applied sterile patches in their place. I’ve been doing recommended exercises as and when I felt appropriate and have had little trouble with the technique for ascent and descent of the staircase. The one startling reality that has come to light is just how low the average lavatory pan & seat is; the switch from bladder release to bowel function seems to involve a considerable fall through space. If only we had eyes in our rears the operation would be a little easier. Elevating oneself after action provides considerable exercise of the arm muscles.

Since my return from the hospital I’ve only experienced the minimum of my familiar discomforts in wrist, elbows and armpits. I’ve even started to wonder if having a compression stocking on the non-operated upon leg has somehow applied a kind of lymph(atic) massage, similar to that experienced when an application of a tubular bandage support over the elbow frequently seems to alleviate a nausea-inducing aching tenderness in the armpits. [N.B. this is simply hypothetical – I am neither a medical or mystical practitioner]. Alternatively, it could have even be that my nervous system had diverted all its energies towards healing and soothing any discomfort in the battle of my wounded knee.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

attempted exorcism by written word

It’s almost as if the legions of gremlins are on the warpath again, some kind of vendetta against me. Sometimes I’ve found that expressing my hopes, aches, pains and fears in a quite open way, laying myself vulnerable, affects an amelioration of the conditions which drive me to this confessional mode.

Now, having opened up about my wimpish nature (see previous post), it seems as if my upper limbs are once again veering into nausea-inducing aches and pains, alternating between wrists, elbows and armpits. The armpit aching discomfort / tenderness seems to be the nausea inducing quotient so, in an attempt to alleviate this, I’ve removed all garments from my torso and applied tubular bandage and elastic supports to my elbows, along with wrist and palm supports.

I admit that typing on laptop pc is made more awkward by simultaneously having to press and hold my upper arms tightly against the torso’s sides but, it’s almost as if by some kind of magic I hope to drive these hellish aches and torments away. A kind of exorcism.

The weakness of my faith in this kind of exorcism is demonstrated by the fact that I’m also awaiting the ameliorating effect of 100 ml of tramadol taken some forty minutes ago.

one helluva night - with tears to follow

Well that was one helluva night! No, I don’t mean it was brilliant or enjoyable, indeed the opposite would seem to apply. For a large section of the night, which should have been spent either at rest or asleep, excruciatingly discomforted aches, pains and jarring niggles, exceeded there usually capacity to catch me by surprise.

What started as the all too familiar ultra-sensitivity of my toes, swiftly became an all-consuming ache of limbs and torso. Throbbing knees and aching hips, joined aching wrists and elbows in some kind of exotic fandango. Between the familiar aching pains, sudden jolts, as if an electric charge had been applied, seemed to run through torso and limbs before resolving to a generalized heavy ache with only occasional jarring painful explosions.

Supports applied to wrists and elbows seemed, at first, to alleviate the intensity of the discomfort but it only took a short while before the discomfort intensified once more. Similarly, lavishing my toes with moisturizing cream proffered temporary relief. After about 1½  hours, which seemed like an eternity, I was able to settle down with a vague hope that sleep would soon overwhelm me.

Come morning, I was pretty much my usual sleep-deprived self but, I managed to doze off for a few daylight hours. At first I didn’t seem any worse for the extremely disturbed rest and sleep pattern of the preceding night but, later, became quite weepy and tearful, to the extent that I developed an intense fear regarding the procedure (arthroscopy) to be carried out on my right knee on Saturday. My thoughts ran wild in anticipation of worse than usual debilitating pains to further detract from my quality of life.

At heart I’m a total wimp, I only cope with quite regular pain, discomfort and, occasional bouts of brain fog, because I’ve not been granted an opt out clause. My sense of ill emotional ease intensified as the morning went on; both my beloved and Piper attempted to console me even though I strived to reject their consolation.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Not Praying but Hoping

It’s just been another of those days that a sudden flare of aches, pains and discomfort caught me unawares; why it should be unawares is I suppose a reflection of that hope that today, or any day, is going to be one where I can evade the promised threat of intense discomfort.

I often find myself blaming the aches and pains on my own trivial actions. Maybe I shouldn’t have held the newspaper for half an hour as I skimmed through it’s pages; perhaps surfing the web put too much strain on my fingers, wrist and/or hands! One can’t spend their time expecting the sudden onset of nausea producing aches and pains, even though I can’t remember the last time when I had a day free of these sudden onset, usually temporary (thank God), debilitating occurrences.

I’m increasingly resorting to the application of supports for wrists, shoulders, elbows, back etc; rather than succumbing too regularly to opioid relief: sadly it’s more common that I have to resort to physical supports and opioids in tandem!

Sometimes I’ve found that when the aching tenderness in the armpits (axillary lymph nodes) begins, the application of tubular bandages over the elbows can alleviate the nausea-inducing aspect of the discomfort. Maybe it’s some kind of lymphatic massage, I don’t pretend to understand it! Whatever the cause I invariably find that the most comfortable position I can find is to press my upper arms as tightly as possible to the torso, and strapping up my wrists. It also helps, when I’m not having to stretch my forearms behind my back for relief, to tightly clasp my hands.

No, I’m not praying, even though it is something that I do subscribe to: in this instance I’m quite simply hoping.

Sunday, April 30, 2017


I’m currently re-discovering how an element of anxiety exacerbates, to a considerable extent, the symptoms of a chronic illness. On this occasion the anxiety is caused by the inept and dilatory response of Virgin Media to a known issue which is preventing us from receiving incoming ‘phone calls on our landline; the telephone is not only a lifeline for me but, there are several vulnerable elderly people who depend on my beloved OH for lifts. These vulnerable people only have our landline number as they are not mobile phone users. As for myself, the mobile phone is scarcely ever used, as I’m rarely away from my own house and garden and, therefore have little cause to switch it on.

We are still able to make outbound calls and, it was only by accident we discovered that friends and acquaintances had been unable to contact us. Other ‘phone users are also affected by, and may still be unaware of, this glitch.

The VM website online phone-tester reported no problems with our ‘phone, and we were also informed the line was engaged. I spent considerable frustrating multitudes of minutes on their help-line and, even there they suggested no real problem. Eventually an admission was made that someone else on the same exchange had reported the same problem, namely that callers only heard a continuous, high pitched whining drone when they dialled our number.

During the first phone call, I was frequently put on hold whilst my ear-drums were blasted with an execrable noise (which they maybe call music) for what seemed a like a multiplicity of eternities. Eventually, I was assured that the engineers would have the problem sorted by the end of the day. Of course this didn’t happen so I contacted them via social media with my complaint in reply to which I was informed that they had assisted me: the assistance I seemed to be proffered was to be told that there was nothing they could do via social media.

Later that day I had a webchat with VM, the outcome of which seemed positive. The positivity was short lived; the time in the afternoon, by which I was assured the problem would be resolved, swiftly passed with no action having been taken.

By the evening it was back to the 150 phone-line to enquire what was happening. At first having tapped in sundry digits in response to the robotic voice I was on hold for at least 20 minutes, my eardrums once again assaulted by shouted words & excremental instrumental accompaniment. When I got through to tech department I was at least able to quote a reference number for the issue but, was told that he couldn’t find any evidence of there being an issue so, he would put me through to network problems. Once again my eardrums were assaulted by a demonic cacophony whilst I awaited the transfer department.

Maybe I was getting somewhere. I was informed that it was a known issue, something to do with ported numbers (i.e. numbers which were originally BT numbers) but for decdes our line had been via Cable & Wireless which became NTL which became part of Virgin Media. Although they knew exactly what the issue was/is they are unable to say when it will be dealt with. To put it simply – THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

As I said, at the beginning, these events & frustrations have certainly had a deleterious effect on my already shot nervous system. Not only did I undergo more sustained, sleep depriving, pain last night but it also does few favours to my emotional well-being. A tainted Virgin and a chronic illness / chronic pain partnership could so easily become lethal.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017


For the past couple of days I’ve been attempting to reactivate iolo System Mechanic 16.5 premium. I first installed it on two old machines in February then, more recently, on a newer machine where it seemed to be working fine.

Then came update patch; since that time I’ve been unable to activate my key. Let me re-phrase that: it has regularly informed me that it has successfully activated and will fix any problems. Immediately when I press the FIX NOW button I’m asked to submit & confirm my e-mail address or enter activation key. The circle keeps on rolling round and paid for System Mechanic remins inactive.

On twitter, @iolo_technologies suggested that my problems would be resolved by installing patch which contained a “bug fix” for people who had a problem with activation keys on version 16.5.2. 212! Apparently some lucky buggers who were having similar problems, to my current ones, have been blessed with a fix which makes mine inoperable.

I’ve even downloaded and installed a fresh copy of version, rather than from my IOLO CD, and guess what. I’m still unable to activate this supposedly useful product. I’m currently regretting having paid for a premium version.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

and ache becomes pain - literal & metaphorical

and ache becomes pain – literal & metaphorical

I wrote, quite recently, about the difficulty of defining / distinguishing an ache from a pain. This morning, sundry expressions of the former were, rather rapidly, transformed into examples of the latter.

Sudden onset nauseating aches in fingers, wrists, elbows, knees and armpits soon had me curling up on the sofa, upper arms clamped firmly to my side, fingers tightly intertwined and the heels of my hands clasped firmly together.

At the same time, the heels of my feet were drawn up close to the buttocks and, my forehead pressed onto my clasped hands; the initial ache was temporarily subdued by my adopting this unusual posture but, within a further ten minutes, the aches transmogrified into acute sharp searing pain which manipulated lacrimal, salivary and mucous glands into overdrive.

A sore grating feel to the throat, such as may signify the onset of a cold, provided a counterpoint to those other aches which by now had become a real pain!

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Lost for Words

It’s one of those times when language seems to be somewhat limited, lacking in pertinent words to describe a particular mode of being. What I have been experiencing, earlier today, is an intense discomfort that not only induces nausea but, also brings me down into a tearful state. This sensation, however, feels to me totally distinct from anything that I would normally describe as pain; more like a dis-ease with the way my flesh and bones fit into their enveloping skin.

Quite out of the blue, whilst doing a bit of catching up (on e-mails, twitter feed etc.) on the laptop, my elbows suddenly began to throbbingly ache in response to simple tapping on the touch-pad, a sensation of tenderness in the axillary lymph nodes followed with only a minimal delay; the nausea induced by these events meant I had to immediately desist from any laptop activity. In response to this sensation I swiftly donned my elasticated elbow supports to help alleviate the discomfort.

As I attempted to relax / recline on the sofa, I suddenly became aware of a discomforting ache in both knees. Next step was to don my elasticated knee supports. At this stage, I would still describe what I was experiencing / undergoing as an intense discomfort rather than pain; perhaps what I would describe as pain is more the experience of a sustained sharply stabbing irritation rather than the initial chronic dull throbbing ache of discomfort and dis-ease.

There are times that the simple donning of supports eases the nauseating discomfort but, on other occasions they prove less efficacious. As the discomfort moved more towards my pain zone, time seemed appropriate to resort to pain-killers (100mg of tramadol); within half-an-hour the discomfort and impending pain began to dissipate.

I’ve got to admit that the moment when discomfort (chronic discomfort) and pain (acute pain) merge or transpose is extremely hard to define, or even recognize. Sometimes, words quite simply fail me and, the cussin’ swiftly takes over.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Susceptibility to Faith

This post originally appeared on another blog of mine in 2005, based on some earlier scribblings of mine in an (unfriendly/hostile) online Christian Forum

A Susceptibility to Faith?

After undergoing an evangelical conversion experience at the age of 19, there followed a spell of fervent evangelising (perhaps alienating rather than helping the victims of my outreach!). On experiencing the more conservative social values of my evangelical peers, I was forced, by the more "mature" Christians, to choose between Christ or social-activism.

At this point I tried hard to reject my Christian faith, even to the point of asking God to reveal the unforgivable sin to me! An involvement in political activism, an investigation of Eastern religions, and a later dabbling with drugs, somehow never managed to fill a God-shaped void in my life.

Eighteen months of born-again Christianity was followed by many years in the wilderness. Various apparent coincidences led me back to a Christian faith, sensing the prodigality of the Father's love as he came out to welcome me despite my aversion to many of his ardent followers.

My journey this time was via existential & linguistic philosophy, literature and biblical criticism, subsequently by degree and post-grad studies in Theology.

The secular homophobic attitude of many evangelicals saddens me, a reminder of the social conservatism that forced me to seek de-conversion nearly forty years ago. Although evangelicals now recognize the need for committed social action, their intolerance and fear of peoples sexuality can blind them to many real injustices in society at large.

Isn't it strange that issues of militarism, party politics, usury etc. do not bring the threat of schism to the Anglican communion! Arms dealing and legalised extortion are obviously insignificant when compared to the issue of gay clergy!

My theology is now more liberal /radical than formerly yet, I still read and study (contextually) the same scriptures, follow the same Lord and am prompted by what seems to to be the same Holy Spirit as my evangelical brothers & sisters.

Is it a psychological weakness on my part, that I need FAITH, or is Faith my necessary means to overcome the apparent impossibility of deriving an ought from an is?