Monday, September 30, 2019

Woes and Wherefores

You put your left hand in, you pull your left hand out … that’s what it’s all about. Well that sounds easy enough, a simple exercise but, I’ve recently been made to think about just what, and how many, muscles are used in such a simple action. In fact, in all honesty I’ve been finding the “simple” act of sitting in a high-backed armchair has become much more of a technical exercise.

Last Wednesday morning I visited the Dermatology unit, at the District Hospital, for the excision of a rodent ulcer (basal cell carcinoma), an operation which went quite smoothly (with the help of a couple of extra shots of the local anaesthetic) taking about 35-40 minutes. The cauterizing and needlework seemed to take much longer than the actual excision but, it was nice to be assured that all harmful matter had been removed.

Unlike previous occasions, when I’ve undergone a similar procedure, the dressing had to be removed after only 24 hours, and certainly not as much as 48hrs, preferably following a shower as the dressing seemed to adhere like superglue. As it worked out, my beloved removed the dressing, not without difficulty but very carefully; the skin had reddened considerably in the areas of former adhesion and the pull of the stitches became much more apparent.

With the siting of the wound (quite central in middle to lower back) it’s pretty difficult for me to see to apply the twice daily application of Vaseline to the wound so, that’s another chore for ma belle. If only I could see, and manage, the wound myself there would be less of a shock as the substance is rubbed in to the wound. Even the touch of a friend can bring a shudder to the spine. One cannot help but be aware of the wound as I try to sit back comfortably in a chair, or on the sofa, and so I am consequently unable to properly relax.

On the fourth morning after the procedure, a modest blood flow from the wound, wetting my shirt, caused me undue alarm although, fortunately, the flow quickly reverted to a slight seepage. Each move I make in an attempt to be seated, in a relaxed and comfortable posture, feels as if the muscles in the back are trying to rip open the stitches.

The upside of the situation is that I’ve been inspired to work on a new poem ‘As If The Worlds Woe’ in an attempt to capture some of the unusual situation.

Monday, August 19, 2019

A Fruitful Misery

Seems like I have a permanent ticket for a roller-coaster ride, not that I particularly requested or enjoy the experience! The journey involves states of physical and emotional health, by which I mean health shortcomings.Just as I’m getting used to feeling a dose of well-being, random pains and discomfort have a habit of leaping out to chastise me; whatever task I’m managing at that particular time, a throbbing burning pain in wrists, a sharper pain in elbows or, the nagging hollow bruised, nausea inducing, discomfort in the armpits strikes, calling an immediate halt to whatever activity is in process. (By activity I mean something akin to reading a newspaper or magazine, or maybe surfing the web on tablet or laptop: it is indeed only on very rare occasions that any of these activities are permitted as prolonged a period as thirty-minutes!). An added joy is the Damoclean sword of permanently imminent, frequently occurring, gullet, stomach and colon flare-ups.

More recently, the familiar neurological ailments have been partnered with an unrelated depressive anxiety. Some days I find myself in sudden floods of tears, concerning love, beauty and transience, fearing being alone and upset at the brevity of human life, especially as I’m now in my mid-seventies and, have become increasingly in awe at the amazing interdependence of everything in the whole cycle of life and, that nothing is wasted in nature’s economy. The primary cause of my current bout of anxiety is related to concern about my beloved OH’s impending aortic heart valve replacement operation. The operation will be of four hours duration, followed by a couple of days in cardiac intensive care then, four or five more days in the hospital.

This will be the longest period that we have been apart since our wedding over nineteen years ago. Apart from being my wife, lover, companion, confidant and chauffeur, she has increasingly become my carer. Whilst she’s in the hospital I won’t be able to visit her, owing to travelling involved. Since the onset of my chronic illness (moderate Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) even the, less than two mile, trip into town can prove emotionally and physically overwhelming, but ma belle will be in a neighbouring city some eighteen miles away. My (step-)daughters have offered to take me but, the prospect of such a journey makes me realize that I’d be in no fit state to be a bedside visitor (as I’d have to anticipate the ordeal of the return run).

A sizeable bleeding rodent ulcer (presumed basal cell carcinoma) has in recent weeks become an additional irritant and, I will shortly be attending an appointment in the dermatology dept of the District Hospital. Oh, what joys we are all heir too!

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Hopeless Sanity Breaking Corporation

How easily relative calm is broken. One would suppose a simple transfer transaction online, an action that I’ve regularly performed, would cause few if any emotional problems. That presumption proved false yesterday morning. Owing to malfunction of a security device I had to use an alternative method of logging on; so far all was well until I was informed that the alternative access method would shortly be phased out.

My next action was to use live chat, to find out how I could obtain a replacement security device. Two methods were available but I opted for a simple telephone call, via which I could obtain a replacement within five working days. Having been requested, by a disembodied voice, to input sort code, account number, my date of birth etc; which information I happily supplied, I was suddenly thrown when they asked me to input digits from my telephone banking password. As I don’t do telephone banking, I was unable to oblige. After holding for a considerable time I was put through to a distant call centre (presumably somewhere on the South Asian sub-continent) and was relieved to hear a real human voice!

I immediately informed the human, at the other end of the line, that I don’t do telephone banking but I was given their number to request a replacement secure key. At first this seemed to be going well until they requested I input a digit from the aforementioned telephone banking password. Talk about going round in circles; a short while later having given further security info, she requested that I confirm a favourite quote, place etc; and some other information, the spoken words of which I was unable to decipher. By now I’d reached breaking point; I explained that I was of a certain age and suffering from a chronic health condition and all I wanted was a replacement device. My beloved, noticing my distress took over the call and, without any further questions being asked was informed that the requested device would be despatched to me.

Monday, June 10, 2019

ill at ease and strange release

Strange as it may seem to some, my best, most refreshing, sleep frequently occurs after the returning daylight hours have become established. No matter how restless, torturous, or even relaxed the preceding bed-rest hours have been, any sleep attained after say 08.00hrs always seems to be the soundest. As for night’s, and when applicable daytime’s snatched sleep or rest, I have to admit that I feel truly blessed whenever I manage to emerge from the experience feeling properly ‘refreshed’, an event that may occur as often as one occasion in the week. How blissful it is to have temporarily overcome the phenomenon of ‘unrefreshing’ sleep.

After that rambling prologue, I now move on to today’s difference. Having retired to the duvet lair at 23.00hrs, last evening, I managed to snatch my first spell of sleep after 02.20hrs. By 04.10hrs I briefly attained a state of semi-alertness which was followed by intermittent bouts of sleep and waking alertness. At around 9.00am, my beloved took Piper out for his morning walk having first assured me that she would be back before 10.00am, a little earlier than my usual emergence from the bed’s hold over me. The reason for this assurance was the impending arrival of workmen at 10.00hrs to start work on re-vamping our downstairs loo.

I drifted back into the realm of sleep only to be startled back to the awoken world, by a stridently ringing doorbell, at around 09.30hrs; I hastily crawled out of bed, donned dressing gown, stumbled down the stairs and swayed giddily as I opened the front door. The workmen had arrived early, much to my beloved’s surprise, when she arrived back at 09.53, and very much to my weary annoyance. I returned very briefly to the duvet realm, before arising to a host of painful ailments affecting head, torso, upper and lower limbs. My mood, most definitely, was not of a very beneficial nature as I contemplated the prospect of minor additional exertion required to ascend, and subsequently descend, the staircase each time I required the loo during the next few days. Spastic colon and erratic bladder function conspire to ensure that the additional effort will be required on multiple occasions per diem.

As the stress of the situation took hold, simple misunderstandings rapidly amplified themselves into major crises; it didn’t take long before I found myself unloading a plenitude of expletives towards all other occupants, resident and temporary, of my immediate lebensraum.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Quick And Yet

Painfully restless nights have been showering me in abundance of late; how I yearn for those times when bed-rest actually proved restful and, one had the joy of waking refreshed to the new morn, albeit assisted by a strong caffeinated beverage.

My beloved OH generally manages to sleep soundly, unperturbed by the thrashing of my restless legs or the wildly uttered expletives, emanating uncensored from my brain out through my mouth, as the aches and pains attempt to take total control of limbs and torso.

A supply of wrist, elbow, shoulder and knee supports remain in attendance by both bed and armchair side, never quite sure when they will be summoned into action! Much the same applies to the omnipresent box of medications. And yet …

Oh yes, there is fortunately an “and yet” addendum to the above summation of dis-ease. Enjoyment, revelling in the music I listen to via vinyl, cd and the airwaves; movies we watch both broadcast and via dvd and even, dare I utter, VHS tape. Piper, our wonderful hybrid hound, some part beagle, some part podenco (and whatever else) went into this wonderful creation that provides entertainment, love, frustration, and simple amusement. I am fortunate that at present I am able to manage an evening walk with the boy (canine variety) as we let him run freely down squirrel alley, through the wild verges of the local playing field and the adjacent grass tussocked, cow parsley, tree and sapling sprinkled, hound scented haven.

This year the birds have returned to our garden feeding stations, nothing exotic but a rewarding mix of blue tit, coal tit, great tit, house sparrows, goldfinch, starlings, collared doves and also wood pigeons, jackdaws, and bullying magpies. It has, once again, been a delight to watch the always hungry, newly fledged starlings being fed by their elders.

There’s just so much to enjoy in the world around us, just wish the sundry bodily ailments would take a vacation!

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Anticipating the Unexpected!?

Today, just sitting, no laptop, no tablet, no newssheet in my hands, none of the usual suspects for me to blame; just sat, watching a movie on TV when, suddenly, tiredness, acute throbbing pain in elbows and wrists overwhelmed me. The by now familiar, yet almost indescribable, hollow aching, disconcerting, nausea inducing, discomforting pain in the armpits rapidly produced a counterpoint to the more acute staccato rhythm playing in and through the wrist and elbows.

A further sensation, as if I felt the blood falling and draining from my face and head formed an accompaniment to the sudden pallor, acknowledged by my beloved OH almost immediately after the events’ dawn.  Come to think of it, I should have been more prepared for these events onset; on emerging from the duvet lair, and venturing towards the bathroom, my lower limbs felt hollow and feeling as if the knees  were attempting to bend the opposite way to the joints natural construction. By now, I should be prepared to anticipate the unexpected, yet again!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

New Post on Mal's Factory - Poetry & Prose Poems

I have just posted a NEW POEM - Mounds Mystery - on my Mal's Factory blog. When I say new there is a possibility that it may yet prove to be quite simply a working draft.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

The Old Familiars Return

And suddenly the old familiars return; I can’t say that they’re particularly welcome but, they do offer a distraction from more recent discomforting visitors. Just as I’d started to relax, after a few hours (as part of the last few days recurrence) suffering from problems with digestive system, gall-bladder, reflux and diverticular disease related problems, the old griping lymph nodes in the armpits, pains in wrists and elbows, returned to the fore. Having strapped up wrists and elbows, upper arms were held tightly against the torso, forearms behind the back with hands tightly clasped, in a partially successful attempt to alleviate the nausea inducing armpit discomfort.

Indigestion pains had become more disturbing as they induced sharp pains in the left hand side of the chest, evidently emanating from a renewed bout of costochondritis; frequent applications of ibuprofen gel to the rib cage seem to be alleviating that condition. In an attempt to alleviate the abdominal discomfort the doctor has switched me from lansoprazole to ranitidine 150mg twice per day. No doubt it will take a little while before any results are noticeable.

On top of these frustrations, my right knee (from which pain was alleviated as a result of an arthroscopy a couple of years back) has started grating again as I walk.  To be honest though, the recent, and current cold spell does tend to exacerbate any rheumatic / arthritic symptoms.

One could say that it’s all happening, at the moment, within my bodily being; even the dreaded post-nasal drip has returned and isn’t responding to the nasal spray. Oh the joys of living and the pleasures of old age. I’m afraid that those closest to me, primarily my beloved OH, are always on the receiving end of my tetchiness induced anger. On top of this my beloved is getting more tired as she awaits a heart valve replacement op. I realize that it has become pretty well a routine procedure these days but, I still can’t help feeling a little anxiety about the whole situation.

I do realize this post makes me seem like a real moaning Minnie but it will have to suffice until I receive, if ever, ample stamina to get back into a more regular blogging routine. Much of the time I’m able to enjoy a wide range of music listening (via CD, radio and online) and quite a lot of movie watching (via DVD and TV broadcast/ catch-up services) so, perhaps I should express a more positive message. I’m even able to take the dog for his short evening walk, with only a few health-imposed abstentions.

I don’t suppose getting older helps my general condition, albeit I’m only well into my 75th year on planet Earth, but my emotional responses and attitudes seem to always be at odds with my chronological age, It seems like my intellectual and emotional life are still quite youthful; well, perhaps still back in my early thirties. If only my physical frame could take that leap back!

PS the use of the term familiars at the head of this post has just made me think of the witches black cat etc; if only I could cast a spell. Meanwhile the prayers of others will have to suffice.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

and so it goes ...

For the past few weeks my health, and emotions, have been on something of a roller-coaster ride; it’s difficult enough living with chronic-illness / chronic pain but, when more mundane bugs (doing the rounds) place an additional burden on one’s already low stamina reserves, an unwelcome veneer of despair enters the frame. Fortunately, these more mundane viral attacks tend to dissipate after a couple of weeks, but never before time.
Exhaustion still seems to hold control of the reigns, even when one is experiencing an apparently more alert and energized spell. As agonizing pain & exhaustion takes control so one’s temper frays and, against one’s better judgement, expletives tend to fill the air.
This evening the pain in upper limbs, joints and lymph nodes, has defied the efficacy of 100mg of tramadol. Malcolm is not a happy bunny but, still manages to put on a brave smiling face in an attempt to deceive himself. More happily, I am still fortunate enough to be capable of deriving tremendous enjoyment from a catholicity of music, DVDs, poetry and paintings.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

random onset - chronic & acute

This happens far too regularly and yet, it still catches me unawares, a total surprise. This afternoon, just relaxing with my faithful pooch laying beside me on the sofa,, when a sudden griping, annoyingly discomforting, ache in the armpits, brings back the feelings of nausea. Shortly after this griping ache a throbbing pain takes over my elbows, whilst wrists ache in a manner similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Sometimes the application of elbow and/or wrist supports serve to alleviate the nausea sensation and, the throbbing aches gradually subside; on other occasions even opioid painkillers fail to dispel the more severe discomforting pain. Quite frequently the armpit pain occurs when I’ve been holding a tabloid size newspaper or a tablet PC for more than a few minutes; when this occurs I have to discard my cardigan as the armpit seems overly constricted but application of a shoulder support, which settles more tightly in the armpits, can sometimes alleviate the discomforting pain.
The first two paragraphs were written on two separate days, the usual problems, as described above, prevented me from spending sufficient time on the laptop to rediscover the document so far. I’m managing to keep posting to my twitter feed and almost keeping up with facebook posts, primarily via tablet, but concentration tends to dissipate as soon as the aches and pains begin.
Today the armpit pain came on more acutely, even though I wasn’t holding either newspaper or tablet. Donning of a shoulder support which fitted quite tightly in the armpit did distract me from the initial acute pain but, within a minute it was necessary to don wrist and palm supports to alleviate an intense, tear inducing, discomforting pain in my wrists. It was necessary, today, to resort to a couple of 50mg Tramadol.
I realize this may be much ado about nothing but, it may help to explain the paucity of posts from yours truly.