Friday, December 31, 2010

That was then - Here's to a New One

Truth be told, I've had better years but, thanks to the love of ma belle I can still end the year loving life. On the health front things have been a bit hairy to say the least and, politically, the un-mandated Tory Democrat government can be seen as deleterious for almost everyone except the wealthy (and they can rest assured that all their tax avoidance schemes will remain unchallenged). The bankers brought about the periodic crisis of capitalism so, with pre-formulated ideological dogma to the fore, an attack must be made upon the poor and the "nanny" state which bailed out the titanic banks. 

Before the election I'd come to regard LibDem leader Clegg as a Tory so, I shouldn't have been at all surprised when he accepted the thirty pieces of silver to betray all those who were truly socially liberal. At least this recognition led me to re-join the Labour Party, after my wilderness years despairing of it's neo-Thatcherite agenda, even before the election.

If only wage slaves could demonstrate the kind of solidarity the merchant banking public school fraternity so clearly display, how much better off our society would be. The ConDems call for cutbacks - I yearn for fightbacks!

The paramedics have rushed me to A&E on more than one occasion this past year (each time in association with crushing chest pains) and, I also received excellent prompt attention from the NHS when they diagnosed and excised a basal cell carcinoma. Already the waiting time for appointments in the department that made the diagnosis has trebled since the new governments policies have started to be enforced.

I've not had a cigarette since June 23rd, when I was hospitalized overnight; in the first place I just felt so grotty that the prospect of inhaling any substance was totally unappealing. Subsequently, I've just not bothered to smoke - it's not that I've quit. It proves reassuring to have several packs available in the house, rather than falling into the 'panic' trap when one rushes out to buy a pack, in response to a stressful event, which one then feels duty bound to finish. To be brutally honest though, it feels as if my health has suffered as a result of this period of nicotine abstinence.

As I suggested at the beginning, of this post, my life would be so much the poorer if it wasn't for the love of ma belle Helen. My only wish is that everyone could experience such a joyous, loving, sharing, fulfilling relationship; as it stands, I just can't help feeling how privileged I really am.

As always, my wish for the New Year is that we may move towards a world dominated by values of justice and compassion, where the needs of all are met and the greed of many is seen as an asocial vice!

Wishing my readers A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hectoring and Dining

In principle I have little objection to Christianity's co-opting of pagan festivals into the Chritian calendar; unlike the Puritans I am not at all against the celebration of Christmas but, I have to admit that like so many others, of faith or otherwise, I do feel rather sickened by the crass commercialisation of the whole season.

At the most basic level I love the way that the Christmas story turns the world's values upside down. The Messiah King is born in a most humble abode, not in a fine palace and, what is more, born to an unmarried mum. The whole community is being crushed under the heel of imperialist occupying forces at a time of great civil unrest. Of course we read in some accounts of how the Christ child's family are forced to flee the country to become refugees and, finding their refuge in the very country from which God had liberated the Israelites many centuries earlier.

Sadly the unrest in the MIddle East remains unresolved even at the present time; sundry imperialist forces and factions have ensured that throughout the centuries.

Anyway, that's enough of my all too familiar hectoring; I only intended to give a brief account of our quiet family Christmas.


In the run up to the great occasion I lacked the necessary stamina (physical and emotional) to assist my beloved in much of the preparation but, helped where I could and, of course, I took control of the kitchen for much of the final food preparation time. I like to get much of the effort out of the way before Christmas Day arrives and, to that end, prepared the gammon a few days earlier.

I boiled the Gammon in water laden with cloves, garlic and halved onions (skins still attached) for half of the appropriate cooking time, drizzling the joint with honey before placing it in a pre-heated oven, applying a further drizzle for the final twenty minutes or so roasting time.

The capon, a 9lb bird, I prepared on Christmas Eve evening, inserting generous amounts of butter beneath the skin before rubbing in a blend of freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Stuffings are prepared separately, partly owing to dietary requirements of one of our guests. Ma belle prepared her traditional sausagemeat, onion and black pepper stuffing and, we also char grilled a few gluten free sausages. The butcher supplied a cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing mixture (unfortunately not suitable for the coeliac in our midst but, much appreciated by ma belle et moi).

Next I par-boiled spicy herbed potatoes ready for roasting on the day itself, and steamed a few parsnip portions, duly drizzled with honey on taking their place in the roasting tin.

Beth came to stay with us for three nights, and three Christmas dinners, whilst Cathy joined us for a Christmas dinner on the 27th. We didn't over indulge on any of these occasions, quite simply enjoying the company and felllowship of each other. Beth arrived on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, having worked an early shift in the bakery but, still managed to prepare herself to head off to Christchurch, where she sings in the choir, for midnight communion, as well as their Christmas morning service.

My familiar aches, pains and sundry discomforts in chest, abdomen, and lower limbs, unfortunately brought out a sensory overloaded  tetchiness from yours truly, but failed in their attempt to mar the festivities. Ma belle as usual found some very entertaining novelties to stock up my Christmas stocking.

Throughout recent weeks we've enjoyed a rich diet of varied Christmas music and, once again find ourselves wondering why we should reserve so much of it to be aired on so few days of the year. If the Christmas message, or any of the Christian feasts, has/have validity there is no need to cloister it/them in such limited time slots.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Little Overdone

The effort is just too great, the inboxes of each of my e-mail accounts groan with attention seeking missives; the bulk of these missives are ones that I once sought, groups and individuals with whom I wished to retain contact. Several of these on-line groups served as a real lifeline, at a time when I became predominantly housebound, a support network, at a time I had felt that my particular set of ailments were so unique no other human being could possibly understand.

After a while the politicking began to wear me down - each campaigning group so totally convinced that only their understanding was correct! At the same time, it seems so obvious that the combined might of pharmaceutical and insurance companies have a vested interest in retaining a psychological interpretation of a WHO recognized neurological condition. The powers that be preferred a meaningless waste basket definition, covering a multitude of disparate illnesses, rather than getting down to valuable necessary research into particular conditions. Any fatigue, it seemed, could be classed as chronic fatigue and any sufferer of chronic fatigue assigned a chronic fatigue syndrome tag. Strangely, although fatigue is not necessarily a significant symptom of ME, the two names became interchangeable.

Many sufferers seemed to follow a path of being initially diagnosed with some kind of depression, generally incorrect except in a re-active form, before a further diagnosis of PVFS (post viral fatigue syndrome) and later chronic fatigue was made, only occasionally being elevated(!) to the status of ME. There are so many tests applied that produce negative results and, it is frequently only by chance that one realizes that their own particular set of sudden onset (but protractedly lingering) symptoms coincide with one set of clinical guidelines for a specific diagnosis.

Anyway, all that's a bit of a digression, as some of the inbox filling messages are of specific political, tribal, literary, computing and blogosphere information. At certain times I've managed to keep on top of all these sundry communiques, diligently sifting out the wheat from the chaff but, over the past couple of months I've been so lacking of sufficient emotional stamina to even get beyond a skimming of the messages opening lines. The past couple of weeks some 60% of all incoming messages are ticked, marked as read, and deleted without even a passing glance from yours truly!

I once again seem to be suffering from some kind of acutely painful sensory overload, the crinkling of a plastic bag can prove sufficient to put the whole nervous system into shrieking cringe mode. Perhaps I'd overdone things by spending more than a couple of hours out of the house on two successive days.

Last Friday, after an early (a couple of hours before my usual emergence from bed time) dental appointment, I suggested to ma belle that we may as well do the grocery shopping as we were in the proximity of Waitrose. That evening was the Christmas Dinner at the Acorn Centre, where my beloved works as a volunteer tutor; I actually managed over two hours at that event before exhaustion overwhelmed me. The following day, after my familiar lie-in routine, went into town with ma belle and visited one or two shops where the odd purchase was made. We returned home for lunch before making a swift visit to an out-of-town retail park to collect a further item from my long-standing shopping wish list.

On return from the retail park we discovered that our DVD recorder had suddenly expired mid-recording of a programme, blaming the fault on the disc. Unsuccesfully attempted to feed the machine with other discs, each being declared "no-read", even the empty tray being declared a faulty disc or "no-read". I suspect the laser unit has gone on the blink. So, further exertion was then required from yours truly, to bring down our old twin tunered "terrestrial" VCR-DVD Recorder and a set-top digi box to enable the recording of "freeview" digi channels. The setting up of a jumble of scarts and aerials induced much panic fuelled perspiration. By this stage, the least audible or visual distraction in the living-room environment became quite overwhelming and a general sense of tetchiness took hold.

Last evening, around 9.00pm an overwhelming sense of exhaustion took over, followed by several emergency visits to the littlest room - amazing how much greater the output can seem than pertinent intake. Gastric upsets are nothing new in my experience but, most importantly an early night was called for. This morning, I emerged from snoozeville at 11.00am and, having donned back and ankle supports, walking-stick assisted, I ambled down to 'Open Church' for a cuppa. As they'd just run out of "real" coffee I settled for the instant variety. Before I'd even managed to finish the drink an excruciating sense of dis-ease overcame me as I shivered and shuddered whilst simultaneously perspiring. I attempted to leave but collapsed back onto the chair; a feeling of fear overcame me as nagging aches seemed to clog dance their way from shoulders to abdomen, to chest and sides. And then the tears flooded out before, David, Anne and Simon helped me into their car to drive me home.

Still in floods of tears, and non-specific bodily discomfort, I phoned ma belle at work to ask her to come home. There's nothing more important to me than the presence of Helen, whether I'm in high spirits or low, and the knowledge of her imminent arrival enabled me to feel a bit less fearful.


This post also appears on Mal's Murmurings

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Paucity of Postings

Not only a total lack of stamina, but also the distracting neuropathic pain, seem to conspire against my frequent intention to prepare a further instalment of my weblog. The more severe bouts of gastric reflux have been kept at bay by my current (twice-a-day) lansoprazole regime; I only wish the naggingly persistent elements and the more intermittent sharply focussed lightning bolts of pain, traversing the spine to ankle pathway, could be equally calmed! Regular dosages of tramadol and an evening dose of amitryptiline do alleviate a little of the dis-ease and, for that I am grateful.

The recent cold spell has proved totally antipathetic to my more generalized neuropathy; the combination of chilling winds and icy conditions underfoot ensured that I daren't venture outside of the house for several days. The lack of exercise, whilst eliminating any risk of post-exertional malaise, does little to improve ones already depleted energy reserves.

The risk of wallowing in self-pity has been countered by my enthusiasm and pride at following the newly found wave of activism amongst students. Although I am unable to attend these demonstrations against the cuts, tuition fees, and tax dodgers, I am certainly with them in spirit! 

Monday, December 06, 2010

we are such sleep as dreams permit us to acknowledge

I know that I've been sleeping, or at least suspect that to be the case, when I suddenly escape from a vivid (albeit naturalistic) dream. No matter the quality of the dream, be it blissfully arcadian or nightmarish chase, there's always something reassuring about waking up. I must admit that there was a time, in childhood, when waking brought little release from the more nightmarish of dream episodes; I required excessive amounts of reassurance to escape it's fevered shadow. These days, my dreams are usually of a somewhat more gentle nature and, in the dream, I generally possess levels of both physical and emotional stamina that I dare hardly dream of these days.

There are many times when, having finally managed to remove myself from the duvet lair, I belatedly enter the new day in full convincement that not even a wink of sleep has come my way; such is the painfully shattered sense of exhaustion that greets my emergence.Once exhaustedly abed, sundry neuropathic aches and pains do their darnedest to ensure that I cannot sustain any comfortable position for sufficient time to catch even a catnap; surprisingly the (apparent) evidence of my dreams suggests otherwise!

Monday, November 29, 2010

when minor exertion becomes major expedition

The irritation continues; a constant nagging pain in knee, calf and ankle, occasionally lightning bolting its way, in full spasming flow, to hip and lumbar region, is a most unwelcome companion for whom familiarity has truly bred contempt. Sadly contempt does little, or nothing, to detract it from its constancy. A regular intake of tramadol curbs the discomfort's sharpest edge and, is currently supplemented with an evening dose of amitryptiline by way of neuropathic pain control and to help with sleep.

This morning, having trudged along to the local bakery to collect our wholemeal loaf, what would normally have been a ten minute exertion was transformed into a twenty-five minute torturous expedition. Conditions underfoot profferred no truce for bearers of herniated discs and temperamental sciatic nerves. In that short distance, areas of the pavement ranged through crisp firm snow, icy compressed snow and deep grit and salt induced slush. Every few yards I needed to halt and, supported by a stout walking stick, thrust back my shoulderblades in an effort to stretch and unlock the spines nagging lumbar region.

Since returning home, a sustained deep sharp nausea inducing bruised sensation has held my right lower limb in thrall for the past eight or nine hours, the pain being especially acute around the knee and ankle. 

Mind you, the garden under it's blanket of snow was nice to look at!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thermostatic Quirks and Simple Pleasures

Quite when it happened, I don’t remember; all that I know is that for a number of recent years my body thermostat, though somewhat erratic, tended to play up in such a way that night-sweats, and even passive day-time cool room sitting sweats, have tended to dominate my life experience. The ambient temperature bore little, if any relationship, to my body heat and subsequent seepage of saline solution from pores all around my body, limbs and head.

It has come as something of a surprise, in more recent weeks, as the realization dawned that I’ve started feeling the “cold” to an apparently greater degree than others around me. It seems as if the thermostat has swung from one extreme to the other and, as a result, I no longer (if ever) have any realistic awareness of the ambient temperature. It’s actually quite a positive experience to be rid of the “night-sweats” but, not so the cold shudders experienced when sat in what I would have considered a comfortably heated environment. On the “up” side it suggests that I’m unlikely to suffer from hypothermia but, the “down” side is that we’re definitely going to be confronted with higher energy bills this fall and winter.

Is it possible that this thermostatic change could relate to my having doubled up on my ppi intake; could a reduction in the production of stomach acids serve to reduce my perceived body temperature. Of course, this “cooling down” also coincides with my most recent sustained period of refraining from smoking but, in normal circumstances (with the supposed deleterious effect of smoking on ones circulatory system) one would have anticipated the opposite result.

I could so easily produce pointlessly circular arguments at this point so, a change of topic is called for. And the subject today is …. SIMPLE PLEASURES!

In fact, simple pleasures, in spite of my regular moans, are a dominant feature of my life; I feel truly blessed with an ability, at times, to simply be still and bask in the wonderful phenomena of breathing. I look out of the window and observe the goldfinches, blue, great and coal tits, dunnocks, collared doves, jackdaws, house sparrows, all successfully scavenging for food, both from our feeders and natures natural bounty. I frequently feel quite overawed by the sheer variety of life forms that have evolved on this amazing planet.

Of an evening, as my beloved works on her laptop, whether for service preparation or updating her weblog, sat opposite me in the living room, I find myself quite simply lost in adoration, contemplation, care and concern for her well-being. Just to see her smile, watch her sing along with ‘Songs Of Praise’, even animatedly reading whatever novel or short story currently engages her attention, I just want to reach out and hold her, hug and squeeze her!

These simple things, a source of warm glowing pleasure, simultaneously serve to reinforce a sense of responsibility to look after and protect that / those for which / whom one cares.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Of Pain Creators, Pain Pathways and Pain Killers


One almost has to admire the blatant way that the Tories, both blue and orange varieties, demonstrate their disdain for the poor and vulnerable in our society; if only we had a political party prepared to attack privilege, and the wealth stealers, with equal fervour. Problem is these thieves, curiously misnamed "wealth creators", are held in such high esteem by the Tory controlled meejah (which seems to set the agenda for all parties with serious parliamentary aspirations)!

Strange how they have so much respect for the people who'll go to any lengths to avoid paying their fair quota of taxes; surely their readiness to pay up would be a true demonstration of their patriotism. The poor have no choice, patriots or not, the PAYE system ensures that they pay their full whack and, if they have the misfortune to succumb to any illness, or be made redundant, find themselves treated as scroungers and/or criminals, by the meejah, for daring to claim the benefits to which they are entitled.

Rant over for now, indeed it wasn't intended - it just sort of spewed forth but, I'll stand by it. Don't know exactly what was intended when I opened 'notepad', just felt it was time to update my blog!

Apart from a familiar sense of shatteredness, last Friday's exertions seem to have taken their toll on my spine. I don't know if it's possible to re-herniate a disc, one which hadn't given too much gyp in recent months, but I've once again started to experience quite acute (transferred) pain, in fluctuating increments - from about 3 to 8 out of 10, through hip, thigh, knee and ankle of my right lower limb. It began on Friday evening with a sensation of the lumbar vertebrae locking up but, I can't say for sure when the transferred pain in the lower limb began; as a matter of daily routine, I experience painful spasms  emanating (apparently) from an area of the calf muscle immediately behind the tibia.An early morning fix of tramadol helps to control this but, more frequent doses of the same med are only minimally reducing the acutely stabbing pains that seem to travel on a neural pathway from hip to ankle.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mal's Windswept Abode

Today's post, Gale Force Entrapment, a natural sequel to the previous days posting, can be found on Mal's Murmurings.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mal's Shivering

Today's posting entitled 'Cold Snap - Cold Trap', on a theme of domestic travails, can be found on MAL's MURMURINGS

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Poppy Day Dilemmas

As both a Christian and a Socialist, I always have problems with the celebration of militarism otherwise known as Poppy Day. Whether or not I would have had sufficient strength of character to stand by my pacifist principles in extreme circumstances is something that used to cause me considerable  concern but, there are also other issues involved.
Much soul searching was involved, even when I had attempted to renounce my Xtian faith and, subsequently joined a revolutionary socialist organization. Don't get me wrong, I was already a socialist when I became a Christian, and failed to see the apparent necessity of taking on the petty bourgeois pretensions & morality that seemed to be the norm for evangelicals those days and saw communism, in an idealistic sense, as being far more compatible with Christianity than capitalism.
I moved freely between and amongst various groupings of the left, dismayed by much of the ideological bickering; I did manage however to retain friendships, in spite of (doctrinal) difficulties with members of factional groupings other than the one for which I settled.Too many of my comrades seemed to revel in the prospect of a good rumble, one could almost sense them salivating at the prospect of a bloody uprising. I consoled myself with the thought that bloodshed, like class warfare, is generally instigated by the capitalist ruling class and therefore resistance to their unjust power structures, which could only be maintained by the use of force, became a moral imperative.
But what of turning the other cheek; to be honest that may be the only option when confronted with the combined might of military and police, should the true wealth creators, the working class, attempt to fight for a truly just and democratic society where real equality of opportunity for everyone in a society focussed on care for one's neighbour. Bear in mind that I use neighbour in the broadest sense, that of the parable of the good Samaritan not the cynicism of "charity begins at home". To turn the other cheek is an expression of disdain for the values of those who rule by force. I did decide,however, that if I was able to shake off the shackles of my religious faith I would be happy to take up arms in the cause of a workers revolution. At the same time I recognized that there was no way I could take up arms for Queen and country, the capitalist cause. A complex dilemma indeed; the message and life of Jesus had so firmly grasped me that I still felt guilty at my readiness. albeit hypothetical, to take up arms for a revolutionary cause.
I fully appreciate the preparedness of young people, often from socially deprived areas of the nation, to join the armed forces  in order to learn a trade and earn a living. Since the politically wilful destruction of our industrial base other job opportunities are greatly restricted. Nor do I doubt that many military personnel are serving in support of deeply held principles, whether understandably honourable or misguided is here irrelevant. For me a major scandal of the Poppy Appeal is that the welfare of those who have served their nation, and it's capitalist cause, should be dependent in any way upon charitable donations. It is the responsibility of the state that recruits, employs and puts the lives of these young men at risk,for whatever ideological motivation,  to look after them.
I regret the loss of life of civilians and military personnel equally; I abhor the slaughter of innocents on the imperialist whim of any ruling elite. Should there come a Remembrance Day with no uniformed military personnel or insignia on display, at Cenotaphs and commemorative church services, I would no longer see the commemorations as show of support for militarism but, rather an acknowledgement of the futility of war.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mal murmurs again

I've just realized that a post, Respectable Crooks, that I've just put on my "Mal's Murmurings" blog could almost be considered a natural sequel to the closing lines of yesterday's 'Snakes and Ladders' posting.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Snakes and Ladders

Having spent some time on Saturday morning, ladder and beloved assisted, picking awkwardly out of reach Bramley apples from our tallest tree, I took advantage of the bright dry day to lop some of the more rampant growth from the top of the tree. This task required the use of both secateurs and long handled loppers as one side of the tree is in extremely close, and ladder prohibiting, proximity to sundry thorn bearing shrubs. The shrubs themselves are a valuable part of a wildlife friendly environment so, in spite of their being an obstacle to our apple harvesting / tree pruning activity, we have no intention of moving or aggressively restraining their reasonably free growth. Amazing the contortions that I put my, achingly unsupple, body through during these moments of endeavour.

It's only retrospectively that I realized, in spite of ma belle's (partially ignored) timely warnings, I may have over exerted myself in the process. By yesterday lunchtime, I found myself suffering from an irritatingly aching discomfort and muscle fatigue; a flare up of my familiar digestive disorders did little to relieve an overall sense of dis-ease. As a result, I was in bed by 8.45pm and didn't emerge from my intermittent slumbers until 11.00am this morning. My intention to watch a TV programme, whilst abed last evening, came to naught as my eyes, and other body components, were too achingly exhausted to fulfill the necessary function of concentration. I intermittently caught snatches of dialogue, from the broadcast, as ma belle watched the programme whilst I rested; I'm grateful that she taped the programme for me to catch up with this afternoon.

This morning, having finally released myself from the duvet's warmth, a rapid donning of daytime apparel followed and, I ventured out to the bakery, braving all that the elements cast my way. To my surprise, walking (albeit stick-aided) came easier than I'd anticipated and I hastily strode down to 'Open Church' for coffee, and a little conversation, before returning home via the bakery. Once again the tramadol capsules have performed wonderfully to ease the muscular aches and spasms in the lower limbs and, a bruisingly painful tenderness in both chest and abdomen has eased considerably since yesterday.

As I cope with my sundry petty ailments, my thoughts go out to all those chronically ill people who successive governments, ably abetted by the Tory press, insist on treating as scroungers!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Single Porsche Family

With a day pass for a regional conference at £35 (advance booking) and dinner at £50, one starts to wonder just who these events are aimed at. Even if health permitted my attendance, the tariff alone would prove prohibitive. Obviously attendance at such conferences is based upon one's bank balance as much as political persuasion.  It has me wondering what kind of petit bourgeois organization might get away with these exorbitant charges. The answer is the Labour Party, obviously very much New labour judging by these prohibitive tariffs. Already I'm starting to wonder why I ever rejoined the party; having been an activist throughout most of the 1960's and 70's (and a reluctant hanger on in the eighties) the advent of the Blair machine alienated me completely but, I had begun to hope that it may one day regain its soul!

The party obviously can have little appeal to, or understanding of, the economically challenged in our society. Perhaps the party hierarchs consider poverty to be that state wherein one is reduced to the state of being a single Porsche household.


15.49hrs. I have just posted a rather more upbeat post, primarily a video, entitled Golden Rain on 'Mal's Murmurings'

Sunday, October 24, 2010

a complication of ailments

If only I could make sense of it or, better still, describe it in more tangible terms, that would perhaps make an accurate diagnosis more likely. It would even help if it was understood what kind of investigation / observation may be an aid to acquiring such a diagnosis.

Today is a classic case of the hard to define condition, a day when I've felt distinctly queasy and ill at ease, painfully so for a considerable portion of that time. A nagging chest pain, at times acutely sharp at others more like a dull deep bruise, sits atop occasional abdominal spasms. My head at times feels giddily hollow, a leadenly floating  balloon rather than a helium filled one. Sundry long standing gastroenterological ailments may well be behind many of my other symptoms but there, the frustration is an inability to find their cause.

As someone who suffers with the crippling muscle fatigue, muscle spasms, cognitive disturbance, and even tenderness of glands, associated with the neurological condition ME, it is all too easy to ascribe each new (or even apparently randomly recurrent) ailment to this underlying condition. Come to think of it, different individuals will experience distictive variants of the dis-ease; even a "sudden onset" condition finds its home in a body which already has its own history, pre-existing ailments and vulnerabilities. Perhaps, indeed probably, a body with a predominantly neurological illness can easily fall prey to other non-neurological complications.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

what a difference a day makes

The contrast (compared to "heigh-ho heigh-ho to A&E we go" - yesterday's posting on Mal's Murmurings) coudn't have been greater; last night I slept solidly from before midnight until at least 4.30am and then, completely unannounced, drifted back into the arms of Morpheus for a further spell. By 8.00am I'm starting to feel really quite refreshed, an unfamiliar morning experience of late. After listening to a 1958 episode of 'The Goon Show' and a couple of comedic programmes of a much more recent vintage (courtesy BBC Radio 7), I released myself from the duvet lair and ventured kitchenwards.

First item on the agenda was preparation of a casserole, in readiness for tonight's guests; peppered chicken in a creamy green and yellow pepper and mushroom sauce, leaving the par-boiling of the potatoes for a little later part of the day.

Next on the agenda, a little stroll down to 'Open Church' for coffee and biscuits, and a little light socializing. An unfortunately familiar sharply bruising sensation around the chest and ribs, and the cramping spasms (partially alleviated by my early morning dose of tramadol) in the lower limbs, proved of little hindrance to my little jaunt. 

Unlike yesterday, discomfiture levels at the moment are quite minimal; if only it would remain that way!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

almost caught myself apologizing

Once again, and quite irrationally, I'm feeling guilty at not having posted a blog for a goodly number of days; it's not as if anyone out there is dependent on a regular fix of Sinna Luvva's words. My first thought is always one of how lazy I've been, ignoring the sundry other purposes to which my limited stamina reserves have been applied.

Perhaps I should concentrate on how many things I've been able to manage / achieve in spite of the sundry discomforting ailments my flesh is heir to. The removal, cleaning, and subsequent repositioning, of the large ornamental rock from the 180 litre aquarium requires a few rather awkward manouevres which always requires a much greater effort than one would anticipate, has now been carried out for the first time in many months. In the past few weeks, I've also got back into a more regular gravel vacuuming routine for the same aquarium and, I've finally regained control of the necessary filtration changes to maintain the best water quality.

Meantime, Callie is back in the quarantine tank receiving treatment for a bit of finrot, a condition that won't have been helped by the bullying behaviour of Reggie, a considerably larger female fantail goldfish. Admittedly my first (guilt) reaction was that I'd been neglectful of water conditions in the main aquarium during a recent protracted period of ill health (beyond my routinely irritating ailments).

Having got myself back into maintenance routines, I became aware of the need to replace the lighting tubes in both aquariums, a task now resolved but unfortunately not inexpensively so. It's amazing how easy it is to fail to note the gradual diminishing light quality of the fluorescent tubes; that could probably account for some of the recently experienced more prominent algae problems.

In the wider world, much pottering about in the garden has brought about some almost noticeable transformations - perhaps it's time to polish up my halo! And, as if that wasn't enough, I've even managed a modest amount of socializing, easily worth the almost inevitable (albeit of a more moderate nature than anticpated) degree of achingly exhausted setback.

Perhaps I will, eventually, get back into the blogging habit.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Back To Normal

i seem to have fallen back onto the ailment roundabout, fortunately it has not yet transmogrified into a full rollercoaster ride at this point. Persistent irritations, of the over production of acid and mucus variety, still make their presence felt alongside the, probably related, ache and bruise sensations (with the occasional sharp nudge) around the chest and lower ribcage area.

Now the leaden ache of the lower limbs has reaffirmed its presence, as has a gnawing ache in wrist and armpits which seems to have re-appeared on a whim and then hangs around for indeterminate / unpredictable periods of time. Even as I sit and type this I'm finding it necessary to take breaks wherein I place both forearms behind my back and push my shoulders firmly back on the comfortably supporting high back chair.

Having had a little stroll down to Open Church, this morning, my legs began to ache as if I'd been on a marathon trek; to be honest they weren't really painful, just more of a gnawing discomfort. The thought occurred that maybe they needed a further stretch so, with the aid of my trusty walking stick, I set off on a brisk walk around the block. Please note that I "set off on a brisk walk", I can't make any claims to having sustained any degree of briskness beyond the 100 metre mark. I thought at least it would prove good for the morale and, it hasn't made the gnawing ache any worse or better.

By late afternoon, an additional dose of lansoprazole (to cut down on acid production) and a couple more tramadol capsules served to alleviate the more extreme edge of discomfort. That extra bit of relief allowed me to get on with preparing a meal in time for my beloved's return from work, and even enabled me to enjoy accompanying ma belle for a grocery shop at Waitrose post dining!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Special Friend

I've started this post several times but, whatever I started to express seemed somehow irrelevant. It's not that any of my postings has much intrinsic merit, only that which a particular reader may put upon it alongside its utilitarian value, to the writer, as a discipline which places some kind of order or value on the (recorded) aspects of their everyday experiences.

No matter what I set out to express or recount this time, one primary event seemed to overshadow it. After a few rollercoaster years of brain tumour induced ill health Kate, Cathy's lifetime friend , finally lost her battle shortly after her 30th birthday, and nine months after the birth of her wonderful son Joseph. There are times that I consider myself "good with words" but then at others, on occasions like this, the appropriate words just won't fall into place. Come to that I can't even wrestle them into place!

I can't see how anyone who ever met Kate could fail to be touched by the warmth of her smile, a heartwarming smile which she could still display, even whilst undergoing some of the most distressing and disorienting effects of her illness. At times she seemed to defy the expectations of the doctors who treated her; a sturdy determination underlay a vulnerable frame as she once more fulfilled the desire to be back home with her husband and son, rather than laying in a hospital bed.

Cathy feels as if she has lost a part of herself; this is a loss for which there can never be a replacement, a very special friendship - that of kindred spirits - since pre-schooldays. My thoughts and prayers go out to all her family. The world is a poorer place for her passing but, the community of saints has been greatly enriched.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Which why what how is it - who knows + Autumn Garden

There are always more questions than answers, especially so it seems when it comes to health matters. It even seems to be the case that doctors increasingly ask the patient what they think is wrong and what action should be taken. Maybe it's a problem of just getting to see a locum but, the issue seems to go further than that. Whilst I'm looking for answers, or even probable explanations, the GP seems to expect me to recommend a course of action based on my complete lack of knowledge. Yesterday I had an appointment with a GP, following on from a continuing (almost continuous) bouts of extreme gastric discomfort and also the attempted treatment of a sore-looking patch of skin on my right lower limb.

Anyway, the stomach biopsy results had finally been received and disappointingly, but not altogether unexpectedly, proved negative; why I should have the recurring, intermittently painful and regularly discomforting gastro-oesophogeal reflux problems without any apparent cause is something of a mystery. Following the morning's consultation I'm once again temporarily doubling up my lansoprazole intake, to 2x30mg capsules per day. On enquiring whether I should take both capsules pre-breakfast, or take one later in the day, the locum suggested that although it's a once daily medication, if taking them at different times proves effective then follow that course of action; I like that -  once daily medication to be taken twice a day!

Next, to the "topical" treatment of the sore on my leg. As the recommended ten days treatment (in fact extended to twelve days), with betanovate, has produced no dramatic result I wondered whether to extend the twice daily application period. Once more, the locum asked me whether I would prefer to do that or should he write a referral letter to dermatology, it being probably unusual that the steroid cream had not cleared it up. Not being a medical expert - I don't know what's the best course of action but, I would prefer  to steer clear of dermatology for a little while after my rather dramatic recent visit (unless a further carcinoma appears on my torso), so I opted to try a little further betanovate treatment. If the "sore" doesn't clear up, as it should if it were discoid eczema, there's a possibility it may be bowen's disease. I opted to continue with the "topical" treatment for a further week but, can't help having a sneaky feeling that I may need a referral after all; I suppose that the recent basal cell carcinoma episode makes me feel (rationally or not) that it could be a squamous cell carcinoma.

All in all though, after my requisite eleven to twelve hours bed-rest/lessness, I manage to enjoy my days and, with the aid of my trusty walking stick, manage to get up a fair head of steam as I take a stroll down to Open Church or even just around the block.

Although the weather is somewhat temperamental, at the moment, I'm still finding plenty of suitable occasions to spend time in the garden, if only to be busily doing nothing in the course of these minutes and hours. There's an abundance of apples on each of our trees, three different varieties, many of the branches appearing overladen even after the autumn's swirling breezes have delivered a fair quantity of 'windfalls'. The heathers are also putting on a wonderful display.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Refreshment and Renewal

After those all too recent weeks when I was so far out of it, in that realm of drifting hollow giddiness and fluctuating levels of nausea, each days activities have taken on a sense of refreshing excitement. Of course recent days have been even more special, as my beloved hasn't been at work; we have been able to enjoy so many more hours of quite simply basking in each others company. It's as if that "being in love" sensation is constantly being replenished; not only does my love for Helen grow (impossible as it may seem) ever deeper but so does my whole enthusiasm for life, exhaustion permitting.

The rapidity with which days, weeks, months, and even years, pass by is sort of frightening. There's always so much to do and appreciate that time itself becomes a luxury, something to be caressed and indulged to the full. We've especially enjoyed Cathy enabled visits of her godson Joseph, an energetic and super inquisitive nine month old chortling bundle of joy! His eagerness to observe, and respond, to all that goes on around him proves quite infectious; it's almost as if it reinforces ones own need to ensure that we're not missing out on anything of potential value, a craving for fresh experience.

Although we've not made any effort to "get away", during ma belle's holiday, we have rung the occasional change to routine via visits to local restaurants, cafes and garden centres, as well as taking advantage of some fine weather to do a bit more planting, tidying and reorganizing of the garden. To me, part of the beauty of this work in the garden is preserving a "natural" rather than more cosmetically structured  appearance.

Friday lunchtime, on a whim, we ventured down to Brio's a reasonably local bar and eatery, even within my meagre walking range, where I settled for one of my favourite italian dishes, linguine marinara, whilst my beloved selected and enjoyed the pescatrice con speck (monkfish parcelled in speck ham).

On Saturday, late afternoon, I prepared a meal which served us for both Sunday and Tuesday lunch. It essentially utilized a 'Madras' curry paste, in addition to my own unique spice mixture, which infused the beef meatballs, sliced new potatoes, mushrooms, yellow and green peppers and tinned tomatoes; on each occasion I served it with saffron rice and a side dish of broccoli. Last evening we were invited for an evening meal at Janet (the only one of Helen's siblings who lives locally) & Graham's home where the wonderfully succulent slices of roast, lamb, served with roast potatoes and some home grown veg proved a real treat.

Today, we attended a coffee morning at Burnbridge, where the proceeds were for the MRDF (Methodist Relief & Development Fund); a guest speaker, and his wife, provided a concise and informative account of some of the projects in which they've been involved in Nepal.

An evening out, swiftly followed by a morning event, has proved somewhat demanding on my familiarly diminished stamina reserves but, I wouldn't have wanted to miss either event. A brief unsolicited afternoon nap imposed itself upon me but, I can still find time to rejoice in this day the Lord has made.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

garden delights

Bright sunshine but not too hot, just my sort of day even though there were times when it was necessary to retreat into the house for a respite from our overheated toil.

It's been wonderful spending a bit of time in the garden with my beloved, doing a bit of tidying up, transplanting items to more appropriate sites etc. but, even more importantly, taking time out to sit and observe the active enviroment. A spider's activity, creating and mooring a web between three flimsy breeze swayed reeds proved most entertaining and, I managed to catch some video footage of this engineering feat as well as a few close-up still shots of the engineer.

Both web and spider were wonderfully backlit from our vantage point and, it was amazing to note how swiftly some of the neighbourhood midges became hopelessly entangled in the arachnids handiwork. Guess the spider was relieved that all that work was proving cost effective time and motion wise.

A short while later I was thrilled to see, and hear, a couple of longtailed tits in the garden, the first time I've observed any here since before the long hard winter. Obviously as autumn approaches they're busy genning up on the locations of local feeding stations.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Ordinary Privileged Life

I seem to have been so busy enjoying life, since my appetite (for food and a few other perks) returned, that I'm left wondering where the time has gone. To be able, once again, to enjoy cooking feels like such a tremendous privilege (and, I suppose that as part of the global community we really do belong to a privileged group insofar as we don't have to worry about where our next meal is coming from). Even simple chores, like watering the tomato plants or giving the lawn a quick trim, have taken a whole new dimension - no longer chores but rather pleasurable activities. I've even managed to catch up with some essential ( and probably overdue) filter cleaning and replacement in the 180 litre aquarium. Come to that, I even got around to vacuuming the gravel as well sorting out the distressed aquatic plants.

The most important recent event is the commencement of my beloved's holiday, by which I mean she has a few days off work! Earlier in the year, we had contemplated another visit to the south coast, to stay with my brother and his wife, but having had frequent difficulties with travelling (even locally at times) ever since the onset of M.E., recent health setbacks have definitely ruled out this prospect. Mind you, there's always plenty of sorting out to do in both the garden and the house; fortunately, we enjoy each others company, so I'm really looking forward to quite simply basking in the close proximity of ma belle.

At lunchtime today we popped out to Cafe Culture, for a delicious light lunch, before heading over to the aquatic shop where we duly acquired five additional white cloud, and three golden, minnows to gently introduce to our aquarium. It's wonderful to note how swiftly they became part of a pre-existing shoal, with only an infrequent display of bickering!

Having prepared a casserole, for tomorrow's lunch, we settled down to enjoy a recording of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Promenade Concert which was being shown on BBC2 - a really fun start to a Bank Holiday weekend.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Much Ado About Something

There's nothing quite so rewarding as a good burp! At least following on from today's gastroscopy, during which some air is pumped into the intestines, it felt really good to expel some of the excess via the facial orifice. Mind you, as time went by, I did also find that other orifices helped alleviate some of the pressure.

I decided against having the sedative injection, wondering if it may adversely react with my M.E. sensitivities, whilst simultaneously wondering whether I would be sufficiently relaxed to perform the appropriate co-ordination of swallowing and nasal breathing, if I didn't have it. The wonderful thing is that I was ready to go home within a few minutes of the op having been performed and, able to eat and drink normally one hour after the throat spray anaesthetic had been administered.

Apart from one or two involuntary gagging responses, as the camera was manouevred around, the experience wasn't too bad at all. The exploration didn't disclose any abnormalities but, a biopsy from the stomach was taken to find out if there's any kind of bacterial infection.

It seems quite strange to me that one can experience so many spasmodic intensely discomforting / disconcerting symptoms for which further exploration is unable to find a cause. I am so grateful for the National Health Service that I, and countless others, are able to undergo these procedures without having to worry about whether their bank balance will permit such activities to take place.

Monday, August 16, 2010

contrary impulses

After a slow, lightly grey-cast morning, come noontide and we're greeted with clear blue sunlit skies. Large whites flitter and dance around the lavender and aconitums whilst the peacock variety of butterfly seem to make the buddleia their focus of attention. The sun-soaked pale beige shed wall plays host to others of the peacock line as they idly stretch out their wings in a posture of submission to the sun god.

It's so easy to feel the lure of this sparkling day, to dash out, throwing all caution to the wind,and soak up the radiance through every pore, but then reality bites. I take heed of the warning notes, issued when my carcinoma was diagnosed, seek shade between 11.00am and 3.00pm, always cover up and wear wide-brimmed hats when outdoors ... etc. The strange thing is, with these proscriptions in place, although hot weather has never really suited me - to such an extent that I've remained incapable of understanding the sun-seeking school of holiday making,  I'm just beginning to appreciate that type of yearning!

So, I duly roll down my shirt sleeves, don a sun hat, and stroll down to the pond to feed the goldfish. Open the greenhouse door to be almost overwhelmed by the stifling humid heat that rushes out to greet me. I make my way to the totally shaded arbour seat at the top of the garden, make a mental note of areas that need a little tidying (in preparation for the time when I'll once again be able to perform a few lifting and stretching activities), rest for a brief while before returning to the welcoming bounds of the living room.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

That's Progress

After a few days when even ambling up to the garden pond, to scatter a few food sticks for its piscine inhabitants, seemed like an overbearing chore, it was wonderful this morning to quite simply take the time to look around the garden as I performed this task.

A sudden fleet movement, rather too close to my foot-fall for comfort, catches my attention as a perfectly formed froglet, less than the length of my little finger nail (and I've got relatively small hands), leaps across the grassy sward. The sheer abundance of life, both flora and fauna, within the garden's confines is a constant source of joy and amazement - excluding of course the organic deposits left by visiting neighbourhood cats.

Anyway, having fed the fish, I move into the greenhouse to gather a few more fully ripened tomatoes and, taking due care not to overstretch, manage to water all the plants. Next task is repleneshing sundry bird-feeders although, I must admit that my attention to this is a more hit and miss business at this time, especially so during most recent days / weeks (when it has been more spasmodic than would be my intention), than is essential in Winter and Spring months.

I seem to have been catching up with my sleep requirement the past few nights, retiring to bed at an earlier hour, and emerging from the duvet lair, at least partially refreshed, some thirteen hours later. Today, I've so far managed to eat a small breakfast of a boiled egg and toast and, enjoyed some smoked haddock with new potatoes at lunch time. That's progress!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Visual Blessing

Recent days haven't been that good, to be honest, nothing I can really put my finger on; a generalized discomfort has prevented much other activity apart from less than routine fish-feeding, bird-feeding, tomato watering, and regular re-orienting of my seated position.

Strange how a generalized griping sense of dis-ease seems to emanate from discomfort in either a little finger, or more usually the armpit. Only when I pin my upper arms tight to my torso and sit back with forearms pinned behing my lower back does this discomfort ease. Fortunately these phases pass but, at present they too frequently return interfering with my appetite and much other attempted activity.

This morning, after a fulfillment of bed-rest, sat in the living room sipping at a wake-up beverage, I observed the following simple display which I posted as a tweet (line breaks of course omitted) - I've already posted it on 'Mal's Factory' but thought I'd share it here, to show that even in my temporary slumps into a pathetic despondency, it's still wonderful to be a part of this amazing creation:

I see the lavender
into a fluttering

of butterfly wings.
Large whites

the colour
of their perching

Malcolm Evison
12 August 2010

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Absolute (arm)Pits

Squirming wimp; that's a role I seem to play really well, trouble is I'm not acting. The multifarious manifestations of dis-ease have really found a fresh discomforting expression this past twenty-four hours plus. That sensation when one finds it impossible to discover, or maintain, a comfortable seated posture; if I was simply observing my wriggling activity I'd swear it was a bad case of worms. [Fortunately, that's an ailment that's escaped my attention.]

What has returned with a vengeance is that aching discomfort in the armpits, the one where I have to squeeze my arms tightly to my side in a first attempt to regain a tolerable posture, before placing my hands beneath my thighs as I sit back; a griping sense of nausea then takes over. A short while later, the giddy light-headedness returns and the legs start to feel like they're made of some gelatinous lead alloy.

No sooner had we arrived at the local takeaway, last evening, than ma belle had to escort her pale faced partner back home. By the time she'd returned to collect the ordered meal, any inkling of an appetite had disappeared from yours truly and, the smell of food made me turn green around the gills. One thing I can never be found guilty of is doing things by halves - my disorientation is a complete happening.

Later in the evening I regained my composure and managed a portion of the (microwave reheated) food. By bedtime had arrived, I found myself relaxedly wide awake for the total bed-rest period. Late morning I went up for a little rest, discovering that laying on my left hand side allowed my torso to feel more comfortably at home in the world.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Sunshine and Blanket Stitch

Many people seem to worship the sun, so much so that they'll travel halfway around the globe to find a suitable place to spend their holiday sunbathing. Others, like me, have difficulty coping with very hot weather and, only on a few occasions have exposed my torso to the sun's rays, primarily at the time in the seventies when as a mature student I had a regular vacation job doing gardening. There were a few later occasions when I allowed my body to be exposed to the rays for a couple of hours, nothing out of the ordinary I would have thought, but it was only many years later that various warts and moles began to make their presence noticed.

An abundance of solar keratoses started to mar this fair skinned torso and, at times, a little cryotherapy was deemed necessary to remove the more troublesome of the little critters. Then, having noticed blood on a T-shirt which I'd been wearing the previous day, and during an enforced overnight stay in hospital, I asked my GP to take a look at my back and she immediately referred me to the dermatology clinic.

In earlier blogs, I've already commented on that referral, and the generally excellent treatment proferrred by the much maligned NHS. The basal cell carcinoma (rodent ulcer) was removed last Wednesday, at which time I was informed that there's a good possibility of a further rodent ulcer occurring within the next few years. Just by way of warning my readers of the deleterious effect of UV rays on fair skinned people, I decided to post a couple of views of my back, including a fine example of the surgeons blanket stitch (which has to remain in place for 14 days)

As stated earlier, I've never been much of a sun worshipper but, were I ever to consider exposing any part of my body to the sun's rays my minimum protection would be a high factor block (SPF15+). My beloved has been instructed on the importance of observing / detecting changes to any of my disfiguring growths.

 "Mad dogs and Englishmen ..." may "go out in the midday sun" but this mad Englishman will do his darnedest to avoid it.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

exercising caution

Cautious, that's the only word for it; last night every move I made, as I lay abed, was carried out with an excessive degree of caution. It's not at all unusual for me to spend many hours lying awake, frequently changing my position, rolling over from left side to back, back to right side, arms stretched out, arms used as a prop for my resting head - the possible postural permutations are immense. Last night, however, I attempted to restrict any stretching movements, as my freshly sutured back felt rather stiff and necessarily unwilling to stretch.[At least I was able to enjoy listening to 'Through The Night' (BBC Radio 3) between 2am and 5am, as I lay awake; Brahms, Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Verdi and,a new discovery for me, the Croatian composer Lhotka, provided a relaxing background to my restlessly creative thoughts.]

Yesterday I attended the Dermatology clinic for the excision of a basal cell carcinoma from the middle of my back. The operation turned out to take more time than the norm, extending beyond forty minutes. At least I was able to chat with the consultant as he performed the surgery.

The tumour was somewhat larger than anticipated, the hole from which it was excised having a diameter in excess of a 50 pence coin and, a little arterial bleed required a considerable degree of staunching, sundry blood vessels needing to be tied off and / or cauterised. By the time the operation was completed, my chest, back, hair, beard and hands all needed cleaning; amazing how far and wide a 'little' bleed spreads its message. A considerable stretch tension exists around the sutures, owing to the size of the wound, and we've been told to expect a bleed. My understanding is that the sutured wound is about 8cm in length.

The importance of keeping the wound clean, clean vaseline being applied twice daily (in ideal circumstances). At this point I have to point out that my beloved can be quite squeamish, already evident as she was called into the surgery to be told how to keep the wound clean, but regrettably, it's impossible (where it's situated) for me to treat it myself. If I'm to take a shower, vaseline has to be applied both before and afterwards and, I'm also somewhat doubtful that it would be wise to remain seated in the shower for my normal duration. Admittedly I don't always have the stamina to cope with taking a shower, even when I feel a bit more able to stretch.

It's important that I remember to avoid lifting and any strenuous activity during the first four weeks as, any stetching of of the wound can affect the healing process. I'd have loved to have had that reason / excuse to avoid games, and the attention of our sadistic PE teachers, in my schooldays. Perhaps it's a blessing that, since succumbing to M.E. in 2003, I've already been forced into pacing myself and (whenever possible) avoiding any strenuous exertion.

Suddenly, I find myself taking stock of my activities / capabilities once again; just a few days ago I was lugging around compost and sacks of wild bird feed. I'm even going to be careful about watering the tomato plants in the greenhouse as the plants positions necessitate a good deal of stretching; I've a feeling my beloved may choose to perform that task for the duration.

It really is amazing how much we take our body's daily exertions for granted; only when caution has to be applied, prior to any action, do we become truly aware of our routine practises and capabilities.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Aspects of a wind groomed Garden

just a randomized reminder of yesterday's brief amble in our wind stirred garden

Website Update

I've just posted an additional selection of poems, by yours truly, on our New LUV4SINNERS Website under the inspiring title of 'More POETRY by Malcolm Evison'

Sunday, August 01, 2010

This day the Lord has made

I've really been enjoying this day the Lord has made; at least I've appreciated it all since my belated (11.00am) emergence into the new day. My beloved had headed off to chapel at least an hour before I overcame my soporific stupor. Speaking of soporifics, the aid to sleep prescribed by my GP doesn't seem to work in the expected way; the recommendation is that I take the dose one hour before bedtime so, I try to take it somewhere around 10.00pm but the effects, if any, rarely kick in before the early morning hours. By the time my beloved emerges from her restorative nights sleep, she usually finds a heavily drowsy shattered partner slipping in and out of daytime awareness!

As today's service was a farewell to her minister, ma belle drove home after the service to collect me in time for the farewell lunch (described by ma belle as "A Farewell" on her 'Bright Light' blog  for Shaun  

It was good to see Shaun again, and have a little chat, and I was made to feel most welcome at this special event commemorating his 11 year ministry at Wesley. Wesley was the chapel attended regularly by my parents, prior to  circumstances committed them to the care of their respective residential and nursing homes, and Shaun presided at both of their affirmative funeral services.

All in, I spent the best part of three hours at Wesley today; anyone who knows me well will be quite surprised that such socializing endeavour remained pleasurable, rather than an ordeal, for me. I'm as surprised as they may well be! Maybe one of these days I'll manage to pluck up the courage and stamina to attend for a service one of these days.

This evening Helen is out leading worship at another chapel in the circuit, the first of four consecutive Sunday services her local preacher duties are requiring of her, whilst I settle down to watch 'Orchestra United' and 'Amish World's Squarest Teenagers' (both C4).  

Thursday, July 29, 2010

how strange the change ...

How swiftly things change, at least on a superficial level. Although the cause of the sundry ailments my flesh has been heir to of late is somewhat elusive, the symptoms have somehow been alleviated by ... unknown!

What a difference a day makes; after yesterday’s ropiest of starts, as the day progressed, my appetite (for food) commenced a restorative process. After days of picky snacking, and with the comforting presence of ma belle, by early afternoon I felt fully able to contemplate a real lunch; the swiftly prepared baked salmon, served with new potatoes, brocolli  and beans, seemed like a real treat and I even enjoyed a post-meal shared pot of Earl Grey without any adverse reaction. By this time I’m beginning to suspect that some of my most recent discomfort has been a reaction to the Amoxicillin prescribed last Saturday but, I doubt whether I can hold that responsible for the mornings flow of tears.

Late afternoon I got in to see the locum doctor, at my GP’s surgery, and he proved to be a good listener – to me the most important  prerequisite for any GP. After a few minutes, having checked my medical history, he asked whether I felt a need to go back on Citalopram or whether something to help me regain a reasonable sleep pattern would be most appropriate. I settled for the latter as, quite honestly, with the exception of those spontaneous re-active outbreaks like that experienced yesterday morning, my general disposition (even allowing for the aggravating dis-ease I’ve been experiencing of late) is pretty positive.

To assist with my sleep he has prescribed Trazadone ( which I notice is an anti-depressant) but only in a very low dosage, one 50mg capsule to be taken an hour before bedtime. After the first dose I haven’t noticed much change but, at least I had no recourse to wee small hours radio listening. Although my beloved had left a glass of water at my bedside, before she left for work at 7.30am, it wasn’t until 9.30 that I was sufficiently awake to utilize it as I swallowed my cocktail of lansoprazole, tramadol and amocxicillin. Removing myself from the duvet lair, at around 10.00am, I felt really quite refreshed – a relatively unfamiliar early morning sensation - and by shortly after 11.00am had corralled the necessary stamina to manage a quite brisk walk down to 'Open Church'.

When my physio visited, earlier this afternoon, after a while spent in conversation she applied the acupuncture needles in positions most conducive to aiding relaxation and recuperation.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

and today the tears

And today is the day the tears start flowing. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, a tingling around the eyes and a sense of melancholy. I brush the tears aside, take my courage in both hands (and legs) decide to try a little walk up the road. For the last couple of days such efforts have proved abortive but, it's worth a try; anything's worth a try just in an attempt to overcome this randomly imposed suffocating sense of isolation.

I suspect that the antibiotics, prescribed on Saturday, are having an adverse effect on my already bothersome intestines; even attempting to consume a hot beverage seems like a (time) trial (of the how long before I start feeling nauseous variety). Yesterday seemed somewhat better than the previous day, less of the floatingly giddy light-headedness and, managing infrequent snacks as and when the desire arose. So, things are improving but, after a better night's rest, I've sunk into this pit of moroseness. As I write this, I'm laughing at my pitiful self; in attempting to express how despairingly low I'd started to feel my spirits are somehow lifted.

I'm sure some of the cause is the waiting game, waiting for the gastroscopy and then for the results, awaiting notification of when I'll be in to have the rodent ulcer excised but, most importantly, like a BP CEO I'm wondering when I'll get my life back! The fact that I've scarcely enjoyed a really restful nights sleep, since my overnight hospitalization five weeks ago, certainly doesn't help.

Anyway, I set off for my brief walk and met an old friend. Immediately the "how are you" question was asked the tear ducts shifted into overflow mode and, I had no option but to amble back home. Called my beloved on the telephone, as she was putting in a few extra hours at work - Wednesday being her usual day off - and thankfully she just finished off her current task in hand and headed homewards. Ma belle has arranged, and will be chauffering me to, an appointment at my GP's this afternoon. I feel as if a bit of reactive depression is setting in, a response to the sundry ailments, and probable reactions to medication, that have beset me over the past several weeks.

At least with ma belle by my side, and the old faithful walking stick in my other hand, I gathered the confidence to stroll up to the local shops, the furthest I've ventured for the past few days, without feeling too overawed by the entailed exertion.

Tomorrow my physio is due to visit me to administer the therapeutic needles and, I'm hoping that will aid the relaxation process both physically and mentally.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Salvaging The Wreckage

I quite honestly don’t know what’s going on; much as I hate visiting doctors, and hospitals, my body seems to have a contrary impulse which makes such visits essential.

The most recent such visit, after another little setback, was to the GP out of hours Clinic at the District Hospital on Saturday afternoon. I’d suddenly found myself overwhelmed by a head-spinning giddiness coupled with a griping sense of nausea invoking bloatedness. To add to this discomfort, my lower limbs simultaneously took on a leaden rubbery sensation, stubbornly refusing to be comforted by any re-positioning I attempted. The now familiar gnawing bruised sensation in the lower ribcage and abdominal region once again reasserted itself.

I have to admit though that it was the head-spinning giddiness that caused me the greatest concern. When I went to lie down, a feeling of nausea forced me to return to a seated position but, within a few moments, I needed to lay down once more to prevent the room spinning giddyingly out of control. I generally just felt crap, alternating between clammy overheating and cold shudders.

Having telephonically contacted the out of hours helpline, a doctor suggested that I get my OH to drive me down to the clinic at the hospital. The clinic seemed extremely busy, the best part of two hours passed before I got to see a GP. Having checked my blood pressure, which proved normal, he examined my eyes, ears, nose and throat. His diagnosis was severe sinusitis and an infection in the left ear and, prescribed a course of antibiotics and directed us to the nearest dispensary, which happened to be on the route home. In this instance I have to admit that the diagnosis made complete sense of sundry recent symptoms, acknowledged primarily by my attempts to ignore them.

It did seem rather odd that I was experiencing an extremely unpleasant variant of the symptoms that I would, normally, have blamed on smoking too much; having not smoked a cigarette, even lacking the desire to do so, for the past four and a half weeks that sort of unreason could no longer prevail.

Since succumbing to ME, in 2003, it’s easy to attribute any sense of dis-ease to that wretched overall condition. Whilst awaiting a gastroscopy, an investigative response to my various digestive tract problems, I’ve now developed a tendency to blame any other ailments on my intestinal abnormalities. It’s not only medical professionals who have difficulty in looking at the whole person; it’s proving tricky enough to switch my own focus away from the currently dominant site of dis-ease!