Sunday, June 27, 2010

tetchiness abounds

Chest and shoulder muscles are really playing up, the pectoralis major more achingly griping than the deltoids and, as the day goes on I become increasingly tetchy. The heat of the day certainly doesn't help, 28 centigrade at present, as I've never been a hot weather person. Currently we're sat in the back room, curtains drawn, revelling in the cooler air current proferred by an oscillating fan. It's quite strange really, this coolly refreshing synthetic breeze serves to keep me reasonably alert, whilst aching muscles, minor digestive problems, and a muzzy head, keep reminding me of the need to rest.

I've just been trying, to little avail, to catch up with received e-mails but the least distraction from what should be a minimal concentration endeavour makes me feel quite stressed. 'Tis better just to float - wish I could be as laid back as a lot of people think I am - but, for some reason I just tend to keep swimming against the tide!

Attempting to relax is such a wearying business, leaves one without sufficient stamina to simply be. 

I know the garden is the place I should be, the place where I am truly me but, prevailing temperatures militate against my participation in such enjoyable diversions.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

surrounded by lights - kept in the dark

It's truly amazing how much, or how little seeming like so much, has happened in the past week. After the gardening exertions of the previous week, everything seemed to be going so well, not even a hint of post-exertional kick back. Sunday morning, woke up and robotically began to apply dermatological cream to my lower limbs when a snapping twinge locked my back mid-rub. Yep, I'm always aware that my back's rather vulnerable, herniated disc and all, but it always takes me by excruciating surprise when it un-elastically responds to the meagre stretches that I've imposed on it.

I swiftly sought the assistance of the old faithful walking stick, for additional support, as I headed downstairs. Extra doses of tramadol were required for the next few days, an essential supplement to the efficacious application of ibuprofen gel. Care had to be taken not to remain seated, for too long, in any particular position, not even on a supportive high back chair, in order to avoid a painful lock down.

Wednesday evening things took a slightly more dramatic turn, around 9.20pm, having spent the evening listening to the radio and catching up with the latter stages of that day's epic Wimbledon set, I was feeling quite shattered. Decided to have a cup of Decaff just before going to bed, took a sip and suddenly felt sick. Simultaneously it felt like a vice was closing in on my chest, right from top of ribcage down to the floaters. A sharp bruised sensation made it difficult to catch my breath and,of course, the more frightening the experience became the more difficult it was to get my breath. I turned simultaneously clammy and totally drained of colour. The paramedics took ecg's and simple prick test to check my blood sugar level; ecg's seemed fine but they could sense my general discomfort and thought I should be checked out at the hospital.

Arrived at A&E just before 10.00pm, had my blood pressure taken a few times and further ecg's. The duty doctor consulted further and decided that I should be admitted for observation. Eventually a bed was found in the acute ward and I was transferred there just after 2.00am, and they  immediately strapped me up to a monitor and told me to get some rest; now that was a tall order, within five minutes blood pressure and temperature were being taken again. By 3.00am the house doctor, from cardiology, came to examine me and told me that I would have further blood samples taken at 9.00am and, if the test was OK (meaning negative) I could go home. Shortly after this visit I was asked whether I'd mind changing to a different bed, an offer I greeted with enthusiasm as the one I was in was most uncomfortable. Around 6.30am, had a visit from the cardio consultant (along with one or two acolytes) and he informed me that he would want a further ecg taken after the blood sample and muttered something about a treadmill test. The noise, lights, and being kept in the dark about what exactly was going on were certainly not at all conducive to restfulness.

Blood samples were taken just after 9.00am and, a further ecg done at around 10.15am, the rest of the time was spent hanging around not knowing exactly what was going on. I'd got out of bed to have a little breakfast but, felt unable to note everything about the environment, or my fellow inmates, my vision being minorly impaired as I didn't have my spectacles with me. My sandal clad feet, and ankles, were getting extremely cold and I had no socks with me to warm them up at all. Come lunchtime, the food was absolutely disgusting - I'd settled for the salmon & dill potato bake in which the miniscule flakes of salmon looked like the scatterings of an infants overfull mouth bonded together with what looked like and had slightly less flavour than wallpaper paste.

Visitors had been arriving but, no sign of ma belle, I thought I'd be heading home at any moment. All this anticipation of imminent reprieve became increasingly frustrating as it failed to materialize. When ma belle arrived, at 3.30pm, she was already aware that my reprieve wouldn't be until the afternoon as she had contacted the ward (twice) earlier in the day, although I hadn't been informed of this. In fact, I only discovered that the blood test was negative after pursuing my own line of enquiry; strange how the staff had plenty of time to chat to each other but no time to communicate necessary information to the patient. Once it was known that the blood test was negative they were able to release me from the monitor leads.

Suddenly. whilst ma belle was visiting, they informed me that I was being transferred to another ward which came as something of a shock, as I was still anticipating an imminent leap into freedom. By this time I was getting ultra-tetchy, bothered by the lights, noises (on and off stage), and the general sense of being left in the dark; to placate me an annoying light was switched off and I enquired about discharging myself from the hospital. The staff on this ward were really helpful and chased up the coronary unit to speed up my treadmill test; rather than waiting for a porter to take me down (five minutes later) I was accompanied by one of the staff from the ward. I'd determined to exert myself to the nth degree on this test, although well aware there would be some slightly delayed post-exertional consequences, as I would risk anything to gain my freedom from this internment!

By 5.30pm, Thursday, I was on my way home, leaving it to the hospital to forward my discharge papers to my GP rather than incur any further stir craziness by waiting for same to be prepared. The post-exertional effects had really begun to hit home by Friday evening, followed by a very restless night with sharp aching pains being felt in chest, shoulder and leg muscles, along with my old familiar foe of intense discomfort in the armpits. The general feeling is one of a rather disconcerting fragility, a generalized discomfort; this post-exertional-malaise, unwelcome as it may be, is easier to deal with in the free world than it would be within those formidable clinical walls.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Growing Pains

Transplanting weeds / wildflowers (delete according to preferential term) can be a time consuming business but, fortunately, I have an OH to do the uplifting, from an inappropriate location, whilst I occupy myself with the re-planting. Not everyone welcomes the growth of weeds / wildflowers the way we do in this household, many would have difficulty in appreciating our excitement at finally having a healthy nettle patch developing in the wildlife friendly area of the garden! The rapid growth of the teasels is really something to behold and, I can just imagine the local goldfinches eager anticipation of their reaching fruition.

It's difficult to believe the amount of cultivation required to ensure the right kind of poor, reasonably well-drained, soil in what could all too frequently be a partially waterlogged area. It then took quite a while to develop the knack of disturbing the soil (in this meadow-type area) just sufficiently to encourage wildflower growth. Mind you, even the more traditionally cultivated areas of the garden contains somewhat random groupings of flag iris, even intruding on the lawn, whilst crocosmia merges with fuschia and rose of sharon in one bed whilst, elsewhere, other varieties of crocosmia happily rubs shoulders with rosemary, sage, and thistles

The mini, patio, and fish ponds all proffer a rich variety of aquatic and marginal plant growth, a rich habitat for insects and frogs. Red-veined docks, originally a minor introduction to the pond marginal range, have established themselves in various areas of the garden. The increasing number of avian visitors is a real treat; amazing how rapidly news of our feeding stations, and abundance of insects,  has travelled via the feathery grapevine. As I write, sparrows are rapidly flitting between the lantern feeder and their fledglings lined up, in eager anticipation, on an adjacent fence. The rain, which temporarily dissuades me from venturing out, is certainly no deterrent to these enthusiastic juveniles.

Just being and observing is a great source of contentment for yours truly!

Friday, June 04, 2010

A non-participatory event

I'm just re-posting this from my first, and probably last, posting on my blog on The Labour Parties Membersnet - so far I am not impressed.

Having been a party activist, serving on GMC's in different constituencies in the 1960's & 70's, I gradually became disillusioned by its middle-classwards drift, and work taking me to live in a staunchly Tory constituency, (which amazingly changed to LibDems for a couple of terms), there seemed little point in bothering with the local party. [Incidentally, Phil Willis, our LibDem MP attended & supported local anti Iraq war meetings whilst Blairs poodles followed the mighty Dubya into the illegal war.]

The neo-Thatcherite tendencies of the Blairite ascendancy gave me little hope that anything worthwhile could be acheived by a New Labour government. Perhaps it's a sign of my mellowing with age but, as the last election drew closer I began to see how much we risked losing at the hands of the Tories. I also had to acknowledge that Gordon Brown was the person best equipped to deal with the fallout from the global capitalist crisis.

After a couple of decades I decided to rejoin, although health problems (being an M.E.sufferer) could well prevent me being much of a grassroots activist.

Having duly received my membership card I noticed there was something called Membersnet; my first thought was "great, I'll be able to follow, and probably join in, some interesting discussions!" but that's when the problems started.
Under the membersnet header "Discuss", thought I would like to see what discussions are going on. Under each sub-header I clicked I'm greeted with the following message:


But you are not allowed to view or participate in this group.

The group may be private and therefore require an invitation to join.

I'm just loving the open-ness and sharing of this party that I've rejoined (after a membership lapse of a couple of decades). Wonderful encouragement of participation!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Website Update

I've just added a new gallery MORE VISITORS  to our New Luv4Sinners Website.

Israel and a quandary of faith - thinking aloud

There are times when I wish that I'd never been grasped by the good news proclaimed by (and of) Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of faith. I am ashamed, far too frequently, of the bigotry and intolerance shown by his followers, the unhealthy obsession with sex, as well as the historically imperialist ambitions of Christendom. The self congratulatory indulgence of being saved, of what Jesus has done for "me"(the emphasis being more on the me than the Saviour), I find rather nauseating at times. For me the central message is one of justice and fairness, the bringing in of the Kingdom (although I'd prefer it to be a republic), to be fought for and attained through non-violent means.

Yes I have known, and know, the joyful knowledge of being accepted and loved just as I am; I have experienced the gifts of the spirit, even the trivial glossolalia, though I could argue the case for this being self-delusion. I have been blessed, in spite of struggles, with many God-incidences (events which have felt far more purposeful than mere co-incidence) which have turned my life around, but not without a cost to myself.

The weekend events, of Israeli piracy in international waters, have brought to the fore much of my unease with having any kind of attachment to Jesus's Dad. Wasn't the heavenly Father of Jesus the self-same YHWH who led the Hebrew people to the bloodthirsty conquest of Palestinian lands those thousands of years back? I have a suspicion that the theology of Israel only began as a justification for the rapaciousness of this section of Abraham's children. The God who is given the credit for their liberation from captivity in Egypt is the same one who guided and condoned their theft of the lands which subsequently became Israel and Judah. No doubt it is the same Yahweh who condones their barbaric acts today.

Was the Father to whom Jesus prayed that self-same YHWH; had YHWH had a change of heart?

As I said at the beginning, an essential part of my being grasped by the good news is an attachment to non-violence but, my all too human heart would not be totally saddened by the overthrow of the Israeli nation state, which was, after all, established through acts of terrorism from 1939 onwards.