Sunday, October 30, 2011

of needles and needless worries

The physiotherapist called again on Wednesday afternoon, as promised, to administer a gentle treatment with the magic needles whilst I sat in a chair, rather than my usual supine position. At first I found it more difficult to relax whilst seated but, as I practised a few breathing exercises, I soon overcame this little obstacle. By the time the practitioner was ready to remove the needles I felt wrapped in a gently warm glow of relaxation.

On Thursday I felt even more achingly tired than usual; incidentally this kind of minor setback, on the day following acupuncture treatment, is quite regularly experienced by yours truly, the benefits usually start to be felt around 48 hours after the treatment. Although feeling totally shattered when I went to bed that night, multiple discomforts, in armpits, forearms and torso prevented me from getting any sleep before 3.00am and, even then it only visited me in brief intermittent snatches.

By the time I freed myself from the duvet realm, on Friday morning, I was surprised to feel reasonably refreshed, all the better to face another day of minimal exertion. In the afternoon I managed a visit to Café Culture with my beloved; this neighbourhood café, a few minutes strolling time from home, has proved a real godsend.

On Saturday morning we were anticipating an early afternoon visit from six Southerners plus our eldest daughter Beth. I’ve got to admit that the prospect seemed quite daunting. For the past several years, I have had great difficulty coping with any kind of claustrophobic hospitality but, in the event I needn’t have worried. For some reason (unbeknown to yours truly) I was on quite scintillating form; by way of a bonus, it was also the first full-day that I’d survived, for some considerable time, without having to resort to painkillers*.

It was only this afternoon that I recognized the latter achievement, as I passed an afternoon in state of totally exhausting shatteredness; this extreme discomfort is a far from atypical reaction to any previous days socializing, regardless of that activities duration or intensity.

* a sign that the acupunctures benefits had well and truly kicked in?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

normal service may be resumed ... tomorrow

On Monday afternoon I was really looking forward to a visit from Helen A, the physiotherapist, who over the past few years has helped me with both pain management and a modicum of re-energizing by the skilful manipulation of acupuncture needles. It had been a considerable time since her previous visit and, my body was screaming out for some kind of miraculous intervention but, my guts weren’t prepared to have any of it. No sooner had she positioned the first couple of needles than an unexpected (and unrelated) excruciating spasm of the colon necessitated a change of posture, and consequently the abandonment of the treatment.

I’m unfortunately all too familiar with colonic spasms, and quite regularly have to take an anti-spasmodic medication but, the intensity of pain on this occasion was of an altogether different order. My eyes began watering as I gasped for breath; it felt as if someone had got hold of the intestine and knotted it as tightly as possible whilst somehow managing to wield a cat o’ nine tails thus granting themselves added sadistic satisfaction.

Suddenly, the tears came flooding out as I apologized for being such a wimp; as the evening progressed the abdominal disturbances began to settle down as the pains in the upper limbs started to demand my attention. Come bed-time, discomfort in both upper and lower limbs ensured that several sleepless hours would ensue.

The good news is that I’ve had a much more settled day today and, the physio will be calling later tomorrow afternoon to administer the healing needles.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cussing and Tears

For someone who needs / requires a minimum sleep & bed rest of at least twelve hours per night, things take a quite dramatic turn when medications fail to support the necessary restfulness. Last night / this morning proved a cussingly tearful case in point; the cussing, tossing, turning and stamping during the night, the tears on late emergence into the daylight hours.

Having taken an overdue shower, mid-evening, I seriously anticipated a good night’s sleep as I mounted the stairs en route to beddy byes. A quick brush of the teeth, followed by a casting off of the dressing gown, and I was ready to snuggle down with my beloved. No matter how tired I felt, golden slumbers had little or no intention of passing my way.

Crushingly searing pains in the left arm, coupled with muscle spasms in the lower limbs, conspired against the best laid plans. It wasn’t long before the lightweight pyjama jacket, which began to feel unduly constrictive, had to be cast off and, I then tried to apply the wrist splint, which has on many occasions seemed to alleviate the intense discomfort in the upper limb. Arms stretched downwards, both under and over the duvet, then stretched behind my back followed by stretching them above my head; none of this solves the extreme discomfort. Next I try lying on my left side, lying on the right side, lying on my front with arms crossed under my pillow but none of this helps. The discomfort screamingly intensifies.

 Having taken amitriptyline during the evening, I now reluctantly resort to 2x50mg tramadol but, even these seem to have little effect. Eventually, sometime after 3.00am, some snatches of sleep; vividly Technicolor naturalistic dreams haunt me back to wakefulness. A time of hopeful waiting follows, hopeful that I may soon revisit the land of nod; I drift back into slumber and a different dream.

When I eventually feel more awake, and find sufficient stamina to remove myself from the duvet lair donning daytime clothing, I’m suddenly overwhelmed by tears of intense frustration. Suddenly, I can’t help feeling that this health-imposed lifestyle is letting life pass me by. It’s only very rarely that I can venture beyond the neighbourhood high street, even that becoming an effort at times, that even the pleasure I derive from the home garden and aquarium begins to wane. I certainly couldn’t manage without the loving tenderness, care and caresses, of ma belle Helen but, at the same time, I feel utterly guilty and upset by the stress I must be causing her.

This post also appears on 'Mal's Murmurings' as "a self-pitying yelp of frustration"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Whither Labour or Wither Labour

What is Labour's position on "free schools" or, where does it differ from the coalition on anything?

As a Labour Party member I find myself somewhat concerned by (Shadow Secretary of State for Education) Stephen Twigg's  apparent support for free schools. Has the party policy officially changed since Andy Burnham declared them to be a reckless gamble?

I rejoined the Labour Party when I thought the Blairite days were over but now, with a new leader (who I voted for) condemning justifiable plans to take industrial action by Trade Unionists, many of whom voluntarily contribute to support Labour as part of their union fees, an increased number of Blairites in the Shadow Cabinet, and now this move to supporting free schools I'm wondering which party I'm in!

I am also concerned at the way the party leadership tends to support the Tory / Blairite attack on benefit claimants as scroungers. When I succumbed to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in 2003 it was incredible the hurdles I was made to jump through in order to claim any benefit at all, the medicals process causing a relapse in my condition and hence, the effort was far too great to consider applying for DLA which my therapist at the Chronic Fatigue Unit insisted I should be entitled to. My entitlement to the State Pension when I turned 65 came as a great relief but. I suppose the official line is that pensioners are scroungers too.

The party has certainly moved a long way from that which I faithfully served throughout the 60's and 70's. Sorry for the rant from what started out as a simple desire to know just where the party stands in relation to "free schools" but, instead, I found myself wondering why I should continue to support it. I, for one, care more about the downtrodden poor, especially those on low pay and/or benefits, than an ill-defined squeezed middle, which obviously doesn't include public sector workers who are scorned for wanting to take protest action against cuts, changes to pensions etc.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mal's Factory shows Promise

a new poem - or lines towards such - can be found on Mal's Factory - Poetry & Prose Poems

tasting the air - thwarting the robber barons

For once, I’m thankful for the thieving profiteering utility companies. Being reluctant to put on the fire, hence supporting their practice of extortion, I discover that it’s a more pleasantly comfortable temperature outside and, a walk in the rain (hand in hand with my beloved) provides me with a little long overdue exercise. For the past few days sundry ailments, of both very and less familiar varieties, had prevented me from
tackling little more than a walk up to the garden pond to feed the fish.

Its strange how often dull damp days have the effect of making the houses interior feel extra cold; it feels so much warmer once outside, embracing the elements, on such days as this.

The preceding lines were written yesterday, before I ran out of the necessary stamina / powers of concentration to proceed further. Today, once again, it began to feel almost intolerably cold sat in the house but, having donned an appropriate lightweight waterproof to wander up the garden and feed the fish, the external temperature proved sufficiently comfortable for me to enjoy a garden snapshot session.

Prior to this little venture into the great outdoors, I’d been feeling totally ill at ease inside my own skin; the pain emanating from armpits, upper arm, elbows, wrists and, spasmodically, the rib-cage served to sustain a nagging sense of nausea. For an hour or so it seemed impossible to find a position / posture that would permit me to either listen to the radio or read a few pages of a book without, most disconcertingly, hurting! So, once again, my reluctance to further support the robber barons, encouraged me to take to the open air, as an exercise in distraction from the prevailing dis-ease.