Day 2 of the rest of my Life

Ok, so I’m a bit melodramatic in my title sections 😉 Day 2 back at work, and it’s a Friday so the weekend to look forward to. Friday’s are always tougher, because one of the team doesn’t work Friday’s, and quite a few times at the moment, one other team member seems to be on holiday a lot. Today, I’m the only technical resource in the office, along with my team leader. One member in India, one working from home, one on holiday and one who doesn’t work Friday’s.

Had a bit of anxiety at work, and a little bit last night while trying to get to sleep, but nothing as bad as it was before I was off-sick. Got some of the symptoms now as well, but at least I know they aren’t caused by something physical which is killing me, which helps me manage them a hell of a lot better.

Trying to maintain a more relaxed approach to being at work, not worrying so much about the detail, the company doesn’t seem to want me to, so I’ll try not to. Just have to try and move that philosophy into my normal out of work life as well – don’t sweat the small stuff as they say.

Is that good though? Isn’t it the small stuff that differentiates us and makes us who we are? Two people do X, but one of them pays more attention to the fine detail, people are going to say ‘wow, person A did a fine job’ instead of ‘well, person B did just what was needed’. Does it matter? I guess it depends on the job, the small stuff, and how much paying attention we’re talking about. Sweat the small stuff but don’t fret if you can’t sweat it this time. Perhaps.

Back to Work

Back to work this morning after 14 days signed off. I wanted to come back – I can only imagine that suffering anxiety means the longer you stay off work the harder it is to get back to it, so I wanted to come back and deal with the issues directly. Usual back to work after a break stuff to do, cup of tea, catch up with people, read a thousand e-mails.

Grete’s taken up guitar lessons and singing lessons, which she’s really enjoying, and I know she’ll be good at. You can all come around and listen to us murdering Mull of Kintyre at some point. I’ll buy the cider with toe nail clippings for the full effect.

EverQuest is still fun – I’m going to say this even though most of you will have no clue what it means. My warrior character and the character’s of 5 friends succeeded in Tipt last night and we’re now KT flagged. It’s a huge achievement for us, and a weird feeling considering my wizard character has been flagged for ages (thanks to a raiding guild he was in) and has raided in those zones. But achieving it with friends is even more sweet.

Whether or not we’ll be able to repeat that Tipt run to get whole bunches of guild members flagged is another question. Takes about 2 hours to complete, needs a solid core of 3 or 4 players (tank, cleric, puller, cc) and 2 good dps classes to make it through, one of those classes needs to be a good backup healer, secondary rez is very useful, and good buffers essential because deaths are likely. That makes it hard to get 6 new people flagged every time.

Hillbillie’s b0rked computer

One of the things that I love about games like EverQuest is the sense of community. It was there in IRC and FidoNet and it’s there in some MMORPG’s like EQ. You have to work at it, it doesn’t just happen, and you have to want it otherwise it may as well be just another video game. But there can be a sense of community, a feeling of knowing people you’ve never met.

Perhaps a lot of it is illusion – perhaps people you think you know are in fact totally different. But I suspect it’s similar to making pen-pals before the age of global communication via computer, and that often your impression of people you deal with on-line a lot is pretty accurate.

When I play EQ, it’s to socialise as well as play a game, some people will scoff about socialising with people you can’t see or actually hear, but I don’t mind, feel free, we enjoy it.

And so when one member of the community has PC problems, and can’t get them sorted for whatever reason, it’s usually frustrating for their friends, wanting them to get back on-line. Hillbillie’s computer is b0rked and there’s no sign of it being fixed quickly. However, I wanted to help, and I wanted to offer you the chance to help (not you the random reader who just wandered by, but you, a friend of Hillbillie, I don’t expect random Joe public to help!).

There’s a button on the right side of the page, Make a Donation, which uses Pay Pal to send Hillbillie some cash, so that hopefully he can get his computer fixed and get his ass back in the game.


Well, yesterday and today I’ve still had the anxiety symptoms, but no-where near as pronounced as they were before hand. The facial/neck pain almost totally gone (although there’s a twinge or two this morning), the heart thing subdued and the cough/breathing stuff not as nasty, although they all come back pretty strongly just before I go to bed, as usual.

I guess the question is, can I cope with the anxiety and get it under control outside of work, in a way which helps me maintain control inside work. We’ll see.

The ‘eating less’ thing isn’t going too well, but hey, we knew that for the last 34 years why would the last 4 weeks be any different. Going to be tough to change the habits I have around food, I have a strong dislike for anything which prevents me enjoying food, and I’m not good at self discipline.

EverQuest is down again for another five hour patch. Not the most successful expansion launch for EQ. 11 Hour patch to launch, 3 hour patch on the day after, 5 hour patch on the day after that and today another 5 hours. So a total of 24 hours of downtime so far to launch it, time will tell if it ruins the experience for some people. Certainly those who did not buy it will be pretty annoyed considering they’re suffering for content they can’t see.

Monster missions are a total blast, radically new in EQ, playing Nagafen and defending his cave from the hoards of crazy ‘players’ was some of the best fun I’ve had in EQ for a long time. Hopefully it’s a sign of some rich content further in the expansion, if we get a good enough run to be able to go and see any of it.

Cliche: Good news and Bad news

Well the bad news is no surprise. Confirmation from my new (and helpful) GP that I do indeed have diabetes. The 3 month blood test shows a high reading (10.something), and he asked if we wanted to do diet or tablet control straight away. I said we’d try diet control, take another test in 3 months and see how that’s going. The fact that we had a conversation about it and he explained the issues is a major step forward, rather than just being told about half of what was going on.

The other physical symptoms I’ve got are ‘classic’ anxiety and he signed me off work for two weeks. The good news, is that they’re not heart disease or a lung infection or any of the other horrible physical things they could have been. Anxiety is serious, but it’s something I can fix, and knowing it’s not caused by a physical illness will already help to reduce the amount of stress I’m feeling.

So, the feelings in the side of my face (a tightness or pain), the heart racing or thumping, and the cough and feeling as if I’d just sucked in some spice or strong mint in my lungs, all anxiety. And knowing that does help, now I just need to find a way to deal with it, and relax more.


So have another GP appointment today at just after 5pm, with a different doctor this time. I’ll try and get across again that I’ve got symptoms that I either need to know are from the diabetes or aren’t so that they can be looked at. Not liking confrontation, doctors and health issues doesn’t make visiting the doctor any easier, and when you feel like you’ve been ignored 3 times so far, it’s even harder to bring those issues up again.

Fingers crossed.


EverQuest patch day today, releasing a new expansion (Depths of DarkHollow), servers are expected to be down for about 11 hours. So, all around the world, EQ players are trying to remember what they did before they played EQ, that filled 11 hours.

I suspect many of them will either,

  1. Haunt the various EQ web sites
  2. Play another MMORPG they used to play before EQ took over their lives
  3. Get sucked into random games on
  4. Talk to their spouse for the first time since the last patch
  5. Drink Beer

For me and my good wife (who also thankfully plays EQ) it’ll be an evening on the sofa with some good food and hopefully a good film.


So, been playing with and … I’m impressed. It’s a hell of a lot easier to blog stuff than it was on my own home page using my own custom written simple stuff, and you get plenty of control over the layout and structure! Even the ability to upload images and not worry about hosting is very nice. Very pleased.

And the best thing.

Spell checker (when I remember to use it!)

National Health Service

The NHS in the UK is ‘great’. It’s good knowing if you’re ill, the last thing you have to worry about is whether you can afford the treatment required to get better. I’m sure huge health insurance policies which cover everything provide the same feeling of security, but I’m a big believer in the social provision of things like the health service. And so, I think it’s great.

I just wish the people were equally great. Sadly, people are normal, and some people are better than others. And the NHS is oddly, populated with people. I have much respect for the people who work in the NHS, mostly, because it’s suffered a lot over the years and I bet it can’t be much fun.

But when you’re ill, you want some compassion, some respect, and some good advice, and when you get the wrong person in the NHS, you don’t get that, and it doesn’t help you get better. How a GP deals with patients is a critical part, in my opinion, of the recovery process. If they treat you with respect, and listen, and deal with your issues, getting better will be a hell of a lot easier than if they don’t bother listening, ignore your questions or provide sarcastic, unhelpful answers.

I know that they’ve probably seen 40 people that day, and more than half probably didn’t need to be there, and some of them were probably abusive and rude, but that doesn’t mean I need my GP to treat me like,

a) a 5 year old
b) a 90 year old
c) an idiot
d) all of the above

The two ‘classes’ of people I find best in the NHS are practice nurses and hospital specialist doctors. In the past when I’ve had any kind of illness, those two groups of people have been the most useful, compassionate, informative and understanding. When I had Bell’s Palsy, the initial nurse was great and the final specialist was superb and helpful, but the ‘layers’ in-between including my GP at the time were an obstruction to getting healthier, it’s frustrating. I try and forgive them, because I’m sure people don’t go into the health service to be like that, but it’s hard.