Category Archives: Health

My health, our health, your health

Festive Period

It’s our own fault, we live in the middle of the country and our folks live in the north-east (mine) and on the south-coast (hers). So Christmas is often a time spent in the car – staring at other cars full of people staring at other cars. I can’t drive which means poor Grete gets it in the neck and has to do all that herself (donations of driving lessons welcome). Car survived, which is always a full-on bonus. Drive up north was clear, leaving was difficult with about 90 minutes of driving snow and some serious freezing fog. South wasn’t bad, although was very cold in the morning and lots of fog, and then coming back from there it was wet and windy. We got the whole gamut of British Winter Weather (you know, hailing one moment and then clear skies and bright sunshine the next). It was nice to see the family, we haven’t seen most of them for a couple of years through a combination of health, cost and time.

Generally it’s been a good Christmas, certainly more relaxing than previous years and we didn’t get sick just before cooking Christmas dinner and throwing it all away this time, which always helps. We did cook too much food and throw most of it away anyway but that’s not the point.

Hmm, I started this an hour ago, got sidetracked and now I can’t remember what I was going to write, and it’s 3am. So, I’ll go to bed, glad you enjoyed your visit 🙂

Pickled Onions

So, Grete has had a small cyst on her scalp for a while now, nothing dangerous, but as it was slowly getting larger, it was becomming more uncomfortable for her in many ways. So she was brave enough to arrange for a quick op to have it removed, which we did today. So, a little bit of hair removed, a cyst removed (looked like a small pickled onion, I kid you not!) and she’s all better, and I’m damn proud of her for getting it done. Three stitches which she needs to get taken out next week, and a little bit of care, and everything’s sorted.

Our Cat and My Thumb

We have a cat, Bubbles, she’s cute. Here she is hiding her face from the camera. She likes to lie on her back and look cute, and attack your hand as you go to stroke her stomach. It’s cute. But, she moans when she can’t go out, a lot, and then she whinges about having to use the litter tray instead of being outside. Anyway, as the nights draw in, and get cooler, we stop her being out so long in the evenings, and hence, her whining level goes up.

Anyone who has cats know that the cute ones look cute, but are just as deadly as the ones that look deadly. We all know that Cat bathing is a martial art. It should be obvious that you should never attempt to engage your cat in any kind of activity in which it’s not fully happy with. But, Bubbles has this ability to pick the right moment to wind you up – she’s like a combination between a stroppy teenager and a 2 year old.

And so revenge is often sweet, while she’s sleeping, I tickle her paws for example. Always funny. Anyway, so there she was, lying on her back as she does, next to my computer chair. All four paws in the air, eyes closed, relaxed. Hah, here’s my chance for some light revenge, I’ll just grab a paw gently and she’ll meow and then do that reflexive back-paw-scrabbling thing she does.

Only, well, she was obviously asleep.

And I always underestimate how sharp her claws are.

And how fast her reactions are.

And how surprised she’d be.

The cut is about 3mm deep, and about 3cm long, on the underside of my thumb. It’s painful, and there was a decent amount of blood.

Oh well, it was worth it for the surprised look on Bubble’s face!

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.

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.

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.

Still hurts

Well, each night the pain goes away (by about 10pm) but then each morning it’s back as bad as ever.

I’m now playing with Adobe GoLive to see if it’s any better than PageMill – it certainly seems to be more functional, which of course means it’s also more complicated. However, hopefully it won’t have the same bugs as PageMill.

It hurts!

The really frustrating thing is that at the moment, I feel pretty much OK, 4 doses of drugs throughout the day and a lot of rest mean that just sitting doesn’t hurt. However, I know that after another night of sleep, the muscles will be stiff again, and sitting up will be like ripping my own arm off.