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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Dreaded Lurgy

Well, that was different. Tuesday night I was all set to go off to 2 days of meetings in Blackpool, I had my case all packed, the car running to warm it up as the weather was taking a turn for the worse.

My wife Maureen had been suffering with flu and had lost days sleeping because of it and I thought I was getting away with it – a slight tickly cough but nothing more. I was in the hallway getting my coat and Maureen spotted that I was leaning against the wall dozing off. Given that it’s a 2+ hour drive to Blackpool, nearer 3 hours in poor weather, she didn’t want me to go. I objected at first but I could actually feel myself going downhill by the second – that’s never happened to me.

I took my coat off and went to bed – around teatime. 20 hours or so later I was awake, but unable to do anything due to a stinking bad head and ribs that felt as if they’d been crushed.

It’s now Thursday. I’m up and typing but it’s not going to last – I’ve almost zero motivation (which anyone who knows me will tell you is “unusual”).  The backlog of email is nerve-racking to say the least but it’ll have to wait.

So if anyone thinks I’m ignoring them – I’m not – and for those who’ve already been in touch, concerned, thanks awfully. We’ll both be just fine.

You could not make this stuff up….

I can’t honestly remember a more stressful or more comical day than today… you couldn’t dream this stuff up…

After 2 days of struggling with dodgy broadband, I got up this morning, the plan being to hold a video conference at 11am. We use a package called ooVoo as it handle multiple video locations (Skype does that but not that well). All was ready. All I had to do was remind everyone to check the videos early. No matter what happened I was prepared – ORANGE broadband on one telephone line, FSBTELECOM on the other – what could possibly go wrong?

I should have known when I could not get through to the right people that it was all going to go wrong. So, with minutes to spare, people started coming into the video – all but the most important who could not get through.  It turns out that for various reasons my request for the fully commercial ooVoo had not gone through – and the free use of multi-video that ooVoo offered earlier this year was no longer an option. The program started asking for money and eventually we gave up and reverted to that old standby – the TELEPHONE CONFERENCE.

Can’t go wrong with that can you..  of course as I don’t even own a normal phone, it was SKYPE for me – but I have an account where I can make calls for a penny a minute – I NEVER run out of credit.

Only a couple of minutes later we were JUST about the start the conference when my wife Maureen came into my office with a message “the telephone guys are dismantling the post!!!!” -  I rushed outside and sure enough the crane is outside and they’re starting to take the post apart.  “What about the telephone lines” I asked. “Oh they’ll be disconnected for a few hours” came the reply.

I’ll miss out the bit about soaring blood pressure and profanities etc but needless to say, shortly thereafter the telephone guys went back off in their van, the pole intact.  I went back to my meeting, amazed. No doubt they’ll return at another inconvenient time to rob me of the chance to do my job. Between that and 2 days of no electricity only a couple of weeks ago – which led me to fit uninterruptable power supplies all over… so the broadband would work no matter what (well, who would expect the pole to disappear!!??)

And of course I’m doing all this running back and forth in the mud as our garden’s still not recovered from the farmer’s field overflows.

I wasn’t back in the meeting for 5 minutes and the phone went dead – no SKYPE credit. I’d neglected to think about the fact that it was an 0844 number and they don’t come into the normal cheap pricing bundle – I was getting hammered by the minute and my credit, enough to last weeks normally, evaporates in minutes.

This then, was the start of MY day today and it’s been like this all day – one episode after another. If I don’t have a heart attack today I’m good for another 20 years.

How was YOUR day….

(relax… deep breaths….)

Makeup and other forms of mind control?

I just happened to be listening to a show on Radio 4 this morning in the car… all about how men handle makeup – not wearing it but in respect to their women. Two guys who were quite obviously not that keen on excessive use of makeup were non-the-less concerned that they felt they really could not contribute much when a female member of their family said “what do I look like” – as they felt they were onto a loser no matter what they said.

The interviewer asked how they’d handle it if their teenage daughter was over-caked in makeup – would they comment? No was the reply, it might be insulting – so the only time they’d comment was to say how GOOD the person looked.

The conversation then went on to what about kids – surely the fellow’s 5-year old was not trying to impress women OR men while putting on mum’s makeup… and of course they’re not – they are simply keen to emulate adults. I’m not personally a believer in the “blank slate” idea of kids, I believe a LOT of their temperament comes from genetics, but there can be no doubt that kids listen to and watch adults and emulate them – almost without thinking…

And that brings me to the BENEFITS of makeup – or not?  Have you ever noticed that most adult men look WAY better in the skin department than women when put side by side without makeup!  But have you ALSO noticed that male adult ACTORS generally look AWFUL without makeup?  Could it be (and I’d hate to start a row here) that long-term use of makeup actually DAMAGES SKIN and by it’s very use makes itself essential – to the benefit of the massive companies set up to supply this stuff in the first place?

I think there is a wider point here… I look at beautiful women like Charlize Theron and wonder WHY ON EARTH she does those ads covered in gold car paint… she looks AWFUL and yet here is a woman who without ANY facepaint looks superb.

50% of the population spends every day of their lives in front of a mirror covering themselves in plastic – because they’re copying the generation before them – just as WELL over half of the world’s population believe in invisible gods of one form or another, without a shred of proof or even any hints of their chosen god being real, because they were, in the main brought up to believe… they are to a large extent merely copying their parents.   In World War 2, large numbers of small children were drafted by the Germans to shoot to kill, despite being FAR too young to understand the moral implications…

Which brings me to the point… isn’t it about time we started to be a LOT more careful about WHAT we encourage our kids to do – about what we teach them and about what we let them see on TV? They are our future after all  -and much as they may as adults go their own way, once indoctrinated as young kids, it’s very hard to change in later life.

Please – have my Kebabs

As someone who’s always been ready to be a donor (though donating blood could be a lot easier – they could have as much as they liked if they’d come out to my village for it – like the milk run in the morning – they could do a “blood run” in the evenings perhaps?), I’ve never understood the pathetic arguments of some of our religious friends (and some not-so-religious) over NOT donating their kebabs when they die. According to the BBC there are something like 10,000 people waiting at any time for organs and there is a shortage – what POSSIBLE reason can anyone have other than sheer ignorance, for NOT offering up their bits when they pass away. In a 21st century where donated organs regularly save lives, surely it is up to us to help save others when we no longer have a need for our innards.

Well, it looks like the various UK religious leaders have finally gotten their act together and are currently recommending to the faithful that they DO offer up their parts – WELL DONE CHAPS!!

Maybe I’m just getting old

Maybe I’m just getting old but I wonder if I’m right to have utterly and totally lost any faith in the British government whatsoever. As if it’s not bad enough that one of their “solutions” to the massive dept that they and what used to be called the “respectable” banking establishment have gotten us into (interestingly when renewing your PASSPORT, people in BANKING are still considered “respectable”), is to suggest that we now work until we’re 70… as if it is not bad enough that having collected massive amounts of data they keep losing it through incompetence almost daily… we now have confirmation (not that we needed it) that fiddling expenses is absolutely the done thing – £25k for home security?  Come off it. Having just read the Saturday Telegraph on the subject – I’m beginning to think we should just take all of our politicians, put them all up against a wall and have them SHOT.

The idea of working until you’re 70 is fine from a government perspective, several years LESS pensions to pay, several years more TAXES to pay… but for one thing – despite medical advances (if you call our persistent inability to handle arthritis and the flu etc  “advancement”)  there remain a lot of issues with employing people at that age – not everyone can settle down to a quiet life at the checkouts… there are not that many jobs around –  in technology-related companies  for example does anyone really think that a software company is going to take on someone at 60 or 65 for any meaningful job? People’s attitudes, desires and needs are very very different in that age-group compared  to for example someone in their 20s or 30s. That might work ok if you’re in charge or in a people-handling position – but have you noticed that most of the leading hi-tech companies employ VERY young people?  Today’s young think nothing of living in and divulging their life history into social networks that most 60+ year-olds have never heard of – and conversation is more likely to be about the latest computer game than the latest statins – I’m just not seeing this working AT ALL.

Any hope we had of pretending that this goverment are actually responsible and capable of looking after the best interests of the nation has long-since gone and we’re left with a bunch of incompetents on the take and we appear for now to be able to do very little about it but sit back and watch Britain PLC go down the toilet.  I’m sure the government was hoping that swine flu would keep us so occupied and even that’s not worked for them.

Wouldn’t it be nice to return to youth when everything seemed much more organised and simple…. it probably wasn’t – it just seemed that way – and bankers really WERE called “merchant bankers”.

The National Unhealth

Over a month ago I made an appointment with my local doctor as I’ve an issue with arthritis – most likely due to spending too many years blowing away aliens at the keyboard. He referred me to Hexham General Hospital, with a note with a password on it.

I went to the hospital website to try to make an appointment and there were only 2 options, both on the same day, both at the end of December – that’s it  – not December at the EARLIEST, ONLY those two appointments, ever. Not good enough I thought. So, I rang up the booking people and spoke to someone. "Don’t worry" was the response – someone will come back to you within 2 weeks.

Well, 3 weeks later no-one had come back to me so today I tried the website. It’s not making ANY bookings now. Clearly that wasn’t an option so I rang the appointments line – and explained that we were now looking at a month or so since I went to the doctors and I’m still no further forward. This is obviously a private company and they blamed the hospital. So I asked who I could complain to and get some action.  I should go back to my own doctor and talk to the practice manager.

After some diversion I eventually spoke to the appointments person – and she’s going to talk to my doctor and come back to me.

This is starting to remind me of Orange……

Update January 2009 – FINALLY – an appointment this month with the NHS – stunning. But.. other than giving me a supply of helpful supports or fusing bones together, there is nothing they can do!