Waiting: For the Rain to Stop, to Get Well, and in Hospitals

A week where my life just seemed to be about waiting. Didn’t someone once say being retired was like sitting in God’s waiting room? I really thought my illness would shift faster. And anyone who tells you the NHS isn’t in crisis is living in cloud-cuckoo land. 13 years of decline so that now all we seem to do is sit on waiting lists or in hospital waiting rooms.

Meanwhile, one of the wettest months of February in history and it felt like it. Days when you just want the rain to stop and to be able to fully dry off. I’ve taken to always having a spare pair of socks with me so I can change out of the wet ones. And it feels like the neo-fascist populists are gaining ground in America and the UK (what were the voters of Rochdale thinking?) – another waiting game of dread to see what will happen.

Mum: Hospital #1 (waiting and uncertainty)

First hospital visit on Thursday with mum. The hospital is awkward to get to so we had to get an Uber there and back. Arrived in good time as instructed and just sat waiting to be seen. Mum was actually seen an hour after her appointment. I complained and was told ‘the doctor is very thorough’. No she is not, she’s just bad at time-keeping.

Basically it was a check-in so you have to wonder if it was worth the hassle. Mum also had to do bloods after the appointment ‘just to be sure’. That involved another hour long wait. We took a ticket – number 78; the number being seen when we sat down was 29.

Then, the next day, out of the blue a call from the doctor to advise that mum needed to go for a scan and more bloods. This really shook mum up. Particularly as there was supposed to be a call back to give the details on this and that never came. I tried to follow up by phone but was told nothing was booked on the system. Another waiting game to see what happens next week.

Friends: Philip

Spoke to Phyllis on Tuesday afternoon. We haven’t spoken since I had returned from Gran Can and had my period of illness. He’s fine and was telling me about his travel plans for the year ahead. Plus we shared our situation where we are both caring for our elderly mums and trying to ensure they are as well looked after as possible.

Alternative pic of older person

Illness: Waiting to get better

The illness I referred to in my previous blog (read it here) clearly appears to be one of those that lasts 10 days rather than just a couple. I felt a bit light-headed on Monday; went to see mum but just went straight to bed. Managed to get up later to have some soup for dinner but then straight back to bed.

Tuesday was a write-off. I went to sleep around 9pm on Mon night and didn’t get up till 9am. The rest of that day I just spent chilling and snoozing in the hope the disease would shift. Indeed, David met up with Patrick on Tuesday lunchtime. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go – I just had to rest and see if I could shift this.

Finally, shifted the illness around Wednesday onwards. Been a long slog and I’m still left feeling quite tired.

Dozing and subdued bulldog

My prostate issues: Hospital #2 (medical aloofness)

After months of waiting, finally got to see a urologist on Sunday about my prostate issues and it was disappointing. A middle aged, middle class male doctor who I suspect disliked working Sundays though probably being paid a fortune (not everyone goes into medicine because they care). Clearly there is no great wish to operate as I’m under 60 though that would also save money and avoid increasing the waiting list.

His view is I drink too much tea and coffee with caffeine being the problem. He wasn’t interested in my other medical issues nor other meds being taken and assumed some of the issues I was facing were linked to me trying to have children! An extra med to take and a camera to be inserted at some point – not clear if via front or back, questions weren’t invited.

Gym and athletics inspiration

A week with no swim again. As per the week before, I didn’t really feel like swimming in cold and questionably clean water when not feeling 100% – waiting till I feel better. But I did get in 3 gym sessions. And at the end of the week, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the indoor athletics championships from Glasgow. Always inspired by these sort of events though my ongoing Achilles injury may well mean I can never return to jogging.

3 nicely spaced gym sessions on Mon, Wed, and Fri. On Monday I did feel a bit light-headed as I exercised but not bad enough to stop my workout. Though I made sure I didn’t overdo it. Wed was a much better affair. Again, focused on certain body parts and slow but heavy movements. Indeed, perhaps it was all in my head but I felt like I could feel parts of me getting stronger with my muscles being really worked. And this was pretty much what happened as well on Friday.

19 gym sessions since the start of 2024 divided by the annual membership = £28.95 per session.

range of dumbells

Weight: Another drop

In my previous blog, I was wondering if my big weight drop was just a blip after illness? Well, the illness was still there at the start of the week gone and that may explain another weight drop. Down to 12 stone 10.5 pounds. Good news though I need to keep an eye on it as I don’t feel I’m eating significantly less and my daily motions feel very different to normal at the moment. Once we would never have talked about things like this but, thankfully, now we can all be a bit more honest and open.

man weighing himself

Two books read last week.

‘Venomous Lumpsucker’ by Ned Beauman

I’ve been meaning to catch-up with this book for ages. Beauman is not a prodigious author but the books he writes are very impressive. And this one has won several awards and many commendations.

It’s a cracking piece of contemporary sci-fi i.e. it’s based on what could happen within the next few decades. It is satirical but it’s political satire that is tinged with warning about what could happen as it is based on a strong element of truth.

Fundamentally, it is a criticism of how we monetise the environment to try to escape the impact of global heating and other man-made disasters. In this context, Extinction Credits are created for companies to buy in lieu of them making species extinct. Completely crazy as the money is never a disincentive where the profit is big enough and you know that some idiot is going to suggest this as a real thing one day.

In many ways, I think it is a commentary on the fallacy of carbon offsetting. How we delude ourselves that we can carry on using fossil fuels and plant a few trees to replace them. Trees that will probably die or burn down before they reach maturity in 50 years time. Meanwhile we chop down woodlands with abandon – witness in the creation of the defunct HS2 line. Ancient woodlands destroyed forever so it is 15 minutes quicker to travel to London from Birmingham.

The importance of planting trees

‘Children of Paradise’ by Camilla Grudova

A thoughtful book I picked up at the local library. In many ways it was sold to me by the recommendations from various authors I rate like Nicola Barker. It’s a short and relatively easy read centred on an independent cinema in an unnamed British(?) city. And it’s a read that I think will linger in my head for a while.

We follow the lives of the small, dedicated, and largely dysfunctional staff team. Their love of classic cinema and touching camaraderie keeps them tied together. We find out about the tricks of the job and the crazy punters. There are also several departures including a disastrous one that sees the cinema sold out to a modern cinema company.

We then observe the slow decline of the cinema and the team. The takeover by a corporate monstrosity dedicated to Marvel films with a new general manager who epitomises the ghastly ‘happy clappy’ modern management so many of us have suffered. But it’s also quite a dark book with several of the negative things that ultimately happen to the main characters.

Culture from the Saatchi Gallery

One language per day

I’m keeping up with my daily Duolingo language learning. But I’ve changed the way I learn so that I concentrate on one specific language each day. Thus German one day then Spanish the next. Previously I tried to do one of each every day.

I’m hoping this helps me get focus in my learning and stop getting languages confused together. We will see but it is always good to mix up your learning methodologies to see what works better. I’m sure at some stage I will go back to my previous way albeit just for a bit of variety.

QPR: Real hope

A fucking brilliant result on Saturday with an away win against the Championship leaders Leicester. Really wasn’t expecting that. Although we needed it as most of the teams around us also performed well. 3 places outside the relegation zone! However, it is incredibly tight in terms of points per team at the bottom of the division with goal difference being the key thing.

  • Hopefully the waiting is over and I am fully back to health. My plan is 3 gym visits and a swim. However…
  • All is dependent on if mum gets any details about returning to hospital. When this happens, inevitably more waiting around but it has to be done.
  • Hopefully, I will finish the 3 books I am currently reading. On the paranormal, metabolism and its role in losing weight, plus a book on the gay resort Fire Island. The latter is for the Velvet Page book club which I hope to attend on Thursday.
  • Second shingles vaccination on Wed and physio again on Friday about my ongoing Achilles problem. Though I think we have reached a point where I’m not 100% sure the physio is achieving anything any more…
  • Mother’s Day on Sunday. Dave is off up north and I will be spending time with my mum, our plan is to have an Indian take-away on the day.
Not what you want to hear

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