Tag Archives: health

letters to the editor – post operative voices


It may pain me to say it, but I find myself sharing a number of things in common with the current leader of New Labour. Apart from the fact that we are both male and both live in this country, we also share having had ENT surgery.

In my case I was warned that I m ight speak in a very different manner after the op and that there was a small risk that I might not be able to form recognisable speech at all, but this proved not to be the case and my medical team have been very pleased with the results of their handiwork as I sound exactly as I did before they cut and stitched. In this perhaps I diverge from the Leader of the Opposition as he apears to sound even more nasal than he did before.

However, we do share one further post operative speech defect in that we are both still prone to talking through our backsides from time to time.

Your fainthfully

Disgusted of Dorcan

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an attitude to death

A couple of readers have question my attitude to death in the wake of recent posts. It is a simple one; we are going to die and we know that it will come to us at some point, so why not just accept it as being a truth and get on with living?

I first encountered death aged about 13. My grandparents were all long gone and the first body that I saw was not anyone that I knew, but there they were. Within months I tripped over the grim reaper again when I witnessed a road accident and one of the victims died despite the efforts of myself and others to save them. Since then I have seen others die in accidents, lost both parents and other relatives, friends, colleagues and acquaintences to a point where I have lost count. Maybe that toll has hardened me, but I think that it may be more that I have become used to death. It hasn’t diminished in its impact, but I have learned to cope perhaps?

My own end will come some day. I have come close more than once and realised some years back that, whilst I enjoy experienceing things in life, the last experience that I will have is that of dying. On that basis, when it comes, I will do my best to enjoy that too.

My belief is that when you die you are dead. There is no afterlife in my world, no heaven or hell, it’s just over and I will be gone. And so I will make the best of what time I have here, trying not to abuse the world around me and its many life forms and helping where I can.

Our time to go is our time to go. It may seem too early to others (or too late to some), but it is our time.Do I get angry over some deaths? Yes I do, and when I do I try to do what I can to speak out, but not to rant because you can’t undo death so why waste the effort? Instead I would rather use reasoned argument to try and change things so that there is less risk for the future.

As for emotional response to death, if you want to wail and nash your teeth over it then that is your choice. I choose to honour the dead my way.

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more fun at the NHS

I had a bad feeling about a late afternoon appointment for a check up and, sure enough, things were running an hour late. This sort of thing drives me to distraction and I ended up having to leave part way through what they had planned for me as I had something else that I needed to be doing.

Whilst I do have some sympathy there are some aspects of my NHS encounters where they just play themselves into trouble. My GP will arrange appointments from 0830 but they wait until exactly 0830 to walk around and unlock the door, so even if you are first through the door it will be a couple of minutes before you are sat down and the Doc is never standing at the consulting suite entrance waiting for you. By their own clocks it is usually 0835 before anyone is called, so they are late from the first appointment.

In the Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin Reggie dictates a letter to the British Railways chief suggesting that, as his train is always 11 minutes late, they reissue the timetables adjusted accordingly. Same sort of issue really.

So I’m sat here this evening feeling pretty low. I’ve had time wasted that means, to avoid letting someone down, I’ve had to do an hour’s work this evening when I had plans to do something personal.

Such is life, but I doubt that anyone else cares too much.

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Garden progress here in North Wiltshire

Tonight dinner was enhanced by the first potatoes from what used to be our rockery. We dug it out a couple or three years ago and made a raised be into with we’ve planted various greens and potatoes. Tonight’s are the result of a potato that I just planted because it was sprouting in the veg drawer. A nice change from some of the shop bought (we were very disappoited with the Jersey Royals this year – almost tasteless).

Earlier in the year we had a great crop of strawberries that lasted us throigh about 3 weeks of enhancing puddings. Not so many coming through now though.

The tomato hanging basket (Tumbler) is cropping like mad and making salads nicer as are lettuce from the garden. The plum and full size tomatoes are flowering, but no crops yet.

We tried Pak Choi this year for the first time and managed to use 4 or 5 in stir fries before they went to flower.

Fennel, garlic, round carrotts and beans all coming along.

We’ll never match Tom & Barbara, but it is a bit of fun and relaxation, the food miles are minimal and it all tastes good, so we’ll be doing it all again next year.

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Filed under about me, In our garden

back (excuse the pun) at the chiroprator

Having managed to put my back out speaking at the Public Procurement Show the other week I have been back at the chiropractor. The one that sorted me out after being rammed from behind on Birdlip Hill has moved so I have found myslef a new one. Not the one where the owner runs a Maserati and wanted me to pay them thousands, presumably to keep up the payments on the trident job, but one who has reasonable charges and has got me walking around pain free again.

If you do take up this route you do need to think about long term work on your skeleton to get bones and muscles working and, as you get older, this makes more sense.

So if you have problems, do consider a chiropratctor to help you. It has worked on me and I would be happy to recommend my lady to you. Drop me an email or post a comment here and I’ll pass on the details.

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the power of the media – e.coli and all that

So there I am, networking away after giving an evening presentation, when realisation of the time creeps up on me. I need to get moving. I’ve missed out on the sponsor’s excellent looking buffet, but plan to grab a sandwich at Paddington – it’s a long time since 12 and my hurried lunch.

Farewells said I head out into Kingsway and cross the street heading for Holborn Station and the Central Line. As I funnel into the stream of others squeezing into the entrance I take the free Evening Standard and shuffle through the turnstiles and down the escalator.

A westbound train is just pulling so I dive on, lean up against the partition and open my paper. The news is bad: Mutant e.coli sweeping Europe and the US. Deadly bugs passed on via salad items seem to be the cause and we have 7 victims over here in the UK now. Nasty stuff, and I feel for the folks in Hamburg, the epicentre of the outbreak the paper tells me, as it is somewhere I have visited many times on business and have always been warmly welcomed.

A change of train at Oxford Circus and I get a seat this time. I read more about the outbreak and its implications. All very unpleasant.

Paddington comes up and I make my way through the tunnel and up onto the concourse. I have 10 minutes before the train is due out, so head for the food concessions to find, you guessed it, row upon row of tired looking concoctions (well it is just after 9pm) all embellished with limp salad.

Even if the chance of any of it being likely to be carrying a nasty bug is infinitesimal, ThatConsultantBloke goes home to bed hungry, unable to face any of it, the power of the media having put him off thoroughly.

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Filed under about me, fun stuff

tough times

Over the last couple of weeks two people we know very well have both been diagnosed with cancer and neither is likely to be around this time next year. Of course such predictions are not always true, but they both have to think about how they deal with what may well be a shortish time left and, sorry if this sounds selfish under the circumstances, those around them, including us, have to consider the impact their last months and passing will have.

As I’ve written in another blog recently we don’t get to choose when our time is up, but when mine comes I would rather it was quick. A lingering demise, as both of my parents had, is hard on those around you. I don’t want to inflict that on anyone.


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Hopefully my last NHS encounter for a while

This time last week I was back at my local NHS hospital waiting to go into theatre for another general anisthetic and what, I hope, will be my last encounter with the NHS for a while. At least the surgical branch that is; I shall still have to battle with the local doctor’s end for the foreseeable future.

One week on I can report what seems like a complete success. For the first time in a year I can hear properly and am no longer suffering from the disorienation and balance problems that one good ear and one useless one had been causing. Listening to music on my headphones has been restored to the pleasure that it once was, and visits to supermarkets and similar places of high ambient noise are no longer such an aural trial.

I have a great empathy with those who have these problems on a permanent basis, but am very glad that, for me, I’m back to what represents normal for a man of 58.

My encounters with the NHS at this level have been good. Only the ridiculous issue of the hospital and my doctor not being able to see the same information even though they are part of the same local body has clouded things (it has meant that I have had to go through the same tests twice on several occasions which is a stupid waste). Poor process aside, as for the people that I have had to deal with, I cannot fault them. They are a fine crew and but, now that they have restored me to my former glory, and therefore for purely selfish reasons, I do hope that I have seen the last of them for some time to come.

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and yet another MRI scan!

Yes, I’ve been down the tibe again. Is that 6 times now? I’ve lost count.

They have given up looking for signs of intelligent life (I think) and this time wanted to have a look at my hearing gear as they’ve worked out what my recent problems have been all about and are going to have a bash at a minor operation to get me back to, if not as good as new, then at least as good as I ought to be.

A 10 minute lie down in the drainpipe this time; about average really, and they are nothing to be afraid of if you are facing one. Just lie back and relax and it will soon be over and done with.

If anyone reading this does have their first scan coming up and are bothered. Feel free to get in touch (Leave a comment here or click on the link to my web site where you can email me) and I’ll be happy to try and reassure you that it’s not that bad.

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what price 15 feet of tarmac?

Pretty much every Saturday morning it is my pleasure to treat the Wokingham Wonder to a run out so that I can buy her a late breakfast and give her the chance to spend her pension.

We don’t go quite as far afield as we used to, but we have a selection of decent city or town centres all no more than 45 to 50 miles from home and that provide a nice run through the Cotswolds, the Mendips or over the Marlborough Downs. So a nice relaxed drive will see us parking up at our destination of choice about an hour after I’ve fired up Jennifer Jaguar on the driveway at home.

Now I say a nice relaxed drive, and that is what I aim at. On the dual carriageway I can lock down cruise control at 70 mph (indicated, actually about 67.5) and drive for much of the distance with the occasional touch  of the thumb on the Resume button to get us out and back into the cruise.

But every Saturday for the last 5 weeks we’ve passed at least one accident site on the way home (one black Saturday there were three in the space of 20 miles). Flashing lights, clumps of people standing round with mobile phones pressed to their ears, emergency services in attendance and bits of car and assorted fluids to avoid.

Amongst the common denominators are that these accidents have all been at either where a dual carriageway narrows to single, or at an exit or entrance slip road (or ramp for my US readers) and that they have all been the result of someone desperate to shove their way in or out of the traffic.

So what price are these people paying for that extra 15 feet of tarmac that they were so desperate to occupy? Not only has someone spoiled their own day out they have ruined someone else’s and, if the traffic tailback gets heavy, inconvenienced many others. And then there are longer term consequences for all parties in terms of loss of transport, cost and so on (as well as for all of us in the rising cost of our insurance cover).

Does it really matter that much to overtake just one more car before the exit? Can you not just slow and lose a couple of seconds to make sure that you join the traffic flow safely?

Trading a bit of paint and a bit of panel damage seems to me to be a pretty stupid value to put on a short piece of highway, but in one accident site we passed yesterday someone was so desperate for a short stretch of Mr McAdam’s finest that they traded their life.

So I’ll ask again; what price 15 feet of tarmac?

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Filed under cars planes and trains, journey logs, random rants