Thursday, 28 January 2010

Metformin warning.

When I was first hospitalised with a stroke, some of the tests they did were for diabetes.

Stroke and heart problems are often associated with uncontrolled diabetes.

In my case, it seems that I had been an undiagnosed 'skinny type 2' diabetic for some years. How that is diagnosed, and the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and how that can lead to stroke is for another post. For the purposes of this post, I'd like to post a little warning about the treatment of diabetes, and how it can negatively impact stroke care.

To control the diabetes, I was prescribed Metformin, a very effective treatment. Getting the dosage right takes some time. Lots of self testing and blood average blood sugar level tests (Hba1c), liver and kidney function tests.

I take 500 mg tablets three times a day. There is, however, a little known side effect with Metformin. B12 deficiency. It's by no means inevitable, or common, but effectively, the longer you take it, and the higher the dosage of Metformin,, (Or Metfartin, as users call it) the more likely B12 deficiency.

The problem is that B12 deficiency mimics many of the problems with uncontrolled diabetes and stroke, in particular, pain in fingers and toes (and yup, even if you have weakness, lack of feeling or paralysis through stroke, you can get pain) Lack of feeling or pins and needles in extremities, confusion, certain forms of psychosis and personality changes - for instance feeling a need for isolation or being unusually bad tempered....

I've had no extreme symptoms, but my recent blood tests have thrown up large, badly formed blood cells, so I'm being investigated for various B12 deficiency problems. I'm fairly confident that the Metformin is the culprit.

I've deliberately avoided going into depth here because of time constraints, but I'll probably expand on it later.


Thousand Year Gravy.

This'll wind up the 'Elf and Safety people.

I'm a decent cook. I love making sauces and gravies.

A tip I picked up from a chef friend, many years ago, was the Thousand Year Gravy.

Dead easy. Everyone has found a gravy recipe that works for them. Don't kick yourself or be embarrassed if you use use the instant stuff, it works (sorta) with that. Even I have a tub of that stuff tucked at the back of a cupboard (use by June 2005. hmmmm).

My gravy varies with, well, whatever I'm cooking. You ain't seen nuthin' 'till you've seen a wobbly fella cooking. Think flubbles on speed. Metaphorically speaking. Some times herbs go in, often Hendersons Relish (so good, it's going on my sidebar soon) Home made meat, fish or veg stocks, and of course, good ol' Oxo :)

Tip :- a dash of mustard, either powdered or ready-made, goes a long way with flavour.

Why a Thousand year? In my fridge, I keep a pot. At the moment it's a Bombay Bad boy snackpot container. Every time I make a gravy, a ladle-full goes in the pot, and given a good stir. The next time I make a gravy, half the contents go into the next gravy. I change the pot now and again (to be careful) or stick it in the wish dosher. But the contents of my current 'thousand year' have been going for 5 years :)

Should point out that if you only make a gravy every couple of weeks, don't do it. But, if like my mob you like a good bolognese or even a mild chilli on a very regular basis, it works and tastes wonderful, and the longer you do it, the better it is. However, make sure it's cooked through thoroughly.

The fun is in the experiment :)

Saturday, 23 January 2010


I marry the strangest women. I should know, I've done it twice.

Typical conversation in this household, no artistic licence taken whatsoever.

Me:- "I've found some Tixylix"
Boss :- "What? giver her a quid for some Tixylix?"
Me. "Does that sound like me?"
"You Wheels ? Heck No!"
"Well geeor then!"


Her. "Is that her getting up?"
Me "Stop that!"
"Stop what?"
"Asking me things I couldn't know"
"Well, is it?"
"Is What?"
"Her getting up?"
"(sigh..) Yes dear"

2 minutes later

"See, you were right, as usual"
"Oh, Good Grief Woman!!"


Conversation between Bear and youngest daughter.

"Where's your dad?"
"Sat there as usual, you Wally" said youngest daughter.
"(puzzled) Sat where?"
"THERE !! "
"Don't shout at me, and don't call me a Wally"
"I just did"
"Where did he go?"
"He's still THERE"
"You can't remember what you wanted him for, can you?"
"Um, where did you say he was?....

"Who do what? (grin! :)"

"You said it wasn't going to rain"
"I lied"
"That's just typical, that is."
"What is?"
"But it was nice this morning"
"But I've just this minute put the washing out :( "
"Heh, heh, heh!....."
"I suppose you think your funny, don't you? Get up. Stop laughing..."

Like I'm responsible for the weather.

Finally :)

Her. "Right, I'll log off Facebook"
Me. "Ok"
Her. "What time is it?"
Me. "2 o'clock"
Her. "But I've only been on since half past nine. What? stop staring at me like that, it's creepy. Are you alright?

Wouldn't swop her for the world. And yes, she does call me 'wheels' or 'wheelie'

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Offline for about 24 hours while my internet provider 'upgrades my line'. Does this mean I'll be able to type faster?

I'll leave you as Bear works her way through a gigantic bag of Prawn Crackers after an equally enourmouse Chinese meal, cooked by yours truly. Oh, aright then - we ordered out for the mobs egg fried rice. Yuk.

My thought for the day is that the Brit and States Immigration offices are crap. So there.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Yer can tell a Yorkshireman....

But you can't tell him much :)

Apparently, I'm the most cussed, stubborn, pig headed, unfeeling man on the whole planet.

It's seems I can't see a crisis if it jumped up and bit my bum, and I'm responsible for everything from the fall of the Roman Empire to World War III, by simply being there.

Phew. That's all right then. For a minute there I though there was something wrong.

I was there at the fall of the Roman Empire? Golly, I know at my age my memory is bad but..

Best do a bum check soon. Not seen mine for ages. (Oh, no it isn't) Brit Joke there. See what I did :)


Disassociation - well, it is a Stroke blog :) A common word, uncommonly applied. In the interests of promoting understanding.

Ever heard the phrase "The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing" ?

It's kinda like that.

Stroke survivors variety in the alterations of function vary across a wide spectrum - hey, that sounds good - sounds better than the word disability anyways :)

It can vary from next to nowt, through life-support, to the most common perception, paralysis, typically down one side. I have lack of feeling on the right side, and disassociation.

For me that means I have movement, to a lesser extent than I had before, but the movement I have on my right side seems to belong to someone else, if I forget. Day to day, it's not a problem, unless I stop and think. Then me and Righty need to negotiate, which is not entirely a physical function - there's some intellect involved too. I'll post more if anyone requests so.

So thar'y'go. A new word, if your interested in the processes of stroke.

A couple more words you might like to google are
Dysphasia and Aphasia.

I'm off to ignore World War 3 :)

Friday, 15 January 2010

You may have heard that you can use Cat Litter instead of salt and grit on your path.


It works. For about five minutes.

Then it turns into goo, and gets everywhere.

And proceeds to confuse the hell out every cat in the area.

Have you any idea what a garden full of befuddled cats looks like?

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Odd thing, writing.

I was helping a preacher friend of mine (at the un-holy hour at 3am) and he noticed I hadn't posted for a while - he ''a reader not a commenter'' he explained. We got into a discussion about writers block. Being a preacher, he's required to produce, on a deadline, and regularly. Worse, he has to read his own notes, and adapt it to his audience, and occasionally, after many hours, junk it all together and speak off the cuff.

It's not widely appreciated, but preachers don't just work Saturdays or Sundays, but often have to teach and speak at least 4-5 other days a week too. And often have to be entertaining too. Then there's the pastoral, caring work they do. So faced with a blank piece of paper, horror can set it. At 3am.

I don't believe in writers block. I pointed out in our heated, good natured discussion that you have to be organised. I use notes. Hundreds of them, on good old fashioned index cards and notepad on the PC. It helps, at least in his profession, to plan ahead and follow a theme.

One of my favourite writers is Jo Davidson in The Sheffield Star - She writes what is effectively a blog about current events and family life. If you read through her articles, which are aimed at the ladies, and then study them closely, you can get a glimps at the careful research and organisation that goes into her articles.

So Steve mate - I hope you don't mind I've used you as an example :)


So why haven't I been around? Well, back in October my household expanded to +1. My eldest lad, who already has a lady friend, met a lady from Illinois on line. She, and her mum had visited, while stopping in a hotel in July. The young (20, and therefore a minor in the States) decided in October she would come to Brit on holiday, and stop with a family in in our area. However, once she arrived in the UK, she discovered they were off on holiday themselves, and subsequently, didn't want her.

Guess where she's been, penniless, with one suitcase, with no chance of an income or accommodation? And she's loud and aggressive and.... 'Nuff said. As you can imagine, with my lad already having a lady friend, it's been a bit awkward, and legally - jimminy cricket. Worse, her mum in the States won't take her back and she doesn't have any means of getting back.

And, just to make life interesting, elderly parent, (late 70's) turned up on christmas eve very ill after a pipe burst in her loft, collapsing her ceilings, and is still here. Privacy is very hard to come by :(

I'm open to suggestions.................