Sunday, 29 January 2012

Mystery solved.

It's somewhat embarrassing.

The knackered rib was caused by.......

A wide screen tv. "Dray" said yon Bear, cleaning the tv stand "Have you moved the tv?"

Do I look like Arnold whatsisname? Heck I do. It's big, flat and weighs a ton. Mr. Potato man more like.

But there, in the dust (ahem!) were signs the swivel stand had moved at least 4 inches. The TV is at the side of a door. Suspicious, She had me stand at the side, and sure enough, the top corner of the television matched exactly where the rib is.

I wobble. That's not a complaint. Fact of our life. Sometimes, walking down a corridor - I have a 15 foot hallway - it's just easier to bounce off the walls on the way down. It looks like I bounced a bit too soon, and crunched.

We haven't worked out yet how the heck I didn't feel it at the time, or how no-one noticed.

Bear is now Sherlock Bear :)

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Do what?

Well, now. There's a puzzle.

I went out last night. Just next door.

Bless 'er, lass next door came around to help The Bear, help me womble around. Must have been a real picture. I'm just under six feet tall, and there I was with a couple of ladies just over five foot tall under each arm.

It was uneventful. I spent most of the time trying to work out how the heck they'd hidden the wires to their wall mounted wide screen TV (I know, I'm a sad geeky git)

I didn't fell too good after an hour, so they lugged me back again. I woke up in absolute agony during the night with terrible chest pains. I know enough about anatomy to realise it was a skeletal muscular problem rather than something inside, as it where.

A quick examination by Bear showed that one of my ribs one the left side (non stroked) is definitely not where it should be.

The only way that can happen is from a fall or a massive bump. But due to my meds, I bruise very easily, but there was not a one. I was with someone the whole time, and they swear I didn't bang into something or fall. I do the fall bit sometimes.

Anyway's, yours truly is taking the minimum codeine meds to keep the pain down - that stuff can knock your block if if you aren't careful - until I can get it sorted. Mind you, fairly certain I'll be told to get some R & R.

But chuffin' 'eck, it dun 'alf 'urt. Can barely shift. Grumble, moan, grumble....

Thursday, 26 January 2012


I'm sorry, but the Sun 'newspaper' has removed the original article from it's site. Can't think why.....

So this chap advocates committing Benefit fraud? Let 'im. I also wish him luck in the Job Centre queue when he's finished his sentence.

/end sarcasm.

Distasteful. Then some.

The Curious Case....

That Numpty of a Woofler has taken to grabbing my sleeve and pulling me until I leave my chair and sit with him on the settee, whereas he promptly goes to sleep. He may be only 3 stone, but he's a determined little bugger.

Now my favourite Dragon 'hoody' has a chewed cuff. Sulk.

The Curious Case.......

Of another me. As if one wasn't enough :)

It has to be remembered that I never, ever go anywhere unaccompanied. Never. So it isn't me being absent-minded.

I'd turn up for diabetic podiatry appointments at town centre clinic, to find I'd already been, or phoned up to cancel. They took some convincing I hadn't. So they'd make me another appointment, only for it to happen again. And Again. Always the phone cancellations.

We all got fed up in the end. They stopped asking me to go. After a few months, they moved podiatry services to our local surgery, and I was invited to attend. So we turned up, making darn sure I had the letter. Guess what? Yup.

That left them scratching their heads. More, they confirmed my name, and Bears, and thatshe'd been with me. Grudgingly they admitted that 'perhaps' there'd been a mix up.

A few weeks on, yet another letter. This time, we phoned up to confirm first. Only to discover that the visiting podiatrist had "refused to attend for THAT patient". So that was the end of that.

In the end we compromised. The diabetic nurse, who knows me well, volunteered to do the work at my six monthly appointment. Time rolled on for our yearly influenza injection. We arrived only to find we'd both just had it. We rolled up our sleeves to show the GP. More head scratching.

Later, I had a practice nurse appointment. Browsing the computer screen, I noticed the phrase 'substance abuse'. Pardon? "Sorry sir, that's locked, I can't remove it. It's obviously there for a reason".

I wasn't having that. Once home Bear phoned another nurse at the surgery, and I fired off a quick email. Within 24 hours we were told we were right to question it, and after a thorough review of my records, it had been removed. Kind of them.

Next job was to go in to ask our GP to sign a form. We were gobstruck to be told "Ok, since you're determined, I will this time, but as I told you and your wife a couple of days ago, this is a waste of your time and mine!" We explained, bluntly, we had no idea what the hell he was on about. He looked at the written record. Looked at the screen. Looked puzzled. Scribbled something on the written record.

"You were here a couple of days ago?" Nope "Diabetic, right?" Yup. And Stroke. And TIA's. "Stroke?" Yup. "Stroke?" Can't you tell? "You have some id?" We did. He signed, asking me to come in for some blood tests, and attend a practice nurse appointment a week later.

We made a point of getting that appointment with a nurse we'd known for many years.

Ten days later...

"This is very odd Dray. Your blood tests are way out of wack. Super large platelets, liver function tests up the spout, kidney function is....well...." "We usually only see this kind of result with long term, er....." Lemme guess. 'Substance Abuse'? "Yes. But it just doesn't happen overnight. There's a long history. You don't have a history. May I take some more samples? See you in a week?"

A week later. "Clear. Everything's clear. It never happened. That is very, very strange. I'll have to get back to you"

They never have.

I've discovered
that I've not received hospital outpatient and phsyio appointments, going back years. They were cancelled by phone anyway. It was only through my contacts with other stroke survivors over the net that I've found I've only had 10% of the physiotherapy, rehab and social services help I should have had because of cancelled hospital appointments. Worse, my written records contain lots of "failed to attend or cancelled" letters from hospitals :(

I have an appointment due. Guess who's just fired off an email to the Practice Manager explaining our very strong suspicion that there is another couple using that surgery with the same names, and that when we attend, they should ask us for id and our patient id numbers, even though the appointment is just for me.

That's the polite version of what I think.

I've pointed out I rarely use my very common first christian name, and experienced nurses at the surgery use a nickname. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Cross eyed.

07:20, Wheelie Manor.

"Someone's opened this bread. Why's someone opened this bread? Dray, this bread's been opened. What did they do that for? Did you open it? You wouldn't do it, would you? Came in here to use it, and it's already done. How weird is that? You won't have done, you don't do toast. That still right? No, you don't. How odd. Is Tots up yet? No, she's not done it.

You alright? you've gone a funny colour. Sure you're ok? Are you laughing at me? Why are you laughing? What have I done now?......"

Good morning world.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Can they?

"Oh, ho." Bear muttered, looking up from her keyboard.

We have two cats - oh, aright then, three if you count Sparkle, who refuses to go home.

One dog, and we were dog-sitting my daughters woofler. Our next door neighbour has four cats.
That's helluva lotta cats. We don't see them much, cats being cats, and never, ever together, cat society being as it is.

The males and females tend to avoid each other, the older ones only just put up the the young 'uns, and the Young Guns are out-gunned by the ladies.

I looked up from the notes I was jotting down. "Oh ho!" indeed.

Lined up in front of me were the three cats, sat side by side. Behind them, equally upright, heads to one side, ears perked were the two dogs. Staring at me intently.

"Look" said The Bear. I was.

On the front windowsill, three of next-doors cats were pacing, occasionally stretching towards a window I normally keep ajar, meowing. On the rear windowsill, (we live in a 'sunshine house') neighbour cat number four seemed to doing gymnastics.

As I glanced around, it disappeared only to join its compadré's at the front.

Four Cats, sat in a line, on the windowsill, staring intently.

Three cats, at my feet, in a line, staring intently.

Two dogs behind them...... well, you get the picture.

"Hitchcock" said Bear. "Really?" I said slowly and carefully "I was thinking more Steven King or James Herbert"

I stared back at, well, at least in my experience, a remarkable display of cross species cooperation. "Dray, it's you. And it's creepy"

"Errr... wassup guys?" I offered. Nothing. Not a sausage. I was wondering whether to put on a silly hat and twist some party balloons or something (don't ask, I'm not saying). I turned my head towards the window, mesmerized, followed by 6 sets of eyes. Back again.

Five minutes later, five whole minutes, Bear reached a decision. "Sod it. Scat you lot. Now will you let me make that Doctors appointment?"

One by one, they melted away, except for old-girl cat Sniff, who jumped on knee, purring and rubbing her whiskers against my beard.

Oh, come on? They can't be serious?

Can they?

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Often wondered why people bother God on His day of rest. Which day that is depends on your religion of course. I empathise.

On Sundays the phone never stops, at least one of the kids who've left home visits, and my teenage girl 'don't call me Tots' invariably has a girlfriend across - and invariably their depressed.

Mind you, this weekends one's mum has OCD, so, fair enough I guess.


The Wheelie has had a couple of what Bear says are fits.

I remember bits of the first one. Have you ever been in an earthquake? or stood close to the edge of a train platform when a high speed train goes past? That deep vibration that you can feel in your bones. I was more worried that I couldn't breath. Bit essential that.

The second I know nothing about.

However, it's not illness. Nor is it unexpected. A stroke is brain damage - there's no nice way of putting it. Somewhere along the line if the ol' brain gets scrambled, then there's a risk of epilepsy, because epilepsy is a random electrical storm.

More chuffin' Doctors appointments and tablets I guess. Sigh :(

Feet up, answer some emails, and contemplate my options I guess.

By the way, it appears Google Blogger doesn't work correctly using Google Chrome. Interesting.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Take care

Oooh, my goodness.

Have you ever wanted grab someone and give them a good shaking, or a slap around the noggin'?

Being a Strokie, and fairly obvious one, (there are infinite degrees of Strokie) peeps tend to be a little more open about their health probs when we chat.

Luckily, I'm not behind the barn door in being blunt. Well, lucky in that it's a while since I was last punched in the gob. I know! Me of all people! Terrible, 'innit? Where was I? Oh, yeh. Slappers.

I know a bloke who's suffered from Gout all his life. Not his fault, genetic quirk. In his 60's, had it since a kid. Gout is a build up of Uric Acid crystals in the body, specifically in the joints. The crystals erode the joints, causing terrible pain and a lot of mobility problems.

It's made worse, much worse, by alcohol. In the 1600 & 1700's it was known as Port disease, because upper class gentlemen who consumed large amounts of Port had the problem.

Knowing all this, the chap insists on bunging his system full of powerful pain killers so he can make the half-mile walk to the pub. Notwithstanding what the heck the mix of potent morphine based drugs and alcohol is doing to him. Can I tell him? Can I heck.

And yup, he gets Higher rate Mobility DLA.....


There's a chap who has incontinence probs. He's diabetic and one of the effects of diabetes is one gets thirsty. A lot. More, if I may be blunt, you pee a lot. Not because you drink a lot because you're thirsty. The tablets and/or insulin don't relieve that. Well, not much.

Diabetes damages your body, if it's not controlled properly. But what you drink is important. You don't drink 2-4 litres of a soft drink such as Cola a day. Low sugar soft drinks are just that. Low. No extra sugar simply means 'we don't add anything more than the ingredients we include in the first place - we formulated it after all'.

Diet drinks use artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame and/or Phenylalanine. In small amounts, no problems. But if you drink over a litre a day you are going to get diarrhoea, big time, because they have a laxative effect.

You don't drink 2 to 4 litres a time.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Trust Yourself.

I'm the data guy. I have an innate ability - that is, I don't have to work hard at it - that if you throw random facts or figures at me, I can find relationships in them, or disprove connections, and do it without prejudice or opinion. I see trends, if you like. An idiot savant ability.

That works whether it's a spreadsheet, formula's or social interactions.

It's family thing - that is, it's there in some degree in my siblings. I have sister who never forgets a shopping receipt. She's very handy to have around if you want a bargain or you're redecorating or renovating.

Boring? Heck no. I get a real kick out of it. I've done the DJ bit. Or stood in front of a church congregation, or a political rally, and understood the interactions between individuals, groups and disparate combinations of those in front of me, and been able to tailor to fit. In a flash.

I've read climate change data and been able to correctly infer missing data later discovered. Glanced at peoples financial circumstances and found ways to improve it. A quick look at a companies reports and been able to suggest a new and more profitable direction.

That's what I do. I've even been called 'psychic'. Rubbish.

Having listened recently to some stories of woe, I've been thinking that peeps allow worries and concerns to get in their way. If you can do what you do with confidence, and take the knocks when you get it wrong?

Go for it. Trust yourself.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

I'm exhausted. Walking the walk may not have been as good a thing to do as I hoped it would.

The theory is to push the body, work hard at it, and somehow train bits that don't work to get some get up and go in them. Way I feel at the moment? Bad theory. I'm a determined little bugger at the best of times. But I can hardly shift after the last little jaunt.

I was a bit embarrassed to stagger out of bed last evening to find a roomful of teens and other visitors. With the greatest respect to my more religious ' beat the body' mates, Nah. Forget it. It's rubbish.

I don't claim ESA (employment and support allowance) but even if you don't, you may find this

Saturday, 14 January 2012


Heck, I'm knackered.

I've been up since Stupid O'Clock doing the tidy up and recycle thing. My lot don't do tidy. Or recycle.

I even did the walk thing last night too. Dina wanna. But being pig headed I thought it was worth a shot.

It took about 40 mins there, and 40 back, so that's what? Hour 20? Not complaining. I was very proud of myself. Lots of stops to rest. However, I proved to myself I can do it. Tell you what tho. I'm not rushing to do it again. No way. I have bits that hurt I didn't I didn't know could.

Spare a thought for the Bear, who's at least a foot shorter than me. She propped me up under my right arm, in freezing rain (-4 C) joking it was 'Wheelie Weather' with the woofler on her other arm in a journey that would normally take her 30 mins there and back.

I've gotta gud'un there, haven't I?

Friday, 13 January 2012


Someone called me a "weirdo magnet" the other day.

And bang on cue, I've had a phone call. I said "Y'ellow?" A voice said :-

"Don't you dare say a word. My psychotherapist says nothing will change unless I talk to you. Well, DUH! where's the sense in that? I mean, if I could get resolution talking you, I wouldn't need therapy would I?"

Click! Brrrr...

I have absolutely no bloomin' idea who it was. Interesting logic though.

But I'll tell you what. If you're going to get a wrong number, get a good 'un.......


More later.....

Thursday, 12 January 2012


Someone sent me this link this morning. Probably thought it would annoy the heck out of me.

It did, but perhaps not quite for the reasons they expected :)

Article 4, Section 2 of the Human Rights Act, which states: ‘No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour' was implemented to prevent slavery.

That covers a wide field - whether being forced by unlicensed gang masters to work for starvation food levels in squalid accommodation, or being a nanny or house keeper working in service in the same conditions, often under violence or the threat of violence, through to forced prostitution.

The example in the link is a misuse of the Act. I can't see anything wrong with keeping in the habit of working. I don't care what the job is. It's a job, paid or not. Two weeks? It's a drop in the ocean. If the young lady wants tough, she should try keeping to the very high standards of Mc Donald's. It's called a work ethic. One does what one does to eat and pay for the basics.

My point is that if you should do what you have to do to maintain an income if you are physically able. State benefits are a short term cushion, not a 'right'. There's no room for intellectual snobbery.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Kitchen Chemistry.

Oh dear. Or rather, Oh No Not Again.

Bloke came round to do the annual gas appliance check. He noticed Bear was on Facebook. Bear spends a lot of time online.

"Huh!" He grumbled. "Facebook. I said to my lass, are you going to spend any longer on there?"

"She looked me straight in the eye and said, with a perfectly straight face, 'You make me come off Facebook and I'm divorcing you'. I think she meant it too! What's that about after 35 years of marriage?"

Bear opened her mouth, and caught the warning glance from me that only married couples recognise. And went back to Facebook.

Last years gas check man said almost the same thing. Interesting.


Poor Mr T. a few doors away isn't very well. Cough, sore throat, can barely talk. As usual, he can't get a doctors appointment for a week.

I've a rep around here for knocking together combo's of common herbs and/or spices to relieve the symptoms for next to nothing. I guess my free is a lot cheaper than the same stuff you can pick up for a couple of quid at the chemist. But for some people around here two or three quid is a lot of money.

Besides. I enjoy doing it. I've given Mr. T. some good fashioned table salt to gargle with ( 1 Tsp to a pint of warm water ) Ok, it's not very nice. But it works.

Meanwhile, he was looking for some of my sore throat mix. It's nothing more complex than cloves, ginger, aniseed and a few other old fashioned bit's and bobs. That's going to take me overnight to make. Then I had a brainwave.

I make my own toffee, fudge and other sweets for presents. Why not try and make a 'medicated' sweet?

So that's what Mr. T. is getting tomorrow.

Statutory warning. Most commercial products are derivatives of what great, great grandma used to make. The active ingredient of gaviston or alka salza for instance, is tiny amounts sodium bicarbonate. Kitchen Chemistry. An alkali neutralises excess stomach acid.

Anything used in excess can be dangerous, and a lot of very old medicines are downright lethal. So don't google them. I'm not into homoeopathy. I think it's a load of cobblers. But a common sense, back to basics approach to common, kitchen cupboard herbs and spices in small amounts can relieve the symptoms. I doubt very much it will be a cure.

I can help make Mr. T. feel better until his doctors appointment. But in the end, he'll probably need an antibiotic.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

What Ho...?

And, by golly...

There's been a long running and expensive battle to get my son's American wife and little daughter across - though my grand daughter has duel nationality.

Bear, being Bear, has single-mindedly devoted a great deal of time and effort to helping out our lad on the technical side, with a lot of help from some very experienced people, (she ain't called the Bear 'cos she's cute and cuddly - usually) while he's been working hard throwing a great deal of money at it.

The visa has been refused. I'm not at liberty to say why. However, there is a small window of opportunity through the appeals process, so it's fingers crossed.

Bear and Son are both frazzled by the whole process. It hasn't helped that Bear has been at the receiving end of an internet Troll on immigration forums. Her instinct is to fight back - however, the golden rule is Don't Feed The Trolls.

Don't get these unpleasant pratts who hide behind keyboards.

Meanwhile, we've all been hit by an unpleasant virus causing chest infections and 'flu like symptoms, followed by a Ginourmous fuel bill, thanks to an increase of over 20%. Marvellous.

Pah. It's only money.... Meanwhile, I am, as usual, ever the optimist. I've always taken a long term view. You stumble, you fall, say "Hello floor", get up and trundle on. I'm quite an expert at that. Stability, consistency, common sense and security. That's the role of a family man, right? :)