Disclaimer

BEFORE YOU START: Please note that although I currently volunteer for both the Stroke Association and Age UK, the views expressed in this blog are strictly my own. I am not a spokesperson for either (or, indeed, for any) organisation, and I accept complete responsibility for the views expressed herein. I've tried to use the Glossary to explain any ambiguous terms, but if you think there is anything I've missed, please message me.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Conference

I got a little ping from my computer, to tell me that the Greens were broadcasting their conference on Facebook.

So I tuned the TV on to BBC Parliament, because viewing it on my 42" TV is a bit better than my laptop screen, to see if I could watch it there. Ha ha ha ha ha ha

I hope my Internet stays up this afternoon.

Facebook

I was lucky (well, I thought so!) enough to meet Tony Benn a few years ago, and couldn't help but notice that he avoided getting into ideological debates with people - I suppose you can dance around fine points, but ultimately, on the big things, you have a certain view of the world and other people either share that view or they don't. Its not really a popularity contest - you really have to be defined by a set of principles if you want people to take you seriously.

Yesterday, I saw that Billy Bragg had posted something on Facebook. Now, I obviously follow this guy, so I'm normally quite sympathetic to him. But, on this occasion, I thought he was wrong, so posted a comment saying why I thought this.

It was very interesting, as the replies started to flood in. At first, it was a case of clarifying why I thought what I did (including dealing with people who could only really offer that I was an idiot). So I did my best to explain myself. It all took a fair amount of time, though, so evertually I stopped following the post.

I happened to go back there this morning, and was quite plesantly surprised by the tone of the comments. While yesterday they were mostly full-frontal attacks, today they were generally a lot better thought out. Quite open questions, even some comments of support.There was even one woman, (I'm not sure that she was a supporter!), who said that at least my views were well-thought-out, "not like most people". Er, that was a compliment.........wasn't it?

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Renewability

I've touched on this elsewhere, but I think lots of resources on this planet are pretty finite, and that I should do my best to use up as few of them as possible.

To that end, I got a bank of solar arrays installed on the roof a few years ago, and I export the energy it generates to the UK grid. They pay me a few pence per unit that I generate, although it'll take years (far longer than people told me) to recoup the initial investment. But that's not really the point.

I couple this by buying my extra energy from a supplier who guarantees that it comes from a renewable source.

Of course, gas is a bit different. It'd be pretty hard to get gas from a renewable source! But I tried another tack with this, and that was simply, a few years ago, to replace my old boiler with something new and energy-efficient. I've seen my gas usage drop dramatically as a result.

Anyway, I need to read my "generation" meter a couple of times a year, and today was the day.

Remember how I mentioned a while back how I like contrast? Well, I wish someone would tell the meter designers this, save them designing meters full of LCDs!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Nastiness

Whatever people might say about me behind my back, I am very fortunate in that the people I meet in everyday life are generally very nice.

I was abruptly reminded today that there are other types of people. A workman parked his pick up truck on the pavement right in front of me, forcing me to walk into the road around it. I mean, it must be obvious to anybody that I am disabled and struggling. "Thank you for your consideration", I said. "What's the matter? You can walk, can't you?"

Yes, I can walk. I learned to again last year during my month in hospital.

I must admit that I feel that the stroke played with my emotions a bit, but the positive side of these incidents is probably that they invoke the same kind of reaction that I'd have recognised in the "old me".

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Disability Rights

Today I found out about the charity Disability Rights UK, liked the look of them, and joined. I was looking at a post on an Internet forum a few days ago, and the author was saying that she'd been discriminated against in her workplace, purely on the grounds that she had once had a stroke. It made me think.....what exactly were their rights?

I thought on about it this morning and asked the Stroke Association if they knew, and ironically they pointed me toward Disability Rights UK. I say ironic, because these people seem more relevant than the Stroke Association themselves, although I suppose that the two do have a different purpose.

But I do find a lot of the stroke stuff has politics at it's heart, and I have found the Stroke Association to be very wishy-washy in that area. There seems to be an overwhelming intention by the trustees of the charity not to "rock the boat", and for that reason my support for them has to be qualified. I think you need to feel that you can criticise the government of the day, if they're making poor decisions about strokes. It's a big reason why I've avoided conferences arranged by the Stroke Association. I mean, you don't have to be militant, but you should be able to make your point. How much of my own treatment has actually been driven by economics over clinical need?

Friday, 24 March 2017

Din

My daughter happens to be visiting the house for a few days, to see my wife on Mother's Day, the place has become very noisy. All I can say is, that saying about empty vessels is very true. I mean, there's nothing whatsoever malicious, just a desire to be the centtre of attention at all times.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Ronnie Moran

So sad to hear of the death of Ronnie Moran, the Liverpool FC coach. Although I was never a fan of LFC, he was one of the constants in what could be thought of as the Liverpool family, before money took everything over.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Reassured

I got an email today from Age UK, co-incidentally after yesterday's blog.

The message was clearly directed at all volunteers, so presumably I am "on their list", so I suppose I am reassured by that.

I do find it a bit strange that they didn't contact me (it could even have been a nothing email, just something as a pretext) to let me know that the application process was complete, and that they were just waiting for someone suitable to get in touch (I told them that I'd ideally like to befriend someone within a short distance of my house in Downton. There are lots of elderly people in this village.)

Ironically, the person they did contact me about lives too far away for me to be able to help.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Limbo

So there's a couple of areas of life that are quite frustrating at the moment.

First, I'm looking for a job. I mean, for years, I designed IT systems. This really was top-of-the-Premier-League stuff, although it often didn't feel like it. But the sacrifice here was that I needed to travel up to central London each day. In fact, at one stage, a long time ago when I was single and prepared to travel a bit further, I worked for a spell in New York City. Although the stroke has left me with some physical impairments, obviously these roles were purely intellectual in nature. And hopefully the reader will judge that I still have this intellect. So I've been brushing up on some technology skills, just because having these "hard" skills makes the "soft" skill of system design that much easier to convey. You often find that there needs to be a period, while a trust is established, which is effectively a "probation".

On the plus side, the stroke has meant that I'd settle for lower-league work these days. So I'd be far less choosy about the nature of the work. Possibly something outside of IT altogether - I've always been very numerate, and started my career off as a research scientist. But I'd want something local - I wouldn't want to tire myself out on the commute, before I'd even done a day's work. For the same reason, I'd want something part-time to give myself time to recover.

I have several problems here. First, there is very little IT, period, in the Salisbury area (Salisbury is my nearest city). Second, it is very rare to find IT jobs that aren't full-time. Third, I suppose, I'd like to find something that is accessible by public transport, although I should be able to fix this myself somehow.

So, in the meantime, it is a case of keeping looking.

Second, my volunteering appication for Age UK appears to have stalled. I went to their inductions, and they asked me to undergo a criminal record check. I did this (absolutely clean), and emailed the certificate back to them, to an address I'd used before. Since then, nothing. Not even a "welcome on board" message. This must be about 6 weeks now. I mean, in some ways I don't mind, because the volunteering role had turned out to be not quite what I expected, but even so...

You see, in many respects, my life is identical to somebudy's who is able-bodied.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Jars

I have jars sussed, although I need to move from the kitchen to the sofa to do it. It I put the jar between my thighs, I can generally use my hand to undo the lid.

Although I get there in the end, it takes that much longer, as you can imagine. It'd be far easier if I could have my other arm back!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Inheritance and Cycling

When I made my will, I basically worded it so as to prevent my daughter from inheriting my estate, should I outlive my wife. I mean, I wish her all the very best in life, but she has never been (and still isn't) very responsible with money, and when I think how much my estate would be worth (several hundred thousand GBP) it is quite scary. I mean, there's not much cash, but the value of the property has risen several times over since I bought the house almost 20 years ago.

Anyway, I made my will a couple of years ago, and nothing much has happened to change my sentiment, but I regularly hear about cases in which the person's will has been overturned by their children, who feel wronged. One such story was on TV this morning, and so this prompted me to contact the solicitor who drafted the will, just to see if I should change the language to make my wishes more explicit, as if that were possible.

This is something I have been meaning to do for a while, although events have kind-of got in the way!

On a less morbid note, it may be very overcast here, but in Italy I see that today is the Milan-San Remo cycling race, which is a traditional curtain-raiser to the European cycling season. Since the season for road racing generally follows the good weather (Spring Classics to start, rising to the Tour de France in July, World Championships in September, then trailing off in the autumn), might it possibly be assumed that winter is finally on its way out?

St Paddy's (2)

As a very brief follow-on from yesterday's post, I saw a wonderful video on Facebook. Victor Meldrew is alive and well!

Am I able to post it here? It doesn't look like it, but the URL is: https://www.facebook.com/asirishasitgets/videos/1920908518138271/

Friday, 17 March 2017

St Paddy's

I'd like to wish everyone a happy St Patrick's Day.

Tins

I should say that tins give me trouble these days - can you imagine trying to open one with just one hand? Even those newer easy-open tins are not trivial.

I was very unimpressed when I got up the other day, to find that our cats had no food, and so I dug out the only appetizing thing that I found in the cupboard - a tin of salmon, un a traditional tin can. There then followed 10 minutes of frustration as I battled to get the thing open. Suffice it to say, when I finally got to the salmon, it wasn't in a nice round tin any more, and at one stage I did resort to using the tin opener as a hammer in frustration!

So, two lessons. First, I went to the shops and replaced the salmon, this time buying one with an easy-open lid (which I hope, in my case, will mean "easier open" - I can generally manage as long as I use my teeth too). I can't help thinking how perverse it is - that this kind of thing drives our buying choices. Second, I went out yesterday and bought an electric can opener, one that can be operated with just one hand.

The cats, by the say, said thank you...eventually!

There really are a myriad of gadgets - especially kitchen gadgets - where, beforehand, I used to think "what's the point in that?", but for which I'm now grateful. My little electric cheese grater is another example. But it does make me realise in all of this that I'm very lucky to have a bit of money tucked away when such things crop up - I would hate to be financially dependent on anybody else.

Well, I did say at the outset that this blog was going to be about my life - but I never promised it'd be interesting!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Job Done

I had two major commitments this week, and managed to sort them both today.

First and foremost, I had an appointment at the eye clinic at the local hospital. Unspectacular, in that my eyes are about as good as they were last time. But it's good news if you take a longer-term view. I have had problems caused by diabetes for the last couple of years, but there has been no decrease in my vision for the last 6 months. Of course, this is the same kind of time frame as my stroke, and I've paid a lot more attention to my sugar since then. And the treatment I had 6 months ago, the consultant told me that they started with this treatment 5 years ago, so every time I see him he has statistics over that much longer a period. Promising. Also, I'm used to being pretty anonymous at these places, but today I happened to see my neighbour (who has MS) and his wife, so I had a little natter about nothing.

My second chore of the day was up at the hospital again (hence my combining the two things), and this was my regular drop-in to the stroke ward. There's a lovely old boy there at the moment, his stroke has affected his speech so you have to be very patient, and listen carefully. He said that he hoped I could meet his wife at some point, and that he admired me (the last time we met, I'd told him about my own stroke and told him about my dead arm). I mean, this guy is really ever so intelligent, he's just had all this shit happen to him, and he says he admired me. People can be so kind....

Anyway, that means that this week's obligatory tasks are now complete. Actually I have another task planned, but this one is purely pleasure - tomorrow my wife (who has the week off) is driving me up to Oxford to have some lunch with an old friend, She had an operation just before Christmas, so she, like me, is recovering. This'll be my furthest trip since the stroke.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Driving

Believe it or not, until about 5 years ago, I used to own a Porsche 911. I'd owned this car for years but for the last few I just drove it back and forth to the rail station, about 11km away. I had some expensive things go wrong with the car, and coincidentally, wanted to reduce my footprint.

I decided to buy a smaller car. Ideally I'd have liked a Smart car, although at that time my daughter was still living at home, so although the car mostly had an occupancy of just one, on occasion I needed for the car to seat all three of us.

The best car I found was a Toyota iQ. Although I always thought it was a bit ugly, I was impressed by the gadgetry, which most cars of that size/economy lacked. "Small" tended to equate to "bottom of the range". So I went and bought one. Not that I could bring myself to part with the Porsche, however, this sat on the driveway for another six months!

I happily drove the iQ around for years, but in the meantime, Toyota obviously decided that the car was a flop, and ceased production.

Then, of course, the stroke took out my left hand, and I was unable to change gear (in the UK, our cars are right-hand drive). We still have the car - my wife prefers it to the family car that she used to drive, also daughter has since moved out so we don't need anything so big.

For a few months after the stroke, my eyesight was such that I wouldn't have been able to drive, period. However that has improved by now, although obviously I still have issues with my arm. I think it would be possible to drive an automatic - possibly I may need to modify it, but this is do-able at a price.

I always liked the iQ, and Toyota did make an automatic version, although since they no longer make the car, I'm restricted to the secondhand market. So that's where I'm at currently - the only trouble is, these cars seem to be like rocking horse poo - very rare indeed! Especially as I'd need my wife to take me to the dealer for a test-drive, and I'm reluctant to make her drive any distance.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Theme Change

If anyone has been following this blog so far, I decided to play with the theme this morning. I'm sorry. The content is unchanged.

The first sign of health problems was trouble with my eyes - retinopathy - a couple of years ago. The first line of treatment was laser surgery - I knew no better at the time so didn't object. This zapped the leaky cells at the back of my eyes. But the laser also zapped some good cells too. The upshot was that, as a combination of these two things, my eyesight is now less than perfect. I've never really been able to find the words to describe it accurately, but it is a bit like seeing everything as if you're in a smoky room.

The upshot is that a bit of contrast seems to help. I did like the old pastel theme but, to be honest, stronger colours help when I preview the blog. And, since at the moment I'm probably the only person who looks at it, I started playing. It might not be over, although I do like the general "orangey" themes that I've used to date.

The irony of the laser surgery was that it didn't stop the leaky blood vessels, so I lost a part of my sight for no gain. The follow-on treatment was to have some injections into my eye. Sounds like torture, doesn't it? All I can say is that whilst the thought of the treatment is terrible, the injections themselves aren't so bad. They anaesthetise your eyes beforehand (drops), so it feels quite removed from a "regular" injection. As far as I know, these injections are not-at-all destructive (although I suppose there is always the chance that they don't help, either), so you'd think that they would be the preferred treatment. But again it all boils down to cost, and this really annoys me. Laser surgery is cheaper than these injections, so they try to laser your eye first.

As an aside, it is now a good 6 months since I had this treatment (last summer), I still have regular scans (in fact, I'm due one next week), and not only has the decrease in my eyesight been halted, it has been reversed slightly. To give an idea of the scale of this, it is often difficult to recognise detail immediately - it takes that little bit longer. The consultant says that I am still above the threshold at which I'm able to drive, although obviously the effects of the stroke make this problematic. I'll talk about driving at some point.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Charities and Cutbacks

The Stroke Association decided to have a Q&A session on Facebook today, and I couldn't help but be a little mischievous and ask them how many people they were firing on account of local authority cutbacks as they rebudget in April.

My local coordinator is being made redundant at the end of March because our local council is reducing its support, and I can't imagine that Wiltshire Council is unique amongst UK councils. Nor do I imagine that the Stroke Association is unique among charities - organisations across the whole spectrum must be taking a hit.

I do find it particularly sad that, as the NHS itself delivers less and less, so too are charities being forced to do less because of funding cuts.

Unfortunately I never got a direct answer to my question, instead they fobbed me off, saying that the services offered by the charity would continue (so, by that logic, the people they're getting rid of were sat on their hands in any case!), and inviting me to join some campaign mailing list.

Why is this kind of stuff not on the news in the evening? Why aren't the Stroke Association being more vocal? Charities in general? I can buy that they want to keep the charity focused on the primary purpose of healthcare rather than on the politics surrounding it, but are the two not intertwined? One of the reasons I have always had an interest in politics - your basic values of right and wrong - is that it spills over into absolutely everything.

I must admit, I am less inclined to spend my time to help the charity, when they just appear to be rolling over. I'm not necessarily saying that you need to march the streets in protest, but at the very least you can point out the consequences of these cuts, and to let people judge for themselves whether they agree with them.

Is it that the people who care about these cuts are just the people who use the charities, and the majority of the population just don't care?

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Quiet

A quiet day with nothing planned. I think I'll have a long soak in the bath later to celebrate...

Even though I've hardly been writing this blog for any time at all, I have already mentioned that people's assumption that, as a stroke survivor, I am some helpless vegetable drives me mad. I think whether somebody sinks or swims in this situation is defined 95% by attitude.

Stroke or no, life just has to go on. For me, yesterday afternoon, this meant faffing around on the driveway installing a battery charger on our second (now dormant) car, which, I found to my cost, sits just a little bit too far from the power supply in my garage. One of those maintenance things which will keep it's battery completely topped up. I was amazed how much smaller this thing is, compared to my old battery charger (which I still use occasionally, but which is by no means "smart").

You know, if you're going to move forward in life, you simply just need to "do" this kind of thing.

And I must admit, although I think of the day as empty, I now have a deeper understanding of what my HbA1c value means, as opposed to the value I read on my glucometer every morning. And my cholesterol numbers.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Post-FES and buses

My appointment went well and everyone is happy.

The only issue was that I had to get the bus up to the hospital, and it happened to be running about 15 minutes late. Unfortunately I couldn't build in any slack (the buses only run every 90 minutes, and I made the appointment months ago, when I assumed my wife would be able to drop me off). But with no issues to complicate things, we were finished within half an hour, so the guy was easily on time for his next appointment.

I apologised, of course, for being late, but beyond apologising I just have to shrug my shoulders and explain that I'm at the mercy of our public transport system. People either understand or they don't - but mostly they're fine.

It's funny - Google insist that the plural of "bus" is "busses", but it looks wrong to me!

Monday, 6 March 2017

Green

If you detect a political slant to this blog, I must admit to being a member of the Green Party. This pre-dates my stroke slightly (by a couple of months), but is really quite recent in terms of the length of time I have been politically aware.

I've always leaned slightly to the left, I suppose, and I decided that the British Labour Party was (depending mostly on it's leader) either too right-wing on certain issues, or too eager to bring internal disagreements into public. I still think this - I think that the parliamentary party has it's knives out for Jeremy Corbyn, they will launch a coup just as soon as they feel they can succeed. And I think electoral reform is a biggie. So I was attracted by the Green message. I must admit, however, that I don't really find that any political glove truly fits my hand perfectly. For example, the Greens are very pro-EU, whereas I supported Brexit on the grounds that the EU is not very democratic. I think as a basis, even before we start building on it, that the EU organisation itself needs to be something which is transparent and citizen-centric - how, for example, would I get rid of someone who's pretty useless? And so, I reserve the right to disagree with the Greens.

But I'll try to keep things on here rational - I was always pretty good at logic, although my wife may disagree! I suppose it is helpful to support a party which is known the world over, rather than the international reader having to work out whereabouts on the spectrum that I sit.

FES

I have a quiet week lined up. I try to restrict my week just to a couple of things, just so that I don't overload my body.

The only thing showing this week is an appointment with the FES people. FES is Functional Electrical Stimulation, which involves sticking a pair of electrodes on my leg, and applying a small current when I walk. This stimulates the muscle that controls my foot, artificially raising my foot to give me a more natural gait. See? I'll be you never knew there was so much that happens when you take a step!

I'll talk a little bit about FES. Old hat? I mean, electricity has been around for 200 years, right? Wrong. FES is actually leading edge, at least in the medical world, so much so that the NHS does not provide this treatment as "standard" - In fact, I was only offered this treatment after they'd checked my address - apparently I live in the "right" county (Wiltshire) and am eligible for the treatment. Of course, this then raises the question about what treatments I haven't been offered, because I live in the wrong place?

The equipment itself is a couple of electrodes stuck to my calf, as I've said, and these are attached by wire to a control box which sits on my belt. In addition, the thing needs to know when to apply the current, and so you also wear a small, flat pressure sensor on an insole in your shoe. this too is wired. So you have two wires which run pretty much the lengt of your leg, to this control box (in which, by the way, there sits a 9V battery).

Whilst it is true that the device does improve one's gait (which means you walk faster), there is an offset here, and this is installing the device each day, making sure these wires are placed under your trousers. So whilst, for me, there is a gain, there is also a cost in that dressing becomes slightly more complicated and time-consuming. Consequently I find myself asking myself whether I'm going to walk anywhere that particular day? If I'm just going to stay around the house, it is quicker just not to fit the device that day.

When I first got the kit (and it is probably a reasonable question to ask why I didn't get it until 6 months after I left hospital yet another to ask why I didn't even know about it) I got back in touch with the people with some suggestions for improvements. As you might imagine, at the top of the list was to make the thing wireless. "Ah, we've already done that" was their reply. But I'd been given the more basic (and, presumably, cheaper) "wired" version. So there you go - by default an NHS patient won't get the service at all, and even if an NHS patient does qualify, you're not offered the bells-and-whistles version by default.

Of course, the bells-and-whistles gadget is available if you're prepared to approach the company privately. The company is called Odstock Medical, although beware - you need to create a login in order to see the prices of their products (they say this is necessary because these things attract different duty depending on which country you live in, although I don't see why they can't quote a price which excludes duty). I am not sure whether these guys are the only company in the UK to offer such products.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Recovery

Well, I'm having a lazy weekend, I even had a nap yesterday afternoon. I really wish I could keep up the pace that I used to, but it's simply not possible any more. Still, I suppose, I am lucky in that you hear about stroke survivors suffering chronic fatigue, with whole days being written off. At least in my case, a few hours nap seems to set me back on course. I suppose it's not that much worse than when I was healthy! Of course, this kind of thing will be critcal when it comes to going back to work.

Friday lunchtime a guy I used to work with a long time ago came round, and we went out to lunch at a nearby pub. Lunch itself was a lovely plate of fish & chips (what else? It was Friday after all!), although I do find myself making small adjustments on account of my newfound disability. For example, I was unable to read the specials board (my eyesight is certainly worse than it was 5 or 10 years ago - this could have been caused by the stroke, or it could have been caused by the diabetes that possibly caused the stroke, or it could have been caused by the treatment that I had because of the damage caused by diabetes, a big mess!). Anyway, I was unable to read the Specials board, so listened very intently as the people on the next table discussed their lunch choices!

I find that the best thing about this guy is that my stroke doesn't really seem to have changed anything at all. When we discuss the stroke, or indeed the troubles that I've had because of my daughter, it is all done in a matter-of-fact kind of way. I meet so many people these days who seem to think that I am defined by the stroke, and it drives me crazy! I mean, for sure I had this really shitty thing happen to me, but beforehand, I'd spent almost 50 years living a life, and I'm still pretty much the same person underneath (for better or worse!).

Anyway, the upshot was that this was my third day on the trot that I'd done some kind of activity, so Saturday was a nice opportunity for my body to play a little catch-up.

This morning, a very belated breakfast of pancakes (I prefer the term "crepes"), and settling down to watch another stroke survivor, Andrew Marr. Now there's a guy who shows that despite stroke, one can operate at the highest level!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Workshop

I had an interesting morning today. I was told about this workshop organised by the Stroke Association, I had a free morning, I secured a lift, so I popped along. Aside from being interesting to meet some new people, I had to bite my tongue when they talked about stroke care. Dial 999, priority treatment, etc.

I won't go into massive detail here, but suffice to say that when I rocked up at hospital....they sent me straight home! It was only when I turned up again 2 days later, feeling somewhat worse, that I was admitted into hospital.

Also, the workshop raised the point that one of the biggest anxieties suffered by stroke survivors is whether they will have another stroke. But, when current technology is such that causes of strokes often aren't known, I'd defy any rational person not to feel anxious!

But there were some fun attempts to get (mostly) able-bodied people to appreciate what it feels like to have a stroke. However, I can say with some authority, if the reader would like some appreciation of how my particular stroke feels, just go through to the kitchen and butter a piece of bread, one-handed, using your non-dominant hand. You'll be surprised that both the tub of spread and the piece of bread appear to have wheels, and I can guarantee hours of fun (almost) as you chase these things around! Not quite so much fun if you're trying to make your lunch.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Hospital Drop-in

Another visit complete, that must be five or six now.

The highlights of the visit were seeing one of the nurses who looked after me again, and seeing my favourite Occupational Therapist. The visit was also quite difficult at times, because I spoke to a couple of people with aphasia (difficulty communicating) and tinged with a little sadness because one of the patients I've seen several times - he's been in hospital for three months - has been told that he is to go home in a few days. Good news for him and his wife, of course!

I'm sure that one day these visits will become a chore - especially as I know that there is politics going on behind the scenes - but for now I'm just happy to be able to give something back. To me, it is just nattering to people, but to many of them, it is more.

I got the bus there and back - because my arm is knackered I need to get myself a new car, an automatic at least, and I haven't found one yet. The walk to and from the bus stop is a good 500m each way, that takes its toll. Fortunately, because of my disability, I now have a bus pass which means that the trips are free, so I was able to treat myself to a coffee at the end of the visit.

I should also say that because of my arm, I now type effectively with one finger. Combined with my less-than-perfect eyesight, this can lead to typos. I do find this frustrating, because when I was healthy I was particularly good at grammar. You have been warned!

Just Visiting

It is a Wednesday, which means that I will be doing my once-fortnightly hospital visit this afternoon. I must get ready!