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. I am based in the UK and the blog therefore has a UK bias - I've tried to use the Glossary to explain any terms which might be ambiguous, but if you think there is anything I've missed, please message me.

Sunday, 29 October 2017


When I was healthy I used to love to read. I'm a saddo so enjoyed biography, history and general non-fiction. As my eyesight got worse, and particularly since the stroke, this has just become a restriction that I have to live with.

But recently I have found some books that I want to read, so have been making an effort. Also, last week, I was forced to be sitting waiting with nothing to do, so I downloaded Amazon Kindle on my phone, and started reading a couple of books that I haven't looked at since the stroke. Now, I'd have to say that just going on size alone, my phone is not my favourite medium. But yesterday I downloaded their PC app and resumed this excellect tome about the Spanish Civil War. And the good news is that I was able to accomplish it. I mean, obviously it is harder and slower going, but I'm able to make progress.

Even as a youngster, I though that reading was the key to all sorts of knowledge, and it gave me such enjoyment. I'm finding that again as I near the end of my life.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Joined-up Thinking

I was up at the hospital the other week. All the signs there are that NHS white-on-blue, with the exception on those to the Eye Clinic, which are bumble-bee black on yellow. Great, must make it easier for people with vision issues to find the place.

And then you think, "what if they're not going to the eye clinic?"

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


I did my fortnightly drop-in on the ward today. Admittedly I got there a little earlier than usual, but I visited every bay of the ward, and spoke to the people in each bay who seemed to want to talk to me. And yet I looked at my watch as I finished my visit, and I had been there only about 3/4 hour.

I mean I'm quite happy to chat to people, but quiet wasn't the word! Maybe as I myself improved some of the reservedness I once had is coming back? And talking to people about my own stay in hospital seems less and less relevant with time.

I don't know. I mean, I have this free time at the moment and I keep telling myself that if I can help other people make sense of all this, then it's a positive thing, but I wonder how much good I actually do?

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Lights, Camera, Action

I'm about 2" shy of being able to reach light switches with my bad hand, under its own steam. Something to work on.

I mean, even when I can get it to that height, my hand clenches itself into a fist (I have no choice here) so effectively only a poker, but that should be good enough to flick lights on and off.

Saturday, 14 October 2017


A couple of weeks ago I had a fluoroscopy test at my local eye clinic. The way they left it, they said that the images would be analysed the next day: if further treatment was required then they would contact me that day; otherwise, they wouldn't contact me. I thought at the time that this was a pretty poor way of doing things, but this is today's NHS - always the lowest common denominator in terms of quality. It must be really frustrating for its employees to work so hard in delivering such a poor service.

There was no phone call either the next day or subsequently, so I dared to think that the test may have been OK. Then, yesterday, I got this letter with an outpatient appointment to receive some treatment.

I might be quite laid back about such treatment. The problem, as I understand it, is that some blood is leaking into my eyeball (although I cannot notice it). Their default solution is to stop the blood flowing by cautorizing the leaky blood vessels. They do this with a laser. The only problem with this is that as well as cautorizing leaky cells, the laser also zaps any good cells that it happens to hit. Also, I have been told that no other solution exists.

The reason I know about laser treatment is because I've had it before. It didn't work, and I ended up having to have injections (which *did* work). But whilst the process is painless enough, my perception is that the laser worsened my vision. So, my wariness about lasers is borne out of experience.

It seems that the NHS wants me to have laser treatment again. I did say that I had been through the laser process, unsuccessfully, before, but it would appear that the doctor wasn't listening, or wasn't prepared to take my view on board. Hence my quandry. I'm 80/20 right now on skipping the appointment altogether. After all, I'm really not prepared to give my consent for this treatment without further thought, so there's little point in wasting this guy's time.

This disease - diabetes - really is awful. It is gradually robbing me of my health and my sight, and will eventually rob me of my life.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Blood Pressure

I got my wife to borrow a machine from work, and we measured my blood pressure (I need her help these days because of my arm.

147 / 77,
which is still good (I put it on its own line in this post just in case I need to refer back to it in the future). I do have my own blood pressure monitor but it gives dodgy readings these days, hence borrowing the kit.

Also, it has been about a year since anybody at my surgery contacted me to get anything checked. I mean, I mostly manage my own health but for things like cholesterol, I need a blood test. So, I am diabetic but they haven't asked to check my sugar, I am hypertensive but they haven't asked to check my blood pressure, and on top of all this they issue a prescription to me every fortnight, so its not as if they haven't a clue who I am. To cap it all, I had a stroke about 18 months ago, so you'd think my name woulb not only come up, but in bold and red letters!

Of course, I realise that in all likelihood, they *don't* know who I am - I have dropped off their radar. It makes me wonder, having been an IT professional my whole life, just how poor their IT systems are.

Still, I will do the pro-active thing and contact them.