Archive for April, 2018

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

April 26, 2018

And so dear listener, I feel a wee bit this week as if I’ve been playing Doctors and Nurses……but on my own.

Skippy! I can explain!

It was explained to me by the rapping Dr J that my cardiac problem may be something to do with high blood pressure so on Monday just past I got the call to go down to my health centre (altho’ I let all of Maryhill use it) and get my blood pressure tested. It’s high but let’s not rush into anything. ):

So I was lent a blood pressure monitor (and I genuinely did tell a couple of people that I was doing my own blood transfusion. I got confused) and I have been carrying out my own blood tests. They’re even higher! And then I started to make sure I was calm and collected before I did a test and they were just high. Phew…..

Mind you, given the problems from my bank of all my life (TSB) I realised that it is best to choose relaxed times of day to do these tests (two) and ignore the landline phone when it rings. I would say that 50/50 it’s still a real call and worth answering.

I won’t quote figures publicly but if you do have a nursing background and are interested let me know. You are more than welcome and I’m happy with any opinions. 🙂

Y’know recovering from the alcohol and the cancer was an awful lot easier.

And it is a wee bit like previous times in that I need to get out much more than I’m doing just now although one reason for that is a good wee run of editing but, leaving aside the blood pressure, I am in good nick now that it’s good weather (that was hail the other afternoon!) But I’m past being ‘on the mend’; I’m good to go. 😀

Mind you, with the cold turkey recovery, I had a job to go back to and I had an amazing addiction worker; in the case of the cancer my thirty-seven daily radiotherapy sessions were made so much easier by my fellow patients and NHS staff who were such a good laugh over that time. 😀 😀 😀

Ach, I’m just feeling sorry for myself. I still have that ‘stuck in the house/hospital’ feeling that I’ve had since the start of 2018 altho’ I have done a lot of brilliant walking in the West End of Glasgow with, and without, Holly the Dog. And e. Any other offers? I remember doing Millport a couple of years ago. 🙂

The reason I’m in that mood is cos I watched The Cancer Hospital on the BBC the other night. It was one of the few docs I’ve seen in recent years where the lack of a presenter worked as Dougie Henshall’s v/over was essentially underplayed so that the voices of the women had to be listened to.

Obviously I know those corridors altho’ my treatment happened in the Thomas Wheldon building next door and the other thing I remember is arriving early so I could go for a walk around Bingham’s Pond before my treatment – just to calm down. That was when I started to grow my hair slightly longer. 😉

This coming week it’s prostate cancer.

I should watch more comedy.

I did, however, watch the prog about Harold Shipman. Remember the good Doctor W? That was where her interest in medico-crime came from. She did write a book on the subject. I helped. A little. I wonder if it was ever published?

Should I maybe try and find out?

And finally, atm I have no idea as to whether TSB online is working properly and full-time and nor, I suspect. do they.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (how long is that now?) and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, I don’t have much money but I’ve never looked at my bank accounts as much as I’ve done recently.

So it’s now thirty years since the Glasgow Garden festival but my interest in garden festivals was aroused four years earlier when my then wife and I were taken by friends to the Liverpool Garden Festival and I thought it was brill. 🙂

A few weeks later I took BBC Radio Scotland’s Jimmy Mack Show with presenter Jimmy Mack and production assistant Jeanette down to Liverpool to do the show from there but Jimmy was late in arriving for a slot on BBC Merseyside and I had to stand in for him. I was good but remained a producer. 😉

I then spoke ‘informally’ to people from the Scottish Development Agency about getting the BBC involved in the Glasgow event but I was too ‘informal’ and was quite shocked when a senior producer later said that he had had the first contact with the organisers but ‘they seemed well organised for BBC broadcasting ideas.’

When it comes to ‘informal’ where I was concerned, then read ‘lights well hidden under a bushel’. However, I did okay for season tickets and was offered a job by the PR consultancy that the Festival PR people all went and joined. I turned it down and later, the building in which that office was located became the home for the Blue Triangle Head Office and there’s a wee memory just come back. Knowing smile icon. 😉

Anyway, I had the immense pleasure of producing the (for radio) Royal Opening with Charles and Diana with my presenters (Jimmy Mack and Mary Marquis), reporters Lesley Riddoch, Christine Kinnear and Kevin Ruane (?) and production team of me, Max, Jayne and Amanda.

And I got a Pringle sweater with the Garden Festival logo and my name on it. Wore it once.

Live broadcasting and the memories, eh? 🙂

But here’s a John Martyn cover from an up and coming band of whom I think highly. If they turn up in your neck of the woods, go see them. What? No. I don’t know any of them. Honest guv! The Rain Kings featuring Neil Turner.

I wear black because I’m comfortable in it. But then in the summertime when it’s hot I’m comfortable in light blue (Johnny Cash)

April 20, 2018

And so, dear listener, we almost had some sun. In Glasgow. Tbh I’ve been poised like a poised thing to enjoy the weather ever since various weather forecasters said we had a mini heatwave coming up. But it’s not happened. ):

Which is a shame cos I was in that kinda mood. Don’t worry cos the tap wisnae going to cam off. No’ wi a belly like mine. ):

But I’d been cheered up by the wise words of Rapper J, sorry, Dr J, my consultant of last week….the latest in a reasonably long line of highly influential professional women who have had such an effect on my life.

GP Fiona, who told me that I had too much alcohol in my blood system and not to cold turkey (but I did) and my addiction worker Moira who had me for longer than I was expected cos of the cancer and cos it’s often post cancer treatment where the problems arise, a big thanks goes to the clinical psychologist, Claire, who put me through some tough stuff and who made me realise that I can’t stop the cancer coming back but I have total control over alcohol.

N.B. to some long term listeners. Claire was different from Clr. Know what I mean? (But also a major hand to all those other women whose initials are well known to you who have also been major helps)

And what does all that mean in practice?

Well, my problem seems to be linked to high blood pressure and I’m getting that checked on Monday but one newspaper says that the old method of taking blood pressure can actually get it wrong……….I’d like to say thanks to Mark in 151 who helped sort out a TV rather than a Virgin box problem for me……..I’ve had my hair cut much shorter but my face looks much fatter and I wonder if that could be medication…….and I’ve done some good walks this week usually with coffee (and one piece of chocolate cake) somewhere in the mix………..and that’s the quorn mince cooked to keep me going for a wee while…….and I’m now at the stage where I can draw together all the post-its I have with jobs (paid or voluntary) on them and create quite a list…….I would do it outside but there is little or no sun………and I’ve been attempting to flyer my editing services but got thrown out of one S’clyde Uny building by a hi-vis security guard but there were no students behind which I could hide…….but the big thing is that a sense of normality has returned and there are many reasons for that. 😀

And I’d lunch with uni-Sharon in a café in Paisley but I won’t say which one – other than to say it’s one where they serve goat’s cheese quiche but it’s not on the menu. Y’know, like those special Starbuck’s drinks that you’re not supposed to know about unless you know the code. It’s the same in the Paisley café. 😉

Interesting conversation. We seemed to tour – in words – Paisley, Beith, Linwood and Kilbirnie, with its amazing Radio City Community Centre. And Tesco’s. There was a time (six/seven years ago?) when the blog seemed to visit a different supermarket every week.

And finally, I did send off ‘stuff’ to the Bowel Cancer people (and I’d hate to be their postie) and I got a reply pretty damn quick. Currently clear. When you’re starting the rest of your life (yet again) that’s good news. 😀 😀 😀

And for all of you who went to see Arcade Fire this week and saw Jim Kerr, this is/these are Simple Minds with words which are now my own personal theme as I return to society. Not that Jim Kerr is ever over the top……..

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (and the smile it brings) and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, the kind of guy who, if a picture finds itself at an angle, is happy to leave it.

So (you can actually tell people who’ve been media trained by their use of that word in their answers) I became aware during the week that there are primary school kids who have become increasingly concerned about the possibility of WW3 and how it could affect us. CBBC Newsround does a good job with these things and there’s a site but a memory came back.

When I worked with the homeless we had (at that time) a number of refugees who were being allowed to live in this country but under strict rules. Some came from Syria. And the memory?

Seeing them phone home (to Syria) and the pleasure when their mum or dad answered the phone. But, in one case, I was shown photos of the neighbours who had died the previous night during the bombing and what the street had looked like.

This could be a long list.

Last week’s tune was a bit take it or leave it much as me and at least one other like Walk The Moon. I had run out of time. This is a much more considered choice. This is/these are the Shires with Guilty and, yes, rules are made to be broken.

And whatever monkey that was on my back He jumped off just like that Right into the deep blue sea (David Lee Murphy)

April 12, 2018

And so, dear listener, some of you may remember that a few months back I had what, in some quarters, is known as a bit of a heart attack and, thanks to that nice Mr Zuckerberg and his Facebook apparatus, I was able to tell people about it. 🙂

He helped me to share it – as I believe young people describe it. And sharing is good. Mind you, I saw one young lady (using this device) complain that Facebook had shared the date of her birthday – which she claimed was her personal property. So, she won’t feel hurt if it’s totally ignored next year. Or will she?

It wasn’t the most serious of cardiac arrests but it was pretty frightening at the time. I wanted to learn more and so good is the NHS that they wanted to tell me more but the Beast from the East (in its various guises) prevented them from doing so ): …….until this week.

I was down for two appearances; the first was an echo scan in Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary and the other was a meeting with the Heart Failure (!) Consultant in what used to be Yorkhill (Sick Kids and Queen Mum’s and so on).

So, on Tuesday, I re-created the route that many of my visitors had taken when they came to visit me – except I cheated a wee bit cos it was raining. I took a taxi from Queen Street Station to the Queen Elizabeth Building.

Bloody Hell!!!!!!! I never ever visited East Berlin at the height of the Cold War but if W H Smith’s had had a shop there at the time this is what it would have looked like. I fully expected George Smiley to be swopping spies in there. What a sad looking place that entrance area is. ):

And Debbie, not only was that a long walk for you and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to guide you in, but directions meant nothing to me. So much easier arriving in an ambulance and being jagged up with morphine. 😀 😀 😀

Anyway, I found where I was going for the scan and it’s exactly the same procedure as pregnant women get but it was a doctor doing it and he kept shouting out medical things to a doctor on the other side of the curtain.

Occasionally she shouted back. He spoke to me once. He said, ‘Sniff’ so I did. I’m sure it meant something.

Anyway, it was over after about thirty minutes and it was horrible. I am so fat and I spent all that time looking at my stomach. Yeugh! ):

The female doctor came round from the other side and we’ll call her Doctor J (and I wonder if she’s on Facebook lol!) and she was brilliant. I do remember her as one of the consultants who paid me a visit on a previous occasion and I remember her as asking questions but also answering them. She seemed to remember me but my ego is not so inflated as to think she really did. I just think she’s really good at reading medical notes.

And this is what she said (gulp, and serious voice);

My left ventricle is normal so blood is going round and round alright.

The extreme cold I was feeling with blue fingers and blue hands and other blue extremities with some tiredness and breathing hiccups may well have been caused by the beta blockers I’ve been taking and I’ve to gradually cut back on them (Nae beta blocker cold turkey).

The leaky aortic valve is still there but it’s not mega and Dr J (must get her first name) is going to request an MRI scan for me and she will arrange a clinic appointment for me as well but probably about six months. So warmed up fingers crossed, I may be sorted.

So the heart failure (!) consultant got cancelled. 😀 😀

And finally, I have now done the Bowel Cancer test, so with a slight feeling of dread, it’s been posted.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge (ah, the things it’s seen) and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, 2018 can now start for me! After all, yolo!

I know some folk think I talk too much about my health matters but the aim has never been to say ‘do things my way’ and you’ll be fine, but to help folk raise questions in a way they might not feel able to do elsewhere. I may not have answers but I’ll help you to rephrase your questions. That does help. Trust me.

Things like telling students about cancer who’d no idea what the prostate was; talking to a conference of doctors about my feelings about what had happened to me alcoholically and after I’d finished I noticed a man hanging around and he just wanted to talk; and someone asking me whether you dealt with the anxiety and depression first or the drinking. Time and reassurance can help.

Sorry, if that didn’t make sense but I was talking to my legal the other day in Stereo, where the jackfish was nice but filling, and without going too deeply into the conversation, I came away thinking how lucky I have been, particularly in the last eleven years. I have been very lucky.

And my thanks to those people who have shared with me that they have leaky aortic valves and I know that they lead what can be described as ‘normal lives’. Sharing is good. Just wish sometimes I could share my luck a little more.

Which reminds me… I need a third piece of music for my funeral.

Yours, in a happy, smiley mood.:D

So, (ooops, sorry Rosie) none of the music I wanted was available to me online. ‘Withdrawn at artists’ request’ or similar so I’ve gone to old favourites Walk The Moon and Shiver Shiver which is something I’ll now stop doing once I come off the beta blockers and I regain the feelings in my fingers.

One of my favorite things is to have a three-hour conversation over coffee with someone (Andy Grammer)

April 6, 2018

And so dear listener, there are some moments when you wish you were part of a TV drama rather than grim reality, aren’t there? Well, there are for me. See me, see fantasies. 😉

I happened to be seated in Central Station the other day when a woman (mid-thirties?) sat two seats down from me with hood pulled down and scarf pulled up. A few minutes later a man with beard, two cases and two young children with rucksacks turned up and stood next to woman who says nothing. Man with beard says something and woman lowers scarf and single word replies. Children say nothing but you can see by their silent eyes they are aware that something is not right.

Man with beard takes son away somewhere but young girl just looks at mum and then it’s time for me to go. See if I did live in a TV drama, I’d have lent over and said to the wee girl, ‘Give your mum a hug. She needs one.’

Except, I’d probably have been arrested. 😦

The fact that I do live in a very real world at the moment was emphasised by an aborted train trip to Helensburgh. Which is a smashing train journey – particularly Bowling. 🙂

However, the bit between me parking my car at the tennis club and actually getting to Hyndland Railway Station saw me hit by horrible windy rainy wet snowy snow and I was shivering by the time I got to the ticket bit. I made the decision to cancel the trip, bought newspapers from the kiosk there and then drove gently home – not a problem.

Then, once I got indoors, I started breathing heavily (No. There was no-one there to greet me). I’d made it home safely so relaxing means breathlessness kicks in. So I had some of my spray. They are very nice blue lights that seem to accompany each whiff. I felt settled. 😀

Cos my heart’s not pumping properly (but it’s not dangerous) then there is a circulation problem. Strange. In my days as a PR person, I used to be able speak to everyone in a room in just a matter of minutes – and make sure their drinks were topped up. No problems with circulation then.

So I have heart tests and a consultant’s consultation next week. I have four basic questions to ask and the standby question is, ‘why do so many of my medications (two out of fourteen pills) warn against me taking grapefruit juice?’

But I do reckon a wee spell of dry, sunny weather would make such a big difference – not just to me but to everyone. 😀

I think a combo of an honest appraisal of my heart and better weather is the psychological boost I need.

Mind you, in some ways, I think this is harder than the cancer and the alcohol. It is also why I’ve not been making it to Partick Thistle. A couple of hours standing in the rain. I can’t mention the football cos I’ve not seen it.

Also, in the real world, my washing machine seems a bit unhappy and I’ll never trust a weather forecaster again…….or maybe it gets ‘milder’ when I’m not looking.

People whom I trust in the Facebook community – Tricia and Debbie – suggest it’s the filter which according to the YouTube community is hidden by a panel at the front. I think it would be sensible to get someone in to help me move the machine….a neighbour maybe. Except, since I started writing this, I’ve done a washing and it was okay………maybe cos it was a smaller washing?

But it’d be nice to show the neighbour the flowers I was given for Easter. 🙂

I can also show them my mobile phone which is back up and working thanks to my son who fixed it whilst I was across playing with my grandchildren on Easter Monday. 😀

But congrats to the rainforestriverman on the birth of a second grandchild – a granddaughter this time. 😀 😀 😀

And I also had an interesting chat with someone from UWS (Paisley) in UWS (Paisley) which gave me some good ideas and I also had an interesting chat with someone else from UWS (Paisley) in Tinderbox in Prince’s Square which offered some interesting food for thought. My friend, that is; not Tinderbox which does do cakes but we passed.

Right. That’s the happy stuff out of the way.

And finally, thanks for the suggestions as to what I should do next in my life. A couple of people suggested a return to residential care through relief banks and whilst there was much I enjoyed in doing that, I think the days of me charging out of the office to go settle an issue elsewhere in the project have long since gone.

To recap;
I’m looking for ideas for appropriate paid part-time work, or appropriate voluntary work, or an appropriate course.

And that’s the basic rules of the game.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still a great believer in keeping it simple 😉

Iaint850, still not sure what has happened to me

So this month’s favourite story of the week? 😀

It’s the one where the wee primary schoolgirl in Kilmarnock did a lovely wee picture of her mum – lying in bed suffering from a Prosecco hangover – sorry, ‘horrible juice’ hangover. And the teacher had even corrected the wee girl’s grammar before adding,

‘Oh I hope she feels better soon’

And a further quote from the mum;

‘It could have been worse. She (the daughter not the teacher) kept walking in on me with my head over the toilet so at least that wasn’t in the picture.’

All I will say, as an estranged dad who continued to attend parents’ nights even after the separation, it’s amazing what could be learned from a primary schoolchild’s diary of the week.

And that’s all I’m saying.

So I recently bought five CDs of Bonnie Raitt for a tenner. Raitt has received 10 Grammy Awards. She is listed as number 50 in Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” and number 89 on the magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

This is she