Archive for July, 2019

‘Methadone, for example, is associated with many deaths but we know that when closely monitored and prescribed, methadone works and people who are on it have a longer life expectancy.’ (Prof Roy Robertson in the Sunday Mail, 21st July 2019)

July 27, 2019

‘Robertson witnessed the explosion in heroin abuse during the early eighties from the clinic in Edinburgh’s Muirhouse where he still works.’

And so, dear listener, hopefully, this will be the last health update for a while but I was at the very pleasant and very sunny Stobhill Hospital the other day. I’d forgotten that my heart consultant, Dr J, had arranged to meet me something like a year previously, to discuss matters pertaining to my heart. 🙂

I say I’d forgotten but luckily those nice people at @nhsscotland hadn’t and I’d been sent a text to remind me. 🙂

It went well. It is now about a year and a half since I’d had the heart scare and I’m glad to say that over that period, thanks to careful monitoring of medication, my blood pressure is slowly coming down. Medical people say that 130 over 54 is good. 😉

She asked if I was had any problem running for buses. I had to explain no as I don’t use buses anyway as they don’t go where I want them to.

‘Good point’, she said, ‘nor do I. What about running up and down stairs?’

And I can certainly go up and down stairs e.g. some of those belters from the River Kelvin up to the Botanic Gardens or Belmont Street.

I was also echoe’d (not sure how to spell that but it seems to be how medical people say it; it’s that ultrasound echo test which bounces pictures of that heart area and gives some details of how leaky my aortic valve is)

Moderate is the answer in a gentle voice. 😀 😀 😀

I was told, and I may have mis-heard this, that the leaflets on my valve should be 1.2mm but that I had 1.3mm on 1.4mm on the other.

‘I can live with that,’ I said.

‘better than the alternative, jt,’ she said.

And we fixed a date for a year’s time. 😀 😀 😀

And Friday night saw me and good friend e going to see Burt Bacharach and his band at the Kelvingrove Bandstand (one violin as opposed to a string section and so on) but they did the business as did the backing singers but the real star is Burt himself.

He tells stories without name dropping (unlike Lulu last year) and he did a full two hours (unlike Lulu last year) and there was the odd wee political hint about his feelings towards Boris and Donald (unlike Lulu who was a great fan of Maggie Thatcher but did sing Shout so she was forgiven)

Burt – you’re a legend. And we even had a sneaky wee Justin Currie thrown in as the support act just in case ‘nothing ever happens.’

Let’s move on.

And one of my neighbours, basically at right angles to me, is building what appears to be a shed or summer house against the fence between us, which is not a problem, but he has covered it with a blue tarpaulin while he constructs it in case it rains.

All well and good, but for all the world it looks like one of those forensic science tents and people on the flight path into Glasgow airport must think there’s been a murder, next door to me.

And finally, there’s been a lot of chat about banning the sale of alcohol at family events such as fairs and highland games (no capitals needed as it’s the generic and not a specific games)….anyway……….the idea apparently is stop children being exposed to the abuse of alcohol.

No. Let’s not prohibit anything unthinkingly but look at our own attitudes. Is it better for children to see pints of lager bout next to soft drinks for children or for them to turn corners and find people surreptitiously bevvying from half bottles?

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges but will maybe transfer them to another jacket and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, not the man who shot Liberty Vallance

So I had a difficult meeting ahead of me in Paisley on Thursday, one that would normally have worried me, and I took the train there, but it was hi-jacked at Hillington East by a Mad Dog 20/20 squad of teens using the train to get to Troon.

Neither bothered me.

Y’see there’s a few pieces of music which, if I hear them by chance put a smile on my face and in my head. This is one of them and is possibly one of the most played pieces on the show. It has good memories and meaning attached to it. 😀

As I drove to the railway station, a deejay played it on the radio station

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Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator. (Confucius)

July 19, 2019

And so, dear listener, some more good news on the health front. A few weeks ago I got some revised repeat prescriptions and a message from the GP to check in with a nurse (never a problem) and come in to get my blood pressure checked.

So I waited until the aneurysm scan was out of the way and phoned on Tuesday looking ahead to the next week. ‘Can you come in now?’ said the voice of NHS Scotland.

And so, dear listener, that’s how I learned that the revised medication seems to be working and my blood pressure is down. 😀 😀

But Tuesday was a mixed day. Facebook does this thing where it reminds you of something you said or did ‘on this day’. Apparently exactly three years ago I was enjoying working in the Mitchell Library so much (my home wi-fi was down) that I felt the need to tell the world. 🙂

Then, I got home and a certain USB stick was missing. Many listeners know the story. Let’s just say Tuesday was definitely a mixed day. With lots of walking. It’s my basic coping mechanism for anxiety anmd depression and is approved by medical and counselling folk I’ve spoken to. Informally. But my wee legs were tired. 😦

Monday was a good day. I met up with former BBC colleague Jayne and we went to a local garden centre where, even at the age of 65, I still feel and look younger than most of the clientele. 😀

We’d also like to say thanks to the young barista, Emma, who told us all about her grandad’s 60th birthday. Why? Well we asked. I’m not so sure the people in the queue were that impressed.

My wee legs were tired on Monday as well but that’s cos we took the furthest away table in the whole place which was 17 MILLION MILES away. I spilt so much coffee that I just tipped the tray and drank it out the corner. Nice catching up j (different j)

And nice birthday lunch on Thursday with good friend e, RJ and AJ but I made a big mistake. AJ had decided to try something new (calamari) and I agreed to share a starter plate with him. Schoolboy error. On my part. The schoolboy decided he liked them and I thought the one I had was very good……..never again. 😀

And finally, I spent Friday morning in a classroom of my first alma mater, Glasgow University, attending a kinda class on Illustrated Glasgow looking at a range of illustrations including maps and coats of arms and photographs and all sorts of stuff. And very good it was too and the lecturer was good and I’m going back to something similar next week. 😀

But what I found really strange was that everyone there was my age or thereabouts. The last time that happened to me would have been at secondary school. It was uncharted territory and whatever my reasons for going (read what you will into that) I may have to think more about this in the future.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges (in my winter jacket cos that’s what the weather’s been like) and still keeping it simple (hey, you may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one)

Iaint850, and no, there’s not a lot happening on the settlement front. Maybe soon?

And you’d expect me to comment on some of the coverage of the Scottish Drug Deaths. So I have done.

First, a big well done to SNP MP, Alison Thewlis, who made the point that drug consumption rooms would be clean and hygenic. Bringing users into these not only allows them to inject safely but brings them into contact with addiction workers and health pros. Have you ever seen the health damage done by dirty needles? Botulism, blood borne viruses and leaking wounds.

Have you ever seen a serious drug user’s kitchen? Trust me. You don’t want to go there.

Literally.

Most other politicians tried to make political capital out of it. Alison didn’t.

And then there was former policeman, Joe Duffy, on BBC Scotland’s fast improving Nine o’clock news, who made the point that, financially, the only people making money out of the illegal drugs industry are the criminals who couldn’t care less to whom they sell or what they sell.

‘Street valium’, and God know what’s in them, sell for approximately £1.50 for five.

In December four guys went down in the High Court for manufacturing street valium in a Paisley lock-up with a machine capable of pressing 20,000 tabs an hour. Do your own sums.

Imagine if it was legal, say along the lines of the alcohol industry………the tax taken alone would do so much for education and the health service. Imagine.

And then someone jumped on a personal hobby horse and said there was no need for charities. The government should provide – totally ignoring the fact that governments are slow and ponderous in acting and tend to do so for political advantage and that non-governmental organisations such as Addaction and Turning Point and (the one I volunteer for) the Scottish Drugs Forum can react more quickly and more directly and more effectively.

Most residential rehab is in non-governmental hands.

And can you see the Government even attempting to start, let alone run, an organisation like Alcoholics or Cocaine or Narcotics Anonymous? They started at the most basic of ground-roots with two men and one book and cost virtually nothing to run.

And here’s fifteen minutes of Burt Bacharch in concert…..eventually. No. No reason.

“…the time has come when that tired old lie , ‘once an addict , always an addict ‘ will no longer be tolerated by either society or the addict themselves . We do recover”

July 12, 2019

And so, dear listeners, again thanks for birthday wishes but also for your help in spending some of my pressies; in particular what I used to describe as book tokens but which are now well and truly in the Twenty-First Century.

For example, my ex sent me an online book token from the National Books something or other which tells you to print it out and when you do you get a blankish A4 sheet of paper which contains a bar code, a pin (number) and another set of numbers.

I should mention that my ex messaged me later to see if I had worked out how to use it. Well, yes I had but it took the second member of Waterstones staff in Byres Road to run it through the till. 🙂

I would like to thank Julie, Jill and Iain for their suggestions and I’ve been nicely in the position where I’ve taken a sample book out of each of their suggestions……..I’ll keep you posted. 😀

But when am I going to read them?

This is now the start of the dissertation editing season and, yes, it gets earlier and earlier.

Many Masters have to be in by the end of August and I seem to have three on the books for the next couple of weeks and then there’s a business school at Glasgow University which pays for Christmas (and coffees).

And they’re getting younger and that shows in my caustic comments. Those of you who know Track Changes will be aware of the Comments facility.

One of mine this week read, ‘this is meant to be an academic piece of work; not an Instagram post.’ (I smiled)

And incidentally the grand-daughter of the UWS academic went on to win that Beautiful Baby contest in a shopping mall…….. 😀 😀 😀

I’ll move on.

Incidentally, I was going to talk about Recovery (hence the quote at the top but i’m glad to say that lots of other people are now talking so that’s good) 🙂

And the football season is about to start. Saturday, 13th July and it was the mighty Thistle up against the stuttering Airdrie at the end of a very wet week not long before Glasgow Fair Monday. Except it was sunny and I sat outside and read a book.

And then there’s a wee medical update this week. About me.

I had to go for an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening for men (people) aged 65 (and OMG, the men pictured on the front of the brochure look really old. I hope I don’t look as old as that when I’m 65….except……) 😦

Anyway. I went.

Now I’m sure that I mentioned last week that one of those moments of anxiety that I talk about hit me on the Monday morning I was due to leave Arisaig and I went for the train one hour before it was due.

I did the same with the taxi to Stobhill. I was appointed for 1130. The taxi picked me up at 1030. Nice guy. Knew the west coast of Scotland well and seemed quite understanding of the anxiety thing when I explained it as I’d rather wait where I’ve to be than fill in time at home. Besides which I might get taken early. 😉

I was. Lie down; t-shirt up; pregnancy gel rubbed on my stomach; and a thirty second ultrascan.

‘That’s you. You’re fine. No. You’ll never be back.’ 😀

That’s the kinda result my sister liked. Getting taken early. Or it wasn’t too busy. Or the doctor was a woman and had been to Glasgow University. Or…….well you get the idea. And what I really wanted to know was what they had said about her medically.

I never told her that one of her male doctors who’d been to Glasgow was an old drinking buddy of mine. I never actually met him when I was at the Beatson but I knew some other people from other places.

And finally here’s a wee joke for you.

My mate has a huge herb garden which is arranged in alphabetical order. I said, ‘I don’t know how you find the time.’ He said, ‘it’s over there next to the sage.’

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and patiently keeping it simple

Iaint850, still a wee bit anxious but nowhere near the hamster wheel of doom.

So I, and indeed anyone else on Facebook, was asked by a friend for a song that would add a little bit of get up and go and I suggested a couple (both by Walk the Moon) but that was as much for the videos as anything else.

Somebody else suggested Mr Brightside by the Killers which is a song about a stalker watching his his ex-girlfriend being intimate with another man.

Apparently it’s very popular at weddings!!!!!

Mind you, Delilah as sung by Tom Jones and/or Alex Harvey is on the same theme only people get knifed to death in it.

The joke came from the inspirational Milo Castandea; this piece of music (and dance) also comes from Milo. Enjoy.

And I bet you’re still dancing 😀

When you wake up every day, it’s like a new birthday: it’s a new chance to be great again and make great decisions. (Poo Bear)

July 5, 2019

And so, dear listener, my thanks to all those who marked my birthday in so many ways after my big hint. 😉

But it was a quiet one. The 2nd of July coincides with the first week of the school holidays and a few folk I might have met up with were away on various Scottish islands. 🙂

And, of course, this was my first birthday without my big sister being around to organise something.

We move on. To Arisaig, where I was for a weekend and when I tell people it was very quiet, they say to me, ‘well, what did you expect?’ I’m not sure, but can I stress I’m not complaining. I often observe but rarely complain. Maybe an extra walk or maybe a slightly better choice of eating places but there was much I did enjoy. 😀

The train journey was smashing – well, on the way up it was, after Fort William. I think they had problems at Queen Street Station cos it was late in and it had the feeling of coach parties being shoved onboard so that they could get it out and so I didn’t get my reserved window seat.

(I’d have had to take on the entire coach party)

After Fort William, I was fine and was soon happily posting pics of the Jacobite steam train and the Harry Potter viaduct and the scenery. On the way down I got the reserved seat and enjoyed it all. Dalmuir looks so nice in the sunshine…..as did Rannoch Moor. 😀

The walks that I did were smashing and do-able even to a man who does get a wee bit breathless but who came home to find an appointment booked for an aortic scan this coming week cos I have a leaky aortic valve.

The hotel was good; the menu was limited (the Chef’s special was the same three nights running); and the public bar was the village’s social life but I had no problems sitting with my book on a bench across from the Spar which was where I bumped into friends, Sharon and Kenny, who were in a caravan in the area.

But nice wee touch in the bar, as they delivered my fresh orange to me, was the offer of a small glass of that week’s guest ale. I declined.

And the peace and quiet was amazing. It was not just peaceful; it was totally noiseless at times. 😀 😀

A wee bit frightening and that maybe led to a wee feeling of anxiety as the weekend came to close.

‘What if the train to Glasgow is cancelled? What do I do then?’ 😦

So, dear listener, do you know what I did? The train was due at about 1025; I was in the station at 0925 believing it was better to be there than in the hotel on the basis that if the train was cancelled then that’s where the bus would pick us up from. This is how I deal with those odd moments of anxiety I get. I feel as if I’m doing something about it and I’m happier.

I saw the train going up to Mallaig and rather than look a complete tube, I pretended to be a train-spotter and took its picture but I did relax at that point. (Or do trains ‘go up’ to London?)

And just to say, I am glad I went. I may do another weekend away soon. Suggestions welcome.

And my favest present (out of very few, but at my age……..) was a Tassimo coffee maker which I look forward to playing with, altho’ I may need a friend or family member to help with the instructions. Any tips?

And finally, I’m taking a Summer gap month away from volunteering with the Scottish Drugs Forum, for no real reason other than I can, although I’ve given myself a wee project over the next four weeks. I’m going to draw up a guide that’ll be a practical guide to iMovie editing on a Macbook.

Now I’ve never used a Mac before and the last time I did video-editing was offline with original material copied to VHS; so how long ago was that. Panasonic Blue anyone? So far, much of what I’ve been doing for the SDF has been writing, so this is a chance to learn a new skill. At 65. 😉

Here’s the SDF’s annual review. It’s a good chance to find out what they do and I’m in there somewhere

http://www.sdf.org.uk/what-is-it-sdf-do-find-out-in-our-annual-review/?fbclid=IwAR3h8aQORJ_t0dTfITSHctfvpbTwq65oMmoN0v2zSfDawH5e6HSZ1ye7kkA

Tioraidh, still wearing those badges and still keeping it simple but sometimes I wonder why.

Iaint850, who is now 65 and aware of his own mortality and the forthcoming football season and the fact that he has quite a lot of books still to read and strange online book tokens to spend so plans to hang around for a wee while yet.

And all I’d like to do here is to reproduce the Daily Record front page of 4th July 2019.

‘Scotland is gripped by the worst drug crisis in Europe. It’s killing people and wrecking communities. Our investigation has shown tough justice is not the cure. We must target dealers but it’s time to stop treating vulnerable citizens as criminals. Our country needs powers to treat addiction as a health problem not a crime. It’s time to

DECRIMINALISE DRUG USE’

(and to wish Professor Catriona Matheson of Stirling University all the best as the Chair of the new Drug Deaths Taskforce just announced in Scotland)

And the Highwaymen seemed to prove a popular choice last week so here they are again with Ghost Riders in the Sky.