Archive for the ‘Cold Turkey’ Category

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.

Advertisements

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.

‘A friend is what the heart needs all the time’ (Henry Van Dyke)

February 2, 2018

And so dear listener, this ain’t the usual blog. Apart from anything else it’s not as structured as usual. 🙂

Seriously. I know that in many years from now some literature academic will stumble over these shows and give them the credit they deserve as an exceptional piece of writing.

That and the Facebook postings of 2018 when in a matter of days I charted a journey from antibiotics that I thought I was allergic to but I was actually having a ‘small heart attack’ and back out the other end with more tests ahead of me. Thanks to all who followed the action and responded.

Basically it was a slow heart attack but it can kill and altho’ I’ve been trained to perform CPR and mouth to mouth I don’t know how to do it to myself over a period of time (and I don’t think that sentence says what I wanted it to)

And tonight as I looked at the metaphorical blank sheet of paper in the typewriter I just burst into tears. You forget the emotional side of recovery, don’t you? Here I go again. The physical begins with a walk around the graveyard and the mental, for me, is dealt with by hammering out 1,000 words on a weekly basis and talking (or rambling) to friends. Well it worked for prostate cancer and alcohol dependency.

But this time it’s been a wee bit different. Oh, my 999 call early morning was there again and I slightly surprised the call handler by having the front door open for the ambulance folk and having my prescriptions to hand and, and, and so on and I was driven to the Royal Infirmary after the ambulance folk had done tests and I stayed there for a few days in a ward I can never forget and I’ll tell you about that in a few weeks and then transferred to the Golden Jubilee and then that moment when I was told by the consultant that I could go home (twelve days on) and I kept looking over his shoulder at the nurse who kept nodding assent but with a smile on her face.

So my arteries are fine, the leak in my aortic valve is a mild to moderate risk but the blood pressure needs to be watched. I have a cardiac rehabilitation programme to follow and some outpatienting to do.

But I’m sleeping so much better.

Oh and those sample bottles full of urine and the toast at nine o’clock at night and the blood tests at 6.30 morning and night and those gowns that I had to wear until they no longer needed easy access to my body (eh?) and that mobile tracking device I had to wear even when I went to the loo.

And I think it’s worth saying that it’s been a wee while since I’ve been in the company of mostly women and not fallen in love at least once.

And I told folk I am going to write a Rom Com set in a Coronary Care Unit and fellow blogger Jill came up with a very simple plot which I think would work. And I wrote down some amazing quotes. And I witnessed some amazing patience (and that’s the correct spelling) where incontinence and possible dementia were concerned and I have no criticism of any individual, system or institution – just amazement at how nurses and auxiliaries just wipe things down and get on with it.

I mean I did ten or so days in a detox ward in Gartnavel about eleven years ago and that was pretty scary and the thirty-seven days I did as a Cancer outpatient getting daily radiotherapy were pretty straightforward which is not to diminish cancer treatment but I got to drive home at speed after each treatment. Here I’ve got to wait four weeks before I can drive again. And then I can get a much needed haircut.

So if you’re mobile and in the area – I do need some help with shopping and getting out for walks.

(Yes, I’ve been alcoholically dependent, had bad prostate cancer and now a heart attack……..and I’m still here)

But, yet again, people are helping and yet again I will get on with it because I am young and still have a lot of living to do and a lot to learn. The invites are in the post even as I write.…….and should you ever find yourself in Summerston, please get in touch but bring your own bottle – sample or otherwise.

Tioraidh, so, possibly adding to the badges but so glad I keep it simple.

Iaint850 and much humbled by what I’ve seen.

And after all that there is only one piece of music I can play even if it is badly lip synched. Here’s Feargal Sharkey (and just click on the YouTube bit)

Butterflies cannot see their wings. But the rest of the world can. (Meghan Markle)

January 12, 2018

And so dear listener I have succumbed. No. Not to alcohol (but I will confess, Rosie and Ann, to some meat when someone came to my house to eat) but to the throat lurgy I had previously mentioned. At one point it was merely annoying and not too intrusive.

For example, I had a very enjoyable cup of coffee and a very enjoyable conversation in a café at the top of Storie Street in Paisley last week – once I’d found it – and there’s a guy I know who lives outside of Glasgow who, when he comes in, likes to pack a lot in. So I meet him for breakfast. Last Saturday it was the famous North Star café in Queen Margaret Drive. With avocado. I had the scrambled eggs.

But then, on Monday morning, I felt ill. I had planned to make the start to 2018 that I’d promised by going flyering to GCal and Strathclyde and I’d two SVQ related meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was all I could do to find the switch on button on the DAB radio.

(It’s actually the middle of three but I did find myself counting down until I was sure that there were still three buttons and went back up one and pressed it. I was right.)

The weather forecast was not great so I postponed the start of 2018 (just for myself – not you) and put some clothes on and walked down to the ASDA. That was fine. Walking back up was hell. My throat kept drying on me and I felt the need to keep walking up the hill on the basis that if I stopped I’d be frozen solid. In Summerston. 😦

So I cancelled some stuff and on Tuesday I went to the doctor. He’s a friend and we chatted about various things and then, ‘What is it today, jt?’ and when I replied, ‘It’s the throat’, he said, ‘Not again?’ But it was. 😦

It was red and raw. And he prescribed antibiotics (and not as I told some people – amphetamines) and I’ve never had them before and I know that Maryhill Health Centre is very careful about what they prescribe. 🙂

Aye, despite all my problems in recent years I’ve never had antibiotics. It’s not something I’ve come across before and it occurs to me that I know more about what were called, until recently, legal highs. I had proper blue Valium in the immediate days after Cold Turkey and I’d sleeping pills at one point but they were too effective so I stopped and we don’t count anything I may, or may not, have taken over eleven years ago – but never antibiotics.

OMG! They’re powerful! I had two on the Tuesday night and the TV stopped working! Strange messages came up on the screen about my TIVO box and calling 150 but I made the mistake of using my remote control as my phone and that seemed to make matters worse.

A site on Facebook told me I was not the only one so I listened to the radio through the computer (as opposed to through the TV) and read and then OMG! (again!) I heard people downstairs discussing Korea. Had the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse returned? (Well three cos one of them is still stuck in the jersey I was wearing the night of Cold Turkey). Bravely, I went downstairs with my fingers in the sign of a cross (No. I don’t know why) and the TV had come back to life. It was a news programme. I went to bed and had nightmares – one of which included Tony Blair. 😦

Wednesday, we’ll ignore cos the antibiotics worked their way through my system and I don’t want to talk about it (but that explains the smell of nag champa in the bathroom) and I cancelled more stuff. Still getting strange dreams.

Thursday, signs were slightly better but it’s only recently that I have realised how cold my house is, cos I’m spending much more time here at the moment than was ever intended and I’m not well. I also keep wanting to sleep but feel I should keep all that for night-time. I have also realised that I am hungry but with little appetite.

And finally, on Friday, I did what any sensible person living on their own would do; I used Google and Facebook to find out if how I felt was usual with antibiotics. It is. It is like living with the hangover from hell for five days 😦 Is there no end to this suffering?

And then my bowel cancer testing kit arrived!!!!!! 😦

And I was going to say a few things about cancer this week but one health thing at a time I always say.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and, to whom it may concern, quite happy keeping it simple.

Iaint850, glad I took j’s advice about getting the flu jab or else I’d be in one helluva mess.

And so I couldn’t help but notice that the new Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock, is a big fan of Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl. Now, Ed, as we know, knows a good tune when he hears one (and that’s all I’ll say for very good legal reasons) but is an incredibly inoffensive person. Indeed, I suspect Matt is a big fan of Michael McIntyre as well and his appointment does not bode well for broadcasting in the UK (many of his other powers are devolved)

Steve Earle, on the other hand, has been married seven times, including twice to the same woman and is a recovering cocaine and heroin user. What he thinks of Michael McIntyre is unknown but this is Steve’s Galway Girl

and cos one Steve Earle track is never enough here’s Copperhead Road AND wait for the tempo change!!!!

“I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.” (Plath)

December 9, 2017

And so, dear listener, this weekend is the eleventh anniversary of my Cold Turkey when I ended up in hospital after a weekend of non-drinking – so dependent had my body become on alcohol – but last year I had made the decision to stop counting the years unless asked. I am simply someone who does not drink. 😀

The events of Saturday, 10th December 2016 (this time last year) are well known to regular listeners. My Cold Turkey weekend had started on Saturday, 10th December 2006 (and finished two days later) and Alabama 3 were in Glasgow’s O2 on that day and date in 2016 (exactly ten years on!!!!) and J, the blog’s favest librarian, had agreed to come with me and an interesting night out occurred although I still have no idea, J, what the point was of the monk with the V for Vengeance mask standing at the side of the stage. Anyway you enjoyed the gig and that was good. As did I. As did my neighbours when I got home and played all their albums into the wee small hours……… 😉

And as I went home, I thought that was it. No anniversary talk ever again.

Until the heating upstairs in my house broke down last week and I had a very cold bed. 😦

I don’t wear much in bed (if anything) so I am not well organised when I need something to get me through the night when it’s cold. The best thing I have is a freebie sweatshirt from a movie called Interview With The Vampire and it is long enough to be a nightdress and may have…….well anyway. It’s what I was wearing the night I got taken to the Western Infirmary and then to Gartnavel Ward 8 to dry out – for ten days. It’s what I wore when I was discharged. 🙂

I’ve never thrown it out cos for years I believed there was a demon in it. Daft I know but for the first few years of my recovery I used the language that everyone else uses to describe things. It was only after I’d started at uny (Post Grad and Master’s in Alcohol and Drugs Studies) that I saw things through different eyes.

But yet……..I had had a major fight that night with the Four Hallucinating Horsemen of the Apocalypse and I’m not sure they all left. (This was after the out of body experience when I think I died for a while) It must have been one helluva fight cos after I ended up in hospital, my next door neighbour organised some friends of hers to clean, tidy and basically put my house back together and they had to be paid. And then I’d to pay the person who paid them. And then my son, then a B.Acc student at Strathclyde University, took over some financial duties as my credit card and banking stuff needed sorted.

(This is why I prefer cash as it helps me keep better control of my finances and whilst the future may lie in contactless cards, I do see a lot of people who fail to keep the transaction slip)

And somebody (my sister, my ex-wife, her husband?) organised some cards from me and some presents and my ex also invited my sister and me (death warmed up and only just) for Christmas Dinner and I really appreciated that. 🙂

But this is why I still buy and send cards. I do understand why people don’t send cards but make a decision to give to charity instead but mine say something more than just Merry Christmas – they say ‘I’m still alive and don’t you forget it!’ 😀 😀 😀

And I buy them from Cancer Research UK – so a charity still gains.

And at a time when emergency call centres seem to be getting a lot of criticism, can I just say big thanks to the 999 operator who looked after me that morning when I realised I needed help. And made sure I left the front door open so the paramedics could get in. And at least three of the four horsemen went out.

And No (in answer to the second most asked question I get) I do not get cravings and I think the main reason for that is that I did/do not attend ‘meetings’ where alcohol is the main topic of conversation. With my addiction worker we basically looked at alternative behaviours so that alcohol was not my answer to everything.

In fairness, I have only ever been to four meetings – one in Maryhill on my own – one in Stevenson and at a convention in Paisley with someone known to some of the regular listeners – and one at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood. I think AA works for some people; I needed something like Cold Turkey to make me aware of what I was doing with my life.

(The answer to the most asked question I get is ‘Yes I do have male friends. Honest. Just don’t expect me to list them just now.’)

But there are times when a feeling does come back – a memory which prompts nice feelings. Alcohol advertising on TV doesn’t bother me although I know some campaigners would like to see greater controls as with tobacco.

I don’t watch much TV but sometimes I’ll see a drama and someone in it will pour a large, decent-sized drink of whisky into a glass and then take a decent gulp – and the heat will hit the back of the throat and the world will seem better. But then the other memories kick in and I remember why I’m glad I don’t drink.

Not that there’s anything to stop me. Other than me. It’s called free will.

So, no music tonight to end with. Instead I’m going out for a quiet walk and not bother about the weather. I do a lot of walking. I’ve not just discovered Fitbits.

I tell people this next bit but I’m not sure they believe me. Eleven years ago my balance was so bad I had to learn to walk all over again. Ask the people who visited me and saw me using a zimmer. Ask the physios who helped me practise walking up and down the backstairs of Gartnavel. I then progressed to walking round the graveyard and my physical recovery started then. 🙂

Indeed, whatever you may think of me, please remember it all came into being under interesting circumstances eleven years ago. I am young; I am still learning. 🙂

Next week begins the traditional run up to Christmas for the blog.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850