Archive for the ‘heart problems’ Category

‘Cabbage is very resilient. You can always trust a cabbage.’

November 30, 2018

Tremendously deep thoughts there from a programme I caught on the VICE Channel about the changes for young people in Romania since the end of the Communist regime. Yes. I do need to get out more. Yes. I do. 😀

And so dear listener, as far as I am concerned there is only one story in town this week. I had an MRI scan at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. For new listeners, here’s a quick re-cap.

2018 has not been a good year for me and it’s not that long until the Annual Blog Personality of the Year Awards and I’m struggling to find enough events to talk about. The year started with a heart scare/event/whatever and that’s why I was sent for the MRI scan.

And the Royal Infirmary, for those who don’t know it, is in the oldest and most historical part of Glasgow next to the graveyard – the Necropolis, which is the ‘dead centre’ of town – and up from where Duke Street Prison used to be with its last hanging in 1928 but when the wind blows from the West you can still hear the Gallows thud – and, well, you get the picture.

Told you it would be quick. 😉

Anyway, it started simply enough. I took the train into town and a taxi from the station up to the Royal. I could have walked but it was Thursday and it was wet and windy. I didn’t want to arrive ruffled. 😦

And I was dropped off at the Queen Elizabeth Entrance and that’s where it all went Pete Tong, didn’t it? I did ask where the MRI Department is, but once I’m past that WH Smith I’m lost. So a man saw that I was lost and pointed out that if I followed the green band on the wall – the one that said if you want the MRI Department follow the green band – I’d find it and I found it.

And then rub me down with the entire contents of a jar of warm molasses if I didn’t see that guy again, asking someone else for directions, himself. I turned my head so he didn’t see my smirk. 😉

A young man (James) came out to ask questions of me. I think he skipped on the section about whether I was pregnant. I’m not, anyway.

But he did ask me whether I’d had a tattoo recently to which I said ‘No, but I had considered it but I’d probably left it too late.’ To which he said, ‘There was a 93 year old lady in a few days ago and she had just had one done.’

Mmmmmmm, food for thought or what? 😉

Anyway, James took away my CD to play (The Pistol Annies) but he came back and gave me instructions about what was going to happen. Basically, for me, an ECG was plugged up to my heart and a heavy thing was laid across me – not that I planned to run away – and I entered the coffin. ‘Cos that’s what it feels like to me – a roomy coffin – and once I was in I was given breathing exercises to do. As if I planned to stop breathing?

And my mindfulness training came back to me and I didn’t panic altho’ I may have had a tear in my eye as Christmases past floated past. 🙂

And then I was done. Now I have no idea whether I was taken on time, how long I was in for or anything like that. About an hour? It’s a hospital. It’s full of sick people. They don’t keep to time. And it’s the NHS staff who deal brilliantly with each individual they work with – as do everyone who works in social care. We deal with people – not Key Performance Indicators.

(Wee reminder there of the initial fall out with a member of management that ultimately led to my demise and depression)

But I was done and I could go. I asked again for the Way Out and was given directions. I turned a corner and looked puzzled and a member of staff asked if I was looking for the Way Out and pointed at a door which opened automatically. She cackled and I left the building.

I went through it and ruffle me truffles with a jar of warm fromage frais that’s been roasting on someone’s chestnuts.

It was as if I’d walked straight into the Necropolis itself. Was that the cadavers’ door I’d walked through – the short cut that meant the grave robbers could get the bodies while they were still warm? The wind blew and the rain cascaded and my grummets shrank with fear.

I ran. And ran past two men who said, ‘Looks like we got ourselves a live one here.’

And I ran. Past the Cathedral House Hotel which is the most haunted place in Glasgow.

And I ran. Past the Provand’s Lordship which is the oldest house in Glasgow….and the College Bar…..and, and, and……..I reached the railway station and caught the 1656 up the road and got home, safely, only to find that the binmen had not emptied my green bin but they’d emptied all the others in the street. Apart from that, it was all pretty uneventful. 😀 😀 😀

Toraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple (I could always post it)

Iaint850, whose latest ambition is to be ‘a vegan condom influencer on Instagram’. Go on, Google it, I dare you.

Here, for the second week in a row, is/are the Pistol Annies and Takin’ Pills.

Enjoy.

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‘I think….that I would rather recollect a life mis-spent on fragile things than spent avoiding moral debt.’ (Neil Gaiman 2006)

July 6, 2018

And so, dear listener, I do like a good book and I’ve just finished reading one. It’s called ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ and it’s by Gail Honeyman.

Now, dear listener, there is a fine line between reviewing a book and offering too many spoilers and I’m about to attempt it. Forgive me if I fail. Let’s just say that I’ve thought about it and I’m going to drop some comments in the blog from time to time over the next few weeks which I think it would be fair to say were prompted by Eleanor and the book: thoughts about connections (or lack thereof) and counselling (which in my own case saw some good and some bad because some of it was targeted in the wrong direction) and some other stuff including the very obvious gag based on the surname. 😀

Anyway, because of the public transport problems in my neck of the woods and also downtown Glasgow city centre, on Thursday I took the subway into town. I hate buying tickets from the machine (lack of personal contact) and I went up to the desk. The young lady was holding a tissue to her ear. ):

‘Are you okay?’ I asked.

‘No,’ she said. ‘I keep picking at my ear and it’s bleeding. It’s my own fault.’

I bought a ticket, anyway, and wondered….would Eleanor Oliphant have bought one?

Now, as regular listeners know, I’m not a great fan of 151, and when I realised that I was being asked to pay lots of money for data used on my phone, I knew there was a problem. So I phoned 151 who reassured me my payments were going through but when I tried to explain that, whilst it was good to know I’d ‘millions in my account’, that wasn’t the problem.

I had lost him at ‘millions in my account’.

So I wrote and was advised to call 789 or an 0800 number but 789 seemed very busy and I was wondering if lots of people had this problem.

Then I got a txt msg saying they would call me. But they never did.

And then I saw something on fbook about the shops that were still open in the non-cordoned off bits of Sauchiehall Street and the Virgin Media Shop was one of them. 🙂

I headed for town the next day, getting off at Charing Cross but careful not to put my hand on the arm rail up the stairs. ‘How many germs?’ Eleanor and I wondered.

I made it to the store and was the only customer. ‘Let me see your phone’ the young lady said and after a minute asked, ‘Did you know your wi-fi was switched off? Well it’s back on now.’ 😀 😀 😀

In these days of digital disruption, could personal contact be the next big thing? 😛

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and I’m sure keeping it simple is still the right thing to do.

Iaint850 is ‘reasonably okay’

And as many people know it was my birthday recently and I spent part of it in Stobhill Hospital in the North East of Glasgow. And what a lovely hospital it is. And what was nice was the fact that I spent it in the company of the rapping Dr J who is my NHS heart consultant and who is very good. Either she does remember me (aye, in your dreams t850) or she’s a good reader of notes or more probably somewhere in between. 😉

I had blood pressure and an ECG done on arrival and sat in a nice waiting room with a large window out of which I could see lots of women in their summer dresses as well as lots of other appropriately dressed people with lashings of suntan oil. Dress appropriate, I say.

I was called through and we chatted. Things seem good but it is the NHS so that’s to be expected. I now have an appointment to see her again in a year’s time but before then we will continue to keep a close eye on my blood pressure (by tagging me soon for twenty-four hours) and also my leaky aortic valve. At some point I will get an MRI scan, but there’s no hurry. When I needed urgent assistance, the ambulances (real and metaphorical) were there for me. They would be again. 😀 😀 😀

Had I used the ‘emergency spray’, she asked, and, if so, what effect did it have?

Three or four times, I replied, and I felt it gave me mental control, lovely blue colours in my head and a lovely glowing sensation. 😀

I think the jury may be out on that returning to my repeat prescriptions.

However, one thing she and I did agree is that the current slight breathlessness after activity could be as much to do with my current overweightness as anything else. So, I have taken appropriate measures.

My favourite seat in my house is in the kitchen with the door open, reading a newspaper or book on a breakfast bar next to the fridge. I have now stuck a notice on the fridge door which reads

GO LOOK IN THE MIRROR BEFORE YOU EAT ANYTHING OUT OF HERE!!!!!!

And I think it’s working.

And for all those folk watching the World Cup thinking that music in the background is familiar, this is what you’re hearing.

We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible. (George Santayana)

June 28, 2018

And so, dear listener, last Saturday night, good friend e and I went to see Lulu perform at the Kelvingrove Bandstand. And jolly good it was too. And interesting. 🙂

First, can I say something about the venue? It must be one of the very few venues where the performers can actually see the individual members of the audience. The roof is the sky and it’s light until late (audio curfew is 10.30pm). This creates its own demands for the artists but if you’re Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie or Sharleen Spiteri (last year), then there’s a very good chance you see friends and family and you can actually talk to them. 🙂

But maybe Lulu (who is 69 and very fit) took it too far. After thirty minutes or so, she said she was going for a wee cup of tea and for us to do what we needed to do. She was gone for about twenty-five minutes which provided a tremendous opportunity for lots of people to get another few pints and wines (good size of one-use plastic cups) inside them and for them to totter up and down the concrete steps and to fall over and bang their heads but to get up again, smiling their heads off.*

Lulu did come back and carried on in the retrospective vein that she started off in but it took a wee while to get back into that mood but her second last number was Shout – and that made it all worthwhile. 😀

I have now in recent years seen Lulu sing Shout, The Waterboys sing Purple Rain, Steve Earle sing Copperhead Road, Kris Kristofferson sing Sunday Morning and Leon Russell sing Delta Lady. The next gig is the Pretenders…….

*As you know the question I am asked almost the most is whether I get cravings for alcohol. Well no, I don’t, BUT see the last couple of weeks or so, see standing at the corner of University Avenue and Byres Road and looking directly into Tennent’s Bar with the doors wide open………..No. No interest in alcohol but a wee reminder of what pubs have to offer people…….I moved on. 😉

And my big thanks to the thirty-one people who liked a very blurred picture of my first ever strawberries from this garden. Personally, I’m now strawberried out and if you’re passing or I’ve arranged to meet you……..then I may have some for you.

And also thanks to those of you asking how my bets are doing for the World Cup.

Remember all four are ‘to win’ so I can only have one winner – if any. If it helps to follow my progress, then all four names begin with ‘B’ apart from France and Spain (who lost on penalties this afternoon).

And I and most of the folk I know (men and women just to keep it simple) have no problem with women commentators or pundits…not just in football but in most broadcast sports. Sue Barker, Jane Lewis, Hazel Irvine, Julie Welch, Rhona MacLeod, Sally McNair, Alison Walker….the list is almost endless and continues to grow. And for me the great thing is that they are not there defined by their gender. They are there because they are good at their job, not for gender balance.

Nor would they tolerate this ‘thing’ that seems to be happening in Russia where men (for want of a better word) run up to steal a kiss. There’s at least one name there who could knock someone out if pushed too far.

And my own club, Partick Thistle, the Maryhill Magyars, the Harry Wraggs, the mighty Jags have just appointed a female Chairman – Jacqui Low – who is a woman with a lot of experience in Scottish Government and political PR.

(And, yes, I remember Lockerbie as well but I wasn’t needed on the night. The newsroom had plenty of people. So I went in at six the next morning)

And finally, I think I’m more Alex than Adam (a reference for those who watch Love Island) 😀

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and it gets me past chuggers without any problem, and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850 ‘is still fine’ (a current literary reference)

So (oooops, sorry Rosie) this year is my 64th birthday which is quite a change from the days when I claimed I’d be 42 for the rest of my life. It all changed when I turned 60 and, in the company of the good Dr W, did things like abseiling down the Titan Crane in Clydebank and being a zombie at M & D’s out Motherwell way.

This year? I’m celebrating my birthday at Stobhill Hospital (still open for ambulatory care) in the company of my heart consultant – the rapping Dr J. Currently I feel I have nothing to worry about but it’s nice that the NHS cares so much. 😀

And I think I proved my current fitness at the recent Feis Spors Glaschu where I remained on my feet for four or five hours which does mean that I am more than capable of going to see Partick Thistle at home.

Life’s a bit quiet at the moment but this has been a busy time for editing in the past and I’ve at least one interview for voluntary work at the end of the month.

But I’m taking advantage of the sun and listening to some music but when you’re talking someone turning 64, there really is only one song with which to end the show, isn’t there?

Here’s Green Day with Still Breathing. I have a live version but I think the lyrics are important. Have a listen.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela 💜

June 7, 2018

That opening quote was used by an organisation called Faces and Voices of Recovery which partly inspired my Masters.

And so dear listener, I have decided that there is too much TV on TV – or at least too small a choice. You know what I mean – cop shows (altho’ I think 24 Hours In Custody (?) is brilliant), property shows and cookery shows. I also remember the early days of cable when scrolling down through a smaller number of channels would produce gems such as Chuck Norris, Troma (sp) TV and ten pin bowling from Milton Keynes. 🙂

But every so often you find a gem and this week it was the end credits to Springwatch – BBC’s live nature programme where one of the presenters is Michaela Strachan. She once gave me her mobile number. She’s probably changed it by now. ):

Anyway, one evening, just before a smashing TV prog about Charles Rennie Mackintosh was due to start, I switched the TV on.

Switching the TV on does help if you’re going to watch a TV programme altho’ I didn’t know it was going to be smashing.

And I caught the end credits of Springwatch and I saw a credit for nestfinders! How brilliant! I still watch end credits to see if I still know anybody and I also remember the excitement when my name was up there as Researcher or Assistant Producer…..and my short career as a co-presenter.

And I also remember going to see the ‘Scottish Film’ at the Phoenix in Linwood with J and we both, without discussing it, did not leave our seats until the credits had run. Respect for the people who worked on the film.

There were only about eight people in the cinema to begin with and so mumbly were the accents in the film that I had to confess that I was glad I already knew the plot. 🙂

Anyway. Springwatch credits. I was determined to see what other gems there might be – like nestfinders. There were none. It was all the usual stuff – and no less worthy of being up there. But I was a wee bit disappointed.

And then there was the mysterious case of Celtic Street in Maryhill not being where I thought it was. At one time it was the shortest street in Glasgow with a Corpie bus garage at the end of it (or was it the shortest in Britain? Or Europe? Or, well you get the picture). Well the bus garage had been knocked down many years since and a wall had replaced it. Celtic Street was no more. It had become a place where people could park their cars.

So UPS had tried to deliver a parcel to my sister and were unsuccessful but it could be collected from 3 Celtic Street but where was that? Google showed that what had once been a lane beside the Ram’s Head had now taken on the name of Celtic Street and it has a lot of houses built to well past the pub. Celtic Street was no longer the proud bearer of that Shortest Street title. ):

But Number 3? There was no giant warehouse to be seen and whilst I started buzzing tenement numbers randomly, my sister had the good sense to go into the newsagents next door and Lo and Behold, it was Number 3. It looks as if UPS might have a policy of lots of wee stores so that if they can’t deliver, then they do have a collecting point that is not a massive warehouse way on the other side of town

And finally, thanks to those who ask after my health. With the help of the NHS, I continue to cut back on medication but the latest one is tricky. For over eleven years I have used Omeprazole to control stomach reflux but I’ve to cut back on it gradually (no cold turkey) to let some other stuff do their jobs properly but it’s six weeks before I need to go and see a nurse again. And I’m due to see the rapping Dr J in about four weeks’ time. So, that’s good. 😀

Yes, I occasionally get tired after not much effort and yes, I occasionally am aware of my heart in a way I never was before but often I am still full of ‘get up and go’ after some really stressful occasions (putting the duvet cover on the duvet) and I’ve only had to use the spray on three occasions and even then one puff was enough.

Note to Skippy…..on 16th June I’m helping out at the Gaelic Sports Day in Pollok Park. Let’s pack one of the small seats and make sure I look out the team baseball cap and lots of water.

And next week I’ll tell you good my grand-daughter was in her first ever dance show at Clydebank Town Hall.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple

Iaint850, still worrying why Love Island rejected me.

And I do believe the terminology in how we report and discuss health matters is important. That’s why I’m delighted to be going to ‘Health in the News: Fact or Fiction?’ this coming Thursday in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. If anyone else is interested, then I think tickets are still available.

Having been labelled, I don’t like seeing others labelled. And the worry is that you begin to believe the label if enough people repeat it.

But I’m happy enough to ignore Loki’s references to ‘jakebaws’ just this once cos of his other remarks on BBC Question Time about how important Minimum Unit Pricing is for the Common Good.

Anyway, last week I played Charlie Daniels appearing on the Marty Stuart Show in the Grand Ol’ Oprey in Nashville and John Collins, a friend of mine who’s the drive time jock on Chris Country Radio, contacted me to say that Marty himself was possibly the best live act he’d ever seen.

Funnily enough J, still the blog’s favest librarian, said the same a wee while back after she’d seen him in Glasgow.

Ladies and gentlemen, for J and J, and everyone else, here’s Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives singing El Paso from Oran Mor in Byres Road Glasgow in 2017. I knew I had it somewhere 😀

Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety (Francis Bacon)

May 19, 2018

And so, dear listener, as some of you know, I had applied for a gig as a volunteer. I won’t name the organisation but suffice to say that they are a council based within Scotland who look after refugees and have a festival coming up at the end of June for which they required volunteers for a range of roles. 🙂

There was no individual interview but we were observed during an ice breaker exercise and breaking into groups with a flip-chart sheet. I asked for, and received, feedback. This is part of it.

‘In terms of feedback, you were a pleasure to get to know, and of course more than qualified and experienced to carry out a volunteer role in the third sector – however often decisions to select volunteers are taken on the basis of what the role has to offer to the particular candidate, at least that is a factor we consider at XXX. This is true particularly with regards to this role, which does not require advanced English or computer skills, and is therefore one of our more inclusive roles for someone who would find it hard to get into a volunteer role in an office setting. I’m not saying that you are over-qualified for the role, rather that other people in the room would benefit more from this development opportunity.
The only, and very slight, feedback I would give you is that while it was great to see your clear enthusiasm to spend time with people and your energy, we did also feel that your natural gregariousness meant that people around you ended up being very quiet both in the group work and the presentation afterwards.’

Is that me as you know me? I am young. I can only learn. 😉

I wish them the best of luck and that’s filled a fair amount of my word count for this week. I did say to some people afterwards that I may have come across as a mouthy Glaswegian – which I’m not. I’m originally from Peterhead. 😀

Which reminds me……I’m doing a Prostate Cancer Information talk in Kilmarnock Job Centre later this month. My friend, the rainforestriverman, does inspirational talks as well. His latest was in Sao Paulo. A previous visit to Kilmarnock saw me at the Sheriff Court bailing three people out. Their ‘Not Guilty’ plea was accepted at a later date. (icon for phew!!!!!)

I remember one Saturday morning at the Sauchiehall Street project being in the laundry room when a big Orange Walk was going past. It seemed to be the pit stop where they replaced the lambeg drummer with a fresh lambeg drummer and I was asked to explain what was happening by two refugees. I did my best but failed.

Anyway, can you excuse me for fifteen minutes while I walk very slowly downstairs and sit in a very relaxed fashion before I take my blood pressure. The evening score is about 130 over stuff but it’s between 150 and 160 in the morning but that is oh so much better than it was a wee while ago. 🙂

And I’ve got this dreadful feeling that this might come across as a seriously serious blog and I’m no fun. I mean, I occasionally put a bet on in what are deserted bookies’ shops these days cos so many folk do it online these days (just like Ray Winston suggests we do) and it’s only the FOBT machines that are being used and I don’t know how they work. And, yes, I did once see a homeless person put a £100 note, which he said he’d ‘found’, into a machine in one punt. He lost it. Twenty seconds and it was gone. ):

But what do I know? Four (?) years ago I put £10 on Scotland to vote for Independence. It’ll be many years before that appears on my Fixed Odds coupon again. And at least one policy for Independence would be good. And a strong leader.

And finally, Mao Tse Tung was the Long March – not the long walk. I’ve been feeding people duff info about Windsor’s Communist credentials all week.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple, even if it’s not.

Iaint850, I mean me – ‘gregarious’? Chance would be a fine thing.

So, as I write this, I don’t know what division Partick Thistle will be in next season but you, reading this, probably do. I’ve been to very few games this season for a combination of reasons; periodic depression and the cardiac event at the turn of the year.

I will be buying a season ticket and I will make my return at the start of the season. A couple of seasons ago I went to the first game of the season with e and AJ and we were in the Jackie Husband Stand and very relaxing it was. Maybe I should do that again. Just to get started. 😀 😀 😀

Take a mum and her child. No. Not a random mum off the streets. No. One I know…….Skippy! Draw up a list. Under 16s go free.

And this, musically, is a special request for the rainforestriverman (I know. Who’d have thought?) who came very close to giving me away at my wedding – it’s a long a story and Johnny Walker Black Label played a part. It’s the ‘legendary’ Iron Maiden.

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance (Erma Bombeck)

May 3, 2018

And so dear listener, this week I read The Long Drop by Denise Mina. It’s a fictional account of a strange but true event when a man called William Watt spent an afternoon and evening drinking in the company of a man called Peter Manuel who was later found guilty of murdering the Watt family but not William who happened to be out of the house that night. But what I found fascinating was the insight into a Glasgow that was having difficulty in thinking of changing – when motorways were a doodle on someone’s foolscap pad and when, at times, there was not much to choose between crooks and cops. 😉

And the Daily Record had an amazing character called Pat Roller (say it out loud) who must have been the last man to leave the office as he had to make the final calls round all the police stations for that last story from whoever happened to answer the phone. No press officers then.

All these things happened a long time before I came to university in Glasgow. And stayed. But my family had connections. In the Milton*. And we came down on holiday.

*Maybe, j, that’s where the ‘the’ in the ASDA came from.

Loads of memories;

Possibly, having just attained double figures in years, walking back with my dad through Cowcaddens – a dark and dismal place then – on a Saturday night and buying Sunday’s papers.

And, probably the same age, being on the subway (Glaswegians do not call it the Clockwork Orange) and seeing a young girl of South Asian origin and thinking how beautiful she looked. Where was she from I wondered? She got off at Kelvinbridge.

Ah memories but much more recent was my own (successful) treatment for prostate cancer, so it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I sat down to watch The Cancer Hospital – BBC Scotland’s look at the work of Glasgow’s Beatson Hospital which this week looked at prostate cancer. It was an excellent programme and brought back a lot of memories – most of them good. 😀 😀 😀

As I mentioned on Facebook it is now ten years since I was halfway through my own radiotherapy which was preceded by several months of hormone injections and, yes, as one of the guys said in the programme, it was like the menopause (according to my ex-wife) and I put my current hot flushes and weight gain down to that. ):

But my memories of the actual treatment are still strong; that small sheet which was intended as a modesty cover which we gave up on after two or three days cos, at that point, I couldn’t even raise a smile. And occasionally the radiotheraper had to use a felt pen to highlight the tattoos and as one nurse said, ‘we can’t see the wood for the trees.’ But the trees were zapped out of the way quite quickly and that’s how they’ve stayed. And then the nuclear klaxon would go and the radiotherapers would run out of the room and I’d be left for ten minutes – rigid – to let the machine do its best. It worked. 😀 😀 😀

And then that moment (and I can feel the tears starting now) when, three months after the treatment finished, my son and his kinda step-dad came down with me to the Beatson and met the consultant and I was given the All Clear. 😀 😀 😀

We know that not everyone can be that fortunate but the one thing that everyone (almost) who goes through the cancer experience agrees on is the dedication of the NHS staff who do such a brilliant job. That’s why I get annoyed every time a Health Secretary or Shadow Health Secretary or publicity seeking co*kwomble goes to a hospital looking for a photo-op. I wonder how many lives could be saved if the doctors and nurses could get back on the wards.

Anyway, I cried at some of the stories…..well, all of them..

And finally, Minimum Unit Pricing policy has arrived in Scotland after a long fight against vested interests. It may not be the ‘silver bullet’ which was bandied about this week (I don’t see how increasing the price of Frostie Jack will kill vampires but who knows) but research (for example, University of Sheffield, the Finnish (sp) Government and the World Health Organisation) suggests it will.

What difference would it have made to me? I do know that I was easily getting through a bottle of whisky each day and had started to move to much cheaper brands…….Price does make a difference.

I cried at some of the stories on the news programmes that night. Worthwhile photo-ops I thought

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and trying hard to keep it simple.

Iaint850, been doing a lot of crying this week. It’s what happens when the prostate cancer menopause finally hits you.

Some listeners may remember a few weeks back that I explained that my sister was treating me to a deep clean of my house as an early birthday present. Since I came out of hospital, I’ve maybe not given it the attention it deserves……and I live on my own (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that before) and there has been lack of, how can I put it nicely, ‘temporary visitors’ but fostering a dog has been mentioned.

So (oops) I contacted a company and someone came round at the agreed time and looked my house over. OMG! What an unnerving experience! She was good and professional but,

‘we’ll need to see what we can do.’ and ‘when was the cooker last cleaned?’ and ‘do you want the kitchen cupboards cleaned? I think we should.’….I mean she was very pleasant and they bring their own vacuum cleaner (cos mine’s rubbish) and there will be three of them and then – after she’d gone – I’d another wee look around. Surely it’s not that long since I cleaned the shower cubicle, is it? Skippy?

I’ll get that done tonight.

She also asked if I’d had the place deep cleaned before.

When I was in hospital eleven and a bit years ago, the family and friends who were tidying up parts of my life, arranged for some folk to come in to clean and tidy the house. I’ve never asked why. Maybe it was something to do with my fight with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It took place over the entire house. And I won. 🙂

This is Meghan Linsey’s cover version of the One Republic track – Counting Stars – and it’s brilliant.

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.

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

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot stop Spring from coming (Pablo Neruda)

March 9, 2018

And so dear listener, what did you do when the Polar Vortex became the Beast from the East? Me? I cooried in and relied on neighbours to keep me supplied with bread and milk. As a consequence I still have a giant two litres of milk which is best before 23rd March. 🙂

My own back-up plan for when things went bad was a pack of six petit pains – y’know, you splash water over them and shove them in the oven and they come put piping hot and you just slice them open and put some form of spread in them and then just let it all drip down your lips and, and (What, Skippy, I’m not reading anything into what I’ve just written) 😉

Anyway, you also become quite inspirational in a Ready, Steady, Cook kinda way. My favourite was a couple of leerdammer slices in an omelette. Very pleasant.

My own situation?

Well I was supposed to meet up with a heart ‘temporary suspension of normal service’ consultant last week (and thanks to friend Carrie for the description – much better, if slightly longer than ‘failure’) but it was postponed for various weather related-issues and will be re-scheduled. In a way that’s reassuring. 🙂

In the four or five days before I made my own 999 call I had chest pains, breathlessness, giddiness and all that kinda stuff and then as soon as I popped the four aspirin that the call handler told me to, and the three shots of morphine that were jagged into me at the Royal, I began to settle. 😀

It’s high blood pressure and a leaky aortic valve; it’ll be medication and observation. I’ll be fine. I’ve had a shock and it’s time (yet again) to take stock. I have a spray which is to be used if I have pains or breathlessness and if it doesn’t work after a couple of uses then I phone 999. (I should maybe tell people and take it with me)

I’ll pick up on the walking again (and there is snow still lying in my cul-de-sac) and there’s nothing left to give up on the food and drink front. I know people who drink alcohol who tell me I should drink de-caffinated coffee.

Eh?

The pescatarianism has taken a wee bit of a knock. Apart from anything else you need fish – something lacking in the shops near me at the best of times – and I do appreciate NHS food and chose fish when it was available but I’ve been down the baked potato route as the regular vegetarian option before. 🙂

So my treat to myself on my first shopping after the hospital, and outwith Summerston, saw me buy scallops. And I bought a vegan cook book recently. I plan to do some vegan cooking but not as a lifelong commitment but as a way of varying my diet. But in the way that I once didn’t realise that soy sauce contained glutens, I didn’t realise how much of my diet currently involves dairy products. Maybe, now the snow’s done, I should go to a vegan fair and see what’s on offer. 😀

And finally, and I’m going to treat this as an early birthday present from my sister, I’m going to indulge myself in the warmer weather. I’m currently hoovering the grit off the living room floor, the kitchen floor is caked in dirt but I’ll move it and why are there so many mushrooms on the patio table?

I’m going to make enquiries and engage a firm of cleaners for a one-off deep clean of the house. Any recommendations? And I stress it’s a one-off and it’s a birthday pressie.

Cya, still wearing that badge and still intending to continue to keep it simple.

Iaint850, looking for that list of revolutions for 2018 that I did at the start of the year.

And, so, two things made me laugh in Morrison’s Car Park on Tuesday morning.

The first came from friend Nessa, who was part of that amazing Post Grad Alcohol Studies group that made me the man I am today and whose honorary members include e, j, Dr W and Debs……and probably Carrie as well.

Nessa, you need to get out more (lol)

She was saying that every time she watches Taggart on STV 2, whenever she gets to the football episode set in Maryhill and Taggart (Mark McManus) says the immortal words, ‘There’s a murder every second Saturday at Firhill’, she thinks of me.

I’ve not been for some time but that is incentive to go back.

But the biggest laugh of the last few days came on the George Bowie Breakfast Show when a woman (from Falkirk) posed the question that Nicola Sturgeon (and other politicians) has never dared ask; ‘See when the weather’s bad, instead of stocking up on bread and milk, why don’t we stock up on Pot Noodles? After all, they just need hot water and last for ages.’

You can’t argue with that, can you?

So in tribute to George’s amazing show, we all know that Bits & Pieces is an official Scotland anthem. I dance to it all the time when sober. Therefore, I dance to it all the time. Like this.