Self-Indulgent Health Update
As part of an occasional series, which prevents me from boring you in real life, here's an exciting health round-up.
I had my annual Harefield check-up the other day and the consultant said my heart is sounding 'beautiful'. I do like medical terms. A couple of years ago, I was told it was 'tickety boo'.
I also had blood tests and an MOT at my doctor's and everything's functioning fine.
The only odd thing is that my new daily aspirin dose seems to be making me feel cold all the time.
As for my knees - well, they're on their knees at the moment. Knees obviously don't have knees. It's a metaphor.
I'm not sure what's happened, but they hurt so much I can hardly walk up the stairs sometimes. I'll be seeing my GP about them soon.
If you know my parents, DON'T TELL THEM.
Posted by Ian at November 26, 2012 08:51 AM
Tarte au Chat
'That looks like a nice tart,' beamed the nice French lady in Maison Bertaux looking at my iPhone wallpaper pic. 'Did you bake it yourself?'
'No,' I replied. 'It's my cat.'
On closer inspection, she realised that it was indeed my chat Bollinger. Boll and I have been chuckling about it all evening.
Posted by Ian at October 10, 2012 06:13 PM
Breaking News - Kermit Ousted
Thanks for your concern about the Kermit kitchen kerfuffle. You'll be pleased to know it's now restored to tasteful olive green.
Posted by Ian at November 21, 2011 10:42 AM
My Kitchen Looks Like Kermit
As you know, I have an olive-coloured kitchen. And I decided I'd give it an extra coat today. So I bought some matt Olive paint, which had an olive-coloured tin with an olive-coloured sample on it.
But was it olive-coloured? No. Hideous lime green. The colour of a deranged tree frog. I thought it would turn olivesque, but it didn't. So I've now stopped half way and am having an aesthetic panic attack.
Posted by Ian at November 16, 2011 05:39 PM
The Great Air Freshener of Huddersfield
Thank you to my friend Loz for alerting me to the fact that I'm not the only person with a frightening air freshener.
Apparently, he was on Huddersfield railway station recently and noticed what appeared to be smoke billowing from an orifice.
But, on taking a closer look, he noticed a sign declaring -
There is not a fire. This is an air-freshening system.
Posted by Ian at October 20, 2011 07:12 PM
The new pet arrived last week and lives on a shelf in the kitchen.
It is ..... an Air Wick Freshmatic - an automatic air freshener, which sprays once every 18 minutes and also when you walk through the door.
At first, I jumped every time it did it. And Boll thought it was a hissing cat. But we've got used to it now. And I quite like being welcomed with a friendly squirt whenever I come home.
Posted by Ian at October 19, 2011 09:44 AM
Where's The Sonic Food Mixer?
food machine in early Dr Who episode
I was watching Dr Who with Mum the other day. And, totally out of the blue, she asked whether the TARDIS had a kitchen.
Weirdly, just a few seconds later, Matt Smith told Amy and Rory where the kitchen was.
Sadly, we didn't get a glimpse. Being Dr Who, it could look like anything of course - an Elizabethan one with shaggy hounds by the inglenook, an Edwardian country version, a seventies kitchen-diner.
Or maybe the Doctor got Magnet to personalise it for him, with Dalek-proof splashbacks, a handy alien life-form disposal unit and interest-free credit for infinity.
Posted by Ian at May 22, 2011 11:13 AM
Major bust-up in the literary world this week. I almost came to blows with my novelist pal Henrietta Bond about a reference to Spaghetti Bolognese in her new book Control Freak, out soon.
As far as I'm concerned, the correct abbreviated form is Spag Bol (SPAGhetti BOLognese). But she's adamant that it's Spag Bog (as in - um - SPAGhetti BOGognese - hello?)
One must make allowances. She is from East Anglia. But it'll upset me greatly if Spag Bog gets past the editors. And it may sadly sway my judgement when I chair the Booker Prize next year.
As for the facts - well - if you go on Google, Spag BOL gets 65,500 hits. But, shockingly, Spag BOG manages 91,400. And BOG has even reached the dizzy heights of a Sun headline.
But hits mean nothing, as you know. It's searches - the number of real people searching for the term - that count. And, when I went onto Google Trends I discovered that no-one in their right mind searches for BOG. It's BOL that real people look for.
Boll (she's a bit biased) and I feel vindicated. BOG must go. If they've left it in, the book must be pulped.
Posted by Ian at October 2, 2010 06:54 PM
Posted by Ian at October 2, 2010 06:30 PM
blue line = Spag BOL
red line (non-existent) = Spag BOG
ie. Spag BOG doesn't trend at all - no-one's searching for it
It's clearly WRONG
Posted by Ian at October 2, 2010 06:27 PM
Worst Cold Ever
I've just had the worst cold ever. Literally. It was literally the very worst cold anyone has ever had. It was, indeed, the worst cold ever, ever, ever. Never has there been a cold worse than it. It was the worst cold ever. And by 'ever', I mean 'ever'.
Posted by Ian at September 24, 2010 04:51 PM
I was out for dinner the other day and my friend K observed that a nearby couple had gelled as soon as they'd sat down.
'Yes - they do seem very close,' I said.
'No,' said K. 'I meant they squirted antibacterial gel when they arrived.'
Then, just as we were about to tuck in to our meze, K offered me a squirt of gel.
Offering gel is a new social ritual. And I've noticed it's nearly always offered by women to men.
It's also interesting that people normally offer you the little bottle for you to gel yourself.
Is there any significance, I wonder, in the other person doing the squirt for you, directly? Are you then supposed to offer your palm? Or the back of your hand? Is it acceptable to refuse gel? Or to do two or more squirts? Does this vary from country to country? Region to region?
Oh dear. Life in the noughties is so complicated.
Posted by Ian at October 10, 2009 07:04 PM
Flexor Tenosynovitis Chic
I've sprained my left thumb (flexor tenosynovitis no less) and have to rest it and rub gel on it for six weeks. Easier said than done. I had no idea how much I used it till this week. Everything I do seems to involve it, even though I'm right-handed.
I am allowed to go the the gym (which is where I sprained it in the first place) but I have to avoid lifting weights directly with my hands and - um - I've been forced to wear a gym glove.
As you may know, gym gloves are normally only worn by hardcore laddish types who grunt a lot and do free weights. So I feel like a complete prat, prancing around wearing it in the cardio area where the feeble people go.
But I must admit it does look quite cool on a good day.
Posted by Ian at September 24, 2009 12:24 PM
me, lifting a large dog while wearing my gym glove
Posted by Ian at September 24, 2009 11:58 AM
I've just had my annual heart check-up and my new aortic valve is 'looking very nice' (medical term). Hurrah.
Posted by Ian at August 25, 2009 08:55 PM
A Bifidus is a Bifidus is a Bifidus...
...to quote Gertrude Stein, sort of.
I got all excited recently when the Danone yoghurt ads started going on about Bifidus Actiregularis. I was thrilled at the arrival of a new friendly bacterium. It seemed like a positively jolly bacterium too, with a purposeful and uplifting name.
But then I looked it up. And I discovered that it's exactly the same as Bifidus Digestivum. Bifidus Digestivum has basically just nipped out to the microbe deed-poll office and changed its surname.
It made me apoplectic to then discover that both Bifidus Digestivum and Bifidus Actiregularis are made-up brand names for Bifidobacterium Animalis.
I for one will make a point of openly calling it Bifidobacterium Animalis from now on, as its unique hexose metabolism passes through my phosphoketolase pathway.
Posted by Ian at June 27, 2009 08:59 PM
My First Black Eye
I have my first black eye.
It was caused not by a fight - you'll be disappointed to learn - but by stupidly bumping into a shelf in the kitchen. Thanks to my annual hayfever, I was a bit befuddled this morning and my balance wasn't at its best.
I immediately applied a packet of frozen organic garden peas from Waitrose, but they didn't do the trick and so I now look like a deranged panda - but also quite cool, even if I say so myself.
Posted by Ian at June 8, 2009 08:39 PM
The English asparagus season is upon us and so I scuttled off to Waitrose to buy a 'round of grass' as it's correctly called. Imagine my horror when I looked at the label and it was from PERU - 6,320 miles away.
It's wrong to buy food from Peru. They eat guinea pigs and they evicted Paddington.
Asparagus should come from Worcestershire - preferably from the Vale of Evesham. And so off I tootled to Tesco, only to discover that their asaparagus was from WARWICKSHIRE.
Has the world gone mad?
Posted by Ian at April 25, 2009 10:18 PM
Paddington in Peru
Posted by Ian at April 25, 2009 10:08 PM
I've just had a check-up at Harefield, almost three years after my op, and they told me my heart's 'in very good nick' (a medical term I believe). I even watched my new aortic valve opening and closing like a small door on the echo scan.
Posted by Ian at May 19, 2008 12:51 PM
My brain's fine too, three years after my neurological drama. My sense of balance is still pretty terrible and I'd still look drunk if I didn't take extra care while walking. But there are worse things to worry about in life than being a bit wobbly.
The sporadic attacks of double vision are still happening and I had a scary one yesterday morning for a couple of hours. It didn't even get better after I had a sleep. Double vision is completely nightmarish. You open your eyes and see two versions of everything, wobbling vaguely in a sort of amorphous jelly. You just can't control it. Your brain's on the blink. The whole world's gone very wobbly and distant. You feel totally removed from reality, as if you're retreating into some kind of weird coma. And you can't help morbidly thinking this is what it all comes to in the end. Just fading away.
But I was seeing normally again by lunchtime. Hurrah.
My friends were fantastic and kept texting and phoning to see how I was. Thank you. I'm fine again now, apart from the odd fairy light flashing on the edge of my vision, but I've been told to lie low for a day or two.
Posted by Ian at May 19, 2008 12:01 PM
All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth
I have a sore tooth and - because of my peculiar heart which is prone to wibblings and is easily influenced by my other parts - they've put me on antibiotic pills the size of sausages.
They've also booked me in to have the tooth removed in hospital next week. Just as well it's next week, as I'm doing a corporate voiceover this week and don't want to sound like a deranged person with random dentures.
I'll keep you posted on this exciting pre-Christmas drama.
Posted by Ian at December 13, 2007 08:36 AM
I Left My Tart in Ecclefechan
I blame M&S. They started it with 'This is not just a carrot. It's an M&S Distressed Albanian Carrot from Tirana, smothered in richest Tashkent Gravy'.
Now Waitrose and Sainsbury's are at it. Even Asda, where the poor people shop. The latest outrage is the Sainsbury's Christmas Tart, hand-crafted by Scottish peasants in Ecclefechan. Ecclefechan? Ecclefechan?
Ecclefechan has haunted me for days, so I decided to research it this morning.
According to my Scotland guidebook - 'Ecclefechan has a slight feel of somewhere rather left behind by history, bypassed by both the A74 and the M74. Local people call it 'Fechan'.'
Robert Burns visited Ecclefechan once. 'I came yesternight to this unfortunate, wicked little village. In fact, I have been in a dilemma, either to get drunk, to forget the miseries, or to hang myself.'
But Burns was inspired to write 'The Lass O Ecclefechan' -
Gat ye me, O, gat ye me,
Gat ye me wi' naething?
Rock an' reel, an' spinning wheel,
A mickle quarter basin:
Bye attour, my gutcher has
A heich house and a laich ane,
A' forbye my bonie sel,
The toss o' Ecclefechan!
It doesn't even make sense when you translate it into English.
Got you me! O, got you me!
Got you me with nothing?
Bobbin and reel! And spinning wheel!
A big quarter basin!
Moreover, my grandfather has
A high house and a low one.
All besides my lovely self,
The toast of Ecclefechan!
Other literary trivia? The writer Thomas Carlyle was born in Ecclefechan but sensibly left when he was 13.
Just when I was losing the will to live, I stumbled on a relevant fact. According to my guidebook - Ecclefechan is famous for an 'old Scottish tart, earning well in the market place.' I wish her well.
In fact it really is a tart. A bit like a cross between a mince pie and pecan pie. And apparently utterly delicious. I'm off to Sainsbury's to buy one and will review it at some point soon.
Posted by Ian at November 29, 2007 08:24 AM
My Giddy Aunt
There's been outrage this week in Daily Mail circles at the trivial reasons people are giving to claim incapacity benefit. Over 8000 Brits apparently stay off work because of dizziness! The bounders!! How very dare they???
Well, I suffer from chronic dizziness - caused by cerebellar infarcts - and it's no joke. OK - I'm not in pain or anything and I'm thankful for that. But it is an effort to walk in a straight line, so a long walk's pretty exhausting. Imagine feeling extremely drunk all the time, even when you're sober. Imagine having vision like a wobbly amateur video film.
I fell over at the gym the other day. And I lurched sideways and fell over on the stairs at Chatham House last week when I was with someone important. Two years ago, the dizziness was so bad I had to use a stick.
Yes - I go to work and I'm learning to use my eyes to compensate. But I have every sympathy for people who feel just too dizzy to cope. I have less sympathy for the wobbly values of tabloid hacks.
Posted by Ian at November 21, 2007 10:41 PM
I had a terrible crisis last night. I accidentally put a pot of fresh basil in the fridge and it died. This meant I had to eat my Waitrose vine tomatoes without basil, which no human being should have to do.
Basil is wondrous. The French call it the royal herb. Some Africans believe it protects you against scorpions. Greek Orthodox churches use it in holy water and around altars (according to tradition, basil was found outside Christ's tomb). And in India, basil leaves are placed in the mouths of the dead to ensure a safe journey into the afterlife.
Posted by Ian at March 30, 2007 08:16 AM
Posted by Ian at March 30, 2007 08:07 AM
Posted by Ian at March 30, 2007 08:06 AM
St Basil the Great
Posted by Ian at March 30, 2007 08:04 AM
Posted by Ian at March 30, 2007 08:03 AM
By the way, if you're American, please pronounce 'basil' as 'basil' and not 'bayzel', and 'herb' as 'herb' and not 'urb'. It has an 'h'. Haven't you noticed??? Haven't you?????
While I'm on this subject...
If you're British, please note - 'h' is pronounced 'aitch' and not, I repeat not, 'haitch'. You drop the 'h' in 'h'.
As for 'historic' - where you traditionally drop the 'h' - tricky one. I prefer 'an istoric' to 'a historic' but I think it's now up for grabs. I noticed the BBC used both on Monday.
I also prefer 'an otel' to 'a hotel', but I guess that's a bit old-fashioned.
But 'urbs' - no. This is wrong and deeply evil.
Posted by Ian at March 30, 2007 07:24 AM
My Beautiful Laundrette
A happy ending to the washing machine saga, which I'm sure you'll agree has been gripping beyond belief.
It's all plumbed in and working, thanks to Pete - my only practical friend.
The house is now like an inner-city laundrette as I catch up on a month's washing. I've stocked up on Comfort Vaporesse and am looking forward to a glamorous evening's ironing.
Posted by Ian at February 2, 2007 09:43 AM
Gillian the Impaler
Dr Gillian McKeith
I'm watching her on TV as I write. She's currently showing her sobbing victim a choc-ice in the shape of a coffin. She's the undead. She looks like a celery stick gone wrong. She ought to be locked in a MacDonalds, force-fed with burgers, impaled on a gherkin and then squashed to death by happy fat people - live on Channel 4.
Posted by Ian at January 23, 2007 09:42 PM
My neurologist has discharged me. Good feeling. It's nice when doctors tell you to push off.
Posted by Ian at December 8, 2006 09:58 PM
Cawthorne Cooksey sounds like a village in the Cotswolds, but it is in fact a type of exercise to help stop dizziness.
As you may know, my brain decided to switch off its mission control for balance last year (cerebellar infarcts affecting my vestibular system - to use the proper terminology) so my eyes do nearly all the work when it comes to keeping upright. As soon as I shut them, I'm swimming around in zero gravity and tend to fall over.
What I now have to do, using my Cawthorne Cookseys, is force the symptoms by standing and moving in ways which challenge my balance, and that's supposed to help my brain adapt and get its act together again. It does seem to be working, if a bit slowly, so I'd highly recommend the technique.
Posted by Ian at November 22, 2006 01:42 PM
I bought some Activia yogurt the other day. Apparently, it contains friendly bacteria which boost your 'intestinal transit time'.
I thought this was a good idea, as I'm into healthy eating, even though I loathe Dr Gillian McKeith and would happily see her burnt at the stake, made into a Big Mac, and consumed by chavs, accompanied by high-fat chips with lots of salt and e-numbers.
So I had my first Activia yesterday - with Bifidus Digestivum - and it tasted like double cream with sugar in it.
I looked at the ingredients and sugar was third on the list, after yogurt (obviously) and prunes. Perhaps I'm a yogurt snob, but surely the point of yogurt is that it isn't sweet, and that there's a contrast between the yogurt and the fruit or honey you put in it.
Posted by Ian at July 16, 2006 10:15 AM
Message For Extreme Coffee Drinkers Like Me...
Photos from a real experiment -
Spider's web after it was given LSD
Posted by Ian at June 24, 2006 09:18 AM
Spider's web after it was given caffeine
Posted by Ian at June 24, 2006 09:16 AM
I went to Harefield yesterday for a heart check-up and the consultant declared my heart was 'perfect'. I was very pleased, and celebrated by visiting my friend's horse Ding and sitting on him - the first time I've sat on a horse for two years.
Posted by Ian at June 23, 2006 09:03 AM
I'm now doing a daily physiotherapy exercise to stop the dizziness. This involves standing for a few minutes a day with one foot directly in front of the other, which is easy for most people but makes me wobble like a weeble. This should bombard the braincells and nerve endings in the vestibular part of my brain which has been on strike for a year. And I'll soon be attending a weekly class for dizzy persons.
As for my heart, I'm off to Harefield today for a routine check-up. By the way - 'Transplanting Memories' (Channel 4, Monday 26 June, 10pm) looks rather interesting. It's about heart transplant patients who appear to have inherited memories and tastes from their donors. Presumably this doesn't apply if your donor was a pig.
Posted by Ian at June 22, 2006 09:27 AM
One Year On
Gosh. This time last year, I was being rushed in an ambulance with a flashing blue light to Neurosurgery at the Royal Free Hospital. On arriving at acute observation, I was told I couldn't move, as I'd probably had a brain haemmorhage. I had double vision and had lost my sense of balance. It was one of the scariest days of my life.
Today, I'm sitting at home overlooking the garden on a lovely April morning, listening to a blackbird. After what turned out to be a cerebellar stroke, I still have a rather odd sense of balance, but my health and vision are totally back to normal and I'm just about to go for a walk down the river to the gym.
The moral of the story? Never give up hope. And if you're having a rough time right now, you'll probably look back on it in a year or two and wonder what all the fuss was about. Whatever happens, you will feel better - or at least more philosophical - with time.
Needless to say - carpe diem.
And if it really is looking bleak, you should still commit to being hopeful. As Goethe said: commit to it, and the universe will make it happen.
Posted by Ian at April 1, 2006 09:56 AM
My pal H is new to the curious, verging-on-fictional world of gyms and is mystified by the grunting in the free weights area. This could be explained by the fact that H's gym is in Essex. But there may be more to it than that.
I decided to investigate. And, having vehemently denied grunting myself, I realised that I grunt, on average, three times per gym visit - usually while doing the bench press. Genteel, understated grunts, but grunts nevertheless. I was deeply unnerved by the fact that I did it without realising. I also hiss occasionally like a disgruntled cat.
I once went to a gym, in Cambridge of all places, which was full of male-menopausal and frightfully ugly bodybuilders - many with moustaches. They not only grunted but yelled Anglo-Saxon words such as C and MF. These ejaculations always occurred, I noted, when they were lifting, and breathing out.
You should of course always breathe out when you lift. But where do the grunts and C words come from?
Well, I've discovered that there's a natural tendency to hold your breath (the 'Valsalva Effect') to store oxygen when you're facing up to a big task. And the grunting, hissing and yelling is a vocal response to the sudden release of breath after this. Some trainers even believe a good old grunt can help prevent injuries.
But that doesn't solve the problem that it's nearly always men, of a certain age, who emit the most grunts. With my linguistic hat on, I'd say that the grunting is an indirect speech act, stating subtextually: "I'm lifting a very heavy weight, therefore I must logically be a young hunk and not a sad middle-aged Muscle Mary with a chest like Dolly Parton and legs like a budgie."
Peacockshock recommends: Muscle - by Sam Fussell (very funny book about an Oxford graduate seduced by the bizarre world of bodybuilding)
Posted by Ian at March 7, 2006 08:33 AM
Good news. I'm going to get physiotherapy for the dizziness. The latest theory is that the dizziness was caused not by antibiotics but by my brain, which had cerebellar infarcts last April.
And I've now solved the mystery of the weird 'migraines' I had from 1995-2005. They were probably caused by embolisms from my aortic valve, which was probably wonky for about ten years or more.
Anyway - the main thing is that - apart from the balance probs - I'm now very well.
Posted by Ian at February 1, 2006 07:36 AM
Someone told me I looked like a vegetarian today. I have no problem with vegetarians. Several of my best friends are of that bent. But I must admit I felt deeply shocked and mildly offended.
Posted by Ian at January 30, 2006 09:23 PM
Me And My Health
Me in Mens Health
A few people have complained that my Health Updates are confusing if you don't know the full story. So here it is, in one go:
I'm perfectly well now and I've been perfectly well throughout my life, apart from over the last year. I've always been a bit of a fitness freak (see pic).
A year ago, I wrecked my hip and glutes, probably on the hip-abductor at the gym, as I was doing maximum weights and hadn't warmed up enough (aka hubris). I ended up being rushed to hospital in an ambulance and was in bed for months.
I recovered after lots of physio and returned to the gym where, to all intents and purposes, I broke my hand and ended up in A&E again.
Then I had a series of cerebellar infarcts (mini-strokes at the back of my brain) which caused double-vision and zero balance. Back to A&E in an ambulance. Admitted to Neurosurgery then Neurology at the Royal Free. Recovered.
Came home. After a month or two, started getting feverish and shaky most days. Rushed to hospital again. Admitted to Harefield with bacterial endocarditis (heart infection - the bacteria had also caused the brain infarcts). Had heart surgery to get a new aortic valve. Spent seven weeks in the QE2 Hospital, having i/v antibiotics once every four hours.
Came home again. Well, but devoid of a sense of balance. Probably caused by the antibiotic gentamicin, which can poison your inner ear. Still have no sense of balance. This may be temporary or permanent. No-one knows.
Apart from the balance thing, I'm 100% fine now. Swimming and going to the gym most days, but avoiding the hip abductor for obvious reasons.
Posted by Ian at November 16, 2005 07:55 AM
I walked all the way to the gym today without my stick. Either my balance has got slightly better, or I've become slightly better at coping with the dizziness.
Posted by Ian at October 16, 2005 05:35 PM
I'm aching all over today. That's because I went to the gym yesterday, for a sort of rehab personal training session with the excellent Warwick. (Myles has left). I did cross-training, ab crunches on those big ball things, and weights - but only very tiny ones. It was fantastic. I was so excited, I celebrated by buying a pile of cholesterol-lowering yoghurt drinks.
Posted by Ian at October 14, 2005 08:12 AM
I've got hayfever. In October. It was caused by the new bag of hay I got for the rabbits. Instead of taking it straight out to the shed, I stupidly put it on top of the tumble drier, which warmed it up and raised the pollen count in the kitchen and my nostrils to dangerous levels.
Posted by Ian at October 7, 2005 07:24 PM
I'm still dizzy, but I swam 20 lengths yesterday and felt fine.
Posted by Ian at October 4, 2005 08:37 AM
I'm now visiting the exercise bikes at the gym most days. In the programming section, I put my age down as "60" when no-one's looking, then I peddle like an old person with my pulse at 124 bpm. It's very boring, but there are lots of vast widescreen TVs in the bike section, so I sit there watching various friends and acquaintances reading the news with very large wide heads. I know I'll have nightmares about this.
The dizziness is still terrible. Everything wobbles all the time. It's like being trapped in a home video shot by an alcoholic. I fell over backwards yesterday and smashed my favourite lamp. But I'm seeing my GP on Monday, so no doubt all will be well.
Posted by Ian at September 29, 2005 09:10 AM
Hello. I'm back.
Posted by Ian at September 23, 2005 11:02 PM
I've now been out of hospital for a month and I feel fine, apart from the constant dizziness. But I'm now on a new tablet for that. It's called Stemetil and it prevents balance problems - also psychosis and schizophrenia - so it's quite handy really. Since being discharged, I've visited Cambridge, Exeter, London and Liverpool and made three radio documentaries, which made for a very relaxing convalescence. I'm rejoining the gym in September (swimming and light exercise - no weights) and having several check-ups with consultants.
Posted by Ian at August 23, 2005 02:25 PM
My Dizzy Gillespie
My sense of balance is still very wonky (except in the editorial sense of course). So I'm still using a walking stick outside the house - partially to avoid falling over, but also to avoid looking paralytic. People tend to be very considerate in Hertford - even in London - but not on the train or tube, where no-one offered me a seat this week. I'm actually considering falling over on purpose and yelling in agony just to shame them. I'm pretty sure it's temporary. And I'm 99% sure it's caused by ototoxicity (poisoning of the inner ear) rather than my brain. Ototoxicity's a well-known side-effect of the antiobiotic gentamicin, which I was on for six weeks during the heart palaver.
Posted by Ian at August 16, 2005 07:16 AM
You Are What You Eat
Dr Gillian McKeith, relaxing in the green room
I tried to watch Channel 4's You Are What You Eat last night, having never seen it before. But they'd inexplicably replaced it with a horror film, in which a hyperactive Scottish psycopath moved in with a fat person from the West Country and bullied her into eating avocados. The fat person, slightly thinner and with a new hair-do, was then forced to dance around inanely during the credits. It was a bit like Misery with vegetables. I can't think why they scheduled it in a respected healthy-eating slot, normally occupied by the kindly Dr Gillian McKeith.
Posted by Ian at August 4, 2005 10:57 AM
I'm Out! (Friday 22nd July)
I'm finally back home, after seven weeks in hospital, and feeling fine. Thanks for all your messages. Most kind.
Posted by Ian at July 22, 2005 08:03 PM
My hands, typing on my laptop a couple of weeks ago. They look normal again now.
Posted by Ian at July 22, 2005 08:01 PM
Lines Upon A Heart Valve (7th July)
Please do not knock my Peacockshock.
I am not struck with writers' block.
(Nor am I being lazy,
nor indolent, nor hazy)
Please give me not a roasting
For my sorry lack of posting.
There is a reason for the lack
of entries by this careworn hack,
For I did have a little part
Which went berserk inside my heart.
The surgeons put a new one in
And put the old one in the bin.
But hospital is where I stay
To get injected every day
With penicillin, and take pills
To zap the bugs that caused my ills.
It's been four weeks, with two to go.
Then I'll be home with Boll and Flo
(Not forgetting little Mo).
And I will re-start Peacockshock
As I'll no longer be a crock.
Hello. I'm on a quick visit home between injections. Thanks for all the visits, cards and good wishes. More to come from 22nd July when I should be out. Ian :)
Posted by Ian at July 21, 2005 07:52 PM
Has Brazil Gone Nuts?
I just bought some Brazil nuts. They're very good for you by the way. And I'm 100% sure that my nuts are genuine. Here's what it says on the packet:
Whole Brazil Nuts
Ingredients: Brazil Nuts
This product contains nuts
This product is packed in a factory where nuts are handled
So I guess I'll have to accept that they really are nuts. And so, it seems, are the people who package them.
Posted by Ian at May 13, 2005 05:18 PM
The Joy Of Laziness
I've just read an excellent new book called The Joy Of Laziness which advocates being lazy to improve your health. I can't be bothered to review it. But I can tell you that it includes this shocking list of the maximum life expectancies of busy and lazy animals:
worker bee - 6 months
mouse - 4 years
lion - 10 years
polar bear - 10 years
cat - 20 years
bat - 30 years
ostrich - 62 years
owl - 68 years
elephant - 70 years
turtle - 150 years
Peacocks can expect to live to the age of 15, which presumably means they're 10 times less lazy than turtles.
Posted by Ian at April 16, 2005 12:57 PM
Me Leaving Hospital
Hello. Sorry to disappear without trace for two weeks. I was in hospital (Neurology at the QE2 and Royal Free) after having a funny turn. But I'm OK now, though still convalescing. And I'm back home, surrounded by loving pets. Thanks to all my wonderful friends for looking after me so well when I was 'inside'. And thanks for all the nice cards and emails.
Posted by Ian at April 14, 2005 10:43 AM
Thanks to my recent hip and knee blips, I developed a small (temporary) limp today. I intend to call it a limpet.
Posted by Ian at March 23, 2005 07:42 PM
This is my hand today: a photo taken on my new Olympus digicam. As you can see, it's a bit swollen and I apologise if it's made you feel sore afraid. Anyway, I hope it goes some way towards explaining why I've been a bit reclusive this week.
Posted by Ian at March 5, 2005 08:33 PM
Freaky Peaky - Hand Latest
I went to the excellent A&E at the QE2 Hospital in Welwyn today and saw a consultant within ten minutes. It turns out I've torn my tendons and haven't actually fractured anything. So I'm using a splint and now look like some kind of robopeacock.
It goes very nicely with the occasional hip-induced limp. I'm worried I'll make small children cry next time I hobble out in public. It's like being Camilla Parker Bowles.
Posted by Ian at March 1, 2005 01:38 PM
my hand revisited
it now looks like an elephant's paw. i've just been to the doctor's and i may have fractured or broken it, so i have to have an x-ray. i'm now on an anti-inflammatory pill called volterol (or folderol, as folk singers used to call it).
but there is good news. it's less arctic today and that's nice for the rabbits. they've built nests in their hutch and run. florence seems fine and is ok about taking her antibiotics. moet is currently eating a carrot with quiet enthusiasm. and boll's asleep with a paw in the air.
apologies for my ee cummings prose, but i can't be bothered to press the shift key.
Posted by Ian at February 28, 2005 07:22 PM
i'm writing with my left hand today. that's because i think i've broken my right hand or my wrist. i'm off to see my GP now. what body part will go wrong next i wonder? it's not fair. i'm disintegrating like michael jackson.
As Oscar Wilde wrote: 'The soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life. The body is born young and grows old. That is life's tragedy.'
i'll keep you posted on this, if my left hand doesn't fall off in the meantime. i guess i could type with my nose though. or my... no. let's stop there.
Posted by Ian at February 28, 2005 05:05 PM
Hippy Dippy Latest
An update if you've been following the sorry saga of my torn hip. Basically, I had a relapse on Tuesday and had to stay in bed and take painkillers. This resulted in some interesting dreams.
In one, I was in a hotel in Bamburgh (Northumberland) which started moving backwards. 'Don't worry,' said a Basil Fawlty lookalike. 'It's only the space-time continuum going into reverse.'
I can now walk again and have even been out to see the rabbits today to give them a carrot and bit of hay.
Posted by Ian at February 9, 2005 08:11 PM
New York novelist Tucker Shaw photographed every meal he had in 2004 and is publishing the pix in a book. Inspired by this, I decided to photograph every meal I had today.
Posted by Ian at January 8, 2005 11:59 PM
8.33 am Breakfast
Posted by Ian at January 8, 2005 08:02 PM
11.04 am Brunch
Posted by Ian at January 8, 2005 08:00 PM
12.52pm Light Lunch
Posted by Ian at January 8, 2005 07:58 PM
5.45 pm High Tea
Posted by Ian at January 8, 2005 07:56 PM
7.14 pm Nibbles
Posted by Ian at January 8, 2005 07:54 PM
7.45 pm Dinner
Posted by Ian at January 8, 2005 07:53 PM
Posted by Ian at January 8, 2005 07:52 PM
11.26 pm Supper
Posted by Ian at January 8, 2005 07:50 PM
11.57 pm Late Snack
Posted by Ian at January 8, 2005 07:46 PM
Breaking Bottom News
Click on bottom to enlarge and get a close view of my annotations
A quick update on my injured posterior. I've now been discharged by my physiotherapist and my bottom is now in the capable hands of my personal trainer Myles. So...basically, I'm definitely on the mend.
Thank you to everyone for being behind me all the way.
Posted by Ian at January 8, 2005 09:57 AM
Having spoken about nothing but my hip and bottom for the last month, I'm pleased to announce that my buttocks are on slightly better form today after their trip to the excellent sports physio at the gym.
She reached parts no other human has ever reached, put fuzzy electric currents through my gluteus maximus, and rounded it off with acupunture.
I now have to move my bottom around a lot before my next visit.
Apparently, I have quite severe 'sacroileac dysfunction and inflammation, with pain in the sciatic nerves, sacroiliac joint and piriformis muscles.' Please memorise this in case you ever end up on Mastermind. Until today, I thought Sacroiliac and Piriformis were characters in Troy. But obviously not. They're things in my posterior.
Watch this space for further gripping bottom bulletins.
Posted by Ian at November 22, 2004 02:44 PM
Me And My Smote Hip
And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.
I don't normally quote from the Bible, but these uplifting words perfectly describe what happened to me when I tore my hip muscles to shreds at the gym a few weeks ago. This resulted in an exciting morphine-fuelled ambulance dash to casualty on a stretcher, and several weeks convalescing at Peacock Towers.
Anyway, I'm now back in Hertford and have progressed from zimmer-frame to walking stick.
Huge thanks to parents, family, friends, pets, NHS staff and the inventors of Vallium, Voltarol and the commode.
And profuse apologies for my lack of peacockshocking over the last week or two.
Posted by Ian at November 15, 2004 03:22 PM
Could This Be It?
Could this be the exercise that did my hip in?
Posted by Ian at November 15, 2004 03:20 PM