The Banks Are On Holiday

It’s Bank Holiday Monday, and I’m here again. Why, it feels like it must be 2005, posting every few days…

And the good news is that, in exactly two weeks time, it will also be a Bank Holiday. Hurrah.

It has been a “busy” weekend. And by busy I mean I have spent most of my time working. I spent virtually all of my Easter Sunday doing some monumentally tedious work on my company’s “Quality Management System”. This is a remarkably dull piece of documentation that waffles and repeats itself many times, all of the sake of showing that we are, apparently, worthy of doing the work we are doing.

This wasn’t the plan when I discussed Easter Sunday in my post on Saturday. But when I looked at the forecast, it made more sense to have an afternoon off on Saturday, while there was some actual sunshine, and then get stuck indoors all of Sunday instead, while it rained. It worked perfectly.

The consequence is that, today, I genuinely have nothing to do. Nothing pressing, work wise, anyway. I could do odd chores instead. I could clean the bathroom. I could mop the kitchen floor. I could play my guitar a lot – which I have brought home from the office for this very reason.

But maybe I will actually do none of those. There’s a bit of sunshine outside at the moment as I gaze out the window. It looks good. It makes me want to go outside… for a little bit. It makes me want to just spend a little time away from my “desk”. Then maybe watch DVDs all day.

Then I look around at my desk here at home, and am disgusted at its mess. It could really really do with being taken off, cleaned, and then only the important things put back. That sounds like a good plan. Maybe after the walk?

Yesterday, I was invited in for Easter Sunday breakfast with my neighbour. That was nice. We had muesli, boiled eggs (with soldiers) and then an extra piece of toast. With honey. And I had already had a bowl of Weetabix at home. Well, the cheap Weetabix. That was basically my Easter. It’s a far cry from my family Easters that I was used to over the years…

I did the phone call home. It was spent, as usual, listening to my mum talking, as she does. I don’t mind… (too much)… but it also made me a bit depressed. We don’t speak on the phone that often any more. It used to be a regular thing, at least once a week. Now it might be only once every fortnight, or longer. And when we were speaking, my mum was telling me about the terrible nerve pains she’s been having for over a month now. The doctors don’t seem to be helping. The physio hasn’t worked.

It’s worrying. It all reminds me of the days, weeks, months and years that are passing in the blink of an eye. Health doesn’t last forever.

Wow. Now I do need a walk to clear my head.

Not A Good Ill Person

I’ve written before about this, but, generally speaking, and touching wood, and all other superstitious, pointless nonsense included, I am a healthy person, who very rarely gets colds, flu, coughs, sneezes, or other bacterial/virus crap. Even when in the presence of people who have, like happened over Christmas.

But at the moment I have a rather odd problem. For the past five days or so, I’ve been getting this rather bizarre and random pain “behind” my right eye, and also when I lean my head forward. It was really bad yesterday, but has been OK today. As is common with most people my age, I consulted Doctor Google, and have diagnosed myself with some sort of sinus bug.

The alternative is that my eyes are degrading from ceaseless short range vision. I am going to go to the optician next week to make sure it’s not something nasty going on with my eyes. I know my short-range vision is not as good as it used to be, but it’s not so bad I need glasses, I don’t think. We’ll see.

But I don’t like this. I’m not used to it. I’m used to feeling physically OK. I take it very much for granted. I know I shouldn’t. I should value it every day.

Or at least I should have been.

Because I am feeling less than optimal… I get grumpy. I am not used to this. I feel exceptionally sorry for myself. I feel like I should be well. I don’t take sympathy, and all I want to do is get away from people and go asleep.

I suppose everyone does a bit. Some people lap it up and enjoy taking the time to rest and relax, watch DVDs all day, recover both physically and mentally. Instead, I just get stressed out over all the work I’ve had to abandon.

Yesterday, I was out with a couple of friends (OK, not traditional friends in that they aren’t the same age as me…) and spent the time with them for several hours while feeling utterly awful. I struggled my way through the day, hardly speaking, hardly making any effort at all. I didn’t want to be there. I just felt like my day was wasted, feeling sorry for myself and unable to get away from the situation.

My neighbour thinks I’m ill because I overwork myself. It might be true. But I’m not doing anything now I didn’t do for almost six months solid from June to December of last year. And I’ve only recently come back from a two week break. I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve literally only been back for 12 days. It feels like ages. Probably because I’ve been working non-stop since then.

Hopefully next week is a bit easier. It doesn’t look like it already.

Where To Start

It’s been too long since I last wrote. Life goes in waves, and the past two weeks have been phenomenally busy. Let’s try to catch up…

Work has been dominant, of course. But not the normal kind of work. I’ve been doing a lot more web stuff, with awkward and sometimes useless clients. Overall it has been OK, except for the fact that it has almost entirely replaced my normal PC repair work, without me even trying. It’s odd, because at around this time last year the same thing happened: repairs slowed to next to nothing.

The good news in some respects is there have been no more funny “episodes”. I’ve tried to eat more too – because I’m convinced lack of energy has been making me feel weak. I think there has been success on this front, as in truth I need to put on some weight. I don’t think I have, but I haven’t lost anything, which is a start. So I feel a bit more confident about health, which is a relief.

The only downside on that front was last week, when I had to do some work in London for a client of mine. After work was over, we went for a drink, which turned into about seven. Now, I am not a drinker. In fact, I am a total lightweight. My excuse is that I had had very little to eat all day, the last proper meal consisting of a sandwich and some grapes at lunchtime.

Somehow I managed to stumble home, but much the worse for wear. I was violently sick on the train home, and indeed have a memory of starting to throw up as I was just about stumbling into the toilet. This continued for about 30 minutes. I don’t think the momentum of the train helped. It was highly embarrassing, not to mention deeply unpleasant. I never use train toilets at the best of times… but I had no choice!

The next day was a total write off. I had to cancel everything. I was still being sick well into the afternoon, despite my stomach being totally empty, and feeling desperately weak through constantly trying to throw up absolutely nothing. It was the worst feeling I’ve had in a long time. I generally don’t enjoy getting drunk; two or three drinks is enough to make me enjoy the evening… and if that’s what’s going to happen when I dare to have a little more than that, I think I’ll pass, thanks all the same. My housemate tried to say maybe I’d eaten something funny, because he thought it looked more than the usual post-drinking hangover – which I suppose is possible, but I think it’s more likely it’s because I hadn’t eaten at all…

Which, naturally, contradicts what I wrote above about eating better. But that day was a mistake. I was working too hard and forgot to eat. As usual.

This week has been busy too – but it has also had some bonuses. My sister, brother-in-law and two nephews have come to visit for a couple of days. Yesterday we went to Bournemouth for the day, which was really good fun. The weather has been stunning lately, about 10 days in a row of wall-to-wall sunshine and 20C warmth. My kind of conditions. Today, it is not quite so good, and I think we’ll get a cooler spell now.

But this has cheered me up significantly. Life is dull, generally, and I have nothing exciting to live for. When there are other people to enjoy it with, it becomes much better. So getting to do something different, even if I still have to field calls when I’m out from customers who don’t understand that a new computer has nothing to do with their printer ink running out, is much appreciated.

Anyway, that’ll do. Another month over.

Weakness And Surgery

This past week, I did something I would never have ordinarily done, but life doesn’t always go to plan.

On Monday night, my brother was complaining of pains in his abdomen. Thinking nothing of it, I went to bed… earlier than normal as I had an early start on the Tuesday morning. But during the night, I woke up two or three times to the sounds of complaints and things happening in the house. From what I could ascertain, it sounded like my brother was being taken to hospital.

I didn’t want to get up because I was desperately tired, and needed sleep critically. Tuesday was to be another of my whirlwind PC repair days, where I have a full day booking for a company which involves a couple of hours travel before and after. In any event, it was all under control, and I wouldn’t be able to help.

I did manage to go back to sleep, but woke up at least two more times, because my brain conspires against me all the time. In the end I got up at 5am, because I needed to get going.

Within about 15 minutes my dad came back on his own, with the news that he’d left my brother at the hospital as they wanted to admit him for an emergency appendectomy. Slightly shocked, I still thought there’s just nothing I can do, though. I should just go to work and ask them to keep me up to date.

I felt fine, but it wasn’t to last. Sitting on a train at 7:30am, I suddenly started to feel incredibly ill. My vision went blurred, and started flashing. I felt tired and extremely warm. I had to undo my jacket and a layer underneath, but it was no good. Next thing I knew the person sitting next to me was tapping me giving me my phone back, which I’d just dropped on the floor. Now, I didn’t drop the phone deliberately, so something made me black out. It must have just been for a couple of seconds, long enough for me drop it…

He then asked if I was OK, but I wasn’t. I said I wasn’t and then proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes holding my head and feeling really sick. I didn’t want to vomit – it was more of a “cannot possibly stay conscious” feeling. But I knew I had to, because going unconscious in public, in a fairly hostile situation (commuters aren’t the most sympathetic of characters) wasn’t an option.

By some miracle I made it to my destination. I recovered slightly, but most of all was so worried about the fact that I couldn’t understand what was going on with me. I am usually healthy all of the time. I rely on being fit on more than average number of days compared to most people to live my reasonably hectic work life. But all of a sudden I was dangerously exposed.

Once I arrived at work I told them what had happened and said I might not last very long. Bravely I tried to work for an hour, but it was no use, and I was soon making my way home. It was horrible and painful, but I did it. Fortunately.

Meanwhile, my poor brother had to undergo his surgery, but, I’m pleased to say, is making a steady recovery. It was a real worry too – and he seems to have had far worse luck than me in life so far on the health front. I went to visit him after the surgery and he looked awful. He is back to his normal self now, but will have to take it easy.

The strain all this put on the family is shocking. Already struggling to cope with what’s going on with my grandparents, my mum could do without any of us being ill as well. I really ought to get myself properly checked out, but last week all I wanted to do was just vegetate. I cancelled my plans, at great loss of income to me, and spent the last five days doing very, very little at all.

I went back to work today, and managed it OK. I still feel very run down, and desperately worried about what’s going to happen. I’ve also now gained a bizarre sense of apprehension: what if it happens again? I’m planning to make the same journey again tomorrow. But now I have to worry that something could go wrong with me – an issue I have never, ever had to consider.

I have always taken my health for granted. I suppose those of us who are healthy do that. But I really do need to try harder on this front. For instance, the week before last I missed evening meal two nights in a row. That can’t be good for me, not considering the amount of energy I need, and the bottomless pit of a stomach I seem to have. Maybe I am the architect of my own downfall…

But as my impromptu “holiday” draws to a close, I am once again filled with depression and foreboding. I don’t want to go back to my work down South, but I have no choice. It is my life now. I should just live with it and try to make it enjoyable.

Just got to get tomorrow out the way first.

Cold

I don’t often get ill… I seem to get quite lucky with that. So to actually get ill – when I’m technically on holiday from work – pissed me off a bit.

It was only a cold, and a pretty mild one at that, and I’m now over it. By tomorrow all the symptoms will be gone. At one point I was having to blow my nose every 10 minutes. Ridiculous, and painful. My nose is still sore.

It got me wondering where I got it from. I can only assume it began from a rather farcical attempt at work on Friday 23rd. I got up at 5am, allegedly on my way to a job that is some distance away. It was to be my last job before Christmas.

It didn’t work out that way. I hung around at my departure station for an hour before calling it a day. I knew there was a problem as soon as I arrived, because there was drunken people everywhere from the previous night. They’d been trying to board trains since the first one at 5:30am, but had been unable to due to signal problems.

I guess I must have picked up a bug during this time. Public places and public transport in general are always a danger for this kind of thing. It only takes one inconsiderate person not to cover their mouth when sneezing and the cold virus is released into the air. It’s a nasty thought really – because to catch a cold you have to get someone else’s mucus into your nose or your eye.

I gave up after an hour and decided to go home. I probably shouldn’t have done because it now looks next to impossible to get a refund on my train ticket. Train companies are a joke. I spent the rest of the day trying to find out the refund policy because I’d dared to pay with card. While I was at the station they were handing out refunds left, right and centre. In cash, of course. But they wouldn’t to me. I had forms. It was a joke. I got nowhere, sent from one person to another, no one wanting to admit liability. Fuck them all.

If I’d just got on the train at 6:45am like I was supposed to, maybe I’d have got away from the nasty bugs, and also done some work, and also earned some money, and also not cost me an extra train ticket. Boo.

I don’t actually think it was possible for me to get a bug from anywhere else either. Over Christmas (which was good, and is still going on in my head!) I didn’t see anyone but the usual suspects, none of whom are ill. The symptoms appeared on Dec 25 in the night – which would leave two days or so incubation. About right…

Anyway, that’s enough moaning. I’ve had a very relaxing few days, including playing Mario on the Wii, and enormous amounts of playing on the piano and the guitar. Social life is shit, but at least there is the family to annoy.

New Year… all that analysis and joy to come.

 

Sounding Like Barry White

When I told a friend that a current sore throat was making me sound like Barry White – deep, husky and rather sultry – he quipped in reply: “What, dead?”

I rather walked into that one, it seems, but still, I think this may be the first time in a long while that I’ve been ill. And in truth, it’s a trifling illness. Normally sore throats come attached to a cold or some other nastiness. This one appears to be an entirely isolated sore throat, with some collateral damage through excess phlegm production.

The problem is that the collateral damage ends up being worse than the sore throat itself. During the day the sore throat is pretty much irrelevant. It hurts a tiny bit when I swallow, but I’ve made up for that by ramping up my water consumption. Yes, this means I’m going the toilet every hour, sometimes twice, but this trick usually works for flushing any bugs out of my system, literally speaking in the case of the toilet trips.

Anyway, the real problem is that, at night, because I can’t drink overnight, and it seems can’t cough or get rid of mucus in any other way, I am waking up in the night with a blocked nose and difficulty breathing in any way other than through my mouth. Which only dries my throat, making it worse. The result of all these shenanigans was that last night I was awake from 3am to 4:30am, unable to get back to sleep, and unable to drink lots of water to stop the problem… because I’ll be damned if I’m getting up every hour to go the toilet – the stairs coming down from the loft are incredibly creaky (despite being six months old) and it probably wakes up my mum and dad in the room next to them.

So a piddling little illness that by day is nothing to me becomes a ridiculous ordeal at night. I don’t think I’ve had a good night’s sleep for a while now, definitely not since this whole sillyness started on Sunday afternoon. I’m not even sure how I caught this one. Usually bugs like this have a known origin… but no one I know is ill right now. And I can’t have picked it up during Sunday’s little jaunt outdoors (see previous post) because there’s no way it would have affected me that quickly.

Of course, being ill is hardly a big deal… but at the same time, because my life is so dull right now, in some respects I’m annoyed because it’s ruined what I perceive to be an incredible couple of years without me falling victim to any illnesses. I put it down to my outstanding hygiene practices… but then again, they
are so good that I have a habit of annoying other people by constantly berating them for their lack of handwashing, which has only gotten worse since we got a dog three years ago.

But in every bit of bad there’s a little bit of good – and my new bassy tones, a whole seven semi-tones below what I was previously capable of are proving a useful amusement. I suspect they won’t last once this has all cleared up (which makes me want to know why this effect exists, as I’ve observed it before) – but it’s still been fun mimicking those opening words to Can’t Get Enough of Your Love.