Saturday, November 20, 2010

Where did the bucket come from?

Yesterday I was back in hospital for another procedure on my back - just like I was a couple of months back. This is variously referred to by the staff as 'an operation' or 'just injections', depending on how experienced and/or jaded they are. Anyway, since the last lot seem to have possibly, maybe, made some small semblance of a difference to my back, my surgeon was keen to repeat them. Of course, it could just be that he earns his money that way, although I would prefer to think that he has my best interests at heart, rather than just being on PPC*1.

My original admission paperwork said I was having a general anaesthetic, but when I got down to theatre the anaesthetist had a quick chat with me, glossing quickly over that option before trying to find out how close to screaming I was, therefore determining whether I needed a sedative. Mind, I don't suppose he had any left from his own personal use - he was one of those tall, thin men, with a long, thin, sad face who really, honestly and truly at one point said to me "It must be wonderful to be so positive!". He was a barrel of laughs, I can tell you, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a good profession for him, as his job was normally spent dealing with people who are asleep!

Anyway, having been sliced in half in the past and at various points in my life been diced and stitched back up, I wasn't really too freaked by the whole operating theatre thing (yawn, been there, done that...) so I didn't have a sedative either and it was done under local. Given that the procedure involves needles and they are (brace yourself here) large(!), you need several more needles to give you an appropriate amount of local anaesthetic. Interestingly the variable sensation on my back made the local injections completely painful or completely painless, depending on where they were sited - my surgeon seemed to think this was some kind of game - "can you feel this? can you feel that?" - which I was hugely amused by - not!

The needle needs to go into your disc space (or in my case the place where my discs should be!), and so placement needs to be precise. Inserting the needle into your spinal cord is not exactly a desirable outcome! To this end, they use x-rays to find out where they need to be - all the staff are there with their lead aprons and shields and there's me, face down on the bed, with my arse hanging out of my gown (quite literally), getting zapped every few seconds. I was too tired last night to see if I was glowing in the dark, but I wouldn't be surprised and I'm sure I will tick very loudly if anyone sticks a Geiger counter next to me for some time to come. To be fair, they do have a special placement tool, to get them more or less in the right area - it's called a coat hanger! Yep, I'm not kidding - it's a metal coat hanger with the hook straightened - they lie it on your back, x-ray you - the coat hanger shows up on the x-ray pointing to the disc space and after they've shuffled it around a bit, they draw around the end with a felt tip pen, and that gives them their insertion point. It's actually really funny to be lying there listening to needle, check, lignocaine, check, coat hanger, check....

I then got to watch the whole thing on the x-Ray screen, like a series of stop motion images and local or no local, that needle hurts like a bugger when it hit the right spot. Personally I feel that the right spot was one that would hurt less, but I am assuming that my surgeon is not simply a sadist who likes to get his pleasure in strange ways and he did assure me that he was doing the right thing! Anyway, I now have an extra layer of 'stuff' in my joints which hopefully will cut down my pain levels and give the treated joints a little more stability. They treated T8/9, and L5/S1 which are quite a way apart and means that most of my back kicked up a fuss...

All of which leads to how I feel today, which is pretty sore...much like I've been hit around my back with a bucket in fact...

*1 Pay-per-cut, as opposed to Pay-per-click.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Officially weird

Hubby and I were going out the other day and we started talking about dropping in at a supermarket on the way home.

"Is that the green one?", I asked, as if it was the most normal thing in the world for a supermarket to be defined by a colour, and thus ensued a strange conversation about the various colours of supermarkets. In fact, in my mind Asda is green (I think most people would agree with this one), Sainsburys, orange; Tesco is blue and Morrisons is yellow. Spar is red and that's the way it's always been.

After a bit of discussion, I came to realise that on the whole, these colours equate to the dominant colour of the logo, and have nothing at all to do with the writing and in fact, I think Tesco is blue just because that's the colour of clubcards*1. It's odd, but I've always thought of things as being a colour first before anything - the pink house, not number 12 or the green petrol station, not BP. After colour, then I think about shape, so I can tell you about a software icon (it's orange and looks like a Z) before I could tell you what the package is called in most cases (and certainly before I can spell it!)

Even odder, is that when I read, I look for shapes of words,*2 rather than reading them aloud in my head. It can be handy, recognising shapes of sections in a book - if you forget who a character is, you might know that you first meet them about halfway through, on a facing page in a paragraph shaped a certain way. All this I find completely normal and hubby does not - hubby thinks I am distinctly weird! He reads words first - he recognises cars by reading the badge on the back rather than knowing the shape of the body and hears voices in his head when he reads books. I think this is weird, but then I guess anyone with voices in their head has to be a little odd ;-)

We got to wondering then why this is. Is this just a similar thing to Synesthesia where you see sounds as colours like Duke Ellington (or even colours as sound, like David Hockney)? Or is the colour thing and the shape thing completely unconnected? Hubby reckoned that maybe it was the way you were taught to read - whether if you learned a, bu, cu, (a,b,c), then you would read 'properly' (his way), but if you learned cat, sat, mat, then you would just recognise the shape of the word and that was 'just plain weird'! He seemed to be suggesting that whoever taught me to read did it all wrong.

I hotly protested that my brother taught me to read before I went to school and asked hubby if he was being so mean as to suggest that my brother was weird.

"I rest my case" he said triumphantly!

Well, I call that cheeky in the extreme and as my brother and I outnumber him 2 to 1, I think we'll go with hearing voices in your head as being more strange than seeing things!

*1 A rewards card for the store
*2 An odd thing about doing this is that some words look very similar - one I always have problems with is Shopfitters, which I somehow always read as Shoplifters. Always thought it was a strange business to run and not one you'd necessarily want to advertise!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is twenty thousand a lot?

I started something called a counter (hey, let's be precise and give them the credit, it's Statcounter ) not long after I started my blog. I'm not really sure why I decided on a counter, but I think it's because at the time (partly thanks to PTV) I decided to find out a bit about HTML and was adding all kinds of things to my blog. At the time, templates were, well ...yawn... and gadgets were unheard of - all of which makes it sound like I have been blogging forever, which is blatantly untrue. Anyway, because of this, a little bit of html went a long way in making your blog look a bit brighter and I was just curious about the mysteries of the 'stuff' behind webpages and so sought out my own gadgets (and colour changes!). Its strange that templates are now so good and blogger has changed so much, as the 5 years since I started don't seem so long ago, or does it? Hmmm, 5 years ago I don't think anyone had a touchscreen phone and the iPad was not even a twinkle in Steve Jobs eye...Ummm, maybe the pace of change is extraordinary after all, especially when it involves the Internet!

Anyway (I do say that a lot, don't I?) - despite changes, surgery, stuff and yet more stuff (all of the 'stuff' that makes up life in fact), time has ticked on and my counter has been ticking all the while. Statcounter told me this week that I have had 20,000+ hits which I thought was extraordinary. Does that actually mean that more than 20,000 people have taken it upon themselves to read my drivel? Maybe it means that I have lots of faithful friends who keep coming back, just to make me make me feel good? Maybe someone has me on RSS and I get a hit every time they turn there computer on? I don't know, but I was quite excited by the clicking round of that magic number...

I told hubby (in the way that only an optimist can) how excited I was by my enormous following...and he replied ( in the way that only a pessimist can) - "ah well, but that is over 5 years"...

...Hmmm, 4,000 a year...I'll settle for that :-)...

....and I'm still excited, either way....

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Of swedes and stuff

I mentioned swedes in a recent post and said that I really didn't like them (I suspect the word I used, was hate, in fact) and it's true, I don't like them. In fact, I don't like swedes, turnips or parsnips either and to me they all taste pretty much the same. They aren't exactly the same, but they are all close enough in flavour for me to consider them all in the same breath - swede, turnip, parsnip - nasty bitter things all.

Now, I am sure that there are lots of you out there going bitter? Bitter? What the heck is this girl going on about, but yes, bitter, that's what they taste like to me. In fact, when I was a small child, my mother painted some stuff on my fingernails to stop me biting them (Nil-bite it was called - but other products are available) and that was horrid and bitter and swede, turnip and parsnip taste like that to me.

As a small child my mother would mash the white ones in with potatoes and the orange one in with carrots in an effort to disguise them but it never worked. Why she bothered after a while I don't know, but maybe it was some new and curious game to see if she could fool my taste buds...and she never could! When I first got married the FIL was convinced that with parsnips it was because no one had ever cooked them for me properly by 'removing the hearts' and so one Christmas he did just that for me...and they tasted exactly the same - horrid!

Hubby thinks that maybe it's genetic - like a phenylthiocarbamidem (PCT) taste experiment which some people can taste and some can't. I've got no evidence to prove or disprove it and I can't find anything on the Internet- actually that's wrong, I can find lots of stuff on the Internet, just nothing about this! It does make you wonder though.....

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

It's my blogiversary!

I was just trying to find an early entry on my blog and I realised that it's my blogiversary!!

It's 5 years since I started my blog in a life where I was facing major surgery and an uncertain future. Many things have changed since then (including much of the content of my blog!) but despite the prospect of more surgery, I don't feel that same uncertainty about the years to come. We can none of us know what is going to happen to us in our lives, but I just look forward in the most positive way I can. For me it's not so hard, as I'm naturally a glass half full kind of person, but to be honest, life is actually pretty good at the moment. Hubby is well, my mother's arm is out of plaster and mending; the MIL, FIL & BIL are all ticking along in their normal way and my brother's life seems to be moving forward positively. We're getting to see the BUF & VNSO soon, as well as PTV & HLW and Christmas is coming -yay! (I am still a big kid when it comes to Christmas!) - after Christmas we have an exciting trip planned too...

Of course, somewhere in this I also have to fit in a teeny bit of work on my back, which is almost, but not quite where I came in 5 years ago. More meccano in my back will wait for a bit, but I will be getting a bit of maintenance by my surgeon next week. It will at least give me something else to blog about!

I do wonder sometimes - 5 years eh? Will I still be doing this in another 5 years? More to the point, will you still be reading it?