Monday, February 15, 2010

Get 'Em Out By Friday

Sequels often make more money, but are usually far more over the top retreads, or in a lot of cases badly judged exercises in producing pap. But I have a sequel of my very own that promises to be neither of the above.

2009 will unofficially be known as The Year of the Shoulder, because it dominated most of my year. It really started to become a problem around February of last year and as any one following this will know it got so bad by May that I was off of work and awaiting a date to go under the surgeon's knife.

Just to recap - the operation was declared a 100% success and I was discharged.

But in November, I returned to the doctor and told him I thought there was something wrong with it. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I was 47 and my body was going to take longer to heal, especially after the trauma of an operation. I realised that as it had only been 3 months since the operation that he could well be right, despite the fact that September and October had been wonderfully pain free months! So, I asked him to just make a note on my notes that I was concerned about my shoulder and that I'd wait at least 3 months before consulting him again.

Four months have now passed and we need to go back a couple of weeks. I noticed that while I still had lots of movement in my shoulder, it was growing stiff and painful. It was causing me some trouble sleeping, because it seemed to hurt more now when I didn't use it than when I did. In my head, this seemed to make some sense - exercise it more and it'll continue to build up muscle tone and the pain would go away. Except that didn't work and last Thursday, my shoulder seized up - just froze and the pain was on a level with the worst parts of 2009...

Now it seems that I've got a problem with it. My locum doctor this morning gave me a thorough examination and declared that she felt I needed to go back and see the consultant, because she felt there was something wrong (duh!). It now means that I have to wait, possibly not as long as a new patient, because I'm already firmly on the NHS books, but a wait is on the cards. I've been prescribed two new drugs - an even stronger paracetamol and codeine mixture and an industrial strength anti-inflammatory - I'm going to be rattling again.

It's too early for any kind of prognosis, but I'm a bag of mixed emotions at the moment - mainly anger and paranoia. I'm angry because the problem obviously hasn't been sorted out (I'm sure I blogged a few months ago that I reckon they only spotted one problem, but there might have been two) and I'm back in a lot of pain; and paranoid because I don't want to have any more time off of work, I have my big project starting on Wednesday and I'm desperate for that to be a huge success and simply, because I can't afford to - financially or emotionally. Some people I work with still find it difficult to accept that I had a serious problem last year, despite the operation and the resulting scars; so how am I going to be treated by these people if I end up having more time off. Yes, I work in the care industry, but some of my colleagues only care about certain things and colleagues aren't among them.


As I said, my big project launches Wednesday. The No Generation Gap Project isn't my baby, but I've adopted it and it no longer views anyone else as its daddy.

Last July, a number of groups decided to give my organisation a lump sum of cash to create a project that fits into the government's new Intergenerational strategy. Fortunately for me, the powers that be at my place decided the best person to facilitate this project was yours truly and I didn't just pick the ball up and run with it, I invented entirely new rules and aims. It has been my project and I've had full backing from my superiors and it's going to be groundbreaking in many ways.

Yes, I'm being big headed about it and it hasn't even launched yet. But Intergenerational projects are the in-thing at the moment - getting all those pesky youngsters to work with all those grey pensioners - and while everyone, everywhere else, is sitting around deciding how and what they're going to do, I just got on with it and did it (which explains why I've suddenly become someone who everyone else wants to hear from).

We were given money to buy modern technology. With this bag of goodies, we'll be taking a group of technologically minded young people into pensioners' groups, village halls, libraries and the like and making ourselves available to teach the elderly about all the stuff they can't or don't understand about modern gadgets. I already have a fairly choc-a-bloc diary and I'm getting more bookings every week. But, this isn't just about teaching the old new tricks, this is about getting two disparate generations to start talking to each other again.

The elderly don't trust the young and this is a perception that is wildly exaggerated. The over 50s of this country think the world is a far more dangerous place than it actually is; the perception of crime in Northamptonshire is exponentially higher than the actual crime rate and my project is aiming to smash this misnomer to smithereens.


My quest to seek a seat in the political arena of Northampton is moving along at a pace (ish). I have identified two people who I would consider potentially campaign managers; one is diametrically opposed to all my beliefs, but she and I see eye-to-eye about council politics, and the other is her partner, who isn't poles apart from my way of thinking. There might be other, more suitable, candidates emerge as I get closer to my goal, but that's all far too far away to consider at the moment.

However, I am meeting with former MP, independent local councillor and director of the Cobblers, Tony Clarke, on Friday - just for a chat. I've known Tony since I was 15, we went to the same school and he's married to a girl whose family I was friendly with at the time. He's the best placed person to give me the skinny and I promise I won't be too disappointed if he tells me I haven't got a snowball's chance of hell of achieving it.


We are almost officially entering into the latter stages of the worst winter in living memory (and while I was alive in 1963, I can't remember it, so who am I to argue). The long range weather forecast offers nothing in terms of respite from the cold, with cold, wet, windy, snowy and frosty weather forecast now right into March. I get the impression that this winter is a little like the fantastic summer of 1976. Then there was an area of high pressure that just anchored itself off to the west of the UK and fed warm and dry air into the isles for 4 months. This year, we've had a number of high pressure areas sitting off to the north of the country, feeding in easterlies and more importantly cooling the country down faster than it has for a long time.

Our usual winter fayre of mild westerlies and a handful of cold or snowy days has been replaced by the exact opposite - almost a mirror image of what our weather normally is. The country, as a whole, has had so much cold air sitting over it that it's now difficult for milder air to have that much effect. There have only been two days where the temperature has risen into double figures since December 10th! In the winter of 2006 there were only two days of frost by the time we hit February!

The wife always jokes that it snows on her birthday and for best part of the last 27 years, it has, literally. March 4 seems to be a day that brings wintry weather almost as inevitably as night follows day (apart from last year which was exceptionally mild). It's still nearly 3 weeks away and at the moment it seems like it could take forever to arrive. You see there's this theory about time and the perception of time that I subscribe to. It is believed that people in the UK have a slightly different perception of time to people who live in places such as deserts or with stable and predictable weather patterns. The reason for this is that if you live in the desert you experience the same conditions for weeks and weeks on end - there is little change to the weather, so days tend to merge into each other. But, in the UK we have a temperate climate and our weather is amongst the most unpredictable on the planet. Our perception is quicker, because we literally can have four seasons in just one day. Our weather is always changing, so time seems to move faster.

So, if we are to experience another month, at least, of this Arctic conditions, it's going to make a winter that has already felt like it has been dragging on, even longer. And, of course, there's that caveat at the end of it, when summer arrives and fails to make an appearance...

I wonder if hairy people feel the cold less?

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