Monday, October 22, 2012

Number 78


I had to go back to the doctor's today. Last week he said he wanted to see me before signing me back to work. This was the first time this has ever happened and I wasn't sure if it had something to do with the new 'fit for work' certificates or if it was a genuine concern for my health. So I arrived, saw a different doctor, who seemed drawn to an odd mole I have on my chest - and basically heaped even more paranoid health thoughts on my shoulders - and was quick to sign me off for another week. This kind of worried me again, in my experience you usually have to work hard or be really ill to get proper time off work. So I asked.
"You work at a school," it was a statement not a question. I nodded. "Call it safeguarding." This doctor was nothing if not succinct.
"Then I have nothing to worry about?"
"There's always something to worry about," she said, half smiling. "I'd like to get to the bottom of this chest problem you have."
"So you're of the opinion that is still the same problem that first manifested itself on December 17th?"
"I'm of the opinion that antibiotics haven't been successful so we need to find out if there's another way of dealing with this."
"I had a chest x-ray and blood tests at the hospital at the start of July; everything was clear then."
"Are apples always ripe?" She asked rather enigmatically. I looked at her and she elucidated, "I'm not suggesting there's anything serious, but just because you had a blood test in July that was clear doesn't mean that it will be clear in October. People aren't always ill, they get ill - one day fine, the next not, so a blood test is only as good as the day it was taken. I'd like to be safer than sorry."
"So you're saying I might have something seriously wrong with me?"
"I'm saying that you were supposed to have a spirometry test last week but you couldn't because you had a chest infection; you were having this test because there's a chance you might have COPD or some form of pulmonary obstruction, that is serious and we still don't know. Let's get those out of the way first before we start worrying about the things you have going through your mind at the moment. Okay?" I nodded, but she obviously wasn't convinced I was convinced. "I'm putting you on steroids; I think you have inflamed airways which is making you feel bad and I'm hopeful that your stopping smoking has prevented you from doing any more damage to yourself, provided you can stick with it. From what you are telling me and your symptoms, I'd say that you are suffering from a severe and pretty much ongoing asthma attack [which is what another doctor told me back in July] so let's treat that first and worry about hypothetical things later." I nodded again and she seemed happier.

So I'm on Preds for a week, then it's back to the practice for blood and spirometry tests and then down NGH, if necessary, for another chest x-ray. It's all very harrowing; I'm concerned about work and obviously I have all manner of terminal thoughts going through my head; plus my peak flow has dropped back down and you know, I was thoroughly pissed off with 2009, 2010 and 2011 because of shoulder and back problems that were so bad they buggered up large parts of those years and now 2012 has been fucking wrecked by a two week case of something last Christmas that has doggedly stayed with me ever since.

I must have been really wicked in a former life...

No Rush (A sort of Review)

So, I finally got around to listening to Clockwork Angels properly and I'm still not completely whelmed either way - over or under. I was a bit ambivalent about it, but I can understand why some people think it is a return to form. The last two or three Rush albums have, in my humble opinion, tried to be more metal than rock. It was like the threesome decided that they were not the band everyone thought they were and were trying to reinvent themselves and in the process kind of alienated fans such as me.

The new album is far more accessible than the last few. You see I used to think that Rush banged out albums like teenage boys wanked; from the beginning to 1993 you could set your watch by a Rush release and, to be really critical, after the mid-1980s you started to get the law of diminishing returns. It was more of a case of finding the silk purses amongst all the sows' ears and in 1996 Test For Echo came out and I struggled to find one track on it that I was really impressed with (and subsequent live shows seemed to ignore this album as well). Vapor Trails was a real disappointment for old school Rush fans; Feedback was a bit unnecessary and Snakes and Arrows was played a couple of times and then put on the shelf and forgotten about. This was probably why I was so meh about Clockwork Angels.

The album is more immediate than anything the band has done since Counterparts and there is the rub; it's more commercial, the first Rush album for two nearly decades that has an obvious single on it. It is a touch too long at 66 minutes, because a few tracks seem like filler; but on the whole it is more like the Rush I used to love than the one I came to ignore. Roger suggested it peters out and I think that's a fair observation, but I can understand why a lot of reviewers (especially old school Rush fans) think it is a return to form. It's not, but it does a better impersonation of that than I do of Lady Gaga.

Kids, eh?

I've always said that there are two kinds of parents, those that do and those that don't - give a shit. I now think there's a third, who I shall call Parental Imbeciles or Morons.

I didn't get a job ten years ago because of my views on slapping children; my opinion being it never turned me or my peers into the damaged goods that CPOs and righteous parents seem to think. The problem there is that the group who believe that children should never be touched feel that is across the board; there should be no exceptions because a harmless slap on the legs is as bad as stubbing a cigarette out in a child's eye. Sorry, but it's not. I was slapped if I did something stupid, rude or dangerous; I think I turned out reasonable - there's no bodies buried anywhere, no harrowing buried secrets that manifest in some other way and to the best of my knowledge all those who had similar upbringings to me don't beat their children or abuse them in any way (apart from the fun ways - like the humiliation of showing them up to their boy/girl friend, which I believe is a parent's right and is probably one of the few regrets I have about not having kids).

Fishwife and Mrs Fishwife are of the school where reason works far better than punishment. Therefore, if your child is standing in front of you screaming its head off, having an apoplectic fit and isn't really listening to you because he/she wants something so bad they're almost shitting themselves; the best way to deal with this is to talk calmly to it. It always works and as a result the children turn into absolutely wonderful well-adjusted human beings. Or they turn into unbelievable monsters.

When I was a pre-teen policemen could clip you round the ear if you were cheeky to them. It was usually the shock that got you more than the cuff, but it kind of left me with a fear and grudging respect for the police force. Nowadays, I see kids abusing the police; using language that would curl your teeth and doing it in the knowledge that nothing will be done about it. I blame the parents.

TV Bit

The Walking Dead is back. Since I kind of decided that zombies were the least dangerous of any fictional monster and this series is actually more dislikeable than the comic it's based on, I entered it in the same frame of mind as I exited The Amazing Spider-Man. Nothing I saw made me think there was going to be anything redeeming about it whatsoever. I'm amazed it's popular amongst Americans because nothing good ever happens; there is no promise of a happy ending; in fact if all the zombies disappeared in the next episode, the world would be an incredibly dangerous place because of the living.

The wife likes TWD because she's freaked out by zombies and I think she quite likes Egg; I can't really tell you why I watch it; probably the same car crash reason as I persevered with the comic (read after downloading it, not buying it) for so long, to see how long the cast live for.

The new series is a little grubbier - a lot of time has passed since the last episode - and is back more in line with the comic - the prison, the samurai, the Governor (who appears next week); that means very few laughs for the next five years (because the survivors stayed in the prison for an eternity in the comic). I think my biggest problem with the entire premise is, as I've said before, I'd just move as far north as possible, where the zombies would be frozen or stuck to the ground and sit it out until they all decay away.

Stuff & Nonsense

  • Gomez, Rush, Massive Attack.
  • 3-lentil stew.
  • 14 mushrooms.
  • Anticipating Muriel's Departure.

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