Rear Window

After what seems like endless, unbroken months of grim, grey snowy misery, Glasgow is enjoying a sustained period of it not only not being rubbish, but actually quite nice.

I’m now two years out from being nearly dead twice and in, frankly, somewhat of a holding pattern until I work out what to do next or my body tells me what to do as I may have to follow what it says. Most of all I’m working, relatively active (pain permitting) and enjoying doing the comic conventions in Scotland again so for now, nothing is really to report.

And I must be readjusting to being back in Glasgow as I’m calling 23 degrees ‘boiling hot’…

It’s crap being disabled

So today on the way home I was in Queen Street station hobbling towards the lift to the platform to get my train home when instead of having someone hold the lift, they stood there watching the doors close. This meant I missed my next train and I got home 90 minutes after finishing work.

Now, once or twice in a while this hurts but you deal with it. Every other week and it becomes tedious and try to mask yet another small humiliation but instead of wallowing in misery by the time I got to my stop there was a nice girl who held the lift doors which has tempered my annoyance and reaffirmed some faith in humanity.

But it is draining. I’m tired and sore more than normal at the minute and just want people to be nice and not cunts. It shouldn’t be hard to ask?

Coming to my simple senses

It is Easter weekend and some semblance of sanity is starting to seep back in. Things have been a tad chaotic of late, and also, my right side (the one left numb after my stroke) has been playing up partly I think because of the winter that started in Scotland back in what feels like September so Easter is about the odd cheeky bit of chocolate and wading through my stock of comics to get it spot on for the Edinburgh comic con in a fortnight. This means I’m armpit deep in bagging and pricing…

So enjoy your Easter weekend as I stick comics into bags and try not to get chocolate on my Giant Size Man-Thing.

The joys of a sick day film

Ever since Friday my back has been getting worse. On Saturday I had to send some things off at the post office and it was utter agony walking, so to help I’ve taken loads of painkillers which has left me a touch of a wreck and I’ve not slept properly since Thursday. Basically unfit for travel. This is the problem with having a number of chronic conditions in that sometimes your body can’t cope with everything it’s trying to deal with and it just throws its hands in the air while you let it recover and at least become functional.

So since crawling out of bed around midday, I’ve settled on my sick day film for today. That is Terminator 2 because it doesn’t let me think too much and passes the time while letting me ignore the spasms in my spine.

As an aside it also has one of the best teaser trailers ever made.

So, what is your favourite sick day film?

Every day is napping day

In America, today is napping day. Thanks to a mixture of everything, I’m a bit of a napper.

This isn’t because I enjoy a daytime kip. I actually don’t, but it’s because the after effects of my stroke, mixed in with all the various head goblins fighting for control in my head, means that I simply just shut down for short periods of time. I’ve also been warned that I may have narcolepsy which would make a nice full house of conditions.

So on America’s national nap day I fall in line with solidarity with my American cousins, except I’d rather not be. I’d rather my brain worked normally and didn’t close down when I didn’t want it to.

Still Life

I start by making an admission. Until fairly recently I had no idea what anxiety was like then a couple of years back I ducked dying a few times and since I’ve been introduced to the joys of being anxious. I don’t mean anxious as in ‘when’s that bloody pizza I ordered coming‘ but anxious as in ‘every muscle I have is tense and my brain feels like it is about to explode inside my skull, but fuck, I can’t let this show‘.

To an extent I can manage it or at the very least, keep it held back to the point I’m not breaking down like the heroine of a 1960’s romance comic.

This is all being brought up as right now my anxiety is in overdrive and I have no sensible way to get out of this level of anxiety without at some point without failing and/or letting someone down which means that’ll develop into another kick in the guts as things feel like I’m being driven off the edge of a cliff over and over but I never hit the bottom. It is, as one would imagine, a horrible feeling.

So there’s a bit of a Gordian Knot to solve. I need life to be still but it isn’t. You don’t get what you want.

And here’s another thing; should you be sitting there sneering at the idea of folk suffering from anxiety imagine that few minutes you feel like before you’re violently sick, but all the fucking time, and oh, you never end up throwing up which will at least let the feeling past. On top of that someone is kicking the shit out the inside of your head and you never, ever feel like you’ll be able to think clearly.

How this will pan out I have no idea, but I think the one thing that is becoming clear is that I can’t go on with this sort of rollercoaster as frankly, I have very little wriggle room with my health these days, so for now it’s a case of popping some blue pills and hoping things get better.

Two years ago I nearly died but I got better

Two years ago today this happened to me. I basically nearly died but managed to avoid that by having (as one doctor said to me) ”the best type of stroke you could hope for”. Two years on my life is very different as I’m now living in Glasgow having moved back from Bristol for a number of reasons ranging from wanting to shake things up to basically not wanting to die where I was.

Although the stroke has left me disabled with right sided numbness which means essentially my right leg often doesn’t work, or is just so numb/painful that it’s just a sore lump of flesh I’m using to support myself that day-to-day life is a chore. Doing ordinary things as I did prior to the stroke takes time, if I’m able to do them because one of the other after effects is post-stroke fatigue which means I’ll often nod off as my brain shuts down. Mixed with my post-cancer fatigue it means that staying awake can be an effort. I am, to put it bluntly, quite fucked.

But sitting around being miserable isn’t good, nor is dwelling on the stroke as if I’d not had it, my cancer would never have been found before it became inoperable & I’d not be sitting here typing this today. Life is being rebuilt & right now the future is unclear but I’m in the fortunate position to have a future which in many people who’ve went through what I have isn’t a prospect to look forward to.

So here’s to the next few years. What’s to come I dunno but the worst is, hopefully, behind me.

In praise of the NHS in Scotland

The NHS is under attack. The UK’s once proud service which millions of us use every year has suffered decades of successive Westminster governments hacking away at it in order to open it up more for full privatisation. In Scotland, Tory, and a few Labour MSP’s sit in eager anticipation of someone photogenic dying on a trolley in a Scottish hospital so they can launch weeks of attacks on a service pushed to the limit but somehow managing to not fall apart. As a service the NHS in Scotland stands ahead of other services in the UK mainly because the Tories haven’t got their grubby hands on it.

This is not to have a go at the NHS in England. After all it saved my life. Twice. Since retuning to Scotland in November 2016 to mainly recuperate, but also to escape the collapse of the NHS in England,I’ve been a frequent user of the SNHS. I’ve praised the NHS back in Bristol who were amazing, but as the staff here have done the dull day-to-day stuff of helping me pull myself together rather than the lifesaving part it is only fair to give the staff the credit they deserve against a wave of shocking political opportunism from Ruth Davidson’s Tories (and we know exactly what as Tories they’d do here in Scotland)   and the empty dead-eyed vacuousness of Richard Leonard’s student politics.

Of course all parties throw around the NHS as a political weapon yet I don’t think folk here in Scotland quite understand just what is happening in England, and the possible consequences of letting what we have in a fairly well protected NHS in Scotland, slip. For the last 15 months I’ve been improving in health, returned to work, and yesterday (barring anything unexpected in my bloods) was confirmed to be in remission for cancer for a year so I’m past the first crucial marker and can start thinking of the future as my survival chances are now pretty much normal though my stroke recovery may well affect that.

That’s thanks to NHS staff who’ve poked, prodded, helped and in the case of the physios I’ve seen, get me walking again. There’s all the ancillary staff, plus the folk at MacMillan and the staff at The Beatson. All these people do an astonishing job in hard times and having to spend the winter listening to the likes of Ruth Davidson kick the NHS when she’d gladly rip its heart out is demoralising for me, so I’ve no idea how the staff feel.

I’d like to see like-minded parties come together and work out a long term plan to protect the NHS, especially with Brexit threatening to hurt Scotland so badly, but party politics come first it seems but I wish these people would remember that lives are saved, or made better, every day by people who work ridiculous hours for money that isn’t enough while being kicked (sometimes literally) by supposed allies and foes alike.

So thanks to the NHS. We need to all work together to preserve what we’ve got or frankly, people like me won’t be around to write blogs like this.

The ongoing ignorance of the public when encountering the disabled

I take the train most days. This week the students returned as did most people after the Christmas and New Year holidays which has seen trains go from half empty to crammed full of people staring intently at their phones. Now the thing about being disabled is that life isn’t a series of inspirational stock images but near ceaseless daily struggles where one just wants an easy life and to do things like use the train without being made to stand because every other fucker is glued intently to whatever pish they’re blandly staring at on their phones.

Well today was the solid gold jackpot. Not only was I forced to stand because people are selfish, but a young woman in her early 20’s and her guide dog also had to stand. Now there’s nothing the rail companies can do to enforce basic human decency, nor am I asking to get people to move because I’m tired just trying to pass as normal without having to go through the possibility that you’ll get the eye-roll, the heavy ‘tut’  as they make an effort to move akin to Moses splitting the Red Sea asunder.

So if you’re on a train, or a bus, and you see someone with walking sticks or a fucking guide dog, standing while you’re sitting there swiping through Tinder wondering what Lynx-soaked mass of flesh attracts you then you’re probably an arsehole. All I’m asking is pay attention to your environment. As a human being we’ve been capable of doing it since before we were able to walk upright so I’m sure you can manage it.

City of no sun

It is January in Glasgow. The last time it was daylight seems like a lifetime ago but it obviously wasn’t, but to say that I’m not dealing with the seeming perpetual night badly since moving back at the end of 2016 but I am. At least last winter I was in almost constant pain and/or on painkillers for most of it but this winter that isn’t the case.

And to think I nearly moved to Sweden at one point in the 2000’s.

Anyhow, I bring this up as in less than a week I go back to hospital for a few tests which will show whether I’m still in remission from the papillary thyroid cancer that left me with an interesting neck scar in 2016. If I am then all is good and myself and my doctors can carry of focusing on the stroke recovery as well as I get to decide just what to do with myself in life. If it isn’t then winter will just get a tad darker.

I should hopefully have all test results, etc back by next Friday so come back then for a fun update as to how bloody dark it is.