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Tablets And Other "Healthy" Things (Or - An Update)
11/13/2017 8:24:35 PM
Sometimes it is fun being me.  Just when you are getting used to medication and monthly implants another lot gets prescribed.  Sometimes you even find yourself reading letters which question things you know to be facts.

Well, the good news is that I have escaped the Chemo so far.  The Oncologist took one look at my left breast (and felt under my armpit) and proclaimed herself happy with the improvements.  Happy??? I am ecstatic!!!

I admit that I am still not really comfortable with all the medication I have to take – it would have been better if it had all been prescribed at once instead of in dribs and drabs.  (At least then I wouldn't have to worry about running out of different tablets at different times.)

When I came out of hospital I was on three different tablets – one in the morning, one in the evening, and one twice a day.  I could cope with that.  I got a system sorted out pretty quickly.



Then I had my first appointment with the Oncologist who prescribed one more tablet to be taken in the evening (as well as a monthly implant to be implanted by a Medical Professional).  The night-time medication pile got slightly bigger.

Then the Cardiologist decided to prescribe me more two more separate tablets to take in the morning.

Finally – last week the Oncologist decided to prescribe me yet another tablet to be taken twice a day, as well as another monthly injection (again to be administered by a Medical Professional).

I think I now have got seven boxes of tablets in my bedroom.  Six of them live on my bedside table and one of them lives on the floor because it is too big to fit on the top of the different piles.

The really annoying thing is that one of my tablets actually changed colour shortly after I started taking it (luckily it still smells the same – I call it my “toothpaste” tablet because that is exactly what it smells and tastes like).  If you have two white tablets and you know you have to cut one of them in half you had better make absolutely certain you know which tablet you need to cut.

My favourite tablets are the ones I was prescribed most recently – they are chewable.  As in – I am supposed to chew them instead of just washing them down with water.  They are tasty too – I think the flavour is called “Tutti Fruitti”.  They are also the biggest.

If you know me personally you will know that I was scared stiff that the Oncologist would go down the Chemo route even though the Cardiologist didn't recommend it.  I didn't want Chemo even before the Cardiologist kindly informed me about my heart apparently having been swapped with a large colander – funnily enough for the same reason as the Cardiologist stated.

The funny thing is that both the Oncologist and the Heart Failure Nurse keep asking me how far I can walk without getting out of breath.  Seeing as I don't want to be back in hospital if I can possibly help it I am not exactly going to try that.  Not having to lean on lampposts and sit on walls every few steps is good enough for me.  Don't get me wrong – I can walk a very long way if I need to.  I just don't see the point of going any further than I have to.

One thing I have noticed is I get tired more quickly sometimes – I hate having to pace myself.  For example – I can only do one big trip a week now (as in a journey which involves multiple changes of transport or just being out for more than a few hours – eg, a day trip).

It is a good job I love reading – I have been doing a lot of that recently.  I am now working my way through a book with a title like “1000 Quotations to inspire you before you die”.  It is a very interesting book.

The thing which I am enjoying the most is being able to spend time with my friends – both online and in person.  Being able to talk about what is going on in my usual quirky way is keeping me going.  If something is going well I will talk about it – if something has happened which has annoyed me I will talk about that too.  If I didn't feel like I could share my thoughts with people in any way I don't think I would be very happy.  Yes – I am a private person but I will also happily share my thoughts with my friends when I need an “Escape Valve”.

Basically – if I don't feel like doing something it doesn't get done until such a time as I decide I want to do it.

I am going to close this post by saying a big THANK YOU for reading my ramblings and sticking with me.  I write because I have to – you read because you want to.  I really appreciate you supporting me by taking the time to read my ramblings.



The Real "Citizens' Eye" (Or - How To Feel At Home Doing Something You Love)
11/13/2017 7:40:48 PM
Today I had the great pleasure of going on a trip back in time,  I went to an event which brought back some really nice memories for me.  The event was a gathering of former members of a group which I really think should be resurrected - “Citizens' Eye” was a Community Media group in Leicester.

It also happened to be the first place (apart from “Scribbles”) where I have felt accepted, included, and comfortable enough to take part without being judged and made to feel like an outsider.

I can still remember the warm fuzzy feeling I got when another member of the group (who was at today's gathering) told me they had read my blog and enjoyed it.  The best thing was – I don't even remember saying anything to them about my blog in the first place (mainly because I don't remember speaking to the person at all before they mentioned having read my blog).

Being an oddball can be fun – but it can be very challenging at times.  Especially when you walk into a group of humans who all seem to be “highbrow” and/or Brainiacs,  You may find yourself having to try to “tone yourself down” a bit so you can fit in.

I had no such problems at “Citizens' Eye”.  I could be myself and teach whilst learning if I wanted to.  In fact, that is part of the reason you are reading some blog posts which may seem a bit unusual sometimes.  I have learned not to be so frightened of what people think (admittedly – if you follow me on Facebook you will have noticed that the “fit for public consumption” filter well and truly got lost since the start of my current escapade).  I have a story to tell and I am going to tell it in my own way using my own words.

Come to think of it – I think that might be the whole idea behind “Citizen's Journalism”.  I am not a qualified Journalist, nor a paid one, but I do try to educate people about some of the challenges I face as well as telling you a bit about other things which interest me.

Yes, I am happiest talking to you from behind a keyboard (I can think better then – and actually type things which, hopefully, make sense).

A few weeks ago I took the guy I am working on my photography project with to my Dad's house so he could take some photographs of the walk from the corner of my Dad's road in the dark (and when I say “in the dark” I mean exactly that).  Whilst we were there I took some photographs of what I could see from Dad's house looking back to the main road – I was going to put them on this blog post but they didn't come out as I thought they would (they actually looked better on the small screen of my camera).

Sometimes people's stories lose something when they are “tidied up” by professional journalists.  I am absolutely convinced that the best people to write about events which happen are the exact people who they are affected by.  It is not about having the right “voice” - it is about having the experience to back up what you are saying.

It is all very well reporting on something in an “if X happens then Y will be the result and we will have to do Z” kind of a way – but what happens if the scenario doesn't play out as expected???  Or even – what happens if you don't realise that “Y” could unexpectedly turn into “Q” for apparently no known reason???  Do you then involve the people who have experience of the situation to help you tell your story better???  I don't mean the people who have been parachuted into the situation to try to sort it out – I mean the people who were there when the situation started and who might be the most useful when it comes to giving you possible outcomes???

Yes – there is a place for “Professional” Journalists but there are some stories which can only be told by the people who are going through the situation (or have been through it) themselves – because the story needs a personal touch which “Professional” Journalists cannot give because they are too worried about “appearances” and neutrality or bias/angle.

Not everybody can tell their own story – nor does everybody want to.  However, surely we should be giving those who want to tell their own story the opportunity to do exactly that without sanitising it beyond recognition?

We need to let go of the idea that there is a “good” way and a “bad” way to tell a story – with the “good” way involving people who are paid to report dispassionately on events.

That is what I love about being able to call myself a “Citizen Journalist” - I can tell my story and it is up to you whether or not you choose to listen.

Language Ia Fun (Or - Why Words Are More Interesting Than You Might Think)
11/13/2017 7:35:04 PM
A couple of weeks ago I had the great pleasure of listening to (and taking part in) a couple of discussions on my favourite subject.

Before you say “Oh no – now she is going to go on one of her rants about sight, disability, inequality, etc,” and go and find something more exciting to read – stick with me and you may be surprised.

My favourite subject is words and how they can be used,  I have GCSE's Grade C and above in (in the order I learned them) English, Dutch, French, and German.  The two languages I use the most – even today – are English and Dutch.  Give me a book in German and I can just about read it.  However, my French is now useless.

The English language is a source of immense fascination for me – I have been known to read books on words, etymology (word origins), and grammar for fun.

Being brought up listening to two languages (sometimes in the same sentence) has given me a slightly odd habit of sometimes taking things literally at first.  (A tip – never tell me you are “separated” without telling me that you are separated from your wife, husband, etc.  My imagination will submit a response like “you appear to be in one piece to me”.)

On the flip side to that – there are certain words which I have to be very careful about the context of when I hear them.  This is because there are certain words which appear in both English and Dutch but have totally different meanings (the spellings can be slightly different but the pronunciation is the same).  The major “Trap” for me is that exact word.  The English use it when they are talking about an object to catch creatures – the Dutch walk up and down it very frequently (“Trap” is Dutch for “Stairs”).

There is one thing about the English language which I find really frustrating though – and it is not the “I before E except after C” rule either.  An excellent example is found in the Oxford English Dictionary.  Don't believe me???  Look up the word “Snoop” and read the bit which tells you where the word comes from.  It will say “From Dutch – Snoep”.  Both pronounced exactly the same but one is nothing like the other when it comes to meaning.  An English person accuses me of being a “snoop” and they are accusing me of going through someone's private papers without them knowing.  A Dutch person would find it extremely difficult to accuse me of being a “Snoep” unless they had dipped me in chocolate or caramel first (and if you think I am staying long enough for anyone to do that to me you have another think coming) - “Snoep” is candy or sweet in Dutch.

The best bit about language is being able to use it in different ways – ranging from things like “that is the kind of grammar up with which I will not put”, used by Winston Churchill to make a point about people who say you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition, to my favourite quotation.  “Hostilities shall commence on the coastal perimeter” doesn't have quite the same effect as its more famous version of “we shall fight them on the beaches”, does it?  The first version was used by Winston Churchill when he was trying to explain why he didn't like something the Americans had written in the Second World War.

The cleverest way of using language is to turn it into sentences which can be read two ways.  I don't mean the risque double-entendres – I mean a sentence which is either like the “Four Candles” sketch by the Two Ronnies, or like the tweet I saw earlier about a sheep being seen on the hard shoulder of a motorway - “If EWE (you) see anything please tell us”.

Thanks to a conversation between my Mum and Dad I now have visions of a lot of vehicle exhaust parts in my brain whenever I hear anybody speak (or sing) about “Manifold witness”,  At least I now know the difference between “Many-fold” and “Manifold”.

I am going to end this post with a Dutch phrase which is used on leaving someone.  “Tot Straks” literally means “until later”.  It also happens to be my favourite “Goodbye” phrase.


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