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Being Me (Or An Attempt At An Explanation)
9/14/2017 3:09:15 PM

This is probably going to be a slightly strange blog post (and it could be a bit difficult for some of you to read). I am going to mix in some stuff about things which have been happening to me recently – as well as trying to explain my attitude towards my current escapade (and if you think you have read what is about to follow before on Facebook I would suggest you keep reading anyway because you may be surprised).

I have always been fascinated by people who come with a slight “twist” - you know – that one thing which sets them apart from the rest of the population. I just seem to gravitate towards them and feel more comfortable with them more quickly than the “normal” run-of-the-mill people in Society.

What fascinates me the most about them is how on Earth they ended up in my orbit – more to the point – why they ended up there. I believe every human can teach us something (we might not know what it is immediately).

I can remember two conversations I had with two different humans of the Male Species on the subject of their lives. One was an ex-Heroin Addict (he was the kindest man I have ever met) and the other one introduced himself to me as “Hi, I'm Andy, I have Depression, Psychosis, and I have attempted suicide”.

Seeing as neither human had done anything to harm me I was comfortable in their presence – and I would never judge someone on their past anyway. What matters to me is – are you likely to damage me in any way??? If I think the answer is “yes” I will remove myself from your presence rather more rapidly than you might expect.

People's minds and attitudes are a constant source of amazement to me. I love reading books where the reasons behind things are explained. I also love reading about how different circumstances can affect different people in different ways.

For example I have recently read a book called “Confessions of a Sociopath” which was written by a non-Criminal Sociopath. In a funny way it actually went some way towards explaining my attitude towards the challenges I face. Before you start to worry – I had better tell you that (according to the checklist in the book) I am not a Sociopath. However, I could see similarities between how the Author manages to disconnect him or herself from situations and people which are no longer beneficial to them and how I have always treated any challenges I face.

I prefer dealing with problems on my own, in my own way, and in my own time. I may appear to have the strangest way of going about it at times (as well as a tendency to turn a really terrible situation into a joke as often as I can) but that is just me. I operate on the principle that – as long as I manage to achieve my objective and nobody gets damaged along the way – it is going to be OK.

There is one thing I need in order to be able to do this. I need a reliable source of information I can trust. If I am reliant on humans to help me I need to be able to feel like I can treat them in the same way as I treat my friends as much as possible. Ask seemingly stupid questions, make jokes, etc.

One thing I have an absolute hatred of is those people who act like they are the great “I AM”. As in those people who think they should be obeyed no questions asked. Let me ask questions and I will be able to cooperate with you – answer my question with “Because I said so” and all bets are off – especially if my life is involved.

Before I continue I want to share something which might help you understand some things I am about to discuss.

You could say that Cancer is not exactly a stranger to my family. In fact, I feel sorry for my Dad – his Dad, Mum, Mother-in-law, and wife all had it in one form or another. In fact, the only one of those four who didn't actually die of Cancer was my Dad's Mum.

My Mum was the scenario which passed through my mind when Glenfield Hospital decided to set the Palliative Care Nurses on to me. She was told in January 2007 that she had terminal cancer and by mid February 2007 she had died. Now, Glenfield were not to know about my Mum in advance of my diagnosis but not immediately giving me an “Expiry Date” or a “Best Before” date was worse than the diagnosis itself. It wasn't until my first appointment with the Oncologist that I found out I have three to four years on this planet (ironically – because nobody told me before that appointment I was actually under the impression I would be dead before I got to see an Oncologist of any description – it took nearly a month to see her).

If you have ever met my Mum you will know we are similar in lots of ways – we will both make sure you are happy before concentrating on ourselves. We will also make light of any serious situation we find ourselves in. Cancer diagnosis??? Heart Failure Diagnosis??? Only a minor inconvenience – nothing serious to worry about.

(The funny thing about it is if you were to look at my scans – and read the letter from my Cardiologist to the Oncologist – I shouldn't be able to move. However, to watch me you probably would think “why is she lying about having Heart Failure??? She is wandering around perfectly OK!!!”)

To be perfectly honest – I am treating the Heart Failure and the Cancer in exactly the same way as I treat my sight. Unless they cause me problems (or I am being viewed by Medical Professionals or taking my tablets) they are minor inconveniences to me.

I have always had that attitude towards my sight anyway – it is everybody else who has got the problem not me. After all, I know my own limits – other people don't unless they have seen me in action (and most of the time they won't realise how bad my sight really is. I have been shocked by the amount of my friends who have read my blog and had not previously had the faintest idea how bad my sight really is – I apparently move among you undetected).

My favourite comment was something someone said to me in person. Their husband had read one of my Facebook statuses out to them and had obviously decided I had lost the plot. This was after my most recent MRI scan. It is not my fault that the husband in question plays drums in church – it is not even my fault that that was the first thing which came into my head when I was in the scanner and all I could hear in the righthand side of my head was someone playing on a drumkit. Put two and two together and you come out with the husband playing drums in my head (or at least I did).

Don't worry – my mind can throw up all kinds of apparently illogical logic. “Only Connect” is too easy when it comes to some of the connections my brain makes between apparently random things.

Being able to make a joke out of my situation has actually made it easier for me to deal with. If I couldn't joke about feeling like a bus (“Power System Pressures OK”) or “Jump-lead tests” (also known as ECGs) I would be seriously depressed. I especially love it when other people accidentally tune in to my sense of humour – like when I went to see the Heart Failure Nurse.

Somehow the words “Heart Failure Nurse” turned into “Heat Failure Nurse” when they got on to the Church Notice Sheet. My Facebook status on Tuesday morning played on that with absolute delight. “I am a bit confused as to where I should be going this afternoon – the calendar on my mobile phone says I have got an appointment with a Heart Faliure Nurse but the notice sheet at Sutton appears to suggest my appointment should be with an Engineer. Apparently there is such a thing as a “Heat Failure Nurse”??? I know I make jokes about feeling like a bus and jump-lead tests but I am a HUMAN. If my personal (built in) heating system packs up I would expect to find myself in a hospital not a garage or a vehicle servicing centre”.

I am just wondering what the 24 hour tape test will bring next week. More fun I hope.

Oh – before I go – I found out today that I have been awarded the Enhanced Rate for Personal Care and Mobility for my Personal Independence Payments (PIP). It should be in my Bank on the 18th of September. Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts.

Protect Those Who Protect Us (Or - Why The Police Should Be Allowed To Use Their Training)
9/14/2017 3:05:40 PM

I have been following a debate on Twitter with great interest. The debate is around the subject of whether or not somebody should be arrested for putting part of their training into action as part of their lawful duties.

To me – that sounds like telling me I cannot type letters as part of my duties as an Office Administrator, even though I have been trained in the correct way of typing them, I have certificates which will prove that I am trained in this, and I have 15 years experience of successfully doing it (as part of my last job), because the mere act of me sitting at a typewriter or laptop is illegal.

Yes, I know the above may sound ridiculously absurd but it is a scenario faced by some of the people I follow on Twitter – except it isn't typing letters that they have to worry about the legality of. These humans have to worry about whether or not they will be prosecuted for driving a motorised Baked Bean Can - with Blue Flashing Lights on its lid - in strict accordance with their training in the event of them having an accident.

Now – according to me any vehicle which comes with Blue Flashing Lights fitted as standard should be subject to the rules of the Highway Code the same as everybody else. Except when the aforementioned Blue Flashing Lights are in fact flashing and their Deafeners - Sirens - are going (I wish the UK Emergency Service Vehicles had the same sirens as the Dutch ones – my ears prefer the more musical Dutch version). This may have something to do with the fact that the Flashing Lights and Sirens might indicate that they are on their way to an emergency (or – in the case of the Police – trying to stop a suspect either before or after a crime).

I suppose I was a bit like some of you might be when I first read about Police Officers being worried about being prosecuted if something went wrong and someone got injured or killed during a pursuit. Then I remembered one Twittercop had given an extremely good example of how a Police Officer is trained to drive even without Blue Flashing Lights. SgtTCS (yes – the brains behind the “Don't Stream And Drive” campaign) had actually recorded audio of himself on his drive from home to work saying exactly what he was looking out for and what he did (more importantly why he did it as well). I would still have my reservations about the idea of sitting in a car when he was behind the wheel though – this might have something to do with another time when Constable Chaos live-streamed SgtTCS approaching a roundabout (I am surprised the car didn't end up on the roundabout).

The thing that really woke me up to the idea that the Police might have something to grumble about was reading an article (or a Blog Post) by Sgt Harry Tangye detailing what a Police Officer legally has to say during a pursuit. It is not a case of the officer deciding to put the “Blues and Twos” on, floor the accelerator, and just enjoy the ride – far from it. They have to demonstrate they are in full control of both themselves and the vehicle at all times. Sgt Tangye even stated his exact qualifications for what he was doing (as in – the fact he is something called a “T-PAC Driver”).

Call me crazy but – if a Police Officer is qualified to drive with “Blues and Twos”, at high speeds, and has a duty to preserve both their own life and that of other road users – surely the onus is on the suspect (and the rest of the road-using public) to ensure they don't get caught up in any chaos caused by the pursuit???

Let's just say I was amazed to learn that a Police Officer needs special training before they can get behind the steering wheel of a Landrover type vehicle – whilst civilians can walk into any dealership and drive off in one providing they have got a licence and insurance (not forgetting having paid for the vehicle and got the consent of the seller first).

If we expect the Police to keep us safe they should be allowed to do their job without fear of arrest when things go wrong – provided they can prove that they have acted both within the limits of the law and the limits of their training.

The same goes for Firearms Officers. As long as the armed Officer doesn't start randomly firing at anybody and everything they see – they should be allowed to use their discretion and training to inform their judgement and actions.

The Police are our Protectors – but sometimes they need to be protected from the vagaries of the complicated laws which they are paid to uphold.

All In Who Wants To Play (Or - Why The World Feels Like I Am Back At Primary School)
9/14/2017 2:52:56 PM

The way it started was as follows. One child in the playground would decide they wanted to play a game of “Tig”, or “Poddy 1, 2, 3”, etc. Then they would realise they needed more children to join them so they would stretch their arms out on either side (at shoulder height), and start walking around the playground shouting “All in who wants to play...” and insert the name of the game they wished to play themselves. As other children started to join them the shout would get louder. Then came the decision as to who would be the first to be “it” - this was decided by the very clever means of “putting your feet in” (the children would form a circle and each put one foot into the middle). A rhyme was said as one child touched each foot in turn. When the rhyme finished the child whose foot was being touched was “out” and withdrew their foot. This carried on until there was one child left (he or she was deemed to be “it”) and the game would start. At my Primary school there was a word which was used whenever someone wanted a break from the game – unfortunately I cannot type it even phonetically because it is very close to what is now considered to be an extremely offensive racial term.

Why did I tell you all this???

From where I am standing we seem to be moving towards a kind of “society” which is more like a Primary School playground. Not only are the world's “Political Leaders” currently behaving like a pack of infants but everybody else seems to be following suit.

We also have bullying going on. Not just at school and work – the current bullying culture is becoming a saturating flood of nasty remarks, leaving different sections of the population out, advertising which gives false hopes of being included in a status group if you buy such and such a product, etc.

I must admit most people don't seem to realise the damage that the most innocuous-seeming form of bullying can do. The trouble is it is not a “Direct” attack on the victim per se. In fact, the victim doesn't even realise what is happening before it is too late. Before you ask – I am not talking about scams and phishing, etc. Instead I am talking about the role so-called “Celebrities” play in convincing people they need Plastic Surgery in order to feel good about themselves. Never mind the “Celebrities” - the fashion industry are also partially to blame.

When I was growing up and becoming “fashion Conscious” it was in the era of bra tops and cropped tops. (Thank Heaven those days are gone.) If anything is guaranteed to knock someone's confidence it is the thought of having an imperfect body on show. It doesn't matter if the scars originally saved your life – if they are ugly enough for you not to wear the latest “fashions” they are really ugly. Or at least that is how I was made to feel about mine.

Don't get me wrong – I am not totally against Plastic Surgery when it is deemed appropriate by qualified Medical Professionals – in the case of a major trauma which results in major disfigurement, for example. However, I look at some people today and think they are beautiful already (and some of them should really make an appointment with a Psychologist or Psychiatrist if they are really that unhappy about themselves).

There is too much pressure on us to conform to unrealistic expectations – or even conform to expectations which might be achievable for some of us but not all of us. (A clue – I could get seriously depressed whenever I see adverts for new models of cars. Why don't they have the same kind of adverts for buses???)

This is before we come to the idea of “Fake News” and “Alternative Facts”. This seems to be another thing lifted straight from the Primary School playground. In fact, it kind of reminds me of something else I remember from Primary School - “Am yer! I'm telling.” Or even that stupid little rhyme “I'm telling on you – you jumped in the lorry and you never said sorry”. (The fact that no lorries were involved in the preceding events was – apparently – beside the point.)

Now we come to the “Mainstream Media” who appear to be content with both dumbing everything down so you only need a very short attention span and jumping on the latest Bandwagon. In fact, I watched “Newswatch” on the BBC News Channel when the Grenfell tragedy was still a major news story. One of the viewers wrote in and accused the BBC (correctly in my view) of making a bad situation a lot worse by whipping up the simmering discontent to epic proportions – then reporting the results as though they were a valid news story.

I know – it is all very well me sitting at my laptop – typing away – having a go at people. However, I do try to do things in person as well. I may not be the world's prolific protestor (far from it) but – if there is a cause I can respect the aims of – I will give it my whole backing.

Finally – we come to the “Anonymity” issue. I admit this is more connected with Social Media than anything else. However, I do know of Bloggers who blog under a pseudonym for whatever reason. Please note – I am not one of them. I have always been open about giving you my real name (as well as certain other details about me).

Here is my opinion on the whole “Anonymity” issue. There should be a register somewhere where the real names of the holders of “Anonymous” accounts on Twitter (as well as a”Anonymous” Bloggers) are stored – whilst allowing the people themselves to remain anonymous if they so wish. This register could then be used to track down the people who abuse their right of “Anonymity” to make life difficult for other people.

One of these days I really hope someone manages to drag “Public” Life back out of the Primary School playground so we can have a grown up debate about the issues which really matter. I also hope that we can go back to the era of being able to watch Documentaries which actually educate us – instead of pushing the agenda of whoever is behind them.

We are in danger of losing the ability to think for ourselves – we have so many people who claim to be able to think for us. The only trouble with that is we are all individuals with our own experiences of life. For example, I can only give you a small taster of what it is like to be me at any given time. I type – you read my ramblings – you get a small glimpse of my life – however, you cannot possibly think that you fully know how my (sometimes twisted) brain works just from reading my blog or my output on Social Media. If you want to know exactly how my brain works you will need to supplement your reading diet with spending time with me and getting me to feel comfortable with you. You might be shocked by some of the difficulties which have shaped me into the patchwork which is typing this – you might be amazed by how I work around different challenges I face (or even the things I consider to be a challenge which you might be able to do without thinking about them).

All In Who Wants To Be Treated As An Adult!!!

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