Thursday 8 October 2009

Stop Moaning and Count Your Blessings.

I travelled up to Chesterfield yesterday morning. What an awful journey. I've not been into the town for years and didn't know the place I was going to so it was a sat nav job. Only the bloody thing decided to play up from the word go. The picture went first though the sound seemed ok. The traffic was dreadful and every single traffic light was against me. There were constant roadworks and three separate hedge cutting machines on different narrow sections of road. I dropped my wife off half way to go to her sisters and promptly got myself blocked in. I got later and later and more and more agitated. I eventually arrived in Chesterfield and recognised very little of a new road system. The sat nav sent me round and round the town and deposited me at the football ground, announcing 'You have reached your destination.' Only it wasn't. I disconnected the thing in disgust, asked directions and with difficulty travelled to the area on the edge of town where I was supposed to be. I then showed a total of six different people the address I was seeking. No one had a clear idea as to where it was. Aliens from another planet would have had more idea. I even went in a pub and asked (as it happened around six hundred yards from my destination.) Most were clueless though one young girl fortunately pointed me in the right direction. I passed the building I sought twice before I finally realised I was 'home and dry'. (I had brought my wife's mobile phone but couldn't remember how to 'scroll down' as instructed!) I was fed up and decided it was indeed a hard life.

We are easily upset with what life throws at us. We are often obsessed with ourselves and oblivious of the problems of others. My destination yesterday morning was a community centre just off the Loundsley Green Estate. My purpose was to give a talk (There's Nowt so Strange as Folk) to the North Derbyshire Stroke Support Group. All shapes and sizes, of differing backgrounds, young and old, male and female. Twenty or so people with a common denominator, they have all suffered strokes. (Also present carers and two partners.) I spent a delightful couple of hours there (Not a two hour talk, no one could stand that!) And do you know, I never heard a single moan uttered. Though I did hear one young man suggest he was lucky as to the type of stroke he had suffered. He suggests he was lucky and I'm moaning about the traffic. The whole group was positive, cheerful, optimistic and were a pleasure to visit. I got totally lost on my way to pick up my wife at her sisters in Ashover and do you know, it didn't matter in the slightest.

A couple of years ago I had a 'funny turn'. My visit to the stroke group brought it all back. Never take anything in life for granted.

Blast from the Past no 7.

Hooray for the NHS
The health thing being the main reason for moving I suppose I'd better get it out of the way.On my 50th birthday in 1989 a strange thing happened. I literally could not remember who I was for an hour or two, a strange experience both puzzling and disturbing to say the least. Birthday presents on the table but I could not see the connection with myself in any way whatsoever. I felt like an alien from another planet, a strange sensation to say the least. I recovered after a while and celebrated my birthday with my wife and friends though I felt less than one hundred per cent. I had another attack weeks later and visited a doctor as a matter of course. His request for me to 'Talk him through it' would be funny in other circumstances. I was completely, utterly blank during the attacks and am reliant on others to tell me what happened. I received no examination or treatment, had no further attacks and got on with my life.
Fast forward eighteen years and I had a similar though short lived experience earlier this year.I refused an ambulance at the time, as is my wont but a GP examination followed, hospital appointment were made and then the fun started.
Initially a stroke was suggested, except that I had no paralysis or obvious damage; a TIA was suspected. I remember the TIA bit because I'd liked the drink Tia Maria in my youth. ( A coffee liqueur type drink over 20% proof.) In this case TIA standing for Transient Ischmetic Attack. Hospital appointments followed and the inevitable hospital visits. I'm not sure who was the most spaced out, me or the appointments.
I had an Electroencephalogram, EEG for short which is a brain scan involving twenty three electrodes. No jokes please as to whether they found one, I've heard them all a hundred times. I assume there are twenty three bits to your brain and not that our hospital has lost at least one electrode. Plus a Computerised tomography (CT) scan. Then followed, an anxious wait and eventually a diagnosis by a rather serious poker faced but presumably knowledgeable consultant.
The consultants informed me it was probably not TIA but TGA, which evidently stands for Transient Global Amnesia. 'Very rare, and by the way, both brain scans showed abnormalities and you have frontal lobe damage. But there are no signs of epilepsy.' Nice to have something rare and no epilepsy but the rest is a bit scary. And that basically was that. No treatment except that more pills were suggested. (Prescribed by the GP later but with such disgusting side effects that I took them for three days only. very naughty I know but I will go back to my GP eventually, honest)
I looked up TGA on the internet as you do, doesn't everyone with a medical problem do this. Evidently the exact causes of TGA attacks are unknown, but can include sudden immersion in cold water, strenuous physical activity, sexual intercourse, over excitement and acute emotional distress. Not all together of course.
By my reckoning anyone falling in the river in my condition is going to suffer a heart attack at least. I have no mistress and, having been married for all of thirty eight years so strenuous physical activity and over excitement during sexual intercourse can be ruled out. Which leaves acute emotional distress and there you have it. It's obviously all down to house prices. I knew it, I knew it, it's all the governments fault, result, yet another disgruntled voter.Long term prognosis is decidedly unsure. But if the gap between attacks is another eighteen years that will probably do me. Nevertheless one more reason to put your house in order, so to speak, the house in our case being a more manageable bungalow.
In a way it may seem a strange thing to say but I personally am glad than for the past eighteen years I've been oblivious to the the problem. I feel okay and am getting on with my life. But I can't help thinking what a genius I would be with a complete brain.


The bike shed said...

Agree we should count our blessings.

Yeserday Jane and I were jsut saying we couldn't think what to have for supper, it was all such a drag... Then we both looked at each other and I could tell we were both thinking the same thing -how ridiculous is that, we have a world of choice and we find it a drag.

We had pasta, by the way.

the fly in the web said...

The satnav creased me...visitors always use it to get to us and I think we must live in a black hole as the things always expire at the village up the road. A friend living there says he's going to put up a notice...'this is St. Ragondin and the English you're looking for live five kilometres on, straight ahead, pass the dump on your right and they're the ones on the left with grey gates and a stone wall.'
Counting your blessings is right. My husband has a rotten illness which wears him down..but he can still enjoy his garden, the poultry and just being able to get about on good days.

VioletSky said...

It is a good idea to actually get out in the world and talk to people to realize how fortunate one is. And to realize how uninformed some people are!

AGuidingLife said...

That's really interesting - must be really bizzare just being completely blank just having no idea, like the "what did I come upstairs for" feeling x a million. Now take my mother (well don't, last thing you need is more stress) but I'm convinced she's been having short term moments of complete memory loss for a while, usually when I tell her anything important, you see you could milk best not!

Lakeland Jo said...

I couldnt agree with you more. I have felt sorry for myself recently when admitted to hospital but when I took a good look round the ward I realised how damned lucky I am. The courage and patience shown by some people is awe-inspiring. Good health and well being can never be underestimated. Great post

Valerie said...

Chesterfield: I know all about Chesterfield and Sat Navs. And twisted towers are no help at all!

You: It's the way you tell em ...
Whilst sympathising with the health problems I couldn't help smiling over the way you related the story. I shall keep my fingers crossed that the next eighteen years are trouble free.

Von said...

Never heard of a SatNav that works, I should chuck it and go back to the hardcopy.
Interesting experience and disconcerting to say the least I'd think, stay away from cold rivers etc.
Nothing like a brush with something nasty,difficult etc to give us a better appreciation of how good our lot is.I live in a 'can do' society where we tend to make the best of things anyway, we regular hear about very elderly people fulfilling dreams like parachuting, tandem skydiving..there's hope for us all!
Dear old Chesterfield, got married there once.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Its strange how quickly we forget whats really important in life. it sometimes needs a jolt just to remind us.

Fly in the web
Hi and welcome
Lovely understanding comments.
ps Went to Kempton at weekend and the sat nav behaved. Was going to buy another Friday but did'nt have time. How did it know!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

thoughtful comments as always. Thanks.

Would you believe I left my camera at Kempton at the weekend. I'm beginning to get a teeny weeny bit concerned.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

We come out of hospital meaning to change but the feeling never lasts long for me. Mores the pity.

See comments to Jo. Chesterfield, funny place but my wife comes from their and I got married there!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Only got married there once. How come!
Lovely comments.

CLEOWIN said...

My theory, most people are a little careless (or a bit rough) and loose bits of brain during life's journey. What is left of the brain seems to serve you well.