Monday 25 February 2013

Green Lights.

Monday morning, February 25.  Today was going one of the most significant days of my life.  I got into my car and looked at the clock.  Green digital clock indicated 9:20 A.M.  Plenty of time to get to the hospital for my 10:30 A.M. appointment to get the results of all my tests.  I set off on a journey I'd become all too familiar with.

I really hadn't been giving the appointment much thought.  I lived in the now and tried to keep busy with positive distractions.  Driving there, I had a whatever happens, happens attitude.  No matter the outcome of my test results, I knew I could handle it.  If it be the worst result,  I'd take it in stride and see what course of action was needed.  And a best result would give me the urge to sing, dance, drive down to the Houses of Parliament, rush in and say "Hey Prime Minister David Cameron, have a look at my butt."

Okay, where was I?  Oh yeah, so I'm driving along and each intersection that has a traffic light is green, all the way to the hospital.  Can't ever remember that happening to me.  Maybe the green lights are a sign   A precursor message to what the results of the tests would reveal.  At 9:47 A.M, I park up near the hospital.  Wow, that was quick and no, I wasn't speeding.  Thank you, green lights.

Plenty of time to check into the Main Building at the hospital that does remind me of a departures terminal of an airport.  I get my ticket that has the directions to get to the clinic where I will see the urologist.  I sit there, stare at the screen, waiting for my flight number, sorry, my appointment number to show up on the screen.

Finally on the screen, along with a recorded announcement, came my turn.  "Patient 1680, please go to Subwait 3."  The urologist came to the waiting area and summoned me into his office.  "And how are you today, sir?" I inquired.  After exchanging a few pleasantries, we went over the test results.  I sat there wearing my usual silly grin.  Remember Gary, whatever happens, happens, I thought to myself.

He stared at the computer screen.   I stared at the computer screen.  MRI prostate scan, all clear.  Ultrasound prostate scan, all clear (no, not pregnant for certain).  Prostate biopsy, all clear.  No "hostile cells".  Just a bit of irregular gland swelling in the prostate area that was a bit of a mystery but not a concern.

Thus, from all the tests, I have a provisional diagnosis of bladder over-activity.  I have been given a subscription for some pills that hopefully will counteract a urinary urgency.  I was told that I should take them at a time that best fitted with my schedule.  Evidently you can variate the times.  And in reference to the times, he said "You can play with them a little bit."  To which I responded, "Are we still talking about the pills?"

Um, moving on, I was told that an ongoing blood test would be needed every three months or so.  This is to check my "PSA"  (Prostate-Specific Antigen) to monitor any disparities that can cause concern.  And oh no, I was told to reduce my coffee intake.  What?  I like having my eyebrows stuck to the top of my forehead.

Seriously, you know you should get checked on a regular basis to make sure your health is okay.  We can all too easily put off that appointment with the doctor because we are embarrassed, worry about our dignity.  Yet, at what cost?  I knew I couldn't put it off any longer and the challenge I have gone through has, I hope, I pray, brought inspiration to those who have been neglecting to have their health checked out.

Heading home, I got red lights all the way.  Did I care?   Heck no.  I got green lights on the way to the hospital and green lights from my tests.  Thank you for coming along with me on this journey of the fears I challenged.  The biggest fear was going out and I did it.  Oh yes I did.

Sunday 24 February 2013

A Fair Assessment Of The Week That Was.

Tuesday, February 12, MRI scan.  Wednesday, February 13, ultrasound.  Thursday, February 14, prostate biopsy.  Yes, three straight days visiting the hospital.  Three days of mixed emotions, worry, stress and laughter to cover my fear.

Now it was Friday morning, February 15 and I was driving to attend to a medical assessment done on behalf of the government by a private healthcare company named "ATOS".  A very quick turnaround from the day before.  I was sore, uncomfortable, nervous, exhausted.

I'd read the stories, watched the news.  The reports coming back from the medical assessments of people too ill to work, were outrageous, horrifying.  The agenda set by the government is to get as many people of incapacity benefits as possible.  This has meant that there have been numerous cases of people deemed fit for work who could not possibly work.  Their disability benefits stopped and their lives thrown into turmoil.

I parked up and headed for the building, preparing for the worst but maintaining my composure.  The building is located between a well known ghastly food restaurant and a franchised computer company.  So, with an "Unhappy Meal" in one hand and a new laptop under my arm, I bravely entered the healthcare building.  "Would you like a fry?"  I asked the receptionist.  Ignore all that.  I had a stressful week.  I actually went straight into the building.  Well, using the door to get into the building.  Enough already.

That would be after a brief conversation with a very irate guy outside totally aggravated by his treatment and how he'd had several heart attacks and was deemed fit for work.

Deep breath.  The receptionist was polite and directed me to the waiting area.  I looked around and sadness, rage, a growing resentment towards this evil British government surged through me.  Yes, there was the lady barely able to walk, being comforted by the lady with her.  There was the scared young man sitting on his own until his support worker came and sat beside him.  And there was the frail old man, aided by two crutches, his partner and the healthcare professional, as they slowly guided him from the waiting area to an office down the hallway.

And there was me, alone and worried.  I shuffled around the waiting room and thought about how inspired I was knowing so many thoughts from you on the other side of my computer screen, had come my way.  A gentleman escorted me to his office for my medical assessment.  You might note the photo at the top of the posting.  Such was the quick turnaround from being at the hospital the previous day, I still had my hospital wrist tag on.  I also had my paperwork tucked inside my hospital patients bag.

This gentleman, was kind, courteous and he came across as compassionate.  Upon looking at my series of tests on my clearly instructed appointment letters, he immediately went and photocopied them.  He didn't even want to see my other overwhelming evidence that I'm not well.  He told me that I had given him more than enough proof and he would forward it onto the Department of Works and Pensions.  The DWP make the ultimate decision.   I'm not naive.  I know that all sorts of hassles might transpire.  I shall remain positive that justice will be served from the outset.

With that, realising I was in discomfort from my prostate biopsy, he ended the assessment very quickly.  "Please go and get some rest and have a pleasant weekend", he stated.  So now we wait for the results of an assessment I shouldn't of had and so many vulnerable, sick, disabled and scared people, should neither of had to go through.

That was the week that was.  I have witnessed mankind at its finest.  The NHS gets full marks for kindness, caring and efficiency. As I mentioned before, the NHS contacted me via a comment regarding a concern I had.  This is the comment :

"Dear Klahanie,

We've read with interest your experience of using our services from your blog, and enjoyed the humour with which you write. We are particularly interested to hear how we could improve the information and the services we provide. If you would like to meet with us to discuss this, or any other hospital related subjects, please contact Hannah Gibson, patient experience lead, at

Kind regards

Andrew Ashcroft
Senior Communications Manager
University Hospital of North Staffordshire"  

And bless the NHS.  Yes, they acted swiftly on my concern in regards to the vagueness of an appointment letter.  I'm very proud of this.  An example that we can make things happen.

Now, David Cameron, so called Prime Minister of Britain, shall you be making note of my concerns about the way your inhumane, immoral government is treating, the vulnerable, the sick, the poor, the disabled?  Yes, you call it austerity measures.  That would be where the unfortunate pay for the mistakes of the incompetent fortunate.  I await your comment, Dave.  After all, you say, "We are all in this together."

Through the week that was, I saw the good, the kind, the caring.  Through that week I sensed a solidarity, a unity against the adversity so many of us here are experiencing.  That inspires.  Through that week, this virtual recluse, challenged his fears, did it with dignity, humour and by the weekend had become a better man.

Now, this better man, a reflective man who has gone through emotions of such extreme, awaits for the results of all the tests.  Monday, February 25, the day I should finally know.  I thank you profoundly for your thoughts, wishes and prayers.

Thursday 21 February 2013

A Snip It Of My Life.

I shall try my best to type this.  Somehow managed to wrench my back and the pain earlier was excruciating.  And, before you ask, I didn't actually use a wrench or any other type of tool.

Valentine's Day, Thursday, February 14 and the third straight day of my hospital tests.  Tuesday, February 12, MRI scan.  Wednesday, February 13, ultrasound.   I knew this would be the most memorable Valentine's Day of my life.

My appointment was scheduled for 4:00 P.M.  The consultant being aware that I was early, brought me through before my scheduled appointment time.  Not only did she tell me what the procedure would entail, she thanked me for my input in regards to the vagueness of an appointment letter I'd received.  "Oh, did you read my blog post about it?", I asked.  She said she had and that they had a meeting about the way my appointment was phrased and have rectified the clarity of the appointment letters.  I have the proof of this with the very detailed and clear appointment letters I have received since.  I was very proud of that and also showed that blogs can bring awareness.  Well done to the NHS for taking such swift action.

Valentine's Day, a snippet, or a 'snip it' of my life.  Oh yes, this was prostate biopsy day for me.  I was taken to a waiting area where I got to sit in a really comfy chair.  A nurse came and took my blood pressure.  A few minutes later, a very polite gentleman who was going to check me out, directed me into the biopsy room.  I sat on a chair by his desk and he gave me a thorough explanation of the rest of the procedure.  With him, were two male assistants who put me at ease and we exchanged pleasantries.  Well, when you're lying on your side, are anticipating a probe up your butt, a distraction is most welcome.  "Any hobbies?"  The chap doing the biopsy asked of me.  "I attempt to do a bit of blogging.", was my response.  "Don't really know what to make of blogging.", he said.  My reply as I tried to breathe gently was, "I sort of consider it an email to the world."

I was informed that when he got to the bottom of things, they would be taking 12 samples of my prostate,   I said I thought that was a bit "greedy."

A few minutes later and the end was in sight.  A few minutes later and after some initial discomfort, the biopsy was over.  I was taken back to the comfy chair and one of the assistants asked me if I would like a cup of tea or coffee.  I declined and about 30 minutes later he asked me if I felt like I was okay to go home. Feeling quite okay, I was directed back to the entrance of the clinic.  At this point, the nurse with the strong Northern Irish accent who had been mentioned in the posting that lady consultant had read by me, where I joked about her referring to me as "Mr. Perrick", noticed me.  "Hello Mr. Pennick.", said the nurse with the strong Northern Irish accent.  I replied, "Happy Valentine's Day to you!"  "And you, Mr. Pennick.", was her reply.  Oops, paranoia now kicking in, I start to wonder if she read that posting.  If she did and she, per chance, reads this, "I was only kidding!"

Forget about chocolates and flowers on Valentine's Day. Can't think of anything more enjoyable on Valentine's Day than the experience of having a tube with some kind of snippy thing that sounded very much like a stapler shoved up my butt. Yep, much more fun than having chocolates and flowers shoved up my butt!

I'm rushing this posting for two reasons.  First, the painkillers working on the wrench in my back are losing their effect.  Second, I'm trying to get this published on February 21 and I started this posting an hour ago.  So, all the typos will be corrected at a later time.

And today, February 21, the joy of six.  What a posting to write on the sixth anniversary of my blog.  And speaking of prostate biopsy, this post has reached the bottom.  The end.....

Wednesday 20 February 2013

My Ultrasound. A British Weather Map?

Last week was one of the most hectic, most challenging, most exhausting weeks of my life, both physically and emotionally.  This posting is about day two, Wednesday, February 13.  Day one's posting in regards to Tuesday, February 12, if you didn't read it or if you're interested, can be found here : A Scan Of Mine.

Last Wednesday was a 'bonus' day visit to the hospital.  On the Monday, I received a phone call from a very  polite lady at the hospital asking me if I could attend the X-Ray Unit for an ultrasound.  I wasn't about to turn down another opportunity at getting an ultrasound.   Perhaps this might give conclusive evidence as to whether I was actually pregnant.

I headed out from Leek, Staffordshire to the hospital in the early afternoon.  A few flakes of snow drifted gently down.  Nothing to worry about.  Half an hour later, I arrived at the X-Ray Unit for my ultrasound.

I was directed to the ultrasound waiting room where there were a number of doors with the word, not surprisingly,"Ultrasound", displayed on them.  I sat there waiting patiently along with all the other expectant mothers.  "How far along are you?", stated one mother.  "Pardon me?  Oh no, don't think I'm pregnant.  Just getting confirmation that I'm hopefully not!", I replied. Okay, I made that up.  It was to check me out while having a full bladder.  Gosh, that was fun getting filled up before arriving at the hospital and having to hold on, well mostly hold on....

Into one of the ultrasound rooms I went.  Two lovely nurses went through the procedure with me.  Then, oh yeah, I got the cold jelly on my belly.  The one nurse probed the top of my belly and I was rather enjoying the experience.  I never saw the image of my ultrasound, but I reckon it would of looked rather similar to a typical British weather map.  Cloud followed by more cloud with a trough of low pressure battling against a high pressure ridge.  A few minutes later and it was all over.  I thanked the nurses and left the hospital.

It was now getting late in the afternoon.  What had been just a few flakes of snow a couple of hours earlier, was now a full-scale blizzard.  A blizzard right at the beginning of "rush hour".  Driving along at the dizzying speed of about ten miles an hour, I inched along the treacherous roads. Then it suddenly got warmer and then colder again.  Now the roads had turned to ice.  This brought everything to a standstill.  As this point, I wished I brought along my ice skates, hockey stick and puck.

In such awful conditions, it was fantastic to see how all of us motorists cooperated with each other, kept a safe distance apart and let traffic merge in.  You can get such unity in the face of adversity.  Indeed, a half an hour drive there.  Over two hours getting home.  To think, this was my bonus day at the hospital and a memorable journey home.

These are unusual times and want to apologise to those folks who I said I would promote their books.  I haven't forgot.  It's just the exhaustion over the last few weeks has been catching up with me.  I know you will understand.

Tomorrow, February 21, I'm going to post up my experience of my third straight day at hospital.  Yes, it was Valentine's Day and one I soon wont forget.  To end this posting, I can finally confirm that I'm not pregnant....

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Spread the News On "Secondhand Shoes".

I've been going through some extremely hectic times and thus, it's time for a time-out to join in a celebration, a "Blog Party" at Shelly's site.  Information can be further read here : Tomorrow : My Blog Party and the Indie-Recon Conference

Shelly's Blog Party runs from February 19 to February 21.  Shelly will be giving away two 15 dollar Amazon cards and two autographed copies of her novel "Secondhand Shoes", next Tuesday.

Author Bio

"When she was nine, Shelly Arkon's mother advised her not to write a novel because no one would publish it...but she wrote it anyway.

Shelly Arkon has never stopped writing since she wrote that first novel as a child. In spite of more family drama than most of us could handle—as the mother of five daughters, drama is unavoidable--she's been writing most of her life. She says most of these stories, written in longhand in spiral notebooks, have been about vampires.

She now lives in New Port Richey with her husband and two dogs. She’s also a member of Florida Writer’s Association and Writer’s of Mass Distraction.

Currently, she’s working on a book series. It’s’about two grandmothers, one a New Age hippie, and the other, a Southern Baptist, their grandbaby, their grown children who are pill heads, their extended dysfunctional family, and a dangerous drug dealer.

The two grandmothers find themselves in a dangerous pursuit to save their grandbaby while finding an unlikely friendship between them."


Why do you write? 
"There is a constant chatter going on in my head all day. Ideas and dialogue come quickly where I have to write them down. If I don’t, I may miss an opportunity to get it down the way I heard it the first time. Even characters get perturbed when you don’t relay their information correctly. They want their stories told in the right way. Not to mention, all of my characters bug me until I do-I have a tendency to work on multiple projects at a time." 

Can you explain the trials and tribulations of writing your first novel or writing in general? 
"There’s a ga-zillion of those. My first set of trials and tribulations began in the first grade when teachers stuck me in a slow class because I couldn't grasp reading and writing like the other kids in my class did.  

One afternoon, one of my teachers handed me a stool, an eraser, and a piece of chalk. I was to write, say each letter to my name, and then sound it out and repeat. This tiny feat took up an entire afternoon.  

First grade through the third were the most tedious years of my life. But I'm thankful to all my teachers for their patience and persistence. By the fourth grade, I was further ahead than most my classmates in reading and writing along with my big love for both. 

Once I took off in reading and writing, I read everything I could get my hands on. And I had an affinity for diaries, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, and daydreaming. My imagination ran wild with stories and poems. I wrote non-stop as a child and teen. 

Unfortunately, there were people and even myself who discouraged me from writing. Many times I heard ‘no one would publish you’ or ‘there’s nothing special about what you write’ or ‘so-n-so writes way better stuff than you do.’ Negative self-voices are the worst. So you have to find your positive self-voice to talk you out of the bad conditioning. This is something I'm always working on. 

Not only do people and yourself get in the way of writing, but so does life. Marriages. Children. Divorce. College. Work. Mundane chores. Traumatic life events. These can really put a damper on one’s ability to sit in a chair and write out your characters’ problems when you have your own.  

In 1998, I sat down one evening and wrote the first chapter to Secondhand Shoes. My thoughts were I would be able to finish it within a year, but I found myself suddenly a single mother of five. So I tucked it in a folder and stuck it in my closet. For years, I made notes and wrote dialogue for it and tucked it away. 

Several years later, and down to two children in the household, I plunked myself back into a chair and wrote. I wrote it four times over. The first version, I hated and couldn't relate to it at all. It was like reading a Monday night movie on Lifetime for Women. The second version, the protagonist was a real whiner. When I finally finished the third version, I could finally see the forest through the trees, and the fourth version of Secondhand Shoes was born. 

Somewhere between the first and second version, in 2008, I became a member of the Florida Writer’s Association. Every second and fourth Monday evening, we meet at the Barnes and Nobles in Carrollwood. There, we edit and critique each other. The girls and one guy in the group are my checks and balances as I am theirs. 

Once I got the okay from my group members that it was ready, it was onto the next stage in the writing experience. Finding an editor. Well, I had the gem of all editors. Kaye Coppersmith. She was a longtime member of Florida Writer’s Association and halfway through my manuscript when she passed. That was this past April. At the time, I felt like God and the Universe had stolen her from me. And the negative voices ate at me again. 

But I rose above it, wiped my tears, and went forward. It wasn't easy finding an editor who could keep my writing voice. So many editors out there try to change everything so much so they lose the characteristics of your characters and their voice. I also found a lot of people labeling themselves as editors, only to find out they didn’t know much about the profession."  

And how did you publish? 
"I ended up going Indie (self-published). Yes. I did try the traditional route but after sending the requested manuscript to agents and publishers, most times I didn't even get a rejection. Not getting a response bothered me more than not receiving one. It would have been nice to at least hear they didn’t think my novel was marketable. To this day, I haven’t heard back from one agent who requested my manuscript ‘as is’ in 2010. Getting published isn't as easy as one thinks. No one writes a novel and becomes instantly published."

The Blurb

"The shoes didn't fit. It was an omen.

Eighteen year old psychic-medium-germ-a-phobe Lila should have listened to her ghostly Gram’s advice the morning of her wedding, “Take off that dress and those shoes. And run.”

En route to the honeymoon, she decides to listen after too many disagreements with her groom. It doesn’t pay to go along to make everyone happy.

Still in her wedding dress and shoes, she escapes out a diner’s bathroom window into the Florida woods despite her fear of snakes and germs with her dead Gram’s direction.
So she begins a journey of finding her inner strength, putting her on a deadly run from her psychotic groom and his deranged friends.

Will she ever get past her fear of germs and snakes? Will she survive her honeymoon?"

Her novel, "Secondhand Shoes" is now available on Amazon either in paperback or as an ebook. Paper back is $13.50. Ebook is $4.99. But from February 19th through the 21st the ebook is FREE to everyone. Here is the link to Amazon : Secondhand Shoes : Shelly Arkon

And here is a photograph of Shelly Arkon.  Time to party and all the very best to Shelly.  Please would you be so kind as to join her party and check out her novel.  Thank you.

Sunday 17 February 2013

A Scan Of Mine.

Last weekend, I visualised that moment when the week ahead would be over.  Where I could actually start typing about that week.  Now has come that time.  Unlike earlier last week when I didn't do a posting, this one actually is here.  At least I think it's here...

I braced myself for what I knew would be a week where I challenged the fears that lurk within.  A week where I knew I would be going to the hospital on my own.  Yet, despite that, I clutched onto the vibes, the thoughts, the prayers of so many.  I went alone, yet I wasn't alone.

It all began on Tuesday, February 12 at 8:00 A.M.  I sat in the waiting area until I was summoned for my first test.  A very polite consultant explained the proceedings to me and what to expect during my experience within a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner or MRI.  He also double checked that I had no metallic objects on my body.  They can cause some problems with the scanner.  Unless I had some mystery piercings, I knew that there was nothing metallic on me.

Now then, just a few minutes past 8:00 A.M., I was strapped into the scanner by a friendly, informative lady who guided me through the process as it happened via the headphones provided.

Yes, headphones to also block out the noise of the machine.  So, in a machine sensitive to anything metallic, what  did I listen to on the headphones?  Glad you asked.  The music was by "Iron Butterfly", "Iron Maiden", "Steely Dan" and "Metallica".  Our blogging friend on 'Farcebook', Tammy, saw my profile update in regards to this and noted the "Iron'y" in the music selection.  So Tammy, I 'steel' your joke.

Seriously, the actual music selection was "Smoke on the Water" by "Deep Purple", something by "Tina Turner" and "Radar Love" by "Golden Earring".  The 'ride' in the machine took about 20 minutes. Staying as motionless as possible, I visualised the capsule transporting me to the 24th century and finding myself on the deck of the starship "Enterprise".  Near the end, the ride was kinda' bumpy and it felt kinda' good.  Ah yes....moving swiftly on.....

I asked if I could go for another 'ride'.  She laughed and then unstrapped me.

So day one of four in one of the most harrowing yet inspirationally defining weeks of my life was almost complete.  Remembering to get dressed, I thanked the kind, respectful, caring staff at the hospital and headed for my car.  Home to reflect and be proud I was challenging my fears.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

I'm Not Doing A Posting.

"Sorry I haven't been posting much lately."  Whoa, I would never make such a statement.  I chuckle when I read such things.  Like I care.  If anything, I'd more likely say, "sorry about posting."  Yeah, I know how they mean it.

Thus, I'm not doing a posting.  I haven't got time to let you know how my first appointment at the hospital went this week.  I wont tell you about my adventures with the MRI scanner until another time.  I wont tell you that I now have an added appointment.  I now have an appointment slotted in for Wednesday for another ultrasound test.  However, not actually doing a posting, I wont mention that.  Perhaps they need to double check in regards to my possible pregnancy.  But I wont tell you that or my ongoing craving for pickles and ice cream.

This means in this posting I'm not doing, that my revised hospital schedule is this.  Tuesday, MRI scan, finished.  Wednesday, ultrasound.  Thursday, ah Thursday, Valentine's Day, the day they get to the bottom of things with a prostate biopsy.  And no, wont say something predicable like that it will all work out in the end. No, definitely wont mention that.  And no, wont mention after going for three straight days to the hospital, that Friday is a medical assessment by a private 'healthcare' company, hired by this wicked government to do their best to remove my disability benefits.  No, wont mention that.

What I will mention in this posting I'm not doing is that I'm profoundly grateful for your wishes, your prayers, your positive vibrations.  Thank you for reading this posting I'm not doing.

Saturday 9 February 2013

Eye Have A Vision.

Eye then, what's going on here?  In my last posting, it had been noted that the photo looked rather like an "eerie alien eye".  So, for your delight, here is an eye.  It's actually my eye and 'eye' took the photo.  I was always, okay sometimes, okay, hardly ever, an attentive 'pupil'.

On Wednesday, February 6th, I had to go back to the hospital to try again to do something that didn't happen on January 23rd.  If you haven't got a clue what I'm on about at this point, the details of my previous hospital adventures can be found here : New Year's 'Wee've'.. and here : From Leek To No Leak. 

Okay, on February 6th, I was asked to come back and 'POD', which is 'Piddle On Demand'.  I was prepared this time.  I knew the actual reason I was going to the hospital.  So I topped myself up before departing to the hospital.  Upon arrival and checking in, I headed straight to the drinks machine and had a few extra cups of water to complete my topping up process.

"Are you ready, Mr. Pennick?", inquired the nurse.  "Um, can I have a few more minutes please?", I replied.  "No problem.  I'll come back in a few minutes", stated the nurse.  The few minutes soon went by and off I went to the 'Piddle Room' to test my urinary flow.  I thought to myself, "Yeah, I'll show that machine!  Pretend I'm taking a leak on a robot, or think of waterfalls, or turn on a tap!  That'll do it..."  And then...and then....nothing happened, again!  "Oh nurse!  It aint happening.", I declared.

"Right then.  We'll have to see how much fluid you have in your bladder by using the ultrasound.", explained the patient nurse.  Finally, the reason I thought I was originally at the clinic, was actually happening.  Yay, I was going to get some cold jelly on my belly!

After my ultrasound, which I can confirm indicates I'm not pregnant, some nurses had a deliberation about my situation.  It turned out that a consultant was going to be seeing another outpatient and if I could stay around, he would find time to see me.  I agreed and I waited for the consultant on a seat temptingly close to the toilets.  While I waited, you guessed it, I had to go to the toilet twice in about ten minutes.  Darn it!

The consultant was a very pleasant gentleman and he understood my 'bashful bladder' problem.  While he explained what was going to be scheduled next, I had this incredible urge to go for another leak.  Sitting there, smiling through gritted teeth, I listened to what was proposed.

They wanted me to have an MRI scan and a prostate biopsy.  I would be informed of my appointments within about two weeks.  On Friday, February 8th, I received a phone call from the secretary of my urologist.  And just like that, I now have to go for an MRI scan on Tuesday morning, February 12th and a prostate biopsy on the afternoon of February 14th.  Me thinks it's going to be one Valentine's Day I will not soon forget.

Then, oh yes, then, on the morning of February 15th, I have to go for a medical assessment.  This would be a medical assessment done by a private 'healthcare' company working on behalf of the British government at a huge expense to the British tax payer.  The agenda is to claim a significant proportion of those too sick to work, the vulnerable, those with mental health issues, are deemed fit to work and their disability benefits stopped.  Oh the evil irony.  Still, I can always remain standing during my assessment.  "Sorry 'health professional', cannot sit down, I've a right pain in my ass!"

Yet, no matter what they try, I will not let them destroy my spirit, my passion to eliminate such injustice being imposed on so many desperate souls.  And the NHS, the National Health Service, our treasured universal healthcare?  They have treated me with respect, understanding and dignity.  Something the immoral British government could learn from.

The photo of my eye.  It has seen enough tears shed.  Yet, the photo of my eye also has a vision of a kinder, caring, more compassionate world.  My friend, my vision has been inspired by you.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Beyond The Window.

It had been a windswept, rainy night.  The clouds passed.  The rain stopped.  Sprinkled droplets splashed upon yon window.  The street lamp cast an eerie glow.

Lessons have been learnt.  Those who would devalue our humanity, shall never, ever kill the good in the human spirit.  Together, in hope, we cope.  You, my friend, have shared that lesson.  Thank you.

And beyond the window, I saw the universe.

Friday 1 February 2013

I Cannot Go Back There.

I'm not a well man.  I have mental and physical issues to contend with.  Like so many, I'm now experiencing the hell the British government is imposing on the sick, the poor, the vulnerable, the disabled.  All in the name of cost cutting while the incompetent fortunate smirk at the plight of the impoverished.  Many now live in fear, fear of keeping their houses warm, fear that they might not have enough to eat.  Scared to the point of hysterical panic that they might lose their homes.  Many are now living in fear of what tomorrow brings.  I am one of them.

In between my visits as a hospital outpatient over my medical problems, I'm now being summoned for the dreaded medical assessment that has wreaked havoc with so many desperate, frightened souls.  Several people have been deemed fit to work, when in reality, they are not.  If I am deemed fit to work, it will destroy me.  Workplace bullying in various jobs, both paid and voluntary, have left me in a state of deep despair.  

And the ripple effects of all of this?  My son, my beloved son, who through this economic mess, cannot find meaningful employment.  He continues on with his drawn out process of enlisting with the British Navy.  In the meantime, my young man cannot sleep properly, he is sad and it's breaking my heart.  My mother, my family in British Columbia, are worried sick over what's happening to me and my boy.  I do my best, with their support, to see a positive aspect to all of this.  

It's so exhausting.  I'm barely able to write a posting.  I'm barely able to interact within this supportive, caring blogging community.  My transparency, my verbalisation are important.  In my world, the truth is I struggle to sleep and I'm often still awake around ten in the morning.  Finally, I drift off and wake up in a panic about four in the afternoon.  I was starting to get better and then this government and its inhumane policies brought it all back with a vengeance.

Maybe my medical assessment will be okay.  I have to cling onto that thought.  I cannot go back there.  Back to that dark, foreboding place where I was so ill, the only comfort was the sound of a whirring fan by my bedside.  A fan that played the music of a man losing his sanity.  What has this world come to when they dredge up the past, the past I tried to move on from.  

No matter what, I have to, I must not let the evil bombard my right to a peaceful, positive life. With your help and caring, with my family's support, with the focus that I need to maintain a healthy environment for my son and for Penny, our beautiful dog, I will keep going.  
I'm a teardrop of the shining orb
Which has a message I must absorb
A glowing tear
Beyond the fear.