Because of diabetes and stroke, my eyes aren’t so good any more (see elsewhere in this blog). One of the ways in which this manifests itself is that I find it difficult to quickly differentiate the different coins when I’m out and about. I try to deal in just £1 and £2 coins, any smaller denomination I shove into my back pocket, and when I get home I stick it into a piggy bank.

This piggy bank had now become full. So I a ctually bought off eBay a coin-sorting machine, which not only sorts the coins, but will also count them so I can put them into bags. So this contraption arrived yesterday, I plugged it in and it took just about 15 minutes to sort the coins. It would have been a lot quicker, except this first time, I insisted on verifying its complete batches. No mistakes.

So, when it had finished counting, I had a total of around £70, of which I think £46 was able to be bagged up ready to take to the bank. However, given that this machine cost £70 itself… But it saved me lots of time.

Incidentally, I was expecting a compartment “none of the above”, just somewhere it could use for coins it didn’t recognise. A catch-all mechanism. But there wasn’t one. So I couldn’t resist sorting my small pile of Euro coins, just to see what happened. The result? The machine obviously makes a “best guess” at what the coin is. Unfortunately, since it has been calibrated for Sterling, when confronted with Euro coins it got things hopelessly wrong. So I think there’s a way to go before they have a “perfect” device. But as long as I make sure all my future coins are Sterling…

Running out of insulin

Had to take a journey into Salisbury this morning, to drop a prescription off at a pharmacy.For anybody unfamiliar with UK prescriptions, I discuss them in my glossary, so won’t describe them further here.

So I had this prescription for my insulin, which was issued last week. We went to the shops at the weekend, but like an idiot I forgot the prescription. As of now, I have one-and-a-bit pens left, just 3 or 4 days worth of insulin, so it was really quite important that I get some fresh insulin pretty soon. Hence my trip into Salisbury. I should really have gone yesterday, but….

The pharmacy didn’t have the meds in stock, they reckon it will take 48 hours to get it in stock, which cuts things finer than I’d like, but I should be ok. As an aside, the sharp observer might wonder, when you’ve got a city whose hospital prescribes a certain med, that the city’s largest pharmacy doesn’t carry that med as a stock item. Seems a bit daft to me, it should all be more joined-up, but what do I know?

Drop-in 07-Mar-2018

I meant to mention, I did my drop-in last week and it was actually quite a good visit. I had been warned beforehand that there were lots of people on the ward who were receiving end-of-life care, and that it would probably be of limited worth. However when I turned up, there were certainly lots of very poorly people, but there were also some quite distraught relatives there, it was nice to chat to them and possibly offer some hope that there might be life afterwards. It never fails to surprise me how polite people are – mostly – in such an awful situation.

It highlights, I suppose, another difference between a volunteer and a staff member. The staff are very patient-centric, but I think it is important to connect with relatives too. I can’t really offer much, but I can possibly shed some light on the changes that they might expect. I know the overall statistics are favourable, in terms just of survival, so I can quite easily apply a positive view on the fact that somebody’s father or mother is lying there looking very sorry for themselves.

Salisbury Stroke Support Group (3)

So yesterday I finally put this page “live”. We’re at: http://salisburystrokesupport.org.uk

The only whiff of complication here is that I wrote a date generator, just so we can say firmly “our next meeting is on 1st January”, or whatever. If we just said “every fortnight” then we’d be forcing someone, even after they found our page, to contact us to find exact dates. The page had been sitting there for about a month, fully developed, and I finally got some feedback I was waiting for. Although the page was sitting there ready to go, there were two last-minute developments:

  1. I spoke to a representative from the Stroke Association. All of the group had thought it more professional to use their Salisbury office (which is unmanned but which has an answer machine), as opposed to an individual, as the main point of contact.The Stroke Association originally seemed quite “up” for that, but on Wednesday, they said they weren’t. It sounds to me like there’s been some steer that they want nothing to do with us. But that doesn’t really matter, as the group has always functioned as a standalone group, at least since I’ve been going there. It does have implications, because the Stroke Association originally offered to get some flyers printed up for us, but the decision to say we’re a totally separate entity means that the offer has evaporated. So of course, saying this saves them the cost of those leaflets – which of course might well be the driver in the first place. But I’m clear on what this original offer meant – getting a few hundred leaflets printed up costs around £25 (I looked yesterday). So we were never being promised the earth, exactly. Of course, they might have seen these flyers as the thin end of the wedge… Anyway, I’ve just used my own name and number instead.
  2. On the web site I had used the same font as the Stroke Association, basically because it associated us with each other. People would see their leaflets up at the hospital, see our leaflets, and make a link. I’d tried a few times to locate the origin of the font, with limited success. Yesterday, I happened to come across some copyright information for the font. It pointed to a London design agency, which sells……fonts! Again, I couldn’t find the font i wanted to use on their web site, but there were other fonts on there which they wanted to charge several hundred pounds for people to use. There was a vague “if you’re a charity, call us” but I judged that, whatever the cost, it was unlikely to be zero. In any case, we’re a peer support group, with no formal arrangement between us. And from my perspective, I really didn’t even want to spend even a penny, so instead I used an Adobe font (which I am licensed to do, by virtue of owning a license for one of their other products). Last minute change, therefore. As a bonus, this new font seems a bit crispier and smoother. It’s still quite “scripty”, which I think is informal, but possibly easier to read? You be the judge:

Old font:

 New font: