The Caramel Crunch (29 February 2020)

Over at Caramel (Learner at Love), CARAMEL has started a new prompt. I’d like to see her prompt do well, and I had some time today to write a post, so here we go…

The prompts are called the Caramel Crunch and so far are centered around a moral question. For your convenience I shall repeat her question.

You are driving (or travelling) to an important event and you are late. You see a fellow traveller have an accident. There are a lot of other travellers nearby who might have also seen the incident. What would you do?

I’m afraid I have a wishy-washy answer again this week.

Whether my event was important or not, my first resort would make sure that whoever had the accident is receiving assistance, then I would probably carry on my way.

In fact, similar things have happened to me in my local city since the stroke. I don’t recall anything happening before. I have twice (separate occasions) seen people recently collapsed in the street. Both times, I have been hurrying (as only I can) for my bus home. It has really been the only practical bus I can get – there was a later bus, which was 90 minutes later and which would have dropped me further from home. Fortunately, both of these people were already receiving assistance, so I have carried on my way.

The reason I say this is because I don’t have any medical knowledge and the only thing I could really bring to the party would be a cellphone. I’m disabled myself so even if I got down on my knees to help, I’d never get back up again without someone else assisting me! I certainly don’t have the balance to help somebody up off the ground. But I could make a phone call.

The question becomes interesting when the person on the floor is not already receiving any help. Would I try to assist?

I’m not sure. How important is my important event? Unmissable? Life or death? I might be tempted to carry on my way and hope that somebody else came to their assistance. But there again, you can’t really just do nothing, can you?

Triggers

I was chatting to another blogger in a comment section the other day – I can’t remember whether it was their post or mine – and we vaguely touched on the topic of trigger words.

What I mean by a trigger word is just something that somebody will use, most likely inadvertently, but which lights our fuse.

I have been on both sides of this.

I was once talking to somebody, the subject must have been the military, and I used the word squaddie. Now, as far as I was/am concerned, this is a standard, slang word in UK English to refer to a serviceman. It is not offensive, not as far as I am concerned. Anybody from a private to a general, to a sailor, to an airman could legitimately be called a squaddie. But this chap was upset that I used the word. I didn’t (don’t) understand why he was upset, but I understood that he was upset, so I used a different word with him thereafter. I mean, I didn’t really see any point in winding this chap up unnecessarily.

Then, after my stroke, the very last thing I wanted was to be labelled a victim. Actually, that is quite common among stroke survivors. There is a feeling that shit happens, but somebody then chooses to be a victim of it or not, i.e. whether they let it change them.

But I notice that this feeling is not universal, though. Not really talking about stroke survivors now, but I have met other people to whom shit has happened, and who will quite happily self-identify as being a victim of something.

I mean, mostly it doesn’t really bother me. I think people use such words because they are ignorant that the word causes offence, not because they’re malicious. I think you have to go beyond the word itself, and look at the intent behind it. As an example, not so very long ago here, it was acceptable in society to refer to a black person as coloured, and I think most people would have used that word, without intending any malice. Over time, people have realised that use of this word is offensive, and it is no longer used today. But I don’t think people ever used the word out of malice.

Having said that, when people do use trigger words, especially common trigger words which are known to cause offence to some people, I do sometimes look at them and wonder shouldn’t they know better?

Any of you guys have trigger words?

Just Visiting (Fandango’s Friday Flashback)

Fandango appears to be getting back to normal after his house move, and a short while ago he posted his Friday Flashback.

I have always liked that idea, so shall also post my own. As much as anything, it reminds me of where I was. Hopefully, you will find it entertaining too.


It’s a special one this week. It’s not quite to the day, but three years ago this coming Sunday, I started this blog up. I had started blogs before, but never stuck with them. And, as you can see, I am still here – I guess the difference was that this time, I had a more definite purpose. So, Happy Blogiversary to me! 🎂🎈🎂🎈🎂🎈

The post itself is something and nothing. 1st March 2017 was a Wednesday, and I was due to go out at lunchtime for my afternoon visit to the hospital. After I spent all morning setting the blog up (on Blogger), I had no inclination (or time!) to actually come up with any content! For us bloggers, content is always a good idea 😀.

But I knew by then that I had to start keeping some sort of diary – I walked 10 yards one day then 20 yards a month later, or whatever – just so that I could see that I was actually making progress. Because recovering from a stroke is so imperceptibly slow, if you looked from day to day, you’d never see a thing. In fact I know it is something I will be doing for the rest of my life.

Anyway, today I shall take you back to the very start of the rubbish that you read today 😆.

Mister Bump

It is a Wednesday, which means that I will be doing my once-fortnightly hospital visit this afternoon. I must get ready!

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Love is…

Reminiscing a little about my hospital visits, which now look as if they are in the past.

One of the things for which I am most grateful is that I think I have seen what true love actually is.

If you’re interested, true love, for me, is not flowers, chocolates, hot dates or even hotter sex. If that is what somebody thinks, good luck to ’em, but I don’t think they’re even out of diapers yet – they’ve got a way to go.

I actually met Brenda professionally in a previous life. She was a lawyer, she drew up my will when all the shit was going down with my daughter. Brenda had a stroke in August last year, only in her late fifties – I guess she’s only five years older than me. There were complications and setbacks, and she is still in hospital today. She doesn’t speak yet, she can’t eat solids, but she has a tiny amount of movement through which she can communicate, as long as you know what you’re looking for.

She is unreecognisable from the smart, confident woman I once met. In fact, I only recognised her because of her unusual surname – one I had never come across before. When she was first in, the name clicked and I couldn’t resist asking her husband whether Brenda was a lawyer, and explaining to him my connection. He was a guy I got on with immediately.

In the run-up to Christmas I didn’t see Brenda or husband for a while, and I assumed they had been discharged somewhere. The hospital tends to do that – when someone is out of danger, and the staff don’t feel they can do any more, then the patient is moved on somewhere less acute. It was my own fault, I suppose, because I tend not to check the patient roster. I don’t really like to find out too much about patients, their first name is normally enough. In general, the less I know, the less complicated my life can get.

But I saw Brenda’s husband again in a corridor in January, and realised that Brenda was still on the ward. That’s about seven months, so far. She’d had another setback and seemed to have been jolted backwards, not forwards. Since then, I have made a point of seeking Brenda out each time I visit. I doubt that Brenda recognises me, I was probably only one of thousands of clients, but that’s not a big deal. Every time I see her, her husband is by her bedside, plus at least one of their (grown) children.

Love? Look no further.

Fandango’s Provocative Question (26 February 2020)

Yay, Wednesday already. Fandango is back to normal, and has just published this week’s Provocative Question. This week, he asks:

What is something you’ve long believed to be true, but you now realize is not true?

It looks like I am going to get everybody’s back up today (see previous post), so I might as well continue in that vein.

For many years I happily paid my taxes. I resisted the urge to move all my finances offshore, although it would have been easy enough to do so, and a good move in hindsight. I knew that a big chunk of my taxes were going into our NHS. I didn’t actually use the NHS, but it was an investment, wasn’t it? I’d be bound to need it one day, so it would look after me in the long run.

Rubbish!

I suppose I should have seen the writing on the wall a few years ago, when I broke my collar bone in a cycle crash. After five hours of waiting, I was advised to take two paracetamol and come and see them in six weeks at the fracture clinic. I didn’t bother. When Bradley Wiggins later had that exact same injury, he was operated on same day (privately).

Then the biggie, the stroke. What do you think happens when someone has a stroke? They get rushed through the Emergency Room, and they receive double-quick treatment, right? To break up the clot? Well, such treatment does exist, but you’d be wrong. They sent me home. They scanned (scammed) me, but could not detect that I was having a stroke, even though I was displaying other symptoms. So when I then presented again 48h later, by then unable to walk, the damage had been done.

I saw one of the doctors six months after the stroke. You could use a FES, he says. What the **** is a FES?, I say. I’d never even been told about it before. Functional Electrical Stimulation. Bottom line, it is something you wear on your lower leg, it applies a small current to make the muscle flex and it helps with your gait. Why did I not leave hospital with one of these devices six months earlier? They had plenty of time to assess me there.

Plus, this device used a bunch of wires. After I’d had it a week, I sent an email to the manufacturers with my initial queries and suggestions. Top of my wishlist? You should develop a wireless version of these.

We did already. You only get the basic model, because you’re NHS. It was true. I could go to their web site and if I shelled out enough extra cash, I could have what I wanted. In the end, trying to sort a bunch of wires going down my trousers flustered me so much, I gave the kit back.

Physiotherapy – one hour per month for six months, then nothing. An hour a month? I spend more time in the can!

And it’s not just me. There are national guidelines for the treatment of strokes, and when I used to attend a peer support group, every single one of us felt let down in some way.

Even now there is the Eye Clinic. A catalog of errors. Because I do not have transport, I have to ask for appointments that coincide with bus times. They won’t do that – I am supposed to have a car. So I miss the appointments sometimes. Yes, I am one of those bastards who misses appointments. What do they expect me to do? Walk there? Probably, yes, it is only 10 miles, I could probably get there in a day.

Then, the last time they booked an appointment, Please comee on Tuesday 1st. The notification dropped through my letterbox on Thursday 3rd.

So, this notion of universal healthcare is rubbish. The only reason people happily pay their taxes is because they haven’t had to use the system yet, haven’t discovered it is not actually there.

If you are not from the UK, I’m sorry for my rant, you must be bored witless by now. If you are from the UK, it is a lottery and I hope that your experinces have been better than mine.

Bitter and twisted? You betcha! It’s your own fault, Fandango, for inviting me! Next time, ask me about nice things like bunny rabbits!

But, you know when you have days and everyone else is just dancing to a different tune?