Non-Emergency

Back in early 2021, I did something stupid to my knee – still no idea what – which I didn’t take overly seriously.  It was sore enough that I did use a knee brace – particularly overnight – but it didn’t incapacitate me or anything.

Anyway, it turns out that the brace is quite possibly the worst thing I could’ve done, as it allowed things to heal incorrectly and so on.

The knee still plays up – but it’s intermittent. When I first stand or move, it’s sore as fuck, but then it eases off. I’m still fully capable of walking miles on it, but it’ll hurt significantly the next day, or if I then stop and leave it in one position for a long time (for example, driving home from wherever)  Having talked to others with a similar thing, and doing some research, I think what I managed to do was a meniscal tear – basically ripping some of the meniscal membranes in my knee.  Ooops.

Honestly, it’s pretty certain now that there’s not going to be much I can do to improve it. It’s as healed as it’ll get.  But I’d like to get a proper diagnosis of it, in case I’m wrong – I’m only basing this so far on personal experience (of my own damage, and the stories of others) and Dr. Google/Wikipedia, so it’s quite possible that I could be wrong.

However, getting that diagnosis is proving problematic.  It’s not an urgent thing by any chalk, but that’s an issue. My GP surgery are still only taking bookings on the actual day, so it’s a free-for-all of calling in at 8:30 in the morning in order to get a slot that day.  And honestly, I feel guilty at that point about trying to get a slot that could be better used by someone with, you know, something actually important/urgent.

It really is a massively fuckwitted plan. I don’t understand why they can’t do it so that at least one of the GPs in the practice is doing non-urgent bookings for even one day a week.  (Or balance the load and have a rota of who does a non-urgent day, or even week as a break from the urgent daily shit)

As it is, in this case I don’t honestly know that the GP would even be the best thing – all they’re likely to do is say “Oh, that’ll need an X-Ray/MRI” and refer it to the local(ish) hospital anyway.  So maybe it’d be better to go direct to what used to be the “Minor Injuries” clinic, so I can get a scan straight away. But “Minor Injuries” is now somehow “Urgent Care” (which is somehow different to “Accident and Emergency”) and that has the same effect on me – it’s non-urgent, and there are people way more in need of treatment than I am.

I’ll get round to it in the end, I’m sure. But in the meantime it’s a situation that is utter, utter bollocks.


Farewell, FatCat

Today, FatCat was put to sleep.

Over the last couple of months she’d slowly been going downhill – not eating as much, not keeping food down, losing weight, blood in the poo, and a bundle of other things.  I’d initially put it down to a change of diet (for whatever reason, I hadn’t been able to get their usual food, so I’d been changing things and giving them whatever was available) but she should’ve got used to the changed food in that time.

She’s never been in pain, and I’ve kept a close eye on that as well as everything else, but I’ve been aware she’s doing less well.

This week, though, she took a bigger downward turn – more lost weight, worse poo and so on – and the really significant thing for me is that she was a lot more cuddly, and was actually choosing to sit on me or against me most of the time.  That was absolutely new behaviour – she normally avoided that sort of contact like the plague – and definitely not a positive sign.

As the week went on, things didn’t improve, so I made the appointment with the vets.  And today, we went in. She didn’t even fight going into the cat carrier, so she knew things weren’t good.

I’ve always known that this was how it would work out – she’s antisocial enough that even taking her to the vets for an examination would’ve led to her not trusting me as much for [x] weeks, if not months. (It usually takes her about two to four weeks to recover trust of me after I’ve applied anti-flea stuff to her, so God knows how long it’d take after a vet visit)  Similarly, traumatising her daily in order to get meds into her would’ve utterly knackered her quality of life, so it was always likely that this was how it would all work out.   (The same is true for the Bengal, so that’s something to look forward to…)

The vets themselves were really good – the entire process has obviously changed in the current Lockdown, but it was all done as well as humanly possible.

As it is, I still feel like an absolute shitbag. I know it was the right thing to do, I know she wasn’t well and that this was the best (indeed, the only) way to do things that kept her life as good as possible.  I know she wasn’t in pain, I know she had a really good eight years here with me, and I know the end wasn’t a vile experience.   But I still hate being the one to make that life or death decision, it just doesn’t sit well with me.

I’m going to see now how the Bengal – a change-averse little twat at the best of times – handles things, as she’s never been a solo cat before. She’ll either do fine and accept it, or she’ll be a nightmare for a while.

All told, a shitty, shitty day.


Into 2020

It’s been interesting (for no good reason other than that this is a year that ends in a zero) to look back at what was going on this time ten years ago.

It’s fair to say that a lot has changed in that time – albeit none of it recently.

Back then I was still in Norfolk, and working in Bury St Edmunds (and I did keep the promise to stick with the one workplace for the full year of 2010)  I’d just had the first (and still only) accident of my driving career, sliding on ice onto a set of concrete fence posts, which did a blinding job of twatting the front nearside.

So in that ten years, I’ve

  • split with Herself, had another shorter-term relationship, and been single now for much longer than either one.
  • moved four times – and been in one place (the current one) for far longer than anywhere else I’ve ever lived since leaving home
  • changed jobs more times than I care to think about (I could work it out, but truly can’t be chuffed) and been doing the current one for far longer than I ever expected
  • been through the whole bankruptcy process, and come out the other side
  • been to more plays and theatre things than I’d ever have thought I’d have been to
  • and the same for restaurants – Michelin-starred and otherwise. This time ten years ago, I’d not been to any Michelin places – that happened in mid-2010, and I wasn’t impressed at the time. Maybe I should go back there, maybe not.
  • changed car twice, and rented a bundle of others as needs directed

There’s a lot of other stuff – it’s interesting to see how a lot of the things I wanted to change then that I still want to change now, for example – and I’ll write more about that elsewhere/elsewhen.

It’s a whole new decade out there (and I can’t be arsed with the argument about whether that’s 2020 or 2021, so don’t bother) and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.


Multicrunch

In the town where I live, one of the major roads in has a roundabout at the end of it. It’s busy, but that’s generally fine.

Anyway, the weird thing is that in the last week, two cars have come off that roundabout into the verges/ditches. Going in different directions (they’re on opposite sides of the roundabout) but both somehow off the road.

It’s weird because I’ve not seen any other accidents on that roundabout in the seven-plus years I’ve lived here.

The road’s safe – I’ve been over that roundabout at least twice a day every day, and I’ve been using it during the time of these accidents without any problems. It’s just it’s had two accidents in seven days, for some reason.


Seven Years

It’s seven years today that I moved to where I currently live.  That’s the longest I’ve stayed in one place since I moved out of the house I grew up in.

As I’ve said before, I never expected to stay here this long – it was a location of convenience, a house that came up at the right time, in the right place, and was affordable.

As it turned out, it was more that it was a convenient location, a place to stay that’s easy to get away from, easy to go anywhere else. For the moment it’s still that.

It’s not ideal. It’s a tiny house, which suited my needs then and now – there’s no spare bedroom for friends to stay over or anything, but that’s part of the price I pay, and it just means I go to them instead. At the same time though, I can’t deny I’d like a bit more space, so I could take my books out of their boxes, that kind of thing.

I’ve been looking at other places and so on, but there’s nothing (yet) that’s grabbed me, that’s made me think I want to be there rather than here.

There’s six months on my current tenancy (the first one was a six-month-only one, just in case I turned out to be a nightmare tenant etc., and since then they’ve been annual renewals) and I’m going to take that time to assess things, see if there’s anywhere else that would work better for me.

I might still be here in a year’s time. I might not. We’ll see.


Upgraded

Last week, I upgraded my internet connection to an “Ultrafast” one – known by BT / Openreach as G.Fast.  Apparently they’re slowing down the roll-out of this in favour of full FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) roll-out, but for now it’s the best speed I can get.

G.Fast offers a guaranteed 100Mbps download – and I’ll get compensation if it dips below that – which is amusingly ridiculous. When I moved here six-and-a-bit years ago, I was only just able to get ADSL and a 2Mbps connection. It was painfully slow, although it did enough for the necessary at the time.  When FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) came here, I got it, and went from 2Mbps to 75 overnight.  At that point I could do streaming TV and so on with no problem at all.  And now I’ve doubled even that. Truly insane.

I wasn’t actually aware that this tech had been installed in my area, but BT sent me a promotional mail about it at the start of November, and I’d dragged my feet on it a bit.  But then I got a “Black Friday” promotional letter about it as well, where I could also get it installed for free, for an extra £1 a month on what I pay already.  Well OK then.

(As an aside, it’s the only “Black Friday” deal I bothered with at all – and only because it saved me money on a product I was actually interested in)

The engineer came round on Friday to do the installation – it needs some changes at the cabinet, and as it’s still new stuff, they’re doing it with engineers rather than self-install.  This had a happy side-effect, in that he also appears to have finally fixed the line problem that’s been plaguing me for more years than I care to mention.  (And has cost me the price of an engineer visit on one visit out of the five, because they worded the ‘fix’ badly, but that’s a dead issue now)

Ever since I moved in, the line has been dodgy on occasion, and it’s just got worse over time. The broadband connection has been fine in general – unless I have to make or receive a phone call. At that point the crackles on the line were enough to knock out the broadband connection. BT insisted this wasn’t possible, and that all the options I suggested were Just Wrong. (Because obviously I don’t work for them, so what could I possibly know?)  In that time, I’ve had five master sockets, and swapped from ADSL to FTTC for broadband, so I knew it was nothing in the house. It was always either going to be a fault in the line (“Oh no, sir, that’s not possible, more people would be complaining if that were the case”) or in the cabinet itself (also apparently “impossible”)

Anyway, this time the engineer could hear the problem, and tested to find where the problem was. Surprise surprise, it was in the cabinet.  So while he was redoing connections for my new broadband, he had a look round the cab, and the terminators on my line (I dunno) in the cab were “worryingly loose, I could just pull them off, didn’t even need pliers“. When he came back to the house, oooh look, what a surprise, no crackle on the line.

So, I’m now working with a 150Mbps download connection, and a lovely crackle-free phone line. All told, bit of a win.


Shakespeare Park

Last week, I noticed signs around Milton Keynes pointing to a new development of homes, called Shakespeare Park.

I’d really hoped that they would make a big thing of puns/content based on Shakespeare stuff, but no, it’s all very dull.

OK, they’ve named most of the house types after Shakespearean characters – but still, there’s so much more they could’ve done

“Shakespeare Park – ”

  • it’s no ordinary hamlet
  • Your home, as you like it
  • Your midsummer night’s dream

And that’s just off the top of my head.  I could probably come up with a bundle more.

I just think it’s a bit sad that Taylor Wimpey don’t seem to have tried…