Wednesday, 4 May 2011

That's taking the...

For five and half years I have been taking proscribed diuretics every single day.

Yesterday I was told that I need take them no more. Five and a half years of working my daily routine around trips to the toilet is over.

I have dilated cardiomyopathy. At least, I think I still do. The implication from yesterday was that the dilated is no longer a concern, that the diuretics are no longer needed.

Five and a half years in which my life has been totally turned upside down, fitter, healthier, married. Five and a hlaf years in which close relatives have died and new ones born. And the one constant is the need to stay within range of a toilet for three or four hours every day. Removing them from my routine is a bigger thing than I imagined. They are deeply symbolic of who I was then and who I am now. I like me better now.

I am nervous though and will watch my weight carefully as I don't want to end up back where I was. In order to counter the weight I'd put on recently I took up running and developed the more serious approach to diet I first adopted on being discharged from hospital.

I learned my lesson. Once you've been in hospital for heart failure, you don't want to go back. Of course, it makes me sad that my dad never learned his lesson. He always claimed to be doing the right thing after his first major health scare but carried on with the cigars and the bacon sandwiches. His second health scare, his first related to his heart was dismissed altogether. It was nothing, the doctors had made a mistake. Some mistake.

I will miss my diuretics. They have been a visible sign that modern medicine is working for me. Day after day, litre after litre, they were proof that the medication was effective. I will have to develop other ways of noticing. And one will need to be my general fitness, the distance I can run with stopping, the times I get out the door to take control of my life.

Life takes another turn.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Coalition? House of cards?

I'm watching the stunningly dull collective news conference of the senior coalition members. So far, Clegg, May, Cable, Osborne and Cameron have said absolutely nothing.
It has been a bland blend of empty cliches.
And it should be pointed out that Vince Cable sounded as though he had been blackmailed, so limp was his enthusiasm.
This is just like Nick Clegg's announcement that his political reforms would be the greatest since the 1832 Reform Act. All that proved is that he has no idea about history and he has every idea to dress up an announcement that was a repetition of announcements from last week. And none of those were really great surprises.
So, in the national interest (yawn), stop playing the spin game so soon. Stop stay how great you will be and just get on with it.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

You call this news?

What is it about the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday that makes me so angry?

Well, I'll take this morning's edition as an example. It has run a story about some insulting remarks made by the man in charge of the Football Association's 2018 World Cup bid.

Now, what he said was insulting. What he said was stupid, it was offensive. However, he was engaged in a private conversation with a former employee who was also, according to the story, a former lover. The private conversation was, lo and behold, recording in order to sold to the paper.

It's a honey trap, it's disgusting and it's self-defeating. Does the Mail hate foreigners so much that it doesn't want them visiting England in 2018? Is the Mail worried about the English team losing to foreigners on home soil, about being shown up in our own backyard?

Of course not. It all boils down to one thing, the man in charge of the World Cup bid is a Labour Lord.

In the interest of petty party politics and vain self-interest, the Daily Mail has done more harm to the World Cup bid than any individual could ever do. When we fail to win the bid we should not blame the FA, we should not blame Lord Treisman, we should blame the Daily Mail.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

While we are on the subject

Has nobody talked about this crazy expressions, "a new politics" yet? Has nobody told the people using it that it doesn't make sense?

A new political code, a new political system, a new way of conducting political life. All of those has some sort of meaning.

"A new politics" sounds like it's referring to a make of East German car. It's an empty phrase that means nothing. This helps to explain its current popularity.

And currently, the media need something. There was much hilarity when Dave Cameron was reminded of his joke about Nick Clegg. However the headlines in the Express and Mail after the first debate ought to come back to haunt them. In one, he was virtually accused of being a Nazi.

Earlier this week, the Sun (yes, I know) had individual photographs of the new cabinet. Under all the Tory members were the details of their husbands, wives and the number of children they have. The details under the Lib Dem were grudging to say the least. Poor old David Laws and Nick Clegg were the only ones with no mention of their wives. We were told that Vince Cable wears the wedding rings of all his wives, even the one that died.

Through the press, we already know that Clegg is married (although the Sun no doubt enjoyed pointing out that he has foreign ancestry). We now know that Cable is a serial groom and that Laws has a really good degree!

Is the average Sun reader so sophisticated that they can pick up on the assumptions made about the Lib Dems in the cabinet. Nick Clegg is foreign. Vince Cable can't make his mind up about who is married to and Laws might still be single. Possibly in the Edward Heath sense.

On the other hand, all the Tories are wonderful family men and women and devoted parents too. Bless.

So much for the new politics. It's the same old nudges and hints. It takes more than a vacuous expression to change things around here.

Better late than never

Approaching 38, I am taking my driving test this Thursday.

This is only the second time I've taken driving lessons. The first was when I was 21. I failed the test and had no motivation for trying again.

I'm not sure what my motivation is this time but I'm doing it anyway. I'm cheating slightly by taking the test in an automatic. That doesn't bother me. If there's an easier option, one that cuts down on the time spent learning then do it.

I have brought the test forward by a week. I was originally due to take it the day before our holiday to France. We're supposed to be flying to Nice. The combination of BA strikes and volcanic ash means that we might have to take the car. I do not want my first experience as a fully licensed driver to be on a French motorway, thank you very much.

Assuming I pass, of course.

It's a minor point but important.

Sky News: giving it to you straight

Sky News has one of its breaking news banners at the moment stating that 22 people have been killed in the current Thai protests. The banner ends with the words:

No foreigners killed.

That's all right then.

Sky News, making Chris Morris look like a genius with every passing second.

It's been a long time coming

At last, after 13 years of hurt and pain, it's over. I can relax and look forward to the future without fear.

Yes, after 13 years of a Labour government, it's safe for me to watch and listen to satire.

For too long I've had to squirm as the party I voted for didn't do enough to get their message across and committed some fairly basic publicity gaffes.

So, listening to the News Quiz on Radio 4 was an absolute joy this week as the first ten minutes of the programme were given over to ridiculing the new Tory and Lib Dem coalition. Even the references to Gordon Brown were mostly sweet and gentle by comparison to those he has received for the last three years.

The first sign of this renaissance came on Thursday when Lucy Mangan wrote her list of 101 reasons to love our Tory government. Those who do not follow the link should know that she only got as far as 19.

It's called looking on the bright side. It'll get me through the next few weeks, at least.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Follow up and follow through

I promised myself a long time ago that I would get rid of my Facebook account. I finally managed it yesterday.
The reason for going in the end was the realisation that I could boost the number of friends quite easily but they would not be people I really know. Old acquaintances. Friends of friends. People you kind of know and add to boost your own numbers.
My real friends who are on Facebook, don’t really use it to communicate. The status updates and comment on my own were mostly coming from a handful of people. And a couple of those I don’t really know that well.
So I found myself getting upset by a couple of their comments about the election and took it badly. I flounced. I left. I quit.
I don’t need to know what these people are up to. If I’m interested, I’ll ask.
There’s something so irritatingly vain and needy about Facebook that I simply loathe.
Whereas blogging, on the other hand, there’s nothing vain about that (cough). Honest.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Control this

Three more deaths that would not have occurred if strict gun controls were in place.

BBC report of Alabama shootings

This is not a poor black man in a gang related shoot out. This is not the act of a robbery gone wrong.

This is a university professor denied a promotion. A university professor denied a promotion. It really is worth repeating.

Anyone who thinks their freedom would be curtailed because they don't have to right to shoot someone after being denied a promotion, is an idiot.

The right to bear arms is about stopping a foreign power from invading, not settling employment disputes. Get over it and move on.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Irony is.. (2)

Sixteen teams are left in the FA Cup. Four of them are clubs with the biggest financial problems of all.

Cardiff and Portsmouth are still in huge trouble with HMRC. Portsmouth are technically insolvent and only the benevolent nature of the Premier League will prevent them going out of business.

The last owners of Notts County managed to run up a £1.6 million debt in under a year and liabilities that might drive that higher.

Crystal Palace are in administration with £30 million in debts.

All are likely to go out of the cup this weekend. However, it offers hope that the cup still gives clubs a chance to shine when everything else is gloom (wow, that sentence was tortured). You could also argue that it shows up the competition's decline that teams which such huge problems are able to go so far.

Given that the draw also includes two of the wealthiest teams in the land, it's hard to draw a conclusion.

Saturday, 13 February 2010
Bolton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea v Cardiff
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
Derby County v Birmingham
Fulham v Notts County
Man City v Stoke
Reading v West Brom
Southampton v Portsmouth

Irony is.. (1)

A sports team representing France calling an Irish team cheats. Given the nonsense talked about comparative intelligence of rugby players compared to footballers, you'd have thought that Morgan Parra might have thought twice before opening his mouth.

Of course, he might have been misquoted. But then Ireland might have been going to the World Cup in South Africa this year.