29 Mar 2010

Post195: Trying to Eat properly

I was going to try and keep things warm and fuzzy today but two things intervened: Firstly I realised it was Monday and even though it's a four day weekend coming up (still the only useful thing about Christianity); the Second was listening to Chris Moyles suck up to west-country wookie and fat moron, former ABBA member (In this photo anyway) Justin Lee Collins. I know there are lots of things to be indignant about on Mondays but this took the biscuit, much like the pair of them probably horde biscuits! JLC should be ploughing a field in Somerset not being interviewed on Radio 1 or making 'hilarious' quips on such trailblazing shows as 'Ooops TV' unless he's trying to slip into the roomy space left by Jeremy Beadle. I should have just turned the radio off but it's well out of my reach!
Anyhoo the constructive stuff was that I wanted to reproduce the email this guy David who has put me on this diet sent me yesterday after I sent him one expressing my concerns about it and asking for answers to some nagging questions I had. I like to reproduce these sorts of things here for two reasons: Firstly it's interesting plus it gives me a chance to check the veracity of his claims and give you an example of the level of intelligence/expertise of people who advise me, and bear in mind that he only contacted me through reading this! Secondly, because typing with one finger is so slow, exhausting and frustrating being able to copy and paste something is a huge relief, it's been the same since college but don't tell my tutor!

'Don't be nervous about the diet, it's much more open than most. A packet of crisps every now and again won't kill you. But i'll have to explain about blood sugar level and the importance of maintaining it and how to counter blood sugar spikes after eating something processed or drinking something like wine. This doesn't mean that you can eat processed food every day though! Try and think of it as being good on school nights and relaxing a bit at the weekends. So try and stick with a healthy natural diet on weekdays and if you fancy some wine or a bit of processed food on a saturday night then it wont be the end of the world. Be aware that the more unnatural foods and drinks you take in, the slower progress will be.

In answer to your question about energy levels before the stroke you were in a very different place then. You were active and in a healthy mind state. Your lack of energy now isn't solely caused by the foods you eat or 99% of the people out there would have CFS. You have something called adrenal fatigue. Due to the stoke and the unavoidable stress it puts on your body and mind, your body would have released a lot of stress hormones, mostly cortisol. Once you came out of the coma and realised what had happened you became even more stressed, mentally, which lead to the constant release of cortisol. Now cortisol is your 'fight or flight' and 'wake up' hormone. It gets all your bodies systems up and working, simply put it gives you energy. You released so much Cortisol that your body ran out, so it moved onto the next best hormone - testosterone. You then depleted your stores of that as well. What i aim to do with you is replenish your testosterone stores and the cortisol will follow. The first stage of this is getting you to eat properly. By not eating the right types of foods, or in the right quantities, for your metabolic type you're putting your body under stress. I'll give you 2 simple examples of how you've been putting your body under stress (and therefore trying to release more stress hormones leading to even more fatigue). In your every day routine.

1., You haven't been eating every 2 - 2 and a half hours. What happens then is your body goes into 'starvation' mode. As Homo sapiens were made to graze, to eat regularly, little and often, normally about 7 times a day. If we didn't eat regularly enough our body tries to defend itself, it thinks that you haven't eaten for a while so there must be a food shortage around you. You will then release stress hormones, as a defensive measure, and horde the next meal you have i.e. turn most of it into fat straight away so that energy can be used later in case the 'food shortage' keeps going. This means you won't use most of the nutrients from the food you've eaten to repair the cells in the body that you need.

2. The Insulin roller coaster
When you take in carbohydrates (pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, any fruit or vegetable) your body will immediately turn them into glucose, a sugar. Your body does this as it's easy to either use for instant energy, in case of a fight or flight situation, or to move into storage (turn to fat) for later use. The problem is that our body always wants to maintain homeostasis - a constant internal environment - and it doesn't like anything to deviate from a happy norm. I.e. it doesn't like your temperature to change too much, or acidity levels or, very importantly here, your blood sugar levels. So it has mechanisms to keep everything level. So when you eat your muesli breakfast with your 'non fat' yoghurt you are eating a meal that is densely packed with processed carbohydrates. Soon after you have eaten your breakfast all those carbs will be turned into glucose, this raises your blood sugar level significantly. The alarms go off in the body telling it that your blood sugar level is too high so it releases Insulin, a storage and blood sugar regulator hormone. Insulin is very efficient at its job and takes nearly all your blood sugar and stores it as fat. The problem then is that your blood sugar level drops very low, this is called being hypoglycaemic and sometimes you can even feel it with a 'carb-slump' where you feel tired after eating a carb heavy meal, like a Pizza as we discussed when i saw you. The problem is that your brain uses glucose as its energy source so alarm bells again ring as your brain panics, thinking its going to run out of fuel and die. So your body then releases cortisol, the stress hormone, which has various effects on the body, one of which is to make you crave carbohydrates (read fruit and veg as hunter gatherers and sweets \ processed food as modern day man) in order to bring your blood sugar levels back up. So people then tend to eat some processed carbs and the exact same process occurs again!

Simpfied the process is Carb heavy food -> increase in blood sugar -> Insulin release -> hypoglycemia -> cortisol release

So there are two simple ways in which each day, just through your diet, you're making hormonal imbalances in your body and stopping it repairing itself.

Dom, please feel free to ask as many questions about anything i ask you to do as you like. Whether it be out of interest to learn or more likely scepticism, i dont mind as i think it's very important you understand how your body works in order for us to progress and get rid of your CFS. However, i do want to try everything i say. These wont be massive, awkward life changes, just habitual changes, mostly for those who cook for you, that will make a very big difference in the long run.

I'm in the process of ordering you 2 supplements to help raise your testosterone levels. I'll let you know how it goes. In regards to tomorrow night could you ask Maurisz not to cook for you, i'll bring some stuff over and show him how to proportion your meals correctly. Could you possibly ask your morning carer if she could be around for a bit, i wont necessarily get her to cook anything or watch me cook but i'd like to make sure she's reading off the same page'
This, to me is useful stuff, medical 'experts' don't explain sh*t!

28 Mar 2010

Post 195: Trying yet more things

Morning All, feeling bright and breezy or sh*te and wheezy is actually a repeatable Tuckerism and in my customary manner I'll have to go for the latter because mediocrity is as good as it gets for me. I think I've worked out that the only thing that can prepare you for stroke recovery is your previous life.ieThe more boring your life before, the easier your post stroke life will be which as much as it might sound it, isn't me saying,'be boring just in case'. I think it'd be fair to say before my stroke, I was a gregarious, energetic, sociable, outgoing sort, I reckon this is one of the reasons I find life so f*cking tough now. I'm not designed for being alone, Sure, I like my own space, but on my terms, who doesn't? If I wanted company in the past I'd go out and find it, I'd call people, I'd turn up at places I knew people I'd know would be at, I'd spend time with my closest friends, so if you're used to that it's rather hard to deal with the fact that that's not how it works any more. Let me just apologise in advance to those people I'm seemingly always asking to come over. That is me offering to make the effort in disguise. But maybe I am asking too much. You tell me, but do it nicely, I'm a sensitive soul , I do have a small hunch I might be less fun than I used to be but I hope the feeling that you've probably made my day makes up for it! On top of the horrid physical therapy regime I put myself through I got an email from a Personal trainer/dietician and it was well written and importantly didn't ask for money up front. This guy is convinced (and putting something authoritatively and intelligently whether in writing or in person goes a long way, the minute someone doesn't sound like they know what they're talking about is the minute I stop listening) He thinks I can regain my energy from eating to my dietary type according to American Health guru Paul Chek. Alarm Bells are also ringing in my head and continued to when he produced 'case studies' what the 'alternative medicine community' tries to convince vulnerable, desperate people is incontrovertible evidence that their treatment works. It's better than the evidence for a god but an empiricist like me needs more, but I'm going to listen to anyone who thinks that there might be a way to make me feel less dreadful and bothers to read all of this blog (Brave man), and doesn't try and flog me magic beans which promise the earth but might as well be earth – isn't it an odd coincidence that a lot of these scams seem to originate from our friends in west Africa, what is it about Nigerians!
That's probably too much for some of the bleeding hearts, I'm probably guilty of lazy, ignorant, stereotyping. F*ck off – I'm the one who has been stolen from and I'm no millionaire. Anyway, back to the reputable guy, David Cox is his name, using a book by Paul Chek, I'd sooner be bald than tired, apparently I'm a protein type and I need to eat more proteins and proper full fats none of this reduced fat processed nonsense. The absence of carbs screams Atkins, which apparently this isn't. I'm nervous about this because sadly I don't think national advertising can lie (that badly) although everyone (literally everyone) has told me that one of the most popular and prevalent sweetners in the world (Aspartame) is the root of all evil, maybe I'm being naïve! The other thing I'm wary about with this Diet is that before my stroke, I ate what I wanted and never had a problem with energy, why should a bit of brain damage totally alter the relationship between your diet and your energy levels? No idea what the answer to that is. I'll tell you who else can't answer that question: Medical Science; doctors;consultants; neurologists; brain surgeons; interventional neuro-radiologists (apparently); psychologists; neuro-psychologists; psychiatrists and anyone with a hoighty toighty high falluting title because every bloody time I have ever seen a so-called expert they've been no help. This isn't me advocating put yourself in the hands of 'alternative medicine' because some of them are charlatans, thieves and my personal favourite 'daft hippies' and if someone as much as mentions the 'power of positive thought' I'll run their toes over! The thing that really upsets me is that it has taken over four years and I still feel terrible. If I bought a pint in a pub(sod it several pints) and I didn't feel any different after drinking them, I'd be furious, I'd feel cheated – this is how I've felt everyday since I woke from my coma in those happy days of January 2006!

As usual I've been trying to keep my mind off all this by taking in a gig or two – this week it was the Editors
at Brixton Academy and comedian Sean Lock
in Blackheath. Both ended up being sold out and I almost couldn't go to either because my lift for the Editors fell through and I plain forgot to ask anyone for Sean Lock but even though begging for help chips away at my remaining dignity, my begs received answers, on Thursday my personal trainer, Jose (pictured here with his other half Rebecca, a nutritionist who helped me refine my blunderbus-like supplement intake). He's a good lad, we were talking in the car on the way to Brixton and he told me his best mate is also called Jose and he'd be a rich man if he had a pound for everytime someone had told him the joke 'what do you call 2 Spanish firemen?' Hose-A and Hose-B of course!I met hose-A and Bec through a mutual friend I met on the internet) and at the end of the gig when he said 'I really enjoyed that' it effectively doubled the worth of going. I do hope Sarah, a very pretty stranger who yabbered something to me at the end of the gig about the 'Editors being like Joy division'. Whatever that means, I'd only got tickets because I'd seen them on TV at Glastonbury and thought they looked good, my record of enjoying stuff live, I've seen firston TV is pretty good, Kasabian, the Killers, Lady GaGa -what can I say? I'm an advertisers dream! I hope this girl, Sarah, gets in touch, she did write down my email address, but nothing yet – although she did do that thing that all pretty girls seem to do that reminded me of this:
Isn't the bloke a spectacular pr*ck? It does make me laugh though because girls do do that – they casually slip in the b word thinking it will have no impact but it is metaphorically similar to booting a dog across a road. I have been debating whether to include this because it does make me chuckle in a sort of puerile way and I suppose it's airing dirty laundry in public but I couldn't resist when a friend mailed me about feeling down I replied with this The girl who I went out with for seven years
and broke my heart emailed me out of the blue the other day, I
couldn't resist childishly replying - your husband hasn't turned out
to be gay?
I've not had a reply and I'm not expecting one - Childish, but it made me feel better. I should probably stop doing things like that, But some things are just too hard to recover from. I used the metaphor in this once to describe my progress as 'dragging a dead horse across a plateau'. I hope I start noticing a difference soon! I am bored, badly bored but Sean Lock was good last night and my ribs still hurt . He may not be the slickest comedian, in fact he did say that – but his delivery as 'angry man in the pub' and his tactical (sparing) use of swearing is funny as f*ck (I can't do it) is masterful. His observational stuff is spot on too – like those fans in toilets being nothing to do with Ventilation, they're there to hide the sound of people using the loo. Eg the sounds of people strainingg that sound like someone trying to get a double mattress up a spiral staircase! I must thank Michael Lewis for taking me. Sadly his partner Gaelle couldn't make it because she was holding the fort with her 10 yr old daughter Lucie and my heart goes out to them about the difficulties they've been having with their landlord which looks like forcing them to move from a house they're happy in. Natural Justice just doesn't exist. Anyone who thinks it does is as stupid as Glen Hoddle!

23 Mar 2010

I hope this is not online Hari Kiri

If you're expecting a fun and lighthearted post then might I suggest any other website. With this condition I think I don't really have good days and bad days and reading it back now I sound a bit 'tired and emotional, maybe what I should rename this blog to? but this is definitely not a good day. Filthy cold+Broken wheelchair arm making steering worse than usual+imminent walking session
= difficult day. My interpretation of the world is deeply Freudian (as is my understanding) although thankfully it doesn't involve my mother (I'm not a weirdo), but the happiest times of my life have invariably involved giving/receiving affection from other people and the old cliché about men and one tracked minds might have a grain of truth, but that's a small part of this (seriously) but finding a significant other is my #1 priority. When I was happy it was because I never had to ask for someone to care about me or worry abou scary things like 'who makes the first move' and how? The nicest things people could ever do for you were the things that people didn't have to do: Nursing staff checking you had enough blankets to keep warm at 4am; therapists who noticed when I was upset and talked to me, friends who hadn't seen me for ages turning up to see me unexpectedly, people emailing me to tell me their news, people cancelling things to come and see me, events that I take friends to that they enjoy. Even though I have just had a wonderfully attended birthday, I can't think of the last time I felt good. Notwithstanding the amazing Omelette Mariusz (my housemate/carer) cooked me on Saturday morning. I guess my point is I can't live life through my tastebuds when I can't exercise properly, I risk becoming a fat b*stard again although drinking good red wine is another matter. I want to be in love again. I want to be comfortable with someone. I want to share everything I have with someone. I want to laugh with someone about something no-one else would laugh about. I want to hug someone like it's the only thing in the world that matters. I don't want to feel grim anymore. I'm convinced this can only be achieved by finding the right girl. This'll probably scare people away and being this honest is probably 'online suicide' because I'll be 'damaged goods' or not the kind of 'fun-loving, happy, optimistic' sort that anyone wants. Life is a game of chance where the odds are not good, not an optimistic thing to say, but a realistic one.
Indeed, here is an extract from an email I wrote on one of those bloody dating websites -I have met some really nice people but I still feel as alone as a wild animal in London Zoo. Here's the extract:
To be clear, I'm not looking for a carer, just someone who cares about me who I can fall for,
someone I could have a relationship with and be a best friend too who takes my breath away when I look at her, who might be open to the idea of living here (it's quite grown up greenbelt suburban commutersville, hardly Party central)
I'm sure this sounds f*cking awful but I don't know what else to say. I can't be direct in person because I don't have the confidence in myself anymore, but not being direct doesn't get me a conclusive answer! I feel that I'm losing my remaining dignity and doing that won't help anyone but I'm hoping this will provide some insight into what the biggest issues on my irrelevant plate are, thanks for not surfing away from this self-indulgent sh*te to another webpage that lets you compare the drying speeds of various types of paint!

21 Mar 2010

Post 193: My 33rd Birthday

Right, so my 33rd birthday. It is strange having mixed emotions about seeing all the people you care about most at the same time, in the same place. To be clear before my stroke, there would have been no mixed emotions, just happiness and elation and a dead cert hangover the next day! Now, any hangover is likely to be trivial as I can only manage a few glasses of red wine despite my (and some other's, best efforts). The other emotion that I had and can't shake is terror, more specifically terror of tiredness, exhaustion so acute that I can no longer speak, open my eyes or move my limbs, sadly most pictures of me yesterday, I look asleep in. When a camera is pointed in my direction I try to open my eyes, look awake and think 'blue steel' but its more like 'blue eel'. Don't misunderstand me, I love these events and it makes me feel that people haven't forgotten me and the pre and post self loathing is worth it because I get to see everyone. The organisation is difficult because for a lunch it is always necessary to have a fairly accurate reflection of numbers beforehand because there is money involved and my dad kissed goodbye to paying for parties after my sister got married over ten years ago. So I had made sure everyone coming had £15 a head cash for lunch. Special thanks to my mum for mugging people of that when they came in and my dad for making up the inevitable shortfall. At the very beginning Mum, Dad and I arrived a bit early to an empty pub. The amount of insecurity that has been created by 'fashionable lateness' over the years which is why 'pandering to fashion' is in my 'top 5 things that make me turn the air blue' – eventually, the place filled up with a respectable 45 adults showing up with no-shows (something that also makes the 'air-blue top 5' being thankfully balanced by people I hadn't expected to see. I will not be putting so much store in the facebook invite and RSVP system again. Why let me invite non facebook members via email through the facebook system if it's going to fall apart and not let them RSVP when they follow the link? And I'm the disabled one? This state of affairs was not helped by my assertion that everyone could bring a partner/friend or ally because there's nothing worse than being a random at a party where everyone else knows each other although I am in bewildered awe of my new friend Rachel who gallantly just shows up to these things.. My solution to being a random in the old days was to get disgracefully drunk and (when single:-)) (obviously) flirt shamelessly with any gorgeous girl within sight. I was one of those rare annoying people that liked being a random (particularly when I was single). Anyway those are 'days gone by' – what struck me yesterday(apart from a metaphorical train) was that my 33rd birthday was a glorified Crèche
(I pointed out at my 32nd how 'fiercely my friends had been breeding'(post 114). Now, I've got nothing against children although I do object to young families who's kneejerk response to everything is 'NO'.You might as well be in a wheelchair. With that out of the way, little kids are sweet and the more interactive ones aren't half funny in a 'haha' way. My mum was in her element, she was happier than a pig in sh*t (I probably overuse this phrase but it hits the nail between the eyes:D) .
It has now come to the difficult part of individually saying thanks to people and mentioning people I haven't seen in ages, which is bloody hard. I can't think of anyone I want to thank more than anyone else except perhaps my parents, who help me put on these things and having been here so constantly that they know everyone almost as well as me. Sadly seeing as dad had the camera there's not a picture of him and mum holding court about some fantastically anachronistic subject (probably), secondly, it'll have to be my cousins who have been great and are great -my uncles Ian and Alistair
have been really supportive and often pop by to see me, Ian's kids (who are similar ages to me are great. Nicky, the eldest has (some 6 months ago had her first daughter (the gorgeous Ava) and her grandfather (Ian) literally reverts into a small child around her! (f*ck it's funny),
3rd is my mate Chris Dugdale (the magician) and his charming wife Alexis. He is awesome – he's the type of mate everyone says 'where did you meet him'. Obviously I'd like to say 'well,he was sitting next to me in 1st class on the way back from Monte Carlo, we got chatting, and we've been friends ever since' but I couldn't convincingly pull that off. He is quite simply the brother of one of my best mates from Uni. Will and his lovely fiancée Liga sadly couldn't be there yesterday. Being a magician is Chris' job and he does this for free out of the kindness of his heart because he's a mate. I feel slightly better because when he did this at my 32nd last year he ended up getting a bona fide booking to do some of his amazing magic and mindreading at her big birthday bash in December. Caroline was there yesterday to sample the goods. She is also the mother of my longest running friend Dom 'Iceman' Icely, so Caroline and her husband John had also come to see their cute bruiser of a grandson Freddie.
As I often say, I'm pleased at the way these events bring together different groups. I think I could probably be accused of being a bit of a posh boy but I've been so lucky to meet and stay friends with so many different groups. I've probably mentioned some misspent time in my 20s DJing having far too much fun and although my core mates are the ones I met at Uni, the ones I met through DJing are pretty awesome,e.g Gaelle and Mike,
Gary and Jo and their more recent addition Sophia, and I couldn't believe the sudden arrival of Paul 'filthmonger' Reeves and his lovely wife Iwona and I could scarcely believe my eyes, oh my god Reeves has been breeding and has aseveral week old son Alec, when I first met Paul(10ish yrs ago) he was a squaddie and DJ of the sort of hard house and Techno that made children cry but he has always had a heart of gold, e.g. him and Iwona have very sweetly got me a special 'for the disabled' tandem paraglide, sadly and they don't know this – I am a stone and a half heavier than the maximum weight.
I wouldn't dare forget Simon and Mernie.
Simon is one of my best mates from those days and looks out for me despite us viciously insulting each other whenever we see each other, I think he might have called me a f***nut yesterday, I think I retaliated with something unrepeatable even with**s. Mernie is a funny one. I was actually at Uni with her in a different college so we only met in London and completing that disgraceful Clique(that most un-cliquey of cliques )were the Buhmans, Markus and Judy. I didn't know Judy back then but Markus and I used to have the odd mix, when DJ's got together donned their anoraks and talked untold bull about music usually followed by the words 'listen to this bit', moving groups again, I was struck dumb (a familiar problem) by the appearance of my former colleague and fellow joker (usually when we shouldn't have been) Dave Brittain (sadly no picture) and his partner Stephen brandishing their wedding invite. I cannot think of a more fabulous occasion. It will certainly open my rather traditional parents eyes. Staying in the John Lewis lot was the arrival of great Mate Simon Dawes and his terrific wife Yvonne (No picture DAD!)sadly without their hilarious kids, Joseph and Isabel which obviously doesn't mean cancel the babysitter in future! Finally the one bit of good news to come out of the BA strike was that my best pal Tony (far right) could make it. 'workers of the world Unite'. I've forgotten people again, my two partners in crime Guy and Alex
who I used to get up to mischief with, god we used to laugh, my how guy (pictured here with his Eldest sonXavier) hasn't changed, I was lamenting yesterday on facebook how 33 was such an insignificant age – this is what he wrote: 'On the contrary. If you take any two non-symmetrical 3-digit numbers, i.e. 567 or 149. Subtract the smaller number from the larger one. Then take the answer and add it to the same number in reverse order. Finally, square root it. Answer = 33. Coincidence? I think not.

It is also the temperature on the Newton scale where water boils. And that chap knew his apples, having been assaulted by one. '
I can just see the grin on his face as he wrote it. Newton 'knowing his apples' lol...Mentioning facebook, I am utterly humbled by those who posted messages on my wall, and those who sent me emails and cards (particularly the pretty one which looked hand drawn ). I was touched.
Actually while I'm here I think this is the best place to mention a couple of Uni mates I've recently been in touch with via e-mail, firstly, Andy Kocen (with the beard) a remarkable chap who is running the marathon des sables' a run that 99.99999999% of us wouldn't even cintemplate 'running, sand and Sahara desert just doesn't compute and the rather stunning lady pictured (2nd from right in the black top Miss Julia Makra) here on the last holiday I went on in 2004 (she is married and in Hong Kong now. During the course of that email conversation she told me how she'd married a guy called Dom who was in the year below at school, wow, small world. I know that's not too 'Outer Limits'
but it doesn't take much to make me look up and take notice, Keeping my attention is more the challenge. Finally (really), I wanted to say a heartfelt thanks to Steve Hitch who wasn't able to make Saturday so he came and cooked me lunch on Friday and I hadn't known he was a fully qualified chef. After my seared tuna steak with homemade red onion marmalade on a bed of Lemon cous cous,I believe my exact words were 'Steve, this is some Gourmet sh*t'' Steve and I used to DJ together – I guess the moral of this story is get to know as many different people while you still can, you never know when they could surprise you with some gourmet sh*t. Right, I think I've earned the right to sleep for a week. This has been the most tiring post ever!

16 Mar 2010

Post 192: Highlighting some useful stuff

I think any report of my 33rd Birthday(that hasn't happened yet and is happening on Saturday) will have to wait, I will write it as soon as I can, but there are a couple of other things that have captured my imagination and attention this week.
Firstly, I have been slightly inspired by watching 'Eddie Iz running' which everyone should watch, It's on the BBC iplayer. It is probably the most amazing thing I have ever seen and the most amazing example of mental strength I have ever seen and has made me realise what it is possible to do with 'Mind over Matter'. His plan was to run 43 marathons in 57 days around the British Isles for charity. When I first heard about this last year, I assumed he was a seasoned runner and I hardly understood what I was cheering about when I went to his stand-up show at the Dome in December (Post 170) and mentioned that he'd been on 'a little run'. He is about as much of a runner as I am and I used to hate running!The bit where he says 'of course I've run before...','...mainly for buses' is the bit where it hit me 'this guy is crazy', there's then a bit later when he says 'my body certainly doesn't want to but my mind is determined 'incredible' Most people would probably be looking for an excuse to get out of it but everytime he talks to the camera he gives himself less and less chance to do this, I've just struggled to walk the 200 yards up and down my garden three times. This is sweet FA compared to Eddies effort but somehow I can make it feel like three up-hill marathons. I wish I had that sort of mental strength but sadly I don't. It also looks like my plan to walk with a crutch into my birthday on Saturday is in Jeopardy because my physio (Ian) has to work and he's the only person I have the confidence in to help me walk – there is no contingency plan, and illustrates to me the lack of control I have in my life. It's pathetic.

The 2nd thing I want to commend to people is the program the BBC are running about John Lewis
(also on the BBC iplayer. It is fascinating, not least because I've spotted a lot of my former colleagues on it. John Lewis have basically saved me from living the rest of my life in Poverty. I was only there for 17 months but they pay me a disability pension that keeps me in food and fuel. What comes across loud and clear from the program is that the company exists for the benefit of the people who work for it and the only way to ensure it's longevity is to be as competitive as they can while keeping their customers happy - 'delighted' was the word on the internal literature and keep them coming back. Like every other big retailer, the credit crunch has been a nightmare but John Lewis have survived. They will never be the most exciting shop in the village but that is far from the aim. I am the last person in the world likely to suck up to an employer but without my 17 months and the friends I made there I'd be a fraction of who I am today, some of the ways in which they work may appear mad, but there is method to this madness! Speaking of which, I have no grandiose ending in mind so this recent picture of my crazy cat will have to do – we still have no idea of what possessed her to jump up there in the first place.

7 Mar 2010

Post 190: A forbidden planet that shouldn't have been returned too

I am feeling ever so slightly hungover today
after (over) indulging in the drinking of some quality red wine last night with my mate Rachel (right). She is a star. Firstly taking me to a dodgy local production of a musical I had first seen 20 years ago called 'Return to the forbidden Planet'.
When I first saw it I was blown away. It is basically an adaptation of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' set on a spaceship with 60s and 70s Rock and Roll songs and highly choreographed dance routines. Professionally done with west end production values it is amazing, in Dorking Halls it was unfortunately as unfortunate as Pantomime. 20 years on I still remember that most of the cast could play multiple instruments and the cook, imaginatively called Cookie playing the guitar with his teeth. This time we could barely hear the guitar and the beautiful dancers I remembered had the kind of short sparkly dresses that should just not be worn with thighs that thick. This may sound cruel but both Rachel and I were traumatised. Despite this we both decided that at least we'd managed to venture out on what was a chilly pre-spring afternoon to see something a bit out of the ordinary, I also learnt that the biggest Vineyard in Europe is in fact in Surrey, a piece of trivia that I'd guarantee not a lot of people know! Big thanks to Rachel for enduring this amateur production , my company and keeping my wine glass well charged. I am slightly in awe today because after taking a cab home last night she ran the 4 miles here to pick up her car this morning! Wow!
Aside from Rachels heroics, I have been trying to institute one or two changes to try and make life better. At last I have seen a nutritionist to try and streamline my supplement intake and analyse my diet to try and get to the bottom of why I feel so exhausted and awful all the time. My supplement intake before was organised blunderbus like and was based on anyone saying 'have you tried such and such?' - consequently I was taking a million random supplements. I have also taken on a new personal trainer twice a week alongside my thrice weekly walking torture sessions. All in all this should be a more cost effective regime plus a change of personnel is important to make me feel I'm progressing. I already think that Ian has a tough enough job putting me through hell, so spreading the pain has got to help.



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