8 Jan 2012

Post 324: January, few obvious redeeming features

For once, I've taken the advice of someone who has read this before I published it and re-written large swathes of it because even by my standards it was a little depressing but that's January for you and how much I care about her opinion. Usually once I've written something that's it, given how much time and energy writing takes I sometimes think I might as well be chiselling this into a stone slab.
Imagine making a spelling mistake back in those times, it's positively Monty Python-esque!
It's quite sad how apathy seems to have taken over 2012 so far. That's a general observation, it thankfully doesn't apply to the kind people who have been to see me. Firstly (and most surprising were Jackie and Selwyn
(who I thought were saving themselves from the English January in the relative warmth of the Portuguese house they've retired too. It was rather a nice surprise to get the phonecall 'are you in? Well we'll be round in 15 minutes''What, aren't you in Portugal?' -Resistance is Futile, my college mate James (on the left here)
also popped in yesterday for tea, a man who's just written a textbook,
and most important of all the fair Mel
who took me for dinner last night despite me booking a table at the wrong Plough. The evening was saved by going to my old favourite The Bear, in fact I feel silly having even thought of going elsewhere. The bear was lovely whereas the plough had been full of people you could only describe as tw*ts (you know the type in a restaurant that laugh a bit too loudly at everything). Despite this I think it's fair to say I don't feel brilliant about the future, I'm sorry, it's the truth but I figure anyone deigning to read this is grown up enough to understand that a previously happy bloke might be a little bit upset about basically losing everything. There are two schools of thought about the people you meet online. First, that they're bound to be unconfident, depressive types because they're not happy or confident enough to meet people in the normal way, the second is that in the modern world people don't have time to do anything other than meet on facebook or in the chatrooms of websites that represent their interests. Before my stroke it was mainly the latter and I was in no way depressed. Since my stroke it's been the former, I guess my observation here and probably my opinion that it's a bit of both ie that we as a species feel we have less and less time and we're meeting less and less genuinely happy people. I've got no evidence to back this up but I applaud the happiness and positivity of the new people I have met. And this ties back, the happiest people I have met are the busy ones so get busy living, this actually goes a long way to explaining my mum's happiness and general positive demeanour– she's always busy and any downtime is spent complaining about how busy she is, even though it doesn't sound like it, this is some sort of happiness virtuous circle, so, from now on when she's stressed I'm going to give her more to do – it's the kindest thing! Also- another Stroke Surviving Blogger (SSB) who I only know through his blog and facebook but he sounds OK, Matt Padmore once said 'It's nice to feel useful again' I know this is only one datapoint but it makes sense to me. He's not god or anything!
I mention Matt because he's written a book
about life since his Stroke which impresses me a lot. The lovely Mel has bought a copy and is going to read it to me. So, in conclusion, staying busy is the key to happiness but on your own terms. Ie sometimes the busiest you want to be is to lie on a beach and woe betide any f*cker who asks you to do anything so I guess the point I'm attempting to make is we're as happy as how busy we make ourselves so my example about asking my mum to do something doesn't stand – be funny to do though. Anyway, January. The paltry, pisspoor evidence doesn't exactly suggest I'm getting any better and even if there was a way of getting better I couldn't afford it. The trust, which was set up to give me a way of affording therapy so I could maintain some quality of life and hopefully get better, is basically out of money which is such a tragedy because with it goes any hope I have of maintaining any independence or recovery and it's f*cking January, surely the worst month of the year? I paradoxically used to enjoy it though. It's an irritating cliché to talk about turning over a new leaf. Oh, I was that irritating cliché, much as I am now an irritating cliché of a whingeing disabled person – Why? Well, I used to give up booze in January and so staggered was I by the effects, boy did I tell everyone, and boy, must they have thought that I was some sort of alcoholic! Seriously, I even remember talking about it in a job interview, to the extent that one of my friends even told me it was not a good place to mention it. The effects were as I say marked though. I'd find myself waking up on a January Sunday morning at 9am full of energy and not know what to do with myself! I'd find myself emptying out food cupboards, throwing out ludicrously out of date things and running a cloth over the shelf, for a bloke in his 20s who lived on his own, this was weird. At work the effects were marked too. Now, I'm not a slow guy (well, not that slow) but if I was asked a tricky question, the thinking process and the associated chat and patter was on the tip of my tongue; mental arithmetic was fast and largely correct, bullsh*t
was low, well lower than usual. I'm suddenly fearful that I'm making myself sound borderline incompetent, I wasn't. Honest guv'nor – I was just leveraging (a very 00s word) my experience as an analyst in both stockbroking and consulting (both of which I have no doubt will be grouped within 'the bullsh*ting sector' or 'hot air sector' up there with 'consumer cyclicals') , , mark my words, it should be a FTSE sector, kept buoyant by all the hot air, paradigms and synergies it produces, but seriously, it's still January and the hits just keep on coming – the most acute is that my carers are going back to Bangladesh because they need to quite rightly get on with their lives. Seen totally rationally and dispassionately it makes perfect sense for them. From my point of view it feels a bit like starting again and it's hard to not think that's how thing's will go forever. I challenge you not to be a little depressed at the thought. A non-tired me might think 'yay, new people' but the knackered, pathetic me is the one who sadly writes this. I hate that bloke, I am ashamed of myself for so much as thinking a thought that makes you think I'm a dick, well I wasn't being one in my old life (much), but I'm being one now. I felt pretty rubbish going for an MRI scan on Tuesday. I hate these things,
it's like being buried alive in a nuclear bomb. Since re-engaging with a neurologist I'm having a scan twice a year to keep an eye on the thing that caused my stroke in the first place (the AVM
in my brainstem which threatens to kill me (or worse) if it bleeds again). A scan a while ago revealed it was still there. so tick tock it's always nice to be told you've got something life threatening but there's nothing they can do about it. I'm not even sure what the point of 'keeping an eye on it is other than the misery of having to be scanned twice a year at vast expense which thankfully gets covered by my medical insurance. A legacy from John Lewis who I can't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have worked for. I hope I get used as a case-study for why people should work there, at least something good would come of all this. Well actually my friend Vicky Denning (near the end of this post )decided to accept their job offer (among a few) because of the way they had treated me. She is now director of head-office HR. Now a post this down at heel can only be because it's January. One thing that has made me laugh has been finally getting the photo's from Christmas. I can add another Christmas cliché; my comedy uncle passing out after lunch :

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