Good luck, Lesley - and please keep us posted!|
Reply #161. Dec 11 09, 10:40 AM
|______________ ~~~ doctor ~~~ ______________|
Thanks, everyone - it was a more useful appointment than I'd expected.
I told him I'd managed to do less and less since my breathing went haywire in April; my social life had disappeared but I was keeping myself fed and clothed, and keeping up with medical appointments.
But I hit rock bottom last week when I didn't have the energy to get to a Bedford concert on Thursday evening, or a flu jab appointment on Friday morning, and spent Friday thinking dark thoughts like "What's the point of taking pills that are meant to prolong life when I haven't got a life?"
On Friday evening, I curled up with Google and all my Patient Information Leaflets, spotted things like interrupted sleep, swollen joints, painful joints and wheezing, and reached the conclusion that two of them were making me ill - and had stopped taking them both. I'd never been particularly happy about this type of statin, but what I was reading sounded frightening - one sixth of the cost of the "good" statin, and three times the death rate. A risk of wheezing appeared on the Omeprazole leaflet.
He said, if you suspect a medicine of making you ill, we usually say come off it for a fortnight and see how you feel. If you don't feel any different, it's probably something else. Have you noticed any changes?
"Well yes, my hip joints were beginning to hurt when I walked and they don't now."
You do realise that you can't tell much if you come off two things at once?
"I appreciate that it isn't very clever, but I just got to the stage where I thought AAAAAARRRRGHHH!" (He smiled!)
Because of my history, I have to keep taking the omeprazole. Complete suppression of acid is the only way to go, he said, and it's quite a pure drug, with a low incidence of adverse reactions.
I also need to be on a statin. I asked him what he thought of research I'd read about, saying that statins only help men who've had a heart attack, and are a waste of time for everyone else. He said they're absolutely vital if you have diabetes, which is a risk factor equivalent to having had a heart attack. That the one I'm taking isn't as bad as people are saying, the increased death rate is a bit of an exaggeration, and the "good one" isn't as much better as people are making out. It will be coming off patent next year, and that'll make it cheap and therefore easier to prescribe. He also said he will be able to put me on the other one if I'm sure the current one is the source of any problems. Give it a week and see what happens.
We talked about some of the specialist tests I had recently. The Cardiologist now wants me to have a yearly echo. That's OK - I quite like the idea of having yearly check-ups again.
______________ ~~~ Saturday concert ~~~ ______________
New plan. I come out early enough on Saturday to do the journey to where the concert is, without fretting about the time.
Afterwards we get a taxi to his flat (his idea, my money! but still less than it would cost me to spread the journey over two days, and nothing compared to the cost of a hotel for the night); see the flat, greet his flatmates; have a cup of tea - or else! and then he will drive me to St Pancras.
Other towns and cities have bicycles dotted about, which people can borrow, free, and just put them back when they've finished. I seem to remember reading that it was tried in London but all the bikes were nicked. But he's discovered a network of cars which can be hired for £4 an hour, and he's booked the blue Mini from near his flat, for an hour, which will be plenty of time to take me to St Pancras for the train home, and get back to replace it.
One good thing is that he seems to be a lot more relaxed about the date. He can remember it without getting fraught.
It had better be a good concert after all this!
Reply #162. Dec 11 09, 5:38 PM
Now I know why the boards have suddenly gone quiet ;)|
Hope it was a good one, and the trains aren't suspended for the weekend as usual.
Reply #163. Dec 13 09, 2:38 PM
Lesley i hope all things start to go well for you, Hope the concert was good and that you have had no adverse reaction to the trip.|
Reply #164. Dec 13 09, 2:47 PM
|David, I can't think what you mean! :p Thank you all, it was a good trip and well worth making. |
___________________ ~~~ getting there ~~~ ___________________
I've always gone by train to St Pancras, and tube to college, where most of his concerts are. The train journey is about fifty miles and a fast train can cover it in about 40 minutes.
The five-mile tube journey takes at least 40 minutes too; less than 20 minutes on the tube and the rest of it is just moving between pavement and platforms of one of the busiest stations (the busiest?) in the system - much of it struggling through crowds, of workers some of the time, and shoppers and tourists all of the time, and waiting for trains and knowing which end the empty seats are going to be, and then a lot of walking and steps up and more walking at the other end - and that's the bit of the journey which knocks me out.
So I thought I'd try going by bus. The number 10 goes from outside Kings Cross straight to the Royal Albert Hall. Perfect. Same walk at the train end but none at the college end, and no escalators, no idiots with trolley cases running over my toes, no subways and steps. I have seen the future. :)
___________________ ~~~ the concert ~~~ ___________________
Jonathan did three orchestra concerts a year in the county youth music system, and two chamber music recitals a year. Here he is with two people from his string quartet in February 2004:
and February 2005:
On the left is a viola player with a degree in Theatre Management from the Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance. On the right is a cello player with a music degree from Oxford. They brought along two friends to make up a quintet which played pieces by Glazunov and Schubert.
The orchestra played string orchestra staples by Britten (Simple Symphony) and Elgar (Introduction and Allegro for Strings), and a flautist popped in to play a short and sweet piece by Fauré (Morceau de Concours = competition piece). Add a new and very talented conductor and it added up to a magical evening.
There may be a recording but we won't know for a while if there is or if we can have one.
___________________ ~~~ getting home ~~~ ___________________
The plan was that we get a black cab from the concert to Jonathan's flat, which is near the Post Office Tower, because I still hadn't seen it and he's been there since July! and then he would get a "Connect" car and take me to St Pancras. He booked a Mini for an hour. Luxury.
The performers were going off for food and drink, but we got the black cab, Jonathan and me and his new girlfriend, with their own violins, and a couple of cellos because people were going to crash at his flat but wanted to go with the other musicians, preferably unencumbered. I remember being that sort of age - if you had a flat of your own, you rarely spent a night without at least one visiting body asleep on the floor.
The flat is lovely and civilised. He made us a cup of tea, I had a guided tour and an opportunity to chat to his girlfriend a bit, then he drove the little blue Mini to St Pancras. Train came quickly although it went slowly, and it was comfy and quiet, no drunks screaming and fighting and vomiting either, and car waiting for me in the station car park. Lovely.
There you are - much too much information! but a good evening, and I am now much more confident about starting to go again regularly, as I used to.
Reply #165. Dec 13 09, 4:54 PM
Oh Lesley - that all sounds so lovely!
I always enjoy hearing about you and Jonathon so you can never have too much information! :)
Seems like a very satisfactory end to a 'whatever' year.
Reply #166. Dec 13 09, 5:09 PM
|Oh thank you, what a nice thing to say! It's a reassuring and encouraging end to a 'whatever' year. I hope I can find out where my energy's gone, so I can go and get it back, and I am very much looking forward to getting out more - a lot more! :) |
Reply #167. Dec 13 09, 5:28 PM
Well the confidence is a big thing - you know you Can go out without feeling anything nasty! :)
Once you start to catch up on your snoozes, all the energy will just come oozing back! You probably won't know yourself! ;)
Reply #168. Dec 13 09, 5:40 PM
Great news! I was sure Jonathan would make your trip comfortable, and enjoyable.|
Waiting patiently for a pic of the 'kids' together...:)
Reply #169. Dec 13 09, 5:42 PM
|Confidence makes a world of difference, and so does sleep. One's back and I live in hope that the other one will return before too long. |
Yes, he did what he had time to do and could manage and afford, to make it easier for me. This is always an important orchestra for me to see because he leads it. He was very keen for me to get to see this particular concert too, because he had put an enormous amount of work and organisation into getting the quintet together and had rather stuck his neck out to do it; and it was the first time this orchestra has had a smaller group made up of people from outside college, as well as the first concert of the year with one of the best conductors they've ever had. So quite a big thing for him, and I'm so glad I didn't miss it.
I spoke to the conductor afterwards, told him I'd found him inspiring, and asked what was the secret of his success. No secret - he just tries to create an atmosphere in which all the musicians can relax and enjoy what they're doing.
As simple as that?
As simple as that!
Reply #170. Dec 13 09, 6:47 PM
Sounds like you had a marvelous time...I am so happy for you and I hope that you continue to gain energy and well-being!|
Reply #171. Dec 14 09, 7:14 AM
People in London still insist on asking me why I won't use our public transport system. I think you summed it up. Besides buses which are an endangered species on the clear roads beyond the M25, our tube is basically a possible reason why hell does not wait for us to die but to buy a ticket. Underground trains per se are not bad things at all. Besides the fares, which being the highest in the world, simply add insult to injury, in Paris if you miss a train another arrives before you stop swearing. All day every day. In Brussels the metro has stops every few hundred yards, brakes on a sixpence but seemed to work the one time I used it. It can be decent and ours is the opposite.|
The journeys I make almost daily always make me wonder what I'd do by public transport, and the answer that comes every time is 'get a minicab'. Most simply can't be done.
Reply #172. Dec 16 09, 6:52 PM
OK, who knows a) what a caret is and if so b) what character code is it?|
caret 'most expensive public transport in London (not Paris, that's almost free). I used to be able to fix my mistakes here once.
Reply #173. Dec 16 09, 6:54 PM
A caret is the ^ symbol. You don't really need ASCII if you have a British keyboard, it's above the 6. :)|
Reply #174. Dec 16 09, 7:35 PM
|Isn't it one of these? ^ - a capital 6! |
The tube's fine if you don't mind walking almost as far as the bit you do on the tube trains, and if you're physically capable of doing the walking and climbing the stairs which are everywhere. There was a (mercifully) very brief period when I had to change from the Northern Line to the Piccadilly Line at Leicester Square. If I lit a cigarette as I stepped off the Northern train. I'd finish it as I stepped on the Piccadilly one. That's got to be the best part of ten minutes - all inside one station!
When I worked near Green Park, I moved to Hampstead, with my cousin who told me which buses to take. (She worked in Central London too, but not near me.) They were all Routemasters then, with an open back you could hop on and off, and a conductor who roamed the bus, making sure everyone had paid.
And then London Transport decided to put doors on the buses, and to make the driver do the conductor's job too, which made every journey take twice as long, because the bus couldn't move off till everyone getting on had paid or shown a ticket. Collecting fares is easy enough in suburbia but not in central London, where some of the commuters and most of the tourists don't know what the fare is, don't know that for some routes the driver doesn't issue tickets so you need to get yours from the machine next to the bus stop, and do you need the right change? and does the machine give change? Who knows! Still, it slows the buses down to the central London general speed of 5mph...
But I digress. My journey from Hampstead started with a two minute walk to the bus stop at the end of the road, where I would get on a 24 bus. I would hop off somewhere round Covent Garden/Leicester Square, and get on any one of about four buses which passed the end of the street I worked in. It always stopped at the traffic lights, so I'd hop off and walk the last thirty seconds to work.
The first time I did that journey, I was a bit late, and said I needed to start off a bit earlier. My colleagues completely missed the point. Some of them travelled long distances on tube trains, and some of them on railway trains. None of them regarded buses as "serious" transport, worthy of respect. I blamed me but they all blamed the bus system, and went on at me to go the grown-up way, by tube. I got so fed up with their bleating that I did, once, just to shut them up.
So I start with a fifteen-minute walk to Belsize Park, which is the nearest tube station, and also almost the deepest in the whole system. It's on the Northern Line, which is OK now but was then acknowledged as the slowest and dirtiest line of all. Wait up to ten minutes for a lift to go down to the platform. Wait up to ten minutes for a train. Get on the train for four stops (8 minutes). Walk forever to change, and get on a Victoria Line train for three stops (6 minutes). Emerge at Green Park - two or three flights up on the escalator - and walk for seven or eight minutes to work.
When I got in, horribly late and slightly irritable, and told them that the tube journey had taken a little more than twice as long as the bus journey, and probably cost at least twice as much too now I come to think of it, they $hut up and left me alone. It was never mentioned again. Shame I had to go through all that just to prove a point to my blinkered, parochial colleagues.
Reply #175. Dec 16 09, 8:01 PM
When in London in August i bought a period ticket for £20 which gave me unlimited travel both on the bus or tube, so was a god send to some extent just flashed your card at a reader.|
I really do not like the rudeness of some of the people on the tube pushing and shoving all the time, Did a naughty on one journey caught some guy who was pushing me right between his family jewels, he did apologise for pushing me after that
Reply #176. Dec 18 09, 11:35 AM
|Well done! |
And it's off the tube too - everyone in central London is always in a tearing hurry. I'm sure if you asked them why, half of them would have to stop and think.
Years ago, I was crossing St James's Street, where most of the traffic is London black cabs (long before the blessed Ken introduced the London car tax sorry congestion charge), and most of them will run over your toes rather than stop for people on the zebra crossing. I handbagged one when it didn't stop. It still didn't stop, and the friend I was crossing with disowned me. [blush] Should have done it harder.
On one occasion I was crossing at the same zebra, when a young suit-and-briefcase ran diagonally across my toes, went flying, and ended up in Full Sprawl on the ground. Unfortunately I had stuck my foot out just as he was in front of me. He picked himself up and turned round and apologised. We like it when that happens.
Reply #177. Dec 18 09, 12:28 PM
So that's what all those odd symbols do! I thought the ^ was a mathematical symbol with a caret having longer legs, but it would be recognised if I needed it, although with editing you'll never need a caret as you just add the word and save again. But of course the one definitely pointless character on every keyboard is this one _|
If any new user to a computer tries, guess what, you can only write one character per space. To underline you have to highlight and ctrl U. But for some odd reason not only did they include the _ but people decided to find uses for it, and for example one chatroom I use puts it in for you if your username has more than one word. And why I wonder?
While I'm on a theme, have we got any other food-related symbols? I'd vote for a sausage, a raspberry and a stick of rhubarb to start with. And how on earth can people get little hearts and smileys from their keyboards (some have been posted here)? It's not on my character map.
Reply #178. Dec 18 09, 10:30 PM
Alt + 1 = ☺|
Alt + 3 = ♥
Reply #179. Dec 18 09, 10:46 PM
☺ ☻ ♥ ♦ ♣ ♠ • ◘ ○ Alt. 1 through 9...|
How exciting! I had no idea those little guys were hiding behind the Alt! Thank you! ☺
Reply #180. Dec 19 09, 7:24 PM
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