Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I am okay. I am in some pain. I am back home. I shouldn't be sitting here at the computer. So I am off back to bed. Thanks for all your well wishes...
Would it too yucky to post up a photo of me post op?
Thinking of you who are thinking of me, and wishing we could have a drink together and a chat....
Now back to recovery.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ode to an Op

Sometimes when I write here, I avoid the deeply personal. I don't want people to get hurt and too many people who know both of us in my couple read this blog so it's not really fair. However this time I can go deeper because it is just about me. Yes I am going to roll like a hippo in the mud in my own feelings and splay them like a prostitutes' legs over the page for you to read.

My sugical procedure is standard. 
Lots of people get it done. 
I will feel better after it. 

This is the three line mantra that suburban buddists have been repeating at me for the last 48 hours.
This Haku of Health is supposed to make me feel good and positive and have me practically bounding into the hospital as if I was on a can of rubber red bull with a good dose of speed, and completely relaxed and content to undergo the operation that will change my poor sad sorry life............STOP RIGHT THERE BUDDY.

They are going to put me to sleep
They are going to slit my throat open. 
Pull the opening apart reach in a take out a disc that stops two vertebrae rubbing together that is incidently around my spinal cord. 
They are then somehow going to put in a fake one. 
Stitch me up
wake me up 
Send me home.

That probably doesn't pass for a sonnet but lets call it an Ode to an Op.

I happen to enjoy life at the moment and this is becomming a slight inconvienience. The other inconvienience is they took away the spell checker on this thing and I am too impatient to read through it properly. (Besides I am not getting paid for doing this, hence the sloppy work).

The surgeon told me not to stress out. I told him what was stressing me out was the fact I was getting stressed. I have grown up around hospitals, I have watched people pass away. I have laid out dead bodies.
However I don't like other peoples fingers in my body. No not even my lover gets to put fingers where some men really appreciate it.

I just don't like foreign bodies in me. ( I am not being racist here). I have seen E.R. worse still I have seen Dr. Greg House. I preferred Hugh Lawrie when he was a comedy duo with that other brilliant routound actor who played Wilde in the film of the same name. [House has got so formulaic, as to be completely predictable, except for the brain anurism that is caused during a routine chest X Ray because the patient forgot to tell one House's minions he took honey with his coffee and not sugar in his tea. Some deadly nightshade flower had been visited by a bee who made the honey, hence the complication. ]

Anyway my surgeon is nothing like him. I am a little anxious because it's all in French. My flow doesn't flow. I am not quick enough with the questions. I am thinking too much. I mean today I asked what I should bring with me. When I reflected I thought it was probably self evident. 

I didn't sign the paper they gave me before the visit to the anestheseologist. The paper said everything had been explained and I had asked all the questions necessary. So I didn't sign it. Then he didn't actually explain anything either just ask me a lot of questions. So it stayed unsigned. They didn't notice.

I am nervous. I am mostly nervous about the cutting, the bleeding the stitching. So let it be known in case I don't stop bleeding till all 8 pints have run out of me, or I never wake up,  or my honey intake causes some unforseen complication; let it be known that all my worldly possessions go to my two children and until they are 18 to my Lover who for privacy purposes will remain namless here. But if you find me on face book you will find her.
I am a little nervous about the putting me to sleep.
I am slightly anxious about visitors if anyone will come or not.
I am pissed that I won't get to see my son before during or after.
I am a tad nervous I wont wake up. Just somewhere at the back of my mind, there is just a little itch that this could be it.  It isn't it, but it's a possibility, a slighter bigger or slightly more recognisable one than crossing a busy street .........but nonetheless a risk.

No I don't know I will be fine, there is no one reassuring me on a professional basis and I can't tell the future.
So once more as I apt to do here,  like an English King with a hard on for the battle, I throw myself into the breach.. For mine own glory. I will have a scar I suppose that I can tell tall tales about when I recover.
But just on the off chance I don't get the chance to say goodbye and that I love you. Well you know I do. I wouldn't be me if I didn't. I will be less of a man. less of this man when I come out but I will also have a little extra. Perhaps that is something to look forward to. Being a little bit more special than I am already.
Wish me well.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Proof that excercise works...

So this is the difference that 100 days makes, or a summer. At the start of June I started a work out. I started because I needed to build strength so I wouldn't get hurt like I did last year, and end up totally incapacitated for a few weeks, and not be able to do any sports for a few months.... This is the result of my efforts.


Please note there is no trick photography. I am more tanned, I have lost 6kg in rougly 110 days. I cut down on the alcohol, I cut out white bread totally, I cut out startchy foods, like pototoes and pasta in the evening, I drank more water, and ate more fruit.  I still have some way to go. One thing is sure, the discomfort I am in now before surgery I am facing next Friday, would have been a lot more intense if I hadn't built up my core muscles. It's not so easy to move my head, so I can get up and out of bed by pulling on my stomach muscles. Once I am fixed and back running I will post another photo after my next 50 day session. I know I am not Addonis, ( or Addidas hihi) but I like that I am getting fit. It helps the mind too.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I wasn't expecting that

One of the great things about life is the unexpected stuff that crops up. A body can find themselves tootling along thinking they are happy and their buddy next door is looking in thinking you look sad. Projection has a lot to do with everything. However, positive thinking has too.
About a month ago, I strained my neck watching TV. Yeah life can hard.(I am joking). I didn't pay much attention to the neck strain, had it before, read the book saw the movie, hell I have even eaten the stew. Oh no wait, that was rabbits right. Anyway I thought I would work it off pretty easily. I continued doing my 30 minute work out on the floor every day, plus 50 push ups and started doing pull ups. The pain wasn't going anywhere. I continued swimming, it helped a little, but the pain when I would wake in the mornings was getting a bit much. Long story short, last Tuesday , I forced an appointment with Doc. We did the tests, yesterday. I went upstairs to ask for more painkillers as I was running out of paracetemol. The hospital is really well set up and the doc likes me, so he pulled me in, without an appointment in front of everyone. He called up the results of the MRI on his PC, ( don't you love technology) and then said, 'ah I think that needs surgery' I backed off saying cortisone and rest might do it, but he wasn't convinced. Then he sent me to the guy next door who stuck needels into me and gave me electric shocks. I thought of Gobles, and Pavlov, and I thought of smacking him one, but the pain inside was greater than that outside. Plus I knew he was trying to help. He walked out of the room and there was a discusion outside. I was then sent to a Neurosurgeon. This guy was my age. He had that sort of big boned body that comes from a wealthy background. As if he inherited good health through his ancestors access to the best food. His clothes were pretty sharp too. My inverted snobbery got the better of me.
He looked, and said OH it's a beauty. Actually he said OOH il est Beau!. An Italian speaking French to an Irishman in Monaco is always a challenge for both parties involved. I sized up what he said, knowing the reason he was in front of me was to make money. I asked him about alternatives which didn't sound pleasing either, I considered for about 2 or 3 minutes, stalling him by asking questions, about risk cost, recovery.....He told me there was no reason to stress. I thought of asking him if anyone had opened his neck recently and taken anything out, but seeing as he was proposing to do that to me, I thought I better not be cheeky. So next Friday I will have a disc removed from my neck and an artifical one put in. I won't have any more pain. I might not swallow so well for a few days. A friend of mine is Running an Iron man that weekend and it's my birthday on Monday. So I wasn't really expecting that, but I am okay. A little nervous, but ok. Life is for living and this is just another step on the adventure. I just have to remember to be positive and not project.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Happy Monday

You know that thing you do when you take a path, the same path every day and you wonder what would happen if you took the other one? Well lately I have been getting the bus, then walking, then the train, then walking to work. Little girl has to be in the creche at 730am in the morning and picked up at 630pm at the latest. The result of our reconfiguring the trip to work, was me deciding to cycle to work everyday, put the bike in the car and drive home early to pick her up. However I still haven't got over some mental block so for the moment it's public Transport.
There are two buses that leave the same time from in front of the appartment. One goes down the hill eventually veering left where I get off, go down a lot of steps, walk quickly for 10 mins, cross the tram lines, and arrive at the station. The other goes, left straight off, down to the tram lines, where I can get a tram that drops me in front of the train station.
I was always getting the first bus, and wondering about the tram. If I got the tram I might see some pretty girls. If I got the tram I meet someone I know, If I got the tram I might be quicker....
So last Monday I got up late, no breakfeast, running late, sore neck, out the door. I got bus number 2. I was the only person on it till the second last stop. Two women got on there, and then got off at my stop for the tram. I ran accross the road missing the tram. I waited 4 minutes and got on the next one. The journey was slow, very slow, the tram was overcrowded. I focused on my interior self trying not to let the panic get the better of me as sometimes happens when I am stuck in a wall of bodies.
There were some pretty girls, but no one I knew.
I got to the train station and tried to get to the platform, my ticket was out of date and the controller stopped me. Shit. I had thought Monday was the 13th. I ran back to get another and there was a queue. I waited got my ticket and missed my train. It's odd as I write now, I am getting tense, more so than I was was during the event.
I stood on the platform and about 10-15 mins later another train pulled in. There were 4 people only around me, the door of train pulled up right in front of me. I pressed the button leaned my hand on the train and stood back to let people off. Something pushed at my arm. I turned and saw a small man, nervously trying to push through me. It was silly, there was loads of space the other side of me, there was no rush, there was plenty of seats, and not many trying to get on. I told him to wait, he mumbled and pushed at me again. I told him louder in French "Ay OH, Attend,laisse les autres descendre..." The guy looked at me and shoved me. Now picture it. I am fit 81kg 179 cm, dressed in jeans and smart casual shirt. He is about 59kg 150cm baggy trousers, heavy green jacket (it's warm) red dirty baseball cap, dirty and unwashed but not smelly. A few years ago if people were violent with me, I would stand my ground, pull on my inner core, stare them down, talking gently and reasonably and logically. On more than one occasion the situation has been completely diffused like this. Since I came to France I have sort of thrown out the pacifist and joined the Darwinians. I shoved him back HARD but not by any means with my full force. He was shocked and stunned. A stream of abuse came out of his mouth. He boarded the train as I did and the now 7 or 8 others waiting behind us. A business man roared at him, 'OH Monsieur comportez vous correctement". I took encouragement as I was already filled with doubt and beginning to feel this was all my fault.
I stared at the little man. He was shaking and shouting about having some card, a battery in the heart, and that he would report me. I walked away, as far as I could I found a seat and I sat. I couldn't believe when by hazzard he ended up following me looking for a seat. He was still moaning and mumbling ...he saw me and his tone raised up a few notches. All the time I was observing myself. I knew I didn't have the language skills to talk him down, but it seemed no one else did either. I can tell you that at 8 am in the morning when someone is speaking very loudly at about 300 words a minute and throwing obscenities around people get upset. The french reaction is a couple of OHH la la's and then silence. Suffer in silence. It's as if they all thought 'IF I don't look at him he will go away'. Some people got up and left. His main barrage towards me was that he had some sort of travel card, he took it out and showed it to me. 'So what?' I said quietly in French. His tone went up, he started to tremble more violently, he wished a cancer on my throat and on my wife and chilren. An intelligent lady called to him offering him her seat. He refused stating he didn't take seats from women, he had a battery in his heart and his card...( I thought of him telling him to change the battery), He abused me a lot more. His tirade was going on about 10 minutes now but I had some sort of shield around me......nothing he could say could hurt me, but it was tiring, and I was feeling the need to give him back the energy he was spewing at me. I told him to stop acting like a child.....then he lost it completely. MERDE...... MERDE MERDE, each one long drawn out, terrifying most of the people around him, his face screwed up into a rage MERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDE. To which I instantly replied with my best gallac shrug of the shoulders, 'Et Alors?' He abused me again, calling me SCUM, it was a word the President of France had used, a specific word. I thought of replying in another Presidental gaffe, 'Casse toi pauve con' Get lost you poor fool, but I didn't.... he calmed eventually going to sit on the empty seat the lady had vacated.
When I finally got to Monaco I wanted to punch him in the head. I got off the train and went to work and laugh at it now for the most part. But a big part of me wants to know what that is all about? Why is that an accepted strategy of human behaviour? How does he feel he is benefitting himself by playing such a victim?... Une pile dans le coeur....a battery in the heart, my ass! I would warrant, but I can't be certain, there was nothing physical wrong with him at all. Certainly lacking love, it sounds trite now when I say it, but why? Certainly under some enormous psychological stress. When my verbal skills are better someday, maybe I will be able to put my arm around him instead of pushing...but for the moment, no one is going to vomit there crap all over me, without me respecting myself in the process and refusing to give into the fear.
I am beginning to settle into this life her in the hexagon, and I am glad I haven't chosen his strategy to get by.
One thing is for sure, I will be getting the first bus from now on and not the bus less travelled by, for that has made all the difference.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Good Life

After a conversation with a friend I realised why I write here. Most of the time it's to offload. I suppose my PC becomes my shrink. I sit in front it and tell it stuff. I don't tell everything because I know people are reading.
Suffice to say that the mood of a lot of what I write, is bound to be frustration.
I have come to a realisation in the last few weeks only, that finally, after 6 years of frustration, that I am where I am. This is where I belong. My accepting that, which I couldn't have done sooner because I was on my path and not yours, has allowed me to be happy. I am happy. I don't have a great job, I don't have a lot of money, I wish my discs wouldn't keep acting up but these are all paltry concerns. I have a few good friends in the world. I have two wonderful children. I have a lover. There is food on the table. There is even beer in the fridge that I don't really feel the need for. Since I decided early June to kick myself in ass, Life has come up trumps. Things are afoot. I can sense huge changes since April. There is a voyage ahead and it's very very rewarding.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The quality of Mercy is not strained

You know it hasn't rained since my pal was here in June. I just heard a noise behind me in the room, the skies have opened and it has just pissed rain really really hard. It will freshen the air, clear the pollution, dampen down the dust, cool down the sea, and day to day will be just a tad more bearable.
But by gollygum drops we are lucky to live in such a beautiful place. Boy is back on the mainland, he will be here Friday. I can't wait.

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