Cranberry or Lemon Barley?

It seems an age since I corresponded with you dear reader; had you been privy to the thoughts in my head you would have been amused, provoked and occasionally bemused probably in equal measure. Mentally I have planned to write on everything from the changes to domestic violence legislation, women in leadership positions (the lack of from the Governorship of the Bank of England to UN negotiators to BBC presenters (especially of the Radio 4 Today programme), to my near misses at committing elder abuse (in response to the behaviour of close family members) and the influence of age on medical diagnosis. Fear not I plan to deal with all of these issues in due course!

But first the reason for my silence – well the primary one – but before I get to it I feel moved to offer embattled Nick Clegg a spot of advice apropos his apology that curiously has gone viral with musical spin-off. He mentioned learning from ones mistakes and in light of the experience of coalition surely the future writing of manifestos is simple. You have the core commitment that you deliver if you get a majority accompanied by a series of scenarios. So if we form a coalition with X we will deliver Y; if in coalition with P we will deliver K and so on. Hence the voter is clear just how their vote will be used. OK it’s a menu approach akin to a meal deal but you have to admit there’s a degree of ‘honesty’ albeit with an element of second guessing as no Party is likely to want to discuss not winning outright before the count. Just a thought!

Back to my silence. If I tell you I’ve spent the last few days drinking pints of cranberry juice alternating with lemon barley water perhaps you’ll guess the ailment that has or rather is afflicting me downstairs as it were. On a point of information beware choosing full powered Cranberry Juice (Ocean Spray seeming to be the only brand available in the supermarkets) it contains 120 calories per 8 oz with the Light version 50 calories for the same amount and the Diet version a mere 5! Obviously the website is in US measures and the Light version I bought is 20 calories for 250ml. My point being to aid urinary tract recovery if, not resurfacing, one could easily consume the recommended daily calorie amount not to mention the potential for aiding dental decay!

I haven’t done the same analysis for Lemon Barley Water as there seems to only be one brand, the tried and tested one our granny used to give us. When Auntie phoned to tell me that one of the three items -(2 blouses, 3 bags compost and same of soil improver and a plastic leg cover to enable her to have a shower after her minor procedure)- she had me order on-line (whilst she watched or rather looked as I’m confident she’ll be on the phone next time she decides to shop virtually!). She asked how I was and I explained my current predicament to which she said (sighing heavily)’now how did you get that?’

Now how do you explain getting, as we coyly term, ‘a water infection? Does it imply drinking dirty water, perhaps akin to dog/cats drinking from puddles except we’re always told that this is because rain water is clean? No there isn’t any explanation unless you have a condition requiring occasional (or frequent) use of catheters; which regrettably I have. In such circumstances ‘water infections’ are an occupation hazard. Nasty accompanied with the perennial quandary about whether to recycle the plastic equipment; I knew people who do, I currently do not as I’m sure I read something about not putting hard plastic in the blue bag. Wouldn’t want them to have to stop the conveyor belt on my behalf!

Following a consultation with the (young) GP I was handed a prescription for antibiotics the dose of which could slay a shire horse. Although continuity of service is useful in a practice of c 10 doctors I have begun to feel guilty at overloading one so young; he looked so sad and pensive as if I was somehow picking at his scab of inadequacy! It was a curious conversation during which he did a pain medication review on account of me recently trying Fentanyl patches (leave a nasty glue residue on one’s skin). The conclusion of the review was one reason that nothing seems to be working is that the different medications are competing for the same pain receptors.

OK so no one could have worked this out? Did the ‘professionals’ consider me as some benign receptacle with an unlimited capacity to consume tablets, powers and random potions? At the end of the consultation the doctor suddenly got a grip of himself and sat up abruptly saying ‘still we can do something about the water infection!’ And leapt to his feet to open the door for me – something he has done ever since I slightly sarcastically observed that doctors opened the door on the way in but not the way out!

So the course of action is to slowly – over about 10 days – come off all the drugs to attempt to re-sensitise my system. The course of action I had proposed – with an illustrative spreadsheet (seriously I did one) – to another doctor who brushed the paper away saying ‘let’s not do too many things at the same time!’ Today is day 3 and I managed to look presentable for my eyebrow waxing/tinting. Towards day 10 you might find it prudent to cross the street if you see me – except of course I’m too polite to be rude besides by then I may be rendered mute as the gritted teeth may result in lock-jaw!

As an amusing aside the reason I realised I had an infection somewhere was when sitting outside in Auntie’s garden (in my PJ’s) having an early morning cigarette I became very dizzy. I wasn’t too worried as I can just about remember the head wave you get when you have your first fag of the day the rush of nicotine. And when I stood up I couldn’t balance; the weeble was back only this time I was dangerously close to falling down! This delight I saved for the privacy of my own home – don’t worry I’ve only found a couple of bruises with unexplained sources! Of course I didn’t tell Auntie any of this as she was too busy pacing waiting for me to get inside for breakfast! Frankly I start the day with a trilogy of stimulants: cafetière of coffee, at least 4-5 cigarettes and a couple of Fentanyl lozenges (currently an 800 and a 200). This cocktail enables me to be at the swimming pool for 7 am, complete 25-30 minutes and be home for 8 am having exchanged intelligence (local gossip) with the ladies! Anything less ain’t going to maintain this Spinster’s tiptop once svelte physique!

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