Saturday, 1 April 2006

Warfarin & me

Whilst it may be that this rat poison is keeping me away from the scenario where I exist courtesy of a 13amp wall socket (must remember to have one of those 'please do not switch off' cards ready),it is causing me a lot of aggro in other ways.
My balance seems to have gone awry. I find myself tripping over things that are not there or having serious problems in avoiding going arse over tit because of a matchstick.
The real annoyance is that it has killed off my internal thermostat. I had always been able to ignore the most severe cold weather. Even in Korea. Heat was another thing with which I had little problems. I used to joke that this was due to not allowing myself to think cold or think hot.
Those protections have now gone. I've had to move into my own bedroom so that I can have the extra oil-filled radiator and the two high tog-rated duvet. This gets the room up to about 20 degrees and I can tolerate that with my pyjamas as well.
Mind you, there is a payback. I can have the lights on or off as and when I wish. I can have my music live instead of through earphones. At whatever time I choose. The dvd player is there for as and when it is wanted. Given that most nights are fragmented with no uninterrupted sleep, these are luxuries well worth my self-imposed isolation. I can have more than one book on the go at any one time without being scorned as a lightweight. Plus, things can be 'filed' on the floor. Aah - wonderful. But, on the whole, I'd rather have my thermostat back.

Thursday, 30 March 2006


This is from a guy who does a blog based upon his job.

Seems right to me

When you are writing a blog, if you want to be ‘successful’ then you need to write something everyday. How you measure success is up to you – pagehits, number of comments left, feelings of satisfaction, or however else you like to measure it. However, what you write has to be of a sufficient quality to get your readers feeling, or thinking about, the subject of the day. When writing for print, I would imagine that you have a couple of days to polish whatever you write. In this way, writing for a blog is much like how I imagine it is writing a report for a newspaper – you have a deadline, you have to write every day and you have to write on short notice.

The difference would be that while most folk speed read newspaper reports without taking much notice of who has written it - This Blog Is Me.

(Which is basically what I’m going to be talking about at the Apple store).

Some days the words just flow off the keyboard – you hardly have to edit the post before hitting ‘publish’. The ideas come rushing at you and it’s all you can do to slow them down long enough for you to type them. You lie in bed and blog posts run through your mind. Every sentence comes fully formed and shining into the world – you reread it and you manage to impress yourself.

Then there are the days (like today) when every word is a struggle, where you go back over every line trying to polish it into some semblance of readability. There are days when your muse has gone on holiday, so you read through the ‘Post ideas for a rainy day’ file for something that might spark your imagination. And nothing does. The blog writing feels like a chore that you’d rather not do.

So what I’m saying is that I have complete respect for those people who can turn in on a daily basis pieces of writing that consistently shine.


I didn't do it.
It wasn't me
I wasn't even here at the time.

Good Time George

My iPod has reached that spot where the George Melly recordings are held. I've been remembering much that was dear to me way back in the early '50s. 'My canary has circles under its eyes', 'Abdul the Bulbul Emir' and 'Sweet Georgia Brown' were hits that I could sing to myself on the long walk home from girl-friends homes. Ah yes, the days when one walked home. He had a style that was not noticed to any great degree but his interpretative skills were on a par with Sinatra. His dress sense was a long way from Old Blue Eyes though; mainly a black track suit as I remember.
He does little nowadays. Still tours but in a very relaxed manner. Writes some extremely good art reviews.
Long may he stay with us. My hooks to the days of my youth are coming undone all too fast for my comfort.

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Some days just go...........

Here is an account of a day that went wrong. Oh - and the narrator is in the very last stages of pregnancy.

Sunday, 12 March 2006

Oh me?...I'm fine.....

7:30am : (Wake up to the distant sound of the phone ringing).. "what the? that the phone..oh well it stoped, likley a wrong number.....

7:31am: (Phone rings again)... "ok..thats odd...who would be calling this early?" (attempts to grab the phone but gets to it too late)

7:32am (One ring)... "Oh I bet the stupid car has broken down again and hubby is stuck somewhere between home and work and now I am going to have to go get him... argggg"....

7:40am I slowley sit up in bed, grab the phone and check for a message..there isnt one.. "odd, why wouldn't he leave me a message if he's broken down... maybe it wasn't him after all..."

(I dial call return to check what number called....).. "yep it was hubbys cell phone...I guess I'll call him back"...

7:43am (calling his cell)... "why isnt her answering??"... "this is annoying...just pick up".... ok I'll try again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.....

8:00am... "This doesn't seem rite, hubby would never call here at this time unless something was wrong.. what could be wrong besides the car breaking down...if the car broke down, why isn't he answering to tell me where he is so I can go get him.... I dont suppose he could have had an accident.. no no..your so paranoid...just keep calling"... (calls cell.... again, and again and again and again and again)

8:15am.. "Hello" ????? "(who is this person answering hubby's cell)" "Hello? Who is this?" "Is this Mrs. K?" "yes"(heart rate increases raises signifigantly)"who is this?"... " This is the paramedic " (starts to feel sick but manages to talk). "Oh no, whats wrong?" "Your husband has been in an accident, another car hit, the drivers side strait on, it pushed him over an embankment and he rolled the car several times, he is now on his way to the hospital"......(head spining, tears burning my eyes) "Is he alive?" "yes he is"... "should I come to the hospital rite now or will they move him (not sure why I asked this)... "why don't you sit tight and wait for the hosptial to call you, they can tell you more"..... "ok"... "Mrs. K are you ok".... "oh me? I'm fine.. I just want to know if my husband will be ok"...

8:16am ...I call my answer... calls again... calls again... calls again... dad answers "hello" "hi, J has been in an accident, please come watch the girl for me I have to go"... "what, slow down, is he ok?".. "i have no idea, just know he's alive and on his way to the hospital... please come quick".. "ok, I'll wake mom and head over"... "are you ok?".. "oh me? I'm fine...please just come quick, I have to get to him".

8:20am.. gets dressed, brushes teeth, combs hair (sort of) and waits..........

8:25am phone rings.. "hello"..."is this Mrs.K?"... "yes"... "hold on please"... hubby: "hello"... me (silently...thank you God, he can talk, he must not be too bad)... "honey.... what happened, are you ok???" ... "I am not too bad, lots of cuts....can you please come".. "oh honey of course, as soon as my mom arrives to stay with the girl I'll be there" hubby "ok I have to go now"....

"ok I'll be there soon bye".


8:27am... sits and waits for mom... "what is taking so long?"... hear the girl awake upstairs.. go up and start crying the instant I see her little face and realize that she has no idea what is happening. She smiles and says "hi mommy"... "eyes??" "yes honey..mommys eyes are wet, its ok though".... "mommy?... daddy?".... I can not answer her.

8:30am... hear mom at the door, carry the girl down, hand her to mom and leave

8:31 - 9:00am... drive to hospital and think about all the worst possible thoughts

9:02am...get annoyed that it is so stinking hard to park at the stupid hospital and think of all the time it is costing me into emergency....down the hall....

9:05am.... Oh my... (the tears rise to the surface of my eyes)...

There he is laying on a stretcher...covered in blood, his face, his head, his neck, his arms. He's holding a big guaze to his eye, his right arm is bent because the Dr. is trying to stich up the huge gash in it. He doesn't see me because his eyes are closed...but the Dr. notices me and my big belly...

"oh my" she says, "you should sit down"...I realize she means me... "oh me? I'm fine"... tears brim again, I call him by name and walk closer.. he opens one eye and looks directly into my soul, the same eyes I gazed into when we first dated, the eyes I looked into when we took our vows, the eyes I have gazed into so many nights when we make love, the eyes that looked at me with such compassion when I was in labor with our daughter, the eyes that filled with tears the first time he held her...

"thank you God...for letting me look into his eyes again".. I pray this quietly enough for only God and me to hear...

The doctor starts to explain that he has suffered too many cuts to count, that his right elbow is very badly beat up and they had to cut a chunk of flesh out of it because it just had too much glass to get out, they are worried about his left eye as they had to pull a big "hunk" (medical term), out of it and they think there may be more, he is covered in mini pieces of glass and the pieces are too small to pick off but big enough to be causing more tiny cuts. The good news is nothing appears broken and his internal organs all seem ok...they are going to do an eye test on him once we finish stitching him up.

I nod and hang on everyword...he is ok I think to myself, beat up but ok.

A police officer starts talking to us and than I hear what happens. Hubby was traveling north on a two lane road, a car in the south lane started swirving and hit the drivers side strait on with the front of her car, both cars were traveling aprox. 80 - 85 kms/hr and the air bags went off, hubby was pushed up a snow bank and over an embankment,the car landed on its hood in a farmers feild. All the glass on the car was shattered and the only thing that saved his life was his seat belt...."well that and God.." I think this but keep it to myself...

hubby NEVER wears his seat belt, never, ever, is a constant battle between us.... when the officer tells us the other driver will be charged with reckless driving and leaves, i turn to hubby and ask "why did you wear your seat belt today?"... "I dont know" he says," I didn't have it on but I stopped to get a coffee and when I got back in the car I just put it on..".....

I bow my head and hold back tears....

We head to the "eye test room" where the dr shows me with a special light the cut on his eye ball... "that is big".. i think to myself... they don't find any more glass and tell him he will have to return to the hospital tommorow morning to have his eye tested again

Next we sit and wait for results from his blood and urine tests... it comes back that he has blood in his urine but they are not concerned as this is common in car crashes of this severity. Just keep an eye on it and if it gets worse come back.

12pm: I get him in the car and we start to drive home.... a long drive to think about all the "what if's"

We arrive home, I have to cut his clothes off as they are too glass covered to keep and he can't raise his arm to get them over his head. I attempt (unsucsessfuly) to wash the glass out of his head. The doctor told us she has never seen so much glass on someone...I start to belive her as we wash and wash and wash and still can't get it all. He takes a cold shower because if it is too hot his pores will open and the glass could enter...even after the shower I pull several pieces of glass out of his ears, head, hands, nose...I am starting to think we will never get it all.

He is sitting on the bed as I am pulling the glass out of his ears and he says to me "are you ok?".. "oh me? I'm fine...I would like to give you a hug though"...

We hug....I feel his arms, smell his skin and I fell myself falling, every bit of me wants to stay strong but as his arms surround me I realize that it all could have been over like that. The tears come than.... uncontrolled... pouring out for what we could have lost today, for the girl who could have lost her daddy, for this unborn child that would have never had a chance to meet him, for me who in an instant could have lost my husband, my best friend, my partner in life, my lover... my everything. He lets me cry and reassures me over and over again that he is ok, that he didn't die, he was allowed to live. Given another day to be with me and the girl.

How fast it could have been over, how fast everything about my life could have changed.....

Tonight I realize that I need to hug him more, kiss him more, tell him I love him more... thank him more, because tommorow it could all be over and there would be no second chance.

He is so brave, so strong, I admire his strength, through rolling the car, being strapped to a stretcher, having glass wiped from his face and chunks pulled from his skin he showed no weakness, but an hour after we were home my mom called and put the girl on the phone, I sat and watched as he took the phone, the girl said "Hi daddy.." and gone was the strong man, instead was a man who had to bow his head and let the tears drip down onto the bed sheets "Hi honey.... I love you".. "nanou daddy".... I than had to wipe away my tears...

Now he is resting comfortable...tommorow morning we are headed back to the hospital for another check of his eye...

I hope sleep will come for me when I turn in but I doubt it.

How am I?... "oh me? I am thankful my husband is alive, I am mad that this happened to him, I am tired because until I sat down to write this I had not stopped all day, I am glad I can do all this for him, I am a mess because I know I could have lost him today, I am scared because I have no idea what I or the girl would ever do without him.... other than that.... I am fine.

Oh to be in England

This coming summer, with a veritable avalanche of culture planned, looks like being a great time for those who retain the belief that our country is the best.

Find a child

What's all this about then?

Monday, 27 March 2006

No public smoking in Scotland.

Going out for the night was not an attractive idea even before the new, almost draconian, rules about public smoking were introduced. Now, in addition to the sort of charms we see here, one will have to be aware of the presence of those deprived of what we are told was as strong as any narcotic.

Sunday, 26 March 2006

Redundancy of Parliament Act

How I woke up to a nightmare plot to steal centuries of law and liberty
The Times: February 15, 2006
Legislative Reform
The Times: February 16, 2006
Who wants the Abolition of Parliament Bill?
The Times: February 21, 2006
Another blow to Parliament?
The Times: February 28, 2006
How we move ever closer to becoming a totalitarian state
The Observer: March 5, 2006
A Doomsday Machine for Parliament
The Telegraph: March 13, 2006
The self-neutering Parliament
Daily Mail: March 13, 2006
Fear over plans to cut red tape
BBC News: March 17, 2006
MPs angry at Bill to end all Bills
The Telegraph: March 18, 2006
New powers for ministers are a mistake, PM told
The Telegraph: March 19, 2006


Get it now


Once upon a time there were four older ladies who lived in Italy....
They always sat outside and chatted about when they were younger....
One day they pooled their money together and bought a laptop computer...


They always wanted to see what Florida was about and they just happened to click on St.Augustine, FL. and they read about the "Fountain of Youth" that was there...They saved up all they could and sent for four bottles of the magic water....As soon as it arrived, they drank as much as they could....The rest of this story will make you a believer because here they are today....


No, this is really TRUE! Really!
I have a supply of this water available at $125.00 a bottle,

Doctor GOC

For the "Action this day" pad

This site is - to my mind - a bit what in the old days would have been called Agitprop. Doesn't stop them talking sense though.

Blair: the head, the tail, the whole damn thing

As you can see, it's a beautiful day, the beaches are open, and the folks here are having a wonderful time (and I'm sure you can guess which movie I watched last night)...

New Statesman - The men in grey suits must do their duty: Blair has to be persuaded to stand down. The announcement should take place this spring, with a leadership contest in the summer. (via)

I disagree. For the good of the Labour Party, for the good of the country, and for the good of the whole bloody world, Tony Blair must not leave Downing St voluntarily... and if he does, he must be forced to resign in shame. (And before anybody makes any smart-arse remarks about intervention, I would remind them that this measure is far from pre-emptive.)

Why? Because someone has to be called to account or the next batch of power-mad bastards - here or abroad - will think they can get away with exactly the same thing.

I'll move onto the guts after a few stabs at the heel:

Blair is a pretty straight sort of a guy

BBC - Capita boss quits over Blair loan
BSSC - Crapita Protection Racket
BlairWatch - Was Rod Aldridge Going to Resign Anyway?
Independent - Contractor who lent Labour £1m quits over sleaze fears
Guardian - Capita chairman quits after criticism of loan to Labour

There's a lot to say here this morning, so let me be brief about this particular issue; if the PM approves a scheme that sees a winner of major government contracts *approached* for a loan because it neatly sidesteps a law controlling donations (that they themselves championed; bully for them) then that is corruption. There's no denying it.

Now we lunge for the guts, and we begin with bankruptcy...

The Blair-led coalition currently passing itself off as the face of the Labour Party is bankrupt in every sense of the word. Their finances, their morals, their authority... they have squandered it all and abandoned everything but the facade that keeps them in power.

And we continue to let them get away with it... to the point where soon they'll be able to write their own laws without democratic oversight.

Your right to protest

If you got so mad about this (or anything else for that matter) that you decided to congregate at Downing St this afternoon to protest, there are already laws introduced by this government that allow the police to round you up and shut you up.

Take a look at Belarus and witness your future; it only took riot police 15 minutes to round up 200 protestors who - like may international observers - thought the election was more than a little fishy. But protestors first enabled the authorities by losing their will and dwindling in number. The media helped by ignoring or denouncing the initially 20,000-strong protest... police bullying, the weather and a lack of will did the rest. Then, finally, Lukashenko was confident that he could sort the whole thing out with a dustpan and brush.

Here I wish to make a quick point about precedent and accountability... Lukashenko knew that he would get away with this if he didn't shoot anybody. Here's why.

Now you need to take a moment and look at the worldwide numbers during the most recent protests over foreign policy and consider that we here in Britain only boast one man willing to stick to his guns (so to speak).

The right diet

is very important. Five portions of fruit and all that. We do our bit - no peace until she has her lunchtime apple. The dog that is!

NHS - Cure thyself

Here is a man who seems to talk a lot of sense. Suggests how to cure the NHS problems 'in a day'

Thanks to a lethal mixture of lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians Britain's out of hours medical service is now virtually non-existent. It's as bad as the NHS dental service has been for years.

The NHS has been moribund for years; kept alive by the hard work of a relatively small number of genuinely caring staff and by the hopes of millions of trusting patients. But it's now worse than ever. The NHS is dangerous to your health.

The real scandal is that everything that is wrong with the NHS could be cured within hours. Given complete authority for just one day I could eradicate everything which has damaged the quality of health care in Britain.

Throwing money at the NHS won't solve any of its problems. The sick joke is that the NHS already has too much money. What it lacks is leadership. No one in charge seems to know how money and resources should be spent.

Here's what needs to be done:

1. GPs were offered the chance to hand over all their out of hours work to agencies because of EU laws limiting their working hours. The whole traditional basis of general practice is that the family doctor takes full 365 day a year responsibility for his patients. Without that role, GPs have no purpose and could best be replaced by a combination of walk-in clinics (staffed 24 hours a day) and an enhanced ambulance service. But I'd prefer to see GPs brought back into the NHS. They should, however, be given the authority to go with the responsibility.

Solution: Reintroduce 365 day a year, 24 hours a day GP contracts. Fire any GP who doesn't want to sign up.

2. NHS care and private care need to be separated. At the moment NHS consultants are allowed to boost their income by seeing private patients. And NHS hospitals can boost their income by allowing patients who can afford to pay to jump the queues for tests or surgery. NHS consultants, using NHS equipment and staff, earn thousands, while waiting lists for patients who can't afford to pay extra just get longer. Administrators support this abuse because their hospitals are so bloated with expensive bureaucrats that they need the private fees too.

Solution: Ban NHS consultants from doing private work. Ban NHS hospitals from charging patients for tests or treatment.

3. The NHS has become a bonanza for bureaucrats. There are more administrators than nurses or hospital beds. More than 60% of NHS employees are pen pushers. I recently attended a hospital meeting to discuss my 84-year-old mother's health. There were nine people at the meeting. One of them was a doctor. Eight were administrators. The NHS is being destroyed by administrators. In many NHS institutions there are now more bureaucrats than cockroaches. It will, however, be easier to cut down the number of bureaucrats. When I first qualified in medicine, decent sized hospitals were run (very well) by a matron, a hospital secretary, two typists and as many ward clerks as there were wards.

Solution: Sack 90% of NHS administrators. It probably doesn't matter which 90%.

4. The NHS is laden with committees, advisors and quangos. There are thousands of them. The bill for their tea and biscuits alone would pay for a few thousand more nurses. Any business which tried to cope with the input from so many amateurs would be a disaster.

Solution: Get rid of all the committees. Let the people who get paid take all the responsibility.

5. When the NHS buys loo rolls and envelopes it pays more for them than you or I would pay at our local supermarket. When I exposed this a few years ago the NHS immediately set up an inquiry - into how I found out.

Solution: Hire central buyers for all NHS purchases. Sack them all if they pay more for anything than the price in Tesco.

6. It is absurd that NHS money is spent on providing couples with fertility treatment, women with breast enlargement operations or transsexuals with life changing surgery while thousands of patients are dying because they have to wait weeks for essential, simple diagnostic X-rays. In military hospital units doctors operate a simple but effective system whereby those whose need is greatest get seen first. Similarly, the NHS has to get its priorities straight.

Solution: Life saving comes first. Life enhancing should come second.

7. As many people have found, the NHS complaints system is designed to protect members of staff rather than offer apologies or justice to justifiably aggrieved patients. NHS complaints should, from the start, be investigated by entirely independent experts.

Solution: There are thousands of retired doctors and nurses who could do this job brilliantly well.

None of these problems are difficult to cure. All of them could be permanently solved in hours.

But, for pretty obvious reasons, no one working for the NHS is going to recommend any of the obvious solutions. And, without knowing they've got public support, politicians aren't likely to do any of these things either.

If you think these proposals make sense send this page today to your local MP, demanding that he ask the Government to take action immediately. And ask friends to read this page. Only when people know what's wrong - and how easy it is to put things right - will anything change.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people die because the NHS is a mess. If we don't act the NHS will continue to deteriorate. Things are bad enough today. But they will get much, much worse. You, or a loved one, could be the next one to die unnecessarily.

We need to do what needs to be done now. Tomorrow just isn't soon enough.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2006