Thursday, 31 December 2009

Ding Dong Merrily on High

Boxing Day - traditionally the feast of St Stephen upon which (apparently since the middle-ages in one form or another) the rich give to the poor. The name 'Boxing' is thought to derive from several similar traditions: the rich putting christmas gifts into a box to give to tradespeople over the festive period; filling 'christmas boxes' with small gifts and leftovers for the staff; sealed alms boxes put in churches to collect money throughout the year to be opened after christmas day and distributed among the poor; and my favorite, a box placed on a ship by a priest/minister before a voyage into which sailors put small change etc, which upon safe return would be returned to the church in exchange for a blessing, opened and distributed to the poor after christmas...

Boxing Day - the day on which inebriated members of family, having been forced together over the christmas period, finally reach the tipping-point at which irritation, antagonism, and dislike outweigh christmas spirit and goodwill, thus seeing a descent into base physical violence (that doesn't even share the gentlemanly rules and conduct of its eponymous sport)... some may say the greater of british traditions...

Boxing Day - the day on which my bowels decide I need a challenge... Yeah, I'd had my fun: lovely pressies, christmas songs, wrestling a massive bird into the oven (insert mother-in-law joke here), family board-games. It was time to remind me how much I love to sit on the bog.

At about 9.30pm I had to recall the old rapid ascent-of-the-stairs shuffle - running, upward-stepping and keeping buttocks firmly clenched at the same time. At about 9.31pm, with a speed only akin to that with which my bowels were reaching maximum fluidity, I was reaquainted with the joy of sitting on the mercy seat whilst my recent life fell out of my bottom. then again at about 9.45pm, 10.30pm, midnightish... awake all night in fear of the treacherous fart...

Now, not long back I'd have submitted to this: the UC was back. But not this time. Oh no. I redoubled my efforts. I focused on the positive - it's just a stomach bug, I'll be right in a couple of days. And you know what? I was. And I still am. I'm winning.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

It snowed this week!

The ipod is loaded down with christmas tunes (see below).

Just switched the last of the christmas lights on.

Picking up the locally-reared, free range, Norfolk Bronze first thing in the morning.

Family due in the afternoon.

Last of the wrapping to do tonight.

Kids are bursting with excitment.

Tins of Quality Street await enticingly.

A plethora of wine, spirits and (alcohol-free) beer stand ready.

AND...Christmas day will be two calender months of no drugs... Hohoho...

So, to celebrate: my top 5 christmas pop songs...

5) Merry Xmas Everyone - Slade - it is officially not allowed to be Christmas in the UK unless this song is heard by every member of the population at least once a day...
4) Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
3) Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses (couldn't find original video of this one)
2) Fairytale of New York - Pogues (featuring Kirsty MacColl)
1) Christmas (Baby please come home) - Darlene Love - meloncholy beneath I know, but, crikey, phil spector knew how to Christmasify a pop tune. Wigs an' all...

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Floral Dance

Six weeks and two days (44.5 days) of drug free living...

I continue to be beset by other trivial ailments. Before I recount these, have no doubt, I bear them with a broad smile. The knees continue to rebel. I played football on sunday for the first time in three weeks. A little troublesome to begin with, they eased as I warmed, and I enjoyed the game (scored 2, won a penalty... missed many easier chances). I went home thinking I may have passed the worst. Spent the afternoon walking around like an old man bereft of his zimmer, shouting everytime I had to get up out of a chair, and finding an inexplicably unlikely frequency to the number of times I was required to crouch... Why is it when something hurts and/or isn't working properly life finds a way of forcing you to use it? I remember as a teenager when I was going through my 'hideously-massive-swollen-knee' phase (I say that as though all teenagers go through this, "Oh yes, my knees were ridiculously massive... then my balls dropped.") - at the time this proved utterly beyond the explanatory powers of any NHS doc I came into contact with, but has subsequently been diagnosed (with unsatisfactory breeziness) as "probably the UC" - my younger brother seemed to find a million extra reasons to touch my knee like some maniacally-dwarvish Terry Wogan (a National Treasure of radio and TV, american readers, who was reknowned on his 80's chat-show for touching the knees of guests. And for the Floral Dance, but that's quite another story. God, that song used to make me laugh as a kid. I have no idea why). He hasn't touched them in the twenty years since that episode as much as he did while they were big and sore. Perhaps we're just drawn to anything swollen. Anyhoo, they're not so bad now - recovery time is, perhaps, speeding up - which is good.

I have also been struck with some weird skin complaints. Not a patch on pred-acne, but a little unsightly nonetheless. This has mostly manifested itself on my hands, bascially large areas of skin peeling off my palms and fingers. Perhaps a sign of madness? It doesn't hurt, but looks a bit manky. Not to the unfortunate extreme of the 'Incredible Melting Man', but enough for me to have noticed a couple of people wince before they shook hands with me - too late to pull out... mwhahahaha. It even goes away untreated. Then comes back. Bugger.

I should phone My GP (the Incredible Hulk), but I haven't. I am caught between two stools (snigger). On the one hand, I am thinking perhaps I have begun to notice these extra issues just because I've stopped spending every free brain-moment thinking about my bottom/poo/colon. Alternatively, I am slightly put off going to the surgery because, having spent so much time down there with the UC, now it has subsided I don't want to appear like some Munchausen-goof, desperate to be ill again.

Lets enjoy Terry, while we think about it (and look, that's TOTP's kids!):

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Here comes the Nice

OH. MY. GOD. That is now five weeks without a pill popped. Thirty-eight, glorious days to be exact. Thirty-eight days. I should say that this state of affairs has co-incided with my perseverance with Guy Cohen's therapies. Follow the link. Make of them what you will. I can only report what is happening to me. And so far, what I have to report is a joy to type.

So, what are the side-effects of not taking prednisolone? (!)

Firstly, about three weeks ago, I suddenly noticed that my head no longer felt like a relief map of the moon. Gone were the scabby, pustulous, potentially volcanic ridges of acne. I have no idea why my own particular steroid-acne was mostly confined to my scalp (I promise I did appreciate this blessing), but, crikey, it felt like someone had stuck rice-crispies up there. Lord knows what my head would have suggested to a phrenologist...

Secondly, the slow but definite abdominal shrinkage. Yep, I know it seemed like a good excuse, but those mean little preds were definitely the cause of my not being able to do up some pairs of trousers. It was NOT the cakes. Sssssshhh. Stop it. No, seriously, I'm pretty sure I've lost a bit of weight. Well, not weight exactly. Bloat.

Thirdly, less preds, calmer mind. Plus hypnotherapy, even calmer mind. Red mist became pink mist became mist... Still grumpy sometimes though. Not angry. Just grumpy.

And finally, one little irk. Since I stopped my knees have been painful. This could be a result of this early seasons football. My own particular brand of chasing a ball round a muddy field and falling over frequently to be exact. Quality aside, the knees could be a gentle reminder from my 36 year old body to pack in this footballing lark, or at least build up to the season a little each summer (rather than become utterly sedantry for 3 months and then charge straight on to the field with all the dignity and restraint of an exuberant child). Or they could have something to do with plying my body with steroids for 18+ months and then stopping. Orrrrrr, it could be arthritis. But we're not thinking negatively, are we...?