Tag Archives: ill

So much for sporadic non-daily blogging

Heh. Made an executive decision last night that I was so wiped out by the squits (never mind the German*, squits is not only apt it’s also onomatopoeic) that it would be silly to do an 8 hour drive today. So I’m spending today packing and languishing and recovering, and driving tomorrow instead. So far have only needed to rush to the loo once** today, which is such a vast improvement on yesterday that I’m really pleased, but also confirmation that confining myself to a car for a long period today would indeed be a Bad Idea.

You may even be treated to another blog entry! (but then I will pack my computer in an attempt to force myself to stop).

* see yesterday’s comments section; haven’t I got clever and educational friends?
** er, that’d be twice then – got an urge just about as soon as I typed that (sigh).

Too much information alert

I’ve not had the best-of-health days. Let’s just say “explosive diarrhoea. Lots thereof. About 25 times just this morning” and leave it at that, shall we. Am feeling rather fragile. Though cheered up by a bonkers text from Alice (which was intended for Jacqui but her thumb slipped) and then I had lunch with derf as she was handing in her final bound thesis (that will happen to me one day. Yes it will). Unfortunately, and very unlike me, I could only manage half the (relatively small bowl of) soup and then spent the rest of the afternoon feeling like I’d eaten way too much and generally icky. So I went home to bed instead, and feel better (though not 100%) for having slept it off. But I desperately want to stop feeling icky soon, as I’m driving down to my parents’ tomorrow (a good 8 hours, with breaks) so really need to not be in need of a toilet in close proximity. I also need to retrieve the couple of hours I lost sleeping, as I have to pack up all my valuables (parents will be minding it all, plus the car, while I’m away) and still sort out fieldwork stuff, and I need a good night’s sleep before the long drive. Argh, it’s never simple, is it?

Anyway, that means that blogging and suchlike will be a bit more sporadic from now on. I’m only going to be in work a couple of days next week and one day the week after, so daily blogging isn’t going to happen (I don’t have wifi and my parents don’t have broadband, so can’t use the laptop). Try not to miss me too much 🙂 (I’ll miss you, obviously).

Humanity returns (sort of)

Today I’ve not needed a painkiller at all yet! So I think I’m getting back to normal slowly. Still having waves of nausea, but I think that’s due to the antibiotics rather than anything more awful.

Lovely evening yesterday, celebrating a successful PhD viva (sadly not mine, sigh). Congratulations Dr Derf (though sorry I had to wimp out of eating pizza with everyone – major nausea. Guess who’s having cold pizza for tea tonight?).

weepy and pathetic redux

So, last night – tossed and turned all night, mouth agony, watching the clock to time my painkillers. This morning, I hotfooted it to the dentist and managed to arrange an emergency appointment for lunchtime. Lunchtime came, I saw the dentist (he was nice, but ever so young! He looked like he should still be in school!) who X-rayed my mouth and said there was nothing wrong dentally at all and I needed to go to the GP. So I walked up to the GP surgery (where I’ve not set foot since registering last year, and so I had no idea about clinic times), arriving 10 minutes before they closed. The receptionist told me I couldn’t have an appointment today, and would have to call back tomorrow, but by this point I was in so much pain I just burst into tears. I’m so embarrassed about that now!. So she took pity on me, got me in to see the practice nurse who added me to the doctor’s list and I got seen at the very end of surgery. It transpires I have (we think) an infection of either a lymph node or a gland (doc couldn’t tell which as it’s all so swollen), and so I am now on an industrial-strength dose of antibiotics and have spent the afternoon in bed feeling pathetic. I’m currently having to suck my food, as chewing (and opening my mouth more than a tiny amount) is too painful! It makes swallowing big tablets interesting!

I’ll be back to write something more interesting when I’m feeling more human. Bleurgh.

The Flea Palace

This is the title of the book I was reading recently, that we discussed this evening in my book group. It’s by Elif Shafak, a Turkish writer, and has won awards and all sorts.

It basically covers the daily lives of the inhabitants of a once-grand but now rather dilapidated apartment block in Istanbul which has a mysterious garbage-smell and bug infestation (we find out the source of the smell towards the end), and for nearly all of the book I really enjoyed dipping in and out of the different flats, getting to see the lives of the different individuals and families within them, and generally just doing the literary equivalent of people-watching. It’s a lovely gentle book, which appealed to my inner nosiness.

I have to say though, the ending was without a doubt the most disappointing ending I have ever read in a book. With the rest of the book so good (this wasn’t a universal opinion among the girls in the group, by the way, one person in particular really didn’t like it at all), I was literally shocked at the rubbishness of the ending. It wasn’t quite “It was all a dream”, but there was a definite whiff of Bobby Ewing in the shower about it. What a massive let-down.

In other news, I have terrible toothache. I have kept on my London dentist rather than registering with someone up here, as he was so brilliant, and I’ve never needed any drastic dental work. I had planned on making an appointment at some point before going away in May to Romania, but I’m really not sure I can wait till I’m next in London (whenever that is). One of the girls in the book group has mentioned a dentist fairly near me whom she said was OK, so I might have to bite the bullet and register there. Sigh. I’m taking very strong painkillers in the meantime (they’re working really well, it’s the same stuff I took when I had my wisdom teeth out) but I can’t do that indefinitely. Ow.

Celtic Connections (gig #6) (or perhaps #5 1/2)

Thanks everyone for your comments. We are starting to emerge from the industrial-sized amounts of hot lemon that we are drinking and sounding slightly less like that possessed woman from the Exorcist. Auntie Doris, his temperature was so bad yesterday that he was doing fine soaking the bed by himself without needing any bedbath from me.

After I’d posted yesterday’s entry HD emerged briefly and said that if I felt up to it he didn’t mind me going to the gig last night by myself, as he was just going to go back to sleep. I didn’t feel all that great myself, but I did feel human enough to realise that with him asleep and only Saturday night rubbish TV for company (I had by this point read everybody’s wiblog about 3 times over and much as I love you all that really was enough) I wasn’t going to have an amazing evening if I stayed in, so I wrapped up and headed up to town. I went via the Celtic Connections box office to see if I could get refunds on the two workshop tickets and for his ticket for the evening concert – unfortunately they don’t do refunds, but do do exchanges on tickets that they could technically resell, so with half an hour to go I was able to swap his evening ticket for a ticket for a gig next weekend which I’d really wanted to go to but hadn’t got a ticket for because I’d felt guilty about being extravagant. Oh well, sometimes we just have to make these sacrifices, and yay I’m going to a fab gig next week too! On my own, which is sad, but never mind, I’m sure I’ll cope the once.

So I then headed off to the Tron Theatre (which I’d walked past lots of times without realising it was there), a small intimate theatre, where I bumped into a couple I know which meant I didn’t have to sit there by myself which was good. The support act were the Lori Watson 3 (she’s a fiddle player and singer from the Borders, and there was also a guy on guitar and a girl on accordian) who were very good indeed (they did some of their own stuff and some traditional Borders tunes as well), and I think really suited the small venue. Then to the main act, Soig Siberil (who isn’t a singer as I said before, but a guitarist from Brittany) and a singer (also from Brittany) called Nolwenn Korbell. Again I think they suited the small intimate space really well, they were very different from any of the other acts we’d seen so far – I know Brittany is far from being Mediterranean, but there was a definite “southern European” feel to their songs I thought which was great – just what I needed thinking about the cold northernness outside! Soig Siberil also did a couple of solo guitar pieces which were just fantastic, at one point it sounded like there were about 3 guitars playing at once, he was fantastic.

Today we’re still a bit croaky and feeble but much better than yesterday, so we will make it out to our last gig later. This one will be fantastic (I heard the artists perform on the radio the other week and they were all ace) – more later!

Celtic Connections (gig #5) and celtic cancellations :(

Yesterday’s gig was another belter – I was wondering if we’d made the right decision, not seeing Karine Polwart and Seth Lakeman (who I’m sure were great), but our chosen gig turned out to be absolutely brilliant. Shetland group Fiddler’s Bid (4 fiddles, an acoustic guitar, electric bass and piano/harp) were joined by 6 international musicians (all of whom I’d not heard of before) and all were fantastic, so at various points we were regaled by a Canadian singer and guitarist (who did the fastest fingerwork I think I’ve ever ever seen on a guitar), an Irish (I think) violinist, an Irish banjo and whistle player, a Swedish guy who played this thing which they call a harp but which looked to me like a funny-shaped guitar which is bowed, a cellist who looked like a cross between Captain Sensible and Kevin the Teenager and who played his cello like Animal from the Muppets, and a singer from the Faroe Islands who at first reminded me of the eastern European Eurovision ethnicy type slightly bonkers novelty bands (with Abba-esque shiny eye shadow) but who turned out to have the most incredible voice. The Shetlands stuff they did reminded me very much of the Canadian Cape Breton Island music I have, a very similar style of playing (fiddles more or less in unison and a particular plinky plonk type of rhythm (yes it’s a technical term) from the piano). And it was all absolutely fantastic – what a great night. Every gig I go to I think couldn’t possibly be bettered, and then I go to another one which is at least as good, and this was no exception.

Can I just say Grrrrr though to those people who insisted on taking flash photographs during the gig, despite being asked not to? They were even worse at Kate Rusby on Wednesday – I’ve no idea if the performers found it offputting, but I certainly did, and what’s the point when all they’ll get is a picture of the back of the head of the person in front of them and the stage in darkness? Don’t do it, you silly people. Gah.

Sadly though today we’re having to not go to our two planned events, the workshop this afternoon (which was on the Hebridean (I think) skill of waulking, which is a form of Gaelic singing which the tweedmakers sang when shrinking the tweed) and a Breton singer tonight called Soig Siberil (this was another of our experimental choices). HD woke up this morning with a raging temperature and there’s no way he’s well enough to go up into town. So after our week of excitement and culture, today is being spent with him in bed and me doing housework. Woohoo.

Oh well. There’s still one more gig to go tomorrow, so hopefully he’ll have recovered after my wonderful nursing (I wonder if Florence Nightingale coughed and spluttered this much in front of her patients? What a right pair we are). Either way, we’ll just have to make sure we go again next year 😀

Celtic Connections (gig #4) and other stuff.

Yesterday saw both of us being a bit sniffly and looking like we were going to succumb to the dreaded lurgy. However, whilst HD manfully carried on with life, I had a Major Attack of the Big Girls Blouses (surely a 50s B-movie title if ever there was one) and languished miserably, going to bed fully clothed in the afternoon and generally moping and feeling thoroughly sorry for myself. In this household, man flu is definitely a myth, but girl flu is sadly alive and well. I’m such a wuss.

Anyway, it wasn’t enough to stop us from heading back to the Royal Concert Halls for our 4th Celtic Connections gig, where we first saw Roddy Woomble (lead singer of Idlewild) do a set of his solo stuff, accompanied by some of Kate Rusby’s band. I thought he was great, but the album with those songs on isn’t acoustic, and I really don’t think I’d like it as much with those electronic modern gadgets. But another fine support act anyway, once again proving my point that the supports are really excellent here. He certainly got us in the mood for the main attraction which (just to make lots of you v. jealous) was the lovely aforementioned Kate Rusby. She was on good form as usual, stunning voice, lovely banter, and sang lots of the old favourites. Unfortunately I missed the penultimate song and a half as I suddenly had a bit of a funny turn (ie not just being a Big Girls Blouse) – I felt nauseous, had hissing ears and started seeing flashing lights, so I had to rush out (fortunately not disturbing too many people) as I thought either puking or passing out probably wouldn’t go down too well with the people sitting in front of me. Funny turn over though, I was back in time to hear the final song, which of course got me thinking of my wib friends – Canaan’s Land, which I know has meant so much to many of the Swansea wibloggers recently during their bereavement. I said a prayer for you all while I was listening to it.

Thankyouverymuch Today I’m feeling much better – my glands are up and it still hurts to swallow, but I’m not languishing pathetically any more. We went to the Kelvingrove Museum (sorry, I can’t find any good websites, the Glasgow Museums generic website isn’t that great) this afternoon and spent a couple of hours wandering round the first floor. I particularly enjoyed the Scottish art (there were a lot of really good Scottish painters in the late 19th/early 20th centuries) and the Elvis statue. I’m really not entirely sure what it was doing just outside the stuffed animals gallery, but it was rather fun.

What I did on my “holiday”

I realise I left the Grand Commentary of my travels hanging in Bucharest, and there’s another week and a half to catch up on. So here are some edited highlights:

Sitting on the plane from Bucharest to Chisinau, I found myself wishing that I was flying home rather than flying somewhere to do a week’s more work – I was starting to find it really very draining, partly because of the oppressive heat, and partly because although I was really enjoying getting by in another language (not to mention enjoying my improvement and increased confidence in speaking) sometimes it’s just hard work to be constantly translating in your head and not always having precisely the words you want to express yourself. Plus I was really starting to miss my flat, and getting fed up of living out of a rucksack. However, when I finally got through passport control and saw 4 lovely friends waiting to meet me (I was only expecting one!), and we drove the by now rather familiar road into the city from the airport I started to feel excited again. I arrived on the Saturday evening (2 weeks ago, it’s gone so quickly!), and was staying with the same family I stayed with when I was there 6 years ago so it was great I didn’t have to do all the “brand new people” type of introductions, and I quickly crashed out and relaxed. Another thing which made me really chuffed, and also helped make me feel more at home, was that the next day I took one of the microbuses into the city centre. Which sounds totally unremarkable, except that it was the first time I’d ever been on one by myself. The microbuses (minibuses which seat a total of 11 people, plus as many people as can be crowded in to stand) are how most people get round the city, and I was really pleased at how quickly I felt comfortable with hailing them (they stop whenever you ask them to, there don’t seem to be many “official” stops), so I soon felt much more confident in the city and like “I could live here”, which is rather handy as I will be living there for a couple of months next year when I do my fieldwork proper. Church in the afternoon was quite depleted in numbers as lots of people were away on holiday or involved in the various summer camps that go on throughout eastern Europe – every church and NGO seems to do a summer camp, a legacy from the communist times I learnt.

Monday was a free day as I hadn’t any meetings arranged till the next day, so my main task was to find a decent map of the city as I was going to have to make my way round it by myself. That was fulfilled reasonably painlessly, so I spent the day wandering round the city taking some pictures (not loads, as I have lots from previous trips too), and I also went to the History Museum, partly as I’d not been there before and partly because I needed to spend a penny. The Museum was actually a lot more interesting than I expected it to be, although I did want to point out to somebody that the clarinet they had on display wasn’t put together quite correctly (I didn’t quite dare). I ended up not spending any pennies though and hanging on considerably longer than I should have done, due to the fact that the toilets were, uh, slightly hole-in-the-ground-like for my liking (I know, I know, I go to Greenbelt, it’s not so much icky loos that are the problem so much as I’m not very good at squatting, and following the famous shoe-filling incident by a French roadside when I was 16 I now prefer to hang on!).

Tuesday morning I spent some time at the community centre run by the NGO my friends all work for or are associated with, and then went back into the city in the afternoon and met up with a couple of doctors who are friends of someone I know through St Frodo’s. We had a long chat, and totally unexpectedly one of them asked if I wanted to see her hospital. So we arranged that for a couple of days later, that was a good opportunity for me. Wednesday I went to see another organisation I’d contacted before I left, and I met with the director who gave me over 3 hours of her time (not to mention some wine as it had been her birthday a couple of days earlier!) and tons of information! It was just brilliant, they do some really interesting work and (like everyone else I spoke with) they offered me lots of help and contact when I go back next year – which was the main purpose of the whole trip.

Thursday morning was the hospital visit, and in the afternoon I met up with another doctor (also a friend of my St Frodo’s friend – they all did their medical training together). Then on Friday I had another meeting which I had arranged only the day or so earlier but which again was really interesting, they were interested in my work (as well as complementary about my language) and offered to help me next year too.

From this point onwards, the overwhelmingly successful side of things decided to take a bit of a break – let’s face it, I hadn’t had a disaster for a while. I had thought that I was suffering with hayfever, as my eyes were streaming and bloodshot, but Clarityn wasn’t helping as much as it usually did. However, I didn’t really think much of it as there was so much else going on. Friday afternoon I got a lift back to the airport, and fortunately my friend came with me to make sure I got through OK. But, well, I didn’t (!). I showed the woman at the departure gate my ticket and she said “Bucharest? No plane!” Not exactly what I wanted to hear, particularly as I was flying to Germany from Romania the next morning. Two hours of arguing with airport officials later, I left the airport with increasingly painful eyes, a crack-of-dawn ticket for the next morning which meant that I should still manage to get my connection to Germany, and an extra unexpected night in Chisinau. I went back to the flat where I had been staying (they were more than happy for me to stay another night), and discovered when I went to the bathroom that the reason Clarityn hadn’t been working on my eyes was because it obviously wasn’t hayfever but actually bilateral conjunctivitis (evidenced by copious amounts of attractive green gunk oozing from them and looking not dissimilar to those 1997 election campaign posters which showed Tony Blair with evil red eyes). When I woke up the next morning (at 10 to 4!!!!) my eyes were stuck together – ew! At the airport I found with relief that the plane wasn’t cancelled, and once in Germany my sister whisked me off to a pharmacy and we got some eye drops to tide me over till I could see a doctor after the weekend. As it turned out, these drops were so great it cleared up totally in a couple of days so I didn’t need the doc after all. Hooray! But it’s not something I’d want to have again any time soon.

The few days in Germany were really lovely. We did lots of nice things as a family, and I really enjoyed spending time with my niece, whom (obviously) I don’t get to see very much. She did have her more challenging moments sometimes and a few tantrums, but we also got to do some fun things like go to the zoo (I’d much rather see animals out in the wild of course (remind me to scan in some of my Namibia photos sometime), but Munich Zoo is lovely and as zoos go the animals seemed well-kept and with decent amounts of space). There were a fair few baby animals – the flamingoes were particularly cute (long legs like the parents, but instead of being pink they were just big balls of grey fluff), and there was a baby tortoise, hatched on the 7th, which was tiny – you could easily have fitted two of them into my palm. My sister and I both thought the tapirs were hilarious – they are such funny looking things anyway (with their two-tone colouring, from behind they look like they’re wearing hipsters with builders bums hanging out), but watching one of them taking a r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-o-o-w leisurely wander over to eat some leafy stuff, then totally zonk out with the effort of it all had us in hysterics (you probably had to be there).

I also must confess to taking in a beer garden or three. In fact, when I first went there in June, for the couple of days before I flew on to Romania, they picked me up at the airport and drove me straight to a beer garden before we even went back to the flat! The reason being they had a wide screen and England were playing Trinidad & Tobago. So there are one or two really not very flattering pics of me with those huge litre beer glasses (how do those Oktoberfest waitresses carry all those glasses in each hand? I needed two hands just to lift my one glass!), but I doubt they’ll be making their way onto flickr anytime soon.

And now I’m back! I go to London at the end of next week, until Greenbelt, to hopefully do some health visiting (I’m getting perilously short of cash, and also need to have some working hours under my belt for when I reregister in a couple of years, as I don’t want to lose my professional registration). So this week in Glasgow is becoming full very quickly – meetings at uni (including supervision next week which thanks to this trip will be considerably less blagged than usual!), a church BBQ last night, and catching up with friends before I take off again. I think the manicness stops sometime in the autumn.

Participant observation

Today I had an unexpected opportunity to take part in some relevant “participant observation” in Romania’s health care system. Although with rather too much “participation” for my liking, I would have preferred a bit more of the observation side of things! Yesterday when I got back to the pension I noticed an interesting lump on my hip – basically like a golf ball, hard, hot, red, and really really itchy – radiating round a mosquito bite that I’d not noticed previously. It looked to me like cellulitis, and when I woke up groggy in the middle of the night because it was too hot, I convinced myself that the nasty cellulitis-causing staph bug would track its way round my body and I’d be on death’s door by morning. Morning came and I was thankfully no nearer death’s door than I was before, but the lump was no smaller and no less concerning, so I trooped off to the pharmacy. After an encounter with possibly Romania’s grumpiest and least helpful pharmacist (I suspect that’s saying something!) I took myself off to the hospital, and once I’d got past Romania’s grumpiest nurse (again probably saying something) ended up having IV hydrocortisone (from a very nice nurse – so there’s the proof, at least one nurse here has a decent bedside manner) and a prescription for antihistamines and some yellow liquid which apparently is for some sort of compress. I can’t find this stuff in my super duper Romanian medical dictionary, so am not sure what exactly it is, but assuming it’s nothing too scary I shall just have to improvise what I do with it. I’m still not unconvinced that it’s cellulitis and that I might need some antibiotics to get rid of it, but they all seemed to think it was just an impressive allergic reaction, so hopefully they’re right and I’m being a drama queen (like that would be the first time).

Bloody mosquitoes. After my relentless diet of carbs, crap, more carbs and more crap my hips (not to mention bum and belly) are swelling perfectly well by themselves without any extra help.