Another Good Man Gone!

We’ve just lost a good friend to a brain tumour. He was only about 52, and we got to know him when he came to join my choir. He showed an immense talent for music composition, keyboard skills and a wonderful sense of humour through even the dark days. He also came over as very thoughtful, caring and non-complaining.

He had looked forward to going to Ballachulish, Argyll in March to join in Evensong. His health had badly deteriorated, and we were very unsure about whether it was wise for him to go. If anything had happened while up there, the distance to a suitable hospital would have proved catastrophic, and we might have carried this in our mind for many a long year.

My final opinion was sought, and I had to say YES, as I could never have forgiven myself if I has said NO. In the event, two members very kindly looked after him over the weekend and he thoroughly enjoyed it. It was his last major event outside his hospital and hospice.

So, ‘CARPE DIEM’…..never let an opportunity of any kind go by….you may never get the chance again!

A doubt in the mind…..

medical-symbol

For those of you who have nothing better to do, you may remember that I had a little ‘medical event’ a couple of weeks ago,which we all originally agreed was probably labrynthitis (a viral infection of the balance mechanism in the inner ear).

Both I  and the consultant  had a nagging doubt that it was not that, as I felt I didn’t have all the normal symptoms which manifest themselves. There was obviously no suspicious problem in the brain (that’s not what some people say!) as the CT scan proved clear. But we all do like having such occurrences named definitively don’t we?

Lady of the House spent some time exploring the Internet and, good for her, she found what was a  more-likely reason. Having read several relevant papers and my modern text books, it does seem to fit better with my symptoms. It is often mistaken for labrynthitis, and it is only relatively-recently documented to any extent. I can therefore not hold any criticism of my receiving consultant.

Viral  vestibular neuritis (as it is wonderfully called) is an infection of the vestibular nerve, often appearing after a persistent upper respiratory infection (as in my case) and can disappear very quickly (as in my case) or dribble on for a few weeks. It is also unlikely to return….

So you can see I am a lot more re-assured, and have proved that you can learn something every day!

Back to work tomorrow!…hooray

 

A week after my medical ‘event’ I feel ready to get back to work. It’s a strange feeling…..being off for a week, ill, for the first time in 25 years. I must be frank; for the first few days I gave the businesses no consideration at all…..things are quiet anyway, but we are lucky with the folk who work with us as they are perfectly capable and so as the week went on, I was able to stay relaxed about it.

It became a feeling of  ‘so this is what retirement is like!’  But of course it wasn’t. It was not a situation of our choosing, and there was uncertainty of the medical future. On the plus side, the clock became less important and we were able to establish a very simple routine…….

GP says he sees no reason why I can’t drive if I feel OK, which contrasts with the Consultant who said I should refrain for four weeks! So what to do? Perhaps I should only drive on alternate days, or drive on a journey one way and let the Lady of the House drive on the return journey?

Despite what I said in my previous blog, I have nothing but admiration for the medical staff. Non-judgemental, they had to deal with a 12 hour shift, swearing, bad manners, alcoholics, soiled beds, all with a calmness I would find difficult to maintain. They were always ready to help in even a small way, such as getting me a glass of water. So, if any of you are watching…. many thanks.

Cleaning and hygiene within the ward have exceeded all expectation and again have to commend all those responsible.

So for a couple of hours each day, I will slowly pick-up the threads again, and hopefully lay the ghost to rest…..and be thankful that the body systems have not taken a major jolt…..so thanks to all who asked after my health.

‘The patient spent a quiet night’

hospital-ward

…..like heck he did!
I had to go into hospital unexpectedly, recently and spent the night in the receiving ward. Unfortunately, it is also probably the most noisy. Oxygen pumps, bleeping monitors, ringing phones, talking nurses, clattering heels in the corridors, coughing, snoring, and other physiological noises all contribute to a ‘background’ which makes it very difficult to get any kind of sleep or rest.

So I was glad when I was allowed to go home at teatime the next day….for a bit of peace and quiet. So I have slept on and off today.

No work for a week nor driving for a month have made life a bit of a problem, but maybe it will give me a taste of retirment! I might also get a bit more blogging done!

Singing in Hospital!

carol-singers

Last night, I joined with many others of our Church, and other Churches (in total about 40 folk), to visit a hospital at the west end of Glasgow. The event was organised by the Chaplaincy Centre, and involved dividing into groups and going round various parts of the hospital to sing carols.

You need music of course, and two other groups had a guitar, or, in one lovely case, a set of hand-bells, whilst your’s-truly brought along a keyboard for our group.

The only problem was that the keyboard did not have a stand, and was mains-powered, so at each of the locations (generally in a passageway), we had to find some flat surface to place the keyboard, a chair, and a mains-socket.

As most people realise, all of the above are in short supply in such a situation, as you can’t ACTUALLY push someone out of bed to set the keyboard down, so sometimes it was on a trolley, and sometimes on my knees! Also,  the risk of pulling-out some vital piece of life-saving equipment is always there so we had to do a lot of double-checking before getting power!

What came over to me was that there are a considerable number of people in hospital, all with their individual worries. It is something we only think about when we have to go into a hospital, or see a programme on TV.

In our general life we mostly see normal, reasonably-healthy people, and so it is easy to forget the pain, suffering, and anguish people and families are having to endure on a daily basis, and in an especially-poignant way, at this time of the year.

Does singing and music in general help in the healing process? Well, there is some evidence to show that people who sing regularly, and enjoy music, tend to have a happier disposition and a slightly-better average life. So maybe we did make a minute difference.

But it will be a long time before I will forget the look on some of those poor people. We obviously could say no more than platitudes…you sometimes just don’t know what to say.

Many of the serious cases may not make it past Christmas, but I suppose if we have raised a small smile of joy, or a glimpse of recognition of Christmasses gone past, then it will have achieved something.

It’s not a ‘man-cold’…..

….but my nose is running like a tap!…..and I have an un-requested deep husky (sexy?) voice. It may have been an allergy, or sitting in a car for a few hours with re-cycled air-conditioning (a bit like flying?).

Problem is that I am supposed to be singing with Angelus on Sunday night! Has anyone got an instant medicinal recipe (or pills) which does not involve copious amounts of alcohol? My audience awaits, but I don’t think they would like to see me swaying, or hanging-on to something, whilst my tonsils warbled uncontrollably.

What a guy!

I’m not a great TV buff, but I was intrigued with the programme last night, charting the efforts of a 16-year-old Eton boy called Alex. He suffers from Cystic fibrosis, which is normally a debilitating condition. But from somewhere, this highly-gifted lad (he is a brilliant organist) was able to carry out his ambition to conduct the College choir and orchestra.

He endured the routine of pills (over 50 a day), injections and physio with fortitude and achieved his ambition, to the acclaim of his Master, family and friends. I hope we hear more of this lad. he seemed to prove that an illness does not have to mean a disability.

Anyone who, having seen this programme, complains of a cold or a headache, should be ashamed of themselves!