Monthly Archives: May 2016


It’s possible, it seems, to send me a private message via this blog site.

I can get the message, and read it…. But I can’t reply !

Suggestion to Steph K : send me a Facebook friend request and then message me on FB – assuming you have Facebook of course!


What are the odds ?


This is a picture of my school rugby squad – at the time I was 15, and the second youngest in the picture. The oldest lads were 18.
Anybody spot me??

One of the coaches, Phil Jones ( top row, on the right ) died suddenly and unexpectantly at about 50. I think about him often.

Of that squad of fine young and strong lads, who should (statistically) all be well, 2 are paralysed ( one a paraplegic and one a tetraplegic )
Ian Matthews ( top row, number 4 from the left ) was the passenger in a car that crashed, perhaps 4 years after this photo was taken.

I think of him often, too.

Looking around

As I’ve asked around a bit and failed to find ‘ company’ for my outings on my Trike wheelchair, I’ve been going out by myself, which after getting over the very real ‘ fear’ of getting stuck somewhere and absolutely not being able to extricate myself, has proven to be ok.
I do need to exercise a lot pre massive operation to assist in my recovery – fairly obvious that a ‘fit’ me will recover better than an ‘unfit’ me.

It was being so strong that ‘saved’ me 3 years ago from almost certain death, after all.

I’ve lived in this area for such a long time, but really not explored it properly.
Now I’m doing that ( at least where I can go ) and it’s already shown me how badly I know the area. When you go down a path that you kind of knew was there, but never actually went down, it’s been a bit surprising what you can find at the end.

This stuff may not exactly be high adrenaline, but it’s better than some of the other emotions that I’m now used to.

Today I do have my buddy from school (that was a fair bit ago…) coming to visit – to accompany me on a wheel about – and that’ll be good.


I went back to the same venue as yesterday this evening, for another 2 science lectures by Imperial College, London.

They were about dead clever stuff to do with ‘ dark matter ‘ and quantum physics, but given in the very large back room of a pub ( and to an evidently quite scientifically qualified audience – well with the exception of my buddy, Mark, and myself )

At the end of the lectures the audience were all invited to take part in the also very scientific quiz, which took the form of 6 pages of questions and pictures and formulae etc.

Mark and I filled in answers to the 37 questions over the next half an hour, after which we had to swap our papers with another table, for the marking bit, after which our paper got handed back to us.

There then followed an ‘ anybody get more than 10 ?’ opening question, at which most of the room put their hands up.
The number of marks question slowly increased to ‘ anybody get 30 out of 37?’ and Mark’s hand was still up..along with 3 others.

There was tension in the room as it rose to 34 – one other guy plus us.

At 35 the other ( very nerdy looking ) fella put his hand down, stood up and clapped Mark and I – pretty good, given one of us had been written off in Toulon hospital less than 3 years ago as being very unlikely to recover speech and rational thought.
The rest of the room joined in and the applause became almost embarrassing.

When I say almost, it was because I’d actually blagged our way in there, saying that I’d bought tickets on line, when in fact I hadn’t ( as it had said it was SOLD OUT )

That and the other thing.
That, despite the organisers all being INCREDIBLY intelligent, they hadn’t factored in the morality of a Welsh guy in the room who’d been there the night before, where they’d had the SAME quiz sheet of 37 questions, and had remembered all of the answers.

The bloody bare faced cheek of Mark Pritchard, to climb the stage and accept the prize (usual collection of goodies – plasma TV, new lap top etc ) was nothing short of impressive…


A night without spasms ?
A deep sleep?

What happened there?

I’d spasmed like I was being electrocuted for the 45 minutes i was in the MRI tube yesterday – which would have rendered the scan a waste of time – they need you to keep perfectly still…
And then spasmed a lot pre getting into bed.

Then.. Nothing?

I try to backtrack and work stuff out.
Was it the 2 pints of lager shandy?
Was it the psychological effect of listening to a lecture on the ( deadly ) effects of the ‘ primary shock wave ‘ that kills people ( instantly or after a while ) that hits you just before the flying debris does in a bomb blast?

I really don’t know, and I don’t anticipate a second peaceful night.

But one was good.


My spasms as I lie in bed are ‘violent’ in their hard jerking.

It’s I suspect another UTI, and signals a poor sleep ahead.
As I do intend being at work tomorrow, it doesn’t help me.

Today Dani and I went along the river ( Thames ) tow path for an hour or so in Chiswick.

Damn, it’s all so sad and nostalgic for me seeing the place I’d put my kayak in and paddle for hours in either direction, depending on the tidal flow.
The river, for miles and miles each way is so packed with memories that it’s so hard to look at it and have a calm mind.

I’ll stay awake as long as I can ( despite feeling very tired ) in the hope that I might fall asleep and stay asleep.


Thanks to Ilona for rescuing me from a lonely night in with my own company – bad combination of just me, myself and I.

I really don’t do well when I’m alone.

Now it’s 2.30 am and only the bloody spasms to keep me awake.


Went to an art exhibition today.

It was in Olympia, in the exhibition hall.
All the work was ‘ contemporary ‘ and in the main pretty cool.
Definitely lots of talent at large.

I went to exactly the same Hall a six months ago, to a ‘ fayre’ called Spirit of Christmas.
Both today and last time, all the stuff was for sale. Last time the average price of something was probably £20, this time probably £5,000.

The last time I was there I was actually amazed by how friendly people were – the vendors and those walking about. So many smiles it was crazy.

Today a thousand people ( all adults ) must have ‘looked through me ‘ – only 2 Chinese ladies smiled at me.

It reminded me of one of my first wheelchair outings – to Queen’s Tennis Club. That day I felt like nothing.
Today it was the same – but I’m better at dealing with it.

Draw your own conclusions about sections of Society?

None the wiser.

So I got a call from my surgeon, as arranged.

Bio – no growth of infectious organisms

S16 – bacteria DVA negative

Histology – didn’t show evidence of infection, but there is inflammation

Urology to send all letters to surgeon(and results of urine stuff).

L3 and L4 discs def not normal – think should do posterior instrumental first (major op to correct 36 degree curve/ scoliosis) then a week or so after, do front (though side incision – smaller op) which take out abnormal tissue with L3/L4 cage to support spine at the front. Straightening and keeping him straight.

In prep, need all info from urologist and liaise with microbiologist at London Bridge to see what organisms he has been growing so can give best antis to limit infection in surgery site. All letters and all urinary microbiology.

What is the metal work type that French put in spine – titanium. Who manufacturer is? Try to find out – and they will check records their end first.

Ballpark figure for surgery – 2nd week of July. Hospital for 3 weeks – out beginning of August. Book rehabilitation bed for 2 weeks following that – out mid/late August.


It’s 1.20 am and the rapid tremor type spasms that are now so familiar as a UTI are back.

I expect to hear tomorrow that the recurrent UTI’s are due to the infection in my spine…

Resolving one should therefore resolve the other.

I desperately hope.