All posts by Russ

Cake.

And today is my birthday

All birthday 🎁 s gratefully received obviously.

Lovely to have spent last night with some very close friends, Wendy. and my daughter, Lily. It’s been a mixed week, with good, like last night, and definitely not so good, like Thursday when a result in a Physics exam meant no Oxford University for Lily this year, at least.

Oxford are notorious for being absolutely adherent to their grade requirements, not bending a lot if any. When you are due to study English there, then ought your grade in Physics really be that relevant? Well I don’t make the rules so what I think isn’t going to influence them, but you’d think 2 A stars and a B ( her results ) is actually BETTER than the asked for 3 As ( not A stars ). But the rules is the rules, apparently, so it means a year not at school and a retake next year.

Having got her initial huge disappointment behind her, she’s now planning her year ahead. This will be her first year not at school, and the first year that she is no longer a child, and suddenly she’s seeing it as a year of opportunity that she hadn’t planned on having. Lots say that it’s better to start Uni with a year of self sufficiency behind you and you are more rounded for that, so like it or not that’s the new path.

I think she’ll have a great year, and the bonus for me is that she’ll be around for 12 more months. We have a lot of time to catch up on, so I am hoping very much to be able to do that.

Today.

…. is A level results day.

If you or someone you know didn’t quite get what they wanted, then they can take solace in this. People do get on in life without having great academic records…

Challenging.

I was sleepy all day yesterday. I kept uncharacteristically yawning, and by 6.30 I just wanted to go to sleep. I got helped into bed, tried to stay awake but gave up by 8.30 and was asleep.

I woke up at 3.30am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Every time I thought I was nodding off a leg would jerk ( in a way that hasn’t happened for a long time ). I did sleep, I think at about 7.15 though, just about at the time when Gawain came in to start my day, so he woke me up. I was aware that I felt negatively towards him, and critical, for absolutely no reason. I felt impatient and had no urge to chat as I normally do.

It’s been about 2 and a half years since I’ve definitely had a Urine Tract Infection, so I’d forgotten the effects and symptoms. The penny dropped however when I saw the colour of my urine and that it had filaments floating in it. Unlike years ago, I now keep a course of antibiotics at all times, that I can start when I suspect I have one, which then stops the UTI from worsening, but before I’d have to wait a few days for a GP appointment that was just hard to even get to, have a test, which took a few days, whilst the UTI became entrenched in me, and eventually about 6 days after it had started I’d begin the treatment. It would be 3 days before I started to recover at all, so all in all at least a week of being irrational, depressed, and paranoid, during which time any interactions with people would definitely be affected negatively ( as in I would be anything varying from sullen to unpleasant, and always negative ). When you have dementia or have a spinal cord injury ( and I’m sure other things too ) UTI’s affect you in a different way from when you are ‘ normal ‘. We 2 groups of people are mentally adversely affected whereas ‘ normal people ‘ aren’t in the same way.

Between 2014 and 2016 I had UTI’s probably half of the time. One was either starting, I had one raging, or I was coming out of one. I would have maybe a week between infections, where I’d be merely depressed as hell about being paralysed. The UTI time I’d be paralysed, as depressed as hell, plus paranoid and irrational.

As I write this, thanks to the double dosage tablets I’ve taken, I already feel myself more or less, thank God.

I can’t go back in time and change anything, and things happen that are irreversible. I do know that the best people rode the storm with me though, and those that weren’t strong enough were either swept away, or abandoned ship.

Survival of the fittest, and that’s the natural way of things.

And we made the mistake of going to see The Greatest Showman at an outdoor cinema tonight.

No, it didn’t rain or anything, it’s just that it really was a load of crap. No, I really don’t like musicals, and the ones that are in films are even worse. …

How can Wolverine now be a singing circus owner? Over produced nonsense, or what?

The setting was cool though- Hampton Court.

🤞💥

And EVER SO GOOD to see my 2 daughters this weekend, and with my parents too.

Let’s hope for a repeat of the first more often 🤞

And let’s hope to avoid repeats of Wales losing to the English as they did today. It was like playing against a team of those Transformer things, but the ones made in the South Sea Islands.

So good!

And a big THANK YOU to Chris Cats for last night’s invite to see the brilliant Johnny Marr in the Southbank.

He’s not a household name, Johnny that is, but he is just the most incredible guitarist and has been in really top bands.

Anyway, Chris Cats isn’t his real name. Wendy called him that as a way of remembering him, as he had 2 cats.

Then he and his girlfriend split up and took the cats, so then he became Chris No Cats Now.

That was a mouthful so we were glad when he got back together with the cats ( which involved reuniting with his former girlfriend ) and now is once more Chris Cats.

Thought I ought explain that.

Lovely!

As I mentioned, I have a gay carer now. Fine chap, really cheerful, who is doing the job because he actually chooses to, and wants to. His name is Wayne, but I call Gawain. No reason why, just seems to be right.

There are certain things that he’s better at than others, and Gawain definitely likes the more ‘ creative ‘ jobs.

He’s also good at giving me a scrub in the mornings. I can do all the bits that I can reach myself, but not the bits I can’t. I don’t think my bottom has ever been washed so thoroughly before either. I can’t actually feel or see what he’s doing, but I’m guessing he’s giving it a good going over every morning that he comes …

My LGBTQW credentials have never been higher…

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly too..

I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘ friends ‘ and relationships of late. Yesterday my Yukon canoe partner Rob came for the day and did all kinds of stuff to make my flat safer, as well as spend time with me. What I get from young Rob is unconditional friendship, plain and simple. The lad CARES about me, and loves me ( no, not in a gay way, tho who knows if it was just him and me on a desert island….. ) Whether I am this endurance athlete and business owner etc etc, or whether I am disabled and have lots of challenges that mean I can’t do most of the stuff we used to do together ( and what drew us to be friends ) it patently makes no difference to Rob. I’ve struggled with this a lot. Are people just fickle, or have I just let them down by having a crippling injury, and then being down about it for a few years plus and so it’s my fault?
The answer would seem to be that no matter what you yourself do, it doesn’t alter other people’s behaviour. They will act as they they will, and do what comes naturally to them, and if that means just forgetting all about a ‘ friend ‘ then that’s what they’ll do, and here’s the crux – it won’t occur to them that they have done anything ‘wrong’ ( at all ). To them it’s a completely logical decision. Any small twinges of guilt are quickly dismissed, as guilt affects resolve.

I saw a chap the other day who I hadn’t seen for a few years. He told me that he was getting divorced and also that he and his wife were losing their house. Her brother had misappropriated family money and as a consequence their home ( which was essentially a family asset ) now didn’t belong to them. The brother wasn’t in the slightest bit concerned that he had f’d up his sister’s life, he’d just done his property deal and that was one acceptable consequence, to him. He sleeps easily at night. People behave in callous ways, for sure, and as ‘callous ‘ implies they feel absolutely no remorse at all.

I had a business partner of almost 20 years when I had my accident. We were close, I thought. After my accident, I saw little of my partner, she came to the hospital twice in 9 months, despite it being 40 minutes away, only. I remember being incredibly confused by how she was to me. Later she questioned my confusion ( as my exit from our business was being arranged ) saying that ‘ well we were never friends, just business partners ‘.
To her, it was simple. She had this able partner and they had a business together. He became unable and therefore couldn’t contribute what he could before, in the same way, so of course he had to go. Why didn’t he understand that simple concept, she thought. And why would he be upset in any way?
She took it far further and did some very destructive things to ensure I had no choice but to exit, but ultimately the principle was the same – that her actions ( to her ) were totally justified in the circumstances, as a business decision, and emotion and friendship ceased to be her concern. I had often wondered why this woman didn’t seem to have many ( in fact any ) close friends, as to me she surely ‘deserved ‘ to have had ( and none of the staff liked her at all ) but now it’s obvious why – she had a cold character where only what she stood to gain ( or lose ) was of any consequence to her. Two years after my injury our other partner died from having a brain tumour ( at 45 years old ) and I observed her almost complete emotional detachment as his health deteriorated rapidly. Her only ‘ emotions ‘ were about business performance during his decline. After he died she never made any contact with her former partner’s widow ever again ( and I’ve heard nothing from her since my exit ) declining even to be involved, or contribute to, raising money to fly his coffin abroad so that he could be interred with his mother. For her, it would have been HER misfortune to have had 2 partners inconveniently become no use, and no doubt now celebrates her ‘success in surviving it’.
For 2 out of 3 partners to have had catastrophic turns in their lives was surely unusual, for the 2 good ones to have suffered, and the bad one get off Scott free, was just a cruel turn of fate. I wish well to everyone in general, but to my ex partner I have no such desire; I hope she suffers a slow and painful end, and I get to see it. For sure, she’ll find out what it’s like to be deserted in her hours of need, as she obviously still has no true friends, only people she uses. Those people certainly won’t be at her hospital bedside when she needs them, and actually neither will be anyone from the successful company that she still works for. The company will feel no great moral duty to her ( as it is an entity rather than a person ), and it is a great company ( and was blameless and honourable in every way ) , and very good at what it does ( and a company can’t dictate that its employees behave in a certain way emotionally – that’s just unrealistic ) , but she’ll find that as you live by the sword then so too you will die by it.

You couldn’t make it up.

So anyway, as some may recall I have vegetables growing in planters here in my garden. I’ve never grown vegetables before so I’m no expert. In fact I’m no expert on food at all, other than fruit and nuts.

But some peas did grow, and so I ate those raw, straight from the pods, and they were lovely.

Yesterday I noticed that the Sweetpea flowers that Wendy had planted now seemed to have pea pods too, as in loads of them. I assumed that they had to be about the same, so I opened a pod and tasted a few peas. To me they tasted the same as the other normal ones, so I ate about 15 of the pods, so about 80 odd peas.

I didn’t think anything more of it, until Wendy said today that the sweetpea had pods. I mentioned that I’d eaten loads. She sort of looked at me as if I was joking. I asked why she thought I wouldn’t ? She looked at me again, and said ‘ because they are POISONOUS!’

Well I’m not dead, I thought, so they can’t be! I don’t even feel ill, let alone poisoned.

She googled it. Guess what eating them does to you?

Ha! It can paralyse you! Make you paraplegic! Ha! Too late! I’m obviously immune to that one, so there, do your worst, lil sweet peas, I thought ( well, think )

See, it’s impossible to get me. Another life used up.

It does cause brain damage in kids, and breathing problems, but I’m not a kid and my lungs are a bit buggered already, so as far as I can tell I’m the same as before.

I don’t intend snacking on any more though.