Thursday, 24 December 2009
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Health is much the same. I feel very tired and run out of energy quickly. My GPs (both of whom are leaving - I hope that's nothing to do with me being on their books) have experimented with various painkillers (on me, that is). I have persistent pain in the left side of my head that can be overbearing. Due to the kindness of friends, I've been pointed in the direction of a specialist who may be able to help. I've been referred, now. Hopefully, it won't take too long to get an appointment. Tiredness affects me hugely. If I've not slept well, the pain is worse and my walking worse the next day. I do attempt to sleep, but sometimes, that seems out of our control.
Susie and I are going to visit Pauline and the folks down there between Christmas and New Year. I'm looking forward to that. Alan and I can lounge around his place with the wood-burning stove on while drinking gallons of tea. Bliss!
Watch this space for an update. Well, Graham, I hope that wasn't too long for a third entry today??
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Well, I've been lazy despite resolutions to pay more attention to this blog. Sorry, if you've been checking back looking for updates.
So, what's been happening? Well, as far as MS goes, it's still there! My walking is slightly worse and my balance along with that. Especially, when I'm tired. Also, I've had terrible trouble with the pain in my head, which is quite debilitating. I was at the docs the other day and since I'm on the maximum daily doze of pregabalin (I mention this in a previous post so won't bore you with repetition), so, he increased the fentanyl patch strength (a synthetic morphine type drug absorbed through the skin), which I've only just started and won't know the true effects until I get back to work. It does seem to be helping, although I've had a few instances of pain, but, it's true test is when I'm in a day-to-day work situation that I'll know the true picture. However, it has made me feel a bit nauseous and lethargic. My driving seems to be OK, which is a big concern. Talking of driving, a dear friend from school days gave me a 'mobility scooter' which had belonged to her mother. I don't need this yet and I hope it's a long time before I do, but, it was a generous gift and I really appreciate that. It folds down and is in the boot of my car. We all had a shot of it round the house - it's actually quite good fun! I just got an email from her a few days ago to tell me that her mum had passed away in her sleep last weekend, which I was so sorry to hear about. When I was at school, her mother fed me on occasions when it would have taken too long to get home and back for whatever event was on in the evening. I have happy memories of her and my sincere sympathies go to the family. Bless you all.
Sunday, 2 August 2009
After the proceedings were over, we went for a pizza and had a good natter. It was after that, when Susie was enjoying the freedom of getting me moved quickly from A to B and then to C, we took a little diversion along the lower part of Buchanan Street in Glasgow, which is a pedestrian area. Loads of people and, of course, a former dental student who looked down on me in the wheelchair "Oh, hello Mr Sharkey!" Cringe.
Friday, 17 July 2009
We didn't. We went plane observing. Honestly. He had a new camera to try out and I brought a flask of tea. I couldn't believe it when a genuine plane spotter came and asked us "if we got the reg of that little Swiss twin turbo that came in about half an hour ago?" I was gobsmacked. They do exist.
It was a great day out. We had a flask of tea and filled rolls and saw some lovely aircraft close-up.
My friend (who wishes to remain strictly anonymous) got some really good photographs, despite the changing weather conditions which went from glorious sunshine to an electrical storm, dark grey skies and lashing rain.
When Matthew was last home I asked him to drill some holes and place this bird feeder so it can be seen from the lounge window. Here are some photos taken through the window:
I know that this is a bluetit. He (if it’s a ‘he’) is looking a bit old and weary. Remember to click for the bigger picture!
In the last posting I talked about where we held the camps. I should talk about why? and also refer to what goes on?
Why? Easy question and easy answer. The Church camps give an opportunity for Christians, either members of our Church or those associated with it, to get together for a concerted and focused time of thought, reflection, teaching, prayer and opportunity to get help with issues and problems in our lives that are causing us trouble (this could be anything from those who haven't yet made a decision to follow Jesus Christ and are looking for the experience of forgiveness of sins and receiving God into there lives [a very, very real experience] or those seeking the experience I mentioned before called the baptism of the Holy Spirit (a second experience for Christians [see Acts 2 in the Bible] in which a powerful filling of the Holy Spirit takes place with the associated experience given to "speak in other tongues") to those who have drug or alcohol addictions or been involved in the occult or witchcraft and feel a shadow has entered their lives and are looking for God to remove this from them and set them free. If you're reading this and haven't heard anything like this before, then could I refer you to the first Christian book I ever read called The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson. You'll find a lot will make sense after you read that. (Available from Amazon, etc).
What? What takes place? There are 'meetings' (services) morning and evening with a mixture of Bible teaching/exposition and prayer (mornings) and a preaching-type meeting in the evening, often with the opportunity to respond and come for prayer afterwards. Examples of sermons are available for download here. In the afternoons, there are often activities for children/young people, or after lunch the more mature among us go for a long nap!
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
There are only two round towers left in Scotland, but, quite a few in Ireland. The ones, apparently, that show similar carvings to the one at Brechin are from around the ninth century so, I imagine, that's why this tower is sometimes called 'Pictish' - I suppose we'll never really know.
Today, we simply had breakfast and after returning to the room to rest a bit, we went to see the Discovery - Captain Scott's ship that left for Antarctica in 1901 - and ended up ice-bound for two years, eventually 20 miles from the open sea! It got free after a major thaw and the use of explosives to break up the ice. The exhibition is very good and the ship is impressive, if a little difficult to navigate with a walking stick!
Some photos below. The other project I and my good friend Colin, have begun is to build a computer. I'm hoping to get it finished tomorrow - I'll keep you updated on whether it works or gives out some blue smoke all of a sudden!
Matthew at the helm and the Discovery from the starboard side.
Anyway, on a nice positive note it's the end of the academic term. In fact it ended on the 19th June and last week we had some 'in service' time which was good. I gave a presentation on an educational theme about giving effective verbal feedback. It seemed to go down well, but, it's the first time in years that I've been nervous about speaking on front of people. I did it from a seated position, which seemed to be acceptable.
I'm planning on having a few days' rest and catch up on a few things I've got to do and then see what the future's going to hold. Matthew is still here and due back in camp next week. We had a couple of days away in Dundee and I'll post some photographs in the next posting.
Thursday, 4 June 2009
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Below is the new shower room. It was amazing to watch them work and rip the room apart before rebuilding it with new floor and shower tray - then the floor gets laid on top of that and sealed at the edges.
This is the new front door from the inside. It's wider and the there's no step as you enter.
Friday, 8 May 2009
Sunday, 26 April 2009
MS weekly update 26th April 2009
It's been a difficult week because of pain. I mentioned in a previous entry in the blog that the three main areas MS affects me are walking and balance, fatigue and neuropathic pain. The pain affects the left side of my head and radiates down my neck. It's like having toothache in your head. It's severe, localised and debilitating. I only have relief from it when I'm asleep, which makes sense as the nerves reduce their activity in sleep and I often don't have any pain for a few minutes after I wake up in the morning. When this pain first developed just over a year ago, I began to take ibuprofen 400mg increasing to four times daily. After approximately three or four months of this I found that it just wasn't controlling the pain. I would sit with my head back resting on the back of a chair and be unable to function in any way - work or conversation. Anything. Susie eventually called my GP (I was going to wait until I saw the consultant - she felt this was too far away), and he prescribed diclofenac. I took it faithfully, but, it didn't really help much. Luckily, my appointment with the neurologist was coming up!
When I described the pain to the neurologist he simply said that he could help.He prescribed gabapentin for me. I'll leave out the funny stories about how euphoric it made me (I loved the world and everyone in it for about two weeks!). It helped. It was day and night compared with the other analgesics. I had about 80 - 85% control over the pain and I was able to work most of the day and function reasonably normally. However, if I stepped up the dosage during a bad few days of pain then it made me feel so lethargic and tired that I lay on the couch and slept most of the time.
A couple of months ago, having previously spoken with an oral medicine consultant who recommended a different drug with less side effects, I saw the MS specialist nurse and asked if I could change to pregabalin, which is more expensive, but, has less side effects. I found the same euphoric side effects initially (as the consultant said, I 'stepped up' the dosage too quickly - but, you don't get any pain control unless you take the tablets!). I certainly had better pain control and I wasn't so tired. In fact, I felt the best I've felt for ages and didn't have to lie down so much. I felt I'd got my life back. However, this week has been bad. Whether the pain is worse and simply 'breaking through', or whether the drug has less effect now after a 'honeymoon' period, all I know is that the pain has been back with a vengeance despite the fact that I've been taking the medication religiously. So, what next?
When I spoke to the Oral med consultant, he said that I should try a combination of medications. He suggested fentanyl patches. These are similar to nicotine patches but contain a synthetic opioid. I haven't got these yet, but I think I'll ask my GP to prescribe them. The one side effect that's common with them is constipation - so, I'm off to Tesco to buy a couple of litres of prune juice - just in case!
The molecular structure - for those who like to know these things!
Other areas that MS affects me are standing for any length of time, little irritating things like crossing my legs or getting out of the car. Anything that involves accurate movement of feet or legs. Strangely enough, driving is OK, probably because I'm seated and my feet know what to do. I don't have the balance problem in the car - I think that this is because the seat is molded and helps a lot with support. I'll leave this week's report there and hopefully, have an update on the pain management next week. 'Til next time.
Friday, 24 April 2009
"What did you write about?" came an immediate reply from the long-suffering spouse.
"Em, the Easter Conference and then that programme I saw on iPlayer - you know, that Narnia Code one."
"And, did you write anything about MS?" came the immediate retort with a little more than a hint of reprimand.
"No, I forgot."
"You forgot! But, that's what people want to read about!"
"But, I don't want to write about MS!"
The deafening sound of silence threatened from the next room.
"Oh, OK. I'll do it in a day or two." The husband sighed.
A couple of days later he began to type: "So, how is the MS?......"
Let's return to Easter weekend as it's more interesting!
We had a visitor.