Desmond still hasn’t arrived yet.

You may remember in my last post (if you don’t, just scroll down a little), I talked about getting the theme tune to Desmonds on Vinyl, and how excited I was at this particular series of events… you may have also noticed that I haven’t updated you with anything since then… and that’s because there’s nothing to report. As you can guess by the title of the post, it still hasn’t arrived. I’ve bugged the vendor who have said there’s been difficulties in manufacture, and the latest date they have is September 15th.

I did hear back from the producer of the record, which is nice, so I’ll include a bit of that if and when the record arrives, as it gives a nice little insight into the origin of the theme.

In other news, as I haven’t really been blogging much, I had another operation on my foot a couple of months ago (I don’t think it was long after I bought that Desmonds record), and my foot is healed. I just hope it stays that way.

I didn’t really do a blog about it… initially I intended to, but it literally was about as uneventful as things go. Of course, I did talk about the operation, so in order to pad this out a little, let’s flash back to the start of June…. (cue wibbly effects)…

Oh, and if you don’t like reading about operations, just skip bast the bold section below…

Strap yourselves in, folks, as things are about to get graphic. No photos thankfully. I don’t think they’d have liked me updating Facebook with photos.

Anyhoo. There I am, in the theatre, flat to the boards, with my left leg in the air. My only view was of the three ceiling lights, and a load of pipes, presumably for oxygen and stuff.

In goes the cannula. A device whose name escaped me until just now.

My leg was smothered in KY Jelly. Trying to take my mind off things, I wondered if that was a brand name, or just a general term. I never bothered looking it up, but by the time this goes “to print”, I’m sure I will have. (EDIT: I didn’t.)

There was talk about arteries, and I could feel some device pressing on my leg. I’m guessing this was some type of ultrasound. Dunno for certain, as my view was still of the ceiling.

It was then that the injections started, obviously for the anaesthetic. Pretty much felt like I was a dartboard at that point. I could feel each one going in, followed by a strange sensation I can’t describe, sort-of like everything was going tight.

The anaesthetist would be verbally confirming how much he was giving me, millilitres by millilire, and I guess he wasn’t allowed to just bung the whole lot in one go.

I still had sensation in my feet, like I could acknowledge when the specialist prodded something, but there was no feeling. They tested it with cold spray. Nothing. It was so weird.

Then, the operation itself began. It started with a few crunching noises. It initially sounded like he was cutting my big toenail. Whenever I get that particular nail done at the podiatrists, it always makes a satisfying crunch. Not this time, however, he was more than likely breaking my toe in order to be able to fuse it. Lovely.

It was at that point tried to think of anything other than what was happening around me… My music collection come to mind, and I thought of a way to improve my personal MP3 database (I have an SQL database with the details of my CD rips in them. it should be trivial to include a link to the music files themselves, to save me having to copy and paste the filename each time… In case you were wondering).

In a vain hope to take my mind off the noises even further (and the fact the specialist was now clearly using a screwdriver on my foot) I had a brief conversation about my music collection. I mentioned I had a copy of Manuel from Fawlty Towers singing “Shaddap You Face”. I’m not sure if the guy was impressed or just feeling sorry for me.

At this point, my view changed. They adjusted the bed so I was no longer starting at the ceiling. This was a bit more comfortable.

Now, obviously, I still couldn’t see exactly what was going on, as they had a screen up… Oh, wait. I could see exactly what was happening

Now, you know those big operating theatre lights? (These ones were manufactured by a company called Getinge, which made me think of someone saying “Get In” whilst pissed) Naturally, you can’t see anything in the reflection of the lights, as they’re all concave, but the reflection of the white shiny arm that connected the lights to the ceiling gave me the PERFECT view.

Thankfully, it was pretty much over at this point, but still, they had to sever the tendon and sew everything back together. It’s one of those things were you can’t NOT watch….

I could either just stare straight ahead at the blue cloth, or I could look to my top right and watch all the action. “Oooh, that’s a lot of blood”. I can’t even watch anyone get injected, I nearly snap my neck away from the telly every time a COVID story comes on the telly, so exactly why this proved so fascinating shall remain a mystery. Maybe I was “getting high on my mortality” as Sinead Lohan once sang.

In record collecting news, I’ve been out buying lots more CDs. Seems quite a few places have had a glut of CD donations and are therefore getting rid of them pretty cheaply. I haven’t had that much luck with the boot fairs – obviously my access to these has been limited too, but I did pick up The World of BBC TV Themes for 50p. This is the only known release that includes the full length theme to “Rockcliffe’s Babies”, performed by Paul Hart, Joe Campbell and the children from the Corona Stage School. Who’d have thought they’d have became so famous over the past two years? Oh, wait.

So, yeah. That’s been a very quick life update. Esentally, nothing’s happened for months…. nothing’s new there, then.

2020. Oh. (Part 1 maybe)

“The year in review” is a post that I’d write anually, going through some of the highlights of the particular year that we’re about to leave behind, and maybe pick up on some of the highlights that weren’t covered by the blog. Many, many people would quite happily sit down and write this off as the worst year on record, me included, so just for fun, I’m going to go through this year with the palest rose-tinted spectacles imaginable, sift through the excrement and see if I canpick out a golden nugget of sweetcorn that makes me think, and you, my dear reader, that 2020 wasn’t all bad.

JANUARY

Yep, so there it is. Exactly midnight. I can confirm I brought in the new year filming my watch on my phone. I think this was about as rock and roll as it got. January 2nd saw our bin not getting emptied because someone had dumped a black sack into our recycling bin. But wait! January 3rd made me discover a culinary delight…

Roasties Butty Day… the day where I went to Fast Snacks for a chip butty, only to find out they didn’t have any chips. What? Turns out that roasties in a bun, plus a bit of curry sauce over them is actually pretty awesome. Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of them so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

January 11th saw a trip to Betterzade, the record shop in Northallerton. I think I managed to get there twice this year, maybe three times? Other shops were involved too, of course. And I con’t care how old I get, doing this is still funny, and always will be…

Turns out I was predicting the future there, and it turns out 2020 was an absolute BF H of a year.

January 18th appears to be the day I started playing Pokemon Go again, thanks to the new phone. This has genuinely been the only thing keeping me sane in the last 12 months. I didn’t realise it’d been that long.

January 25th saw one of only two music gigs in the entire year, at Newcastle for Insomnium.   Really enjoyed this night. I think, by this time, rumours of the pandemic had just started to circle No concern at this point, obviously.

Insomnium, at the Riverside, Newcastle, 25th January 2020
Conjurer supporting.

FEBRUARY 2020

So far, my one and only trip to PLAY BREW in Middlesbrough, barring a brief stop during the easing of lockdown. A nice little “micro brewery” in the middle of an industrial estate in Middlesbrough.

This was a good night out, which ultimately ended in Loons, which is standard for a night out. Little did I know this was the only time I’d be in this establishment this year. 

The weather was a little stormy around this time, with Storm Ciara whipping the sea up and keeping me awake. No sooner had Storm Ciara dissipated, Storm Dennis moved in.

Storm Dennis

I bought a motherboard from Jamie o allow me to upgrade the Mean Green Ripping machine. It’s not mean and it’s not green, but at least it’s got a new motherboard. I also stuck an SSD up its grundle, and it runs like an absolute dream. Its a shame that I’ve hardly had chance to use it. I typed this on 25th February…

In other news, the mean green ripping machine is complete. I might have to pick up a wireless dongle for it though as it’s a bit of a pain dragging that 15 metre cable through the house. Probably should have got one when I was at Falcon [Cmputers, in Sunderland], but then I didn’t know that the one I had for it was complete rot.

Talking about complete rot, my foot flared up again, Turns out there was another infection on it which required different antibiotics to what I’d had in the past

My foot wasn’t the only thing getting infected, as the “entire world” was starting to get infected with COVID-19. The news of this bloody virus spread throughout the world, and cases began to rise. It was clear that a lockdown was inevitable. Thankfully, this didn’t happen quite yet, and I was able to attend one final gig in Newcastle. It became clear, however, that having so many people in such a small area is something that was not going to happen anymore


The month ended with the only Hartlepool record fair, where I ended up smashing a record 30 seconds after getting it home. Unbelieveable. This was on the leap day.

It was a particularly windy day too as I found out to my cost too. I picked up a particularly cheesy single for 66p. I got it home, took it out the back to take a photo of it, and it blew off the wheely bin, blew across the garden and snapped in half on a chair. Wounded.

MARCH

Word had began to circulate that we might have to start working from home. It was only a rumour, however, and for at least, for the beginning of the month, the world continued as normal, except that the paranoia started to kick in, especially when on the bus. The sound of every cough and sneeze being amplified. The grime etched into the stop buttons becoming even more noticeable.

The most exciting time of the year so far happened when the fluorescent “circline” tube in the front room died. It became mercury starved… for environmental reasons, the amount of mercury vapour in fluorescent tubes has been reduced. Over time, the mercury vapour that is in the tube seeps into the glass, meaning that over time, there’s no ultraviolet light formed to excite the phosphor on the inside of the tube, meaning the tube essentially dies by lighting a very dull pink. This had happened over the period of a few weeks, until the light output “fell off a cliff” so I’d already ordered a new tube in preparation. Surprisingly the first time I’ve fitted one of those tubes.

March 7th saw the last day out before lockdown, as i got the bus to Durham. I discovered there was more than one record stall in the indoor market. This would be my last record purchase until the summer, which is just as well, as it contained The Krankies’ “Fan Dabi Dozi”.

March 17 saw the beginning of the end. Shops were starting to run out of the essentials… even Iceland had ran out of eggs.

March 18 was the last time I’d be in the office, and March 19 was my first full day working from home. Initally, I didn’t like it….

It’s pretty lonely sat here. I’ve had Talk Sport blasting for most of the day just for the sound of someone else’s voice. Daddykins was downstairs for most of the day, so I could at least say stuff to him, but even then, he’s buggered off upstairs, so I’m left with this laptop. I’m getting sick of talk sport, so I can’t even listen to it anymore.

And that’s where I’m going to leave Part 1. We’re deep into lockdown by this point, and I’m going to need to do some proper research if I’m going to pad it out enough for a Part 2…

My left foot, part 3!

Well, that last post was a slight detour from the current subject matter. It’s been a week since the whole steak incident, so we now return to your scheduled programming – the ongoing saga with my bloody foot! Anyway, I’ll continue where I left off. You’ll have to read below if you want a recap

July 30th came. It was a dreary Tuesday. Once again, the trip was made to North Tees.. The specialist was a jolly man. who spoke with a news-reader type voice. I entered the office, took my shoes and socks off, and he had a play around with my toes. After lots of umming and ahhing, (the type you get when a builder is inspecting your boiler (oo-er), and thinks the job is going to be rather costly), and it was decided that the best decision was to cut part of my toe off.

Well, the beWHAT? THEY’RE GOING TO WHAT? Admittedly, the next few minutes are a blur, as I had to come to terms with actually losing a body part. Thankfully, he dictated what he was going to do, and sent me a letter with it all on. Basically, there were lots of technical terms referring to lobbing off a bit of toe. It did start, however, with him calling me “This chap”. But, in a nutshell, my toes appeared to be “clawing”, as in, they’re permanently clenched in, and the tip of the toe had been rubbing so much that it probably wasn’t going to be able to be saved. There’s probably a technical name in that letter, but I can’t be arsed to look it up.

He also berated my choice of footwear. Apparently, walking boots were crap for this type of foot problem, which was entirely contradictory of what I was told by another foot specialist, who measured me up for my insoles just a few months before. For fuck’s sake.

A lady from orthotics came in and measured my feet, while the specialist went through his extensive checklist of what could happen during the operation. Strangely, a lot of bladder related stuff and not much else. It was arranged for me to have my pre-op assessment now. This was basically because it’s a 30-mile round-trip to get from the leafy grounds of Mercuryvapour Towers, to North Tees hospital.

All this entailed was a lot of box ticking, and a quick examination. “Your blood pressure’s a little high…” said the nurse. I felt like saying “Well, so would yours be if you’ve just been told you’re getting part of your toe cut off…”. A second reading was lower, so it was probably just my white coat syndrome kicking in.

On the way home, I began to concoct some jokes, after all, laughter is the best medicine. This lasted all of about half an hour, before I began to think of someone I know who started off losing a toe, then all of his toes, then his foot, then his leg below his knee, and eventually died. Sure, he had other health problems, but I began to think “Is this how it starts…” Depression certainly kicked in for a few days I certainly wasn’t in a good place for this time. It was a case of waiting for the letter to plop through the door with the date of when I was getting the chop.

The date of my operation came through, and it was exactly a week from when the letter was dated. I genuinely can’t work out if this made me feel better or worse. I had the date. It could all be over, or it could just be the beginning.

I filled the time with a few trips out. The Sunday consisted of a rather disappointing Redcar car boot sale. I’m guessing this may have just been because of the time of year, but thankfully, the walk around Redcar more than made up for it. There was one store called “Goodwins” that had an metric shit-ton of random CDs, listed for a quid.

Despite being a quid a pop, I didn’t bother getting any. There were far too many to look through, and there was far too much crap to contend with. “Top Musicians Play Sting And The Police”…. Maybe my heart just wasn’t in it.

I returned from the car boot with literally a handful of CDS and a few records. There just weasn’t very much at all. I needed something to pass the time while I was off, and cataloguing an absolute pile of CDs would have been ideal. Oh well.

This day was the penultimate day before the operation. The next day just involved work, and telling everyone that I’ll “see them when I see them”. The rest of that day was then spent going around the town, grabbing the finer essentials, namely a pair of slippers and a dressing gown for the hospital. This was also the day that I received some devastating news about the death of Rab, an old work colleague. This put things into perspective a bit. I was losing a bit of a toe. Some people have much worse problems.

All there was left to do now was to attempt to get some sleep and hope that tomorrow, and the stay in hospital would come and go quickly….And so will part 4!

Can’t take me anywhere…

Well, it just seems that I’m seeing the inside of hospitals more frequently than I am my own house at the moment. Sit down, dear friends, and I shall tell a story. For those of you who were looking forward to part three of the foot saga, that’s coming soon enough. Imagine this as a little side-episode into my unfortunate life, where I once again, end up in a hospital.

Today was a Saturday. (It’ll probably be Sunday by the time you read this, but never mind). Jamie S fancied a day trip to Newcastle via the train. It’s been a while since we’d done anything on the rattler, so it made a bit of a change. We got there at just before 2PM. The first stop (after a brief stop at a couple of charity shops) was to get some grub. Now, the worst thing about being ina big city at that time is trying to find somewhere to eat. Wagamama’s is my new favourite spot. I have a thing for their Firecracker chicken, it’s amazing. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the queue was pretty much out of the door. Bad news. Same for Nandos, so this meant we had to find somewhere else. A few months ago I’d had a lovely steak at Red’s BBQ place, so although it’s a bit more expensive, we agreed to go there. Perfect.

Meals were ordered, and I looked forward to my steak. I got it medium. Just fancied a change from medium rare. The food came, and I started. After one single solitary mouthful, the worst thing happened. I’d clearly not chewed my bit of steak correctly, because as I swallowed, I knew that it was not going down. Now, this sometimes happens if I have a large piece of bread, and normally a bit of a drink pushes it down and we’re good to go again. Nope, not this time.

I took a drink, and I couldn’t swallow it. It was going nowhere. The only thing that was shifting was the drink of coke I had, and that was coming upwards. Panic started to set in, some people thought I was choking. Some people slapped me on the back, but this didn’t shift it. The staff were concerned at this point. I went to the toilet to try and bring it up, but nope. Nothing happened. This steak was well and truly lodged.

The shopping centre staff came involved, and called 999. This was the first time I’d ever had anything like that called for me. There’s been a lot of firsts when it comes to hospitals over the last couple of months. Anyway, the 999 service recommended I go to the RVI. They weren’t sending an ambulance because I was obviously in no immediate danger. I could breathe. There was no blood. It was just a bit of stuck meat. An incredibly uncomfortable bit of stuck meat, and I didn’t realise until then, that the RVI was only 10 minutes walk away. I was told not to try and bring it up myself.

I could feel my body trying to shift this foreign object, like a sharp pain just below my throat., and the motion of walking really didn’t help.

It’s not until you’re unable to swallow properly that you realise just how much saliva you actually produce, and it had to go somewhere. Out of my mouth, and into pretty much every place I could find. Hedges, drains, anywhere. It was not pleasant, and I’m sure anyone else watching would have found me disgusting, without actually knowing what was going on..

We got to the A+E, Jamie S helped me check in because I was unable to speak without running to the door and expelling a load of saliva. Usual triage procedure took place. Blood pressure, heart rate, etc, and I was told to go back to the waiting area. This was awful. The action of sitting just made me feel worse, so I had to stand for the entire time. I’d often clear my head by going outside and resting on the barriers. Again, I was running to the toilet every few minutes to empty my mouth, and sometimes, this did trigger a vomit. A rather loud, painful vomit.. Naturally, there was very little coming up. Certainly no steak.

Time passed. Jamie S amused himself by extracting the urine, and keeping me updated on the football scores. After about an hour of waiting around, the third vomit session took place. Again, nothing of any significance happened A bit of liquid, but nothing resembling steak.

I went back outside to cool off, and then I noticed… I could swallow. I didn’t want to bring up anything. Had that last one fixed the problem? I came back inside, and Jamie S said he’d noticed I’d looked better. Immediately after this, my name was called, by the doctor. I went in.

“Doc, this might literally be your easiest issue of the day”.

Indeed it was, he gave me a glass of water, and thankfully it stayed down. Panic, and this little traumatic episode, well and truly over. There was still time, so we headed back to Eldon Square. As luck would have it, we managed to bump into the staff who helped me out, so said a massive thanks to them.

I feel I have a few thanks to say, and apologies. None of these will ever read this (Jamie S might just read it to correct my spelling), but thanks all the same…

Thanks and apologies to Jamie S. I ruined your Saturday, and you’ve had to put up with me spewing up. Again.
Apologies to the staff at Red’s. You did a wonderful steak, and I took one bit out of it. I am genuinely heartbroken at the waste of such a good meal. It wasn’t your fault. It was mine. I’m such a prick. Sorry. Apologies also to the other patrons that were there, and many, many thanks to the people who helped. I hope I didn’t spoil your day.
Many thanks to the Eldon Square staff for their help. You were all greatly supportive, especially to the guy who walked us to where we needed to be.
Apologies to the people walking down The Great North Road and St. Thomas’ Street who would have saw me spitting. It’s an awful habit. I had good reason, which I hope you’ll now understand.
Apologies to the people in the waiting room with me, especially those within earshot of the toilet, who would have heard me retching my ring up.

I’m genuinely just wracked with guilt and embarrassment about the whole day. This has been a public service announcement. I’ve been Mark Lamarr, and this has been Never Mind the Buzzcocks. *theme music plays*

My left foot, part 2

A quick round-up for those who missed part 1. Back in 2016, I went walking, got an ulcer in my foot, which didn’t get seen to until 2017 Fast forward two years later, I no longer have a hole in my foot. That’s all sorted. Hurrah, huzzah, and other noises in the similar vein. That was no longer a concern. What WAS a concern however, were my toes. I can’t remember how far through the blog I got, but about 6 months after getting the problem with the base of my foot, I also started getting problems with the toes. I remember it starting with an absolutely massive blister under the nail of my 2nd to biggest toe. This came as a shock to me, as I didn’t even know if was there, thanks to the lack of feeling in my toes. It’s somewthing that has a name, but I don’;t have the “documentation” to hand.

This went through cycles. I’d go to the one-life. The base would start to get better, then the toe would start. The toe would get better, tyhen the base would rupture, and I’d end up with this never-ending cycle of pus coming out of my foot. Occasionally, there’s be an infection, and I’d get a dose of tablets, usually, Flucloxicillin, or however it’s spelt.

At some point during the summer, it flared up again. It went all red and puffy, so just on the safe side, the lady took a swab, and it did indeed come back with some type of infection. I remember clearly that the tablets started with M, and I was to receive a call from my doctor when they were ready to pick up. Nothing. No phone call. Had she changed her mind? Had she forgotten? Now, I probably should have checked myself but I didn’t. I waited until the next week, and confirmed there should have been some tablets. Alrighty then. Off to the chemists, aaaand… 4 boxes of Flucloxicillin. Waaaait, that doesn’t begin with M.

I went back to the one-life to see what I should have been prescribed, but nobody could tell me what. I asked the lovely receptionist, though as I suspected, she couldn’t see. I went into the clinic the weekd after, explained the predicament (I hadn’t taken the tablets, by the way, as in my mind, they were the wrong ones, and there’s been a history of me being prescribed the wrong tablets for other things, and the wrong antibiotics can do more harm than good.) She got the manager to check, with it was all academic, as by the time of my next foot check, the redness had gone away, and everything appeared to be back to “normal”.

Fast forward to June 21st. I’d noticed that, once again, there was some discharge coming from the toe, and possibly the base. The lady checking my foot thought that it might have been “tracking”. This was not good. This basically means that the infection is going up into my foot veins, and into my bloodstream. The word “Sepsis” was banded about, and after three people came in to check my foot, I was advised to get myself down to A+E now, for a course of IV antibiotics. I’ll probably need to be kept in. That’s cute. There’s not one of those in Hartlepool, so I had to make my way to North Tees. Daddykins already had plans which he had to bail out of. Pretty important plans, and I felt awful for making him cancel those. It’ll be one of those things that will gnaw at the back of my brain, and will every so often get an awful wave of guilt over. The person concerned will never read this, but still.

Moving swiftly on, I arrive at the A+E. Awful, awful place. There was an obviously drugged-up person in a hospital-provided wheelchair, sat in a dressing gown, screaming down their phone, crying their eyes out at the person at the other end, to come and get them, and that they were not staying in, that they were going to book a taxi, etc, etc. This person went in before me, and muffled cries could be heard from the assessment wing. You get a new found appreciation for the people at the front-line on the NHS, having to put up with scum like that. Anyway, this person continued the conversation they came back… “They said I was being abusive”. Yeah, I bet you were.

I was next. I bet I was like a coffee break compared to the last person. I’m needle-o-phobic, so I look away as they insert what I thought was a needle to draw blood. It’s a standard procedure, and although it’s not one that I’m a fan of, it’s one I understand is necessary. I look down.

Nope, they weren’t drawing blood, they were fitting a fucking cannula. Now, at this point, I’ve never stayed in hospital. Theis pretty much guarantees I was about to break that duck. I’m not sure if they checked my blood pressure before or after they inserted that bloody thing (no pun intended) in my hand, but I’m pretty sure it would have doubled. Somewhere down the line, I explained that I really didn’t want to stay in hospital. I’d came straight from work, I only had the clothes I was stood up in, no other medication, I don’t even think I had money in my wallet. A compromise was to be made.

It was clear that I needed IV antibiotics, at least to start me off. That means I’d be connected to a drip, so I was led to a room. The connection was made, and a line was drawn on my foot to mark out if it was being efrective, and I sat there. I took a photo of the view so I’d remember it for the rest of my life.

OK, so one course of IV done, but still there were more. It was agreed for me to return back to North Tees at 9:30am the next morning for the next course of IV. In the meantime, the extremely uncomfortable cannula would be wrapped up and kept in there. Lovely.

Well, what a shit night’s sleep that was. As the photo shows (if I decided to include it), the cannula was in my right hand, meaning sleeping in my bed was impossible. This meant I crashed on the couch.

Both myself and Daddykins were up for part 2 of this journey. Again, the same streets, the same roadworks, the same entry, the same corridors…. Oh, wait no. This time, I was told to go to the “Ambulatory Outpatients Diary Room” I have no idea what that means, and I had even less of an idea how to get there. I have one rule when it comes to hospitals… If I’m not sure where I’m going, ask someone clutching a clipboard and/or stethoscope. At the time of typing, this has been effective approximately 20% of the time,, and if I’d followed the sihns, I’d have been there. But then again, this is Percy-logic, and I get to speak to nice poeople, so what the hey.

I arrive at the “Ambulatory Outpatients”. Nobosdy there. I examine the desks for sign of life. There’s a half drank bottle of diet coke, and the remanant of a tuna sandwich that had started to curl up at the ends. Nobody there at all. I think I was stood there about 20 minutes before someone came to see me. They must have noticed me eyeing up the rather nice selection of well-worn biros behind the desk.

Eventually, someone comes to see me, and we discuss the next course of action. Another dose of IV today, and a nurse would come out to see me for the next two doses, and the final one will be given the following morning back at the hospital. Phew, at least I didn’t have to stay in.

10 minutes later, I was free to go. I just had to wait for the nurses to come. Indeed they did. Nothing worse than sitting, watching the cricket, while two burly nurses pour drugs through a little hole in your arm. Twice.

Sunday comes, and off we jolly well pop back to the hospital. It was noted that the nedness had already began to go down, so the antibiotics were clearly working. It was agreed that I’d finish the antibiotics in tablet form, and I was fee to go. 80 flucoxicillin tablets over the course of 10 days (and two weeks on the sick) and I was right as rain. They took yet more blood, and while they awaited the test results, I had to sit around in the canteen for about an hour. They gave me a voucher for a free cup of tea, however, so it wasn’t all bad.

The IV dose was completed and finally, the cannula was removed. I was then assigned back to the high risk podiatry again for an appointment during the week to get my proper dressings put back on. This was a blessing, as within 30 seconds of me being in the chair, it was duly noted what was wrong with my foot. It looked like my toes were slightly crooked, meaning that none of the weight was getting put onto my big toe like it’s supposed to, and the little fatty bad that’s on the sole of my foot had either shifted or worn away. I was referred to a specialist for an appointment at the end of the month. And what did he say? Well, you’ll have to wait for the next part to find out!

Ant And Dec broke my phone

Oh, the loveable Geordie duo. Seldom seen on our screens of more recent times, they’re still apparently working on projects together, namely the announcements at the M+S tills.

Thursday was just like an ordinary day Went to work, played pool, checked Facebook on a regular basis. It was there, that something caught my eye. I had been tagged in a post. It seems that M+S have started doing chicken vindaloo sandwiches. this obviously perked my interest, and understandably, I spent most of Friday morning, at work, hoping thatmy local branch still had some in. It’s about a 15 minute walk from where I work, to there. This was, as far as I can remember, the first time I’ve been in one of these stores on my own. Almost 40 years avoiding it, and it’s a slippery slope to being in there every day, wearing their cardigans and loose fitting brown trousers…

Er, anyway, off I toddle to the sandwich section, and there they were. Chicken vindaloo! £3. Ergh. This was the most I’d ever paid for a sandwich, so it had better be special. I opted for using the self-service checkpoints. I scanned my first item, and there they were. “HI! I’M ANT, I’M DECLAN, A DUO, A TWOSOME, MANY PAYMENT OFTIONS, SO GO AHEAD AND CHOOSE ‘EM”. That’s not what the checkout really said, but you get the picture. It was some tie-in with Britain’s Got Talent, a programme which I assume they present, or something. They’ve recorded announcments for the tills, and this is why I blame them for breaking my phone. their kind, northern tones lulled my into a false sense of security.

I deposited my coins, and walked away. I bit into the sandwich, and oh yes, it was lovely. A nice taste, with a really spicy kick. I was impressed. I’m always wary when I eat new stuff, especially sandwiches and things. I hate pretty much everything that comprises most sandwiches, so I was surprised to find this one edible.

Anyway, Friday afternoon went without a hitch, and after I’d finished, Jamie S picked me up, and we headed off to Newcastle. It was at this point, something didn’t feel right. A bit of a pain in the ol’ belly area. It’s a feeling that does occasionallly happen, mainly thanks to by diet, and I knew that it’d be mere minutes until I’d… erm. Yeah, you can work that out for yourself.

So, yeah, anyway, here we are, booling up the A19 towards the town, and things got rather pressing. To take a line from a Spandau Ballet song… “In these troubled times, desperation keeps us strong”. Oh yes, something was certainly doing the conga down my colon. Somehow, we’d made it to the first place we knew that definitely had a toilet… KFC.

I jumped out of Jamie’s car like I’ve never moved before, and that’s when my phone went hurtling across the car park. It must have been resting on my lap, and obviously, due to other thing on my mind, I forgot about it, and it got launched. Slam. Crack. Goddammit. Thankfully, the phone still works, and for the first time, I’ve edited out what happened in the toilet, because it was even too gruesome for me to talk about.

So, there we have it. If I ever bump into the Geordie duo, I’m going to blame them for doing this to my phone…

I’m sure theyll understand…

My left foot…

Right, now that I’ve finally got London written up and out of the way, I thought I’d give you an update on what’s been happening in the 4-ish months since I left our glorious capital city behind, as I thought I’d better explain, once and for all what’s happened, and been happening with my beloved left foot.

My left foot has been attached to my left leg for as long as I can remember. We’ve been through thick and thin socks for all of this time. From tiny little boottees, through slippers that were shaped like Homer Simpson, to my now trademark Karrimor walking boots, of which I’ve had about 6 pairs in the last 6 years.

By continuing to read past this point you agree that I’m a complete buffoon, for you see, I’ve had an ulcer on the sole of my foot since May last year. I am aware that I’m a complete idiot. It should have been taken care of sooner. You also agree not to chastise me on the subject. I’ve done enough of that to myself over the past 15 months or so, because that’s when it started.

Let’s go back to May 2016. It was a mice, warm Spring day. I’d arranged a walk with old friend Gary, to Keilder reservoir. I’ll include a photo of some little quacky ducks here, which I took on that particular day, because I don’t particularly want a photo of my foot being the thumbnail….

Right, on with our scheduled programming. After getting back from Keilder, I noticed my foot had a big old blister on it…

At some point that night, I stood wrongly on something and accidentally popped it. What an idiot. I’d accidentally popped blisters before, and they’ve just gone normally, so I never thought anything of it. the next day, something felt different. It was hurting more than before, and it seemed to be on the bottom of my foot. I conferred with Doctor Dad, who said “Oh, it’s nothing”, even though I jumped up in pain when he unexpectedly prodded it while looking at it.

A few weeks went by, and it still wasn’t getting any better. The issue had moved to the bottom of my foot, near the big toe, and a hole was starting to form. Most people would have been running… well, hopping to the doctors at that point, and I did indeed go. They put me on something like “Flucoxicillin” – (spelt incorrectly), and I’d go back if it got worse.

On the day before I went to Carlisle last year, it appeared to be no better, and in fact, did get worse. I’ll not go into the graphic details in this post, as I already talked about them here.

Regular followers know about my medical history, and things going wrong with the feet, especially, gaping, stinky, weeping holes, are something to take seriously. I began to think the worst. If I went to the doctors, they’d just get the saw out there and then, and get rid of it. I started thinking about what life would be like with no foot.

Admittedly, as much as I put up with it, it didn’t *really* affect me. Yeah, some days I’d be in agony with it, and some days, I’d be walking just fine. The only inconvenience was the discharge coming out, and how to dispose of it. Each night came the ritual of washing my left sock, and finding an old t-shirt or newspaper to shove inside my shoe to dry it up.

This went on for over a year. I knew, at some point, my life would have to go on hold because of it, and I knew the London trip was coming up. I certainly didn’t want to take any time off work sick, but I said to myself, after the London trip, I’d get it sorted.

Now, I’m sure you’ve all read the London trip posts now, andprobably thought I was just being a little whingy bitch about my foot. Far from it. I literally couldn’t walk, but this time it was the RIGHT foot that I’d manage to damage… This was my right foot after London.

Oh yes. It was that bad. Raw as hell. Ignore the little black bits, these were new socks, and that was sticky. Some of you may think I’d have just ignored it like I did my other foot. Er, no. This time I went straight round to the emergency thing at the hospital. They dressed it for me, and an appointment was made with a nurse at my local practise to have the dressing changed a couple of days later.

I attended the doctors as advised, and while I was there, I somehow plucked up the courage to say “While you’re there, could you take a look at this?” Bang. Two-week sicknote. Exactly what I didn’t want, but hell, I’d plucked up the courage to show this to someone. A swab was taken, and an appointment with the podiatry was requested. A swab was taken of my left foot, and another course of the Flucoxicillin (or whatever it was called) was given. A week later, nothing back from the podiatry, but the swab results showed that those previous tablets (I’m not typing that again) were no good, and I was put on other antibiotics, with the longest name I’ve ever seen on anything ever. Even that welsh village.

I haven’t actually posted any photos of the wound yet… and, as I know not everyone wants to see them, I’ll link to them instead of putting them inline. This photo was taken back in September. I don’t have any photos (which I know of) before the treatment started.

Eventually, five weeks passed, and finally, after constant badgering from the fantastic nurse at my local practice, I finally got round to seeing the podiatrist. A couple of weeks of patching it up and hoping it would shrink later, I was off to the “high risk” podiatry (well, that’s what it says on the door anyway)

This is where things started to improve dramatically. I was sent straight away for an x-ray, blood test, another swab was taken of my foot, another course of Flucoxicillin was goiven, and I got presented with my now infamous “moon-boot”. It’s one of those surgical boot things where parts of the internal sole can be removed to ease pressure on certain parts of the foot.

It was ANOTHER five weeks until I got the results of the X-ray back, and thankfully, there was no infection. The only thing now is that the wound is “granulating”, which is where the skin is trying to heal over, but it’s not able to do so because of the size.

I took this photo while in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, and thankfully there’s clear improvement. The road to recovery has been a long, boring one. I’m still under the care of the podiatry for now. I’m going twice a week, so they can change the dressing, and administer cream to it (I really should learn all of these medications, they’d make great passwords).

If there’s one thing to take out of all of this, if I think anything’s wrong in the future, I won’t be leaving it for a year, and if one person reading this takes the same advice and gets something looked at before it gets more serious, than the past 18 months have been worth it.

But one more thing, more than anything, in the entirety of all of this, I just want to get this dressing off permanently so I can have a bloody bath again…