Thursday 23 July 2009
Why I’m not convinced by the swine flu stats
Hels and Tom both have colds. I’ve had a bit of a sore throat, but it hasn’t come to anything.
When they first went down with a little lethargy, sore throat, snuffliness and all the other usual symptoms, we immediately thought that our turn might have come for swine flu. If it had, we wouldn’t be too worried – we’d get our way through it and get it out of the way. Unpleasant and inconvenient, yes, but probably not life-changing. For the vast majority of people, it’s just a nasty bug.
So, given that, Hels called the doctor. We’d heeded the advice not to actually go to the surgery and it seems our local surgery is well-prepared. Our doctor was able to take Hels’s call (not just the receptionist team) and talked through the symptoms. She (our doctor) seemed a little fed up with the Government’s diagnosis-by-checklist approach. Hels described her symptoms, including her temperature of 37.8 Celsius. The doctor laughed and said that, given her symptoms and according to the checklist, Hels did not have flu but had a cold. If, however, her temperature had been 38 Celsius, that woud have been enough.
So we are carrying on life pretty much as normal. Hels has taken a little time off work (heavy colds tend to knock her down a bit anyway due to previous illnesses in her 20s). But we are not putting ourselves into quarantine.
What I wonder is this: given that our doctor is aware that this cold bug is going around at the moment, how many of the 100,000 new cases this week really are H1N1 flu and how many are just summer colds? Are we getting false information and is the Government making decisions based on that? What will happen if/when we actually get real flu later in the year?
As an aside, the Government gave advice last weekend (as reported by the BBC) that expectant mothers and mothers of under-5s should stay away from crowds. I presume they haven’t visited your average ante-natal clinic lately, because they are never crowded, obviously. And, what of fathers of under-5s? Presumably, if they stayed away from crowded places (like shops, offices, railway stations and workplaces) the economy would grind to a halt.
As Hels put it – the Government takes the nation to war but can’t seem to work out what to do about a virus.
Tuesday 24 February 2009
On suffering temporary partial disablement
Apparently, I’m suffering "temporary partial disablement". Or so my insurers say (so, hopefully, they will pay up).
As a sufferer, I can report the following:
- it hurts
- one becomes the centre of conversation
- going to the loo becomes a challenge
- climbing stairs becomes even more of a challenge
- going to the loo or climbing stairs on a cross-Channel ferry is even more of a challenge. I’d hate to be a one-legged pirate
- the cat still wants to sit on you
- small children (well, our small child at least) suddenly become remarkably understanding and helpful. It’ll never last
- your bum gets numb from all the sitting around
- it is very easy to get bored or frustrated; or bored AND frustrated
- it hurts to carry a cast about
- you become very reliant on people around you. Thank goodness for Hels
- you tend to blog more frequently
Sunday 22 February 2009
Breaking a duck, err bone, duck… bone.
We have just taken the opportunity to have a little holiday. Well, that was the plan. I had to go to Angers for an exhibition and took H and T along with me, something we have done for four out of the last five years.
After staying in Angers for a couple of nights and a (very successful) day at the exhibition, we took the car to Saint Malo, via Rennes and Dinan. We got to our hotel and wandered into the Intra Muros, had a nice meal and then, to entertain Tom, clambered up onto the city wall to head back towards the hotel. So far, so good. But it was mightily dark and I decided to carry Tom as we descended the stone steps. Hels stumbled on the last step as we went down. And then I fell down on the same step, heavily. I managed to hold on to Tom and lower him gently to the step. But I had a fair idea that I’d really hurt myself. I could tell this by the tears in my eyes and nausea, not to mention the pain.
We hobbled back to the hotel and went to bed. But, in the morning, it became quite evident that I was in agony. The evidence consisted of me yelping with pain whenever I stood up, and yelping twice as much if I put any weight on my left foot.
With guidance from the hotel receptionist, Hels took me over to the hospital. After a short wait, an x-ray revealed the tiniest chip off a bone. My reward – a French plaster cast with matching crutches and painkillers. My first damaged bone. Bugger.
We changed our homeward travel arrangements and got ourselves on the next ferry from Saint Malo to Portsmouth (we originally planned to travel to Dieppe and then back to Newhaven – but if ever you take that boat, pack a lunch as the food is utter crap). I’m hoping that my insurers will pay for the change of ferry plans and the lost night of accommodation (about four hundred quid in total).
Since then, I’ve seen umpteen medical people and been the centre of much attention. I’ve got to wear the cast for at least ten days before it is swapped for a removable boot. Which means I can’t drive, can’t put weight on it and can’t walk more than a few paces. Which will make life a little difficult, to say the least.
And, to top it all, Tom has chickenpox. Spots. Lots of them. And itchy.
Hels has got her work cut out. She’s pretty amazing.
Wednesday 24 December 2008
The hyperactive child is asleep. The wife is wrapping presents. Monty is in his basket. Treacle is sitting next to me.
Me? I’ve just signed my Corporation Tax return and written a fat cheque to the Revenue.
Ho ho and, indeed, ho. Merry Christmas.
Saturday 11 October 2008
Five years ago today, I met a tall, blonde, beautiful woman with a lovely smile, gorgeous eyes and very sexy calf-length boots, outside a cookware shop in Tunbridge Wells. After apologising for being late, I kissed her on the cheek and took her hand. We went for coffee, then for a walk in the autumn leaves, a pint and then fish and chips.
Six and a half weeks later, in Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, I asked her to marry me.
We still enjoy days like that. And I still fancy her like crazy.