Five weeks ago today I was in a hospital bed with a saline drip in my left hand, a morphine machine attached to my right hand, a 'drain' coming out of the right side of my back and lying flat on my back a little confused and a little pleased the worst was over. Five weeks. It seems ages ago. Didn't the school summer holiday seem to last forever when you were a kid? and that was only six weeks...
It's been a funny old five weeks, really, most of it having been spent in my living room, sitting in different chairs, getting up to wander round the room , lying on the bed to do my exercises, getting drinks from the kitchen, chatting on the phone and sitting down again. Five weeks off work would be glorious if I could actually do something. At least the weather's been awful so I haven't been gazing longingly out of the window.
I'm at the frustrating stage of getting back to normal. I feel more or less fine at home and I can do things, I can get the bus and tube, I can finally get about a bit, and then I suffer for it. I actually went into work yesterday, just for a couple of hours to see how easy it would be, remind them I exist (I'd just started a new job, after all), get an update on what's been happening with all the changes across Government and see how it affected my work.
I felt fine at first but after an hour or so it became more of a strain, discomfort from moving around so much and waves of tiredness. I'd had enough after a couple of hours, said my farewells and made a fast (-ish) escape. The tiredness is a funny thing, coming in waves, making it difficult to keep my eyes open (almost as if my body is teling my brain it needs rest and the brain just shutting down), feeling light-headed and, most strange of all, forgetting what I'm saying or thinking mid-sentence... I hope that's a result of the tiredness and the drugs!
I was really tired by the time I got home and went into snooze mode. After rest and food I started feeling better, convinced that a good night's sleep would do the rest. It didn't. I woke up this morning a bit listless and not quite with it. I decided I should keep pushing myself otherwise I'll never get better so thought I'd go to Croydon for some retail therapy. By the time I reached the bus stop I'd changed my mind, just walking there had worn me out. By now, late evening, I'm feeling fine again, and that's what I mean by being at the frustrating stage - I feel so much better and can do things that I couldn't do just a couple of weeks ago but I suffer if I push myself too far, and 'too far' isn't really very far at all...
I felt the same after going to see the physiotherapist at St Thomas's Hospital on Monday. I was only there for about an hour and most of that time was spent talking, not actually exercising. I was given some stretching exercises to do for two weeks and then add in some strengthening exercises (all of which are illustrated on print-outs so I don't forget). I go back to see the physio in four weeks time and then start a weekly 'spinal conditioning' class at the end of August (the earliest they could book me in).
What else has happened in the past five weeks? Well, I've got the beard! I hesitate to say I've grown one since that implies a positive act whereas mine's just appeared through laziness really. I've started to shampoo it - is that how one washes a beard? I'll have to hunt out a beard-grooming website - there are sites for everything so I don't see why there shouldn't be one for grooming. And to feed by vanity, here's a photo of me (with beard) in front of Parliament (to prove I went to work).
I've also bought far too many CDs. Sitting at home bored and with access to a computer day after day isn't very sensible even if my credit card company loves me. A sample of my new music includes:
Buffy Sainte-Marie - Vanguard Visionaries
SLADE - You Boyz Make Big Noize
Lulu - To Sir With Love! The Complete Mickie Most Recordings
The Human League - Travelogue
Art Brut - It's A Bit Complicated
Dame Shirley Bassey - Get The Party Started
Bittybox - Smalltime
The Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Iggy Pop - A Million In Prizes - The Anthology
Toxik Ephex - Punk As Two Fucks
Donna Summer - Bad Girls (Deluxe)
Sylvain Sylvain -New York's A Go Go
Donovan - Sunshine Superman
Patti Smith - Gone Again
The Kinks - Something Else By The Kinks
Andy Williams - Music To Watch Girls By - The Very Best Of Andy Williams
Pete Shelley - Homosapien
The O'Jays - Love Train - The Best Of the O'Jays
Joni Mitchell - Hits
Humanwine - Fighting Naked
That's not bad, I suppose, but it's not a complete list either. It's an odd selection - some new stuff but mainly old stuff. I'd much rather browse through a record shop that shop online.
I've also re-discovered the joys of pea-pods! I saw some in Sainsbury's and grabbed a pack to see if they still tasted as fresh as they used to 40 years ago when I nicked them off the vine in my Granda's allotment... Obviously they don't taste as good as my Granda's but it's a great taste. And shelling them adds to the enjoyment!
I haven't read much, I haven't worked on my website (it hasn't been updated in over a year now), I haven't had any alcohol at all, I haven't been out much... what a waste of five weeks. At least I no longer have a slipped disc.