Dr Tom working on my "issue"It has been an interesting couple of months in the life of the Laughing Wolf.   I have been trying to get used to being out of work, and have only recently managed to not get up at 06:30 every morning.   I have also just this past week or so, managed to not refer to any of my ex-colleagues as “xxx from work”.

I have started German lessons in earnest and have been told I am doing quite well.   In reality, my German skills are not as bad as I often tell people, what I lack is the confidence to make a mistake..which in turn makes me clam up and say nothing.   I am pleased to say that the lessons are helping me overcome this.

I have stopped going out drinking almost completely thanks to the need to be careful with my money these days, and the nice side effect of this is that I am losing some weight finally.   I have also taken to sporting a goatee in recent weeks, everyone seems to think it is ok, I am as yet undecided.   This indecision makes me “worse than a woman” according to CW, but *meh*.   Clearly I haven’t blogged in some time, mainly due to the relaxed nature of my life at the moment, nothing is really happening, so I don’t have a lot to write about.

I say relaxed, but in reality I am pretty busy most days.   I have German lessons three times a week, have been doing websites for people, learning Linux (DB0 will be loving that), sorting the apartment out, finally going to the Doctor to try and sort out my dodgy ankle, rebuilding peoples PCs, helping people move and get setup in their new place, writing Shrooms and various other activities.

I finally had a clear out of the apartment last week…well, I say “I”, but in reality CW and HAN cleared it out for me.   I got back and it was like someone had stretched the rooms.   My Dads comment was “You let two women have a clearout in your flat?   I am surprised there is anything left”….yes, he has been to my flat…but no, there is in fact some stuff still left in here.

What I really want to talk about though is assumption, assumption can really bite you in the arse if you are not careful.   I guess there is a reason that they say “To assume is to make an ass out of u and me”.

Take Monday for example.   I had been to see the Doc on Friday about my ankle problem, which has been getting progressively worse and more painful over the last couple of weeks.   I had avoided going to the Doc as, last time I went about it, he said it would need surgery if it got any worse.   On Friday, he seemed surprised that he hadn’t checked my blood for a particular acid level and immediately did so, at the same time making an appointment for me to come back in on Monday.   The Monday appointment was to see a specialist that they have a few times a week in the practise.   We will call him Dr Tom, for that is how he is referred to.

Dr Tom is a big man….actually that’s not strictly true…I am a big man, Dr Tom is a frickin’ monster.   If he were to wander around heavily wooded areas, wearing a dark furry jacket, we would have a series of Sasquatch in Frankfurt news reports.   There aren’t many guys that can make me feel like one of the Borrowers, but Dr Tom certainly can…I think you get the picture.   The impression wasn’t helped when I seemingly ignored his shouts that notified me that it was my turn.

For reasons that escape me, German people (generally) can’t help translating my last name into the German equivelant.   It’s really bizarre and happens regularly, and I am normally listening out for it.   On Monday though, I was in considerable pain and there were around 15 other people in the waiting room…so it took me 2 or 3 yells of my translated last name before I realised he wanted me.   He seemed to be a little upset about this…and upon seeing him. so was I.

From my discussions on Monday with my Doctor, I was under the impression that Dr Tom was an Orthopaedic Doctor (assumption #1), that they would have fully discussed my issue (assumption #2) and that they would have worked out the best method to fix the issue with my ankle (assumption #3).   Assumption #1 was clearly incorrect when, after asking me to stand in front of him, he proceeded to tell me that the left side of my body was “wooden” compared to the right side…and then quickly, without warning, grabbed me in some sort of Full Nelson thing until my back made a rather unpleasant noise.   That said, my back immediately felt better and I thought “This guy could actually fix me”.

He told me to lay on my stomach and lift my foot up to him…there was no discussion of the issue, so assumption #2 was (in my mind at least) confirmed.   When he had my foot in his mahoosive hands, he proceeded to perform a movement, that I can only think was designed to unscrew my foot so that he could get a better look.   He was putting some serious effort into it, and I was putting serious effort into   a) not throwing up and b) not passing out.   Dr Tom then instructs me to lay on my back and performs the same movement, with an added “thumb directly into the ankle” bonus.   I am fairly certain that the table, that I was laying next to, will require a team of highly skilled carpenters to fix.

He drops my foot and instructs me to stand up.   At this point I pretty much can’t, but am a little scared to tell him this.   I make a couple of attempts and then have to sit down and describe the pain.   He umms and aaaahs a few times before giving me a referral slip for an Orthopaedic Doctor.




When I go to the Orthopaedic Doctor, I am going to need to him to provide references, sit a written exam and preferably have his Medical School teachers confirm to me that he is, in fact, an Orthopaedic Doctor.   I may also take a bodyguard and quite possibly a gun.

Right, I am going to hobble off to my German lesson now….

The pain…the paaaain!

Smile!I think that the title is a quote attributed to the Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is quite appropriate seeing as I look like him at the moment. Either that or a hamster with loads of food in his left hand mouth pouch thing.

I haven’t slept in a while, thanks to what I believe to be an abscess.   There is nothing I have experienced that is more frustrating than toothache.   It is so focussed and there is nothing you can do to relieve it.   Cold irritates it, warm pisses it off, direct contact makes it fight back – This thing is the surly teenager of teeth and it is determined to let me know how much it hates me.   So I have to go to the dentist today, one of the few places that will make me regress to a scared child.   I already mentioned my fear of dentists before, so you can probably imagine that I am heading there with no small amount of trepidation.   That said, I have researched this guy on the internet and he is undoubtedly not Australian, so fingers crossed.   This is the guy that I used to take the kids to when they lived out here with me…so if I am a good boy, I may get to choose a cool toy to take home.

It is such a bizarre psychological response though, I am sat here typing, with just under an hour before my appointment, and I can barely type I am shaking so much.   I have smoked almost half of a pack of smokes since I made the appointment and I keep irrationally praying for the pain to stop so that I can avoid going.   I am a rational, almost intelligent man..yet I can’t stop this involuntary panic.   I know it needs to be done, I also know that he may remove the tooth…he will most certainly comment on the state of my teeth, but I will at least be able to get a quote to get whatever teeth I have left after today (you never know) fixed.   Maybe I should download a Paul McKenna self hypnosis thing to stop the fear?   Damnit, why didn’t I think of this when I was booking the appointment….I could be happy and oblivious right now….you know, my usual state of mind…

I will finish this off when I get back..providing I can type of course.

Ok, so I am back now and now I feel like Quasimodo…I can’t feel the left side of my face…or my lower lip.   Had to have a root canal done, which was about as nice as you can imagine.   2 things though, firstly fair play to the dentist who made sure it didn’t hurt too much, although he did manage to lose a piece of one of his instruments in my tooth…it’s ok, he “hopes” that it won’t cause any problems before I go back to do it all again.   Secondly, they gave me a free professional clean afterwards, which was great except it hurt more than the frickin root canal…what the fuck is that all about?!?

Still, it wasn’t an abscess although it would probably have become one.   The whole experience has confirmed my suspicions though, after having instruments in my mouth by multiple people….I could never be a prostitute.

I better look for another fallback career..I’ll start doing that as I try to smoke out of the only part of my mouth I can still feel.

Now where can I find those hypnosis downloads?…I have to go back on Friday.

Scared of the dentist…me?

Uros Petrovic - RevengeThis post dedicated to MK, who had quite a substantial dental op yesterday and came through it with flying colours :-)

I have quite bad teeth, I will freely admit that and I am currently trying to pluck up the courage (and the money) to get them sorted out.   A brief checkup revealed that fixing them is not a huge job, but it will cost a bit.

That said, the main sticking point is not really the money…it’s the fear.   I have had a number of bad experiences with Dentists in my life, but one really sticks out.

Oh, did I mention that I seem to have an immunity to the numbing agent that they inject you with?   No…glad I cleared that up then.

A few years ago I woke up with toothache.   Nothing particularly unusual there really…lots of people get toothache.   Me being me, I choose to ignore it and hope it goes away.   It doesn’t.   Why does ignoring it rarely work…anyway.   Two days later and I wake up in ridiculous pain.   I head to the bathroom for some painkiller and catch glimpse of the Elephant Man in the mirror.   Essentially, I look like a cartoon version of myself…a cartoon version of myself that has stored a football in its cheek for the winter.   In short….not good.

I go into the bedroom and wake Sarah up with a pitiful “Help me, it hurts” and we head off to the dentist.   They agree to see my right away and tell me that it is an abcess.   I have since learned that with this type of dental issue, they must treat the infection with antibiotics before they can remove the affected tooth.   Enter Dr Australia.   I call him that not because he had won best doctor in Australia, but because he was Australian and frankly I can’t think of another suitable nickname without being abusive.

This guy takes one look and tells me that he has to extract the tooth immediately, abcess and all, as…and I quote… “If that thing bursts, you will be in serious trouble”.   He gives me two injections around the area and leaves me for a few minutes for them to take.   As he is prodding and I am still yelping, he gives me two more.   This goes on around 5 (I think) times.   So I have now had around 10 injections and can still feel everything…determined to work through the pain, Dr Australia gets to work (what a trooper).   The pain was unbelievable and I am shaking as a result.   He stops and informs me that I have to be still.   I lean under the chair, grab hold of the metal struts underneath and tense for all I am worth in an effort to stay motionless.   Dr Australia is still struggling to get the tooth out and after a few minutes (I am quite literally crying at this point), he stops and moves away.   Whereupon he chooses to basically shout at me to stop moving, telling me that I could die if it bursts etc etc.   I nod, defeated, and tense so much that I am practically breaking through the struts underneath the chair.   Eventually, he manages to get the tooth free.   It wasn’t alone, a golf-ball sized abcess (I shit you not) came out with it, and I practically pass out from the pain.   Free of the tooth pain and now only dealing with the aftermath, we stagger to my Nans house so that I can sleep it off.   I glance in the mirror and it looks like I just lost a fight in the UFC.   Bruises over my face where he was leaning and pushing and generally trying to get leverage, everything was swollen and my eyes were bloodshot.   It was a good look.

A few hours later we head home and I go to bed again.   Unfortunately, just as I get to the top of the stairs, I black out and tumble down them.   Sarah calls a doctor who checks me out and then informs Sarah that it would appear that the anasthetic had finally taken hold…which was enough to knock out a large waterbuffalo….and before you say anything, even my ample size only accounts for a small waterbuffalo…

Not all Dentists are bastards…just small Australian ones working in North Nottinghamshire

Neighbours from hell (Hospital Ward Edition)

Steve – Steve, is that you Steve?

Turn that bloody tele down Margaret

Steve, it sounds like you

I said turn that tele down

“Soils self”

The above is a transcript of my ward neighbours when I was first admitted with “Gallstones“.

After being admitted, I was pushed past a number of wards by the orderly. Some of them had empty beds and younger people in them, some had older people and empty beds…they were all peaceful and for the most part silent. So it was with no small amount of surprise that I get placed on the ward with the nutters. I say nutters, which is probably not altogether fair….there were 6 beds, 3 of which were occupied by older gentlemen, and 3 were empty.

I was allocated the 6th bed, closest to the Nurses station, but opposite a man who I came to refer as “The TV Guy”. All seemed well, the morphine drip started it’s wondrous journey though my body on minimal doseage and I drifted off to sleep.

About an hour later, Sarah was back. She had brought me some know, the usual assortment of drinks, sweets and biscuits that the hospital shop can provide. It was during this time that “The TV Guy” sprang into action. He looks straight at me, who was talking to Sarah at the time, and shouts…not says, shouts…”Turn that bloody tele down Margaret”.

Both myself and Sarah look around for anyone near, see noone and make the mistake of actually mentioning that the TV is not on and that we don’t know who Margaret is. That just makes him worse, repeating the same sentence over and over, interspersed with occasional bouts of “How many bloody times do I have to tell you” and “You never listen to me”.

Oh joy thinks I, and begin staring at the morphine in the vain hope that I can somehow control the flow speed with my mind.

It is at this point that the commotion from TV Guy, causes guy number 3 to join in. Clearly confused, he is asking for Steve and is in fact convinced that Steve is somewhere nearby. As he is struggling to be heard, he raises his voice a few decibels to counter the effect of TV Guys shouting. So I now have 2 guys shouting about people that are nowhere to be seen, both within 3 meters of me and my bed for the next god knows how many days.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the thus far quiet guy number 3, decides he should get involved in this little soiree. Clearly TV Guy and Steve Guy are having way too much airtime on the “Welcome Dave to the ward” party special. He realises, however, that the others have really cornered the market on random shouting and noise level, so he tries a somewhat unique angle. He soils himself. A lot. For quite a while. I won’t try and describe the olfactory attack that followed, god forbid anyone reading this is eating… Suffice to say that I now had nausea to add to my, not inconsiderable, pain and growing headache.

Like a boxer saved by the bell, visiting hours are announced as being over, and Sarah bolts for home. I think she remembers to say goodbye, but it was hard to hear, what with her rapidly accelerating down the corridor and out into fresh air. I don’t blame her.

Fortunately, the morphine kicks in shortly after and I drift off to sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night to the now familiar choir of the ward going through the motions. Sensing that more sleep is some time away, I indulge in a little light TV watching. I pay the bargain basement price of ?10 from the machine at the end of the ward for a days worth of viewing, strap on the headphones and crank up the volume.

Hah – Nice try Dave, you think Doctors are bastards? Not as much as hospital administrators apparently. The wonderful hospital administration, that had chosen to install these little TFT TVs with built in phone and internet, had also had the remarkable idea that would avoid headphone bleed.

I don’t know if headphone bleed is the correct way to describe it…let me try another way. You know when you are on a train journey, and you end up sat next to somebody with an iPod that is just a bit too loud? You hear little snippets of what they are listening to, but incredibly tinny and annoying. I am sure you have experienced this, and probably been pissed off with it like me.

Ok so, whilst I recognise that it can be annoying to hear these tinny noises emanating from the side of someones head, they chose to set the volume on all of the TVs to have a maximum volume level of something akin to a silkworms fart. Oh, and they chose to make this change…..around a week before I was admitted.

Is it any wonder that I hate hospitals?

Administrators. Are. Bastards

Near death experience…..

…. ok, maybe not – But it could have been.

A couple of years ago, a few weeks into a new job, I started getting a real nasty pain across my back. This got worse as the day went on, culminating in me having to stop driving on the way home until it eased off.

That night, the pain got more and more intense and I was keeping Sarah awake. So, being ever chivalrous I told her to sod off downstairs and sleep on the couch…..OK, ok, so that would have caused me considerably more pain. What I actually did was head downstairs onto the couch for the worst nights sleep I had ever had (at that point).

The next morning, still in massive pain, I decide that it would be a really good idea to go to work. I still to this day have no idea what I was thinking, but try I did. It was at the point of pulling my trousers on that I collapsed backwards (and rather fortuitously) onto the couch. Pain the likes of which I had never felt before reduced me to tears, whereupon Zak comes sauntering downstairs and finds me.

“Whats up daddy?”

“Go and get your mum please son”

Off runs Zak back upstairs and tells Sarah that and I quote “Daddy is crying mummy, come and help him”. Now, you might all be thinking “awww, bless him”, you forget the male ego – All I was thinking was “Traitor, I will have my revenge when you decide to bring a girl home to meet the parents….”

Nah, just kidding – I was really pleased that the sight of his dad crying didn’t freak him out, and, at just under 3 years old, he was able to process the information and go get his mum.

Sarah arrives, notices (in this order) Dave on couch, trousers halfway up legs, Dave crying.

Once the laughter died down she decided to call the docs.

Now, it should be pointed out at this time that I hate hospitals. A lot. No really, I detest them. I will go great lengths to avoid doctors and especially hospitals. I am not a great believer in faith healing or anything hippy and new agey, I just believe that me and hospitals do NOT belong anywhere near each other.

The doctor arrives and I am now determined to show that there is in fact nothing wrong with me. I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for that pesky pain. Just as the doc has duly prescribed a day off to rest, the traitorous back pain flares up. I am now rocking backwards and forwards like a pregnant woman in the beginnings of labour.

Doc procedes to exam me again, only this time managing to find the exact series of spots that cause me to yelp, like a dog, a naughty dog that has just been hit on the nose with a rolled up paper for so much pee on the carpet. She made me yelp. Doctors. Are. Bastards.

I am then admitted to hospital immediately with gallstones.

Genius, morphine drip, TFT television I can pull just in front of my face and watch shite TV at the bargain basement price of ?10 per day. Oh, and a built in telephone that charges more than your average 0898 sex chat line (apparently). Did I say morphine drip? Possibly one of the best inventions of the modern world. Ahh, blessed relief. I don’t recall phone conversations with family, but apparently people were phoning just to hear my random blitherings for a laugh, such was the effect of the Morphine.

Anyhoo, they keep me in for a few days and I get the miracle recovery. No amount of radioactive toxic poisoning from various scans reveals even the smallest gallpebble, let alone stone, and they let me go home.

Sarah collects me and we head home. About halfway home (15 minutes), I start to get a headache and feel a bit sick. No problem, I will ignore it, that method has served me so well just recently…

About 2 hours later I have one hell of a migraine (just a headache, it will pass) and another hour after I start being sick.

This continues through the very worst nights sleep I have ever had.

By the next morning I was really struggling, to the point of being unable to even keep a glass of water down for more than about 15 minutes. The headache now felt like I was being forced to listen to Steps and the Fast Food Rockers on repeat in my own personal hell. Sarahs wonderful boss told her she could stay home and look after me, providing she did the first two calls of the day (she was a care worker).

She got home an hour or so later and by now I literally cannot keep a sip of water down, but I am hella dehydrated, so I keep drinking anyway (Catch 22 anyone?).

As I am not an emergency apparently, the ambulance says it could be 3-4 hours to come get me. I am now so badly dehydrated that I am starting to hallucinate. I have vague recollections of the next few hours. I remember my mum and dad turning up, a small fight when someone tried to take my water away from me. The car ride from hell to the hospital (every bump was like a million smurfs pounding on my head with their little hammers of doom…they have those right?) and being put in a private ward so that…and I quote “He doesn’t freak the other patients out”. Did I mention that patients are bastards. I will tell you about my wonderful neighbour patients in a future post….

It is at this point that I am relying on information provided by Sarah after I left the hospital. Apparently the following happened:

  • I was carried into the bed (no small feat, way to go strong nurses and dad)
  • Someone tried to take my water away from me
  • I freaked
  • Seriously freaked, like a small child when having his favourite toy taken away from him. I was hanging onto my water so hard they thought I was going to break the glass.
  • I had no idea where I was, and apparently who I was
  • I still wouldn’t give up the water..Sarah says I was literally screaming “You can’t have it, you won’t give it back” over and over
  • Oh yeah, the sink was less than a foot away from my bed, water aplenty

Eventually I relented apparently, some time around the time that my new best friend, the lovely morphine drip, came to visit.   Unfortunately, morphine drip clearly had far better things to do than take my pain away.   So I basically stayed awake, rocking like those people that normally get given crash helmets on “special wards”, until my body could literally take now more and I collapsed with exhaustion.

Now those of you with any experience of British hospitals can vouch for this:

The number of doctors, nurses, ward assistants and orderlies available at any given time to assist in the treatment of patients is in direct contrast to the amount of sleep a patient has managed.

Basically each time my body gave in and I fell into fitful sleep, in they came to wake me up by turning on 1000w halogen lights, examining me, changing drips and taking blood samples.   They managed to achieve all of this work in, probably, 1 minute over the time where I could have fallen back to sleep.   Meaning I am now awake and in pain.   Have I mentioned that doctors are bastards yet?   Yes?   Good.

In addition to the lack of sleep, the bloodwork comes back and with no small amount of joy, the doctor tells Sarah that I am not suffering from Meningitis.   After the joy subsided, I was stricken by the realisation that noone had previously mentioned this as a possibility.   Again, doctors..bastards…am I getting through?

So, in the absence of knowledge, they do what anyone would…they start giving me random cocktails of drugs in an effort to ease the pain.   Nothing works, generally I throw up within about 10 minutes of recieving said drug cocktail…this means that they can’t give me anymore for four hours due to not knowing how much I had digested… repeat ad infinitum

I think I was like this for 4 days

  • Rock with pain until around 2am
  • Fall asleep as body can’t take anymore
  • 2.10am, wake up to bright light and various proddings/exams.
  • 2.25am, feel like I could go back to sleep
  • 2.26am, proddings and exams now wide awake (albeit still exhausted)
  • 2.36am, throw up tablets…call nurse
  • 2.40am, nurse makes notes, recommends different drugs…which will be administered in 4 hours
  • Rock with pain until around 6am
  • Repeat throughout day…..

Good eh?   I liked it.

Now, whilst I maintain that doctors are bastards…Ward Sisters, now they are goddamn angels or something else totally genius and amazing..

After 4 days of hell, I am at the 2am rocking with pain stage when I get visited by an absolute vision….the Ward Sister.   She arrives in a blur of blue cotton…straightening, checking temperatures etc.   I assume I am in for the usual nightmare cycle.   Then it happens, and I remember this vividly, she stares at me rocking like a lunatic for a few minutes and says “Still no better eh?   Right, it ends tonight”.

“What do you mean?” says I, at this point glad of the bedpan as I am thinking mercy killing quite frankly.

“Give me 10 minutes” says she, and leaves….

I then hear, what can only be described as, raised voices and “heated” discussion.   I don’t know what is being said, only that this Ward Sister may be about to kill me.   Sure enough, 10 minutes later she arrives back in the room with a tray containing a syringe….cue another bedpan change.

While focussing on the syringe, it dawns on me that she is talking to me..

“Now Dave, I am going to inject this into your dripfeed pipe and I need you not to panic.   It is going to feel very strange and is important that you remain as calm as possible”

“What is it?”

“Morphine.   I am going to deliver it directly into your bloodstream, are you ready?”

Now, when she pushed the syringe, I literally felt the morphine rush around my system and punch (what felt like through the top of my head.   I lifted off the bed with the force of it and I immediately panicked (sorry Sister) and started hypervenilating.   The Ward Sister quickly ran round the other side of the bed and started calming me down with very soothing speech and stroking my head.   Within a minute I simply had a nasty headache – No more, no less.

Doctors may be bastards, Ward Sisters are genius – It’s that simple.

A day later I am on the phone to my nan, who is persuading me to have a lumbar puncture.   A lumbar puncture, for those that don’t know, is where a doctor inserts a large needle right next to your spine.   The purpose of this is to extract spinal fluid for testing.   I of course was happy to do this without even the slightest argument…Hence the call from nan.   Dammit nan, you were supposed to be on my side.

So eventually I get told that the procedure will take place at around 1am..the doctor arrives, looking like he really needs more coffee, and starts prodding my back.   When asked why he was doing this, I am told that he needs to feel for where the needle goes in, oh and I shouldn’t move.

Thats right ladies and gentlemen, unbeknownst to me, this is a blind procedure, BLIND….as in CAN’T BE SURE ABOUT LOCATION

Cue bedpan

Sing it with me, “Doctors are bastards”

A short while later I am diagnosed with Meningitis (Yep, after they said it wasn’t already).   Fortunately it was Viral and not Bacterial they say.   Phew says I, caught a break there*

Everyone smiles and a days later I go home.

* I checked wikipedia for Meningitis some days later.   Whilst Bacterial Meningitis is a really quick killer and I was definately lucky not to have that one…here is what it says about viral:

“Viral meningitis
Patients diagnosed with mild viral meningitis may improve quickly enough to not require admission to a hospital, while others may be hospitalized for many more days for observation and supportive care. Overall, the illness is usually much less severe than bacterial meningitis.”


Doctors. Are. Bastards