Unreliable and possibly off-topic


Thursday, December 13, 2007

eBay Queen

I'm not the best consumer, especially since I hate crowds up the High St as Xmas approaches. However, almost all my shopping needs have been solved this year through my recent introduction to eBay. I can't reveal the gifts I've bought in case friends and family read this, but suffice it to say that I've bagged bargains that you couldn't find in the shops; nicer, more varied and cheap as chips.

I don't get everything I bid for, which adds to the spice. For instance, this week I was beaten by a measly 20p on a stunning boxed set of 6 opalescent liqueur glasses, ?1960s, which were intended as Alex's gift.

The drawback is that I've developed an ulnar palsy as a side-effect. I've sat for far too long with my chin resting on my left hand, its elbow flexed and taking weight on the desk, while I watch and type with my right hand. As a result, for the last three days I've had parasthaesia and weakness in my left hand, especially the smallest three digits. I can no longer recognise by touch objects in my bag with that impaired left hand, can't turn a key or reliably grip an object. Luckily, I know from experience that the trapped nerve will, with time, work itself free and restore sensation and motor function. Just as well I'm right-handed. The BMJ once ran a case-report on 'Saturday night palsy' (temporary parasthesia after sleeping drunkenly on a limb), and I'm now proposing 'eBay palsy' as new nosological diagnostic category.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Displacement activites

Still existing and abiding. The day-to-day stuff has been boring and individual, involving a) family medical rollercoasters and b) excess time at work.

On the subject of a), I now boast an extensive knowledge of the aetiology and neurophysiology of emesis and hiccups. The routes of the vagus and phrenic nerves are now an open book to me, as are the neurophysiology of gut motility, reverse peristalsis, the area of the 4th cerebral ventricle, the CTZ and the vomit centre in the dorsal medulla. None of this research made a scrap of difference to my poor dad's symptoms, but kept me well occupied in displacement activity for a good while. For the last week we've had wonderful attention from proper doctors and nurses who've effected enormous improvement in my dad's symptoms. This week I love the NHS, their local Oncology and Palliative service staff (WGH) and the drugs of Big Pharma!

On b), extra work hours at odd times and weekends; there was about a month of that, but it's finished now. Despite my constant pissing, moaning and feeling tired all the time, totting up absolute weekly hours showed I took them all back as I went. A Monday off after a 7.30am-noon Saturday shift seemed purely humane (and a poor replacement for a proper weekend), but could represent a 3.5 hour debit on the timesheet. That's about what you deserve if you're idiot enough to agree to work at stupid o'clock and on weekends whenever The Man snaps his finger, without a prior agreement of terms.

The full moon towards the end of last month was stupendous, coinciding with a stretch of cloud-free weather and brittle cold. That weekend she was popping up on the skyline wherever I was heading, and we started playing keekaboo. A highlight was when on a smoke break outside a conference. It was only 3pm and still daylight, and the toddler in fluffy pink pointed her out (now 7/8) with a silent baby-toothed grin.