A Surprise Discharge

There’s not much more to tell you about my time in hospital, or rather there’s very little left that I can wring a bit of humour and/or a tune or two out of. So I’m going to rattle through the rest of the incidents of note and wrap things up.

Firstly, there’s something I omitted to tell you; in between the nurse’s call to my folks and them walking in on me mid-grease, there is some news as to what exactly I’m still doing there.

The nursing staff remain concerned about my vomiting episode. It is thought that I may have a tear ‘somewhere’ which has led to any liquid I’ve consumed to fall into places not intended to store liquid (you’ll let me know if I get too technical, won’t you?). I am to remain on a water only diet for the time being.

Added to that, and more definitively, on a couple of occasions, it has been observed that I get short of breath rather easily. Test results are now back in and I am told I have a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood-clot on my (left) lung to you and me. As a result, I am placed on a oxygen mask, which makes talking to my parents when they visit rather difficult.

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Radiohead – My Iron Lung

For the record, I am not placed on an iron lung, but this post needs breaking up a little bit and I can’t think of any other songs which are even vaguely appropriate.

Although, maybe this:

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The Sweet – Love is Like Oxygen

or perhaps..

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JJ72 – Oxygen

In other news, in a conversation with one of the consultants, I am told that my “sepsis is now under control”. This is a condition which has never been mentioned before and doesn’t crop up again; I assume at the time it is to do with the alarm over my blood tests which first led me to hospital, but it is also omitted from my discharge report.

However, a little research tells me that sepsis is not necessarily, as I thought, a blood problem, it’s a serious complication of an infection, which, if untreated, can lead to multiple organ failure and death. Not so funny anymore, right?

Symptoms of sepsis include:

  • a high temperture
  • chills and shivering
  • fast heartbeat
  • fast breathing

…all of which I have presented with or complained about at some point during my admission and stay in hospital.

Although it’s not specifically mentioned in my discharge papers, it seems pretty clear to me that the alarm the hospital showed when they got my blood tests back just before I was admitted was because I probably had sepsis due to the pulmonary embolism.

(After I’m discharged, I go to stay with my parents for a week or so, to convalesce. During that time, various family members visit me, including an aunt who for many years was a nurse, and whose opinion is often unwanted, but on this occasion is gratefully received. She reads my discharge papers, and mentions that it was a pumonary embolism that killed my grandmother. Later, she sends me a message where she mentions me having had a “near-death experience.” I show it to my mother, and flippantly comment that she’s exaggerating things a tad. “No,” says my mother, “I don’t think you realise how serious things were.” Having done the research, I get it now.)

No clever song for this bit, so you can let it sink in just as I did.

Oh ok, maybe one:

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The Housemartins – Think For A Minute

For the rest of the week,  friends visit: Hel, Kay and Ian on Monday; Richie on Tuesday, Jo on Wednesday. It’s absolutely love to see them, to know friends are true friends concerned for my well-being (that’s not to sound like I’m dissing those who didn’t visit; I got texts from everyone who knew I was in hospital asking how I’m doing and wishing me well). I am snowed under with fruit, magazines, books and an ipod charger.

This last thing is essential as by Monday evening I’ve decided that the in-house entertainment leaves a lot to be desired. There is a television in my room, attached to one of those moveable crane-arms. But here’s the thing: you can only watch the terrestial channels (which is fair enough, I suppose a Sky subscription is a little too much to ask of a cash-strapped NHS), and you can only watch those between 7am and midday.

My morning routine now includes catching the end of the BBC’s Breakfast show (I’m ill, but not so ill that I’d choose to watch Piers Morgan on ITV), followed by a progam about celebrities tracing family members who fought in the First World War, followed by Homes Under The Hammer (seriously: what is former Manchester United striker Dion Dublin doing on that show?), followed by the first fifteen minutes of some sort of ‘criminals caught on CCTV’ show, hosted by short-arse slaphead do-gooder Dom Littlewood, and then the screen is filled with a message asking me to purchase credits if I wish to keep watching.

I pay my TV licence, and I pay my National Insurance contributions, so I feel a little put out by this demand. I decide I’m not sufficiently obsessed with Bargain Hunt or Flog It! to pay for (what I consider to be) a third time for the privilege of watching them. Thankfully, the radio is free, but none of the digital channels are provided as options. No 6Music then. I end up listening to Radio 2 from mid-day onwards, to idiots calling in to Jeremy Vine, and then Steve Wright, who I find hasn’t changed since the last time I listened to his show, around thirty years ago on the bus home from sixth form (this is not a recommendation).

Alarmingly, repeated exposure means I find myself quite liking the new Michael Buble single. Ipod it is then.

Over the course of the week, I have some physiotherapy, designed to help me walk better again. This is more because I have been laid up and have not actually used my legs for days, rather than addressing the pain, loss of strength and grip in both my hands. But still, on the second session, I progress from standing and walking from my bed to the door, to completing a circuit of the hosiptal floor.

Rem Murmur demos

R.E.M. – We Walk

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Helen Shapiro – Walkin’ Back to Happiness

On the Wednesday morning, I go to have a scan on my left arm, to see whether or not I have a blood clot there too. As I am wheeled out of my room, my physiotherapist happens to stroll by. He tells me that he probably won’t come to see me again today (as we had arranged) but he would definitely be back before I am discharged. He gives me the impression this is not going to be soon, that there’s no real rush, and that I’ll be here until the weekend at least.

Back in my room, I’m visited by a consultant who rather sheepishly tells me that they may have lost the results of the biopsies they did the week before. I think she is expecting me to kick off, but it’s not in my nature.

“Ah well, these things happen,” I say. “So you’ll need to do them again, I suppose?”

She looks at me, somewhat surprised.

“If we can’t find them, yes. We have got somebody going through all of the results trying to find them, though. I must say,” she adds,”you’re taking this very well.”

“Well, what’s the point in getting angry about it?” I reason. “It’s not going to make the results magic themselves back into existence. It’s an admin error, as far as I’m concerned, and I’m always blaming admin for things going missing at work, so I can’t really complain when I’m on the receiving end, can I?”

But the following day, before I can have any more physiotherapy, or find out whether my biopsy results have been located, I am told I am to be discharged. Given everything that has been said or alluded to previously, this comes as a bit of a surprise. But several hours later, after a lot of paperwork is completed (the discharge report lists not just the pulmonary embolism and the vomiting event, but also tells me I had pneumonia. As far as I can recall, this is the first time this has been mentioned during my stay) and I have been given a load of medication and creams and strict instructions about how to use at least one of them, I am waiting outside for a taxi.

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Simon & Garfunkel – Homeward Bound

And that’s it.

But.

I can’t leave it hanging there, so let’s rewind a few days.

It’s just after my first session that my physiotherapist suggests the catheter should be removed so that I can build my strength up by actually having to get out of bed to go to the toilet. The day before, I had summoned the nurse and advised her that having not had a bowel movement of the solid variety for several days, the urge was now not quite overhwelming or urgent, but certainly imminent. She provides me with a bedpan, offers to help me position myself upon it (“No thanks!”) and then leaves me to my own devices.

I climb on board.

Have you ever tried to use a bed-pan? It’s really difficult. For although you know that everything is in place to catch whatever emerges, your mind remains resolute.

“You learned a long time ago”, it says, “that having a shit in your bed really isn’t the done thing.” I’m not Spud from Trainspotting, for God’s sake. I have control.

And so my body resists, and I have to ease myself back off the bed-pan and admit defeat, mission unaccomplished, .

The next day the catheter is removed. Just so you know, it hurt more coming out that it did going in. Ouchies.

And the combination of these two events (the failure to crap, and the begrudging knowledge that I now have to get up to pee) leaves me with a song in my head, the title of which explains my thought process now I have to actually get up to perfom my daily ablutions in a normal way:

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Slim Whitman – I’ll Never Pass This Way Again

More soon.

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The Chain #8

Ok, so where were we?

Ah yes, I left you with Hawkwind’s “Silver Machine”, and I asked you to suggest what we should play next, along with your ideas as to what linked that to the previous tune, which was KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”.

So first, the admin, and the official link between those two songs. As is so often the case, George was a) the only person who offered a suggestion, and b) 100% correct. He wrote: “I suspect the link between KT Tunstall and Lemmy is Stoke-on-Trent, as Lemmy was born there, although I don’t know which of the 6 towns it was.”

And here’s what it says on the BBC website:

Tunstall was one of the six towns that federated to form Stoke-on-Trent, which is Lemmy’s hometown…”

So, were I to be giving out Gold Stars, George would surely be the recipient for getting that right first.

But we’re going to pop George on the back burner for now. No offence, George.

So, to your suggestions. And first up is The Swede, who suggested this:

“I’ll keep it simple and go from ‘Silver Machine’ to ‘Don’t Leave Without Taking Your Silver’ by George Jones, a song that gets me every time.”

Your wish is my command.

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George Jones – Don’t Leave Without Taking Your Silver

George Jones modelling for “Avanti” at C&A in that cover shot, by the way.

The Swede’s line of thought is not entirely dissimilar to mine. I’d initially thought of being utterly obvious and posting David Essex’s “Silver Dream Machine”, but I eventually plumped for this. And say what you like, schmaltzy as it may be, this is a great record:

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David Soul – Silver Lady

Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area went down a similar train of thought as The Swede and I, but instead of concentrating on the “Silver”, he went for the “Machine”, and suggested this:

“Goldfrapp’s Strict Machine is a good follow on from Hawkwind’s Silver Machine. If a bit obvious.”

Obviousness is no impediment to a posting here (particularly when I really like the song in question), so here you go:

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Goldfrapp – Strict Machine (Single Mix)

Which leads me to my second choice. Yes, I’m allowed two, it’s my blog.

This came on my iPod earlier, and I thought I should include it here, partly because it’s by a little known group, partly because I really like it, derivative rock’n’roll that it is, but mostly because it includes two riffs that have been shamelessly nicked from other songs which I couldn’t put my finger on for ages. I got there in the end. I’ll leave you to see if you can spot and identify them both:

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The Struts – My Machine

Oh, wait, here’s George again, referring to his selection, which you haven’t heard yet:

“…you might as well stop taking requests right now because NO ONE will suggest a better song than that [his suggestion], even if they contrive a link to Fox On The Run.”

Simmer down George, I’m coming to yours.

The Swede concurs:

“George has nailed it – 100%. Magnificent choice.”

You’ll let me know if I’m building this up too much, won’t you?

Luckily, here’s Charity Chic, who bloody loves a challenge, and sent me this:

“Silver Machine to Silver Fox the nickname of footballer Fabrizio Ravanelli to Fox on the Run!”

I suspect that this is a private joke between George and Charity Chic that I’m not privy to. No matter. I’m equally unsure which “Fox on the Run” we’re talking about here; I’m aware of two, so let’s have them both:

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Manfred Mann – Fox on the Run

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The Sweet – Fox on the Run

Next up is The Great Gog’s suggestion:

“Lacking inspiration on this one, so it’s a personal tale. In 1988 I acquired my first car – a decrepit 9-year old VW Derby. In honour of the colour of the parts of its body that weren’t rusty, I named it the Silver Machine (I know, pathetic…). My friends took a different view – it quickly developed a reputation for bits falling off it (wing mirror, door handle, random bits of the exhaust system, etc.). They referred to it as the VW Debris.  So a personal link to Debris by The Faces (from A Nod Is As Good…).”

For which I must thank you, not just because it’s a bloody great tune, but also because the initial reason I started writing this blog was to tell the world, who I’m sure was just dieing to know, the reason I’d bought certain records through my life, and to drop some true life, often embarrassing, anecdotes as I do it. So, I’m always grateful for the occasional personal link as it reminds me what I’m supposed to be doing.

Anyway, here’s The GG’s choice:

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The Faces – Debris

Oh, and congratulations to Sir Rodney of Glasgow/Los Angeles.

Which brings us to the final suggestion of the week. Okay, George, the floor’s yours:

“Here goes. Silver Machine by Hawkwind, a hawk is a bird, as is a penguin, and Penguin Eggs is a folk album by Nic Jones, and track 4 is The Little Pot Stove.”

Classic George comment show-boating there.

Now, I must confess, I’d never heard of Nic Jones before, but when two fellow bloggers whose opinions I utterly respect tell me this is worth a listen, my ears prick up.

I needed a little help to track down the song in question, however  (thank you, anonymous man who shall not be named!).

When I was younger, I probably would have described this as “finger-in-the-ear folk music”, but now I’m a little (ahem) older I can see this as nothing short of beautiful.

So, thank you George for bringing this into my world. Apart from the whole showing-offiness thing about writing a music blog (and no matter what anyone says, there is a certain amount of ego involved in doing this), this is exactly the reason I do this: to interact and find out about stuff I would never have otherwise encountered.

I imagine this may polarise opinion, but I urge you to give this a listen:

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Nic Jones – Little Pot Stove

That really is a bit lovely, isn’t it?

No? You’re wrong.

Several Gold Stars to George for that.

(Dad – you’ll like that one, I think)

So to wrap things up for another week, here’s what the official link to “Silver Machine” was, and there’s already been a clue as to how they co-habit in this post:

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David Essex – Rock On

I think we can agree that our suggestions are somewhat superior.

So, no real need for you to suggest what the link between “Silver Machine” and “Rock On” is, because it’s bloody obvious, but a warm welcome to your ideas as to what can follow “Rock On” please.

Same time next week?

Or, rather: More Soon.