Friday, November 28, 2008

When the Cat's Away...

Going to Bristol this weekend. Pirate is going to B'ham for an archery competition, so he's dropping me of in Brizzle on the way. I'm going to spend two nights with my ex-partner (sculling partner), and run around and do Crimbo shopping and go to the gym and see my supervisor and lots of friends and get drunk a few times. w00t.
See yous Monday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No-man's Land

I saw a new specialist yesterday about my back. He's the head of physical therapy at Plymouth's largest hospital, and he specializes in lower back pain.

I'm not in quite a sufficiently poor state to justify surgery at this point. Most days I can function just fine. It's really only about 1 day a fortnight when I'm genuinely unable to do basic things for myself like get dressed and wipe my ass. Most other days I have pain on and off throughout the day, but I can do the things I need to do, albeit a bit stiffly.

The problem is, I've already just about exhausted all the non-surgical options. I'm fit, healthy, strong, and flexible. Given that, there's very little I can gain from further physical therapy. There are a few things that can be worked on, some movements that I can't do, so they are giving me an NHS physio who will give me more/new excercises, etc. But The Expert said he couldn't guarantee it would have any real impact on my quality of life.

So I'm in a bit of a medical no-man's land. If I were any worse, they would operate, but I'm too healthy to benefit much from phys. Arg.

I asked about my long-term prognosis. His response? (And this is a direct quote) "You have a bad back."


The one small segment of silver lining is that if I do get any worse I'm an absolutely perfect candidate for a particular kind of back surgery that no one else had discussed with me. Instead of removing the disk and fusing the vertebrae, which I thought was the only option, they can add little rubber springs to my L4 and L5 vertebrae on either side of the damaged disk to give it more stability. It's only got a 50-70% success rate, but because I'm such a perfect candidate for it (young, healthy, fit, and with a single-level problem (ie only one affected disk)), they put me at the top end of that estimate, and maybe as high as 80%.

So in the meantime I muddle on as best I can, unlikely to get better, and waiting to get worse, so that then I can get better.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bad Ass

I've begun taking jujitsu and boxing. Jujitsu on Tuesdays and boxing on Thursdays. It's brilliant. It's helping to bring my fitness back up to snuff (which has suffered abysmally since Henley last June), and is helping my mental state as well. Get me, I'm tough. *Grrrrr!*

Monday, November 17, 2008

It turns out that Pirates wear underwear

Who knew?

It also turns out that they will wear their underwear until it is so riddled with holes it can double as a fishing net. At which point they keep wearing it.

So I had a very Middle Class moment the other week. No, not quite that middle class. Or even that. But middle class enough for me.

I went to Mark's & Spencer's to buy underwear for my man.* And then stood around in the men's underwear department with a bunch of other middle-aged housewives complaining that our men refuse to buy their own underwear, but complain about the stuff we buy for them.

It was all terribly middle class, dahlink.

* I eventually got him these.

ps. The bestest part was looking around at the packaging and realizing that my Pirate is more fit and better hung than all the professional underwear models. Yee-haw baby!

It turns out that Pirates wear underwear.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sleeping the Plank

The plywood did the trick.

I went down to the lumber yard (1/2 mile walk), picked out a sheet of plywood, got them to trim it to the right dimensions for me and deliver it that afternoon. Whacked it on the bed with the help of the Pirate when he got home from swashbuckling, and lo! A (mostly) firm bed!

It's still a bit spongy, but eliminating the give from the box spring has done a lot to firm it up. The big change is that now I can turn over at night, which I couldn't before. That helps a LOT.

So this will get us through at least until the New Year. Pirate has finally been persuaded that we need a new bed anyway, if only to upgrade in size. After I spent three nights on the floor* and he had room to stretch out, I climbed back in and he declared the bed too small.**

*In my nest. I slept on my camping bedroll between the bed and the wall, a space about 2 feet wide and 8 feet long. I had 3 pillows (two for under my head and one for hugging***) and burried myself under 2 down duvets (one of which was king size and folded in half). It was a proper little nest. I quite enjoyed it.

** Which I told him when we registered for the duvet on the wedding list. I insisted on getting a king size because I knew we'd need a king-sized**** bed as soon as we could afford it. He scoffed. Ha!

*** this is critical

**** A king size bed in the UK is equivalent to a queen size in the USA*****

***** I'm trying to beat GSE for the Most Footnotes In The Footnotes Prize

Monday, November 10, 2008

Back to back

My back has been getting slowly but steadily worse for several weeks. By this weekend I was having serious problems, including but not limited to:

  • pain that reduced me to tears every time i sneezed or coughed
  • an inability to bend over to put on my own knickers
  • an inability to bend over to wash my face
  • an inability to get into a car w/o assistance
  • an inability to twist around to wipe my own ass

So I finally did it. I slept on the floor.

I expected that I might feel somewhat better after a night on the floor, instead of in a bed so soft that when you sit on it your ass sinks below the level of your knees. I did not expect that after one night on the floor that I would feel completely fine.

That pretty much settles it. We need a new mattress.

For budget reasons we'd really rather not make a major purchase until after Christmas. As a stop-gap we're going to try putting a sheet of plywood between the mattress and box spring. Several people have suggested that this will help, so it seems the obvious first step.

(Oh, and I've got an appointment with the doctor in the morning to see if there's anything else that can be done from a medical perspective. In the past 2 years the NHS has shown a distinct disinterest in my back problems, but this is a new doctor so maybe he'll be more openminded to helping a 29-year-old healthy woman with chronic pain issues. I'm not holding my breath, though.)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Thank you, NRA

Keep up the good work.


It's 6 am. I've been awake for 2 hours. I don't think I'll go back to bed this morning.

The bed is horrible. It's too small and too soft. With Pirate in it I've got no room to move. My half of the bed is smaller than my mummy sleeping bag. And the mattress is awful. It's really old and completely soft. When you sit on the bed your butt goes all the way down to the box spring. It's doing my back in. I can't turn over in it, and if I'm in one position too long my back hurts. I wake up 6 times a night just to roll over, which I have to sit up to do.

But despite all this I've been able to sleep. It's taken 9 or 10 hours a night to get the equivalent rest of 7 or 8 good hours, but that's ok. Tonight it was the temperature issue again.

I'm cold. I'm always cold. It's a fact of life.

Pirate is hot. (My god is he hot!) He generates heat like a little sea-faring blast furnace. So I want loads of covers and he wants none. USUALLY.

Except the last few nights. It finally got cold here, and he's been complaining that his shoulders are getting cold, because I like to have an arm on top of the blankets and he likes them all the way up to his chin, but when I put an arm out it pushes them all down to the level of his armpit and his shoulders get cold.

So all night tonight as the covers have been sliding all over with their usual independent-mindedness (why the hell do blankets not stay where you put them????), I've been adjusting them to keep Pirate tucked in the way he likes.

When I woke up to move or pee (it's hard to tell sometimes what wakes me) I discovered ALL the blankets and duvets piled on top of me like a 4-foot-deep dollop of wool whipped cream. I couldn't move. I woke Pirate and said "AREN'T YOUR SHOULDERS COLD!??!?!".

"No," he replied. "I'm baking. You can have the covers."


I dumped them all on top of him and got up to blog and eat chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


While the last bricks of a long-held, deep-seeded American bigotry were being pulled down in Tuesday's historic election,

a new one


it's ugly, ugly head.

I'm absolutely thrilled that America finally decided a black child can have the same dreams of growing up to be president as a white child. I'm utterly appalled that a lot of those same people think they get a say in who people marry.

Eighteen THOUSAND couples in California who got married this summer, thanks to the acknowledgment of their rights by the CA legislature and supreme court, have just been told that their marriages aren't valid. That despite the licenses, vows, parties, and cakes, they are no longer married, because of a bunch of bigots decided so.

I can't imagine how I would feel if someone came a long and told me that I was no longer married to Pirate. That for some reason the public disapproved, and without my consent, invalidated my marriage.

I think I would kill myself.

What happened today in California is utterly despicable.

Today I'm thrilled for Obama, but I'm still weeping for the state of civil rights in America. Congratulations, African-Americans, you're officially off the bottom rung of the latter. You've been replaced by a deeper loathing of gays.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

It's finaly happened.

I've actually begun dreaming about the election.

In my dream last night Obama won the popular vote but the electoral college was tied. Since I have no idea what happens in that (highly unlikely) scenario, my dream came to a screeching halt as my brain tried to figure out where to take the plot next.

Does anyone know what happens if the electoral college ties???