Ordinarily, on a Saturday morning at 6am I’d be all warm and cosy under a massive goose-feather duvet, enjoying a lie-in after working nine to five during the week, however, when your consultant physician schedules a CT scan of your lungs at 8am you have to drag yourself out of bed at the weekend no matter what. Fortunately I have very good friends, so I was lucky enough to get a lift despite the fact it was still dark when I left the house. At the radiology suite I was required to remove my top (something I seem to be doing rather a lot of these days) and change into an unflattering hospital gown in readiness for the procedure. Although I’d had MRIs before this was my first experience of a CT scanner, so I chose to treat this new experience as exciting rather than scary.
After confirming my date of birth I had to lie down on the machine with my arms raised above my head waiting for the lights and whirring to begin. An automated female voice then said “Breathe in and hold your breath” – around five seconds later I heard “You may breathe normally” which was a bit of a relief. The table, with me on it, moved back and forth and the breath-holding exercise was repeated twice more. Hard to describe the feeling other than diving through a doughnut shaped washing machine while flat on your back; surreal but not remotely painful, and all over with in less than five minutes. Once my innards had been thoroughly photographed I was free to leave – the results will be sent to my specialist and a follow-up appointment will be scheduled in due course if there’s anything of note to discuss.
I can’t help but feel very lucky to have access to such incredible medical technology, and wonder what marvellous diagnostic tools we’ll have at our disposal in the not too distant future. I love science!
My boobs are still tanned from my recent escapades in Gran Canaria, and the New Year has only just begun, and yet there I was in an NHS facility getting my fun-bags flattened like pancakes while a young Irish girl in a white coat physically manipulated my upper body into machinery.
The walk to the ‘mobile screening unit’; by which I mean a large caravan in the car park of a sports complex; was made all the more exciting by the fact that Mother Nature had decided to whip up gale force wind gusts, ensuring I arrived looking as if I’d been dragged through many hedges backwards. C’est la vie.
I have no concerns regarding the appointment as it was simply routine, and it’s extremely important to agree to these procedures in order to ensure that all is as it should be. Despite my wishes to see a lot less of the NHS in 2018, this is one procedure I didn’t actually mind undergoing – it’s far better to be safe than sorry…
These past twelve months have been a little up and down. On the positive side I’ve enjoyed not one but two fabulous, luxury holidays in the Canary Islands but I’ve also said sad farewells to a couple of very dear friends. I finished a fixed-term contract for a Social Science department, where I would have loved to have stayed, but within weeks was offered a brand new position with a massive Computer Science department on the same campus. I’ve also seen a lot more of the NHS than I anticipated, however I’m hopeful that 2018 will see a significant decrease in medical appointments.
This year I enjoyed the company of an old mate who stayed with me during the summer. It was good being able to share some quality time with her and we spent many an evening putting the world to rights. My gorgeous daughters remain, as always, my raison d’être and I’m eternally grateful for the wonderful friends who are always there when I need them.
In July I was privileged to attend one of the annual Graduation ceremonies at the university where I work, and I’ve now decided that in the summer of 2018 I will finally put on the full Harry Potter outfit and officially collect my Social Science degree on the tenth anniversary of my own graduation; which I was unable to attend back in 2008.
There’s been many highs, a few lows, but I’m extremely optimistic about the future and I’m already looking forward to whatever exciting new things the next twelve months will bring…
“And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.”
What could be more hygge that spending Christmas Day with your nearest and dearest surrounded by gifts and cards while enjoying all manner of cakes, biscuits and crispy treats in a warm and cosy, candle-lit room? I’m truly blessed to have such wonderful daughters who always make sure that no matter how busy they are during the festive season, they find the time to make it special for me by turning up with a fabulous present and spreading their joy.
One definition of hygge is ‘A mood of cosiness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment‘ which perfectly sums up my Christmas Day this year. We caught up with each others news, drunk tea and were suitably merry. This year it was a double-celebration with news of an engagement! Being able to share Christmas Day with the happy couple was, indeed, magical.
There’s no other feeling in the world quite like being with your babies on Christmas Day and I’m a very lucky mum to have such gorgeous girls.
You know you’re in Maspalomas when you’re greeted like a long lost friend by an excitable Spanish gay chap who you’ve never met before, as he hugs you while giving you a kiss on each cheek (how very continental) before welcoming you to ‘paradise’!
While the UK was covered in snow I was stripping off at my adults-only, all-inclusive, 4-star hotel in Gran Canaria (yes, it’s a hard life). I don’t know what gets into me but the minute I arrive in Gran Canaria I can’t keep my vest on!
All-inclusive food and drinks means over-indulgence renders you incapacitated for hours on end. Thank heavens for the fabulous rooftop terrace (with bar, obviously). I’ve had some surreal moments during this holiday; not least when I spent the evening with a couple of Swedish guys watching a female contortionist and her strongman partner on stage, as I knocked back large glasses of Baileys on the rocks.
I did occasionally drag myself away long enough to enjoy boaty things and travel around the island a bit but the majority of my week involved nothing more strenuous than slathering another layer of sunscreen onto my burnt bits. Feliz Navidad!
After being lucky enough to visit Grayson Perry’s fantastic House for Essex in Wrabness I’d always wanted to see more of his work, so when I discovered that a local gallery was to feature pieces from his collection linked to the house I couldn’t wait to go and see it. Oh my goodness, it surpassed my expectations that’s for sure.
Although featuring sketchbooks, drawings, photos, woodcuts, ceramics and tiles the undisputed stars of the show were the gigantic tapestries. While you absorbed the minute details of the fabric you could listen to an audio of the man himself narrating The Ballad of Julie Cope.
For a social historian it was an utter joy as the story draws you in to the point where you completely forget that Julie is, or was, a fictional character. These artworks represent, in Perry’s words, ‘the trials, tribulations, celebrations and mistakes of an average life’ and certainly resonated with me. I may not know much about art but I know what I like – and I liked it a LOT!
Walking along a crowded street wearing a device with wires attached made me strangely aware of how dodgy it might appear to others, however it was all perfectly innocent as I’d just been to the hospital to get a 48 hour heart monitor fitted. My beats per minute rose a little when the penny dropped that I should probably quickly check to make sure I had no cables dangling from under my jumper, but thankfully everything was securely strapped to the waistband of my jeans. Wishing to avoid any unnecessary panic I chose to return straight home rather than risk setting off any shop alarms.
Fortunately this monitoring was taking place during a weekend, which avoided enduring a ‘show and tell’ session in the office. I must admit that while most of the time I managed to forget I was wearing it, trips to the bathroom were a little more complicated than usual due to having to untangle myself, but overall the whole thing went without any major hitches.
I now have to wait for my cardiologist to examine all of the data, and hopefully the results will provide him with everything he needs in order to make a decision about the next course of action regarding my ongoing valve issues. A few years ago this would’ve required a two-day stay in a hospital ward, but thankfully nowadays all of this can be done while you go about your daily business. Technology really is a wonderful thing…