Sunday, 15 January 2017
But, regrettably, all that sawing, drilling, assembling, brushing, grinding, cutting, polishing and re-calibrating has once again been put on hiatus. My overalls, mask, gloves, goggles and steel toe capped boots will all have to be moth-balled for at least another fortnight. But what hurts the most, the one thing that cuts deeper than anything, the single most crushing blow, is that I wont get a chance to debut my brand new Super-Handy Mega Utilitarian Tool & Accessory Belt I got off santy for Christmas. I mean, come on. Who doesn't want to look like Batman when they're hanging a door or changing a fuse.
From information I've pieced together from my almost non-existent knowledge of human anatomy, bits I've picked up from reading magazines in the doctors waiting room, and things I've overhead in the que at the post office, I've came to this conclusion in its simplest terms:
Here is some medicine to clear up your chest infection.
This medicine will cure your chest infection, but will obliterate your immune system.
This will cause you to develop and even worse infection in your sinuses a few days later.
Here is some more medication to clear up your sinus infection.
Repeat step 2 and prepare to be indefinitely miserable.
On Friday evening last, I was going about my business as usual, feeling thankful for finally starting to feel better after the past 15 days of malaise. I felt a routine sneeze coming on. No problems I thought, just a sneeze. The sneeze mechanism slowly wound itself up and came out. Ah-choo!!. I really wasn't expecting this everyday bodily function to be accompanied by a blast of agonising pain to the top of my head, comparable to being hit with a sledgehammer. I saw a flash of blue light, my eyes rolled back and I almost blacked out. Wow, that was one bad-ass sneeze.
I thought nothing more of it until the next morning. I awoke, turned around to wish Mrs. Byrne a good day when all I heard was "ARRRRRAAAGHHHRRH"!!!!.
What, what, what is it I said?
When she didn't answer I knew something was wrong. Silence speaks a thousand words.
Now, have you ever wondered what the lovechild of Kim Jong Un and Minnie Driver would look like, after he got battered black and blue by Wladimir Klitschko for a full hour? That's as close as a description I can up with of what I saw when I looked in the mirror. A big swollen pumpkin head. By this time the jackhammer-esque headache had returned. I started to get really concerned when I noticed the skin lesions and a rash forming..
Well ain't that just grand. As I'm not too keen on the idea of contracting meningitis or anaphylactic shock I had no choice but to call on the excellent out of hours G.P service we are very lucky to have in the next town over. Very easy process, I gave a few details and was told to call over immediately. Similar to a fondness for power tools, like most men, I'm a pathological gobshite when it comes to doctors or hospitals, so when a medical professional uses words like "immediately", it has a tendency to exasperate one's unnecessary anxiety.
As we sped towards the doctors office I was planning what to say if I met anyone I knew. I would explain that I didn't walk into a door, I wasn't a victim of brutal domestic violence, and I didn't fall into a manhole or over the Abbey wall when pissed. ( I haven't done that last one since the summer of '96.. Ah, the good old days...). So I would have to come clean I tell them I was riddled with something highly contagious, at which point they'd hand me a mask, a bell, and then run away in the opposite direction screaming hysterically and waving their arms in the air.
I entered the doctors office to a variety of stares. I just wanted to get in and hide under a chair until it was time to be seen. I was called within two minutes, and when I went in the doctor had his back to me while he finished off typing something on his laptop. He told me to sit down and he'd be right with me. When he finished typing and turned around to talk to me, I was expecting a sympathetic look, a little smile, and maybe a few words of reassurance. Something along the lines of:
Hi Dave, that looks nasty, but don't worry we'll get you fixed up in no time.
His expression didn't fill me with confidence..
Instead, his face dropped, his eyes widened, and he gasped. Rather than the encouraging look I was hoping for his demeanor screamed:
WHOA, JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WHAT THE FUUUUCCCK IS THAT!!!!
Thoughts of being put in a cage and being rolled out at the circus raced through my mind.
" See the amazing singing culchie hamster-man. His face looks like the moon"
After the initial shock wore off, we settled down to business. Following assessment it was determined that I was wasn't in any immediate danger, just unlucky to have gotten two good doses one directly following another. After the prescription was written up, he offered me some tips on boosting my immune system. Plenty of fresh fruit and veg, fluids and rest. And if I ran out of kale suppositories not to worry, just peel a kiwi and stick it up there.
I returned home, crawled into bed, tried not to laugh, cough, sneeze or move my eyes. I was happy I wasn't sent to a travelling freak show in Bolivia this time.
I am pleased to report that today, I've downgraded the swelling from catastrophic shellfish allergy to a mere David Coulthard. So, things are going in the right direction.
The Serious Bit:
We are very fortunate to have a service like NowDoc on our doorstep. A very fast, very professional and efficient service. Its great to have the piece of mind that the service is available for real emergencies.
See yiz all next week
Monday, 9 January 2017
Aside from the odd sniffle, ache or sinus blockage, I rarely get ill. Thankfully, I’ve never been seriously ill. I rarely have cause to look for sympathy, but if I did, I’d swiftly remind myself that I’m from a small town in the west of Ireland, and sympathy, sensitivity and empathy are not widely practiced here, so it’s completely pointless to even try. Unless you are officially terminally ill, have lost a limb or missing an organ or two, all you can expect to get is abuse. Everyone becomes an expert. If I was to follow the advice given to me by several of my so called friends over the last 10 days, I suspect I would be well beyond the reach of home care by now, and would have been admitted to hospital some time ago. Typically, and unsurprisingly, one of the stalwart Irish stereotypical suggestions I received was:
“A few hot ones will sort ya out”
No, no they won’t.
“I’m not feeling well”....”yeah there’s a bad auld dose going”
There is never not a dose going around.
Creature comforts such as a hot shower, a full larder and fridge, television, an extensive DVD and book collection, many guitars, amplifiers, effects, wireless internet, an open fire and soft furnishings which I normally would never take for granted are becoming mundane and uninteresting, and serve to add to the tedium. If I watch any more television I will start to lose all cognitive brain function, and my synapses will collapse. If I read any more books my eyeballs will liquefy. If I count the number of squares on the sofa upholstery again I'll have to be sectioned. The fire is being a pain in the arse and I think I’ll just burn all the guitars for something to do.
As from today, I officially know everything there is to know about the mating rituals of the Burmese clouded leopard, how to re-bore a cylinder head from a 1982 Ford Fiesta, make the perfect beef Wellington, abandoned Soviet missile silos, male and female wannabe non-celebrities plastered with fake tan and makeup pretending they can dance on a stupid show, honey badgers, gyroscopes, solar flares, craft beer making, the Botfly, topical jungle medicine, keyhole surgery, money laundering, composting toilets, floating raft foundations, the Panama canal, people who never met each other getting married, teenage moms, the man with 37 wives and last but not least, Margaret Thatcher's secret henchmen.
Tomorrow morning, I’m expecting a small package from An Post AND a delivery from a courier simultaneously!! I can’t say I’ve ever been excited about seeing the postman before, and my normal interaction with the courier is a long winded argument about how he knows full well where my house is but just can’t be arsed to deliver the item because it’s a few minutes out of his way, but I can barely contain my glee! If he does make it the house I'll drag him in for tea and make him watch a really long film with me. Schindler's list, Titanic or Ben Hur, something like that, even though my eyes will be burnt out of my head. I’m also very much looking forward to loading the dishwasher and folding towels. That’s how boring it can get. If I ever thought about becoming a professional criminal this has put me right off, as I know now I could never do prison.
On a serious note, these few days have given me a lot of time to think. This is only a temporary situation and I’m expecting my exile to end within another week, and I fully realise and appreciate what those who may be battling a serious illness, convalescing from surgery, receiving palliative care, or suffering from severe depression or anxiety have to face on a day to day basis.
I know I will be able to get back in the car in a few days and do the normal, routine, monotonous, everyday rat-racing that we all whinge about from time to time. But compared to what so many other poor people have to endure, the rat race is glorious, the routine is a blessing and being fit and healthy enough to deal with all life’s challenges, setbacks and assholes is a privilege.
Life is all too brief. Don’t put anything off. Be nice to others but be true to yourself. Don’t allow yourself be judged. Don’t be a walkover but don’t be an asshole. You’re only human. If you think someone needs help then they probably do. Ask them. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. If someone asks you an awkward question answer them honestly. They wouldn’t have asked if they didn’t want to hear the answer truthfully.
Till next time...Adios!!
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
Catchy slogans such as 'Every little helps', 'Always better value', 'Real food, real people' , 'Save money, Live better', 'Where quality is cheaper' etc, can be very contradictory and misleading to the untrained non-veterans out there. My personal favorite is 'Spend a little, live a lot', which is a blatant lie, as in most cases the complete opposite happens.
1. Go once a week, buy everything you need for a whole week all at once as quick as you can, then get out as quick as you can.
2. Go every day, buy exactly what you need for the day, no more or no less, as quick as you can, then get out as quick as you can.
- 14 litres of milk
- Rotisserie Goat
- Tin of Campbell's Condensed Cream of Gelatine soup
- A pallet of rashers
- 20,000 sausages
- Oven-ready thrush wrapped in a blackbird wrapped in a swan wrapped in an albatross
- Boned, rolled and stuffed something-or-other
- Brennan's today's bread yesterday
- Various cheese products
- Pack of Bbq Flavoured E numbers
- 27 bags of Non- Irish Potatoes
- Large pack of Alka-Seltzer
- 43 cans of Harp
- A 25 pack of paint brushes, safety boots, a step ladder and a trolley jack.. Very important
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
Being an extremely light sleeper, the slightest of sounds will wake me up. If a spider in the bedroom downstairs at the other end of the house even thought about farting, I will awaken.
Despite this, I find the sound of heavy rain battering against the Velux window of my bedroom quite relaxing when drifting off to sleep. Under normal circumstances, driving rain and wind colliding with the front of the house means nothing more than bad weather, and the prospect of another shitty day in our emerald isle. Being Irish, I was born with an instinctive understanding and acceptance of the fact that the weather will be shite in Ireland for eternity, so I’m pretty used to it at this stage.
However, things are far from normal today. Today isn’t your common or garden Monday. Today really is the day. The clock radio I bought second-hand at a jumble sale 14 years ago chimes into life and ruptures my blissful tranqulity with a shriek of high pitched pulses or squeaks " Hawh hawh hawh hawh hawh hawh hawh hawh hawh” in unison with some happy-sounding bollocks reading out the weather forecast I already know. In the second and a half immediately after I awake I automatically think it’s just a regular day. Nothing to worry about here. All is cool. Closed eyed and still dribbling, I reach over to activate the clock’s snooze function. The bright red button is still intact and operational despite years of the clock being bounced off the wall on a winter’s morning, a true testament to the durability of injection moulded plastic, and Chinese child labour. However, the gravity of the situation soon dawns on me when my brain starts to work, reminding me that an extra snooze is not an option today. Instead I lie awake contemplating the mammoth task that lies ahead of me. Knowing that I may fail, like I have done so many times before, thinking about how horrible and uncomfortable I’m going to feel every single day for at least the the next 5 years. Understanding that this is the start of a very, very long term commitment.
Yes. Today is the day I start my exercise regime. Again.
Being a man of considerably ample carriage with as much interest in physical activity or sports as a dose of rickets, I am genuinely terrified of what awaits me, out there, in that big cold wet world. I suffer not from any genetic or hereditary condition, but rather a self-inflicted disorder known as Cantwalkpastapuborrestaurantitis. I try hard to rationalise the situation, and begin thinking up of any excuses I could use for myself. Maybe I could throw myself off the landing and make it look like an accident? Perhaps drink that stuff in the orange bottle that’s stored under the sink in the bathroom? Or hit myself repeatedly over the head with the bedside lamp? I decide against these proposals as all would undoubtedly result in catastrophic injury....
But then all of a sudden: “hawh hawh hawh hawh hawh hawh hawh... Snoozy time was up. Except this time the alarm’s cries produce a sound like " Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee”.
Anxiety then gave way to full blown paranoia. That was it. The fucking clock was laughing at me.
Having dragged myself out of bed and downstairs, I set about preparing my breakfast. The kitchen radio is emitting some kind of horrible throbbing racket known as chart music. From what I can make out, the noise is supposed to be a song containing a sample of The Jackson 5's ABC. This tripe quickly angered me, so I removed the radio and placed it in a drawer. I'd rather listen to paint dry than endure modern pop music. Jesus Christ almighty.
Tito Jackson would be spinning in his grave. If he was dead.
I tentatively roll up the window blind hoping against hope that the weather had alleviated somewhat. It had not. As the minutes roll by I am beginning to remember to my horror more and more about this new active lifestyle that I have reluctantly agreed to (Doctors know when you’re lying, by the way), and that dieting was also a major part of it. My alleged sustenance this morning would consist of what can only be described as a portion of grilled cardboard topped with baby vomit, followed by a thimble full of used cat litter and dehydrated geraniums all washed down with a gallon of boiling water. Yum. I couldn’t wait for lunch. What will it be today? Probably wasn't going to be a big aul juicy shhteak and a lock o' pints. More like a steamed brick wrapped in kale accompanied by half a lick of an OXO cube. I look forward to tucking into that later while watching a drama series about a hardened Women’s prison in Australia.
Always Women, always Australia. Never a cushy detention centre for passive Swiss tax evaders.
25 minutes pass. Back upstairs, I consider eating my tooth brush. Surely it has more nutritional value than what I’ve just forced down at the breakfast table. After completing my morning ablutions, I sombrely make my way to the wardrobe to try on my new sports gear. If you are built like me with a long back and really short legs, nothing in this world will fit you straight off the peg. I don’t think I would feel comfortable going out power walking in a dress, not withstanding the fact it would be extremely liberating and airy, but it may attract a bit of unwanted attention from the Gardai.
So, I settle for trackies and a T -shirt. Its very hard to find a really long T-shirt and really short trackies, so instead I make do with what I’ve got, not the best solution in the world but at least I’m now relatively decent. As I descend the staircase my attention is drawn to a window once again. The rain has stopped. But now there are hailstones falling. Not regular hailstones.
Genetically modified hailstones.
Teenage mutant ninja hailstones.
I walk to the front door, unlock it and open it slowly. I cautiously attempt to make my exit. I only have enough time to expose the tip of my nose and one cheek when BANG!! Mother nature greets me with her full arsenal. Freezing cold, unidirectional hailstones travelling at 150 MPH pound the side of my head. Like being hit in the face with a box of Bachelors Marrowfat Peas.... Before they have been soaked overnight.
With a deep breath, I step forth into the misery. Not knowing if I will ever return again...!!
Tuesday, 5 April 2016
If you don't like it or if you are one of these modern day, hyper-sensitive, hipstery, metro-sexual, craft beer, quiona salad types then you know where the door is. However, if you happen to fit the description above and would still like to read on regardless, then you are most welcome.
My oh my how things have changed in the last 20 years. Where did all those years go? I hear you lament. Well, the years have gone, and that's just that. We can do sod all about it. Tough. Life is hard. Get used to it. Time waits for no man. Although some women seem to think it might.
Drinking whale placenta, injecting oneself with corrosive chemicals, applying solutions and poultices made from moss and bits of trees to one's face, and exposing oneself to hour after hour of artificial sunlight despite the huge risk of developing terminal cancer or being burned to death slowly from the inside out are just some of the extreme measures the modern lady will take in the name of vanity and in a futile, desperate, hopeless attempt to not only slow down the ageing process, but actually reverse it. Once these tasks are complete, it is customary for the lady to share her new look with the entire world. Once the concrete has set, of course.
Which brings me to the Selfie.
A craze which is sweeping the world in recent times. When I was a fresh-faced 17 year old and started to take an interest in girls, booze, cigarettes, snack boxes and general jigery-pokery, and long before the weight of this world crushed my spirit and exuberance, I had what was known as a 35mm camera. In those days taking a snap was a bit of an ordeal. You first had to load the film, wind it on carefully, then you had only 26 exposures to last all night. (A film cost 5 pounds, nobody could afford 2 films!) Then, if you were pissed, you'd say a little prayer and hope that you didn't load the film arseways and destroy 26 fabulous memories of a great night out. Then on Monday, I'd take my film to the local jewellers shop to be developed, where I then had to wait an entire week for my pictures to be returned, that is, if I didn't fuck up the film in the first place.
Apologies, I digress. Back to the selfie.
Given the huge advancements in techology and the availability of the internet to all nowadays, we can safely say there is no such thing as privacy anymore. You can't piss crooked these days without being photographed or recorded. This doesn't seem to phase the younger generation however. In fact, most embrace it. They don't seem to care if a picture of them asleep on the toilet or eating chips straight off the road pops up on social media. And when there's nobody else around to document your embarrassment, why not do it yourself! Or, after a long session of shaving off perfectly good eyebrows and replacing them with exclamation marks painted on at right angles a half an inch away from where they should be, its only right and proper to take a picture of yourself and let everybody see it. Instantly. Then sit back and wait for the likes and comments to roll in: u luk fab hun ...swit swoo... omg wtf u bg rde...etc etc.
And in the unlikely event of your ego not being sufficiently massaged, you can purchase a selfie stick. A telescopic pole that balances your smartphone atop, which also doubles as an extension of your amour-propre. This device is particularly useful if you have overdone it on the poly-filler, or have injected too much goose fat into your lips. It provides a distance prospective, and will make you look less like a constipated trout when you pull that silly pouting face.
Back in my day, we smiled at the camera....
See you next week.