30 December 2022 (Friday) - Raining Before the Late Shift

I slept like a log last night, and woke after nine hours in my pit, which was something of a result. I was strangely disappointed that yesterday’s flu jab seems to have had no lasting effects whatsoever. I have a vague memory of having been poorly after a flu jab once (many years ago) but these days it seems everyone else has dibs on reactions to immunisations.
I took the puppies out into the garden and had my second disappointment of the day. It was raining. Having a morning free I did have a plan to take the dogs (and “er indoors TM) to the woods for a walk. We could have gone anyway, but where’s the fun in getting soaking wet?
Whilst the puppies snuggled with “er indoors TM I made toast and had a look at the Internet. There was a lot of talk on-line about how the Pope is asking people to pray for retired Pope Benedict XVI who is incredibly ill. I *really* don’t understand the entire concept of “prayers for the dying”. Are the prayers supposed to encourage whichever god it might be to stop the people dying? Don’t pretty much all the religions have us believe that when we croak we go to a better place? As I have said before, back in the day I was *incredibly* religious (I used to be a Steward in the Methodist Church) and one thing which made me see sense was the fact that pretty much everyone with whom I went to church was terrified of dying even though the whole concept of the church was that we really were going to a far better place when we croaked.
I also saw that I had an invitation to a masquerade party at the Dorchester hotel in London for tomorrow night… I say “invitation”; invitation to buy a ticket” was the actual truth of the matter. At over five hundred quid a ticket (and a room in the hotel being extra) I replied suggesting that they weren’t reaching their target audience.
With the rain getting heavier I then looked at writing up a little CPD. One article I found caught my eye. The article is written by someone who does the same job as me, but in the USA where they don’t have free health care. You can read it by clicking here, but it is heavy going. Just skip to the last paragraph:
I can’t help but think about the disparities associated with cancer and the inaccessibility of potentially lifesaving or life-prolonging treatments. … what if we had equal access to cutting edge, personalized therapies? What if the only therapy available was too costly to bear? Just because a cancer might be rare…  it doesn’t mean access to a proven effective therapy should also be rare. Even with drug assistance programs, so many patients face the harsh reality of tapping into their life savings to just to save their own life… Now, it’s time that pharmaceutical companies and our healthcare system as a whole work together to provide high quality, low-cost, readily accessible and personalized treatment options to every patient. They deserve that chance to overcome or at least manage their cancer
We’ve got this in the UK right now, and have had for over seventy years. When I took scouts to America I was told that the NHS was a “commie-pinko set-up” but it would seem that there are those over there who are coming to realise the value of what we’ve got. But for how much longer? Rather than standing on the doorstep clapping like things possessed, write to your MP about the slow insidious selling-off of the NHS that has been going on for ages, and still is.
I then spent a few minutes messaging fellow hunters of Tupperware about tomorrow’s geo-meet. A year ago I wrote “I’m hoping that we might re-boot the noble and ancient art of rummaging under rocks for film pots”, but sadly it didn’t happen. Might we re-enthuse people tomorrow?
As I pootled on-line so the dogs played with their Christmas toys. “Played” being “ripping the stuffing out”. “er indoors TM had got the room looking immaculate yesterday. This morning there was stuffing everywhere.
I got to work just as the rain was easing off, and rather sulked as I worked. Back in the day the days between Christmas and New Year used to be incredibly quiet with pretty much no one at all wanting any sort of medical interventions, least of all a blood test. As a lad I was told that taking leave at this time of year was a waste of leave as it was so quiet. Sadly that mind-set has stayed with me over the years, and these days I subconsciously expect a very quiet time when in fact work really is as busy as ever.
I came home via a little diversion to Bethersden to collect “My Boy TM” and his tribe who had been partying all evening.
Next year I’m going to book time off work… if I haven’t retired by then.
And today would have been Sid’s twelfth birthday…

29 December 2022 (Thursday) - Nose Bleed(s)

I had a look at the Internet as I scoffed toast this morning. I did chuckle as someone had joined the Adult Lego Facebook group and on seeing the word “adult” had totally misunderstood what the group was all about and who was in it. Having made all sorts of comments about the sad sacks that play Lego and how he would “entertain their bored partners he then found out that the vast majority of the group’s members are women. Quite a few of their partners were chipping in offering games of “fencing with the pork sword”, and the sad sack who’d made the offer was getting rather offended and really did seem to think that blokes on the other side of the world were going to forcibly “do the dirty deed” on him.
There was also quite a bitter tirade on a Dalek-related Facebook group about the amount of religion-related content appearing on that page.
I went through my emails and unsubscribed from all sorts of things I’d never subscribed to in the first place, then got ready for work.
My watch had registered thirty-eight steps before I’d even picked it up this morning.
With my sandwich box still full of biccies I drove round to the co-op to get lunch. Today’s co-op assistant asked if I had a co-op card. I had and I brandished it… and she took fifty pence off of the bill. Yesterday’s co-op assistant didn’t do that.
The radio was rather interesting this morning. There was talk of Russian cyber-attacks in their ongoing war with Ukraine, talk of internet security, and a tour round GCCHQ (as best as you can tour on the radio). Today’s guest editor was the head honcho of GCHQ and he was far more interesting that any other guest editor who has ever been wheeled on.
I got to work, and immediately skived off to get a flu jab. Mind you it wasn’t the skive it once was. Going to the occupational health department was a walk of two minutes today. Back in the day when I worked at the (now demolished) Royal East Sussex Hospital the occupational health department was at the (also now demolished) St Helen’s Hospital on the other side of town, and a trip there and back could be spun out over an entire morning.
Having said that, I can’t remember ever being offered a flu jab in the three years that I worked there.
I had a rather good day today doing microscopy training, but there was a minor disaster at lunch time. I had a nose bleed. As a child I had them all the time. At least once a day, and often more. Despite having had my nose cauterised many times they still kept coming. And the worst thing about nose bleeds is that *everyone* has a cure for nose bleeds that simply doesn’t work. And the less often anyone has had nose bleeds, the more forceful they are with their useless cures. A lifetime’s experience of the things has shown me that absolutely nothing works better than bunging up your nostril with some bogroll and waiting for the bleeding to stop. And any cure which works with the same efficiency as bunging up your nostril with some bogroll and waiting for it to stop is either uncomfortable, painful or both.
If you have a cure for nose bleeds which *isn’t* bunging up your nostril with some bogroll and waiting for it to stop, take it from me, forget it.
With work worked I came home to find “er indoors TM had done an incredible job of tidying up, but had a thick lip where one of the dogs (probably Morgan) had head-butted her in excitement. Dogs do that; they don’t mean any harm, they just get over-excited.
“er indoors TM went up the KFC for dinner. We scoffed it whilst watching “Gangsta Grannie”; another wonderful bit of telly which I’d managed to miss for over nine years.
The plan was that I would have some reaction to the flu jab necessitating me taking tomorrow off sick… so far I’ve had no reaction at all…

28 December 2022 (Wednesday) - (Would Have Been) Mum's Birthday

I woke (with a backache) at five o'clock and realised that Christmas was over for another year. Still, I've had two clear days away from work so I mustn't grumble. I got up and took the puppies into the garden where they did their things, then ran back inside. They don't like the rain.
As I had my morning shave I used some of the "Harry's" eucalyptus shaving cream I'd got for a pressie... it has to be said that you don't get much of the stuff in the tube.
As toast cooked I loaded the dishwasher; I seem to have done little else but eat and load the dishwasher over the last few days, and then I scoffed toast whist watching another episode of "Star Trek: Prodigy" which was again very good. I then had a quick look at the Internet. The squabbles about my old school were still going on; having now descended into personal name-calling and the instigator of the squabble being accused of being "attention-seeking" and "bi-polar"...  Everything eventually becomes an argument, doesn’t it? Such a shame.
Facebook also told me that today was my mother’s birthday. I told it that she died nearly two years ago. I asked them to memorialise her account – I think it looks better now rather than just hanging about with nothing happening to it like it was.
Mum would have been eighty-seven today; what with work I rarely got to see her on her birthday…
I put on my watch which thought I’d walked over a hundred steps when I picked it up (?) and set off to work through the rain, and had to brake sharply when a car flew out of the filling station. I wouldn't have thought it possible to accelerate so much in so short a time; the idiot behind the wheel looked to be truly shocked and surprised to see that there were other cars on the road. Mind you more and more people drive that way these days.
I stopped off at the co-op to get lunch; my sandwich box has been co-opted by “er indoors TM for use as a biscuit barrel. The woman behind the counter seemed to be as pleased to be working this morning as I was. In a spirit of camaraderie  I explained I'd only had a short time off for Christmas too, and she immediately saw this as a challenge and tried to start a "who's worked most over Christmas" argument.
I smiled sweetly and conceded defeat.. she would only take it out on the next customer.
The motorway was surprisingly busy. I eventually lost the idiot Frenchman who kept overtaking me, then slowing right down to thirty miles per hour in an attempt to encourage me to overtake him. What was that all about? With him finally left behind I activated cruise control and glided through the rain at a stead forty-nine miles per hour whilst listening to the radio.
This morning there was a lot of talk about Afghanistan.  Apparently the crackpot religious government have ordered all female aid workers out of the country because women offend their silly ideas of religion (or some other stark nonsense). The United Nations Security Council have told them not to be so silly. You would think that a country dependent on foreign aid would realise that beggars can't be choosers, wouldn't you? By the same argument, you would also think that anyone with any sense would realise that if their god was all it was cracked up to be, they wouldn't be living in a tin-pot third-world backwater. Wouldn't you? It never fails to amaze me just how strong a grip crackpot religion has on so much of the world... and how the so-called educated parts of the world feel it is an inalienable human right to be able to believe in stark staring nonsense.
There was then an interview with the chair of the government's select committee on something or other who wanted the public to be aware that Iran wasn't so much a country as a gang of terrorists.
Mind you today's guest editor on the morning's radio was Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff, so that probably explains a lot.
I got to work and sulked that I had to be there rather than at home. As I pootled about I phoned the bed company. After twenty minutes I got through to someone to whom I expounded my theory that their mattress has given me a permanent backache. The bloke was polite enough, but said that unless the mattress was physically broken, their policy is that I persevere with it for forty days before they will even consider replacing it. I suggested I spent the next month sleeping on the sofa as I'd get a better sleep and he would be none the wiser, but I think the sarcasm was lost on him.
Perhaps we should have looked at the company's reviews on Google *before*  we spent good money with them. One point three out of five as an average score... and other review sites don't rate them with reviews.io giving them an overall customer satisfaction rating of "Terrible", and sitejabber only gives them one out of five.
I think I will be lugging the mattress to the tip in the new year, writing off the money spent, and getting another one from a less crap company...
With work done I came home to dog excitement. Usually after an early shift we’d go for a walk, but it was dark and raining so I just watched as the puppies ran round the living room like loonies. They had the opportunity to go outside. Treacle and Bailey went willingly; Morgan had to be hoiked out.
“er indoors TM did her usual decent bit of scran… but my innards are still recovering from the excesses of the last few days…