25 November 2011

Knee Replacements –From the Sidelines

As someone who has been on the side, watching my mum over the years having four different knee replacements, and now with my step dad currently in hospital having one, I have had a good insight into what happens, and the dos and don’t.

Obviously I’m not a consultant, I’m not in the medical field at all.  So this post is purely from experiences my mum has had, with me at her side, seeing how it works, what to expect, what preparation you should do. 

The first thing I would say is wait as long as you can before having the operation.  A knee replacement on average lasts about ten years, depending on whether you are having a partial or a full replacement.  So it stands to reason, the younger you are, the more operations you will end up having. 

The most important thing I would say is to research your consultants.  In England you can have a say in who does your operation.  Don’t automatically go for the person they give you.

My mum’s first consultant, although the operation went well, was a horrible man.  He barely came to see her, she was left in terrible pain for hours and she was released before she really should have been.  With a different knee replacement the surgeon broke a bone in her leg, which can happen with these operations I know.  However, he didn’t tell her that it had happened and it was only upon seeing a different consultant some weeks later that she found out the problem.

After that we researched the consultants and she now has a brilliant surgeon, who cares about his patients, looks after them well and she has had good experiences since. 

After 20 years of having Osteoarthritis, she can now even do a little run.  But she is awesome, my mum.

You get out of a knee replacement just what you put into it.  Once the operation is done, the physiotherapy starts the very next day.  The more you do, the more you try, the better it gets and the work pays off.

What isn’t always expected, is how long it actually takes to get back to normal, without crutches.  Each time she has the operation my mum forgets how long it took to recover from the last one, and she is still surprised every time. 

In the end, you recover at your own pace, depending on how hard you try,  but usually 3 months (ish) is the usual time.

So there we go, a (very much) edited version of knee replacements and the things you can expect.  The full version would have been at least a three normal blog post, but that would get boring.   Hopefully you are not bored already!

18 November 2011

Not Goodbye, But Au Revoir

As another year draws to a close in the F1 season, I can’t help but ask, where did the time go?  Looking back, it doesn’t seem two minutes since the new McClaren was unveiled, and the butterflies started.

As always, this season has had it’s dramas, even despite the predictable Vettel winning so many races.  Even with that, F1 has a draw, a pull right to your stomach that makes you want to watch every race.  The “Dum, dada dum dadadadada dum” always gives me a tingle.  F1 is never predictable, anything can and does happen.

So what have the season’s headlines been?
  • Next season’s BBC/Sky deal.
  • The Hamilton/Massa feud
  • Paul Di Resta’s first season – most definately Rookie of the Year
  • Pirelli coming back to F1
You can’t deny that the combination of the new DRS system and the new tyres has been exciting, although even that combination didn't help Valencia.  Sky can have that race.

Hamilton’s bad racing form and multiple clashes with Massa has undoubtedly been a feature of this season.  Jenson on the other hand has thrived at McClaren and with a three year deal, you really feel that McClaren
is the place that he belongs and I predict great things again for him next season.

I used to love Massa, primarily for his little tantrum of “White visor, white visor” the other year which cracked me up.  But his tantrums and nasty comments about Lewis this season have irritated me.  Although with his position in Ferrari at the moment, I don’t blame him for needing to take the frustration out somewhere,  just not on Lewis!  I wouldn’t be surprised if part of his job next season is washing Alonso’s car (joke).

You can’t talk about this season without mentioning Red Bull.  This season has been dominated by Vettel and that amazing car.  You can’t deny that their car this year has been phenomenal, it’s just Vettel I have the problem with.

So now the season is coming to a close, with the championship, both driver’s and team’s already done and dusted.  Does that mean that the last rac, loses any of it’s lure? The answer for me is no. 

I love F1 just as much now as I did when I first started to watch.  Fast cars, racing incidents, driver arguments, tactics and the never ending question.   What will happen this race?

Formula One, I love you still.  Hurry the damn up for next season!!

16 November 2011

Lions Aid

Following on from my previous post on trophy hunting in Africa, I just wanted to further make awareness, in my own small way about trophy hunting and what really happens.

For more information to include a video (disturbing) visit Lions Aid on the link Pieter's Blog

8 November 2011

Old sayings, what do they really mean?

Many sayings we use all the time today come from old stories and sayings, the actual meaning and origin of them forgotten or changed over the years.

I like to collect these sayings and find out where they came from, so here are a few:

“Farming Out”
These days, you would typically use farming out in relation to outsourcing work “I’m farming this job out to someone else”.

The term in fact comes from the 19th century when woman couldn’t afford to keep, or didn’t want their babies.  There were many woman who you could pay to look after your baby, take over it’s care or for more money, adopt the child for.  This was called farming out.  This practice hit the headlines in 1896 when the infamous Amelia Dyer was found to have murdered up to what they estimate as 400 babies.

Amelia Dyer

“Bite the Bullet”
Rather than how we use the phrase now for just doing something and getting it over with, biting the bullet actually comes from the battlefields when anaesthetic was not used or available.  Soldiers were given bullets to bite to help deal with the pain when having an operation.

“Tie the Knot”
We of course use this phrase as a term for when someone is getting married.  This comes from when young couples used to get married and their hands were tied together as part of the ceremony.  These ties were apparently kept in place until after the wedding night.

“The Cold Shoulder”
When people had guests that were overstaying or unwelcome, one of the tricks people used to use for the broad hint was rather than give the guest hot meat on their plate they were given instead, the cold shoulder.

“Rub Salt into it”
Typically we use this meaning that whatever someone has said or done, they have made the matter worse or be for painful emotionally for the person involved.  The phrase actually comes from when they used to use salt in a wound in order to help the healing process.  When sailors were flogged at sea, salt was typically then applied in order to clean the wound and prevent inflection.

Those are a just of the sayings and phrases I have collected.  There are of course loads more that ye old internet can supply. 

2 November 2011

Split Personality? No it's just Social Networking

I think that this is going to be one of the posts where you either agree completely with me, or you think I’m crazy.
Have you noticed that each of the social network sites brings out a different side of you?  Most people tend to say for example that on Facebook, you tend to show the “ideal” version of yourself.  An inaccurate portrayal which shows the world you who want to be, how wonderful your life is, even if it isn’t.

You have the “look how many friends I have, how popular I am” types, the mothers with the countless baby updates and photos see Baby, Baby, Baby Nooo! just to show what a good mother they are, the woe is me types etc etc.

People say about my Facebook that I am too picky about the photos on it of me, and I always always make them laugh.  So basically, what that boils down to is bad self image and wanting people I know to like what I am saying.

With Twitter, it is different again.  

I only have three people I actually know on my follow list.  The rest I met through Twitter and have never met in real life, and I like that.  I can and do say what I want without the fear of being judged for what I think or say.  I talk to likeminded, fun people about things we love, or just have a banter with.

Twitter brings out my ranting side, my willingness to talk to new people and gain other’s perspectives on things, not just my own.  It has brought out my opinionated side more in my real life, which is a good thing.

Google+ brings out my techie side but with so few friends on there that have crossed over from Facebook, I don’t really bother with it much so won’t here either.

So that’s the social networks.  One is the “like me” side of me and one is the ranting, opinionated side of me.  Both are the twin halves of me, but they will never be joined together, not on a social network site.

Here however, on this blog, is truly me.  When I write, good or bad, it is always truly what I think and who I am.  You get the insecure side, the ranting side, the funny side, the opinionated side, every side I have.  I never thought when I started this blog that it would be anything more than just a bit of fun.  I never expected to post as much as I do or be as honest as I have.  The blog is the virtual me and I find myself quite possessive of it now I have it.

When I first started putting the links of my blog on Twitter I was truly terrified.  I don’t know what I expected people to say, but I know I expected a negative reaction.  That’s the good thing about Twitter though, you are sending it to strangers and if they don’t like it, what does it matter?

No friends have ever read this blog.  I’ve never given them the address.  Maybe that’s the next step.

Well this has been a bit of a disjointed post.  I knew what I wanted to say at the start and it kind of run away with me.  But there you go, that is me.  I ramble, a lot.

Something Funny for Wednesday

Something I received a long time ago, but still makes me laugh.  So here it is, to make you laugh too. 

If you can read this whole story without laughing then there's no hope for you.  I was crying by the end. This is an "actual" account as relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off in Texas.

Note: Please take time to read this slowly. If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better. For those of you who have lived in Texas, you know how true this is.
They actually have a Chili Cook-off about the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the San Antonio City Park.

Judge #3 was an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from Springfield, IL. Frank: 'Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table e asking for directio ns to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge 3.'

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver . They had to rush in more beer
when they saw the look on my face.

Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.
Judge # 2 -- A bit salty, good use of peppers.
Judge # 3 -- Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now.  Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all of the beer.

Judge # 1 -- Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, wa s standing behind me with fresh refills. This 300 lb .woman is starting to look HOT...just like this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground,adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge # 2 -- Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that
her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop
screaming. Screw them.

Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetari an variety chili. Go odd balance of spices and peppers.
Judge # 2 -- The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.
Judge # 3 -- My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I shit on myself when I farted and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except
that Sally. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone.

Judge # 1 -- A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. **I should take note that I am worried about Judge # 3. He appears to be a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.
Judge # 3 -- You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which
slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing it's too painful. Screw it; I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

Judge # 1 -- The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
Judge # 2 -- This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted,passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of
himself.  Not sure if he's going to make it. poor feller, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?
Judge # 3 - No Report