Sunday, 27 October 2013

Table Times

This is just a bit of an aide memoire or something, for me or anyone else.  Doing something is usually much easier than thinking about it and worrying about it.  Of course, most people know that but it's easy to forget.  Fearful, negative thoughts can form a fence around you.  Balls are also easy to lose but equally you can find them again and stick them back.  I believe some even have velcro.

I've been mithering for months about getting a table.  As I have actual real guests at the end of the week, I thought I'd better bloody get on with it.  The after-effects of the anaesthetic have meant that I get up, faddle around a bit and then go all wan and back to bed.  So I didn't actually get to IKEA until 6.30pm.   There is some sense in this, of course.  At that time of day, it's much emptier.  However, there were still some families browsing with less aim than cattle, walking slowly in front of me while their projectile offspring assailed my trolley wheels.  One cannot do much about this, although mass sterilisation occasionally seems reasonable.

I serially ignored all the stupid worries, e.g., I won't be able to find the table; the staff won't speak English; the taxi service will have finished for the night; the taxi service man won't speak English; I won't get home before the taxi service man; and so on.  It's wearying in my head at times.  Working up a hideous IKEA sweat, I buggered on, and arrived home before the taxi service came with the goods.  So far, so goods.

Getting the goods (I also bought an opportunistic ironing board) up in the lift was a right fucking nightmare, but the table is now in the middle of creation, face down on the carpet.  Tomorrow I shall complete it and then sit smugly at it, being a person who owns a big table.  Drinking coffee or holding a pen or something.  Perhaps even eating off it.  Like a person with a table.

So, the moral is, if your balls fall off stick them back on, and tell the fence-making voice in your head to shut the fuck up.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Nasal Gazing

Nietzsche and Kanye West definitely got it wrong.  That which doesn't kill you undermines you until your respiratory system falls apart and you have to have stuff cut out of your head, and repairs.  My nose doctor reckons this has been brewing for about four years and, honestly, I had no idea anything was wrong until this year.  Unsurprisingly, it's all bound up with the asthma too because - sorry if you are eating here - the mucus that was unable to drain properly was just glopping about and dripping down my throat.  A post-nasal drip (not -natal, as I always want to write.  A post-natal drip is from a different orifice) will irritate the airways, obviously.  Hence the nearly a year of coughing like an absolute bastard.  Whether the asthma will be much eased remains to be seen, but early signs are good.

Today was the removal of tampons from my nasal cavities.  Surprisingly painful.  Nose doctor kept telling me in a very cheerful and gentle manner to "Keep quiet" but it was somewhat difficult.  He had to locally-anaesthetise my nose holes before he went in with the suction thing to hoover out clots and bogies and scabs and crap.  And it still hurt like fuck.  I have to keep irrigating now, flushing out whatever is left in there so it heals properly. 

Aside from all the nasal cavity activity, the operation itself knocked me for six.  I arrived home here on Tuesday and didn't go out again until today for my hospital appointment.  Perhaps it's the sheer amount of anaesthesia needed to fell a person of size, or the fact that I'm a bit older now, but I didn't expect this.  Going out today, it felt as if I'd borrowed somebody else's legs.  Or that they were made from balloons.  Very odd feeling.  Most of the week has been spent sleeping and reading about Priscilla Presley.   In one of those oddly meaningless coincidences, I finished the book, browsed on the Daily Mail website (shhhhh, I'm sick!) and saw that she'd been dating Toby Anstis last year, while playing in panto at Wimbledon Theatre.  You couldn't make it up.   And here's a photo, just to prove I didn't.




Tuesday, 22 October 2013

She Nose, You Know

And so it is done.  I sit with two pieces of rolled cotton wool in my nostrils, stemming a scarlet-ish drip from two tampons which are situated somewhere much further up.  These, hopefully without bits of brain, will be removed on Friday.

The sheer speed of all this has left me a bit whirred.  And weird.   Weird and whirred.  Apparently it was quite a difficult operation as my sinuses were very sick, and I suspect they did not mean this in the argot of youth.  Arriving at the hospital about 9.45am yesterday, I was put in a room for the final admission process, with the one member of staff who spoke no English, so we did it in French.  Thus it was discovered that I know enough French to admit myself to hospital.  By 10.10am I was on the operating table, and there were bees in my head, for which I tried hard to stay awake.  My own disgruntled coughing woke me around midday, followed by the trundle back to the ward.  I had requested to be in a  two-bed room as that  would get fully-refunded on hospital insurance.  They had no doubles so it was a single, at no extra charge.  (Note: I will be checking this on the bill...)

The intention then was to sleep, but both nostrils were dripping and dripping, so it was hard.  Instead I read the trashy but gripping "Child Bride", which purports to be The Truth about the Elvis and Priscilla story.  The television, which advertised both BBCs 1 and 2, was not receiving a signal for either.  A yoghurt was brought, which I devoured.  At about 5.30pm three slices of brown wonderloaf  bread were brought, with some limp cheese more like something a plumber might use to stop leaks, and another yoghurt.  Again, devoured.  I enquired would there be food (you know, actual proper food, for people with teeth) later and the answer was no.  I hadn't thought to bring something from home.  There is little more desolate than eating three limp slices of bread with limp cheese, and that being it for the night.  It felt a bit Jane Eyre.  With bloody drips.

Screwing up tissues and putting them up your nose gets you told off.  The nurse fashioned a little sanitary napkin from some gauze and taped it round my face.  Not attractive, but it allowed me to sleep.  Sadly the staff didn't.  At midnight and 5am they came to take my blood pressure and check the drip (not the nasal one) and then at 8am woke me with a hearty breakfast of three limp slices of bread, limp cheese, and some jam.

At 10am, loaded down with squirty stuff, and what I assumed to be some decent painkillers but which are paracetamol, I was out.  Despite all this whingeing, I could not fault the care received.  Nobody made me feel like a pain because I only understand a little Dutch.  They were all lovely and very sweet.  Unlike St Georges Hospital, Tooting, a couple of years back, when I was left, prepped for an operation and sitting in a gown, no food or water since the day before, in a waiting room from 7am till 3pm (by which point crying because nobody would give any information), and then the operation was cancelled.  The surgeon did rather get the rough end of my tongue that day.

I am indebted to dear K, who came to collect me today.  I probably could have wobbled home alone as the staff didn't make sure I was collected, but it would have been unwise.  Still a bit wobbly now.  And drippy.


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Blue Velvet

Since the events with the door and the frame off, I've felt weird.  As if the whole prettiness of Gent was an illusion that dissolved and something like Dennis Hopper appeared instead.  As if the whole prettiness was an illusion that I dissolved with the very darkness of me.  Other weird things: there have been two rapes in Citadel Park recently and the description in the news sounded exactly like someone I had met.  Well, more than met.  So I contacted the police and have heard nothing more, but feel very unsettled.  Then the other day, I'm standing in the rain waiting for the tram outside Gent station and this good-looking youngish man starts what seems like a pick-up but is really odd.  Random questions, random stories.  I think he was on drugs.   Once on the tram I turned and looked out the window, hoping that someone younger would get on to divert him.  I feel exposed, in all sorts of ways.  I want to go back to when Gent was Disneyland and I had yet to discover it.  I don't want to find out it is some place inhabited by Dennis Hopper.

The other night I woke in my locked bedroom and something was looking down on me from above, like a Triffid, or Alien.  It probably took only two seconds before my conscious brain realised there was nothing there, but my heart took a good five minutes to calm down, and I slightly fear sleep now.

Yesterday, I went to my sinus specialist because for the last three weeks I have not been able to breathe through my nose and there are greeny brown lumps.  And, of course, no senses of smell and taste.  Another infection, so the third lot of antibiotics this year; possibly more than in the whole of the previous ten years.  He asked what I thought, and what I thought was something needs to be done.  They do tend to move quickly here - I'm being operated on this coming Monday.

I had a form my GP had to complete and so I went to him tonight, thinking it would be a quick thing.  Before I know it, I'm completely topless with electrodes attached, from ankle to prodigious chest, and this trainee doctor and my GP are talking over me.  "Try to relax" says my GP.  My snorted "HA!" made him laugh.  My pulse was also about 14 beats higher than usual - not good.  I had rushed to the appointment and found myself unexpectedly half-dressed on a table between two men.  I did feel sorry for the child doctor, he had probably never seen anything like it.

So, one more thing before the op, an x-ray early tomorrow morning.  I get the feeling my boss thinks I'm doing all this to be awkward but it has to be done.  Afterwards I will be like those old Tunes adverts once they'd sucked a Tunes sweetie.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


Or to give it another name: shameless self-promotion.  This is a bit like Google saying "if you liked that, we think you'll like this." 

The Flick Book is a new blog I'm doing alongside this one because, frankly, I like the sound of my own voice.  Writing about films and telly and stuff.  Because nobody has had this idea before.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Huffing and Puffing

The owners of this property must have felt my withering sulk across the kilometres, because the door was fixed on Friday.  To the naked eye it looks all as before.  But it's pulled the skin off my safety and I'll keep my unworldy goods in my bag from now on, just in case.  The thwarted burglars can, if they wish, steal my four year old computer.  I believe my insurance covers it, and a more elegant new model might be nice.

It is as if the gingerbread house has been attacked by the big bad wolf, or something.  I won't run.  Gent is home.  Gent is the relief I feel as the train slows over the motorway, and the Belfort, whose clock is visible from my window, comes into view.  No.  I will eat any wolf that despoils these things.

Tonight as I left work, there was something weird happening at the junction where usually there are circus performers.  Several fire engines were focused on something in the road, putting it out with ragged plumes of foam, and water jets.  Of course, I did what most sensible people would do, and walked towards it.  Fire does that, it makes you want to go near it.  I thought it was unlikely that one of the circus guys had spontaneously combusted, but there seemed no logic to what was going on.

Turns out the fire guys are protesting by setting things on fire and then...erm...putting them out.  I may have missed some subtlety in this.  They want to meet the Prime Minister, that much I do know.  Something to do with money, I gather.  And that was my French and Dutch learning for the day.  There is a chance they might put the major Brussels stations out of action tomorrow which could be a bit of a pain.   However, I do want to go to IKEA so fingers crossed. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Shut That Door!

I am sensing a distinct lack of arsedness from the owners of my building.

As you will recall, some burglars attempted entry on Monday in rather spectacular style.  Today is Friday (you can't get anything past me, you know) and the inside front door still hangs off, along with its frame. 

There are several things concerning me, but these are the two greatest:

We have to lock the outside front door.  Our post boxes are inside.  You see where I'm going with this.  The postman doesn't have a key, so we aren't getting our mail.

More worryingly though, at the weekend the carpet shop on the ground floor is open for several hours each day.  The door to the shop is in the wall between the outer and inner front doors to the building.  Normally, the shopkeeper props the outer door open to allow the public easy access her shop.

If she does this, it will give direct access to our flats, because the inner door is not there.

I have emailed the lettings agent about this.  No response.  We aren't actually supposed to contact the owners (some protocol thing like not speaking to the Queen before she speaks to you..?), but today I have, expressing the same concerns.  No response.

The size of the fuck that they don't give is monumental.  We could easily be robbed this weekend because of their unarsedness.  I shall sit at my door with a shovel. 

Must buy shovel.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Breaking, Not Entering II

It was unsettling this morning to walk through what used to be a secure door.  It looks like the house forcibly ejected it.  Sometimes it feels like Belgium is trying to eject me with this bludgeoning of doors.  It seems designed to make one feel both personally targeted and completely irrelevant - just a name on a buzzer.  I wonder if they would be so bold as to return before the repair is done, and just walk in to claim their spoils.

Considering this, I spent some minutes this morning transferring all my important documents and pictures to three USB sticks, and put them and my camera and cockerel brooch in my bag.  Working on the assumption that burglars are like bailiffs and will not actually take your bed and clothing, this would leave them very little to take.  "They", the amorphous, rancid, vicious and bastardy group of people who do this for a living, already took everything of value last time. 

Instinct says pack up and run, as before.  But packing up and running does not help, it seems.  And fuck the lot of them, the arsing cuntwipes, I am not running.

The name Capon originated in Flanders; and Flanders is where this Capon is staying.