Friday, 1 August 2008

Exaggeration, boredom, paranoia and annoyance

No, it’s not the name of some boring, arty film, but it is what I've experienced over the last month, to the extent that I think I may be turning into a grumpy old man.

It was Mark Twain that said 'The report of my death was an exaggeration', but it is a quote that I've used several times this week.

Obviously, I'm off sick at the moment, but I have gone into the hospital a couple of times this week. And this is where I've heard the exaggerated rumours.

Apparently, I was rushed to London and surgery was performed straight away, as I was so ill; I have leaking heart valves and am at death's door; I arrested twice and am in intensive care; I discharged myself and am pretending that there's nothing wrong in the hope that it will 'go away'; I have heart and lung failure; and my personal favourite, I'm dead.

When I was told about the latter, I did tell my colleagues to carry it on, start a collection, and then, when I'm fully fit, we could have a department night out on the proceeds. Apparently, we can't do that. Pity
There is a saying about the tabloid press, or is it all press, that they will never let the truth get in the way of a good story, and I think that this is the case in hospitals. People aren't sure what the truth is, so they make it up, and because hospitals are hotbeds of gossip, it will spread like wildfire.

I have proof of this from years ago. At the time I was working in a really small hospital (five wards, an ITU and a rehab centre). I was on nights, it was very quiet and I was bored. So myself and one of the other guys that was also working decided we would make up a rumour and see how long it took to spread around the whole hospital. I don't remember what the rumour was, but we were visited by someone from another ward and told them the rumour.

One hour and seven minutes later, we were visited by someone from another ward who said 'Have you heard about...' When we phoned around, the entire hospital had heard and were really disappointed that we'd made up the story.

Which brings me onto the second thing, boredom.

I'm used to being reasonably active. And now I'm not. Being off and not having to do anything sounds good, but it’s not. Yes, initially, it’s good to be able to sit around and catch up on the DVDs and books that I've been meaning to watch and read, but you can only do that for so long. And there is only so much 'tidying' you can do.

The other problem is that when I was off the other week, I put on a fair bit of weight, which I need to lose before having my surgery. However, going to the gym is out of the question, and walking the two miles a day that I'm supposed to walk won't work that well, so there's the risk that because I can't exercise in the way that I'd like, I could end up putting on more weight.

As for the paranoia, it’s insidious in the way it has struck. We all experience aches and pains, either when sitting still or through activity. We also all experience palpitations at various times, for whatever reason.

Four weeks ago, I wouldn't have given any of this a second thought, because it happens. However, in the last three weeks, I have become acutely aware of every single palpitation, as well as 'twinges'. Is that twinge in my chest because I've overstretched when trying to get a plate out of the cupboard, or is it cardiac in origin?

All this is probably made worse by the boredom and the fact that I can't exercise as I would like, which would reduce the 'twinges'. So the combination of the last two is really pissing me off.

The good news is that this weekend I am going to Nottingham to meet up with some friends that I haven't seen for a while, so that will take my mind off everything, and when I get back on Monday, I have my kids for three weeks, so they'll keep me busy.

Mind you, I think that they already thought that I was a grumpy old man.......

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