Yeard – 1

My mum seems more coherent this morning. The delirium of yesterday is very mild. She thinks she can hear church music. The little boys and girls of yesterday have, touch wood, kept away, and she’s now enjoying American news coverage of last night’s debate. I don’t expect it to last but compared to yesterday morning, it’s much better. It’s clearly linked to tiredness — any doctors out there care to tell me why? Late last night, just before bed was the hardest bit of the day.

Yesterday was also very long for me. In the end, I put my mum to bed at 10.30 — her usual time — and then went almost straight to sleep myself, setting my alarm for 1.30, ahead of the Presidential debate. By 5am, I’d finished a piece about the night (or the political parts of it, as least), which you can read over yonder. Please do. My getting articles published make life more bearable and the good people at Reaction deserve a visit.

As for the debate, I don’t know how people who weren’t super-stressed and utterly exhausted found it. By the time it ended, I felt physically sick, like I’d experience sensory overload. I was eating chocolate digestives at 4am to give me a little energy. Trump was the very worst Trump I’ve seen.

Today I’m hoping for a slower day, when I might actually catch up on a few jobs. As a northern working class guy, I have a great reluctance to admit it’s “housework” but it’s housework. Dull, repetative, but strangely satisfying housework.

It’s typical of my luck, however, that the only post today was my annual statement from the publishers of my Monks book. Talk about a cruel reminder of the life I could have had, right in the midst of the life I do have…

Today I might also have to take a peek at my bank account. I’ve been spending money like a madman (well not quite but I haven’t really thought “can I afford this” as I hit the purchase buttons). Small crazy essentials like spare batteries of the blood pressure kit, cartons of cranberry juice which the science says doesn’t help UTIs but every wise housewife I know tells me otherwise. Today I’ve also booked a consultation with a private GP (£40 for 15 minutes… feels like prostitution and morally wrong but I have no choice), just to get some advice, a second opinion, and just to hear from a different doctor. Every person I know who has an elderly relative who suffers from UTIs mention that they go straight onto antibiotics despite negative urine tests. My Mum is younger than their parents, has the absolute classic symptoms, yet is being refused the treatment. I’m utterly appalled at how cruel that is. I just do not understand it.

As for myself, I’ve shaved off my beard. First time I’m hair free on my chin since last November. I nearly made it to my goal of having a ‘yeard’. But, last night, I lay in bed thinking about it. I was worried it made it harder for my Mum to recognise me in her delirium but also (and yes I’m a sentimental fool) it never felt right giving her a kiss goodnight with that damn hair on my face.

Far too sentimental, that. A tad too honest but I’m beyond really caring about such things. It takes a crisis to make you realise that the things that would once appal you are simply things that doesn’t require much willpower to do. I’ve done a lot in the past few days that probably earn me an extra stripe as a carer. If you ever find yourself in the same place, know that it’s really not that bad.

Hope you’re all well and having a better time of it. Life is cruel, as I wrote yesterday, but I have to also remember that some people are kind and those are the people it’s worth cherishing. So, to anybody who has reached out to me, thank you, and to those that have read the blog with concern but haven’t felt comfortable contacting me, know that I’m also very grateful. I’ve cherished all your kindness and attention.

11 thoughts on “Yeard – 1”

  1. If they prescribe the antibiotics your mam needs then it will be money well spent. I do hope she gets better soon. If you don’t see many replies to these posts it’s simply because people don’t really know what to say, me included.

    1. No, I totally understand, Rob, and I even appreciate you replying like that. It’s why I wrote what I wrote because I know I’d struggle to say helpful things in awful situations that don’t end up sounding trite. It’s a terrible situation but I just hoped by talking about it, it’s not just forgotten aspect of real life. I’ve noticed in my many years of blogging that sometimes it’s these honest things I write that can help others and, really, other than trying to make people laugh (maybe sometimes think or be engaged), that’s the best I can probably hope for.

      Anyway, appreciate it. Also hope you picked up my tip about The Longest Dark… If you’ve not already played it, of course.

      1. Yes, I haven’t played it but it looks a good game. It will have to wait a while as I have just started Greedfall which will take a while to play through. I also bought Stellaris for buttons on a PS store sale in January but had such bad brain fog I couldn’t bring myself to tackle it with( it’s a Paradox game). Will have to have a go at that next.

        If Covid hadn’t appeared then I would recommend Vampyr, flawed but still a very good game. However playing a vampire doctor in the midst of the Spanish flu epidemic with people being treated in tents outside of hospital isn’t really what you want to be doing at the moment. I was playing that just as the virus started to hit the news earlier this year which felt a bit weird. Full marks to it for being the only game I have played with geordie accents in it anyway.

        If you can ever get it on sale then try the Return of the Obra Dinn, it’s not worth it at full price as it is too short. but quite a unique experience in game terms. We loved it.

        1. Oh, looking them up now. That Greedfall looks very decent. Added to my list. Not sure about Stellaris. Could never get into Europa Universalis. Far too much reading. Didn’t seem fun. I recently got Civ IV for free on the Epic sale and it runs on my PC but I just couldn’t get into it.

          Ah, Vampyr. I keep looking at it and every time I think it’s a remake/sequel to another game. I don’t know why. Have no problem with the theme. I like finding these overlooked games and you have a fine track record of recommending them…

          One game I’m looking at is Rebel Galaxy Outlaw. Love myself a Freelancer style space trading game. Might even be time to try Elite again so I can start wearing my authentic BBC Micro Elite badge…

          1. I had a dabble with Elite earlier in the year for a couple of months. Enjoyed it and ended up with an upgraded Krait for fighting and a Diamondback for exploring. Like anything though, do it for long enough and it gets a bit repetitive. Had not heard of Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, very mixed reviews on steam, from people expecting another Elite maybe?

          2. Yes, I bought it ages ago and played it until I had a million or so credits, bought a Cobra Mk III and couldn’t for the life of me work out the combat. Sort of put me off. It updates regularly though and like the sound of some of the stuff coming down the line.

            RGO I just noticed on Twitter the other day. Might be clanky but I love the genre.

            In other news: you were right. That phone consultation was a huge relief. Antibiotics inbound. This GP couldn’t understand what the hell was going on.

  2. Very sad state of affairs. I notice all GP practices in your town have pretty shocking ratings and it really matters, my wife was misdiagnosed for a decade by several crappy GP’s. It sounds a little bit like they have pigeonholed you and your family to be frank. Even if the others are also poor, it may be time for you to change practice. It sounds like their behaviour in general is completely unacceptable and you might also want to consider reporting the GP to the General Medical Council.

    1. Sadly that’s true, so you understand the problem with shifting to a different one. There’s a bigger one I know friends use but, like you’ve spotted, not great. It’s typical of a small working class town and, yes, pigeonholing is definitely rife. This is that assumption that working class and poor = dumb and uncivilised. I wonder what kind of doctors get careers in places like this… Certainly not those considered the top of the year. My sister is furious about it but she’s also been poorly treated by them (one day stripped of all her medication because a GP suggested her symptoms were a delusion.. I had to stop her throwing herself in the canal because the crash was so bad). Then the knees diagnosed as mild when the consultant the next week described them as “having no cartilage left”. They x-rayed them laying down instead of stood up. My mum once complained of constipation so the GP gave her a drug that made her really ill. When I took it back to the pharmcy, the chemist told us that it was only meant to be given to patients with renal failure…

      We should have learned but they’re all crap. This is the last straw, however, and a complaint is on the cards.

      1. To be fair it doesn’t sound like you could do any worse than where you are, and once you have made a complaint you will have to move really. Once they peg someone as neurotic it becomes quite dangerous.

        Re Elite, gimballed lasers to wear down shields plus missiles to finish the job are the order of the day early game. They both autotrack, without them you haven’t got a cat in hells chance of hitting anything.

        1. IIRC, I couldn’t get close enough to another ship to be involved in a dogfight. Couldn’t quite square the real inertia system with the old school dogfighting I wanted. Then again, the early version I played had really bad tutorials. I keep wanting to go back to it, though No Man’s Sky keeps updating and I’ve been loving that. It’s pretty amazing in VR.

        2. LOL. I missed the neurotic bit. Yes, I think that was the case but just dealing with this latest episode makes me wonder if they’re not a profit operation, fleecing the NHS to provide substandard services to people who lack the education/means to sue or complain. It wasn’t so long since their “parent” company was kicked out of Liverpool for providing services that (from what I can see) were probably better than we have around here. They really need kicking out of the entire system. I’m sure it’s a scam.

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It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?


Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.