Monday, April 24, 2006

I'm moving out

I've been experiencing one or two technical glitches posting here so I've decided to give Live Journals a try. So please keep in touch, Go here:

I must study

I got up this morning and thought: "I must take a leaf out of my friend Gerard's book (although not that 'Treatment of Financial Instruments' he's reading, thank you very much) and get some studying done."

Y'see, I enroled on a web-design course a couple of months ago, and thanks to the distractions of writing 'The Light Knight Returns' and 'Porridge and Uppers', I have barely scratched the surface of it. But 'LKR' is finished and submitted and 'P&U' is finished and waiting to be critted. Chris has offered to read it through for me. So if it passes his filters I'll drop it into the Critters queue and forget about it for a while.

So study, I must. I've no excuses now.

By ten of the morning clock I had started and completed another story. A micro fiction called 'Two Point Four Children'. It's a sequel to 'Tastes Like Chicken', which sold to SPACE SQUID magazine earlier this year.

Okay, that's done, I will now study. I will.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Arthritis, my arse.

Helen told me about that visit to her GP:

As she explained her symptoms -- back pain and sometimes in her right arm -- he typed her comments into his computer. He asked a couple of questions about the type of pain (dull, stabbing, burning?), then said, “Ah yes, arthritis.” Then, without taking his eyes off the screen he reached for his prescription pad and wrote down something off the screen. Two drugs. Helen and Mark looked them up later. One of them is an anti-inflammatory and the other a painkiller. So no doubt they will be effective whether she has pulled a muscle, trapped a nerve or any number of things. But arthritis?

As he’s given her an anti-inflammatory, one can only assume he means rheumatoid arthritis. But Helen has no swollen joints, or any of that redness or heat you would associate with rheumatoid arthritis. The doctor has just made a wild guess, not a diagnosis, based entirely on what his computer said. As my brother Steve said, "Arthritis, my arse."

Perhaps I should explain why arthritis has struck such a chilly note: there was a family friend who suffered the onset of arthritis in her twenties and she became crippled by it. She was bed-ridden and in constant pain all of her adult life. Eventually, surgeons removed her joints to give her surcease from the pain. God, she suffered, and her death was a blessing. Hers was an extreme case, but even so arthritis is one of those things that will give me sleepless nights if a young family member is ‘diagnosed’ with it.

The GP is a prat.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Had a dreadful night’s sleep. Went bed around midnight, but I remember seeing 3.20am come and go. Must have finally drifted off sometime after that.

Yesterday morning I was talking to a guy that came to replace some faulty bedroom lights. His name’s Andy. We were just chatting when Andy told me that his five-year-old son has a reduced life expectancy. There is a name for his condition, but it passed me by. The little boy breathes through a tube inserted in his throat and only has one lung. He had a cardiac failure at the age of two so he’s considered fortunate to have reached five. His dad phones him from work ten times a day. My thoughts, as he told me this, were naturally enough of Heather, also five. I tried for a second to imagine what this Andy’s world was like, but I realised I didn’t even want to go there as a tourist. How anyone can live and function there, I don’t know. I guess they have to.

In the afternoon I went to give blood. When I got home I felt tired and dozed off in a chair for over an hour.

My little sister Helen phoned in the evening. She admitted that for the past year she’s been suffering back pain, but hadn’t told anybody because of all the excitement of her marriage and buying a house. She went to see her GP yesterday, and he told her she has arthritis and prescribed painkillers. No examination, no X-Ray, no blood tests. He said that if the tablets help then it will confirm his diagnosis. Well, I have all respect for doctors, really I do, but in this instance I think the guy has his great fat head up his great fat arse. She should get a second opinion. I’m thinking of contacting the chiropractor my friend David mentioned in a recent posting. Just for advice. But I must speak to Helen and Mark, my new brother-in-law and good friend, first.

It was probably a combination of thinking about the Andy and his family, dwelling on what Helen’s back pain means and my falling asleep in the afternoon that kept me awake in the wee small hours of the morning. Thinking how much I love my family and what they mean to me, how I would take their illnesses and pain on myself if it would spare them. I recall my Mum saying that you love your children so much you would take their place rather than see them suffer. It’s true.

Jill and Heather have gone to Hanley today, to see the Aussie band Hi-5 performing live at the Victoria Hall. Andy’s terminally ill son will be there too, and arrangements have been made for him to meet the band afterward. Andy said he’ll try and get autographed photos and pop them in the post for Heather.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

La Grippe, Porridge, Uppers . . .

The novella -- now called 'Porridge and Uppers' (which is just as bad a title as the original, 'La Grippe') is near completion. So confident I am of getting it done in a few days I submitted it to Critters. I will swap the file before it hits the top of the queue, hopefully! If I don't I'm gonna look pretty stoopid.
It stands at 12700 words now, with another 500-1000 required to finish it off. Further polishing may add to or subtract from that rather hefty total. So, a non-genre story (my first, although I'm sneaking it through Critters as a fantasy, ahem) and a novella to boot. God knows what I'm going to do with it. I'm used to looking at Ralan's for potential markets, I haven't a clue if markets exist for quirky historical fiction.
Suggestions on a postcard to the usual address.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rogue dots

Last night I decided to write to several friends -- new and old -- in my address book. Some of them I haven't contacted for several months, or even years. I wanted to let them know how I'm faring and re-establish old ties. So I invited them to look at my revamped website at

Now I must have typed the name mylefteye a thousand times.

I managed to invited everyone to (I didn't see the rogue dot!). That URL leads to an eyecare website.

Quite appropriate really.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Prevention is better than cure

Saw this response to bird flu somewhere on the Net. Had to share it.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Lasering my left eye

My left eye is better than the right. Since having a detached retina at sixteen, my right eye has always been pretty useless. Then there were those cataracts last year, which threw things out of balance and both eyes were abysmal. The operations were a success and I had lovely clear vison for a while, or at least as clear as I'm going to get with retinitis pigmentosa.

Just before Christmas my vision was clouding: this happens sometimes. It isn't the new lenses, but the old lens sacs that turn opaque. This can be rectified by laser treatment. There is, however, a small risk of irreparably damaging the eye with the laser. The doctors were very reluctant to do my left eye as the treatment could bugger it up entirely and I'd be reliant on the pretty useless right eye.

Lately though, it's been really getting me down. I can no longer read normal print, not fluently anyway. Two pages of a book will take ten minutes and I feel sick afterwards. Not worth the hassle. And I love to read. It's an escape. I know there are alternatives such as reading on a VDU or with magnifying equipment, but they lack -- for me anyway -- the relaxing, tactile quality of lounging in a chair with a great book.

So I'm taking the risk. I've made an appointment mid-May to go and see a specialist. It's a low risk, and the benefits will be enormous. Just that if it does go wrong, I'll be in a right mess. If I blank my left eye and use just my right, this screen just becomes a bright white square with a black border.