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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

29 February 2004
Me and Sue have taken our phones off each other. We are not to give them back to each other without express written permission, due to the fact that it's possible one of us could give in to temptation and accidentally propose to someone today. It's touch and go, but we've made it through thus far.

28 February 2004
Travelling on a ferry can be a lovely thing to do, especially when the sea is incredibly choppy and you're the only person not wretching in the toilet or stumbling about looking green. I'm very proud of the fact that I don't get sea sick, to the point of smugness, and I usually pray for some kind of storm to brew up on my way to Dun Laoghaire. I'm off to London town, as mentioned yesterday, to do some stuff for Comedy Lounge and also just to see Susan and walk about and laugh at strangers. But the first thing to tackle is the ferry.

I always forget that traditionally, the ferry port and boat is the place to find young, single Irish Mums who have nothing better to spend their benefit money on. They drag their children to boats to run around screaming and throwing up in corners. Along with the screetching mass of kids, an entire under-14 football team spent the journey walking laps of the boat, bouncing off the walls and each other. Male bonding is confusing to me.

27 February 2004
Goodness me, it seems that, having been to four gigs in the comedy club in Dublin, I have now seen almost every comedian working in Ireland today. Last night, on a bill of 5 people, I had seen every last one of them perform before. And every last one of them performed better the last time I saw them. To summarise - rubbish.

Not that we were really bothered, standing as we were at the back of the club by the fire exit, talking in loud wobbly whispers about everything they said while paying attention to none of it. I was out again with the Angel-loving "ignorant twat" of previous postings, who I can't keep referring to as that, because it sounds rude and I don't mean to be. At least not today. So from now on, he is known as "the man who knows three Jims" or "3jims" for short.

The standard of comedy in Dublin is really worrying me now, particularly since I've decided to try to leap back on to the wagon that is reviewing comedy shows for money. I'm not sure I would have very many things to say about many of them, and although I do enjoy writing nasty reviews, they might all start threatening to kill me, like what happened in Edinburgh in May 2001. Also, 3jims has introduced me to a lot of the performers, and they all seem nice people.

All this is of course coming from the perspective of someone who had far too much to drink last night and feels delicate and wobbly this morning. I'm trying to drink my lilt like a good girl but all I really want to do is go back to bed.

I'm off to London Village tomorrow. More posts then, both here and here.

25 February 2004
My friend, referred to in an earlier post as an "ignorant twat", rang me today after watching a repeat of Angel on Sky One, firstly apologising for constantly texting me since Monday the words "Angel is dead". Once he had stopped weeping at the beauty of it all, we discussed the virtues of Angel for about half an hour until he agreed that it was indeed a great television show, that it's shocking that it's been cancelled, and that the smug announcement lady on Sky One needs to stop using the phrase "last ever series of Angel" before every trailor because I will be forced to come over there and bitch slap her to within an inch of her life. And, for his benefit, I'd just like to illustrate the difference between first season Wesley and fourth season Wesley.

So, out of respect for that person, I will not reveal the fact that in the 14th episode of 24, Kiefer shoots Nina dead, and Michelle is exposed to the virus (highlight it if you're interested). Oops. There I go again with my spoilers.

I've spent all day trying to catch up with my reading for my psychology essay on "theory of mind", which needs to be finished by Friday since I'm going to London next week. But I'm not doing too well. Things keep coming up. Dogs, cats, phone calls, sisters, walls to stare it - it's all go.

Long overdue update of Mouse News:
There have been no mouse captures and no mouse sightings since our return from Tipperary on Friday, so the final mouse tally for the traps under the sink stand at 10 dead mice, now all gone in the Great Rubbish Truck to their Final Resting Place of the dump in Sandyford. There is talk of moving the traps up to the attic, where the mice can still be heard rustling around at night, and I'm convinced that there are mice in the computer room here - in fact, I thought I heard one mooching around under this desk - but the traps of doom have not yet been relocated.

23 February 2004
Only because I really like ruining other people's enjoyment of their favourite television series, here is the summary of the very last episode of Sex and the City! It's a spoiler, but you won't be able to look away! Ha!

- Samantha stays with Smith, telling him finally that she loves him.
- Steve's Maa goes cuckoo and ends up moving in with Steve and Miranda in Brooklyn
- Charlotte adopts a chinese baby
- The Russian slaps Carrie, Big comes to rescue Carrie, Carrie moves back to New York to live with Big.
- Big's name is John. And, as the joke goes, if Big is a John, what does that make Carrie?

20 February 2004
Some ignorant twat texted me on Wednesday to comment on the post about Angel being cancelled, and called me all sorts of names, but I chose not to take any kind of abuse from the sort of person that can't even keep hold of his own mobile phone when out of a night boozing and dribbling.

My lovely trip to Tipperary with my Mommy went terribly well, and contrary to popular belief and song, it's not really a long, long way to go. We climbed moutains, both in heavy mist and glorious sun light, looked at vast views over Lough Derg, toured around the beautiful new house that my cousin has bought for herself, dragged our dogs out of Lough Derg when they both had the terrible idea of going for a swim - twice - and sat in front of turf fires reading books and doing both versions of the Irish Times crossword.

I'm still working my way through Sunshine on Putty, although his overly flowery and quite often just plain pretentious style of writing is really beginning to grate. And yes, we get it - you like Vic Reeves. Honestly, Ben Thompson doesn't seem to be able to get over the fact that Bruce Dessau got there first and has already written a biography of Reeves and Mortimer. Get over it, Thompson. Incidentally, Dessau's book about R&M is absolutely one of the worst books I've ever read. Badly written, overly researched, far too gushing, confusingly paced, and just plain and badly worded. Don't buy it.

Mouse News
Before setting off to Tipp, Mum set out the three traps under the sink. When we got back, Dad said that he had caught a little mouse, and Mum went in, looked under the sink, took out the full trap, emptied it in to the mouse cemetery (the wheely bin of death) and came back in asking Dad why he hadn't emptied it himself. He said he had. So that's 2 mouse fatalities since Wednesday, bringing the overall mouse death toll to 10 mice. The War of the Mice continues.

Finally, a quick friday five before I retire to attempt some more study on 'theory of mind', whatever that is.

When was the last time you...

1. ...went to the doctor?

Last Monday, to get my sick cert for the week.

2. ...went to the dentist?
Over five years ago. Our dentist was a lovely woman who used to run us in to her office, throw us on the chair, ram implements in to our months while have a very cursory glance over everything and loudly give us the all-clear before running us back out of her office. She died five years ago, and I've not been bothered to find a new person.

3. ...filled your gas tank?
I don't have a gas tank. I gave my sister €10 towards petrol about three weeks ago though.

4. ...got enough sleep?
Last night, actually. Although I was sleeping in a very small single bed in Tipperary, it was incredibly comfortable thanks to equal amounts of exercise and fresh air, and also no telly, cats or mice to keep me awake.

5. ...backed up your computer?
I've never done that, and I probably never will. Considering I've already had two hard discs totally corrupted in my life, you'd think I'd learn.

18 February 2004
Late breaking Mouse News:
Today (Tuesday), there has only been one mouse caught through the course of the day. Overnight last, two were caught and Mum informs me that one of them was "really quite big". So the grand total now stands at 8 Mice Caught.

Which according to my previous weak and unscientifically based calculations means that there are only 64 left to catch.

Me and Mum are going away to Tipperary until Friday. I will try to keep tally of the mice in the meantime.

17 February 2004
Warning: This post may not mean a damn thing to anyone that doesn't watch Angel. To those who don't I say: this is all your stupid, ugly fault.

I've been trying to write this post since Sunday, when I found out that Angel has been cancelled. It's a stupidly difficult thing to write about, because I don't want to sound like a hysterical mentalist with nothing more in her life than some fictional demon slayers, but damn it all, people, I liked those shows. It was difficult enough when Buffy finished, even if the last two seasons sucked some big ass towards the end. As I pointed out to my sister, even extremely sucky Buffy was still better than absolutely no Buffy.

Since being jobless and without much to do, I've been watching back over all the old seasons of Buffy, and it's brought back to me what an extremely intelligent show it was when on form. It never patronised viewers, didn't spoon feed a single thing, rewarded long term fans while at the same time welcoming in people off the street with open arms. Almost every episode could stand alone in its own right, while everything was also imbued with heaps of back story and hidden meaning. Story arcs reached right back to the start of the series, and could stretch out across decades, centuries, all the while staying consistently believable within the Jossverse. Things are hinted at in Season 2 that don't come to pass until Season 7. This was a series with vision, with depth, with feeling.

Angel was the same, only much much better. In my opinion - and this is only my opinion - Buffy kind of jumped the shark after (and some would argue because of) Dawn's appearance, when all the characters but a select few forgot who they were and started acting like caricatures of their former selves. In Angel, the characters slowly but surely developed through their four magnificent seasons, finding their feet as a unit, dividing, re-forming, suffering consequences and after effects, working through love, loss, high moral tales and low slapstick humour, all the while shot in beautiful sequences with dashing wardrobe and (for the most part) some great special effects. And that's just Wesley.

Now, Season 5 I've been having some problems with, what with this ridiculous notion that they've inherited the very law firm they've been fighting against all this time, with the brain implants and the sudden knowledge of science and the necro-tampered bullshit, and for god's sake, Spike as a ghost? But I'm happy to go along with it, because all the time there's still that sparkle, the hint of things to come that I know, as a regular and long-term viewer, will come to a handsome pay off.

And now they're just going to finish it all off. After asking Joss to make so many stupid changes, after trying to get the cross-over audience from Buffy to join in the fun with the continued and continual exposition, with the incredible short skirts Fred has to wear to make up for the loss of Cordelia... The news seems to have taken everyone involved by surprise, with Joss Whendon going to so far as to say he was heart broken. J August Richard, who plays the criminally underused Gunn, has also made a statement on his official website.

What to do? There really is nothing that can be done, to be honest. You could sign the online petition, but that probably won't make any difference. You could write to the WB, write to the networks, boycott the sponsors, write to the sponsors, put cute little buttons on your website, put great big stonking pictures on your website, phone Sky and complain, write to Mutant Enemy to show your support, set up a website to Save Angel... and it seems like people are doing all these things.

What kind of makes it worse is that this news comes just after Cordelia returned for the 100th episode. And these brilliant still photos were released of an upcoming episode of Angel in which Angel is turned in to a puppet.

A show that is so unafraid to mock itself like this, and at the same time have some of the most revolutionary, ground breaking, mould destroying and thought provoking plots and story lilnes on television should not be cancelled. And yet it has been. I despair, people. I have to go lie down now.

16 February 2004
Mouse News:
Mum and Dad are back, and one of the first things that concerned them (rightly enough) was the fact that there were mice all over the place. As I'd been telling them. Continually. I think they assumed I was exaggerating the sheer scale of the mouse problem, which obviously I was, but still. Statistically, apparently, if you see one mouse, there are 24 other mice that are unseen very near to you. So, since I had seen three mice (dead baby mouse, Air Vent mouse, Sitting Room mouse) there must have been at least 72 other mouse sitting in the walls and laughing.

Mum bought mouse traps, put them under the sink, and in the time between 2pm, when the traps were set, and now, five young mice have gone to early graves - and by "graves" I mean "our wheely bin" - caught by the temptation of evil peanuts. I take no glee from this at all, but mice ick me out and I'd like them to go, go far away, leave and never return. And since the Pied Piper took to stealing children (except the lame and disabled) rather than charming away mice, there's nothing more we can do than freak them out by breaking the necks of their friends and relatives and hope that they go find someone else's house to scurry around in.

14 February 2004


13 February 2004
Mouse News:
Last night while watching television after a very long and productive phone call with Susan - more about that below - I was sitting happily with a Labrador on my feet and Will and Grace on the telly. And then, without warning, the mouse nightmare began again. This time, not a dead mouse, but a very alive mouse indeed, and one that was both fully grown and willing to run up and down the sitting room without a care in the world.

The main reason why it was care-free seemed to come from the complete apathy of all of the other animals in the house. Honey lifted her head a little, snorted, and went back to sleep with the merest of farts. Butler didn't even bat an eyelid. I think he might have wagged his tail a little at the sound of my startled, girly scream, but other than that seemed unflustured. As The Sitting Room Mouse made it's third dart across the floor, I decided enough was probably enough, and went to get back-up, in the form of Anarchy, now promoted to Official Mouse Killer in lieu of any better options.

Anarchy was easily found, maintaining the same position as he has been these last two days, ever since his legendary baby mouse kill of Wednesday. He was sitting on the kitchen floor staring at the fridge. I'm guessing, because I'm very clever at this kind of puzzle, that this is where the original baby mouse appeared from, and provided him with all the entertainment he could handle before my plastic-bagged hand put an end to that.

Well, if anything was going to stop Sitting Room Mouse darting about and having his fun, Anarchy would. I thought. So I picked him up, carried him through to the sitting room, and sat him down in front of the television, the last place the Sitting Room Mouse was spotted. Anarchy prompted stood back up and sauntered back in to the kitchen to stare at the fridge.

I followed him back in, explaining to his swishing tail that there was a mouse under the television stand, and that I was doing him a favour. I picked him back up, he swished a little more, and we went back in to the sitting room and back down in front of the television. This time, he immediately returned to his watch of the fridge in the kitchen with a little more haste, giving me a dirty look on his way past.

We reached an agreement after that, me and the Sitting Room Mouse. It was decided, because I no longer had any back up, that I would instead just go to bed. So I did that.

My trip to London Village:
On the phone last night, because we had no parental guidance, no guardians attending us and unlimited access to credit cards, the internet, and telephone help lines, myself and Susan concocted a plan that has resulted in us buying tickets for me to go to London on Saturday 28th February for a week, and then Susan coming back with me to Dublin the following Saturday for a week. We can't remember who first had this terrible inspiration, but it seemed like a great idea last night and, if I'm honest, an even greater idea this morning. It's been months since I had any kind of reasonable or unreasonable fun, and this should be a bit of both. We're now trying to set up some interviews that we can do for Comedy Lounge while the two of us are out and about together, both in London and Dublin, which means that the site should actually return to it's previous form at some point in the next couple of months. It also means that neither of us are going to ever be able to afford anything ever again. Rock!

friday five

1. Are you superstitious?
Actually, I really am, although I don't like to admit it. But it's all phobia related. Although having just said that, all superstitions are, aren't they? No one thinks that if they don't perform one ritual or another, they'll end up with more ice cream than they can handle. Unless they're really frightened of ice cream.

2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition?
When my friend was pregnant, we performed every ritual we could find to ensure that the baby was a girl. The baby turned out to be a girl. They weren't extremes as such, we didn't slaughter any animals and bathe in their blood - I repeat, we didn't. Ireland is a fairly superstitious country, so many things don't seem extreme to me that would probably seem extreme to other people.

3. Believer or not, what's your favorite superstition?
Organised religion.

4. Do you believe in luck? If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual?
Goodness me, yes I do. If I'm flying, everything I wear has to be a gift that I received from someone else, and that gift had to have flown on a plane before - i.e. it must all be gifts bought abroad. I also have celtic charmed stones that have protection prayers on them, and a solid silver necklace in the shape of the Native American god of travellors. And my Mon-Chi-Chi teddy bear.

5. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?
No, I don't, because my profile as a scorpion is so unlike my own personality that it's almost completely the opposite of me. My friend, however, is totally obsessed with astrology, to the point that I can't tell her a story about anyone without first having to preface it with their birth date.

12 February 2004
Late last night I was wandering around the house on the cordless phone, minding my own business and chatting away inanely at Susan, which is my nightly habit. I walked in to the sitting room, and noticed that Anarchy (our tortoise shell, lazy, fat and over indulged cat) was playing with a bit of fluff under the dining room table. I decided to ignore this - he often has a brief fit of energy, from which he is soon overcome by a considerably longer fit of laziness.

However, after about 2 minutes in the room with him, I noticed his chirruping was getting louder. If you have cats - and really, you should - you'll know that when they're hunting, even play hunting, they make strange bird-like noises that are kind of like an extreme version of purring. Anarchy only makes this noise when he's about to jump on a dog or the other cat, and so I started to pay more attention in case he was about to start bullying Honey again - she's very old and can't really ward him off when he's being a git.

It was only then that I noticed the little idiot was playing with a mouse.

A mouse. In our sitting room.

I freaked out. I screamed his name a couple of times in an attempt to get him to drop it, but that didn't work. (Can you imagine how it sounds to the neighbours or anyone walking by at about 11pm to hear a hysterical cry of "ANAARCHYYY!!!" coming from our front room?). I hung up on Susan and did what any right thinking animal liberalist would do when faced with such a dilemma - I phoned my Mum. My Mum didn't answer. I phoned my Dad. My Dad didn't answer. I phoned my Mum again and left a message. Then I phoned my sister.

At this point, Anarchy had retreated to behind a little table beside the sofa. Louise answered the phone in a pub and proceeded to laugh hysterically when I told her what was wrong. She told me to get a plastic bag, and said I had to get the mouse away from Anarchy and pick it up and put it outside. And then carried on laughing.

I ran to the kitchen, got the bag, came back inside, at this point giggling hysterically along with Louise while chastising her terribly that she wasn't treating the situation with the gravity it deserved. Anarchy dropped the mouse and retreated a few steps, perhaps wisely reading my state of mind through the sound of frenzied laughing.

After that it was a case of crouching over the now lifeless mouse, which was lying in a fetal position under one of the table legs, and slowly moving my plastic-bag-covered hand to and from it, while I tried to come to terms with having to touch the damn thing. When I did, it was still warm (obviously) and that freaked me out even more. Anarchy continued to stare at me in that horrible detached manner that cats affect, and I took the poor little relative of Toby the Air Vent Mouse and laid it to rest in it's final resting place of our bin, which the bin men will be picking up tomorrow.

Now, as if that trauma wasn't enough for me to cope with, last night was filled with dreams of mice, much like the dreams Richard Herring experienced in Fist of Fun after he had killed all the mice in his flat with poison. Except - and this is important - I didn't kill the damn mouse.

Today, I found some mouse droppings on my duvet cover. Tonight I will be sleeping in the bath.

11 February 2004
Hooray! It's taken me about four hours, but my weblog is beautiful again. I like the neat lines.

I got a letter for the Social Welfare today, asking me to get my GP to fill in a form, and asking for my consent to submit myself to a medical examination from one of their doctors. I'm quite happy about this, because that means that at least my claim is finally being progressed - it's nearly three months since I was last paid, and the purse strings are being to give from the tension. Also, I need to start paring down my Amazon Wish-List, because quite soon I'm going to have every item available on my wish list, and very little on my shelves. Owning only 53 DVDs is not enough for me.

Since I got my epidural I've been thinking about going back to work, and have been getting phone calls on an almost daily basis from the recruitment agencies who refuse to listen to the fact that I've been signed off sick. They've been calling since January, and every day I have to explain my position to yet another idiot in the office, who promises to make a note on my file. Now that I've started to hint that I might be returning to work soon, they're getting even more excited, and have ridiculously taken this as a sign that I'll be wanting permanent work. Nothing could be further from my mind.

The added complication of a medical exam means that I can't really start working again in the next couple of weeks, because if I receive a final certificate from my doctor before he has filled in the form and sent it off to them, my claim goes to a whole other department and will probably have to be started again from the beginning.

Which really just means at least one more week off work can be justified by the fact that if I go back, I might not get any benefit at all. Which is daft.

10 February 2004
I was sitting on my bed this morning, minding my own business, pretending to study but really watching the Sharon Osbourne show on Sky (I now truly understand why it has been cancelled). Smudge, our white, elderly and remarkably skinny cat was curled up beside me, as she likes to help me pretend to study but really watch tv by sitting on whatever books or notepaper I have so that I can't read it for very long.

So there we were, sitting, purring and watching tv when out of the air vent above the tv popped a little brown head. A little brown head that belonged to a little brown mouse. The mouse sniffed the air, walked along the air vent a little bit, sniffed the air again and then looked directly at me and the cat. The cat perked her head up slightly, sniffed the air back, and decided that she really couldn't be bothered, and put her head back down on to chapter one of Exploring Psychology. I remained entirely motionless and stared at the mouse. The mouse walked along the air vent a little more and then disappeared.

I started giggling.

I knew we had mice - we've had mice in the house since I moved back in November. But they've been unvisible mice, mice that were acknowledged only by the minor damage that they would do to packets of dog food or bird food left irresponsibly in drawers that had holes in the back of them, or out of mouse proof containers. These mice were easy to ignore, thanks to them being clever enough to stay out of the way of the dogs, cats and people that live in the house with them.

Apparently, though, the mice have worked out that our animals don't give a damn about what they do and where they do it, cos the mice are breaking through and planning a party. It might be my bad housekeeping over the last four weeks while the parents have been on holiday, it might be that they've been sticking their heads out of air vents for the last three months and I haven't noticed before now, it might be that they've brokered a secret pact with the cats in exchange for eating through the cardboard that holds the cat biscuits - who knows what kind of evil plans these mouse overlords have?

I did what every responsible housekeeper would do when faced with a mouse: I rang my mother.

She said vague things about traps and poison, things I immediately forgot that she said, as I am a vegetarian and cannot condone that kind of mouse genocide. But if I don't know it's happening, I can be happy in my mouse-free ignorance.

In the meantime, because Mum isn't back until Saturday and I'm freaking out about mice crawling out of the air vent while I'm asleep and nibbling at my toes, I've decided to call my mouse visitor 'Toby' after the lovable serial killer in Hollyoaks who Susan walked past this evening in London Village. If you put a familiar face upon your nightmare, or so the theory goes, then the nightmare won't have such a hold over you and you can sleep easy without dreaming that you are part of one of the ridiculously irresponsible Bush Tucker Trial things off of IACGMOOH.

Now excuse me. I'm off to stick newspapers into the air vent in my room while shrieking in the manner of a lady in a 1930s cartoon.

06 February 2004
I was going to friday five today, but the questions are impossibly difficult and slightly intrusive, so I'm not going to, for fear of revealing far too many of my inner demons.

Went to the International again last night, ostensibly because we were having a get together to nark about the upcoming horror reunion of the hell spawn we were in school with, but also because my friend has suddenly discovered the joy of live stand up comedy. Or, more specifically, the joy of one particular stand up comedian, about whom she has taken to sighing a lot and asking questions that she expects I'm able to answer. Ah, the power of television to warp a young lady's mind.

One whiff of a telly show on RTE, and your comedy club starts selling out. What do you do? You up the entrance fee, and then don't turn up. Apparently. Still, gives me the chance to drag her back there again next week in my continuing quest to see every rubbish stand up in Ireland. It's a new challenge, to see if the average Joe Schmoe stand up in Ireland is any worse than the rubbish that throws up on stage most nights in Edinburgh. At this early stage, there is still nothing to rival your Reg Anderson or your Mud Finger for sheer horrendousness. And in the stakes of Good v Bad, Good are still leading with 5 to 3.

05 February 2004
I got a letter in the post today, sent to me by the horrible school that I went to for the last 2 years of my secondary schooling. My parents, having finally seen the light and realised that being educated by crazed nuns who were insistant on grabbing every opportunity to tell me that I and my family were on the fast track to hell was not helping my educational career, moved me to a lovely "non-denominational" (read: protestant) school. Fee paying, posh as hell, and full to the brim with rich bitches with manicures and hair extensions. I fitted in, you would expect, exceptionally badly there, but happily managed to pick out a group of equal misfits and drag them down to my level. Those misfits,I'm happy to say, are still my best friends to this day, even if they do insist on having proper grown up careers.

Well, today that very school that put me in detention every week for swearing and forced me to attend religion classes (in which I sulked like a baby and was terribly rude to an old lady who was really only there to get out of the home once in a while) has written to me to ask me to celebrate the full 10 years I've been out of school.

10 years. I did my leaving cert in 1994. That makes me a very elderly lady indeed. And not a very happy one for being reminded of it.

We've talked over the years, me and the girls, about going back to the school for a reunion, should such a thing ever come up. We'd all decided there was no way that we would. And today, the sheer horror of the thought of ever going back confirmed the fact that they will not be getting €29 from me to attend their sherry reception and reunion luncheon. To heck with that, I say.

Because, you see, I've got nothing to show off about. I don't have a fancy job or a rich, rich husband. I have no children that I'll admit to, and I've got no ambitions that have been achieved. I currently don't have any job at all, I live at home with my parents, and my only claim to any kind of excitement in the last ten years is that once a scottish comedian threatened to kill me. It's all so dull.

03 February 2004

Early last year, I had something of a nervous breakdown over email at work. My friend Eoin came up with a wonderful solution and between us, we wrote a book called "The Inadvertent Twin". Much like Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn't help but wonder...

... and from that wondering came this blog, aptly named The Inadvertent Twin. There is lots to read, so you'd best get started now. From the bottom up, don't forget.

The Story Of My Epidural:

Getting in to hospital for 8am is a ridiculous notion. I mean, I realise that hospitals work to a completely different time frame and world view than any other institution, but 8am in any person's book is slightly on the loopy side. Couple that with the weird instructions not to have a bath or shower that morning, and I was wandering the corridors of the quite confusion hospital feeling like maybe there was some big jape afoot that no one was telling me about.

Happily checked in and having registered every detail imaginable with the admissions officer (we decided between us that my religion was 'Christian' since they didn't have 'agnostic' as a category), me and my sister found the day ward where the nurse told me to pick a bed for myself. I went for the one behind the door, first on the left as you walk in to ward as it was slightly in shadow and I thought no one would notice me there. Louise said I should take one by the window, with the pretty views over the car park. So we went by the window, last one on the right.

There were two other ladies in the ward with me that were getting the same procedure done, and one of them was all too happy to chat merrily away about the two serious car crashes she had been in that had brought her to this day. One of her legs, I found out, was an inch and a half shorter than the other, she had had 10 operations, had nearly died, and no longer had a knee. I think she felt slightly cheated when I said my problem was genetic.

The SHO (senior house officer - a jumped up medical student who is made to do all the nonsense work, what they call a 'third year resident' in ER, like Pratt or Abby) took details galore, and then for reasons known only to him drew on my right foot with black indelible marker pen. On the top he wrote "28/1", his name and an arrow pointing towards my ankle. On the sole of my foot, as I tried not to scream in distaste and despair (I hate people touching my feet, let alone drawing on them) he coloured in another big fat arrow pointing to my heel. I was not impressed.

All too rapidly, an orderly trundled a bed in and starting calling my name, so I had to scramble into the backless hospital gown, remove all clothing other than pants and lie down on the trolley. It was like the old opening title sequence of Casualty, where you are wheeled under lights through corridors, but without the annoying rave-like themetune or smashing glass at the end.

Ick factor begins - I had to go in to the operating theatre. Being wheeled through those doors isn't something I think you should be doing fully conscious. It's a scary place to be. People rush up and down dressed head to foot like doctors with masks and gowns and gloves and x-ray protection jackets and scalpals and needles and hair nets. And you lie there on your bed trying to think of ways to talk yourself out of it.

Graphic details:
Don't ever listen to what anyone says to you. When a doctor assures you that you will feel "hardly anything", he's lying through his doctor's teeth. Epidurals, my friend, are not a painless affair. Even with the local anaesthetic, they can do nothing to shield you from the feeling of what they like to term "slight pressure" as they squirt first dye, then anaesthetic and finally steroids in to your back. And the insertion of needle and taking of investigative films is a long and drawn out process that you don't want to stick around for either. They told me to tell them if they were hurting me. I told them. A lot. Through tears and clenched teeth and the use of the word "OW", I told them. They ignored me for a while, but after about 20 minutes of me alternating between holding my breath and sobbing, they stopped. In short, I'm a bad patient.

The rest of the day in hospital passed peacefully. I turned the sound down on my phone and texted people, in direct contravention of the signs in the hospital. My blood pressure apparently dropped and then came back to normal. My temperature stayed the same throughout. I sat up after about an hour, which brought a nurse rushing out to tell me to lie back down again. The local anaesthetic slowly wore off and the feeling that someone had kicked me right in the back began to wear on. And finally I was discharged, with absolutely no instructions about after care.

I've to go back in 6 weeks for a check up. Tell you one thing, there's no way they're getting me on a trolley this time.

02 February 2004
Which Eddie Izzard line are you?

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