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I am a Canadian who has been living in London UK for the last 14 years!! How did that happen?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

I fell off the toilet seat

Did I get your attention? When you are inebriated the absurd thought of falling off the bog isn’t soo odd. Sadly a few weeks ago I did fall off the can but I wasn’t drunk I was ill/sick.

Now after living here (UK) for so long the work sick means so many things.

Sick: in the UK can refer to vomiting.
Sick in North America means sick with a, cold, flu, and viral infection anything really
Ill in the UK is more like the North American version of sick.

For the purpose of this entry I feel I should find a name for this illness / sickness / nightmare / pain in the ass situation. Give me a sec, I thinking. I would like to just call it a fucking pain but it is a pain so let me come up with a better word. When ever in doubt refer to Sesame Street. I’m going to pick a 2006 character that I don’t have any memories or affiliations with. Sorry Abby Cadabby…. I’m picking you

So on October 16th 2014 I woke up with Abby Cadaddy! I was feeling rough as fuck and my lymph nodes were swollen. (Glands for the UK lot). I’ve always been pretty astute to my body and something was not right. I called in sick at work that morning and went to see the GP. Before even seeing the doc I knew what lymph nodes do and I’m aware that when they are swollen it’s a sign that my body is fighting an infection.

I haven’t always had the best experience with GP’s so I was so surprised when I was actually examined and the doc actually felt me. She agreed that I yep, my glands were swollen and it was probably a viral infection. She told me to take painkillers when needed, and to rest. She said I should feel better in about a week and If didn’t I would need to return for a blood test. She signed me off for a week.

I should have gone back to work the following Friday but I wasn’t getting better I was getting worse. It was that weekend when I had my ‘falling off the toilet’ incident. I had a bath and then felt dizzy and too weak to get to my bedroom so I thought I would have a little rest and sit on the (closed) toilet seat. I sat there for a not even a minute and then fell. Luckily I put out my hands and landed on all fours. My head almost hit the sick but fortunately it didn’t. Some how I managed to get up and stumble to my bedroom and landed on my bed. I didn’t move for 3 hours and remained in the same position. I fell asleep like this and my hair dried naturally un brushed. This was the beginning of my uni-dread. Think of one massive dreadlock. It was clean… but I swear birds could have nested in it. I was massive and I wasn’t fussed.

When I woke up my heart was racing and I was kind of freaking out. I had been in physical pain for weeks now and I was tired. Plus, lets not forget that I was coughing like a chain smoker. (I don’t smoke)

I was worried for me and wanted to go the A&E (ER), however I had my rational hat on. I have worked for the NHS in a hospital and I know how they work. The worst time to rock up, is on the weekend. Staffing is limited and unless you are bleeding or its more severe its not worth going. I could have explained my Abby Cadabby symptoms but its wasn’t worth it. I needed to make it through the night and Monday would arrive. I could go to the GP then.

On Monday I put on a bra for the first time in 11 days. There were only going to be one of 2 things that was going to happen that day. Either I would put on a bra or brush my hair. The uni-dread birds nest was twisted into a bun and fastened with a big clip.

I walked super slowly to the GP and wiped tears. The tears weren’t all linked to the pain, some were concern. I was not feeling any better, only worse. In the waiting room the tears were more steady. The walk there had done me in. When my name was finally called I entered consultation room 2 and was confronted with another GP. I thought I had met them all at my practice but apparently not.

I sat there and tried to explain how I felt while crying quite a bit. I was also explaining that I’ve never cried in the doctors before. (Paediatrician appointments don’t count). The whole thing was messy. He looked at me with great concern and told me he thinks I have one of 2 infections. We will call one Abby and the other Cadabby. I also had a fever at the time and when he examined my throat he told me I had tonsillitis too! He said that as soon as I left the surgery (doctors clinic) I had to go straight to the medical centre for a blood test. It was Monday October 27th and my results would come back in a week. During this visit he also signed me off for another 2 weeks and said I was not fit to return to work. I did as I was told and went for my blood test.

On Tuesday October 28th I was in lots of pain and watching TV in the living room was not option. I was not going to leave my bed. It’s where I spent most of my time anyway. I was too tired to do anything, even the soles of my feet ached. I was quite emotional that day. I’m youngish, I shouldn’t feel like this. My mom was calling me twice a day from Canada to see how I was doing. At about 2ish my phone rang with a withheld number. All the numbers from my employers are withheld so I thought it was work. To my surprise, it was the doctor calling me. He asked me how I was feeling and I started crying again! Poor guy… I still feel bad about that. He said he had hoped I was feeling better but seeing I wasn’t I needed to go to the hospital. He explained a few things. He had put a rush on the blood tests and my white blood cells were high… too high. Something bigger could be wrong. Also the blood test had shown that I had recently had Abby and Cadabby, so instead on having one whopping virus I had had them both. ( I know have the antobodies for them) The doctor explained that he was going to call the hospital and give them the heads up on my situation. He said I could have gone in that evening but if I went the following morning I might be seen quicker. I opted for the morning. Doc also explained that depending on how things go I might be admitted. He told me to pack a small bag when I went in.

I called my mom who was with my sister and explained the news, something was definitely wrong but I didn’t know how wrong until I had more tests etc.

The next few hours were a mixture of several phone calls. My mom was looking into flights that evening to arrive in London on Wednesday morning. This way she would go with me to the hospital and deal with anything that might need dealing with. During this time I also spoke to one of my managers who also offered to go with me to the hospital if I couldn’t find someone or if my mom couldn’t make it.

I’m a lucky grateful child. My mom arrived on Wednesday morning and we went to the hospital together.

This entry is soooo long so I’m going to fast forward a little.

At the hospital I had a load of blood tests, blood cultures, xrays of my lungs etc. My white blood cells count had improved since the Monday so they sad that I didn’t need to stay in and just carry on resting.

The recovery is long and slow. Ive been back to the GP and they are monitoring things. My sick note has been extended to January 2015! This sounds crazy but is all Abby Cadabby related. Abby Cadabby also explains why I have felt shit most of they year. I had a really bad cough in June and though it eventually went away I never really felt like the normal Leena.

I hope that I feel like the normal Leena soon.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Hugging and crying

Alison is not a hugger, it's not her thing. We only ever hug if someone has died. Pretty much that is the truth. Hugs are not her thing. 

Hugging is one thing, crying is another. 
Neither of us cry very much at all. Almost never. 

This morning I checked my Twitter that brought me to a YouTube video. I watched it in bed and burst into tears. Not a little trickle down my eyes but wet wet sobbing tears. I lost it. It's was like an explosion, unexpected and fast. I didn't cry for long and I was and still taken back by my emotions. 

This morning, Alison woke up and also has an unexpected sob. It too, was fast and unexpected. Her sob relates to her utter frustration with a situation.

We met this evening and had our regular  catchup chat. We both talked about our unexpected events from this morning etc. 

As I left her this evening I suggested that we should hug, her reply was 'ok, but I'm afraid I might cry again.' I told her it's ok. We both held onto each other for a good long squeeze.... And then she had to dash to catch the tube. I swear, the tube really has cut my hugs short in the past. (I remember this one time...(another blog entry)

Now I know I'm keeping my large readership on the seat of their pants waiting to find out why I was crying..... What's happened now. 

I'll explain tomorrow 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Beliefs and regrets

I’ve had a lot of time on my own recently which means the thinking is on overdrive. Some of this is good because I need to make some very big, life alternating decisions. When I say life alternating, is just there is a split in the road and I need to decide which road I want to go down. I wish I could walk down each road and then decide which one is better.

Do I leave my safe job that provides for me but doesn’t bring me any happiness or do I take the money (small redundancy package) and run! AKA find another job.

Everyone that I have spoken to from the motherland (Canada) friends and family all think I should stay because of the perks, safety and security.

My friends and the people that actually SEE me think I’m nuts to not leave. The money could tie me over until I find something else.

Now here is down side of having an overly active imagination. Every time that I read a job advert I think to myself. Shit I could do that, I would be good at that. (and no… I’m not looking at brain surgery jobs but jobs that interest me)

In the last few years I’ve really need thinking about how growing up or growing older has changed me. The biggest pro is even when it goes all wrong, its not nearly as band as when I was younger. The con of aging is taking risks and going out on a limb is so much harder, sometimes even impossible.

I suppose you can tell by the language that I’m using here I’m pretty fucking scared of taking the plunge.

This now leads onto another topic that I’ve been analysing a great deal. Our beliefs, values, and thoughts processes. Do you ever think about it? What do we believe and why? Who told us what to believe? Of course some of this comes from family, some is life experiences and then there are others that I just can’t figure out.

Now here it is. I have managed to live my life thus far without ever having any regrets. I just don’t believe in regrets. Of course there are numerous things and events that I would do differently if I could go back but its not a regret.

I suppose this essentially means…. Whatever I decide, it’s ok. Its all going to be Okay

Monday, 13 October 2014

What I'm currently listening to

This evenings horrendous journey home has been made bearable by the following:

(Do you hear a hint of seseame street there? You should)

Some good old classic 80's tunes. In the air tonight by Phil Collins. Play it super loud and you won't be sorry. The drums bit just rocks.

The other fine album that's keeping me company is the self titled album Benjamin Booker. Check it out. 

I'm writing this on the iPhone and so I don't know how to add links. Just google it. 

Oh! And I haven't told you. I didn't get Glastonbury tickets. I'm still distrait but I will find a way! I will, I will, I will


Thoughts on Love and how is all I think about

Although I have not written much I've had so many thoughts that I have wanted to write down. I've stored them up.

A lot of it has so do with what I have been thinking. It's like I'm actively monitoring what's going on in my head. Some of it is no change at all. I've been unhappy in my job for years... And when am I going to change that. Or more importantly, will I ever change it. It's quite easy for me to stay there until I'm 65, or better yet... I think I can now retire at 72. This is a tad bit depressing so I'll move on now.

So! I have noticed that I think about love all the time every day. I think about the word, how often it is said, when did I see it last. What does it mean, how does it feel, when did I feel it last, who loves me, who do I love, have I ever been in love? You get the drift. 

Listening to music as often as I do, I can't go few songs without someone or another singing about it. Sometimes I think to myself, why can't they sing about something else. Ultimately though, I know the answer. Love makes the world go round. It's not money or happiness or anything else. It's only love. 

The British I feel, still have great difficulty in expressing love unlike their counterparts on the other side of the pond. Some would say North Americans say 'love' way too much. I.e I love my iPhone 6 (I do). 

One would come back and say, how can you love an object. Of course it's an object and it's not real love. But I think love is a great word and I don't think there is that much harm in using it. Most people know the difference.

Like so many things in my life. I can't remember when I was taught things. When did I learn what love is. A baby, a child? All the children that I've ever encountered that have parents seem to know what it is.

I can remember a phone call with Steph a few years ago when she was telling me about Leo. He must have been 4 ish. Just out of the blue he would walk over to Steph, give her a great big hug and tell her that he loved her. How did he learn to do that? Probably from her, but what made him reach out to her in that moment? Love of course.

I shall digress quickly to a scene in a documentary that I watched yesterday. It's a 2012 doc called 'Stories we tell' it's by Sarah Polly. I quite enjoyed watching it and therefore don't want to spoil it either, for any of you that see it. There is a scene where she hugs her dad as she gives him some life changing news. Towards the end of the film he explains that although the news was big. The hug meant more. That was love.

I'm going to sign out now but I'll write one soon about the love of animals / pets. It's a true story that happend a few weeks ago. 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Podcasts: Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean and Serial


So let me tell what has been keeping me company for the last 11 weeks. Podcasts, podcasts and more podcasts.

The first is the Vinyl cafĂ© by Stuart McLean that I’ve mentioned briefly before. It’s a Canadian thing that has been around for 20 years yet I only discovered it when someone told me about it. Radio is my favourite medium so why not. In August I downloaded everything Vinyl Cafe podcast I could so I’m now officially up to date from all the broadcasts that go back to March. Stuart takes the show on the Canadian road so it is often broadcasted in towns around the country.

It’s a show that comes in 3 parts. The music part, bands, music, self-explanatory. The story exchange where the public write true stories and one is picked and read out loud. And the last part is fictional story that is written by the narrator Stuart McLean. There are 4 main characters but as time you learn of their friends, family neighbours etc. Dave is the dad, Morley is his wife and his 2 children are Stephanie and Sam.

In March 2015 I will have lived in London for 14 years, I have never missed Canada as much as I have this summer listening to this show. It makes me miss Canada so much. It also makes me laugh and cry. Do you ever see those weird people on the tube that start smiling out of the blue and then you notice that they have headphones in. That weird person is now me.

Stuart was born and raised in Montreal and so suppose it’s that extra bit special. One weekend in September I came across a fantastic interview. Some of the things he said really hit home. I re-listed to a few parts about 5 times. Rewind, play, rewind, play etc. Here is the link for the interview with Broadcasting Canada. Look for Stuart Mclean

The next podcast that is totally worth checking out is called Serial. Its the number one podcast in the US. Its a true story about a murder that took place in 1989. Really good listening and it you just don't know who did it. I have gone on a bit of rampage at work and downloaded it on almost everyone's iPhone. ( they all think I'm crazy at work) Ive explained that on monday's we are doing to have a group discussion. I've told them its just like show and tell at school but instead we will talk.  - They don't even know what show and tell is so I doubt I'll have this conversation with them tomorrow. Stephanie is also listing to it in Abu Dhabi so at least I have her, to talk to it about it. 

You should all check it out and feel free to comment, do you think he did it or is he innocent. Make sure you start listing from episode 1.

Here is a good article from the New Yorker and another from the Guardian 

The boys that make me smile

Hello All,

I have a new reader that found me on twitter… So I thought I better write.

Plus every few days when I talk to Adam he reports back that he’s checked the blog and no entries. Best I write.

I have missed you all, but I feel bad that I don’t have anything interesting to say. I have been just going through the motions. It’s not the best way to live but I am aware so that’s a good start. I have said yes to every social gathering and that’s been good. The boys at work invite me to things, which is nice. I attend, even when it makes no sense at all. 2 weeks ago I went to all you can eat meat carnivore restaurant. As a veggie is was not the best but they are a bunch of good hearts so it was worth it.

So in honour of the people I know and their funny stories and comments I will share a few of them with you. Some are just one liners but they make me chuckle.

This one is from Matt. I asked him if he likes his new smart phone? His reply was, ‘It’s like a new cock. I can’t stop playing with it!’ I just grinned and the other girl in the office looked at him and asked, Did you say what I think you said?  He replied yes and that was the end of that.

Another funny story is from Steve. We were talking about Christmas and New Years. He was telling us about the time when he was either 19 or 20. He and his mate had not made any plans as yet so they rocked up to Victoria station on New Years Eve and decided to take the next train that was announced. That happened to be to Brighton. Even as I’m writing this I’m laughing. You have to meet him because he is this great big kid in an adult body. Anyhow, when Steve came home after new years to his Irish mother he found out that she had reported him as missing to the police. The silly bugger forgot to call home… and it was 5 days later!!!, ! I’m not a mother but the mother in me wanted to yell at him and it’s a decade later!

He carried on telling us stories about his wild days and then reminds us all that Lizzy saved him. He says it with such love. Lizzy is his wife and baby mommy, they have a daughter. They met on a train; you never know where you’ll meet your person.

I have a few more things to say on separate topics so time for a new entry