Waiting’s up

November 5, 2008

So that’s it. I’m now officially bionic. They have rebuilt me.

My experience of the surgery was overwhelmingly positive. As soon as I came round, things felt different and better. Although I was in not inconsiderable pain, my shoulder felt fundamentally right; a feeling which I hadn’t had in the preceding week and a half. Almost immediately, I could use my arm again. The down side is that even now—just under a week after the op—the range of motion of my shoulder joint is pretty shoddy, and will need a lot of painful physio to get right again. Although maybe I’ll wait until the bruising goes down first.

My main problem right now, and for the last two and a half weeks—apart from the range of motion—is one of sleep. Last night I managed a mostly-uninterrupted night, although I still needed to augment it with a bunch of micro-naps throughout the day. I’m still pretty tired most of the day, but in a normal work week, that’s not a million miles out of the ordinary anyway.

The negative which bugged me about my time in the care of the NHS was its customers. I love the NHS. I genuinely do. It’s an institution of which Britain should be proud. Sure, it’s not perfect, but the idea of universal healthcare is just right. The downside to a system which caters for everyone, irrespective of background, is that it caters for everyone, irrespective of background. What I’m trying to get at here is that I object to having to share a bay with two smackheads. I’ll write more on that aspect of my stay later.

Anyway, to the money shots. What follows is a timeline of my clavicular integrity over a 13-day period in the autumn of 2008…

About 2 hours after hearing a clicking noise from my collar bone, here’s what I looked like. The break is clean in two, but there’s a ton of overlap so no indication that things won’t heal without intervention.

straight afterward

A week later, this is no longer the case. the two halves of what was once my lovely intact collarbone now want nothing to do with each other. They’d rather spend their time hurting me and stopping me from sleeping. Surgical intervention is now a necessity.

a week later

Here’s the outcome of that intervention. For scale, the screw on the left is about 22 mm long. The things floating above my collar bone are the 21 staples holding me together on the outside.


And here’s what they look like on the outside, when I had my dressing changed.

the outside

In a nutshell, what I’m trying to get at here is that I’ve had better weeks.


“Because daddy didn’t want me living on my own,” is a piss-poor excuse. Maybe it’s something that you should have considered before offering to buy my flat in the first place. Maybe you could have told me and my girlfriend before we went out and put an offer on a house ourselves.

I hope that you keep daddy company until you’re in your mid-50s. After that, I’m sure your 78 cats will keep you safe.

…is a big—albeit reassuringly expensive—pile of shit.

Unless you are one or more of:

  • A benevolent millionaire desperate to fill Hotpoint’s coffers,
  • A retired washing machine repairer who longs for the good old days,
  • Free between the hours of 8-12 or 12-6 roughly once every 6 weeks,
  • Just plain stupid,

then you should treat the act of buying one with the same caution best exercised when wondering whether or not to join Goldilocks for a nice porridge breakfast and a lay-down. Whilst wearing a T-shirt saying “Mummy Bear’s a Slut.”

Christmas in the City

December 21, 2006

It’s Christmas in the City,
the best time of year for St Nick.
He strides into work with a smile on his face,
along pavements dotted with sick.

He looks forward to this evening’s party,
with a smirk and a gleam in his eye.
His PA will not resist him tonight,
in his “Reindeer and Snowman” tie.

Alan From Accounts is beaming,
Overflowing with festive cheer.
A hypocritical, joyless bastard,
For the rest of his miserable year.

The office party negotiated,
St Nick runs for the final train home.
Despite thirty quid spent on Breezers,
He’ll be making the journey alone.

He wishes you a merry christmas,
And a happy new year’s day.
What better time than the festive weeks,
To spend his redundancy pay?


Satire is now obsolete

November 10, 2006

That’s it. I give up. There’s nothing left to which I can add. In this celebrity-obsessed world where magazines often feature multi-page photoshoots such as”Woman married to football player goes to shops. In a hat,” or “Man who once went out with the one at the back from Liberty X walks some dogs. In a hat,” I thought I had seen everything.

The pinnacle of human evolution is now such that we spend time watching TV programs in which celebrities stray out of their celebrity world, and into that of us—Members Of The Public. A cursory glance of the recent TV schedules features shows such as Celebrities Dancing, Celebrities in Circuses, Celebrities on a Beach, Celebrities in a Jungle, Celebrities on a Farm, Celebrities in a House, Ice Skating Celebrities, Celebrities Playing Sports, Celebrities on Diets, and Celebrities Cooking, to mention only a few. Currently polluting our airwaves is surely a new level in banality—Celebrities cutting hair. Upon hearing of this new insult to what little sense or taste society has left, in desperation I decided to take this celebrity fad to is extreme, and asked my girlfriend what they had brewing next in the pipeline—Celebrities on Toilets?

I had already started proffering amusing name suggestions such as Celebritefecation Challenge International, Stars in their Flies, when my girlfriend pointed out that this show had already been made.

Why should I go to the trouble of second-guessing the depths to which TV can sink if it’s already gone there?

The quality if my life is constantly being degraded by the actions of others who deliberately target me as the outlet of their spite and misanthropy. A brief list would include c2c, the Eclipse Project, the Anglo-Croat Goodwill Committee, people who insist on walking with their umbrellas up and stabbing me in the face with them even when it’s not raining, and Isaac Newton. Each of these disparate groups have set out with no truck other than to make me miserable. Now, it seems that they are joined in this dispicable crusade by the RFU.

One vote, and this will signal the end of rugby union as we know it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Scrummaging is not the most dangerous part of the game. Tackling is. However, if you remove scrummaging and tackling from the game, why not remove those dangerous pointy ends from the ball, and make it spherical. From there, you can get rid of those high posts which could easily fall down in a breeze. And why not stop the possibility of finger injuries by only allowing the ball to be kicked.

Rugby is a magnificent game — and scrummaging the best bit of it — because it’s a contact sport; one of the unfortunate corollaries of which being that you can get injured. Currently, I am. I pulled a muscle in my back in a scrummage 2 weeks ago. It’s still sore as hell, and my house still carries the faint odour of Deep Heat. Everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. Even the fridge. Would I have it any other way? No.* I did this playing the sport I love, and on the pitch with 14 of my closest friends in the world.

Come January 1, if this rule is enforced, the Mushyphobia endemic in today’s society will be complete. Why play rugby any more when the good bit is legislated out of existence, and all that is left is rucking, mauling, and the lineout?

* Except for the Deep Heat smell. That’s starting to grate a bit, if I’m honest.

Journey home

September 14, 2006

Where am I?

What time is it?

Why are there no lights on?

Who on earth is he?

I do hope he’s not a member of the hoi polloi. I’ve read ever such unflattering things about them in The Economist.

Above is a brief précis of the thoughts bandying around inside my head at about 1.20 this morning. The circumstances leading up to this inner monologue are probably best understood before I go any further.

After a typically rewarding day at the office, I went out for half a lager shandy with some friends. I finally extricated myself from the vice-like grip of their combined wit at about 11.20, and enjoyed a brief jaunt down to Fenchurch Street Station to get the train home.

Arriving at Fenchurch St, everything was good. Faced with 2 trains to choose from, I opted for the 2345. It goes via the faster of the two possible routes, and terminates at my station. In a worst case scenario, I’ll fall asleep on the train, and be woken up by the driver a mere 8 minutes walk away from my house. And as an added bonus, it’s not the last train — I had avoided the Vomit Comet. Life — for a nice change — seemed to be dealing me the good cards. I landed a nice conversation on the flop, and the turn had yielded a good train home.
So I settled down on the train with the cryptic crossword. I struggled to get one clue, and then fell asleep.

And that brings us back up to date.

After a few bleary seconds and a Looney Tunes doubletake, it turns out the train arrived promptly in Grays. There it sat for 15 minutes — with me asleep inside it — until the driver got into the other end, and went back to the depot in East Ham. With me asleep inside it. This rendered me significantly outside of a comfortable 8 minute walk home. I had bet all my chips, and the river had been dealt from the bottom of the pack.

In a way, it all turned out OK. Because they should have checked the train before taking it back to the depot, the train company picked up the 50 quid tab for the cab home. The only problem is that in between waiting for the cab, and the length of the journey home, I didn’t get to bed until about 3am. Thus, in spite of my modest RCP-based successes of the day, I find myself right now flagging faster than a semaphorist at the Battle of Jutland.