Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Late post

Oh dear! I've been lazy at updating this blog. To be honest, I got a bit frustrated with blogger.com as the editing features don't always do what they're supposed to do. I know they have an interface (that I'm using now) for non HTML writers and it's supposed to convert what you do efficiently into web format. The problem is when adding pictures. If I upload a picture, the upload facility puts it at the top of the text I'm writing and I've got to drag it to the correct position. I don't mind that. But, what happens is that when I drag it to where I want it, a whole lot of spaces appear in my text - maybe ten or more lines of emptiness that I've then got to delete and re format. By the time you've added a few pictures I'm just about demented! Then after I've re-re-re-re formatted the post I'm working on, I maybe notice a slight formatting error somewhere - so, I correct this and then all the spaces re-appear! I know, I should learn HTML, but I really don't want to.
So, that's part the reason for the delay in updating my blog. The other is that I've not been too well, I suppose. But, I'll talk about that in a minute.

MS Update

I've not missed a day's work, but, it's been hard sometimes getting through each day, if I'm honest. I've had terrible trouble with the pain in my head and have been trying out different painkillers, which I'll talk about in a moment. I've not felt very well (related to the pain) and my walking is noticeably worse, at least to me. On the plus side, I have two rest days every week since I've given up dental practice, and that gives me a chance to recoup some energy. My dear wife, Susie, is working so hard and I wish I could make life easier for her, but at the moment I can't. I'm thinking of starting a new business from home and I'll write something about that later, either in this post or another.
Pain control: I was trying the fentanyl patches (a synthetic morphine type drug). I think they helped a bit, but made me a bit 'high' and I didn't like that. So, I stopped them and with great difficulty managed to make contact with the MS nurse at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, where I am a patient in neurology. After I managed to speak to her, she said there were a number of drugs I could try. The one she recommended first was Tramadol which I think is similar to the patches, but I said I would give it a go. I've now got some on prescription, but I had some in the house and did a bit of self-medicating and basically, took too much too quickly! I was FLYING last Friday and then when I 'came down' I felt so ill all weekend that I didn't get out to Church at all and going back to work on Monday was 'touch and go'. Anyway, the doc's given me a lower dose to get started on and I'll let you know how that goes. In relation to this, I had an email from an 'old' friend who was telling me about a friend of hers who is on a totally different pain control regime from the one I'm on, so if I don't get any success with this change, I'll be looking in to that option. The difficulty is trying to balance pain control with still being able to function. There's no point in being so 'doped up' that I can't work, or at the other extreme, being in so much pain that I can't get off the couch! Watch this space!
As far as walking's concerned, it's only been bad since the weekend, so I hope that passes and goes back to what it was before. (Notice I didn't use the work 'normal'!). My balance has been very bad too, but I hope that is only as a result of my foolhardy medicine-taking!
Now, that's the MS out the way, so we can get on to the interesting stuff!

Outside storage

This is funny! Let me explain. We live in a converted farm steading with four other homeowners around us, so it's important to take care of the appearance of 'our bit' so it doesn't impact detrimentaly on others who live here. Well, we have a metal coal bunker which used to be square and quite tidy, but now is sort of diamond-shaped through lots of regular use. We also have one of those green storage cupboards that we bought in B&Q which has sagged a bit and the doors don't meet properly. Coupled with a hose reel and a couple of watering cans, plant pots and a high pressure jet washer sitting beside the cupboard, things were beginning to get untidy. So, what to do about it? Well, we decided to get rid of the old bunker and storage unit (they're sitting round the back at the moment, anyone need a coal bunker?). During the summer (well, the summer months would be a more accurate way of putting it), Alan (Martin) helped me clear the ground and empty the storage units and bunker and move the stuff round the back, then Colin (see previous posts) laid the slabbed base for me (Matthew, I think, helped get them from homebase). So, then the units had to be designed. I did that! It was quite fun to measure all the available space and ask a joiner to build the units for us: two bunkers (one for coal and the other to house the water tap, hoses and watering cans, etc.) and a traditional 'sentry box' type storage shed or cupboard. The joiner built them and then phoned me to ask me to buy a woodstain so that the fresh unprotected wood wouldn't sit out in the rain and bad weather we have had recently. So, this is where things began to go wrong! I bought 'Golden Harvest' wood stain, which I thought would be a good choice. Wrong! It should really have been called Fluorescent Orange! It was awful, and when driving home you could see it from a quarter of a mile away. Actually, you probably could have seen it from further, but the trees mercifully obscured it. So, I then went out and bought 'natural wood', which looked a whole lot better on the tin. But, painted on over the aforementioned Golden (Fluorescent) Harvest (Orange), simply made it look like a yuchy caramel colour. The outcome? It's going to be repainted a matt off-white colour. Can't wait!

This picture is taken after painting over the 'Golden Harvest' colour, which luckily, I don't have a picture of.
DDU Dental Teacher of the Year Nomination

I had a lovely surprise this month, I got an email informing me that the dental students at Glasgow Dental School had nominated me for the above award. Each UK dental school can nominate one teacher and then out of two finalists a winner is chosen. I already know who the two finalists are (neither is me!), but it's a huge honour to have been nominated by our students. I sincerely thank them.

Matthew

My dear son, Matthew, is on final training before leaving for service overseas in mid-November. That will not be an easy parting, so I would ask that you remember us all in prayer.



Susie, Matthew and myself earlier in the year near Elgin

Future business proposal

I have got to be practical. I may not be able to do dentistry for as long as I would like, so the decision has to be made as to what I can do if I have to give up paid employment. I have had a serious think about this and what I think I will 'have a go' at is some sort of 'multi-media' type business. If I consider my non-dental skills, I am musical and I am quite good with computers. I've done audio and video editing and enjoy that sort of thing. I could reasonably easily, without too much financial outlay, set up a business coverting video to DVD, with nice labels or use 'lightscribe' to give a nice professional finish, I could put cine film onto DVD and edit videos and put menus in them and such like. I would also like to do something with music and may try composing on a small 'home industry' level. I'll see how it goes and announce here when I'm up and running!

I think that's more than enough for now. If you've read all of this - well done. If you're starting at the last paragraph, then I understand! 'Til next time.