Thursday, 20 February 2014



There came an e-mail. 

Hi, Ishmael!!! Remember me???!!! From when you were nineteen??!! Well, I have terminal cancer and and I understand that what you do in these circumstances is try to reconnect with old friends!!! I found you through the wonders of the Internet!!!

What - as the young people say - the fuck?  This relationship had lasted, what, maybe two years and effectively finished around nineteen-seventy.  Funny thing was that although I hadn't thought about Colin for forty years I had, just a few days previously, dug out an old photo of him, of us; an early, tiny, black-and-white Polaroid, taken in his first, proud, matrimonial home - chunky Cotswold stone fireplace with no chimney and an oak-framed, leather three-piece, old codgers here will remember the style.  Why on Earth would he be reaching out to me, of all people, advising me of and involving me in his death? 

Cheeky bastard, is what I thought, at first. Fuck off out of it, you could have contacted me years ago, why now, when you have outlived your three-year prognosis?  Is it that you think I have no troubles of my own,  that I sit here in my stony fastness just waiting for a forty years dead friendship to revive itself, now that it has at least one foot in the grave;  what is the point of that? Go and suffer your own burden of mortality, as the rest of us do, or else don't, go and some quietus make, with a bare bodkin or, in your case, one of a matching set of cooking knives, from Habitat, or some other, prats' designer confessional,  Bless-me,-Father-Conran,-for-I-know-not-what-I-like-unless-you-tell-me outlet.

I became quite angry but only for a moment or two.  When we were kids he was a good-natured boy, industrious, reliable, a clean cut kid.  Unlike me, he had parents and they, too, were kindly;  he was generous and had a quirky sensayuma.  He was decent,  as straight as a die and I guess a proto-Thatcherite materialist; a ghastly, little Barret house on an arid, make-believe estate and a company Ford Escort Mk 1,  these were the spurs in Colin's flanks.  Not me, fuck no, anything but;  William Blake's road of Excess had me marching unsteadily, the soles of my feet smoking  on its molten cobbles.  And the last time I saw Colin I glimpsed him, from within a disintegrating marriage at which he had been my best man - Gosh, the things we did,  then, before before,  the worthless, paltry rituals to which we slavishly subscribed - as he carried the coffin of his infant son, stolen away in the night, freighted off to darkness and memory and disappointment, courtesy of cot death syndrome.  

We see it all the time, now, in Arabia and Asia, fathers carrying dead infants,  but somehow these bereaved men  have about them the dark dignity of rage, generally against Uncle Sam and the UK; there's  no help for these heroes, no collections, no gabshite actors  bleating their phony lines on behalf of  hundreds of thousands sentenced to cruel bereavement.  Only wogs after all, and niggers. No, no, don't get me wrong, I'm not racist or nothing, I value the right sort of foreigners, but lessfaceit, lessbeclear, these nignogs, I mean, they're all terrist scum, int they? ( from Paul Staines' Guido's  Big Book Of Political Science For KnobHeads.)  But where you can see, in Abdul's eyes, his almost comforting hatred of our warmachine; in Colin's, on  that day so long ago, all I could see was weary, resigned bewilderment;  his beloved, pre-ordained  consumerist lifestyle had short-changed him, in the worst possible way.

And after a lifetime abidng with all that,  all that suppressed guilty regret, now he was dying, not suddenly, on a day to surprise he and his, but measuredly, on what they call a journey, his course set by - whaddayacallem? - oncologists; his hands held by MacMillan nurses and other ghouls, as these things are now ordered; maybe a hospice of horror, an unashamedly public dying.  A Cotswold stone fireplace of a death.  Bogus and non-functional. There for all to see.  Including me.

I mellowed quite quickly, though, a matter of seconds.  He had never done me any harm, only kindness and fellowship, never caused me an instant's hurt, what did it matter that his ancient choices were crass and vulgar, they were certainly not as bad, as  damaging as my own, and they were probably more his parents' - and her's - than his own.  If he wanted to make contact with me then he was entitled, I felt.  I know that in many hospitals they are denied even a sip of water but amongst the rest of us the dying must have some entitlements, mustn't they?

I have nothing in  the way of kin and my parents died an eternity ago; death, therefore - somebody dying - , well, its rarity is a suckerpunch to me.  In my forties, through Mrs Ishmael,  I met  a woman, Celia,  who had been first the mistress and then the wife of one of my teachers at grammar school.  He was, like most of them, a contemptible bastard, your foot would break before you tired of kicking him in the balls and I was cheered to learn from Celia that he had died young.  Her  then current husband, John, was in the middle of a longdrawnout dying and everytime we met he, like the Ancient Mariner, fixed me with his glittering, cancerous eye and rehearsed all the sins and duplicities and shortcomings and betrayals of his previous wife. I just listened to him; he wasn't interested in listening to me.  He barely paused for breath, hour after hour, in merciless detail.  He had been going to kill her and some or all of her lovers but he had thrown his revolver in the River Fleet to stop himself so doing.  But Christ, was she a bitch, did I tell you about the time she went off with this solicitor and I got the Law Society involved, didn't stop her, she was just a slag and then there was the time she flew  to Israel with one of the tribe, a Jewboy, but that didn't last.  Must've amounted to days, the hours he ranted at me, about someone I had never met.  Celia would, whilst John was frothing at the mouth, just talk to Mrs Ishmael, as though nothing untoward was happening.  I didn't realise until after John had died that Celia was just waiting - gasping -  for it to happen so that she, in her blowsy sixties, could take up with an utter arsehole of a humanist minister;  quite how there can be such a thing as a sermonising humanist minister seems as bizarrely and improperly  illogical as, say,  the existence of  Nigel Farrage, but never mind, Celia had the oldy hots, bless her,  for this unspeakable cunt and actually couldn't wait for whining old, dying old  John to pass over, taking with him his ragingly unresolved first marriage.  I thought John was entitled, you see,  thought it was the least I could do, listen to a dying man's woes. She later dragooned me into helping her scatter his ashes over an old hill fort in Presteigne;  I never knew why, still don't,  there were many other closer, more appropriate people. It wasn't until  some years afterwards that I felt a little soiled, a little used, by both Celia, in her time of lusting and by  John, in his time of dying. 

I have suffered  no such beleaguering from Colin's correspondence, no such bilious filibustering.  I did write back to him as best I could, as warmly and thoughtfully as I could, as amusingly as I could, as profoundly and elegantly and as rhythmically as I could.  A list of sales-repping career achievements is all I have read in return, nothing of him or his life or his dying but then not everybody can write these things down, not everybody knows themselves.  Maybe, I more or less resolved,  his contact was just a form of naughty, pre-mortem,  public announcement; maybe that's all he wanted to do, a dark showing-off, a little boy, waving his tinkle at the world, while he still can.


I haven't died or yet been pronounced dying but I have been terribly fatigued.  There is a disc in my neck which has popped out and is pressing, like a tiny, malevolent guillotine blade through the spinal fluid and into the spinal cord. Fatigue is a symptom, fatigue and pain, or pain and then  fatigue and no wonder,  I nearly fell over when I saw the MRI scan.

 I have cupboards full of narcotics but unless you're taking them for fun they're no fun at all and so I don't; with the opiates and opioids I work to Phil Spector's gun maxim -  Better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them.  It's good advice for anyone in serious chronic pain - just knowing that you possess something that will almost instantly engender a warm sense of painfree wellbeing is better than actually using it, because once you use it you will want more and more and it will work less and less; quite medieval, I am, about suffering pain;  I must deserve its horror, its transcendence. 

My consultation with the  neuro surgeon was difficult.  I guess that in the strict sense of the word he could speak English but he knew nothing of nuance or idiom and on top of that, in any language, he was slipshod, pompous and self-regarding. Oh, he said, there'll be plenty of notice of it becoming an urgent condition;  seemed a contradiction to me, a non sequiteur.  Odd and frustrating, because in the same hospital, over the same period just recently, I have been treated, for another matter, by a world-famous plastic surgeon, Aegean, I guess, South Mediterranean, North African, maybe, who is a precise, fluent and gracious communicator.  There oughta be a law, hadn't there,  this is life and death stuff,  you need to understand what's being said to you. I asked, anyway, for a second opinion. Maybe I'll get one I can understand.

Sorry, anyway, not to have been in touch.


 General Eisenhower, storming across war-torn  Europe in his staff car mused to his driver, 

Honeybabe, these Godamned Autofuckinbahns are some hot shit; they're as smooth as yo sweet ass, flat as a Godamned pancake and they run from here to fuckin' eternity. How come these Kraut sonsafuckinbitches got highways like these while back home we just got motherfuckin' dirt tracks, dusty fuckin' lanes like the kind that Bonnie an' fucking Clyde got shot to fucking pieces on.  Now, pull the fuck over here an' gimme somea that sweet peaches an' cream y'all been keepin' warm  for me all the way from fuckin' Normandy.

And so it was. When Ike became president his very first project was the design and construction of Uncle Sam's Interstate Highway System;

This was and remains - it is still being built - a massive, massive civil engineering project.  Wherever it has gone it has attracted economic growth.  Aside from the thousands employed in its construction and in the design and manufacture of its machinery,  the Interstate Highway network spawned hotels everywhere - Hiltons and Holiday Inns -  diners and fast food outlets, filling stations;  towns sprung up, airports, car hire firms, Highway Patrol law enforcement agencies, huge transport fleets of Mack trucks, criss-crossing the country.

The project continues to this day, government initiated, the Interstate Highway has created trillions of dollars worth of good.  If only, instead of a cabal of up-each-others-arses public schoolboy, trustfund spivs, ponces, slags, extortionists  and child molesters we had someone with Ike's courageous vision.

 The floods have presented a perfect opportunity for a sensible government to commit to a civil engineering project  that would both safeguard parts of the country and put it back to constructive work.  Instead, punitive and mean spirited, we have retarded mutants like Ian Duncan Smith throwing aged and vulnerable people out of their homes, the shameless, criminal poltroon Cameron, promising access to, Oh, ten million pounds, for flood victims;  that must be all of  two, maybe three bankers' annual bonuses.

The Deluge of river, sea and sewer water has, I'm afraid,  made me laugh.  I live perilously close to the ocean and only a few metres in sea-level terms above it and that's why the house and contents insurance is so costly.  We have never flooded but a big, freaky sea would wash the place down with us in it and the four-figure insurance premiums wouldn't matter a fuck. When the winds blow, therefore, I set myself in the watchtower and take catastrophe precautions. This much is obvious -  if you live close to the sea or  a river or on a flood plain then Peril is your chosen next-door neighbour, Peril is your problem, not mine.

There is, of course,  no question but that govament has failed miserably, shamefully, ignominiously and disreputably  to maintain let alone improve flood defences but what else would accrue  from people like these, Underpants Major, ButcherBlair, Gordon Snot and this wretched Coalition of Cruelty and Criminality.  What do people expect from Chris Huhne, David Laws, Nick Clegg, Eric Pickles and the rest, these people are all dangerous criminal incompetents.  David Cameron believes that the USA won the Battle of Britain;  Nick Clegg averred that the state pension was Oh, about thirty quid a week.  These people shouldn't be in charge of wiping their own arses, never mind the safety of the nation in a time of erratic climatology;  they should be in a secure care home for the criminally insane, instead, their rancid cocks sucked dry by les invigilateurs faux et mechant,  JockyNeil, Young Parent John Humphrys, Jerry Million Pounds A Year Paxman, Adam Lard and the rest, MediaMinster's best continue shitting in our faces, unchallenged.

But even so, it is a measure of the stupidity of the nation that we tolerate all this deluvian bleating and skriking from fuckwits, chancers and opportunists.  There was a publican, demanding that I compensate him for his loss of business, cheeky fucking bastard;  he should insure himself adequately or give his pub away to some other dummy.  Oh, but Mr Ishmael, you dunno how hard the pub trade is; d'yaknow there's four thousand pubs shutting every hour and now this, people being too, well, too  flooded to come and prop up the bar, like in the good old days, playing darts and munching on hearty ploughpersons' lunches;  heart of the community, it was, the 'pub, dunno what the world's coming to, me. Global warming? Nah, dunbelieve in it. Lefty nonsense, innit. But I do need compensating.

No, no, no, in my considered and costly opinion it's all these food banks that're causing the problem, simply throw the scrounging bastards into the Thames, that'll sort it. Cocaine? Never heard of it. Nigella Coke?  No, never heard of her, either; she that fat, greasy cook, the one with her tits hanging out, was married to that barrowboy, Saatchi?

Funniest thing of all, though, was Prince Billy Gormless and his oik brother, Prince Harry Moron, the pair of them posing with one or maybe as many as two sandbags that they had filled photo-opportunistically, taking a half-hour break from their lives of permanent holiday and eighty-quid-a-throw cocktails, worthless, pampered cunts; 

 Christ on a fucking rope, if people will swallow that sort of shit then they deserve anything they get.  Drowning's too good for them.


The rat family.
Just two pounds a month. 
That's all it takes.

No, don't worry, love, I'll get the taxpayer to fund my advice to you. 
And then you'll shred the receipts, right? Brilliant.

Tony and Rebekah Rat have worked tirelessly to promote, well, murder, filth, pornography; don't let them go under just for the sake of two pounds a month.

No degrees of separation.

 David, Andy and Rebekah Rat have toiled tirelessly to suborn what Tony Rat left of democracy in this country; don't let them down, now when they might, even David Rat, eventually be looking at an unfair prison sentence. Andy mated with Rebekah and quite possibly with David, too.  Don't let these closely-knit rodents be separated. Two pounds a month's all it takes.

Rebekah Rat  and the RatFamily driver,  Jeremy FatRat;  they need your help so badly; Jeremy as his car show descends even further into schoolboy farce and Rebekah as the RatExterminators gather outside her homes.

And are one's prisons really like holiday camps?
One hopes you don't find out for yourself.

 In a quiet moment Queen Rat and Rebekah Rat discuss  their anti poisons strategy. You scratch one's back and one will scratch yours.

A greasy, slab-faced spiv and a pasty-looking, nasty slapper.
Dave Rat and Rebekah Rat,
Boogie-ing the truth away.
I mean the night. 
No, I don't, I mean the truth.

Funny, isn't it, how many of the unelected prime minister's chums are, well, crooks. Like him, the Wisteria bandit.

Never quite understood the phrase Self-fulfilling prophecy, always seemed like just another bit of jargon. Maestro Browne's major opus, here re-orchestrated a l'Africaine, clarifies it a little.



Anonymous said...

Great to have you back, sorry about the neck. The Missis has some disc problem, we had to pay for MRI cos NHS is too long tn wait. All that Nat.Ins deducted and no help for months of pain. Diazepam, Kapeke, Naproxen, and others. The long waits are, bizarrely, caused by the State and is a result of the insistence on minimum waiting times. No way to prioritise, Mr mild pain must be seen within the same time limit as Mrs Agonised, so saith the State. Not that bizarre really - just standard shite when the State gets involved.

call me ishmael said...

There is so much about the NHS which seems to defy reason, mr anonymous, that it is hard to know where to start articulating it and that, of course, is why so many get away with so much. Much of it is superexcellent but overall Ruin is now or soon will be corroding that excellence.

Look at the recent supremos - Jeremy Hunt, Spiv Lansley, Andy Bubbles Burnham and Patsy Leatherface Hewitt; unwholesome, incompetent and untrustworthy, all of them; worthless, thieving trash, not fit to apply an elastoplast to a grazed knee.

Mike said...

Mr I: don't leave it so long between drinks.

Re the disk - had one in my lower back years ago, and no amount of opiates could dull the pain. However, red wine took the edge off, and made life doable.

The doc said he had often heard that from patients and it was far better than drugs with all their side effects. Worth a try. An Australian shiraz, maybe?

Caratacus said...

Sympathy (totally useless) about the neck Mr.I. I've had similar over the years and it is an unforgiving mistress. The wine idea seems to have merit - that Macallan chardonnay is particularly effective in my experience ...

My appetite for brekkie has faded after so many pictures of Becky and the Rat Pack. The real rats would be disgusted by the activities of the low-life ne'er-do-wells.

call me ishmael said...

Thanks, both. I have had the lower back disc problems for years; the ones in the neck, though, are on a differrent level of shitness, causing pain in the head, neck, shoulders, arms and especially the wrists and hands. It's OK, we will find a way through it or around it. The surgery is, like all surgeries, much better than it was, replacement with plastic, rather than fusing. Enough of all that, anyway; it was just a sick note, that bit.

Although I feel that a full-life sentence - much like the appeal court, itself - is uncivilised, it is a tad comforting that were there ever a trial, ButcherBlair and his gang would be serious candidates for such. I wonder if his deep faith permitted him to bang the scrawny, poxed-up ginger bint, as well as conspiring with her to pervert the course of justice. Like something from Hieronymous Bosch, NewLabour, rank, venal and putrid.

Wasn't there supposed to be an enquiry into Blair's crimes, Chilcott, or something ?

Woman on a Raft said...

BTW, Mr Ishmael, your characterization of David Bowie as Danny La Rue has been over-taken by reality. He dressed as Kate Moss to get a pop award. I'm amazed that a 67 year old can still get in to his teenage clobber.

call me ishmael said...

Happens all the time, mrs woar, that.

Was it Alan Lerner, said that when reality became crazy it was time to stop doing satire, he was talking about Kissinger being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, you know, something that even a mind as diseased as mine could not conjure up.

I believe you are an admirer of the early Bowie output and I must say I liked a lot of Hunky Dory but his drag queen schtick left me cold and a bit repulsed, repulsed on behalf of people I knew then who were half-in, half-out of the closet.

The Danny la Rue comparison was considered; they both played to something which simply is not in me, some guilty, tittering, voyeuristic, bi-curious gene; something which makes me uneasy and angry. I don't like to see men pretending to be women or women pretending to be men; it is unfuckingGodly and unfuckingnatural. A bit like vegetarians eating Quorn, if you need to eat ersatz flesh you haven't understood properly and you may as well stick with the bacon sandwiches. If you want to fuck a man who is an ersatz woman then you may as well do the natural thing and fuck a woman who actually is a woman, innit?

An abomination, Bowie and his followers; mind-gaming, squalid, dirty, anti-life, anti-species. Mr verge, our in-house authority on transgressive literature might have something to say about that, some of the greats in that field being polysexual but writing and reading are a little more sophisticated than hero-worshipping, en masse, a pampered, fucked-up Essex boy. Art, my arse.

yardarm said...

Glad you are back Mr Ishmael. We`ll never get something of the Interstate vision here, now, mainly because the people running things. public and private sector are such open mouth dimwits. A proper country would never have a hopeless dicksplash like Call Me Wisteria as Prime Minister and the Environmental Agency would be run by a proper engineer, not a time serving parasite like Chris Smith.

Westminster must have got flooded
because all the turds and filth have been washed out, poncing about at the waters edge, not least Call Me Bullingdon, making everyone piss themselves with laughter at his gleaming hi vis. Pity the locals didn`t debag him and fling him in the Somerset Levels and give him a couple of verses of the boating song.

A lot of the flooded areas seem to be Junta territory and some there may be reflecting on Austerity. Not Someone Else`s Austerity, turning libraries into foodbanks, take up thy bed and fuck off to ATOS Austerity but Austerity of One`s Own; flooding back up through the crapper, two foot of water crusted with shit and dead rats Austerity.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before enough manure was turned over to reveal the Jug Eared One involved with the Murdoch trash although he might not be so close now, after Rupe found out he was making the beast with two backs with the trophy wife. There`ll be no trial for the cheesy kneepadding Quisling. Unless his Gulfstream is forced down outside Fallujah and....look ! Don`t I recognise that severed jug eared head with its rictus grin, bobbing about on a stick on Al Jazeera news ?

call me ishmael said...

Glad you're back, too, mr yardarm. I should just mention, though, that His Lordship Smith is gay and thus, like Mr Dave Laws, MP, immune from criticism, much less prosecution on the grounds of taking money under false pretences.

If Smithy did do it, which he did, it will be because he wanted to spare his parents the knowledge that he was gay, even though they knew all along and are dead, anyway.

I think, by the way, that probably it's our GulfStream, and not the Peacemaker's.

They'd skin him alive in Fallujah, and many other places, too, wouldn't they, him and Dubya? Interesting to learn of his recommendation, to Becky Sharp, of sleeping pills; Christ, if anyone needs them, it'll be him, our good catholic junkie boy.

DtP said...

Soz about the sick stuff but the red wine option seems to have potential.

The Brookes e-mail was totally duplicitous in that it was on the back of a thread where Murdoch Minor penned a one line previous retort 'what the chuff are you doing on e-mail?' after their elaborate wheeze of dropping off porn & laptops in the subterranean garage - almost as if she felt she needed insurance. I guess Blair can just deny it ever happened and it seems bloody odd that he said 'do a Hutton type Inquiry' - hmmm....doesn't seem likely. Even in private Blair's not gonna compare a newspaper's closure to an illegal war.

I can't be bothered looking at corruption within corruption too much but with the Blair & Wendi Deng tryst and its subsequent news unworthy publication, well, i'm kind of totally underwhelmed.

We or rather I've been led to believe that dudes like Murdoch & Clifford knew secrets which the likes of us plebs would be 'amazed, shocked, enthralled - now read on' by but if it's down to a drivelling precis of a conversation that never happened on the back of an e-mail that acknowledged they were rumbled - well, it's just so bloody amateur, so low rent as to make all selacious gossip seem even more redundant than it was before. There ain't no conspiracy, there's just sad little oiks flogging counterfeit wares off the back of a barrow.

Maybe that's what politics always was - just bullshit the people through these rags and try to convince the people that up is down and right is wrong. I guess it worked.

mrs narcolept said...

Kept trying to see if you were back, but my broadband provider decided this site was unsuitable for children (that picture of McDoom no doubt) and blocked access, ignoring all my attempts to tell it to mind its own business.

We are very close to the river. My dear mr ishmael has never taken out insurance of any sort, insisting that he would rather foot the bills himself should the waters overwhelm our road, and anyway he would just as soon move and would be glad to see the back of most of our belongings. I can see us ending our days in a tent.

call me ishmael said...

I agree that Blair's precised remarks abiut Hutton ring hollow, but then he is hollow, isn't he -- hand of history, scars on my back, educayshun, educayshun, educayshun, the man's a cheap cunt, cliche and sanctimony his only currency.

Conspiracy fatigue is understandable, mr dtp, as is indifference to the filthsters and their doings, except that it is so ruinous - Murdoch's man, Coulson, shoe-horned into Downing Street in exchange for skymadeupnewsandfilth supporting Cameron; Murdoch not paying any tax in exchange for supporting ButcherBlair; it is ruinous that an uneducated, bigoted ignoramus slattern like Brooks has such influence over the lives of so many, that she is a piece of filth, living in a sewer deeper and fouler than that occupied by Dacre and Morgan and Toilets Maguire. However feeble it may seem, mr dtp, we must resist. My young friend, stanislav, and others like him ridiculed Gordon Snot almost out of existence; mockery, lampoonery, satire and ridicule, it's all we have; since we gave up having civil wars it is all we have ever had. I am happy to be a cyber pamphleteer to a small, thoughtful readership; stuff spreads, runs, takes flight.

Cheer up, pretend you have a bad neck, swig some red wine and offer the quiet prayer, Up against the wall, motherfuckers.

call me ishmael said...

Your dear mr ishmael sounds like a treasure, mrs n. If only he wouldn't keep his motorbikes in the bath.

That's OK if you can foot the bills yourself; we are toying with the idea of adopting that approach with mr harris, just putting his insurance money in an account and hoping for the best. The house, though, would cost over a million to rebuild and I do like my stuff, I have worked on most of it, one way and another and it has value to me. It's not very Zen, I know, and I often envy people like your dear mr ishmael but it's too late for me to get there now.

If it gets hairy down there, you can both put your tent up in my garden.

Anonymous said...

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the noblest prospect said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the noblest prospect said...

Good to see you back, Mr Smith.

I've a date with the doctorbastards and their scalpels in a few weeks too.

Let the music keep our spirits high...

call me ishmael said...

Thanks and good luck, mr tnp. Dunno what it is, but it's funny now,the older I become, the more relevant, the more soothing is mr browne, his big, boomy piano and his infinite guitars. I was watching his fingers on this one and I thought, Fuck, that's just three vamping chords, anybody could do that, I could do that..... But it's not a matter of his virtuosity, it's a matter of his grace.

tdg said...

Well, a second opinion from a neurologist, while waiting for the third, is to ask your GP to try you on pregabalin (not gabapentin), starting at a very low dose (25mg at night) increasing by 25mg every week until you get to 100mg twice daily. Reluctance to operate is generally a mark of quality in a neurosurgeon, so that ought not to put you off the first one, though it sounds as if he was not deft enough to understand whom he was dealing with.

callmeishmael said...

Thanks, mr tdg, the pregabalin is on the cards, soon as I see the GP - the gabapentin near killed me, I managed to get up to a thousand mg a day and then my body crossed the floor and went into opposition.

I am always hesitant about surgery but other, non-neuro, surgeons have told me, informally, that this problem should be tackled because it will only get worse and as I said, the MRI scan chills my blood, I simply cannot see how this condition can safely be tolerated, looks to me as though the slightest impact could seriously damage the spinal cord.

For another matter, recently, I had a spinal anaesthetic - because of intubation problems caused by the neck condition - and as my legs went numb I thought, Christ, this is what it must be like to be crippled; amongst other things, that moment of panic sent me revisiting the assisted suicide controversy; it didn' t change my opinion about. legislation but it heightened my awareness of the problem. Y'see, travel, even to Aberdeen, it broadens the mind.