Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Implanon Has Been Discontinued

I thought you might like to know. Because this formerly common brand of the contraceptive implant was prescribed to me by a medical professional who didn't even know.

I go and see the Dr about back pain. The s-word. I mention I'll be due to renew my implant in October and asked if that could be done on site or whether I'd have to go somewhere else.

I used to get my implant at Canterbury Health Centre, in-out, in-out, no questions asked, so I could have the sex of a similar nature. Ah, those halcyon days of free love and freer drugs. Although Canterbury is also home to the nurse who put me off getting the contraception injection after I went for my third one and she mumbled, "okay, I've got to get this in juuuust the right spot or I could paralyse you". Yeah, I stopped getting them after that.

"We can do that here, just phone up and book when the time comes". The time comes. I decide to opt in for another 3 years with a floppy toothpick in my left arm. I go to see the receptionist. "The nurse needs to have a chat with you before we can do that".

My heart drops into my stomach. What does she wish to 'chat' about? AM I DYING?

Despite my protests that I'd had it twice before and was happy with it, I respected the receptionist was just following the doctor's orders, and rather bemused, booked an appointment to see Dr Feelgood*.

Fast forward to next week:

"So, what can we do for you today?"

"Well, uh, apparently I've got to have a chat with you about the Implanon...?"

He looks stunned after I explain to him what I've told you above.

"I'm sorry, we appear to have wasted your time." he scribbled a prescription for me. Because apparently, although they can perform the procedure, I need to go out and get the thing myself. This is also new to me.

On my way out I book an appointment for the insertion. Giggedy.

The day before the appointment, I get this niggling feeling I ought to get the Implanon then, rather than wait til the morning of my appointment. How many pharmacists stock this, I wonder? I can't imagine there's a big call for them. Why get a product in that x amount of people only get once every 3 years? So even though I intended to rest my back and get on with household chores (CHORE HORSE) I trundled off to the nearest pharmacy.

"Do you have to pay for your prescription?"

I am always asked this.


That is why I have filled out the part of the form which says I have to PAY. I wonder if people that need their eyes tested should really be in charge of doling out medication.

A quick nosy around at shampoo and lip balms later -

"I'm awfully sorry, the Implanon has been discontinued...

(It's the name of the post! It's like when they say the title of the film IN the film!)

...you have to go back to the Doctor and get him to write you a prescription for Netflix". (Well, it sounded like Netflix anyway. It's actually Nexplanon).

Shocked, I murmur a thank you (why.) and prepare myself for further trundling. I didn't suggest they phone my GP for verbal confirmation that yes, I am allowed a stick in the arm, because it's obvious they would've thought of that, right? I guess that's not allowed otherwise they would've just done that. Right? Oh god please tell me that's obvious.

To receptionist:

"This thing isn't made anymore, I need the doc to please gimme a prescription for one that is."

Flustered rummaging, squawking, telephone calls, Heart FM.

"You need to chat to a doctor first before we can do that."

I come across as a very angry person on the internet, I'm fully aware. That's because I'm polite, civil and generally mildly-mannered IRL. I like to keep the peace, let sleeping dogs fart, be courteous and be respectful. Even when dealing with utter muppets that are best depicted in this song:

But I was starting to lose my temper.

Through gritted teeth:

"I have already had a chat with the Dr. That's why I came in last week."

Checking, clicking, rustling, tutting.

"Ah, but you spoke to Dr Feelgood and it's Dr Fox** that does the procedure."

"But he agreed that a chat was a waste of my time! He wrote me a prescription! He gave me the all-clear!"

"Um, well, I'll just see if I can get hold of Dr Fox"

Foot-tapping and angrily glaring at a poor defenseless bottle of alcohol hand gel.

"She says you have to come in for a chat first"

"A chat?! But I'm happy with it! Wait, you do mean chat about the implant right?" (My ebola fears rising to the fore again). Affirmative. "I've had one twice before! I'm a temp, if I'm not at work I don't get paid! I can't afford to 'chat'! I just want my contraceptive for all that sex I'm not getting!"

I'm not sure if that last line is 100% accurate portrayal of my famous last words. But i do remember bleating 'CONTRACEPTIVE' and clamming up fast when I realised everyone in the waiting room now knew what I was there for.

Receptionist calls Dr Fox. Discussion and laughter. What is this? Are they having a 'chat'?

Meanwhile I've calmed down, a mixture of meditating upon QUIT SMOKING signs, embarrassment and sadness that I've erupted at the wrong person.

Having worked in the front line in NHS roles, I understand how it feels when some pratt blames you for everything from their pneumonia to their car not starting and expects you to have eight years worth of medical school under your belt to boot.

Belt to boot. I like that. Sounds like a mens' clothes shop. Better than Topman innit. Which is an anagram of tampon, incidentally.

"There's nothing in your journal about having had a chat...umm, she needs you to come in to see how deeply your current one is fitted and that sort of thing"

Fun fact: The Implanon was discontinued in 2010 because of unwanted pregnancies. Thanks for the heads up, doc!

Defeated, I agree to another appointment and shuffle out to track down the nearest poor sod with ears and fags (what with those quit signs having given me the urge) for a rant and a puff.

What a fucking waste of time. And here's someone with nasty sciatica trekking all over Brighton in the quest for non-existent medication.

It doesn't feel right to complain about a service you get for free. But in my eyes it is right to complain about bad service, and it is right to point out gaps in the knowledge of medical professionals, poor communication and unnecessary bureaucracy.

Implanon? More like IMPLANOT.

*doesn't actually feel good

**not an actual fox.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Curiosity Rover Songs

Here is a thing I read in the Stool Pigeon which I enjoyed muchly.

It was meant to be about songs connected to the wee remote controlled car that's been bopping around Mars, but ended up being a take down of the car fwend everybody loves to hate.

Gary Numan - 'Cars' (1979)

'The Curiosity Rover is not a car and is not designed to carry human passengers in comfort, which is why i like to imagine Jeremy Clarkson sitting astride it, about to berate it for its unsatisfactory 0-to-60 capabilities before getting rapidly frozen solid in the unforgiving -127 degrees Martian night time chill, and then having his brittle head snapped off by the camera arm with enough force to send it spinning off into the void, only to be picked up in deep space by aliens millennia later, who use it as a gormless, bug-eyed paperweight, unaware that it's the last surviving trace of mankind.'

John Doran

Here is the video, merely included to make this post more visually appealing. I learnt some things when I used to write for money! Woo!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

2 Years in Brighton

At half nine this evening, I realised it's my two year anniversary of moving to Brighton today.

Not sure why the date sticks in my mind, but I'm pretty sure 19 has something to do with it.

So how am I celebrating? Well, I washed my hair. Which is happening less frequently, so is a more noteworthy event as it transpires. "Oooh, she's become a typically Brighton-esque crustie hippie sort". No: I realised, finally, that seeing as my hair's much thicker than that belonging to other women I chat to I don't need to worry that I'm not washing it as frequently as they say they do. Also it helps the dye last much longer. And If I lay off the heating equipment and stop fiddling with it, le cleanliness lasts longer. To be honest I've not noticed much difference. Shampoo is probably just another big old beauty industry myth. I was going to draw a comparison to the study I was reading about where some people brushed their teeth with just water and others with toothpaste and fuck all difference was noted. Can't find that article now. Probably been deeply buried.

Just like that US flag was deeply buried in moon-sand!

It's also lazy Googling on my part because I want to get back to reading my magazine.

So yep. Reading. Waiting for my hair to dry - watching paint dry, if you like. Thinking about men. Worrying about my waistline. Listening to music.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this scenario is the lack of booze.

[Oh god where is the booze give me the booze]

Most of the time I'll catch myself thinking, "I wish I'd done this sooner". Moving here I mean. I have a lot of happy memories of Kent, but I'd outstayed my welcome.

[Here come the waterworks. NURSE! MORE BOOZE!!!]

My job was going nowhere. The jobs I wanted you only got if a mate of a mate or your relative or could get you in. To my everlasting shame, I was the only person I knew to try out for a job at the University of Kent and not get it. And I envied those people so hard, still do, because they seemed happy in their jobs. I wanted training. The best, and most affordable, was a long commute away. My friends group was disintegrating. I acknowledge my own blame in this, and I'm sorry and always will be.

There was one bar if you were in the alt scene.

Although they started up another one shortly before I was due to leave. I wrote a review of it, the first of my writing I'd ever published, other than my complaints to the local paper writing about complaint letter writers. I'm talking of course, about Clive Wilkins-Oppler, who was so persistent about the 'way he saw it' that they eventually gave him his own column!

I was very happily dating someone. But we didn't see eye-to-eye on work.

Me: "We'll be able to afford to do more fun things together if you get a job!" Or, like, get a bus from time to time instead of walking everywhere.

Him: "But that leaves me less time to listen to music and play video games!"

Me: "I'm going to harbour resentment against you because of this for years instead of telling you every day how much I loved you like I should've done!"

[Ok Nurse you can just hook it up to a vein now]

And do you know the funny thing about this, constant reader? One of these lifestyles lends itself much more to a future career in journalism. Instead of working 9-5 because it's what my parents wanted, nodding off in mind-numbing meetings, in uncomfortable clothes, with the satisfaction that at the end of the month I'll be able to spunk my money on getting pished to try to forget about the gaping miserable chasm of the week that exists between Monday to Friday, I should've made the most of robbing this country of benefits while they were still in the habit of handing them out like the TV Licensing people hand out threatening letters to the innocent, and immersed myself in media. Or, at least worked part-time.

Like I do now. Which nobody gives me hassle for.

I've got it so much better here and I take it for granted all the fucking time. It just takes you the teeniest of treks out of it once you've been in to see what I mean. And yes, I'm talking about you, Hollingbury.

I can do the hours I want. Meet a whole bunch of people with the right kinds of contacts. The number of courses, classes, workshops, groups, people out there with similar interests to you should you wish to seek them out is right fucking there on your doorstep. You want a rock night, you say? Certainly. Punk, classic, acoustic, doom, metal, thrash, soft, nu, or rockakoke? The choice is staggering. I am still reeling from it. You got the countryside, the sea and all that high street clone shit too if you want it. (And if you fall into the latter camp - hoho! 'Camp'! I am just drowning in puns - then what the fuck are you doing here. Get out).


Replace with 'peen' if ya like. Mmm, hairy peen.

You can walk about covered in bees if you like and no-one bats an eye.

And if it all gets a bit much at times it's easy enough to get away from.

This was brought to you by 'Midge' - look I even have my own nickname now - 2 today.

I'm not going to lie I'm feeling kind of shy

Cannot force a smile no matter how hard I try

Instead I sit and worry how I look and what I say

I worry that I worry every minute of every day

What concerns me are wars and the environment

And when pay day arrives how much I've already spent

Fashion makes me dizzy it changes so fast

I thought leggings were a thing of the past

I joined a gym once but then it burnt down

So my legs are getting wobbly and my belly's getting round

I can't cook but one day I'll learn

I wish I were more confident I wish I were firm

I don't like change but I do like surprises

I'm jealous of all those early risers

I sleep far too long but still feel tired

I'm always running late which once got me fired

When I get nervous my face turns red

I worry my mates wish they knew someone else

I do not like the internet and rarely use the phone

But I hate my own company, I hate to be alone

I can't help thinking that life ain't easy

It's a rollercoaster which can make us queasy

But I have my health and Brighton's my home

I shouldn't feel sad shouldn't feel alone

Trafalgar Street Graffiti snapped by Niall Basquille

So I'm on the hunt for a little madness

To forget my worries and stop my sadness

I head for the beach deck chairs line by the sea

Pretty to look at but sitting's not for free

Money money money a constant daily drag

I scan the crowds in search of a fag

I walk through the lanes which as usual are bustling

Performers are singing traders are hustling

Children shouting parents scalding

A man feeding birds shows signs of balding

Tourist attractions around every corner

A plethora of parks flora and fauna

The Royal Pavilion The Town Hall

What more could you want we've got it all

There's a buzz in the air the roads are heaving

Cars are crawling bikes are weaving

A broken face selling the latest Big Issue

Cold runs from his nose in search of a tissue

Am reminded of those elsewhere

Whose life is hard dangerous, unfair

I will be fine I know I'll cope

Stay positive and not lose hope

Thank you Brighton for being my potion

The only blue left is that of your ocean.

...Who also took one of the few photographs of me I like which wasn't taken by Simon Price or Photoshopped by Yours Truly


Sunday, 16 September 2012

God, Not Another Photo

Yes, this one is actually me, well spotted. I was having a good hair day and about to set off to take pictures of the Devil's Dyke. I somehow ended up in Patcham. Post about that to possibly follow. Postibly.

As a side note, a gentleman asked me earlier in the week if my hair was dyed. "No, I have naturally green roots," I replied with a look that was close to a wink, although I'd never actually do a wink as that's the sort of facial expression best left to Carry On films.

We continued to chat, then the question popped up again.

"So, is your hair dyed?"

Yes sir. Yes, it is.

And now, I have died too.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Gay = Beautiful

Apologies for using this blog as a photo-dumping ground of late. I was going to write about dermatillomania, a bad habit I suffer from mildly, which has prevented me being as sociable as I would've liked to be recently. But with that and the sciatica post this would seem like the blog of a crazed photo-journalist hermit-hypochondriac, AND I AM NOT THOSE THINGS AT ALL. No ma'am.

I've also been occupied with a different blog and its accompanying Twitter account, but that's all I'm saying about that one for now. Oooooh, Midgesterious.

The last Stay Beautiful (glam/trash/sleaze/electro/goth/punk club I never shut up about) happened to coincide with Brighton's Pride weekend, so the evening was dubbed 'Gay = Beautiful'. I decided to forsake my usual inebriated twirling around the dancefloor, squawking the wrong words to songs into my friends' uncomprehending faces and splashing JD everywhere to take pictures of everybody else doing the same.

(That's what I want)

For the mirror theme? Yeah? Geddit?

Less gash, more flash next time.

The full set of 114 photos can be found here, on my substitute for a Facebook account that I remember to look at about once a month known as Google+. Doubleplusnotgood.

Things I have been enjoying lately: