Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Sciatica Update

I'm long overdue boring everyone with another sciatica update, so here goes.

December 2012 I completed a course of NHS physio. It took 40 minutes to walk to the polyclinic every Monday morning - no direct buses along that route - so that was a fitting warm up for an hour of exercise biking, yoga poses, squats, weights, bouncing about on giant inflatable beach ball type things and dicking around with things called 'medicine balls' (sadly not giant painkilers) on baby trampolines, called trampettes.

Actual Size

After six sessions or so, I was offered discount membership to gyms to continue the exercises, but decided I could do most of them in my room. Saving myself some cash, the embarrassment of my parts jiggling in front of other humanoids

The Floor-Twerk pose I have to do

and the further damage to my spine walking to a gym and back would cause.

Over the course of a year, I went from 15 minutes of exercise 3 times a week to FORTY-FIVE MINUTES A DAY. On top of the usual hour of walking every day to get to and from work.

A couple of weeks ago everyone was announcing their resolutions to drink less, give up smoking, exercise more...I want to exercise less! It's become an obsession. I'm currently trying to do every other day instead.

Meanwhile, my doctor suggested I reduce the Gabapentin, as the physio had seemed to be beneficial for me. Um, me completing a course does not necessarily mean it's cured me! But hell, I was willing to cut down on a prescribed medication because I'm too honest for me own good at times and instead of fluttering my eyelashes and going "I'm a student I forgot my NUS card oopsie!" I cough up for my meds.

I was just told to cut down; I wasn't informed of the side effects of doing so...


Now I get by on one Gabapentin a day, and supermarket Ibuprofen. Tramadol for when I'm really done in, either from hopping about London all day because I decided it might be a nice idea to go to a gig and stand up for three hours (HAHAHA) or go dancing. Or for when I just want to forget the pain is there for a day. Also, the exercising, hot water bottles, Deep Heat.

Something snapped last month though when it got to December and I realised I'd been doing physio exercises for a year and still wasn't cured. I have no idea whether some of the moves I do as well, like the abdominal hip raises, are actually exacerbating the problem.

Instead of going to the GP - time out of work I'd have to make up, explaining the same shit all over again, MORE WALKING UGH, and being placed on a waiting list for six months - I Googled for an osteopath nearby and booked myself an appointment.

Oh, during this period I also looked on the NHS page for sciatica, wondering if any new miracle cures had been added since I last checked. And I also read the comments.

"If you have had to take time off work due to sciatica, you should aim to return to work as soon as possible. "

No shit, dawg. I don't turn up to work, I don't get paid.

Research has shown that people who train themselves to react differently to their pain, by using relaxation techniques and maintaining a positive attitude, show a decrease in the levels of pain that they experience.

I'll just leave this here...

Ayup. 'Ridiculious'.

(And yes, I did try that too).

I won't screen grab any more comments, but the general consensus seemed to be people were sick of being told "just keep taking the medication and doing the exercises" - push for a scan to see what's really going on. I'd asked if a scan would be helpful pretty early on of course, but was told it wasn't necessary.

At my first osteopath appointment, the assessor's eyes nearly popped out of his head when I told him I'd been in pain for three years, and they'd said not to bother about a scan. He recommended pressing for one. I phoned my GP and selected the button option of 'talk to a doctor'. After giving all my details to the receptionist instead of her repeating them to the GP she put me through to, I had to repeat them all to him myself. Natch. Bye bye phone credit. I explained all of the above pretty much, and he said "we usually ask patients to come in for that..."

And I'm usually a doormat in these situations, but I'd had enough.

"You see the thing is, doctor, I HAVE TROUBLE MOVING. I'm telling you now, I've done physio, I've taken the medication which you will hopefully have the details about on-screen given that I've given you my name, address, DOB, mother's maiden name and first pet's name, I'm now seeing an osteopath, and oh, it's been 3 years. What is the point of me coming in and repeating all that to you face-to-face?

They're processing it for me. I'll report back in 2016 when I finally get an MRI.

For the time being, I'm going to have further osteopathy sessions for as long as I can afford them, meaning doing more work, meaning being in more pain, hahaha. My osteopath has also ordered me a heel lift, as he measured me and I apparently have one leg shorter than the other.

"Don't most people have that though?" I asked?

"Yes but on a person of your height it's more of a issue.

I'm hoping this goes some way to explaining why I'm such a total klutz. It would've been nice to have the sexy Monroe wiggle...

but I get the stumbling over grains of sand on the pavement effect instead.


Regal Reflections

Women use mirrors to catch sight of the Queen in London, 1966.


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Naughty Forty

The other day I earbombed myself with Savage Garden's 1997 hit, I Want You, and thought, if you choose to interpret the lyrics that way, they're kinda dodgy.

You'll never know what hit you

When I get to you


Ooh, I want you

I don't know if I need you

- Savage Garden – I Want You

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE! THREATS! CASUAL NO-STRINGS-ATTACHED SEX! And then I thought it went 'but ooh I gotta find out' which would = RAPEY but it's 'I'd die to find out' which is quite sweet really if a tad unnecessary and defeats the object.

Following that I figured I'd pay more attention to my daily earworms for rape-y allusions. And because the subject was preying on my mind what with 'Blurred Lines' coming up again and again in end of year reviews. Accompanied by the usual outcry from those who dislike the concept of 'bad girls', the refrain of 'you know you want it' (which I'm pretty sure must've been muttered by MCs in about 90% of rap songs), and submissive scantily-clad girls in the accompanying video (again, see my comment re the refrain).

Don't get me wrong; it's good that people are finally considering the detrimental effects of certain lyrics and videos...but jeez guys. Calm yo tits. Sigh. I've said all this before.

A selection of other dodgy lyrics

Every breath you take

Every move you make

Every bond you break

Every step you take

I'll be watching you

Every single day

Every word you say

Every game you play

Every night you stay

I'll be watching you

Oh can't you see

You belong to me

- The Police – Every Breath You Take


You don't have to be beautiful to turn me on

I just need your body, baby, from dusk till dawn

You don't need experience to turn me out

You just leave it all up to me, I'm gonna show you what it's all about

- Prince – Kiss

He ain't picky, basically.

I’m up all night to get lucky.

- Daft Punk, Get Lucky


Pretty much all of this:

Oh and hey look here's JT doing the Robin Thicke Schtick:

Senorita, I feel for you

You deal with things, that you don't have to

He doesn't love ya, I can tell by his charm

But you could feel this real love

Guys sing

It feels like something's heating up, can I leave with you?

And ladies

I don't know but I'm thinking bout, really leaving with you

Feels good don't it, come on

(Ngl; I would).


Getting bored of waiting for songs to come to me, I went to look at this week's UK top 40 singles.

Let's make a night you won't remember

She say she won't, but I bet she will

- Pitbull, Timber

Um :s

It was pointed out to me that the first line I quoted is sung by the female vocalist...but it's still kinda Rohypnolly, no?

Guess I'd also highlight Gaga’s 'do what you want with my body' line if I hadn't seen her defending it on Graham Norton. She was saying to the press, 'you can photograph and talk about your body all you like but you'll never have my mind'.

That's some top shelf material, right there. Right there where all the kids can see it! Think of the children

Yo, yeah

Check the rhyme and rhythm

It’s nice and different

Plus is bright and brilliant

Kinda how I like my women

And that’s the right opinion


Now, let us go

I will take control

No more moving slow

In this situation

Hell yeah!

I like your style

Been watching you for a while

- Rizzle Kicks, Timber

Oh. :( After a promising start, it's The Police again.

First class seat on my lap girl, riding comfortable

Sold out arenas, you can suck my penis

- Jason Derulo, Talk Dirty


You can, run if you want

I've come too far, oh I'm not gonna lose

- Chase and Status, Alive

It's 'up all night to get lucky' again.

I talk a lot of shit when I'm drinking, baby,

I'm known to go a little too fast.

Don't mind all my friends, I know they're all crazy,

But they're the only friends that I have.

I know I don't know you,

But I'd like to skip the small talk and romance, girl.

That's all I have to say so, baby, can we dance?

Here we go again, another drink I'm caving in,

And stupid words keep falling from my mouth.

You know that I mean well,

My hands were made for somewhere else.

Your eyes are doing naughty butterflies

Oh, oh, one more drink and I should go,

Oh, oh, but maybe she might like me though.

Oh, oh, I just can't think of what to say,

Should I go, should I stay?

Just can't let her slip away.

I talk a lot of shit when I'm drinking, baby,

I'm known to go a little too fast.

Don't mind all my friends, I know they're all crazy,

But they're the only friends that I have.

I know I don't know you,

But I'd like to skip the small talk and romance, girl.

That's all I have to say so, baby, can we dance?

I was nearly in, but then came the pushy friend,

Killed the vibe and took my perfect ten away.

You know I need you, girl,

My heart's not made for someone else.

So save me here 'cause I can barely stand.

Oh, oh, one more drink and I should go,

Oh, oh, but maybe she might like me though.

Oh, oh, I can't take this any more,

Should I stay? Should I go?

It just can lead back to her door.

I talk a lot of shit when I'm drinking, baby,

I'm known to go a little too fast.

Don't mind all my friends, I know they're all crazy,

But they're the only friends that I have.

I know I don't know you,

But I'd like to skip the small talk and romance, girl.

That's all I have to say so, baby, can we dance?

I've been a bad, bad boy

Whispering rude things in her ear,

Please say she'll break,

Please say she'll change

Her mind and bring me back to her place.

I talk a lot of shit when I'm drinking, baby,

I'm known to go a little too fast.

Don't mind all my friends, I know they're all crazy,

But they're the only friends that I have.

I know I don't know you,

But I'd like to skip the small talk and romance, girl.

That's all I have to say so, baby, can we dance?

I talk a lot of shit when I'm drinking, baby,

I'm known to go a little too fast (a little too fast)

Don't mind all my friends, I know they're all crazy,

But they're the only friends that I have.

I know I don't know you,

But I'd like to skip the small talk and romance, girl.

That's all I have to say so, baby, can we dance?

- The Vamps, Can We Dance

I'd like to skip the small talk and rename this song 'CAN WE FUCK'

Feeling like a brainwashed Tipper Gore now I've combed through the entire propagandalyrics of the Top 40. What. A. Load. Of. Drivel. It's all blokes going 'ME SO HORNY' and ladies pining away for their lost loves (I'm looking at you, Ellie Goulding). Shout out to Katy Perry though and Little Mix for their tunes of ~empowerment~. No, sarcy punctuation aside it's good that there's some diamonds in the rough. More of that, please.

Another thing I noticed (hard to miss, really) is the amount of entries by the same artists. Bastille with their wanky hipster triangles, Avicii, Perry, Goulding...all have a couple of entries in there. Was it re-issuing of singles to cash in on Christmas? Or do we simply not have enough artists to go round that we have to keep buying the same shit by the same people?

Also, where is the indie please? Not even a cursory Beady Eye record? It's all pop and dance and R&B apart from that old one by the Killers. Was it on an ad or something? I don't have a tv. Yeah, I like to hold mirrors up to society (and my selfie) but I don't have a telly. LOL

Now it's like murder she wrote

Once I get you out them clothes

Privacy is on the door

Still they can hear you screamin more

Girl I'm feelin what you feelin

No more hopin and wishin

I'm bout to take my key and

Stick it in the ignition

So baby gimme that toot toot

- Our Kelly (Ed - That's a northern joke, folks), Ignition

Well, at least he asked, I guess.

Although for what, I'm not entirely sure...


You got a body to die for, let me work it

Now it's murder on the dance floor

I wanna take this further than the dancefloor

I ain't forceful but I'm still hardcore

You're gonna give me everything I ask for

- Dizzee Rascal, Dance Wiv Me

I guess I'll wrap this up by saying instead of making a fucking scapegoat of Robin bloody Thicke all the time, why not apply that heartfelt rage to the rest of the misogyny in the charts?

You know you want it.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Friday, 3 January 2014

Mood-Boosting Books

I sometimes check what keywords people have used to find my blog and amongst the obvious (‘mirrors’ ‘implanon discontinued’, and ‘Rihanna strap on’) there are sometimes genuinely heartbreaking ones about sciatica. I’ve been toying with uplifting things I could say in a post, and now I’ve been presented with the perfect opportunity to do so having seen that Brighton and Hove Libraries are currently promoting a mood-boosting campaign.

Books offer escapism. You can read about curious people that take delight in the way sunlight glints off a shard of glass on the pavement and be reminded to take stock of the simple pleasures in life, or read about some poor sod who steps on the glass and has their toe severed and be grateful not to be in as bad a way as him. Either way, win.




Here are a few of my personal favourite uplifting books.

What Katy Did

(Especially relevant to sufferers of chronic pain).

From Wikipedia: "a visit from Cousin Helen shows her that she must either learn to make the best of her situation or risk losing her family's love. Helen tells Katy that she is now a student in the "School of Pain" where she will learn lessons in patience, cheerfulness, hopefulness, neatness, and making the best of things."

Anne of Green Gables

Literature fans may remember the furore brought about by the news that a new cover for L. M. Montgomery’s series was to be re-printed featuring a sexy blonde girl.

Poor little hard done by raggedy orphan girl.


Anne is famous for being a RED-HEAD. She is so fanciful she imagines her life would be so much better if she wasn’t cursed with ‘carrots’ sprouting from her head.

“Now you see why I can’t be perfectly happy,” she says tragically soon after meeting her new guardian, Matthew. “Nobody could who had red hair. I don’t mind the other things so much – the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness.”

(All things coveted by yer typical Brighton lass by the way)

Misleading covers aside, reading the Anne series – or the first book at least - is to see the world again through a child’s imaginative and appreciative ways. Maybe a bit of her hope for the future will rub off on you.

Death: The High Cost of Living




This novel restored my faith in people and made me thankful to be alive.

One of my happiest days last year was a peaceful lazy Sunday spent gorging on chocolate and reading Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men. (Don't judge, h8rz).


Neil Gaiman's Stardust similarly fulfilled my need for fairy tale and enchanting illustrations.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared


Forrest Gump-y tale of a man who climbed...well just read the title.

Those books, and the media that follows may be missing many obvious choices, but these are just my choices. I'll add more as I think of them but for now I'm in HTML HELL and not in the mood :p

Uplifting Films

Amelie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, All About Eve, Some Like it Hot, Groundhog Day (shit, most things with Bill Murray in)

Shout out to Studio Ghiblits because if I don’t all the geeks I know won’t let me forget it. Kiki’s Delivery Service is oft-cited but I’m going to plump for Whisper of the Heart just to be a contrary Mary.

Uplifting music

If you’ve seen my last fm you’re probably aware I have a pretty broad-minded view when it comes to music. Something Motown-y like

always picks me up, and the dry Americana funk-rock of CAKE (perhaps best enjoyed with cake) but then depressive, atomospheric black metal has been known to lift me out of a funk as well. Again, like with the guy who stepped on the broken glass, it's that schadenfreude, satisfaction gleaned from other people having just a hard a time of it (or worse) than you are.

Tweet your own ones using the hashtag #BHHappyBooks, or have a look to see if your local library has their own hashtag for it or email address for collecting your suggestions.

No, that's not me. You couldda Googled that anaw.