Saturday, 22 June 2013

Ern's cunning and devious plan failed!!!

       I was in two minds as to whether to go for a ride on Friday, you see I haven't exactly been feeling motivated at all this week, no biking adventures or any other kind of adventures really, well not unless you count taking 2 wrong turns, one on the way to the Freeman hospital on Monday when I had to attend the Limb Centre and then another on the return back to work.Omg my sense of direction is atrocious I really hope I don't get reincarnated as a homing pigeon. I have just been coming in from work and lounging about. I know I shouldn't do it as it leads to me beating myself up over not doing enough and being lazy. I quite often feel like I'm not only letting myself down, but also all these people that have this perception that I'm always up to something or another.

Anyhoo I decided I was going to go out, it was Global Fat Bike Day after all and my good friend Ade had offered to very kindly take a few shots of me out riding.

Looking through my rear

Sunday, 16 June 2013

I ask myself why???

As the title says I ask myself WHY? ...Why when I go for a night out with friends do I end up drinking alcohol, when I know the consequences. I readily admit I can't handle my drink, after a few bottles I can start to feel the effect and inevitably theses effects then go on to stay with me for days afterwards. It's not just a hangover, oh no I always end up feeling like crap,dehydrated,feeling sick, lethargic and generally just Urrggghhhh!!!.

On Friday night I had been asked to a surprise night out for Annie a friend and work colleague. Now I know this will sound strange as the night planned was a hen do that wasn't a hen do for Annie. You see the majority of people I work with are female and I was asked to come along as it was everyone from work. It was weird, yet very entertaining sitting amongst this large group of women, who I have to say are all absolutely lovely, yet at times can be a little bonkers, in a good way of course.

Initially I had planned to be sensible and just drink coke. I mean I can have just as much fun without being intoxicated, however everyone else was drinking so I decided to let my hair down and cave in to peoples requests to get myself a "proper" drink. So off I trotted to the bar and bought myself something that though I don't enjoy the taste of I can tolerate and has the desired effect of getting me off my face and that was a pint of cider.

And so my downward spiral began. In the back of my mind I steeled myself and told my subconscious "don't give in to the temptation of hitting the shorts" as when I start on the Red Bull and Vodka's well that's it game over. I was very well behaved and actually managed to stay on cider all night. Well that's not strictly true as Alvin a very nice lad who joined us later in the evening bought us all a round of some absolutely terrible concoction. I think it was Absinthe,quail egg,chocolate liquor and some sort of stout...Omg it was pun intended on the quail egg. I necked it as quick as I could and held my nose whilst doing so, then had a quick swig of my bottle of cider. Within a few minutes I swear I could feel the effect of that yucky drink,as my head was swimming.

All in all had a fab night, really enjoyed meeting some new people and having some very interesting conversations. Oh and Annie's puppy Badger who she had brought along was so cute and I have to say very well behaved. I feel very lucky indeed to have been welcomed into my new job, my work colleagues treat me as if I have been there years and it's great being part of the gang.

Night almost over we all arranged our way home, phoning for taxi's, or in my case I rang The Ern. We said our goodbye's and I headed off down the pub's stairs. It was a kind of winding staircase and as I got to the bottom flight of roughly 6 to 8 steps I don't know what happened but I missed a step and ended up stumbling and then jumping around 4 steps, landing at the bottom. A quick look round to see if anyone had noticed my errrrr moves...Phewww that was close, got away with it. Well apart from the barmaid who was trying to keep her laugh in as she sat on one of the sofa's. A quick confident smile which was like "I meant to do that" and I quickly made my exit. Ern picking me up just over the swing bridge and off home and straight to bed.

Saturday saw me not getting up until around 13:30 and feeling as I knew I would like Poo. So just a day of lounging about.

Sunday which is today as I'm writing, well I got ready and headed off out on my NS Soda. Boy I'm struggling. I'm sweating like hell, have no real energy and though I have my camera with me I can't be arsed to really set it up proper. I have a little bit play down my local woods and try and use my Go Pro to take a few pictures, rather than a video. 

Not the best shot in the world, but hey you get the idea :)

The pictures come out about as well as I'm feeling. I then head off to do a short 7 mile circuit, taking in a few hills. 

Heading up towards the wind turbine on the top road at Craghead.

Some beautiful foliage and flowers about at this time of year

I get home and I'm knackered. You see this is what drinking alcohol does to me, hence why I usually only drink once or twice every 2 to 3 years, it takes me that long to forget how bad it makes me feel lol.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Riding through the pain

  I wasn't sure if I was going to manage a ride out today, you see for some strange reason I have been getting the most excruciating phantom pain. Usually I can deal with it. Yeah it makes me tetchy,grumpy, short tempered and snappy at times, however it always seems to pass in a few hours and I'm back to my usual self. Well not today, or should that be yesterday as I'm writing my blog at 01:25 in the morning as yes I still have dam phantom pain. The bloody thing just won't go away.

Anyhoo seeing as I was in pain I thought to myself this morning "I may as well go out on my bike and be in pain,rather than sit in all day grasping my stump, doing nowt and still be in pain"

So gathered all my gear, got the new bike out and headed for local trails. It was a bit colder than I thought this morning, "good job I brought that extra top" I thought. And so I headed down towards Beamish. As I approached the farm I got my eyes on a sign and thought I'd take a picture. It made me think of my friend Bruce who lives up in North Berwick and has been having problems of late with people bothering him at stupid o'clock when he has to be up early in the morning for his job. So this ones for you Bruce hope your feeling a lot less stressed mate and folk are giving you a bit of privacy.


WoW this Phantom Pain SUCKS!!!

     Ok so after working a long shift on Friday ( I owed some hours, due to taking time off going back and forth to the limb centre) I came home,did the usual had something to eat answered a few mails and messed around on my pc. I was quite looking forward to the weekend as it was supposed to be going to be quite warm and I had plans to head off early'ish in the morning to take some photo's, get some video footage and of course ride my new bike a little more.

Most Friday evenings I like to head off to visit my good friends Adrian and Amanda and their 3 lads. We generally chat about what's gone on during the week, have a whinge and a moan now and again as well as a good old laugh and basically try to set the world to rights. Amanda always looks after me providing me with endless cups of tea and biscuits and I enjoy their company for a good few hours.

Well Friday evening everything was fine, that was until around 10:30. I started getting the early warning signs that I was going to start having phantom pain. First thing is generally the "cattle prod" sensation. I know it may sound funny, however believe me it's not. After I had been "zapped" roughly 5 times in 10 minutes I knew I was going to be in for a long night. I said my goodbyes to Ade and Amanda and the lads and got in the car and drove home.

As soon as I got in the house I took my meds. I'm on a low dose of Pregablin I hate taking tablets, they kind of scare me as it's so easy to get hooked. I've had quite a few bad experiences with prescription drugs hence my apprehension. Believe it or not I blame Gabapentin for sending me slightly nuts and causing me severe depression when I tried and eventually came off it. Wow had a bad few months, just couldn't figure out what was wrong. I guess when you look at meds like Gaba and Pregablin they are made to have an effect on your brain, so really it's no wonder they can screw you up.

Anyhoo I was feeling quite tired so in between electric shocks I headed off to get washed, brush my teeth and get ready for bed. By now I was getting the usual phantom pain I have had before. I can only describe it as if my foot, (Yes the one that isn't there) has been left in a bucket of ice, like a numb, prickly sensation. If you think back to when you were a kid and you used to play out in the snow until you were soooo cold. Then when you came in and started to warm up it hurt like hell. Well that's something like the pain. That and of course my foot also feeling like it was being crushed. The pain was now up to my ankle. I could feel the shape of my foot and the ankle joint.

 I was now in bed and just thinking "go to sleep, go to sleep". The pain was increasing now, what the hell. It was very weird I could practically count when I was going to get a wave of pain and when I say wave that's the best way I can describe it. It started off as an uncomfortable pain in the bottom of my stump, however increased like a gathering wave, gaining momentum, before coming crashing down and then fading. When these waves struck it made me go ridged and tense up my stump and it was so bad I was growling out as well as using a few choice words like "oh dear", "Gosh that hurt" and oh yeah "AGGGGHHHH you Fecking Basket".

I was up and down all night and when I did manage to fall asleep for an hour or so I was awoken by the same sickly wave of pain and sat bolt upright in bed, Jeez it fairly gives you a fright. One minute your a sleep the next it looks like you have an enormous stiffy on as your stump is at 90 degrees pointing up to the ceiling under the duvet.

"This is driving me insane" I thought so I got up yet again and headed downstairs for a drink and more meds. A few more waves and "aww crap" I had woken my poor dad up I was making so much noise. He came down all worried as he thought I'd hurt myself, like falling over or something. There was nowt he could do so I just told him to go back to bed.

I tried again to get to sleep, but every time I was just drifting off  Bang!!! a sickly wave of pain. In the end I just gave up and lay in bed holding my poor ickle stump and tried not to break a hip each time I got the wave of pain.

Eventually I just decided to get up, get ready and head off on my bike. Maybe that would help, but hey that's a whole other story....

Phantom pain is a condition which affects some amputees. When an episode of phantom pain is experienced, the amputee has the sensation of pain in the missing limb, usually at the furthest point in the limb, such as the fingers of an amputated arm. The sensation of pain can be tingling, stabbing, crushing, or searing, and it can be a very intense experience. There are a number of ways to cope with phantom pain, and the problem is common enough that it is often discussed with amputees during the early stages of their recovery.
The cause of phantom pain appears to be a rewiring of the brain. When a limb is amputated, the brain is forced to remap itself to compensate for the missing limb, and sometimes this creates a situation in which signals in the brain may misfire. While the pain feels very real, it is in fact entirely in the patient's mind, although the perception of pain is the same as it is when the pain is real. A closely related phenomenon is phantom limb sensation, in which an amputee or someone born without a limb has the sensation that the limb is actually present.
Several things appear to increase the risk of phantom pain. If an amputee experienced considerable pain prior to amputation, phantom pain may be more common. Likewise in amputees with stump pain, or patients with prosthetics which do not fit correctly.
A variety of medications can be used to treat phantom pain, ranging from antidepressants to change the brain chemistry, to painkillers to address the sensation of pain. This condition can also be treated with spinal cord stimulation, nerve blocks, acupuncture, or the use of a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) unit. Neurosurgery may also be used to target the malfunctioning area of the brain, and some patients also experience relief by “exercising” the phantom limb to work out the pain.
Pain in an amputated limb is a very real problem, even if it is really due to misfiring neurons. Phantom pain can be debilitating and extremely frustrating, especially when combined with the psychological issues often associated with amputation. Feelings of stress and loss related to the amputation may be amplified by phantom pain, making the amputee feel even more distressed. Historically, amputees have also had trouble communicating about phantom pain, because their complaints have been dismissed under the logic that since the limb isn't there anymore, it can't possibly be painful.

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