Friday, 28 June 2013

Is Dermatology the poor relation of our health service.

I am deliberately not putting a picture on this post since for  those who wish to peruse gruesome photos of bad cases of eczema there is a huge art gallery available under Google images.

Like so many others who have asthma and allergic rhinitis, I also have eczema.

For the last couple of weeks I have been tearing my arm to pieces, making  it worse each time, yet unable to stop myself.

If this sounds like the sort of behaviour which deserves a "stop scratching, you're your own worst enemy" response, then you are probably not a sufferer.

There is a point at the most extreme stage of an attack when the almost overwhelming desire to scratch until you bleed pushes all other considerations from your head.

So far as I'm aware there is no effective treatment for this condition.

Over a period of more than 40 years I have seen consultants in four different hospitals, at least three GP's and even tried homeopathic and herbal remedies.

Nothing works.

For a number of years I used all the Cortisone based creams recommended with no success, and sometimes with increasing symptoms.  The last time I had a series of allergy tests they found that one of the things to  which I reacted very strongly was....Cortisone!

They insisted for years that I use Aqueous Cream which for me did nothing but seal in the heat, thus increasing the itching and leave a greasy layer very difficult to remove on sinks baths etc.

In desperation when all else fails and the itching is at its worst, I put the hand, foot, arm or wherever it is, under a hot tap, let the water pour over it until it it almost boiling, at which point it equates with the temperature of the itching area and neutralises it.    I then have to run it under cold water to limit the damage to the skin.

Horrendous, I know.  Dangerous, most certainly, I know, but failing any successful remedy from any source whatsoever one must needs shift for oneself.

As I am already taking anti-histamines daily for hay-fever, I simply take extra every evening to help to calm the symptoms down.  This does work to a degree, but it would not be a good idea to keep increasing the dose to deal with day-time as well.

Luckily for me, this extreme level is only likely to appear every four or so years, it just happens that this, as with hay-fever, is a bad one.

Sorry to release such a miserable diatribe, but that's me, wart and all.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Brief bird-call to all Opera lovers

This week (from tomorrow evening), sees the return of my greatest favourite TV programme of all time.

It takes place for one week only every two years.

For opera and leider aficianados only, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear and see some of the very greatest voices in the world.

It has been running for 30 years and I have never missed a year.

It is of course, Cardiff Singer of the World. On BBC4 this week from 7.30 on.

If you are not an opera or leider fan this is not for you, but if you  are, please do not miss it.
I seldom wax enthusiastic about anything these days.  This magnificent programme is the exception.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Self-Medicating When the Black Dog Looms

For the past two or three weeks I have been struggling once again with the looming clouds of depression.

Trying to carry on a 'normal' way of life can be pretty difficult with black clouds hovering just out of sight and creeping daily nearer.

Luckily for me I now know the signs and do everything I can to evade the clutches of the 'enemy'.

This for me, includes taking a heftier than usual dose of St John's Wort in order to just skate on the surface rather than drown.

There is I know a huge raft of prescribed chemical medication out there for those with similar problems.  Many people find they work for them, and I'm very glad to hear that that is the case, but for me, tablets of anti-depressive drugs, no matter how effective, carry with them the not-so-well documented side effects.

In addition there is the danger of addiction.

For me the ideal treatment for any illness, of body or mind, is one manufactured from natural sources, plants and seeds and oils, rather than the much stronger synthetics manufactured by the pharmaceutical giants.

Sometimes, I know the reasons why the clouds are gathering, sometimes not, but there is a whole series of avoidance tactics I can employ and if they don't work, I then double  my daily dose of St. John's Wort.

There is a problem with all such 'natural' remedies, namely the interference of the EU with almost all the currently available supplements.

I have signed a petition in the probably vain hope of restricting their level of control, but other then that there is nothing to be done but to wait and see how much havoc they will wreak.

Meanwhile the fight goes on to side-step this latest black cloud.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Is Advertising a disincentive?

Many times in blog posts over a year or two I have remarked that advertising does not work on me.

Maybe it's just natural contrariness, a determination not to be influenced, or simply weariness with the whole process, but ad's fail to suck me  in.

Television advertising as I've said often, unless it has a quirky, or cute appeal, Meerkats, cats with thumbs, the very strange Pilgrim cheese ad, or something similar, make no impression on me and I never know what the product is that is being pushed.

Telephone cold calling rouses me to fury rather than enthusiasm and my only response is at best, indifference, at worst, rudeness.

Paper through the door is, as far as I am concerned, simply a stage on the journey to the recycling bin.

Last evening, it must have been fairly late, since I was out at choir practice and it awaited me on my return, a huge wad of leaflets had been shoved through the letter-box.

For once, since I was sitting with cuppa, I decided to look at them before binning the lot.

I was invited to sell my house - yes certainly, why hadn't  I thought of that.
I was invited to a local hair salon to have my hair coloured, highlighted and or cut, does no-one in the world still not realise that my last visit to a hairdresser was in 1975 - I cut my hair with nail-scissors, have never had it coloured nor wished to and don't care what the fashion is.
The least inviting ad of all was to take tea - lovely expression that - at a local would be posh hotel for the princely sum of thirty pounds.
I don't do posh and if I did, it would be the real thing, not an urban fake.

To top it all, for the past ten days or so I have been bombarded with phone calls from people wanting to buy the camper-van I have advertised for sale.

I don't own a camper or any other type of van.  Do not drive, have no vehicle and never advertise anything for sale.

To make it more irritating the people calling are all from the Birmingham area and when I ask where they got my number, find they are calling a different number completely, but it is apparently being transferred, either electronically or via Mars to my number.

To date I have had nine calls and am rapidly running out of patience.

I would love to live in a world where there was no advertising, but don't fancy the move (in my camper-van) to another planet.

Friday, 7 June 2013


No I haven't flipped.  That the square on the left is approximately the colour (decorated last year) of my bedroom walls is just a happy coincidence.

What I am tentatively delighted about is the fact that I managed to drag this up from my 'pictures' gallery.

I am under no illusions that I have finally got it right.  This success is pure chance and might well not work a second time, but it has for now.

The lovely kind helpful Perpetua of "Perpetually in Transit" has promised to try to help me in a day or two, and I'm pretty sure her method will be the correct one, and I shall happily adopt it (if I can), but, in the interim my tired brain has found a temporary solution.  So, all is good once more.

Choir practice this evening was a good one and even bone weary though I be, I had to try just one more time to get control of my errant lap-top.
 It is, as I have said before, possessed of a malign spirit, which thwarts my every attempt to 'educate' myself in the alien world of technology.

This time I won.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

I give up. My computer will not allow me to retrieve my photos for my blog.

Every time I try to access one of my pictures to adorn my blog the computer refuses to recognize
 the title.
I used to be able to simply type in pictures and would get the entire collection to choose from.

Now it is offering me a selection of previously used ancient unwanted pictures and I cannot view the ones I want to select.

Half the fun of posting a blog is choosing a suitable picture to illustrate it, so I am forced to concede defeat.

Every skill I half pick up lets me down at some stage and my total lack of good sound training becomes more apparent every day.

I'm sorry to have to admit defeat but this I'm afraid is the end of the road.