Monthly Archives: October 2007

I’m Now In Debt To A Nice Man Named Nigel

There are three things you should know about spinal surgery:

1) When you wake up, the first thing you will find yourself doing is wiggling your toes in a post-operative panic. I’m happy to say that mine wiggled quite nicely.

2) The stitches and staples and incision don’t hurt at all afterwards, but the bruises from the sliced muscles at the base of your back really, really, REALLY do.

3) There is no feeling on Earth as wonderful as the feeling you get when a nice surgeon named Nigel tells you that “It all went very well.”

And he’s right: my sciatica seems to have gone. I can stand up without excruciating pain, although admittedly the joy is somewhat deadened by the pain from the operation itself. I’m still rather befuddled by it all and almost totally incapable of sitting for very long (hence this being a short post), so I think I’ll celebrate in a week or so when I’m feeling better. In the meantime, I want to thank everybody for all the good wishes – they meant a lot! It won’t be long before this blog is back to its usual (hopefully) interesting self.

Two more things: after the surgery, when I woke up in post-op shivering like a lunatic but luckily not feeling any after-effects from the anaesthetic at all (I’m tellin’ ya, it’s my superpower!), the nurse handed me a small vial and said, “Do you want this?”

The vial contained the pieces of the disc the surgeon had shaved away in order to free my trapped nerve. Gross as it was, I laughed so much another nurse came over to ask if I was alright. Now all I have to do is figure out what to do with the offending bits of disc: a ceremonial burning might suffice. Little bastards made my life hell for nearly a year, so it’s about time they suffered too!

Oh, and look who came to visit me:

I was really humbled that Sam and Dean Winchester could take time out from their busy demon-hunting schedule to drop by Charing Cross Hospital, and would like to thank Vanessa and Gillen for showing them where my room was. Shame they didn’t bring the car, though, but the suspension would most likely have murdered my back.



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Day 59: About Bloody Time!

My surgery is on Thursday!

I’m so excited I think the doctors may need to double my anaesthetic to keep me under. By the weekend – with luck – I might be able to stand up without being in pain!

(Well, other than the pain from the surgery, obviously.)

I’ll blog again next week – and hopefully I’ll be able to talk about normal things again! Fingers crossed…


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Day 57: By Jove!

JK Rowling has announced that Albus Dumbledore is gay.

I can’t say it was too much of a shock, although I flatly refuse to believe Biddy’s theory that’s he’s been having it away with Professor Flitwick for years.

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Day 57: Pay Your Way

On Tuesday I had my looooong-awaited appointment with a surgeon at Charing Cross Hospital to discuss my upcoming back surgery.

“Okay,” said the doctor, shuffling some papers and staring at my MRI scans on his computer screen, “it looks as though I can get you on the waiting list after all. You’ll get your operation in 18 weeks.”

I made a little choking noise. “That’s, uh, four and a half months.”


“But I’ve already waited ELEVEN months.”

“Ah. Yes. You should have been sent to me after three months. That’s the NHS for you – they send you everywhere but we’re you’re meant to be. I’m really sorry. It makes me bloody angry.”

“But… but…” I was imagining being stuck in my flat until February. Being unable to stand up long enough to cook, clean, shower… even brush my teeth. Losing work – because although I can do a lot from home, I really need to get into an office every now and then, and that’s without all the screenings and interviews I’m missing. And hell – I’m watching the seasons change from my windows, unable to experience them. Another 18 weeks of this?

“Is it really £10,000 to have the operation done privately?” I asked, because that’s what I’d discovered a few months ago; it’s the reason I haven’t had the procedure performed already.

“Oh no,” said the surgeon. “It’s only £3,500. I’m actually doing two operations this very afternoon.”

Well, there goes that empty credit card.

So I’m getting the operation in a fortnight or so, which is a billion times better than February. I’ll be on my feet a few hours after the procedure – known as a lumbar microdiscectomy – and back to work a couple of weeks later. It’s major surgery but I only need one night in hospital, and the surgeon informs me it’s a really standard operation he wouldn’t be worried to have himself (unlike brain surgery, his other speciality – hence my being referred to him about my noggin a few months ago by mistake!).

I am going to be the happiest patient IN THE WORLD. I’m annoyed I have to pay, but very thankful I can. If I’d been self-employed but unable to work from home, my life would’ve been totally ruined by now… I bet the NHS ruins lives every day with its ridiculous waiting lists.

The amusing thing is that, according to my surgeon, apparently four and a half months isn’t a long wait. HOLY CRAP!

Anyway, in a few weeks I’ll be able to write about things on this blog that aren’t complaints about my health or kittens. Hurrah! I can experience the world again!


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Day 50: Zombie Chocolapyse

Y’know, the one thing about being stuck indoors 24/7 is that you get a lot of visitors. However, when these visitors always turn up with bars of chocolate or tubs of ice cream or boxes of doughnuts, you find that you start putting on weight, particularly when exercise is supremely painful and therefore impossible, and you’re so bored you eat all the junk food because it seems wrong to waste it and, what the hell, it takes bloody lovely.

So, uh, yes. I’ve put on three pounds. Which I guess isn’t bad considering I haven’t done anything in nearly two months, but still… bugger.

(I’m also getting a bit fed up of chocolate. Tomorrow’s visitor has been instructed to bring me bananas and apples, goddammit! Who knew I’d ever start craving fruit?)

I don’t know if it’s all the chocolate, but last night I had a horrible nightmare about being eaten alive by zombies. Up until my 20s I had terrifying recurring nightmares about tidal waves – so bad, in fact, I couldn’t even watch a movie which had big waves in it – but after the Asian tsunami I guess I became immune to the sight of huge walls of water because they were on the news all the time. So now I have recurring nightmares about zombies, which I prefer because, hey, zombies aren’t real, but they’re still scary and they’ve prevented me from watching films like Shaun Of The Dead, which sucks. Last night’s dream was so nasty that I couldn’t even eat my breakfast this morning. (Although, thanks to the weight I’ve put on, that’s kind of a good thing.)

I’m hoping tonight I dream of fluffy kittens. This evening both cats curled up on my feet and watched Michael Palin’s latest travel series with me; they’re devout TV fans and really enjoy his work. Let’s hope this spills into my sleep, shall we?

(For proof, here’s a photo of Joss watching Michael Palin’s Around The World In 80 Days, taken last week. I’m thinking of introducing him to Monty Python next.)

And yes, this isn’t the world’s most interesting post. I just wanted to use the phrase “zombie chocolapyse” in the title, really. Sorry.


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Day 44: Friends Reunited

Last night, my friend Stephen sent me a text message which announced that he was about to watch the first episode of season three of Supernatural and that it was like “hugging an old friend”.

I thought that was a wonderful analogy (and, as it turns out, was precisely how it felt when I watched the episode, too), so I’m going to use it to describe the return of another show I love: Top Gear, which embarked on its new series earlier this evening.

As ever, it was anarchic and daft and just a little offensive, but the best bit came when Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May went to Stelvio in Italy and ended up on this road…

… which Clarkson described as “fifteen miles of ashphalt spaghetti dropped on an Alp.”

I’m now so intimidated by this feat of verbal brilliance that I’ve decided to give up being a writer. Instead, I’m going to live in a cowshed in Tibet and stare at the mountains all day.


(Incidentally, I have a long-lost brother – who I haven’t seen since 1995 thanks to his globetrotting – and he really did live in a cowshed in Tibet for a while. For all I know, he’s sitting in one right now. Must run in the family…)


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Day 43: Red Deer And Sea Galleons

It was my birthday on Monday. Never before has a 36-year-old woman received so many pieces of tat which should have been burned before they even left the shop. Needless to say, I loved every last gift!

In between the plastic Dalek and the Harry Potter annual, the packet of chocolate ghosts (with a note from Biddy telling me to spread them around my bedroom to see if the spook-chasing Winchesters would turn up to deal with them) and the Jonathan Ross calendar which has to be seen to be believed because it’s so hilariously bad, I also got 300, The Life Of Mammals, Blue Hawaii and Due South‘s second season on DVD. Someone also burned me a copy of a rare Neil Finn song I’d been pining for in a move which, 90 plays later, has quite worn out my iPod.

Add to that an autographed copy of Darren Shan’s new book (which had me howling like a banshee with laughter at what he’d scribbled in the front), the 300 graphic novel and the complete Sherlock Holmes saga in Penguin paperback, and I guess you could say it was quite a haul.

To top it off, two days later I actually got to leave the house, heading to Richmond Park for a picnic with author Steph Swainston, who’d kindly offered the use of her car. It was only the second time we’d hung out together – we first went for a drink after I reviewed her last book (she wasn’t my pal when I read it, so don’t think I was biased when I gave it five stars!) – but we had a great day of gossip and good food.

We also went for a drive to Hampton Court, though without the use of a wheelchair I couldn’t do much when I got there, so we went back to Richmond Park and ogled King Henry VIII’s deer in lieu of his house. They were just as pretty, if a little noisier.

After 40-odd days confined to my flat, it was bliss personified. To be able to focus on things FAR AWAY as opposed to the inside of my four walls – however nice my four walls are – did my eyes the world of good.

All in all, my birthday was rather lovely; thank you to everybody involved!

(Of course, last year I had a phone call from Jared Padalecki. I was kind of hoping Jensen Ackles would ring for a chat this time round, but he was obviously too busy hunting chocolate ghosts in someone else’s bedroom. Pah.)

Oh, and I promised to keep you posted on the random nuggets of information I pick up from David Attenborough’s Life On Earth series. And thus I can proudly inform you that in episode two David tells us that “flatworms are very flat” (well, duh). However, in episode three he announces that “ammonites sailed the prehistoric seas like galleons”, which is a wondrous image indeed.

Who knew the old chap was a poet at heart?


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