Long time

Chinese temple, Penang. © PJ Croft 2023

Sorry, it’s been a while since I last blogged. I haven’t felt like writing, to be honest. Things haven’t been great. Can’t seem to get along with some people. Misunderstandings. Miscommunications. Plain fuckups.

I’m thinking, kerrumbs, how is it that I’m making such basic mistakes this late in my life? Haven’t I got it down to a fine art by now, nearly 76? I should be sliding along on my backside, cruisin’. Instead I’m shaking my head in disbelief and feeling upset about things.

On the other hand, dammit, is it my fault? I don’t think it is. If I make a mistake, fine, I’ll take it, but I don’t take all the blame here.

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I guess it’s not helped by feeling in almost constant pain. It’s not the left chest pain that I was fighting last year – the pain patches cured that, nearly 100%. Amazing. Some side effects, but now that I know what to expect, easily bearable. Even after I remove the patch, the pain stays away for a week or more. It comes back slowly, but it’s nowhere near as bad as last year. I can feel it right now, without the patch, but I don’t need it.

But peripheral neuropathy!! Ooooowwww! It’s awful. My feet ache all the time, with a burning stinging pain, punctuated by SHARP jabs for 15 – 20 secs or more. Sometimes it’s like walking on broken glass or sharp granite chips. I’ve tried various remedies with little success.

The trouble is, if I take any pain relief such as Panadeine Forte, it stops me sleeping. It takes me hours to get to sleep. I often see the dawn light.

So I take a light sedative, an anti-histamine, to make me drowsy and keep me asleep once I get there. But the drawback is a hangover in the morning, until about midday usually. A feeling of incredible weariness. It wears off slowly.

On top of trying to get to sleep, I can’t find a remedy for restless legs syndrome. Oh, there’s a drug for that says the GP. But I can’t notice any difference when I take it, even at double dosage.

So take magnesium, people say. OK, I am, but after a good first few nights, it’s not working now. Writhing around, unable to keep still.

The result is, I’m nervous about going to bed now. That sure doesn’t help.

On top of all that, I’m getting a lot of muscular pain, due to lack of exercise. My fault, but Owww! Sometimes I feel I can hardly keep standing.

As well, although I don’t think I have arthritis, I’m getting intermittent, swelling pain in my right hand. Not the joints, just a growing pain, very localised, lasting a few minutes at a time. Is this also peripheral neuro as well?

My GP recommended a physiotherapist. He seemed surprised that I’ve never used one before. He seems to think it will do wonders for me.

OK, I’ve had three sessions with him so far, on semi-Fridays. He’s set a reasonable set of exercises for me to do every second day. I can do them, and I don’t get sore muscles from it, but keeping to the schedule is very hard. I should have done them today, but I was so weary from a bad night last night that it’s slipped again. I can feel a little improvement so far, I guess.

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On top of that, I think I said I bought a new mattress in September. Well, I HATE it! I made the mistake of buying on-line without testing the mattress in a shop. What could go wrong? I chose the on-line because they also took my old 25 yo mattress away, which was one of the things that was worrying me.

Well, it was advertised as “medium” firmness. Fine, I thought. But it’s far too soft! OK for a fairy weight, I suppose but not for me.

The worst thing is that the edge is so soft that I kind of sink down into it, but the middle of the bed feels actually hard. The result is that I constantly feel I’m on a slope. I sleep on the left side of the bed (looking from the head) and if I roll onto my right side (as I always start out), I feel as if I’m rolling, millimetre by millimetre towards the edge. And if I lie on my left side, I can’t seem to get my body into the centre, away from the edge. So I end up sleeping on about 30cm from the edge.

The company is AH Beard. I’d never heard of them before, although I notice they’re advertising a bit now on TV.

There is a warranty, but is this a fault? I guess I’ll have to phone them and ask what to do. What do I do? Go and test mattresses in shops? But I feel uncomfortable about that, having no intention to buy.

I’ve been delaying and delaying, feeling embarrassed and shy about it. OK, pluck up the courage!

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I’m also wondering what’s wrong with me, that I keep misunderstanding people. They are putting the blame on me. It can’t be them. They are adamant that they said certain things in a certain way and therefore it must be me who’s misunderstood.

This has resulted in a quite serious clash with an old friend over money and a car. I got upset and asked him to pay for the use, and he agreed to pay me what I asked.

Then a couple of nights ago, he said in a phone call that he would be bringing a substantially bigger sum with him. I understood that to be on top of what he had agreed to pay already. Well, no. It seems I misunderstood again. It is more, but not what I understood from his phone call. Therefore our meeting this morning was very nerve wracking for me.

The lesson is the old saying, “Never a borrower or a lender be.” I don’t borrow (that I can think of) but I often lend things to people. In this case it has gone badly wrong, almost to the ending of a friendship. Not that far, but it’s made e bloody sure I won’t be lending him anything again. Hard lesson to learning at 76!

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Another misunderstanding: last week I finally engaged an electrician to replace six down-light lamps in my ceilings.

OK, he came on Monday and replaced them, but one had a faulty transformer (in the ceiling to supply 12V to the lamp). The cost for a new transformer? $180 !! I reeled back but it can’t be helped.

Then he suggested he should check my RCDs (electronic circuit breakers) as they have a finite life, especially near the coast. OK, so he tested them and pronounced them needing replacement. OK, I agreed, it had to be done.

Then it was the two smoke alarms – they have a ten year life span, the house is 19 years old and if I had a fire, the insurance might not pay (same for the RCDs).

The upshot was, total bill, $973.50 !! It started out just as six downlights!

So that was Monday and Tuesday last week (he had to come on Tuesday to finish the job). I got the invoice on Wednesday, and when I was still feeling the shock, a hurry-up email on Friday. Bloody hell.

So I paid it immediately, but emailed them saying this was a bit aggressive. And asking why the bill hadn’t been in two tranches,as he’d offered while I he was here. And, I saw on their web site that they offer 10% discount for pensioners. There was no indication whether that had been applied on the invoice.

Well, that got a reply (from a woman, presumably his wife?), blaming me and her computer. Why hadn’t I asked for the bill to be split? Well, it was he who suggested it and face to face, I said that would be good.

And why hadn’t I mentioned that I’m a pensioner? Well, he knew that, we talked about it, I mentioned my age a couple of times and said “I’ll probably be dead by the time these things fail again.” He knew.

As for the 10% discount, she didn’t answer my question, so I still don’t know. And finally, it’s the computer software that pushes the invoice out so quickly, and sends the hurry-up two days later.

Bloody hell! Shove the blame back on me, why don’t you. The result is an unhappy customer and a zero recommendation. No more business from me. Grrrrr.

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So all in all, an unhappy and unsettling fortnight. Not to mention a few other worries I’ve got. It’s a bit hard to sleep these days regardless of insomnia.

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