Monday, January 31, 2011

It's My Nerves!

I haven't written a personal blog post for aeons. But here we are.

I went this morning for an EMG and nerve conduction tests. I've had them before and it involves sending electrical impulses through you to see what your nerves are doing, then putting a needle into your muscle and sending electrical pulses through that as well. It pretty much is as unpleasant as it sounds, though the wire in the leg muscle wasn't as painful as it was last time.

The problem came when he tested my arms as well. This, I think, is supposed to be a way that they can compare the damaged nerves in my legs to nerves in my arms which are ok. But the nerves in my left arm are, it seems, not ok. He kept asking me questions about my left hand. Was I *sure* it wasn't numb? Was I *sure* it was ok. I eventually admitted that I have been having some trouble touch typing with it, and he did some sensation comparison things on both my hands and, sure enough, I have a loss of sensation in my left one. This was clearly showing up in the tests he was doing, which is why he was so insistent.

The thing that scares me is that the neurological problems started with my left foot and leg, then a few weeks later affected my right foot. Now it has affected my left hand, I fear my right hand will be next and then... who knows? I do know, from reading, that this does happen with neuropathy.

He didn't give me any results or analysis, he sends his results to the neurologist who will then go through them with me. But I'm more than a little depressed about potentially having hands as crap as my feet.

Later I went to see my GP to talk about the ongoing neuropathic pain from the site of my neurosurgery last February, and he has increased my gabapentin dose. I'm trying to be optimistic but it hasn't helped so far, and it has thoroughly foul side effects for a few weeks with each increase. I'm going from 1200mg a day to 1800mg a day.

And there's more, of course. There always is. But that will do for now.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I started, so I finished

After fixing all the linkage to the right, I decided it would be good to just prettify the whole thing. Welcome to my new blog design!

It's not perfect, and there are things that I would like to change but can't because it's a free template (like the twitter link in the top right hand corner, and the text colour), but I like the design, and it will do.

Now, Up To Date.

For a long time now, the links in my right side bar have been horribly out of date. They didn't represent the blogs I do read, they didn't represent the blogs I no longer read, and many no longer existed or had become password protected.

I used to use the right sidebar links as my way of keeping on top of which blogs I read, but now I read most blogs in google reader, and have been ignoring ---> for months and even years.

It got to the point where it was ridiculous, I wasn't linking to my favourite blogs and I was linking to lots of dead ones, so I set about the dreaded task of sorting it out.

So, for the last few days I have been going to each blog I linked to, and either adding it to google reader, or finding it was long gone, or finding it contained things I didn't want to read any more. So the blog list has been gradually shrinking - the more I did, the more I deleted.

And I have worked out a way to link to the blogs I like and read, without the sidebar getting so overwhelmed again, so now I have set up my blog list to be attached to my google reader account, but only the ten most recently updated blogs will show to the right.

I have also deleted a lot of the links that weren't blogs. The ones that remain are below the blog list. I should order them somehow, but I'll work that out in time. I have also changed my twitter feed, flickr feed and feed gadgets so they are more up to date, and look neater and fit in better, and added a 'most popular posts' thing right at the bottom of the page.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sheffield Seed Swap

There will be a Sheffield Seed Swap on Sunday 20th February at The Old Sharrow School, S7 1DB
we invite you to take some of our saved seeds and share with us seeds that you have saved yourself. Its aso fine to come empty handed ! we would just ask for a donation for any seeds you would like to take...or perhaps there is something else you can swap?
All the seeds saved here at the seed swap are organic and local.

This means that these seeds will be more suited to local climatic
conditions and will be more suited to organic growing conditions.

Seeds are one of humanities greatest resources. We rely upon saving seeds for most of our food, and much of our clothes and our medicines. One seed can produce a plant that will produce many thousands of seeds, each with the potential to produce many more thousands... is a good resource for seedswaps nationwide.

There will also be information on local community food growing projects, and other local food events as well some plants, cups of tea, and cake! This event is free. We welcome donations to keep this event going into the future.

You can find more information at

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mozaz's Funeral

Mozaz's funeral will be held next Thursday, 3rd February.

You can see the full details here, but the very basics are:

"The service will be at Grenoside Crematorium in the North Chapel starting at 12pm and finishing at 1:15pm

The service will then be followed by a gathering of friends from 1:30pm onwards at Philadelphian Working Mens Club".

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Euthanasia Kits. Joke or Tragic Truth?

What Do They Know? is a fascinating website. You can submit Freedom of Information requests through it, and view the requests submitted by others, as well as the responses from the various public sector organisations. So you can do a search for, say, work capability assessment and see all the requests and responses made through the site, or search for your local area, or hospital, or a government department.

But when someone sent me a link to this FOI request to the DWP about euthanasia options for those who are removed off DLA / ESA I assumed it was going to be a joke. It turned out, in fact, to be horribly, chillingly apt.

The request by Stuart Wyatt begins,
With your department aiming to remove the benefits from 25% of DLA
claimants, and deem 91% of ESA claimants as fit for work, please
could you inform me what provisions have been made for those
disabled and sick people to choose a quick and painless death in
preference to slow and painful death by starvation, neglect or
and goes on to ask whether ATOS will therefore be providing suicide kits.

The same man has made a video of telephone calls to ATOS asking for the same information.

It would be funny if it wasn't so damn true.

Back to the Freedomof Information request, the DWP have to reply by the 21st February, so do check for their response.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011



Mozaz, aka Mark Wallis, was angry, unpredictable, stubborn and inconsistent.

But he was also passionate. And way more sensitive than many people gave him credit for. He was supportive, when he liked you, though whether he liked you or not could change at a moment's notice. But when he was on your side, he would back you up every step of the way, whatever the kind of support you needed was. Emotional support, practical support, and advice. He offered, and he meant it.

Mozaz was a great photographer who, like me, didn't see any contradiction in finding beauty as much in abandoned, derelict buildings as in the rolling countryside. And he found much beauty in both. He adored Sheffield and was certainly one of its characters.

And Sheffield, despite itself, will miss him.

As an anarchist, and a troublemaker, and with strong feelings about almost everything, he was often to be found at demonstrations and protests. As a person he found solace in hugging trees, he wasn't ashamed to admit he cried.

The last time I saw him he was proud to have spent the past few hours in a police station. He felt proud that he was considered to be enough of a threat to the state to be worth arresting. Before being released without charge he had made sure to inform all of the coppers of their union rights, urging them to seek advice about whether they should be enforcing fascist government policy. He was exhausting to be with. Everything had the potential to make him rant, often in unexpected ways. But there was an anarchist rave hidden behind every possible situation which could arise, and he never failed to provide it. He was a prolific blogger and was @ur32daurt on twitter.

Mozaz was hard work, but if you looked beyond what was immediately visible he was sensitive, supportive, intense and warm-hearted.

He died in the early hours of this morning after a time in Intensive Care with pneumonia. Through the last few days, since becoming aware of his being ill, I kept hold of the fact that he was surely indestructible. But sadly this proved not to be the case, and he has left this city a little quieter, he has left the police force with a little less work to do, and he has left many people, myself included, reeling.

I'm going to miss you Mozaz, you mad bugger.

Monday, January 10, 2011

52 Weeks, 52 Letters Challenge

I love writing letters and cards, and I have phases of doing lots, then not doing any for ages.

The 52 Weeks, 52 Letters challenge for 2011 has inspired me. I aim to write a letter or card each week this year.

What a lovely challenge! There's nothing quite like receiving a hand-written, personal note from a friend through the door, and I hope I can bring 52 smiles to others throughout the year.