Thursday, February 07, 2013

Corporeal Contraptions

At the risk of the blog turning into a Medic Alert memoir, when I was lying down in a stranger's room with only my knickers on, my mind invariably started to do an anatomical audit.

"Are you OK," the doctor asked in a kindly voice.

"Yep, it's nice and warm here and I can't feel a thing."

"That's good. If you're comfortable, I'll leave you here for ten minutes; come in and check on you and leave you for another ten if that's-----"


My blanket slid to the floor and the acupuncture needles in my ears and head waved in the breeze as I  sat up in shock. "What the hell is that?"

"Oh, not to worry," he said, waving it away. "It's the annual testing of the bomb shelter alarms all over Switzerland."

"Ah," I said, lowering myself back down, trying to ignore the wedgie I'd just given myself.

He popped a couple more needles into each wrist. "Actually, right now would be the perfect time to attack us as we'd all shrug our shoulders and think it was just part of the process."

I decided it was appropriate to pick out my wedgie right there and then even though he was still in the room: no-one wants to be caught in dodgy underwear during a surprise missile crisis.

Back to the body catalogue.  Today it was tiny pins all over my body, but what else do I rely on to survive?

Anti-depressants. It might seem an oxymoron to have to take a tablet to make me feel like me, but they work. So I will.

Weird Achilles heel protector sock bandage thingies. It's only my right Achilles that keeps playing up, but the doc says I should wear them on both feet. With a sewn in heel pad and tight sausage-shaped compression doo-whats-its that push against the muscle, I'm struggling to stay in my shoes. So far though, they're working.

US, English and Australian-sourced packets of painkillers for Mr Migraine's increasing number of unwanted visits. Note that there's nothing from Switzerland. The strongest stuff you can get from the chemist here is Panadol with caffeine: not a good option at night time.

The long-serving mouth guard, cleaned regularly with thrush, sorry, Swiss 'Candida' brand toothpaste.  This passion killer and lisp-inducer stops me from cracking my crowns due to grinding and/or clenching in my sleep and more than once I've walked out the front door ready to take Milly for her morning constitutional before eventually realising that the damn thing is still in.  "Bonjour Kath! Did you win your boxing match?"

Hot water bottle, Arnica gel and a not-so-good imitation of Deep Heat creme. Neck aches and shoulder pain see these used more often than preferred. Love Chunks is often called upon to apply these various gels and unguents and they all seem to smell bad enough for Milly to snort and move to the other side of the room.

Nearly forgot the decade-old orthotics...  Transferred from running shoe to running shoe.  Had a second pair in bright purple but lost them along the way somewhere.  I assume they still work at, um, whatever it was that they were supposed to do back in 2003.

All of these help me stay upright, keep moving and complain (slightly) less, but here are the three essentials.

Love Chunks: eighteen years of marriage and still my favourite boy to hug, sleep alongside, talk to, make plans with and smell.  Tickly moustache, glinting blue eyes and kindness by the bucketload.

Sapphire; thirteen-and-a-half and growing almost visibly in front of my eyes, astounding me with life lessons learned, observations made and potential yet to be realised.

Sweet little Milly.  Nine years young and still the best working buddy ever; albeit with the worst breath. A privilege to have her in our family.

Chocolate, coffee and wine help too.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Kath:
It all sounds to be somewhat alarming to be lying on a doctor's couch and then, possibly, to find oneself in the middle of what could be a nuclear attack. We should have been most worried, not least to be in a state of undress. Very relieved to hear that it was not so!!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

Annual testing of the bomb shelter alarms?

I've been to Switzerland loads (well Zurich mostly) and never heard of that.

You live and learn...




Elephant's Child said...

Lovely, lovely post. Thank you. Of course Love Chunks, Saph and Milly are more valuable than all the other medical aids.
I hope the acupuncture works a treat.

nuttynoton said...

I can only tellthrough my job is acupunture works for some and not others depends on what the problem is so good luck. I can only assume February is a good time to test the bomb shelter alarm as there are fewer visitors to worry? Hope the wedgie was a good one!
As usual you describe the interesting things in life in a humorous way, may be those drugs do help!

Cat J B said...

Hi Kath, sorry to hear the migraines are around more often and the head is playing up, you do seem to find the humour in it all though and you have to do that to get through life sometimes, don't you? General 'you' of course, humour (and chocolate) can ease us through many things.

And that is a GORGEOUS photo of Sapphire, she looks just beautiful.

Pandora Behr said...

Okay, ten year old orthotics. Time to get them checked! Do so and soon - mmight be the cause of the Achilles problems.

Sounds like a not so relaxing accupuncture session - hope they're going well.

Don't you just love getting older ;) xx

River said...

"...lying down in a stranger's room with only my knickers on..." has to be the best opening line ever!

I'm cringing at the thought of little needles being screwed into a body and nodding my head at the daily use of deep heat etc. I'm alternating Deep Heat with Voltaren Gel these days, but neither helps very much.

MedicatedMoo said...

Thank you Jane and Lance. Apparently it was all over the news, but seeing as I don't speak French or German, I had no idea. Then again, the doctor should have known. Hmmm.....

Yep, PlasMan. It seems like everyone knew except me. And you.

E-Child, thank you. LC told me that he was rather chuffed by this post, so I used that as an opportunity to ask for a neck rub.

Thanks nuttynoton. 'Take the drugs' is my personal motto. Bomb shelter testing does seem strange for a supposedly neutral country, doesn't it?

CatJB, she is gorgeous. How on earth did we make Sapphire??

Pandora, I'll add a podiatrist visit to my increasingly long list of medical needs!

Thank you, River. I had forgotten about Voltaren: might give that a go, too. The needles barely registered - a very pleasant surprise.

Lyndylou said...

All those needles....eeek! I am such a whoose when it comes to those things. Loved this post and your daughter has such lovely eyes :)

ropcorn said...

Looks like you have a lot of things, people and dog to be very grateful for. :) And the beginning of the post was so funny (the wedgie part). Hehe.

MedicatedMoo said...

Lyndylou, she has Love Chunks' big blue eyes and I do realise how lucky I am to have two pairs to gaze into every day.

Ropcorn, I hope that next week's acupuncture session sees me wedgie-free.

wilbo43 said...

I remember that in Switzerland you could buy all the booze in the world in just about every shop but try to buy an aspirin and you had to jump trough hoops to get one. Then there were the answer to every medical problem prescribed by medicos: A tablet shaped like a torpedo you inserted not into the mouth but somewhere else. Nothing like a good Australian Chemist Shop.

Helen Balcony said...

Kath, I hope the little whatsit-thingy gets shrunk pronto by the pills you take for it and the migraines go away. (Assuming they're related to the whatsit.)
Let's be old and tragic together: I've been for an MRI too, but only on my knee which decided to pack up with no apparent trigger or reason (it's carrying an old injury from about 1979) shortly after my dad died. As walking was one of the major loves of his life, I can't help thinking there's some freaky psychosomatic thing going on here.
However, the terrifyingly posh orthopaedic surgeon who my doctor referred me to says it's because the thing that holds my patella in place is cactus and the kneecap keeps drifting to the side, causing pain and inability to walk DOWN stairs. It's not very responsive to surgery so the only thing is physio, physio, physio.
Every day I'm doing physio on the dog (as per the stem cell / spine story) and on myself. Jeez it's taking up half the day!!!
I think you would do well to get some new orthotics. I'm currently checking out a racy German knee support which will make me look like a Star Wars storm trooper and costs $150. Ow!

Fen said...

Ha ha I had to get up and pee once, covered in little needles. It was most disconcerting!

I take beta blockers for my migraines, they work reasonably well if I manage to ingest them in time.

diane b said...

Oh the joys of getting older, not that you are old yet. "Growing old is not for sissies" a great saying I think its from Bette Middler. You must need a big bedside table for all that gear to take of at night. Just as well you don't wear glasses, hearing aids or false teeth. Take care and I hope you find relief soon. I think the last five remedies are the best. LC, Sapphire, Millie, wine and chocolate.

MedicatedMoo said...

Thanks Lyndy lou - the needles barely registered: after years of giving blood samples to keep track of the tumour it was a doddle.

Glad you understand, Wilbo43 - booze everywhere but ask for something stronger than a Ricola lozenge.......!

Physio, Ms Balcony, looks likely here too as my neck thing seems to have extended around both shoulders, my right arm *and* the right side of my chest. Referred pain perhaps but I'm now so sick of it that I'll go see the doctor before the blood test results are ready.

I don't know much about betablobkera, Fernstar. I've now made a note to ask about them.

Thanks, Dianeb. My bedside table IS rather overburdened!

Red Nomad OZ said...

Aha! So you 'self-medicate' with substances like chocolate, wine and coffee too??!! I guess it's a universal panacea ...

LJP said...

Wow... way to get you to relax - suggest the possibility of imminent attack under cover of a "routine drill"

Also, I believe chocolate should definitely count as a medicine of some kind.

MedicatedMoo said...

Yep, RedNomadOz, chocolate, coffee and wine help most things!

LJP it just seems bizarre that such preparations are needed for a famously neutral country. And, come to think of it, that they make the best chocolate in the world....