Archive for the ‘Health and sickness’ Category


This was to be an article about how pleased I was with my improving health, however my eye reached new levels of agony ten days ago with agonising abrasions to my cornea hitting double figures in one night.

I, Casualty 

When I eventually got to Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital Emergency Eye Clinic, the impressively skilled and efficient doctor said my cornea was like “patchwork”, and after applying anaesthetic, scraped the whole top layer clean off! This left me in a fucking world of pain and effectively unsighted for a couple of days while it grew back again, and only today am I able to use a computer long enough to do anything other than waste five minutes looking at bicycle components and blog stats. In fact, there has been very little to do at all. Unable to face sunlight or TV for a week, I just had radio and CDs for company in the daytime.

The Blind Leading the Partially Sighted

The radio populated my mind with bilge by likes of Gordon Brown, Michael Martin and hysterical commentators, their faux assertive voices feigning outrage at Daily Telegraph revelations concerning expenses claimed by Members of Parliament. My understanding of the situation was that MPs were underpaid (many times lower than their potential value in the private sector) and by way of recompense received very comfortable living expenses. Which seems fairs enough for working 16 hours a day job from which you might well get ceremoniously sacked from every 4-5 years. MPs were also clearly happy about the situation as they voted to keep it that way ten months ago. Disclosure is the only recent change. All the current mock-apologising and rehearsed grovelling is exactly what I dislike about politicians. The sums of money concerned are miniscule on a national scale – I care not if I inadvertently spend an incalculably small amount of tax on a “flat screen TV” (what other sort can you buy?) – I just dislike lies and opportunism. David Cameron is surely the worst case. As in the tragedy of Baby P, or any other real or imagined crisis, he jumps into every media op yelping “change…change…change”, morally posturing in an attempt to adopt a leaders’ role with “strong” words, but only caustic self-interest at heart. Perhaps he would like it if MPs returned to being unpaid, so, like in the good old days, only rich Conservatives could afford to take on the job? Or perhaps he believes that highly paid and morally dubious consultancies should be undertaken, as is already the case with many of the shadow cabinet. The present Government may be rightly unpopular, but Cameron led Government would be ruinous. Meanwhile, I wish an end to the fuss.

Noise is Off

With most music radio (with the exception of the excellent D&B shows on 1Xtra) living in retro-pop tedium, and the computer off-limits, I turned to CDs. Listening to music eyes shut and in pain is pretty intense and not altogether enjoyable. I got extremely pissed off listening to hardcore CDs – apart from the odd decent track the lazy programming seemingly abandons the listener while noisy-yet-dull sequences repeat. Classical music is more interesting, picking apart the various textures and guessing the intent of the composer, but any visualising made me move my eyes (ouch!) and any searing climaxes and overtly high pitched violins just made me think of my eyelids growing teeth and ripping ripping ripping!!! THE RIPPING…

Total Downer

After a week I had signs that could easily be mistaken for serious clinical depression. The constant pain had made me irritable and preoccupied, my inability to do anything useful lowered my self-opinion and physically I was weak due to zero exercise. All those symptoms left with the worst of the pain, but it is easy to see how lazy GPs mistake the symptoms of physical distress for mental illness and dish out the anti-depressants. This short experience has underlined the opinions I outlined in my earlier Prozacrap post.

Fit as a Frequency Modulator

It is a shame about my eye, as otherwise I’ve been really getting back to full fitness. I will write a full explanation of my chest illness on the main site when I’m sure it’s gone, but it would seen that I had a long-term muscular problem which was confused with the symptoms of oesophagitis, which I also had and ran concurrently for around a year. As a result, the muscular illness went untreated while the oesophagitis was believed to continue after it was cured. Now I’m normally pain-free except for if I bash my chest hard, lift very heavy objects or eat too much. As cycling generally doesn’t involve any of the above and as such I’ve managed regular rides, including a couple of 60 milers, which I’m very pleased with as six months ago I could barely wheel the bike from the garage without discomfort. I’ve also lost quite a few of the 104kg I was hulking last year. As my body gets more agile, as does my mind and I’m now pretty well zipping round music software program Cubase 5. I’m doing a couple more remixes and cover versions and I hope to be technically competent enough to concentrate on content and make some works of note by the year’s end. Meantime, here a couple of visual treats I was enjoying before the ripping…


martyrs1Shamefully, my knowledge of French horror starts and stops with Switchblade Romance, but I’ll certainly be checking out more after watching Martyrs, out on DVD on Monday following a limited UK cinematic release. Forcing mainstream film media into namechecking Ichi the Killer and Italian gobble ‘em up Cannibal Holocaust, due to the extreme violence, it is unfortunate that a film such as Martyrs – made to communicate and understand pain – should get confused with those that glower over it. This is an unexpectedly emotional study of long term physical and mental sufferance, and memories the film comforted me after my latest eye injury. Best viewed knowing little about it, this is one of my favourite films of all time in any genre.

miner_xboxboxartXbox 360 owner burrowing into community game downloads may discover gem Miner Dig Deep, a superbly addictive mine building collect ‘em up featuring a shopful of earth moving powertools. Fans of Toolbox Murders will be disappointed by the lack of underwritten female characters to use them on, though. Around four hours top entertainment for less than £2, this is one internet purchase that really will make you gasp as your shaft grows huge!




Johnny Violent: Driven insane by the pain

One thing that I didn’t wish for the New Year was a painful long term illness, after all I’ve already got a substantial one of those and I’m not that greedy, however after spending half the Xmas period in the half abandoned Norwich and Norfolk General Hospital sharing floor space with the blood flecked amputees-in-waiting and piss-soaked lost souls I bring you…Recurrent Corneal Erosion, which means every time I go to fucking sleep for more than a couple of hours my eyelid attaches to my cornea and when I move or open my eyes it takes a little piece with it. I could take it for the first week or two but it’s driving me fucking mad, and I’ve taken to switching on an alarm to wake me up every 90 minutes, which is making me totally loony tunes. I caught the my bloodshot eyes on camera and Photoshopped them up for the previous post…

I’m seeing a specialist in a few days and the problem should sort itself soon, so it’s not hopeless like my chest sometimes seems, but that’s a little better right now and I’ll write a whingathon on it in a month or so when I’ve been to the “awesomely named” Pain Clinic for drugs and agony coping strategies. Meantime, here’s a rundown on some CDs I’ve been enjoying lately…

defqonDefqon.1 Festival 2008: (3xCD) compilation

I’m a huge fan of the Stunned Guys and it’s a great shame they don’t have a full length CD out – here there’s around a 40 minutes DJ set. When people talk about Gabber or European hardcore it is often labelled as dumb, gratuitously aggressive and overly repetitive and here the Stunnies demonstrate complete mastery of all three attributes for everyone to love or hate. Also banging set by Evil Activities – any chance to here Neophytes Always a Rubberboot is fine by me. The other disc of DJ sets is slower trance and hardstyle which aren’t genres I listen to much, so it’s interesting to hear what is going on, especially on a technical level. Some huge meisterkickdrums break up the 140bpm strobe-gazing and over familiar preset synth sounds. CD3 is a mixed bag of tunes by the artists who appeared at the Defqon festival, the vocal introductions to which are mostly hilarious for one reason or another… 

Update (March 2009): I’m still regually listening to the Stunned Guys mix – I think it’s got the perfect balance between aggression and audio fidelity – really modern and powerful. The Void Settler track on CD3 has about the heaviest kick drum I’ve ever heard.

omenOmen Trilogy: OST

I can only think of two “devil” films that are close to being frightening; Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen, which is nearly as silly a film as The Exorcist, but Jerry Goldsmith’s pounding choir and orchestral soundtrack cranks up the fear level without the need for any visuals whatsoever. You could take just about any two bars from the first track Ave Satani and loop them with a suitable drum break for a seriously floor-quaking hardcore track. Best played very loud in a darkened room, just like most music. Classic.

Update (March 2009): On further listening disc two is numbingly hammy and overblown, featuring an unessesary pipe organ. However, disc three (Final Conflict) is a, ahem, revelation, taking the themes from the first film and adding an epic good vs evil element it is remanisant of Goldsmith’s work on Star Trek V. I’ve just ordered the film trilogy for a fiver from, as it contains a documentary on the score.

goblinGoblin: The Fantastic Voyage Of Goblin: The Sweet Sound Of Hell 

Sticking with horror movie soundtracks, this CD has a couple of pieces from Goblin’s scores from the 70s and 80s, standouts being (especially) Susperia, Profondo Rosso and Dawn of the Dead. Disappointingly, Tenebre lacks the slamming main theme but don’t worry as the CD can be had for around a fiver, and the odd prog-rock dirge aside, shows genuine invention and transcends it’s time period. Unlike the dorkish title and sleeve design.

blade-runnerBlade Runner: OST (standard edition)

Maybe I’m listening to too much retro soundtrack music. I’ve always liked this but haven’t bought a copy since I got stung by the ridiculous “jazz” reworking that masqueraded as Blade Runner for years. Here we have Vangelis’ authentic score, but if I wanted to hear voiceovers from the film scattered over the music I’d have bought the (cheaper) DVD instead, which also comes with visuals. I can’t really recommend this recording.

m83M83: Before the Dawn Heals Us

Most of my CD collection is hardcore and classical/soundtrack music so I’m trying to find some modern electronic music I can listen to in more social situations such as when my girlfriend’s in the same room as me. I’ve only heard this once – I like the synth layers which give a nice Pink Floyd-esque expansiveness but could do without the over-excited clacking of the “real” drums, as well as some deliberately aimlessness lyrics. We’ll see…




Click images to enlarge.


Posted: September 5, 2008 in Health and sickness
Tags: , ,

What is depression? I know a little about bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, paranoia but whenever I’ve tried asking anyone (medical professional or otherwise) to define straight, no-frills depression and I’ve never got further than a posh version of “what a silly question”. And yet during May 2007 my GP diagnosed me as being depressed on the basis of a ten minute consultation during which I confided how utterly frustrated and miserable I was at my debilitated physical state, due to an on-going chest condition. Instead of making serious attempts to speed the process of finding a diagnosis and cure for my chest – which is still in a bloody awful state over a year later – he chose instead to go down a ridiculous and confusing cul-de-sac that would affect my life for a year.

“A lot of people won’t take any kind of anti-depressants” he told me. I believed that to ignore a doctor’s advice was foolish, so…”They’ll be some, er, tremors, you know…” he intoned, conspiratorially. I think that he meant irregular bowel movements, loose faeces and generally spending ages on the toilet. I also regularly had dilated pupils and felt a bit high. This lasted a few weeks then the Prozac (which is a brand name for Fluoxetine) started to work as normal – I had fewer emotional ups and downs than usual but no other noticeable changes. At my next doctor’s appointment I reported that the drug had had no affect whatsoever on my physical condition so I’d rather stop taking it. However, I was shocked to learn that the course lasted six months and was advised to double the dose to 40mg a day just in case that helped. I tried this but it just made me very tired – I couldn’t cope with it and went back to 20mg.

Simple prescription errors meant that pretty soon I changed GPs.  I asked my new doctor if I should carry on with the Prozac. She took an altogether more head-tilted-to-one-side approach to medicine, suggesting I should maybe try stopping the course for a few days to see if the symptoms reoccurred. My efforts to discover what the symptoms actually were merely resulted in further head tilting. Efforts to discuss any mood variations garnered some unintentionally amusing advice to consult biorhythm charts – but it wasn’t really very funny.

Eventually after reading what I could on the Internet I decided to stop taking the Prozac. Week one was much as I expected – some stomach cramps and headaches, a bit like giving up smoking only not quite as bad. In week two I was feeling completely normal but in week three I started feeling dreadfully anxious for no apparent reason and the toilet problems re-occurred.

Two months on and I’m fully back to myself, yet I occasionally struggle to come to terms with the full range of emotions at my disposal. I’m a bit more up and down, more creative and humorous yet more irritable and sarcastic than I was on the drug. For the most part it wasn’t a particularly bad experience, just a real waste of time and money and a pointless subtle change in personality for me – not that I see any intentional foul play there at all – just incompetence. The lack of information given to me and the duff diagnoses are, in retrospect, shocking.

GPs are handing out high numbers of anti-depressants and perhaps they do work for people who actually have a related medical problem. But I would suggest these prescriptions should be based on the diagnosis of a mental health professional and be backed up with monitoring and counselling where appropriate. Until these conditions are met, I can see many patients replicating my unfortunate experience.