Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made a rare speech to the nation this evening and as he said “it’s been a St Patrick’s Day like no other“
Since I’ve come home from Switzerland I’ve been self-isolating as much as possible. I’m not due back to work until Thursday but they have asked me to stay off longer. No timeline given and no determination on pay but I’m expecting a minimum of 14 days and social welfare emergency payment only which will be a significant reduction in pay.
When I first received the message I was still in Switzerland and despite the growing crisis I still felt annoyed and that it was an over reaction. Switzerland was green status and despite large numbers of positive cases there were very few in our region and probably less chance of contracting the virus than at home. Since returning home that has changed to amber status yesterday, the government have recommended 14 day restricted movement for all travellers returning to Ireland since yesterday and Switzerland have closed their borders and gone into partial lockdown today. With that, the mood in the country and the increasingly difficult news in the media I’m no longer annoyed!
I did go out at one stage today. We needed a few items from the shop so I went to the local Mace. The mood was as weird as it gets. Everyone eyeballing everyone else, making sure they knew where everyone was and mentally willing each other to stay back. The checkout had the crisp baskets pulled out to enforce a 2m distance between the staff and customer with the girl stepping well back and wearing protective gloves. Payment was made via card and tapped to reduce contact further. It was a horribly sad atmosphere.
We’re a country renowned for our friendliness and today is our national holiday. Instead of celebrating and enjoying ourselves we’re hunkered down in our homes, expecting the worst and hoping others stay away. Self-isolation is a key strategy to controlling the spread of the virus but it’s damaging to the fabric of society.
One minister stated yesterday that “the normal we had a few weeks ago won’t be the normal we have again“. I hope our new normal is still a good one and that we come out the other side as good people in a good society once again.
Since my surgery the week before last I had become very sedentary. Most of the fitness I’d managed to gain during January was steadily fading away, I was sleeping badly and generally feeling crap. My mood was definitely not good and I probably wasn’t great company.
I figured part of the problem was that I wasn’t getting outside enough and using the excuse of the surgery to justify my laziness. I also figured that fresh air (lack of) was both the cause and the cure. The only time I was spending outside was the trip from the house to the car, the car into work and the reverse in the evening.
The easiest and most effective solution was a lunchtime walk. Buncrana is a seaside town and I’m just a 5min walk from the shore front so with sandwiches and a bottle of water in my pocket I hit the paths on Thursday lunchtime.
It was tremendously windy with a storm coming in but it was bright and sunny and definitely blew away the cobwebs. I headed along the shore front path skirting the edge of the park before retracing my steps and heading across to the Heritage Trail start and then back to work. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I slept soundly that night.
Friday I decided to explore the Heritage Trail more and this took me along the opposite direction skirting a small beach and out to the Life Boat station at Ned’s Point. I wandered a little here before turning back which left me very tight for time getting back to work.
Saturday morning was wet and windy but I was delighted to see it clear up by lunch and the sun come out in full force. The Ned’s Point walk was the perfect blend of distance and enjoyment so I repeated Friday’s walk. At times it was quite warm when sheltered from the wind. On my way back I met a very friendly guy from Tipperary who had relocated to Raphoe and was meeting a friend in Buncrana. We walked back to the Main Street together swapping stories and having a great old yarn.
One of the guys at work thinks I’m bonkers. He doesn’t seem to be able to understand the attraction or how I’m able to walk and eat at the same time.
3 days last week and I hope to repeat that this week. Let’s just hope that the rain stays away as it’s not feasible to spend the afternoon drying off and squelching around the shop!
For quite a number of years now I’ve had a lot of little lumps called lipomas in various parts of my body. Some of them are larger than others and they grow very slowly over time. About 9 years ago I had two removed, one from each arm, as they were getting quite big and I really didn’t like them as they were very noticeable. Recently I’ve had a number of them develop along the edge of my ribs and one in particular was quite big. As a group they could become quite uncomfortable at times and I asked the doctor last year about having them removed.
Today was the day. I had hoped to have them all removed but the surgeon only wanted to remove the large one that was causing the most discomfort to minimise the size of the wound and avoid complications as they are essentially harmless. He explained that the distribution pattern reflected the track of a nerve which they have formed along and the large one pressing on the nerve was the source of the discomfort.
Surgery itself was pretty quick taking just under 30mins but the 3hr delay due to the late arrival of the surgeon was a real pain in the arse especially as I only had a light breakfast and didn’t sleep great last night due to nervousness about the procedure leaving me quite stressed, hungry and with a thumping headache.
The whole surgical procedure was quite a weird experience. The main pain was the anaesthetic needle, similar to the dentist, but very quick acting as there was barely any break between the needle and the cutting which made me very nervous. There was lots of pressure from the prodding and squeezing as well as the stitching of the wound but there was a sharp burst of pain in the middle, like an intense burning sensation, that was due to pressure on the nerve which was very unsettling.
I was able to see the procedure due to reflection in the overhead lamps but I couldn’t watch it – I don’t even like to watch blood being taken in the doctor’s! I did sneak a peak when they were cleaning up and it’s a deep enough and wide enough wound. 4 stitches later and a dressing and it looks very insignificant!
The surgeon appeared quite stern but I was pleased when he introduced himself, shook my hand and explained what was going to happen. I think he fancied himself as a comedian too. The procedure involves squeezing the lipoma out from below the skin to allow removal and I heard him say “here comes the baby, head first, now the legs and pop!” I might have appreciated it better if it wasn’t my ribs he was pressing down on!
Home straight away afterwards with a stop for lunch. Aftercare is simple enough – paracetamol and ibuprofen plus no lifting or strenuous exercise for a while. Stitches out in 10 days and hopefully an all clear report in approximately 2 weeks on the biopsy of the removed tissue which is done as standard on all lesion removals.
Pretty wiped out this evening having spent the day travelling up and down to the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin for a CT angiogram following my appointment with the cardiac consultant in July.
The appointment was for 11am so up shortly after 6.30am and away at 7.30am. Catriona had to come with me as I wasn’t allowed to drive home.
After only a short wait I was taken for the first examination to determine heart rate and given a beta blocker to reduce heart rate to the 50bpm area. Then sent back to the waiting room for 1hr to allow the meds to take effect before having the actual scan. It was two parts with the second involving the injection of a dye into the blood system. This gives a weird sensation as it goes in, a very weird taste at the back of the throat and a warming sensation that feels like you’re peeing yourself! Importantly it also allows a map of the arterial system highlighting any possible blockages. The scan lasted about 20min and we were finished by 12:30.
The worst part of the day (apart from the long journey) was no caffeine since last night and fasting from 7am so our first stop was Applegreen for food and tea and then home for about 4.30pm.
Had thought about a short spin this evening but I’m very sleepy now. Possibly an effect of the dye but most likely an after effect of the beta blocker and the long journey.
The results go back to the consultant in about a week and then I get called for a follow up appointment to discuss. Hopefully all unnecessary as I’m expecting but still slightly apprehensive about it all.
Had an Out Patients appointment today. Over the last year I’ve been diagnosed (sounds very dramatic!) with high cholesterol and put on statins. As a precaution the doctor also referred me for a stress test appointment with the hospital in Letterkenny. After waiting 1hr and 5min* to be seen for a 5min consultation I’ve been told they’re sending me to the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin for an arterial CT. It sounds like a big step, very quickly and a bit frightening to be honest but I got the impression it’s very much standard procedure. Should get an appointment in about a month or so.
It did give me a giggle to see this evening that Google had the following banner:
It’s to honour heart surgeon René Favaloro the heart bypass pioneer. Hopefully that’s as far as the coincidences go!
*I was dismayed at 10:50 (my appointment was 10am) to hear the old lady sitting in front of me tell someone her appointment was for 09:15. She was still sitting there when I left so I’m glad my file wasn’t in the same pile as hers
Australian Traveller that loves to "Roam" our globe, creator of ENDLESSROAMING.COM sharing the experience through word and photography. Currently residing in my home of Newtown Sydney but hope to be back on the road late 2020. Feedback / questions are more than welcome, happy travels