Operation Update

So it’s been a couple of days since the operation. The pain has now died down enough to be tolerable without painkillers – or at least as frequently.

I’m able to eat semi-solid food now stuff like soups, porridge and congee (look that up if you don’t know what that is). I have been able to drink hot drinks without too much pain now, like tea, although I still need to mix in a bit of cold water to cool it down first.

Brushing my teeth has been easier now and I’ve started using salt water rinses as instructed — although the side effect of that seems to be that it dries the hell out of my lips (well, that’s what salt does, after all).

I’ll be heading back into the office next week, but only for one day since I’m training for three days and the fifth day is taken up by another freaking train strike.

Operation

Today, I went to hospital to be operated on — something I haven’t had done for over 35 years.

The operation was, quote, “An excisional biopsy” of a lump in my mouth – a lump I have been carry for several years.

The lump has been growing very slowly and I am now biting it more frequently than before, causing a lot of pain.

My dentist referred me into the Maxillofacial department of my local hospital.

I visited there last week to get a preliminary examination. The doctors there agreed it could be removed and scheduled me into a biopsy today.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit nervous. Nonetheless, the doctors helped reassure me and the operation started. They offered me a pair of sunglasses to go over my own glasses as the light from the operating theatre’s light is very bright. I chose to use them.

Settling in, the process started with three anaesthetic injections. I felt the first two and they didn’t feel bad. The third one hurt, and the fourth one was tolerable.

Couple of minutes later, the doctor poked around inside the mouth to check if the anaesthetic had taken effect (I didn’t feel anything). They started stuffing gauze in my mouth, and it felt a bit like one of those prisoner scenes in the movies when they did that.

The nurse kept my lip open while the doctor operated on it. I felt nothing at all. This was so weird, I could see them doing stuff, but they were out of my field of vision and I had no idea what was going on down there.

I started to see blood on the gauze. LOTS of it. They swapped out gauze a few times and then I started seeing small thin wafts of smoke coming from there. However, still no pain.

The doctor then started stitching me up. They used 3 stitches and still felt nothing.

I asked for a mirror at the end of the operation to see how bad it was. I had a puffy upper lip on one side and normal on the other. Expected though.

The doctor ran through some after care instructions. I’m supposed to be on a soft diet for 3 days, no hot food or drink for 24 hours, no smoking, vaping or alcohol for at least 3 days, no strenuous exercise for 3 days, no spitting or rinsing the mouth for 24 hours, salt water rinse after meals from 24 hours onwards, and painkiller use when needed to help reduce pain and swelling.

It’s been around 5 hours since the operation and I’m feeling rumblings of pain. Not intense, but I suspect the anaesthetic might be beginning to wear off.

Boiler

Just got my boiler fixed after three days without reliable hot water.

We had two engineers in over two days, and a total of 4 hours where neither could figure out the problem. Then we called in the manufacturer’s engineer (Vaillant)

The outlet sensor was faulty and was registering a temperature of 999 deg C. The boiler kept flaring up then tripping the safety cutoff as a result.

5 minutes, and one replacement part later and everything was fixed.

New Year’s Eve Update

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, and I haven’t posted any proper blog posts since April. So here’s a bit of an update.

We completed the purchase on our house and moved in around April.

We had a period of 40degC+ temperatures soon afterwards and it was _really_ uncomfortable to even exist during that time. I couldn’t even work in my bedroom during that time, and had all the windows open overnight.

And recently, we had a complete reversal, with temperatures hitting -6degC, and a thick layer of snow. Since the house is not on the main road, we no longer have priority with the gritters, which lead to some nerve-wracking drives on the Saturday when I headed up to morning shopping.

I later found out my former neighbour in the flat where I used to live (still find it strange to say that) actually lost functionality to their boiler during this cold snap (the pump to their boiler broke), so they had to wear like 5 layers of clothes and sit around a portable heater in order to keep warm — travelling to a relative’s house to get showered and stuff.

I also found out that two Muslim families have moved into the two vacant flats since we moved out. This now leaves only 4 flats out of the 12 available that are inhabited by non-Muslims. I am, sadly, not surprised by this turn of events, the local council have been aggressively buying up all the council properties they can, and then throwing probably the worst people into them — heck they even bought and sold one of the flats across to a neighbouring council — so essentially we have a flat in one council that is being used to house people from another council. 1 of the remaining residents is only there because they have a vulnerable relative nearby and will move out when she passes. Another is already looking for a new property, and the other two families haven’t made their plans known yet.

We’ve now gone through over 6 months in the new house and have been getting and going through the new bills. Trying to keep the house warm during the cold spell has been costing me over £15 per day in Gas alone. Thankfully, the cold spell only lasted around a week, and the government’s energy assistance did help with the Electricity side — giving £66 extra per month. That doesn’t help with the Gas costs, but it does mean I can use the space heater (which runs off electricity)

My Yaris seems to be having trouble with acceleration even without ECO mode on, so I’m going to start putting money aside to buy a full EV — maybe a Tesla, Hyundai, or Toyota EV (even if Musk has been an AH with the Twitter purchase, I’m still liking the Tesla interface — I even got to sit behind one this year, even if only briefly)

As with most people, I grew concerned with Musk’s handling of the Twitter purchase, so I picked up a side project a year or so ago: Mastodon.

Back when Twitter had issues with privacy, several projects spawned up: Ello, Diaspora* and Mastodon to name a few.

Ello basically failed and has now turned more into a portfolio site. Diaspora is sort of like a decentralized Tumblr and Mastodon was the Twitter equivalent, so much so that there’s more than one auto-crossposter now that allows you to Tweet to Twitter, and it will automatically crosspost it to Mastodon, and vice versa,

I decided to update my TfL Travel Updates project and allow it to post to Mastodon instead. I have it now posting to https://mastodon.xyz/@updatesbf but I am also looking at setting up my own Mastodon instance so I can experiment and break things on my own setup without messing up or flooding someone else’s instance

Updates

It’s been a long time since I posted on here — my last post (before today’s posts) was July 17 when I had to self isolate. A lot has happened since then, so this post will be a bit of an update list


I had to take my dad into hospital for a prostrate operation (this was planned before I had to self-isolate) — he already had a PCR test and was cleared. My LFT was also clear, but I still had to self isolate. This was before the self-isolation changes happened. The operation was successful, but he needed to be held a few more days to see an ENT specialist due to them finding lumps in his throat. The concern was that they might be cancerous, but turns out it was just irritation so they gave him some Gaviscon to take after means and soothe the throat. Both my dad and I are prone to post-meal throat irritation so it might mean I might be subject to the same thing later in life.


I got a ticket after driving my dad to the hospital for taking a left turn when I was not supposed do, due to badly signposted roads. My appeal was rejected on the grounds I had paid the ticket. This is how the council screws you over — if you pay the fine to avoid the 100% charge, they will claim that admits guilt. If you don’t, they delay the response until after the 2-week window so you then have to pay the 100% charge.


I finally decided to upgrade my phone and went for a OnePlus 9 Pro. The phone is classed as a “Phablet” and much bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S5 I have been using for years:

The case on the left is for the OnePlus, the case on the right for my S5

I had problems activating the new SIM and eventually Three had to send me a new one, and soon after I got that new one, I got a message saying Three were going to be doing works on the mast in my area and ever since then I have had horrendously bad speeds at home. By bad, I mean speeds of < 1Mbps and even down to 0.2Mbps. Using 3G band sometimes helps, but only marginally.

I’ve taken my complaint up to the Ombudsman but Three are still refusing to do anything about it — even charging me to leave contract early.

I’ve been with Three many years but I will not be recommending them going forward. I will be checking other providers when my contract expires.


We’ve started to go back to the office. My team is doing three days a week in the office, and you pick which three days as long as there are a max of 8 people in the office (due to some office reorganisation, we only have 8 seats for the entire team).

Surprisingly many people have left jobs during and post lockdown (some might have been nudged due to the lockdown, and not just in my office, but generally.)


I won a Twitter completion by Curve for a swag bag. Just had to tweet them three images of their different adverts — all of which showed up on the same station, so that wasn’t too difficult.


Then we had the annoying as heck “Panic at the Pumps” causing shortages.

Driving past Alperton Sainsbury’s

This video from my dashcam shows the queue of traffic. This is the queue leading into the Alperton Sainsbury’s. I was there at around 5am and it took me 30 minutes to clear the queue even with less people in the queue. This queue will probably take 90 minutes to clear, assuming the fuel was not gone by the time they got to the front of the queue

Driving past Whetstone Esso

This video, also from my dashcam shows the queues that built up outside the petrol stations — this Esso I actually went into at 4:30am that morning and they were not open, even though there were staff in the shop (so maybe they were waiting for delivery?)

You’ll get people tooting impatiently and even people cutting the queue and then blocking the lane for the people behind (they must be luxury car drivers)


My house purchase has progressed and we have moved on and are now ready to exchange. However, one of the two sellers is unable to complete his purchase (he’s part of a chain and needs to complete his purchase before he can complete the sale on the current house).


Finally, I got a letter from Principia Law who are the ones trying to claim money back from the drunk driver who wrecked my previous car.

They want me to release my bank records for the period of time I had the hire car. But everyone I have discussed this with seems confused as to why this is required since the accident is a “no-fault” claim on my part, so they should not even need my bank details.

I asked them to call me today to discuss this. I may also speak to the office legal team for their thoughts.

Stages of Grief

Stages of Grief

I started this post over a year ago, then abandoned it and though perhaps its high time I actually finished it.

You may recall I lost my uncle to cancer in October 2017 and felt I should write down the phases of dealing with the death

Stage 0 — Normality

This is the normal day-to-day life no indication of any problems in the future

Stage 1 — Terminal

This is where you or your loved one is diagnosed with an illness that cannot (normally) be recovered from.

Stage 2 — Death & Disbelief

Immediately after death, this starts. You run through a period of “this can’t be happening”, “this has got to be a dream” and keep wanting to wake up from the nightmare, even though it isn’t one.

Stage 3 — Guilt & Denial

After you’ve gotten past the “this can’t be happening”, you get to “this isn’t happening” — you don’t want to believe this is true and refuse to believe this is true. Also, you start second-guessing yourself thinking “did I do everything I could to save them?” “could I have done something differently?” “could they still be alive had I picked up on that symptom just a day earlier?”

This stage lasts the longest, and to some, the guilt consumes their lives

Stage 4 — Acceptance

The hardest stage to reach is acceptance. You accept the death and move on. Some keep a piece of the loved one with them — a piece of jewellery, a photo, a locket, a favourite song — something that lets them remember them going forward or when they want the feeling of warm, loving memories.

Where am I on this list? Stage 4. I have photos of my uncle in Google Photos I can look back on whenever I want to remember him. I have pictures of him playing with my cousin’s children; I have fond memories of playing poker with him (and me losing :-) ); I have memories of having drinks with him — he was an alchoholic, but really was loose when drinking. I remember that I also didn’t know him as well as I thought I did. His drinking buddy took the pedestal at his funeral and told about how he donated food from his KFC-style shop to people at the pub.

I really did not know my uncle as well as I thought I did.

This one’s for you, Uncle.

Snow

It finally snowed today. And as usual, gritters were not out in time.

The roads turned into slushy, slippery dangerous skidways, but there were no accidents fortunately.

I had to head into Chinatown to pickup my contact lenses from the opticians. While waiting for the bus, two cars got stuck trying to climb the hill (it’s a notorious hill that has caused problems in the past during snowy, icy conditions, even the police got stuck the last time it snowed heavily)

Since the cars were now blocking the road going up, I decided to go and take a different route to Chinatown, and went via the Northern Line instead of the Piccadilly Line like I was originally planning.

The pavements were slushy and there was not even any sign of gritting. The station pavements were gritted, but presumably by the station staff, and not the council.

Even while coming home and trying to climb the hill to my house, my shoes were not gripping well, and had to take small steps to make sure I wouldn’t fall.

Dangerously incompetent, that’s what my local council are.

Heater Repairs

We got the replacement heater installed today, mostly fine, the heat of the water is now very high, since the plumber had to replace the piping near the heater, and had to mount a plank of wood on the wall to provide additional support for the heater as the bracket where the heater will be mounted would be too high.

This heater requires electricity, compared to the previous one which did not. Meaning without power, we won’t have hot water.

The plumber had to add cement around the exit flue of the heater and a few hours later I could see a crack in the cement, probably from it contracting and cracking while drying.

The plumber also had to remove an entire cupboard from the kitchen where the heater is and we’ll have to remount that some other time.

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