Sunday, May 24, 2009

Do They Still Have Sandwiches There?

When it came time to book the upper abdomen ultrasound scan at the local hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging Department I was hoping they could fit me in yesterday afternoon because, since I had to be in town later in the day for a birthday drinks bash, it would kill two birds with one stone. Obviously this kind of misguided optimism illustrates how little I know about the workings of the NHS because although I did get a Friday afternoon appointment, it isn’t until well past the middle of next month.

Talking with Mister Mark, who was also going to the evening do, we figured it would be an idea to use the time I had planned to set aside wisely and go see Star Trek. Given that it was a summer movie with plenty of whiz and bang it had to be seen on a big screen with a sound system that would make your ears bleed. Since it had only been on release a couple of weeks we figured that shouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately what neither of us had taken into account was Night at the Museum 2, whose unwanted arrival uprooted Star Trek and relegated it to the multiplex broom cupboards.

I suppose there is a place in the world for charmless and unfunny Ben Stiller comedies. Landfills, for instance. Its appearance was like deciding to go to a restaurant only to find that steak was off the menu and replaced by a steaming turdburger on a stale bun. There was still the BFI IMAX, but it turned out their afternoon performance was already fully booked. Both the Wimbledon and Greenwich IMAX screens were showing Star Trek and both had seats available, but checking the actual sizes of the screens, it didn’t seem worth it. Just as we were giving up, Mister Mark discovered the Vue at the O2. Apart from the biggest screen in London to watch the film on, it offered free parking too.

It may not be the greatest film ever made, but Star Trek was well above the average summer blockbuster. A couple of weekends back, probably when the film was opening here, Channel 4 screened the previous movie Star Trek: Nemesis, which handily showed just how stale the long-running franchise had become. Obviously in need of a reboot if they were going to squeeze any money out of it, at least Paramount had the good idea to hand it over to someone who wasn’t an avid fan, thereby saving us from being served up a big helping of shit stew.

Like Ron Moore’s expert take on Battlestar Galactica, JJ Abrams and his boys examined what they had been presented with then saved the best and junked the rest. Luckily one element that got flushed was Gene Roddenberry’s useless wish fulfilment utopian edict that in the future everyone in the Federation got on like happy families, thereby allowing some proper conflict between the characters to enter the equation. Concentrating on establishing the characters, and thereby making them the heart of the story, meant that it didn’t run out of plot and spunk its budget on overblown spectacle to make up for the deficit, which is usually de rigueur for summer movies.

Star Trek may not have been perfect but, like last year’s Iron Man, it proved to be an entertaining couple of hours rather than a mindless special effects frenzy. If the story may have close to tying itself in knots, the unspoken acknowledgment that the elder Spock was ultimately responsible for the death of Kirk’s father was an interesting move. Amongst the nicely balanced jokes, it’s a shame the captain of the Enterprise didn’t have a co-pilot with him when he took the shuttle to the Romulan ship. That way, with two federation officers under interrogation, directly after Nero’s questioning the subordinate could have shouted, “Don’t tell him Pike!”

After that it was off to the birthday bash, which we got to even after London’s tourists deciding to stray off the pavements and wander in the roads. The past week or so, after the GP’s appointment it has been fun and games trying to determine what I could eat without it leading to rather catastrophic results. All dairy products and red meat were out. Even the few times I’d tried something as simple as a piece of baked fish and boiled vegetables things hadn’t turned out too well, so to save further discomfort I’d resorted to a daily diet of lightly salted rice cakes and water. Dull, I know, but safe.

With all that ongoing, when we got to the pub and having not seen some of these bods for a while, people like Rox, our wonderful Persian Princess, were telling me how well I looked. Even an actress friend that I’d meant to hook up with during the past few weeks but had been sick herself thought I appeared much healthier than usual, and that was even before she’d been to the bar. Maybe an unknown ailment is the path to good health after all.


At 1:20 pm, Blogger Brian Sibley said...

Hope they get to the bottom of what's wrong (or whatever part of your anatomy is involved) very soon. Meanwhile, you must be shedding shed-loads of weight.

By the way, I didn't think there was an adequate excuse for even spending the fisrt Night in the Museum, let alone going back there again!

At 9:45 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...


It’s a kidney stone and something or other that is affecting my right kidney. So that has to be looked into after a second set of blood tests. And there’s a cyst on my right testicle – probably there as a bonus.

The only reason I know is that after being in agony from late afternoon yesterday I had to trot off to the local A+E this morning where I got a full work up, a fantastic painkiller that unfortunately couldn’t be administered orally, and being unfamiliar with how things worked, put the hospital gown on the wrong way round.

I was surprised to see how much weight has come off. Luckily, with the pills they’ve given me, I can now eat what I want. Obviously I’m not going to dive back in to spice or rich food. But it means no more bloody rice cakes. Hurrah!

I saw that Channel 4 were showing Night at the Museum on Sunday evening but never got to switch over in time. Oh dear, how sad, etc...

At 11:29 am, Blogger Brian Sibley said...

Putting your hospital gown on the wrong way round fooled no one! Your notes will have you marked down as a blatant exhibitionist and all future injections will be made as painful as possible!

Seriously, I hope they sort it - and the bonus - quickly. Take care.

At 5:28 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...


Luckily I haven’t been put on their deviant watch list just yet (although there’s still plenty of time).

Actually, they called me up bright and early this morning to come in for an ultrasound of (as the lady on the other end of the phone put it) my “testes”. I was about to say, balls to that, having to turn up two days in a row, but then I had to get my prescription from the hospital pharmacy so it was as good a time as any.

And I’d already figured out that quite a lot of the staff appear to have a sense of humour bypass. Then again, you do want them to take it seriously, and there are always the porters to share a joke with. That said, it’s a shame the suppository worked a treat in dulling the pain because I was looking forward to telling him that “for all the good it had done me, I might as well have stuck it up my arse!” (Because I bet he’d never heard that one before).

I needed to take a couple more Co-Codamol in the early hours of this morning and rather bizarrely afterwards it felt better to lie down on the metal-framed sofa bed in the living room that the soft mattress in the bedroom. There’s now a daily Tamsulosin hydrochloride tablet to help the kidney stone on its merry way. And right now, after the afternoon dose of Co-Codamol, there’s no pain or even the slightest ache. And the ultrasound guy gave me the all clear as well.

Follow-up blood tests in a couple of weeks but – touch wood – so far so good. Thanks for your concern. I hope you get your operation rescheduled soon and everything sorted out.

At 4:31 pm, Blogger Brian Sibley said...

My goodness you are going through it: medics fondling your balls and invading your bum. In our time, some of us have had to pay for that kind of service!

Hope you get 'stoned' real soon!

At 9:56 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

When the pain came back on Monday and just wouldn’t go away, after about four or five hours I was considering heading up to the A+E there and then. Given that it was a Bank Holiday, and the place would likely be full of drunks or people whose barbecues had blown up in their faces, I called the hospital to see how busy they were.

Unsurprisingly they were jam packed – at least that’s what I was told. They could have been slacking, having gurney races up and down the corridors, but I figured I could writhe around in agony in the comfort of my own flat rather than on a hard bench surrounded by sick people.

I was given the number of NHS Direct and called that up to try and figure out what the ailment was. As we went down the list and I mentioned the groin pain, the nurse on the other end of the line asked if I had felt my testicles. I was about to ask her if I was having to pay a premium rate to hear this, but figured best not.

The tamsulosin hydrochloride is helping but it’s the codeine that’s really doing the business. I’m liking the codine! I even cooked this evening for the first time in well over a week. The portion was so tiny (just to be on the safe side) that it felt like I was eating in a posh restaurant.

At 9:27 am, Blogger Brian Sibley said...

If you want to approximate the posh restaurant experience, your small portion must be eaten off a Very Large Plate and make sure it's 'drizzled' with something that can be described as 'jus'.


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