October 20th, 2005



Today = Tramadol Hangover Day. It's not actually a hangover, as even if I did drink alcohol, I would not be stupid enough to drink it with these particular painkillers. But it feels just like one.

Taking Tramadol several times a day does not produce a hangover, because every time my brain might want to start expanding to over-fill the space available inside my skull, I take another dose of a strong painkiller. Funnily enough, that stops it. But taking a single dose to relieve "omg, I hurt too much to even TRY sleeping"? Cue for a bad head the next day.

So my head is on fire & I have no ability for coherent thought. I have been posting lots of lj comments that say "Yes. That. Exactly." :)

The silver lining

I'm sitting here waiting for a woolly Liberal to turn up to drive me to the polling station. Yes, we have an election today, where we=Canbury Ward, a small bit of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. One of our local councillors had to stand down because of ill-health.

I was thinking about the positive things I have got out of the Gallstone Experience, because, weird though it might seem if you've been reading all my moaning, there have been some. I've already mentioned how scarily high-fat my old diet was, and how I've learnt where fat hides in convenience foods. When I'm able to eat anything again, I do intend to keep up low-fat supplemented with occasional sausages, fake cheese and ice cream, which'll be healthier for me in the long term. For example, pretzels are easily as crunchy and salty as crisps, but even regular pretzels have a smidgeon of the amount of fat in even "low fat" crisps, and reduced-fat pretzels have all of 0.5g of fat in a packet. Less eating of complete junk has to be a good thing.

Another thing is that I have actually lost "weight". While I still don't want to be congratulated for it, shifting 12kg aka 28 lb aka 2 stone has got to be good for my joints, provided that when I'm better I exercise properly again.

I have learned that it is a Good Thing for me to take painkillers when I'm in pain. This is something that really surprised me. I really did have all this wiring in my head that painkillers are bad for you and should be avoided wherever possible. But actually, being in intense pain is far more stressful for your body than taking painkillers carefully, as directed. I now need to get that tattooed on my forehead, so I remember it.

The most important thing which I realised today is that I have miraculously gained the Ability To Say No. I was "famous" all the way through school and at college for taking on too much - in particular, pointless causes that few people cared about. ("But I have to do it! If I don't, no one else will!" with the unspoken assumed belief that that would be Bad). Somehow, I have learned that, even if I am being offered money to do something, if it could potentially make me too exhausted to do something that I have already committed to, I should refuse it. Honouring my existing commitments is more important, and taking care of myself is even more important than that.

I would, of course, have preferred to have learnt all this without the pain, antibiotics, trips to hospital at 3am and having to give up cycling (grr!), but do you think I'd have paid attention to the lessons then? Hmmm.

A plague of Liberal Democrats!

Argh! I am being plagued by Liberal Democrats! First I had one come to take me to the polling station. That was ok, I had ordered him :) He turned out to be no less than a former Mayor of Kingston, a well-known Asian businessman who was the borough's first ever ethnic minority Mayor - there is a meeting hall in Norbiton named after him. Woo. Then I got mobbed by tellers outside the polling station, although that was a plague of all the parties except Labour: there was even an English Democrat and a Socialist Labour person there. They were very excited by the fact that my number on the electoral register this time round is 888. Since then, I've had two LibDems knock on my door (separately) to ask whether I've voted yet, and I'm wondering how many more will come before the night is out.

The race is going to be tight: Kingston Council is only just controlled by the Lib Dems, and losing this seat to the Tories will make a difference. Unfortunately, with it being a by-election for a single council seat, most people really couldn't care less either way. I almost don't care, because all you ever hear about Kingston Council in the local press is bitching and moaning about whatever they're doing. Yet, we have a damn good recycling service here now (still doesn't collect everything I want, but it's improved dramatically since the Lib Dems took over), the streets are clean and mostly well-maintained, there are all kinds of useful services available if you bother to find out about them (like the very low price cycling lessons), and, if I happened to have a child of school age, the schools here are good, which puts the property prices up. Not that I particularly care about that, but it's nice to know that my house is still worth at least what we paid for it. Help, I'm turning into a Daily Mail reader!
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links of the week

From elynne, Why being into cats is essentially the same as being into psychotic tweakers. ceno & epi_lj (and anyone else who LOVES CATS) should read this. Laughed so hard, I had to stop to BREATHE.

Thought-provoking stuff I found on my friends list today:
Food For (Dirty) Thoughts by the_siobhan. About food as sex, and abstinence.

untitled, by fj, about why high school was sucky.

Intolerable Beauty - Portraits of American Mass Consumption. Link and commentary by epi_lj and friends.

nmc's poll of pedantry.

On Faking NT, by griffen. Interesting for anyone who is autistic, or wants to know what it's like to have an autistic spectrum disorder. NT, btw, means "neurotypical", which is psychologist talk for "non-autistic". Although, some personality disorders and severe depression & stuff like that makes you non-NT as well.

Also, On mothering by porcinea. An amazing post, because at the same time it vindicates the decisions both of those who have chosen to become parents and those who have chosen to remain childfree.