Her cherry cheek and ruby lips, they lost their former dye
So, I give you fair warning: this blog entry is largely health-related. Look away now if the prospect offends/distresses/bores you.
Last week, I traded in the last of my NSAIDs for Tramadol. After fifteen years of NSAIDs, it's no longer safe for me to take them. They are doing unspeakable things to my insides. I was most recently on Meloxicam, as it happens. I had been on Celebrex - which was fab - until it was taken off the market. In comparison with Celebrex, Meloxicam was pants.
However, in comparison with Tramadol, Meloxicam was the bee's bum of painkillers. I have spent the last week in a narcotic haze, barely able to keep my eyes open. Worse, serious doses of this heavy-duty analgesic barely touch the pain.
Almost all my pain is the result of inflammation in my joints and soft tissues. With nothing to reduce that inflammation, my joints and soft tissues have been having a party. To the point where it's difficult to tell whether I'm cross-eyed from the meds, or cross-eyed from the pain they are failing to counteract.
Anyhoo, the long Bank Holiday weekend being over*, I decided to take myself back to the doctor**. This, of course, involved getting dressed. In something other than pyjamas. As somebody who generally can't look ill if she tries (I'm what used to be called, "rubicund"), I got a nasty shock when I accidentally caught sight of myself in the bathroom mirror. I knew the Tramadol was making me feel like a reanimated corpse, but I hadn't realised it was making me look like one too.
Which is why I found it so surprising that almost everyone I encountered today wanted to stop and chat to me. Of course, I'm far too middle-class to respond to conversational overtures from complete strangers by saying, "Please leave me alone. I feel absolutely ghastly, and am no use to you whatsoever". Unfortunately.
It started with a nurse I passed on my way out of the surgery, who was suddenly entranced by my walking stick and wanted to know where he could get one, and how much it would cost, and whether Steve the Stick Man would cut it to length.
Having escaped to the bus stop, I was immediately accosted by two foreign gentlemen who wanted to know what number bus would take them to Speke Retail Park.
Me: "It's not the number that's important. You need to look at the destination on the front of the bus."
Them: "But it says here that an 82 will take us to Speke".
Me: "An 82 which is going as far as Speke will take you to Speke. This 82 arriving now will only take you to Garston. Garston is closer than Speke".
Them: baffled silence.
I get on the bus. They get on the bus. They ask the bus driver which number bus they need for Speke Retail Park. An 82, he says. But you are an 82, they wail. Yes, but I'm only going as far as Garston, he says. They get off. They appear to be reconsidering the attractions of Speke Retail Park. And possibly its very existence.
Two stops later, and I'm off the bus and lurching in a manner befitting a reanimated corpse towards Joe's Pharmacy in search of another wheelbarrow-load of drugs. Or trying to. But clearly I have put my flashing neon "stop me if you need information about any bus route in Liverpool" t-shirt on by mistake. An elderly African gentleman suddenly appears at my left elbow and asks me whether he's missed Park Road. He has. By quite a bit. I point him in the direction of the appropriate bus stop (several times). Park Road is a long road, I say. Where does he want to go? There's a bank on a side street, he says. Near a post office. I suggest he asks the bus driver to let him know when they reach a post office. He thanks me profusely.
Shaking with exhaustion, I bend my steps again towards Joe's Pharmacy. At which point, I am accosted by three young girls who ask me whether I am Geoff Riley's mum. A question which strikes me as being somewhat surreal. Particularly given my current resemblance to a reanimated corpse. Mind you, maybe Geoff Riley - whoever he is - also looks like a reanimated corpse. I mean, kids today don't get out into the fresh air much, by all accounts. They sit huddled over X-boxes, or somesuch. Don't they?
I am almost 100% sure that I did not hallucinate the three young girls.
* Note to self: do try to remember that Tuesday morning is mother and baby clinic. You don't like babies at the best of times. You particularly don't like babies who have just had needles stuck in their arms. Parents of babies don't react well to reanimated corpses glaring murderously at their precious offspring.
** "Most people get used to the effects of Tramadol in time. We'll reduce the dose to 4 a day, and put you on 8 paracetamol a day as well". I am now on a total of 27 tablets a day. 27!!! I've barely got time to go to the loo! I've had to stop to take three while I've been writing this blog entry. Heaven forfend I should doze off for an hour or two...