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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Her cherry cheek and ruby lips, they lost their former dye

I try to steer clear, as a rule, of including gory details about my health crises in Lady Bracknell's blog: they aren't generally very entertaining, and I very much doubt whether anybody's interested in them.

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...

The Editor


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Celebrex is still on the market.

9:40 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

That's as may be.

Good luck finding a GP in the UK who's still prepared to prescribe it, though.

9:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not belittling the Editor's sufferings one bit, but she does make me laugh! Being amusing, whatever her state of health, must count as a blessing, even if heavily disguised. I'm sure Lady Bracknell finds this so as well.
I should know all about getting drugs from unwilling GPs, but luckily mine will prescribe LDN for my MS at my own risk. I have to pay the considerable non-NHS cost for this, but hey, it possibly keeps me mobile!
So hang in there (not literally!) and I for one don't mind hearing about your trials and tribulations.
Angie xx

11:20 pm  
Blogger Queen_Mum said...

I find groaning softly helpful but it might confuse kittens.

11:27 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...


I may have been being a tad disingenuous earlier. I know for a fact that Dude the chauffeur is also in the fortunate position of having an understanding GP who is prepared to let him carry on taking Celebrex at his own risk.

This has been a bone of some contention between us, as you can imagine.

However, it's immaterial now that I've reached the stage where there are no NSAIDs at all which are safe for me to take.

I'm glad I make you laugh. I may have taken myself horribly seriously at the age of 22, but that changed a long time ago. Thank heavens.

The Editor.

11:57 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Queen Mum,

Personally, I tend to puff and blow quite a bit when the pain is very bad.

I don't know whether it confuses the kittens, but I can confirm that it leads to "hilarious" misunderstandings when I'm on the phone to Pop.

The Editor

12:00 am  
Blogger Katie said...

Lady B -

Are you Geoff Riley's Mum?

I live off NSAIDs and can't imagine the horror that is not being allowed to take them any more.

Good luck. In an effort to cut down on the numer of NSAIDs I take, I also take cod liver oil. I was sceptical when I started, but it has magic properties, I swear.

However I am not going to patronise you by suggesting you try alternative therapies when clearly Tradamol has far more magic properties than any fishy liver excretion.

But really, Geoff Riley?

Get well soon.


9:27 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

You know, I've been thinking about this.

How many ten year old boys are called Geoff these days? Maybe it was Jess Riley. Possibly. Or, being Liverpool, Ged Riley (local contraction of Gerard).

What's even weirder is that I do know a Geoff Riley. Big bloke. Late forties/early fifties.

But I can't imagine either that three little girls would know him, or that they could think for one moment that I might be his mother.

It's a great mystery...

10:34 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If visitors to the area consider a re-animated corpse to be the most approachable, and be most likely to help them with their enquiries, one cannot help wondering what the rest of the inhabitants must be like.

2:35 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

I know just exactly how you feel, Lady B:

I had a sore finger a week ago last Thursday/my Auntie had just the same symptoms as you; she's dead now, of course/why don't you think of something nice to take your mind off the pain/a good dose of salts and a brisk walk would do you the world of good/people like you are a drain on the NHS when we could be spending good money on lots of nice wars/I got completely cured by this wonderful man; he's marvellous, he diagnoses everything from your toenail clippings and then feeds you on raw sorrel and sheep droppings.

Hope this is of some help.

7:36 pm  
Blogger seahorse said...

It's such a shame the Editor is far too well-bred to swear. I find it a great help when in pain.
Mind you, humour - which you have down to a fine art - brings some relief in the form of distraction, and the pleasure to be had in the knowledge that you have made people laugh or had a laugh yourself. And you frequently make me laugh, which helps me with my pain. You also help me see that being in possession of a fine wit is a gift indeed. It is possible to break up the blur that can constitute days of dizzy unpleasantness. I hope you feel even just a little better very soon. Medication can be such a bastard. Oops.

9:13 pm  
Blogger R said...

I'm sorry you and Tramadol are not getting on well. The woozy side effects DO improve, considerably so, and I'm no longer aware of any 'haze' at all when I take it. Hopefully this will soon be the case for you, too.

At risk of being shown the door by the good Lady herself, I trust that it has been drawn to your attention that constipation is a common side effect to taking opioids and have access to a suitable remedy should you be one of the unfortunate majority that experience it.

I don't half miss you on messenger. Be lovely to talk sometime when you feel up to it.


10:40 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...


You are very kind, as usual. Although I can't imagine where you got the idea that I am far too well-bred to swear.

Pop - who keeps me company by phone when I am enduring alternate ice-packs and hot water bottles on my right ankle of an evening - will confirm that I swear like a trooper.

And a pretty foul-mouthed trooper, at that...

The Editor

11:30 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...


That is very encouraging news. Thank you.

I know the Dude has never got over the Tramadol wooziness, with the result that he can only take them at night.

But you and the Goldfish have, so fingers crossed I take after the two of you, rather than after him. (And not just because you're prettier than he is!)

Still as woozy as a very woozy thing, although I think the combination of the Tramadol and the paracetamol is slightly better for the pain than the Tramadol alone.

From what the doc said yesterday, I think we may need to do really quite a lot of tinkering with doses and combinations before I am returned to my former magnificently-grouchy self.

E. xx

11:39 pm  
Blogger seahorse said...

Oh that is cheering indeed. A bloody good air turning blue session does allow horrid nastiness to be vented. I am glad. My body currently doesn't know what's hit it. New house, too much bending down due to clutter and lack of established systems. Must get a grabber and have things at a reachable height rather than trying to pick stuff off floor all the time. Common sense will prevail.

11:50 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Ah, yes - picking stuff up off the floor is not recommended for yer average ouchy crip.

Grabby sticks rock.

10:29 am  
Blogger hannah said...

I never go to my doctor anymore asking for pain killers prescription and then be turned down at the end, all I do is order online from www.medsheaven.com hassle free and low cost, they have three pain killers listed on their website which are ultram tramadol celebrex that you buy, and the best part is no prescription required!!!

2:27 am  

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