Flu, and the yellow bird has flown

Flu, and the yellow bird has flown

Sorry to moan, but I’ve got flu.   At least that’s what I think I’ve got.   It could be the return of the auld trubble – the malaria, but it doesn’t quite fit the pattern.  I begin to feel wobbly and shivery about dusk every afternoon, not every other day like I did with malaria.   My back and the muscles of my shoulders ache and I have a fairly superficial pain just above my nose where the sinuses are.   I’m coughing thick yellow phlegm and expelling the same gunk through my nose.  And... Read more »

Lost Soul

Lost Soul

I’m not sure she knows me now.  Most of the time she sits pulling the hem of her dress across her bare knees, leaning forward and then lying down in her chair, picking at her sleeves, trying to undo her buttons; her face a sad mask of confusion.  She seems... Read more »

Gulags in our cities; the terror that awaits all of us.

Gulags in our cities; the terror that awaits all of us.

It’s the smell that hits me first.  Not the ferrety lemon yellow scent of the whole building, but a dense, dark, dirty green,  pungent ammoniacal stench of soaked-in urine that has started to degrade, the stench of hell.  This I become aware of a subdued moan; ‘Oh dear, oh dear, oh... Read more »

The averted face of care

The carers leave notes for each other on the wall above the work surface in her kitchen.  The one this morning read,  ‘If the district nurse or any member of the family ask you to help them move Doris, you must say NO!’  I went through to the bedroom.  Mum was... Read more »

Too tired to remember Easter.

Easter passed me by this year.  It’s not because I’m an atheist.  I think beliefs, faiths, meanings are essential to our well being, but very personal and for me not to be culturally regulated.   I believe in love, metaphysics, forgiveness, wild places and regular exercise.  No, it was because I... Read more »

the ‘umble spleen.

It lurks tucked up behind the stomach, a soft black leather purse moulded to the contours of adjacent organs like a dark shadow, the sort of organ you’d ignore, a remnant, a vestige, a redundancy.  No wonder surgeons removed the spleen with impunity if they were operating on the stomach. ... Read more »

But they don’t get Malaria in Finland!

Certainly not in the north in late winter, they don’t.   How on earth would a mosquito survive temperatures of -10.   But this illness was strange.   I know it’s cold here, but shivering that starts when you are sitting in  a warm room; the shaking that won’t stop despite going to bed... Read more »


‘Oh, dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.’  It was like a metronome, every second.  Simon worked out that at this rate, she would say oh dear, 3600 times an hour,  up to 50,000 times a day,  15 million times a year.  But the mantra had some more intense... Read more »


Reader!   If thou hast a heart famed for tenderness and pity, contemplate this spot. In which are deposited the remains of a young lady, whose artless beauty, innocence of mind and gentle manner obtained her the esteem of all who knew her. But when nerves were too delicately spun to bear the rude shakes and jostlings, which we meet in this transitory world, nature gave... Read more »

It only hurts when I laugh; living with an injured back.

When I was a physiologist,  I used to ponder the cause of the sensations I felt in my body, the reactions of my gut, what is was about feeling sick that made me yawn or sweat, why a headache made he muscles on the back of my neck sore.  I... Read more »

The dangers of going to bed.

It had been a long night.  Although my hospital bed allowed me to adjust my position,  the slightest movement of my back was agony, and I could not get comfortable.    The plastic mattress was damp with sweat and my pyjama top was rucked up my back and impossible to adjust.  I... Read more »