What’s going on with my blog?

For those of you wondering what the hell is going on with my blog, I share your frustration.

The simple answer is that I’ve been in hospital – again** – with pneumonia and MRSA (though as far as I can see any opportunistic respiratory bug tends to get tagged as pneumonia these days, and it seems that any MRSA cure has to be taken on faith – take these for a week – there, you’re fine!

**That was on the morning of August 27, when I had a scheduled appointment at the Lymphoedema clinic but, instead, was hauled off unconscious to A&E, a state in which I remained until the following day and which is still unexplained. (I tend to get pneumonia the way other people get colds – whatever I had, this wasn’t it.)

I was scooped up, unconscious, apparently wearing just a puke-and-blood stained T-shirt – no electronics, not even a pen – I have NEVER been so isolated since, well, everyone else was too.

Tuesday rolled on with me mostly slipping in and out of consciousness while  I was severely impaled on a variety of catheters (god knows how many, they were still checking they’d left none behind mere seconds before I was taken to the discharge lounge), mostly for i-v antibiotics and steroids, which left me covered in bruises like Yakuza tattoos and, two weeks on, still painful.

A few attempts to interview my virtual corpse proved utterly futile and, eventually, I was just left alone.

Tuesday dawned and, with it, burgeoning awareness, as it turned out I was wearing a giant adult diaper. All this time I was in a side room (standard with diarrhoea) just 8 short steps from the toilet, a journey I’d apparently been making on autopilot every 10-15 minutes. That was when they slapped the Red Band of Shame on my wrist, told me I had MRSA, and ran away (literally – until I demanded an explanation).

Then – a bit unfairly I thought, given my physical and mental states – they stuck me with a dementia test (turns out I’d pitched up in the stroke ward as they had the only bed). I passed – hell, you’d have to be seriously compromised not to –  but I was mortified when I couldn’t dredge up Cameron’s name! Still, he is a nonentity, so it’s understandable. And the OT was impressed with my ability to tell almost the exact time of day at will, but it’s something a lot of members of the outdoor community (former member, in my case), can do if pressed.

And so, life drifted along aimlessly for a week, during which I mostly contemplated the cost of replacing my missing dentures and glasses (they turned out to be at home, luckily).

By September 2 I was sick of the place (still very ill but, unable to eat without dentures, I was visibly losing weight and needed to get home to be able to eat properly). I kept myself going by guzzling “Ensure Plus” meal replacements for much of the time I was there, since no-one cared overmuch whether I ate or not (with even less interest in why), and grabbing every drop of milk that came my way.

It had become clear very quickly, that day, that beds were at a premium, so I offered to exchange my bed for a sack of drugs and a ride home. I did that at 09.30 – I eventually left at 17.15.

It’s now September 11 and I still feel dreadful. I’ve finished my MRSA drug (Doxycycline), but have no confidence that it’s been effective. The only plus side is that I’ve regained some of the weight I lost (lost 6kg, regained 1kg, which is fine as I was starting to get fat again).

And that’s it for now.

Those of you follow my Twitterfeed might well have read a couple of versions  of this, displaying varying degrees of temporal confusion (which lingered rather a long time). This version is accurate in that respect, at least, though I don’t feel any better healthwise. Indeed, it’s taken an absurdly long time to write these few words.

Of course, words by the thousand drifted through my head while in hospital but, without the means to record them, are mostly gone forever. Some, I hope, can be resurrected before they’re too far gone

Watch this space…

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10 thoughts on “What’s going on with my blog?

  1. Suspected something was wrong, fingers have been crossed for you. A good outdoor story is ‘Life at the end of the road’. Interesting and cheerful when you can not be out and about. We have a little person and use sachets of Ella’s Kitchen foods for travel. Very tasty and mess free and useful for adults on the go as well.
    The drop in temperature is noticeable now, keeping warm and stabilizing all the variables is a priority. How did they deal with your legs in hospital? Was it APH? Different doctors or same old?
    Apologies for questions, your readers are concerned. Fingers are still crossed, good luck.

    • APH did a very good job on my legs, seeing that’s not what I was there for, and district nurses seem to have gone off in a massive sulk as a result. If they don’t put in an appearance today there’ll be bloody trouble.

  2. Morning Ron, I have been following your blog and twitter for some time now and was only led to you via my attempts to bake ‘proper’ (not Chorleywood) bread! I am still achieving variable success but as I have learned from you, it is a scientific process with too many variables! When it goes right, I have no idea why… and equally just as baffled when I produce another brick. My commentary to my husband always starts with ‘Ron says….’ and he raises his eyebrows. I carry on regardless. Must say though, your pics of glamorous, tanned, well upholstered loaves are intimidating to say the least.

    That said, your reports of the trials that each day brings are another dimension and I know from your posts that being a belligerent bugger is a very positive quality when it comes to survival. The flags show that you have a lot of friends on your side who are far away… hope you also have some really good ones close by too.

    I rarely post, but be assured I daily follow your progress Ron – with every good wish, Pat O’Brien
    Upminster, Essex.

    • Hi Pat,

      Baking is very much more precise than any other branch of cooking – 15ml/ 1 tablespoon of water will totally alter the character of a 500g loaf, for example, so the first step is to eliminate variables/errors.

      The simplest way to do this is to weigh everything (I have 5 measuring jugs, none are accurate), and always work – until you gain experience – to the same percentage of hydration. For example, 500g of flour at 60% hydration (a good place to start for a standard white loaf) will need 300ml of water (or 300g – it’s exactly the same – 1ml of water weighs 1g. Likewise a litre of water weighs a kilo. For our purposes, oil can be ignored as the volume is so small (I add 30ml of olive oil per loaf – use a free medicine glass from the pharmacy).

      So weigh your dry ingredients using electronic scales, and use the same scales for weighing liquids too. That way, if there IS an error, it’ll cancel itself out (or, put another way, the error will be the same for liquids and solids and won’t matter.

      Then you need a workbook so that you can record everything that you do – this should show up your errors. Recording weights of ingredients is obvious. Not quite so obvious is recording how long you knead for, and how long you prove for too. Over or under proving – or kneading – can be disastrous. If in doubt erring on slightly under in both cases is probably safer:-

      Mixing and first kneading and proving, 15 minutes, cover with clingfilm and a towel and leave until doubled in size – this will take as long as it takes – you can’t bake with a stopwatch in one hand!

      Gently flatten the ball of dough – never mind all this macho “punching back” rubbish – GENTLY! – and shape it as you want it. Allow to prove covered, again and, depending on size/shape bake on a preheated pizza stone (preheat for a good ten minutes at max, put in the dough, reduce heat to 200C and bake for 35 minutes.

      All this is just general stuff to show what you should be recording – it’s not a recipe, though it should work!

      One other thing – don’t get too ambitious too soon. I know it’s a great temptation but master the basic white loaf (or 50/50 white and wholemeal), before even thinking of moving on.

      Ron

      • Well thanks Ron for a reply which I was not expecting considering your schedule since 27th August! Having used the ‘lifes too short’ attitude towards measurements and what’s-a-few grams/mls-between-friends I can see more precision is needed. I also see the sense of recording as well, though that does not sit easily with me either..however I will try both and see what difference it makes – you will be the first to know if it’s a lot!

        What I have done is bought your recommended tins – they are great – so in some ways you have instructed me well – I have just been a bit selective following your advice in other respects. Have to say though, your breadblog has been THE most helpful thing I’ve read in achieving success – Paul Hollywood may be better looking than you (at the moment that is….) but I’ve got nowhere with him in the bread stakes!

        Bye for now – Pat

  3. Hi Ron
    Had a suspicion that something wasn’t right as no blogs for a while. So glad that you are back 🙂 So sorry that you had to go through all that in hospital, and now out of it with sulking nurses! Are the legs feeling any better at all? Is the pain still as awful? 😦
    John used to have the drinks for his weight a few years ago. He had them for over a year! He didn’t like particular flavours but we were able to get the ones that he did like. We had to take them everywhere with us.
    Another great thing to have with you, or even just in the house to nibble on, are rusks with milk or the oat cereal bars, again in milk., not that soaking them in milk outside would be possible, but they would ensure you got something to eat if you had to go to appointments etc.
    Take care and look after yourself.
    Jay xx

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