Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Strait-jacket & jazz

My back continues to feel as though it’s in a strait-jacket, unable to move naturally. The point of one shoulder blade is feeling very tender, but so far there’s not been an unbearable amount of itching, pain or heat, just general discomfort. Roll on the time to take all these patches off.

Meanwhile, yesterday we got along to the library. I’ve now started a new novel, “Dead Man’s Blues” by Ray Celestin. I chose it partly as a contrast to a rather heavy novel that meandered all over the place which I wasn’t entirely happy with. This book is essentially a detective story set in Chicago in 1928, the days of Al Capone & the great days of Chicago jazz, hence the blues in the title. My attention was aroused when the story started with a description of a young black man, suitcase & cornet case in hand, running to catch the train from New Orleans to Chicago. His name? Louis Armstrong of course. I’ve not read sufficient to gauge the quality of the book but it is a good start.

After dinner, we decided to leave the TV switched off, put on some jazz (Louis of course) & got down to the serious business of chuntering, putting the world back into perspective. Even from what little I’ve read we couldn’t help being struck by just how discriminatory the treatment of black people in America was in those days. Not so long ago the Fox read Bill Bryson’s “One Summer: America, 1927” so he has a reasonable idea of this period of American social history. From the news I sometimes wonder how much some parts of the USA have improved. Surely, regardless of skin colour, all people are first & foremost human beings & should be treated with respect as such.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Patches on

Well we got to the hospital yesterday. I’ve now got 68 patches stuck on my back. I return later in the week to have them removed & my back inspected.

The nurse is certainly right about one thing. You can’t forget you have the patches on. The muscles of my back feel as though they’re held in some sort of corset, unable to stretch & move in the normal way. It also feel as though my back is unable to breath & is rather sweaty.

As for any reaction I’m not sure. I’ve got the odd itch, the odd ache, the odd hot patch, but are they just in my mind because I’m so aware the patches are on? So far there’s none that is so unbearable it has to be removed immediately. We’ll find out the results when the patches are removed.

The Fox will have that unenviable job. Having worried that I would have an immediate overwhelming reaction, we’re now worried that when all this tape & patches are taken off, my skin will have blistered underneath & a great area of skin comes off with the patches, as happened when I used hyperfix on my knees.

We’ll just have to wait & see. Meanwhile I move around gingerly, feeling as though my whole back is being drawn into a particular unnatural position.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Looking ahead

I’ve just about finished reading my various guides to Italy. I seem to have found masses to see. Just about every church is worth seeing. There are art galleries, especially of Renaissance art, though some are more modern art. Castles abound as this area seem to have been much disputed over the centuries. At one time it was even part of Austria. Big names from various fields have visited – Winston Churchill, Napoleon, Goethe, Catullus, Thomas Mann, Lawrence Durrell, James Joyce … Mussolini had his government based in Salo on the west side of Lake Garda some of the time. There are other literary associations – Juliet’s House & tomb, both totally fictional, though there is some real basis for the tale of Romeo & Juliet.

Then there’s the glory of the lake itself & the mountains around. I’m still very much looking forward to going, though I question how much of this fascinating area we will actually get to see. We’re still so tired that I find myself wondering if we’re going to venture far from the village we’re staying in. Nonetheless I’m hoping we’ll come back restored & refreshed.

But before that I’m to the hospital this week for these allergy tests. Patches will go on my back – presumably to stop me scratching them off - & I’ll return later in the week to have them removed & skin reaction checked. I’m not sure I’m entirely looking forward to it. I know just how uncomfortable I can get when I’m come into contact with some things.  We’ll see what happens.

Still there’s time enough to recover before we’re off to Italy & that I’m really looking forward to.