When the NHS re-enact Abu Ghraib to avoid fixing my knee

I was rather excited to see the hospital specialist physiotherapist, I also had rather high hopes – these were dashed by the time I was escorted through a sticky looking door marked “men’s changing”.

Being led into a dimly lit low-roofed room that seemed to be a smaller version of an indoor sports hall on a severe austerity budget didn’t boost my hopes. It then became apparent that this was an assessment session for me and six other people of various genders.

There were no privacy screens or any attempt to pretend the ‘patients’ had any dignity as the NHS ‘specialists’ ordered various garments to be removed and actions performed.

Fortunately I was wearing clothing that let my knee be examined without the need to shed clothing – I did feel sorry for the woman who was told to run on the spot in just her underwear and the rotund boxer-clad chap told to stand on one leg with his eyes closed for 5 minutes whilst the NHS staff sniggered.

egyptian pyramids

(Photo from Wiki)

I had a nagging feeling that the whole thing was either candid camera or sadistic NHS staff having decided that the abuse in Abu Ghraib sounded a bit of a laugh

The woman that I saw made me recant the entire history of my knee pain and made it clear that she hadn’t bothered looked at my notes or my scan. She was also a master of stating the obvious, she agrees that my knee cap is high – this is an IS and can’t be changed. She also said that my muscle strength is ok, although the inside quad on left leg is slightly weaker.

She commented that the outside of my left leg was tight and this is pulling the knee cap out of alignment and that the swelling under the knee (which is presumably the fat pad) is pushing out the front of the knee cap at an angle – the top of the kneecap is the further point out.

The only  new thing was she declared that I need to build up my core strength as this would help stablise the leg – although this was a throw away comment.

So for 45 minutes I was poked and prodded, with no treatment or advice given. This wasn’t what I expected and I also wasn’t expecting there to be a three week wait for the next possible appointment slot. However I’ve taken the slot and am hoping that the next session will bear less resemblance to the abuses committed by a few bored and stupid member of global Superpower and might actually be a bit more useful.

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Weird: Dr Stuart’s Liver Detox Tea

I’m feeling in a bit of a hippy mood and am trying to take a bit more care of myself and the world.

This can mean that random things catch my eye, including Dr Stuart’s Liver Detox Tea. It was on sale, but it is pretty random even for me – given I rarely drink alcohol.

liver detox tea

There is a lot of hype about the benefits of detoxing, I’m not convinced but a couple of cups of tea sounds interesting to try!

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Nails: Fairy nails – “All you need is faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust”

Having recently read ‘Wicked Lovely‘ I have fairies on the brain, so matching fairy nails would be the icing on the cake – especially if they looked like these!

fairy nails
(Photo from ink361.com)

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TV: Castle – “The last thing I need is to watch someone from my past try to seduce my fiance while talking about the goddess that lives in her hooha”

When I started watching ‘Bones‘ I did watch eight seasons almost back-to-back, this isn’t normal for me so I am rather surprised that I am now on the fourth season of ‘Castle‘ – having watched the preceding three in quick succession.

It is more lightweight than ‘Bones’ and has lighter humour, which is hitting the spot right now. In many ways it almost feels light fast food TV but with better plotlines and (sometimes) better acting.

castle season 2

I’m not entirely sure why my TV provider feels the need to warn me that the show contains “suggestive dialogue” as it has so far been rather tame – certainly my coworkers at work have racier conversations, although they do also discuss in detail how to dispose of an universally hated Third Party Supplier’s Relationship Manager…so far fire or rats are the frontrunners.

Unlike ‘Bones’ this series isn’t giving me any tips on body disposal, however it is proving educational in terms of ensuring a lack of visible motive or opportunity – rather like a more homicidally successful ending to Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers on a Train’.

Now if only I could kill my cold off once and for all.

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Book: Melissa Marr’s ‘Wicked Lovely’ – “Just tender feelings walking around exposed in their delicate shells…Easy to crush.”

I am starting to wonder if I am being overly fussy of late, there seem to be more things that I am under-impressed with than usual and I am listening to a lot of shouty music (I woke up with Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Sin’ stuck in my head and Skinlab’s ‘Come and Get It’ seems to have been on loop this week). So I decided to curl up with a book and not multi-task!

‘Wicked Lovey’ had a cute quote on the front cover, “Never speak to invisible faeries” and the quote on the back of the book was intriguing too “If she ran, they’d chase: faeries always gave chase.”

wicked lovely

This fits with the fae folk in the stories that I grew up with , from Grimm’s tales to Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’, Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Nights Dream’ and Pratchett’s ‘Lords and Ladies’. In these the fae weren’t nice, they were just so pretty that people forgot what they were like, to quote ‘Lords and Ladies’ “If cats looked like frogs we’d realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are.”

Aislinn has a stupid name and can see faeries, she just tries really really hard to pretend that she doesn’t so that the fae don’t find out her secret. Then Keenan, the Summer King, starts stalking her and stuff happens.

The book started well and had some pretty imagery, for example “The vine-girl in the suit was there again. She looked up from her newest menagerie of origami animals – which were now walking around as if they were alive. “Told you, Cerise,” she said, and went back to folding more leaves.”

However some of the characters were a little too two-dimensional for my tastes and at times they were so immature that it was obviously a Young Adult (YA) book. Keenan is more of a princeling than a king, he is immature and self-centred, he has a panto style relationship with his mother who is a paint-by-numbers Disney cartoon villain and Aislinn is pretty shallow too!

goblin market

In keeping with the general framework of a Young Adult book there was no actual sex, but there were numerous references to “the Summer girls” being very open to anyone’s attentions in bed, one in particular that surprised me was:

“Once they’re Summer Girls, their inhibitions are gone. Remember Eliza when she was a mortal? Not the least bit affectionate.” He took a long drink and sighed. “Now she’s much more receptive.”

I personally feel that this is uber creepy and sounds far too close to grooming or spiking drinks. ‘Wicked Lovely’ is also the first Young Adult book in which I’ve encountered clear rape references or tests for sexually transmitted diseases “test results for everything from HIV to chlamydia”. I’m a fan of educated teens (and adults!), but it was a bit of a shocker to trip over these sentences.

lords and ladies

I’m going to stick with less STD-ridden fae from now on, Pratchett had it spot on in his depiction:

“Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.”

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Proving that cake isn’t always friendly

Continuing on from yesterday, the nice meal out didn’t go so well but it is ok as I’ve ordered a fancy cake from a Patisserie…

So I turn up clutching my scrap of paper with the order number on, I sidestep the ladies who are bamboozled by the choice of cakes – which bluntly can be divided into either fruit tarts or chocolate and cream slices, and hand my number to the lady behind the counter.

She pulls out a box from lower shelf of the fridge unit and takes off the lid… everyone in eyeshot peers into the box and goes “ooh”… expect me, I’m scrabbling for my phone to prove that it is the wrong cake.

cake

(Photo from patisserie valerie)

It is unquestionably the wrong cake, exotic fruit tarts don’t look anything like mixed berry tarts and I definitely ordered the former at a cost of nearly £30 for an 8 inch cake.

The lady behind the till agrees they are definitely not the same thing and says that if I had ordered in-store then they would give me a full refund and let me take the cake. But as I ordered online I would have to email their head office to ask for my money back.

My face must have been a picture as she hurriedly requisitioned the four normal size exotic fruit tarts they had in stock and gave me those as a peace offering. The ladies who had been bamboozled had just decided they wanted to have them, oops!

So I had a big cake that wasn’t what I wanted, four small versions of what I did want and then a small bag of truffles were thrown into the bag too – approximately £15.40 worth of bribes to prevent me making a scene.

I was very grateful for the bribes as my parental unit wasn’t overly taken with the mixed berry cake so having a small version of the correct one went some way to temper the disappointing day!

It also took the edge off the website having no clear policy on cocked-up orders and the 15 working day turn-around time for them to reply to emails! So I am waiting to see what they say, whilst finishing off the sub-par, unwanted and under-loved mixed berry cake.

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Worst meal out in a long time

It is vexing when things don’t go according to plan – for example one of the parental units was visiting the Country to (hopefully) finish the paperwork fallout from a family death so a nice meal out and a fancy cake didn’t seem too much to organise.

I booked a meal at a restaurant that I hadn’t been to before but seemed to have a nice varied menu, was always busy when I walked past and had a nice interior. On paper it looked a good choice – the internet had mixed reviews but the general vibe was positive.

chicken remains

(Photo from suddenlunch.blogspot.co.uk)

The meal sucked on a number of fronts, from the REALLY excessive noise from the kitchen – I’m surprised they had any plates left in one piece, to the starters being very small portions – the baked flat mushrooms consisted of one small solitary mushroom.

Worst of all was the sticky toffee pudding, it was awful – the only thing sticky or toffee related was the sauce, the cake itself was a massive wedge of dry, flavourless stodge.

The waitress asked how the deserts were and, because she’d ask, we were honest about the disaster of the sticky toffee pudding – so we weren’t charged for that. But we left the establishment still feeling fired up and under-impressed, so we filled in the online feedback form – which was rather therapeutic.

The following morning by 9am we had a £30 voucher emailed, which is nice but this basically covers two main courses and a starter when we’d paid for three people having three courses – well apart from the sticky toffee pudding.

So I’m feeling that I should be pretty happy with this result but I am still a little BLEH about the whole experience as it was really embarrassing that I’d chosen the hellish venue. I guess we are going back at some point – well at least 2 of us, and I am really hoping for a better experience!

 I’ll tell you the cake story tomorrow!

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