Aha, the joys of a northern winter! It’s been a cold and snowy christmas in Edinburgh, and a white one to boot, with a few flakes falling on frozen ice and snow, laid down a few days earlier. I’ve been introduced to a new spectator sport – sitting at the window with a cup of tea and watching pedestrians slithering down the frozen pavements. In fact, I’ve found it goes even better if you have a cd of comedy sound effects playing in the background – beeyoingyoingyoing noises, that sort of thing – for when someone falls over.
The arctic conditions have kept us indoors, and as I have zero sense of balance at the best of times I tend to do a nifty impersonation of a new-born foal who isn’t sure what legs are for every time I venture out onto ice. I did make one trip up the hill to Old Town last week, though, to see a hospital consultant about my sinuses.
For new readers, or those who simply can’t keep up with all my various ailments (rather like the young man in Three Men In A Boat I’m working my way through the medical dictionary to see how many problems I can accumulate – the answer is, a surprising amount), I’ve been having trouble breathing, with massive congestion, like someone’s injected lead just below each eye socket. It’s like waking up each morning with a bad cold, or a hangover. Because I have a deviated septum the proposed solution has always been to break my nose and re-set it and see if that helped, a procedure which I viewed with some misgivings. But things had gotten so bad recently, I thought I’d better get it over with.
Anyway, I saw the consultant – harassed and overworked and with two other patients already “warmed up”, as he put it, in waiting rooms – and at first he too was rather keen to go for the nose-breaking option (“though it’s much more complicated than that sounds”). He went on to reassure me that he’d performed the operation on his wife. (“Doesn’t that count as spousal abuse?” I asked, which earned me a snigger from the nurse and a look from the consultant as though breaking my nose would count as both work and pleasure.)
But after he’d actually inspected me, and shoved one of those cold wire coat-hanger probe-y things so far up my nose I could feel it banging on the top of my skull, he had to concede that perhaps it wouldn’t help me any. In a gesture that gives you faith in modern medicine he sent me away with a promise of drugs if my symptoms got any worse, and an appointment to see him when his diary was a bit clearer, which turned out to be May 2010. And I was turned back out into the snow, relieved and unrelieved all at the same time.
Meanwhile the gansey is shaping up nicely, which is what a week of sitting around listening to cricket, music and audiobooks can do for you. The sun’s shining outside now as I type this, and I should get out and go for a walk, but I think I picked up a cold at the hospital (serves me right for shaving, it’s God’s judgement I tell you) so am forced to wrap up warm, put on the heating and sit down with a cup of tea and some Bach, and… Well. That’s kind of where we came in, isn’t it?
Hope Santa was kind. All the best for a happy New Year!