The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.


A miracle!

Yesterday morning I woke in excruciating pain as I stepped out of bed.

The pain moves. Every day it is in the different area of my lower back. Down the legs one day, in the hip another day, in the other hip yet another day, or just in my lower back. How I walk depends on pain.

I have the Bent Double Old Crone Hobble. Or the Stiff Upright Penguin Walk. Or I can walk more or less normally with hardly any pain at all. I am using a stick.

This pain is very erratic. I never know what’s going to happen on rising in the morning or even on rising from where I have been sitting during the day. It’s a great pest. I’ve bloody had enough!

I’m not sure why yesterday morning I picked up the phone at 8 a.m. and phoned the surgery in the morning ‘race’ to get a doctor that patients nowadays have to endure. Instead of twenty people waiting in the queue, the receptionist or whatever she’s called answered the phone immediately. I think she was the same person that I had abused a few days ago (see last post.)

I discovered that ‘our doctor’ was on two weeks holiday (again). But I could see Dr XXX face to face at 3.15 pm. That was so extraordinary, so very unusual, so absolutely unheard of, that a deathly silence ensued from me.

It was a miracle.

It was as great a miracle as turning water into wine, or causing a blind man to see.

I have been struck dumb ever since.

Postscript. Dr XXX has won my undying admiration. He faced ME the whole consultation instead of continually typing on his computer. At one point he leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, looking at me eyeball to eyeball over our masks and said “It’s SO exhausting being in pain all the time, isn’t it?”



I haven’t been nice. I’ve been horrible. This morning I woke up thinking about it.

I’m a nasty piece of work.

Yesterday I blew my top.

In our medical practice we have a complicated procedure to get an appointment with a doctor. In the old days one picked up the phone at the time of one’s choosing, talked to the receptionist who is now called by some other fancy name and made an appointment to see the doctor. It was either urgent or for sometime in the future. But in these modern times, one has to¬†enter the ‘race’.

If you need a doctor urgently or even futurely, you have to join the queue at 8 o’clock in the morning exactly, when you will be told there are 9, 14 or 20 people ahead of you waiting in the same queue to speak to the receptionist. While you wait you have practice notices repeated eternally and you listen to music that makes your heart race and ratchets up your adrenaline, pumping annoyance hormones into every cell.

This procedure can take up to 45 minutes or longer by which time you have succumbed to the emergency that you are trying to get a doctor for.

Yesterday I did all that and the doctor, who I do not know and who really knows nothing about me, phoned twice on my mobile phone despite instructions to phone on my landline. He simply cancelled the appointment because I hadn’t answered.

When I got hold of the receptionist again, she said I’d have to phone tomorrow at 8 o’clock to make a new appointment.

That’s when the shit hit the fan. Me being the shit.

After she grudgingly agreed to get another doctor to phone me, she asked the fatal question.

“What do you want to see the doctor about?”

So I told her.

In shocking detail.

For a long time.

About as long as a consultation.

Mr Furlong was listening.

Afterwards he said

“They’re only doing what they’ve been told to do.”

This morning as I woke, I mulled over the situation. I overdid things yesterday. That’s bad.

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False listening

Recently, I’ve had to see doctors. Here in the UK we have Patient Access. After the event you can go in to Patient Access online to see your medical notes. They are not always correct. It means the medical person was not listening to you.

Thrice recently, I have had reason to be annoyed. The first time I got the medical person to change my notes because they were wrong. I explained why they were wrong and whilst we were on the phone the medical person altered them and because I was online too so I checked that they did it properly.

Now I see that two different medical persons have recorded things in the exact opposite of what I said. When I fell down the back garden stairs last April or was it May?, I was perfectly fine except for shock. Now the notes say that when I fell I injured myself. But that’s not true.

The second medical person says that when I sit I’m in pain. That’s the exact opposite of what I said. I said when I sit I am NOT in pain.

These complaints might seem trivial, but actually, I think it is important to write down what the patient actually said. Could be important don’t you think?

So I’m a little annoyed.

Not only that but I find at my notes record that I was told I had osteoporosis and that I ‘declined treatment’. I was told I had osteopenia at the hospital Dexa scan and that I should go home and eat as much dairy products as possible, which I have done.

Osteoporosis is incurable. Once you have it you have it and all you can do is mitigate the pain. I have read about the injections for osteoporosis and know people who have had them. They are are worse than the osteoporosis with the most horrific side effects.

I see in my notes that some medical person phoned me on a phone appointment to tell me about my osteoporosis. I remember that phone call. The medical person sounded about 17 years old, and someone I had never heard of. To this 17-year old possible trainee doctor or nurse I ‘declined treatment’.

I wonder what treatment I was offered? I don’t remember any. Well, I would not be confident in anything offered to me in a frightened little voice, by some unknown person still wet behind the ears.

The diagnosis of osteoporosis should have some respect and should be delivered to you by someone to whom it is not simply a word.

But perhaps, if the doctor’s notes are recording lies, I might not have osteoporosis at all. I do not see any Dexa scan results that I do.

Trust is such a fragile thing!

Added later….I have checked my Dexa Scan results on Patient Access, and photographed them. They are ALL NORMAL! Osteoporosis? NO!

Added even later….The Furlong family says “Normal” means normal for someone with Osteoporosis!

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Till death do us part

Last Sunday I injured my back. Long story. Not interesting. So I have been virtually bedridden for a week. We borrowed a zimmer frame and a wheelchair. The zimmer frame is for getting around the house and the wheelchair we used to get me to the doctor. Let me tell you being in a wheelchair is a very scary experience. Absolutely terrifying in fact.

That is just the background to the topic of this post which is about trying a new thing. When you are lying on your back in bed it is very difficult to type on your tablet or phone. The screen twists around from portrait to landscape and the arms become very tired. The eyeballs squint and soon desperation and frustration ensue. (or is it insue?)

My phone has the latest Android which includes Google keyboard. Google keyboard has a tiny microphone icon on it which I discover types what I say. So I played around with it. It can make bloopers which I have to correct but on whole it does amazingly well despite (or is it dispite?) my accent.

Now I have installed Google keyboard on my tablet. I use my tablet for writing blogs. I use my tablet for nearly all my writing. This blog post is written by speaking it.

I have had to make very few corrections and think it will do me fine whilst I lie on my back in my sick bed.

Actually that’s not true.

It’s much easier than actually typing any bloody thing, and as it seems to be learning my accent, we might get on very well together in the future too. In fact it might be till death do us part!


The most beautiful thing

Last year, we obtained this beautiful thing.

It is a Green Man Mask made by Cate van Alphen.

Green Man

All about The Green Man

I look at it with great pleasure where it sits on our mantle piece to remind myself that spring IS on the way!


Blinded by the light

The Furlongs have become Troglodytes.

Here, in the Northwest of England, it seems to have rained every day for months. And if it hasn’t rained, it’s just cloudy and gloomy.

Dark, gloomy, wet, cold. Depressing.

We simply live in our cave.

On the very occasional bright day, where nature affirms to us that the sun is still in orbit, my eyes can’t take the light.

Our flat, (the estate agent calls it an “apartment”), gets sun in the lounge in the afternoon. Afternoons is when we watch the telly. At a certain point, the sun hits the clock face on the mantlepiece and reflects it’s laser beam directly into my eyes. After that, it moves it’s beam to the mirror above it. Well, actually it might be the other way around. I don’t know, because at that point, I am blinded by the light.

There are two options.

The first is to drop the blinds or close the curtains.

The second is to kit out in dark glasses and a baseball hat pulled right down over my eyes.

I often wonder how Mr Furlong sees me. Does he see faded youth, wrinkles and white hair and wonder how he ever married this wizened old lady? Or does he look at me in my black dark glasses, my baseball cap sitting in my especially pillowed, back supporting , orthopaedic ankle braced position in my lounge chair, and get confirmation that what he always suspected is true.

He married a nutter.


Twelfth night

When you get old and you’ve done Christmas for what seems like a million times, you get pretty sloppy.

Before Christmas I slung around a few bits of tinsel, some fairy lights and bits and bobs. Mr Furlong bought a Christmas tree plus it’s decorations.

Today, we take them all down again.

They will be chucked into a cardboard box and stored in the shed till next year. Then they will be resurrected in exactly the same form as they’ve been this year and no doubt my arthritis will cause me to sling them around again.

They will have fallen apart less quickly than I seem to be doing.

If it wasn’t for Mr Furlong and his Christmas tree, I am now in the stage where I can’t be arsed to do much anything for the physical pain I’m in.

Next week I’m seeing our doctor about pain control.

But today, is Twelfth Night. There’s work to do.



Best wishes for 2022 – resolutions

My personal wish is that 2022 will be the year we ditch masks, vaccinations, lateral flow tests and get back to normal.

I am hoping that sense infuses our Government and they retire or fire the scientists who have guided their Covid 19 Delta policies through two horrible years.

This strain is Omicron. It’s different. If one in thirty people have it already according to the last figures I heard, let’s all simply get on with life. Why isolate?

If it’s a pussycat virus like normal flu or colds, we don’t need vaccinations either. And we don’t need to test for it. We should simply stay in bed, or at home until well and then get on with life like we did in the old days.

I have been a good girl, I have followed every instruction, done every test and been boosted. The Furlong family have already had Covid. Some of us are vaccinated, some of us aren’t. Our relationship with Covid started way back in March 2020 when our daughter got Covid 19 in the first terrifying phase. We were frightened. I wrote about it on another blog before people even knew how unpleasant it was. Since then we have had more Covid adventures.

But, you know what? I’ve had enough. I’m not co-operating any more.

In 2022 I’m going to rebel.

My resolutions are.

No lateral flow testing for me. If you fear my Omicron, tough shit.

No more vaccinations. Three are enough. Let the Government stuff their millions of vaccinations. They should ask for a refund from the manufacturers for providing a product that does not do what it says on the tin.

No more watching daily ‘cases’ which tell us that everyone has Omicron. But never relents in offering a new twist fear tactic or advising boosters, lateral flow testing and other already procured product pushing.

Enough is enough.

Omicron will be our friend. I’m considering it such. Welcome to 2022.

And best wishes to you all……