On average a 5/6 minute read Track 4/5 minute listen.
For Jan Allain, dizzy Buddy.
Sleep, sleep, let me sleep. Tinnitus. Head, mind, ears & vertigo.
The Shipping Forecast.
My ears have gloried in the music, the wind in the willows, the waves on the shore and the shared chatter with friends. The rustling of bamboo in my garden, the murmuring of the radio, the buzzing of bees, the singing and calls of birds, my ears have heard my children’s voices from infant cries and gurgles to the voices of adulthood. As familiar to me as my own skin.
The general synopsis at midnight
High Norway 1040, slow moving and declining 1030 by midnight tonight. High Hebrides 1035 dissipating by same time
I hate this thing. It never stops, the noise, the ringing in my head. Niagara Falls and high pitched squeals. I feel sick. It’s shit. The fear, the headaches, the dread and my head is never silent, it is not peaceful in there. I lie down at night, craving sleep and the noises are louder. Count sheep? Please let me sleep.
I listen to the radio, not the news: I’m fed up with the News. It is depressing and frightening. One news a day to keep up. In bed, I tune to 4 extra, a nice play or a book reading, something light and gentle? I doze and jerk awake. Someone is shouting. Is it inside my head? Or is it a radio play, a murder victim? A Ghost emerging from a wall? An intruder in the Hall?
I turn and turn again, bash a few pillows into shape and attempt drifting off to Sailing By, then the Shipping forecast ‘.. the Isle of Biscay or was it the Mull of Kintyre, slipped into my consciousness and I was far from hearth and home surrounded by grey, tumultuous and terrifying seas in a strange northern land, twisting waves, tall as tower blocks, busting against high craggy cliffs. I wake hot and sweating, wet skin and soaked nightshirts, sometimes 3 or 4 in a night, sheets more than damp. Thank the Gods and Goddesses, for the double bed. I roll over wearing another dry nightshirt.
Wind direction. Becoming cyclonic.
I am not in Syria or Yemen. Not in a War Zone, not on a flood plain, not near forest fires or heathlands ablaze. Oh fortunate me. I weep when yet more people and children take to dangerous seas in little rubber boats. I weep every time these world leaders strut the world stage and spew vile lies and proclaim yet more insidious insults on us, the populations. Pompous prats.
‘World beating,’ crowing of their achievements, smirking for the cameras, usually grossly exaggerated and far from truthful. Those same world leaders turn their ears from the facts, climate change, so called living wages? And they carry on making the dirty money and filling the same lake, serving themselves; lapping from The Lake of Luxury and Privilege. Stashing the cash on The Islands of ill gotten gains.
Fitzroy and Sole severe gale force 9 Sea state rough. Very Rapidly:
Moving at more than 45 knots.
I smile when I hear ‘Angels on earth’ stories, I smile when I see people in love, they are gonna need that love. I smile when the spring flowers bud and white snowdrops appear. Mother Nature fighting back. I smile when I see children playing. I smile when I hear the voices of my ‘adult’, children and dear friends on the phone. I smile at the antics of my Cats. Trees will soon pop with fresh green leaves, and we will survive another day. I smile whilst I make my home a place of refuge and weep for those who have no home. I try to smile every day.
Occasionally rain, good. Light icing.
Most doctors say, ‘Nothing we can do, it’s age. No medication for this.’ ‘Put up & shut up’ in other words. A GP thrust a card at me with the number for Spec savers. ‘Go and get a hearing test.’ he said. A disinterested young woman attempted sell me some very expensive hearing aids. Wanted me to commit there and then. They were a ridiculous price. ‘I need to think about this,’ I said, ‘It’s a lot of money.’ She rang the next day and was bordering on the bullying, ‘You said you wanted them,’ she said accusingly… ‘No’, I said.
I went to Boots. Much better. After thorough tests, I was referred to the audio department in Folkstone Hospital, more tests, measured up for hearing aids which kept falling out! After waits of months for appointments. Several visits to hear, ‘There is nothing wrong with these aids.’ Several rebuffs. They kept falling out. Very embarrassing when you sing for a living! So now I’m losing my hearing?
‘Heard the one about the deaf singer?’
The Audio man at Boots said, ‘No wonder. They took the wrong measurements!’ They were too big for my small ears.
For the last few years, I had been experiencing extreme episodes of Vertigo and nausea, sudden unexpected falling, hearing loss and fear.
‘It is not life threatening.’ What isn’t life threatening?’ I asked. ‘Tinnitus.’ the doctor said. (Inside my head.. ‘Oh so when I fell in the street, it is not life threatening. Imagine a busy main road, a person crosses the road, falters, staggers and falls, a car swerves ? Not life threatening?’)
I was dismissed, my 10 minutes were up. (A few bad falls, blood everywhere, my arms are scarred from a fall into a jagged stone wall and then tumbling along the pavement.
‘I almost drowned myself falling into a pond’!) I said to myself and I as I left, for the doctor was moving on to the next patient….Next…..
Viking, North Utsire southwesterly five to seven; occasionally gale eight; rain or showers; occasionally poor.
The very informative audio man at Boots was concerned about my falls and dizzy nausea and wrote to my GP. Twice. Many weeks passed with one or two appointments over the year and finally another hospital check-up.
Rising (or falling) quickly..
Do not look up, the world spins, dizzy dizzy.
They lost the results. 2 years later, another referral.
At Canterbury Hospital, Dr Omar Ahmed, one of these so-called Immigrants. One of those people who, without, the NHS would be in an even more fragile state. The second person to bother to take me seriously with this frightening condition. He diagnosed it as Meniere’s Disease. I had never heard of this disease. There are treatments for this,’ he said, and started me on a course of medication.
Rising (or falling) quickly.. ‘
‘I can’t guarantee this will help but I will guarantee that I will see you in 3 months.’ A letter arrived 3 days later. Early February 2020. Unfortunately, Covid hit us, lock downs, NHS in crisis, no hospital appointments and as for ringing my GP practice? Forget it. It’s like trying to call God?
The Vertigo spells are back…My meds need adjusting? But the Surgery is of course, closed. Waiting, waiting, the numbers ..
‘..you are in queue position 5……’ on and on and messages, endlessly repeating.. ‘do not ring the surgery’ do not …. I had no luck with getting repeat meds delivered and somehow it all went wrong and each med came at a different time and I am afraid to go out on my own. I don’t want to fall down outside again.. they don’t seem to care. My hospital appointment to follow up was cancelled because of lock down. I am not holding my breath. Carry on sorting. Carry on writing. Carry on planting. Carry on feeling anxious. Carry on wondering.. When? Carry on not sleeping. Carry on sweating nightmares.
DEPRESSION: Area of low pressure, around which the wind moves in an anti-clockwise direction, with the wind speed increasing towards the centre, often resulting in gales.
I had been though a similar experience in 2008 when no one bothered with my back problems. ‘Go home and buy some Ibuprofen in the Chemist.’ was all I got. I was rescued after 2 years of agony, spasms, nerve damage, dragging my left leg as if it were a dead fish. Flown back from working in Madrid in a wheelchair in 2008. Still, no help until a wonderful GP, Dr. Louise Irvine came round and stepped into action. MRI scan the following afternoon, rushed into Lewisham hospital that night, where I remained for a week waiting to be moved to Kings College for surgery.
Forties, Cromarty, Forth,
Four and a half hours of surgery and after a week I was returned to Lewisham Hospital. I had to learn to walk again, sell my home in Deptford: too many stairs. My flat was at the top of a converted office block. A long flight of stairs at the front door, a long corridor and a twisty iron staircase to reach the 3 flats at the top. I loved that place. And my garden on the roof.
We were in the middle of the Banking crisis, 2009, and wham, total disaster, my whole world in tatters, the last decades of my life were looking bleak. Priced out of my own home town. I left in 2010, moving to Folkestone in Kent from my flat above Deptford High Street.
The general synopsis Low, Losing its identity. Rockall, later. ..
Deptford London SE8 my Roof Garden.
Garden Folkestone 2010
Tyne Dogger Fisher German Bight..
My Garden in Folkestone 2020 with Louis, one of my Cats.
But I have planted three trees and many vegetables. I have my first garden. Thank you, Dr Omar Ahmed, thank you, Lou Stevenson, at Boots, thank you to those who take patients seriously when they have their precious little 10 minutes to explain why you rang for help in the first place. Thank you to the surgeon who mended my broken back at Kings College in London.
Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth, four or five, increasing six soon, rain or slight drizzle, good.
Sailing By was written by Ronald Binge in 1962
Next – Eyes and things. VISIBILITY Very Poor: Visibility less than 1,000 metres
GALE WARNINGIssued: 22:01 (UTC) on Tue 5 Jan 2021
Northeasterly gale force 8 expected later
Back & spine – everything