I spent last Wednesday and Thursday in Bangkok, as I had appointments with my cardiologist and diabetes specialists on consecutive days. It is a bit of a bummer that the heart clinic is on a Wednesday and the Diabetes clinic is on a Thursday, so it will always entail a 2 day visit.
I confess that this time around I found the interminable waiting around very wearying, especially when I am not at my best. On Wednesday, I arrived at the hospital before 7 a.m, (having left home at 5 a.m.), and then had to queue almost an hour to have my blood tests, after which, just after 8 a.m., I entered the X-ray waiting room, where I was confronted by hundreds who had made it before me; there was not a single seat to be had and I knew I would be in for another long wait.
It actually didn’t matter, as I still had to hang around until almost midday before my turn came to see the cardiologist. My appointment was for 8 a.m – but so was everyone else’s – and even though Noo had handed over my appointment form when we had arrived at 7 a.m, there were still dozens of patients in front of me. They must have slept there all night!
If anything, it seemed to be worse on day two, when I had to wait even longer to see the diabetes specialist. I confess I was getting so fed up with hanging around that I was on the point of giving up and going home when my name was finally called.
I don’t know why I got so worked up about it, as I knew that going to a government hospital would involve many hours of waiting around, and in the end, when I saw my doctors, I realised that I was being silly, as they are both very good doctors.
In fact, the surgeon gave me a good tip for my next appointment; she suggested that as I don’t need any more X-rays, I could have my blood tested in Pattaya and bring the results with me. This would mean I could arrive much later, as it really doesn’t matter when I arrive if I’ve already got my test results. The remarkable thing is that all patients are dealt with and the clinics cleared soon after noon each day, so I can turn up quite late and still see the docs by noon.
The surgeon is pleased with my progress and has left my warfarin dosage unchanged. Apparently it takes quite a while for the heart to settle down after a major operation and I shouldn’t worry too much about my consistently high blood pressure. She did prescribe a mild BP reducing drug to try and control it, so I will see how it goes.
My blood sugars are alarmingly high – higher than they have been in years – so the specialist has told me to increase my insulin doses until I get better control.
Remarkably, my consultations with both specialists are completely free of charge, and I am now getting my medication – including my insulin – from the hospital pharmacy, which is much cheaper than from my local pharmacist.
So I mustn’t complain about having to queue up all morning – it is a small price to pay for having all my on-going medical costs dramatically reduced. Farewell Bumrungrad….
Back home, I am pleased to relate that on Friday afternoon I took my first ‘proper’ walk, (as opposed to a gentle stroll) – about 35 minutes in all – at quite a decent pace around the lake. I felt pretty good and there was no adverse reaction other than a little pain in the chest where the bones are still healing.
As Noo and I made the return leg along the lake towards my home, it started sprinkling with rain, even though the sun was still shining. Just as Noo’s thoughtful son came racing out of the house on his bicycle to bring us an umbrella, a magnificent rainbow formed in the sky above us – one of the most beautiful and perfectly formed rainbows that either of us have ever seen.
Noo was awestruck; maybe it was a sign from the Gods that Mobi’s new life was about to begin….
So, three weeks after my operation, I am already able to walk further, with no side effects, than I was for the weeks leading up to my hospitalisation. I now want to get as fit as possible and get rid the last vestiges of fat from my stomach. I am setting myself a three month goal to progress from brisk walking to gentle jogging. My weight has already dropped from 90 kilos before the op to about 87 kilos and my goal is to get it down to 80-83kilos.
Noo and I are also talking about buying a tandem bike – that should be good fun!!!
I did spend one full day on my novel and the new chapter is well advanced, but I am not sure it will be completed in time to publish mid-week. I’ll see how it goes.
The American presidential election season is almost upon us, and as an avid devotee of American politics, I am following events with much interest and excitement.
During the last presidential election season, I well recall the campaign rhetoric that Obama dished out in his headlong rush to assume the office of the president of the free world. He became the self-styled presidential candidate for ‘Change’ and ‘Transparency’. He was the man who would clean up Washington, go to war on the iniquitous lobby system, attack cronyism, and get rid of the ‘pork barrel’ politics that has corrupted the American legislative process for decades; and in its hour of need, he would bring the nation together with bi-partisan policies.
On top of all this, he was going reduce the country’s debt, dramatically reduce the unemployment rate, revive the housing market and turn around the fortunes of American businesses and generally get the economy going again. There is more, but that will suffice for now.
I was never taken in by all these promises and hyperbole. I only had to look at his past record, his extremely dubious associations and his lack of any experience in the real world to doubt whether he could really be the inspirational leader that nation believed he would be.
But there was no arguing that he was a great narrator – possibly one of the best that America has ever known – and when he was voted in, I too became caught up in the euphoria and excitement that came with such a historic and celebrated victory. Like many doubters, I genuinely hoped that maybe I was wrong and maybe America finally had a leader who was going to make a difference and do something really special.
Of course, it didn’t take long for disillusion to set in. It soon became clear that without his magic teleprompter, Obama was dead in the water. The fact of the matter was that he was full of ‘hot air’. He seemed unable to keep his own staff in line, and to control the left wing of his own party. As time went on, it became increasingly evident that he was struggling to keep even his most basic of promises – like closing Guantanamo Bay.
Another one of his promises was to enact long needed immigration reform.
During the first two years of his presidency, the democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, and there never could have been a better time to introduce comprehensive immigration legislation. But did he do anything? No way – he was too busy driving through his ill-considered, largely incomprehensible, fatally flawed and draconian ‘Obama-Care’ legislation, which has divided the country like no other legislation, and will almost certainly be repealed by future administrations.
But lo and behold, just a few months before the next election, Obama suddenly comes up with a ‘stop gap measure’ that grants immunity from prosecution for certain groups of illegal immigrants. Why the fuck didn’t he do what he originally promised to do when he had the votes in congress to do it; instead of this fudge which is only going to create yet more partisan ill feeling?
And on the subject of ‘Obama Care’ – what was it he told his supporters and the country at large? There will be no new taxes to fund Obama Care. He said it over and over again. Why did he say that? Because he knew that it would be political suicide to admit otherwise.
If the so-called ‘penalty’ for failure to buy insurance had been called a tax in the first place, the legislation would never have been stuck in the courts for all these months. It was his dogged refusal to admit that the penalties were a ‘back-door’ tax that led to the ‘show down’ in the Supreme Court this week. And what did the learned judges conclude? The ‘penalty’ is not a penalty, but a tax, and therefore the legislation is legal.
And what did the Whitehouse say after the judge’s decision? Oh, they still insist that it is not a tax, even though the most learned court in the land days that it is. You couldn’t make it up, could you?
Obama made many promises about reducing the nation’s debt, reducing unemployment and getting the country’s economy moving again. Three and half years down the line there are few signs that any his promises have come even close to fruition.
Unemployment is still 8.2 %, the housing market is still in the doldrums and as for reducing the national debt – well I wonder how you Yanks feel about a whopping 6 trillion dollar increase in your country’s debt, during the Obama years?
It is almost a year to the day when I wrote an article in my blog of 21st June 2011 about ‘Operation Fast and Furious ‘ the gun running scandal. Read it here: Fast & Furious
It is simply mind boggling, that twelve months later, despite all the efforts of a dogmatic congressional committee, that the American public still doesn’t know who in the Obama administration gave the green light for this mega fuck-up that resulted in the death of at least one US citizen and by general acknowledgment – hundreds, if not thousands of Mexicans.
The Attorney general has consistently refused to hand over key documents that would disclose to the committee who is responsible and who in the Obama administration knew about it but chose to remain silent.
So finally, the ‘President for ‘Change and Transparency’ has come to Holder’s rescue by invoking a device known as ‘executive privilege’, whereby he can withhold the long requested documents from inquisitive congressional eyes.
What happened to all your promises of ‘Transparency in Government’, Mr Obama?
When all is said and done, we all know that the forthcoming election will ultimately be won or lost in a few key ‘swing states’ and that the independents in those states will determine who will be the next president.
In spite of everything I have written above, Obama is still very popular. Even though many have grown disillusioned with his failed policies and broken promises, they still prefer an incompetent Democrat whose heart seems to be in the right place, to what many consider to be that evil, uncaring, mormonised millionaire Republican, Mitt the Romney.
It is far too early to say who will eventually triumph, and as the next few months play out, I will be watching the fortunes of both candidates with much interest. As they say, a ‘week is a long time in politics’
One thing is for sure –the country has become so bitterly polarised that whoever wins is going to have a major battles to get any meaningful legislation passed in what will almost certainly be a wildly partisan Congress.
A Question of Royal precedence
Sorry folks, I know I have been banging on quite a bit on this subject of late, but I just couldn’t resist commenting about this latest little snippet of news on the life and times of our beloved royal wastrels.
We are told by ‘those in the know’, that Granny Lizzie has had a pop at former ‘commoner’ Katie Middleton, by updating ‘The Order of precedence’.
Notwithstanding the fact that delectable Katie will one day become Queen Katie , until that day arrives, she has been demoted to the bottom of the pecking order, as far as her relationship with her fellow royal ‘Hangers On’ are concerned.
Dear Katie has been told that when she is not accompanied by Prince William, she must curtsey to the “blood princesses”; namely the Princess Royal (Lizzie’s twice married, horsey daughter), Princess Alexandra, (daughter of the 4th son of King George V), and the daughters of the Duke of York, (Lizzie’s youngest son – ‘Randy Andy’), – the languid and indolent Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
She must always curtsey to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, whether William is present or not.
We are told that the etiquette, though arcane to some, is taken very seriously by the royals, who bow and curtsey to each other all the time, both in public and behind closed doors.
Apparently, the ‘Order of Precedence’ affects other aspects of royal protocol too, such as who arrives first at an event. For example, the adulterous, sex-craved crone, known as Camilla, was forced to wait in the drizzle outside the Guards Chapel, Windsor, for the arrival of Princess Anne at a memorial service in 2006, because Charles had not accompanied her!!!!
Honestly, I am sure even an expert author of royal fiction would be confused by such meaningless and unbelievably trite drivel. Can you imagine all these genetically damaged luvies gathering together for their Christmas family dinner and desperately trying to work out who they should bow or curtsey to and who should be bowing and scraping to them?
Bloodlines are the key m’Lud. If you’re still unsure, read Harry Potter.
If I was bonny Kate, I’d tell the whole bloody lot of them to take a running jump, do a ‘Katie Holms’, and sue Baldy Billy for all his worth.
Shades of Dianna methinks….
BUTT…BUTT…BUTT… I don’t give a hoot!