The pains in my sternum at night have become so acute that it is starting to give me some cause for concern. If there is no improvement I may have to go back to hospital next week and try to find out what is going on.
I have done considerable research on this but can find no similar instances of anyone experiencing bad pains at night when lying on their side, yet virtually pain free when lying on their back, or during the day, when they are up and about.
It was a little better last night as I took some paracetamol before I slept, and when I woke in pain in the middle of the night I took some more paracetamol and lay on my back for a while until the pain subsided, before turning onto my side and drifting off to sleep again. When I woke up early this morning the pain had returned, but it was not as bad as it has been during previous nights.
It is still only 6 weeks since my operation so maybe I am being just too impatient. Certainly there are many reports of people having considerable pain well after the six week point, and I understand that it takes a minimum of 12 weeks for the sternum to initially heal and much longer – up to year or more before it is more or less back to normal.
Of course it will never be completely normal, as it still contains the wire staples that were used to hold the sternum together at the completion of the operation. I have read that sometimes these wires get caught up in the nerves and can cause chronic pain for years. The only cure is to be opened up again and have the wire removed!!!
Fingers crossed it nothing like that that is causing my nightly pains and that they will eventually go away.
The weather out here by the lake continues to be very pleasant – a nice mix of sunny and overcast skies with the occasional thunderstorm or light rain showers , all of which keeps the temperature at a very tolerable level.
My late afternoon walks are going from strength to strength and the other day, for the first time ever, little Noo complained that she was having trouble keeping up with me. She said that it ‘wasn’t fair’, as my legs were much longer than hers and she had to take two steps to my one! This is quite a turnaround as ever since we have been walking together, it has always been me that has struggled to keep up with her – pathetic, I know, but that’s what a dodgy heart valve can do to you.
At the conclusion of my daily walks, I feel a little tired, but my chest and breathing are absolutely fine. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to experience this after the months of torture that I have just been through. And after my walk, I even do a 15 minute, gentle swim in the pool!
Mind you, the other day I thought we were all goners. We were out with our dogs, only a block from home, when we were confronted by a ferocious and snarling pit-bull terrier that the owner had carelessly allowed to escape from his compound. I always carry a long stick with me to cater for such emergencies, but threatening the snarling beast with my stick had no effect, and he advanced upon us, seemingly trying decide which of the appetising creatures in front of him to attack first; Noo, Mobi, or one of our three dogs.
Having failed to cower the brute by waving my stick at him, I resorted to the only weapon I had remaining – my very loud, and hopefully, very frightening voice. I yelled at the dog at the top of my voice and he actually backed off for a few seconds. Then he decided that this old codger was no threat to him and started advancing again, baring his deadly molars.
I renewed my screaming, at even louder volume levels, and edged towards him, still waving my stick. The dog stopped in his tracks – staring at me, unsure whether to leap up at me or retreat. I kept up the non-stop yelling and the dog stayed where he was – neither advancing nor retreating.
It was time for us to get out, and I told Noo to move away with the dogs in tow. I took up the rear, and as we attempted to make our escape, the beast once more went into attack mode. I repeated my earlier manoeuvre and went towards him with the stick, yelling blue murder, and once again the terrifying beast stopped in its tracks. This was repeated several times until we had succeeded in getting about 10 meters down the road from his back yard, whereupon the killer beast must have decided that enough was enough and he graciously let us go.
Needless to say, all this trauma and screaming had me almost doubled up with pain from my poor, weak chest, and I thought that my heavily pounding ticker was about to burst through its heart cavity.
If nothing else, it certainly gave my new aortic valve a good test run….
Some folks just don’t get it.
The world has been teetering on the brink of economic collapse for several years now, yet sadly, it seems that for so many of those lucky enough to be gainfully employed, it is increasingly a case of :
‘I’m all right Jack – so fuck you – and don’t meddle with my salaries and benefits, and don’t you dare cut any of our staff.’
It doesn’t matter that a town/city/state/country is toppling headlong into bankruptcy and that sooner or later, there will be no cash remaining to pay their bloated benefits; just stick your head in the sand and insist that whatever else happens, you get your pound of flesh – Now!
Well, unlike the miserly Shylock in Shakespeare’s’ Merchant of Venice’, they may well get their pound of flesh, but they will also have to also have to witness a simultaneous outpouring of metaphorical ‘blood and guts’ that will be the nasty result of such such reckless payments in these troubled times.
There are almost daily examples from all walks of life and in many different countries of people ‘who just don’t get it’ – from the rioters in bankrupt Greece who are outraged that they can’t still get free housing and retire at 50 on inflated pensions, to the doctors in the UK who I wrote about recently, who went on strike to protest some minor adjustments to their pension entitlements.
Last week there was just such an example of blatant selfishness and an uncaring attitude in the good city of North Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Over the years, the fire-fighters and police unions in this city have negotiated generous contracts with the city when property taxes were high and rising. Now that the housing market has collapsed and property tax revenues are lower, North Las Vegas is facing a $33 million budget deficit for the new fiscal year. The city said the only way it could submit a balanced budget, as required by law, was to lay off 217 employees, including 57 fire-fighters.
But the city didn’t want to do that, so they came up with an unconventional alternative based on Nevada Revised Statute which stated that local government employers are entitled to take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out their responsibilities in situations of emergency such as a riot, military action, natural disaster or civil disorder. Those actions may include ‘the suspension of any collective bargaining agreement for the duration of the emergency’.
So instead of massive lay-offs, the City asked the unions to accept the city’s proposal, which included freezing fire-fighter’s salaries for two years, discontinuing a program which allows union members to sell back their unused days off and cutting other fringe benefits.
We then learn that fire-fighters in North Las Vegas are not only paid more than average workers in their city, but they earn much more than fire-fighters elsewhere. A research study conducted in August 2011 showed that Nevada fire-fighters are the highest-paid in the nation.
Earnings for a full-time fire-fighter in North Las Vegas averaged $111,822 in 2010. Add in a benefits package totalling more than $52,000, and you arrive at a total compensation package of more than $164,000. The large retirement contributions made by the city, allow a fire-fighter who joins at age 20 to retire by age 45 while drawing retirement benefits equal to 90 per cent of his pay for the rest of his life.
This retirement deal sounds better than UK doctors receive when they retire at 65!
But the fire-fighters are refusing to budge on their pre-recession agreed compensation deals and are even insisting on cost-of-living increases. It seems that union bosses just don’t care that other public employees may have to be laid off, or that public safety will suffer, as long as their members get what they want.
And in case you are not a follower of American politics, I can assure you that this kind of situation is repeating itself all over the USA, where bankrupt cities and state governments are faced with belligerent city and state employee unions, (including police, teachers and fire-fighters), who are demanding that their incredibly inflated salaries and overblown benefits be paid, despite the fact that by doing so, countless others will suffer and that there is nothing left in the public purse to pay them with.
One State governor actually succeeded in passing a law through his state legislative assembly, that would allow him to disregard collective bargaining agreements with unions. This so incensed the unions and their Democrat masters that they launched a multi-million dollar campaign to have him ‘recalled’ –a device which effectively meant he had to go through a state-wide ‘vote of no confidence’ in a specially constituted election, which if he were to lose, he would be thrown out of office.
I mean – honestly – you couldn’t make this stuff up, could you?
By the way, the governor in question actually succeeded in winning the ‘recall’ vote. But what about all those millions wasted on such self-serving action which could have been put to so much better use than in making an abortive attempt to prop up the already grossly inflated benefits being enjoyed by a selfish state civil service?
Made in China
It made me laugh the other day when I heard of the media fury that blew up over the revelation that that uniforms for the US Olympic team had been made in China.
Politicians were up in arms, demanding investigations into this horrendous state of affairs, and more than one senior politico called for all the uniforms to be thrown into a huge pile and burnt to cinders.
Yet when an enterprising journalist started to investigate just what proportion of people’s every day clothing had been made in China or other third world countries, they were shocked to find that it was actually quite rare to find a single piece of attire that had been made in America.
It was an easy enough fact to establish, as every item of clothing sold in America is required by law to have a label attached, stating its country of origin. Yet when person after person was asked if he or she knew where their clothing was made – nobody had the faintest idea. They hadn’t even bothered to check.
A quick check of the labels revealed that almost 100% of their clothing – from their shoes to underwear, to undergarments to hats had been made in places as far afield as China, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and so on.
I wonder if the likes of Nancy Pelosi – one of the most outraged of all the politicians – had bothered to check her own wardrobe to see how many of her own clothes had been made abroad?
But there again, an extremely wealthy lady like Nancy, may well have bought all her clothes from upmarket, expensive boutiques and fashion houses where undoubtedly most of their produce was made in the good ol’ USA
Just what is this American obsession about the evils of outsourcing jobs to foreigncountries and having your goods made overseas? When are you guys going to get it into your heads that in this modern world of ‘free trade’, manufacturing and labour will always be exported to the place where it can be carried out at the lowest cost?
It has been thus throughout history and unless America decides to isolate itself from the global economy and introduce punitive trade sanctions, it will never stop.
Instead of moaning and wailing about losing menial jobs to India or having your clothes made in China, why don’t you just wise up and do the things in America that India and China can’t do? You lead the world in science, engineering and technical innovation, and so many more space-age, 21st Century skills, so why the sweet fuck don’t you get off your arses, stop the effing whingeing about ‘outsourcing overseas’ and get stuck into the high tech industries where the likes of China cannot compete – at least not yet.
All this hysterical bullshit about Romney and Bain capital exporting jobs overseas is just a load of hog wash! Even if he did know about it – so bloody what ? He was a businessman trying to make a buck and if that meant contracting some of his labour force overseas, then so be it.
He was doing no less than any other American enterprise does from GE down. Or what would you have had Bain do? Keep all their jobs in the US, and then go bankrupt, like Obama’s publicly funded Solyndra?
I have had the misfortune to live through the decades when Britain lost so much of its manufacturing base to far eastern and other third world countries; but along with the sorrow and the wringing of hands at the closing of so many factories, I also recall a rugged resignation in which we, as a nation, accepted and understood that it was all part of an inevitable change in world order.
Nobody tried to claim that these jobs and industries should not have gone; we had enough common sense to realise that it was no longer economic proposition to keep such industries in the UK – we knew that we could no longer compete and that this was the way the world progressed. We realised that we had better roll up our sleeves and find some new industries to replace the old ones.
It took many years but to a great extent, Britain has succeeded in doing that, and despite the recent setbacks due to the world recession, the country still ‘bats well above its weight’ in terms of its trade, and yes – even in manufacturing. For those who doubt this, I invite you to read the article I wrote in my blog of 12th October, 2011 entitled ‘Made in Britain.’ The facts will surprise you.
Here is a small extract of what I wrote back in October, which is still as relevant as the day I wrote it:
“Obama would do well to watch this programme. I sincerely believe that he has absolutely no real concept of what really drives the world economy and in particular the American economy. He can’t have, or he wouldn’t keep banging on about losing American jobs overseas, accusing the Chinese and others of unfair trading practices and try to inject vast amounts of money into dying manufacturing industries in a desperate attempt to increase production and provide jobs for the unemployed.
He doesn’t understand that the American economy, like Britain’s, has to change to meet the challenges of the world in the 21st century. It cannot compete with the Chinese on low cost labour, low-value production and they must move on to produce high value things that the Chinese and other developing nations are currently unable to do.
Nothing demonstrates Obama’s total ignorance of what drives the world economy more than the recent Solyndra scandal. His administration insisted in ploughing over 500 million dollars into a manufacturer that could never compete with its Chinese competitors. The Chinese were able to produce wind turbines at a fraction of the cost that Solyndra was able to do. Simple research would have told them that, but politics got in the way.”
My full article can be found HERE
Of course, Germany has done even better than Britain, and maybe the USA should take a look at their old adversary and try to understand the key to their successful economic resurgence. It certainly wasn’t because they kept crying into their spilt milk about the loss of jobs to the Indians or Chinese.
Nancy with the smiling face
My reference to the erstwhile congressional majority leader, (now minority leader), Nancy Pelosi, in the above piece, got me thinking some more about this famous democratic bulwark of the American political establishment.
Nancy – the lady of the people who fights to good fight for the most disadvantaged in society, and whose mission in life, like her President, is to redistribute the wealth of the nation.
Just how much more distribution is Nancy and Barrack seeking, I wonder?
Did you know:
- that the top 1% of income earners in the USA pay 40% of the taxes;
- that the top 5% pay 65% of the taxes
- and the top 5o% of earners pay a whopping 97% of the taxes! Yes- 97%!!
That of course means that the bottom 50% of earners, pay just 3% of taxes.
As I have already asked, just how much more wealth distribution are these democratically minded public servants looking for?
Maybe they should ask Chavez, or study the writings of Karl Marx…
BUTT…BUTT…BUTT… I don’t give a Hoot!…