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Friday 1 July 2022

Health Update

Since I last posted on Tuesday 21st June, I had a GP appointment on Thursday 23rd June and was prescribed Gabapentin 300mg tablets x 3 daily for nerve pain (as the staff physio had suggested) – but after the first day of taking them, I have only been taking one at night, as even one tablet knocks me out for the entire morning! If I took three tablets, I would be asleep for 24 hours! This has been the best medication so far and is allowing me to sleep a lot more than I have been, thank goodness. The nerve pain is still there during the day time, but has improved a bit, so maybe the exercises and neck traction collar sessions are helping. But, I still can't hold anything heavy or grip anything heavy, as this simply antagonizes my nerve pain in my left arm and neck.

After the appointment, I went to Morrisons to do a small food shop – I nearly always wear my sturdy Grisport Dartmoor walking shoes, but because it was so hot, but I was wearing an old pair of walking sandals. Suddenly, I slipped and went flying – landing on the shiny floor in the cafe area! Its so embarrassing when you fall as an adult, you can't pick yourself up as quickly as a child can! My knees were killing me, but overall I was ok – luckily they are the toughest thing on me, if I had twisted my ankle, it would have been an entirely different outcome. I was kindly asked if I wanted a first aider, but I said there was no need. I sat for a while with a cup of tea to recover! I actually started laughing, what else is going to happen?! I'm not having a good run at the moment!!! I was aching for the next few days, but luckily my fall didn't affect my neck/arm situation, well not to my knowledge anyway.

On Monday 27th June I saw another GP who assessed me for an MRi scan. After his assessment, he agreed that I have 'disc problems' and therefore he would refer me, but to a clinic somewhere near Norwich, as the QEH waiting list was over eight months long and he said they were not accepting anyone else because of this?! The waiting list for the Norwich clinic is only six weeks, so I should get an appointment within that time, which is very good news. I explained that my entire ADL's (term we use at work: active daily living) has stopped, as I can't return to do my normal duties at work, I can't drive any distance because of pain, therefore I can't go birding, I can't lift my camera so my photography has also stopped, can't carry anything heavy and walking round King's Lynn for exercise is beyond depressing! I miss the sea and the coast SO much. Plus I have almost no human contact at the moment – none of this is good for my mental health at all. I have no issues with walking at all and no issues with using my right hand/arm. The GP also recommended purchasing a basic Tens machine – these are not cheap to buy and I know that the physio department issue these out to their patients.

Thursday 30th June – 11am telephone appointment from the Staff Physio, who said he had referred me to the Pain Clinic at the QEH and I also updated him about my GP referring me for an MRi, which he was pleased about, as quote "I need one for correct diagnosis". He also said "to be fair I shouldn't return to work until I have had the MRi" – but if I wait that long to go back to work, I will lose the plot completely!!! The locum physio is sadly leaving today and he said he would ensure that the new staff physio gives me a ring, to see how I'm doing in a couple of weeks. I also asked if I could have a Tens machine and he checked with someone else who said "yes". Later in the afternoon I went to collect the Tens machine (locum physio had left) and I was told I had to have an appointment for this! Sigh...... anyway – I was given an appointment for 7th July!

Went to Specsavers to collect my new intermediate lenses. I found out something extremely interesting recently – I had no idea that you could buy "intermediate" reading glasses. Basically my current reading glasses only focus up to 40cm. My new lenses focus up to 66cm, which now enables me to sit dead upright on a chair to view my iMac or computer at work, so I don't need to lean forwards at all, in fact if I do, the screen goes out of focus, so it forces me to keep in a good position. It also means I can't use these new glasses for reading a book, but it makes no difference as I have a spare pair! I have spent a lot of money over the last few weeks, to improve my posture, pain etc, to get better as quickly as possible. Just need to wait for the MRi scan now. I phoned work and said I was happy to come back, but would be very limited in what I can do at the moment – I was asked to phone again next week.


The Bee-eaters are still at Trimingham thank goodness, I will be seriously upset if I don't get to see them before they depart – fingers crossed! I don't think I will find any within walking distance of my house! 🤣 I did consider public transport, but attempting to get to Trimingham and back in one day is totally impossible!!! We are all encouraged to use our cars less and to use public transport, but this doesn't exactly work out very well for many destinations in Norfolk! The highlight of one of my few recent local walks, was a Painted Lady butterfly and also a Song Thrush, several Blackbirds, Pied Wagtails and Mallards. I'm extremely surprised that I have not seen a Humming-bird Hawk-moth in my garden yet, there seems to be lots around via social media, but I haven't been lucky yet. My huge flocks of young Starlings and House Sparrows are stripping fat blocks and seed within hours. I also have two Magpies in the garden regularly too, which is very unusual. I'm almost out of bird food now. I'm watching two different Hedgehogs almost nightly, which is lovely and one very annoying Squirrel!

My hedges desperately need cutting now. I have always proudly cut all my hedges with hand shears (as my mother used to), but that is not physically possible right now and rather than pay someone, I have decided to invest in a one handed BOSCH hedge cutter, which if light enough, I will purchase from B&Q this weekend – plus it will be cheaper than paying someone and I can use it in future instead of shears! Sweeping up the hedge cuttings with one hand could be interesting though – at the end of the day, I don't suppose it really matters how long it takes.

Update – Saturday evening: purchasing a one handed BOSCH hedge cutter is proving extremely difficult, can't find one anywhere locally at all and can't purchase on line either. The one I am looking for is the "Bosch ASB 10.8 LI Cordless Shrub Shear with Integrated 10.8 V Lithium-Ion Battery £89" – not available at B&Q, Screwfix or anywhere else that I can find locally, apart from Amazon which is overpriced at £127.97!!! There is one at B&Q in Thetford, but that is too far to drive to currently. Oh well!


  1. Penny, after birding for so long in Norfolk, can you not call on a fellow birder to take you to the bee-eaters?
    Wishing you well,
    Les Easom

  2. Hi penny in a similar bind with my neck , initially proscribed Gabapentin increased from 1 a day after a week to 2 ,after about 3 weeks managed pain well but continual spaced out so moved over to duloxatin? Twice a day pain management not as good but now safe to drive ect . All this from beginning of November last year , got MRI finally in April , showed bulged discs c1,2,3,4 with nerve impingement for same on LH side . Returned to work a fortnight ago after 7 months off , missed all winter and a good part of spring birding and zero photography but starting to get out there again now with a lighter super zoom and an elasicated bino harness from decathlon plus no mow may was a roaring success ( no pruning and weeding may as well) so chin up the coast is still there waiting for us .

    1. Hi Arron, so sorry to hear you have been going through a similar situation and for so long! How tedious!!! Love your No Mow May success! I'm glad you are getting back to your normal life again! Yes, the coast is still there waiting! Thanks for contacting me, much appreciated.