Saturday, February 09, 2008

Feeling Unwell

Don't visit Valley's Mam's blog for a day or two - not if you've ever eaten at Italiano Pitzerria in City Road Cardiff. She reports that the two former owners have just been fined because the icing on top of some chocolate cake they were selling was human faecal matter. I once knew someone who used to pee in cups of tea before handing them to his friends, thinking it was a great joke. Perhaps we should have thanked him and given him a slice of chocolate cake in return. I've been suspicious of tea that I haven't seen being poured ever since - and I don't think I'll ever eat a cake with chocolate icing on it ever again.

And in the same post Valley's Mam tells us about the difficulty that the Irish Garda are experiencing recovering a stolen vehicle. It belongs to the Special Branch and they cannot issue a description because they don't want anyone to know what the vehicle looks like.

And there's more - including a story about a lady shoplifter who was found to have a whole salami in her knickers - claiming as her excuse that she was missing her Italian boyfriend!


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Dr. Christopher Wood said...

On the up-side, I remember (while doing a science degree in the University of Wales) being told that sewage workers were among the healthiest workers in Britain. On the down-side I remember (while doing a year-out between school and uni) someone visiting "our lab" at Caerphilly Miners Hospital (naturally in Caerphilly), I think he did a fare amount of work with faecal/fecal matter – of the cow/natural fertilizer kind. I worked there as a Junior B Med Lab Technician.

This man had a particularly ‘healthy looking complexion’, which usually means/equates to a good haemoglobin (hemoglobin)/iron blood level, but had difficulty ‘catching his breath’. Turned out he had a very low haemoglobin level – at that time I was one of two technicians that did blood ‘haemoglobins’, I queried his low result and found out that he had something called 'farmers lung'. On a separate occasion I remember querying very high WBC (white cell count, a Coulter counter machine almost went off the scale, turned out this patient had a cancer of the white blood cells, I remember on another occasion querying the lowest haemoglobin level I had ever seen (when they are very low I preferred to ring the doctor of the patient (or staff nurse if it was a hospital patient), turned out it was my mother's blood. She said she find it hard walking up the hills from Lansbury Park to do shopping and get to the post-office (I guessed she was talking about Market Street or Castle Street, which are co-adjacent to Caerphilly Castle).

Mum had an operation a few months later in ‘the Heath’ (Heath Hospital in Cardiff) to remove certain items that were causing unacceptable blood loss, she almost died - the surgeon nicked something which caused post-op haemorrhaging/hemorrhaging and so she had to be operated on again to fix that issue meanwhile being pumped full of blood to keep her alive, this was going on in the middle of the night. I remember my dad arriving in the wee hours at my new student digs (Llys-Tal-y-bont in Cardiff) – he had just come from the Heath, he didn’t have a car so drove his small motorbike over Caerphilly Mountain – I wondered if he had to push it. Caerphilly police were contacted by the hospital and they knocked him out of bed (we were living on Lansbury Park estate in Caerphilly, most non-Lansbury Park residents avoid/don't have a kind word about Lansbury Park, the teenager next door stabbed a man zillions of times and he ended up ‘serving at Her Majesty’s pleasure’, he was too young to have formal prison sentence). Mum survived - her surgeon tearfully apologized for her error, and my mum told her "It's OK, mistakes happen to the best of us". Not a time when patients complained or thought of suing a hospital or doctor for an error in surgery.

It was a small world in Cardiff back then. One of the nurses that my mum really liked told me about her favourite patient (at a Moonies set-up on Queen Street, for a while the Moonies were quite big in Cardiff and targeted the students at the university), turned out she was talking about my mum, she was training to be a nurse and told me she was thinking of quitting, but a patient had talked her out of it. I asked her which ward she was working on at the Heath, and then I told her my mum was on that ward, and we realized that it was my mum that talked her out of quitting!

Glyn Davies said...

christopher - My father suffered from 'Farmers Lung' when he was in his 30s. We thought it was to with working in the dust when 'thrashing' corn. I also think it may have been a contributary cause of his death aged only 54.

Anonymous said...

Having seen those two grasping twins naked in the Sun today - and with Grope-it's approval - I am putting a cheque to help with your campaign in the post straight away. This mad man HAS to be unseated. Answer honestly Glyn, what do you think the people of rural Wales would make of it???

Oscar said...

Always sad to loose a parent, but when they are so young and they worked so hard.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

I'm having problems with my computer, so if you get this twice please delete:

Glyn>I gathered it was a serious disease of the lungs. Sorry to hear that your dad had it. It sure is a very debilitating chronic disease.

I don't know if any research has been done on how farmers can avoid this desease - but I should think that wearing masks that cover the mouth and nose would help. Also, vectored air flow (wherein a vent is established in a barn wall operably coupled to a temporary, but powerful extractor fan to bring in fresh air whenever the farmer or workers deal with stored hay and the like. It is very important that the farmers don't breath in "the dust" in medically significant quantities. Coal miners use water spray near coal faces - but water on hay (which is bioactive) would just cause more problems and accelerate unwanted biodeterioration and/or fermentation.

Glyn Davies said...

Two serious issues emerged in this thread which I will respond to - after thinking about it.

Firstly, the issue of Farmer's Lung. I did once make a speech in the National Assembly about this. Not because my father suffered from it, but because I used to know something about it. The context for the speech was the issue of compensation for miners.

We simply did not know about the dangers. I used to help on 'thrashing day' when I was a kid and usually made it as far as teatime, when I retired to my bed shaking with flu like symptoms. It was caused by dust, (often combined with mould) from the thrashing box. There were men who did this job every day, and without masks. No surprise at all that lung disease was common. It's impossible to imagine that anyone would do the job without masks today. Luckily the job does not exist, except as an attraction at agricultural shows like that at Llanfair Caereinion, where Jim Pickstock gives a demonstation every year. I remain fascinated by it, and spend 20 minutes every year just watching the performance.

What was sad (though I didn't understand it then) was that my father worked from 6.00 until late almost every day of his life. He started with nothing, and created a business which I grew into something which has enabled me to live comfortably - and never be wholly dependent on politics for my livlihood. He would have enjoyed some time to himself but never reached an age when he felt able to relax. And he was not unusual amongst hill farmers at the time.

The other issue is more difficult, because a while ago I decided to abandon any criticism of my political opponent. I commenter on this blog said that it just makes me look vindictive - and I agreed with that. But there is the issue of how politicians behave and what the public think of it that I cannot avoid. And all I can do is clarify how I see it.

Things have changed. I have never known politicians to be so poorly thought of by the public. The perception that a search for publicity and material reward has taken over from any perception that someone might be interested in public service. I simply do not want to be seen in this way. It might make me appear more boring, but I'm not going to become involved in silly stunts, (like being photographed sitting on a children's slide or pulling stupid faces for the camera).
And I've already said that I would advertise for any staff who might work for me - and that I would make public any receipts for anything paid for by taxpayer's money. Politics is in crisis, and it needs a radical response. So you can work out what I think of my opponents strategy from this.