A second morphine patch in combination with my new smart rabbit fur lined heel protectors seem to have done the trick on the joint pain-in-bed front. I am not exactly pain-free but the last two or three nights have been far more comfortable. I think with just a little more tweaking, with the combination of the other pills that I take, we should be able to get to an almost painless state at night. On the Thursday, before the bank holiday weekend, I sent Doctor Mark Abrahams a full explanation of what was going on and what was almost unbearable. I copied this to my GP, Doctor Lort; the head of the Arthur Rank Hospice, Doctor Margaret Saunders and my own Doctor, who heads up the Addenbrookes MND team, who I see every three months or so, Doctor Chris Allen. All we were doing at this stage was drawing attention to my present plight, but not for the first time, and asking whether it will be safe to add another morphine patch, noting the warning on the ‘directions for use’ which required care in not using it as it might affect one’s breathing is already shallow and it takes very little to make me start breathing erratically, almost the point of hyperventilating, so you can see it was necessary take the doctor’s advice before we started using the second patch.
Despite Alice telephoning the local surgery mid-afternoon on Thursday, requesting a call back from the Doctor, we heard nothing. I saw no point in contacting the locum for the weekend, who would have no knowledge of my general condition and, as we have seen from the newspapers, was probably shipped in from central Europe somewhere – because our own doctors are paid far too much to make it worth their while to give up their weekends – and therefore may have limited English. So not having heard from any of them, we just went ahead and took a chance. However, I merely point this out as it is inexcusable not to, at least , make a quick telephone call to the patient who is obviously likely to do himself some considerable harm if he overdoses on one medicine or another.
What concerns me a little bit is my loss of appetite. Again last evening, for the third night running, I could only face one mouthful of the main course and pudding, again feeling slightly sick.
I know that the Addenbrookes team are very keen that I should keep my weight up, as I suppose by eating very little you can weaken your whole immune system. They recommended that I took some calorie added pills to counter act any severe weight loss. This was the result of the Papworth assessment, last month, which said I had lost 8 kg over the preceding three months. Frankly, I think they got this wrong, but the next test, in July, will confirm this.
On the international front the German President Merkel has been overthrown by a left-wing socialist, as has the centre-right, President of France, who has been replaced by Mon. Hollande, who we are told, is centre-left. As a result of these two changes it will be interesting to see the effect it has on the Euro and the perceived strength of the Eurozone as a unit, on the international monetary front. The Euro itself has been dropping quite dramatically and I believe yesterday was down to 1.24 against the pound, where previously I recall it having almost reached parity.
On the home front both Alice and I were horrified to hear, on Farming Today, on Radio Four, that farmers are going to be paid for looking after their animals properly, what used to be called ‘good husbandry’. The implication being that they may not presently be doing so. What an absolute nonsense. Surely any farmer, worth his salt, is going to look after his animals in the proper fashion. So far as farming is concerned, nothing surprises me any more. First, we had the fiasco of the set-aside land, when farmers were paid not to use perfectly good farmland as we were overproducing. This in a world where a fifth of its population are literally starving! Remember the butter mountains and the wine lakes-it makes you sick to think about it. Then, after releasing the wine lakes back to mother nature, they destroyed the butter mountains and other vast storage of meat and other food, it was decided that the farmers should be paid to bring back set-aside land. This crazy U-turn business was applied to grubbing up the hedgerows so as to create minimum of 25 acre fields which would be easier to harvest. In the event the wildlife lobby managed to persuade the government how important it was to maintain hedges where birds and insects could breed. As a result, the farmers were then paid to replant the very hedges they had previously been paid to grub up! I am sure that there are a great number more of such nonsenses, the cost of which is always picked up by the poor old taxpayer.
I do not want to be to hard on the farmers, who takes is stance from whatever the Ministry of of Agriculture and Fisheries (or whatever the relevant government department is called ). Click here to see and rather amusing prank played by some farmers in , Canada .