1000 Posts! Blimey, That Was Quick

The Muppet Christmas Carol
The Muppet Christmas Carol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was literally a few days ago that I looked down and saw that I was at least thirty some odd posts from hitting a 1000, I look down this morning and I see that I’ve now hit 1002! Of course it looks more impressive than it really is. But the first thought that jumped  immediately into my head was, ‘Blimey, that was quick.”

There will be those of you who read that last sentence and think, where does an American pick up the word blimey from and why would it be his first thought? Sure he lives in England, but he’s just being cute, or thinks he is.

Muppet.

Well, I have my late mother-in-law to thank for that. She didn’t use the word a lot, but enough for my magpie mind to grasp hold of and  still not let go. Even years after her death and the end of my marriage to her “step-daughter” when anything surprises me, it is the first word out of my mouth, or in this case brain.

I guess I should explain the ‘muppet.’

For over ten years, I workd in Her Majesty’s Prison Service. Working in the volatile environment that was the Juvenile prison estate. I started as an OSG, which stands for operational support grade, I only had contact with the “little darlings” via the library where I worked as one of my OSG duties. [the little darlings, were murderers, rapists, and other  creatures from the ages of 15 to 18, one day when I’m allowed, I will write about my time “behind bars.”]

The pay for OSG was, and still is, Draconian in its meanness. In order to pay off all your bills and feed your family, overtime was a fact of life. I made the switch over to Prison Officer as quickly as possible. The pay was better and, if anything, the job more interesting and definitely adrenaline inducing.

Although, future Governor’s of the prison that I worked in would change it, the vernacular of a juvenile prison officer was sprinkled with sayings and “nicknames” for the criminal youngsters we dealt with. All of these were incredibly funny and never meant maliciously. The lads we watched over usually used these same terms that someone had invented on or to each other.

I loved it.

It allowed the staff and the lads to have a chuckle and although I’ve only mentioned a few of the terms, they were a part of everyday life inside. But to explain the terms I’ll start with muppet.

A “muppet” was a lad who just didn’t get it. Not a fuzzy cute puppet with a hand up his/her backside. Someone who was a tad, thick and who had  no common sense.

You would often hear a lad being told off for breaking a rule, followed by the phrase, “Ya Muppet!”

Another favourite was, Fraggle. For those of you too old, or conversely, too young to remember them, Fraggle’s lived in Fraggle Rock and they were idiotic and, in our opinion, slightly mad creatures who just did not have a clue, worse than a muppet by far. The main characteristic of the prison Fraggle was their propensity to hover around one, or sometimes more, prison officer rather than mingle with the other lads.

When a prison officer found himself surrounded by a small group of Fraggles, he was known as the Fraggle Magnet for that day.

There were other words used to signify a lack of smarts or common sense, Numpty was another one. “Ya Numpty'” still erupts out of my mouth unbidden, much like blimey, because it’s another word that I fell in love with and my brain immediately latched onto. I have no idea where that particular word originated. But it too was a favourite.

Blimey! I’ve just noticed that I’ve written well over 500 words and only a few of them are actually about the 1000 posts and how quickly it got here!

What a muppet!

I do have to say that having that many blog posts isn’t all that impressive. Of late, I’ve been providing a lot of links to articles I’ve written for the paper I work for, which is about the laziest thing I can think of. But I am proud of what I’ve written for my guys and gals over at the Guardian Express and I want to share.

It is still writing, which is what blogging is all about and I hope you’ve all enjoyed the links that I’ve posted. I know this little act has driven a lot more views of my little ramblings. Sure it’s a little disheartening to realise that the most popular link post so far seems to be the one dealing with Kate Upton‘s nudity, but hey, you have to share.

I do try to share all my links with you, the lovely folks who follow, like, comment and, most importantly, make no demands of me or my little blog. So I have to say, I’m pleased that I’ve managed to hit over a 1000 posts, even if it was by re-blogging and linking a lot the last couple of months.

But I’ll still say thanks to you guys and gals for reading and putting up with my diminished in the area of  “purposefully” written input and my horrid lack of visiting anyone else’s blog’s at the moment. I’m still working on a schedule of my day that allows it. I won’t go into all the things that one has to do when living alone, I’m sure most of you don’t need me to point out all the things that a couple or a family take care of get done by one lone chap.

But I do appreciate you all and I will continue to share my links and re-blogs. I am also still attempting to increase my written output and to visit you guys more often, and I will get there. I know I will.

Hey! I’m no Fraggle, ya know!

Cheers,

July 21, 2013

United Kingdom

Fraggles!
Fraggles! (Photo credit: arbyreed)

My Near Death Experience Six Months On

Unknown

It’s been just over six months since my close brush with the grim reaper in the form of a heart attack. I have referred to it as a life changing event and it was. It’s amazing how quickly your life can change so much in such an incredibly short span of time. If I owned a crystal ball, I don’t think even then I’d have believed what was in store for me.

In case you missed the event (or the blog-post I wrote about it) I’ll do a recap of what transpired last year. Don’t worry it won’t take long.

February of last year, the thirteenth to be exact, I was injured at work. I sustained nerve damage in my lower back and was off work just under six months. I had just started back to work (in a return-to-work scheme that allowed me to gradually increase my hours) and had taken two weeks leave to get a steroidal injection in my lower back.

On the 24th of August I had my injections (they gave me two) and on the 27th I got Freshly Pressed. On the 30th, I had a heart attack. I actually had the “attack” for over five hours. I was rushed to one Hospital Emergency Room where they verified that, yes indeed, I was having a heart attack. The ambulance then rushed me to another Hospital for surgery.

While having stents put in, the surgeons realised that my aorta was shot and had to stop mid-surgery, bring me back to full consciousness to tell me that they were going to have to perform an emergency aortic dissection. My daughter was told (and so was I but I do not remember it) that things were going to be very “dicey” and that I might not make it, but, if I did not have it I was going to die.

I almost did anyway.

After my surgeries, I recovered incredibly fast. I was out of the Hospital after only four days. I then started the very slow process of recovery that I am still in, truth be told. Despite my quick recovery, the second surgery kicked my ass. On top of that, the surgeons tore my aorta in the arch close to the heart and it is so damaged that they can’t repair it.

Well, to be more accurate, they could try, but they think that it would cause more damage than what they could fix.

In the preceding time period between the heart attack and now, I’ve been ill-health retired from my Prison Officer job and I still haven’t been assessed for rehabilitation because the folks who do the test are concerned that they could kill me, or at the very least, mess my aorta up considerably and hasten the damage along considerably.

With the absence of proper rehabilitation, I’ve been walking. When I first got out of the hospital, I could literally take about 10 to 15 steps and then I had to stop. Not so much because of my heart, but because of the combination of my surgery and my back which was still playing up. As I got better, the rest stops got further and further apart. I can now walk a fairly good distance without stopping and at quite a snappy pace.

I received my pension “payout” and my last ever pay check from the Prison Service. I also got my first pension payment.

I will admit to being a bit lost during these last six months. The payout, the pay check and the pension payment helped me find my way. At least, it made the whole thing real. I was bordering on depression and the reality of the money and my avenues of options suddenly became clear.

I didn't really need a signpost to tell me I was lost.
I didn’t really need a signpost to tell me I was lost.

Before I left the Hospital, they told me that I would have a moment where the enormity of what happened to me would sink in. My too close for comfort brush with death would, in essence, overwhelm me. I was urged to seek help when that pivotal “epiphany” occurred.

It still hasn’t happened. I have come close I think. One night as I lay in bed just starting to doze off, I could hear and feel my heart beating. Everything stopped for a split-second and then as I became aware of the silence my heart started pounding 90 beats to the bar. My chest muscles loosened and tightened in an instant. I had a flash of a thought about almost dying and for that split second I was scared.

But as quickly as all that happened (in the blink of an eye, really) it was over. Everything went back to what passes for normal every night now as I approach sleep. I lay there and feel my heart thudding against my chest and think, ever so briefly, I hope it doesn’t stop just yet.

It is only now, just over six months after the event, that I have realised my own mortality fully. Before, even in the ambulance on the way to the Hospitals, I never thought once of dying. If I could think at all (and it was difficult to think of anything but the pain) I thought of getting to the Hospital and the doctors fixing me up and sending me home. Death did not feel close or even real.

Even after the doctors told me how close it really was and how lucky I was to pull through, it didn’t seem real.

It does now.

And as I said in a previous post about second chances, I acknowledge that Ive been given a second chance at living. God or whoever (if anyone) is in charge of things, has given me another go on the merry-go-round.

So while I decide which carousel horse to ride, I’ll make sure that I try like hell to appreciate this little bit of longevity that’s been passed my way. I think that I’ve had my “epiphany” that they warned me about or at least I hope I have. I don’t want to waste any more time pondering the why’s and where-for’s of my continued existence.

I just hope that the second time that I come face-to-face with my own mortality, I can do it as calmly as I did the first time.

Death
Death (Photo credit: tanakawho)