Friday Links

Happy Friday!

We are nearly at the end of October and Halloween so if any of you are in London and fancy coming along to the Halloween Pumpkin Trail tomorrow, please do. Entrance is free and there will be lots to see/do, there are two witches grottos, a cake stall (which I will be manning from 5:30pm), a plant stall, a preserves stall, mulled wine, a raffle and at least 100 pumpkins to see! We start at 3.30pm and are open in the spooky dark until 7.30pm (bring a torch!).

How I’ve plugged the allotments, here are this weeks links….

Hillary Clinton’s debate response on abortion. Absolutely, as someone who is pro-choice, I want a culture that is accepting of all the choices around this. I absolutely support a woman’s right to have a abortion and I absolutely support a woman’s right to continue with a pregnancy and am happy to have my taxes used supporting those women either way. That’s a culture of life not death…

Our precious allotments are being destroyed. This is about Farm Terrace in Watford but I think most of it applies to the ones at Northfields too.

I support the Farm Terrace fighters because I’d fight for my plot, even though I’m a haphazard gardener. Slugs have eaten more this year than I’ve managed to grow. But when I’ve struggled with depression, when even getting out of the house seemed like the hardest thing in the world, I still sometimes walked five minutes to my plot, past the neat and flourishing allotments that shame me; past the scruffy ones that comfort me, to my higgledy-piggledy plot with its rose bed, sturdy greenhouse and pathetic tomato plants, my glorious collard greens and magnificent roses.
Five minutes there, kneeling to weed, putting my hands into soil, and my spirits lift. There are other riches there too: the businessman who arrives stressed and leaves less so; the young families who leave with children clutching sweetcorn or potatoes, now knowing that not all fruit and vegetables come wrapped in plastic; the old boys who offer advice, wanted or unwanted. Growing your own isn’t always cheaper, but it’s always better. It is one of the best counter-balances that remains to our cult of lonely, commerce-driven individualism.

When Gut Bacteria Changes Brain Function. Going with your gut may actually be a thing!

Kicking Philip Green is absurd. Here’s who MPs should be castigating. I think that Philip Green is dishonest and was wrong but I have been pointing out that he only did what he was allowed to do. I don’t understand why companies can be sold on unless they owners are up to date with their current legal obligations (like pensions!) and honestly what was the House of Commons doing while all this was happening, nothing. Actually not true, they were calling Green a shining example of all that was good about business.

What a legless mouse tells us about snake evolution. This send me off to find about about the sonic hedgehog gene. Of course is was because of an English scientist….

I’m white. working class and sick of Brexiters saying they speak for me. Quiet.

If we alter our complaints to blame foreign people it’s a different story. “I can’t get a council house because they’ve all been sold to private landlords,” gets nothing. “I can’t get a council house because they’ve all gone to bloody Muslims,” gets on the front page of the tabloids.

Abstaining from voting in the US Elections. I get it. The horror of realising that there is no one that adequately reflects your views to represent you. The thing is that you don’t change it by walking away from it, you engage, you protest and you vote for the least worst option, to prevent the worst worst option getting in. To butcher Churchill, ‘Democracy is a terrible system, except for all the others.’ It’s an imperfect system but it’s the one we have, this author clearly doesn’t understand it because otherwise she’d never do what she’s doing.

Gary Younge’s stuff on the US elections is great. This is the bit that applies to Brexit too.

“Nobody speaks up for the poor,” says Walsh, explaining Trump’s appeal to those she grew up with. “There is systemic racism but black people have advocates. Poor white people don’t. They’re afraid. They’re afraid that they’re stupid. They don’t feel racist, they don’t feel sexist, they don’t want to offend people or say the wrong thing. But for them white privilege is like a blessing and a curse if you’re poor. The whole idea pisses poor white people off because they’ve never experienced it on a level that they understand.

“You hear privilege and you think money and opportunity and they don’t have it. I understand how it works but I don’t think most people do. So when Trump says stuff, they can understand what he’s saying and he speaks to them in a way other people don’t. And then you’ve got people calling them stupid and deplorable. Well how long do you think you can call people stupid and deplorable before they get mad?”

Yes, GPs, do ask us about our weight. But please listen to our answers too. I actually have an example of this. In 2015, I caught a cold and as a consequence couldn’t stop coughing. This went on for three months, until it all came out as a chest infection which led to several sets of antibotics and a week off work. I got better but the cough didn’t really. I called the doctor who looking at my weight diagnosed GERD and gave me some pills for that. They didn’t work and at this point I was just done. Eventually, the cough died down though it did come back whenever I caught a cold, in fact I had a nasty cough before my osteotomy last year, the nurse doing my pre-opt noted it and I wasn’t allowed to take ibruprofen after the surgery. This September, I caught another cold and the cough came back but worse. I saw another doctor at the practice, who said GERD and because I was insistent that it wasn’t GERD and that I thought it was asthma, he finally (I think to get rid of me) agreed to a spirology clinic appointment. That confirmed that I do have asthma and I got a prescription for steroids which, amazingly, stopped the coughing and the wheeze in two days. If I hadn’t of insisted that I had asthma and wanted to be tested for it, I would still be coughing and miserable. I do understand that it’s difficult to work out what’s going on with someone in the course of a 10 minute appointment. However, my blood pressure is good for someone my age who is a ‘normal’ weight, I’ve had three bouts of fairly serious chest infections over the past three years, I’ve reported persistent cough that only happens when I have a cold and colds that go on for ages, I also have a prescription for an inhaler but none of the 4 different doctors at that practice thought I might have adult onset asthma, they went GERD and reluctantly I can only assume that’s because of my weight.

About nicdempsey

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