Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why I made a declaration of support for 'Care not Killing' today

Last Tuesday I went to a truly uplifting and inspirational presentation at the University of Leeds by Age UK.  It was inspiring because it enabled me to see the 'bigger picture' of where my dementia research might fit into the world.  I've been getting a bit lost in the nitty gritty of the detail and it made me see there are millions of people out there, who I could help, because I am looking into the reasons why some people who get dementia seem to slip through the social support networks of friends and family.  The presentation was also incredibly upbeat.  Yes, we have an ageing population - and isn't that fantastic?  I truly believe that it - human longevity - is the greatest achievement of science. It's wonderful that people born when I was born can expect to live a good twenty years longer than people born when our great grandparents were born.  OK, there is inequality which we must also do something about, but the progress in us living longer is truly astounding.

I got into correspondence with Age UK, saying how much I enjoyed the presentation and they asked me if I would consider blogging for them about my research, or related topics.  And it made me think 'what can I blog about?'  My research is in its infancy - in a way I am overwhelmed by what I feel we don't know. I don't feel in a position to start broadcasting to the world on my findings so far - there aren't any.  But I feel passionately about a number of things that are related to ageing, one of those things is opposition to 'Dignitas'.  I am sick of hearing about what a 'burden' older people are.  Then I saw this article in the Telegraph today basically saying what a huge resource our pensioners are.  Feeling I had to act with my feet to help say to older people 'you're worth it!' I then signed the declaration of support for Care not Killing.  But I suppose I would support that wouldn't I?  To expect anything less would be like expecting turkeys to vote for Christmas.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Three Amazing Things

1. Wondering whether I'm out of a PhD shaped hole I was in, the very fact I'm wondering, rather than agonising must be a good sign.
2.  Thinking I might have made a breakthrough in fact.  A systematic review has its flaws - missing papers which I have in my paws.
3. Drafting of emails that I might never send, but they get my thoughts in order.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Three Amazing Things

1) The drive from Leeds to the British Library
2) Early green shoots of leaves on young trees at the British Library
3) Getting relevant documents at the BL

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) Listening and watching a brilliant presentation - about the wonderful longevity of human beings, a positive story about the 'ageing population'
2) Lipsyl
3) handcream
4) frankinscence oil
5) The barrel scraping that is this exercise in counting one's blessings

Monday, April 16, 2012

Six Amazing Things

1) Getting through to someone at the Library, then them emailing me back!
2)  Friends, family and colleagues who help you along this journey we know as life.
3) A bright car ride in the sunshine, where I sort of knew the way, might have even enjoyed the drive.
4) A certain special day coming up.
5) Important people in my life, that I do my best to thank as much as possible, but if I
haven't for a while and you're reading this and know me - Thank you!  For everything! 
5.5) Left over rissotto (made totally from scratch, including the stock by moi) and purple sprouting brocolli in sesame oil - yum!
6) Kisses at the end of texts, emails and internet postings x x x

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) Been doing my blog relatively consistently for nearly seven years.  And it's been fun!
2) The clock ticking again.  So reassuring to have a clock that ticks.  You can lose yourself in it.
3) Reading and remembering from my blog my funny system of how to decide who got a wedding invite - a code, fortunately that could be cracked!
4) Running on a beautifully sunny and cold Spring morning like today.
5) The appreciation of English grammar.  Trying to be consistent in where I put my full stops.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Has this blog turned into the world's dullest blog?

I've been perusing my old blog posts and back when I was engaged and a newly wed they were great, funny and optimistic.  So, what has happened?  Where has my optimism gone? Well, life is probably more sedate without a wedding to organise and then freshly remember.  Work [and life] is probably a bother when you look back on it and a PhD is undoubtedly tough, not to mention family members getting sick, and it isn't their choice to get mentioned on the Internet. 

But the main reason- the passion which makes me, me - why I wanted to go into dementia research and am still motivated is because it is such a huge, unresolved issue. The elephant in the room.  Under the carpet.  And there is consensus. That could be one of the reasons I've been so quiet, as I want to maintain support from all parties, without alienating the right. All the political parties are united in that they want to resolve the problems associated with dementia - the devastation.  Everyone wants to increase research so we can get to the bottom of why this awful disease is so awful - and the sorts of things we can do to stop it being so dreadful.  We have such great examples to learn from - there's been amazing advances in the treatment and care of people who are HIV positive, people with learning disabilities, people with AIDS and cancer survivors.  So my optimism is still around, just a bit pushed out by the work I have to do to get the PhD done.  I must try and write some improved blog posts and get my regular readers back. (Hi Mum!)x

Ten Amazing Things

1) New motivational texts by my PC
2) Keep Buggaring On!  Apparently a Churchillian favourite - KBO he used to say.
3) Worth a go!
4) Just try your best!
5) Break it down into doable chunks.
6) Going on a run past the men playing football and then cricket.
7) Running fast between two lamp-posts to the Prodigy
8) Getting our shopping delivered
9) Accepting my self and situation, flaws and all
10) Doing most of poster

Friday, April 13, 2012

Nine amazing things...NAT - helping me go running

1. When it is light - spring, summer, autumn
2. Putting running clothes on
3. Getting up early
4.  Having music on my Ipod
5. Being warm
6. Waterproof socks when wet
7. wear gloves
8.  Cup of tea before I go
9. Saying 'I am going on a run, I am going on a run'

TAT - Ten Amazing Things

1) The sweetness of my tea as I drink it
2) Motivational short texts by my computer and desk:
3) Do it to Fail!
4) Perspective, get things in it!
5) Nobody is going to die if I don't do this - and there is a heck of a lot of support in places where people do die...Much more than at my desk...
6) The invention of the telephone for talking
7) Computers for writing
8) The internet for publishing
9) Skype for chatting to friends and relatives, like Star Trek machines
10) The mildness of the British climate

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Five Amazing Things

1) Writing a chatty email to a friend...and waiting for the reply
2) Enjoying a nice cuddle from someone special
3) Using up the last of the strawberries and bananas with some nice granola for breakfast
4) Twiddling my engagement ring on my finger
5) Paying nice people money I owe them

Monday, April 09, 2012

EAT this time - Eight Amazing Things

1) I have revived the positive side to FAT, Five Amazing Things, which lifts one's mood if one counts one's blessings
2) Being able to freewrite on the computer
3) Being painfree today and most days, appreciating being alive.
4) Reflections, in the border of the computer screen, in life and in the mirror
5) The clock ticking again, so reassuring in its regularity.  And the odds of it ticking again, continously, pretty good (especially as I think we have some spare batteries)
6) The benefits of new additions to our language and communication
7) :-)
8) Never understimating the value of the aromatherapy oil of frankinscense.  It transforms the mind, for pence, and one can write and write and write...  The mind expands...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Five amazing things

1) The dew on my slippers as I went outside this morning
2) Getting passed as satisfactory for my PhD at this point
3) The warmth of my woolley socks on this cold spring morning
4) Being able to publish immediately, or keep this all to myself
5) Meditating briefly to the clock ticking

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Love: Risk, Inevitability, Certainty and Infinity

I went on a run this morning and I was doing so was pondering the documentary I watched on Queen on BBC4 last night.  Husband and I had a chat about it as I am embarking on some risky health behaviour, which chimes with what Freddie Mercury was up to in the 1980s.  We know one thing and that is at some point we are going to die.  But how certain are we of that?  Isn't inevitability only a hindsight thing?  And then when you think about certainty, a 50/50 risk seems quite good and I know my risky behaviour is less than that - otherwise the doctors would stop me doing it full stop.  It is a 'calculated risk'.  But did Freddie do the calculations I wondered as I was running round the field?  And I thought about the sun rising in the morning, again a very high (has got to be hasn't it?) probability.  Will I ever know if infinity exists?  Are there scientists out there who believe in certainty?  Because if we say that something is 100% going to happen then surely we are believing in infinity, which is an ideal thus busting the material view out of touch.  Perhaps I am so uncertain because dementia, like life, risk, certainty, infinity and inevitability is just too complex a thing to say anything concrete about.

Friday, April 06, 2012

The passage of time: anniversaries

Both myself and the media love celebrating anniversaries.  Mine are better than theirs though.  I don't like celebrating the anniversaries of conflicts.  I like weddings, lives and births. Perhaps it is in the media interest to celebrate wars : 'Divide and Rule'.  We're having these 30 year anniversaries at the moment - of course it brings back childhood memories for me.  Thirty years since Thatcher was elected PM and now thirty years since the Falklands War.  I remember the doom that descended on our household when She became all powerful.  It followed us on our move up North, where my parents broke up. I remember my brother as a baby or toddler with the 'Vote Labour' rossette, crying his head off.  We laughed, took it off, but it was seen as a bad omen. We moved for Dad's career to a college where he was principal.  It is no coincidence, to this depressing piece of writing, that it has just shut - after 61 years. 

But, life goes on, people still go on holiday, there are always happy times too.  We still went on holiday, with Mum and Dad (who hadn't yet spilt up) in 1982 with the hippies from the South.  That is my memory of the Falklands War.  We went to Pontins holiday camp.  We were in a theatre of some sort.  A boy came on stage.  I was fascinated by him dressed up as a girl in a tutu, with make up on, singing 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina'.  The audience was laughing their heads off, cheering and jeering.  My parents and friends weren't.  I didn't get it.  I wanted to stay until the end, but I think we walked out. My first awareness that my family's - what became my -  political views were at odds with everyone else's.  A feeling I'm still not used to 30 years on.

We seem so close to what was happening 30 years ago, with the cuts, wars and a general feeling of gloom and doom, yet so far from what was happening 40 years ago. Perhaps it's just because I wasn't around 40 years ago.  Or perhaps things were more optimistic in the early 70s. That's the passage of time for you, confusing, complex and all encompassing in the moment.    But it is a very special anniversary for our family this weekend, so we will have a glass of champagne to celebrate that wonderful event on Sunday.  We can unite in joy, love, peace and happiness the world over, despite what the media tell us.