Saturday, February 25, 2006

Man 'Flu

I’m stricken with man-flu.

I’m assured that it isn’t really “real flu” because us guys never actually get that. When a guy gets a cold, cough or ‘flu, it’s “man-flu” and a sad example of how weak we are.

Somehow, it seems to be culturally fine to mock or laugh at men when they are ill. Men’s problems such penis cancer, phimosis, prostatitis, epididymitis, pyronies disease, impotence and drippy dick often elicit smirks. Guys largely don't know about these afflictions and it was only when I went public a couple of years ago about my seemingly never ending epididymitis that I realised just how many people have this enduring condition (it's now long since resolved thanks to the lovely folk at

But I've noticed that we never laugh at breast cancer, thrush, pelvic inflammatory disease and female infertility.

When some woman get ill seasonal infectious diseases of course it’s “real-flu.” Any foolish male attempt at challenging the validity of the self-diagnosis merely demonstrates the utter incompetence of the male of the species at understanding and empathising with females.

There's a bit of me that is sure this is a contemporary expression of the genetic program that demands that males should be the dominant of the species and any deviation from this elicits mockery as the male is demoted down the social hierarchy by daring to appear to suffer.

Use the “comments” section at the bottom of this blog entry for responses to this. Thanks.

So I’m popping my vitamins, drinking Kombucha, taking 4 hourly paracetamol to reduce my temperature and moping around the house wrapped in my dressing gown and blankets. Additional to this I’m also making sure I speak with that muffled nasal tone when I’m on the telephone. I have to do this, otherwise everyone says, “Well, you don’t sound ill.” Sounding ill is vitally important for the male of the species otherwise the element of disbelief from others is very high.

I’ve had to cancel all my clients this week for fear of 1. Being less empathic than usual and 2. Infecting them with diseases and forever more being that bastard who not only was short tempered and intolerant of their problems but also infected them with something evil. Such an outcome would not be likely to inspire future clients to avail themselves of my change-work services.

The dressing gown and blankets, although impractical, are also highly important. Of course, jeans and a woolly jumper would undoubtedly be as warm and infinitely more practical, but then it sends out the wrong signals. “You don’t look very ill” is the typical response if you look like you might have just come in from pottering about in the garage.

It is most important to both sound ill and look ill.

And of course, the risk that the endless stream of casual callers might catch a glimpse of my giblets from an accidental breeze across my dressing gown ensures that no one dares to stay for long.

I must say though – daytime TV really sucks. I’m appalled that people actually watch it. If only I was well enough to go to the library for a bucketful of DVDS…

Friday, February 17, 2006

Thank you Dr Siddique and Friends, Mariam Nursing Home, Darjeeling, India

“Ahhhm fecked in the heid, man, ye ken?”

I didn’t ken. No.

Excuse me?” I asked politely.

I knew as I said it that this was a mistake. I should have just got up and gone over to the other bar. Sometimes I kick myself for having always run away from fights at school. But at 13 I preferred to miss the finer arts of fighting, sodomy and the all male bonding game of “soggy biscuit”.

“AHH SEHHD AHHHHM FECKED IN THE HEID, KEN?” he shouted with a not-so-subtle hint of a drunken slur.

This nasty little man wasn’t going to simply go away.

He was pulling up a chair as he was shouting and then he promptly sat down.


If he had sat any closer then he would have been right on my lap. An unpleasant enough thought as it was, but as I took a closer look at him, it became quite clear that this crazy guy was actually foaming in the mouth.

This was not a good sign.

He was drunk and he had rabies.

It’s moments like this that I clearly remember why I stopped spending so much time in pubs.

He started to drape himself over me as though I was a long lost buddy and then he started slurring aggressively about his fighting skills.

His message was simple – humour him or fight him.


I didn’t want to do either; I was kind of hoping to talk to my friend about a work project.

This wasn't likely.

I know these guys - men who systematically remove choices from the other people they meet. Control freaks. Nasty business.

One day a woman with sufficiently low self-esteem will be owned by this guy.

And she'll apologise to him everytime he hits her.

So I peeled him off me as I was a bit scared that I was going to get covered in the abundant oral rabies foam.

I’ve seen dogs with rabies in India (and I’ve seen the mess an Indian Enfield rifle makes when a sensible policeman shoots the rabid dog from 25 yards away – it really is quite astonishing what happens to the dog!).

As an ex-nurse I’ve seen a man die from rabies too, it was many years ago and was spectacularly unpleasant and most definately not something I ever wish to see again.

My many trips to India taught me extreme caution with the crazies. In 1998 I nearly died from Typhoid fever.

I’ve kept all my immunisations up to date ever since.

The thing is I was immunised against Typhoid – everyone asks it with glee – “Ha! Didn’t you get your shots?” Well, yes, I did which is why I nearly died.

At the time I figured that I couldn’t have anything really serious so I chose to ride it out hoping that I’d get better.

As I got sicker from the infection, I lost my mental marbles and found myself somewhat delirious in the middle of Wherethefuckami high up in the mountains. I think I was trying to demonstrate to some baffled locals how to dematerialise oneself through a wall when a group of men grabbed me and forced me into their truck.

I snarled and lashed out whilst utterly baffled as to what was going on. I thought I was probably being abducted and being seriously outnumbered I did as I was told but only after biting one guy on the hand with quite some force.

They put a blanket tight across my lap and a man sat either side of me on the ends of the blanket.

I don’t recall if they used a muzzle or not.

The only bit I really remember of the actual journey was when they stopped briefly at a roadside shack and made me eat a hard-boiled salted egg. I learned later that they had actually driven for 6 hours through the mountain passes to get me to a small hospital clinic. I remember when we got there they asked me if I had 37 rupees (about 30 pence) for petrol home again. I think I snarled my teeth again at that moment.

By the time the infection had cleared, I’d lost precisely half my bodyweight. My rectum had prolapsed, my hair came out in clumps and the nails to my left hand and left foot fell out. It took me a full year to recover.

So, knowing full well what the ravages of infection can do to both man and beast, I was determined that this drunken maniac who was now telling me about the sexual relationship he used to enjoy with his younger sister and brothers was not going to infect me.

Punching this toxic individual in the mouth would probably be a bad idea. After all, he might drool on me.

If Official Housemate reads this, she’ll now understand where her packet of rolling tobacco mysteriously went. I must confess, I’d in fact pinched it as I left the house (I fancied small one…honestly…just the one!)

I handed the assorted smoking apparel to Mad Foaming Boy who suddenly exclaimed, ”Och! Geargh! Gis!” which I think roughly translates to, “Oh, thank goodness my good man, I do believe that you have some smokable drugs upon your person. Please would you be so kind as to hand me some? Thank you.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was Official Housemate’s plain old Golden Virginia, but I knew that he wouldn’t notice. So I made my exit as he struggled to roll himself the mildest joint he’s ever smoked. I’ve not touched any illegal substances for some years now.

I do hope he wiped the foam away from his mouth before he passed it onto to the next doper.

Rabies is quite infectious you know.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Blue Light Wake Up Call

You really like yourself, don’t you?”

These were the words said to me by a colleague recently. The words were said with a snidey tone that suggested that liking myself was somehow a bad thing – a thing to be criticised.

I’d understand it if somehow I’d been lauding myself, or my achievements, over another person. But I hadn’t. The verbal assault was provoked because I was sat doing my paperwork, feeling nice about the world and nice about myself. I think I might have been smiling or something as well.

It’s amazing how few people seem to spend their days feeling nice about themselves.

I was in town earlier in order to show my documents at the police station and pay the speeding fine (98.2 mph, so no mitigations on my part). I was amazed at what I saw as I looked around whilst walking across town – ugly attitudes and scowling faces, people avoiding eye contact, frightened people, paranoid people, people who don’t smile. Everyone in a hurry - don't stop, don't show weakness, don't trust.

The only people who seemed smiley and chatty this morning was the desk sergeant who checked my documents and the small mongrel tied up outside the library who was determined to have a good sniff of my left leg. The nice Indian lady in the post office was smiley too. Every time I am in India, I am always impressed with how smiley everyone is. Despite their many problems, India seems to be a happy place.

I really must wonder how many people in the South of England actually like themselves? I mean, deep down, really, truly like who they are?

I do like myself and I enjoy being me. Years ago I didn’t though – years ago I was a plonker, but that is all in the past now. I’m glad that is all over – and the experience helps me tremendously when working with clients. I really do know what it is like to lose one’s mind and have my world collapse around me. Like my speeding fine, it was an important wake up call to pay attention to what I was doing.

So these days when some toxic or negative person says to me, “You really like yourself, don’t you?” I can only smile and say, “Yes I do, thank you.”

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Bedwetting Leeches

I awoke with a bit of a jump at about 430am.

It was one of those dreams where I couldn't find the toilet, eventually I found one but I couldn't get to it owing to the incredible mass of cobwebs that I was rapidly getting tangled in.

Suddenly, an horrificly large leech that was making Minky's "Bub! Bub! Bub! Bub!" sound dropped down my shirt and I must say that in my dream I did have a bit of a panic.

I awoke rapidly trying to detach it from my chest before it drained me and realised I seriously needed to go and pee.

I blame the bottle of wine I drank last night; I am toxic again, but more on that later.

The recurring "can't reach the toilet" dream is a useful one. I'm sure one day I'll reach it and so will wet the bed as a result.

I was a fervent bed wetter until the age of about 10 (I think) which was when the "I can't reach the toilet" dreams started.

Over the years various things have occured in my dreams so I couldn't reach the toilet. Here's a quick list:

  • There was a monster thing in the way.
  • The ceiling was too low.
  • I wasn't wearing the right shirt.
  • The toilet wasn't connected to the floor.
  • The toilet was too high up.
  • The toilet was too small.
  • There was a queue.
  • The bullies were in there.
  • I didn't have the right ticket.

Before all that started though, I can remember the recurring dream I had as a very small child.

The dream involved what was effectively quite a psychedelic garden (I'm convinced that many small children genuinely live in a psychedelic world - everything tends to be round and soft and safe, they have talking turtles and bears and things that make plinky-plonky tunes, everything is bright and colourful and often unusual. New discoveries and learnings are made every day and everything tends to have the element of fun and is often non-verbal.)

This garden was Mary's garden. I didn't know who Mary was, but I knew she was "quite contrary" although I didn't know what "contrary" meant.

However, I did know the secret to how her garden grew - I kept peeing in her watering can.

So whilst her garden grew well, my poor mum spent her days washing bedsheets.

So today - being awake early - I thought I'd type "medicinal leeches" into google. I do this sort of thing sometimes.

Here's the first google return:

It's quite fascinating and inevitably will make for great dinner party conversation later tonight!

Adult Bed Wetters
Meanwhile: In my therapy practice I am often consulted by adult bedwetters seeking help to overcome their problem. What is awful is that so many people have suffered this problem for so long because they too embarrassed to ask for help. After all, this isn't subject for common conversation, "Hi, I'm Andy and I wet the bed! What do you do?"

The problem impacts on so much more than a simple laundry bill. It must be quite hard to maintain a normal sexual relationship when your partner keeps waking up covered in your piss.

There's often a huge dilemma - to tell or not to tell. Many avoid the risk of relationships altogether.

Unless there is a physical urological basis for the problem, bedwetting is remarkably easy to resolve in the majority of cases. Anyone wishing to contact me on this issue should click this link to my other website: and contact me.