Let me tell you about the
time I went to Cork for a weekend and didn’t come home for six weeks. This is
not one of those “I fell in love with the place and couldn’t tear myself away’
stories. It is a horror story of illness, a spell in hospital and another even
longer spell in a  convalescent home and
a slow return to full health.

The story begins back in
early June on a visit to  the real
capital, Cork. One day the  muscles in my
legs felt sore and achy. I took some pain killers and reasoned that I must have
overdone the walking. Over the next day or two the achiness in my legs turned
to weakness and soon it was difficult to walk any distance and climbing stairs
was almost impossible. Time to seek medical advice.

Things escalated pretty
rapidly; doctors, blood tests, hospital and consultants and more tests. I was
also deteriorating rapidly as more muscle groups came under attack. You need
muscles to do everything so even the basic tasks of daily living were becoming
difficult or impossible to do for myself. It was the most frightening
experience of my life.

The diagnosis: I had a 1 in
100,000 adverse reaction to the statin drug I was taking to lower my
cholesterol. Because I had been taking this drug for a number of years without
any side effects, the conclusion is that it combined with some, as yet unknown,
virus to turn rogue and damage my muscles so catastrophically.

 I stopped taking the statin. The effect was
not  as dramatic as the collapse. Muscle
power can be taken away from you very quickly but not anywhere near as quickly
restored. Physiotherapy, rest and time 
have healed me and I am nearly fully recovered at this stage.

I learned a lot from my
ordeal. Everything is a gift; health, happiness, friends, caring
professionals…everything. I am grateful to everyone who played a part in my
recovery. Illness, especially serious illness brings out the best in everyone.
I have rarely in my life felt so loved.

So, blog people, I have
missed births, marriages and deaths, a fleadh and umpteen hooleys. I will
return to blogging very soon, maybe not as frequently as before but, I promise,
I’ll be back. It’s all part of my recovery.


The Millennium Arch 2016

 One of the first changes I noticed on my return was the restored arch. It looks very new and shiny but it will darken over time and fit in better with the nearby walls.

Above is the original arch pictured in 2005.

I took the above photo of the remains of the original arch after it was damaged by a storm. You will notice that the arch rested on what appeared to this ignorant eye to be huge ballbearings. The newly restored arch does not have this feature. The arch rests squarely on the supporting pillars. It looks more solid to me so maybe it will withstand the weather better.