Archives for June2007

Sparking White Russians, Actually

So if you think I haven’t suffered enough recently, you will be relieved to hear that an entire tooth has fallen out. Turns out my lower right molar wasn’t a big fan of radiotherapy and hospital visits and made a bid for freedom by decaying it’s roots. Lovely. So during my last hospital stay it fell out of my face in an impressive manner.

I spent yesterday afternoon getting it checked out at my local dentists who happen to be russian. They are lovely and competent but their english is not much better than my russian (or my regional Urdu for that matter) The first challenge is getting my name across to the receptionist. I can usually spell out my first name in a few minutes, but the fun (and time commitment) really starts with my surname. It works like this:

  1. I say a letter as clearly as I can and she says a different and seemingly random one back. Sometimes they are not exactly letters but randomized vowel and consonant sounds. I try to work out the relationship between my letter and hers, but without Alan Turing and a series of computers, I can’t crack it.
  2. I say “no” and return to 1) until after a few tries we come to some sort of vague compromise and move on to the next letter.
  3. This game of verbal ping-pong continues for a few months untill I feel we might have reached the end of my name.
  4. She reads the written name back to me and– it just sounds like a cross between an icelandic science-fiction superhero and a bad Scrabble hand: Nmaryqetdarz
  5. So we start at 1) again and repeat the process until we both give up and she just draws a picture of me and puts it in the ‘file’

Now the dentist herself and I can communicate a little better but she has an absolutely amazing verbal habit of inserting the word “actually” in place of any form of punctuation, any word she doesn’t know or as a general substitute for breathing. It it quite remarkable and goes something like this:

“So what we will do actually is actually drill a post actually in your gum actually and put a crown actually on top actually and do you pay for your treatment actually?”

I am not exaggerating, please go there and see for yourself.

Anyway it will take ages to fix my tooth so I will be leaning to the left eating-wise for the next few weeks.

Talk to you later, actually!


Home from home from home

Okay I have been sent home after a bizarrely comprehensive series of tests: every reflex point you can imagine and a few you can’t. They were concerned that the infection hadn’t spread to any organs (which can cause no end of trouble) or to my central nervous system (which can cause even less end of trouble). Having convinced the docs that I was physically responsive and all confusion was naturally occurring, my cannula rwas emoved, and I was discharged with 3 weeks of oral medication and a truckload of lethargy.

I am feeling a bit better, but really fatigued. I’m spending the next couple of weeks catching up on admin, tidying the house at a barely discernible tempo, working on a couple of magazine articles, tinkering at some PhD stuff and practising the guitar part to the Fame musical (which I’ll be depping for Tom Emerton) If for a moment you think this is at all impressive and are tempted to encourage me to slow down, think again: my day is so padded out with immobile staring into space, that I am considering a second job as a Madame Tussaud exhibit.

I will hopefully get to see my nephew soon and bring him some gifts – is Proust, Stravinsky and a deep-bodied Chablis appropriate?

More soon – in lethargy,

Milt x

Home from home

Well I doubt that anyone is reading these sporadic updates, but I’ll write this for my own edification, and if you are here to witness it, then you are most welcome.

So I’ve been busy, lots of stuff including working with Pat Martino on the music of a feature length movie. Well my sister has had her little boy, Max, and they are both doing well after a couple of complicated days. I still haven’t introduced myself to my first nephew. Why? – I hear you ask, if you were actually listening- well it’s because…


No not a relapse thankfully, but a nasty attack of shingles that didnt respond to oral medication and continued to spread. My consultant Dr. Eduardo Olavarria is one of the most respected haemotology experts in the country, and usually the most positive voice in the room, but he insisted I came into a ward in Dacie for IV treatment. So I’ve been here 4 days already receiving 2 hour IV tranfusions (700mg aciclovir) 3 times a day through a cannula. At this point I have to say that the care I am receiving at Hammersmith Hospital is of the HIGHEST level. A really clean and fully equipped room, friendly and skilled nurses available seconds after the buzzer. This is the best money can get, and for no money. Long may the NHS thrive, in my opinion a high point of civilization. All the more reason why we should protect it’s resources – let’s hope the July 1 public smoking ban encourages more people to quit- and here’s to the (idealistic) wish that humans begin to moderate their drinking- (Intoxication claims the huge majority of ambulance & emergency resources) Let’s start looking after ourselves when we have a choice in the matter so we can be better cared for when we don’t. Life is so short: we needn’t hurry it along.

The doctors were good enough to allow me out these past 3 days in order to play the guitar in the orchestra for a run of performances of the faaaabulous ‘City of Angels’ . My fellow musicians were surprised to see me with my hospital tags and a cannula on my strumming hand between IV drips. It was pretty tiring but I had a great time.

So I write this from my ward with a touch of reminiscence and reflection. Here I am again, plucked from the hamster wheel of life, just to be: enveloped in this medical womb. You can feels pretty sick in these places, but at the same time it feels somewhat wonderful to experience the most caring side of our fellow people have to offer.

The antiviral treatment is starting to work I feel, in which case I may be out of here in a few days- I will let you know when I’m out of isolation. In the meantime, I wish you all the very best 🙂

Milt x

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