The pred levels are sinking. I’m down to 3 mgs daily now and on such good and familiar terms with the wonder drug that I’ve dropped the nisalone bit from its name in favour of something more streetwise. For now the polymyalgia is almost a memory although I’m sure its traces lurk down there in the dregs at the bottom of my bloods. The new enemy, and one of considerable power, is the spinal cyst.
Looking at the dates on this blog it’s obvious that I have been severely distracted for several months. The latter half of 2012 has gone by without comment. This doesn’t mean, of course, that little happened during that time – the reverse in fact. Between September 2012 and January 2013 I've been property developing, to live in rather than sell on. The opportunity presented itself last October so my partner and I went ahead. We sold up and bought anew. A big house with its own drive half-way up Penylan Hill. Don’t underestimate the attraction of a drive. In the Cardiff world where the car is king and the pavements thick with cyclists having a drive is a bit like owning a strip of 5mg prednisolone – salvation on hand whenever there’s a need.
With gusto we set the sell and buy circus in motion. I have a dim memory of the last time I did this, way back in 1979. I swore then that because of the stress, expense and outrageous hassle I’d never do it again. Why in 2013, then, have I decided to ignore those warnings from my younger self?
Out there in the world of land and property is a line of essential organisations who need consulting, paying, obtaining permission from, paying, talking to, paying, obtaining clearance documents from, paying, and just for good measure, paying again. The line stretches out to the horizon and the faces blur. The mesh of commercial, legal, fiscal, and governmental interests, all acting with due diligence, comprehensive record-keeping, and a clearance fee on each occasion (to cover essential costs) out bleaks Bleak House. The cash in the bank account whirls down towards zero.
In the middle of all this, with builders taking the floors out, new central heating going in and the internal water supplies being rerouted I decide to have my mouth repaired. This is the latest episode in a long-term saga which I won’t bore you with here but suffice it to say that for several decades now I’ve been a regular at the local dentists with broken bicuspids, misaligned molars, contracting canines and collapsing crowns. On a good day I can fracture an incisor on a banana.
At the Dental Hospital they’ve made the offer to rebuild and I’ve accepted. This means six or more two-hour attendances, drilling, pulling, refacing and reinserting with I don’t know how many injections of lignocaine to help us along. I’ve read Martin Amis’s recollections of his own time in the dental chair. That's in Experience, his 2000 autobiography and a book with a lot more going for it than many of his novels. I should be prepared.
When I get to UHW the car park is unaccountable cordoned off and closed. I park a mile away and head in on foot. The rain is coming down as only January ran can and the cyst is letting me know what the world is about. Pain is coming up my right leg like jets of fire. Half way there I have to stop and stuff my mouth with painkillers. I’m carrying naproxen and heavy-dose co-codamol. For good measure, as the pain is wrapping itself round me like a poultice, I swallow an extra 5mg of pred. Might help. It’s an anti-inflammatory after all.
In the dental chair I’m floating. I’m set out so that my head is lower than my feet and I’m injected on both sides. I’m not sure which world I’m in. To hell with what’s going on inside my mouth all know is that the leg pain is going and then, after time wobbles a bit, is gone.
A couple of hours later I’m in the Japanese recovering. This style of dining has been chosen for a) its freshness b) its lack of calories and, more importantly, c) its ability to deliver a decent full meal as a sort of non-tooth threatening mush. Ramen – chicken bits and noodles. Soft as a brush, just right. I’ve a bottle of Sapporo (4.7%) in hand and a bowl of edamame as an appetiser. Around me there’s a multi-cultural melee of young people chattering and eating while simultaneously pushing their fingers at their smart phones. They are dining on raw fish and seaweed, udon doused in soy and crab’s legs coated in batter. It's the modern way.
I go for broke and swallow another 5mg of Prednisone with the beer. That should fix it. The top of a back tooth snaps and comes away like pieces of badly-fixed render. I’m unfazed. This has happened so often before so why should I be? I’m back at the Dental Hopsital in a week or so, they’ll sort it then.
More importantly the synovial cyst pain has gone back to that place where pain goes when it needs to recover its juices a bit. A fog in my lower back. It’ll hang there, hiding, and come back out to burn me again tomorrow. But for now it isn’t with me. Glory be. What made it go? Pred, NSAID, pain-killer, dental injection, lying upside down, time, wishful thinking, prayer, luck, or beer? One of those.