Wednesday 23 March 2016

A Fairly Pants Day.

So, today is a fairly pants day. Those close to me would say that I've been overdoing it but how can I overdo things when what I do is a fraction of what other people are capable of?

One thing I hate about Meniere's Disease is being treated like I'm made of eggshell. I still remember the days of my youth when I would cycle for miles and miles, run with carefree abandon through fields of nettles and other such youthful nonsense. Now, however, spending a morning staring at a computer screen whilst entering invoices makes me want to vomit and attending a comic convention for two or three days takes over a week from which to recover.

So, I get told that I'm overdoing it and I need to rest.

But what if I don't want to? What if I want to live a normal life like someone without stupid little sacs of imbalanced fluid inside their ears? Is that too much to ask for?

I think not.

I don't want to spend the day feeling constantly tired or depressed. I don't want to dread having to cook my tea because that means standing up for half an hour watching vegetables boil whilst the room is spinning.

Right now, I would kill for normality.

But in doing so, would I lose what I am, a survivor?

I have this constant battle every day and, so far, Mister Meniere's has yet to win the war. Yes, he may gain the occasional victory, but even now, sitting here with the fug of gloom encompassing me, I know in my heart of hearts that tomorrow will be another day. I will meet people who shall make me smile and I will receive all manner of cuddles and love from my furry friends.

So yes, today is a fairly pants day.

But that doesn't mean that tomorrow will have to follow suit.

Don't forget, you can catch up with my writing bits and pieces at the following places:

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Mister Meniere's Fails In Liverpool!

The weekend just gone saw Yours Truly in his natural habitat: the comic convention. I pootled down to Liverpool for its first ever MCM convention. The idea, as ever, was to introduce new readers to my books, sell fantasy figurines and have a fun time making new friends and catching up with existing readers and other traders.
However, I had a stowaway in my little Citroen Berlingo.

Mister Meniere's.

When I leave the snug safety of the protective cave that is my home, Mister M will always try to do his best to ruin the event. This weekend was no different. Setup for the convention was on Friday, so Friday lunchtime saw me driving down the M6 with bells a-ringing and stomach a-fluttering. I gave them the finger by turning the Pet Shop Boys up loud and singing along to some camp eighties' classics.

Mister M was not deterred so easily. After setup, all a tired Austin wanted to do was to crawl into his hotel bed and snore away the wee hours. At 2am Mister M said it was playtime. The rest of the night was spent listening to bells and voices stamping on my auditory nerves. So it was that a slightly haggard Austin had to appear bright and breezy on the first day of the convention even though, deep inside, he felt like curling up under his stall and hiding.

As the day progressed my emotional state declined and I started to question my whole career path as Mister M cackled with glee in the corner and at six o'clock I drove back to my hotel in an exceptionally bleak mood.

However, Mister Meniere's had failed to take into account one crucial factor in his plot to overthrow the happiness of Yours Truly: other people!

The next day saw me stagger into the convention looking like Death's great uncle Horace. The traders next to me chatted away and it turned out that they had felt shocking the day before too. They had been tired from travelling and the day had gone on far too long for them. Another trader came and said, “Hi!” then went and bought me a decaf americano which both warmed me and cheered me.

Then my readers came and visited me. With each praise of my books and each purchase of my latest escapade, Mister Meniere's was thoroughly thrashed into submission.

By the end of the day, I was somewhat weary but also bright and cheery. As I packed up and headed home I couldn't help but whistle happily to myself.

So, to all the folks who unknowingly aided me in my silent battle in Liverpool, all those who came as unwitting knights in shining armour, I say, “Thank you!”

Don't forget, you can catch up with my writing bits and pieces at the following places:

Thursday 10 March 2016

The Great British Conundrum

I sometimes get asked, “Why are you a vegan?” Now, I have to say this isn't a question that comes my way very often but, when it does, the part of me that is British suddenly becomes very uncomfortable.

There are certain things that Brits are known throughout the world for doing thoroughly and with great style. Queuing is one of them – look at the lengths we will go to for that new book or for a reduced price dishwasher in the January sales. Complain politely is another – hence our abhorrence for automated telephone systems (we would much rather have a nice polite chap on the other end of the phone with whom we can discuss our grievance in a civilised manner).

One thing we are not so good at is expressing or explaining our personal beliefs whether they be political, social or religious. We look at our American cousins and shudder at the brash televangelists or we scratch our heads when we see French lorry drivers blockading their ports. This sort of thing tends to be inherently alien to us as we would much rather sit at home and grumble into our newspapers about something rather than grab it by the neck and choke it into submission.

So when I get asked about my particular lifestyle choice, I tend to stare off into the middle distance before giving a bemused shrug and saying, “I just am.”

Don't forget, you can catch up with my writing bits and pieces ate the following places:

Tuesday 8 March 2016

The Sleeping River Monster

Had a really good run this morning even though Mister Meniere's was trying desperately to convince me to remain in bed. He thought he had achieved a cunning victory over me this weekend when he prevented me from going to see Deadpool on Sunday and his hopes of hitting me around the head with a large haddock were running high. However, both yesterday and today I managed to drag myself, albeit somewhat unsteadily, out of bed and today I even managed to reap a reward with an increase in my running distance.

A.S.Chambers - Low LuneI was also treated to this nice shot of the River Lune winding its way to the millennium bridge.
Normally, Lancaster’s river is a fairly lazy beast – it slouches down low in its bed and protests when it gets assaulted by flocks of swans. However, just before Christmas last year, this sleeping monster rose its head and burst its banks. A feat quite unbelievable when you look at it in this picture yet something which the city is still recovering from with many businesses still closed.

I see my Meniere's rather like the River Lune. I'm always aware of its presence. It's there, trickling away in the background with my tinnitus happily jangling and jingling in my inner ear. Then sometimes there's a splash and I suddenly feel dizzy or nauseous for no particular reason. And other times there is a torrential downpour which causes it to burst its banks and flood my senses with an overload of saturated information. I collapse in a heap and retreat to the safety of my bed for a number of days.

So, when this inundation catches me off guard from time to time, I just pile up the sandbags and hunker down in the knowledge that given time the floodwater will recede and life will eventually return to what I consider to be normal.  

Don't forget, you can catch up with my writing bits and pieces ate the following places:

Thursday 3 March 2016

Mister Meniere's in the driving seat.

Another Thursday; another run. Finally managed to kick Mister Meniere's out of the driving seat and took full control, although it was rather exhausting. Mind you I did manage to find a handy sign post to catch a quick power nap against, so that helped.

A.S.Chambers nappingMeniere's Disease is a funny old thing. I'm constantly aware of its insidious presence: tinnitus jangling away, that feel of travel sickness rolling around in the background. However there are definitely certain things that act as triggers and will inevitably cause a full blown attack.

I have two big fingers on the trigger of my inner ear, both of which have been firing potshots at me this week. First, the lack of sleep the other night caused by a rampaging kitten (see Previously On Dizzy Deviant). Second, and this can be the more debilitating of the two, the anxiety caused by unfamiliar situations.

This weekend sees me tootling down to Buxton for UNICON. This was a last minute, spur of he moment decision which, at the time of booking, felt like a great idea. However, as the days trotted past, the subconscious of Yours Truly started to chip away at the granite edifice of my confidence.

“What if they didn't get your payment?” it would whisper. “What if traffic’s bad? What if it's a dead loss? What if you get stranded in snow? What if a meteorite hits the convention centre?”

So, by midweek, I was a gibbering wreck and Mister Meniere's twirled his waxed moustache, proclaiming, “Mwahaha! You are mine for the taking!”

Overthinking things really is not a good idea…

Don't forget, you can catch up with my writing bits and pieces ate the following places:

Tuesday 1 March 2016

A Nocturnal Feline Causes Havoc.

So, no running this morning because my good, old, constant friend Mister Meniere's is in the driving seat. I'm all bells a-ringing in my ears and I'm swooping and swaying myself around the house as those little sacs of fluid bang together deep inside my head.

It's funny how something so small can cause such deeper repercussions. It's almost like an ant overthrowing an international bank. There's a domino effect of symptoms that lead onwards to the ultimate conclusion that today is just not going to happen.

And what, may you ask, caused this exacerbation of my lifelong condition? Well, it is small, has four feet and a tail, is covered in soft, black fur and answers to the name of Schroedinger.

Yes, I was bounced on at two in the morning by an over-exuberant kitten. Now, if this had been, say twelve hours later, I would have been, “Yo, Kitty! Let's play.” However, in the supposed still of the night, his playful actions were less than welcome and resulted with said feline being shut in the dining room until sunrise and Yours Truly feeling like he had just gone twelve revolutions on a waltzer.

But, hey ho, Schrodie's cute and I always forgive him. It just means that today will see very little work achieved.

Don't forget, you can catch up with my writing bits and pieces ate the following places: