Scary heart stuff

Here’s a compilation of some posts from Facebook covering my recent unplanned stay in hospital…  I’ll post something more when I’ve had a bit more time to process it all!

Hospital update – 29th May

So, first of all, a massive thanks to Abhi who did a Tesco shop for me this evening so now I have some clean clothes / toiletries etc – I was sent sent to A&E by my GP so only had the stuff I arrived at hospital with!

I’d been to my GP on Friday because recently I’ve been so breathless that it’s just been stopping me doing anything, and also I’d noticed I was rapidly putting on weight even though I’ve hardly been eating anything.

Anyway, my doctor told me to go to Stepping Hill hospital to get a chest x-ray, and by yesterday she’d got the results and asked my to come in right away to go through it. It was showing that my heart was enlarged, plus my breathlessness has actually got worse, and I’d also started up coughing bits of blood the night before.

Anyway I was told to go immediately to A&E by Uber – not detouring via home, and leaving my car parked in the street outside the medical practice!

So once in A&E, I had some blood tests done, another chest X-Ray and then an ECG. I was told it looked like my heart is massively over-working, and a knock on from that is that less blood gets to the kidneys meaning theres lot of liquid retention around the body.

I was moved to the Medical Assessment Unit last night, and I’m still here tonight!

Today I’ve had a heart CT scan to check for clotting (which there wasn’t) and also an Echo test which is basically an Ultrasound for your heart, and it’s so weird seeing your heart moving about live on a screen in front of you!

I’m likely to be in for at least a couple more days where they’re trying out different combinations of drugs etc, and it looks like once medication hopefully deals with the current issue, I’ll still have a weak heart with problems that I’ll probably have to manage on a long term basis.

But the freakiest thing that’s happened today is my feet have swollen up with this excess liquid, and it looks a bit like when Alan Partridge had his Toblerone breakdown whilst barefoot! (Niche reference!) That’s feeling a bit painful cos of the skin stretching as I’m about to try and get a night’s sleep, without keep the other patients awake with my horrific cough!

Hospital update 2 – 31st May

So late last night I was moved from the assessment area onto the Cardiology Ward, now that a bed here finally became available. I’ve not had any more tests or anything today – just having to sit by my bed taking various drugs and being connected to a drip at various points during the day.

The difference between the 2 wards couldn’t be more extreme – the Medical Assessment Unit is pretty new and feels quite high tech, whereas I arrived in my current ward in the old part of the hospital, and it’s more like one from a 1950’s Carry On film!!

Anyway, I last saw the hospital doctor yesterday afternoon, and he told me that the echo scan confirms what they thought – that I have dilated cardiomyopathy / heart failure (which I’m sorry, but to me is really a far too dramatic term for a medical condition!), and basically this means that the heart being enlarged has overstretched, and now can’t contract back to its original size, so now doesn’t work properly.

Also, my really horrific cough that I’ve had for many months now, where I’ve been coughing up a load of crap from really deep down, they think it’s most likely pneumonia on one of my lungs and I’m now on antibiotics for that to try and deal with it.

I’ve been told that I’ll need to go and gave an MRI scan as an outpatient at Wythenshawe Hospital in about a month’s time, and I’ve got to stay in here for observation until at least the start of next week to see how I’m responding the medication.

I’m not totally clear on how much medication can try to resolve the problem as opposed to alleviating the issues from the heart failure. I kind of feel I’ve been told conflicting things which I need to clarify when I see the doctor again next week.

My mum’s coming up for a few hours tomorrow afternoon to visit which will be nice change from just being around ill people the entire time! The days here seem much longer than regular days!

Also, I’m really hoping that they don’t decide to keep me in past midweek, because on Thursday I’m supposed to be seeing Mumford & Sons at the Manchester Arena, which was actually postponed from the end of last year, and as well as really wanting to see the show, I also don’t want to throw away £70 which will happen as there’s not enough time to sell it back!

Medical Update – 7th June

So I finally got discharged from hospital on Wednesday afternoon after spending just over a week there. Annoyingly, I was scheduled to leave a day earlier, but a junior doctor came to see me on Tuesday afternoon to apologise, because I’d apparently ‘slipped through the net’ and the team of doctor’s had forgotten to go through my results which would have led to me being let out 24 hours earlier!

I was ready to leave – it felt like I’d been there forever. And the fact that pretty much everyone else was getting a constant stream of visitors gets to you after a while. I mean, I’d had my mum visit on Saturday afternoon, and Rob and Clare made a surprise visit on Sunday afternoon which was cool, but wow, every day was so, so long!

So I’m now back in the real world, with multiple drugs that I’ll be taking for the rest of my life! I’ve downloaded an app that hopefully will make it easier to remind me when to take which pill!

And I decided to go the Mumford & Sons gig last night. I know I’m supposed to be taking it easy, but I found out that there was a way to get my standing ticket changed to a seated one due to medical stuff, so I did that, and was able to be there without exerting too much energy. Was a great gig, and the focus of making it there which in hospital really helped me get through the endless days!

So now I just need to the level of heart failure down from severe to regular, which I’ll need to do through diet and exercise, and I’m waiting for an appointment in a few weeks for the heart failure clinic, and I’ve also got to wait for an appointment for an MRI scan at Wythenshaw hospital. Being slightly claustrophobic, I’m really not looking forward to that one!

Birthday U2!

So, it was my birthday on Saturday, and at the start of this year I’d tried to buy a ticket to see U2 in Manchester on their eXPERIENCE + INNOCENCE tour, which fell on the same date, but within seconds of the tickets going on sale, they were already sold out which was really annoying since the only ones then available we being sold at massively inflated prices on secondary ticket sites – and I’d pretty much forgotten about it.

Then, first thing in the morning, I was looking on Twitter and saw a post from the Manchester Evening News linking to an article about the U2 gig later that day. I then remembered that someone had recently told me that with gigs like this, production ticket returns are often released for sale on the day of the gig, so I thought I’d quickly check on the Manchester Arena website, and I was able to buy a ticket at the price they originally went on sale!

I got myself there nice and early and managed to get pretty near to the front, and just a couple of metres away from the central screen/walkway. As with previous two U2 gigs I’ve been to, the show was amazing. The mix of music and visuals was so well done – they had a big video wall down the centre of the arena, which when lit in a certain way revealed a walkway inside it, which also became part of the stage when the screen was raised into the air.

There was also a really cool bit where they went from ‘Get Out Of Your Own Way’ into ‘New Year’s Day’ and they performed in front of a giant EU flag with one of the stars turned into a Union flag with a heart around it, and it was a really powerful moment as Bono made a short passionate speech about Europe and how Brexit could affect the situation in Northern Ireland, and how the rest of Europe does actually love the UK and doesn’t want us to leave. And I’m sure it peed off quite a few Brexit-lovers in the crowd!

And at the end of the show, they dedicated ‘There Is A Light’ to the 22 who died last year at the Arena in the terrorist attack which was cool and pretty poignant, but it felt like people were then expecting some kind of big ending to finish of the encore which was slightly weird.

But all in all, a really enjoyable spontaneous treat!

Setlist:

1. The Blackout
2. Lights of Home
3. I Will Follow
4. All Because Of You
5. Beautiful Day
6. Zoo Station
7. The Fly
8. Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
9. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
10. Elevation
11. Vertigo
12. Even Better Than The Real Thing
13. Acrobat
14. You’re The Best Thing About Me
15. Summer Of Love
16. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
17. Get Out Of Your Own Way
18. New Year’s Day
19. City Of Blinding Lights
20. One
21. Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way
22. 13 (There Is A Light)

And then to wrap up my birthday weekend, I went to see Elis James & John Robins on their book tour at The Lowry last night, and it was really funny! I bought a copy of the book there, and then queued for over an hour and a half to get it signed (I didn’t realise it’d take that long, and you get to a point where you can’t leave because of the time you’ve already waited!)

Luckily, I got chatting to a couple next to me in the queue which made the time go much quicker, and I ended up giving them a lift home, because they live just a couple of miles away from me!

 

 

 

Anthony

I found out yesterday through Facebook that one of my best mates from school died last weekend of a cardiac arrest whilst he was just walking home. He was only 44 and it really is a total shock. Sadly, I hadn’t been in touch with Anthony for about 20 years, but I spent pretty much the whole of my early life with him, doing loads of crazy stuff with our partner in crime Tom.

Here’s the article from the Birmingham Mail.

RIP mate.

dM in the local press

dm-gmbw-2013

Got a nice little article about doodledoMOTION in this week’s Greater Manchester Business Week in their new feature – ‘Brief Introduction’.  Pretty pleased with it, but we really could do with a better publicity photo – this was one the paper took back in 2011 at The Sharp Project official opening!

The article is also on the Manchester Evening News website here.

Sharp Project launch and some publicity!

It’s been 10 months now since doodledoMOTION moved into the Sharp Project, and last week saw the official opening of the building with the handover from the developers to Manchester Council.
When we moved in last September, there were a lot less people in there, but now most of our section is full, the original part is quite full, and the 2 main production stages have standing sets in them for ‘Mount Pleasant‘ and ‘Fresh Meat‘.

With the official opening, the final Gold section is now taking tenants – I don’t think we’re in a massive rush to move down there because I actually like the quirkiness of our converted shipping containers, and the amount of space we’ve got works well for us.

Anyway, it was a busy night, with a load of BMX riders and skateboarders racing past our unit for most of it, although I don’t really know who any of the invited guests were.  I’m guessing a lot of them were council-related people as opposed to any from the media industry, but hopefully there’ll be more events in the future that attracts a more relevant crowd.

And then yesterday, following on from an interview me and James gave to a reporter at the launch night, there’s been an article published about the company in Greater Manchester Business Week (also published on the Manchester Evening News website).

To be honest, I’d have rather it’d focused on some of our other bits of work, but it’s still all good publicity. In fact the only annoying thing is they’ve got me and James the wrong way on the photo!

business-week

Some non-work-related stuff!

We’ve been working incredibly hard recently, pulling in some all-nighters for a couple of our jobs, but instead of going on about that, I’m going to blog about some non-work stuff I’ve done over the last few weeks!

helen-ali-june-2011

Most recently, this weekend I’ve been down in Bristol visiting Ali, and Helen also came down so we could have a bit of a mini uni-get-together!

I was originally planning to drive down there on Saturday morning, but I’ve been doing such long hours at work, and on Friday afternoon I was totally knackered after having had just 3 hours sleep in 3 days(!), so at the last minute I booked a train ticket down there instead!

I got into Bristol around lunchtime, and walked the short distance from Temple Meads to Ali’s house.  It’s interesting to see how much the area has changed over the years. When I first visited Ali there back in the 90s, it was a pretty run-down area, but now a lot of it’s been replaced by riverside bars and restaurants, and hotels and posh apartments – and Ali’s estate is right next to it!

Continue reading →

Jo Brand’s Big Splash recording

dsc01401
Me and James have just spent the last couple of days down in London, partly for a meeting about some more graphics we’re doing for a Channel 5 documentary later this year, but also we were down there to go to the Hackney Empire, where we were in the audience for the recording of Jo Brand doing stand-up for a show that’s going to be on Dave later this year.

doodledoMOTION are doing titles and graphics for the 5-part series called ‘Jo Brand’s Big Splash’, which will mix the stand-up gig with a documentary about water, which sees Jo trying out loads of different activities including swimming, diving and rafting.

Because we were guests, we got front row circle seats, so there’s a good chance we could end up in some audience shots in the final edit.  And knowing the way editing works, I can almost guarantee that they’ll cut us laughing at some innocent joke as the reaction to something really inappropriate!!

It was actually a really good gig – I wasn’t quite sure whether I’d find it that funny, but I think Jo’s comedy has become a lot more inclusive, whereas in the past it had quite a reputation of being feminist and man-hating. I don’t really know whether it ever really was, but that’s kind of what gets associated with her!

Straight after the show, we went up to the green room for a few beers and to hang out with the crew and people from the production company and UKTV, and Jo also came up for a bit after she’d finished signing autographs at the stage door.

Then, once stuff had been packed up at the theatre, we went to a nearby pub with the production guys, and then a few of us went on to get some food in some part of London I didn’t really know!  To be totally honest, we had a few beers, and I was definitely aware that I was a bit tipsy as the night went on… I was certainly talking a bit more than I usually do!!

Not exactly sure when the show airs but will post about it when I know!
Just another quick mention for work stuff – a couple of weeks ago we did the opening title for a programme that went out on BBC1 called ‘The Street That Cut Everything’.

It was shown on Monday 16th May, with the first part showing at 9pm and then concluded after the 10 o’clock news. And in the morning they did a feature on BBC Breakfast with the documentary’s presenter Nick Robinson in the studio, with our main graphic appearing on video wall throughout.

May Day walk in Rivington

Well today’s been the 4th bank holiday in 2 weeks which is rather odd!  We obviously had Easter last weekend, but on Friday it was the Royal Wedding, which I actually managed to avoid watching at all, and instead went and did some shopping at IKEA, which was probably the quietest I’ve ever seen it! I’d planned to buy some storage furniture for my new bathroom, but I’m struggling to find something I like – I did find a unit there that I thought might work, but when I went to collect it I discovered that they’d discontinued the shelves needed to go inside it! So the search continues!

dsc01298

Anyway, today was May Day bank holiday and I found out that there was a walk being arranged for the Vinelife / Reach crowd, so I headed up north of Bolton to tag along.

We all met up at Rivington Hall Barn, which really is in the middle of nowhere! I got a little bit lost – my SatNav first tried to take me across a golf course, and then eventually led me to a random collection of cars amongst some trees! Luckily, as I was pulling up, Dan and Gemma arrived as well, along with a few others, and we took an educated guess at which direction to take to get us to the main barn where everyone was meeting.

dsc01280

There was quite a crowd really – I knew a reasonable proportion of the people there, but I did feel quite an outsider to be honest.  I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised about that really!  It was nice to get out into the countryside though, and we all made our way up to Rivington Pike which is the top of Winter Hill, and has a great view of the surrounding area stretching for miles and miles. It was very windy up there – it’s all quite exposed, and it felt at times like you could get blown off the hill!  Luckily there’s a tower at the top you could use a shield when it got a bit intense!

There are some photos of the walk here on Facebook.

On Easter Sunday I went down to Tamworth to visit family – the first time this year!

In the morning, I went to church with my mum, sister and the twins, and then in the afternoon, we took them down to the fair in the Castle Grounds. It was a proper old-school funfair, and Chloe went on the teacups ride with Vicky, but Brandon wasn’t really up for trying any of them! He’s not quite as adventurous as his sis!

img_0692

Then afterwards, we took them to the kids’ playground nearby and they played there for a bit before we grabbed some ice creams!  And then we headed back tomum’s to break into some Easter eggs!

One final thing – I finally ordered myself a new washing machine yesterday! It’s been over a year since my old one died, and I’ve been using the launderette ever since!  I’d decided to wait until I’d got my kitchen done before replacing it, and I now have done… only a few months late!

The year so far…

It’s been a while, so here’s a bit of a catch up!
Yesterday I went to Liverpool Cathedral to hear Rob Bell talk about his new book – ‘Love Wins‘. I’d seen him do a Q&A at Greenbelt last year, so was quite interested to hear him in person talk about his new book which has already caused a bit of controversy within the church.

It was quite bizarre because quite a few influential people were highly critical of it via Twitter, even before the book had actually been released, so I decided I’d rather make my own mind up, rather than listen to emotional ramblings from people who can come across a bit arrogant at times!

large-rob-bell-photo-for-blog

I went with Tom Green from Vinelife, and met up with Dave Bateman (who’s now living in Liverpool), and I also bumped into Tim Follin and his wife who were both there too. The place was pretty packed, and it was really interesting to hear his thoughts, but even though I think some of the stuff he said was quite though-provoking, I’m not totally sure I agree with all the points he put across.

After he did his main talk bit, he was ‘interviewed’ by the host of the evening, but he wasn’t really very good at it and asked pretty rubbish questions.  And then they invited people from the audience to ask questions, but again I thought there were a lot of missed opportunities, and Tom went forward to ask a question, but they wrapped up just before he got a chance to which was a bit annoying!

I bought the book afterwards, and I want to read it myself to see what I reckon – I certainly think it’s good that he’s causing people to ask questions about it.

Continue reading →

Christmas and new TV!

Yet another Christmas has been and gone… and for this one I decided to stay at home and cook myself a Christmas dinner in my brand new kitchen!

I think Christmas dinner has to be the best meal you can have! It has so many different things in it, and you’re kind of allowed to over-eat for that one meal!

christmas-dinner-2010

I cooked a joint of turkey and a joint of gammon, and also had he full works with sausagemeat stuffing, bacon wrapped around sausages, roast potatoes, and loads of veg!  It was washed down with a nice glass of wine whilst watching Christmas Top Of The Pops on iPlayer live on my laptop!

And by the time the Christmas pudding made it onto the table, I couldn’t have been more festive if I’d tried!

Once I’d had my dinner I just relaxed and watched TV for the rest of the day! It was a proper lazy day, and I did actually enjoy it!

And last week, just before New Year, I popped down to Tamworth to visit my mum, sister and the twins, and give them their Christmas presents.  I bought Brandon and Chloe some Lazy Town costumes – a Sportacus suit for Brandon, and a Stephanie outfit for Chloe.  The only problem was that it freaked them out a little bit!

Obviously they’re so used to seeing those characters on the TV that they couldn’t get their heads around the fact that they could dress up as them! Maybe they’ll play with them sometime in the future, but I don’t reckon they’ll get much use in the immediate future!

And in other news, I’ve bought a new TV for my living room!  I’ve had a big widescreen CRT for about 10 years and I thought it was time to get myself a HD set.  I’ve bought a Samsung 37″ Freeview HD internet TV – and it’s got BBC iPlayer and YouTube built in. I’m quite pleased with it… now I just need to get Sky HD and a Bluray player!

America – YEAH!

Well, I’ve just got back from an amazing two weeks in the USA!

I’d never been there before, so when I got an invite to Emma McNeil’s (now Patterson!) wedding to Gerald in North Carolina, I decided that it’d be really cool to be there for that, and also to discover a bit of America at the same time!

I flew out from Manchester Airport on Tuesday 7th, and got on the plane around lunchtime, but not before being selected for a security check as I was boarding!  I guess it was because I was travelling on my own, but it’s funny how you start to feel guilty when you’ve not actually got anything to hide!  About 8 hours later I made it into Newark Airport – and it was really weird being able to see such iconic views as the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty as we came in to land!  After a bit of a delay waiting for my next flight to Greensboro, I finally boarded what can only be described as a coach with wings!  It was a 50-seater, small 2-engine plane, that was incredibly narrow with just 3 seats across, and an aisle separating one of those!  It was a bit of a bumpy journey – I’m not the most experienced flier, so it doesn’t take too much to make me a bit nervous! But we eventually landed safely at Greensboro airport quite late, although my awareness of time was a bit screwy due to the time difference!

img_0013

After getting through the airport, I met up with Emma and her mum, as well as her brother and his family who’d also just flown in, before picking up the car I was hiring for my time in North Carolina. It was a little automatic Chevrolet, and I then had to follow them back to her apartment on the other side of the city – which considering I’d only driven on the right-hand side once before in 1997, and this time it was also dark, it was quite an experience! I was actually quite relieved it was an automatic because it meant I didn’t have to worry about changing gear with the wrong hand!

Continue reading →

My new kitchen

new-kitchen

For the last couple of months I’ve pretty much been without a kitchen, because recently I finally got around to getting it extended and re-fitted, making it just over double it’s original size.

It was so small before – you could pretty much stand in the middle and almost touch all the walls!  I originally had plans drawn up in 2005, but it’s taken this long to get my arse into gear!  The builders started work on the foundations in mid-October, and then just before my birthday, they knocked a hole through the back wall, so I’ve been pretty much without a kitchen from then until now.

I’m really pleased with it – the kitchen units are from IKEA, and I’ve got a Velux window in a sloping roof above the far end which looks really cool and lets in a load of extra light.  In my original plans it had a flat roof and 2 windows, but I took the opportunity to get them re-done so opted for just one window meaning I could have cupboards on the outside wall.  I still need to put some flooring down – I’ve bought some laminate which Rob’s going to help me with soon, but it’s so good to be able to cook food in something other than a microwave!

Tom’s wedding

dscn6241
Last weekend I trekked down to Bideford for a pretty special day – Tom Green’s wedding to Vicky!

Tom’s probably my oldest friend – we spend pretty much all our time together when we were kids… whilst at school we tried to start TV and radio stations, produced the school magazine and a yearbook, made a short film, wrote a ‘commercial’ computer game that earned us about £100(!), plus loads of other crazy ventures!

And then after school, we’ve kept in touch, firstly helping start up a community radio station together, and we’ve both then taken career paths in media – Tom in radio and me in tv and video.  We even shared a house together in Birmingham in the summer of 1997!

Anyway, Tom’s been living in the UAE for the last few years, and was in Cairo before that, so we don’t see other loads, but do keep in touch online, and have caught up when he’s been back in the UK visiting family.

So when I was invited to his wedding down in Devon, there was no way I was going to miss it!  It was a heck of a long journey down there from Manchester, but I stayed at a Travelodge on the M5 the night before to break it up a little bit, and then stayed in Bideford on the Saturday night after the reception.

dscn6254

The wedding service itself was in a really picturesque village church, and then everyone drove into the town for the reception in a hotel at the side of the river.

It was great to see them getting married – I’d not met Vicky before, but we had spoken once on a Skype call about a month ago! And I also got to catch up with Tom’s sister Ellen, who I hadn’t spoken to for about 20 years!  It was a bit mad, because when I was younger, she was just Tom’s kid sister who we didn’t really have anything to do with, because that’s how it is when you’re kids!  But it was really nice to see her now with her partner and young daughter, and just seemed really happy with life and stuff.

dscn6345

I also got to meet a few of Tom’s radio mates, which was cool – they were people I’ve heard him mention in the past, but never seen before.  And it was good to say hello to his mum and dad, who again I’ve not seen for a very long time!

I’ve uploaded photos from the wedding here.

One extra thing – after the robbery at our old office, we’ve now moved the business into a new place.  It’s in east Manchester, in a brand-new complex called The Sharp Project, and it’s designed to house digital and media businesses, as well as offering studio space to production companies.  It’s pretty exciting, and we’ve only been in there a month, but hopefully it’ll prove to be a really good move for us!

Summer 2010

Thought I’d better do a bit of a recap about what’s been going on over the summer, and I supposed the first thing I need to blog about is that we had a bit of a setback at work last month when we had a break-in at the office.

Basically, the whole top floor of our building was targeted, and the burglars broke into about 50 separate units in all! Most businesses had stuff stolen, but it seems like we were the worst hit, with us losing 3 iMacs and a Macbook Pro, plus all our filming kit comprising of a Sony EX3 and Z1, as well as a load of audio stuff as well.  It’s been a pretty horrible experience – luckily we’ve only lost a bit of work since they didn’t take our server or external hard drives, which would have destroyed us really since we hadn’t really got a decent back-up of all our work. But it’s just so gutting that you put so much time and effort into building the business to have some scum just take it away from you.

Anyway, we’re currently looking at options for what to do next – hopefully we’ve got a new office lined up because I really don’t want us to go back to our old one, because I think it might just happen again if they don’t sort out the security issues.  Should have a clearer idea of the future soon.

dscn5744

On to happier stuff… at the beginning of August, Rob and Clare got married in a field in Mellor (a small village not too far from Stockport), and I was one of the 12 ushers who were all dressed fully in white!

Continue reading →