In Such is Life I catalogued my adventures in the NHS over the years. That was written two years ago, and deterioration has continued. As a result, so have the operations. Maybe because of the removal of part of my blood circulation I have been becoming increasingly restricted in walking. Arthritis has become very apparent. The combination of the two led to an operation on my spine. Spinal stenosis they call it. Such is Life
I had a consultation with ‘my’ cardiologist yesterday – cardiologist: not the maker of woolly pulleys but ‘my’ cardiac consultant. Telephone consultation of course because that’s doctoring today. In the ‘olden days’ he’d have had me in, looked me over, stethoscope (cold of course) pressed against my chest listening to my heart. This way it is impersonal, doesn’t have to appear caring, can be intellectually detached. Is intellectual detachment what you want from your healer? Listened as I stumbled to describe my heart pains, which have resulted in 3 ambulance rides resulting in dismissal from Casualty without any attempt to get to the root cause. Then told me they are most likely caused by my spinal problems. All telephonically. Such is Life
It is a year now, almost exactly since I came out of hospital after the operation on my spine. It has helped restore some circulation and mobility, but the spinal stenosis is part of a growing (literally) problem with bony growth appearing where the shouldn’t. It is some form of arthritis it seems, affecting spine, legs, hands etc. In fact, from what the cardiac man says it is firing off signals from my nervous system which may be false, but to which my body responds to anyway. It makes it difficult to spend long standing in front of an easel in the studio. Struggling physically has made for several false starts creatively, resulting in struggling with depression mentally, as art and design is all I have known in my life tor the last 60 years. The camera is a lifeline, I think. Such is Life
The cardiac man suggested walking, another activity that is inhibited, the spinal stenosis making walking and exercise problematic, walking being one of the pleasures in life I have been robbed of by it. As a youngster I did heavy farm work, and later was a bar cellarman and a dustman, all of which quite physically demanding jobs took their toll. How politicians think manual workers can carry on into their late sixties just shows how out of reach with reality Westminster has become. I can walk a few hundred yards but walk uphill and down Down, across the tops to the Cuckmere – well I might get there, but I’d never get back up the Down again. But game to try and obey the worthy consultant suggestions I stepped out with the camera cautiously that evening. Such is Life
I blame the spinal stenosis for the little camera shake you can see in the resultant photographs that grace this piece – or maybe it’s the arthritis wreaking havoc in my hands robbing me of strength to hold the camera still. In the end the images I snapped this afternoon along with those from subsequent trips out captured some of the restorative beauty I see. Chestnut trees are magnificent, aren’t they? Isn’t that what art is about – not trying to shock, but showing the beauty the artist eye can see? Maybe I should look at working up some imagery using them as starting point instead of rust Such is Life
I shook myself (metaphorically of course) and took a drive through the local lanes through and around the South Downs National Park that surrounds my hometown of Seaford. Frustrated in SDNP carparks that have ticket machines that don’t take cards or money or just simply fail to work, I just drove. Such is Life
Sussex is a beautiful county. Other drives have followed and will follow as I look to refresh the way I work and generate images. I will also revise the way I work in the studio too. Maybe my days of exhibiting are over as I slow and reduce stress. Not like Duchamp who famously boasted all he was going to do as he aged was play chess, I don’t think I could ever stop image making. But finding other avenues is a challenge to be met. Onwards and upwards ….