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Matthew Chapman
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Posts from 01st Mar 2006 to 31st Mar 2006.
Back to the Doctors
   at 12:48 on Fri 24th March 2006
Yesterday I went back to the doctors. I'm still feeling sick some mornings/evenings and I'm totally exhausted all the time. As a normally healthy 21 year old, this isn't good and 3 months down the line I should be bloody better by now!

So I'm off to the hospital in a few minutes for 10 blood tests. I'm having the standard full blood count amongst tests for liver function, kidneyts, the thyroid gland, for diabetes and glandular fever and a few other things! I'm going to have an arm like a junkie, bleeding like a watering can! :-)

I've also been signed off work for 2 weeks. Which is crazy. I'm going up to my parents for a while to have a break. It's a relief in a way as it gives me plenty of time to properly relax, get away from everything. I'll recouperate and give my body time to get back to full health. It does seem like I'm being expelled or something though, like I'm being really naughty.

I've got things to be doing at work and I feel guilty about taking this leave, but that's outweighed by the fact I need to relax and I'd rather take 2 weeks time out than have another 3 to 4 months of what I've been through already. In the long term it's for the best.

Anyone know where the blood test section of Lister Hospital is?

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by Lardy at 16:20 on 24th Mar 2006
Bollox to feeling guilty mate. When you find out what it is. I'd like it. Two weeks off would be great!!
Just take your time and get well. That's by far the most important thing.

by Clare at 10:05 on 25th Mar 2006
Yeah, I agree - bollocks to feeling guilty! You've gotta take time for yourself; besides, if you didn't, you'd probably be more ill and need more time off down the line.

Take care of yourself!

by Neil at 21:24 on 10th Apr 2006
I bet the company folds in your absence, and you'll be fully responsible for the unemployment of all the staff in the company. All those families and those with mortgages will have you to thank for it.

Joking aside, I hope they find your sperm count high and your blood count low... or maybe the other way round and that you're not going to have any man babies yet.

University and it's Day to Day Effect's on Life
   at 22:15 on Fri 17th March 2006
Aside from the fantastic social and self-defining side to the University experience there's one thing I'm really in awe about. Before I went to University I would read articles on the Internet, in the newpapers (rarely) or hear facts from others in conversation. I still do, of course, but now I question everything I hear.

I have just been reading this article about "slacking" at work might be more beneficial than working extremely hard. There are lots of interesting statements in the article. One that stood out to me is

The "time cost" of refocusing your attention may be only a few seconds with each switch, but the researchers found that, over time, it reduced people's total efficiency by 20% to 40%.

Now that's all well and good but I'd like to know:
  • Which researchers found that out (Are they credible, is it their usual field of research, etc),
  • What sort of people they studied? (Was it purely office workers, bus drivers, farmers, or a mixture?)
  • Over what period did the research take place? (Surely to get a good measure of productivity you'd have to study people for years)
  • What methods did they scale "people's efficiency" on? (The money they made for the company? The amount of corresspondance they wrote? The number of lines of program code they produced? The number of academic papers published?)
  • What was the control group like to compare the "slackers" from those who worked normally?
Etc. There are so many hidden questions in that phrase. And thinking through how baseless the statement I highlighted is made me realise that I've learnt a great deal more than how to design and develop computer programs at University. It's a vast learning experience. Fantastic.

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by Neil-san (a.k.a. a-v0id) at 23:37 on 11th May 2006
Would you not ask those questions even without a degree?
I've been developing questions all my life, as I get older the more advanced the question. Ultimately, I think 3 years at university is a waste of life. I have learnt nothing I could not have picked up on a day to day basis in a work environment.
Redundant information that you spend the first few years at work trying to forget about seem to be aimed at confusing you and fogging your intelligent judgement about.
Irony with my university experience lays where I've been taking industrial experience whilst learning. Lecturers assuring you that things are common practice in industry are completely wrong and prove how little knowledge they really have about that which they profess to teach.
That last bit doesn't really argue my point but just goes to show how bitter I am about the whole to-do. Matt, I think you would have asked all those questions even without a degree.

Bad News
   at 00:03 on Fri 10th March 2006
So... there was no gas leak. He checked and there was no problem. British Gas have just cocked up their billing. Gits.

And this evening I've been feeling on the verge of throwing up. Thought I'd try eating to see if that sorted anything. But it didn't. It made things worse. Every night now it's like a chunk of my patience falls away and I get more pissed off with feeling ill.

As Tim, my colleague, said other people in the building use gas, perhaps there's a block in the gas piping and it's coming back into my flat in the form of carbon monoxide. I'll have to get my hands on one of those testers.

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by Andrew at 18:21 on 10th Mar 2006
Argos for 25

by Angel at 18:52 on 17th Mar 2006
There cheaper at Tescos, about 9 quid. Are you sure your illness isnt glandular fever? I had it, smae symptoms, lasted months and the Doctor even explained that you can test negative for it all the way through but still have it. Just don't get M.E. afterwards... you might get more pasty.

by Matt at 22:07 on 17th Mar 2006
Angel! :-)

I've been told categorically that it wasn't glandular fever. The sickness, dizziness stuff has been better this week. But it's just switching to exhaustion. I ran from one platform to another this morning and it totally killed me. It took until I was well into the office to catch my breath and I ended up nearly falling asleep at work this afternoon. I'm not aware of how to determine if you're heading in the ME direction (I've not read up on it.) but if I am I think I'll cry.

   at 11:08 on Wed 8th March 2006
That was the shortest morning I've had at work ever. I arrived, explained that I had received a gas bill of 132 this morning and now I'm back home. Perhaps I should explain this tenuous link.

My first quarterly gas bill when I moved into my flat was for 3.50. I wrote this off as I didn't really care for a little over a pint in cash. That's not to say I wasn't a little curious as to why my flat was using gas when I use an electric cooker, an electric heater and an electric immersion heater for my water.

The bill I received this morning set alarm bells ringing though. I'm wondering why I've got a bill for 132 when I don't use gas. When I arrived into the office I was encouraged to check the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and sure enough:

Low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning or other illnesses and can have a long term health risk if left unattended. Some of the symptoms are the following.

- Shortness of breath
- Mild nausea
- Mild headaches

So I've called up the Emergency gas leak people (0800 111 999 in case you ever need it. Oh, and they're good. They answered within 2 rings.) and they're coming out by 2pm. I really hope that this isn't a false alarm and it's some innocent billing error as I'd like to get to the bottom of my illness and be healthy again; I'm fed up.

Here's hoping.

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Previously in Amsterdam
   at 15:25 on Thu 2nd March 2006
I really enjoyed myself on this trip (4th to 5th Feb 2006). It was great to meet up with a bunch of 11 Dutch people from Planetarion and be shown around their wonderful city. There's so much construction work going on around the city but it still keeps a lovely air of beauty about it.

Seriously though, the red light district has to be better than the view from Table Mountain or the rides at the big American theme parks or the taste of your first kiss. All those gorgeous (mostly - some you could lose yourself in) women (some you'd probably class instead as girls) strutting their stuff. My illness must have climaxed and I was temporarily dead and in heaven or something. All the breasts! Crikey, I haven't been able to sleep since!

I can't believe how much I had to psyche myself up to ask one of the ladies how much she charged. For those that are interested she told me "Fifty euros for a fuck and a suck. You want to come inside?" I said "Sure, but I'll just have to pop to the cash point. Give me 10 minutes." and walked off. I imagine she's still sat on her bed waiting for me, dreaming of my beauty and charm.

And the sex shops. Dildos that could blind you, DVDs that would make you sick, whips and chains that would make you bleed. It's such a kinky place!

Oh, and then the sex museum. It's just room after room of hardcore porn. This city just couldn't get any better!

We had a few beers in various places. Nothing much to report other than the depressing lack of English/Irish style pubs (which is apparantly a phenomenon across the whole of mainland Europe) and an equally upsetting size of head they pour on their lager. Oh, and the weakness of the Dutch should be mentioned. Andrew, little Richard and I were throwing down the pints whereas the Dutch were sipping at their halves.

I can't wait to go back and hopefully meet up again. The people we met up with were all lovely people. They set a fantastic image for their country and I could easily fall in love with a place like Amsterdam, especially considering it houses a wonderful people. They spoke in fluent English when ever we were around, even if we weren't involved in the conversation and not once did they mention our (frankly quite rude) lack of Dutch language.

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Still Not Better
   at 15:17 on Thu 2nd March 2006
I'm still having this annoying mornings and evenings of feeling sick and frankly I'm pissed off with them now; It's been 2 and a half months. It's not all gloom though, the tablets I was prescribed just over a week ago are doing some good. I've also been ok'd to take my lunch hour at the start of the day for a few days and come into the office a bit later. This works brilliantly for me as getting up slowly and gently keeps me feeling great until late evening.

As part of this, I'm eating when ever I'm hungry and have an apetite. I can't eat at set "meal times" as if I'm not feeling well I'll just throw it all back up again.

This led me to pop into McDonalds on my way home one evening this week. I tried one of their new double quarter pounders*. That's an impressive half pound of meat and I have to say, it tasted brilliantly. I'm normally a fan of Burger King's burgers as they are far superior, but this double quarter pounder was ace!

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