Tooth extraction

As a flow-on effect of the sinus surgery I had a month ago, the CT scan which was done for that procedure showed a tooth with an infected root eroding the bone of my sinus cavity, so that also had to go. I had the tooth out on Friday afternoon, dosed myself up on painkillers and then enjoyed an evening of Bill Bailey with my wife and daughter to take my mind off it. (Actually we booked the tickets months ago, it was just bad timing that it coincided with the dental procedure).

Sinus surgery

At 2pm last Monday I was knocked out. It was done gently with an anaesthetic but once that wore off it certainly felt like someone very large has smacked me hard on the nose.

For a long time I’ve suffered from almost continuous head colds, one would resolve only to be promptly replaced by another. Eventually a referral to the otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) department at Dunedin hospital resulted in a CT scan and decision to give me a nose job and clear out my sinus cavities to get the air circulating around inside my head more freely.

According to the surgeon the procedure went well and overall I think the recovery has been OK. For the first four days afterwards I really did feel like I’d been hit very hard on the nose. That has now subsided and mostly I’d describe what remains as blood and bogies. The sinus cavities were packed with dissolvable packing which obviously has to come back out eventually. I’m still quite blocked up, just like a really bad cold or sinus infection!

Time will tell how effective all this is at easing my head cold problem, hopefully it turns out to be worth the discomfort.

Bell’s Palsy

My lack of blog posts over this last week has not been entirely due to laziness (though I must admit to an element of that as a contributing factor). The main issue has been trying to cope with an odd situation resulting in a very stingy right eye due to it not producing tears properly since Tuesday evening. My doctor has diagnosed it as being Bell’s palsy, a situation in which the cranial nerve that controls muscles on one side of the face becomes partially paralysed. In addition to my right eye not being able to blink properly and drying out as a result, I also have a slight droop to the right side of my mouth, a bit like when you’ve had a local anaesthetic from a dentist. This makes it a bit awkward to eat and drink, and some words are slurred when I talk.

In theory this should clear up on it’s own, but I have been prescribed prednisone (a corticosteroid) and an antiviral, based on the assumption that this condition can be caused by a viral infection of the nerve. Currently the symptoms are annoying and inconvenient but not a major problem, though I do hope that it clears up as I’d not want to have this long term.

Rock bottom

What I am aiming for is to be a better person. Not perfect, not even ‘the best’, just better than I am now.

The inside of an old industrial chimney shaft photographed from the bottom - circular stone wall with tree growing from it and blue sky with white clouds in the opening in the centre, verticalIn 2014 I hit rock bottom.

In just one year I dug myself into a huge credit card debt, gained 10 kg of excess weight, was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in a suicidal state, and almost ruined my marriage. Not my best effort.

Fortunately my depression has improved and my wife is graciously giving me a chance to make things better. I urgently need to change how I “do life”. This year my blog will trace my journey to ‘a better me’.

This is not about ‘radical’ or extreme changes, there is no room for such things when I am in debt, have health problems and have to work full time to support my family. It is also not a quest for perfection, all of us let ourselves and others down every day. What I am aiming for is to be a better person. Not perfect, not even ‘the best’, just better than I am now.

Because I have made such a mess of things and failed in a multitude of ways, this self-improvement project will range over many areas. Of particular interest to me is how to make changes stick and finding what will have the biggest payoff for even small improvements.

God-given ability to work

A sick man at home, laying down with his cat and tissue paper.I am currently at home with the ‘flu.

Fortunately I get a certain amount of paid sick leave so can take occasional days off work and still be paid. This is a huge blessing, it also has made me aware of the even greater blessing that God has given me on an ongoing basis for over twenty years – the ability to work and earn my keep.

It is easy to think that it is my own strength that enables me to work and earn money, but while I have to do the work, it is God who gives me the power to work (Deuteronomy 8:17–18).

Knowing it is God who gives me the strength to work, and that it is His will for me to work and not burden others, is reassuring when I am feeling unwell and not up to a day’s work. It is certainly possible that I could someday become so unwell as to be unable to work, but this is only a cold and tomorrow I get to go back to work.

While all of us have days when work is a burden, the knowledge that God is blessing me with the ability to do work and through this means to provide for myself and my family makes even those days easier to endure.

…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thessalonians 4:11–12 ESV)

In the end it is a blessing to be able to work, a way to serve on multiple levels.

Gifts I have noticed this week:

446) Listening to The Myst of Eden: Hope by David Teems.
447) My 2-year-old son wanting a “cuggle” (cuddle).
448) Weekend holiday with friends.
449) Kids playing at the beach.
450) A hot shower and electric blanket when feverish with chills.
451) Breakfast lovingly prepared by my daughter.

Image of sick man: iStockphoto


About two years ago I lost my ability to taste sweetness for about a month, a condition with the medical name ‘hypoguesia’. It was quite odd to put sugar on my tongue and experience tasteless gritty grains which slowly dissolved, or to taste only the slightly earthy floweriness of clover honey with no sweetness at all. The only commercially manufactured biscuits I could tolerate were gingernuts because at least they had enough flavour to cover the taste of preservatives which is unmasked when sweetness is eliminated. Even chocolate completely lost its appeal!

One of the worst things about my inability to taste sweetness was that I was still left with the sour, acidic taste in my mouth which is the common aftertaste from eating anything sweet. So I got the sourness but not the sweetness, not nice.

The gospel is like that too. Prior to my conversion I encountered the gospel on several occasions and frankly it left me cold. My reaction to Christianity was distinctly hostile, I considered the church to have done considerable damage to the progress of science historically and to be irrelevant to my life. I certainly tasted sourness, but had no hint of sweetness.

O Taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
(Psalm 34:8)

Image of monkey poking out tongue: iStock