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Archive for December 2011

Christopher Hitchens life and death in 10 days

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On the Tuesday 6th December 2011 I stumbled across someone that I had never heard of before. His name was Christopher Hitchens. I had been searching the internet trying to find out what percentage of google employees (read ‘geeks’) are atheists. It turns out he gave an atheist talk at google. My question wasn’t answered but I found myself a new hero.

I was so intrigued by this man that I began to search the internet for videos and articles to learn more about him. As an atheist, I found his opinions on people, God and religion so closely matched my own. His passion, intelligence, knowledge, razor-sharp wit and eloquence gave him the public platform he wanted and deserved. In debate he used logic, common sense, reason and knowledge with devastating effect.

It was only a few days after I discovered Hitchens that I learned of his Oesophageal cancer diagnosis in June 2010. I was stunned.

He has been asked many times since his diagnosis if it has made him change his view of religion, a question he despised. Of those that would pray for him he responded “…I don’t mean to be churlish about any kind intentions, but when September 20 comes, please do not trouble deaf heaven with your bootless cries. Unless, of course, it makes you feel better.”

Today, I learned that he is dead. Eleven days ago I had not heard of Christopher Hitchens. Today I mourn his death.

I encourage anyone not familiar with the man to google him now. You will only be the better for it.


Written by barnabyfry

December 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Panic Attack

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At four o’clock this morning I suffered a panic attack. I have had similar events a couple of time over the years but it was Emma that found all my symptoms tied in with a panic attack.

I had a couple of bottled beers the night before but only a couple. I also had a decaf coffee.

When I awoke my first thought was that I’d been given caffeine instead as I felt suddenly alert. I felt slightly breathless and started taking deeper breaths through my mouth. I started to worry that my heart wasn’t beating properly so I wasn’t getting the oxygen I needed. I pressed a finger to my jugular to feel my heart beat … it seemed slightly irregular. I felt a little alarmed. Could this be a heart attack?

I went to the toilet and I noticed that I had sweaty palms. I tried to pace the bathroom to calm myself but started to feel faint. So I returned to the bedroom and woke Emma. I said I felt weird and light-headed. I then laid on the bedroom floor with Emma standing over me. It was in these seconds that I kind of lost awareness or passed out for a second.

When I recovered I felt a bit better but I had pins a needles in my hands and forearms. I got back in bed but started to shiver uncontrollably for a few minutes until I calmed and eventually went back to sleep.

I wanted to write down these symptoms while I still remember them. Having read about panic attacks it is now obvious that that is what it was. I had almost all of the symptoms described.

My previous episodes include a ‘funny turn’ after I got a strange sensation in my groin lifting heavy equipment after a gig (nearly twenty years ago). That incident involved worrying that I had a hernia, feeling weird, getting out of a car and lying in the rain and seeing colourful bizarre dreamlike images during a few seconds of unconsciousness. Apparently, I heaved several times as if to throw up during my unconscious spell.

I have also had bad reactions in the past when having blood taken (nausea, sickness and cold sweat). Last year I had a similar bout after a nasal endoscopy which involved nausea, vomiting, numbness and very strong pins and needles in my hands.

It is strange though, that I had a local anaesthetic to have a small benign lump removed from my upper arm three years ago and watched the whole thing with no ill effects.

I hope that in future I will be able to recognise the signs and calm myself before the panic attack develops. It is clearly mentally self induced although the physiology of a panic attack is real enough.

Written by barnabyfry

December 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Posted in Life and Health

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