Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Updates, and baring one’s soul

Taken in the Canary Islands

I’ve lost a follower – it makes me sad but I don’t blame them, in fact I apologise for letting them down.
Most of my followers are bandits, and if they’ve been following my blog it will not have escaped their notice that I don’t often post about weight, the lapband and food generally – and getting stuck.  It’s just as important to me as it ever was, but it’s harder now because I’m not as successful as I was at the beginning.  I’m not in denial, I’m not avoiding it:  I vowed when I got the gastric band that those words would no longer form part of my vocabulary. 
The bloggers with the most followers are the most inspirational, the ones who prompt you to eat less, exercise more, have faith in the band – and I’m not one of them because (and I humbly apologise to each and every bariatric surgery blogger who reads this) I’m bored with writing about it.  This is NOT meant to sound condescending – if for example the blogging topic that glued us all together were exclusively about my favourite hobby, photography, it would be the same.  Single-mindedness has never been my strong suit.
True, there are details that disappoint me a little – the newbies who ask the same questions but want to be told the answers afresh because scrolling back to the myriad of solutions offered by all the bloggers is too much trouble, the bloggers who never acknowledge a comment at all, ever... but I continue to follow a lot of bariatric bloggers anyway.  None of this puts me off writing.  Writing is psychological food and drink to me.  It’s just the subject that had to change.
What you will find here is honesty.  I may not inspire you, but I would hope to strike a chord in you if we’re both going through the same difficulties and thought processes, whatever the subject.  Inspiration in my experience never lasts very long, but the benefits of therapy generated by common problems, do.  If I thought I could coax just one silent blogger out of being only a reader and joining in with the group therapy that blogging can be, then that would certainly inspire me to redouble my efforts.  I sometimes look sadly at the blogs I used to follow all the time and wish the writer would come out of retirement...
I have no idea if I have followers because of my stories and photographs, but hope that I do.  Together the two elements are meant to be half way between entertaining and thought-provoking, and every so often there’s something different:  a piece of me in an update, or – as is the case at the moment - a story coming up soon,  a tale of 19th century Bristol told partly in verse (by my partner John) and partly in prose (me). 
“Write about what you know” they say.  And that’s exactly what I’m trying to do, at least most of the time.  Some of the posts are quite long and I think bloggers prefer bite-sized ones, but you see I’m writing for me too – it’s the only thing I have to offer that will live after me.
So here are some updates for you –
Lapband:  I’ve had .75 cc removed and it’s now gone the other way.  It was lovely at first to be able to eat a proper meat-and-two-veg meal, but now there’s room for all of it, plus a pudding as well...  Yes, it’s still better than no fill at all, but I’m not losing any weight, in fact I’m gaining, so I’ve got to go back to Taunton and have maybe a quarter put back in.  The only problem might be the number of pills I’m taking at the moment, and their size.  It’s been great to be able to have them one after the other at the same time and then not think about it for the rest of the day, but if I have a fill I shall be back to taking one an hour (there are 6 at the moment).  However the problem as always, is in my head, and though I ask myself the question when confronted by a desirable item of food “Yes but are you really hungry”, answering “No, I must admit I’m not” makes no bloody difference whatsoever.  I have concluded that I therefore need a lobotomy.
Tales from Argentina – The Rail Crash:  (Click on the link if you would like to read it).  Mechi continues to struggle with the aftermath of having survived Argentina’s worse rail crash in February when 51 people died and over 700 were injured.  She went into therapy for a while, and when she returned to work her first journey took her as usual into the railway terminus at Once and she saw with shock that the destroyed train was still on the same platform and looking exactly the same as a month earlier, and she realised she was nowhere near climbing out of the pit.  Since then she has gradually crawled back out, as it were, and what was a great help to her was a memorial at Once station set up for those who died, with names and photographs, much frequented by their friends and relations. 
Mechi would sit cross legged on the floor silently observing, and one day someone asked her “Are you a relative?” and she replied “No, I was on that train.”  It was at this point, she says, that she truly became aware that she was not one of the dead or injured – she was alive and well.  She realised she had changed sides, and was ready to move on.  We have asked her why she does not take the bus instead, and aside from the fact that it is four times more expensive and she could never consider it on other than a short term basis, during the time she did she was involved in the same crushing queues, with anger and shouting arguments on the crowded buses – as many other commuters had had the same idea.  I hope in time there will be an alternative solution for her.
Meanwhile the president of TBA (Trenes de Buenos Aires) has declared at the tribunal that the maintenance of the trains has nothing whatsoever to do with him – he runs the company and does not supervise the maintenance of the rolling stock.  This, he says, is up to the Operational Managers.  The Senior Operational Manager has advised that most unfortunately he is unable to appear before the tribunal yet because of date clashes in the diary of his solicitor.  Nuff said.
Selina, 2005

Selina – Recovering from her road accident last October:  I have mentioned her twice on this blog, here and here.  She is still at the rehabilitation centre in Buenos Aires, with her mother (my friend Michèle) in attendance 24 hours a day.  She is in a minimally conscious state responding correctly to questions using a thumbs up or down procedure, showing signs of affection towards her family and strengthening her muscles through exercise, though she is as yet unable to stand unaided or speak.  There are small weekly advances and her team is pleased with her progress; it’s not yet known how long she will be in the rehabilitation centre. 
A further complication has arisen which has made day to day living stressful – the centre insisted that there must be two patients to a room, and a patient and her mother duly moved in to share a 7 x 3.5 metre space, with a flimsy curtain down the middle.  Four women therefore live and breathe in that room 24 hours a day, with no privacy except in the bathroom, and no more peace and quiet.  This would be half way to bearable if they each respected the other’s space or got on well, but the other mother believes her daughter needs constant noise and activity, so the television is on loud during waking hours.  Little respect is shown for Selina’s tracheotomy, which requires high levels of hygiene, their belongings get ‘borrowed’ and the untidiness is such that my friend started out tidying up after her but has since changed tack and got fierce about these three issues, which is very contrary to her nature.  The organisation offers no advice, help or recourse, and neither anger nor persuasion has worked.
That’s it for today, and once again may I thank you for reading my blog, whoever and wherever you are.
Photo Finish

- from Lonicera's non-digital archive

The remains of the wreck of the Júcar,
on the Western coast of Fuerteventura, Canary islands



Sandy said...

I could have written the same posts, in fact I think I did. Two things--followers drop off when they delete or retire their blog which many have. The other is that I find people no longer want to comment. You have the wors to type in order to comment and now there are two words which makes it so frustrating from my iPad. Not being critical at all-just another reason why some won't bother to comment. I usually have to type in the two words about 3rimes because autocorrect changes them.

I agree with you that the new kids on the block are different than a couple of years ago. I can't put my finger on it but I guess there was such a friendly group that we all became part of. I just spent 4 days in California with 7 of them and had a ball. Won't be going to Chicago this year though. We talked about the same things. And don't think that those with lots of followers are anything special. They work hard to just build their numbers--and include ads to make money.

So keep doing what you're doing 'cause a bunch of us still like to read. And write too. Maybe just not about weight loss.

Sandy said...

Please excuse my spelling. ,!!!. Autocorrect. And two more verification words to type.

Sara said...

I love your photos and your writing. Keeps me coming back even though I started reading your blog because of the band.

Lonicera said...

Thank you both for such encouraging comments! I shall figure out how to remove the 2-word verification. It's true that sometimes I look at blogs with squillions of followers and I'm mistyfied by the fact. They often finish their posts with "So what do YOU think?" and I wonder if that's what gets them commenting... I don't, but still love to know what people are thinking. I don't care for the ads - can't believe there's that much money to be made from it, surely??
Thanks again.

Lonicera said...

Word verification now removed, you'll be pleased to hear. Sandy, I also hadn't realised that there are other reasons why people disappear from your followers, thanks for explaining.

Sandy said...

Thought I'd post a comment and not have to type in the verification words. Woo Hoo!

Lonicera said...

I seem to get one idiotic spam comment a day as a result, happily trapped by my spam filter. Not too bad.

Tina said...

I am still here :) and I try to read and comment but sometimes I am just barely getting a moment to scan through the blog. I agree with Sandy that the verification thing puts me off..they suddenly got so much more difficult to enter a few months back (my husband says it is because the auto spammers got more sophisticated with the easier ones).

Keep trying..I do have to say the unfill idea worried me :) I am even back getting my unfill back onboard..as of Tuesday. I will go post on things soon..I have blog work and crazy parenting stuff going on here.

Joyful said...

Beautiful photos Caroline.

Joyful said...

p.s. I wouldn't worry about losing followers. I find most of the people who comment on my blog aren't followers. Some of the followers never stop by. I think they just "follow" so another reader will see their user icon and perhaps check them out. Sorry to be so blunt!

Lonicera said...

Thanks for both comments Penny. It's often struck me that there are bloggers whose sole interest seems to be that they want to be popular. I prefer the ones that are just themselves, and tell about their own lives without feeling that they have to please the whole blogging world at once. If I'm motivated by curiosity to click on one of the icons it's always in the comments section, because I've found interesting what they have to say. I was interested in yours initially, for example, because I liked the individual stories of the Kenyans you wrote about.

Coral Wild said...

Hello Caroline - I'm not one of your bandit community but found your blog through a comment you made elsewhere - can't remember where now??? - but I have enjoyed all your postings that I have managed to read - whether to do with banditry, photography or your stories from Elsewhere.... - so keep up the good work!!!

I sometimes get lazy and demotivated - so just skim blogs...
I also find it difficult to come up with punchy comments - so though I might often want to agree or comment I cannot find the right words.....

As to followers and stats in general - I have removed the "counter" from my blog, and don't really monitor the actual numbers too often.
I find fascinating the location of my readers and which posts they read.....

Thanks for removing the word verification - much easier to comment now.

Your photos in this post are wonderful and I laughed out loud about the "lobotomy" :)

Take care, Sue

Lonicera said...

Thanks for the long comment Sue! I find that it's best to leave a brief comment - say half a dozen words - so that I can carry on and leave comments elsewhere too. Occasionally I leave long, carefully thought out comments and then I'm too mentally worn out for any more!
As for which posts I pick to read - very much influenced by the little device most of us have at the bottom of our posts headed "you might also like...", and you can click and go straight to it.
Your words much appreciated.

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