Foraging Pokemon

pokemongo.jpgA little over a year ago, I wrote about my discovery of PokemonGo. it, for the most part, revolutionized the way I spent my free time. I found myself addicted to going out into the world, into the woods, along the bay–whatever–to catch these damn little computerised  critters. And it did do me good in the sense that I got a ton of walking done.

I was quite excited to be checking out the different Pokemon in the UK, and using it to explore my new hometown in Durham (which I still have yet to move to). Given that I moved to Wales instead, I found there were so few Pokemon that the game wasn’t even worth playing, and thus, I deleted the app.

It’s not fair to say that I had little inspiration to get me outdoors, but it was just less motivation. There are tons of walks around where I live, but the PokemonGo app alotted me a direction, somewhere to go so that I could gain my new little digital regards.

Until now.

I’ve been trying to get outside more since my injury. I’m not doing much else, and soon it’s going to be cold again, so I should get out while I can. And it’s something my partner loves to do. I used to as well, I just don’t remember that I used to. We went one day for a nice walk along a river I used to walk with my grandmother, which was nice. The next day, we went out along the beach, only to find that the fishing was good. Like mackerel were being caught off shore sort of good. So my partner grabbed his pole from the car and caught dinner for the next two months.

It got me thinking. If we were to forage, and make it a goal to have x percent of our food come from fishing/hunting/foraging, then it would force me out into the wilds. It would keep me sane!

I was talking to one of my besties at home, trying to convince him why foraging was a good idea. It hit me, as I spoke to the guy who got me into PokemonGo, that foraging is–wait for it–

JUST LIKE POKEMONGO BUT IN REAL LIFE!

I know, I know, it’s ridiculous–but bear with me for this.

The game revolves around the idea that there is some scientist that has lost all his experiment pokemon thingos, right (I might be dumbing this down quite a bit, but it’s my understanding of the game)? So your job, as a player is to catch all the pokemon, and you can send them back to scientist man. However, you can also collect however many of them, and you “evolve” them into other, more powerful pokemon. Then you fight them against other teams. There are different pokemon depending on the area you live in. So, for example, in Western Washington, I’ll find more water-based pokemon than I would in Palm Springs, where I would find more desert-based pokemon.

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Blackberries, acorns and hazelnuts 

Ok, now, let’s look at foraging.  You go around to different places, collecting different things. You’ll find different foods in different climates, and during different types of the year. You take them home (send them to the scientist), and can make things with those things you’ve collected (evolve them), into flour, pies, coffee, salads, whatever. Then you can either eat them, or, you can trade them (battle them perhaps?).

Both activities have the bonus of giving you rewards for walking distances, both give you rewards for catching/finding/collecting things, and they’re both addictive as crap! But most importantly, most get you outside.

So currently, I’m replacing my long-lost PokemonGo addiction (which I haven’t fed in nearly a year) with foraging–arguably a much healthier hobby. But at the end of the day, it gets me outside, and I learn stuff, and I get to eat goodies. Win all around!

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More updates

I actually saw my first doctor yesterday. I had only seen nurses of various degrees at this point. She was excellent. I really enjoyed talking to her, and I didn’t feel like she was doubting every word I said like most (not all) of the nurses I’ve dealt with as of yet.

The good news is that she didn’t need convincing, that she took me seriously.

The bad news is that she said I do need to see a specialist, which she went on to refer me to. At this point, I have to wait until they decide who I need to see and send, in the mail, an appointment date.

The worse news–I’m supposed to move north in two weeks. I’m supposed to start university in a little over a month. What if I need to have surgery, but I have to have it here in Wales, and so I have to go back and forth?

Never mind the fact that I’m moving to a farm where I’m meant to pull my weight to earn my keep. How am I supposed to do that?

I’m freaking out. My mom keeps telling me to look into Workman’s Comp, but the only thing I’m finding is a weekly pay out of less than a quarter of what I was making when I was working. At least in Washington, when you claimed L&I you got 60% of your pay check.

I’m pretty nervous about everything. The timing could be worse, but it absolutely could be better.

Hunting Medication

So, for the last few days to a week, I’ve been singing the praises of the NHS. I’ve been able to go to the Minor Injury unit in Pwllheli, the Out of Hours in Tremedog, and A and E in Bangor Hospital, all the while procuring three wrist braces and a box of medication–without charge. Hurrah for the NHS!

When I was in Bangor, the nurse practitioner had me double my dose of anti-inflamatories that I’d been given, and told to see my GP about refilling for another week. Fair enough.

By Thursday, I only had a couple of days worth of medication left, so I called Botwnog to get an appointment, telling the exactly what the nurse practitioner told me to tell them–that I needed to make an appointment with a GP to get a refilled perscription, and that my informtion sould be in the system.

I tried to make an appointment, but the person I spoke to said that they had nothing for the day–because it’s a call in the morning to make an appointment if you want to get seen any time before three weeks sort of deal. Ridiculous.

So, since we were going to Bangor any way, we stopped off at the hospital to find out what we could about how to go about this if I couldn’t get in to see a doctor. I went in to the Out of Hours clinic, which apparently you have to go to another section of A and E for, got shouted at by the woman behind the desk for asking the emergency services these questions (despite it clearly saying it was the Out of Hours clinic, mind–how was I to know??), and turned away. Though, she did give me a number to call, though no one answered.

Yesterday morning I tried my luck again with Botwnnog, calling at 8 in the morning for an appointment. I was on hold for half an hour before I got through, and the nurse wouldn’t let me make an appointment with a doctor because she didn’t have a file on me. I tried to tell her it was in the overall system, that I watched the nurse practitioner at the hospital put it in there, but she wouldn’t listen. I tried to reason with her, asking for an appointment so that I could show the doctor my wrist and then he would prescribe it to me any way. She said unless she had my notes then I couldn’t see anyone. When I tried again, she told me she’s very busy and there’s nothing she can do.

I was able to get ahold of the Out of Hours nurse in Tremadog who faxed my notes along to Botwnnog, though it wasn’t the complete set of notes since they didn’t have them from Bangor (some system). However, she told me to call Botwnnog later to make sure they were there.

A few hours later I did so, and didn’t have to wait very long on hold. I spoke to a very kind, and helpful person who apologised that there weren’t the full notes. In Bangor they doubled the dose I was given in Tremadog, which was information written that the lady on the phone didn’t have. However, she listened, said she would pass it along to a doctor and that it should be in the pharmacy today–and it was.

So that crisis is averted.

But I understand now why so many people complain about the NHS. This, I think, was the result of it. Botwnnog is bursting and busy because the surgery in the village I live in shut down, and who knows how many others. The system that is suppose to work all over doesn’t.

It doesn’t excuse the excessive rudeness I experienced (aside from the last person I spoke to), but I think the rudeness is a symptom.

However, all healthcare systems have their flaws. This is by far infinitely better than what’s provided in the States. And, bonus: When I picked up my prescription today, not only did they give me twice the amount needed, but I didn’t have to pay anything for it.

An injury like this at home would have drained my savings by now and put me in debt. The NHS is flawed, but man, I sure am grateful for it.

Wrist update

The good news is that I have at least ten days off work, which means I’ve managed to escape working August Bank Holiday (if you live in a seaside town in the UK, that’s a big deal). The bad news is that it’s because my diagnosis is Tendonitis.

I went to A and E in Bangor hospital yesterday morning, and for the first time was asked what the extremity of my pain was. I was eventually sent to the Nurse Practitioner, who told me it was tendonitis. She had experienced it to, and thus had really good understanding of it, as well as was very sympathetic to my state.

She said complete and total rest for my right hand, and if it’s not getting better within ten days, then I need to go in and see about a hand surgeon.

Of course, while I can’t use a pen in my hand, I’m still being cheeky and typing. I have my keyboard angled down so it’s not a strain on my wrist, and I have a brace on which basically means I’m using my limp fingers to press buttons.

I’m worried about how this will affect everything–the move to the farm, starting university–all of it. I think it’ll be ok, there are worse times it could have started. I’m choosing to be optomistic about everything. What choice do I have?

Medical Treatment

I think I mentioned in my update that one of the local surgeries said that I had to call at 8:30 to try and make an appointment for that day, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get in. I gave that a go this morning, and it was no dice.

So I decided to go to the minor injuries unit a few villages inland (ish), and see if I could get in there. As it turns out, I could, and I did very quickly. I don’t think I could have been in the waiting room for more than five minutes.

I only saw the nurse though, who said it sounded like I had a developing repetitive strain injury. She gave me a new brace, one with metal in it, and sent me on my way.

My co-pilot had been kind enough to drive me, and when I relayed to him what the nurse had said, he said that I needed to find a way to see a proper doctor. He had seen me near tears in pain just from lightly touching my wrist. If there’s the risk that I won’t be able to use my hand or wrist in the future, then I need to get into see a doctor, rather than a nurse.

The plan is that he’ll take me in tomorrow to the one closer to where he lives and go in with me, so he can make sure the extent of the injury is known. The nurse didn’t ask a lot of questions, including how bad the pain is, or how long it’s been going on. Just asked me what I did, and checked my range of motion.

The good news out of all of this is that I saw someone at least, and got ¬†wrist brace, and it’s all taken care of by the NHS. I didn’y have to provide ID, my NI number, insurence, anything. That is what universal healthcare is about!

However, she did say that I’m to rest it, not to do anything with it. Typing this has been a difficulty, but I’m mostly writing this for the practice. There’s no way I”m going to stop writing while this heals. So I’m trying to find the best way to type without pain or any stress to my wrist. It is my right wrist, and I am right handed, so using a pen is somewhat out of the question.

Either way, I’ll try and keep current on here!

Update on Injuries

My wrist has been steadily getting worse. I think I have actually done some damage to it. The tendon that runs below my wrist is swollen, as is my thumb, and it’s quite tender at the base of my wrist all along to my ring finger. It pops, and when it does, it is extremely painful. I’ve been getting electric kind of stabs of pain, almost like a hot needle, but nothing like the pins and needles you get when something falls asleep.

I called the surgery (general local doctor’s office) in the village, though held little hopes of getting an appointment. Just this morning I signed a petition to keep the surgery going!

I had to hunt to find the phone number of it. I found their website, which had their hours listed as Tuesday-Thursday, 8:30am-12:30pm. That’s it. Since I was within those hours, I called both numbers, though neither of them were answered. I saw they were an extension of another surgery, which I had been to in the past when I lived here previously. I was able to get through to someone there, who said I was still in their system (yay!), but there’s a new system in place. Apparently, if you want an appointment, you’re better off getting a book-on-the-day appointment, otherwise waiting two weeks out. So I have to call at 8:30 in the morning and hope that I beat everyone else so that I can get an appointment.

I told her what I was booking for, and she said that I might be better off just going to the (small time) emergency services in a different village–again, one I have used before (I scalded my wrist on a Bank Holiday and had to put that one to use when I was 19), that they would probably see me sooner.

I have an hour and a half until I have to be to work. I think I’ll try in the morning, see what luck that brings me. They have an x-ray machine at least, or so I hear. I don’t think I need one, but I have no idea how these things work.

Thank goodness for the NHS.

A Farm!

It’s done! It’s sorted! I have a place to move to!

As mentioned before in a previous entry, I got on the website Work Away with the crazy plan to find a farm that would be willing to put me up in exchange for room and board. Well, the first farmer I contacted got back to me right away, and yesterday I went to visit the farm.

It was a long drive, all the way up to North Yorkshire. But it was a nice day, and a nice drive, despite my injuries. My back was killing me the majority of the way, and my wrist I think is just progressively getting worse rather than better.

However, after arriving at the farm and being shown the aviary (with some 2-300 birds of all types), a couple of pigs, the cat-breeding, and meeting a few dogs, we arrived at the caravan. It has a shower (Mom will be pleased), two bedrooms, a kitchen, and most importantly to me, a table–all with full permission to modify it however needed. He even said that it might be wise to install a wood burner rather than the current heating, which he would pay for entirely.

As far as work, he just hopes for a couple hours a day (I can totally clean out bird pens or horse stables for my keep, no prob! (she declares as she pops some ibuprofen for her wrist and back)), and essentially will provide the rest.

Did I mention there’s an orchard? And that I can plant and grow whatever I want? I can have my own little garden!

Also, he said there’s a village at the bottom of the farm with a pub, the owners of which he’s friends with. He said he spoke to them, and they would be happy to take me on part time for some actual money-making work.

It is a 40 minute drive to Durham, which I generally don’t mind. However, there’s also a train from the next town up which is only 14 minutes. If the student passes are cheap enough, I might opt for that.

Everything is falling into place! I’M GOING TO UNI!!!!