The Players

Below is a list of the key people and places that are part of this journey.  Some are part of my life pre-diagnosis and are therefore only mentioned in articles leading up to where this blog kicks in.  Others are around today so feature more prominently.  But before we get to the introductions, let's start first by making one thing perfectly clear.

This is my story of my participation in a research study concerned with my chronic condition and it is my choice to put myself into the public sphere. I made this my choice through my exercising my own reasoning and any risks or consequences both of a negative and positive nature, should be mine to bear. However, when that action results in dragging the names and details of those who have been, or are now involved into that sphere along with me, then this is an entirely different matter. It is simply necessary for me to respect the privacy of these players who did not ask, nor been asked by me, to participate. With that in mind, the true names of my medical practitioners and some others have been replaced with nicknames or other aliases. Furthermore, I feel it only right to disclose the fact that long the way, that some minor 'creative licence' may indeed have been made but only to ensure that adequate privacy to relevant people is (I hope) assured.

 Now, onto the team of champions:  

K - The medical research company running the trial program.

Dr Flowers - Dr Flowers is my General Practitioner. He is noted for a razor sharp tongue, a kind heart and can see straight through all my bullshit.  Dr Flowers will tell you in no uncertain terms to grow up, be sensible and pay attention.  In return, he listens to you and gives you an accurate diagnosis. He is exactly the type of GP that one may be tempted to have cryogenically frozen for future use.

The General - My Rheumatologist. This is the doctor that put all the peices together and gave me my diagnosis.  While sporting a look that one might imagine to be that of a sage English Literature professor from Cambridge, he delivered the diagnosis with a confident, slightly-cocky grouop of words that, to me said "Well, of course I knew that. It was all so blooming obvious".  The General t is one of the doctors providing services to the SpA research study I am involved in. 

CO (Commanding Officer) - My CO is my primary contact with the research program. My CO is there each time I walk though the doors of K before taking my bloods, my obs, issues me with questionnaires and boss me around. She taught me how to give myself injections without me passing out.  Oddly, she does all her work without showing any signs of caffeine abuse which is a quality I have yet to master, given the early morning appointment times.

Flames - A nurse with hair that is the colour of the most lovely red in the world. Flames can usually be found getting on a first name basis with all of my joints each time she takes a joint assessment.

Boots - My Podiatrist. He gave me my insoles that look like they were cut from the same cloth used on a rainbow-themed float in the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.  Boots and Major Boots were the primary architects of the recovery plan created to fix all the trauma that had been inflicted upon my right foot and ankle after Stretch had exhaused all the options in his quite extensive theraputic reportior.

Major Boots - My Podiatrist Surgeon. Worth his weight in gold which is just as well, since bags of gold is what you need to render any of his services. This is thanks to the assertion by Medicare that Podiatric Surgery is 'experimental' and is unworthy of government benefits.  Major Boots performed the second surgery on my mangled right foot.

Stretch - Thanks to Stretch, I had to do a whole lot of physiotherapy excerises that made me look and feel like I had the physical coordination and grace of a slug. I wonder how all his home improvements are going.

Porcelain - You know when I turned to Acupuncture. things were getting very desperate. Especially given my propensity to projectile vomit at the mere thought of tiny bendy needles being inserted into god knows where and leaving them to, god know what.  While I know acupunture is a very respectable field of chinese medicine yeilding positive outcomes for people with all sorts of ailments, it didn't yield me anything except a confirmation that me and acupuncture are destined never to get along.

Bill and Ted - Best friends since childhood, Bill and Ted live mirrored lives in almost everyway except their looks. This includes both if them coming with an extraordinarily cheeky sense of humor which I like immensely and hope they never lose. When I first met them, both were Div 1 nurses, been in St John for years and both at the pointy end of a Podiatry degree. They have since joined forces in business and have a clinic in Prahran which I am told is going very well.