Why Trigeminal Neuralgia Needs to Lose its Nickname

Billy Bones. Roribug. Little Bear. Flop-Eared Houndybeast. These are some of the nicknames I have for my daughter and grandchildren. Well, the last one belonged to our dog, who had many and varied nicknames. The kids don't have floppy ears. I'm sure we'll all be familiar with the concept of nicknames as affectionate (or otherwise!) … Continue reading Why Trigeminal Neuralgia Needs to Lose its Nickname

Getting a Slice of the Cake

Change. A single, soft-spoken syllable. Yet it's a powerful little creature, reaching into every corner of our lives. Sometimes it's an invitation - welcome and exciting. Sometimes it's a burden - disruptive and frightening. It's a bundle of contradictions: progress and retreat, secret and flamboyant, havoc and harmony. It can bounce into our lives with the … Continue reading Getting a Slice of the Cake

Sunflowers and Social Media

How often do we hear that Twitter, Facebook et al are a scourge of today's society, a cesspit of spite and vitriol? I'd need a hundred hands even to be able to start counting the times. And sure, you don't have to peel back any layers to find poison-filled, aggressive, trollshit swirling around. You only … Continue reading Sunflowers and Social Media

A New Kind of Normal

There is a storm brewing. I can feel it in my face - the way my eye burns, a vice tightens on my skull, and one hundred knives fresh off the whetstone slice at my gums. Just for starters. To everyone else in my family, the sky looks perfectly innocent. Perhaps the breeze has a … Continue reading A New Kind of Normal

Dear Healthy Person…

Dear Healthy Person, Congratulations. You won in the lucky jackpot of healthy genes. You are twenty of me. I think I lost my ticket. I am a twentieth of the old me. You can work, eight hours a day, five days a week. Maybe more. I used to work eight to ten hours a day. … Continue reading Dear Healthy Person…

Ten Ways to Understanding

A constant claim from many people with chronic pain conditions is that nobody can understand the pain unless they have experienced it themselves. On a superficial level this is obviously true, at least in that people who don't have chronic pain conditions, have not felt what it is like to have chronic pain. But I … Continue reading Ten Ways to Understanding

Who Needs Matching Pairs?

Spring is flourishing here in New Zealand. The days are warm, the skies are blue, the birds have plenty to say for themselves and our feijoa trees are full with red promises of the fruit to come. Some days though, the weather likes to remind us that the season isn't all sunshine and glamour.  This … Continue reading Who Needs Matching Pairs?

Sunhats and Selfhelp

On a hot, wind-still, summer evening, the park by the river is the perfect place to be. When you are only just two, this perfection poses a few dilemmas. Climbing and running and jumping, your very favourite things to do, make your shoes and sunhat fall off, and somehow turn the hat inside out. And … Continue reading Sunhats and Selfhelp

Ten Minutes in the Monkey Forest

Beside a small gravel carpark next to State Highway 1 on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand, huddled in a small v between the shoulders of two hills, is a remnant of ancient kohekohe forest and sub-tropical bush. It is crammed with palms, vines, and ferns. Most people in the area know it as Nikau…

Stringing a Necklace

Back in another century, when I still had all my milk teeth, the concept of the year 2000 loomed large in my imagination. And not just mine. It dominated schoolyard games and conversations. We knew we would all be so old by then… 34! We were certain bikes and cars would be relegated to the…