Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Mirena IUD (High on TMI)

The lovely Amanda Palmer (she of 'Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra' tweeted a link to "Getting a Mirena IUD" - a blog post by Jodi Thibeault (@pixelsnake) documenting her live tweets from getting a Mirena IUD.

Why am I blogging about it? Simply because I recognised the experience and when you google about it, the pain and the awkwardness really is glossed over massively.

I chose to get the Mirena IUD because it was the only practical contraception available to me (not wanting to muck about with spermicide and the like) - the Depo-Provera injection, the pill, the implant, vaginal ring etc all being unavailable to me due to releasing too many hormones. Hormones are ugly stuff when it comes to keeping my body healthy so my consultant is headmaster levels of strict about what I'm allowed to use. The Mirena does release a hormone (Levenogestrel) but the dose is much smaller than anything else (about 1/7th compared to the pill.)

Before getting ready to have the IUD inserted I hadn't even had a smear test, and found the idea of some doctor poking around 'down there' a bit embarrassing and very nervewracking. I got over myself quickly once it was happening, thankfully.

The whole procedure is foul. You lie on a bed with your knees up (feeling somewhat odd because you're dressed from the waist up and naked below that, and that's just generally weird) and cold clamps and bits and pieces are stuck up you. I was at least warned to take painkillers twenty minutes before hand but Jesus nelly it hurts. I wanted to kill my boyfriend for daring to want to have sex with me at that point. For a good half hour I'd have happily been celibate for life. Stick me in a nunnery, just get your hands and your nasty medical contraptions out of me.

It wasn't fun.

And I was told I coped better with it than most and many women have to stop the procedure.

But hey life's great now right? No squealing babies, no humongous periods?

Well no. First off, after I had it inserted I bled for days and days on end. Twice, if not three times the length of my usual period. Then my body took pity on me and had a couple of days break. And then it started again. I did the natural thing for a neurotic 21st century girl and decided doctors were foul things and googled it instead. Apparently the bleeding could last for up to six months. If you can stick it that long. But then it would be rainbows with sparkling unicorns jumping over them! Or something. I did visit a doctor in the end, but her only advice was to stick with it.

It's been six months now. My periods are no longer constant but are incredibly random. I'll have three one month, none the next, etc etc. (And 'none the next' is quite scary when your medical problems basically equate to early pregnancy morning sickness and aches and pains. No amount of "over 99% foolproof" is comforting; I'm a massive fool.)

Having ranted, I'm still incredibly glad I have it. It does give me an aura of safety that I never had before. Plus I'd have it over the pill if I could take the pill - my memory's rubbish. It's a great little idea. Just don't be fooled by those women who tell you they barely noticed it - it's possible, but it's certainly not that way for everyone.

Friday, 9 November 2012

#dwsr - Castell Coch, Part 2

Just a short post, very little to add to yesterday's blog on the Doctor Who filming (with the new Cybermen!) at Castell Coch!

We popped over to the castle this afternoon and unfortunately there was little to see compared to yesterday. Here are a few short points about it:

- We heard that Warwick Davis was inside the castle, filming a scene with Jenna Louise Coleman. 
- We heard (twenty, thirty minutes after that) that Jenna and 'Will' (we don't know who that is, but it was definitely 'Will', not 'Warwick' and we believe Warwick's character name is Porridge, due to the photo of the lost script) were running around the gantry with something firing from the courtyard and squibs were going off.
- We saw two extras dressed as Cybermen - sans helmets - grabbing tea.
- I managed to grab a few names of the other attractions at Hedgewicks World: Spacey Zoomer Ride, Mushroom World, Viewing Tower, Hotel, Sand Dunes, The Beach, Peak Hotel (depicted high up in the mountains), Boating Lake, The Terrible Stomach, Media Centre. I also believe there was a water ride and a ghost train, but I'm not sure about the exact names. Netty Longshoe's Castle is in the centre of the map.
- Matt Smith was not on location.

#dwsr - Castell Coch

One of the reasons I like set reporting so much (other than the whole 'seeing Doctor Who being filmed' bit) is seeing places that I would always plan to visit but otherwise never get around to. For instance: Castell Coch, a 19th Century castle located north of Cardiff.

After a bit of a stop-start morning, the boyfriend and myself drove out to the castle, buoyed by somewhat unsubstantiated rumours of Cybermen. Half-excited, half-too-hopeful-to-fully-believe we parked up and made our way to where there was obviously some kind of filming. Filming for a "BBC science fiction show" we were told upon arrival. Despite the neon green "DV" signs leading up to the castle, this was clearly no 'Da Vinci's Demons.' We owe massive thanks to @swanseajack2001 for giving us enough information to get us that far!

First drawn image of the new
Cybermen. It's a little wide
but a good representation.
Out in front of us? Cybermen. Many, many cybermen. At least seven, perhaps as many as ten (though some were drinking coffee, helmets off, rather than rehearsing.) They were standing in the entrance to the castle. Here comes the rather bizarre moment where you find yourself walking past an iconic alien, getting accidentally nabbed in the boob by his gun, just to try and get a ticket to enter a local attraction. We found out entrance was free due to the disruption caused by filming, although they were far more keen we actually looked around the castle than stood, enthralled, watching over the balcony at the action below. Sadly we were very strictly forbidden from taking photos, so this blog post will be less picture-heavy than usual. Gareth has drawn some very accurate pictures though.

This is very accurate.
What was happening? Well sadly we were shooed along before we could see too much, but from what I could make out Clara (played by Jenna Louise Coleman) stands in an alcove with a motley crew of miltary figures (they are hardly UNIT, they are different body shapes, genders, races, each one completely alternate to the next) as the Cybermen approach through the entrance, smoke blowing around them. "Left, right, left, right" the choreographer calls as they march, with far less of a heavy tread than before. A large, overweight man dives out, firing at the leading Cyberman with his gun before ducking behind an iron maiden for cover. The lead Cyberman is hit, and moves strangely: he slows down, body moving stiffly in an awkward fashion. Still the Cybermen come, and Clara is forced to try to defend herself and the military crew with a mace. She swings it, but it's not very effective. She has to duck and weave between the Cybermen to escape.

How was the set dressed? As a theme park, perhaps a somewhat derelict one although inside the castle things seem to be in reasonable repair. There was a big sign outside declaring Castell Coch is in actual fact (in the world of Doctor Who) Natty Longshoe's Castle. A map by the side of the pathway (a large, brightly coloured, cartoon-y map with lights, like many you see at theme parks) suggests that the castle is only one of the attractions in "Hedgewicks World." Outside the castle were standing lights with purple poles and lit glass orbs on top, a typical medieval-esque tent (think the little jousting tents you often see in 'Merlin') in dull red colours. There were various signs, one for "The Giant's Cauldron" and another telling you the minimum height you needed to be to venture onto the ride. Bins also bore the "Hedgewicks World" logo. There was a large cannon, and a large amount of silver-coloured piping with wires splaying out the end of it, which reminded us of the Cybermen.

Bowie Base One logo.
As the logo appears
on the uplighters.

There was a general theme of purple - with all the items relating to theme park having been sprayed the same garish colour. Of particular note were some uplighters that had the "Bowie Base One" logo from the 'Waters of Mars' cut into them. Most likely they're old props that have just been spray painted over and reused, but possibly it's worth noting it.

Inside they spread dried autumn leaves on the stone floor. There were various set dressings - an iron maiden, a set of stocks, barrels, military painted containers, mannequins dressed in gaudy clothes reminiscent of the royal court (fair maidens in pretty dresses, courtiers, jesters, monarchs, that kind of thing - think 'Sims Medieval'!), many banners and shields that again made it feel like it was a theme park dressed to be like a fantasy medieval castle.

Jenna Louise Coleman was wearing a tight-fitting dark coloured jacket, possibly leather although it lacked the sheen of leather - it was all very matte. Under that she had a dull-red dress with a large collar, it had a large black flower pattern all over it. She looked reasonably 'modern day.' She also carried a bag - identical to her red one except in colour, it was a turquoise-green. We've now regularly seen her wearing some kind of badge - possibly military in style. She's worn it around her neck during the filming at Beatty Avenue, and wore it as a badge on her jacket today. Again, Gareth has sketched a picture.

The military operatives had on a grey-green shiny jumpsuit with silvery-grey protective items over the top: body protectors, oversized knee protectors, helmets. They carried large, grey, plastic-looking guns.

The Cybermen are a completely new design. They are leaner, curvier, more in keeping with the Classic series. Their faces are especially different: they still have the handlebars and teardrops but the face is now simply curved rather than hewn. The material they are wearing seemed lighter and much shinier (my boyfriend remarked "silver rather than steel" - it's exactly like that) - more like the armour the Sontarans wear. Their armor is no longer shaped like pants, but is closer to a leotard type shape over their lower bodies - and of course they no longer have the Cybus Industries insignia but a simple circular, bladed, shutter - much like you'd see on a camera shutter.

This filming was for Neil Gaiman's episode 'The Last Cyberman.' Details can be found from the BBC here. You can also view the title page of the script here, as it was found left in the back of a taxi! (It has now been returned to the BBC, I believe.)

Many thanks to Ryan for the additional remembered details.