Stop emailing me about Cam!!!

Just kidding. ?But yeah, people have been asking how Cam is doing. ?I guess some of you missed the update, so in an attempt to cut some queries to my email short as to how Cam’s doing, here it is again:

I thought as it is nearly the end of January I?d give you an update on how I am feeling and what has happened since December 26.

After we returned from our Boxing Day lunch with the outlaws, a day where I spent most of it lying on a couch taking Panadol for a stonking headache, I went into my office to prepare posts for the blog for the next day.

At about 9 pm I came out to grab a drink and SB called to me and asked what had happened. I said ?nothing, why??She told me to look in the mirror and set about furiously googling stuff.

My face, on the right-hand side, had slumped, and I couldn?t move it. I couldn?t raise my eyebrows, smile, grin, or even grimace. Half of my face was paralysed and it became more apparent when I couldn?t drink out of a glass because it spilt out of my half paralysed mouth.

SB thought I might be having a stroke, to me, it looked like Bells Palsy, Mum had it many years ago. I still had a bad headache, but after the standard stroke tests, I decided to sleep on it and see how I was in the morning, given if it was Bells palsy then there was nothing I could do anyway.

On 27 December, I awoke in even more pain, and the paralysis was worse. Off to the doctor.

The doctor was baffled with the pain AND Bells Palsy, it didn?t make sense. The pain was also increasing. So he referred me to the hospital.

So, at 10.30 I arrived at emergency at North Shore Hospital and was seen almost immediately?then sent to a waiting area where I began a long day of waiting for tests, waiting for doctors and waiting for specialists?and a CT Scan.

There were plenty of other people in the waiting room and despite my incredible pain I attempted to lighten the day for most of us. Apart from a couple of grumpy bastards, most people were in the same spirit?there wasn?t much we could do and we joked whenever anyone got called to be seen by one specialist or another?then it became a sort of sweepstake to see who could get discharged first.

The only thing worse than the pain I was suffering was having to sip out of a cup with my head tilted like I was a spastic in front of 20 people?oh and the incessant British game shows being shown with simplistic questions and dopey poms competing.

About 1830 I was sent for my CT Scan?.an awful experience especially when they inject the dye into your blood stream. That came back all clear, so the hospital diagnosed NFI (No Flippin? idea) and possible Bells Palsy with Shingles (to explain the pain) with some pain associated with nerves, so prescribed me Gabapentin and Tramadol for pain and some eye drops and some goop to put in my eye at night after I had taped it shut to stop it drying out. My eye couldn?t close or even blink it just stared.

I won the sweepstake and was first to go, even ahead of the friendly road maggot guy with the broken arm and the great sense of humour.

For the next few days, I lay in bed unable to get up due to the incredible pain and the Gabapentin and Tramadol barely touched it. It was excruciating. I went again to the doctor when I developed a rash near my collar bone which seemed to confirm Shingles as a potential cause of the pain. Unfortunately, swabs and the lack of any rash in or near my ear soon proved that it wasn?t Shingles.

I don?t even remember New Year?s Eve I was unable to get out of pain and finally, on 8 January, I cracked and couldn?t take it anymore. I went to the local Emergency Clinic where I sat shivering in pain but getting hotter and hotter and clammy?I was going to be sick?and I was, barely making it to the bathroom where I collapsed on the floor unable to stand any longer. They brought me a wheelchair and took me to a cubicle with a fan and aircon while I waited for the Doctor.

I gave her a run down of everything that had happened to me since 27 December and then she gave me a morphine shot. The pain eased immediately?they then gave me a prescription for Sevredol, which is a tablet form of morphine and sent me home. I was to take those every 4 hours and they only gave me enough to make to see my own doctor on Monday or Tuesday. I went straight in to see the doctor on the Monday, by this time not even the Sevredol was keeping the pain at bay.

I sat in the waiting room at my doctor?s and again was shaking with pain. The principal of the practice, a nice bloke who I don?t know by name but do by sight got a nurse and moved me into the nurse?s station where they have a bed. I finally got to see the doctor a short time later.

It was suspected that I had some sort of viral infection or shingles that was affecting my nerves in my face causing the Bells Palsy. But the pain was a concern and I was prescribed more morphine, this time a long acting 12-hour version which I could top up with the Sevredol to assist with pain. I went one more time to the doctor before being referred to the specialists at Auckland Hospital in the Neurology department.

It took another week to get in to see them and I spent all that time high as a kite but also suffering shivers, shakes and jolts of pain that broke through all the Gabapentin and Morphine. By the time I got to see them it seemed that the pain was subsiding with less breakthrough pain.

It was a worrying wait at the Neurology department when the doctor said he knew what the problem was after many tests but needed to consult first with his supervisor. He was gone from the room for at least 15 minutes and our imaginations were in overdrive. SB was fearing cancer ( although she didn?t tell me at the time) and I just wanted to know what it was so I could deal with it. This was now the middle of January. I had spent every day since the 27th lying flat on my back in a drug induced haze.

The supervisor gave us his diagnosis which was that I had a severe viral infection inside my head as well as Bell?s Palsy. It was a huge relief to finally know what had been causing all the pain.

I slowly started to improve, but I had no energy, have lost about 8 kilos and could start to sit up again. Even a short trip downstairs to see relatives visiting was an effort. I was stuck upstairs with an iPad, a Kindle and my phone?which I had to turn to silent to manage calls. Even taking a phone call was difficult because half of my tongue was paralysed as was half my face. I sounded like a retard when I spoke and couldn?t say words starting with B. The more tired I got the worse it was.

It was only in this past week that I have been able to rise from my bed, but it is still debilitating. I am at best a half day man at the moment and am still on some pain killers and the last of the viral infection sticks around. The specialists at Neurology said that the viral infection caused the Bells Palsy, and as the virus dies it is releasing control of my face. I almost look normal again instead of the horror show I saw in the mirror. Energy is very low and I have to be careful not to get too tired.

I am finally on the mend after a month in extreme pain and discomfort. It is the sickest I have ever been. I have had pneumonia and I thought the pain associated with that was bad, this was ten times worse than that. I?ve had glandular fever, that didn?t hurt but was as debilitating.

Of course in the meantime, I have had a blog to run and I have put a dreadful imposition during holiday time on Pete and SB to keep it running. I would have lucid moments and would furiously send links to either of them with a few short comments on the spin I wanted?but that was about it. They did a magnificent job and still are doing a magnificent job as I recover.

Of course, one must ask how this all came to be. Well, my doctors and specialists are in no doubt that the stress of dealing with multiple vexatious litigants and the financial pressures associated with that has caused this. It is well known that Bells Palsy is stress related. I have at least another year of stress and court and other associated paperwork, submissions and affidavits ahead of me. One I am handling myself, which is difficult, but the other two cases are being handled by my barrister, Brian Henry?.who with his associates is doing a grand job.

I need to pace myself this year as I have a 4 week trial with the idiot and vexatious litigant Colin Craig. But this illness has served as a warning to me. That is why we are pushing the subscription model so hard, that gives us resources to protect ourselves but also resources to build Whaleoil so that the stress doesn?t fall on existing staff quite so much. The more people who subscribe the more resources we have and then we can build Whaleoil up to be an independent, strong and a real competitive voice in the sea of media morass that we currently have to put up with. I want to hire freelancers and expand offerings to include other news so that Whaleoil becomes a one stop shop for you all.

I appreciate the patience and support of readers and subscribers as we have dealt with this. I am on the mend and I will get better. It is election year after all.


I spoke to Cam on the phone earlier today and compared to a week ago, I can’t actually hear the paralysis in his voice anymore. ?So there is some progress at last. ?He does assure me that at the end of the day when he’s tired things go backwards again.

On a related issue, we have appreciated your patience with your struggles with Paypal. ?It’s not been easy for us to make it easy for you, but that is changing. ?We are currently testing another payment method so those of you who could just not tame the Paypal beast will hopefully be able to succeed.

It seems reasonable to say ‘why not take my money and just do it manually?’, and at the beginning we thought we could. ?But there are times when you find out software doesn’t always work the way it says in the brochure. ?In the end, we must have this subscription software, it does a lot of good things for us. ?But we also found it has a ‘personality’ (I’m being kind here).

Anyway, it’s not for the lack of trying or not wanting to make things easier. ?And hopefully we’ll soon have a solution for the rest of you too.

Can’t say January has been fun for any of us. ?It’s been hard. ?And that’s just for us without the excruciating pain and morphine haze. ?But I take heart from what I’ve seen over the last week, both at the Slater household and in the way our readers are standing behind Whaleoil. ?We definitely stand on the shoulders of giants.

Thank you.