Tag Archives: cold

About my deafness

I think it was a 48 hour cold, though I am still a bit chesty but I am getting over it faster than I usually do – perhaps maintaining this high protein diet has helped?  I don’t know, but I do know that along with that I primarily drink water, green tea or lemonade instead of Pepsi and coffees these days.

I have been very tired and I feel as though I should sleep a lot, because I sense something is going to happen soon where I will be on my feet a lot of the time and I won’t have time to dilly dally anymore and laze around.

I haven’t a clue why my instinct is telling me, get all the sleep you can right now so you can be prepared for what’s coming!

I just hope it’s not going to be too much for me, whatever it is!

I have been bed and housebound sick for eight years now and it has only really been since Easter that I have managed to do approximately 45 minutes away from a chair at any one time.  What the blazes is coming into my life?

Whatever it is, I hope I ease into it and not get exhausted by it!

I really can’t think what it can be.

Puzzling, but my instincts are to be trusted, because I’ve ignored them in the past and I have been very sorry about it too!

But I have had this feeling about sleeping a lot for two weeks now.  But I hate sleep.

I have never been a person who loves their bed; unless there is some sort of activity going on if you get my drift?

I find it hard to sleep more than six hours unless I am unwell, simply because I am paranoid about missing out on something or not doing something I want to do.

In any case, I am glad things aren’t getting worse.  I was getting worried last night because two huge zits appeared on my face and I thought I might have had some kind of pox, monkey pox or something – but it was just the two and I seem to feel ok.  They are embarrassing though, not used to getting zits in that particular place of the face, weird!  Though upon reflection two nights ago I had an unusual amount of dairy in my diet for me – fatty foods can do that!

I am not happy about being requested to sleep more, but there you go. 

I also wanted to point out that I am deaf as many of you know – but I am not a signer.  I thought I had better put that out there as someone indicated they were worried about not being able to communicate with me offline.  I am fine, just follow these rules;

I can’t hear you if your back is turned away from me.

I can’t hear you if you cover your mouth.

I can’t hear you if you stand to my right – my right ear is completely dead and can’t have a hearing aid there.

Stand to my left and face me when you talk to me as I have a hearing aid sometimes – I don’t need it all the time as my left ear hearing fluctuates a lot due to the auto-immune inner ear problem I have.

Let me read your lips

Don’t take me to places that echo as the vibrations get distorted and I get disoriented and anxious.

You don’t need to sign for me, because I don’t understand it much.

But if I can’t wear a hearing aid because of infection in the left ear, you may need to shout or use a mini white board!

I am eligible for a hearing dog, but I don’t have one.

I can’t use a phone unless it’s very loud or on loud speaker – preferably a zoom call or something is better for me if there is no lag – for lip reading!

I rely on hearing people to take phone calls on my behalf, as a lot of places in authority and finance do not have alternatives for the deaf, yet – which is bloody disgusting!

On a positive note, when I get 10k – if I ever get 10k I can have surgery to repair my hearing in the right ear, all I need are ossicles, little bones to help vibrate sound and a new tympanic membrane.

Thanks for reading!

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me

Life isn’t sugar sweet

The sugar has snapped

The honey’s gone hard

The fruit of my labours gone rotten

I’ve lost the zest for life

In this garden of strife

The spices of variety are forgotten

I have a house but it’s not a home

The chocolate has turned and melted

The things I savoured are far and gone

The pain of their loss has welted

Life is sticky but it’s not sweet

It’s cold and hard like stone

All the joy has been sucked from me

Am I to turn to bone?

Leave a comment

Filed under poetry

Polar bear day

I just want to be cosy and warm is that so much to ask?

It’s such a cold day today, I am in triple layers around the house and hugging a hotwater bottle.

This isn’t so much as a choice but a necessity, it’s polar bear day!

I am an orange grumpy polar bear who is in desperate need for snuggles right now!

Warm snuggles!

Happy reading…

Leave a comment

Filed under Who am I today?

Meh day

Today was a meh, I don’t wanna get up kind of day.

I had a happy dream.

So I just threw together the first things I saw and I am so happy I was not obligated to go out today!

My hair is worn in a ponytail today and I threw on a dark blue vest and abstract black and white wide legged trousers and wearing an oversized mock cashmere cardigan, as its cold. As I haven’t gone out today, I was wearing all of this with pink mules, hey, no one is gonna see it!

Shh.

Happy reading!

Leave a comment

Filed under Who am I today?

Today I am…

I’ve said it before; I change like the wind every day.

I wake up and I want to be someone new each day, sometimes I wake up and want to be the same person as the day before, but generally I love changing myself.

This is why this new category exists, there has been some DM requests for it “how do you feel today”?  Initially I thought those questions meant about my mental health, but no it wasn’t, people are genuinely curious about what I want to be each day!

I would love to be more body confident to share daily pics of myself each day, but I don’t have an extensive wardrobe right now so now I am pretty limited in my choices.

Yesterday I felt like I was having a fluffy day. 

I wanted to wear bright coloured trousers with some elaborate patterns on them but I didn’t have them so was stuck with my sky blue jeans, because the pink linen trousers were too thin for this cold weather. 

I swapped around my cardigan/jacket for the day being in an oversized pink fleece or a beautiful embroidered jacket with butterflies and roses on them.  But I wanted to be more of a fluffy peach kawaii yesterday, with knee high socks with some cute animals on them and a fluffy hand warmer.  I was thinking giraffe yesterday.  I was also missing being the owner of wedge heels; I’m 5ft 11 in those!

Today I am a big contrast to yesterday; today I am feeling like a sexy cowgirl!  I got my other darker blue and tighter jeans, I wanted a white button up shirt that exposed a bit more cleavage than normal, but I don’t have one anymore, so I made do with a white spaghetti strap and a padded booster bra. I want to wear heeled boots, but I don’t have any anymore as when the storm damaged the utility room it ruined a lot of my sexy boots!

I’m feeling energetic today, so I am resenting desk work and I want to be more active or go on walks.  I mostly want my hair down, but my hearing aid is getting old and loose and having my hair down knocks it out, which is frustrating no end.

It’s really too cold to be wearing this, but oh well.

Happy reading!   

Leave a comment

Filed under Who am I today?

I am like a river

I am flowing, because of the water that is me

I am like a river

I am never the same me

I am free

Like a chameleon I change a lot

Sometimes cold and others hot

My flavour changes bitter to ripe

I flow like water, it is my right

2 Comments

Filed under poetry

Life’s Pace

A sharp cold wind hits me in the face

An array of orange, gold, red, brown swirl around me

I hear the clickety clack of the railway track in the distance

Today life has a fast pace

A squirrel runs circles around the big oak tree

A crow cries out loud as it chases it away

The children rush home in their hats and coats to avoid the bitter wind

Life has a fast pace today

I watch in wonder as the grey skies gradually clear for golden shards of light

Then the clouds close again

A dog snuffling with its nose in leaves

Will life slow down again?

A warm rush of air as I reach my home, welcomes me to my hearth

I turn the taps in the bathroom on, a lovely soothing bath

A hot chocolate warms my hands by the fire

I have found the object of my desire

Life is slow here in this place

Life has all sorts of pace

Leave a comment

Filed under poetry

Money free world

Money’s a problem all over the world

It’s a simple solution and not in a dream world

It used to be reality, for everyone around

But men fell in love with shiny rocks in the ground

It’s a funny old thing, love, but it does astound

We all have to have currency, the shiny tokens of gold

It’s to help everyone, or so I am told

But I just see greed and exploitation

Unfairness and hunger and lots of discrimination

It shouldn’t be like this, in a human world

We are smarter than this, our minds have been swirled

I have heard of a time where everything was free

Money is an illusion, you just can’t see

Warmth, food, water and a place to call home

Are all basic needs which everyone should own

You can’t put a price on good quality of life

So why has humanity invented this strife?

It’s a puzzle, it really is

I hope we’ll soon all work out the quiz

But suffering world over would end in a jiffy

If everyone thought that money was whiffy

Everyone all living a life they deserve

With food, warmth and water, what a learning curve

Imagine how far we could all progress if price wasn’t an issue we always had to address?

Money is a barrier in this modern world

Money needs to go now, a new system should unfurl

A system of voluntary work and good will

A system where people go to work still

But system where freedom is always a choice

A system where people in their lives could rejoice

A system with a world united where barriers should fade

A system where teamwork is always displayed

Yes there will be some who won’t do their share

But society is good at not keeping people there

People are good at motivating the herd

People who are lazy would be considered absurd

Even the sickest has their worth

But whilst there is still money, plenty resent their birth

It is a horrible fact, but it is quite true, whilst money is still around

It’s imprisoning you

Not just you but all of mankind

Money is very, very, unkind

Imagine your life without money there, what would you do?  What would be your cares?

How would you live?  Who would you help?

Please do think about this, it might self help

It will open your mind to what you can become

I wish more people thought that money was dumb

This poem was written quickly, I know it can come across a little uncomprehending but it was written at 5:45am on a cold foggy, frosty January morning and I have a bad chest infection and I tend to think about too many points at once and my brain gets scrambled at the best of times – but this is an important message I think.  One that really should be shouted as loud as climate change awareness, because I think, if money was eliminated and people worked together in teams and progressed without the need of money incentives, things like climate change would reserve rapidly – the cure for cancer found – the ability to terraform Mars would have already been done and so many other things.

I mean come on, think about it – do you really need the incentive of a few shiny coins a month to make you make this world a better place?  Do you really need the incentive of earning little fake tokens of your supposed value in the world in order to give you the life you want and deserve?  It is a belief system that you do need these tokens as an incentive to go to a job you hate, being stuck in situations you hate, that have you enslaved, slavery is never ever truly over, until the fat cats decide to change it.  Though how many fat cats are there in comparison to the slim?  I am talking money here not the supposed “obesity crisis”.  I have always struggled with the concept that I can’t do this, I can’t do that, basic little things that most people in the Western World take for granted, because of lack of money.  I have never ever had the ability to be extravagant – I can tell you what I think the most extravagant thing I have ever done financially has been outside of special occasions – bought, shock and horror a book that cost me £25 that to me is an extravagance!

I have never had the ability to afford to get my hair done at the hairdressers when I became an independent adult, living away from my parents, I cut my hair myself!

There are so many things that would change in my life, if money was removed from the social system.

I have been told several times by many doctors that they can treat my problems, it is easily treatable with basic surgery, however, it is too expensive for a struggling NHS right now, so therefore, until the illness infringes my life to the point it becomes life threatening, they will not help me.  Money, I am afraid to say, does determine how moral and humane a doctor will be and from my experience, it means that money makes them carefree, it makes them monsters; not just them, but everyone, people kill for money for fucks sake!

People need to learn that money is evil.  Yes, money saves lives and all of that too, but that is just an illusion – really many people would never have got to the extent of needing charitable donations if it weren’t for the problem that money exists in their world.  Most people’s relationships are affected by six core things; money tops it the other four things are, lying, political and sport debates, religious differences and general discrimination (racism, disability discriminate, age discrimination, fashion critics etc.) – people argue about those six core things a lot and that usually determines how well you get along with a person or not.  Money being the biggest factor because not only do families argue about the lack of it or the want of it, but people generally avoid creating relationships with new people in case they might become their victim in some way financially.  People become more uptight socially if they are wearing expensive clothing and have the latest mobile, than those who are poorer in the community towards strangers socially approaching them. 

People also judge you by your supposed wealth or lack of wealth.  I have been in situations of worse poverty than I have now and the general public; do treat you differently, either with sympathy or with contempt, especially if you are known to be unemployed due to chronic illness.  I have also been in a situation where I have been considered quite wealthy (though the money was never mine, I was dependent upon someone for a time) and again, society treated me differently.  I became more human the more I showed to others that I might actually be better off than them and I have had friends who are super rich or of celebrity status tell me that it gets worse the more you have, you become almost godlike and infallible and this particular person who told me this said that she hated it, because she just wanted to be recognised as plain old normal Sue; she adored me because I never treated her or anyone else any differently to anyone else.  I won’t tell you her whole name because I don’t like name dropping.  But I will say she is a very respected and talented British celebrity. 

Going back to complaining about the doctors again; When I have been too sick to dress properly or fuss over my hair, I get treated like a piece of fermented meat in which the doctor is even reluctant to physically examine.  I am clean, but I wear a baggy grey jumper and black leggings those days with trainers and my hair is in a messy bun. 

I go back to the same doctor a few months later after coming from a funeral in a dress suit with the same messy bun might I add and they treated me as though I had a brain and they spent ten more minutes with me than usual and examined me thoroughly.  Why the snobbery?  Same patient, same doctor, different clothes and class appearance!

I am going to number and list everything I can’t have because of my financial situation – then I am going to number and list what I would do and have in a world without money.

  1. I can’t have an operation to remove unusually large adenoids which makes me long-term unable to breathe through my nose and smell, it also causes severe post nasal drip and breathing problems, it affects my voice and larynx and I get throat infections 8 times a year and living with constantly ear infections due to Eustachian tube blockages purely because of the adenoids. Because of this, I have severe insomnia and hypersomnia, depends on how much my body will let me sleep before I literally wake choking on the entire gunk in my body, this has gone on nearly eight years now.  One of the biggest factors of why I cannot work, because it affects my breathing, my voice and my hearing levels.  I also live with vertigo because of sinus and ear pressure and almost constant sinus migraines.  Because of the amount of antibiotics I need, I have been developing antibiotic resistance and my digestive system is collapsing as it is affecting my gut flora.  As an added bonus because of my health problems, I am self-conscious going out, because I have been accused of infecting everyone, because I come across as having perpetual flu like symptoms, cough and cold.  It is especially difficult to go out since this new Chinese virus is going around.
  2. I can’t have an operation to stretch my tendons in my left hand which renders three of my fingers almost immobile due to how tight they are, despite how twisted my fingers are that when I fall down I am constantly at risk of breaking my hand.
  3. I can’t afford to get rid of old furniture and broken televisions, computers, cookers and washing machines via a skip, so have to store them in a corner in the garden and I hate that, because I am extremely house proud and as far as the neighbours are concerned by our back garden, we must be pack rats in the house, the nasty hoarding sort – but we’re not. We don’t have a car or anyone who has a car who would be willing to help for a day.
  4. I can’t afford to get my son to socialise outside of school, because I can’t buy him the rugby kit he wants and I can’t afford the membership for the marathon club. Though there is light at the end of the tunnel for his marathon club, Henry has been seen doing so well at free running events around town that we have been told as soon as he is 10yrs old (which is May 2020) he will be eligible for sponsoring and free membership!
  5. I can’t have a balanced diet which meets my needs; even the food bank struggles with someone like me – gluten and lactose intolerant with a few other allergies thrown in like certain herbs and fruit allergies. At least once a week I have to consider eating something I am intolerant to, because our budget can’t stretch for the whole week.  It’s either that or having an entire day of just meat and potatoes with hardly any or no veg and maybe some sauce.  When money was better 2yrs ago I was having an 80% paleo diet and my health bloomed, I had more good days than not.  But when the government cut that evil thing – money, I had to cut the food and my body isn’t responding well to that.
  6. I can’t afford a fish tank and supplies, a dog or some chickens.
  7. I can’t afford certain gardening tools and supplies which will help me grow more food.
  8. I can’t afford to get a gardener to help me when I am on a run of bad health. I regularly get bed bound sick where I can’t do anything for 6 to 8 weeks at a time, by that time, my garden is ruined when I get back to it, by aggressive bindweed.  The bindweed in my garden are triffids – I was ill for 9 weeks last summer and it managed to pull down and break an entire 7ft cherry tree I had put in.
  9. My husband knows I need to get out more and see the doctor a lot more than I do, but I don’t go to see him more than once a month (though it is essential) because it costs us £12 a time in transport. Therefore, we can’t afford a car and we can’t afford to pay for me to go out, so unless I can walk somewhere, I can’t go out, so I am even more isolated now.  I am also not eligible for a disability scooter for free, because my problems are not mobile, it is mostly breathing problems due to enlarged adenoids so they don’t take that seriously at all mobility.
  10. I am struggling to be able to pay for the amount of tissues and symptom relief things I need. Such as throat lozenges, vic rub, Vaseline, sanitary towels because my coughing fits have weakened my bladder severely.
  11. I have lost a lot of weight since becoming very ill, losing weight because coughing fits have made me become involuntarily bulimic and with the lack of affordable food I can eat which fits into my dietary needs, it is hard. I have lost nearly 50 pounds in the past four months and I can’t afford to get smaller clothes, so I am wearing clothes that are ridiculously big on me.  I know there is gumtree and all of that, but really it is hard to travel to pick things up and the women getting rid of their clothes don’t like the idea of a man (my husband) picking it up for me without me present, tried.
  12. I need a wig because my trichotillomania has got worse, but I have to make do without one and tolerate the whispers behind my back when out.
  13. My bed is broken and needs to be replaced because the frame broke when Henry jumped and pulled on it last summer. I can’t afford it, so we are literally trying to hold it all together with planks of wood and gorilla tape.
  14. We’ve lived with a leaky roof in our biggest bedroom for eight years now, we can’t have the roof fixed that would be 4k, heavy rains with a northerly wind causes havoc. Also our utility room roof has caved in too.
  15. Our toilet is coming away at the wall, again we’ve had to resort to gorilla tape and sealant to try and make do until we can afford to replace that too.
  16. Henry needs new clothes too, he is growing fast, but he has my problem at the moment too – having to wear clothes too big, because he is wearing his father’s hand me downs to keep him warm this winter. Thankfully Paul is a stick and is the smallest man’s size in clothing and doubly thankful that Henry is taller than most for his age. 
  17. Our sofa is broken and that needs replacing, we don’t sit downstairs anymore because of it. Also because it is winter and we had our gas fire taken out and gas supply to the fireplace removed because it was unsafe four years ago, so we have no heating in the living room except for an electric fan heater and we can’t afford to use that more than an hour a day.  We put it on whilst we eat our dinner, we don’t eat dinner in the dining room anymore because that is even colder than the living room.
  18. I can’t afford my psoriasis shampoo and wash, so have to tolerate discomfort as the NHS has refused to prescribe me again for more, told me to buy it for myself if I need it. Also they don’t fix hearing aids in our hospital anymore; I have to go to boots, so I have a malfunctioned hearing aid now, which means I am completely deaf a lot of the time. 

Surprising isn’t it?  This is England.  This is the 21st century.  Bet you didn’t know people like me still live like that?  The funniest thing is, I am one of the better off ones – one of the least poor, there are others worse than me, I have known them.  If you think my situation is shocking, honestly, you are a very sheltered person who needs to get to know others outside of your social circle a bit better.  I have known people so poor, that despite sugar tax, it is cheaper for them to get more calories into their child with a packet of haribo sweets than to cook them a veggie dinner.   I am not that poor yet and thankfully Henry has manageable allergies.  My Henry does however, live on sausages, mash, cucumber, carrots and baked beans more often than I would like, but that is the cheapest food I can get him that he is guaranteed to eat in full.  Some of the nation’s poorest can’t even afford to give their kids beans on toast, so I really can’t moan that much I suppose!

I am not poor enough in the eyes of the government to need charity help or help from the council, because we own our home outright and therefore we must fix things ourselves.  We’ve been told that if things are so bad, why not sell up and rent?  Because our money will only last five years, I would lose benefits and security in one fair swoop and we have no means to pay the rent, it’s unlikely that I will ever get well enough to have a proper job and Paul retires in three years.

In a world of no money my life would be bearable, it would be happier, it would be easier and our needs would be met; because people are more humane to those in need when they are equal to them.

Here is my no money list.

  1. Even though I am sick, in a world of no money I would have to contribute to society like everyone else.  But society would be more understanding that not everyone can cope with long hours and hard labour.  I would help places grow food or advise people on gardening for food, even on my sickest days I could sit on the internet on live chat, helping some gardening in need with various issues.
  2. I can help the world with aesthetics, by giving people my artwork to decorate their homes with, giving people my poetry and stories in books for them to enjoy. I could even get a group of actors together and we can make plays and movies based on my ideas.
  3. I would go to a workshop on my good days and help teach people how to make preserves, jams, chutneys, allergy free cakes and breads.
  4. I could do motivational talks.
  5. I can help sew and repair local peoples clothing from home, if they deliver.
  6. I can teach people about which flowers are edible, to help broaden peoples diet.
  7. I can do the occasional arts and craft workshop to help people recycle and upcycle things.
  8. I can help people learn French.
  9. I am a good massager and manicurist.
  10. I am very good with people who are suicidal or going through a dark time. I have had several people say that if it weren’t for me they wouldn’t be around anymore.  I have often thought about becoming a therapist, but in the last five years it is debatable whether or not I will be a hearing person in the future or not.  In fact, I have been told to prepare myself for becoming profoundly deaf to becoming totally deaf with a deaf dog support.  So I gave up my course as soon as I heard this.
  11. All my household problems would be solved, no dangerous stuff, more respect from neighbours and warm living room that is comfortable.
  12. I would be able to live the diet that is optimal for me as an individual.
  13. My operations would have been done before my health got this far and I would probably be able to do more things than what I listed above.
  14. We would have an electric car.
  15. We would have a dog, a full fish tank and some chickens in the garden.
  16. We would have tools for the garden and help in the garden.
  17. I would be able to wear appropriate clothes and so would Henry.
  18. We would have a safe bed.
  19. I would probably need to apply for a house extension so I could have an extra room to use as a library.
  20. I would be able to get out more.
  21. I would shave my hair off entirely and get a wig, so I learn to stop pulling.
  22. I’d go to the cinema once a week.
  23. We’d go for a pub family meal on Sundays like we used to.
  24. I’d take Henry to the big televised rugby matches.
  25. I’d adopt four kids and concentrate on getting my body healthier, rather than push my body to get that second child I want.
  26. We’d go out on a big family day out once a month at least – a zoo, a museum, a steam train ride, a bowling day out etc.
  27. Because a world without money would be more cooperative and free, I would be free to lend my services to certain people. I would be able to assist the local elderly, cook for them, visit them to keep them socialising, take them out, play games with the playful ones, and do the same for the severely disabled. 

It is all just hearsay I know.  I am down to earth enough to realise that I may still be struggling day to day with my own needs, like I am today.  But even in a world of no money, I could manage to help society from home, in my bed with online talks.  I could go out for one half day a week doing any of those things above and still be a worthy member of society who does her bit.  Basically, I would have a better life than I do now.  But because of my current needs, ESA will not tolerate someone who can do half a day of something, without pulling the carpet from under them and saying “well in that case you can work, we will take your money from you henceforth”.  They don’t care that my illness is such that I can go out for one half day a week, but I will be bedbound for four days after it and so therefore will not function around my own home – that to them, doesn’t matter.  What matters is getting me off benefits at any cost!

I am saying, in a world of no money, I can volunteer to be present outside of the home every 4 to 7days, if society tolerates someone who has a permanent streaming nose and allergies when she does it – I often feel that people recoil from me a lot when I am out about and this leads to me thinking things such as “Well why not just euthanize me now, then?”.

I burden too many people with my presence, they make it all too obvious and people who work in benefits don’t help matters!

Money is evil, it makes us heartless.

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me

Winter reborn – Happy New Year

Inktober Snowman - copyright Tina Cousins 2016

Inktober Snowman – copyright Tina Cousins 2016

Winter is born again, through the tears of spring, the summer rain and the great bloody fall.
Now snowmen can have their ball, their jewels of ice and snowflake
Each year an elegant remake of the old becoming new
In crisp white gowns they gander at the brilliant white fields and lanes
Knowing that each year is different, knowing each year is just the same
The festivities are just starting
What fun there is to be?
Celebrating life’s ending
Celebrating with grand feasts
All the snowmen gather, with their noses of carrot and coal
Dancing on the frozen lake
Dancing with all their soul
And as winter nears its ending, the beginning begins to start
A brand new year is coming
Get ready with all your heart
For the winter’s end is warming
And spring is coming by
To melt the snowmen to heaven
With their jewels of snow and ice
And there you have it
Here it comes
Yes, the New Year has arrived
And the New Year has begun

Leave a comment

Filed under poetry

17th October 2016 – wanderings

Grey stone lay beneath my feet.  My feet are cold and bare as the fog gently surrounds me in the frosty night.  I look on in the patchy darkness, but my vision is obscured by the fog more and more.  I settle myself down upon a rock by the big oak tree and I ponder life and my existence. 

I miss you more and more. 

Your death has made me hollow and changed me in a way that I don’t understand.  People think that I am strange; I certainly have developed strange habits.  I don’t take mourning you easily.

People tell me that as time goes by the loss of you will hurt less, or at least I’d learn to cope.  But at the moment all I can think of is that it was only last week I saw you last, each day that goes on is more and more torture for me to bear, I can’t imagine not seeing you for a month, a year, a decade, half a century or however long I shall live.

Perhaps my new found madness shall kill me?  If not that then the cold will.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brain Drain