Saturday, August 25, 2012

Me and the Big C

I have thought of closing down Joan’s blog...’Me and the Big C’ and yesterday I had a look at the stats and was surprised to see a large number of people searching for Cancer topics on her blog.   By far there were two main searches...’The Silence of the Dying’ and Xeloda.  There were other topic searches of course and the blog has changed from one where people followed a journey to one for, hopefully, helpful information.

I also felt that I should leave it for myself and our family.  Later I will have it printed.

I have been offered some 25 Mac computers from a school in Albany.  It is about two years since we drove down there and so thought I would drive down and bring back at least 10 machines in my car.  My friend Dennis decided that we should both go down for a few days in his large ute and bring them all back.  Good idea!  Albany is a most pleasant small city at the bottom of Western Australia.    I have an ex-student teaching at one of the Albany schools and will make an effort to catch up with her.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mobile phone fine

I am probably talked about in our cul-de-sac as the looney who grows vegetables in his front yard.  My Broad Beans have flowered and already small beans are abundant.  I don’t mind if the neighbours think I am an old Italian gardener...the front of the house points north into the sun and is the best place for vegies on our block.
A couple of times I have had to search amongst the Broad Beans to find the morning newspaper. I reckon the bean patch would present a nice target.

Talking about loonies;  in this morning’s newspaper there is a report about a Senior Police Constable in the seaside town of Mandurah giving an infringement ticket to a woman using a mobile phone whilst in control of a vehicle.  The fine for this offence is $250.00. and three demerit points.

Yes, the woman was using her mobile whilst in charge of a...wait for it...pram.  She was walking her baby along a footpath/sidewalk and foolishly answered her mobile.  Fortunately senior police officers recognised a problem with the infringement and cancelled the ticket an apologised to the woman.  The looney cop had mis-interpreted the law involved and probably shouldn’t show his face around town for a while.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Embryonic Diapause

I suspect that my mailing list has been compromised.  I am receiving a few emails from people I know; their names appear on the header but the email addresses aren’t theirs. 

Not a worry at the moment, but it will spook me if others start receiving emails purporting to be me.

U.S. Congress hopeful Todd Akin, a Republican candidate, has severely embarrassed Presidential candidate Romney with a wacky statement saying that the female body can shut down conception in the case of true rape.   He is a right-to-lifer and opposes abortion even in cases of aggravated rape.  His claim is that doctors have told him that in cases of true rape, the female does not conceive.  Looney and soon to be a loser!

I imagine that many a rape victim forced to carry the child of a rapist to full term might not afford it true motherly affection.

Maybe he was thinking of what Kangaroos can do in times of extreme drought.  Kangaroos can ‘freeze’ the development of an embryo in a process called Diapause if they are still nursing a previous newborn.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A big day in

Yesterday we had a luncheon at my place which went on until around 5pm. Beef roast, lots of vegetables and salads courtesy of Helen and James. Also along were brother Graham and Helen and James' friends and house guests, Scotty and Chrissie and their lovely 14 month old daughter Sarah who provided much of the entertainment for us all. Sarah is a remarkably smart and funny kid. I have yet to hear her cry.

                                       Sarah with her beer hat on.

Scotty and Chrissie have shifted back to W.A. From Queensland and have both secured well paying jobs. They have bought a house quite close to here and will move in around about 10 days. Their two horses (Great Danes) will come out of their boarding kennels and settle in at the new house. The plan is to remove a swimming pool in the back yard and grass the whole area for the dogs.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Keel haul them!

The Australian shock jocks and even ABC and SBS TV are running with a headline story about Pirates.

A Norwegian car-carrier ship en route to Singapore from Fremantle, MV Parsifal, responded to an Australian search and rescue organisation which had received a distress call from a refugee boat supposedly sinking. The Parsifal took the 67 refugees on board, but when they were informed that they were heading for Singapore and not an Australian territory (Christmas Island) they understandably became 'agitated'. The Captain decided to change course and take them to Christmas Island.  Christmas Island is a slight diversion from the Fremantle-Singapore route.

Then came the media beat up... Pirates story. The Captain later stressed that there was no piracy, the refugees threatened self harm. There was no threat to his crew.

It is most likely that the ship's owners advised the Captain to land them on Christmas Island as there would have most certainly been costly delays in Singapore whilst that government wrangled over who was to take them.

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, said he would have sent in the SAS.

What a load of codswallop!

In this morning's newspaper there are letters suggesting such acts are pure piracy.
Keel haul 'em and hang 'em from the yardarm.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bride Running Away

When our daughter Helen was about ten years old she painted this pic...
It's not bad at all..she hadn't perfected her human figures at that stage.

Just was painted by Arthur Boyd in the early 1950s and was just auctioned for the princely sum of A$1.68 Million. I am, even at the age of 72, a bit puzzled as why such art is so valuable. I guess it is investment value.

The Australian government has just caved in to the opposition about how to deal with boat people arriving at Australia's Christmas Island. Christmas Island is just a spit away from Indonesia from where most of the boats depart. Everyone (except the Greens) now agrees that offshore detention in Papua New Guinea and the small nation of Nauru will deter reffos who think they will get a quick trip into Australian residency. Not sure that will actually work.... but?

The government previously built expensive detention centres in Australia and now these will not be needed. Two of these in Western Australia; one at Leonora which is desert-side of Kalgoorlie and the other at Northam which is about 60 miles from Perth city will probably fall into disuse. The Mayor of the small town of Leonora is whinging about the fact that the town relies heavily on the detention centre for its local economy. The Mayor of Christmas Island is also saying the same thing. Both communities initially whinged about the establishment of the detention centres, but now have changed their mind.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Down and Up

Today I start my preparations for tomorrow's Gastroscopy and Colonoscopy. Low (just about everything) diet and at 6pm I commence drinking the four litres of 'Colonlyte'. I don't mind the actual procedure because I don't know it is happening. Brother Graham is delivering me into the hospital and collecting me when it is all over.

A friend Dennis, recalls having a colonoscopy in a clinic with maybe a dozen other people in line for the same procedure. He thought it unlikely that the medicos had a couple of dozen endoscopes and wondered how the autoclave would cope with a couple of instruments being used over and over in a relatively short time. I won't concern myself with that detail.

I have a colonoscopy every four years because of a family history of colon cancer. It is estimated that bowel cancers take around four years to present.

I recently had a Rotary Club sponsored blood-faecal test which came back as negative for a bowel cancer. The results cautioned that the test does not conclusively rule out a bowel cancer, as some cancers do not bleed into the bowel. My wife Joan also had a negative result with a test she did around three years ago, but sadly her bowel and metastatic liver cancer was not detected. GPs are cautious about the real benefits of this easy test.

Today I am 'Skipper' when Helen, James and I drive up to Hillary's to have lunch with Joan's sister Dorothy. I don't know what I will have to eat as I am instructed to abstain from.....'Milk or milk products, pulp. Pips or seeds, stock cubes, green, red or purple food colouring. No solid food, no chewing gum and no agar jelly. Looks like warm water for me.

For a humorous take on a Colonoscopy see here.

Postscript:  is a Gastroscopy and Colonoscopy.    It went well and I have nothing but a small hernia in the oesophagus and some minor diverticulitis in the sigmoid colon.    The Doc told me to have another colonoscopy in eight years if I am still going.  Nice guy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Grumpy old bugger!

So Syria's President Assad's Prime Minister and all his family have skipped the country. He says it is because the Assad regime is bad and he wants to distance himself from it. More like he can see the writing on the wall and knows what will happen to him and his family when Assad falls. Same goes for pilots and generals who have deserted. Ex-Prime Minister Hijab and 10 relatives and their families are in a 'Safe Haven and in Safe Hands'.

The West has been supporting, in words at least, the rebels. So what will happen when the rebels eventually bring down the government and it reverts to an anti-western regime of Muslim fundamentalists? Probably like other Arab Spring Middle East countries, Syria will not be so accommodating to Westeners as it has been in the past. The Christians of Syria have been pretty -well left alone by the Assad regime. A sectarian Muslim regime may not be so benign.

I am thinking of having my newspaper delivery stopped. I don't read it thoroughly enough and most of the articles are are of little interest to me. When the comics at the rear of the paper are the most interesting part, I reckon I can get the real news from radio, TV and the internet.

Grumpy old bugger aint I?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Olympics

I am slightly underwhelmed by the Olympics. It always seems to promote a fair bit of Nationalism.

Watching a couple of events last night I was struck by the physical appearance of most of the female athletes. Are breasts a serious impediment to success? They don't seem to worry the Williams sisters. I am sure there is no hormonal treatment involved.

There are a few ads which pop up on web pages and FaceBook that deserve a bit of scorn.

There are the “Congratulations, you have won...' types.

'The Doctors Hate her' types.

The '"crazy old secret makes this so easy" ads.

And the overstocked iPads from $24.95 scams. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Donations to Charities

Since my wife Joan died, I have made donations to organisations which support cancer sufferers. I was happy to give substantial monies to two organisations. I have also been giving a monthly donation to the another world-wide charity as a 'Humanitarian Partner' to support their various causes.

I am perfectly happy to donate to good causes, but resent the double-up they follow up with. All three organisations have mailed me; a couple, several times, seeking more donations for another of their projects. I know I am no orphan on this one...friends who have been good enough to support a good cause have also been hounded for more donations. 

There...I feel better with that off my chest.

 In yesterday's post I received a letter  from the funeral home which had done Joan's funeral service.
The letter was in collaboration with Curtin University.  It was a survey of partners of a deceased loved one assessing their physical and mental well-being.
The Study Title is: A population based approach to bereavement support: a Western Australian community survey.
There were a number of sections to the study. Most focusing on the health and bereavement process, with lots of questions on support offered by medical professionals and palliative care staff and the Funeral Director.  The questions had the usual check boxes rating all aspects of treatment and palliative care as well as postmortem follow up for the partner.
There were spaces for personal observations and I felt like writing that I was going along nicely until I had to go through all that pain again.    Still, I am glad that I was allowed to participate in the survey.   Generally I was well satisfied with the treatment and palliative care for my wife.  I wasn't happy with the outcome, but no one could have done better than the medicos who sincerely tried their best to save Joan.