Archive for February 2017

All shook up

Posted by on February 17th 2017 in Rambling on..., Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)

When me and my Dad say goodbye to each other we generally shake hands, it's what we do now that he finds embracing too uncomfortable. It works for us.

During my regular visits to the hospital I usually run into a few of the patients who were fellow inmates a year back, we usually shake hands too, it's a sign not just of friendship but also of us having been through so much shite together. And also because hands are the best bet for contact points due to us all having to do the hygiene routine every time we visit - using the hand-gel dispensers is so ingrained that it's a tad like turning Buddhist prayer-wheels, you can't pass one by without having a go. The one exception is my good friend and fellow patient Nick, A.K.A. "Quaver Nick", he likes to do hugs. Mind you, he does bowl from the pavilion end...

But just lately the hand-shaking thing has gone to a new level. A couple of days ago the postman wanted to shake my hand after delivering a parcel, I thought it was unusual but I went with it. And last night at the posh Italian restaurant in town the head waiter went for the handshake when we arrived... and again on the way out... then the head chef wanted a go... by that time I was in full flow so the junior waiter standing by the door got one too.

What's going on? Has the world gone Über-polite while I've not been paying attention? Have I become an unwitting minor celebrity?

Or am I turning into...

 

Rearranging the furniture

Posted by on February 13th 2017 in Site update

I'm doing a bit of reorganising here. Most of the posts about AML have been edited to show/hide my unimportant ranting, drivel and charts. Hopefully it'll look a lot neater if you don't click the show/hide link.

The latest blood-test result charts can be found via the sidebar's site nav under "01 Site Nav - Pick a Page".

I may even go so far as to tart the place up a bit by ditching the moody black & grey look and adding a few touches of colour.

But that might be a step too far.

Post updated 28/03/2017

Mental battle

Posted by on February 10th 2017 in A bit of a rant, Illness and injury

In case you'd not noticed, I like numbers and charts. They form patterns, patterns which form pictures each worth a thousand words. Keeping track of the numbers (the counts), noting their trends and learning their meanings, is one of the pillars supporting my determination to beat this festrous malady and then to hold it at bay. The more I understand something, the less I fear it.

Click here to show or hide contents

*** Warning! Paraphrasing in progress! ***

Way back in December 2015 the docs were saying things like "Your blood counts are the most important indicators of your progress, that's why we do daily sampling and testing", in January 2016 it was "Your counts are good enough to go home, but you can't do (insert any meaningful activity here)", and in February it was "You did what? On a train? Bejeesus, you shouldn't have done that, your counts are still too low!"

A month or so later the concept of context was introduced... "Your counts are better, but we have to consider them in context, and that context is bad so we'll keep you in for a few days."

Later still they said "Your counts are recovering nicely, so we'll start periodic testing and monitoring, keeping an eye on the all-important counts. Monthly for at least a year, starting in June 2016. It's immutable. Only then will we consider cutting you some slack and changing to two-monthly testing and monitoring. It's not up for negotiation."

From all that it's clear that counts are important. I was (and indeed continue to be) tested every day I was there, whether as an inmate, a day-warder, an ambulatory or an out-patient. Each and every decision included a consideration of the counts.

But yesterday, after I had queried the low counts which were not discussed a month ago, the story was...

"Your counts dropped but have now recovered. We have to consider them in context, and that context is good so we will ignore and not bother to explain the reasons why the counts were low. They are good today. You really do have to stop attaching importance to the counts. Swings of up to 20% are not causes for concern. Oh, and we're changing the immutable monthly testing and monitoring to six-weekly as of now, not May/June. As before, it's not up for negotiation."

So, in one fell swoop my coping strategy was left in tatters and my diary until June had been trashed.  And I'm still not supposed to do (insert many meaningful activities here). Cheers for that, it was a real morale-booster.

I won't burden the main blog with more boring blood-test result charts, from now on they will be segregated on their own page due to their alleged lowly importance. Suffice to say that last month my white cell count had "swung" from 5.2 to 3.6 x 109 cells/litre (a drop of ~31%) and my neutrophils had "swung" from 3.06 to 2.00 x 109 cells/litre (a drop of ~35%), clearly not within their newly-introduced "20% swing rule" and therefore justifiable causes for concern. It's obvious to me that something significant happened at or just before the week 28 test, but they didn't give a shit back then and continued to not give a shit yesterday.

I have another consultation booked for six weeks' time. Whether I'll bother to give the mandatory blood sample for testing is a moot point - after all, if the counts aren't important, why waste the NHS's cash on unimportant sampling and testing?

I feel a phase of conflict coming on, so I will continue to grind my axe (for defensive purposes only).

Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!

No comprende

Posted by on February 6th 2017 in Bargains
Tags:

I'm starting to believe that I'll never understand Tesco's pricing strategy:

 

Suffice to say that we bought the six-packs.

Chunky

Posted by on February 4th 2017 in In the garden
Tags:

These should be hefty enough to take just about any birds that Nature shoves our way.

Condors, Bald Eagles, Albatrosses etc. should cope. Penguins might struggle with the upright bits.

 

Sayonara Salix babylonica

Posted by on February 2nd 2017 in In the garden, My vids, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)
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It was a sad day when we had to have the old willow taken out.

We would have liked to have kept it but it was becoming unruly and dangerous, the remains of the middle trunk which we'd had reduced during pollarding back in 2009 had rotted all the way down to ground level and were no longer binding the other three trunks, so the whole tree had to go with dignity instead of being trashed by a storm.

It was much older than anyone thought - before felling it, all opinions were that it was just a bit older than the house, so about 60 years old. When the trunks had been taken down I went to see the stump before they ground it out, even at 2ft high it was 4ft across. I tried to count the growth-rings but lost count at about 80, we now think it was into its 9th or maybe even its 10th decade.

We've saved a few wands to plant elsewhere in the garden, so it stands a chance of regenerating from those, but when the ground has settled we'll be planting a large native Birch in its place.

And the wood wasn't all wasted - we've propped up a couple of huge chunks of cut trunk and have hung bird-feeders on them, and we've used a couple of cut rounds to make a hefty Flintstones-style bird-table. Pics soon!

Anyway, here's a rough & ready time-lapse of its last few hours:

Willow from BG! on Vimeo.

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