Hello Cruel World
Monday, December 31, 2007
New Year's Eve Fireworks in Sydney 2007-2008

Wal, that t'were right purdy. I'm back to eat dinner after watching the 'family fireworks' over Sydney Harbour. They start at 9pm AEST, just as the last colour deepens into a dark sky.

There was talk about there being new '3D' pyrotechnic effects. I think they meant those ones that seemed to be in spiral or lozenge shapes, and some odd-looking ones that might have been the outlines of cubes. Lots of a variety of the classical types too, I like the multi-puffball, where a dozen or so small dandelion-seedhead-shaped puffs arc out gracefully into a near-sphere from a central explosion. The pyrotechnicians use about 14 laptop computers (half are backups in case of failure) to coordinate and set off the 'cues'.

Looking forward to midnight, when we get more, plus a special display on the Harbour Bridge — that'll be the one you'll probably see clips from on New Year Celebrations coverage. I'm not well enough for the buffeting of the crowds in the streets and parks, so one of the advantages of the flat near the hospital I picked is that the roof (with clotheslines) is accessible and has a view towards the harbour (from one corner you can even see the bridge).

Wishing all reading whatever they hope for the future turns out, and their fears don't.

This latest medical trouble was a shock, and quite rocked me back on my heels. Disruptions from holiday closures and people being away means we still don't quite know what the situation is yet, more tests are scheduled over the next weeks. I just finished watching all of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer on DVD, and that and Hogfather might have helped my morale.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007
Mediproblems continued: Not Good News (Metastisis)

Thursday after Christmas I went into the Oncology Clinic to get the results of the tests, including the examination of the fluid drained from my lung. They found cancer cells in the fluid. In the chest & abdomen CT scan they could see some substantial infiltration of my liver with abnormal cells, as well as the fluid-filled lung and its collapsed structure.

It's the breast cancer from 2006 metastized, I'll be starting up chemotherapy in a few weeks. This time, after the trouble with my veins collapsing — remember because of the surgery affecting my arm on the mastectomy side, which has now given rise to lymphoedema, they can only use the other arm for injections, taking blood, or even testing blood pressure — they will be implanting an injectable port in my chest. Again because of the disruption on the operated side, it'll be on the right side, which is the side the lung is filling up.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007
continued: Not Good News (Lung Drainage)

So after being faffed around on Monday, I was able to get an appointment at the Oncology Unit on Tuesday (1 week before Christmas) when I was supposed to be at work. Another bunch of blood tests, the doctor (registrar under the consultant) tried to get an appointment to get the fluid in my lung drained. Originally arranged for Wednesday, which meant I could be there for the last day of work before we broke up for the Christmas-New Year break, by the afternoon of Tuesday it was postponed to Thursday morning. So I was able to go into work on the Wednesday, finish off a bit of work, distribute the goodies I'd put together, and collect some myself.

Bright and early on Thursday, presented my poor tender, breathless body for some help. They used ultrasound to visualize the inside while I sat sideways hooked over a chairback with my arm up on my opposite shoulder, then took a couple of stabs to get the bit they wanted. The first go made me feel quite sick, as well as feeling quite unpleasant (They'd applied local anaesthetic as well as antiseptic to the skin, so all the sensation was internal.) The second try, they also gave me oxygen to breathe. Whether it was that or because they were hitting a different set of nerves, although there was a very uncomfortable, deep sort of achey sensation (almost like joint pain or bone ache), I wasn't nauseated. They took a sample of the fluid for testing.

So I was hooked up to a plastic tube that drained into a cute little plastic receptacle with measurements marked on it, and a handle to carry around. They put me in a wheelchair with it & the oxygen cylinder, and we went up from the basement to the chemotherapy ward of happy memory where I sat with my drain inserted, draining for a couple of hours. Strangely, I hadn't slept at all well — only partly because of problems breathing — so although I had a book and was reading it, I also drifted off to sleep a few times. When no more fluid was draining out, one of the nurses extracted the tube and put a dressing over both the wounds.

After a little while it was back down to get another chest x-ray to see how well it had worked. Unluckily, the lung was still partially collapsed. On the plus side, I could breathe rather easier, if not normally. On the minus side, especially once the anaesthetic wore off, the stab wounds, internally as well as externally, hurt, and more when I coughed, and there was an irritation that made me cough a fair bit. Then it was a week to wait, including Christmas, for my next appointment to get the test results and see how the lung & I got on.

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Monday, December 17, 2007
Catch-up on recent medical news

Arrgh! More mediproblems. Quick catch-up. Possibly lack of posting has something to do with the tiredness & lack of energy. After the exploratory operation at the end of November to check on a different problem, my breathlessness was getting worse, despite keeping up gym attendance.

Finally got to a doctor. My (new) GP sent me off for a bunch of tests, because it could be any of several different causes. [Leaving out a whole recital of a pretty miserable day severely summarised below, might vent nearby later.] The first was a chest X-ray. After I finally found the place, the radiologist came out to talk, was worried about how I'd get home/wherever, and wanted me to take the X-ray straight back to the Medical Centre for the GP. Got back to Medical Centre, left X-ray, went to get blood taken for other tests near home [Big part of misery.] and grabbed groceries on the way home. [Free bread! Another story for later.] Got home to rest before heading to city to get Christmas needs and Medical Centre phoned to make appointment for later in the day, instead of original Monday appointment.

[Taxi problem! Part of 'venting' story.] Doctor seemed worried by the fluid on my lungs, wanted me to go back to one of my cancer units, possibly on Saturday. I said if possible could it wait 'til Monday (), and she said OK, but be prepared to go to Emergency if I started to have trouble breathing. I had to phone around my Tuesday night support group to tell them I might not be in if hospital keeps me.

Well, have survived weekend [Good story with friends, and watched 'Idiocracy' with two of them.] Getting ready to go to Oncology today. Packing bag to allow for possible overnight or longer stay, just in case.

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Monday, December 10, 2007
Pocket Films Festival
Pocket Films Festival: "Pocket Films Festival" a Japanese site for people who've made films on their mobile phone camera (www.pocketfilms.jp/en). Also available in French & Japanese. The mobile phone film festival started in France in 2005.

Here's an article from Excite News about it: . I don't know how long these stories stay available online.
Films Shot on Camera Phones Get Showcase
Dec 7, 6:15 AM (ET)

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) - Masked and demure, she speaks from the tiny screen of a cell phone like a thumb-size fairy forever trapped inside. "Welcome home," she says softly to the viewer. "Speak to me about anything."
The minuscule video is among the works on display at a film festival that opened Friday in this Japanese port town, featuring 48 movies - all shot on camera-equipped cell phones.
Hazy and raw but urgently personal, these pocket-size statements on film, like Yuka Kojima's five-minute "Thumb Girl," were selected from more than 400 entries in an international contest.
The works, streaming on monitors of cell phones strapped to tables, are filled with everyday shots, …

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Monday, December 03, 2007
Saying Yes to Mess?
Saying Yes to Mess - by PENELOPE GREEN
Published: December 21, 2006 New York Times
Last week David H. Freedman, another amiable mess analyst (and science journalist), stood bemused in front of the heathery tweed collapsible storage boxes with clear panels ($29.99) at the Container Store in Natick, Mass., and suggested that the main thing most people’s closets are brimming with is unused organizing equipment. “This is another wonderful trend,” Mr. Freedman said dryly, referring to the clear panels. “We’re going to lose the ability to put clutter away. Inside your storage box, you’d better be organized.

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 / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

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Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.