Hello Cruel World
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friend's Stroke: fortnight report

Two weeks on, he's half-opened one, then both, eyes, and shown some more responses. Still has a nasogastric feed tube, lots less IV stuff though. Breathing 'spontaeously', if through tubes into a tracheostomy, means they will soon move him out of Intensive Care so the machines he's not needing can be used by someone in direr need.

So, progress! Small and slow, but some. We push for more.
Thanks for all and any who've wished him well.

For my birrhday we took in some cake & other goodies, had a couple of bits ourselves, then sliced up the rest and scattered it around for the nurses and relatives in the Unit. Felt good to share; they've a hard job.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009
Friend's Stroke: flickers of hope

Yesterday evening A half-opened his eye on the non-stroke side! I was there.

I wasn't up to getting out today, but it's reported that he opened *both* eyes and seems to be somewhat aware and responsive.

I've followed other young people's slow, difficult recoveries in my online acquaintances, so this gives me hope, though also a dread of how hard it will be. (Different to mother's series of strokes, getting worse & worse. Also seen in other older people.) But there are examples of lack of recovery too.

Thinking/hoping this intensive care is Medicare-covered. Further treatment and rehabilitation, dunno.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Metastasis: Chemotherapy 2009, first cycle

First Carboplatin treatment this morning. Tired beforehand, so I slept through some of the infusion, though the form-filling kept me awake more than I wanted.

After it finished, I went up to the Intensive Care Unit to see if I could visit A in the half hour before they close to visitors 1 - 3 pm, but they were busy with him. It may have been doing or preparing for his tracheotomy.

Most times I've found it takes some while for the unpleasant effects of the cytotoxic drug(s) to start being felt — it might also be the drugs they give you at the time — so I used the energy and being out already to get supplies, put money in bank, etc. Weather nice, so I planned to take my book and maybe some drink or food and sit with the cats, but time and energy ran out. Slept, then went to visit A in the evening.

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Monday, August 24, 2009
Friend's Stroke: waiting, hoping, fearing

Eight or nine days now since friend A. had cerebral haemmorrhage (on right, don't know details). Aneurism evacuated, tube now on left to relieve pressure by draining fluid. He's some spontaneous breathing & body movements, but no eye reaction yet. They're balancing morphia and hypertension. We talk and touch and massage him, but I just don't know what the odds are.

He's only in his mid-forties and so much potential still for him to achieve more excellent things. And I'm just re-starting chemo, so desperately hoping I'll be well enough to spend the hours with him I am now.

I'm so afraid we'll be making some kind of “end-of-life” decision about him (please let it not be, please no, please).

So asking for some good vibrations thisaway, if you have ones to spare. I'll be in and out, depending on sleep and other obligations.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friend's Stroke: shock, horror, confusion

A very good friend is ill. For years he's known of and been treated for idiopathic hypertension. Seems to run in the family. Sometimes crazily high BP; rather drug-resistant, despite a good diet and definitely not being overweight. So over time many, many tests looking for causes, trying different drugs. It looked under control with diet, exercise, drugs. All either free, or at least affordable, with Australian Medicare and PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme). Dentistry a different story.

He's been nagging me to get off my tail and go off to enjoy myself because of my probable future bouts of cancer, and was angry that I hadn't managed anything during the recently-ended remission. So I did head off for a weekend to Canberra (details posted separately), got off the train on Monday afternoon and found his partner, another friend, waiting on Central Station Concourse.

On the weekend a blood vessel burst in his head. Ambulance straight to our local, excellent, hospital. Tests, scans, operation, ICU, 'nother operation adding 'nother head-tube, ICU, re-scans; 2 visitors at a time. He's still unconscious/under sedation. The medistaff are helpful, kind and fairly communicative. I'm trying to give whatever practical support his partner may need (food, laundry, music he or she might like, books for waiting time, ** any aid suggestions welcome **) and taking spells at bedside.

It's fearful and deeply saddening to see him half-head-shaved, tangled in an ugly reticulation of lines and arcane wires and tape and tubes. Fearful for his easy physicality and fierce intelligence; fearful remembering despair and depression that came with my own pain, weakness and struggles with disabilities in my own illnesses. But, thank Whitlam & Co., all Labor governments, and continuing general Australian public opinion, we don't fear financial disaster too, nor being thrown out/unplugged for non-payment. Thinking of that because I'd been following & commenting a little in the debate in the USA on the problems in their health care, particularly the insurance & payment arrangements.

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Monday, August 03, 2009
A Birthday Sonnet (Even Keats made this thought seem a little whiny)

: "If I should die some night and never see
Dawn's light, my email, and my morning tea,
I face the thought with equanimity,
In fact, it would be worse for you than me.
Not that I want to die and turn to clay.
I'm only half-way through, I want to stay,
I want more years, more books, more chance to say
I love my life, my work, my friends, my day.
But I would know for sure the mystery
Perhaps go on to live again and grow
But even if there's nothing, I would know.
My death I view with calm philosophy
It's other people's death that makes me rage
Weep, grieve, and curse, demand another page."
Jo Walton (papersky: BlueJo)

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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.