That’s better

Buddha     Peace, man.    Yudhie's restaurant, Bali  December 2010  © Peter Croft 2014

Wow, what an interesting, action packed day. It was a lot better day than Monday.

First, a heartfelt thanks to all the people who’ve wished me happy birthday.  It’s nice to be remembered.

Today was the day for my MRI and meeting with the gastric surgeon, and it all happened.  I was up at 3am for a widdle and couldn’t go back to sleep, when I suddenly realised I hadn’t updated or printed my weight graph for the surgeon.  Up I got and one thing led to another and I didn’t go back to bed.

I got to the bus stop at five to six am and a guy I’d briefly spoken to on Monday was there again (of course).  But amazingly, the concrete bench seat that had been 50m away from the bus stop on Monday, and that I’d joked about to him as being a bit useless, was right there at the stop!  It had been moved where we wanted it since Monday!  What is this, thought power?

We chatted a bit and he said he works as a financial investigator, a financial fraud accountant. Wow. I wish we’d had a chance to talk more — I’m intrigued.

This time the bus/train/bus to the Mount Medical Centre was smooth as silk.  I got there dead on 7:15am, but they kept me waiting until 7:40am anyway.  Sigh.

The MRI of my upper spine and shoulders was uneventful.  It took about 20 mins and wasn’t as enjoyable as the one in West Perth last year, not as musical.  The WP one was full of rhythms, syncopations, beats …  it was like a Steve Reich performance.  This one was just lots of loud hums and clunks.  Nothing to report – it’s only precautionary. If the orthopaedic surgeon finds any problem when looking at the scan, he’ll contact me but I don’t have any appointment.

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Then I had time for a quick toasted sandwich and coffee for breakfast in the building next door, and off to the surgeon’s rooms.  He was late.  Coming from his home in Waikiki, he was stuck in traffic.  I hope he appreciates that it happens to us all next time I’m late.

While I waited, we all (two other couples) started talking, and it turned out that one from both couples had just had the sleeve operation done, a couple of weeks ago.  How is it?  Fine, no problems they said.  In on Monday, out on Wednesday, no pain, no difficulties.  You just have to get used to a strictly controlled liquid diet for the first 6 – 8 weeks.  Anything you consume must fit through a straw – thin soup, custard, yoghurt, egg nogs, pureed veges (baby food packs), V8 vegetable juice and so on.  Nothing fizzy or carbonated.  Definitely no beer.

After that 6-8 week period, as long as there are no problems, you can eat anything you feel like, within reason.  No big steaks or Hungry Jacks – the food has to be capable of being put in a blender and reduced. You don’t have to do that — it’s just a measure of the food’s … toughness?  Bulk, actually.

He arrived then and I was first in. We had a good discussion about sleeve or Roux en Y procedure – look up Gastric Bypass on Wikipedia.  One fixes type II diabetes within days but is a slightly more difficult procedure with slightly increased long term risks of bleeds and leaks.  The sleeve still fixes diabetes, but it takes longer, up to a year. It depends more on the weight loss.  But it’s a less risky operation and has better long term results.  OK, sleeve it is, then.

However, he has to take my gastric band out first, as it’s too difficult to combine the two operations. The band will have caused scar tissue around the top of the stomach and that has to settle down for a while.  I’m having a colonoscopy on 24 March, so the band removal is scheduled for Wed 2 April.  Nett cost to me after rebates – $1,500.  $3,000 to put it in, $1500 to remove it. Oh well  🙂

That pushes the sleeve operation back to mid year.  Bugger.  I want to start seriously losing weight before our high school 50th reunion in October.  Looks like I’ll have to take the Optifast much more seriously.

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Then it was out onto the street at about 10:30am and I walked back to the Esplanade train station. Google Earth tells me it’s 1.1Km.  I did it OK, a bit weary but not too bad, much better than Monday.

I debated walking up to Hay Street but didn’t feel up to it and decided to do what I’ve always been meaning to do  —  I took the train south instead of north.  To Mandurah.

To be honest, it’s dead boring.  There’s nothing to see except dry bushland and the backs of  businesses.  It took about 30 mins and when we got there, I just bought a sandwich, iced coffee and the paper and sat waiting for the 20 mins for the reverse journey.  The very nice station staff tried to persuade me to take the bus into Mandurah but I was too tired today — another time.

So we set off at midday back to Clarkson, one end of the line to the other.  This is all on one fare, btw.  If you don’t clock your card off at Mandurah, it doesn’t know you went all the way south before going north again to Clarkson.  The total cost was about $3 I think, at Seniors’ Card discount.  Parking fees alone would have been much more than that.

The return journey was also dead boring.  It was relieved by a phone call from a good mate wishing me Happy Birthday on the train! The seat got very hard, I was falling asleep … it took 85 mins all up, getting to Clarkson at 1:25pm.  This time I got the right bus, to drop me nearly opposite my place on Marmion Ave.  I’ve had a 90 min snooze and now I’m OK again.

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This morning I had a much better look at the freeway congestion. The choke points are definitely where the side entry roads join the main flow – people can’t merge without braking. It’s Joondalup, Whitfords, Hepburn Ave and so on.  Once you get past those, the flow into the city opens up and everyone can keep moving. Near Karrinyup, Leederville and the Polly Pipe, it’s clear and open.

How to fix it?  Merging is like a zipper – each link must make way for the next at the exact spacing.  So if we could work out a way to space the cars on the freeway with gaps to allow the equally spaced cars on the entry ramps, they’d be able to merge easily.

How to do it?  Difficult.  If we had cars controlled by electronic sensors in the road, then each car could be spaced in a controlled way and two streams merged together like a zip.  It might come, but not for some time.  I don’t have an answer —  I’m thinking about it.  Steel barriers occur to me …

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PhotoBook number six (Veni Vidi Pici Vol III) is ready to send off to the printers now.  Bloody hell, talk about proof reading.  I have been over and over that book and still I found errors this morning — small spelling slip ups, mistakes in the information I’d written, slight changes in wording needed even at this late stage.  I think I’ll have to go over it one more time before I send it off.  Luckily this one is pre-paid so no price shocks this time.  The discounted cost was $46 per 40 page copy, and I order two copies.

So that’s three of those done, and I’ve pre-paid two more so I’ve got two more projects started.  I need to get back to my Memoirs.  There’s a long way to go with that. I’m only up to early Bruce Rock so far.  This will be published as a pdf as it will be quite a long book.  It’s been an eventful life and I have many, many photos and a long, deep memory.

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Sirens, helicopters …  there must be a fire nearby.  I can’t see it but the chopper is right over me.  Can’t smell any smoke.

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