A new way of seeing


Hah, I’ve just had a phone call from a woman saying, so I thought, “This is Orvid Sickness.” Huh? I asked her to repeat. She asked my name again. Eventually I realised this Irish accented woman was saying “Orbit Fitness”, inquiring about the treadmill I bought some time ago.

She said it’s 18 months old and the reason for the call was to try to sell me a service call for $99. Um, no thanks. I only walk on it, I don’t run, so I don’t think the wear and tear is a problem.


That reminds me that I’m fed up with getting robo-calls, i.e. computer dialled, from a Queensland number and a NSW number. Nearly every day, usually twice a day, sometimes three times. My phone speaks the calling numbers, so I just don’t bother to pick up. I suppose if I did answer these obvious charities I could get them to stop, but I hate doing that. So I continue to be annoyed. Duh.


OK, I had the right eye cataract done last Monday 15th, so that’s all done, unless the eyes in the back of my head need doing sometime. I don’t need glasses for distance now, and it feels very strange. But my closeup vision is hopeless and I need +2 reading glasses. The surgeon said I should get new glasses made with a weak correction part in the top half if I want it, and the +2 in the lower half, meaning I would go back to wearing them full time. I’ll give the “chemist cheapies” a good try first while I work out what to do.

The really noticeable thing is whites. So white! I had no idea my natural lenses were so yellow. Now I’m seeing true colours for the first time in many years. Blues are especially noticeable. Wonderful.

The operation was easier and even quicker than the first one. The time on the table was a bit under 15 mins. The anaesthetist wanted an ECG done at midday. That was fine. The eye op was in the afternoon this time, 2pm, and I had no nervousness, no pain. Monday was the cyclone rainy day, so it was raining heavily when I got out about 4pm and it continued. I stayed with my friends at their new retirement village apartment in Jolimont and as tired as I was, going to bed at 9.30pm, I was still awake at 1am trying to sleep, hearing the rain. It stopped about then.


My insomnia continues, in other words. This shows the mattress makes no difference. On Tuesday night at home, unable to read in bed before lights-out due to a glasses mix-up, I turned the light off and lay down. I got to sleep reasonably quickly, so thought that might be it. But last night, following the same procedure, was another battle, reaching about 4am before I dropped off. I can use sedatives but they leave me hung over next day. Still battling on.


My medical issues are just about finished now. Only the leukemia remains, and I am to see the haematologist again on 13 Feb, when we’ll decide whether to have the iron infusion to “wake up” my bone marrow, giving me more energy, to be hoped.

Wow, It’s been a busy year. Gastric band removal in November 2016; gall bladder removal in March ’17; eye problems from around June; bladder infection from June onwards (ignoring symptoms!); collapse at home in October; hospital with sepsis and kidney stone bypass operation; colonoscopy in October; day surgery to get kidney stone out in November; first cataract op on 22 November; second cataract op on 15 January. With haematologist visits in between. Five general anaesthetics and four local anaesthetics in this period Nov 16 to Jan 18. Thank goodness it’s all over. And a rousing thank goodness for HBF! I’m so glad I can afford private health insurance.


Now my car has a rusted out muffler, so that’ll be about $400. On the other hand, I should be very grateful. The cataract operations have cost me nothing, the surgeon accepting the HBF payment and bulk billing me for his office consultations (mind you, they are usually no more than about 10 minutes). That’s terrific.


I’ve signed up for Netflix pay-TV. It seems like a good deal, the first month free and $14 per month for the HD quality feed, unlimited downloads. I want it for the second and subsequent seasons of The Crown, that superb series. I can cancel the membership at any time.

Both my Panasonic HD/BluRay recorder and my LG 4K TV can take Netflix from my NBN wi-fi network, so I’m set like a jelly. I’ve downloaded a few episodes of various series so far with no problems, very fast. I’m 4K right through now, camera, desktop computer, laptop, TV recorder and TV display. As a former TV tech, I’m a quality addict. The quality is amazing, perfection. There are none of the old faults we used to see and accept in analogue days. Perfection.


More later.


‘Appy New Year


If only I could sleep like a dog.

No news is good news. I’ve been quiet but all’s well. But my sleeping is all over the place, and it seems to be getting worse. Almost every night I lie awake until 3am or 4am before getting to sleep, many times not sleeping at all. I then need to go back after breakfast, hoping the sleepiness I feel after eating will do the trick, but sometimes, like yesterday, even that doesn’t work. I lay there yesterday for two sessions of 90 mins each without success.

Yet today, after getting about 4hrs last night, I slept after breakfast from 10.30am to 1pm, and more.

I’ve followed all the tips, darkening the room, (if darkness is so important, how come I can sleep in the daytime?), turning off all electronic devices, leaving them outside the room, and so on. Probably if I ate some carb loaded food late, before bed, that would work, but that’s the way to weight gain in my experience.

Of course, if I got more exercise so that I’m physically tired, that would work, but it’s chicken and egg – I don’t exercise because I’m so tired. I can hope that the haematologist’s plan to wake my bone marrow up to produce more red blood cells in mid Feb will give me more energy. I’ll know soon.


The title is a pun on “apps”. I never had much interest in a smart phone, but I find myself becoming more and more reliant on my phone. The latest is as a controller and viewfinder for a drone. My good friend KG bought me a ‘reasonably priced’ drone for Xmas and you have to scan a QR code in the instruction book to download the controller software. Therefore I had to install a QR code reader app before I could download the controller app. Amazing technology. The QR code was printed small and looked scrappy, but no problem, it worked.


The drone (there are two in the picture, but there’s only one in the box)

I’ve succeeded in getting the drone to fly around the room without a problem even without the controller software, but the idea is that the phone clips onto the controller and shows the output from the camera in the drone and records the video as desired. That’s next on the list after I’ve recharged the lithium-polymer battery from the drone itself by removing it, plugging to into a USB adapter and charging from the laptop.

This is amazing. I don’t know how much this thing cost, but I’m sure it was less than $100 (in searching for that image, I found it cost $69). For that, you get all the plastic parts housing the four propellors and a blaze of LEDs, a high def (720p) colour video camera, the Li-Po battery, and a wi-fi transceiver. The hand held controller has another wi-fi transceiver, two joysticks and numerous buttons and switches, and all the electronics to process all this – a computer in other words. All this for peanuts!

I forgot to mention, you also get a pair of goggles that take your phone and act as a VR viewer (the green thing, bottom left in the picture). They’re moulded plastic lenses, but they’re quite high quality. I haven’t tried that yet. Won’t be long now.


In the past ten days or so I’ve been watching the Netflix series, The Crown. All I can say is WOW! I would give this a rating of 9.9/10. It left me panting for more. It is absolutely some of the best television I have ever seen, utterly spellbinding. It’s the story of the British monarchy from around the time Queen Elizabeth II was born, and covers the death of King George V, the succession of Edward VIII, his abdication to marry Wallis Simpson, the succession of his brother, Liz’s father, King George VI, his death and her succession to the throne in 1953.

Although Netflix is a US company, it’s a British made series of course. This is only the first series, ten one hour episodes. It leaves me panting for the next series, which was released on 8 December. Series three is being made now. Being Netflix, it only comes via Pay TV but I got mine at a friendly DVD shop in Bali, two DVDs at $1 each. My new TV is capable of networking and seeing Netflix. Will I be able to resist until I can get the Bali DVDs? I doubt it. The Pay TV feed will be in High Def as well, whereas the DVDs are fairly poor SD.

A large part of the series is devoted to current affairs of the time, with large parts devoted to Princess Margaret and her affair with Peter Townsend, and Winston Churchill, played superbly by John Lithgow. I can’t cover all the highlights here, all I can do is marvel at the editing and the resemblance of the actors to the real people, and the period cars and street scenes. It’s so true to life.

I could go on, but all I can say is I feel privileged to have seen this piece of television. This is what TV’s all about. It brings history to life. Coupled with the recent eight episode series of ‘Victoria’ on the ABC, I know far more now than I ever did about events that I’ve mostly lived through. If you get the chance, watch it.