Only two more weeks to Spring

New York apartments. No matter how good the views, I wouldn’t want to live like that.

Aaaah, turned out nice again. Rained a bit last night and this morning, but blue sky now at 2pm.

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I mentioned the suspected kidney stone. Gee, I’m much more relaxed about these things now. Forty years ago, I was so nervous about these sorts of things. Maybe I’ve forgotten the pain. I had a major kidney stone in 1982, the 11/10 pain where you don’t think you can stand it any more, where you’re bending the bed frame with the agony. It made me scared to be isolated in the bush or away from help for some years afterwards. Of course, there were no mobile phones then. It’s a bit different now.

I was too naiive to call an ambulance in those days. Ambulances are only for really sick people, right? Like a fool I got in my car and drove myself to the nearest hospital (Osborne Park), which wasn’t an emergency hospital. I staggered in to reception, crying with the pain, and asked to see a doctor. Luckily they took me in and gave me a bed. After a lot of questioning, with me writhing around, gasping and groaning, they gave me a shot of pain relief. It was Pethidine, the predecessor to Fentanyl, quite addictive. It hardly made any difference, but after a couple of hours, the pain very slowly went away.

They got me to drink a lot of water and pee into a bottle, and then they filtered it, looking for a stone. They never found one, which led to the treating doctor (actually, I can’t recall ever seeing her face) telling my GP afterwards that she thought I was a drug addict looking for a fix. Hah! You’d need to be a pretty good actor to put that on. But I was left in terrible fear of kidney stones and that awful pain for years afterwards.

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Speaking of ambulances, when I slipped out of bed onto the floor on a Saturday morning in 2017, and was too weak from an unsuspected infection to get myself up, I had to call an ambulance then. I tried to get up for more than an hour, crawling around on the carpeted floor until I had carpet burns. I managed to reach my phone at last and call a friend who called the ambulance, and the police to break into the house.

The ambos, a young man and woman, used a device to get me up into a sitting position, from where I was able to stand up.

I remember saying, like a typical bloke, “I’m fine, I’m fine”, when I really wasn’t. I’d been having “rigors”, extreme shaking and shivering, for a few weeks and I didn’t know how sick I was. When I wasn’t shivering, I felt OK but the rigors are a sign of something seriously wrong.

My point is, the ambos just took my word that I was fine and OK, so after getting me up, they left. They didn’t check any further. This was a Saturday morning and I had a couple of people with me for a while, but boy, I felt tired and weak. However, I continued to say I was OK and they left.

Long story, but on the Monday morning, after nearly collapsing with weakness and battling to stay awake, I drove myself to see the GP. He called an ambulance to the surgery and wrote ?sepsis on the form.

At Joondalup Hospital, they found the infected kidney stone lodged in my right ureter and scheduled an operation for the next day. But there was no pain! How lucky. But weakness! – so weak I couldn’t stand up.

My point is, those ambos should have questioned me further on the Saturday. I should have been taken to hospital then, not two days later.

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Harvesting pink lotus flowers in Bangladesh. Ain’t that beautiful?
Photograph: Mustasinur Rahman Alvi/Medialys/Rex/Shutterstock

This all comes to mind because I’ve become a bit addicted to ambulance and hospital ED programs on the commercial TV channels lately. I admit, I like watching expert people in emergency situations, and I like hearing all the medical talk and seeing the procedures. Call me a junkie, but there you are. It will wear off.

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It’s coincidence time again (or maybe not).

I watched a TV show on the ABC on Sunday night where the program, set in a university in Glasgow, mentioned a MOOC. This is a term, Massive Open Online Course, for doing uni subjects online, as it suggests. Stupid acronym, but … I haven’t heard that term used in years.

So what should crop up in an interview with the VC of Edith Cowan Uni on Monday night’s news than a mention of MOOCs. Maybe he watched the same show on Sunday evening?

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I’m going to have to call an electrician. Four out of six recessed downlight lamps in my kitchen have failed. I used to be able to get up the stepladder reasonably OK, but this time three of the lamps are offset, over the sink and bench, meaning I’d have to lean over while reaching up. Too hard, too dangerous.

Similarly, two of the five mini downlights over the bathroom bench have been blown for some time and again, I’d have to stand half on the ladder, half on the bench to replace those. They are mini bi-pin globes, incandescents, and I’ve got a set of LED replacements. I’ll get him to replace them all at the same time. Same in the kitchen – I’ll ask him to replace all five lamps, even though two are still working, because they’ll blow soon anyway.

I say “him”, the electrician, but it will probably be “her”. I’ve been given the name of an electrician who does work for my friends Keith and Barry, and it’s a lady. Which is good.

To justify getting her out here, I’ll get her to try to mount a dual touch-pad light switch into the wall in my main bedroom. The bed has a row of mini-downlights over the head end of the bed, but the switch is on the opposite wall. Great design. If you want these lights on to read in bed, you have to get out of bed to switch on, then when you’re finished reading, tired and sleepy, you have to get out of bed again to switch off.

So a few years ago I bought an IR remote controlled switch plate, from China of course, with touch pads and a key-fob remote. Trouble is, it’s hard to fit into the wall. I’ll get her to try to fit it properly.