Uh oh.

The caption to this web photo says “Graphene bolometer”. Whatever it is, it’s beautiful.

And the beautiful weather is back. It rained on Tuesday! How strange, only 12 days before Xmas and it was rainy, windy and cool. Today it’s clear blue sky and about 30degC. Lovely.

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I saw the doctor last Friday week ago and he confirmed that what I’m feeling is due to the pain patches. I feel so weak and unsteady. My hands are experiencing tremors. At times I feel my legs can hardly hold me upright.

So what to do? The patches have stopped the nerve pain very effectively, but if these side effects are to continue, I can’t imagine how I’m going to cope. The doc has given me a prescription for 15ug/hr patches, instead of 20ug/hr. I haven’t tried them as yet – Friday is the weekly changeover day.

I’m due for a phone consult with the pain specialist tomorrow, Thursday, so I’ll ask his advice. I was going to leave things alone, just relying on the pain patches, but I don’t think I can do that. It looks like a nerve block operation will be needed. There’s no cutting required, it just involves needles and local anaesthetics. Scary, but …

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Update Saturday 17th: I had a phone call from the pain specialist on Thursday and we have reduced the pain patch to 15ug/hr

But holy smoke, my legs are now so weak that I can hardly walk. My hands are shaking as I type (lucky I’m not having to hand write this).

The pain specialist said he’s not surprised by these side effects, and that they should wear off in a couple of weeks. But, a couple of weeks from when?

He’s scheduled me for a nerve block operation on Thursday 5 January. I’m wondering if I should remove the pain patch and put up with the pain until then. I’m in a bit of trouble here – I can hardly walk around the house, let alone any distance. I have to go to the hospital on Monday to see the anaesthetist for the nerve operation. I seriously doubt that I can walk the distance from the car park to the specialist’s offices. I might have to get a taxi and ask him to drop me right at the doors.

Crumbs, I hope the muscles come back. I could end up in a wheel chair at this rate.

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Just to continue on the pessimistic theme. I was listening this morning to that excellent radio program Saturday Extra (on Radio National, 7.15-9am Saturdays) with Geraldine Doogue interviewing knowledgeable guests. They raised the latest information (like, the last few days) out of China.

The Chinese government have suddenly switched from a policy of total suppression of the COVID virus, meaning serious lockdowns, to a “throw up their hands and open the gates” policy. This is due to the resentment and rebellion of the populace in some major cities to being locked down.

The result is that there are enormous outbreaks of COVID in Beijing in particular. It’s “got away”.

The forecast therefore is that it’s very possible that there will be mass infections in China, infecting up to 800 million people! This will overwhelm their health facilities. The Chinese government have prevented the importation and use of the proven Western vaccines, i.e. the Moderna, Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca and Novavax in favour of their own home grown vaccine Sinovax. The problem is first, that it’s not as effective as the Western vaccines, and second, that the takeup among the population is much lower than in most other countries, Australia in particular.

That means that the virus could really take hold and spread. And if it does, much of China could shut down.

This would not be a problem for China alone, it would be a problem for the world, since we are so dependent on China now for all our manufactured goods. Just for one example, much of the plastic fittings used in hospital equipment is made in China. This is not hypothetical, it’s real.

For Western Australia in particular, our prosperity and living standards rely on the income we get from China buying our iron ore. If Chinese industry slows down and stops, they stop buying iron ore to make steel and we suffer the slowdown.

Then another interviewee raised the point that if the COVID virus spreads massively through the Chinese population, that opens the way for mutant strains to develop, for which we don’t have vaccines. And on top of this, it’s quite possible that the Chinese government would put a news ban on telling the world about these new virus strains. They’ve done it before, at the very start in late 2019 and early 2020. That would prevent the research needed to develop new vaccines.

This is scary stuff.

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