I’m back

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Sorry, it’s been a long break with no posts. That’s because I’ve been a bit sick, quite sick, actually.

From Wed 4th I started getting big shivering and shaking fits, called “rigors”. (I pronounce this riggers, yet for some reason, all the medicos and nurses pronounce it rye-gors.) Apart from the shaking, I felt OK, so I let it go.

Last Saturday morning I managed to slip out of bed at about 7am and found myself on the floor, too weak to get up or even crawl. I also couldn’t reach my bedside house phone, it being too far back on the bedside cabinet. My mobile was out in the kitchen on charge.

I spent an hour or more slowly crawling into the bathroom trying to find a away to pull myself up, with no success, so crawled back out again. Finally, with much effort I managed to reach my phone. I called my good friend KG and said “Help!” He could come out, luckily, but he had no way to get in, as the house is locked tight at night. So he called the police, who said they’d come here “if they had time.” Someone, they or KG, also called an ambulance, emphasising that I wasn’t injured or anything, just couldn’t get up.

While waiting, I tried to crawl to the door of my bedroom so as to get out and unlatch the front door. No way. I couldn’t do it. In the process I wet myself and my jocks slid off. Ugh 😦

Finally after about 45mins I heard shuffling outside my front windows and people moving out there. A while later I heard, “You get the crowbar and blanket,”  then BASH, BASH, BASH as they tried to break a window. It turns out that I have laminated glass windows with film on the outside, hard to break. They bashed so hard on the sliding window of bathroom 2 that they damaged the whole frame. The police have insurance for this, and my house insurance will cover it too. They left their card and departed. Being still on the floor, without my glasses, I never actually saw them, just heard their voices. I do know two were females, and me stark nekkid!

The front door was open now and the ambos came in, also two females. They covered me with a blanket, then got me some fresh jocks and a T shirt. We had a good old chat, and Keith had arrived as well. It turned out everyone knew someone – small city.

Then an ambulance car arrived with the lifting device, a pneumatic chair. They slip the flat base under you, inflate that, then the next stage, and the next, and soon you find yourself sitting high enough to stand easily, which I did. Then, although I felt weak, I was able to walk around, so in the absence of any real symptoms, ie temperature or BP problems, or authorisation to take me to hospital (I guess), they left. Keith was still with me, and another friend arrived too, so I was OK. But thick headed! And weak! I couldn’t entertain very much and had to just sit there. Keith, in his usual commanding way, installed a support rail that I’d had waiting for something like this, near the bed so I can pull myself up.

Sunday I felt better, showered and washed my hair, and emailed the medical centre for an appointment with my GP for 9.15am Monday.

Monday 5am I nearly fell again. Very weak. I was so scared of it happening again that I dared not go back to bed, so sat up in a chair waiting. Six am, 7am, 8am, I was drooping and fell asleep, waking at 9.15am, the time of my appointment. Rushed to the car, forgetting my phone, drove to the GP (only 5 mins away). My BP was so low that I was dizzy, so he got a cannula in and started a saline drip into the vein. After a litre, I felt better, but was still extremely weak. He ordered an ambulance and so I was off to Joondalup hospital.

I spent five hours on a trolley in the Emergency Dept while they added more drips, litre after litre. Another cannula. Bloods drawn. Urine sample. Diagnosis: severe bladder infection which had moved up the kidneys. As well, X rays and a C/T scan showed a 4mm stone in my right ureter, blocking it, and the tissue around the stone was infected. So I/V antibiotic straight away, and an operation scheduled for the next morning, Tuesday.

The operation, a cystoscopy, went fine. I felt no pain. But they left a bladder catheter in, which I’m not keen on.

Sure enough, after lunch, the balloon of the catheter seemed to have shifted position and pain started, ramping up to 8-9/10, as bad as a kidney stone. I started groaning, then calling out, yelling, asking for pain relief. Nurses came looking concerned, but no authority; have to ask doctor, can’t find one. They gave me two Panadol, then one small Tramadol. Headache strength! Tiddleywinks! I need stronger. After about 40 mins they brought an oxy, but by then they had deflated the balloon, moved the catheter and almost instant pain reduction. Inflate the balloon again and things got back to normal. Ugh.

Later that night, a funny incident, although not so funny for the nurses. At 9pm, routine checks, but my BP was very low. Must be the machine misreading. Got another electronic machine, same thing. Got a manual machine and very carefully checked. No, no mistake, my BP was down to 80/31. The nurse hit the red panic button. Within a minute, the room rapidly filled with people, about 20 I reckon, all talking at once, one guy carrying the big red bag, the defibrillator. The noise! I felt fine. I said, “Thanks for coming. To what do I owe this pleasure?” I think they were relieved it wasn’t a real problem, but extra saline drip was wheeled in and I reckon they put in another three litres overall. The people slowly drifted away.

I mentioned that they all dressed alike, and I couldn’t tell who were the doctors, as it’s hard to see name badges at belt level and they weren’t using the usual badge of rank, the stethoscope around the neck. One guy came over and introduced himself as Dr Singh. OK, fine, no problem.

So that was Tuesday. The next two days were observations of BP, as we don’t know why it plunged like that. The catheter came out on Wed morning, thank goodness, not as painful as you’d think. But it took more than 24hrs to regain bladder control. Ugh, wet carpet, wet towels. I slowly came back.

So home again on Friday morning, collecting my car from the medical centre where I had to leave it last Monday for the ambulance ride. It was still there, dammit. It’s worth more written off than as it stands.

Very weak and tired for the first 36hrs, but much better now. Thinking about ways to ensure I can get out of bed OK, and a key-safe outside so someone can get in without bashing a window in, and a distress alarm. Easy.

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It’s all good

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Finally, a tech from Opticomm came on Wednesday. Finally! I’ve been asking for this for weeks. Anyway, he had a look at the coax connections and within about 20 mins had replaced one on my outside wall, in the box, and four in the pit in the footpath. He said they looked corroded, and it’s because they were below the hole in the concrete cover which allows it to be lifted. But that hole allows the rain to drip in, hence the corrosion. He covered them with plastic, he said.

So after 25 days of complaining, and repeatedly being promised phone calls or deliveries, someone finally came. Bloody hell! It wasn’t until I contacted Opticomm directly that something happened. It seems iiNet never submitted a Fault Report to Opticomm, despite all my complaints.

I’m afraid iiNet are going to lose my business after this. This has been painful, atrocious. I’m on a 2 yr contract, but as far as I’m concerned, they have failed to provide the service they contracted to.

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Sorry, no more for now. For the last two days I’ve been shivering and feeling very weak. I had another dose of “the rigors” on Wednesday, uncontrollable shaking and shivering, lasting about three hours. Even now, Friday, I feel weak and shivery. It’s greatly helped by a Panadeine.

Battling on

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Gunung Agung in placid mode.   © PJ Croft 1986, 2017

I battle on, day 23 ending, still no reliable internet. It’s working at the moment, but drops out unpredictably. I’ve discovered by dealing with Opticomm directly that iiNet has never submitted a fault report to Opticomm! After three weeks of empty promises which never result in any action.

According to iiNet last Thursday, I was supposed to have an Opticomm guy deliver a new cable modem “within 24 – 48 hours”, i.e. Friday or Saturday. I sat around all day both days, but no-one called, no-one came. I am sick of this!!!  iiNet’s promises are utterly worthless.

Now today Opticomm are telling me I have to get back onto iiNet Support. Why? I think iiNet have still not submitted a fault notification and I have to prod them.

I shouldn’t have to diagnose this fault. Someone should have come here within the first few days, first week at least. I’ve now emailed iiNet’s Customer Relations and SHOUTED at them, I WANT THIS FIXED. Pathetic.

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I was buying drinks the other day and I noticed a bottle of vodka labelled Gluten Free. That’s good to know, for the big drinkers. I had to laugh.

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Ugh, feeling the beginnings of a cold/flu. A bit achey, muscle aches, throat ache. I hope it goes away. I never get colds or flu. Especially not flu. The only time I can remember was about 1973. I had to go out to make a phone call (no phone in my flat then) and had to crawl up some steps on hands and knees when I got back. Nothing that bad since.

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USA – sick country, sick people, sick president, sick government.  UGH!  I will never go there again.

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Gunung Agung 1986, peaceful.   ©  PJ Croft 1986, 2017

Huh?

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Gunung Agung in the distance, in this case about 45km. I hope any eruption is not too serious.                    © PJ Croft 2017

What’s going on? My iiNet connection has stayed up all night, since about 6pm yesterday. It dropped out briefly (5 mins) at about 11.15pm but is staying with me. Has somebody at iiNet done something? I’m afraid to touch anything in case it goes bad again.

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I know it’s stayed up all night because I was using it all night. It was yet another of my sleepless nights. I’ve had a carbohydrate-rich breakfast and I’m hoping it will make me droopy soon so I can get some sleep now.

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I had a colonoscopy last Friday. It was because the government sponsored bowel cancer screening program showed a positive result for me. I wasn’t worried – I had an all clear colonoscopy only two and a bit years ago.

This one was also clear, no problems. “Come back in five years.” Can’t be too careful.

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Strangely, my left eye problem has cleared up. I had a seemingly permanent smeary effect, like dirty glasses, but it was still there with my glasses off. I thought it was the cataract and was going to arrange for the operation after the colonoscopy. But it’s cleared. Strange, but I’m glad it has, obviously.

On the other hand, now I can see my nose and I’ve got a lump on it. The doc says it’s a BCC, a basal cell carcinoma. This type doesn’t spread apparently, but it will get bigger, like the wicked witch’s nose. It has to come off. The BCC, not my nose. So that’s next.

Just one durn thing after another.

Brief interlude?

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On the air again at 6.30pm Sunday. It’s been out all day, but has come good, for how long …? I got a text message from iiNet this afternoon saying Opticomm have told them my “outage” was already fixed. No, it isn’t!!! I texted and emailed back, FIX THE PROBLEM!

This is the fifteenth day, added to the many hours-long dropouts in the two weeks before. Pathetic.

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For the past couple of weeks this rainbow strip has been placed at the top of my pages. I want to state that this has nothing to do with me. I don’t choose it to be there and I object to it being there. I’m not gay or anti-gay, I’ve voted Yes in the postal vote, but I don’t associate myself in gay promotion in any way. If I could remove this ribbon, I would, but I can’t. It’s not my choice for it to be there.

 

On the air, briefly?

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I’m back on-line for who knows how long. This is the eighth day with no internet, except for brief interludes like this one. I have learnt that promises from iiNet are worthless. I’ve been on the phone to Support every night for the past five nights. I was on the phone for more than an hour on Saturday night. Worthless. They say they’ll get a replacement modem to me, but they don’t. They say they’ll phone me, but they don’t. They say they’ll SMS me, but they don’t.

They are supposed to phone me after 10am today to come out here and replace a modem or otherwise fix the fault. That’s a promise. I’ll bet they don’t.

PS: They didn’t. Written Tuesday 1249am after being off-line all day, a brief? respite.

The fault is absent at the moment. I hope it shows if they come. That’s the trouble with intermittent faults.

Meanwhile, another sleepless night last night, so I’m drooping. I’ll try to get an hour before 10am.

The balloons went up

This is my edited production of my trip to Northam last Wednesday to see the lift off of the Australian Hot Air Ballooning Championships 2017.

It was a perfect day, a clear, cloudless blue sky with no wind at the surface, although obviously there was wind above from the east.

I went with my friend Geoff Williams in his lovely BMW M335i. We had a little trouble finding the launch paddock, and were assisted by a gorgeous Scandinavian young lady (long white hair) who was driving in front of us. At one point she stopped as she realised we were following her and walked back to talk. She saw two options, forward or back, and we agreed to press on forward. We both arrived just in time.

I was shooting with my OSMO gimbal camera and my Panasonic FZ1000, both in 4K resolution. I had one in each hand! Crazy, but there was no time for a tripod and it was shoot or lose the opportunity. It worked. The Pana was in my right hand and I had to operate it with one finger, but it worked.

The OSMO let me down again as the software app on my mobile phone which is used to control the camera and see the vision (ie the viewfinder) crashed every time. So I shot the whole thing just aligning the lens by eye. It’s a 20mm equivalent, very wide, so it worked OK. I shot about 9 mins continuous, just sort of waving it around very slowly.

It’s taken a lot to edit it and upload but here it is.

More pics:

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My iiNet wifi modem has been crashing for hours at a time, but it’s up now and on-line. I have made a serious complaint to Support and they’re sending a replacement modem for me to test next week. It will take 3-5 working days! For a 45 minute distance from Subiaco to here. Pathetic.

I’m also getting serious drops in speed i.e. congestion at peak times, down to as low as 2Mb/s, when I’m paying for 25Mb/s. Not happy, Sam. I’m going to ask for a rebate of my billing as they can see when I’m on-line or not.

I also object to having to diagnose my own problems and swap modems myself. I’m the customer. Why should I have to do it. I also know that configuring the replacement modem will be a pain. It’s not simple.

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I’ve had a nice comment on one of my posts from December last year. I wrote about a phone call I’d had from a friend called Graham Baptie from my Trigg dog walking days.

Well, his sister has seen the post and commented that she hasn’t seen her older brother in 25 years. How about that? It was a very nice comment, thanking me. I’ve emailed her back asking if she wants me to put her in touch. Uh oh, I thought I had his phone number, but now I can’t find it. I may not be able to deliver on that one. I don’t know where she is. Graham is Scottish. Maybe she’s in Scotland?