Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween from JMB and the Dunbar Haunted House


Witchy JMB in Second Life!

*Click to enlarge any photo

Once again I'm featuring my annual visit to the Dunbar Haunted House for my Halloween post. This is the fourth time I've blogged it although I believe this is its sixth year and each year it gets better and better and scarier and scarier. Admission is free but donations towards several local charities are encouraged. Last year $42,300 was raised for these worthy causes.

Doesn't look so scary on a sunny day, does it?

I always go during the daytime - it opens at 1pm- but at 6.30pm costumed actors insert themselves into the displays and pop out and scare the heck out of the huge crowd of people who tour this spectacle. The top number of visitors in one day so far this year was 1500 which is amazing when you think this takes place in the grounds of a typical suburban lot. But the crowds wait patiently, sometimes for more than an hour and the lines are often capped way before so that closing can take place on time or nearly so. Of course there's an amazing soundtrack to increase the tension as well.


A fine Roman senator

This year the theme is again the The History of Terror and the display covers the whole outside of the property, including tents set up especially for this event. The tour moves methodically from one area to another around the house, moving through historical times, starting with Ancient Egypt, then Roman times, through the middle ages and forwards, taking you around the whole house.


Scary Roman soldiers

What started as two people making a small display to bring back the fun of Halloween to their neighbourhood now involves almost year round planning, months to set up and the help of a large number of volunteers.


Gruesome looking monks


Neither of these two look happy, do they?

Marauding Crusaders


Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

The Age of Capitalism, with special effect smoke

Seafarers?

19th Century asylum inmate?

Nurse Ratched herself?

Her book has teeth!

Just a selection of the many photos I took at this year's display at the Dunbar Haunted House. But these slideshows from youTube, put together by a very fine photographer, show the 2010 display much better than I could.

Part I




Part II






HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE


Saturday Photo Hunt --- Dark







DARK

Second time around for the dark theme and last time I went for almost total dark. Since it's Halloween this weekend I thought these photos might fill the bill. I took them at the Dunbar Haunted House, which is not far from me, where the owners go all out each year with decoration for Halloween, I mean all out! They even have actors dressed up after dark who pop out and scare the visitors. The other night 1323 people went through the display in one evening and the wait to get in was more one hour. I'll do my annual post on this house on the day itself for I took lots of photos. Err I only visit in the daytime.

EEK!


Scary face looms out of the dark!

Don't ask!



HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN





Friday, October 22, 2010

Saturday Photo Hunt --- Orange








ORANGE

For once I am not delving into the archives but took these photos just this week, on a visit to a charming little nursery in Steveston. Click to enlarge.



The colours of autumn


Yep, definitely Orange



A lone orange pumpkin in amongst the bright display



A lot of orange pumpkins with charming names like Baby Pam
and Speckled Pup


HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Solitary Confinement or Radioactive Iodine Treatment!


Even the most careful surgeon is unable to remove all the thyroid tissue when doing a total thyroidectomy, consequently follow up treatment with Radioactive Iodine is extremely common for papillary thyroid cancer, basically killing any thyroid tissue left behind or which has spread to any other part of the body.

When I finally saw the head and neck oncologist he agreed with the endocrinologist that this should be undertaken as soon as possible. Ahah! Everyone was on the same page for once and this was put into motion, with me opting to stay at home rather than be hospitalized during the isolation period, which I will talk about later.

The thyroid gland accumulates iodine which it uses to produce the thyroid hormones required for normal body function. But the radioactive iodine or iodine-131, by virtue of its beta particles, causes mutation and death in any cells which it penetrates, and other cells up to several millimeters away. Naturally you want the thyroid tissue to take up as much of the Iodine-131 as possible so preparation for the procedure is very important. This involves being off the thyroid hormone replacement drug and on a low iodine diet for a period of time so that the tissue has little iodine already.

Being without the drug surely makes you feel like a washed out dish rag and since the surgery I had been seriously hypothyroid. But now I had the added complication of eliminating iodine from my diet and all this with three house guests and people coming and going for dinner as they came to visit with my daughter.

Thank heavens for the internet as I found so much information there about eliminating iodine from the diet, including a low iodine cookbook. Unfortunately you can't eat bread bought in a store and my bread machine had died some time before, so I chased down a new one and began making iodine free bread.

One of the most difficult things for me was not eating dairy products. I eat a lot of yogurt and I mean what do you put on your porridge, which you now have to consume for breakfast as eggs along with so many other things are forbidden. No milk. Nope, no soy products, so soy milk and yogurt are out but fortunately Kosher salt easily replaces iodized salt. No fish. Virtually no canned goods. For two very long weeks I watched everything I put into my mouth with this in mind. It wasn't easy but manageable thank goodness.

To add to my problems, two days before my first RAI appointment my car died. It needed a new transmission but since it was 16 years old and the transmission had already been replaced once I decided that I deserved a new car. Then was not a good time to look at cars, so we managed with only one for a few weeks.

The OS is perfectly capable of making breakfast and lunch but dinner seems to be beyond him. So before I started the RAI treatment I made three days' worth of dinners which he could reheat and serve while I was in isolation.

After ingestion of the Radioactive iodine which is dissolved in water, the patient becomes very radioactive and must not come into contact with anyone else for three days, except for very short periods of time and this was done in a hospital setting for many years. More recently, provided the patient has a separate room and bathroom, one can opt to do it at home and I did that since it would be more comfortable and I could have it done more quickly without waiting for a hospital bed.

The first part of the treatment is a small dose to see that the RAI is taken up by the thyroid and how much. After 24 hours the patient returns and the level is measured. If all is well, the larger dose is given and the isolation period begins. One week later the patient receives a whole body scan to see where the RAI is located in the body, if it is in places other than expected it would mean that thryoid tissue had spread to other parts of the body which would not be good.

Firstly I had an interview with the nuclear medicine doctor but since there is so much on the internet about it and I had read a lot of it, I didn't learn too much of interest from him. The nuclear medicine technologist was a very good practical resource though, since she had been doing it for more than 25 years. She gave me the first small dose and then I returned the next day to be checked. Everything was a go and I swallowed down the larger dose and hurried home to begin my three days of solitary confinement in my bedroom.

So began three very long days for me. RAI is excreted for the most part through urine and feces but also through your sweat, so everything you touch is potentially contaminated. So no computer! Ugh! Three days totally offline for me! I can't remember when that happened last. I watched old movies on TV using the remote but wearing vinyl medical gloves to touch it. I read five books in three days. I walked the 18 feet length of the bedroom up and down or lay on the bed. I counted down the hours. I drank lots of water. The OS delivered food to the door regularly but I had to wash my own plates. I had to suck almost continuously on sugar free hard candies to keep the saliva flowing, since the salivary glands also take up iodine and this can cause problems there.

Three days doesn't really sound so bad, does it? But that last day seemed never ending to me. Finally it was over and everything I had worn during those days and all the bedding had to be washed thoroughly and the bathroom cleaned thoroughly. I still kept a fair distance from everyone for another week but at least I got to range farther afield than my bedroom.

Seven days after the dose, I had the whole body scan which required laying still for 35 minutes while the machine ran both over and under my body. Sigh. Not only that, after the machine moves past your head you can watch the whole process on a screen. I asked the technologist if she minded answering a few questions. She said ask anything, but the results of the scan. But in the end, she put the whole thing up on the computer screen and showed me where you could see the darker areas of the iodine concentrated in the tissue and it seemed it was in the expected areas only.

When I left she handed me a letter to carry with me, in case I set off anything when going through security in the following three months. Yes I just might set those security things a-clicking even now.

As expected, the RAI was concentrated in the thyroid area and despite it being a very effective treatment to kill the leftover thyroid tissue, it was now suggested that I should have external beam radiation to that specific area. Just to make sure. Sigh.

Well that's another story.

Part one, Part two, Part three, Part four, Part five in the saga.








Friday, October 15, 2010

Saturday Photo Hunt --- Miniature







MINIATURE


Mmm. Well luckily I have a miniature rose on my kitchen table at the moment. All I had to do was photograph it. Mmm. Easier said than done!

Just enough sun to cause shadows, but......

Mmm. I should have ironed that table cloth!

Perfect miniature rose!


HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Incensed - Moggs Tigerpaw

Our roving reporter Moggs is incensed by a news item

I have been sooo remiss posting, but here is another... I had been going to post on something else. But this kinda got to me.

Now when I visit real life (rl) I often travel on the subway/metro/tube/underground most working days, because of course you can’t fly or teleport in rl.

One of the things you have to keep in mind when you do that is the chance someone (probably a guy) might try to get a sneaky pic up a girl’s skirt with their mobile phone.

You even hear stories of weirdos with concealed cameras who do that, I don’t know if that is so or not. So when travelling it’s on my radar, along with keeping a lookout for pickpockets and purse snatchers and other things.

So. As far as I am concerned that is basically wrong behaviour and ought to be a criminal offence. It is certainly an outrageous invasion of personal space and privacy. People who do that really ought to be arrested. Someone doing that has got to be disturbing the peace in any reasonable society.

So maybe you can imagine what I thought when I heard that some scummy paparazzi tried to take pics up the pop star Katy Perry’s skirt. Her bf and fiancĂ© Russell Brand was there and apparently prevented it physically and good for him that he did. I have not always been that impressed with him, but I was prepared to be impressed if he did that.

I checked out video of the incident on the net.

The two of them were pretty much surrounded by really in your face paparazzi. Then he tried to cuddle and shield her, with his arms protectively round her. Then he tried to clear a path through the Paparazzi for her, to lead her into the terminal, while they were provoking him, saying stuff to him like “ooh Russel is annoyed”, or something.

All I really saw him doing was less than the average security guy would do, just palming pushy paparazzi back out of their path.

So wait for it... He is the one that gets arrested can you believe it? Some pervert is (as they say) allegedly trying to get pics up his fiancĂ©e’s skirt to sell for profit and the guy that defends her and stops it is the one that gets arrested!

Why wasn’t the person who committed what is essentially an unacceptable sexual assault on Miss Perry and provoked the incident at least arrested as well? Or better still instead? The local police maybe need to have a little think about their priorities.

I know she is a pop star and has done scantily clad saucy photo shoots and a video wearing cotton candy but that does not mean there are not limits. Here she was just trying to use LAX airport, like anyone else. These paparazzi do not have some sort of legal immunity.

Western society does not seem willing to do anything about these people. I heard of incidents where the paparazzi actually bait some celebs in the hope they will do something that can be twisted into or used as a news story making the photos taken briefly valuable. Maybe that’s what they were doing this time too.

It seemed that the paparazzi played a pretty big part in provoking and creating the conditions for a “perfect storm”, the crash that killed Diana and her bf Dodi in Paris. I can’t help feeling that if the paparazzi had not been doing what they were that car, even with a drunk driver, would have been so very much less likely to have crashed.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Saturday Photo Hunt --- Stripes







STRIPES

It sounds like such a simple theme, doesn't it? But I didn't seem to have anything to fit as I scrolled back through my photos. Until I came to these. I never pass them by without clicking away. So may I present the vertical stripes of these belted galloways at the Steve's Farm in Steveston.


Last time we had this theme I used a photo of striped hosta plants.


HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Doom and Gloom --- The Pathology Report*


Histopathological image of papillary carcinoma of the thyroid gland obtained by a total thyroidectomy


* This post was written giving my reaction to the information at the time of receipt, but the pathology report has since been revised more positively, in case you feel alarmed. I have been told by the radiation oncologist that the pathology conclusions of the initial report are changed later in about 30% of cases.

Based on a biopsy which showed the presence of papillary cancer, the large size of the tumour, according to ultrasound studies, and of course my "age" my whole thyroid was removed quite precipitously. But most information is gained from the more complete pathology report for which you have to wait around a week to ten days.

As I said before, there are four types of thyroid cancer, with papillary being the most common and also being described as well differentiated which basically means slow growing and therefore mostly very curable.

One morning, very early, I was awoken from sleep by a telephone call from my primary care physician, whom I have had for 25 years now. The pathology report was available and it showed that there were two types of cancer. The second one was undifferentiated cells which means faster growing and therefore more aggressive and but he actually used the word anaplastic. Now I had read about all four types of thyroid cancer, but not the other three in detail so we had a reasonably unemotional conversation and he rang off.

Of course I was immediately on the computer, out on the internet searching. Imagine my total shock to discover that this very rare type of thyroid cancer is basically incurable, it often arises in conjunction with a more well differentiated cancer like papillary and most patients were dead by the end of the first year, the rest after two years.

I waited till my doctor's office opened and phoned. It was Friday and I knew he was at meetings that day, but hoped to get copy of the report from the staff. They were unable to find my chart so I made an appointment for the following Monday to see him.

The whole weekend I stewed about the situation. In many cases of anaplastic thyroid cancer, it is discovered first as a lump on the throat and they are often inoperable since, being so aggressive, they have already invaded the trachea and nearby areas.

Well the surgery was over in my case. The offending organ was gone. Was there a slim chance that the disease had been caught early enough and it hadn't had a chance to spread? The surgeon had said that he saw no obvious spread but it only needs a few cells to escape to get started elsewhere. Frankly the pathology report was very bad news indeed.

It turned out that my doctor had not seen the report when he telephoned me from his car, but he had been contacted by the surgeon who had read it and gave him a verbal report, telling him to inform me. He was the one who had used the word anaplastic to my doctor, while the report mentioned only areas of undifferentiated tissue. But as my doctor explained, it was six of one and half a dozen of the other, really, whether they used the word anaplastic or not. I already had a referral to a head and neck oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency and my doctor gave me a referral to the Thyroid Clinic at the major teaching hospital where I had had the thyroidectomy and the number of people involved in my treatment was now about increase.

There was a cancellation at the Thyroid Clinic so I went there within a few days, before I went to the BCCA. I was interviewed at length by a resident in Endocrinology about the history of my thyroid illness and he listened carefully but took no notes. We then met with the Endocrinologist and he asked the resident to present the case. I sat there and listened in amazement as he recounted completely wrong information. Did I correct him and make him look foolish? Did I let grossly inaccurate statements stand? I did correct one very important fact and just let the rest slide, hoping it wouldn't really matter in the long run. But I was really staggered by this fellow's confusion.

The Endocrinologist asked for the pathology report to be reviewed, but since the tumour was considered mostly papillary he ordered Radioactive Iodine treatment as the next step. But I said it had to wait till after a two week visit by my daughter and her family, which was imminent. In the meantime I would see the oncologist at BCCA and hope that all these fellows were on the same page.


Part one, Part two, Part three, Part four in the saga.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Real Life, Second Life and Blogging Coincide for Lunch

Today it was my pleasure to meet and have lunch with the indomitable Tom Paine, who blogs about the death of liberty in Britain over at the the Last Ditch. We both belong to Blogpower, an international group of bloggers from all walks of life and with vastly different interests.

It's how we first "met" so to speak, more than three years ago. But there is another dimension to our friendship, in that he was the reason I came to Second Life and found a niche.

Tom, or LastDitch as he is known in SL, invited us all to come to an awards ceremony on his SL airship.


Now how can people in different parts of the world be together in the same room at the same time other than in the virtual world?


It was a brilliant idea! There was just one teeny problem. He was the only one involved in SL. However he provided us all with detailed instructions on how to enroll and urged us to explore it beforehand.

It was great fun to meet and "speak" with these people in real time, even share a dance, but when we left SL that day, for most, it was never to return.


But something intrigued me enough to come back. LD found me a mentor, loaned me a grace and favour apartment, along with a cash infusion to get me started and I’ve been there ever since.


Tom's a lawyer in RL and came to Vancouver for the International Bar Association meeting but he was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule for lunch with his SL/blogging friend.


Funnily enough we hardly spoke of blogging or SL, but while we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Fish House in Stanley Park the conversation never seemed to falter as we talked about this and that.


Enjoy your visit to our beautiful city Tom/Last and thank you for your company today.


Sigh, excuse the different sized fonts. I've tried to fix them several times, just not my day technically speaking!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Observations on being without a Voice

One is told about the side effects of a thyroidectomy but until it happens you have no real idea what to expect. Loss of voice and laryngeal nerve damage are not unusual in these cases and the reality of these two things is amazingly devastating.

Due to the size of the tumour the surgery was much more complicated than expected and took much longer. The surgeon told the OS afterwards that he expected to have to cut the left laryngeal nerve when he saw the situation and he worked on the right side first to ensure I would have one functioning nerve. When he came back to the left side he made a valiant effort and managed to avoid cutting it. However initially and for several months afterwards it didn't function at all: a frozen vocal cord as it is commonly known or vocal cord paralysis.

Our voice is our second face;
unseen, we are judged by our voices.

The reality of not having a functional voice became apparent very quickly for me. At home I managed to croak enough to be understood and fortunately, for the most part, on the telephone I was comprehensible enough. But the moment there was any ambient noise, my voice was lost.

Not being able to drive until I could turn my head, the OS was coerced into accompanying me to the supermarket on my first foray out. But he wandered off and left me throwing things into the cart. I couldn't find the pears and asked the man in the produce department where they were. He simply couldn't understand me, even after I repeated it and turned away. For the first time ,since I had been diagnosed with cancer, I cried. Not in front of him, but as I wandered off looking for the OS to ask him that we leave at once.

There is no index of character so sure as the voice.

Benjamin Disraeli


I mean I was not able to communicate. I had always known that the deaf or hard of hearing people are marginalized in social situations, but it's the very same thing for those who are virtually voiceless. I had no idea until it happened to me and it has changed my whole personality.

I'm very friendly usually, exchanging pleasantries and laughs with cashiers in stores, with strangers in the supermarket over the produce or the meat, with people I meet in the street or on the bus. But it becomes pointless now, as you have to repeat everything several times and often they still don't hear. I try to get away with saying as little as possible now in these situations and smiling a lot.

The human voice is the organ of the soul.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One on one, I am usually fine if the noise level is low, but put into a group situation I become invisible as I speak and no one hears me or pays attention to me. We all tend to have this very bad habit of speaking over each other but usually we can just muscle our way back into the conversation. That's gone for me, so I smile a lot and frankly become quite bored at times. No matter how interesting a conversation might be, unless you can participate fully it tends not to hold your attention.

People say to me, well if you want to say something, just rap on the table or catch our attention. That really makes me laugh, for if people all stop talking to listen to me, I feel as if I have to have something really momentous to say and how much pressure is that? I have noticed too since this happened that certain of my friends tend to monopolize the conversation., which I never noticed before. I start to tell them something and halfway through they interrupt as it reminds them of some other story and off they go. I never get to finish what I started to say, for even if I speak again, it's not loud enough to make a difference and they talk until they run out of steam.

It's four months now since this began. I'm told that permanent voice changes are rare and they won't even consider a referral to a specialist before 6 months. My voice is flat and expressionless and I have a two note range. My rather odd accent, Australian modified by living in Canada for so long, is no longer apparent and of course, as I said before, I sound like a male who is a heavy smoker or a cross between Donald Duck and Lauren Bacall.


A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together.Margaret Atwood

I've perused the relevant forums looking for other people's experiences with this. Some seem to have recovered their voices relatively quickly, some take a year or so. Some get their normal voice back, others have permanent changes. I've no idea what the end result will be for my voice, no one can predict for sure. I suppose if the surgery plus the subsequent treatments with radioactive iodine and external beam radiation, which I have undergone since the surgery, have cured this cancer, the voice change will be a small price to pay. Each day I wonder, will it be a good day or a bad day for my voice? Will this frustration ever end?

The voice so sweet, the words so fair,
As some soft chime had stroked the air;
And though the sound had parted thence,
Still left an echo in the sense.

Ben Jonson



Part one, part two , part three of the saga.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thyroidectomy or Getting One's Throat Cut

As the day of surgery approached I kept expecting a high level of anxiety to kick in at any moment. I don't know why, but it never did. Admissions to hospitals the night before surgery, with interviews by the anaesthetist, are long gone so it's up to you to ensure that you don't eat or drink after midnight.

Surgery was scheduled for 8.30 am, with an incredibly early (for the retired folks) check-in at 6.30 am. The bleary eyed Old Scientist drove me there and handed me over to the awaiting staff who prepared me for my visit to the operating room. Lying on a gurney in the day care surgical area I received drop in visits from all kinds of people, including the surgeon.

Most basically just said Hi, introduced themselves, explained their role in the scheme of things, asked, are you ready for this and were gone. One young man, with whom I had spoken on the telephone, came by to get a signature on a consent form. I had agreed to take part in a study which required some tissue from the thyroid gland. Blindly, they are searching for a common gene which could be involved in thyroid cancer as it often runs in families.

Finally it was time to go to the OR (Operating Room) where the anaesthetist swiftly did her job and four hours later I awoke in PAR (Post Anaesthetic Recovery). For some reason my respiratory rate was low, so I was there for a long time before they sent me up to the ward.

My nurse in the PAR had had her thyroid removed too and showed me her scar. We then had this totally bizarre conversation, considering where I was. She was somewhere in her mid forties and said her thyroidectomy several years before had been as a result of radiation treatment she had received as a four year old child when she was treated for a brain tumour. Who was your doctor I asked, since I have a friend who was a radiation oncologist who treated such children for many years. Dr B, she said, who is of course my friend and we talked about her experience of the whole thing. Tell Dr B Debby says hi, she said as I was finally sent to the ward. Sometimes it's a very small world and it's proved to be so in the oddest places.

For my part this conversation was conducted with a tiny croaky voice, for that is a side effect of the surgery. Four months later, while my voice is stronger, I still sound like a cross between Donald Duck and Lauren Bacall, or a male who is a heavy smoker, depending on the moment. But my voice change deserves a post of its own.

The area where the thyroid lays is well supplied with blood vessels and lymphatic tissue and after a thyroidectomy a surgical drain is usually inserted to prevent blood and serum buildup under the skin. So there I was, hooked up to an IV on one side, the drain and its container on the other side and oxygen prongs stuck up my nose, sitting almost bolt upright in a hospital bed and feeling a bit sorry for myself. The OS arrived, established that I was still in this world and in good hands and beat a hasty retreat. Well I wasn't exactly up for conversation!

Dietary personnel came by and left a covered dinner tray at the bedside. I couldn't move an inch even to take off the lid. A nurse obliged but I had been ordered a regular diet! I could hardly swallow so eating that wasn't going to happen. Oh they don't have a soft diet anymore, she said I'll see if I can find you some jello. But I never saw her again and the tray was returned untouched. Fortunately I didn't exactly feel very hungry.

Nurses came regularly to take my blood pressure and blood was drawn every six hours to monitor the calcium levels since the parathyroid glands can be affected by this surgery causing hypocalcemia, since they are situated right behind the thyroid gland. The first disrupted night passed with me sitting almost upright, sleeping fitfully. While I was pretty uncomfortable strangely there was little pain considering the size of the incision, which was between four and five inches. Yes I had literally had my throat cut open. After the first two very small doses of morphine I tried without it and managed just fine. The body is truly an amazing thing.

The next morning I staggered to the bathroom with the help of a nurse, dragging my IV pole and my drain and I was able to see myself in the mirror for the first time. The very red looking incision had been closed using 13 nasty looking metal staples, rather than the dissolving stitches I had expected and the lower part of my face and my neck and chest was tinted red from the disinfectant they must have doused me with in the OR, and my gown was covered with it too. It was even in my hair and I still have pink patches of hair that haven't grown out yet.

They did change my gown from that first stained one but do you know in two days, no one offered to wash my face to remove that disinfectant? In fact I received no personal hygiene care whatsoever in my time at that hospital. No one even offered me hot water and soap to do it myself and I was too far out of it to really care. It seems nurses these days are very good at the technical skills while ignoring the more obvious basic needs of the patients, well at least this was my experience there.

And oh joy, oh bliss, it was the time when the student nurses were doing their practicum on the wards. Now from my experience working in a hospital I know how trying a time that can be for everyone. Yes they have to learn and they need to practise their book learning on real patients and it is a teaching hospital but sheesh!

First of all they are accompanied by their instructors from the nursing faculty, most of whom haven't actually done any real nursing in years. They don't know where anything is and everything takes two to three times longer to accomplish. The regular nurses hover in the background trying to do their jobs as best they can. The first day, I had a very good male nurse who simply got on with it while the sweet little student mostly observed. But the second day, I had two nurses who seemed to work as a team, so they said, and the student nurse was more involved, fussing around rather ineffectually. The team nurses were joined at the hip and it appeared to me it was most a most inefficient use of two qualified people's time.

I had plenty of opportunity to observe this in my hospital room that day. While I had asked for a private room and was willing to pay, none was available so I was in a four-bed room, three females and one male. Yes a male. Mixing the sexes in a hospital room never, ever happened in all the years I worked in a hospital but that rule too, along with personal hygiene care and soft diet, has disappeared.

The last day was one of confusion, as one moment they were telling me I could go home and the next I would have to stay for another night since my blood pressure was high. Well no bloody wonder!

The surgical resident asked for a medical consult but when the medical resident came by he didn't want to deal with it either. Eventually they decided to discharge me regardless, after they removed the drain and gave me wound care instructions. The OS was waiting at home for a telephone call to come get me and in due course he appeared and in no time at all I was home in my own bed, still elevated however by many pillows.

So step one of my treatment for thyroid cancer was completed. Surgical removal of the organ itself. But of course it was just the beginning of my journey with this cancer.

Part one, part two of the saga.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Saturday Photo Hunt --- Letters







LETTERS

Lots of letters in this photo I took today, double of some as they are reflected in the waters below. Click to enlarge.

Wild salmon? As in not farmed!


HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE