Not so good

I should already be somewhat recovered but … this operation did not go so well as the last one. There seem to be complications like continued bleeding, so … not sure what’s next. Certainly making a mess of all plans.

Obviously I’m not doing any photos. Not doing anything. Got some ‘leftovers’ though. Here’s one of them:

Paper wasp nest in lilac bush. Nikon P610.

An update kind of thing

Just about a week ago I hauled the last load of this Winter’s wood out of the forest. This was followed by hauling the four cats, two dogs, and one wife out the next day and a second trip that day to bring essentials out. The third trip was Wednesday to shut down all the cabin systems (it’s not simple, believe me) and bring out all that I couldn’t get the previous day. So four loads and each time the Nissan was stacked to the roof inside. I still missed things.

Last load of wood. (Sony a6000).

I needed another trip but it was not to be. Thursday was spent hanging around while the Telus technician installed our new fibre optic cable connections to the world. I have no use for the TV service, but it was included. Really there is nothing worth watching anymore, and the Turner Classic Movies channel that I might look at was extra money. It’s already too expensive. The Internet is 2X faster and barely noticeably so. At least I won’t have to clear snow off the satellite dish this Winter.

Pity the poor Xterra. (Sony a6000)

Friday was taken up with pre-op exam. Got the results back from that already, and they’re not so good. A few “red flags” on some items indicating problems with my kidneys (no kidding? Guess what the procedure is for). Also I have inexplicably lost a lot of weight. It is not good for a man who is 6′ tall to be 158 lbs. This needs watching. Probably just all that work but … I’m old so practically every symptom is “an alarm bell”.

At this point the insurance has expired on the Nissan and I don’t fancy renewing it for $1,000 just for one more cabin trip. Whatever happens, happens. The expenses have been getting out of control of late, nearly $150 a week for gasoline to cite one example, and we have some more unavoidable expenses coming up next month. Yes I know I just bought a camera. That isn’t even included in the financial haemorrhaging.

The trailer suffered badly too. (Sony a6000)

Saturday I spent getting things around the house here ready for snow, because snow is in the forecast for next weekend. It probably won’t happen, or at least not much, and definitely won’t stay; just a ‘trial run’. I still have much more to do before the 4th when they make it impossible for me to do much of anything for a couple of weeks. Be prepared and all that.

This upcoming week it’s building inspection, flu jabs, and a possible trip to the Big City up North to get meds and things. Weather is likely ‘dodgy’ as every forecast made for last week turned out wrong. Photography? I’d like to but … It will be a difficult thing to fit in even if possible.

Oh I ordered a lens adaptor for the Sony. The day it was supposed to be delivered the order was cancelled. No explanation. There’s a lot of ‘no explanation’ happening these days. I just hope my surgery isn’t cancelled like that.

At this rate I figure it will be December before I can relax. If then: my wife has to go to England to see to her demented sister, and the UK is in a pretty terrible state all-around right now with shortages of everything except the disease. Okay maybe I can relax in January when she gets back. If she does. It’s a realistic fear for several reasons.

More photos to come as I have a few ‘stored up’ for whatever reason.

All clean now. (Sony a6000)

Strange vision

The gray is the sky, the gray is the land, the gray is the water.

My world right now: hazy, out-of-focus, and on fire.

Two weeks after the procedure. Progress seems to have halted. Much like the progress on fire-fighting in the province. 300+ fires burning, half out of control, emergency accommodations full up, roads closed, supplies cut off, and a Premier who doesn’t think there’s any reason to declare a state of emergency. After all it’s not affecting him, and the people who are suffering don’t support him anyway. Gee, I wonder why. Maybe because none of the recommendations from the last wildfire disaster year have been implemented? That could be it.

This is my world. According to the camera (P610) it was in focus. Obviously not. But this is what everything looks like to me.

Eyesight: blurred but better.

Nothing is in focus with either eye at any distance, and both are blurred. Think in photography terms; the focal point is one thing, the sharpness another. For those who think focus is over-rated I say repent your sins before it’s too late. Soft focus and blurred images are horrible, especially when there’s no other choice. I’m told my eyes not only don’t see the same, they don’t look the same; there’s noticeable difference in the colouration. Will it clear up? Only time, and a lot of it, will tell.

Large objects I can make out. I didn’t notice the cloud when I took this, though. (G11)

Photography: exercising futility.

I’ve made some attempts. Trying to get used to using the left eye, just in case. How bad is it? Less than half the shots are even viable as pictures, and of the good ones perhaps 25% are acceptable. It’s hard to say because I can’t even evaluate them on the big screen myself. Hey, maybe I can just get out the lousy Lumix and shoot blurred messes badly composed and incorrectly exposed. It would be easy. Judging by some of the “pro” photos I’ve seen in the past I might even win a prize. But it would be embarrassing and debasing of the principals of photography, as well as betraying to all those who put so much effort to bring the form to the quality it is capable of.

This could probably be good, with the moss and trees and light. I can’t see well enough to make a good initial shot, never mind process it.

What is next?

Hunker down to wait out the fires, and hope we don’t die. Or go blind. Or suddenly need some other emergency procedure.

Recovery week

Leftover shot from the Olympus E-410.

So surgery last Sunday. Doctor said I could go home and resume my normal activities. There were a couple of problems with that, starting with not coming out of the anesthesia well. Also, he must think my normal activities are sitting on the couch doing nothing. Got home Monday.

Then things got complicated. Called GP on Thursday who called the surgeon who called back and … there’s me rushing into town because bleeding isn’t a good thing to do at any time.

Right. Home again. Less pain, not bleeding. This is better.

Meanwhile about two weeks have been lost to this. Several important things have not gotten done, and I’m not sure I’m up to doing them yet.

But the worst part is I saw a lot of nice photo opportunities on the way to Kamloops and back, but couldn’t do anything about them. (“Stop the ambulance! I need to shoot that mountain!”) I also didn’t get to do any shopping, oddly enough. They really don’t want patients wandering around the city on their own.

Things should get back to normal now but … there’s a problem on my other side as well, it just hasn’t reached emergency-surgery level. Yet.

Nevertheless, life goes on. You can debate whether or not that’s a good thing.

In the meantime I polished the lens for the Pentax K100DS, and then realized I can’t go wandering around taking pictures with it to see if it’s any better now or needs another scrub. I spent some time marking fraud camera ads on EBay – same scam tried multiple times every weekend for months now and it never works; the perpetrator(s) is (are) dumb.

Still looking for a decent deal on a Canon 5D. There are many out there, and the prices they want for even the old ones is ridiculous. Supply and demand, I suppose. I’m not investing crazy money in a camera I’ll likely use only for a few occasional shots. The G11 and E-410 I picked up cheap have already more than earned their price, to me anyway. I’d like to be able to wander around town with the G11 some more too. It’d be nice to wander around Kam and maybe Williams Lake with it as well, but that’s two whole other safaris that will probably never happen. Time constraints, you see.

Also still looking for the long zoom that fits the Olympus E-410. Here’s why:

Full scene at 300mm equivalent.
640×480 crop – not as sharp as I’d like.

I think it would make a great birding camera with the 600mm equivalent on it. But they seem to go for over $300, and that’s kind of silly considering I got the camera and the two shorter zooms for a tad over $100. That’s a black-capped chickadee in there, by the way.

I’ve skipped a few ‘bargain’ cameras I’ve seen because I don’t need them. Better to spend the money towards the equipment I’m actually after than buy something just because it’s a good deal, eh? This included a Pentax K10, which I let go because it isn’t that much different from the K100DS – just more MP really, and I’ve proved that isn’t as important as manufacturers would have you believe it is.

The forecast says we will have above freezing every day and below freezing every night for the next couple of weeks, so the snow pack will continue to melt slowly. At this point it would be overly ambitious to think about getting back to the cabin and all the work awaiting me there. Best to take it easy for a while and slowly work my way back up to normal activities. Most of which I shouldn’t be doing at my age anyway, I’m told.

Another ‘leftover’ shot out of the Olympus.

So … how was your weekend?

When things go awry. (Nikon P610)

I spent mine in hospital. Two of them, in fact. Friday it was for a CT scan at Williams Lake after the previous Sunday’s ER visit in 100 Mile. The doctors didn’t like what they saw, so Saturday I rushed down to Kamloops for emergency surgery. I am now back home and feeling fairly well, but not without some serious horror beforehand. I will spare you the gory details because they are gory. Needless to say I haven’t been doing much photography of late. In fact if it weren’t for the last pre-scheduled post there would be nothing posted here for the past week.

The worst of it is I’m not out of the woods yet. No, the worst of it is I was in a ward with a bunch of ‘elderly people’ – and found out I was the oldest one there. It’s come to that.

Seeing things differently. (Nikon P610)

Anyway it will be a while before I’m doing much of anything again, which is a shame because it’s supposed to be fairly nice weather this week. I saw a lot of things on the trips which would make good photos too, but no way could I do that under the circumstances. C’est la vie.

I had planned on writing a multi-part post about artistic photographic composition (from my perspective). Perhaps I can still get that done. Maybe get the lens cleaning papers picked up from the post office and do some polishing (I have the K100DS focusing off the ‘back button’ now, but that lens still isn’t sharp).

Mystic sign of the raven. (Nikon P610)

Got to work my way back up to semi-normal life, but for now it’s “do as little as possible” in order to avoid complications. Which, ironically, causes complications as normally I do most everything physical around here – and now I can’t.

The photos posted today are some ‘leftovers’ just to keep this post from being too boring or depressing.

As sharp as it gets, for now. (Pentax K100DS)

I have one other prepared post which I may as well schedule for soon in case I don’t get anything else done.

Tinnitus, tinnitus; all is tinnitus!

I feel like this truck looks.

For the past couple of months I’ve been having recurring hearing problems in the form of blocked Eustachian tubes and the subduing of sound that comes with it. No problem; it happens, then it goes away right? It’s usually due to inflammation caused by allergies or a cold. Right. Often accompanied by slight to moderate but nevertheless temporary tinnitus (internal ear noise). Yeah, okay but … the tinnitus part was hanging on while the Eustachian tube part went away. A little more, a little less, but … now it was always there.

Historical perspective: I’ve always had fantastic hearing. We’re talking hyperacusis here. It came with the Apserger’s. The ability to hear not only very soft sounds but also a wide frequency range. Sometimes it has been an asset: my Dad, an avid audiophile, always had me listen to any new equipment he got because he knew my hearing was good enough to detect a weak voice coil or unequal frequency reproduction. The down side was the pain loud environments would cause, such as oh-too-many stores with their music cranked to ’11’. Sometimes I worked in noisy environments, and as such I have been using hearing protection for a long time – and still do: you won’t find me chainsawing or splitting wood without the muffs on!

Despite such precautions, now hear this: the continual noises (for there are different types) of tinnitus and, as an extra added bonus, diplacusis echoica – ‘double’ hearing. That aspect suddenly manifested itself when I was in the Post Office last week and really freaked me out. It was “call the doctor” time, although I knew nothing would come of it. His first inclination was “ear wax build-up”. Well I’ve had that before and I know this isn’t that. He couldn’t see any such build-up. The second guess was “infection”, which can also be dismissed as not fitting the symptoms. He couldn’t find any sign of that either. Have I ever mentioned we don’t have a good GP here? My usual gambit of bringing ex-doctor wife along to tell him what to do can not be employed during the pandemic. I have a hard time understanding him anyway, as he talks softly and mumbles and appears to have no confidence in himself. Well with diagnoses like that he shouldn’t have. The Mrs. says I intimidate the man, which could be true as I am somewhat imposing in both build and personality. It has happened before. Anyway I came away with an appointment for a muscle biopsy to see about the inclusion body myositis and instructions to get a hearing exam before going on to an ear specialist. Yeah like this is going to work out.

One of the things I really dislike about being old is the way the medical profession dismisses any complaint you have on the grounds of your age: hearing loss, joint pain, fatigue … whatever. It’s always “to be expected in a man of your age”. As if dying by installments is normal. Meanwhile anyone of a senior disposition who does manage to retain normal function is viewed as a medical marvel. Hurrah! You escaped the inevitable failing of replacement cell mutation imperfection!

So here I am waiting on the highly unlikely prospect of an appointment with an ear specialist. I don’t expect anything to come from it even if it does happen. It will be the same as the Inclusion Body Mysositis: “learn to live with it”. Easy for them to declare as they aren’t the ones suffering from it.

Oh and if you like weird coincidences, apparently in the UK February 1-7 is “tinnitus awareness week”. Or something.

Still waiting

This, then, is how the world ends: not with a bang but with a virus.

I said I would write something about viruses in general. Well, why not? Everyone else is doing it. And in keeping with the infinite monkey theory I have just as much chance of getting it right. Or having it read. Actually a pretty good chance of the former, but not so much the latter.

As little background as possible: viruses are a weird “pseudo-lifeform” that don’t fit the rules. They propagate in host cells, mutate easily, and are really difficult to kill. While active they cause the host to initiate an immune response to get rid of them producing all those unpleasant symptoms we call illness.

The bad news: that would be the “difficult to kill” bit. Immune systems eventually manage it, usually. But if you’re already in trouble physically … well this is where most of the deaths from COVID-19 have been occurring, and it’s no surprise.

The good news: this new one isn’t really any worse than others, it just looks like it. The media hyperbole and misinformation makes it sound like the new Black Death, but that wiped out half of Europe. Really the death rate of infected individuals now is staying around 3%, which is what we’d expect under the circumstances. Of course if you know one of them or are one of them there is zero comfort in that fact.

The bad news: it’s not easy to prevent the spread. Literally inhaling the same air as an infected person means you have been exposed and could develop the disease. The longer you are exposed or the more intense the exposure (an infected person’s cough will have a higher density of the virus than regular exhaling) the greater the risk.

The good news: just because you’re exposed doesn’t mean you’re going to get it, or even that it will be any worse for you than ordinary flu.

The bad news: it hangs around on surfaces and wiping them down with disinfectant/alcohol won’t kill it.

The good news: wiping the surfaces (and washing your hands) can physically remove the virus. So yes wash your hands, but don’t obsess about needing sanitizer, okay?

Now to get into the more complex aspects of virology, what you need to know is that the damn things can go dormant but remain viable and survive some really severe conditions like the frigid cold and vacuum of space. A certain celebrity moron has stated that once the weather warms up to 80° Fahrenheit COVID-19 will no longer be a problem. This is not so. If the weather warmed up to 800° Fahrenheit we wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore, but it would be small compensation for the buildings burning and cars melting and everything else being dead as well. Viruses do not kill off easily.

On the other hand it is true that weather changes affect viral transmission, and the reasons why are somewhat paradoxical (meaning scientists still argue about it). For example the germs like warm, moist air but not cold, dry air – but the majority of viral infections occur when the weather is cold and dry. Hmm. Why is this? It’s mainly because that inhospitable ambient state is an irritant to our respiratory tract which makes it more susceptible to infection. There is also some claim that the social conditions of Winter – more people huddled together in relatively closed locations – increases the likelihood of spread. A further fact is that viruses have a life cycle like anything else, and generally flourish at certain times of year but remain latent at others – sort of like plants blooming in the Spring. But no one knows yet exactly how COVID-19 will respond to these changes.

Will masks help? Only if they are worn by infected people; they aren’t very effective at stopping you breathing the germs in, only at exhaling them. I guess most people don’t understand that the main reason for “hospital garb” is not to stop the staff from catching diseases from the patients, but to stop the patients from catching diseases from the staff. It is easier to isolate a known infected individual than to apply prophylactic measures to everyone who might catch the virus. Amazingly this novel coronavirus seems to be pretty hard to catch; we’d really expect the infection rates to be much higher with the known proximity factors. I guess it doesn’t ‘travel well’.

There have been a lot of ill-informed commentaries on the COVID-19 virus, ranging from the absurdity of it being “created on purpose” or “weaponized” (it’s a lousy one if they did) to blaming it on the Chinese just because it originated there (hey, notice how it doesn’t care about ethnicity or religion or geographical borders?) to the outrageous and immoral scamming going on with fake ‘cures’ and ‘preventatives’ (or claims of being health authorities) and on to the ridiculous and yet harmful human reactions of hoarding things that won’t really do any good for having them in mass quantity.

Even investors have fallen for this farce, dumping stocks due to fears of global economic collapse despite the fact it is A). not really doing that much damage (except by proxy) and B). inevitably a short-term event. The ironic thing here is that the world will go back to doing business as usual once this episode has passed, not having learned a single lesson from it. This despite the fact we’ve had similar outbreaks in the not-too-distant past which should have prepared us, but we failed to learn the lessons then as well.

People are acting as though this is some air-born pathogen sweeping across the world and devastating the population. This is not the case in any respect, especially not the deadly results part. Remember there are over 7 billion people on this planet now, and we’re going crazy over what is a statistically insignificant infection rate, never mind the fatality rate. Also understand that world travel is rampant and fast these days, so in fact the spread has been amazingly small. The so-called Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 killed off 50 million people in a world of about 2 billion, and there was no air travel in those days as planes had only just been invented. To relate, COVID-19 would have to kill off 175 million people to be the equivalent, and that is unlikely given the improvements in medical care since the early 20th century.

The pattern of the disease’s progress is exactly what we’d expect to see, with the initial outbreak in China being the most deadly. This is followed by individual travelers taking it to other destinations such as Iran, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and yes Canada. Once there we see another ‘blossoming’ of it spreading out from a central location. It is at this point we expect to see a decrease in fatalities, but ultimately this in influenced by quality of care factors in the affected locales.

In opposition, there are people saying that the quarantine procedures being used are “unethical and ineffective”, which shows they know nothing about which they speak. Limiting contact between known or suspected infectious people and others is a sure-fire way of reducing the risk of spread, and from that point alone is therefor ethical. As Dickens said: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.” Eventually a vaccine will be produced, although who should get it will remain debatable for some time. I imagine initially it will be one of those “travelers’ vaccines” rather than a common inoculation.

If there is any great risk imperiling us it is not the disease itself, but our society’s inability to cope with the circumstances. I have been waiting days to find out if I really am infected or not, and the symptoms have all but vanished meaning when (or if, knowing the efficacy of our system here) the results come back they will be of moot value. Meanwhile as the cases do mount up (so far no deaths in our country, and less than 50 infections) our government is just getting around to coming up with a committee to deal with it. That’s not how you manage an emergency. The quicker you take action on a potential threat like this the greater the chances of success against it. Controlling the panic in the populace, reassuring them that everything will be alright, would be a lot easier if they had a handle on the situation from the beginning instead of rushing about making contradictory claims and generally presenting an image of utter confusion and idiocy among those who are in charge of handling said situation.

Our provincial government announced one day that there was little risk of it infecting here, and two days later reported the first case. This in a place that regularly has lots of travel to and from China, where the outbreak was first detected. Since then the in-province cases have risen to 27 (really not many for a population of 4.6 million) and the government is just now trying to organize to combat it? If this really were a significant health threat such as some form of biological warfare we’d all be as good as dead by now.

As I said, ultimately this will be our undoing – not the disease itself.


Going Viral

If it weren’t for the coincidental circumstances, I wouldn’t have thought about it at all. But almost exactly two weeks from the day my wife got back from England I found myself suffering from flu-like symptoms: dry cough, fatigue, aches and pains. Now admittedly this is my normal for daily life, so it makes it a bit difficult to determine whether there’s actually something more wrong or I’m just having a downside to the cycle. When the fever spiked I knew it was beyond the usual muscular whatever.

Now consider that the Mrs. had been to England, a known hot spot for the media’s darling virus, as well as a couple of large airports full of people traveling hither and yon. Never mind the oriental fellow she sat next to on the flight back who was obviously sick with something; he didn’t even have to be there to make it a possibility. So out of the goodness of my heart and concern for the public good and all that, I decided to contact the health authorities and see what was what.

Public Health Line: (Automated nonsense that takes so long you could get an actual medical degree before they figure out what you’re on about. Another fine example of the failure of artificial intelligence.)

Doctor’s Office: Gosh, we don’t know. You should call the hospital and ask for Sharon. She’s the infectious disease expert there.

Hospital: Sharon isn’t here. Just stay in and don’t go anywhere. We probably don’t even have the ability to test for it.

And there was me thinking the government was actually concerned about the possible spread of this virus and they would be eager to send a public health nurse out to test any potential cases. I guess not. Oh well, whatever. I’d been all over town the day before so everyone is probably infected now anyway. Or not (I’ll explain the virus stuff later).

Hospital calls back: Um, actually we’d like you to put on an N95 mask and come in at a specific time for testing. (Hmm. Seems kind of contrary to what they said before.)

Twenty minutes later, clad in one of my wildfire masks (good thing I still had some, eh?) I walk in to the ER – and get stared at. A nurse in full surgical garb comes out to greet me and quickly usher me past the other patients into what passes for an isolation room at a this ‘cottage’ hospital. From the looks on everyone else’s faces you’d think I was Death walking among them; they all knew damn well what the mask meant.

Usual routine of history, symptoms, and taking vitals. No fever at the moment (I wouldn’t have driven in if there had been) but my blood pressure sure was up. Gee, I wonder why? Anyway the nurse disappears and I start waiting. Fever decides to spike a bit and I try not to dissolve into a puddle on the floor.

In comes my own doctor, unrecognizable because he is in full surgical garb too. Yes they want to take a sample, and since he had to read the instructions on the sampling package I guess this was the first time they’d done it there. They should warn people how it is done, as that alone would prevent anyone from admitting to symptoms. Sort of like having an oil drilling rig shoved through your nose. Okay, my nasal passages aren’t nicely straight and open as they should be. It was painful, and it bled.

Home I go to await the results.

Next day. They were going to call, weren’t they? They didn’t. Okay, I’ve got this on-line access to my medical records; maybe something has turned up there? It had: partial results. In 24 hours they were able to determine it is not influenza A or influenza B. That’s good! Or is it? Because if it’s not either of those, what is it? I mean we are concerned about it being the new and nasty one.

Oh, that test takes longer. How much longer? Well by the time they know if it is you’re either over it or dead from it.

It seems to me there’s room for improvement here. I’ve had a lot of medical tests, and they are all pretty far from Dr. McCoy’s tri-corder scan giving results in seconds. They’re more like: “It could be this; let’s see. (Take sample, run test, get results.) Nope. What else? It could be this; let’s see. (Take sample, run test, get results.) Nope. What else? (Lather, rinse, repeat.)” One test won’t tell you what it is, but will tell you what it isn’t. It’s a slow process of elimination, and there has to be a better way. You could run out of blood before they manage to try every test they’ve got (my record draw is 27 vials in one sitting).

It’s days later now and I’m writing this, with no more knowledge than I had at the start. If I was infectious and deadly I could be blithely spreading it all over as people do since we tend to largely ignore any illness symptoms we may have, overcoming them with willpower as the need to get on with daily life’s demands overrules the need to recover.

Meanwhile the world has gone nuts about this disease. The general information given is often grossly inaccurate, the statistics hyperbole, and the government response a joke. For example on January 26 our provincial government said the risk of the virus here was “low”. Less than two months later we’re over 20 cases, that they know of. Considering the amount of travel between BC and China the risk was obviously high, not low, and it’s only the fact that it is not as easily transmitted as most people think that the results aren’t worse. The federal government is just getting around to creating a task force to deal with it. Can you imagine? First of all, such protocols should have been in place years ago: it’s not like this is the first time we’ve had to deal with disease outbreaks (SARS, H1N1 to name two in recent history). Second, the last thing we need is politicians thinking they are capable of understanding medical issues and dealing with them. Nothing in the history of the world would support that conclusion, right up to Trump’s claim that it will all go away once the weather warms up.

You’ve got bunglers everywhere, people, and they are in charge of everything.

Morose on Monday

The past few days have not been easy. Starting about Thursday I had a relapse of whatever this still undiagnosed problem of mine is. Of late it has manifested itself as pain in the legs and feet, which isn’t helpful for walking. Nor is it the limit. All the other symptoms still persist, and on that Thursday I had the return of “no strength” when my wife asked me to lift a pot off the stove and I couldn’t budge it with both arms. Just the week prior I picked up half of a riding mower and shoved it out of my way. Since the pot incident my strength has somewhat returned.

I went out shopping Friday. Three hours of leaning on a cart and thinking I wasn’t going to make it. The stores helped by not having most of what I was after (sold out on the second day of the sale?) so that sped things up. Upon my return I discovered the entire three hour trip had been only one hour. Not a good sign.

Saturday was the crash. It started out normal, but I was feeling quite tired so I decided to lay down and rest for a bit. Just to see if I’d feel any more energetic or less painful afterward. What I got was more sleep, albeit without moving which added to the pain and didn’t add to the energy. I dragged through the rest of the day doing nothing. Managed to walk the dogs around at night and take some pictures of the sky. Not really a big accomplishment when you consider that on each of these days I had originally planned to go harvest wood. Not sure how that’s going to happen now.

This is the worst relapse I’ve had in a very long time. Going back to a doctor is the normal procedure, but considering they (all eight of them) have been no help in either diagnosis or treatment in the past eight years I don’t think anything is going to suddenly turn around there. They’ll stick one of those all-purpose labels on it, like “fibromyalgia” – a disorder which has no definitive test, symptoms, or treatment and doesn’t help at all in planning the future.

I’ve got to know what to expect. It so bad right now I’m contemplating things like walking aids and wheelchairs, either of which would severely alter my lifestyle. For some people, perhaps most, “I just can’t do that any more” probably isn’t that much of a problem. For me it’s a living death sentence because it interferes with the care of not only myself, but my wife as well – and our zoo of three cats and two dogs.

At this time the photography is not enough of a distraction, as I am having difficulty even going ’round the yard to take pictures. Or getting up off the couch sometimes.

Me on Monday

Last week I tried to cancel my upcoming MRI, despite having waited so long to get it. The reason wasn’t even a nicely selfish one like “I know it won’t do any good” (which it won’t). It was simply that I was having trouble putting together the arrangements to see to everything so that I could go to the city overnight and get it done. Well they wouldn’t let me cancel it. By that I mean after sorting my way through the phone menu until I reached the department I was informed they don’t really take calls anyway and no one answered. Gosh, that’s nice of them.

By sheer luck I managed to get arrangements made and went to get the blood draw only “one day late” (they want it within 2 weeks of the test). I don’t know why they want it, as there’s no dye involved or anything so what difference does it make? No one explained. I don’t really care. No matter, as I got the results the next day (Saturday) and there was no real difference from the previous one last month. Given the nature of the results, I will now likely be referred to a nephrologist. Not that that will do any good either.

I sort of shot my bolt on Friday by doing the blood draw and some errands as well as mowing some more lawn. That first: when I use the string trimmer, my hands end up tingling. So on Thursday I did some with the push mower. My hands ended up tingling. Aha, let’s just ride around then; nothing to vibrate or push back and forth, just twist the wheel.

My hands ended up tingling.

This is probably not a good sign. They don’t do it when I just drive, but it appears any increased, sustained grip causes some really negative feedback. Oh goody. I’m about to make a 2+ hour drive. Again. Hmm. Better keep an eye on it, as the last thing I want is for my hands to stop working when they’re trying to control a vehicle at 100 KPH. Unlike when they just drop things around the house.

One of the errands I did was to order new glasses. Fortunately I was able to get them whole from this place for what the other wanted for just frames. Still expensive. And I had to change my mindset about glasses; I really only use them for driving these days. Everything else can be out of focus without it mattering much. I skipped on the reading lenses too, as I seem to manage that okay so far. If circumstances get worse I can revisit that.

Well I had things I wanted to do Saturday, but you know I just couldn’t get up the gumption to do them. I sat and felt that if I rested up for a day … ha ha ha ha! That’s a joke. There is no such thing as “resting up”, there is only “exhausted and not doing things” and “exhausted and doing things”.

Curiously, my step-daughter has recently succumbed to similar symptoms but with different blood test results. Now she is going through the doctor-after-doctor regimen with probably no conclusive results. We could form a club: “Don’t Bother Us We Haven’t Got The Energy To Put Up With You Club”. The difference is she is young and has two little children so has no choice whatsoever. As an old retired guy I can skip amazing amounts of activities I’m not up to. Except for tending the animals, which is a lot like looking after small children except they rest more.

The cabin is a loss this year. I can’t get to work on it and if I could it wouldn’t be much and it’s already late for getting anything finished. The contractor said he may be able to tie up the loose ends from last year’s work in a few weeks, but couldn’t do anything more until next year. All gone wrong. As usual.

Meanwhile my wife is still stuck in England trying to get a handle on the situation with her sister, and isn’t getting much co-operation there either.

I can’t even manage to get out anywhere and take some more pictures, which will put a crimp in those plans.

I think the term that fits here is “nadir”.