The Writing Is On The Wall


Sky News: https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-live-latest-news-updates-as-warrington-moves-into-tier-3-and-protests-erupt-in-italy-12115680?inApp=true

I believe the UK government is reluctant, as they have been all along. Reluctant to take the required steps to get us through this crisis.

It is that reluctance that has led to the haphazard implementation of restrictions across the country. It has also contributed to the levels of distrust by Joe Public.

It is due to the disturbing results of the REACT study, and the actions of the French and German governments, that lead me to believe that our government needs to act swiftly and firmly.

The writing is on the wall.

Well Done Australia 🇦🇺


Australia’s response had been “light years ahead” of the US and the UK

At the start of this year I was in Australia and witnessed their government’s actions, taken to control the virus and protect the population.

At the same time I observed, from afar, the UK’s actions, which I believe were too little, too late.

And now I believe we are experiencing the results of those actions. That is the haphazard and chaotic implementation of further restrictions.

Had the UK followed the Australian pattern we would be in much better shape. Acting quickly, shutting internal and external borders, enforcing quarantine wherever you were travelling from and so on. Had the UK Government followed this pattern we would have experienced fewer deaths and infections, and we would not be continuing to damage the UK economy.

So, I say well done Melbourne and well done Australia.

Shameful


People are blaming the UK Government for not controlling the spread of Covid. This video indicates otherwise, shows who are responsible.

I find this whole spectacle sickening. What the hell are they thinking. Well quite obviously, they are not thinking. Alcohol fuelled stupidity.

And then they all go home to mix with friends and family

If you couldn’t see a reason for closing pubs, these idiots just provided all the ammunition the authorities needed.

What a bunch of selfish twats.

The Voice of Common Sense


We need to listen to this guy. More so than the voices of the sensationalist media.

No Surprise


The UK could see a second spike in coronavirus cases if young people don’t follow social distancing rules, the health secretary says.

A third of all cases in England last week were people aged between 20 and 29.

Ever since the declaration of the pandemic. Ever since the UK government invoked the lock down. There were reports of youngsters ignoring the rules.

Angry reports, on social media, of large gatherings of youths in our local parks late into the night. And then there are the illegal raves with hundreds gathering.

Many will say there is no surprise, that this is the young doing what they always do, that we should let them get on with it, leave them alone.

But, and it’s a big but, there are the potential consequences.

Pick something up at these large gatherings and you take it home. Pass it on to your siblings, to your parents and even your grandparents.

Many people will blame the government, saying they are not doing enough. Blaming mixed messages and so on.

But one thing the government has been clear about, have constantly stated amidst all of their messages.

Maintain social distancing, maintain good hygiene practices, wear masks.

I just hope, given the rise in infections amongst the young, that they get the message. And soon.

They Are Walking Amongst Us


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-england-merseyside-54075731?__twitter_impression=true&s=09

These people are morons.

With millions dead and millions more sick, these idiots are saying “you can’t catch what doesn’t exist”.

I can only think that they believe the pandemic to be a global conspiracy.

Anybody who enters this salon only has themselves to blame if they or their family and friends get sick.

The authorities should close them down.

You Are All Selfish and Stupid


That is my opinion of the organisers and attendees at this illegal rave.

We are constantly being told that it is the older generation, including me, that are at risk, that we should be abiding by the social distancing rules and self isolating.

And yet this message is somehow lost on the young in this country. Although this incident was happening in Wales, it is just one of many that are happening across the whole of the UK.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-53964059?ns_mchannel=social&ns_source=twitter&ns_campaign=bbc_live&ns_linkname=5f4bc30d95391c0663f22ff8%26Up%20to%203%2C000%20people%20at%20illegal%20rave%20in%20Wales%2C%20say%20police%262020-08-30T15%3A51%3A44.378Z&ns_fee=0&pinned_post_locator=urn:asset:a5277dc4-578d-4d5f-9144-a061256100bd&pinned_post_asset_id=5f4bc30d95391c0663f22ff8&pinned_post_type=share

The young quite happily ignore all the rules. They ignore the fact that anything they pick up, at these events and other such gatherings, will be taken home and shared with their friends and family. Shared with their parents and, possibly, their grandparents.

Ch Supt Simon Belcher says: “This type of illegal gathering is totally unacceptable and we are aware of the concerns it is causing for the local community.

“I would like to again remind people of their obligations under the current coronavirus legislation and the overarching goal for everyone to take personal responsibility by following Welsh government regulations to keep Wales safe.”

What is required is that the government give the powers to clamp down on these incidents and for the authorities to exercise those powers.

The message isn’t getting through. It is time to make examples of the organisers and the attendees.

My Prostate and Me – Part 11


“See you all in six months !!!”

So said I, five years ago. A lot has happened in those five years although not a lot in the land of the prostate. Or perhaps I should say, not a lot, to my knowledge.

In 2015 we retired, and since then, we rebuilt our conservatory, holidayed in France – 2months and Italy – 8  days. We have spent 3 stints in Australia. Those 3 Ozzie visits totalled 12 months in all with the last trip stretching into 7 months, in part due to the pandemic.

And so to my prostate …

After our return from the latest Ozzie adventure, I was scheduled for a Urology Consult (telephone) 28th July. As is the norm, these are preceded by the taking of blood samples. As my GP had requested a blood sample to check my blood sugar levels, it seemed appropriate to combine them. So on Wednesday 22nd July, at eight in the morning, I presented myself at my local surgery and provided the necessary samples. I then sat back to await the consult scheduled for the following Tuesday. The next day, Thursday 23rd, I received a call from the GP surgery, could I come in and give another sample.

Apparently they wanted to rule out any potential issues with the analysis of the previous sample. As you can imagine my brain went into hyperdrive, what had the blood sample shown. I duly presented myself at the surgery and gave up some more of my blood. Although the person on the call didn’t know why I needed to give another sample, the nurse taking my blood was a little more forthcoming.

It appears the first sample showed my PSA level was up.  This second sample was to determine if there had been a balls up in the lab or if something more sinister was happening.

Friday I received  call from the surgery asking if I woud be prepared to have a telephone consult, with my GP Dr Mannings,  on Tuesday evening. I pointed out that I also had a telephone consult with the Urologist on Tuesday morning. That’s great quipped the receptionist, you’ll be able to tell the doctor what the results are and what your urologists plans are.

With all this interest in my blood and doctors left, right and centre wanting to speak to me my curiosity was definitely peaked.

So Tuesday 28th duly arrives and I have my telephone consult with the Urologist, Mr Hodgson. Yes, he confirmed, my PSA has risen.

Apparently last June my PSA was 3.6 but these latest blood tests show my PSA at 7.9 and 8.9. A sure indicator that something is going on down in the nether regions although still lower than the 13.3 which was where I was at before having the Brachytherapy

Because of this my consultant wants me to have a series of scans. CT, MRI and full body bone scan. The call is ended with the promise that I will be contacted with appointment details.

Sure enough, later in the day I receive a call from the Scanning Dept., would I be available on the morning of Saturday 1st August, for a CT scan ? Yes of course, and so I am duly booked in for 09:00.

Later the same day I have my consult with my GP. He already knew about the consultants plans but is like a child being handed a bag of sweets, so excited, when I tell him that already have the first of my scans booked.

The NHS is actually working very swiftly and efficiently. Obviously I have Covid-19 to thank for this, the hospitals are operating in a very stripped back mode. All to my advantage.

Over the next few days I receive calls and set up the remaining appointments. Monday 3rd August @ 19:00 for the MRI and Tuesday 11th August for Full Body Bone Scan. The bone scan is in two parts. I have to turn to at 11:15 for a radioactive injection. Go away for a while, then return at 14:30 for the actual scan. Apparently, after the injection, due to its radioactive nature, I have to steer clear of any pregnant women and young children Same advice I was given after I had my Brachytherapy.

I duly attended the three scans. One thing I noted is that I am able to lay completely still during these scanning sessions. They each have taken anything between twenty minutes and forty five minute. At home I find it just about impossible to keep my legs still, whether I am sitting watching TV or laid in bed. Maybe I need to get a huge doughnut installed at home.

For each of the scans I also had an injection. The one administered during the CT, I was warned, would trigger a warm sensation in my nether regions. Something akin to wetting oneself. Not something you want to consider when typically any sensation in the bladder region typically turns into a pee panic. As it happens, the sensation I felt was around the neck and up around my ear. Something like I used to feel when my Mum had caught me out in a lie. For the MRI I was given an injection of Buscopan. When I mentioned that my wife takes Buscopan for her IBS te doctor said it’s the same stuff but won’t hang around as long but that it might affect my eye sight i.e. blur my vision. He assured me it would have cleared my system before I got back to my car for the drive home. As for the bone scan and the radioactive injection I was informed that, other than having to stay away from pregnant ladies and young children, there were no side effects, that I wouldn’t be aware of it in my bod.

All that remained was for me to await the results. I assumed that I would receive a phone call from my consultant, Mr Hodgson.

I did receive a phone call, but not from Mr Hodgson. It was from a yong lady, I assume from the Urology Department reception.

She informed me that she was calling to book me in for a Pre-op Assessment !!!

My heart dropped, my stomach did a flip. “Pre-op ?” I said, “pre-op for what ?”  “Well, you came into Urology yesterday” says the young lady. “Nope” says I, “I didn’t, I haven’t had any contact with Urology since the 28th July”. “Oh !” she says “And you haven’t seen the letter ?” Again “Nope” says I, “In fact I would have expected a phone call from Mr Hodgson, not a bloody letter”. She is really apologetic and puts me on hold briefly. When she comes back on line she asks me if I want to wait for the letter, or she could read it out to me. I take the latter option. So, she reads the letter to me. My heart and stomach resume a more calm state.

None of the three scans suggest any spread of  the disease.

Needless to say, this news was not what I was expecting. Nevertheless, it was encouraging. The letter, from Mr Hodgson, set out the next steps to be taken to determine if in fact my cancer has recurred.

Those steps are

  • A PET CT
  • Template Biopsy (to be carried ot under GA and the reason for the Pre-Op)

The PET CT has been scheduled for Tuesday 25th August @ 15:00 and I have had the Pre-Op. This was in two parts. Part 1 was on Tuesday 18th, a telephone assessment which was then followed up with a hospital visit on Thursday 20th, where they carried out an ECG, swabs for MRSA and took a urine sample.

So there we are, all up to speed. I’ll post my next episode after the PET CT and when I know the date for the biopsy.

Conundrum


I am currently languishing in the Perth suburbs, Western Australia.

Last October, my son-in-law Steve was diagnosed with a brain tumour (glioblastoma). Very quickly, following the diagnosis, he was whisked into hospital for brain surgery. At the time we didn’t know how much after care he would need but we offered to help out and so my wife and I travelled out to Oz to provide support.

After care wasn’t the issue. Steve really recovered well after the surgery with no real pain and none of the residual weakness that would have been present following an abdominal or chest operation.

No, the follow up treatment and schedule was the real issue.

The radiotherapy was daily, Monday to Friday, for six weeks. Whilst the chemotherapy was tablet form, taken daily Monday to Sunday during the same six weeks. Following the surgery Steve was forbidden to drive for the next six to twelve months. So, to enable my daughter to carry on working, my role was to act as chauffer. Daily trips to Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth interspersed with trips to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, also in Perth. As well as various trips for blood tests and scans.

As the chemo built up in his system, the expected nausea and fatigue and exhaustion also built up. Alongside all this came the loss of appetite and corruption of taste buds.

And here is the conundrum.

What do you feed someone, who has all this going on ?

Even after the initial course of chemo and radio therapies has been completed, the dietary disruption continues.

After all, it is hard enough, under normal circumstances, to cater for the normal familial likes and dislikes of

  1. a granddaughter who doesn’t eat meat that isn’t chicken or ham (unless its a burger or a rissole, then almost anything goes) and has a limited set of veggie likes (eats broccoli and cauliflower but not green beans or pumpkin). By the way she loves fish but won’t eat salmon.
  2. a wife who loves fish especially salmon, has a short list of veggies (eats cauliflower but not broccoli and no sprouts or carrots) and doesn’t eat “spicy” food or creamy food i.e. white sauces are something of a minefield. Still waiting for the clear definition of what constitutes spicy.
  3. a daughter who also doesn’t like “spicy” food, likes fish that isn’t salmon or trout. Not sure about tuna ??? Eats most veggies (definitely no sprouts) and all non chicken meats have to be cooked to near charcoal point i.e. no pink

Before the tumour and chemo, Steve used to pretty much eat everything. Now he finds the flavour of most foods to be too strong, overpowering.

So, bland is the order of the day. Steamed fish or chicken predominates. Or the same but simply pan fried or baked. No sauces and definitely no herbs or spices. Some meals comprise just two tenderloin chicken pieces, total weight around 60g, steamed and maybe accompanied by a couple of carrot batons and/or a small broccoli floret.

So, how do I feed Steve without overpowering his hypersensitive taste-buds ? How do I coax him to eat a bit more as his energy levels are already depleted due to the chemo ? The lack of food does nothing to boost those already depleted levels. How do I introduce a bit of variety to his diet ?

Although he completed the initial concurrent chemo / radio therapies, my son-in-law has now started a new regime. He takes a five day course of tablet form chemotherapy, one week in four.

So, the disruption to taste, appetite, stamina and energy levels will be continuing for the next six months at least, maybe even for twelve.

Any suggestions ?