Wednesday, 28 November 2012

it should be xkcd

But no, its the instructions to nurses and hospital staff on the back of this drip stand.

Maybe its only because I find xkcd funny.

Take a peek if you've never looked:


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The suction dressing foam

I thought it may be interesting to see a little more details on the vacuum dressing. This is a small snipping of the foam used in packing my vacuum dressing.

Basically they lay down a thin sheet of adhesive plastic, trim out of that the shape of the wound. Then they size down a larger chunk of this foam to fill the wound and cover that with the suction cup. Finally a layer of the thin adhesive plastic is again used to seal the suction cup on.

It helps the body fill in flesh under the skin as the skin is healing.

Monday, 26 November 2012

VAC pack

Feeling a little better this morning and so I thought that I would write a little about the vacuum dressing that they are using to dress and cover my wound.

These two pictures show the waterproof plastic dressing and the suction cup that covers it. You can perhaps also see the foam packing that is under the suction cap. The tube is connected to a suction pump with a reservoir trap to catch the gunk that it suck out of the wound.

This seems to do a number of things:

1 - allow the wound to remain moist which I understand promotes better healing.

2 - the foam promotes some skin growth around the edges and the flesh underneath to grow too.

3 - the vacuum draws the edges of the wound together and encourages it to close.

4 - it allows the suction to be there while not getting the wound sucked into the pipe.

Never heard of it before but apart from being tethered to this machine all the time it seems to be making things better faster.

Will keep you posted

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Results stage 1

I woke up from the surgery in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) feeling better that when I awoke ther last time (after my heart surgery).

The surgery this time was to remove the wires and to remove dead or infected flesh (debridement, worth looking at wikipedia on that one).

Apart from feeling groggy I actually felt better than when I went in. I had been complaining about the wires for some time since the surgery. That their removal makes me feel better immediately says to me that I was right.

I am now waiting for the lab results to identify what the infection was and if there was any infection (or it was just an immune response to the constant irritation from the wires).

As a reasonable precaution the hospital has me on IV antibiotics straight into my heart via a type of catheter through my arm.

I will post more when I know it.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Another surgery

Well I hadn't expected that the visit to the specialist about a sudden and rapidly expanding swelling in my sternum would see me in surgery again the same day.

Its clearly something that's been brewing since my heart op in 2011.

So probably I'll wake up tomorrow post op.

See ya


As a kid I soon learned that there was little to be gained by asking "how far was it" on trips because it neither got us there earlier or helped the trip to go faster.

My current situation is somehow like those early days: I feel alone in the back seat, with just the window to look out and nothing interesting to see. Picking up the phone to call a friend provides some temporary relief, but I know that when I hangup that I will be instantly alone again.

There is a strong feeling of abandonment running through my life at the moment. Grief counsellors will say that this is one of the stages that one goes through when one looses some one close.

While it is close it is not quite the same. You see my wife did not abandon me, she was bushwhacked by something hiding in her head. Killed from within by something we knew nothing about (a brain tumor which we never got a chance to fight).

When were going to the airport she ducked back into the house to tie a yellow ribbon around the table leg. So I am quite sure that when she left, she intended to come back to me.

So the feelings of abandonment are off the mark.

Words are important things, they link to ideas and help us navigate complex issues. So choosing the wrong word to explain something is like using the wrong co-ordinates on the map, perhaps even using the wrong map.

I find myself struggling with this because every time I feel this way I immediately know she didn't abandon me, she was taken from me. So using the word abandonment simply reinforces the wrong concept and leads me off the path to healing.

I assure you dear reader that I do not want to remain lost in this dark place any longer than I have to be. So finding a path to healing which fits reality and what I experience is important if I really want to feel comfortable that the peace I find is based on a solid foundation.

If not it could collapse under me dropping back into darkness should something challenge it.

Right now I have no better word than bereft.

I'll let you know what turns up in my search.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

truth vs fiction

which is stranger?

from facebook

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

How big is your attachment

Side stepping any toughts of strapons I am increasingly getting emails with 5MB or larger attached images as people snap them with their phones and email them.

Its a fraught issue and one which seems to be overlooked by developers and users alike.

I often waver between setting my phone between the small web and phone friendly 640x480 and the big 2590 x 1944 for prints.

My phone makes it possible to resize the image, but A) its a hassle and B) you have to do it manually. Meaning its a pain in the butt and probably wont happen.

Interestingly MMS has been doing this for some years on smarter phones (like my Nokia) but the move away from that to email (driven by rape and pilliage prices of MMS to the more sensible pricing of plain data) has brought us back to square one.

With providers getting paid by the bytes they ship its only the consumers who suffer from the bliss of ignorance on this one. Meaning its unlikely we'll see any apps for phones that integrate with your email and resize on the fly for you any time soon.

And thats a pity.

Monday, 19 November 2012

grief is not a contagion

Firstly this is not something I am implying to be directed at my friends. This post has been sparked by something that happened, but it was that contact which set me thinking about this. So don't feel 'to blame' about it if you happen to reconcile with it.

One of the things I have found interesting in the process of loosing my wife is that people suddenly keep their distance. People who did contact me from time to time simply haven't.

Even more strange is that when I do have reason to contact them they say something like "we've been thinking about you but didn't want to say anything to you because it seems so useless".

Its uncanny how similar this is among people I know.

So as advice to people who man know somone who is grieving in the future: don't be afraid to contact them. That is my purpose here. I want to give some advice to those around the grieving person. Grieving is not infectious.

Even if its just a quick hello. People aren't telepathic, and may actually feel isolated rather than be sitting around feeling like "oh yes, all my friends are thinking of me".

Of course be prepared for a little difficulty from the other end. When you ask "how are you going" don't be surprised if you don't get the usual supermarket answer of "oh fine, been having fun ... and you?". But it won't be painful (well unless you are so shallow, in which case probably better to keep to your self).

The thing is that friends contacting you occasionally is not useless. Sure you can't do something physical, but emotional support (even just listening) is actually really helpful. Christmas cards for example don't really do anything either, but you still send them to your friends right?

To my friends who keep in touch I want you to know how much it means to me, even if I do sound like shit warmed up and drone on about the same issues. To the others who have claimed to be my friends, the lack of contact says a lot to me.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Finnish Puukko

While I was in Finland a little while back I had the opportunity to take some diversional therapy away from the main reason I was there. My mate makes traditional Finnish knives called puukko. These are the sort of thing a forester or hunter would carry on their belt years ago as they are just practical tools.

As it happens he'd made a set for Anita and I as our wedding present. Us being outdoor camping types having a knife in the pack is almost a must, so having a personally made knife is just a nice touch. Lari as it happens makes quite nice puukko. This is our two.

The basic knife billets are welded onto a stem first, then the rough shape is ground.

Lari then puts an 'edge' on the knife blade.

and then shapes the edges

to put an even slope down to the edge from the knife back

and round out the point.

.When its all done the knife is ready to be heat treated

and then the last thing to go on is of course the handle. Lari also does a very nice job of that too as personally I think the wood work is lovely.

As it happens Lari also makes the sheaths too, so the leatherwork is something included in his skill set. So it was nice to be a part of the process that was used to make our knives.

Thanks Lari :-)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

eclipse 2012 - something different

Down where I live in the south of Queensland we didn't get the full view of the eclipse, here it was about 82% or something.

Well everyone is familiar with the images of the eclipse, so rather than post anything more on that I thought I'd show how the light shining through the trees provided little pinhole camera examples all over the place.


and closer up to the shadow its even more clear..


I just wish Anita was here to see this as she liked this sort of thing

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

mixed messages by mis leaders

Not having anyone to really guide me on my path of grieving my wife I turn to various sources for ideas or suggestions which can help. Often I find things which are proporting to help but are flawed. For instance this 'advice' which starts out with saying one thing and leads you into another thought, which if presented from the start would likely be rejected.

From this site on a fellow travellers insights into dealing with grief I found a quotation of something he found helpful. I will underline the points which I take the significant issue with.

When we cry for a loved one that has died, either we cry for ourselves or we cry for humanity, never for our loved one. Many will not agree with this, but it is true.

Really? Never? Its just true because he says so ... well that's not how I personally felt. Sure I felt I cried a lot for my loss ... well ok, then it goes on.

The tears are more often than not an expression of our own fear of not having our loved one with us any longer to keep us company, and the subconscious realization that all of us will come to this in time; none will be excused.

ok, so not all the time ... which is it? never or less frequently? Ok and then

Therefore, grief has everything to do with us, and nothing to do with the one who has died. This is the true understanding of grief, and when we understand in this way, grief will be less burdensome.

So within a single paragraph the author then fails to agree himself and reaches a conclusion that contracticts his own words.  Makes you wonder if they ever experienced anything or just sprung up to advise others (and probably charge for it too).

I am sure I cry a lot for me and how I feel. But some of the tears are for her, what she lost and how she was robbed. Perhaps that author doesn't get it, but I loved my wife. I was always sad when she was sad, when she was cheated or robbed I tried my best to do something to rectify that and if I couldn't I felt for her.

Maybe he's just another person who is focused on himself.

Myself, I miss Anita so much. It breaks my heart that she won't enjoy the perfect winter days like this (that she loved so much) anymore.

Perhaps she is out there on a lake enjoying the beauty she loved and waiting for me to join her. Now that's something I'd like to be true.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

I wish I was dead but I'm not

My lovely wife told me that she was never happier than when I came out of surgery alive, and getting better every day.

But then she died suddenly and now I am here alone with no reason to go on living.

Frankly its a situation I'm sick of.

How the hell do I find something to make my life worthwhile again?

The last few months has seen the agony of her death ebb to a dull and omnipresent pain. But all of the things we planned are pointless without her. Even cooking a meal for myself just feels pointless when she is not there to share it with.

PS : some of my friends have contacted me after reading this post with offers to talk about it or to come and visit them.

I am very lucky to have such fine people as friends. As it happens I do get the opportunity to talk about Anita and coping with her passing with a couple of close friends. Probably the most helpful is my friend who is in her 80's and lost her husband some years ago to cancer.

She knows quite well the emotional turmoil I am undergoing, and can even still only talk about her experiences and listen to whatever it is that I have to say.

Which is actually about all that anyone can really do.

This situation is quite unlike anything most people undergo when they are young, so it is almost impossible to really comprehend. The closest most people who aren't elderly get to this is to observe their grand parents reactions when one of them dies leaving the other struggling with this hardest of things in life. Even then they don't normally grasp it and wonder why their grandmother or grandfather is not getting over it in a few months or so as they have.

Again thanks to everyone and that's about all I have energy for now.