Wednesday, January 13, 2021

awake again

It's another of these nights where I sleep for an hour or two -- then wake up with my mind in overdrive. My form of insomnia.

I'm in the middle of data analysis for my app, that starts tonight's mental churn. Though the churn shifts to and from thoughts of the "life story" that Deb suggested I write. So I'm sitting at the PC and -- sooner or later -- I will do something towards one or the other of those.
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I'm still waiting on the results of my biopsy. Not really worried because, well, why worry :-) I'll be seeing the doc -- to get results -- next week. And by "seeing" I mean, a phone consultation.
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I prefer to be vague with dates but, okay... Next week also includes an MRI scan. With results by the end of the week.

I'm kissing Deb goodnight -- she is already fast asleep -- when I have a sudden flash of, I'm sorry that I will die and leave you to look after yourself. I instantly reject the thought, for two reasons.

First, "sorry" for something over which I have no control? No way! Second: if anyone can look after herself, it's Deb. With help from the kids, of course :-)
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Now I shall spend some time organising notes for my "life story"...



Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
...        Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved
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I'd rather be super rich than completely stupid... Ginger Meggs

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Dying for you to read my blog, at https: // notdotdeaddotyet .blogspot. com. au/ :-)



Sunday, January 3, 2021

limiting factors

The way I see it there are four limits to my running: heart, lungs, legs and mind. Today I test those limits with a 10km trail run.

Lately, my lungs have been the limiting factor. Today I remember to use my asthma puffer before the run -- and it works. It's never a struggle to breathe, more, my breathing feels shallow and I run slowly. Today my lungs work well. Or at least, better than usual :-)

Not that I ever run fast enough to puff and pant! Today I can feel, I'm breathing easy.

My heart has never been a problem. Today I barely get it beating.

Today, I run well enough to push my *legs* to their limit. Four km climb, I walk. Walking at a steady pace... but cannot push my legs to run. For most of the run my legs are the limiting factor. I jog downhill but walk up.

To the final -- almost flat -- two km. Sure, my legs are tired but not exhausted. Now my mind sets the limit: I do not *want* to run. The track is almost flat but... I compromise: I jog a bit, I walk a bit. And finish.
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When I run I do tend to think. Today, I think of my heart, lungs, legs, mind, and which one is most to blame for slowing me down. My conclusions are, I need to use the asthma puffer and I need to keep training, to improve my legs. That should also take care of the mind.
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Near the end of the run I think, Will I survive the next trail runs, which are even steeper? When I finish the run I think, Of course I will. So, time to do some more training... But not today. I'll wait till I can run again:-)






Nick Lethbridge    /    Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting    /   Problems? Solved.
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We are here and it is now. After that, everything tends towards guesswork... Didactylos in Small Gods
   

Friday, January 1, 2021

really not worried?

I may claim that I'm not worried about the next MRI scan. Yet I still swear at recalcitrant inanimate objects. I find it hard to settle to anything. I'm restless.

About the same as I've been for years.

Medical issues are the last of my worries :-)



Nick Lethbridge    /    Consulting Dexitroboper
Agamedes Consulting    /   Problems? Solved.
   ===

We are here and it is now. After that, everything tends towards guesswork... Didactylos in Small Gods
   

another new year

Happy New Year!

I'm doing my usual New Year's Eve activity: staying up late, playing World of Warcraft, listening to the new year rolling in.

Now it's a new year. Time to sleep. Soon...
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I'm still waiting on the results of my biopsy. The surgeon said, I'll let you know asap, Monday. I think she did not consider the Christmas / New Year break. I have not yet heard.

It doesn't really worry me.

The thought of a penile biopsy -- a scalpel to the end of my penis -- is scary. Once I'm in the hospital -- committed to the cut -- I stop worrying, I know I will sleep through the nasty bit.

Then I'm told there are two small stitches on the cut. I take the surgeon's word for that, there is no way I will look. I am told that the stitches will dissolve, I guess they have. Again, I'm not looking.

There is a bit of sensitivity, for a couple of days. No more than before when the ... infection? ... caused an occasional minor ache. Now I don't even notice that.

Go back to theory one: inflammation due to friction when I run. I'm running again but I wear more supportive underpants. Less movement, no friction. I could have an infection -- or it could be inflammation which is now fixing itself.

Whatever... I'm not worried. Either it will be "nothing", or whether I will be up for some sort of treatment. Que sera sera, and all that :-)
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Interestingly, the distraction of my penis (nudge, nudge) has a positive effect:

I'm not worried about the biopsy result. Yet it provides enough of a distraction to stop me worrying about my next MRI. Which is in -- what is now -- this month.

I'm so not worried, it's ridiculous.
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Though I am worried about the app that I will pay to have written. "Will pay" because so far, they are dead slow. I'm currently waiting on documentation that will show that they understand what I want... or not. Lack of visible action is very disappointing.

So I'm worrying about what I will do if this development company proves to be a dud.

One worry at a time is enough for anyone.



Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
...        Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved
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"If you're hoping for the element of surprise, it helps to be surprising." Kim Silva in Head on by John Scalzi

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Dying for you to read my blog, at https: // notdotdeaddotyet .blogspot. com. au/ :-)



Saturday, December 26, 2020

not bad at all

The surgeon used a sharp knife to perform a "penile biopsy". Yukk! I believe there are now one or two stitches on the end of my penis. I believe it -- but there is no way I am game to actually look. Yukk again!

Anyway, next day all is fine. An occasional minor ache. Sensitivity when I point the wrong way into my underpants. Nothing that stops me going out amongst the shopping crowds, to collect food platters for the next day.

The next day is Christmas Day. Our "kids" are round in the morning, we have great fun unwrapping presents. Our 5yo grandson is nonstop activity: finding presents, passing presents on, helping unwrap presents, playing with presents. Our 1yo granddaughter watches and enjoys.

We drive to my brother's place for lunch: a larger crowd, lots of good food, plenty of catching-up. Then to Deb's sister's place for another lot of food and catching-up. The boy has slowed down, slightly. The girl is wide awake but tiring.

For us adults: an exhausting day, lots of fun, good company. Home again and we sigh... Just as well it's only once a year :-)

I was a bit tired -- as usual. But postoperative effects (to put big words to a minor effect) are minor. I'm a bit careful about how I hang in my underpants. There's an occasional ache, very minor. But no pain.
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Boxing Day is another test: we go for a run. Just 40 minutes. With no trouble at all. All my complaints are pointless... thank goodness.

I still don't have the results, I expect it will be something minor. Meanwhile, it's back to the usual. With a ninety minute run for tomorrow... Where's a nasty diagnosis when I need it :-?



Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
...        Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved
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"If you're hoping for the element of surprise, it helps to be surprising." Kim Silva in Head on by John Scalzi

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Dying for you to read my blog, at https: // notdotdeaddotyet .blogspot. com. au/ :-)



Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Ouch! (not:-)

Several days earlier:

There's a lot of paperwork to get into hospital. Luckily it's all online. I get an email, follow the link, start ticking boxes.

Most is easy: am I suffering from X? No. Am I taking medication? No. All the standard stuff. Then: Select a time for a pre-admission meeting. Eh? Do I need one? Oh well... Except that there are "No slots available". So I stop.

Another email, Please complete your pre-admission forms. I try... still stopped by, "No slots available". I exchange emails, the advice is friendly but not really helpful. I get -- again -- to, No slots available. Click, I'll set a time later. And -- okay, I'm onto the next step.

The next step is finance. After a few questions: Estimated cost after health fund payments is $250. Plus anything else that may be needed. Oh well. Okay, I say. Pay now, is the instruction. So I do.

And that, is that.

Until two minutes later when an email arrives. Please complete your pre-admission forms. Okaaayy. I think, just a delayed email. If not, I'm sure it will be sorted out on the day.
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The day arrives:

I drive to the hospital. When I get us lost, Deb tells me where to go. (Driving, that is.) We arrive with plenty of time to spare. I check in, Deb drives home. Deb driving in all that traffic is my only worry. Now that it's started, the sharp cut is not a worry.
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If you missed the earlier post: I'm here for a "penile biopsy". Just as bad as it sounds: a small piece of flesh cut out of the end of my penis. The end of my penis is unnaturally red. Chafing but perhaps with infection. Nobody expects cancer but it's possible, so the biopsy is necessary.
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There's a lot of waiting in the hospital. Waiting, hungry and thirsty. And, with a nurse, going through all the info that I entered online.

I relax, doze a bit. Start to type a post for this blog... and I'm interrupted. Time to get ready.

I dress in a hospital gown. At least I try to dress, the nurse has to put it on the right way. I wear pressure stockings. And some stretchy, embarrassingly see-through, hospital underpants.

I'm wheeled -- in my bed -- to the theatre waiting room. More of the same questions (allergies, blood pressure, that sort of thing). Wait a bit longer. The staff are cheerful and chatty, obviously used to patients who need reassuring.

The anaesthetist arrives. He says, I'll tell you what I'm doing. I say, Just tell me that you are doing something, don't tell me what.

He says, I'm doing something. And he does, while I look away. He's inserting a cannula in my arm. Oh, that didn't work, he says. Takes it out and puts it into the back of my hand. Okay? he asks. No worries, I reply, It doesn't hurt (just a pin-prick), I just don't like it.

I'll be asking you to close your eyes and imagine that you are somewhere nice, says the anaesthetist. No, not yet, he says. Oh well, just practising.
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I slide across to another bed, a surgery bed. I'm wheeled into the operating theatre. How do I know it's an operating theatre? There are two giant lights ready to shine down on me. One above my chest ( a spare) and one above my crotch.

The doc arrives. How are the symptoms? she asks. Fading, I reply, hopefully. Feel free to not cut... Let's have a look, she says. She looks. She will cut, she says. 

The anaesthetist does his something. Another person puts a mask over my mouth & nose, oxygen. There's a bit of light chit-chat. I'm lying in another room, getting my thoughts in order. Yep, that's it, I don't remember a thing.
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Back to the original room, a room with a bed, a window, a toilet next door. Better yet, a room with lunch.

I'm still working on the lunch when the doc arrives. All went well, she says. I'll let you know on Monday, either the pathology results or that I'm still waiting. Monday is a holiday, I hear it as, "as soon as possible". She continues: If I had to guess (not quite her words) then I would say something infection something.

I always have trouble hearing / remembering the technical words. Deb & our doctor son know this so they like to be with me for appointments. What I believe is, the doc expects to find a treatable infection. I'm happy with that, till I hear otherwise :-)

There's a bit of messing round with padding in my underpants, I may still be oozing. Instructions about peeing gently for a few days, no whacking it round till all is healed. If there's bleeding, squeeze, if it continues, call a doctor. There are stitches -- I'm told, I don't look -- but they will dissolve.

I go to the toilet -- under supervision. I suspect that I won't be let free till I've peed, they don't want a man who can't pee, I'm told.

I'm let loose, Deb picks me up, I'm home again :-)
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At the hospital at 8am. On a bed by 8:20. Operated soon after 10:30. Home by noon. All very quick and easy.

I'm home, feeling good. I've peed, the nurses would be pleased. The penis may still be numb but -- so far, so good.

The only problem today was, this post. I typed some while waiting in the hospital. Typed a bit more -- then lost it all. I have no idea what happened. No worries, here it all is. The cut is done, results are whatever they will be. I'm feeling very relaxed. Glad that it's done.

I suppose that there could still be some pain as I heal. There could be treatment for whatever it is. But for now -- it's a great relief to have finished with the biopsy.

(Yes, I can feel the start of some almost-pain. But, not to worry. The cut has been done. Now I can relax and recover.)



Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
...        Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved
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"If you're hoping for the element of surprise, it helps to be surprising." Kim Silva in Head on by John Scalzi

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Dying for you to read my blog, at https: // notdotdeaddotyet .blogspot. com. au/ :-)



Friday, December 18, 2020

distracted

Right now, I should be worrying about January's scan. Okay, the day I made the booking I was hit by a quick worry, which quickly passed.

Yet I don't have time to worry about brain scans. I am distracted by another issue. Nothing serious... I hope. Just... distracting.

A few weeks back I go to the GP. Doc, I say, I have a red spot on the end of my penis. After staring and swabbing, she prescribes antibiotic capsules and anti-inflammatory cream.

What's the worst it could be? I ask. Cancer, she replies. I have a quick visual flash of a large chopper slicing towards my penis...

For two weeks I break capsules to swallow the horrible-tasting antibiotics. Back to my usual, can't swallow a pill status. I also rub cream on the end of my penis. Since it could be friction / chafing, I wear more supportive underpants under my running shorts.

The spot disappears but the area is still unnaturally red.

Unnaturally red? Well, I guess so. I don't often examine the end of my penis. A dark red spot was obvious, the rest is... well, to me it could be anything. But doctors worry so I am sent to a urology specialist.

On the referral I read the results of the swab. Nothing found. And worth a specific mention, no evidence of gonorrhea. That's a relief, I don't want to spell that too often.

The specialist looks. No idea, she says, Yes it could be cancer, that would be nasty. Or infection. It could also be friction due to rubbing against running shorts. I don't like the red velvety surface, says the specialist. I should take a biopsy, she says. No thanks, I say. Give me a few weeks and see what happens.

I go home... think about waiting... waiting... for a sharp knife to the end of my penis. I contact the specialist. Do it before Christmas, I say.

 So I am booked in for a day in hospital just before Christmas. The urology specialist will cut out a small piece of my penis. What it shows, I probably won't know till a week or so later.

Results are unimportant, it is either cancer (in my mind, unlikely), infection (my bet) or a strange alien invasion. A minor worry.

But someone cutting into my penis? Youch! No way I can relax with that in my future. I accept that it is necessary. I will be glad when it has been done.

MRI scan? No time to worry about that... I have bigger (just bragging) things to worry about.
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Note to long-term readers: Turns out it is a lot easier to write about life-saving surgery and dodgy bowel movements, than about my penis. Now maybe I can stop worrying about it :-)



Dr Nick Lethbridge / Consulting Dexitroboper
...        Agamedes Consulting / Problems ? Solved
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It's a dog eat dog world. Bring a bottle of something ... per Ginger Meggs

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Dying for you to read my blog, at https: // notdotdeaddotyet .blogspot. com. au/ :-)