Wandering Thoughts

July 29, 2008

Radioactive Blogging

In the early hours of this morning, on the edge of an industrial estate, amongst the worn-out outer suburbs of Melbourne a mule stood waiting, shrouded in drizzle; his leather jacket barely keeping him warm in the pre-dawn chill. Behind him a gate opened and a man wearing a lab coat walked out to meet him.

“You are the man for the Wellington job”, his accent was foreign but unplaceable.
“You understand this is radioactive”
“So be careful, we need for him to receive the full dose”.
“Now get to the airport!”

On the other side of the Tasman at the other end of the day, the delivery found its destination – me. Inside a bare concrete cell that someone had once tried to cheer up with pictures from an old calendar, I lay helpless on a bed as another man with another unplaceable accent injected me with the contents from the flask: radioactive sugar. There was nowhere to run. A stern nurse watched from the door. Her accent suggested she was from the East – maybe Seatoun.

Such are the wonders of medical technology. In Wellington we have a PET scanner (at Wakefield hospital). This machine may tell my surgeon whether there is active inflammation around my aorta. And so today I had my scan. They can’t make the radioactive sugar needed for the scan (or at least my scan) in New Zealand though. So it has to be brewed up in Melbourne and flown across the Tasman. All this has to be done in a hurry as the radioactive sugar has a very short half-life.

As for the Pet Scan, it was fine – obviously there were no stern people with unplaceable accents (and the calendar pictures on the wall really weren’t that old). And I only wanted to run ’cause needles still scare the corpuscles out of me.

Pet Scans are way easier than angiograms, more like MRIs in the big scheme of things, although there was the radioactive sugar and then another injection of a radioactive contrast (the same warm flush I experienced during the angiogram – I’m actually quite starting to enjoy the sensation.)

Anyhow, the main point of this post is to gloat: I’m still radioactive. Which, surely makes this New Zealand’s first ever radioactive blog post.


Results in a few days.

July 27, 2008


Here’s the run down.

There is no question that my aortic valve needs to be replaced. And there is no question that sooner rather than later would be preferable.

The two questions remaining are:

1. Is there active inflammation in the area at present.


2. Will my ascending aorta need to be replaced.

Active inflammation is an issue because actively inflamed tissue is harder to operate on.

Click here to read more…

July 26, 2008

Left Brain Strikes Back

Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 3:51 pm

Over at TED you can listen to neuroanatomist (brain scientist to you and me) Jill Bolte Taylor talk about the day she had a stroke. I listened last week, spellbound at first as she turned the story of her personal disaster into a science lesson to remember. The second half frustrated me though – all that insight, and a remarkable recovery to boot, lead only to the sort of stock standard sub-Buddhist conclusion that fills the new age section in bookstores: get in touch with your right brain and take time to just be; hope that more people will do this because that will make the world a better place.

I was still vaguely annoyed when I went for my evening walk. As I made my way up to the grassy hillock near our house my mind paced back and forth.

…That sort of advice is easy offered but never followed…

…Well, you used to beleive in it…

…Used to. Anyway that’s how I know it’s wrong…

…No. That’s how you know it didn’t work for you when you kindof tried it once…

…Didn’t work for me, didn’t work for anyone else I ever met,
including people who preached the stuff…

…Well it sure seemed to work for her…

…hhmmpphhh…what about all that talk of projecting peace to
improve the world around us? It’s nonsense. The only answers
are in the long slow march of reason…

At the top of the hill I was surrounded by the shapes and colours of a the falling dusk.

…I’ve got an idea…

…I should try emptying my mind of thoughts and just be?…

…It’s a beautiful evening; what’s there to loose…


…Go on…


My jacket flapped in the wind. To the East the lighthouses at Pencarrow and Baring Head blinked as the headlands they sat on faded into the grey. Above, clouds raced south, running before the rising northerly, billowing like sails. Wind gusts formed cat’s paws as they touched the sea, then spread, joining the journey to the horizon. The last purples of the western sky fell upon the Kaikouras giving the snow colour amongst the haze.

…You know what I think…

…Wha!… sigh…No…

…There’s a blog post in this…


…Oh be a sport. That’s quite a view…

…I suppose…

…And it would be funny in a self-deprecating way…


…Go on. if I leave now I can start it before dinner…

…I guess I am getting cold. What are you thinking…

…Something that ties in that TED talk with my own musings about spirituality…

…And the evening, too. How would you start it?…

…”Thanks to the wonders of modern technology brain scientist…”

…How about “Over at TED”, it’s more succinct…

Very Short Review

Filed under: Movies — terence @ 2:55 pm
Tags: ,

Be Kind Rewind:

There was only one joke really. And the plot was dire, barely holding the scenes together. But the joke was good enough, and the scenes done well enough, that for about quarter of the movie – aided by contagion from the stranger in the seat next to me – I laughed myself out of air. :)

July 20, 2008

On Top of the World

Filed under: Going Places — terence @ 11:33 am

The campground was about half a kilometre up a muddy road – just beyond the outskirts of Ilulissat. On the way, the road passed the village husky kennels, skirting to the left of the painted plywood dog-houses. For eight months of the year huskies are used by Inuit for hunting, pulling their sleds across the ice and snow of Arctic Greenland; for the other four, when the summer thaw makes sled-travel impossible, the dogs are chained, restless, to their kennels. Howling at passers-by and feeding on chunks of seal-blubber thrown to them by their owners.

Seal-blubber and dog shit: the husky kennels stank. Pretty quickly, I learnt to navigate that section of the road while not breathing through my nose.

Click here to read the rest of this story…

July 19, 2008

And the weather today is…

Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 9:55 am

…gently miserable.

pic nabbed from the Beacon Hill Webcam

July 12, 2008


Filed under: Going Places — terence @ 7:44 pm

Fans of storms can’t complain when their beach holidays coincide with icy southerlies, and I’m not. We didn’t see much sun in Riversdale but our trip over the Rimutakas was coated with more than enough snow to make up for it. We parked the car and climbed slowly, taking it easy on the heart, to the ridge before the trig. From there we gazed south into the eye-watering wind and at folding hills, wrapped in white, stretching away as far as we could see.

July 3, 2008


Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 9:28 pm

Once upon a time when I worked from home, when Nor’West gales would blow on Thursdays, coughing impossible wind gusts at our hillside, I would wake to the sound of migration. The plastic scrape as one after another the morning’s recycling bins yielded to the wind and began to shamble towards Cook Strait. I don’t know if they ever made it, or whether they all fell short, stranded in gardens and trapped against fences. But, with the exception of the neighbour’s bin (cruelly tethered to their letterbox), they never stopped trying.

Instinct is a strong thing. (Come to think of it, so are Nor’Westerly Gales.)

Anyhow, I have an old, more political, blog that a change in circumstances means I’m going to have to leave be for a while. So this is the replacement. On it I am going to talk about arthritis and heart problems (both of which I have), and travel and surfing (both of which I wish I was doing).

I’m also going to migrate some of my old blog’s health related posts over here over the next few days.

Blog at WordPress.com.

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