The Spider
    A noiseless patient spider,
    I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
    Mark'd how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
    It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
    Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
    And you O my soul where you stand,
    Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
    Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
    Till the bridge you will need be form'd, till the ductile anchor hold,
    Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

               Walt Whitman 1819-1892

Golden Orbs recolonise Olympic Park (Sydney Morning Herald, 10-Apr-2003)
Originally posted 9th October, 2002 at the beginning of this blog.

Hot enough for you?

Today was a blastfurnace wind, from just before dawn, when I looked out on my severalth trip to the bathroom to pat myself down with cold water on a face washer, and the eastern sky was a glaring bright hazy white. And I had to spend considerable time out in it stocking up for my trip (opaque, heat-reflective umbrella didn't help, cos most heat was in the air). Brain a touch touched.

In Sydney & nearby, daytime maxima have been high 30Cs to low 40Cs (~100-110F), and minima over inland night have been around 25-30C (77-86F). Coast tends to be a touch cooler, but more humid from the sea-breeze; Western suburbs just lie there and bake in shimmering mirages. Adelaide, and other, places have been rather higher for rather longer; a week or more. Records were broken. Other records melted. (Dubai & the like, OTOH, chortle at such fussin', when they reach 50C+ (120F+) regularly.)

Burial & other bodily solutions

BTW, can anyone help, or point me towards help, with information on the usefulness of bodies with metastatic cancer for assorted organ transplants. Would cornea or skin be possible, if nothing else?
Alternatively, should I try contacting various medical schools or anatomy museums to find if they'd be interested in a massively-surgically-altered specimen as an example? Not sure about 'plastination'.

Would have for all these to make sure to, say, shave hair & take some nail clippings for modest burial. Wonder if anyone'd like to try some Victorian-style hair jewellery?

If it appears beforehand no-one wants body or its parts, I'm hoping for a "natural" style burial on a rural hillside I own. There's a polished stone & fossil necklace I also own called 'Drowned in Stone' that's already set aside to wear. We can tuck my partner's ashes in too.

(Cunning plan is for a comfy, back-supporting, scoop-seated stone bench on top (local stone is granite), so people can rest & admire the view, with bowl (have a glazed ceramic one might do) on shady side for animals (with climbing ridges for small ones that fall in — seen too many drowned) & water-draining seat, and inscription on back. (E. longiflora decoration wherever. Ends?) Also hoping for carefully selected local small shade tree at right position for hottest times. Or *maybe* peppercorn, but needs more distance. For *real* fancy stuff, they could drag a lump of Pyrmont sandstone — there are some in my backyard, or use a rough chunk — up, flatten the top to a slight skillion (water-shedding) & prop it in a convenient spot nearby on the hillside for spreading a small picnic while you're sitting there. Can't work out a place for chunks of the fossil-rich mudstone found under the sandstone layer, it's too soft to leave exposed for more than a few years.

If the council isn't keen, well it'll all have to go up near the rocky summit, tucked into the dry? sclerophyll woodland. Should blend in well, esp. if they do the 'old paint the new stone with milky water' trick to get the granite scungied up.)

Fade away or gradually die

Some more sad news Edward Woodward's BBC Obituary

I mentioned Breaker Morant just recently elsewhere. Callan seems to have branded itself into a generation, too. Glad now DVD releases are available. The Wicker Man has left quite an impact as well. Saw him only a couple of weeks ago, doing a good job in a recent Britcrime TV drama. Only one I can see in IMDB list is Jonnie Johnson in The Bill – which I virtually never watch, maybe it was spotting him sucked me in?

It sounds like a pretty good life overall: family together, not too much financial or physical struggle, doing good work in profession he enjoyed. Always sad to lose his like, tho'.

Contemplating yesterday

Don't really like that word "palliative", when it's used in my direction. "Curative" or "healing" would be much nicer. Doctors say most important thing is to make my quality of life as good on possible for as long as possible.

OTOH, not having something to "make me more comfortable" is an even worse thought. I've definitely learnt cowardice, like the burnt child fears the fire. Much medical treatment is a lot like torture with good intentions (even with pain management).

Should really get on with photo books & "arranging affairs" (@#!&*%*#@!! paperwork). Probably in some kind of denial/ultimate procrastination. Don't appear to have learnt anything important from the last 10 years of "teaching experiences". The stupid must go right to the bone: Cue one of Pris' better-known quotes. Still, market for inspirational books (Above It All: My Spiritual Journey from Cancer to Climbing Mt Everest in a Wheelchair*) must surely be glutted now. So many people are getting to ages of more illness, there'll be more authors than readers.

Feel better after blood for anaemia yesterday (Vampire Mez. Practicing accent: Wampyr.). Charcoal tablets seem to be working, too, unless some other thing is helping reduce gas explosions. Will add to stock for trip. Another landmark: got Nelune car lift to hospital because was scared if I walked same gas blow-out would happen as the other day when I tried to go to pay bill, shops.

Was going to discuss "palliative" with friends — being up at hospital with them, back in Rehab (separate room, with openable window, own toilet, relative peace and quiet), after treatment and appointments — but got distracted talking and dealing with odd problems that popped up.

Hope your Black Friday went well.
* Note: Not entirely a joke. There's a new one out about a couple of Aboriginal(?) footballers(?) travelling out in the desert, one of whom is in chemo/radio therapy at the time. (So either it's a short trip or they've spaced out treatments longer round the trip or it's actually just after treatment.)
[UPDATE] Kurt Fearnley, who normally uses a wheelchair because he was born with the lower part of his spine missing, went back to his childhood form of locomotion — pulling himself along by his arms while his much-shrunken legs trail along after his body — to crawl along the entire Kokoda Track because the steep slopes & muddy ground made using a wheelchair impractical. (Up & Down Stories – Kokoda & Me) While I have to drop my shopping and lay down for quite some time just after going around the block and climbing the 57 steps back to my flat, and he's an athlete. (See news.smh.com.au/ breaking-news-world/ exhausted-fearnley-finishes-kokoda-crawl-20091118-ilga.html)

A different 9/11 remembrance

Since the start of this blog, usually on this day, running up to Remembrance/Armistice Day on 11/11, I commemorate the 9/11/1938 Night of Broken Glass (Kristallnacht), also called the State Pogrom Night. Especially since, not only due remembrance for itself, it has examples of political and propaganda uses, twisted mendacity in language, an interlocking step-by-step spiral of violence and oppression, and breathtaking fraud (including monetary).

(2008) Crystalline: 9/11 (9th November)
(2007): It's 9/11 (9th November) again – Kristallnacht
(2006): Anniversary: The First 9/11 — Broken Glass & Ashes
(2004): The First 9/11 — Broken Glass & Ashes
(2003): Repeating the Kristallnacht 9/11 entry from 2002
(2002): Remember Kristallnacht – 9/11/38 [In Australia 9/11 is November 9th]

One year, I remembered another sad incident associated with this date: (2005): 9/11 Returns: Stari Most at Mostar

There's a collection of historic German November 9ths at selenak's LiveJournal, Musings, originally from 2008, in the almost-immediate aftermath of Barack Obama's election as US President. (http://selenak.livejournal.com/429403.html)
(The Yorkshire Ranter added a couple more in comments.)

But this year has happier memories. It's the 20th Anniversary of the 1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall. Perched on my grandmother's living room floor watching the B & W television showing coverage of the Building of The Wall in 1961 is one of my earliest datable memories. So reliving those days and nights 28 years after that and 51 after "the start of The Holocaust" — well within a human lifespan — it's good to celebrate its joy.

Here's some quick links to places where thoughts and memories were shared: It was twenty years ago today. As well as some in the Musings LJ post mentioned above, this year's 9/11 there is called Freiheit schöner Götterfunken... (a poem later altered to Freude schöner Götterfunken …)

Chemotherapy + Gripe update

Wherein Much Tedious Matter is Related
Hoo boy, whatta *fun* few weeks!

Last gripe was a few days after start. Survived a week or so more on water, peppermint tea, watered juice, watered stock, crystallized ginger, barley sugar & some mints. (Don't know why I forgot Staminade powder I keep to make up into drink for just such emergencies.)

Seemed to stabilize, so l tried adding jelly, plain rice, rice noodles & dry crackers, e.g Ryevita (not all at once) to existing diet. Found only small amount of solids was tolerable. Could take more as long as each serving was small, so I would divide a meal and eat across a longer time. Could be that stomach was shrunken, but also having trouble swallowing. Worrying. Too sick sometimes to get out at all. Had to postpone tests, therefore chemotherapy, a week.

After not being able to get beyond that stage without prostrating myself, reading up on side-effects & discussing it, I tried stopping the oxybutrynin (pill suggested by non-cancer specialist). Improved (was able to get to hospital to do CT scan & blood tests), but weakness, tiredness, low stamina persisted. Never fully well. Also, non-cancer symptoms being slightly improved by pill came back.

Mixed feelings that the tests showed 3 x usual blood calcium. It was coming out of my bones, like osteoporosis, which might account for some of my backaches. Also makes you feel dreadful, which fitted well. Pausing chemo & taking new megestrol tablets to "push the calcium back into" my bones.

Touch worried that the cancer is getting stronger. Been taking new pills & feeling better, I think.

Chemotherapy + Gripe

NOTE: Skip this to avoid whinging, complaining & yukkiness.

Think I've washed most of the cytotoxins and their accompanying protective drugs out, as far as possible, so started on the new drug from specialist.

Eating as healthily as I can manage, with fresh fruit & juices, vegies, fish, organic meats & milk, nice bread, etc. Have the best emergency low-prep foods I can manage — low-processed frozen food, parboiled rice, dried pasta from different grains. There's a few made-up "boil in the bag" meals that don't need freezing & some canned stuff in case of times when I just can't manage anything more.

Near low-immune part of cycle, so I'm doing things like throwing out any slightly-suss food, rinsing plates & utensils in boiling water, cleaning surfaces, using different sets of rubber gloves for handling different stuff, washing gloves in disinfectant, washing my hands with sanitizing stuff before eating, or after toilet. Being extra careful not to get nicked or bruised, staying away from crowds.

So WHY am I exploding hydrogen sulphide gas from both ends like a locomotive blowing steam!?!?!? Diarrhoea for about 24 hours. Now this morning, without more food today than some ginger to try and settle stomach, brought up half a litre or so of bright yellow bile. Bleurgh.

Is it new drug? Did I pick bug up in Rehabilitation Unit, where they had gastro going round erlier? Was food more suspicious than I suspected? Or what? How?

Just what I need when I'm already weak & tired & really low & washed out. Bleah.

And I definitely don't want to take this in to sick friend, or his partner. Will try some peppermint tea soon. Maybe barley sugar to keep up energy.

Friend's Stroke: some wonderful news

I haven't been too well, so haven't written much, and, worse, haven't been to see my friend as much. So it was great first to see him with a new tracheotomy that meant he could put a finger over the tube and speak, and in a separate room.

Then they removed the trachie and the nasogastric tube altogether! Talking! Started him on fluids; soup, yoghurt, etc; then puree/mashed meals. Now he's out of the hospital building, over in Rehabilitation Unit — same building where I was in hospice care, on floor above. So back to shared ward.

If you've seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, the mashed meals remind me of the coloured goo in squares on a white rectangular divided plate that Poole and Bowman ate on the Jupiter. Except they are served out by what may be an icecream scoop and the plates are round.