T + 470 Happy Twixmas

Posted by raetsel at Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Twixmas to all my readers. Twixmas of course being the official name for that weird twilight period between Christmas and New Year.

I had a very nice Christmas at home with Mom and Dad and observed all the usual Stanford family traditions. This year I was also able to go see my Brother and his family in the morning of Christmas day as they were all healthy this time.

As far as medical stuff is going, things are ticking along nicely. I've not had any occurrence of GVHD and the 2.5mg of prednisolone steroid every other day is not causing any major problems as far as my energy levels. The only thing I have noticed is a bit of a bout of nausea, tiredness and general yukiness about 2 hours after I have had my morning pills.

It passes after about 15 minutes so I just have to sit quietly and wait it out for the most part. I'll mention it to the doc when I go next Wednesday ( 6th Jan ) but I suspect my ciclosporin levels might be just a bit high and causing this reaction after my morning dose.

I logged on to work this morning for the first time since the start of my Christmas break and I'll be working a half-day tomorrow as well. Then I am off until Monday the 4th January.

Oh and just for a bit of fun, if you read this via the web and not an RSS feed you'll see I have a "guest columnist" offering words of wisdom on the site, just over the holiday period.

Now to promote a rather good podcast I have been listening to for a while...

Escape Pod

Escape Pod is a weekly podcast that is a reading of a Science Fiction story. I came across it a few months ago after seeing my Dad had subscribed to it when he saw it featured on the iTunes store.

I can't praise this podcast enough. If you like science fiction then check the website http://escapepod.org or search for "escape pod" on iTunes.

The stories are really well read and for the most part the audio quality is very good. ( Just the Xmas day issue had poor quality but we'll let them off that as they were probably busy with other stuff like eating turkey and getting drunk ).

The stories themselves have been really engaging and only one of the couple of dozen I have listened to has been "not my cup of tea".

Check it out.

They also have sister podcasts Pseudo Pod for horror and Castle Pod for fantasy. I've listened to a couple of the fantasy ones and they are equally good. I just don't have time to fit in listening to them on a regular basis along with all the other podcasts I have. Can't vouch for the horror stories on Pseudo Pod because as you may know "I don't do scary."

T + 457 Deck the Blogs...

Posted by raetsel at Friday, December 18, 2009

As you can see I've put the Christmas Decorations up on the blog.....

It's been another tough week this week and I've been in to the office everyday except Wednesday. This has been a special occasion as we have had some visitors from our outsourcers from India to do a Knowledge Transfer for oracle that has required me to be present in the office to assist them.

I've coped but I've been in bed by about 20:30 most night and asleep by 21:00

Wednesday I went to the transplant clinic and saw one of the registrars. My B12 and other tests have come back and they are all fine which is good news on the one hand but means the cause of my low haemoglobin remains a bit of a mystery. However the level was up to 11.3 this week so as it is going in the right direction the doc was happy to just keep it under observation, ( known in medical world as MICO, masterly inactivity and cat-like observation ).

We decided to keep me on the same level of prednisolone of 2.5mg every other day rather than try a further reduction and disrupt things over Christmas but things are going well in that direction so whenI go back on January the 6th I might have my very own epiphany and finally get off the pred.

Mommy Dearest

Not Joan Crawford, but my own mom. I am pleased to report she came out of hospital after just over a week and she is making a good recovery at home.

There's still a way to full rehabilitation as it were but everyone is really pleased with how she is doing.

We are all trying to make Christmas as stress free as possible for all concerned and I am looking forward to the festivities.


Yesterday I went to the IMAX cinema at Millennium Point in Birmingham to see the latest blockbuster Avatar in 3d and a full 70mm IMAX print.

The opening scenes and initial impact of 3D is very impressive but after that has worn off it comes down to the basics of story telling and there I am afraid it is all rather predictable.

The plot has variously been summarised by others as "Smurfahontas" or "Dances with Smurfs" and to that I would add my own as "A Smurf called Horse". ( The smurf references all relate to the fact the alien, Na'vi people, are all a Smurf shade of blue ).

It is very pretty to look at and all the night time bio-luminescence effects in the forest are impressive but you get the impression they only did those because they could.

There are a few "Basil Exposition" moments where someone says something and you think, "hmm I wonder if that will be important later" and sure it enough it is.

There are some nice ideas and the overall concept is good ( see elsewhere for formal plot summaries ) but, as I say, the main problem is the predictability.

It is a great technical feat, but the animation and 3D effects can't make up for a poorly executed story.

I wouldn't recommend seeing this film unless you want the 3D spectacle (pun intended). on a regular 2D screen I would wait for the DVD to come out but maybe on blu-ray just to get some IMAX effect.

T + 447 The Other Side of the Fence

Posted by raetsel at Monday, December 07, 2009

Sorry for the delay in updating but I do have a good excuse as you will see...

Last Wednesday I had a clinic appointment and it was pretty routine. I saw one of the registrars who reviewed my results but annoyingly my B12 test from last time was not on the system so we had to repeat it which meant being stabbed a second time.

My prednisolone (a.k.a pred) is now down to 2.5mg every other day and so far I've not noticed any ill effects from that so that is encouraging. I might actually get off the damn things this time. Then there is the issue of getting me off the other two steroids I have to support me getting off the pred but one step at a time.

My haemoglobin remains lowish but stable at 10.3 and until we get the B12 result and a couple of other tests back we won't know exactly the reason for that, however I am pleased to say that although it is low I haven't so far felt the effects of fatigue at even light exertion that I sometimes get.

I'm back in the clinic in two weeks.

The Other Side of the Fence

Whilst I was at the clinic I got a call from my Dad to say he was about to go in the ambulance with my mom to hospital. She had been poorly for a while and the GP had decided it was best she go into the hospital.

I won't go into the details other than to say she has been very poorly but is making good progress in her recovery.

It was very hard seeing her in hospital and it gave me a little taste of what other people have had to go through seeing me. In some ways it is worse than being in the bed yourself.

There are a couple of differences, for the most part my admissions were all planned and expected where as this was an emergency and for a couple of days we didn't know what was wrong.

Secondly, whilst I wouldn't say I enjoy being in hospital it doesn't bother me too much especially when I am feeling reasonably ok. My Mom however hates hospitals and anything medical so that makes it tough to see her and know what she is going through.

But she is coping and I am very proud of how she is dealing with it all. Keep up the good work Mom.