T+582 The Slippery Slope

I was at the hospital for two clinics today, my usual transplant clinic and the endocrinology or hormone clinic to look at my thyroid problems. This meant that along with samples taken for research I had 14 phials of blood taken. ( As Hancock said, that's very nearly an armful.)

Things have been going well aside from the odd patch of GVHD on the skin so we are at last trying to taper my main anti-rejection drug ciclosporin. From 50mg morning and evening I am going down to 40mg, again morning and evening. This will mean using the liquid form as the capsules only come in 25mg as the smallest dose. This is a bit of a faff with syringes and it tastes horrible but I don't mind, this has been a long time coming so I am more than happy to put up with the minor inconvenience.

I saw my usual haematology consultant today and she told me this will be the last clinic with her as she is moving to another hospital out of the region. She has been really great and I've gotten on well with her so I will miss her but I have, over the last nearly three years, seen most of the other doctors and they have all been very good. It is an excellent team so I'm not worried about transferring to another consultant.

I'm due back at the transplant clinic in six weeks though of course if the GVHD takes advantage of the reduced ciclosporin dose and flares up badly I can just ring up to go and see them.

In endocrinology the consultant increased my levothyroxine dose form 100mcg to 150mcg daily as my thyroid levels were still too low. Hopefully this will help with the energy levels and explains ( in part at least ) the rather large weight gain I've had over the last couple of months. ( It's not the Haribo it's my glands, honest ).

I'll be back to see the endocrinologist in three months' time but will have my thyroid levels checked at transplant clinic in six weeks to be able to get an earlier measure.

A Night At the Opera

Last night I went to see my first ever opera. One of those things I have been meaning to do but never got round to.

I saw Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" at the Wolverhampton Grand theatre performed by the English Touring Opera (ETO).

As the performance was with audio captioning I assumed it was to be sung in the original Italian but the ETO always performs in English.

I had a great seat in the stalls just three rows back ( row E but they took two rows out to extend the orchestra pit to fit the full band in. )

I really enjoyed the performance, the singers were really well cast with the Count being tall and imperious and Figaro himself being very Falstaffian. I did find myself referring to the surtitles on the two big plasma screens either side of the proscenium to get all the words but usually only for the soprano parts. Also once you realised they were repeating a lot of phrases you only had to glance at the screens once then you could keep your eyes on the action.

I would definitely go again but I think the trick is to hear the opera beforehand and know the story so you can concentrate more on the performance and enjoy the music.

I have to say I can see why people become such huge opera fans it is a unique form of entertainment.

The plot?

Ah well...

Figaro, a servant of the Count, is due to marry his beloved Susannah who is in turn worried the Count will try to seduce her and re-instate the "droit de seigneur" tradition of being allowed to sleep with any new bride. Meanwhile Rosalina the Countess knows the Count is planning this and that he no longer loves her. She does however have a suitor in the form of the page Cherubino ( a male part but played by a woman ) and who is banished from the court but is hidden by Susannah. Then Dr Bartolo arrives as counsel for Marcelina his old housekeeper who leant Figaro money which if he can't pay back will mean Figaro has to marry Marcelina instead.

After that it starts to get a bit complicated.... ;o)

Eastenders has nothing on this for plot twists. Especially when we have a woman playing a man ( Cherubino ) who disguises himself as a woman at several points.

Quick apology for not providing links in the text of this post for the various references etc. but I'm sure you'll be able to google anything you are not familiar with.

Speaking of which I also learnt a new word from the opera. "Termagant" I was able to work out what it meant from the context but the origins of the word are quite interesting as I'm sure you'll find.

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