Monday, April 23, 2018

Medical Medical

I viewed a documentary on the making of "Grey's Anatomy" a few years ago. The Director said that when they were writing the script there were many places where the script had a gap merely marked "Medical Medical". That's where they called in the advisors to script medically correct words for the procedures being shown on screen.

My life is just entering a phase of "Medical Medical". Today we reported to the ear specialist and had a fascinating time. The outcome seems to be that the almost total loss in my right ear was indeed due to the chill and infection from over-zealous airconditioning on our cruise in January. Nothing much can be done for it, Hearing aids will increase the overall level of good audio in my "good" ear but they will also amplify the unpleasant interference that still comes through the right. However, there's a device some some musicians use (Dr Bill plays the bagpipes!) that may ease this. We're going to look into that.

I also gave up about six vials of blood for three sets of tests - my bone density, my blood sugar (a bit worrying, that one) and the usual raft of items for my cancer. And about now I need to submit to the injector that inserts another dose of Zoladex into by abdomen. I have received an appointment with Nuclear Medicine for a bone scintigram and am expecting to have at least one MRI and a more or less ordinary CT scan in the coming weeks. "Medical Medical" indeed...

Somewhere in my Future Directives there is a statement that I do not wish in the last stages of my condition to participate in purely diagnostic procedures. It's interesting that a lott of this activity comes into that category. But perhaps some inconvenience on my part will contribute to some new knowledge about the development of advanced, metastatic, castrate-resistant prostate cancer.

Meanwhile, Bev and I have some living to do and I have a Village Newsletter to publish.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Shades of "Turkey" O'Connor

I wasn't able to attend but I admired the motivation behind those who called a recent meeting to discuss the End-of-Life Choice issues. Their advertised intention was to have a balanced, dispassionate, calm discussion of the subject. What a great place to start, I thought.
However, a first-person report that came to me about the event was that the Hon Maggie Barry was leading speaker one side of the debate. She might have been a good selection as she is a member of the Justice Select Committee which has to study the David Seymour Bill for Parliament. But I am told that she used words like "killed" and "murder" in the context of the discussion. Evidently she made it abundantly clear that she, like "Turkey" O'Connor who chaired the previous Committee*, has not only made up her mind on the issue but is resolved to do battle with it in ways that, in a civilised society, should surely be called into question. My informant said the event was not a debate at all but was simply "The Maggie Barry Show".
On a Select Committee of Parliament we hope for people who have open minds and have the willingness to explore all sides of the issue without descending to manipulation of the terms and derogatory verbal abuse. I hope the Committee includes many who will reject these latter techniques for their arguments on this particular committee.
I hear that the Catholic constituency has again orchestrated a flood of submissions along the lines of their own distinctive theology and doctrine. Again, no doubt. they have been told not to mention the fact that they are Catholic; quite rightly, they fear that a maturing society may not wish to be dictated to by an ancient faith. Indeed, a lot of other churches - including my own - have failed to declare on the matter or just kicked for touch. But the principle of compassion may yet find a place in the hearts of those who make this decision for us.
Here's a funny thing; didn't Jesus talk a lot about compassion?

* Dedicated readers of my blog may recall that one of my respondents observed that asking O'Connor to chair a Committee on End of Life Choice was like asking a Turkey to convene a meeting on the future of Thanksgiving. 

Spot trouble

For upwards of a month recently I was feeling much more exhausted and sleepy than usual. And I bumped into doorways rather more than usual as well.
I'm used to a certain amount of lassitude due to the cancer medications I'm on. And I'm accepting I have a balance problem because of the loss of function in my right ear. But it's all been much worse in the last few weeks.
There's been no significant change in any prescriptions for three or four months. I am not taking anything new or different into my system. In fact, we've reduced two by 50% to help out with similar symptoms.
But, ah, I have been treating a number of spots and small lesions that have come sprouted during the long term of my medication. I've been prescribed Efudix which had to be spread on the affected areas twice a day for three weeks. Beverley, my book-publishing client has been using the same stuff and one day she observed that she had been more tired than usual and someone told her that Efudix might be the problem.
Really, I thought. The stuff is just smeared on my spots, not swallowed. But Bev was right. A quick visit to "Dr Google" has confirmed her suspicion. Apparently, there are several creams that, applied topically (as they say) can nevertheless cause substantial changes in one's awareness. And this one is as vigorous as any of them. Indeed some medicos refused to prescribe the stuff.
We've both finished our three week courses now and are pleased with the surface results. But I think both of us are even more pleased to have our customary energy and general alertness restored!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Around and about with EOLC

Twice recently I've been asked to share my illustrated talk on "From Prostate Cancer to Voluntary Euthanasia" and I've received a very good hearing. A local U3A group was more mixed in opinion and support than the rather progressive Sea of Faith Community of Auckland. The latter's position on issues of faith naturally made them somewhat more responsive to my concern for Choice. At both venues, it was quite a lot of fun to share this light-hearted presentation. 

Then yesterday I enjoyed a stimulating conversation with Prof. Phillipa Malpas of Auckland University; we had agreed on a number of questions that she put to me and I was free to ramble in my accustomed style. The audience was the occasional meeting of the Auckland End-of-Life group so anything I could contribute might have been seen as a bit surplus to the hard study they've already been doing. 

But many said afterwards that the personal implications of cancer came out in unexpected ways in my story. They appreciated some honest and forthcoming comments in areas that are usually tiptoed around. Most responded positively to honest and integrity. Many who spoke to me afterwards had personal concerns in the area I covered. It was at once an energising and humbling experience.

And the Leaf got us over to Roskill and back without a top-up charge along the way! We are loving it.