Clogged Plumbing

Posted in Mixed Nuts on August 6th, 2010 by MadDog
No Gravatar

I never planned to discuss medical matters of any kind here, because I had this silly idea that just because we have always been as healthy as horses, we would probably just drop dead sometime and never really have to be sick. How nice that would be. Well, you’ve seen bright yellow Eunie yesterday.

Here is what the sunrise looked in Cairns this morning before the day’s load of stuff hit the fan:

As reported yesterday, Eunie has a constricted common bile duct leading into her small intestine. This is what is causing bile, the bright yellow pigment, to back up into her liver and make her a sickie. There are two ways to fix this. If they find gall stones on next Thursday, they will pretty much stop and wait a week and then remove her gall bladder. This is the preferred outcome for us. PRAY FOR GALL STONES!  If it it something else restricting the flow, the will put in a thing called a stent, which will enlarge the opening. The problem with this is that it has to be cleaned or replaced at least once a year. This is NOT the preferred outcome.

Here is a mob of fruit bats (flying foxes) in a tree near the Cairns Private Hospital. They tried their best to drop their fragrant fruit bombs on me, but I dodged every one. They look just like the ones we have in Madang:

The sight of them and their constant screeching was comforting.

Today’s post will be a short one, because I’m wasted. Here is the sunset from the hospital window:

I leave you with this request. If you are the praying kind, please pray for GALL STONES!  If praying isn’t your bag, then please THINK of gall stones.

Better Than Yesterday

Posted in Mixed Nuts on August 5th, 2010 by MadDog
No Gravatar

Today’s post will be as brief as yesterday’s because it’s been another grueling day of frantic activity and anxiety. It seemed to be starting off as badly as the last few days, but turned out very nicely.

Here is Eunie ensconced in her luxurious boudoir of the Cairns Private Hospital. Yes, she is still yellow, but at least we know what is causing it:

It seems that she has a blocked bile duct. She will stay in the hospital until about Saturday while they get her pain medication adjusted and make sure she’s okay otherwise. Then she will come back to the apartment with me until next Wednesday. On Thursday, the surgeon will install a stent in the bile duct and (or) remove the gall bladder. The prognosis is very good.

We haven’t been told yet how long she will have to stay in Cairns. We should know that next week

Back in Cairns Again

Posted in Mixed Nuts on August 4th, 2010 by MadDog
No Gravatar

We find ourselves in Cairns this afternoon after a very hectic two days of planning for a hurry-up trip to Australia to find out what is wrong with Eunie. She seemed to be responding well to treatment for a duodenal ulcer (best guess with no proper examination equipment in PNG), but late last week she developed significant jaundice. If you have never seen someone suffering from jaundice, you are lucky. Yellow skin and bright yellow eyes are not a healthy look.

The only thing that I can say good about the trip down here was that neither of the planes we were flying on crashed. As soon as we arrived in Australia, we found that none of our credit cards worked. If you’ve every been stuck someplace far from home with no money, you know the feeling.

Then a series of Catch 22 situations began which will probably seem funny someday, but have not improved my mood for the moment. We found that the money we had brought with us was actually Canadian, not Australian so we couldn’t pay the cabbie. Hey, the currencies both look very similar. Fortunately, we had some American Dollars, but the cabbie couldn’t find a currency exchange. We could not get into our time-share room generously provided to us by friends in Madang, because they still required a credit card swipe. We could not fix the credit card situation unless we could get on line with Eunie’s laptop because the accounts are locked to that computer. We could not get an internet connection because we had no working credit card. We couldn’t get our PNG phone to work with the Australian SIM card we bought, so we had to buy another phone. That pretty well used up our remaining cash. Then when we tried to activate the phone, we ended up talking to a guy on the Asian continent who insisted on an Australian address to go with my USA passport number. We finally lied to him and gave him the address of the Woolworth’s store where we bought the phone.

As far as the Vodaphone company is concerned, we how live at the Wollies store on Abbott Street in Cairns.

Believe me, I could go on and on. There is much, much more, but I’ll write about it when I’m feeling funnier.

We are currently at the lovely house of Tony and Lorraine Collins using their internet connection. It’s good to have friends when things start falling to pieces.

I hope to be back tomorrow with the usual nonsense.

The Sad Fate of the Male of the Species

Posted in Humor on August 2nd, 2010 by MadDog
No Gravatar

As soon as we arrived up at the house at Blueblood on Sunday, my sharp-eyed mate, Mike Cassell told me of an impending natural event that I would not want to miss. He guided me to the front of the house where a large female spider had built her web. A small male on the make was cautiously walking around her. We watched him circle the female several times. The tension in the air was intense.

Here’s a shot of the hapless fellow checking the scene:

Well, we all know how this is going to end, don’t we? All except the poor male spider. This takes me back to high-school. I was that most unusual combination of a slightly geeky guy with a truly boss set of wheels. This confused the girls. I was called “cute” which is the last word a guy wants to hear in a verbal description of him. Oh, how they loved the car, an Austin Heally. Many a cruise ended with, “Thanks for the ride. You’re cute.” Grrrrrrr . . .  And no phone number.

My problems were a picnic compared the the nasty surprise that this little guy has in store.

Here he is chatting her up. His palps are quivering and his forelegs are vibrating like crazy. One can almost detect the faint spider talk, “Hey baby, lookin’ for a good time?”:

Sadly, nobody has told him that this is a very poor pick-up line for a male spider to use. The problem is that it implies dinner and there is only one item on the menu.

About this time I blew the lunch trumpet. Really. We have an old bugle there at the house.

During lunch we discussed matters of more import, specifically, how to get Eunie out of the country as quickly as possible down to Cairns for a thorough medical exam. I have decided, after much internal debate, that I’m going to go with her. We’re not expecting anything dramatic. It looks for the moment that the worst outcome might be to stick in one of those little clipper-snipper things through a hole the size of your pinkie and yank out her gall bladder. She is looking pretty yellow. Up until this morning I was still thinking that I would just be in the way and it costs a bundle and who’s going to take care of things here at the office and blah, blah, blah, one “reason” after the other to act “responsibly”.

Then, this morning, I got my head screwed on straight. Where do you belong when your spouse is sick? Duh! I’m going to Cairns. Everything else can take care of itself. Hey, if I dropped dead in my chair right now, the world would go on, eh? (At least I think  it would, but that gets into a philosophical discussion for which I’m not prepared at the moment. Maybe later. It will be fun.)

Anyway, let’s get back to the drama of the spider and her unfortunate lover. (That would make a good title for a novel – The Unfortunate Lover.)  *

What we did not know was that the spider love fest had already reached its conclusion and the female was enjoying her  lunch:

Clicking on this will reveal a quite graphic view of the lady spider devouring her former mate.

Well, if I had the time today, I could do a few paragraphs of allegorical humor and anecdotal musings connecting this to the existential value of maleness. I mean, really, how many of us do you need? How big do we need to be? Do we require brains at all? Should anybody care a whit what we think? Much of nature zips along quite nicely with none of the mess of males casting about for means to perpetuate their macho selves and fouling the air with testosterone fumes.

Food for another post.

There is a terrific potential bonfire stacked up on the beach. This spot attracts a lot of driftwood. We will probably start dragging it up on higher ground soon so that it can be well dried so that we can have have a huge fire at Christmas time. For a little stress relief, I decided to take a couple of pictures:

An interesting thing in this shot is the green sand. The sand itself is not really green. It is covered by a thin film of algae.

As a tip of the hat to the possible discovery of US$200,000,000 worth of Ansel Adams glass plate negatives (which I can’t wait to see!) I decided to do another shot in monochrome.

I think that I like it better.

*  There is a poem by Andrew Marvel bearing that title. After a couple of read-throughs, I decided that I didn’t understand a single word. I did a little checking on the web. I don’t feel so bad now, because it seems that nobody else understands it either. I’m feeling much better about my own poems now.

Tags: ,

Underwater Pencil

Posted in Under the Sea on August 1st, 2010 by MadDog
No Gravatar

I’ll be less chatty today, because I spent most of the day up at Blueblood. We are also dealing with a health problem which Eunie has been suffering through for a couple of months and a definitive diagnosis is probably not going to be available with the medical technology available here in Madang. It is very likely that Eunie will be leaving Madang in the next few days to go to Cairns where more sophisticated equipment is available and we can figure out what is causing her illness. Any treatment required for her problem will be available also in Cairns, so we’re certain that it’s the right move to get her out of here as quickly as possible. We’ve decided that I’d be pretty much in the way while that process is in progress, so I’m staying in Madang until we know what’s what.

I need to distract myself and possibly you also. I’ll show you a few more images which we got during our dive at The Eel Garden on Saturday. Here are a trio of Clark’s Anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii)  with Ush cruising past in the background:

There was a lot of particulate matter in the water, so I had to blur the distant background to get rid of it. It turned out to be a pleasing effect.

You might be surprised to find a pencil on the bottom at twenty metres, but if you hear the story, it will make sense. Divers sometimes use pencils to write on plastic slates. This one was accidentally dropped, I suppose. Why didn’t it float to the surface? It’s wood, eh? Well, after several submersions at depth, they soak up so much saltwater that they don’t float any more;

Here is a flock of Three-Spot Dascyllus (Dascyllus trimaculatus)  drifting around their somewhat crowded anemone host:

They appear to have only one spot at first glance. If you get close up you can see a paler spot. However, search as I may, I have never found the third spot. Obviously whoever named the fish was math-challenged.

This is just a nice little reef scene – not much to say about it:

This is my most favoured shot of the day. I snapped it just as I was coming up at the end of the line to reboard Faded Glory:

So, now you know what it looks like when you’re watching your diver friends clambering back on the boat. The big bubbles which you see in the foreground are mine.

I hope to have more information by tomorrow evening concerning our plans for the near future.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,