Reading between the lines

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m paranoid. In fact I’m a bit of a fatalist, believing that what will be, will be, so there’s no point in getting paranoid. In the big scheme of things there’s nothing I can do. In my little world though, which is becoming smaller by the day. I am listening, and I am trying to follow the guidelines. I am doing my best to self isolate. (Yes, this is another post about Coronavirus).

Reading between the lines is sometimes difficult, and often we read into things more (or less), than is actually there. I’m reading between the lines, and I hope what I’m seeing there is completely wrong.

Here’s how I see it.

Deciphering between the facts, and the fake news isn’t easy. We all have a duty to keep ourselves informed, and to follow the recommendations, but the recommendations change daily, sometimes hourly. It’s hard to keep up. The following fact though is un-disputable:

Coronavirus is a pandemic, it’s killing people, and it’s on the rise – fast!

Governments all over the world have declared a State of Emergency, giving them powers to implement laws rapidly in response to the developing crisis. First come the guidelines, then when they are either not followed, or aren’t having the desired effect, the guidelines, or even stricter guidelines, become law.

Time frames for the virus to peak, and then begin to decline are hinted at. Some say six months, others indicate the end of June. I’m sure you’ve heard a few possibles that could be added to that. Clearly, without a crystal ball these dates are any bodies guess. My thoughts are the governments are tossing the idea of an end time frame into our minds to try and prevent despair from setting in. I do hope the dates are somewhere near to correct, but from reading between the lines I suspect those time frames are only going to signify the end of the beginning, and I think the government knows that too.

Here’s what’s happening in our little corner of the world – the lines I’m reading between to make that assumption:

Our state government of WA has ordered the closure of Rottnest Island, our holiday island. The reason is so as the island can be used for an isolation area for those in need of it, or/and for an enforced isolation area for those who aren’t abiding by the self isolating laws. A whole island……

I believe as I’m writing this that our premier and state government are in negotiations with hotels to re-purpose the buildings as medical facilities. WOW!! Now, that to me sounds like a seriously huge number of patients that are expected. So, we can clearly find the buildings, that just leaves the problem of the medical staff to man the buildings, and the medical equipment to use. We clearly haven’t got enough of either. No-one in the world has.

We’re being told how important it is to distance from everyone. It hasn’t been working in other countries, and now several countries appear to be putting a limit of two on any gathering. There can be no social gatherings, no funerals, no weddings, and no birthday parties. Apparently these distancing measures are to flatten the curve.

My thoughts are that the idea if flattening the curve isn’t going to make Coronavirus disappear, it’s only going to postpone the inevitable. It’s a way of buying time. Time to re-purpose buildings to use as medical facilities, time to manufacture more masks, more protective clothing, more ventilators, and time to train more medical staff. I think the end of June, or the end of six months, is the time the governments are hoping to buy so as the world has a chance of caring for its sick and dying. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end to everything. I think the beginning has barely begun yet! Unless a cure or vaccine miraculously appears, I think we’re in for a long ride.

Friendly Friday – Remote

Several weeks ago Amanda from Something To Ponder About  posted a photo challenge with the topic being, ‘Remote.’ Read Amanda’s post here:     I gather our current trip through the outback to Katherine and beyond was Amanda’s inspiration for this week’s topic.

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Busselton to Katherine – 1st night Wannamal

A few last minute things on departure day to take care of on the home front saw us on the road around 9.30am. We’re heading up the Great Northern Highway, and having heard only good things about Wannamal we thought this would be a great place for our first night.

Map showing first nights camp spot, and toilet stops used on the way. We didn’t stop for lunch.

We weren’t disappointed. Wannamal is a great site,. There’s separate ladies and Gents flush loos, with hand basins. There’s a free gas barbecue, a mosaic picnic table with two bench seats, a few other seats scattered around, and three fire pits.

There’s a few people here who have come up from Perth and the surrounding suburbs with this as their destination – and why not! With the profusion of wild flowers surrounding us, and many more ready to bloom, it’s just gorgeous. And the best thing, it’s all clean, well kept, and it’s free.

Here’s some of the wild flowers we found, all within only a few metres of our van.

I don’t try to identify wild flowers, I just admire them. If you’d like to try and identify these ones, here’s a chart supplied at the camp site.

The camp site is on the site of the old Wannamal school that closed down in the 1980s. It’s quite close to New Norcia, so if you’re wanting to visit there you could do so while staying at Wannamal. The New Norcia roadside camp charges $10 a night and has no facilities (and when I say no facilities, I really mean NO facilities, absolutely none). Wannamal is much nicer.

It looks like there’s a lot of walk trails nearby to Wannamal, as well as a lake a short walk away on the opposite side of the road. Investigation will have to wait for a later time – and there will be another time at this beautiful site, that’s for sure! It’s a great place for the first stop on trip up to the top end, or even a great place for a wild flower investigation central point. We’ll be back!

Friendly Friday – ‘Sunrise’

What a wonderful theme from Amanda at this week.

Sunrises, and Sunsets, who doesn’t love ’em. Living on the west coast of Australia sunsets over the ocean are common, but catching a sunrise over the ocean is rare. I treasure the few we’ve managed to capture, and I’m pleased to have this opportunity to share them with you.  

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Cataract surgery and restless legs

If you suffer from restless legs (Willis-Ekbom Disease), and its a possibility that you’ll be having cataracts removed sometime in the future, or some other form of surgery, please read this.

For those of you who suffer from restless legs, I don’t need to tell you how tortuous the problem can be. If you don’t suffer from them, you’ve probably encountered someone who does as it’s estimated approximately 5% of the population suffer from the condition. Some have only mild symptoms that usually begin in the evening as tiredness sets in, and for these people sleep alleviates the problem. However, a large percentage experience a more debilitating condition known as Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD). PLMD is characterised by leg twitching or jerking movements during sleep that typically occurs every 10 – 60 seconds, and often all through the night. The movements can severely disrupt sleep and are involuntary with sufferer’s having no control over them.

My own symptoms of the condition worsened from mild to severe at around the age of 40, and for several years I rarely had a good nights sleep. Finally I was put onto Sifrol, (Pramipexole), a dopamine agonist drug used to treat Parkinson’s Disease symptoms. It helps, providing I take it around 5pm, with the main side effect being drowsiness. Most nights I’m usually dozing on the couch by not much after 8pm, but I do manage to get a relatively peaceful night’s sleep. Thankfully both Paul and I are morning people.

So what has all of this to do with cataract surgery. Read on – particularly if this could apply to you sometime in the future. Last December I needed a vitrectomy, which is a procedure done to remove the vitreous humour gel from the eye to prevent the possibility of retina detachment. The procedure causes a cataract to form some months later, so I was advised a second procedure for cataract removal would also be required.

The victrectomy is done under mild sedation administered by an Anaesthetist. I was conscious during the procedure, but not conscious enough to control my legs which took on a life of their own. The surgery was a tortuous nightmare for me, and I gather was somewhat of a nightmare for my surgeon and the rest of the medical team in the operating theatre as well.. My Anaesthetist seemingly tried to control the involuntary leg jerking by upping the sedative. The symptoms worsened! He then backed off to the minimal, and although the symptoms continued, I could at least try to help by using every bit of brainpower I had to fight the urge to perform kicks worthy of an Irish dance troop. I’m sure my surgeon was as scared as was, and I wonder if it wouldn’t have been sensible to have abandoned the surgery because of the obvious risks involved.

My surgeon assured me that things would be okay for the shorter cataract surgery, which I had earlier this week. How wrong he was. My memory of the surgery is cloudy so I gather I was given higher doses of sedation than during the vitrectomy, but I think I remember someone telling me if I didn’t keep my legs still restrains would have to be used. When I came around my usually normal blood pressure was over 200 and it was thought I’d have to remain in hospital over night. However, my blood pressure did go down, and I came home. The surgery was successful.

I’ve since done what Doctors and surgeons hate. I’ve used Dr Google to find out about anaesthesia and it’s possible relation to restless legs. Apparently there are some forms of sedation that are known to worsen the symptoms of restless legs, and these should not be used. These are:

Neuroleptic agents (butyrophenones, including droperidol: phenothiazines)

Tricyclic, tetracyclic or selective serotonin re-uptake inhibiting antidepressant (except as part of a current therapeutic regimen)

Opioid antagonists (naloxone, naltrexone)

Antiemetic agents with dopamine antagonist or histamine antagonist properties (metoclpramide HCI, prochlorperazine, promethazine HCI)

Sedating antihistamines that cross the blood-brain barrier (diphenhydramine in particular)

I don’t know which of these was used on me, but I do know I had a severe reaction on the operation table. My surgeon asked me on my follow up visit after my cataract removal what I remembered. Not much except my legs were doing a bit of a dance, I told him. His words were that I was jumping all over the operating table, he said, I was jumping, and he was jumping!

The operation was successful, and although I’m grateful for my surgeon’s obvious skill at dealing with a difficult situation, I wonder if good luck didn’t play as much a part as good management.

I intend to follow up with my Anaesthetist to find out which drugs were used, and to find out if the same drugs were used during both procedures. If the same drugs were used on the second occasion, I shall be asking why!

I will be keeping a list of these drugs, and will be having an in depth discussion prior to any future surgeries, and will want an assurance that my restless legs are given due consideration. I dread to think how disastrous the consequences of both of these surgeries could have been!

Fortunately, alls well that ends well. Clearly though Dr Google is more aware of the complications that can occur for a restless leg sufferer during sedation than was my own Anaesthetist. If you suffer from restless legs, and you are going to undergo any surgery, please make sure your medical team takes due notice of your special needs. Print off this list, or use Dr Google to get your own information. Present it in writing to your surgical team, and make sure notice is taken. I know I will be in future.

Friday photo challenge – Between the Lines

This week’s challenge from Amanda is, Between the Lines. See Amanda’s post, and challenge here:

None of our own photos came to mind for this challenge. Instead I could think of only two things. The first was a recurring nightmare I used to have as a child. In the nightmare I was in the middle of numerous railway lines, all criss crossing, with trains bearing down on me from all directions. In my nightmare I was always trying to anticipate where to stand between the lines so as to be safe, but frequently I would awake in a cold, terrified, sweat when I realised my judgement was wrong and a big, black, train engine was almost on top of me. I’m sure a dream interpretater could make much of it…..

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Friendly Friday – Ebb and Flow

This week’s photo challenge from Amanda at, Something to Ponder About, is Ebb and Flow. See Amanda’s post here, and hopefully you’ll be inspired to add some of your own images to join in with the challenge:

Immediately upon reading this week’s theme the ebb and flow of the huge tides in the Kimberley’s came to mind.

Walking on the firm sands of Cable Beach at low tide. Note the puddles still evident from high tide.

Hundreds of visitor drive along the firm sands of Cable Beach daily during the dry season to find a place to park close to the water. As the tides can be higher than nine metres it’s vital to be aware of both the height, and the time of each days high tide. If you don’t time your exit from the beach to coincide with a suitable tide line you could end up with your car stuck on the beach until the tide recedes below the safe exit through the rocks.

It’s vital to know the ebb and flow of the tides for entering and exiting through the rocks to get onto Cable Beach in your car.

Beach umbrellas and chairs are available for rent daily, or you can bring your own. We usually have our own with us, and if we’re not driving along the beach, we’ll set up near the flags on Cable Beach. The hire umbrellas are set up in line with what will be the high tide for the day, sometimes seemingly miles from the water. They always get it almost exactly right as to how far the water will roll in though, so we happily use their knowledge as our guide.

Umbrellas for hire – all set up in line with what will be the high tide line for the day

It’s fun to watch those not familiar with the tides set up close to the water line on a rising tide. Within minutes they’re moving everything back a few metres. A few minutes more and they’re moving back further, and so their day goes on. The huge tides can’t be comprehended by those unfamiliar with them, and we’ve seen many new visitors who only take notice when their beach towels starts swirling at their feet in the flow of the incoming tide.

If you get your placement just right, the incoming waves at high tide can safely lap at your toes without any danger of you getting swamped.

I don’t think we’re heading up to Broome this year, but what a pleasure it’s been to re-visit Cable Beach again through Amanda’s prompt, if only through perusing our photo library. A great prompt for us this week Amanda – thank you.