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Saturday, October 21, 2017

October 21. Day 294. Wet, wet, wet



Today I was a big wet blanket. Wet dreary days are known to induce SAD, AKA seasonal affective disorder. Winter depression is a thing, induced by lack of light. It's unlikely to happen after one dark and rainy day in Spring but perhaps I'm a particularly sensitive type. Or perhaps I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. Today I have a very bad case of feeling-sorry-for-self-itis. I don't like being trapped at home. The wet weather only makes it worse. On dry days I can take short excursions. On wet days, I stay home and mope. Ironically, when I'm not sick, a weekend with nothing to do is considered a blessing. When it is forced upon me, it is a curse. Woe is me. I did leave the house just once, to go and check on Margaret. The dogs insisted on it. They are getting annoyed at my lack of enthusiasm for walkies (although mostly they are quite content to sit on my lap or lie beside me on the bed).




Friday, October 20, 2017

October 20. Day 293. Prisoner, the play








Cockroaches. Hideous little things. No-one wants them around their home. Well almost no-one. Given the severe overcrowding of infamous Boggo Road Prison you'd think the last thing you'd want would be extra cell mates, even those the size of roaches. But according to interviews with guards at the prison from the notorious Bjelke-Petersen era, the prisoners used the cockroaches to their advantage. They became carriers for contraband, in particular cigarettes. The smokes would be tied to the roaches who were then released to carry their load. The problem is there's no controlling exactly where a roaming roach will roam. However, a creative prisoner might pull all the legs off one side of the cockroach and release the roach against the wall so it could only travel in one direction. Genius. This is just one of the stories that came to light when interviews were being conducted for Boggo, a piece of verbatim theatre which will staged by Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble next month. Playwright Rob Pensalfini created the work based on the oral histories collated by Brisbane historian and Boggo Road Prison expert Chris Dawson. Tales of suicide, murders, corruption and sex scandals are woven through the piece which shines a light on the infamous riots. Today actor James Elliott and Rebecca Murphy explained that residents were always told the unruly prisoners were to blame. This piece sets the record straight. It reveals how misuse of power and corruption at the highest levels in the Bjelke-Petersen government had a trickle down effect right to prisoner level. Murphy says the surprise is not so much that this happened but that this is recent history. While it might seem a surprise that a group devoted Shakespeare would stage such a work, QSE has a very active Shakespeare in Prisons program so in a way there is a natural connection. There is also a colourful lyrical voice unique to Queensland which Elliott says an almost Shakespearean beauty. To hear even more about why you should see the production, listen to our interview. Boggo is being performed at the Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio at St Lucia from November 8-18.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October 19. Day 292. Brains .....





Zombies, as I understand it, they feed on brains. Therefore, Drama Teen and I should be totally fine should the zombie apocalypse ever actually materialise. We learned this tonight at Containment, a quite extraordinary interactive theatre experience at the Powerhouse. If you've ever had a go at one of those very popular puzzle rooms, this works on much the same principle but it's taken really, really high doses of steroids. In your battle to find a way of stopping the virus is turning scientists into zombies, you don a hazmat suit, scan codes on the mission-issued iPad, cover three floors of the Powerhouse and encounter many, many zombies. In an ideal world you collect clues and devise the required formula to stop the zombie apocalypse. Clearly, I don't live in an ideal world. We failed. We failed at our first puzzle room experience but we were more than happy to try another one. Sure it would have been better to succeed but this is one case where the thrill really is in the chase. But don't delay. You only have until October 29 to get yourself to the Powerhouse and save the world from zombies or at the very least show you can do better than our 66% success. For the record our team name was Moist Towelettes. I can totally blame Drama Teen for that one. To hear our assessment, listen to the podcast

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 18. Day 291. A textbook case


So today was a day of reckoning of sorts. At the recommendation of my amazing specialist, I was referred to one of his mates, a bloke who is the director of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Prince Charles, formerly from London's prestigious Harley Street. If you want to know why liver enzymes that should be around the 30 mark are at 1700 plus he's as good a guy as any to ask. There are no definitive answers but he's as sure as he can be that it's a reaction to the immunosuppressant I have taken for about a decade for ulcerative colitis. From day one I was told that while rare this could happen and I've had regular blood tests to check. All's been good until now. I had a similar result to a previous immunosuppressant but it was violent and almost instantaneous. It also righted itself as soon as I stopped taking it. Not this time. If you want to know what this kind of liver disease feels like, imagine a serious, serious hangover. Totally wiped out and vomitous. That's a liver that can't deal with what you are
throwing at it. Also because in the early stages my gall bladder was also misbehaving a bit I was itching all over like a drug addict in withdrawal. Attractive, right? The good news is, if this is the cause, it will right itself. The bad news is it may be six months or more before that fully happens. What is typical is hard to tell because the numbers are small but I've been warned it won't be fast. As wonder specialist says "you've had a severe episode. It will take time to mend" He went on to explain that had I badly fractured my leg in a car accident, recovery is fairly easy to measure. The liver is more tricky so you have to be guided by how you feel as to how much you can do and how quickly. A return to work half time next week or the week after may be achievable, depending on how I feel. And then there will be weekly blood tests to see just what those liver enzymes are doing. If the improvement isn't what they would hope, then a liver biopsy is on the cards. Dr Wonder says the good news is the best liver surgeon in the world is in Brisbane. Apparently if I have to have liver disease, this is the place to be. Well that's something. For now, no booze, obviously, lots of rest, lots of water and lots of walks with the dogs (I may have added the "with the dogs" bit). I should eat well and remember the fight to keep the ulcerative colitis at bay is now one drug down. Now the only weapon available to be brought in to fight an attack is steroids. I hate steroids. Steroids hate me. My family hates me on steroids. I hate my family when on steroids. So I've been told to consider what it is that is likely to stir things up and avoid them. For me that's going out to dinner. It goes like this. Restaurants or take away food is prepared and reheated, at least in part. That means more bacteria than something cooked from fresh. For most people that doesn't even register for me it starts a chain reaction that can be hard to stop and has landed me in hospital more times than I care to remember. As Dr Wonder says, when people go out for Indian and feel dreadful the next day, they blame the curry. It's more likely to be the rice which has been reheated multiple times. So there you have it. To celebrate I ducked into the QUT Library to borrow more series of House to keep me amused while I convalesce.  These books decorate the roof.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October 17. Day 290. House arrest


Apparently house arrest has nothing to do with being so fixated with re-runs of House that you don't leave the couch. I'm doing what I'm told. Not going to work, resting and eating carbs. Repeat. Today I found the energy to get bored for a bit. I think that's because I'd watched all the House episodes I had recorded. I even considered marking for a second. Exhaustion returned immediately at the thought. My circle of operation extends only as far as Margaret's lounge room. Given I can hear her TV from my bedroom we are not talking very far at all. So the potential for something new and different to photograph is rapidly declining. Tomorrow, however, is a new day. My specialist has referred me to one of his mates for a second opinion. I get to go all the way to St Andrew's. Also I get to benefit from the experience of a former Harley Street specialist (yes, of course I Googled him). Also, I found QUT Library stocks all the House series. Guess where Drama Teen is heading after his classes tomorrow.

Monday, October 16, 2017

October 16. Day 289. Purple Rain

Jacarandas. So beautiful. So terrifying. At this time of the year Brisbane has been painted purple. On wet and windy days like today that results in purple rain and really, really slippery footpaths. But that's not the scary bit. As every student will tell you, the appearance of the jacaranda means final exams are near. As every university lecturer will tell you that means marking season is upon us. And yet other than leaving the house for blood tests, I sit on the couch and watch episode after episode of House. I like House and I am an expert in procrastination but that's not the point. I'm still on sick leave and while there is a awful lot of sleeping going on, I need a way of filling in the waking hours. Strangely, watching medical drama is kind of therapeutic, except for the episodes with exploding livers. Those ones my dodgy liver really doesn't need.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 15. Day 288. Ladies who brunch

It was my baby sister Lisa's birthday today. "Life" means a proper family celebration won't be able to be scheduled until later in the month. However a small something needed to happen. Also, in a rare act of organisation, I actually had a present ahead of time. That sort of rare orgnisation can not go un-noticed. The problem is I'm still not up for very much at all. So even though it's Lisa's birthday, both my mum and Lisa came to me and we went just down the road to one of my favourite brunch places. The dogs came too. It was just what the doctor ordered.