Numbers 2

What comes next in this series 11, 10, 22, 44, 44, 30? I have no idea but will find out in due course. In the meantime the number that interested me last week was 42650. Pretty meaningless of course until you put it into an excel spreadsheet and reformat it as a date. It then comes out as 7-10-2016 or in the shorter format as 7-10 (or 10-7 if you are in North America. I have never understood the logic of the order ‘month day year’ rather than ‘day month year’ but I am sure there is a good reason probably going back to Columbus or the Pilgrim fathers). So in words the number is seventh of October two thousand and sixteen.

I will stick with 7-10. “So what?” I hear you say. On 7-10 when the granddaughters opened their door they burst in to “Happy Birthday to you” to me, which prompted Liz to say “Oh it’s your Birthday”.  Now I am not expecting belated birthday wishes from around the blogosphere, but I did have a good day with a caterpillar cake festooned with candles (for the granddaughters really) and  a visit from my cousin who is walking the Ridgeway (about 90 miles). He stayed the night and it was good to catch up – we talked long into the evening. Next morning he set off on his final leg and the dog and I kept him company for the first few miles (well it was actually less than a mile but a few miles sounds better).

If I extend the series backwards a bit there might be a clue what it is about –209,  244, 208, 188, 11, 10, 22, 44, 44, 30 – looks like something that was pootling along at one level and then dropped to a different level. My jolly old platelets. At quite an acceptable level when I was having chemotherapy but when we came back from holiday, lemming-like they had plunged over the cliff edge.  So after the visit to A&E that I described in “A new word” I now found myself in the H part of CCHU – Haematology.  It was back there on Monday where I found that my platelets were now at 30. The Doctor (a different one this time) said that there was no significant difference in the number, they will vary from day to day and no two readings are the same. I gently pointed out that my last two readings had been the same. However he said that it was still in the safe range (although well below the normal level of 150-350) and good enough should I need dental work but not good enough for major surgery or brain surgery – not that I plan on any of these in the near future.

It seems that after being hammered by chemotherapy for a few months and then being ignored, my immune system has got bored and decided to have a go at my platelets. No one knows why, it could have been triggered by an infection or perhaps it was that full Scottish breakfast (like a full English breakfast but with haggis) I had the other week (unlikely) or something completely different. They will keep an eye on me – more blood tests and a repeat visit to CCHU next week.

As I came out of CCHU I spotted a familiar number plate outside the Renal Unit so I popped in to have a word with a friend undergoing dialysis. Puts it all into perspective.

And now for today’s final number 446-715-6666 or something like that. No it’s not a phone number but a number associated with a bar code. Bar codes seem to be the way of tracking everything from groceries to icebergs. Easily printed out on sticky labels and then easily scanned and input into relevant systems automatically.  However the wrong sticky label had been put onto my prescription and I had suddenly become Amanda Hacklespacker . Fortunately there is enough redundancy built into the system that even if I hadn’t spotted it, it would have been picked up. Now I know why before anything is stuck in me or dispensed to me I am asked for my name and date of birth. I will be a little more gracious in reeling off  my name and  date of birth (17447 in excel-speak) and won’t say “It’s still 7-10 . . . “ . At least the labels are printed and readable by both man and machine unlike the doctors scrawl we used to get on prescriptions.

Oh and if you wondered about iceberg barcodes here is a photo I took earlier. If that’s not a barcode scan-able from half a mile . . . Don’t tell me that the lines are caused by bubbles released while the iceberg is melting. That’s far too boring.


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