50 Not Out

In my last post I said that it was my 50th post, if you counted the one re-posting of another post. So this is the 50th post that I have written. After thirty-two thousand words is it time to pause for a bit of retrospection, introspection or even circumspection?

It is also a year since I first raised my “Bryson issue” (see glossary) with my GP which led to tests, the gradual realisation that it might be prostate cancer and then a diagnosis (all documented earlier in this blog and in particular in ‘Hang on, let’s just step back a bit‘). Interestingly the journey to a diagnosis of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) was rather different. Prostate cancer is reasonably well-known and relatively common (1 in 8 men are affected) whereas ITP is a rare disease (1 in 10,000) and much more mysterious. With prostate cancer after the diagnosis and the “Oh crap” comment that I had 18 months without treatment and a shrug of the shoulders for the prognosis with treatment, I was able to reassure myself with the knowledge that I had friends who had been diagnosed ten or twenty years ago and were still doing well. With ITP I know of no-one else with it and after reading about it I felt that after a lifetime of generally keeping a respectful distance from medics and medicines, my ‘cloak of invincibility’ had become a bit torn and less effective. While the assumption is that my immune system has turned on my platelets, why this has happened and what triggered it is a mystery.  It has also had other impacts.

We call 10am on Sunday “Sue o’clock” because one sister-in-law telephones at that time every week without fail (not quite accurately enough to set my watch by, but certainly good enough to set a sundial by). Since the platelet episode, if we don’t answer the phone she then thinks there is something wrong and keeps on ringing for the rest of the day (but never leaves a message). This reminds me of the change, in the opposite direction, that took place when we started rescuing for Tiggywinkles – up till then if the phone rang at an outrageous hour the first thought would be that there was a problem with one of the children (even though they are all adults).

Once we started rescuing we soon became used to a call in the middle of the night telling us a location and what manner of beast was injured. Then it was load the car with the right equipment and off we would go, quite often to assist the constabulary. So from then on when the phone rang first thoughts were no longer panic stations and what trouble is who in now.

Interestingly ‘assisting the constabulary’ is often used with a different meaning (or at least the implication that the assistance is being given under duress) rather than the narrow literal one. Boris Johnson was recently castigated for using the word titanic literally when he talked about “making a titanic success” of Brexit, because too many people interpreted it with a capital ‘T’. It is interesting that a word that means ‘of exceptional strength, size, or power’ can also conjure up images of disaster.

Mind you I have just had a titanic (or is it Titanic) issue with my laptop – it has metaphorically sunk without trace. Nothing happens when it is switched on and the hope was that it needed a new transformer/power cable but in fact it is beyond repair. Hence you haven’t heard from me for a while. So I am now looking at getting a new laptop hopefully with a Black Friday saving. (Again I am confused – Black Monday was disastrous but Black Friday is consumer friendly).

My laptop going a.w.o.l. happened when I was in the middle of sending out a Newsletter so I had to recreate the document on a different computer from an earlier draft I had sent out by e-mail. All a bit frustrating and time-consuming. Fortunately our local computer whizz was able to recover all my files from my hard drive (so I haven’t lost thousands of photos, address lists and a draft book, among other things). It did bring home the desirability of regular back ups – thinking about it though I  realised that a lot, but not all, my documents existed as e-mail attachments or hard copy. However I probably have 15,000 photos and while I usually back them up at the year end that is really not enough. This years photographs have not yet been backed up and possibly last years as well. I do need to do better.

I went for a ‘blood draw’ on Tuesday and will find out how my platelets are doing on Monday – what will the next number in the series be: 11, 10, 22, 44, 44, 30, 16, 36, and then what? Higher or lower? Wait and see.


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