Wednesday, 16 April 2014

SAA 295 - The Helderberg

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

The emotional fallout for an aeroplane crash is always  much more than simply the sum of lives lost and families devastated.

We  are reminded that we are after all, only insignificant and very mortal humans and not the Gods we believe ourselves to be....not the omnipotent beings that the digital age and its attendant consumerism would have us believe.

Every time I  am  at an airport and see a 747 trundle down the runway, I hear a  voice in my head saying , 'Lift off, we have a lift off'...every time.
Every time I see a plane.
Every time I am a passenger.

'V1' and the nose starts to rise.

'V2' and it heaves itself off of the ground, grasping its way into the air, the wheels leaving the safety and surety of the earth for the impossibility of intangible air.

We can understand intellectually the Bernoulli effect;'fluid dynamics';and Newtons Third Law.
But that's not what we see.
What we see is opportunity.
What we see is in fact evolution writ large - mankind crawling out of the mud, then reaching for the stars.

What we experience is the same sense of awe that man experienced when he first understood and utilised fire for his own benefit - a sense that we are in control of our physical environment and that a brave man can push back the darkness and fear

On that cold December morning some 110 years ago , Wilbur and Orville Wright didn't just make the first powered flight...they  proved that the collective reach of humanity  is beyond that of our simple  single caveman grasp and  they unlocked the door to an unimagined future.

For South Africans, the fire on board SAA 295 26 years ago and the subsequent loss of life remain a mystery.

Against the backdrop of Apartheid , and the iron grip of the securocrats , the loss of the Helderberg , and in particular the questions surrounding its cargo of alleged components of rocket fuel mean that the conspiracy theories are difficult to ignore.

And the  transcripts of the Margo Commission; the various archival footage available on YouTube ; and  the David Klatzow book do little to settle the mind against the charges that the State perpetrated a wilful cover up .

Friday, 11 April 2014

Fracking my prostate...

So at the end of last year I was waiting to have an MRI of my prostate to see if I had any cancer after having had a raised PSA level.
For a variety of reasons, all beyond my control, the MRI never happened...

So it was back to the clinic where after much crying and snuffling and snot and shouts and threats , the surgeon calmed down enough , finally came in off of the ledge when the hostage negotiator asked him, and agreed to do something called a template biopsy of my prostate.

Fast forward to two months later...

The day didn't start well...
...mid-morning , just as I was about to leave for the day surgery unit, a nurse phoned to say that my surgeon was involved with a complex emergency and may not be able to operate on me after all...
...eliciting a mix of relief and irritation in more or less equal parts.
But, she added, stay nil by mouth, just in case they could still operate.

Three hours later I found myself and my raggedy bare arse sitting on a cold metal stool in an even colder and depersonalised exam room.
My surgeon and anaesthetist bustled in, swapped files and started to go through the pre-op paperwork with me.

"How tired are you guys?"

I beg your pardon...?

"Well I was told you had a complex emergency case and that you might be too tired to operate later...
and yet here we are..."

No, I'm wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be...

(Hummh...wonder if that patient is thinking the same thought?)

"Okay then..."

Why...are you worried...?

"Well...truthfully...I don't want any tired knife-jockey or gas-monkey coming anywhere near me and my suspect prostate unless you're operating at 100%...I don't want a slip-up with a penis is already small enough!"

They laughed!

"Look...dokkie...its no good me  pretending otherwise as you're about to see in 10 minutes...when God was building  me, he clearly and I hope,-accidentally-, reached into the box labelled 'Penis-;Midgets, for the use of-;rejected, as being too small' ".

Oh how they laughed.

Dear reader, the surgery went fine.

Three weeks later I went back to get the results.

So...what we did was to take 30 biopsies from  your prostate...


Yes....and they were each 25mm long...or one inch in old fashioned money...

I started to feel faint.

And 1mm wide...

Now I was gasping for air.

" basically you took out 30 inches of my prostate?!?"

Well...yes...when you put it like that it sounds a lot...

"We're talking about something the size of a walnut though?"


Good wonder I had felt like I had been neutered!

Anyway...the result was not as good as I had hoped for, but at least I no longer have to worry about not having sufficient savings to augment my insufficient pension.
And  they have agreed that I can have treatment for my testosterone deficiency.
One thing though...the first available appointment at that clinic is at the end of June!

So at the moment I  am technically, hormonally , a lesbian....
...I already have the sensible shoes and bad haircut...
...but still no woman in my life!

But with a reamed-out prostate I feel more like a ladyboy!


All offers considered....
...why am I pretending...
...all offers of sex gratefully accepted!!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Man bites dog - dog bites back

A busy day again ,  and whilst briefly checking the triage list , I saw the statement about the self administered lethal injection.

Out-standing...the patients aren't even waiting for me to kill them now....
I immediately called the patient through to the Resus Room.

"Good evening...what's going on then?"

Well...what it is...obviously...I'm a veterinary nurse...


And I was putting a dog to sleep this afternoon...


And as I stuck the needle in his neck he moved...


And I injected the lethal drug into my thumb...

" much did you inject?"

I don't know...

"Whats the name of the drug?"

I don't know...

"Whats the active ingredient in the drug?"

I don't know...

"Did you bring the syringe in  with you?"


"Did you bring the box that the drug came in, in  with you?"


"Did you bring the package insert about the drug , in with you?"


"Okay....can you please phone the vet and find out the name of the drug?"

No...we're closed now ...
...this happened at 2:30 this afternoon and my boss  said I could only go to A&E when we closed 'cos we were too busy... we're closed now, aren't we...
...that's why I've come in....
...only the emergency vet is open now...
...its after nine you know...?...she replied smugly.

"Okay....can you please phone  the emergency  vet and try and  find out the name of the drug?"

Do I have too...?

"Well...its difficult to treat you if I don't know what to treat..."

She did.
She found out the name of the drug.

Since she really only had sustained  a needle stick injury...
...and the toxic dose was 4mgs / kg...
...and the syringe only contained 5mgs....
...and she weighed about 120 kgs...
...I decided she was probably safe.

And when the staff at the Poison Information Centre stopped laughing I sent her home.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

I wonder what Joseph asked the Angel Gabriel ?

So...can I get that phone number for the Foreign Legion...?

>>>>>Rewind 10 minutes.

It was Christmas Eve babe...

And a Silent Night in the Unit.
Baby , it was cold outside, a proper Winter Wonderland.
With any luck we'll have a White Christmas.
Out in Royal Davids City Mall the window-lickers and layabouts were spending their social security.

MarkieMark, with his comb-over dyed red for christmas,sashayed over to my room to ask for some prescribing advice.
He had a young woman as a patient with cellulitis to her left heel following-on from wearing new shoes to a party.
His concern was that she thought she might be pregnant and wanted to know if I would be happy to prescribe some flucloxacillin to treat the cellulitis since she had a temperature and was feeling unwell

We walked back over to his room...
...I walked....
…and MarieMark minced... the all-butter-short-crust pie he had stuffed into his pocket.

Sitting on one chair was a pouting pulchritudinous blonde nymphet of about 18, twirling her hair around her index finger.
MarkieMark was fortunately immune to her charms.
Me...not so much.
Sitting next to her was a tall gangly teenager, with his jeans down around his scraggly arse and wearing the obligatory stupid, stupid knitted woollen hat, staring off into the middle distance.
He looked like he had been kicked in the testicles and was still waiting to draw his next breath.

“Hello...Mark tells me you think you might be pregnant?”

Yersss....I'm late...

“Okay...well...Mark will run a quick urine pregnancy test and we will talk again after that then...”


She was indeed pregnant...we ran two tests just to be sure.

“’re definitely pregnant...probably about six to eight weeks...”

Oh thats great...!!!

Her boyfriend just sat there, waiting to draw breath , pale , looking a little like Frosty the Snowman.

“Well...I'm happy to give you a prescription for the antibiotics...they’re safe in pregnancy...are you going to proceed with the pregnancy?”

Yersss....I'm so excited...

She grabbed the hand of her boyfriend.
He just sat there....still waiting to breathe.

“'s the prescription...”

I turned to the boyfriend.
He managed a little gulp.
He looked at me wildly, like he had stared into the abyss and seen the monster of the deep...
...and the monster was called 'fatherhood'.

“And do you want the phone number for the Foreign Legion then...?”

I gave her the prescription, wished them good luck and they got up to leave.
As I walked back to my room I heard the boyfriend call me.

So...can I get that phone number for the Foreign Legion...?

Okay....what he actually asked was if his girlfriend was really pregnant...
I was happy to confirm she was. was like a fairytale of New York.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The first christmas snow...

So there I was...
...Christmas Eve, just finished at the gym, feeling achy and slightly smug...
...and popped off to the local supermarket to pick up the traditional festive and Yuletide lobster for my lunch tomorrow...

And of course found myself standing in a queue with some old age pensioners who clearly thought that  Christmas actually heralded some worldwide brussel-sprout famine...

The young woman serving at the till was being polite and helpful and tolerant of all their idiot questions and patiently sorting through various expired discount  and BOGOF vouchers for other supermarkets which they were trying to use and I really admired her gracious behaviour, wishing half-heartedly that I might ever be even 1/10 so polite and interested in my patients...

...not really going to happen...
...even at Xmas...
...especially at Xmas!

The young lady had thick red dyed hair styled like  Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys 

How pretty she looks, I thought, showing my true misogynist and lustful character...

Paler than Audrey.
Possibly slightly plumper.
Perhaps with more pimples.

But I really liked that she had sprinkled glitter in her hair.

And then when I got to the till and wished her a brisk 'good morning' I realised the glitter was in fact dandruff.


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Its free I tell you!!! Its all free....!! An early gift to...well...the whole world from the British Library

The British Library Puts 1,000,000 Images into the Public Domain, Making Them Free to Reuse & Remix

brit library image
Earlier this week, Oxford’s Bodleian Library announced that it had digitized a 550 year old copy of the Gutenberg Bible along with a number of other ancient bibles, some of them quite beautiful. Not to be outdone, the British Library came out with its own announcement on Thursday:
We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century booksdigitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.
The librarians behind the project freely admit that they don’t exactly have a great handle on the images in the collection. They know what books the images come from. (For example, the image above comes from Historia de las Indias de Nueva-EspaƱa y islas de Tierra Firme, 1867.) But they don’t know much about the particulars of each visual. And so they’re turning to crowdsourcing for answers. In fairly short order, the Library plans to release tools that will let willing participants gather information and deepen our understanding of everything in the Flickr Commons collection.
You can jump into the entire collection here, or view a set of highlights here. The latter happens to include a curious image. (See below.) It’s from an 1894 book called The United States of America. A study of the American Commonwealth, its natural resources, people, industries, manufactures, commerce, and its work in literature, science, education and self-government. And the picture features, according to the text, a “Typical figure, showing tendency of student life–stooping head, flat chest, and emaciated limbs.” It’s hard to know what to say about that.
american student