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Monday, April 20, 2015

Haiku on Crunch/ Notice/ Dig/ Really


He stepped into snow
The inevitable crunch
So reassuring

New taste sensation
Locusts chocolate coated
Nice crunch in the mouth

Clever little word
So onomatopoeic
Crunch sounds like itself


Time just flew all day
Deeply buried in my thoughts
I took no notice

You are on notice
The next time you smile at me
I'll have to kiss you

Did not notice fly
That dug deep under his skin
Now he is a host


We dig a huge pit
And line it with all our love
What a perfect nest

We dig on the beach
Creating huge sandcastles
From the sands of time

Good psychiatry
Archeological dig
Building foundations


Really massive storm
Rolled right through Brisbane last night
Damage from hailstones

I'm really grateful
For everything you do, love
Keeping me on track

Really blue and down
Tired beyond all measurement
Need to get out more

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Successful Suicide Prevention: An Example from the Australian Construction Industry

This is one YouTube video from a number recording a well attended one day conference in Sydney on 5th March 2015. The video records a 30 minute lecture based on the research backing up 'Mates in Construction' - a carefully constructed tiered approach to suicide prevention in the Australian Construction Industry. The research is based on data from 5 years before MIC compared with 5 years since MIC began, comparing these industry figures with male suicides in Queensland as a whole, and male suicides in Australia as a whole.
This is one example of a large scale outcome study in suicide prevention.There are very few other examples internationally capable of providing outcome level data.
The presentation is in three parts. A general introduction, a discussion of why men may be more likely to suicide, and finally a focus on the outcomes.

You want successful suicide prevention. You want to know just how many suicides can be prevented by a program. Well, here is Outcome level Data that provides exactly that information. 

You want successful suicide prevention. Well here is an example.

Transverse Myelitis: On ‘Crash and Burn’

Well, there you are. I must have overdone it.
The last two days I have had aches in low back muscles, buttock muscles and thighs. Despite taking it a bit easy, I have been exhausted, lethargic and not really wanting to think or do anything. Increased chest pain in a band from the TM site (T7) despite a brilliant back massage from my soulmate. I did try a bit of walking, but was too unsteady even using my stick.
I am a bit better today, resting up, drinking lots of water, eating sensibly and avoiding alcohol. My brain feels a bit recovered (clearly, given I feel like writing a mini-blog!!)

So what is the message?

Take it steadily. Don’t over-reach yourself. Equally, keep trying for progress. Oh, this is such a fun disease. Five years, and I am still discovering how to manage it....

Haiku on Escape/ Lend/ Possess/ Art


Escape from the rain
Souls sheltering together
Dry conversation

In search of the toys
Ran through the shopping centre
Child in escape mode

There is no escape
You do what you have to do
Till your dying day

How to keep friendships
Neither be a borrower
Nor be a lender

Lend me an ear, dear
You were absolutely right
Look stupid with three

Lend me your brain, please
Need some help with this problem
Two minds may solve it


What is possession?
Nine tenths of the law maybe
An ass with three legs

I give thoughts away
They have meaning or they don't
Others may possess

I possess little
But the words in which I stand
A man of letters

The art of nature
Mathematical design
Thanks Fibonacci

Gallery toilets
Old man hides till after dark
Fine art collector

The art of Haiku
Thoughts lightly brushed on the page

Friday, April 17, 2015

Haiku on Addition/ Wait/ Watch/ Take

Snow on mountain melts
Water drops flow, coalesce
Seeking unity


New calculator
Battery additional
How to get inside?

You and me is two
Inside our small island home
Simple addition

Inside her warm womb
Addition counts her heartbeat
Curled in soft safety


Napkin over arm
A deferential manner
I wait at table

What's for lunch Miss Jones?
'Wait and see pudding' young man
School days' memory

Everything comes
To those who wait patiently.
What a lot of tosh!


Admire your children
They watch every move you make
To replicate you

Watch the eagle soar
Effortlessly on thermals
There's a lesson there

Watch your step young man
Don't get ahead of yourself
Might trip yourself up


A fork in the road
Pick it up and take it home
Useful at dinner

Please take heart from this
You are stronger than you think
Wiser than you were

I take it you know
You must look before you leap
You're for the high jump

Transverse Myelitis: On Exercise and Rest (2)

On April 15th I wrote about Exercise and Rest, and what I had noted in a ‘big day out’. I almost wish I had not posted this, because my wife and family were very excited about my small discovery. On Wednesday 16th I did only 784 steps during the whole day, taking a bit of a rest. But on Thursday, Janet challenged me to walk to the local shops (about 1.8Kms). She seemed to have every confidence that I could do this; I was not so sure...
Ah well, we did it slowly and steadily with her holding my arm, and also using the stick. I sat on a bench while the family went shopping, having a nice yarn with my brother in law – ie a rest. Then we set off home. My legs did feel tired. They were numb, and had a feeling rather like I was wearing thick socks. My feedback from stepping was not so good, but trusting my feet just to do what they do really well, we managed to get home – a little slow, but with no foot drop, trips or other accidents. We were triumphant. By the end of the day I had notched up 3986 steps for the day. Woo hoo...!! My iPhone app suggested I was no longer sedentary – for the first time!!
So, last night I slept well, getting up a couple of times to go to the bathroom – but without accident. Today was going to be a rest day, BUT....
I decided to wander off on my own, and walk to the end of the road and back to our house. Then we sat with family and had lunch for a couple of restful hours. They all went out shopping this afternoon, so I thought I might try my little ‘toddle’ again. All good!! My steps today are 1532 so far (1.1Km), well over the overall daily average for this little journey started back in January, even if not near the daily average for this extraordinary week (2047).
I am beginning to think I may be on to something. So I will go on testing myself out over the next few weeks. We may need to discuss all this with Physiotherapists or with Neurologists to see whether it makes sense. Certainly I don’t want anyone to push themselves beyond their own capacity, just because I am pushing myself. This is not a competition!!

I am me, and have always pushed myself. I ran a full Adelaide Marathon in 1987, having trained for about 3 years, building up slowly. It took me 5 hours and was painful enough to make me decide not to do it again. And I don’t have fantasies at my age of getting fit enough to do that ever again... But then, you never know... (Now Graham, don’t be stupid...).

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Transverse Myelitis: On Exercise, Rest, and More Exercise

I have had a fascinating and very rich few weeks. My wife and I have had 71st birthdays. We have had a 50th Wedding Anniversary lunch with over 50 family members and professional colleagues attending. Excitement and anxiety and exercise more than I usually manage. We had one day free, and then yesterday 13 of us boarded the High Speed Catamaran on the Brisbane River to travel the 24 nautical miles to Moreton Island across the bay from Brisbane, Queensland. This place is a holiday paradise with old wrecks to snorkel, dolphins to feed, and sand dunes to ride on 4-wheeled buggies. Me?  I sat and watched the world, soaked up some sun, and had lunch and afternoon tea with the family, while the youngsters played. I took great pleasure in others’ fun.
But something extraordinary took place which, on reflection, may teach us about Transverse Myelitis, and I would value your views and discussion.
As noted in my blog of 15th February (, I have one of those exercise monitors on my iPhone. I have been increasing the distance I walk (now with a stick to help my balance). Usually on a work day (I consult two days a week), I manage to walk to the toilet, or the kitchen, between clients. On a non-work day, I may not feel like going for a walk or we may decide to have a swim instead.
Beginning with a lowly 1100 steps for the whole day some weeks back (‘Sedentary’), and with variable ability to go for a walk (lows down to 475 steps in the day), I achieved a massive 2275 steps last Saturday doing some shopping for an anniversary gift and card (still ‘Sedentary’, damn it). At the end of each of my main walks, my feet and lower legs have lost feeling (I tell my wife they ‘have gone’), I feel unsteady, and it feels like I am walking by an act of faith. I have increased foot drop in in my right foot, and have to be extremely careful not to trip. I have a sense of urgency to go to the toilet, and need to ‘rush’ off. I am usually tired in the extreme.
Now here is the thing. Yesterday on our adventure, I achieved an overall 3627 steps (2.4Kms) for the day – unheard of!!  I drove from our home to the Brisbane River. I walked up gangplanks, and along a jetty, and then around the resort of Tangalooma. I was not able to drive home; I was too tired.
How did I achieve that distance, and what does it mean? My first lengthy walk was from the boat to a restaurant where we had some lunch, sitting for more than an hour. Then we walked further to see what children and grandchildren were up to, sitting down in a cafe, resting, drinking coffee and having family time. At the end of the day, the walking was again broken up into two main parts with a 30 minute rest in between while waiting for the ferry from the mainland.
I have never been aware of this before but, in essence, I walked, then rested up and felt sturdy and good about another walk. Then I rested up, then walked, then rested, then walked, then rested on the ferry and was able to walk well down gangplanks and back to the car.
It would appear that there may be a recovery time in Transverse Myelitis. If you do what you can, then rest for a suitably good time, you may be able to walk (or exercise) some more. And repeat that process... I had always thought that if I exercised to exhaustion, then I was cactus for the rest of the day – and needed to respect that. I am not sure I believe that any more...
So, if I want to challenge my TM, if I want to improve my physical ability over time and not just go on deteriorating, I may have found a method...

Have any of you with TM come across this Exercise/Recovery process? Please let me know... We should discuss it... It may be important for others to know...