<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Sunday, April 30, 2006

*
*
New York air traffic control: New York attitude

I was just listening to the John F Kennedy airport air traffic control live from New York, via this site.

Two interesting things. One was hearing someone say "when that happens, it really sucks".

The other, a bit later, was hearing an exchange between an air traffic controller and an airline pilot, which went something like this:

Airline pilot: I just want you to know that we had only 400 feet vertical separation with that flight.

Air Traffic Control: Our indication was 600 feet.

Airline pilot: Well, we had a resolution advisory.

As far as I know, a "resolution advisory" is an automatic warning that the airplane is close to another airplane, provided by its Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS).

Interesting stuff.

Julian

|
*
*
The Bulldogs continue to break their supporters' hearts

I have been thrilled by the great start to the season by the Footscray ("Western") Bulldogs. But they have now lost their first game for the season; and it was a bad loss too, playing the Adelaide Crows.

The excuse I have heard for decades now is that Footscray is a "young team". The same excuse was offered after this latest debacle: "a young squad". Somehow, Footscray have always been a "young team". They must have discovered the Fountain of Youth because they have been a "young team" over the 40+ years that I have been following them.

It would be nice to have them play in the finals in 2006. They are still doing well this year, but this latest loss is not a good sign. The Bulldogs are a frustrating team to barrack for, because they have always been incredibly inconsistent: beating the best team one week, then losing to the worst the next week.

They haven't won a premiership since 1954, the year before I was born. Sometimes I feel ashamed to be passing on such a frustrating team to support to my unsuspecting five year old son. If he barracks for the Footscray Bulldogs, he will be a fourth generation supporter. His sister, perhaps wisely, supports the Sydney Swans. They had a good win against the Cats on the weekend. I watched some of the game on TV. I don't normally watch a whole game. It is too much of an investment in time. I do find, however, that the little bit of footy I watch tends to stay in my memory, and I have witnessed a surprising number of memorable moments.

Julian

|
*
*
Underground car parks in the Arts

I have added a few more sites to my blogroll, including one featuring photographs of underground car parks by Branislav Kropilak. Perhaps not surprisingly, they resemble a painting by one of my favourite artists, the Australian Jeffrey Smart, namely his "The Underground Car Park" (1993). Unfortunately, I can't find an image of Smart's painting on the Internet. Here is a short article with a few of his paintings depicted.

Julian

|

Friday, April 14, 2006

*
*
Good Friday diabetes scare

My five year old vomited a bit this morning, so we thought we'd take him to the doctor. There is a locum service that will see people out of normal hours here in Canberra. So I took him this afternoon. The woman doctor checked him out and thought it was probably nothing much - just keep him off dairy products because of the vomiting. And her advice was to give him water, not the lemonade we had bought him. She said lemonade can make gastric upset and dehydration worse.

As an afterthought almost, I mentioned the possibility of a urinary tract infection. (His sister gets them a bit, so we had wondered if he might have one. They do occur in boys as well.) I was able to get him to give a urine sample and she tested this with a dipstick. It came up positive for glucose. She repeated this with a test on some blood from a pricked finger. Also very high for glucose, well above the normal range. Ketone levels in the urine were also up, apparently, another sign of diabetes. She wrote us a note and sent us to the emergency ward of the hospital.

By the time we had been admitted to the emergency ward, the staff were starting to talk about my son having diabetes. I was very worried.

They repeated the blood test, with another finger pricked. Normal levels, this time. Things were looking better. Then, a proper venous blood sample. After a while this came back. Also normal. No diabetes after all. Immense relief.

My son already has his problems, having a touch of autism, and he and the family really don't need the complications and worry of childhood diabetes.

I usually do the medical trips in our household. I like to monitor what goes on. The technology seems to change constantly. Before they took his venous blood sample, they put three of these EMLA patches on likely sites on his hands and one arm. These are to provide a local anaesthetic for the venepuncture. They contain lignocaine and prilocaine. Apparently, EMLA stands for "eutectic mixture of local anaesthetic". I am currently a bit "anaesthetic-conscious", as they are an issue at work at the moment, and I have been reading an old anaesthesia textbook as background.

Having had quite a bit to do with doctors and hospitals as a patient, when I was younger, I find the hospital environment very interesting. But today's trip was a real worry. I found the doctors and nurses very competent, as usual, and they are very much inclined to give you background facts and details these days. However, some of their remarks annoyed me today. I suppose I was not in a receptive frame of mind. I found remarks like "We can never say 'never' in medicine" and "Everything means something" a bit annoying. But I was worried at the time, things seemed to be careering out of control, and my own blood glucose was probably abnormally low as I am fasting for Good Friday.

So, my son went into the hospital with a bit of vomiting; briefly had a diagnosis of juvenile diabetes; and left with a final diagnosis of a mild virus. The whole thing was a nasty false positive.

I was planning to go to a Traditional Latin Tenebrae tonight, which is sung on Good Friday evening, although it is actually the matins and lauds for Holy Saturday. A very sad and beautiful service. But I feel a bit drained after this afternoon's events, and I'll have to see how I go.

Incidentally, our local Catholic church calls "Holy Saturday", "Easter Saturday". Why? Another thing I have noticed is that Hot Cross Buns are sometimes advertised on TV as "Easter Buns". Why?

Earlier today, I bought my wife and mother a pretty classic easter egg each, and cards. They are neither of them big chocolate eaters, but they are such beautiful objects, easter eggs in their foil, that they make lovely gifts.

I find Lent to be a genuinely low time emotionally. The weather - here in Canberra, Australia - is getting cooler; the year's work is getting more intense; and one has usually given something up for Lent. But our Lent has been especially challenging, with a string of family worries over the last month. Today was the latest, and I pray and hope, the last for a while.

Looking forward to Easter.

Julian

|

Friday, April 07, 2006

*
*
Footscray starts the season well

A good win against Richmond. It is good to beat one of the "big teams" in the competition, especially Richmond, a team I hate almost as much as Carlton and Collingwood. And Essendon.

I joined up as member of the Footscray ("Western") Bulldogs this year. An "Armchair Membership", since I don't live in Melbourne. I had a Junior Membership for my son last year, but he is really a bit young yet at five.

Julian

|

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?