Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Campylobacter, New Doctors, Second Chances, and Lyrics

1. Dreamed about Julian McMahon.  I'm walking down the street. Julian McMahon is on a hospital bed on a street corner (and this apparently is a perfectly normal thing). A part of me wants to stop and talk to him, and a part of me wants to totally not do that.   I walk past and do a quick glance over in that direction.  I see my dad is in a hospital bed next to him. So I have to go over  there anyway.

I think it ended there.  I'm guessing the hospitalized father thing was inspired by Offspring. 

2. Watched one of the I Expect Better videos.  This one is from Melanie.  I think her message is very strong.  She talks about how Julia Gillard pushed her way in to her Prime Minister role while promising to move the nation forward.  Yet despite the majority of Australians wanting gay marriage, she wants to keep things the same.  The nation is ready to move forward.  Julia Gillard is not.

3. Saw that the Australia Dollar is at 1.050.  That's the lowest I've seen it in a long time. But it's not like I check every five minutes.

4. Read article that says despite the opposition government opposing the generic packaging for cigarettes, the law is going to be passed.  I guess they have enough people in Parliament who do not oppose the plan. 

I'm wondering. In terms of health issues, are cigarettes any better than heroin?  What if heroin was legalized like cigarettes?  Or what if cigarettes were illegal like heroin?

Why are cigarettes legal and heroin is not?  

5. Read article that says a deadly virus has been found in a flying fox in Victoria.  Health officials say the virus can be transmitted to humans; so they're warning people to refrain from bat cuddling.

Also, if a person sees a sick or injured bat in their yard, they should call professionals to handle it.

I understand being cautious.  On the other hand, couldn't you use gloves and/or wash your hands?  Humans touch dead chickens all the time, and those sometimes have a virus that can be deadly to humans.

I just found this article.   I was thinking only of salmonella.  But there's another disease; campylobacter.  In 2003, Consumer Reports did a sample of chickens and found that 49% tested positive for salmonella and/or campylobacter.  Like salmonella, campylobacter can cause gastro symptoms; but it can also lead to things such as meningitis, arthritis, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

That's very scary...more scary than bats, in my opinion. If I had my way, no one would eat or touch dead chickens.

6. Looked at the CDC page for campylobacter.  I think this shall be my new fear.

The incubation period is 2-5 days.  

The weekend before the last they served chicken at the lake house.  That was Saturday night. I'm sure my dad cooked the chicken well.  However, I saw him touching the raw chicken with his hands.  Then I saw him casually touching other stuff (like the doorknob) before coming over to wash his hands.  So who knows how many germs were spread around.

On Monday night my mom became horribly sick.  It could have been from something totally different.  It could have been from the chicken germs.

7. Read that campylobacter usually goes undiagnosed, but it's estimated to effect 2.4 million Americans every year.

Here's some scary stuff.   While most people do recover within a few days from campylobacter, 1/1000 will get  Guillain-Barré syndrome.  The CDC also estimates that 40% of Guillain-Barré cases were triggered by campylobacter.

8. Read more scary stuff.  Campylobacter can also be spread by unpasteurized milk, contaminated water, and the stools of cats and dogs.

9. Read a page about Guillain Barré Syndrome.   It makes me feel a little less paranoid.  The disease is pretty rare.   It's about 1-2 out of 100,000 people. They say it's sometimes triggered by vaccines.  So if I remember correctly, this is the disease that was associated with the old swine flu vaccine.

10. Went back to the CDC site to confirm that my memory is right about the vaccine and Guillain Barré.   

11. Started watching more of Offspring. 

The new doctor (Fraser King) is starting to grow on me.

12. Looked up Jay Ryan on IMDb.  He's the one that plays Fraser.   He used to be on Neighbours and Sea Patrol.   More recently he was on a show called Go Girls.   I haven't heard of that one before. 

13.  Finally finished watching the first episode of season 2 of Offspring.  I loved it.

14. Finished reading Alyssa Brugman's Walking Naked.   I thought it was mediocre in the beginning, but it got much better towards the end.   It was sad, but beautiful.  It goes very well with Kate Miller-Heidke's Caught in the Crowd.  

My favorite line of the book (and the one that makes me cry each time I look at it) is Life is full of second chances, if you stick around.

I don't think there's anyone in this world who hasn't made a bad choice.  Sometimes we say or do things to make other people feel bad about themselves.  Sometimes we laugh along with those who are mean.  Sometimes we watch those who are mean, and do nothing to protect the person being hurt.

Sometime we get a chance to apologize, and some people are brave enough to embrace that opportunity.   If we don't get the chance to say we're sorry, we might one day be faced with the same choices; and we have the chance to make the right choice. 

When I was in college, a professor started crying in the middle of class.  It was so awkward.  He was sad, but probably also embarrassed.   I forgot why exactly he was crying.  It was a death of some kind.   Maybe his father?   Anyway, I did nothing.   I wanted to do something; say something; go up and put my arm on his shoulder.   But I was too shy and embarrassed.

I could have gone back later to apologize.  I never did.

But these days I try really hard not to ignore people that are sad.   I think maybe that's why I'm a frequent commenter on Facebook.   I see people writing things like My dog died,  My dad is in the hospital, I have a bad headache, etc. I usually feel compelled to respond.  

I'm not perfect, of course.  I'm sure there are things I miss and/or ignore.  But I try hard.

15. Added my next book to my Shelfari shelf.   It's Pescador's Wake by Katherine Johnson.   Like usual, I have pre-reading jitters.  What if I don't like it?  What if I'm bored?  Will I be strong enough to quit the book if I don't like it; or will I waste my time moving my eyes over the words, not absorbing anything?

The book cost me only $4 from Powells, so at least I won't feel like I wasted a huge investment.    It looks like the book originally came from the Hobart Bookshop.  There it cost $28.  My parents bought me books in Hobart.  I wonder if it was from the same shop. 

16. Looked at the website of the Hobart Book Shop.    They don't say anything about having used books; and I'm pretty sure my parents bought me used books.  I could be wrong.  I asked for used books, I think.  But it's very likely they bought be a new book.

Wait.  I should check. I probably still have the books. They might have a store sticker on them. 

17. Went downstairs to find the books.  They didn't have a store sticker.  But one book had a price inside the book; $5.  I can't imagine a new book costing $5 in Australia. 

18. Listened to Missy Higgin's The Special Two.   Like always, it made me cry.  But now it reminds me of the final episodes of season one of Offspring.  It's a really good song for Nina and Billie.

19. Cried because I heard Falling Slowly.  I paid attention to the lyrics, and it reminded me so much of my Harry Potter/Magic is Might characters.  

These words really get to me.

Take this sinking boat and point it home 
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful choice 
You've made it known.

It reminds me so much of one of my scenes.   It involved a boat and a hopeful choice.  

20. Had to blow my nose.  I'm a bit hysterical right now.    

21. Read the first few pages of Pescador's Wake.  It was about a fish; and it's fantastic. 

22. Looked up Patagonian Toothfish, because that's the fish talked about in Pescador's Wake.   Greenpeace has a page on it. 

It's an Antarctic fish.  They can tolerate the cold waters. 

The fish is worth a lot of money, and people fish for it illegally. 

Fishing for and eating Patagonian Toothfish is not a sustainable practice.  One of the problems is the fish take about ten years to reach their breeding age.   Their birth rate can't keep up with their death rate.

23. Learned that the Patagonian Toothfish is also known as the Chilean Sea Bass.   The Monterey Bay Aquarium has them on their list of fish to avoid eating.