Family time verses blogging

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It seems like ages since I last added a post to illdad. In fact, today is 26 September 2012, so almost two weeks has passed since I wrote about National Stroke Week on 14 September 2012. And while this isn’t a long time, somehow I feel writing one blog post every two weeks isn’t quite enough. I think a higher frequency might be better for both myself and my readers – say, two or three times a week – however I need privacy to do this.

Last week my son was home sick from school for three days. He had a virus infection so I had to get some medicine from the doctor. As a result I just didn’t have time to sit down and write and I don’t blog on the weekend because this is family time, like the evenings, when my wife is home from work. Then during this week and next school holidays are scheduled so I probably wont get much time to write either.

I am only able to write now because my son has gone to spend time with his aunty today and my wife is at work. So I applied for two part-time jobs this morning, and I’m now finally getting around to blogging, which I have not been able to find time for until just now. Still I mustn’t complain because spending time with family is the most important thing you can ever do if the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie is correct.

National Stroke Week

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For 2012 National Stroke Week runs from 10 September to 16 September in Australia. This event is arranged by the Stroke Foundation. Based in Melbourne, this national organisation focuses on one of the leading cause of death worldwide. 

There are two different types of stroke. Haemorrhagic strokes are where brain damage occurs after a blood vessel bursts. Ischaemic strokes are caused when either plaque blocks blood flow to the brain or when a clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain.     

I had a stroke on 4 May 2010. A block clot from my heart travelled to my brain and got stuck in a blood vessel in my cerebellum. This happened after I was told to stop taking a blood thinning medication because I needed to have a medical procedure.

I was experiencing atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart beat caused by pulmonary irregularities. To correct this, I needed to be given mild electric shock, known as a cardioversion. A blood clot developed the day before this was scheduled to happen.

Today I’m still living with the consequences of this stroke. The cerebellum helps to control movement and I still suffer from a right-side weakness that causes my hand to shake. Also my short-term memory isn’t as good as it once was. 

Telling this story of mine is one way I can help to fight stroke. Atrial fibrillation is a major cause of stroke along with old age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking cigarettes. Take precautions now to avoid a stroke.

Planned by you, not for you

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In the Federal budget of 2012/2013 the Labor government in Australia allocated $1 billion in order to get a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) up and running. I have been watching the NDIS site on the Internet to see how this will play out. Here’s what I have discovered so far:

  • By the middle of next year about 10,000 (progressing to 20,000) severely disabled people will get more say in type of care they are given.
  • These recipients will be living in South Australia, Tasmania and the Australia Capital Territory as well as the Barwon and the Hunter regions.
  • The support and care they get will be based on a care plan developed to meet the ongoing needs of the many individuals involved in the project. 
  • Those covered by the scheme will be able to get access to a broader range of services, but the complete details are yet to be finalised.
  • A Federal department called the National Disability Transition Agency will make sure each location uses common regulations, tools and training.
  • State and Territory governments in Australia have the actual responsibility for providing care and support to those who are severely disabled.

I hope the NDIS will survive this initial stage because those who are severely disabled really do need to be able to access the same level of care regardless of where they live in Australia and having your care planned by you, not for you, has to be considered a basic human right.

A technological challenge

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I’ve been looking at ways to promote this blog. According to some professional bloggers, a directory called Technorati is the best place for your blog to be listed. After looking at this site I tended to agree with them.

So I submitted what is called a “claim” for illdad. The next day I got an automatically generated email from Technorati, which included a “token” consisting of a jumble of letters and numbers: T237FR6BBSP8.

There was also a link to the Technorati account I had created.  Here I was asked to verify I was the author of illdad. To do this I needed to click on the “claim check” button. This meant being transferred to another Web page.

I told to “put the following short code T237FR6BBSP8 within a new blog post” that would “also appear in your corresponding RSS feed once published.” This caused me to go to  the dashboard for this blog and find a gadget for adding a RSS feed for my posts.

All this mucking about has been time-consuming. Only today, after a fortnight,  am I finally getting around to writing the post Technorati needs. After I hit the “Publish” button, I’ll need to go to my account at Technorati to hit the “Verify Claim Token” button.

Then illdad will be listed in a venerable blog directory and I’ll discover promoting my blog – like fatherhood and coping will illness – is worth the effort. At least that is the way I hope it will go. Fingers crossed.

Two different wavelenghts

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On Monday morning when my son asked me to taking him shopping the afternoon, I said, “No, I might need to go to hospital.” Clearly we were operating on two different wavelengths. He was concerned about getting more POKEMON cards and I had my own health in mind.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to go to hospital. My local doctor said the symptoms I had were caused by a virus. She suggested a dose of TAMIFLU might help, but in the end she didn’t give me a prescription because drug had the potential to interfere with the other medications I take.

So in the end she just told me to rest. At home I lay down and had a sleep before getting up mid-afternoon to pick my son up from school. Again, he asked me to take him shopping. I said this was impossible because I wasn’t feeling well.

He went ballistic, claiming I had promised to take him shopping. I was unable to remember if I did do this or not because the stroke I had affected my short-term memory. Regardless, I remained firm in my resolve not to go to the mall.

In the car, my son cried and cried. Finally, I told him the doctor had told me to rest, and he told me a friend had given him money to buy more POKEMON cards for him. We reached a compromise, I’d rest more on Monday afternoon, and I’d take him shopping on Tuesday afternoon.

Father’s Day breakfast

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I have just returned from a Father’s Day breakfast at my son’s school. This ran for 2 hours from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Then school started for the day and I left for home.

In one sense this experience was bad because my health problems caused me to feel unwell. Even now, half an hour after the event finished, my body is suffering from the effects. I’m short of breath, my heart is beating irregularly, and my legs are sore.

Nonetheless, my son and I had a good time together. I had a bacon and egg sandwich and he had an egg sandwich because he doesn’t like meat. I had a coffee and he had a hot chocolate drink. We both had a bowl of Cheerio’s cereal.

A range of sporting equipment was available for use. He and I tried two different types of stilts. The hula-hoop was a spectacular failure and the skipping ropes weren’t considered. We played catch and used a basketball and two footballs. No wonder I was worn out.

On the whole, I’d say one-third of the experience was bad and two-thirds, good. Being an ill dad, I think this ratio of 1:2 is excellent. The negative effects were overwhelmed by positive outcomes.

This shows that when you’re sick, you need to evaluate the activities you undertake. When these seem to be daunting, place most of your focus on things that will be beneficial to you, but also be mindful there will be some detrimental effects.

Bringing up a good boy

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I know from experience that fathers who are shaping the next generation of men face a special challenge. How can you be sure your wonderful son will end up being a wonderful adult? What must you do to develop his character?

I’m giving my son a Christian upbringing. Attending church most Sundays, he has committed his life to God and signed a pledge to indicate his willingness to adopt a Christian lifestyle. However, at the moment he is a preteen, and there is no telling what will happen when he becomes a teenager.

My role as a father will be to keep him on track throughout his adolescence. To do this, I need to stay well because if I die before he reaches maturity he might go off the rails. I know this because my father died of cancer when I was 15.

Initially my weight increased and my grades decreased then I discovered binge drinking after I turned 18. I only stopped drinking alcohol after I cried out to God in prayer and he sent a member of The Salvation Army to talk to me. As a result, I renewed a decision for Christ I’d made at a summer camp.

My father wasn’t a religious man, but he did have a strong community spirit. Sure he drank and he smoked, but he was a decent man. Ultimately his example led me to become a decent man too. And likewise, I hope my example will inspire my own son in the long run.

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