Friday, July 29, 2011

Septimana Horribilis

15 Nov 1995 - 23 July 2011
Well Queen Elizabeth had an ‘Annus Horribilis’ and I’ve had a week that can ascribe to the same.

I put my beautiful Missey to sleep on Saturday and it just about broke my heart.  She had been losing weight and was drinking a lot so I took her to the vet about a month ago for a ‘top to tail’.  The weight loss was put down to her age (nearly 16) and unfortunately I did not take it any further with blood tests.  She went into a steady decline daily from then until Saturday when she walked into the door as I called her in for breakfast.  I noticed her pupils were fully dilated in the bright sunshine and alarms bells rang.

To cut a long story short she had hyperthyroidism and must have had this for quite some time.  The classic symptoms were pretty much overlooked by the vet the month before.  Missey’s blood pressure was so high that her retinas detached and she literally went blind overnight.  Now, cats can manage without their sight quite well, but the treatment for the disease at her age could have caused renal failure and the treatment for the renal failure could cause liver failure and after all of this she may have only survived another uncomfortable six months.  I couldn’t do that to her, and we agreed it would be doing her a kindness to put her to sleep.  I can rationalise it now, but I felt intensely guilty that I chose the day of her death, and the fact that the food I had been feeding her probably contributed to her illness.  After reading up about it, it seems that it is common in female cats over 13 years of age who eat the fish variety of canned food.  How can a pet food manufacturer happily promote ‘oh so fishy’ on a can of poison?  Tenshi my 10 year old cat will no longer be ‘enjoying’ this junk and I’ll be sticking to Science Diet and fresh meat for the future.

So, that was bad enough.  But on Wednesday my 3 year old grandson was rushed to his local hospital with suspected appendicitis.  The hospital then sent him to the Children’s Hospital in Perth where he spent some time on a drip; it was decided that he didn’t have appendicitis and he was sent home (in pain – what the ?)

Yesterday still in a lot of discomfort he was taken back to his local hospital but was again sent home.  Today after an uncomfortable night he has again been taken to the Children’s Hospital and lo and behold his appendix had perforated.  As I write this he has just come out of surgery and is in recovery.  Living in Queensland I feel totally helpless and unable to support my daughter, it’s horrible.  Honestly, you begin to lose faith in the medical system, especially as it’s not that long ago that he was misdiagnosed with a ‘bad cold’ when in fact he had pneumonia!

My only escape is in reading, but this week it’s been hard to concentrate on anything much.  I have been listening to David Copperfield in the car and when I can get my mind onto a happier track I will write some thoughts on it.  I can say that it is the best Dickens I have read to date.

Before I go, I’d just like to mention that we had local author J R Sanders speak at Caffeine and Chapters Book Club yesterday evening and we will theme Keep it in Yor Knickers as a group read for September.  We wish Ms Sanders all the best with this and future work (I always enjoy meeting someone who is living my dream).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's All in the Name

After a few false starts with Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit, I find that I now can’t wait to listen to more.  It was so hard to get going on this one as it was all in the names, I couldn’t ‘get into them’ – I mean ‘Pecksniff’, ‘Slime’, ‘Chuzzlewit’ ……….

To help me get over it, I decided to get the BBC production out of the library to help me visualise these miserable characters, their dress and setting – and what a joy it has been to watch. My first impression was that Tom Wilkinson was miscast as Pecksniff – he didn’t look at all how I imagined.  I was visualising an older, willowy, wrinkled and grey haired man.  But, no matter – Wilkinson obviously revelled in his portrayal of this well to do low-life that he now seems perfect for the role.  I love the scene where he is waiting in the woods for Mary - as she passes by he leaps out from the trees and the movement is like something from a Nightmare before Xmas – it’s an absolute classic. 

Most of the scenes from America are missing in the series, though the major points are related by letter.  That was a wise omission by the writers as I am finding the American plot rather boring and wishing myself back in the company of the scheming Pecksniff even though I abhor the man!

Of all the characters I loathe the most; it has to be Jonas Chuzzlewit.  Again, in the production the actor has him off to a ‘T’.   This is a man who begrudged his wealthy father’s life because he lived ten years beyond the allotted three score and ten, keeping him from his inheritance.  A boozer and a wife beater – he just has it all in the personality stakes…… not.  I can’t wait to see what the plot is going to do to this poor excuse for a man.

I’m not going to give the story away on this one, if you don’t think you’d bother reading the novel, but you do like Dickens or the classics then I would fully recommend the BBC series. 

My physical read at the moment is Victor Pelevin’s The Sacred Book of the Werewolf.  Obviously it was the title that caught my attention, but really this is not a horror novel and it’s being narrated by a ‘fox’ though I do believe we will meet a werewolf somewhere within the pages.  Translated from the Russian, this is apparently a satire on modern day Russia. 75 or so pages in, I am finding it very entertaining, and it is certainly different from my past Russian reads J

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Danger of the Autobiography

I’m not a great reader of biographies or autobiographies, I’ve only read a couple The Moon’s a Balloon by David Niven which was really just a cleverly crafted story by a ranconteur, and the fabulous Che, A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson.  I think I haven’t read many because there is the danger that you might not like what you read!  Sometimes a ‘public persona’ is best left that way.  Yes, we are all human and as such we are flawed, but do we really need to know that the people we really admire are not really that admirable as ‘people’?

Why the whinge?  I’m reading Michael Crawford’s Parcel Arrived Safely: Tied With String.  I’m about halfway through it (as usual, this always seems to be the point in a book when I feel the need to write about it J ) and my impression isn’t favourable.  Apart from some personality issues I see in him, what has disappointed me no end is the fact that he was unfaithful to his wife.  Crawford blames success and his sudden attractiveness to women but that should not affect your moral behaviour – especially when you are married with two children for goodness sake. 

I think in future if I choose to read another autobiography I’ll pick someone with a reputation or someone I don’t admire then I might be pleasantly surprised!  Though talking of reputations I wouldn't mind reading Errol Flynn’s My Wicked Wicked Ways seeing as I’m heading to Tassie in the New Year.