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About

I tend to think,the less said about me the better. What actually would you wish to know?

In response to Judith’s request – take a deep breath – here is my self portrait, mug shot:

(As you might imagine there were inevitably less flattering photos. Then the deceptive bent of vanity kicked in – as it does – so I selected what I thought was the best. The apparent disconnected stare is due to the fact that I am looking at the camera screen in the mirror before saying “six”, as conformity to cultural norms demand. I hope that Judith is now satisfied.)

Before the format provided by blogging existed, I seem to have been interested in these subjects for much of my life. I do not have any expertise as such, but less us not let stop forming opinions and making judgments, and then reflecting on them. I do have unemployed qualifications in cartography (through Tech), marketing and human resource management.

I don’t have work and I am not dependent on social welfare. I spend most of my time, when not sleeping, on the internet, taking our dogs, Sasha and Dexter out, and drinking cups of tea.

Sometime soon, I wrote, I will have to go and see my renal specialist. That day has come and gone. He is not pleased with me for my failure of compliance. In addition, he has sent me off to my hematologist. He pointed out, among other things, that a high potassium level increases the possibility of a heart attack. But he does not realize, and I did not tell him, I am trying to avoid seeing doctors to save money (It seems to me here, the less the latitude for error, the greater the likelihood of critical mistakes, independent of budgeting or other money management skill). As I mentioned, my instrument for measuring blood pressure is not 100% accurate, but that is not a reason not to take measurements. And I am on a high protein, low potassium diet, which is slightly different because I am a vegan.

The medical picture is not complete, as I am reminded by just visiting my hematologist who called my a “mystery man”. It looks like I am going to have to endure another bone marrow autopsy. Then I have a congenital heart condition related to the valves which means I have to go and see a cardiologist every two or three years. I make the point to report on my experience in relation to these matters in the hope it may be helpful to others.

Oh, there are various things around the house I am supposed to be keeping up with, but there, as with our former government, work flexibility is my keynote. Life balance, might be apposite, my sense is, as least for some of us, as time expands, the amount of work achieved decreases.

I have some thoughts about blogging, which I am workshopping as I go that in emulation of the good and the great I describe as metablogging:

The duckpond aspires to be a quiet place for reflection, however imperfect and however interrupted by quacking duckspeak, and so would normally (it is be hoped) disdain conspiracy theories, except in so far as they have be a rudimentary framework for thinking. The duckpond is but a small voice in the orchestration of the flow of a larger discourse, aiming to foment a deeper, truer narrative that resolves contradictions as it reviews evidence, and as it respects and anticipates difference, to create productive and positive decisions and outcomes. As in science, any number of hypotheses might be suggested, but independent of their utility, they must be first discovered. For that purpose liberality of expression is not just useful but essential.

It occurs to me that some values might be identified that are important and that should be lived by. I thinking now that these values include seeking knowledge, creativity and intelligence. I cannot help the impression at the weather news, most recently the opening of the North West Passage, that we are in disparate need of enlightened and determined global political leadership. Each of our responsibilities extends only to what small influence we can be within our political systems.

The future will happen, and I undoubtedly will be surprised by it. I will probably be just pleased to be alive.

When I wrote that sentence, I had not anticipated that I would be diagnosed with a perforated appendix, nor how long and involved the recovery – allowing for the imperfections of analogies it is nevertheless a reminder that when natural systems get out of whack, it can take time to right themselves, bearing in mind the climate system, fundamental to continued human existence, is a system like no other on a lesser scale. They said at the hospital that I would feel like a new man – and I do. So I am very fortunate.

Of course, we are guaranteed to feel a surge of optimism, immediately being challenged with mortality, and then later to fall back into routine existence. My sense is that when Epicurus proposed hedonism he had by then put some years of the clock. Much like Dylan Thomas we were all “green and golden” but paradoxically the quality of life lived in the moment may improve even as possibility and capacity diminish.

I went to see my renal specialist on Friday, the horse’s birthday. He was glum. I find that response disconcerting. I will try to keep to the medication. The contrary effect is that it raises blood potassium, which is not a good thing, but the alternative is to have steroids without a guarantee of effectiveness. Actually, I felt quite cheerful as it is possible to be when oblivious to the data.

Update: 25 November 2008

Who am I? What am I? I never know how to answer those questions. I now have another question: What is a good life? I pose it because I suggest that the parts of the answer are easier to formulate.

If you are still reading here, your curiosity is to be commended or something, so I will tell you about a medical problem I am experiencing. The kidney problem leads on to a set of difficulties. I have been experiencing cramps for some time, and I have been telling my various doctors about them, but they do not seem to take what they have observed and I am telling them seriously. This morning and this afternoon they have become very severe. When I got out of bed this morning I found myself lying on the floor in pain with cramping in my thigh and calf muscles. After seeing a local GP today the same thing occurred after I had a nap. I now worry about lying down to sleep. I need to speak to my specialist tomorrow so I will emphasize that these cramps are both painful and disabling. The doctor I saw today did not want to recommend anything because of possible complications with my existing medications. It seems to me there is a prioritizing that needs to be done here.

In the spirit of being the person responsible for my health, and using the internet to get some information, I have decided to analyze and work our my own condition.  So I conclude that cramping is evidence of dehydration and lack of nutrition, for example the supply of electrolytes.  It is contrary, because I am also bloated as a result of the kidney condition, and I have to maintain the prescibed medication.

UPDATE: 2 July 2011

I received a phone call which turned out to be from one of the specialists at the hospital. My renal specialist was away at a conference. He advised me that my neutraphil count, based on my most recent blood test, was 0.05.  The normal range is somewhere around 2.00. He advised me to stop taking cyclophosphamide tablets. My dose was 150mg per day. My understanding that with such a low white blood count a person is more susceptible to infection and illness. I have now gone to see my GP and he has given a prescription for another blood test.

My point is twofold. These effects are subtle. They are not obvious to other people, although perhaps I might have a vague sense that something is not quite right. Secondly and self evidently access to expert  medical advice is very important. The follow-up blood test on Monday assume some importance.

UPDATE 2 MARCH 2012

The medicine is I think worst than the malady. Cyclophosphamide is the principle medicine I have been prescribed. It suppresses the kidney symptoms, as to whether it is addressing the underlying kidney condition is another story. As you can imagine, my testing results were not quite as benign as I was inclined to think.

Here is a description of the drug:

Cyclophosphamide is one of the old warhorses of chemotherapy. Administered intravenously or orally in tablet form, the drug has been around since the end of the 1950s and has found its way into treatment for a host of cancers, in both FDA-approved and off-label indications.

Because cyclophosphamide has been around for so long, more is known about it—in terms of safety and efficacy—than is known about most anti-cancer drugs. The drug is considered carcinogenic and is frequently implicated in secondary cancers.

This makes sense of the recommendation to see my hemotologist, who I have to see again in twelve months. The “light cells counts” seem to be remain constant.

Otherwise, nothing much changes, although as it happens Sasha, who is sadly missed, died of cancer. So now Dexter and Hannah feature in the weekly Friday Night Dog Blogs.

UPDATE: 21 March 2012

I saw my renal specialist today. He was very pleased with the progress made. I had not idea of how bad things were, because I did not understand the significance of the data. He observed that I had made significant improvement in terms of protein loss, from nine to my present half a gram (could that be the correct measurement?). I doubt if too many people will see this, this is evidence to a person’s health with this disease can be improved with the right medication regime and advice. And now my blood pressure seems ridiculously low compared to what it was, something like 106/65, which the nurses said was a good reading for a kidney patient.

The question immediately arose in my mind, whether my life was worth saving.

UPDATE:  06 March 2013

I went to see my renal specialist again today, and will see him once more in three months. The take away is that the underlying condition remains, although many of the symptoms are not as evident. The principal indicator is the level of protein leakage. I didn’t directly tell him  that I had been skipping the medication, but obviously I have to be careful.

Mohandas Gandhi is a more significant historical figure than his contemporary political opponents were prepared to credit. “Ahimsa” (apparently linguistically akin to “asymmetrical” and similar constructions, with the meaning of not violent) and the Gandhian notions such as “trusteeship” are different ways of looking at people and their possibilities. If you are interested checkout the Metta Center reference on the blogroll.

UPDATE: 14 March 2013

I went to see my hematologist (blood doctor), and after waiting for an hour go into see and had a chat. Apparently I have been seeing him since 2005. I should take notes, but feel, for some reason,that would be rude. The result is I can barely remember afterwards what was said. He said my low level of red blood cells (anemia) had been revised. Did I mention, I had my spleen removed because it was enlarged. He told me that I feel in the category of POEMS. There is a ratio between light cells and heavy cells in the blood and that has fallen in my case from 18:1 to 7:1. This ratio is indicative of a predisposition to lymphoma.

UPDATE: December 2013

I told my specialist that I had stopped taking the medications. I did not say this was really over a period of six months. He said that the condition can reassert itself, which I think it may have been doing. My blood pressure seemed OK at 120/80. He said to me I was lucky that there was a treatment that worked. Otherwise the option is dialysis. He also said an abrupt change was not the best way. I cannot believe when I look now at the photos from 2006 of my swollen legs affected by edema. So now I am back on the medication, hoping that the condition will  hold out and improve.

Comments»

1. Oorvi - June 14, 2008

I wish you a quick and complete recovery. I love your duckpond (though I am not very fond of water, especially when I am in it; I like to look at it from a distance,) and while you recover, I’ll come visiting often.

Licks n Wags,

Oorvi

2. wmmbb - June 14, 2008

Thanks for that Oorvi.

Thanks for visiting, we will have to return the favour.

3. oorvi - July 5, 2008

I hope you are feeling better:)

Wags,
Oorvi

4. wmmbb - July 6, 2008

I have not updated the state of my health lately, which by the way I think is pretty good. I just have regular check ups, and failure to make progress might well mean that I am not following the prescriptions.

5. oorvi - July 20, 2008

Dear Mr. wmmbb,

Please follow your prescriptions and make progress!

I am happy to know that you’re feeling good – and I think that if a doctor confirms that, you’ll feel even better.

Licks,
Oorvi

6. wmmbb - July 20, 2008

Thank you for the good advice Oorvi. While I can hope for good news, I have to review the data impartially. I have concern for the people who do not receive the same level of medical care as I have – due to no virtue on my part.

7. Greg Smith - August 2, 2008

Good stuff, and good luck. But who are you … really?

8. wmmbb - August 3, 2008

Thanks for the comment Greg.

I believe I really am the person I describe, with more psychographic than demographic detail. Otherwise, as many others, I am simply an anonymous consumer of public relations fitted up for the economic system. Someone with too discontents, while making insufficient progress in “obstructive” and even less progress on “constructive program”, to borrow the Gandhian terms. That is me . . . really. Of course, as I think about myself and my personal history, it becomes clearer I am a social, situational, historic, construct.

9. Michael - February 23, 2009

I am a law student working for a professor who wishes to survey political bloggers in Australia. If you are interested in partaking in our research please send me your email @ michael.murphy@law.nyls.edu

thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.

10. wmmbb - February 23, 2009

No worries Michael. Naturally, I am intrigued – but all will be explained I am sure.

11. Judith Ellis - March 17, 2009

Thank you, wmmbb! I like the photo! It’s good to see you. All the best!

12. wmmbb - March 17, 2009

Pleased you liked the photo Judith. Thanks for the comment.

13. nestorpatoo - March 23, 2009

I stumbled onto your blog today looking for information on the Weimar Republic. Something seems to be in the air. Like you, I’m concerned about the possibility of fascism here in the States. Could the Obama administration represent a new Weimar? They are well-meaning and popular as we speak, but this economy could doom them, and the ideologues on the right could become full-blown fascists. Which group will win the war of populism? Your blog is terrific. Keep writing.

Nestor

14. wmmbb - March 23, 2009

Thanks Nestor.

15. Col - March 26, 2009

Love the photo and the more personal glimpse into the Duckpond. I am not sure why I did not find this on earlier visits but am happy to have clicked on the “about” tab this morning. One of the ‘pros’ of the blogging world is meeting and getting to know people that otherwise would never cross our paths. Friendship that grows from words is a good thing. Please take good care of yourself and be mindful of your health. There are those that care… and I count myself as one.

16. wmmbb - March 26, 2009

Thank you very much Colleen. The photo was taken as the instigation of Judith of the Being Brand. Yes, I know I have be careful about my health. I hope to fully recover, and we see how that goes.

17. oorvi - July 7, 2009

Hi Mr. Wmmbb,

That’s a nice picture. If it were not for one difference, you look quite like what I had imagined. (Humans don’t bite, do they? I think they don’t – so let me gather my courage…ahem…and tell you that the difference is – you smile:) I thought you didn’t:( But I am happy that I was wrong about it:)

Licks n wags,
Oorvi

18. wmmbb - July 7, 2009

Thanks Oorvi. We leave any biting to your fellow dogs, but discourage the practice as much as possible. It is I suppose a form of smile, but not quite at the standard of your studio portrait.

19. Wez - January 20, 2010

I, too, paddle furiously beneath the surface. How pleasing to know I am not without company. Good to meet you, in the virtual sense.

20. wmmbb - January 20, 2010

Equally so, Wez , nice to meet you in virtual sense. You remind me that is what I am currently doing. I am hoping something construct will come of it in relation to the pros and cons of a Charter of Rgiths.

21. ReadersHeaven - September 23, 2010

Hi, nice to meet you !

wmmbb - March 27, 2012

Thanks. Sorry for lack of response.

22. fay gibbs - October 17, 2011

GLOBAL ANTI-PROTEST NEGOTIATIONS :
(Attached Global Conflict-Response Initiative.)
‘ENTHUSIASM’——— 2009-2013
Compiled extraordinary collaborating program
directly relating to re-creating corrupted core-
values and cultural conflict resolution.
Addressed to: ,
With Compliments,
Julia Ramsay, —
Volunteer Social/ Environmental Reform Worker
WARMICH-AUSTRALIA warmich28(at)bigpond.com
………………………………………………….
Personal note: Humanity’s response-action towards
preventing human suffering, overpopulation and
consumption of non-renewable natural resources is
not working. Humanity’s inability to safely negotiate
deadly pharmaceutical agendas and psychosomatic
self-destructive emotional mind-traps is flourishing.
Toxic self-sacrificing waste-programs are designed to
capitalize on ridding the Earth of unwanted life.
That’s the old news. Current news is true freedom?

wmmbb - October 17, 2011

Have I got it, Fay? You are suggesting that the planet is on a path to self destruction and to avoid that consequence it is necessary to change the cultural paradigm? I am in agreement that we seek a world in which human and other forms of life may flourish.

23. singingbones - February 27, 2012

Hi to the man in the duckpond. Thanks for siting my post on your latest one about War Crimes, Crime of War. You have been at this blogging game for a long time now. Apparently your body is still holding out, that’s a good thing. Sometimes it feels like the only news is bad news, not to be pessimistic but in light of all the troubles in the world due to all you have written and thought about over time, it becomes very difficult to keep one’s chin up without burying that chin, along with the rest of oneself, in the sand. What is a human to do, and how to remain semi-sane in such an insane world, I wonder?
any words of wisdom would be appreciated, maybe you could post something on this subject for our edification? SB

wmmbb - February 28, 2012

Thanks for commenting singingbones. You are correct in suggesting that I have the conviction that things, especially related to the culture of violence, consciously or otherwise adopted does not have to accepted, nor should it continue. It is no easy matter to change from within let alone reflecting on what others do. Understanding how a whole culture might be changed is something that I am singularly ill-equipped to apprehend. “Blogging” here is a practice. The value of that practice, perhaps inevitably, is an open question. I like to believe that I am prepared to consider the views of the others, even if they do not challenge, as I would ideally like them to do, my assumptions.

24. Steve Perrin - March 27, 2012

Wisdom requires suffering. There is no shortcut, no easy way. You produce a very positive blog out of pure entropy; that is the power of the alert mind. Thank you for being you to the end. I am a fellow blogger, making the most of the time I have left by sharing what remain of my mind and my heart. I invite you to venture to http://www.onmymynd.wordpress.com to view the results, or to http://www.myndloop.com to see more.

wmmbb - March 28, 2012

I certainly ventured over, and will return, to your sites, Steve. I will need some time to give your investigation over the years appropriate consideration. I am hoping that others, who are better equipped that me, will take up your invitation.

25. mmc4631 - March 3, 2013

Hi Bloggers

My name is Jose Gomez and I am a student in FIU’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication, specializing in the newly Digital Media Studies. I am currently taking a course titled “Audience Analysis, Public Opinion and New Media,” in which I work with my peers on a research project focused on environmental/green communication in the blogosphere.

I would greatly appreciate your sharing with me and my classmates your opinions on various topics related to your blogging experience by filling out an online survey. As we want to learn about blog readers too, I would ask you to kindly distribute the survey link to your automated mailing list and/or post it on your blog.

The survey will take you no longer than 15 minutes to complete and you can access it through the link below:

https://fiu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9NeAIj8uEjTNJAx&Stu=gom210

This survey is anonymous and does not require any identifying information.
I really appreciate your cooperation and efforts and look forward to get your insights and ideas.

Sincerely,

Jose Gomez

Jose Gomez
School of Journalism & Mass Communication
Florida International University
Mayor Digital Media Studies
Jgome091@fiu.edu

wmmbb - March 3, 2013

Thanks Jose for including me in your survey. I am pretty hopeless at filling these out. I sometimes take issue with the questions.

For example, an apparently small things, but it shows a different in cultural style and identification to the US. I am confronted when asked to identify as White. I am not used to that description. Caucasian or European, or British decent maybe. I am from New Zealand, so I identify as Pakeha rather than Maori. When asked, as I have been by a child. what iwi I belong to, I would say Pakeha. And the response who be, unexpressed, “You don’t get it.” So I should claim honorary membership in “Te Tah Ihu”, or “Ngati Koata”.

In Australia there is the black fella/white fella demarcation, but you might hear descriptions such as the person of interest is of “Caucasian appearance” or “Mediterranean appearance”.

I have met people from Chile, but they do not seem to be very proud of their indigenous ancestry – if anything the opposite. The only Latino person I see on a regular basis is Juan Gonzalez at Democracy Now.


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