Sunday, July 29, 2007

Putting a toe out into the world again.

This has certainly been a nasty little bug. I'm only just beginning to feel human again although I am still wheezing and coughing intermittently - and I am one of the lucky ones. A lot of sufferers (Virgo is one) have developed chest infections. She's still grey and wheezing with asthma but has avoided the pleurisy and pneumonia so many others have come down with.
A lot of doctors are booked out for anything up to a week because of the volume of cases. When Virgo obviously needed antibiotics we first tried our GP, then half a dozen others before we could get her an appointment and that wasn't until the next day. If we hadn't managed that, our only other option would have been the Emergency Department but the winter ailments have made them desperately over-crowded.

The short-sightedness of our politicians, and the squabbling over funding between State and Federal governments, has left the whole system struggling. Okay, if what you have is life-threatening, you will get quick and efficient treatment. It may be on a trolley in the Emergency Department or you may be stuck in an ambulance for hours but you will be treated. In the meantime other patients will be waiting for hours, all unwell, many in pain and often having to deal with bored children who have had to come with them because no-one was available to take care of them.

When we had occasion to visit an Emergency Department about eighteen months ago Virgo and I sat in the waiting room for over six hours watching as ambulance after ambulance pulled in. It didn't impact on us because they had taken Pisces in quickly and we knew he was receiving treatment. We were fortunate. Others in the waiting room before us had been there for eight or more hours and some of them were in considerable pain.

Many could probably have been dealt with by a GP but that is not an option on a Sunday. It's a big enough problem during the week because (at least in part) we are suffering the consequences of the decision of the previous Paul Keating Federal Labor government which decided that Australia was oversupplied with doctors and cut the number of places - not that the present Liberal government has improved things in this area.

All this highlights the need for another major hospital in our city and the State Government is going to build one. Isn't that great? Well yes, if they weren't planning on building it in the suburbs the south of the city and then closing down the central teaching hospital, Royal Perth. This will leave the central city area with no hospital services.

If there's a gas explosion, the equivalent of the recent steam pipe explosion in New York, for example, where will all the injured go? Will they be able to be carried to the central hospital if ambulances can't access the area? No. They will have to be carried out to ambulances and transported for a considerable distance to outlying hospitals. Will the walking injured be able to get themselves to hospitals? No again. They will have to make their way to ambulances which will have to ferry them again to the outlying hospitals, tying up all available ambulances and causing delays in treatment that may well end up costing lives.

Perth is growing and we certainly need a new hospital south of the city but not if we lose our central city hospital.

Rant ended.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Winter ills.

Virgo and I have spent the week feeling very sorry for ourselves having both come down with the virus currently rampaging through Perth. When we've managed to stay upright for any time at all whatever energy we've had available has had to be spent on critical things - like going to the doctor. We did manage a visit to the shops for groceries on Friday and returned with a rather strange collection of goods and some weird omissions. Still it's enough to keep us from starving if this goes on much longer. What is infuriating is my inability to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. I haven't gone near my homework. It's due for discussion on Wednesday night and the way I feel at the moment I don't think it's going to be done by then. Ah well.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Go the Eagles! Oh they went.

I curled up on the sofa with Jaz on Saturday afternoon and stayed awake until just after half time Since I meant to go and visit my mother after the match, not waking up again until well after 4:00pm was not a good thing. At least it spared me the misery of seeing the Eagles get their wings clipped, not to mention having their tail feathers pulled out. Not that I expected them to win (with nearly half the team out with injuries how could they?) but I didn't anticipate it would be so bad.
I'm very tired at the moment so it's not surprising I fell asleep but tonight I'm staying awake to watch Torchwood somehow. I was disappointed in the first episode but it's growing on me. Jack is convincingly enigmatic and I like Gwen, although why a no nonsense copper is among this rather flawed group I find hard to accept. At least in Doctor Who you know that the Doctor and his companion are the good guys and in the end they don't usually do something irretrievably foolish however many mistakes they make along the way. So far in Torchwood we have had three of five staff members who have between them put the Earth and everything on it at risk, not including Gwen who is still learning and entitled to the occasional error. I have to ask myself if these are the best people to be protecting the planet, self appointed or not. Couldn't Jack have recruited others who could be a little less unstable? On the other hand, of course, totally unflawed characters are extremely boring. We shall see how the series develops.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Writing, Writing, Writing

I've spent much of the last few days critting for others as well as revising those of my own stories not currently making their way through the system and generally getting them ready to send out. It's interesting how much suddenly becomes visible after a break from a story. Typos jump out, convoluted sentences confuse even me and sections I thought were as good as they could be snag holes and the story unravels into ladders. The good bit is that all of this is fixable. The scary bit is that I missed them in the first place.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The End

That's it! I've just written the last word of my final chapter!
I have a few bits I'm not happy with but they shouldn't take too long to fix. Then a thorough check of spelling and grammar (during which I will no doubt find other flaws needing fixing) and a few unfortunates of my acquaintance who have volunteered to crit it for me will get their copies.

Of wayward girls

In the penultimate chapter of my novel two characters are supposed to have a massive argument so the story flows logically on to the climax. They are not co-operating because they are, to put it bluntly, too nice. They don't want to hurt each other's feelings. I am not impressed and am off to prod them. Something sharp should do the trick.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Stormy Weather

There is something really pleasant about a cosy room on a stormy day. So far we have escaped any damage although I just looked out to see a large limb has fallen off a neighbour's tree into what would be garden if it wasn't for the drought (I abandoned that part of the garden two years ago when the drought started to bite to cut down on watering). A combination of high tides, rain and wind has put some of the roads along the river underwater so last night Pisces drove home with wavelets lapping near the doors of his car and then, as he reached higher ground, was nearly blown off the road by winds gusting up to gale force. But we have rain. Whether it will be enough is another question.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Of Storms and Blue Moons

Coastal Australia is being inundated by winter storms. The East coast is awash with flooding and king tides while here on the west coast we're still way under our rainfall for the year with most of the inland farming and pastoral areas everywhere pretty much gripped by drought. We have had some rain over the last few weeks in Perth though and this afternoon a severe cold front is expected. We have been advised to stock up on batteries and candles because there are likely to be power failures. The last time such a strong front came through was, if I remember correctly, in May 1994 and areas of the city were without power for over a week. We shall see what happens.

On another note, I remembered to go out last night during a gap in the clouds and look at the moon. Sadly I have to report that I have been the victim of false advertising. A blue moon is, I am disappointed to tell you, just the normal colour. Should I send in a report to Consumer Affairs? As well I think someone should be sued for my distress and mental anguish at this deception by the media and meteorologists which has been going on all my life. $10,000,000 should cover it.