Posts Tagged ‘Depression’

A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.

October 27, 2015


Did you all watch the ABC’s ‘Catalyst’ last night? We thought it was riveting viewing. The program questioned the wisdom of modern healthcare and its reliance on preventative  medicine and put the question to a few experts; are we overdoing it?

At the end of the program it stated that next year, the worlds expenditure on pills would come to a staggering trillion times a trillion dollars. A trillion is a thousand times a billion. A trillion times a trillion is so much that I don’t have enough noughts in my possession to express it here on the limited space of my computer.

One expert came to the conclusion that the cost of breast X-rays to try and prevent breast cancer did not actually do anything to reduce the incidence of breast cancer which she proved by producing graphs of studies done on those women who had the tests done and those who had not. The incidence of breast cancer was exactly the same. She stated that the money used for breast X-rays could be put to better use. At least, that’s how we understood it. Of course anything can be proven by using graphs!

“Could our relentless pursuit of good health be making us sick? Advances in medicine have propelled health care to new heights and a vast array of diagnostic tests and drug therapies is now available. But are we getting too much of a good thing? An increasing number of doctors now say that sometimes, “less is more” when it comes to medical interventions. Some doctors are concerned that resources are being wasted on the “worried well” and that the ever-expanding definition of how we define “disease” has been influenced by vested interests. Could excessive medical interventions be causing more harm than good? Dr Maryanne Demasi examines how our relentless pursuit for good health might be making us sick.”

An interesting analogy was made by even more experts in the extraordinary increase in diagnosing depression. This is a subject close to my heart. I have a natural capacity and have always been drawn to feeling  somewhat ‘down’. I have had this from birth and would not want it any other way. Sure, it does not enhance my attraction to others but I am often delighted with making friends with those owning similar attributes of the feeling somewhat ‘down’ syndrome.

Of course in Australia with its fondness of sport and endless sun with world’s largest T-bone steaks, acceptance of those with ‘down feelings’ is not exactly promoted. I suspect (but am not totally sure) that the Northern European countries would be more inclined to take to its misty bosoms  and accept those that are inclined towards seriousness or even sadness. Whenever my seriousness is at risk of waning, a quick  Northern Sibelius symphony will quickly restore any feelings of excessive joy or  wanton pleasure.

In any case, with generously broadening the scope and breadth of clinical depression, hundreds of thousands are now on anti depressants like never before. Australia has now got the second highest rate of ingesting the ‘happy pill’. I find that a serious incursion on those that love being the way they feel.

Sad, isn’t it?

Doctor will see you now.

September 25, 2015
Table setting. Hand coloured etching.

Table setting. Hand coloured etching.

It used to be simple matter to see the doctor. As a child you stuck your tongue out, said aahh, and that was it. All doctors looked senile and had a foul breath. Now it has become far more complex and doctors look like teenagers. You more likely to have your bum looked and poked at than your tongue.

I received a serious letter, that, since I had turned seventy-five the Government would like to make sure I would still have some years left without needing to be looked after. Could I make an appointment for a thorough investigation of my levels of health. It would take about one- and- a- half hour. I like their optimism and clear despair of having to look after another grand-pa. It hints at a chair in ‘blue Haven retirement village’ with a bus trip to the Tulip Festival, nurse wiping my chin if not something else as well.

The letter gave details of what the health assessment would comprise off;

. Measurement of Blood pressure, pulse rate and rhythm.

( I do have good rhythm and keep it up till the end with happy ending.)

. assessment of medication, continence, immunisation status, physical function, activities of daily living, fall status.

Oh no, not continence again? Not another nervously strained stool sample with gloves, wooden stick and screw-top container? Look doc, I hover between deep seated constipation and voluminous bouts of diarrhoea, give me a break. I’ll invite you for a prawn barbeque, mow your lawn, but no more stool samples. Concentrate on my tinnitus and my wobbly feet. I do still remember the good times when I slept all night without leeks and straining the potatoes three times a night. My physical functions do include being able to still take  two steps on the stairs at the time and to run to Aldi’s when the Shiraz is on special. My fall rate is perfect and I generally put my hands out to brake the fall. I remember my pin numbers and have a fairly good idea of passwords and know how to put photos on the internet.

. assessment of mood and memory.



It’s been no picnic. I do enjoy the good times and relish the friends I still have. I do get down but know that it passes almost unnoticed.  I know you mean well, doc, but no anti-depressants. I love my depression. Look where it go me? I am on my 757th article of folly and nonsense and still able to put down words in certain order with the help of a keen despair, but also with some sun and hope for a still liveable world for all Grand-kids.

. social setting and whether you are caring for another person.

I care for my partner of many years and she does for me. We still do a little dance.   I don’t have many ailments or suffer from gout, insomnia, or nervous ticks, nor sit in the park forgotten how to get home. Sure, moments of finding the impetus to keep going are joined with acute feelings of having done it already. Putting socks on is a drag on the day, but relish the first coffee. At times I feel even food resisting and I have to fight the urge to a regurgitation in having tasted it all too often before. But, what can one do?  A fresh herring or smoked eel is still the answer.

A walk along the creek helps.

The Joy of ageing with Milk bottle Lenses. (no walking stick)

April 25, 2013


The joy of ageing with Milk bottle Lenses. (No walking stick)

The eye test is scheduled for 30th of April at 10am sharp. The hearing test will be May the 13th, anytime after 2pm and in Sydney. In both cases bring your health benefit card!

The right eye is being threatened by a good bout of (old) age related Macular disease resulting in loss of vision. It is irreparable but a good diet is advised and there can be injections into the affected eye that may be of some help as well. There are lots of aids including magnifying glasses, super strong spectacles with milk bottle lenses, enlarged print in books and change the settings on computers to giant format with an added opportunity for those that as the loss of vision increases and a thick depression blankets in, you can share your loss with an experienced counselor who will ease you into accepting that life is short, and anyway,” it doesn’t last forever”. Have you chosen your casket yet? That’s just such great news. Keep up your pecker Gerard.

I know I should fear large brown bears or trucks on the footpaths, but loss of vital organs is in a class of their own. I mean, can’t read the small print on the gas bill anymore? What could possibly be worse? Can’t hear the ads on channel 10 or 7, those lovely jingles by Harvey Norman’s ‘Get it now” exhorting us to buy the latest nest of woven plastic tables and chairs for outdoor dining together with a gleaming turbo driven eight burner stainless steel kitchen cum barbeque life style enhancement.

Why then do we get so many ads relating to funeral cost protection lately? You get to see this happy family cavorting with kids on a sloping lawn with the wife beaming happily in the knowledge that her hubby has taken out a good solid funeral protection plan. He looks so proud! It all adds so much to lifestyle. What are they trying to tell us? Should we ask the funeral organizers to put the cremation retort on low or stand-by? Is that part of ‘life-style’ as well or is it more of a death-style? How’s your death- style going might well be the next catchy phrase?  Is it still thriving, getting warm?

If that is all what lays ahead it can’t be too bad? There is still lovely food and nice conversations with friends and family but I do resist the temptation of the old and weary to rabbit on about   ‘the good old days’ when petrol was 2shillings and six pence a gallon and Franquin the Great Magician was as hilarious an evening of entertainment it could ever get. I just put on the ‘for the hearing impaired’ ear phones and listen yet again to ‘le piano du pauvre.’

Nothing could chase the grandkids back home to mum and dad quicker than when I put on that piece of music and ask H for yet another fox-trot. (Or talk about the benefits of a Jules Verne book)

I have learnt my lesson well and leave the kids to their IPod, Pad, Tablets and Apps and console myself that a similar fate will befall them as well. “You will all be lucky to get out of it alive, I tell them”. They look a bit bewildered when I say that. Oma puts them at rest and says “your Opa is just kidding you”; “he is always joking and making fun.” “Don’t take him seriously!” “He is going gaga.”

I can still put on my own socks and you walk rather briskly, so my lovely wife tells me.

This journey is still ongoing.