Thursday, March 18, 2010

Scientific stuff...

Queens University researchers have discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (symbol=Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called pillocks. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 to 6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration.

This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass. When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (symbol=Ad), an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium, since it has half as many pillocks but twice as many morons.

Monday, March 08, 2010

4 years just slipped by...

I just realised that I have missed a very important anniversary - that of my metalwork. Yes, that's right, my surgery was over 4 years ago and in fact, exactly 4 years ago today I was struggling to even breathe without huge doses of morphine and could hardly lift a thing. I distinctly remember that I couldn't figure out the controls on my Mp3 player, my brain was that addled by large doses of narcotics and the BMB was trying to encourage me to get enough brain cells all firing in the same direction to try and read a book. It all seems so long ago and so much like it's just a story that probably happened to someone else. Funnily enough, I actually do some public speaking these days and the more of it I do, the more like a 'story' it all seems.

There is no doubt that my scoliosis surgery changed a lot for me - some things have had their down sides, but other things are nothing more than amazingly good. You know, I recently found some photos taken over the 2 years before my surgery and it was noticeable how much my curve had progressed in that short a time. In fact, when I look back (with a seasoned eye) I realise how awful my life would have been if I didn't get the surgery done. I know that this isn't true for a lot of people with scoliosis - those with stable conditions, whose curves are not progressing, have no fears for their future and even those who do have progressive curves may not to need to worry too much. It all depends on the speed of progression, the location of your curves and whether you have any other complications with your spine. My major curve was in the lumbar area with a corresponding thoracic curve in the opposite direction - and both were rotating to the right. My lumbar curve was progressing at around 6 degrees a year and had reached 75 degrees and if that wasn't enough, my spinal cord was split lengthwise (still is) and was attached (tethered) at the top and bottom of my lumbar curve. It meant that my spinal cord was getting more and more stretched, the further my curve progressed - this wasn't really too good a good plan I don't think....

Anyway, all of that background (which I know all you long term readers of my blog already know) meant that the surgery was really a no-brainer, despite how much I tried to kid myself that I didn't really need it! These days, I guess I am as recovered as I ever will be and I have the chance to look back and see what it has meant to me and the impact that such surgery has had on my life .Now, those of you who know me, know that I am a pretty positive person, so you may be surprised that I am about to give you some of the negative things*1, but hey, you can't list all the good things honestly, without some honesty on the bad stuff too. Bear with me on this though - there isn't much bad stuff at all, anyway - here goes:

Bad stuff Number 1 - I still have back pain. I wish I didn't, but I do. Some days its not too bad and some days its horrid, but then lots of people have back pain, so that keeps me within the bounds of normality, doesn't it?
Bad stuff Number 2 - My metalwork is weird in extreme temperature. I found out that it contracts in the cold at a different rate to your interior tissues and it is just not a nice feeling at all. Last summer, in 44 degrees, I also discovered that it expands at a different rate too and so that is especially odd. When it gets cold, it also takes an age to warm up - this winter has been way too long for me but I have become an expert in vests and thermal undergarments! I now have lots of new vests (sexy!) and even a battery powered heated waistcoat - I am now an expert in a subject I previously knew nothing about! LOL!
Bad stuff Number 3 - My left leg really doesn't work in the way I'd like it to, but I have learned some control of it. I no longer move my hip and thigh forward to walk but throw my left foot forward from my calf (which sound odd but believe me it works!) and in doing so I get by just fine. It's also enabled me to get an amazing collection of very funky walking sticks (mostly bought from which I wouldn't have previously done. It has also meant that I make much more use of my wheelchair which has given me so much independence its not true. I find it truly liberating to be able to go into town and spend all day shopping, never worrying about how far away from the shops I have to park. Compare that to the way I used to be - parking close to where I needed to go - going to just one or two places and then having to go home, too tired or in too much pain to see, even the bad stuff really has its compensations!

Of course, in the good tradition of this blog, I'm sure a list is coming on for the good stuff...forgive me if I don't bleat on for ever though - I don't want to type my fingers down to stumps! Anyway, here goes:

  • I am alive !
  • I am straight! (well I look it anyway even if I do still have 35/30 degree curves inside me still!)
  • I can go to the cinema without leaning over so far that the seat arm digs in my side.
  • I can walk (no sniggering now...)
  • None of my internal organs is squashed any longer
  • My muscle spasms are so reduced its not true
  • I can breathe with both lungs!
  • I can wear stripy jumpers without making onlookers tip their heads on one side.
  • If I am on a boat the ocean no longer looks like it will all run off the right hand edge of the world.
  • I have no fears for my future and what will happen to me
In fact, I feel that I have the kind of future that I never thought I would and that really is amazing but as in all the great Oscar traditions, I have to acknowledge that this really has very little to do with me. I have to thank my surgeon for doing a great job and have to thank hubby for being my greatest support. There are also so many other people who helped me through, from the scoliosis forums, to friends like PTV and the BMB. Sometimes I say I cannot imagine what my future would be like if I hadn't had this surgery, but in fact I can imagine that very well and I am exceedingly grateful for all those people who helped get me through it. 4 years is quite a long time, but even though it seems more like a story sometimes, I know it happened to me and I am so happy to have my metal rod, despite its little idiosyncrasies!
Fun with chairs*2

*1 Although given my last rant, you may not...!
*2 BTW, this has nothing to do with anything in this post...I just liked it!