Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hand Foot & Mouth Disease

Posted: June 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

I am a stay at home dad to my 15 month-old daughter. Although she attends childcare for two days a week, I am quite happy to be a part of her life for as much time as I possibly can.

I never knew how big a part I could play in her life as I am currently experiencing.

You see, we are both currently going through a bout of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. Although it is uncommon for adults to contract this virus, it happens on occasion. I have decided to use this opportunity to try and shed some light on the symptoms and what it feels like, so that other parents might understand what their little ones are going through.

For anyone who has not heard of this virus, it is rather common in places where young children gather. Childcare centres, play centres, that sort of thing. It is usually first noticed as a few red spots on the hands or feet of the child, and quickly progresses into many spots on hands, feet, lips and inside the mouth and throat.

In official terms, it is known as the Coxsackie Virus, which I thought was a rather humourous name.

Let me assure you, this is no picnic. I can honestly say that my little one is an absolute trooper! I would like to describe each of the symptoms to you, so that you can understand why your child might be more clingy than usual.

The first indication that I had contracted anything at all was when I suddenly broke into a fever. Lets call this Day #1. The fever escalated from absolutely nothing to profuse sweating and shivering in about 30 minutes. Then came the throbbing headache and sinus pressure. I was actually rocking baby to sleep at the time, and had to slink to bed immediately afterward. I am usually a night owl, but this had me in bed by 9pm. I slept with my electric blanket on its highest setting for 11 hours. I have suffered migraines in the past. This was on a par, if not worse than that.

Day #2.
I woke with a strange, furry taste in my mouth. It was like I had not brushed my teeth for a few days after having greasy takeaway food at the end of a long night out on the town (I remember those days!). I then noticed my tongue seemed numb. I looked in the mirror and saw the reddest throat I think I have ever had. And plenty of white spots on my tonsils, too.

At this point, I didn’t realise what I had, as the little one had not shown any spots or noticeable symptoms. As she is also teething, I assumed her clingyness was due to this, and nothing else.

Then we saw a spot on her hand. Another on her lip, so small you could miss it. A few hours later, I had an itch in the palm of my hand. I looked, and there was a spot. A visit to the doctor confirmed the worst.

Now, as the spots are the most obvious sign of this virus, I should probably tell you what they feel like.

The spots are mildly itchy to start with. No big deal. But they hurt to touch. Even just a little bit.

Imagine an ingrown hair, or a paper cut. Now imagine a few hundred on the palm of your hand, between your fingers and on the pads of your fingers. Now imagine crawling with your entire body weight on them. This is what baby is currently going through.

I have felt this sort of pain only once before. When I was younger and stupid, some friends and I would jump from a local pier into the water below during summer. We would climb the ladder on the side of the pier and repeat all day. The next day we would realise what pain was when remembering the barnacles on the lower rungs of the ladder, and how they had sliced our feet to ribbons.

These small spots are currently on my palms, between my fingers, pads of my fingers, soles of my feet, between my toes and all over my face.

It hurts to put on my shoes, it hurts to walk, even barefoot, opening doors or even a milk carton is agony. I have never thought about how often I use my fingertips in my daily life until now. (Answer: it’s lots!)

The spots are also not friends with warm water, as I discovered. Although you might think that a nice warm bath would help to soothe the discomfort, they are sensitive to temperature. For example, I was giving little one a bath earlier. The elbow test said it was a safe temperature, so reached in for the washcloth and… YEOWWWW!!! Every spot sent a message to my brain “this water is a billion degrees too hot!!!” I placed a thermometer in the water, and it confirmed it was only 34 Celsius, and NOT 34 Kelvin (Incredibly hot!)… this sensitivity is only for hot temperatures, as cold water and even the freezer has been a welcome sanctuary for my hands all day.

The spots on my face seem different. As a long time sufferer of psoriasis, I have learned to care for my facial skin differently to many guys. I have also seen it in terrible states at times. My face currently resembles a chemical burn I once received from a product with false claims of ingredients. (That’s an entirely different story!) It feels incredibly dry, cracked and tight, like I have left a mud mask on for a few hours. Smiling, blinking and even chewing hurts to some extent. For my face, I have been treating the spots with tea tree oil and cold water. So far so good!

As for the throat, this has to be the toughest part in the early stages. I’ve had my share of tonsillitis and other ailments, but this is next level.

Swallowing anything at all is painful. Bread, water, soup. It all feels like razor blades. I made a peanut butter sandwich on multigrain and was close to tears by the end. Plain old tap water had similar results. If you needed to understand why your child had lost their appetite, this should explain it. On the positive side, the severe pain of this will only last a day or so. After that, there is still discomfort, but only in the form of lumps in the throat. By the end of Day #2, my throat was feeling much better.

Day #3
Today began when I moved my feet under the covers. The lumps on my feet were so sensitive that this woke me up. I then tried to yawn, and realised my face was so tight with the facial sores that I could only open my mouth about 3-5cm before things started to crack and cause pain. Swinging my legs off the side of the bed, I tried to stand. Feet super-sensitive, I forgot!! Socks and moccasins on, this will help alleviate the sensitivity, effectively wrapping my feet in cotton-wool (or actual wool, in the case of my moccasins!)

Looking in the mirror, my heart dropped. My face was worse than the day before. Covered in spots, lumps and legions, I resembled some sort of beast from the underworld, banished from society and forced to live in catacombs beneath the city. Some of my grossness had seemingly burst through the night, causing it to crust onto my face and make my skin feel even tighter. A thorough but gentle wash with lukewarm water helped to remove this, followed by a tea tree soaping in the shower. My hands feel even more sensitive today, almost like they have suffered severe sunburn with a touch of pins and needles. Its frustrating that I still cannot get a lid off a peanut butter jar, or use my key in the front door. Fine motor skills are a luxury that are often overlooked until you can no longer enjoy them, it seems.

Toward the end of Day #3, I noticed that my hands seemed less sensitive than earlier. I think I have finally reached the peak of this epic mountain, and I am finally starting on the road to wellness again. Those pesky spots are still there, and there are even a few new ones on my feet, but they seem to be hurting less than they were.

Day #4
very late last night (so I will count it as today!) I finally got the lid off the peanut butter jar! my hands and feet are suddenly not as sensitive anymore. Strangely, they now have more spots, although the new ones are much smaller, or in some cases, fainter than the original ones. Perhaps this is the death-rattle, or the final wave of these spots? I really feel that I am starting to heal now. The legions on my face are visibly dried, and some are able to be gently peeled (gross, I know… but so satisfying!)

My throat still looks like a war zone, but oddly, does not hurt. I have a slight cough, but most of the discomfort from all of the symptoms seem to have passed now. The only thing that needs to happen now for me to claim a full recovery, is for these pesky spots on my hands to go away, and the spots and legions on my face to do the same.

I think the hardest part throughout it all though, is the self-imposed quarantine. Not being able to get out into the fresh air or to the park, and to entertain a grumpy 1 year-old indoors for 5-7 days! No friends to play with, no visitors to socialise with. Although it gives us both more time for cuddles to console each other. I do agree with childcare not allowing the child back for a week, though. The less people to be subjected to this, the better!

EDIT: Over a week after things had subsided, my fingers and toes were still feeling numb or tingly. Later that day, one finger got itchy, then another. The skin practically fell off each of my fingers, mostly from the pads, but basically everywhere that the spots appeared in clusters. In the space of two days, all ten fingers were raw, making things difficult in regards to typing (which is why this is a late update!) My feet decided to join in the fun a few days later, making walking very painful. Every single step hurt, and I could feel every little pebble under my shoes with painful accuracy. I am hoping that this is the last of it all!!

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Political Donations

Posted: February 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

So you may have heard, the PM of Australia is now having to answer to the people and the media why he personally donated $1.75m of his own money to his party immediately before the last federal election.
Or perhaps you heard of the now former Health Minister using taxpayer dollars to fly herself and partner to the Gold Coast with no notice (on a private jet – costing taxpayers ~$20,000!) and ended up buying an apartment “at a whim” worth almost $1m.
Or maybe the incident where the former Speaker of the House decided she did not want to be stuck in traffic on her way to a fundraising event, so decided to hire a helicopter to fly over the freeway traffic below, and billed the taxpayer $5000?

There have been plenty of examples of this sort of spending, and many more during the election campaigning. Signage, TV ads, Brochures, Automated phone calls to show us that they care…

Would it not be easier to implement a single fund. All political donations go into the one fund. It then gets divided up between the parties based on how many seats they currently hold (or for new micro parties, based on a predetermined amount per running candidate.

This would ensure that all parties were on a level playing field. It would ensure that “Big Mining” were not “buying off” a particular party, rather, their money was going into a pool for all parties. This way, each party would have a relatively balanced ground to sell their policies, ignoring who had more funding, or who donated to who. Focussing on policies!

It would also show the Australian public how each party could work within a budget.

If all spending was to be accounted for, and all spending stopped 1-2 weeks out from the election (when there is a media blackout anyway), the parties could then tell us how much they had left over (which would be returned to the pool for the following election, or spent on infrastructure etc) The voting public would then see if they received ‘value for money’ throughout the campaign, seeing how well each party could secure good business deals for printing, advertising, resources etc, as well as seeing that they are able to balance the books in a timely manner. After all, most parties carry on about “balancing the budget”, expecting people to liken the federal budget to a household chequebook, when they could not be further apart. Rather than talk the talk, show us your walk! Balance an electoral campaign, limit wasteful spending that usually amounts to numerous flyers that go straight to the bin, and spend wisely.

In this current climate, I think we could do with this level of scrutiny.

An amazing insight into what the end of funding for Safe Schools really means…

Writing in Shadows

Dear Prime Minister,

I wasn’t sure how to address your government’s latest announcement yesterday. The age old belief that announcing unpopular moves late on Friday no longer has the same power it did in the years before social media. Social media now means an unpopular announcement now trends on Twitter within minutes of the announcement and, if it’s on a Friday, that announcement has the weekend to fester and build momentum.

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As a designer, people sometimes seem to think of my role as ‘auxiliary’ or perhaps ‘unrequited’ in their industry. Some even go as far as to request designs done for them at no charge, because “It should be easy for you, you are creative” or my favourite “We will give you exposure, and perhaps set up some regular work for you with us”.

Unfortunately, “Exposure” does not pay the bills…

Many seem to think of a designer’s work as a glorified hobby that does not deserve recognition or even payment. Whilst many of us do indeed enjoy designing various things, and perhaps even do the odd design for no charge, for us, this is our job. This is something that pays our bills, keeps food on the table and our families off the streets. I have never heard of someone asking an accountant or a lawyer for free services, in exchange for ‘exposure’, but somehow, creative people are deemed less important.

Take note, every single thing that you have purchased that is in packaging has been designed by a Graphic Artist.
Every single man-made product you have held in your hand, experienced, viewed or touched has been designed by  Product Designer.
Every single store you have walked into, walked past or walked through has had its layout, lighting and shelving designed by someone in those fields.
The lawyer has their stationery, document templates and all other formal documents designed to some extent by a designer, as does the accountant’s personalised cheques, advertising materials and even the software that gets you a refund.

Every single industry on this earth has a designer involved at some level. They work hard, they work long hours and often forego important events in their lives to get the job done. In one position I worked, it was not uncommon to be sitting around an empty office, talking with the cleaners as I waited for an executive to make final changes for an urgent press ad that had to be submitted that night. I could have easily been sitting at home with those I love, spending time with them, hearing about her day and perhaps watching some TV together, but instead, I was made to wait on someone else decision until 11:30 at night sometimes. This was with no extra pay, and in fact, it was expected of me on a regular basis.

More often that I would care to admit, I have had to chase down clients, pestering and pressuring them for many months after the final artwork has been submitted for my payment, which had been invoiced (meaning I pay taxes on it) but not received. (Still paying tax on money not received!) With one client, I chased them for 6 months for a few hundred dollars. Eventually they paid, only to ask me a few days later for further designs.

In what other industry is this level of disrespect acceptable, when my work would not only benefit your company, but also potentially make your company some or even considerable money?

I recently read this amazing article on a blog, which tells of the trickery used to keep people in design positions. It uses our own self-pity to keep us docile and willing to work under these ridiculous conditions. Even if you are not a designer, it is well worth a read!

A Short Lesson in Perspective

This has been written by Julian Burnside, QC. A well-respected Barrister based in Melbourne, and a Human Rights Advocate.

winstonclose

The cruelty and indifference of Serco and Border Force continue to astound.

Mojgan Shamsalipoor was in year 12 at school in Brisbane and was taken into detention. Then she was put in detention at BITA, the detention centre in Brisbane.  Then she gave an interview to the ABC, and she was moved to detention at Wickham Point in Darwin, despite the fact that her husband (Milad Jafari, a permanent resident) lives in Brisbane.

Mojgan

Her removal from detention in Brisbane was brutal.  She was dragged out in the middle of the night by the hair.  Five or six Serco guards were invovled in the exercise: to remove a young woman from detention in one place and move her to Darwin, 3000 kilometers from her husband and friends.  In the detention trade, this is known as…

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Congratulations USA!

Posted: June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized
I am predicting a surge in USA holidays either in coming weeks, or next June/July, in time for summer. Hawaii will be booked for many years to come, boosting their tourism and their local economy.
The surge will be from thousands, tens-of-thousands of gay and lesbian couples, fed up with waiting for Australia’s government to act on this issue, and wanting to get married to the person they love.
They will most-likely not be religious weddings, rather, they will be celebrant-run weddings. On the beach, in parks, outdoors or in registries. (for all of the religious folks saying “its Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve!”)
In the end, Australia’s inaction on this is not only an embarrassment to us as a progressive country, but also a massive slap in the face for the local economy, tourism, celebrant, designer, venue, fashion, and jeweller industries.
Millions of dollars will be sent offshore, yet again (After NZ, Ireland and some other countries beat us to it) and guess what? The world still turns, and a reign of fire has not fallen on the heathens…
 
In the words of John Lennon, All You Need is Love, LOVE is All You Need.

This was broadcast almost 48 years to the day. When it was broadcast, interracial couples were only barely accepted in some parts of the world, the Civil Rights movement was in full swing, Women’s Rights was in its infancy, and the Aboriginal people of Australia were still classed as animals, under the Flora & Fauna act.

Isn’t it amazing to see how quickly the world can change when there is a desire to change it for the better?

I congratulate the USA (and Ireland, and of course New Zealand) for seeing the common sense in passing these laws and allowing human beings to marry the person that they love most in the world.

Hello

My name is Patrick, and I have always been a Labor voter and supporter since I was first allowed to vote.
I have been known to have many a heated argument, defending policies with friends, family and strangers.
I have recently read that Labor, if they win at the next election, will take an even tougher stance to asylum seeker arrivals.
As a new visitor to the Broadmeadows Detention facility, I find this news to be disappointing.
This nation has been built on the blood sweat and hardworking backs of immigrants. We have all grown up with people from other countries surrounding us, either in our schools or our communities.
It is what makes Australia such an amazing and unique place to live. Until recently, we have been an envy of other countries all around the world. When travelling, I have always been proud to tell strangers that I was Australian.
This has ended now. I am now vocally ashamed to be Australian. When did our values as a country change so drastically?
We have essentially turned our back on the very piece of international law that has built our country into the great power it is, the UN Convention of Refugees, 1952. The piece of legislation that saw so many of our Italian, Greek, Maltese, German, Polish and many other nationalities settle here after World War 2, and has assisted so many other people to settle here when their countries were being ravaged by wars, famine, terror and disaster.
Friends of mine who travel now tell people they are from New Zealand, as it has become too shameful to admit that they are from a land who does not respect people from other lands or with other beliefs.
I currently visit the Broadmeadows Detention Facility (MITA) specifically to spend time with the ASIO negatively assessed Tamil men. These men have been held in detention without charge (at least, none they have been informed of) for five or six years, and in some cases, longer than six years. This is at the same time as we have Domestic Violence Perpetrators serving 3 month suspended sentences. Drink Drivers serving 2 years but being released on good behaviour, and rapists being released on parole, often reoffending, as seen in the Jill Meagher case.
In recent days I have been listening to many in the media and even politics complaining that Indonesia has breached International Law by executing the two men, but there has not been any mention that our current government do the same every single day, leaving people in detention for over six years without charge.
I ask, with the LNP practically handing you the leadership of this country on a platter with their disgusting abuse of human rights, their ignorance for international treaties and recommendations by the United Nations, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Commission, not to mention a common disregard for human decency, with Tony Abbott and his imbeciles constantly opening their mouths to the sound of completely farcical and moronic statements, press releases and god-forbid their foreign speech bluffs… with all of this, how can you now say that you will not only side with the LNP policies, but take them further?
This not only relates to the Asylum Seeker policies, of course. This also includes Metadata, Equal Rights for Same Sex Marriage, the Maintaining Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities, as well as a spate of smaller policies that the ALP have somehow not blocked, or even raised concerns.
Not so many years ago Labor held a convincing lead in the polls over John Howard. Although he was unpopular at the time, he was nowhere near the level of incompetence or danger of the current ‘leader’ of the LNP. How is it that Labor can now only manage a very slim margin of preference over this bumbling fool?
This is the least successful government of our great country that I have known. Please ask yourself why it is that Labor cannot have a convincing lead in the Two Party Preferred polls?
I fear that the Labor party has lost its way. It has lost its vision of a better Australia for all, and is now only trying to win votes in the polls. It is a dirty race to the bottom.
I do not want to vote for the Greens, however their humanitarian policies leave both major parties far behind. This is where your voting constituents are headed, and in droves. I feel my arm is being twisted and I am being forced to leave this once great party, and all in the name of common decency to innocent people who are only wanting to be treated with the dignity that they deserve.
Please try and remember your way, remember that without freedoms, justice and decency, we are no better than many of the countries we are currently at war with.
I look forward to your reply, and even the ability to discuss my concerns further, but as I have seen with past emails to members of Parliament, i expect a templated reply that does not answer any questions but “values my input into important matters.”