Truth indeed

Photo by author

The smart book cannot feed you

As twisted old vines can

Supermarket purveyors sell

Fabricated nourishment as milk and meat.

No matter how much the sellers bleat.

The stuff of all wholesome sustenance – once lived

Machinery assures its by-products – waste.

Sure, senses sharpened in the laboratory

Allow mankind to reproduce the chemistry of life

Yet they cannot sense love

Any better than understand cant and hypocrisy

Take care and value

Our life giving innate world.

Keep in touch with the natural and

Honour the human generations to follow

Why? Millenniums of past life were

sustained as providence intended

Google smart books find unintended meaning in text

Yet analytics misses the point

Found in the germination of an idea.

Wealth is to know truth.

Its simplicity guarantees a contented life.

Image. The Conversation

Can you identify hidden meanings from a page of a book?

Take a seat.

Image courtesy SMT

Living with good genes you visit your doctor only to replace the medications he has prescribed for daily use, when you have run out. You trust your GP – the pills prescribed; will reduce your cholesterol, replace the hormones your absent thyroid cannot produce, or lower your blood pressure. The proof all is well is revealed with a regular blood pressure check – 120/73 at 59 heart beats a minute. Excellent result. Even for a person a quarter of your age. It is all you need to hear before you exchange pleasantries and leave to go about your daily business.

With no comprehension of Greys Anatomy, or understanding of pharmacology, you trust the diagnosis your GP advises. Even he may not decide your the treatment for every ailment from a conversation. Most likely your GP will order blood tests to confirm the diagnosis gleaned from careful questioning. She may recommend you visit a specialist before ever a diagnosis is reached.

Not every visit is conducted with such routine rhythm – but you hear things.

Today your primary carer will reserve opinion until all channels are exhausted. This is as good – as it is bad. Specialisation can become misleading unless the specialist keeps a clear mind – the whole person needs treatment, and not just a specific disease found in part of the body.

The life of the doctor is most certainly fraught. This is especially so in this Internet age. Lots of people visit a doctor after first making inquiry of Dr Google. Your friends are often more knowing (not knowledgeable) than the doctor, and hypochondria is very common among those friends who make weekly visits with yet another complaint.

This is not to condemn them. How one feels can be misleading. Too often an acquaintance has died because they ignored symptoms other people acknowledged. One person says “I feel this,” The other says nothing. The first has a diagnosis, a treatment, a short, or a long painful – convalesce, and they are cured. The second, dies, or worse – is given a prognosis and dies shortly afterwards. The difference in their lives is sometimes a matter of how they think of the medical profession.

Currently the conversation is about pain. The press is full of the dangers of opioid and other drugs prescribed for pain. Codeine, Fentanyl, OxyContin form part of the list of products which pain sufferers are very familiar. Word has it that these drugs can be habit forming, just as morphine – first discovered in 1803, is known to be.

Tragically many lives have been lost by sufferers of long term pain. Their treatment caused them to become addicted to their treatment. In time the drug becomes more necessary to them than the pain it was prescribed to aid. It has reached a stage of alarm across the developed world.

The level of pain individuals can accommodate varies from person to person. The truth is few men would be able to live with the pain of child birth. It remains one life’s mysteries how women naturally live through confinement. But not all pain is equal.

From my own experience I have learned how easy it could be to slip into addiction. Many decades ago I visited Dr Bill Davies, (the doctor that was present at the birth of out children). On this occasion I had to wait for a long time outside his rooms. Every minute I waited the second hand of the clock scraped against its body on its journey and it screeched at the five o’clock mark. “Screech screech”.

I do not remember why I had made the appointment, just the noise the clock made every sixty seconds. perhaps I talked about to him about my jumpy legs. (My wife will tell of how I kick her nightly as I am going off to sleep. I have done this for years). Anyway, when I got to see him I said I couldn’t live with such an irritating clock. He looked quizzically at me and wrote out a prescription. This I took to the chemist, and in time I started taking Valium.

The prescription had five repeats. After about the third I mentioned I was taking diazepam, and the listener said it was addictive. Instead of taking pills I should read Dr Ainsley Meares 1968 book, Relief without drugs. I did. However I had a strong feeling of wanting something despite knowing the drowsiness I felt from was caused by the Valium. So I read it again and practiced what it said.

Fortunately I persevered with the techniques recommended by the book and I stopped taking Valium before I fell into its grip. The technique explained in the book is now recommended as Mindfulness training by professional groups. This is not news to Buddhists of course. It is just one of the practical parts of their practice.

Another aspect of the “Relief without drugs” book is the knowledge it is possible to retrain the brain to think differently. Interestingly this is now a recommended pain relief action. This has lead to whole new field of pain management. One I am convinced I must turn to with renewed energy and retrain my brain for practical reasons.

One grapples with pain. When, like now, I have remained in one position too long. One winches with the odd ache before moving freely. The relative influence of pain comes and goes. The arthritis that was causing pain in my finger knuckles a few months ago is now so bad my right hand constantly aches. The truth is I am losing the use of my right hand because of pain. To the point I try to avoid using it. Past experience has taught me not to rely on medication for things you can set aside with training. My brain is being retrained not to complain about an aching hand.

My message from all this? What happens next is up to me.

What is said today about opioids

Dr Ainsley Meares was a Melbourne psychiatrist. He learned about pain and how injured soldiers reacted to it in WW11. The photo is of a memorial to him. Co SMT

I don’t mind if you pause before you leave and read some more, or you make a comment. Thank you for reading this.

The Refugee

The embarking passengers ran to the taxi rank and opened the door pausing just long enough to flick water from the rain soaked umbrella before they climbed into the cab. The driver, wearing a checked shirt embossed with the logo “13 cabs” on the collar asked, “Where to”? “Recital Centre Kavanagh Street South Melbourne”. The reply was sufficient information for the driver to perform a quick U -turn, taking advantage of the sudden break in the traffic. In the first two hundred metres the wheels bottomed out of every water filled pothole on the city road. Suddenly the female passenger cried, “Stop! I have lost Il Cannone Guarnerius. I thought you had it”, she wept to her male companion. “I have”, he calmly replied, as he flicked aside his overcoat and showed her the violin case resting on his lap. “That was close. Ok you can keep going”. The diver turned to her and asked, “When we get there can I play with you? You play? “First Violin in my homeland orchestra. I always have my Stradivarius with me, but since I came here as a refugee I have to drive this taxi”.

Image ref.

No sound was made recording this scene. Tell me, what music best suits this scenario?

If you liked this piece then I hope you can find something else to like before you leave.


Author supplied image

This moment is the most symbolic one I have lived. You and I share this moment to think about how our lives are better because of the past. Reflection is the reverse of how we actually see things – so learn from it. (Your hair -for instance – is parted left or right. In reality whether it goes this way, or that, depends on which side of the mirror it is seen.) Any regrets we have are experiences of the past that have shaped us. Regret must not hold us forever in its grasp, for if it does, it is to die in loss. In my eighty years I have learned real happiness is found now, not when.

This thought was prompted from a list of possible regrets I just read. How you respond is something we might both learn from. Tell me what it has done for you. Thanks for stopping by.

An haiku sextet on a theme

Credits. Devlin boats

Jelly Fish

In February

Blue bottles tease wave surfers

Riding last warm breaks

Lemon Pud

Warm lemon sago

Cooked as tapioca

Our staple dessert

Privacy Please

Frosted front doors hide

The intent of residents

No need for coyness

Power Usage

Darkened hallway lit

Daylight hours by skylight saves



Inactive old blood

And elastin less skin veils none

Of the life well lived.


Never girls best friend

Sardonyx will open the eyes

asking less young lassie

These lines are written on the same theme. Fat fingers (mine) have eliminated them from a competition. The enjoyment I had on writing them is why I have posted them here.

Thank you for reading this far. Now let me know what you thought.

Coup d’oeil

Fifty-five years wed

The bride is

Without a shadow turning

Troubled by ocular tears

Today she was pumped

With a nostrum used

To curb the canker

Of colon cancer.

As the needle pricked

Into her orbs it

Fed the chemical used

To shrink capillary motions.

We trust the ophthalmologist

Knows the body

As the macular

Sees not – the colon.

Denise lived

Imagine as the father of Denise Duvall (Denise had a fatal accident on 2 Dec 1967) being asked the question no parent would like to be asked, “Do you give your permission for the medical team to use parts of your daughter’s body to save other lives?” What would you answer? Fortunately, for the family of Louis Washkansky, the answer was, “Yes, go ahead. Thus, along with his brother Marius, Dr Christian Barnard performed the world’s first successful heart transplant.

The operation was risky, yet Barnard was confident he could pull it off, and he reckoned there was an 80% chance of success. In the following days the patient was sitting up in bed and confidently discussing his post operational life happy he had taken this last chance at life. Eighteen days later he lay dead, having died from pneumonia.

His operation was controversial because the first heart transplant in 1964 to Boyd Rush, by Dr James Hardy was unsuccessful. Barnard was deemed by many to be taking a God like responsibility. It was a job for which no man was qualified to undertake according to his critics.

Through those same years my father was weakened by heart trouble that initially had him hospitalised for eleven weeks. His doctor was doing as his training dictated he do years before. From his experience rest was considered the best remedy for a stressed heart. Thank goodness Barnard stuck to his course because heart operations are now routine. Just as my sister-in-law recovers from open heart surgery all the evidence says the worst has passed. She was expected to walk the day after having four bypasses, and a pig’s heart valve, all parts were used to regenerate her heart.

In her case her troubles were genetic. A direct line of family members had each met their sudden deaths with similar problems. In other families different genetics have been responsible for a catalogue of different ailments with fatal consequences. It is just as well a fortunate few are in a position to benefit from medical science advancements. It gives us hope.

The lesson is, life is unpredictable. Birth itself is not without risk for the mother or the child. Too often, for a nation with excellent health facilities, a mother – or a child- will die in confinement. These unexpected deaths are awful, and many families never get over the loss. Fortunately we are beyond the period when most parents would make sure the family would continue breeding by having an heir and a spare. Or the terrible periods when infancy was unsure and the next child would carry forward the name of the dead sister, or brother.

As a young person death was unreal to you. You were about nine, and a troubled young lad of about seven went missing one evening. His body was found in the local swimming pool the next day. He had managed to squeeze under the gate after hours and drowned by misadventure. His death was certainly a loss to his grieving family – yet in the wider community, where it was considered sad, it was also assessed as being a fortunate release for them. It spared them the worry of his unsettled future behaviour.

Next, at about age thirteen, a boy of sixteen was killed by a car as he crossed the road. Not long after that the brother of one of your friends was killed when he was thrown from his motor bike. His leather helmet was no protection from the force of his body hitting the road. Motor accidents are cruel. One minute Clare was part of your community. The next she was gone and a gap was left in your life where she once lived.

Having lived to your thirties you saw disease took many of your loved ones. As you aged you became aware life was terminal. Many people you knew suffered with pain and disability. Some you didn’t know, but nevertheless they still they left you to feel genuine grief from the stories you heard about their brief lives.

In time you learnt a visit to a cemetery becomes a sobering reminder of how fickle life is. Especially when you pause and read the brief inscription on this headstone, or that one there. It does your head in to realise a life of any age can end in death. This is why I write today. On the weekend I was talking to Seamus. He is a tutor on – how to die.

He is a man approaching fifty. He is dying from a form of cancer. He has become quite matter of fact about his future. He says, “We all must die”. “I have cancer.” When I was given the diagnosis, I asked, “Why not me – instead of – why me? His treatment, he claims, has not caused him any bother. Having finished fifteen weeks of treatment he now has to wait two months for the doctors to reassess whether the treatment has worked. He says that despite being on benefits he will go back to work. “If two month from now the doctors tell me I am ok I will not have wasted two months. If they discover the treatment has not worked, I will have not wasted two months.” These answers are more than stoicism. He genuinely believes life is best lived – by living as best you can each day. In his conversation he followed up by saying, “We only have so much time and we should make the best of it.”

This much I agree. If we become sick our medicos may have the scientific knowledge to make us better. Or they might not. We will die. We could be hit by a tree branch just as we pass beneath it. Just as my paternal grandfather died over a century ago. Either way, living and dying is a gift. We had better get used to that.

Death can be beautiful.

Iris died looking at pictures of beautiful plants she admired, rolling on a screen, while she listened to the music of her choice. She knew she was dying. We gathered because we knew we were spending our last day with her. It was a lovely death.

Asking your friends to support your posted prepared message is wrong.

Two or three times a week someone will post a letter that makes you pause and think. The message usually says something like the following. “If you know someone with —— (fill in the disease. The messages are nearly all alike) Will you share this message with your friends as a sign you love them?” Or they might ask you to post back to them. They want to know you will do it if you love them because most people won’t.

I am one of those people who do not do as you asked. I do this because while I agree with the motherhood statement. I have no idea where the message started, or who might be collecting our names, just because the message is touching it is not enough to help others because they might have awful motives.

Do not mistrust your friends. They will love you unto death.