Dehydrating Singapore

I love Singapore, this from a person who loathes heat and humidity, and Singapore bountifully provides both.

I first visited here in April 2016 and really appreciated how this island nation did things a little different. As I was driven to my tours I noticed the metal barriers we all see in the middle of our roadways were covered in greenery here, what a wonderful idea to hide and yet beautify and eyesore.

Safety is also paramount here; you can leave a suitcase unattended I’m told, no one will touch it, instead police will be called to remove it – where else in the world might that occur?

Today, day one of my return journey here I am reminded the importance of carrying a bottle of water with you. I was just over an hour on the island and at my first venue, the Asian Civilisations Museum, when my Apple Watch kept going off. Strange I thought, why is it insisting I breathe or whatever so much? I relented and looked, it was a heart warning to say despite inactivity my heart rate was high. I was dehydrated, I could tell something was going on as I wasn’t feeling too well.

When I’d arrived at the museum I had been stressed by the heat and humidity and stupidly didn’t get a drink, a mistake in these conditions. Now back at the hotel I’m resting up and gulping the H2O, all helping thankfully. Is making me reconsider walking around over the coming days now.

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I’ll pay more attention where I walk

Back in June when in Amboise I was on tour with Trafalgar and was called down the bottom of a slope near the river for a group photo; I was less than eager to participate, but I figured I was on tour and would join others. I looked down the slope and couldn’t see any problems so proceeded down but looked up and across the river towards the royal castle I’d not long been standing adjacent to. All was fine until all of a sudden I the ground disappeared beneath my left foot, with the gradient of the slope and my moving forward I couldn’t prevent myself from falling forward.

Before I knew it I was tumbling down the slope towards a Frenchman enjoying his glass of red wine and several others from my tour. I threw out my right arm and left hand in hopes of stopping myself, thankfully doing so I did manage to stop but at a cost. Both my left wrist and right arm were now sore, though at this stage the wrist was the most painful. I was worried at first I may have done some serious damage to the wrist as it was very sore. Those nearby were very kind and helped me up, and I continued down the hill faking a smile in a big way for the group photo.

Back on the bus I was so glad I’d not taken my Canon 6D with me for this brief stop, had I done so I think it may have suffered damage. The pain from my fall was now coming home to roost in a big way, and now it was also evident I’d scraped both legs during the fall — curse wearing shorts.

After a few days I thought all was okay as both wrist and arm were feeling better, I thought all was behind me. Several weeks after my return to Australia my right arm started to show signs that the fall was to have lasting impact, gradually I was starting to feel more and more sore to the point one month post-fall I headed off to the doctor for her advice. I tried taping myself up with rock tape, but within the week I’d made an appointment to see my (fantastic) physiotherapist.

My physio managed to quickly tackle the muscle issues in my forearm, but the elbow area still remains quite sore to this day. I’ve had several dry needling sessions and have had neck massages but to no avail so far. I started wearing a brace over the weekend, uncomfortable hardly explains how that feels, but hopefully it may have benefit. New exercises he gave me on Saturday seem to really stretch those tight muscles, so I guess they must be helping.

I think in future I will pay far more attention to where it is I am walking that looking at those sights in the distance, this incident has cost me day-to-day use of my arm; hit my wallet in a big way; and really given me a bit of brain fog from the constant pain. I am perhaps more fortunate than other being ambidextrous so I have been able to swap to my left, but some tasks I find harder to swap (e.g. brushing teeth). Lesson well and truly learned.

The joys of anxiety

Hi, I’m Corin and I’m a perfectionist.

Therein lies my problem, I hate making a mistake to the point that where the possibility exists I instantly get anxious. A tense feeling within my stomach starts to build, my heart starts to race, and my palms start to get a little clammy (sometimes).

I recall during the final year of my degree one unit had the requirement to do a small presentation to the class, I was utterly terrified of doing so. I am more the quiet individual who languishes in the background and listens to others, so to be forced to get up in front of others and present on a topic caused me great anxiety. I had no problem in producing the content, and it was because I already had a high distinction within internal test results that I decided to throw the five marks assigned the presentation and save further anxiety.

In my working life I haven’t had to present terribly much, but every time it has been required of me the same symptoms arise. Each time I’ve presented to slides I always end up changing information on-the-fly which throws my confidence as I question my reasons for doing so.

I had thought tutoring for one of our schools in the early 2000’s might have helped me with my problem, but it never got easier. The initial few tutorials were the worst, having to talk in front of those who were depending upon me was so nerve wracking. I did improve by end of semester, thankfully, but come start of semester I was reset once more.

Recently I have started therapy to assist me with my anxiety, and using an iPhone app called ‘Calm’ which teaches you to use breathing and meditation techniques to overcome and deal with the effects of anxiety. Hopefully the longterm outcome from both sources will be my becoming comfortable with situations and no longer becoming tense and uncomfortable when situations arise and I need to present / talk to others.

Small steps.

Tennis elbow it is

During my recent ‘Tour de France’ with Trafalgar, definitely not cycling, we were in Amboise after having just visited the home of Leonardo da Vinci (Clos Lucé) and over the  river about to have our group photo taken. I was walking down the slope and looking at the royal castle in the distance, and not having seen any problem on the slope where I was walking continued walking down.

All of a sudden the ground disappeared from beneath my left foot, and too much and too quickly that I just couldn’t gather my balance. Before I knew it I was arse over head and heading for a Frenchman with red wine bottle and glass. I managed to stop myself by throwing out my right arm and my left wrist, but heck doing so bloody well hurt in a big way. At first I thought I may have possibly hurt myself, my wrist really did hurt, way more than did my arm.

A day or two later the wrist felt better, thankfully, and the arm wasn’t showing any signs at this stage of having any problems. However, upon returning to Australia my right arm started to feel sore, especially whenever I tried to lift my coffee or water bottle, life as I knew it was possibly coming to an end – LOL!

I see my doctor each month and had forgotten to mention in in July, so brought it up today, turns out had a case of Tennis Elbow, I’ll not even try to remember the medical term she uttered. I was told to tape it up as this would likely help, otherwise consider dry needling with their physio.

As a guy I was buggered if I was applying tape to a hairy arm, especially Rock Tape which is quite adhesive, so I hit the shops in search of hair removal cream. I’ve never used it before, it was interesting how easy the hair comes off, just 4 minutes after applying the cream to the arm. Applying the Rock Tape for the first time was interesting, I first watched tapes on Dr YouTube, then full steam ahead. Here’s hoping my efforts have some effect and support the arm, I’m not physio/Dr.

What a week

It has been a busy week in this party of one.

Last week I was told I would be working on refreshing the Research Ethics manuals that are currently under review. My part involves redesigning and making these manuals look fresh, they’ve licensed similar manuals from another university and wanted to use these as a basis for improving our own. The source documents are particularly wordy, especially the comment insert boxes which I think are over-the-top wordy. I sent through an initial design for the first document on day one just hoping for some feedback, little did I expect glowing feedback and no requests for changes, does this ever happen?

The most challenging issue I have with these documents, apparently there will be 46 in total, is that they will all interlink, and will be PDF’d. I did an initial test after creating the second document the following day, queue alarm bells, it just didn’t work within Microsoft Word, the links were trying to call the word documents and in specific locations. Perhaps it is my lack of knowledge within this area, I don’t typically need to do such things. Another annoyance was how the footer was behaving, on some pages text would but up against, on others there would be a decent gap, it was bugging me on so many levels.

I decided today I would move to InDesign and see how this application handled interlinking, I knew for sure I was not going to have the footer issues. It took me hours to get my document in, build the hyperlinks up, and get the commentary boxes in place; it is certainly nowhere near as fast to get the document to the same state as it was in Word, but the look is far better for the extra effort. I now need to prepare the second document to allow me to check linking between the two and InDesign performs – CROSSING FINGERS!

I met this afternoon with representatives of our IT department to discuss process mapping I’d been working on recently within our department. I’ve worked within Visio for a few years, however I’ve always done so without any formal training, they will be training me to work to their formal EPC specifications and storing the diagrams within their server. All is still created within Visio, however to a formal structure with naming conventions to maintain consistency across diagrams. Some of the diagrams we have outside of their system are highly detailed and difficult to read when scaled to fit an A3 page, I noticed they mentioned breaking down but it will be interesting to see how they go about this – will be appreciated by all the ability to read once more.

Been a bit of tiring week too, worked a 14 hour day Wednesday between work, then working at home for one of the schools on their website… utterly exhausted after that one, slept like a log. I am grateful for the weekend now and chance of a sleep-in. Thank heavens is winter and sun not rising early right now! Enjoy the weekend, I shall, not raining – woot!

Round: Meds app

I take a few different medications, heck I joke we're I to jump I might just rattle.

A few years back my pharmacy had me subscribe to an app to remind me when my meds were getting low, I could then press a button to just order and pick up later that day, it was quite good. Sadly they decided against continuing with the service, moving to SMS messages that were weeks ahead oh my needing a refill.

I did rely upon the SMS messages but would delay my response, but they too stopped. Just last week I went to take a pill and noticed I had none left in the draw, the box was atop the draw, my signal to self I need to visit the pharmacy – I failed!

I decided to go in search of an app that might help keep track of my meds and the number of pills remaining, and more importantly prompt me to restock when I am running low. Hitting the iOS App Store I eventually found Round Health (https://appsto.re/au/upbk_.i).

Round Health allows entry of your meds and when you take them, but unlike most apps I've seen before its reminders work on a range e.g. 5-7am, so you will actually be reminded twice if you don't indicate you've taken the meds. To assist with restocking you enter the number of pills you have remaining, when at 5 you will be reminded to visit the pharmacy. If like me you have an Apple Watch it includes an app which is convenient.

Check it out.

Blow me over with a feather: PTSD

I had my first visit with the psychologist today to discuss issues surrounding my brother’s death, as well as everything else that has happened since day dot. It’s probably as well she had a new looking pen, there was plenty for her to write down. She was much better than other psychologists than I have seen previously, so much more engaged, not the usual ‘mmm, right’ that leaves you wondering where to go next.

As I discussed events recent and past I mentioned how I often relived events over and over, often vividly, especially when I felt I’d made mistakes, constantly judging myself for having done so. It was the bullying from my childhood that often replayed though, constantly reminding me of what had occurred. Based upon what I’d discussed she suggested it was highly likely I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was a little shocked to say the least, I honestly thought this was limited to people in the military, or those who were raped or similar highly traumatic incidents.

There’s an eye-based therapy they can use which will assist with transferring the memory from short-term to long-term, thereby removing the memory from likely being relived over and over. My little sister, currently working towards becoming a psychiatrist, says the therapy is very effective in practice, so I am encouraged to hopefully move forward and get past these long-lived memories, finally.