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Silly o’clock musings

Tonight, or rather, at silly o’clock this morning, I feel the need to write, to explore myself and try to make sense of the last two or three days; writing helps me with this, well usually it does!

Today, or rather, as it’s silly o’clock, yesterday, was shite, undoubtedly one of the worst days of my life and, considering I’ve come through cancer and chemo that’s saying quite a bit, although there have been other very bad times in my life.

As I tried to work it all through in my mind before opening up my laptop it felt as though what I wanted to say was that I felt the universe was once more mocking me. That’s a very egotistical stance to take really isn’t it? Little me. Just one insignificant coming together of flesh, blood, bacteria and chemicals spinning through the void with billions of others on an insignificant planet far from the center of the galaxy let alone the universe. Why on earth (if you’ll pardon the unintentional pun) should the universe be remotely interested in me? It isn’t really, and I know that, but then most of us laugh at the person who slips on the banana skin without having the remotest connection with that person or interest in their life; when I say I feel the universe is mocking me it is that kind of relationship and not one of personal interest in me. In trying to work my way through this I wondered what I meant by “the universe”, and I couldn’t really answer my own question about my own thought. I don’t mean the cosmic, physical universe. I don’t mean some universal entity, godlike or otherwise. I don’t really know just what I mean which is really a bit scary as it is my own thought!

I remember as a teenager being invited to the party of a teenage girl, Lynda, who was a neighbour. There were a group of us who mostly knew each other. The girls wanted to play a game called scissors where the players said either “open” or “crossed”. The girls knew how to play but we boys didn’t, we could have explained the off-side rule but couldn’t understand what the rules of this particular game were and the longer the game went on the more frustrated we became. Occasionally we guessed correctly but knew that we’d guessed so it was no help at all when our next turn came around. The more frustrated we became, the more the girls giggled in delight and showed that they relished their superior knowledge. Right now, at silly o’clock that’s how I feel about the rules of life; every time I think I have worked them out and can rely on that “knowledge” to look ahead, they seem to change and I just can’t get my head around them. If there has been a pattern in my life it seems to have been this, that every time I start to make plans in the expectation of continuity they get blown out of the water by “the universe”. OK, maybe it’s not the universe, maybe it’s just me screwing things up when I really want them to go well; it’s a possibility which has to be acknowledged.

Was it worth coming through cancer to feel as I do now? Good question! I know human life is precious, but, the way I feel right now I really do wonder. Please don’t get the idea that I feel suicidal, I don’t and I won’t, but I really do wonder whether it was worth everything that it cost me and those whose love, particularly that of my wife, got me through it.

Does any of this make sense? I don’t know. Has it helped me to get my thoughts together in this way? Maybe. Maybe not.

The rules for the game at Lynda’s party? Really simple. If you sit with your ankles crossed, you say “crossed”. If you sit with your ankles uncrossed you say “open”. If only the rules of life were as easy!

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First week over and the second about to commence!

Last week was my first back as school teacher for many years. It wasn’t a real week as I was there for orientation and only met students very briefly on the last day. My first impressions of the students is that they seem to be a good bunch and that is born out by the comments of the staff. The highlight of my week was probably winning the Rock, Paper, Scissors ice-breaker – it’s the first time I’ve ever been able to call myself school champion at anything!! I did try to persuade one or two colleagues to play Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock but I was none too clear on the rules so we gave that a pass.

My colleagues seem a good bunch, professional and helpful which is really good as I do feel that I can turn to them for the support I am sure I will need as a newbie.

How do I feel about the real work starting tomorrow? Funny you should ask that as I was just about to tell you. I’m nervous. Not particularly about the classroom practice, or the base knowledge as I know they are there, but about the things which chemo stops my  brain connecting to, the words and phrases and knowledge which I know are there, filed away somewhere in my brain but the connectors to which no longer seem to work. I just wonder how many times I can say, “Ummmm” without starting to look like someone without a brain. Does anyone know whether this kind of after-effect is common, or for how long it might last?

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I really hope this is of no value to anyone!

I received this email today :

“If you had one wish coming your way before you left this earth, what would it be? Something practical like help with a heating bill? A special present for your child—the toy she was hoping would come for Christmas? Or maybe a last hurrah, like camping in the mountains, or chance to catch, then eat, the biggest fish ever.

A nonprofit organization called Dream Foundation grants thousands of wishes like these every year. To qualify, you just have to live in the United States, be at least 18 years old, and have heard the very hard news that you probably have one year or less to live.

No dreamer has ever been turned down who meets this description.

Read online.

Wouldn’t it be nice if such organisations didn’t need to exist? I hope this email is of no interest to you are anyone you know, but, sadly it may well be.

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Health Communications and Health Advocacy

“Patient blogs reveal the true extent of the impact of cancer on finances, work practices, family life…they offer a window into the lived experience of the patient.”

~Marie Ennis-O’Connor

marie-ennis

When you are 34 years old, lecturing and working in Public Relations and Marketing at a University, you aren’t thinking about cancer.  Yet in 2004, Marie Ennis-O’Connor suddenly had to.  Her life changed with her diagnosis of breast cancer.

In a recent post on the International Journal of Public Health website, this Irishwoman writes, “A cancer diagnosis is not just a single event with a defined beginning and end, but rather a diagnosis [which] initiates a survival trajectory characterized by on-going uncertainty, potentially delayed or late effects of the disease or treatment, and concurrent psychosocial issues that extend over the remainder of a person’s life.”

The uncertainty, delayed effect of the disease or treatment and the possibility of recurrence are all…

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One Big Exhale

Hey guys! January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.  If you have a cervix or not, please be an extension of my voice this month.  Please have the conversations that are uncomfortable to have with the men, women, and young adults in your lives.  The highlight reel would be:

  • Ladies, get your pap smear regularly (and for the love of all that is good, get the follow up if it’s necessary!). Check with your doctor to find out how often you should get a pap.
  • Parents, get your kids vaccinated against HPV!
  • Condoms are not fool proof here.  HPV, which causes cervical cancer (and 5 other cancers), is a contact disease. So unless you’re wearing a full body condom from start to finish when you’re revving up for, doing, and snuggling up after the dibbity, you are at risk of contracting HPV if your partner is infected.
  • HPV has no symptoms

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If a lie isn’t a lie, is it a falsehood or the truth in masquerade?

This looks like such a simple question doesn’t it? It appears that it isn’t.  If, for example, one person, let’s call them A has a history going back over several years of misstating the events of a series of interactions between themself and another person, let’s call them B just to keep it all annonymous, and always to the detriment of person B, can it be said that person A is lying?

First of all let’s look at what a lie is. Wikipedia defines it thus: “To lie is to hold something which one knows is not the whole truth to be the whole truth, intentionally.”

I find this to be an interesting statement for many reasons. “to hold something which one knows is not the whole truth to be the whole truth”. This seems such an obvious statement doesn’t it, but in reality it may be quite complex. Let’s, for instance, take the cases of “witnesses” to a car accident. There is disagreement amongst them as to what happened. This can, easily, be put down to different perspectives, people standing in different places, beginning to notice events at different times and so on. Such people aren’t lying when they give their version of events, they are merely mistaken in their belief that what they report was the whole of the incident, and the respective lawyers will seek to clarify things by questioning. If, however, one of those witnesses is the driver of one of the cars who says that he was paying attention to the road and that his passenger was the one using the driver’s phone and not the driver himself, a “fact” corroborated by the passenger, when the truth is that it was the driver on the phone, then clearly both the driver and passenger are lying. Let’s take another example in order to examine the issue of the false statement being made intentionally. Someone, let’s call them , convinces themself that something which didn’t happen did; they claim to genuinely believe what they say and express surprise when told it didn’t happen that way. Is that a lie? Well, clearly, on the face of it, according to the Wikipedia definition it isn’t. If, however, person  A, has a history going back over several years of making this kind of statement about person B, then I submit that the statement can have been said to have been made intentionally. So, one part of the definition can be said to have been proved and yet it fails on the second part, the statement is not a lie. The question, in this circumstance must be asked, if it isn’t a lie what then is it?

In the blog killermovies Atlantis001 comments:”

“Lie is to intentionally make a false statement to mislead someone. Lie would be about our intentions, not about how we classify our senteces. (sic)” So, in the example we are looking at the question remains whether or not A knows that they are making a false statement, presumably as before we have to question the genuineness of that belief and come to the conclusions we did above. The second of Atlantis001’s sentences, however, poses a very different test, looking as it does at the intentions of the speaker, in this case A. Now, it is my belief that, under this second test, A can be said to have lied, as there is a long history of this kind of statement all with the intention of harming or damaging B.
On the same blog winddancer writes “…a lie is nothing more than a deception trying to mislead another person.” Again this appears to be a straightforward test, but, again, begs the question of deception with someone capable of convincing themselves that what they said happened did happen even though in reality it didn’t. Can such a person be capable of creating a deception? Certainly in the situation I am trying to examine I believe there was an intention to mislead a third person so I believe there was such a deception though I fully accept that others might disagree with me.
soleran30 adds their thoughts: “I believe the point to be is if you make a point to go out of your way to decieve someone for your own gain (money, politics, information) then you are creating a lie”. Under this definition the issue still turns upon the genuineness of A‘s belief. If there is an established pattern of making harmful, false statements about B then could A be said to be making a point of going out of their way to deceive someone, in this case the aforementioned third party? I believe so.

BBC articlecomments: “Lying is a form of deception, but not all forms of deception are lies”. So, are the statements which I have attributed toA deceptions? If they are deceptions are they then lies? Let’s delve further. as the article continues,”A lie has three essential features:

  • A lie communicates some information
  • The liar intends to deceive or mislead
  • The liar believes that what they are ‘saying’ is not true”
In our case was there some information communicated? Yes, quite clearly there was. Did person A intend to deceive or mislead? In the case in point my contention would be that the long history of such statements indicates that they did, though others would disagree. Did person A genuinely believe that on those several occasions over the years they were always speaking the truth? We cannot know for sure, but, once again, I believe the consistent behaviour would suggest that they either did, or, alternatively, that they chose to convince themself that it was the truth which to my mind amounts to the same thing. As with the questions above, if it is not a lie what then is it as it is clearly not the truth?
Dictionary.com offers a different definition:

“1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; anintentional untruth; a falsehood.

2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression;imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.
3. an inaccurate or false statement.”
Let’s look at statement 1. I have already examined the first and second parts of this definition and have nothing further to offer, but, what about the word “falsehood”. It’s a wonderful word isn’t, conveying as it does something of an earlier, perhaps more mannerly time, when someone might well say, “I do not accuse the gentleman of lying, but I do accuse him of uttering a falsehood!” Perhaps, that’s the answer to my question! A lie is not a lie when it is a falsehood! Or perhaps Lord Byron was correct when he wrote :
“And, after all, what is a lie? ‘Tis but the truth in masquerade”

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It doesn’t matter what order things happen in!

This piece is pure self indulgence and arises out of the title statement being thrown at me earlier today. I’d love to say that there’s a prize for the first person to figure it out and turn it into a sensible piece but there isn’t!

 

happened matter what It really actually order things doesn’t in! tonight in the middle what I heard of what discussion might be termed a That’s heated. ene!lievabblU the At thought tied least I it was key unbelievable, points were especially those of who said what and when when and why to events.  Had those something happened in a order then totally different different would have occurred events. discussion!Perhaps heated there no would have been If possible it’s to take out of order events and rearrange sorts them all of happen things might – just travel time think! man age wheel Stone has invent no need to fuel the someone has popped along and delivered a 4 x because 4 and enough to a few years last. calculus Newton Perhaps and wouldn’t have bothered inventing our had happy traveler time off dropped a couple of Apple Leibnitz Macs for them. nonsensical Clearly the whole reorder claim concept is, things in a ridiculous ground sequence and to take happen them out of sequence that and them in order to the high is simply.

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