Month: February 2020

625. Sunday 23rd February 2020.Hydrotherapy, pain, massage and a robotic vacuum cleaner…

Monday 17th February

Had a hydrotherapy session with the physiotherapist today. For some reason I could not find my costumes and thought I may have left them in a suitcase high up on a shelf in the garage. Climbing on a step stool and then stretching to lower the suitcase I felt my muscles complain. I was back in extreme pain again but managed to drive to the pool and shuffle in pain. The exercise helped enormously but proved I am in no condition to reach, stretch, lift, push or pull let alone bend or squat. Alas I could not find my costumes and had to wear normal shorts in the pool.

Tuesday 18th February

Today I visited the doctor and my Lyrica dose was increased to 225 Mg twice a day. I am approaching the maximum dosage of 300 Mg twice a day. The doctor also noticed sun cancers which needs further investigation so took a biopsy punch of one of them.


I expect that will mean some minor surgery and biopsies over the next several weeks.

Wednesday 19th February

I managed to do my 3 Klm walk along the Broadwater. I am now on a new Lyrica dosage regime since yesterday. My dose has been doubled to 225 Mg twice a day. Bear in mind the maximum is 300 Mg twice a day so I am not far off the maximum. Its early days to arrive at a decision but… pain does seem to be less especially getting in and out of the car and standing after sitting for awhile. We will review the dose and how I am progressing next week. I also discussed with the pharmacist and I do not seem to be having any side effects although a little half hour snooze mid- afternoon might be called a side effect.

Tonight I went to the clubhouse to play indoor bowls. Yes I can play if I use what is called a bowling arm which means I do not have to bend. It means learning all over again but we are not playing for sheep stations.

On the way I watched huge storm clouds and a magical lightning display. I used my phone to take photos but as usual I could not get any shots of the lightning.

190220 storm clouds
This same storm cloud formation was caught on video by my grandaughter at the same time but 150 Klms away.

Thursday 20th February

I drove to Caloundra on the Sunshine coast,

200220 caloundra
Seat with a view at Caloundra.

150 Klms each way, to have lunch with my granddaughter Shelby as she turned 19 on the weekend.

200220 sideway tree
I was intrigued by the tree which has grown sideways at Caloundra.

Along the way I heard on the radio that a scientific study of drinking coffee shows it has many benefits. This information came from none other than my favourite scientist, Dr Karl Kruszelniki. One which my mind latched onto is that it helps prevent mouth ulcers. Whaaaaattt!!! That got me thinking. I used to suffer painful mouth ulcers regularly. Just last week I wondered to myself that I have not had bad mouth ulcers for a long time. Years in fact. It seems to me the cessation of mouth ulcers is linked with me becoming a coffee snob some years ago when we were on the road in WWWGO. I like to think coffee may have been my saviour. Thanks Dr Karl.

200220 caloundra old pool
The original saltwater pool at Caloundra.

Shelby and I met at Caloundra Surf Club which is confusingly called, The Metropolitan.


200220 caloundra new pool
Caloundra Beach with the modern saltwater pool.

It is located at the beach, naturally, overlooking a very nice natural saltwater pool beside which is a very basic original style saltwater rock pool.

200220 caloundra1
View of Caloundra

It was a lovely lunch with lovely company but I soon had to be on the road to avoid peak hour traffic south of Brisbane. As it turns out I caught the peak hour traffic on the northside but once on the M1 south, the traffic was fine.

Friday 21st February

Last week I got great back relief via massage carried out by the Physiotherapist on my back muscles. Often when I greet women and they give a hug they rub my back, not realising it feels comforting. A new found friend, Bill, suggested I get remedial massage and the best rfemedial masseuse is his wife Sueji, a Thai lady who works at Helensvale. It has been a long long time since I have had a massage from a commercial operator. In fact the last massage was also a long time ago by she who will not be named. After the massage I felt like I had legs of jelly and Sueji told me I would be sore overnight and the next day but my back felt good.

But not for long.

I was going to a wine and cheese night tonight and dress code was Black and White. I needed to iron a shirt. Getting the ironing board out of the cupboard and lifting its weight and unlocking it was more back stress than I realised. The simple motion of ironing and I could feel all the muscles in my lower back complaining. After ironing several shirts I then sat at the computer for too long and could not stand without searing pain.

The wine and cheese night was fun, it included some fake money and a gambling casino so those who won the most also won a bottle of wine. Graham made up a huge amount of Pina Colada and Wayne did a magnificent spread. All this for $5. As treasurer I can say everybody got great value for money.

Saturday 22nd February

Did I report that last week I got an iRobot Roomba Robotic vacuum cleaner from stepson Peter. The last time I had the Roomba was last year while Peter had his furniture in storage. I cleaned all the brushes and replaced the sweeper and filters and generally tidied it up to clean house. She who will not be named gave it back. Peter has not used it for some time and thought the batteries were stuffed but agreed to give it to me. Once again I cleaned all the hair and bits of string stuck in the brushes and emptied the dirt canister and yesterday put the new batteries I ordered on-line, on 24 hour charge. Or so I thought. Today I set the device to clean, which it did for awhile before stopping and announcing it needed a charge. Hmm I thought. Normally it would go back to base by itself. I manually put it on the base but realised it is not charging. I tried charging direct but got an error message. Err 03. I looked on line Err 03 means take it back to the manufacturer as it needs a new motherboard or buy a new one.



I did some research on iRobot Roomba, Samsung Powerbot and few lesser known makers. I also visited Godfreys Vacuum cleaner store and they had a several to choose from  with the bare basic model from $300 to over $2,000. On-line prices of other brands and models are in the same price range.

Hmmm! I did not want to spend that much but realise I cannot use the normal Dyson (or any other brand) vacuum cleaner any more. I need a robotic device which will run around and clean the whole house unless the battery runs out before it is finished. In which case it goes to home base, recharges and then finishes. The first three or four times it cleans it maps out the house and remembers the pattern of rooms and changing floor material. That’s what I want.

Sunday 23rd February

I went to Harvey Norman to look at their range, iRobot Roomba, Samsung or Electrolux. There was a model of the Samsung available at a special price of $470. I checked elsewhere and they sell for $890 to over $1,000. I bought it, got home, put it on charge and it was fully charged in  two hours and it spent another hour running around the house doing its mapping and cleaning before finding its way back to base and re-charging. I love it. It sometimes seems it is getting stuck but is in fact mapping and learning.

Happy days.


624. Sunday 16th February 2020. Rain, big rain, a cyclone, minor flooding and big seas…

Monday 10th February

Rain, heavy at times and a lightning and thunder show.

Tuesday 11th February

Once again rain is on and off today along with thunder and lightning.

I had an appointment with a physiotherapist today. She told me she could see that when asked to do simple movements my back and chest muscles operate in spasms. She massaged the main problem muscle in my back and made an appointment for me to have hydro therapy next week. The massage gave me some relief and I slept well for 7 hours.

Wednesday 12th February.

Another day of thunderstorms, heavy overcast and rain, often very heavy. The bowling green is a pond and the swimming pool is overflowing.

On one of the photo sites I Administer, somebody posted a photo of early hard hat diving apparel made out of leather. It reminded me that my uncle, Bill Gray, established a dive business in 1945 after the war.

bill gray
Both these old photos are of my Uncle Mickey. For some reason he was known to us as Uncle Mickey or Mick. Everybody else knew him as Bill.

The business still operates today and is thriving. It operates 24/7 365 days a year to cater for the needs of its clients. bill gray1

Of course my uncle is long gone but the business name lives on.

There is still some pain today but nothing like the pain I have been experiencing for months.

Maybe, just maybe I am beginning the comeback to a normal healthy pain free lifestyle.

Tropical Cyclone Eusi which formed in the Coral Sea near Noumea and is tracking along the Queensland coast is bringing lots of heavy rain. Here on the Gold Coast it just seems non- stop heavy buckets of rain, louder and heavier as the hours rolled by. Of course it was accompanied by lightning and thunder. It was just a good reason to stay home. The seas have been producing bigger swells each day and by tomorrow and Friday expected to reach four metres. Already warnings have been issued to stay out of the surf unless you are a really exceptional experienced rider. All beaches have been closed.

Today I bought fuel for $1.19.9 per litre. That’s E10 of course.

Thursday 13th February

The rain is, if anything louder and heavier this morning. For hours I wondered if it would let up long enough for me to drive to the airport to collect Frank and Kay. The rain stopped for awhile and I got excited it would stay stopped. Nope, just as I was leaving I heard on the radio the heaviest falls are at the northern end of the Gold Coast and to expect minor and localised flooding. I did not want to hear that.

I decided not to drive the M1 as with heavy rain, a speed limit of 110 KPH and hoons it was a recipe for disaster. The Gold Coast Hwy seemed like a better but slower option. If there were floods or accidents it would be at slower speeds and more people to help. The rain did not ease off. Within half a kilometre I encountered my first flooded road and of course there are hoons of all ages who think it best to race through floodwaters sending up big waves and showering cars and people and sending waves into homes and businesses. As I got closer to Surfers Paradise the rain eased and the further south I travelled the rain was less. By the time I reached Coolangatta Airport the suburbs were dry and had not had rain for hours. It was still raining at home! After collecting Frank & Kay we decided to come home via the M1. But first we drove to Coolangatta to see the huge waves at Kirra, Greenmount and Snapper Rocks. There was no parking anywhere. A huge crowd of sightseers had descended on the Cooly to see the action. We could only see the action as I drove slowly, one eye on the road one eye on the surf. How I would have loved to have stopped somewhere and walked back to see the action. All was Ok until we turned off at Helensvale where we reached a Police partial roadblock. Some cars were continuing so I did too. The first flood was about knee deep, flowing quickly and several cars stalled. One was stalled in the first lane and a 4WD had stopped to offer assistance which blocked 2 lanes. I was forced to drive near the shoulder to get around them. That patch of flood was about 200 metres long. The next was probably a bit deeper and I could feel the flow of water pushing at the car. A hoon in a 4WD came rushing through sending a huge wave over us. Sorry no photos. I was too busy concentrating on driving while Frank and Kay were putting finger impressions in the upholstery for anybody to take photos. Once we emerged from the last of the flooded sections we noticed the only other cars which came through were 4WD. I did well in my low slung i30.

Friday 14th February. Valentines Day. I looked everywhere around the house but found no cards with love words, no boxes of chocolates or bunches of roses. I did find the load of washing from yesterday which I had hung on an inside clothes line were still a little damp. I guess there is no Valentine for me this year.

The surf at Snapper Rocks, Greenmount and Kirra Breakwater was huge and televised around the world. Some big name surfers were here for the 4 metre monster waves. Big seas are still expected tomorrow but nothing like the monsters of today.

I plan on being at Cooly in the morning. Full batteries and empty memory cards in the camera.

I noticed fuel was $1.69 or $1.71 all over the coast today except for my local at Labrador where it was $1.17.7 with a huge line-up of cars waiting for fuel.

Saturday 15th February

I drove to Cooly and as expected it was crowded but I managed to get a parking spot and walked to Greenmount Point for my first lot of photos.150220 greenmount150220 greenmount exit150220 greenmount2150220 greenmount6150220 greenmount7 There was so much salt haze in the air, no amount of lens wiping was going to ensure all photos turned out OK. I did my best. 150220 greenmount 1150220 greenmount3150220 greenmount4150220 greenmount5Next I walked to Snapper Rocks. 150220 snapper rocks150220 snapper rocks1150220 snapper rocks2Swells are a metre to 2 metres. 150220 snapper rocks3150220 snapper rocks4Yesterday by news accounts the waves were 3 to 4 metres with occasional 5 metres. 150220 snapper rocks6150220 snapper rocks8150220 snapper rocks7Why wasn’t I here yesterday? 150220 snapper rocks9150220 snapper rocks10150220 snapper rocks11That said there were still some good waves and entertaining activity in the water and around the rocks.150220 boys150220 boys1150220 boys2

On my way home noticed fuel was still $1.17.7 at Labrador, clearly 50 cents cheaper than anywhere else on the coast. Again there were big line ups waiting. I decided to go after dinner. Big mistake. They increased the price by the time I got there.

Sunday 16th February

My back pain seems to be easing at least for a period. Sitting, especially getting in and out of the car produces extreme pain. I know, the simple solution is not to get in the car. However the computer chair, the chairs at the table and my verandah chairs are all the same. Some chairs at other peoples houses are even worse. My car is comfortable compared to Linda’s 4WD. At least it seems to be easing and I have more time with little or no pain. Perhaps I have turned a corner.

On this day in 2011 I am still housesitting on top of Mt Traveston and it has been raining. Sound familiar?

Today (2011) I spoke with an old workmate, Brian. He left Oceanic and joined another insurance broker in Townsville. Brian who is 20 years younger than me had a heart attack! Sigh! You never know when its your turn.

See you next week.

623. Sunday 9th February 2020. Back pain is getting worse and looking back in time…

No Photos This Week.

Monday 3rd February

Today was hot, about 36° with high humidity although we had a sea breeze blowing in off the creek.

In the morning I went with Shirley to the Telstra office to sort out a few problems with her new smart phone. She has had the landline disconnected and will use her mobile to Hot Spot her tablet to do her emails and banking. Afterwards we went for coffee.

Frank called around and cut down two large shoots on the Golden Cane outside the kitchen window. They were rubbing against the house and ants were using it as a platform to enter the house.

Late in the afternoon Diane invited Shirley and myself for a Scotch while sitting on her verandah overlooking Biggera Creek.

After dinner I took Ngaire to the Star Casino to watch The Gentlemen. A violent but humerous movie with lots of twists and shock scenes filled with extreme bad language but midway through you become immune. I was astounded by the number of people here on a Monday night. The theatre holds over 2,000 seats and there were very few empty seats. Afterwards we grabbed a coffee and strolled around the gambling area and watched hopefuls losing hope… and their money.

Driving through Surfers Paradise to the Casino we could see constant  flashes of lightning in the distance. Once home and after my shower the thunder and lightning started again along with some heavy rain and a huge drop in the temperature.

On this day in 2011 I was on the Sunshine Coast in severe pain once again and had X-Rays. Nothing new. The same problem as 10 years ago only this time it had degenerated and there was a tear in the muscle.

Tuesday 4th February

The day started cooler and overcast. I managed to do my 3 Klm walk along the Broadwater before the expected rain arrived. In fact by 6pm the rain still had not arrived.

Mid- morning I had my appointment with the GP to discuss how to tackle chronic pain over a long term. We now have a new plan.

Increase my current Lyrica by 25 Mg for another 3 days. Then increase by another 25Mg every three days until our next meeting in 2 weeks.

I have a referral to a physiotherapist and my first appointment is next week. To be on the safe side I now have Endone to be taken a half hour before the Physio appointment.

We discussed Medical Marijuanna. He is prepared to go down that path but pointed out it is time consuming and expensive. First we have to get a referral to a specialist who will interview me and determine if I am a candidate for the MM. That appointment is $250 and not covered by Medicare so I am out of pocket by $250. If approved the specialist will determine the type of MM will suit my needs and the dose. He then makes a script and the cost of MM is around $250 and once again IS NOT covered by Medicare so again I am out of pocket $250 or more. The benefit of this method is it is an approved treatment and I get a prescribed dose. On the other hand I can drive to Nimbin buy MM there without a prescription, without an interview and without a dose. The quality is not guaranteed.

Last year about June I drove to Nimbin and bought some MM for stepson Peter when he was having surgery for throat cancer. I called to ask how it worked for him. It didn’t. He never took the MM. $300 worth of MM is still sitting in a bathroom cabinet. He has agreed to give it to me. Hmmm! This could be interesting.

Roll on weekend.

Stay tuned as I am sure there is more to the painful back saga, after all it has been going on since September but much worse since early November. The MM might be interesting.

Wednesday 5th February

On this day in 2011, I was housesitting at Traveston and woke with… drumroll…A Painful Back. I even referred to the time when my back was so sore and my saviour was Mary Beth. (It is strange that I mentioned Mary Beth at this point. I am now writing this on Sunday morning. I went back through my notes to look at what I was doing and noticed that on 3rd February 2011 Mary Beth rang me from her home in Cardwell after having spent a terrible night living through the hell of a direct hit from Cyclone Yasi. She told me there were many boats sitting on her deck and in her swimming pool. I suspect that may have been the last time I spoke with Mary Beth. I am sad all over again today. RIP Mary Bet)

A walk along the beach at Noosa did not cure my back but it sort of eased the symptoms. That night I went to a Blackboard Acoustic night at Cooran. I dressed in my baggy Vietnamese Fishermans pants, Wintermoon Festival T-shirt and shortly after arriving realised I was overdressed. Once I took off my expensive leather sandals I looked like one of the locals, in fact I was mistaken – several times- as one of the performers. I had to change seats often and stand to ease the back pain. No different to my daily life at the moment.

Thursday 6th February

I increased my Lyrica dose by 25Mg. I now take 125Mg twice a day. I find it does make me drowsy and I can fall asleep on the recliner within a minute.

I could not do my usual walk today as it was raining and thanks to the drop in temperature and the Targin/Lyrica combination I slept until 7.30 am.

On this day in 2011 I was housesitting in Traveston. It was raining, in fact raining on and off for the last couple of days. It is the same at the moment. The days are almost a mirror image of themselves. 2011 was also the year of the Brisbane floods. I also had back pain and would walk along the beach to ease the pain. Sitting and getting in and out of the car was a problem. The same as now.

Friday 7th February

Now I am on Targin and Lyrica 125Mg, both twice a day. It takes a long time to kick in and when it does it makes me sleepy and I get some relief. I sit in the recliner and fall asleep. In fact it is about the only chair I can suit in without the overwhelming pain. Regular pain, yes,  but once in a correct seating position and cranked back, the pain disappears. Long before my next dose the pain returns. Perhaps I should supplement the day with some Paracetamol or the MM which Pete has promised to bring on Sunday.

On this day in 2011 I was on top of the mount at Traveston, my back pain was not getting any better. I was given Panadeine Forte for the real bad pain and Panadol for the standard pain. I was seeing an acupuncturist as now it seems strange, the referred pain was in my left hip and leg. The acupuncture did nothing to ease my pain and after three visits I gave up. Later the doctor treated me for Bursitis. That means rest (Hah) Panadeine Forte and Panadol.

Saturday 8th February

Another wet days with some heavy falls. I watched a little recorded TV and sorted through some photos and prepared a slide show presentation and created a gentle background music for a wine and cheese night we have organised for the 21st of this month.

Tonight I decided to take myself to dinner and went to Runaway Bay Junior Rugby League Club. Naughty me ordered a pasta dish which is not in my diet. I slapped myself on the wrist several time….and got some strange looks. Perhaps it was strange looks as I tried to sit down in piercing pain. I could not find a position without pain and without making little noises or muffled screams as I did so. Eventually I found a position less painful until the buzzer went off and I had to stand up, shuffle to the counter, collect my meal. Shuffle back and try to sit again.

On this day in 2011 on top of ole Traveston it was a “D” day. That is a Dreadful Day. So many things went wrong on the laptop. Some backing up saved the day. As well I still had my pain in the back/hip/leg left hand side. Now it is right hand side.

Sunday 9th February

Lots of rain overnight and rain on and off during the day.

Once again there is nothing much to report.

In fact on this day in 2011 there was not much to report either. I drove from Traveston to Tin Can Bay and the weather was terrible. Wind and rain. Totally overcast. No opportunities for photos. I walked barefoot along a beach had lunch and drove back to Traveston. It’s kind of strange that both days were wet and miserable and both days there was nothing to report. I suppose I cannot be on the go every day. Oh, by the way. I had back pain on that day too.

622. Sunday 2nd February 2020. Australia Day, pain,Chinatown and looking back…

Monday 27th January

We had our Australia Day celebrations at the village today.

Wayne cooked up a storm of pies, peas, potato and gravy for lunch.

There was damper, also made by Wayne for morning tea.

Dessert was Pavlova with fruit salad and cream or Lamingtons with fruit salad and cream.

Typical Aussie tucker.

Graham did his usual MC task to keep the games rolling along.

I was Barista and prepared fresh coffee.

Frank and Marie kept everybody happy by sorting problems before they became umm err, problems.

The day progressed along happy lines. A few hiccups were quickly sorted and no complaints.

My back got steadily worse during the day. Lucky I have a doctors appointment tomorrow.

Tuesday 28th January.

The doctor repeated that I have a Chronic Pain condition. In fact I am intoo much pain at the moment to consider any physical manipulation – such as physiotherapy, chiropractic or osteopathy, even massage. He increased my Lyrica dosage to 75Mg twice a day and will increase that to 100 Mg twice a day after a week. He also prescribed Targin twice a day. If I get the wobblies, discontinue the daytime dose. At the end of the day there may have been some relief but I know the Targin is messing with my head plus it makes my skin itch. I have heard the itch is similar to what heroin addicts get!

Most Opioids, including heroin , can cause intense itching. This itching is related to the way the opioids interact with the immune system and the central nervous system. Opioid- induced itching will usually go away when a person stops using the drug.

Targin is an Opioid!

Wednesday 29th January

In the morning, two things stand out as things I look forward to.

The first is a walk along The Broadwater early in the morning. Today I met up with other walkers, Bill, Doug and Mark for a coffee at Beach Café in the Aqua building on the corner of Marine Parade and Imperial Parade Labrador. What a wonderful location for coffee or breakfast.

The second is, as good as breakfast is at the Beach Café I also enjoyed making my own mushroom and capsicum omelette and eating it on my verandah with a light breeze coming off Biggera Creek.

Friday 31st January

Hmmm! It seems the Targin is doing its job of making me drowsy which helps me to have a good sleep at night. During the day I often struggle to stay awake so have accepted the fact and allow myself a snooze after lunch.

Saturday 1st February.

Sister Enid arrived today and carried out, in her usual whirlwind, cleaning house and gardening. The work got the better of her as she lost track of time. She planned a walk along the Broadwater, then cocktails at the Grand Hotel followed by dinner in Chinatown. We started our walk but as it was already after 6pm we had to postpone, yet again, the cocktails. Darn, I was so looking forward to a Pina Colada. Next stop, Chinatown where parking was not going to be easy. It meant walking only 2 blocks then wandering around the food places. I started off by looking at the budget places run by mums and dad’s and gradually worked our way up the more elaborate establishment. Surprisingly the prices were not much dearer but included full waiter service, a larger choice of dishes and a liquor licence. We finally settled on an upmarket place called YuYin

The food was good, the service was excellent and as expected, Enid finally found a restaurant which serves jellyfish. In this case it was a chicken and jellyfish salad. As expected it was served cold. We had this many years ago in a Chinese Restaurant in Sydney’s Chinatown. It’s a dish I can take or leave. I chose to leave it tonight.

Afterwards Enid suggested we go to Harbourtown and have cocktails at Crafty’s.

When we arrived, customers were packed in, shoulder to shoulder, three guys were providing music and the noise levels were toxic. Nup. This is not the place to be if you want to sip on a quiet cocktail.

Sunday 2nd February

Enid did more gardening for me and headed back to Brisbane after lunch.

I should mention here, as I have not mentioned for awhile, my back pain is no better and in some respects it is not worse. In other respects, it is worse.

I still take the Lyrica and Targin although neither seems to stop the pain. However it could be that the meds are screening the worst of the pain. Sitting in some chairs creates a painful experience and then makes walking painful for about half an hour afterwards. Getting g in and out of i30 is painful but once seated I am virtually pain free.

This week in 2011 I was housesitting at Traveston on the Sunshine Coast.

270111 kangaroo
I was housesitting on a mountain top at Traveston. Although I used the house for watching TV and cooking, I used WWWGO for sleeping. Oftren various wildlife came down the hill to eat and have a look at me.

The weather was unsettled with many days of rain.

300111 gympie
This is the underground carpark at a new shopping centre at Gympie. It was opened only a few weeks before Christmas. Then the rains came and flooded the Mary Valley. Although the Mary River is across the road, the floodwaters never reached the shopping centre. However there was so much rain the shopping centre itself was flooded, The water also permeated from the shopping mall above and down to the carpark. The centre was closed for weeks while a cleanup was carried out. Hmmm! Either a design flaw or poor workmanship.

Of course earlier in the month there were the flooding rains which devastated Brisbane, parts of the Gold Coast, Mary Valley including Gympie and parts of the Sunshine coast.

290111 guitar picker
While housesitting at Traveston I yook the opportunity to explore the Sunshine Coast. This guitar picker was sitting on a little verandah of a shop at Eumundi selling Hemp clothing.
290111 pomona hotel
The local; watering hole at Pomona.

The weather here on the Gold Coast has been hot and humid. It is typical summer weather.

Heavy rain is forecast next week.