A memory stirred.

I’m pretty deaf, with combined middle and inner ear problems. I’d been taken in an ambulance to the Emergency Department of the local University Hospital. Years before I had been a consultant there for some time. After I had met the young Intern, a more senior guy came in. As you would expect he was masked and in a discernible slightly foreign accent said something, which was to me undecipherable. So with his mask down and me asking him to come nearer I understand that his name was Graeme and the accent marked him as a Scot. ‘I know you he said.’ I did not remember him at all until he said that he had worked, as an intern, in a country hospital about 130 Km away from my hometown and I had been flown in to deal with a young man whose motorbike handle had, when he hit a tree, gone into his upper abdomen and caused massive bleeding. I still didn’t remember the doctor but I did remember the incident – some stories you don’t forget!

There were no specialists at the hospital but the medical superintendent was a very experienced and highly capable GP. Early in the evening he called me and said that he had just ordered a plane to bring a team up to deal with the above described young man. ‘Could I come, urgently?’ ‘The plane will be ready to take off in half an hour’, he said. I owned a Mitsubishi Starion and (maybe illegally) had it up to 230 km per hour. Knowing how long it took to set up people and equipment for the journey by plane I told him that I would be there long before the plane was. And I was.

He was a very capable GP anaesthetist so I told him to get everything set up and knowing him to be a good diagnostician told him to be ready to start the moment I got there. The patient was shocked and being resuscitated as well as they were able, but the family were JW’s and refused a blood transfusion. The parents had, however, agreed to allow me to transfuse him with his own blood, which I knew was collecting in big volumes in his abdomen.

He had a massive stellate tear of his liver. I rescued as much of his blood as I could and by filtering it through gauze, we put it into an emptied saline bottle and transfused it back into him. But I was losing him and bluntly sent out the message to the parents that if I couldn’t give him more blood he was going to die. They agreed for a transfusion to be given, but there wasn’t a store of transfusable blood.

As I said earlier the GP Superintendent was a champion guy. He had previously, knowing that such emergencies arose from time to time, formed a blood bank of living people who all had agreed that, if called upon in an emergency, they would come ASAP to the hospital and be bled. Three of the right grouping came and donated their blood.

The bleeding was so massive that after my attempts to stop it failed, all that I could do was put a large number of packs into the traumatised area thus controlled (stopped) the bleeding. He was sewn up and kept under the anaesthetic.

About a half an hour into the surgery the plane had arrived and the medical crew were very helpful when they joined us in the operating room. After a bit more stabilising of his condition he was flown back to our local city hospital. The next day he was flown about 1,500 Km to the capital city of the state for further definitive treatment under much better conditions. What follows I have only heard secondhand and some of my assumptions may be wrong. I think that the big boys in the big city assumed that the probably rather limited ability-wise country surgeon was making a mountain out of a molehill. For them it would be a ‘cake walk’.

At any rate they took him back into the operating room, removed the stitches and the packs, but could not control the bleeding and had to end up repacking him and sewing him up again. Eventually he was transferred to the liver unit where he had about half his liver removed. He eventually recovered and went back to his local area. I hope that he and his parents were able to curb his desire to race his bike through the forest tracks!

Dominic Cartier.

They’re beautiful but I hate them!

Dingoes are a 'fair dinkum' separate species needing better protection,  researchers say - ABC News

I’ve had a week of visits to doctors. I am glad to discover that I am still alive. I know more about the workings of my heart; the complications of various medications; but on a positive side I have discovered that sleep apnoea is a real thing. And I’m getting used to using the contraption.

I had a good sleep last night. The app tells me that I have 1.4 episodes of apnoea per hour and that all of them have been managed properly. So after 8 hours sleep, undisturbed apart from the main disturbing problem of an aged man’s continuous sleep, I was sitting at the table eating my pretty boring breakfast (I’m trying to lose weight) when I sat up with a jolt and yelled out to my wife (of 59 years) and my son for help.

Our sheep usually have a slow measured way of walking, nibbling as they go, but I saw a group racing lickity-split past our back house fence – chased by a dingo! Having lost too many lambs and some ewes to dingoes in the last year or so, yelling like a banshee, I hobbled to my ute and driving at about 70 km/hr along the road which I have signed up saying the limit is 15 Km/hr to get to where I knew the fence would entrap them. They were grouped in a corner of the fence but the dingo had disappeared. I fancy my yelling helped to speed the dingo on its way! So I checked the other mob of lambs (they’re fattening nicely and look good) the members of which were happily munching away in another paddock with no dingo visible.

But as our neighbour saw a family of six of them just outside our place yesterday, we are very aware of their presence. Hopefully they will return as dust to dust soon, when they taste the goodies that we have for them. And if you feel sorry for them, I would prefer my sheep to be alive!

The men (2 sons, 1 grandson) returned to their job for the morning. They were moving a tank to collect water from an old shed and a skillion that we are adding onto the back of it. You need to be inventive as a farmer, and so it was successfully shifted! Water is precious here in the North!

Dominic Cartier.

Are we being led by the nose?

The picture shows a severe case of bilateral TB. There are people who affirm that it is best treated by going to a holy place and drinking holy water. I don’t agree.

We all know that languages change with time. When we first went to Ethiopia the common greeting in Amharic was ‘tenastelign’. That was a brief, shortened way of saying “Igzehabier tena ystelign’ which translated means ‘May God give you health on my behalf.’ If you wanted to say, ‘How are you?’, you had to choose one of three ways. You used one for females, one for males and another for important people. After some years away I went back after the Communist takeover had been overthrown. I went to a university teaching post. After a short time I found the students addressing me in what used to be the common feminine greeting but had now become the friendly greeting between people with whom you felt comfortable. They were really honouring me as someone they trusted. I had not lost respect. Older people still stood up when I walked into a room and said ‘nuur’ or something like ‘May you live forever!’

The language had changed.

In English when the Bible was first translated into English the word ‘conversation’ referred to the way one lived. Today it means a talk together. A change occurring over time with usage. ‘Gay’ used to mean ‘jolly’ or ‘happy’ the meaning has been changed to mean what used to be thought of as a sexual perversion. ‘Marriage’ used to mean a state between a man and a woman wherein there was a commitment to sexual and emotional faithfulness, in a lifelong commitment. It was a basic functional unit of society. Today it seems to be either, for some, what it has always been, but for others an excuse for a party and a declaration that they are proud to be different and want to declare their situation as normal.

The first example (about conversation) which I gave, seems to me to be like dropping the ‘ye’ and ‘thee’ of older English for just ‘you’. The next two seem to be purposeful alterations to fool the masses into seeing things differently and with the purpose of making, what was previously seen as immoral, acceptable.

The above is a prelude to the use of the word ‘vaccine’.….

The meaning of ‘vaccine’ has been purposefully redefined by the government to include altered rna (ribonucleic acid) material being injected into people to alter the body’s ability to immunologically respond to some outside attack. Previously a vaccine was always produced specifically to attack a specific infecting agent by using an attenuated bacterium or part of the troublesome ‘germ’. I am not an expert and have no desire to be such, I am retired. But what concerns me is that the ‘vaccines’ being used against COVID 19, under the new definition, have not been, by usually accepted medical and legal standards, adequately tested. They are causing at least occasional, and some claim more frequent, deaths and serious complications. I have several personal contacts who have become seriously ill. And without a doubt there are a number of cases of significant heart problems (myocarditis and/or pericarditis) in young people.

Many experts, even though a minority, in the field have warned of late serious effects, maybe even in future generations. There is a sizeable body of reported deaths and significant immediate complications, enough I believe to stop the use of a new medication. Honest discussion is, I feel strongly, being suppressed by authorities and the mainline media. The statistics which we are fed seem slanted to a desired result. Can you remember – lies, damn lies and statistics?

I am not an anti-vaccine person by the old definition but am dubious about substances produced under this new definition until they have been adequately and thoroughly tested.

More Old Cards.

I write a daily devotional, and must confess that I’ve been slack in being involved with this blog. I wanted to get up to Christmas with the devotional ( https://as-i-read-it.com ) so that as it gets busier at this time of the year I would be well prepared. Nevertheless the last post which I wrote for heated stew received a comment requesting a few more memories of old cards – so here goes, four more!

from a surgical colleague.

The surgeon who sent this Christmas card to me was the senior registrar when I was an intern being trained at the QEH in South Australia. Several years later when I had very recently obtained my higher surgical degree and was making plans to go to the mission field in Ethiopia I had a phone call from him. I had several months to get things sorted out and was looking for a bit of assisting work until my departure.

He, however, wanted more than that. He wanted me to be a locum for him for a couple of months. He was off work because of an injury. He had been called in to assist an Obs/gynae friend at a difficult operation. The other chap had cut his hand and divided an extensor tendon on one of his fingers! This put him out of action as a surgical operator for some six weeks.

Later on when I had to leave Ethiopia for health reasons and when somewhat recovered was looking for work I did a year’s locum – six months for him and six months for his then surgical partner.

While I was a medical student, there was a Billy Graham Crusade in Adelaide. I was a counsellor and amongst others had the privilege of counselling twin boys in their early teens. During the follow up of those contacts I got to know the family very well. The boys decision to become Christians took fire within the family. Their sister became a keen young Christian and the parents who for some years had stopped any church connection began going again. The father was a dentist and became my dentist for many years (I grew up on tank water and no fluorides and have had terrible teeth). The twins who are now well into their seventies and I keep sporadically in touch, and I read with interest comments which the sister frequently makes in Facebook. They have stuck with their decisions of that time.

This card must have been written in 1960, for that was when I turned 21. I spent the day in camp with my National Service Training Group on the South Coast of South Australia. I was given the evening off and my father picked me up and took me to a party in the local institute near our home. I arrived back in camp about 2 AM, fell into a deep sleep in my tent and woke up late for duty the next morning soaked through and sleeping in a puddle as it had rained very heavily during the early hours of the morning.

But the card has many more memories than that it was sent by an ex-missionary who was a fellow medical student but years older. He had been in Ethiopia when the Italians invaded. He fled to Kenya and joined the British Army (he was a N’Zer) as a private, rose to be a Lieut-Colonel, and was at the end of the war appointed as Governor of British Somalia. He decided to go back and do medicine in order to return to Ethiopia and help the people. He never made it. He found the medical course difficult and just at the end of sixth year dropped dead from a heart attack, helping a neighbour pushstart their car. He was one of those who encouraged me to consider Ethiopia as a place to work.

A very simple card from a very dignified and knowledgeable Reader in Anatomy. He went on to become a professor. I spent 12 months as a demonstrator in Anatomy in his department when studying for the first part of my FRACS degree. There were 12 of us at that level all studying for our primary part of the degree. As you can imagine that as we tutored students, studied, ate together, horsed around, went to the local pub for Friday lunch each week, a lot of things were discussed. It became clear that only 2 of us had a commitment to the Christian Faith. Most were atheistic or agnostic. Two were Jewish. It was not a divisive thing but we all knew what our attitudes were.

We twelve were part of the 51 who sat the exam, which we knew had a high failure rate. Only 13 passed and only four were sitting for the first time. But my friend and I were two of the four who passed first time, and the only ones who passed from our group of 12. The other ten put on a party for us but complained during the hilarious time ‘It is not fair of God to bless those who believe in Him.’ I’m sure that many Christians have failed first time up but the statement is interesting!

Dominic Cartier.

It’s time to stop hoarding!

Something is often quoted about death and taxes being unavoidable. Well with both of us in the eighties and not working taxes are getting less but death is drawing nearer. My wife has kept every letter that I wrote to her while courting and throughout the nearly 59 years of married life plus all the birthday and Christmas and even our wedding cards. Fortunately of latter years we’ve been using computers. So they are still in her possession but much more neatly stored.

To give her credit she has begun going through the several metre high pile and transferring them from her desk to mine with the instruction that I am to destroy or keep them. And you think that it would be easy to just pick them up and throw them in the bin, but I can’t help looking inside. And not, I hope boring you, I will share a few long forgotten memories. I have a pile of them in front of me and will just randomly pick up a few and share the memories.

Number 1. From the family with whom I stayed and for whom I worked for several long University holidays. They had a large farm and I drove big tractors, carried and stored many tons of sheaves of hay, carried wool bales.etc. I remember one day when the man, David, and I were transferring bales of wool. We were at each end both with hooks to stick into the bales and carry them. I was shocked when he said that the next one was too heavy for me and he picked it up on his own back and carried it to where we were storing them. I was about 20 and thought of myself as a well grown and strong country boy. I was humiliated but had awe at his strength. We kept in contact for years and both my wife and I attended his funeral maybe 10 years ago.

Number 2. When we returned from Melbourne, where I had been a demonstrator in Anatomy at Monash University to Adelaide our neighbours were a lovely family. But we lived in different worlds. I was a surgical trainee in a large hospital, the husband was a workers’ union representative. I had to have a tonsillectomy for a recurrent tonsillitis with quinsy. The wife said to me that she hoped it hurt like h*ll. And I had thought that we got on well! She explained that she was sympathetic but wanted me to be a very sympathetic doctor and this was a good opportunity to learn about the nastiness of pain. I was happy but she didn’t get her way because the removal of the offending tonsils and the chronic abscess gave me such relief that I was able to eat a normal meal the next day! We remained good friends for many years until distance drew us apart.

Number 3. When I was in the last year of medical school family friends who lived in the district but a bit out in the bush, called the doctor from about 20 Km away in the nearest town and then asked me, as I lived nearby, to come quickly. The husband had become unconscious. By the time I arrived the unconscious man had regained consciousness but I, on examining him, found an ‘up-going’ toe on one side, which indicates the possibility of some brain problem. By the time the doctor came it was no longer present and I think that he thought that I had made a mistake. so he just reassured them and left. That night the patient had a massive stroke and was greatly incapacitated for the rest of his life. The doctor said to me later that he was sorry that he hadn’t taken more notice of what I said. It may have been preventable with urgent action. He was a good doctor, but we all make mistakes, a very costly one on this occasion.

Number 4. This one was from an Uncle, my dad’s brother, and his wife. They are both long dead. They had no children and I think that I was the only nephew/niece that ever visited them. In his wife’s presence he told my wife and I that when he died he would leave us his house. He died first and of course the home went to his wife. When she died some years later, she left it the cat’s home. She had a lovely old cat of which she was very fond. I hope the home let the cat die in luxury. The Aunt left us a tea set, which we still have and it is very nice.

Well there are a million more cards but that’s enough to show you what I mean!

Dominic Cartier.