Sunday, 4 May 2014

Patched up

It's nice to be able to write that I've been feeling better this week. On Monday my hospice nurse and my doctor decided that I should start using pain killing patches to help control the pain I'd been experiencing. These patches are about the size of a postage stamp and adhere to the skin through which they slowly release a constant dose of medication. When I do get problems I take additional pain killers which I've found work well in combination with the patches. The control of my pain is definitely better now than it was a week ago. 
I'm still experiencing fatigue although this is very variable and generally goes away once I've had a snooze. I'm also finding that any kind of exercise makes me feel nauseous or causes pain in my abdomen, chest and back. Even simple things like doing the vacuum cleaning or going for a walk seem to have this effect. I'm feeling guilty because I can't help Katie with the chores though she's being very good about this - she's a star.

We've signed up for a course at the hospice entitled "Palliative Rehabilitation Programme", it looks at techniques for managing the physical and psychological issues faced by people in my situation. Hopefully it will provide some useful ideas on how to minimise symptoms. 

I've been watching the BBC's latest natural history series, "Monkey Planet". I find it amazing that wildlife film makers can still find extraordinary examples of animal behaviour that have probably never been filmed before. This series is full of film illustrating the intelligence and complex societies of primates.

Watching "Monkey Planet" got me thinking about some of the best encounters Katie and I have had with wild primates. In 2010 we were lucky enough to visit Uganda. Many people go to Uganda to see Mountain Gorillas. Seeing these animals in the wild is an experience that is never to be forgotten, there is an air of gentleness about them but I was also constantly aware of the tremendous strength and power they posses. This photo was taken in the fabulously named 'Bwindi Impenetrable Forest':

Seeing the gorillas was a special experience but for me the highlight of our trip was going chimpanzee trekking. There is something about observing wild chimps that I found quite unnerving, they are like humans with the social restraints removed and seemed to me to provide a mirror on human behaviour in which both the worst and best elements are highlighted. Here are a couple of chimps showing their nicer side, two brothers playing in Kyambura Gorge. To be within just a few feet of them as I took this photo was one of the best wildlife encounters I've ever had.


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