Week 23/2023: Back to back

Week of 5 June 2023

A black and white magpie perched on the back of a wooden bench in front of tall dead grass and a wooden fence
A visiting magpie

Back to my back

This week I had an appointment of some sort every day except Monday, including a double-up on Friday, when I also had to take my mother to an appointment.

I went to the physio for the first time in a month, as my last appointment had been rescheduled because of the physio’s illness. This was for my back injury that has been slowly healing and settling since whatever caused it to happen in November, and the continuing saga of my shoulder, which hasn’t been getting much better.

I stopped doing my shoulder exercises when my back flared up, and the physio has suggested going back to more gentle versions of them. So . . . back to those habits I was trying to build earlier in the year.

And to support my back, I’m going to be doing a supervised Pilates program with the physio, starting in a couple of weeks. There were a few options, including a home-based program, but I know myself, and I know I wouldn’t follow through if I had to do it myself, so I’ve opted for some supervised sessions.

My GP is very much in favour of me doing this too. I’m feeling positive about it.

Dark Mofo

This week Hobart’s winter festival, Dark Mofo, started.  It’s set up and run by the team at Mona, in conjunction with a range of partners, including the state government and Hobart Council, as a way of bringing some life into the city during the cold dark winter.

A large red cross on a black pole stand out in front of waterfront buildings
Dark Mofo takes over the waterfront

While I appreciate the sentiment and wish everyone well, it’s not for me.

I crave silence, solitude and (most of all) warmth.

I dislike crowds at the best of times; noise and crushes of people get me very tense and stressed. Throw covid into the mix and I’m happy to stay home with my writing, my photos and an overly large TBR pile. (I am sorry, the Library, my book is overdue and I still have over 300 pages to read and I won’t be back in town until the middle of the week, but I’m going to bring it back, I promise . . .)

I call this time of year when I stay home ‘Nofo’ and I’m perfectly happy missing out on all of it.

Except for this great big light, which you can’t avoid seeing anywhere within a ten, probably much more, kilometre radius of Hobart.

A lit city street with a large blue light beam extending into the sky
Liverpool Street, Thursday night

This is Spectra by the Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda.

Week 23 summary

What was the best thing about this week?

I had an appointment with my GP last week and talked about how I hadn’t been walking much lately except to get where I need to go. There’s a few days every week where that’s enough in terms of activity.

But other days, unless I make myself go out, I won’t get much activity at all.

Cold, dark winter mornings aren’t fun to walk in, so it has to be later in the day.

On Sunday, I decided to take my camera for a walk with me because I haven’t done any photo walking for ages. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to photograph and it took me a while to get into the swing of it, but I found some things that caught my eye and played around with them.

A white sulfur crested cockatoo against a white background, perched on a small tree branch
A cockatoo I met on my walk

Then I took them back to my computer and spent some time experimenting with different edits.

Yellow parallel lines on bitumen next to a blue and white painted wheelchair on the ground, green grass and a red and white 'no entry' sign, all in front of blue rippling water
Photo walk fun

I’m glad I did it. It was great to get out.

What did I learn this week?

Well. This is. Awkward.

Something I had already read, but that exchange between the Tasmanian Greens leader and the premier at a Budget Estimates Committee Hearing earlier this week reminded me of this commentary from Patrick McKeown, author of The Breathing Cure.

Many people have asked why coronavirus is considered to be so much more serious than the annual outbreak of influenza. In simple terms, COVID-19 behaves very differently from flu and is much less well understood. It has a very high viral load, and where flu results in a crippled immune system, this new virus attacks a very specific type of cell called a type 2 pneumocyte.

Type 2 pneumocytes are responsible for the production and secretion of a molecule called surfactant, which reduces the surface tension of fluid in the lungs and contributes to the elastic properties of the alveoli. It facilitate oxygen transport to the blood and prevents lung collapse and edema. Now imagine this function is compromised and it is easy [to see] why coronavirus can be deadly for even a young, healthy person, and why it can cause damage to organs including the heart.

The more I learn about this, the less I understand why governments and communities aren’t doing more to protect everyone from this disease. It’s not a respiratory illness like a cold or the flu. It’s a vascular illness that enters the body through the respiratory tract. It’s much more serious than colds and flus and isn’t something we should be allowing to spread.

Yet here we are.

What I’m reading this week

  • A Twentieth Century Life by Edith Emery
  • Wintering by Katherine May

Habit tracker

  • Morning ritual (Goal = 7): 7
  • Move (preferably before 3 pm) (Goal = 7): 7
  • The Little Red Writing Book exercises (Goal = 5): 0
  • Listen to writing podcasts (Goal = 2): 0
  • Physiotherapy exercises (at least 4/5) (Goal = 7): 7
  • Shut my computer down before 9.15 (Goal = 5): 6
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