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Saturday, May 27, 2006

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Good morning (just),

a little news about the site first. The word is spreading, the major search engines have all picked me up and the blog can be found by typing obscure things into them. The brilliant thing is, people are not intending to come to this site, stumbling across it by accident and then staying here to read and returning everyday. The internet is a very powerful thing.

I guess this is proved by the second trade that is winging its way over here as I speak. Also I have been able to add four more flags to the flag counter down the right hand side of the blog.

Now a little more about me. When I was a child I used to go for check-ups very regularly with the cardiologist, they put me through all sorts of tests and at the end I always used to go to McDonalds as a treat. When I was fifteen my parents decided that I was too old for that so I wasn't going that year; I got a bit upset and needless to say what happened next we went to McDonalds after the apointment.

When I went to University I found that I could eat McDonalds whenever I wanted, I could even eat it for breakfast. Things don't taste anywhere near as good when they are no longer a treat; although I still go whenever I feel that I'm being too healthy. However, every time I have an appointment with the cardiologist my wife knows that we will be going to McDonalds and what might happen if we didn't, so I still get to go everytime.

Perhaps it is like a comfort blanket, if I know that we are not going then something might be wrong in the checkup. Or perhaps I just love McDonalds.

Friday, May 26, 2006

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It's holiday time!!!

Yesterday my wife and I booked a one week holiday to a sunnier place. I can't wait. It does mean that I won't be updating my blog every morning before 9am but I'm sure that I can get one on each day.

In an earlier blog I mentioned about how my heart defects affect everyday things that most people take for granted. One such thing is visits to the dentist.

Unfortunately, because I have scarring on a valve on my aorta it can be easily infected (white blood cells can't reside on heart valves to fight infection), one such way that it can become infected is from the bacteria in your mouth. The chance of catching an infection from a visit to the dentist is very small indeed; even the chance that in all the visits in your life you will catch an infection is small. However, with so many people visiting the dentist each year it is likely that someone will catch an infection so they have to do something about it.

The result of this is that I have to take a vile sachet of powder mixed with a pint of water that has been designed (in a lab) to taste like banana or lemons or something. If anyone can actually tell what it is then please let me know. In the last year or so, dentists in England have been told that they should watch the medicine being taken 1 hour before any procedure (including teeth cleaning) is undertaken. This means a 15 minute appointment becomes a 1 hour and 15 minute appointment.

The sachet contains amoxycillin which is a penicillin that can prevent bacteria from forming in your body, I believe that it may be available in a capsule but I've not been offered it yet.

On the one hand, the risk of anything bad happening is so small that you could think why bother, it won't happen to me; but then you go and play the lottery and hope to god that it is you that wins even though the chances are smaller.

So I think I will put up with being at the dentists before the actual dentist is and I will even put up with the vile drink. Because if this is the worst that can happen then it is much better than the worst that can happen if I don't drink the drink.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

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We have the first sunny morning here that we have had in weeks,

perhaps summer is finally on its way. Unfortunately, I have very little time at the computer today so this will be a very short blog.

I am impressed by the speed with which new people are coming to this blog. I'm not sure if it is word of mouth or if the search engines have picked it up finally. But whatever it is I hope that the people that are visiting regularly will take part in future trades; anyone want an olympic 2000 officials shirt?

Well, told you this would be a short one, got to rush off now.

Have a good morning.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

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A big thank you to Andrew for his generous offer of a trade,

if you haven't already seen yesterday's comments, Andrew's offer was of a Sydney Olympic Official's Shirt from the 2000 games. This is to be traded for the 18 pairs of craft scissors which will be donated to a local school.

The picture of the shirt appears below:

The shirt is in the post as I am posting this and I will keep everybody updated as to its progress.

It is wonderful that this is not only moving towards a final goal but also helping people along the way such as the donation of the craft scissors to the pre-school. I hope the generosity can continue.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

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There's no such thing as a free lunch,

or at least that's how the saying goes; which is probably why subway wouldn't take my vouchers the other day. I have also lost my hitcounter that was on the right hand side of this page because the free trial was up; I did however manage to record 165 unique visits from 12 different countries in just 15 days.

Charity, however, can be the proverbial free lunch. People give with no expectation of return, apart from the feeling they get from knowing they have helped someone less fortunate than themselves. In this respect charity is win-win.

It is for this reason that I have always been fascinated by charity. It is the best of human kind and one of the reasons I started this blog. One unintended consequence of this project is that people may be inspired to start their own fundraiser which has a unique twist to it and if just one such fundraiser comes as a result of this then I will be very happy.

If you need advice on starting your own fundraiser, even if it is not blog based, then drop me an email and I would be happy to help you.

Have a great day.

Monday, May 22, 2006

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Kids these day eh,

They get a much better deal; xboxs, internet, better TV. The other thing they get is better treatment when they become ill. This is a direct result of the infrastructure provided by developed countries and also of the funds that are provided by people giving to charities such as the british heart foundation and aftercare charities such as GUCH.

The comment left on yesterday's blog (view it here) highlights the fact that much work is yet to be done in many countries around the world, but also that there is continued work to be done in developed countries around the world. The fact that the hospital looks like it is from the 70's may be disturbing but in the 70's healthcare in developed countries was considered state of the art.

I had my first operation in 1982 and it was considered state of the art; nowadays that would be laughable.

My (overly laboured) point is that by continued support for charities worldwide hopefully today's state of the art will be considered poor quality; I hope that in 30 years developing countries have not only the chances that children born with congenital heart conditions have today in developed countries but they will also have the support network that is in place in developed countries.

I believe that in time the gap in technology will change to become more balanced across the world but much work must be done to ensure that all children have the same chances throughout life, not just when they are ill.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

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Good morning,

It is raining here; it has been raining constantly for the past few weeks now. They are still threatening a hosepipe ban though. Welcome to the great british summer.

In defiance of the weather, there is only one sane thing to do: have a bonfire. I will not be defeated, I will burn all of the wet wood that is in our back garden. Wish me luck.

In other news, the number of visitors from far flung countries is increasing, so hopefully the message is being spread and I could possibly see my first international trade. I am looking for ideas for publicity, features, etc. I am also looking for peoples experiences of growing up with congenital heart defects that may be of inspiration to others, is it different in different parts of the world, do you feel that it has made you stronger as a person or are you looking to people to show you how to cope.

Have a good day wherever you are and don't let the weather get you down.