A Mixed Bag

prostate_logo Considering the fact that I was born in February, I really should be used to it being a short month by now. I’m not, though; I never seem to be prepared for March to start. Slow learning curve I guess. So, here we are at the last day of February and it’s approaching three months since my radical prostatectomy. That makes it time to begin a year of 3-monthly follow-up blood tests for PSA. It is apparently necessary to wait three months after the operation to allow all existing PSA to get flushed from the system. If, as is hoped, all those nasty prostate cells have been successfully removed, my PSA level should drop to pretty much zero. This morning at 8:10 AM, I visited our practice nurse to get the blood sample taken and sent to the hospital. I should be given the results this Friday afternoon at my second follow-up meeting with the urology nurse. Fingers firmly crossed!

I’ve also agreed to take part in a UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study being performed by the ICR (Institute of Cancer Research). That involved a questionnaire about my relatives, already completed, and two more samples of blood which our obliging practice nurse drew at the same time as the PSA sample to save on the holes. 🙂

This weekend was definitely my most active yet. We are both getting stir-crazy as a result of our dull winter but, since Sunday morning was unusually sunny, Carol decided to walk into town, a distance of about two miles, for a little retail therapy. I rashly chose to adopt a kill-or-cure approach and joined her for the 4-mile round trip wander. Brave or foolhardy, I knew not. Though not entirely leak-free, I did make it without the damage being disturbing. Obviously I’d love to remain entirely dry but at least it seems that I’m beginning to be able to do the things I enjoy most, even if with a little remaining apprehension.

The main reason for the retail therapy trip was to purchase an SDHC memory card for the little Nikon Coolpix camera that came with the digiscoping kit purchased on Saturday. The camera had a small amount of “on-board” memory (32Mb, I think) but a card would really be needed once we started digiscoping uncooperative wildlife. As I found out with my first attempts, catching a reasonable shot, given the inherent slight delay combined with jittery targets, is largely a matter of luck. You really need to press the shutter a lot and discard the 90% of the shots that missed. For a massive £4, we snagged a 4Gb SDHC card that would enable us to press the shutter about 350 times.

We got back just before the heavens opened. [Ed: that’s 2½ days of sun this month.]

In a desperate attempt to find a saving grace for naff weather, I’ll suggest that it does tend to increase the bird activity in our garden. Today, now armed with a memory card as well as a shiny new digiscoping kit, I tried playing with my new acquisition again.

DSCN0059_Great_Tit_on_acerDSCN0064_Robin_on_acerI don’t really like photographs of birds on feeders. I do occasionally take such shots to document what species visit us but I wouldn’t use them as anything approaching artistic. Today, however, I noticed that some of our feathered friends, mostly Great Tits (Parus major), were using the bare branches of one of Carol’s acers as a staging post before raiding our peanut feeder. The occasional Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) alighted, too, but all attempts to snag one of them were in my 90% discards, unfortunately. I did, however, manage to beat the odds when a Robin (Erithacus rubecla) perched briefly allowing me to get off two shots, one of which was perfectly OK. The acer makes for a much more natural-looking setting than a feeder.

Now, I wonder how I can persuade our local Long-tailed Tits (Aegithalos caudatus) to use the acer as well?

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