Five Repeats

I had to see my GP yesterday to arrange for a urine test for an upcoming cystoscopy.

He is a kind, elderly gentleman of the old school. so to speak. He calls me Peter and I call him Robert. He is genuinely concerned about my health.  He has been my GP for about the last twenty years and when he moved away from the local surgery to another location, 20 km away, I followed him. As long as I can still drive a car I will see him at this brand new medical centre.

Medical centres are now built like huge airport lounges, spacious and full of light with comfortable lounges and chairs. Here, the sick and infirm can while their time away while they wait, sometimes for a couple of hours,  to see the medical practitioners of their choice. Many of the patients staring intensely at their smartphone. There is no more need for those boring, out of date magazines in the waiting room anymore.

Last year we had visitors from Germany and one day they came along when I had to visit my GP. They were surprised to see the medical centre in all its splendour.

Statistics show that patients incur most of their medical expenses in the last half year of their lives. With all the medical expenses Medicare had to fork out for me lately, I wonder whether I am in my last half year? I hope not, as I do want to experience more of life as long as possible. Indeed, we have to attend a wedding next month.

So, yesterday Robert was happy to see me again. I was in good spirits. He was the one who discovered the cancer of the bladder lurking inside me. My blood pressure was not high and my bladder does not cause me any undue inconvenience. Quickly he filled in the necessary forms for the urine test and supplied me with a small container to deposit a sample.

With that being out of the way I told him about some other concerns I’m having.

Years ago, I used to be a long-distance runner. I pounded the local roads and sports fields to train for marathons and other long-distance races. We live near Lake Illawarra and it provided me with a beautiful 40km opportunity to train for the marathons. I stopped racing in 2005 but not running. In November 2010 my right knee played up and has not come good again since. The good doctor wanted to replace the annoying knee.

“But your running days will be over,” he told me. I refused the offer.

After a break of several months,  I started jogging again but have never reached the same level of speed or distance. Every time I have a break from running it becomes worse. Lately, I noticed when walking for about two minutes, I felt uncomfortable in my chest and my shoulder and arms seem to be without blood or energy. I had to slow down if that was even possible because my walking pace is not that great.

When I told that to my doctor he looked at me with a puzzling face. Out came the stethoscope and he listened to my chest while I took deep breaths.

“You know what? I think it is your heart’, he said and tried to say something more. I stopped him there and told him that my skin specialist had ordered an ECG in December.  Why she did this, I have no idea.

With a couple of clicks, on his keyboard, Robert was able to retrieve a graph from a magical place.  He studied it and then turned to me. “Peter,” he said solemnly, “you had a heart attack!” My reaction to that news was a big fat “NO”. I should have known or noticed something was going on in my chest. But I had no idea. Suddenly it made sense to me when I saw her a week later and she told me, there was something wrong with the ECG.  She ordered a repeat test and said, everything is okay now. There was a glitch somewhere.

The doctor made a printout and showed me the irregularity. “Here it is”, he said and circled a few places, “this is a clear pattern. The computer tells me, you had a heart attack.” Actually, it said: “Probably old lateral myocardial infarction.”

He quickly ordered the “usual battery of tests” and wrote a script, with five repeats,  for a spray under my tongue, I had an x-ray (good old Doctor Röntgen) and was told to come back in a weeks time. All the results should be in by then and he would write a report to the hospital where I will have my cystoscopy done. They want to be updated about any change in my medical condition.

With my five repeat prescriptions in hand, I have to live for a long time to use them all up.





The Year 1978

In October, I wrote a blog  about our dear, late friend Ron Bates. He played a  pivotal role at that stage in our life and helped us overcome a family tragedy.

Towards the end of nineteen hundred and seventy-seven, we were looking forward to the arrival of a new member to our family. But fate had other ideas, and my wife Uta lost the baby.

Sure, it was a time of grief and disappointment but we promised ourselves to try again. Just then, Ron came up with the idea of a short vacation with some of his friends up at Numbacca Heads on the Mid-Northcoast of NSW. “That would do you the world of good,” he said.

We went up by train and on arrival were met by Ron at the station. He took us to the home of his friends, Snowy and Eve. What a lovely couple they were. They took good care of us despite not having met us before. The next few days they took us, and Ron, to show us the exceptionally wooded hinterland.

There  is a beautiful spot from where you could  view the mouth of the Numbacca River and  the landscape beyond.

We had a picnic at a nature reserve with a stand of beautiful  tall Sydney Blue Gums.

Uta and Eve among the trees

Uta and Eve among the trees

Snowy prepared a barbeque lunch.

Snowy and Ron

Snowy and Ron


Next day we really ‘went bush’, as they say in Australia.  We drove to  the village of  Tailors Arm.  To call this settlement  a village,  is probably a bit over the top. It is a location that has a pub. This pub became famous in the gestation of the  song, “The pub with no beer”.

Uta, Snowy and Ron posing on the veranda.

Uta, Snowy and Ron posing on the veranda.

I can tell you, we enjoyed a beautiful, refreshing beer on that day. Should we have charged the pub with false advertising?

On the next day,  Ron wanted us to meet another friend of his, Mary Boulton. She was a local identity and  had established a Pioneer Cottage at Macksville.

The Pioneer Cottage in 1978. You find other pictures on the webside.

The Pioneer Cottage in 1978. You find other pictures on the website.

Mary Boulton, Snowy and me mascarading as an explorer

Mary Boulton, Snowy and I masquerading as an explorer

Ron and I at the gate of the Pioneer Cottage

Ron and I at the gate to the Pioneer Cottage

We had a great time on that short vacation. It was also memorable because only days before I took up running and ran along the  roads at Nambucca Heads. I wanted to lose weight as I was weighing 88 kg at the time. I’m still running now about three times a week.

Nine months later we had a baby girl. Our daughter, Caroline, just had her birthday a few days ago.

Caroline and her partner Matthew.

Caroline and her partner Matthew. What a great couple they are.

That year, 1978, had a sad beginning, but it ended well.  Life was kind to us and with the help of  friends and family we found our way back into a full life. Actually, we still live in the afterglow of that year.

Everything that is happening now is the result of what has happened in the past. Be mindful of what you are doing today.











Hermann, a retired Station Master, had been dreaming that they called him back to work and he felt happy that they needed him again. But as soon as he took up his shift at the station, things fell apart. Trains appeared from nowhere and had to be crossed at his station that lay on a single line. Soon chaos reigned and the trains were delayed. Every time he looked outside the office another train approached the station limit.


This dream was a persistent one. In order for not to be dismissed as a dream, it told him to look around and check that it wasn’t a dream. Indeed the nightmare seemed real.


Hermann was happy to be awake and the re-occurring nightmare was over. He slept in a double bed, a leftover from his life as a married man. He absent mindedly started to touch the side of the bed where his wife used to sleep. He should not have, but he was surprised that her side was empty. Gone – ah, yes, she was dead for years. but his feelings for her lingered on.


Through a gap in the blinds he could see some daylight. But still there was no colour and everything in the room looked monochrome, just as his  life, he thought.

The memories of his wife were mixed with the memories of a later affair and he realised that the feelings he had now were actually a longing  for a non-existing female person generally. That was what he was missing, the other half of his persona. Especially after his nightmarish dream he looked for the peace and reassurance a woman could give. The balance of his persona was missing.

Herman strongly believed a human being was not a single unit, male or female, but the couple. Without the other half I’m incomplete, he thought. If we could not share our feelings with the other, we were just self pollinating wankers. Love, he felt, was the bond that tied us to one person, to complete the persona.

He looked at the clock on his bed side table. ‘My God – already 6.15!’, he thought. It was time to get up as he wanted to go for a run before the sun got the upper hand again. There was some stretching to be done, too.

Running was his hobby, if you could call it that. More likely an obsession. He had to run early before the sun came up , otherwise it would be too hot and would slow him down and fatigue him for the rest of the day.

Thinking of running made him think of Berlin, the city were he was born and raised. There, running was much easier, never too hot, the air seemed softer than in Australia, and the running was friendlier to the bones too, because of the soft, sandy soil of the woods that surround Berlin.

Herman had barely opened his eyes and realised two things that were missing in his life, a partner and Berlin. A touch of self-pity got hold of him and a tear or two welled up from his eyes.

‘Don’t be silly’, he chided himself and another look at the clock confirmed his suspicion that time had not stopped. Time was relentlessly grinding on and being the envelope in which everything happened, and everything comes to a conclusion.

He got up and tried to walk, but as was the case lately in the mornings, he stumbled as he did not have his full feeling in his feet and legs. ‘Getting old, Old Man’ he mumbled and knew that there was a price to paid for being seventy and over. But he slowly made his way to the toilet to have the first pee of the day, which was sometimes such a pitiful, dribbling affair, that he had to repeat it in a few minutes with some more satisfaction. He also knew, he had to drink apple cider vinegar again.

But he was up and once again able to face the day and all its complications. Which could not be avoided, unless of course one wanted to end ones life now. But that, was never on his agenda.

Soon he was out of the door and started to walk. The sun, not at full power, warmed his legs and he fell into a trot.  While passing one of the houses a woman, watering her front garden,  gave him a cheery “Hello”.  “Attractive woman”, he thought and increased his steps. His trot became jogging and he was happy with himself.