It’s summer again

Midsummer 2013

Midsummer 2013

A little more than a week ago, on June 21st, was the summer solstice. Midsummer, the longest day of the year. So this means it’s summer for real now and I for one just started my 4 weeks long summer vacation!

Freeeedoooooooommm!!! as William Wallace would’ve put it :yay:
(sans the decapitation)

Our only plans this year is to go visit our parents and also a short trip to Stockholm, which will be fun as I’ve never been there as a tourist before. Other than that I’m just going to be as lazy as possible. ;)

Is anyone else doing anything fun this summer?
Or maybe you live on the other side of the equator and is in the middle of winter right now..?

Markus broken heart

When Markus was born back in 1987 he, according to his mother, came out with blue skin. This was because of a serious congenital heart defect, a syndrome called Tetralogy of Fallot. He had his first surgery at only a couple of months old when they took a large vein from his right arm to make new tubing. This was only a temporary solution though, and at 3 he had the “real” surgery when they patched his heart up for good.

The operation was successful and he went on to live a fairly normal life – until he was 18 when he had a serious episode of Ventricular Tachycardia. It’s like a heart attack (closest example I could think of) except it’s caused by the heart freaking out and starting to beast incredibly fast, to the point it’s not really beating as much as cramping, preventing the blood from passing through. That is not ok. And yes, he could’ve died.

After that they put an ICD in his chest. It’s sort of like a pacemaker except it only activates in case of emergency. Like if he has another VT, then it will send an electric shock to his heart to neautralize it. In the meantime it just lies there, registering his heart rate.
In the 7 years he’s had it it has never activated or registered anything abnormal, which is awesome! :)

But machines doesn’t last forever and every couple of years the ICD will need replacing. Wednesday last week it was time for his first ever “service”. It was only minor surgery since they didn’t need to replace the cables going into his heart, they just needed to change the actual machine.

The surgery went fine. He just needed local anaesthesia and light sedatives and the actual cutting and sewing only took 45 min. The new machine is a bit smaller than the older but more advanced.
Apparently it can be connected to a printer at home and print out reports about his heart rhythm, or connected to the Internet and send the reports directly to the hospital.

Another cool thing about ICDs is that the hospital can actually control his heart. He can be laying on a bed all relaxed and the nurse turns a button and suddenly his heart will start beating faster and he will start sweating and getting short of breath as if he’s been running. Apparently it feels super weird.

While we were at the hospital we asked if there were any other functions, like could I get a remote to force him to do the dishes or turn him off when I need him to be quiet? The nurse thought it was a great idea and promised she would look into it. ;)

Markus says he’s a real-life Terminator/RoboCop and will probably live forever considering he always have an extra life on him. :P

Markus post-op at the hospital

I don’t really think about him as “sick”, so it’s a little weird that he needed surgery.
I was like “What? Why? Oh, right. That.”

Despite having a literally broken heart he lives a normal life and if you met him you’d never be able to guess it. He plays sports and have a job and hang out with friends. Just a regular guy with a regular life.

Only thing restricting him is that he can’t go through metal detectors or be near powerful magnetic fields. For example, when we’re flying he needs to show his ICD patient card at the airport so they can take him aside and do a regular body search instead of sending him through the metal detectors.

He also takes 1 pill a day that helps lowering his heart rhythm, but taking daily medicine is hardly unusual. It does give the strange side effect of making his nose cold though. Like, it’s always cool to the touch. Bodies can be so weird sometimes…

Also, I’m afraid I can’t keep my mouth shut on this: I am so glad we live in a country with public healthcare!
We spent about 6 hours at the hospital that Wednesday. Most of it was waiting, but it was also various drugs, heart monitors and other machines, the actual operation, x-rays afterwards to make sure everything looked good and of course the ICD itself (I don’t even want to know what an ICD costs).
And for this whole party we paid a sum total of 300 SEK, the standard fee for a doctors appointment. That’s about 45 USD.

Markus is almost 26 years old and have had his heart defect since birth, imagine how much money he must’ve cost in his lifetime. And it has never been an issue. No insurance bullshit or talk about the cost of treatments or if they can afford it or not. He gets whatever help he needs and only have to pay a teeny tiny fraction of the total sum up front. I for one will gladly pay our high taxes to have a system like this.

TL;DR: heart defects suck but modern technology/medecine is really cool and public healthcare rocks!

Netflix shows: Lilyhammer and Hemlock Grove

So Netflix are producing their own shows now. As someone who constantly fail to follow shows on TV Netflix is a knight in pixel armour. Them making their own shows is a rather exciting new form of publishing if you ask me, the biggest advantage being that this way they can release a whole season at once instead of forcing you to wait a week between episodes.

Btw, what do you call a show that’s made for a streaming service? Netshow? Stream-TV? :?

Anyway, they have two Netflix-produced shows out (in my country anyway) and I’ve watched them both:

Lilyhammer

Lilyhammer

What happens when a New York mobster gets relocated to a small town in Norway? Well for starters hilarity ensues.
It’s not a serious mobster drama by any length, nothing like The Sopranos or the Godfather, this is much more lightweight and comical. The mobsters are very stereotypical mobsters and the Norwegians are very stereotypical, eh, Norwegians.

American Frank Tagliano goes under witness protection after testifying against his boss. He need to hide and chooses the least likely place he can think of (and also because he saw the winter Olympics) which is Lillehammer, Norway. There’s a clash of cultures to say the least, but slowly he gets back on his feet and start rebuilding his life. A life that, despite the location, actually isn’t all that different from his mobster career…

I enjoyed the first season a lot, it was really funny and sort of sweet in a way. I can definitely recommend it if you want some fun, easygoing entertainment.
Doesn’t hurt to have the stunning Norwegian landscape in the background either. Most of Scandinavia is pretty nice, but the fjords and mountains of Norway are on a whole other level!

Hemlock Grove

Hemlock Grove

Maybe you’ve heard about this one? It’s received both praise and critique and everyone seem to have a rather strong opinion about it. They either love it or hate it.

Well, I love it.
At first glance it looks like the standard supernatural teen drama we’re so used to by now. People are getting killed and a bunch of supernatural stuff is happening and there’s a teenage werewolf and a teenage upir (vampire sort of) and we’ve seen this formula a million times before, right?
Wrong.
This is the weirdest and most disturbing show I’ve seen in a long time. It has some genuinely gory scenes and some genuinely psycho characters. This is an actual horror story, both visually and psychologically. It also has a feel to it, I don’t know how to describe it but it’s a sort of air that flows through every episode, that is both haunting and strangely beautiful.

After each episode I found myself just staring at the screen for a few seconds going “The fuck did I just watch?” :crazy: It was hypnotising.

There are some weak spots, like some of the actors are less than stellar and the plot has some holes in it. Certain events are blatantly predictable while others are unexpected and unexplainable. In my opinion the beauty and the weirdness makes the show well worth watching anyway, but I understand it might not be to everyone’s liking.

Hemlock Grove is actually a book by Brian McGreevy as well, and I’m reading it right now. So far it’s equally, if not more, disturbing. Will be interesting to see if it deviates from the show.

Spring in the North

Yesterday was Beltane/Walpurgi’s Night and the whole country celebrated. Not me though, I’m suffering from one of the most persistent colds I’ve ever had so I just stayed in watching Hemlock Grove and eating candy. I heard lots of fireworks though, and I could smell how every single neighbour were barbecuing.

Spring has officially arrived now, and even though there’s still a few piles of snow here and there it’s getting much warmer and plants have started to sprout.

Spring 2013

The whole front lawn is snow-free now! Only a week ago it still looked like this.

Spring 2013

The grass is still dead though, and now you can see that ugly patch of dirt in the lawn…
But wait, what is that?

Spring 2013

Hey, something is growing! I wonder what it is?

When we moved into the house last fall we saw that empty patch of dirt and figured the previous tenants had a bush or something that they dug up and took with them when they left. I sort of forgot about it during the winter, but then when it started melting I begun thinking about what to do with it. Sow grass and just make more lawn maybe? Make an extra flower bed?

But now I have these sprouts sticking up. I’ll be watching them carefully to see what they’ll grow into.

Spring 2013

I also found a small yellow flower growing in one of the flower beds. No idea what that is either.

I’m like Jack Skellington all over the place. “What’s this? What’s this?” XD I know nothing about gardening but I’m very interested in learning. This is so exciting, to witness our first spring in the house! I can’t wait to see what else has survived the winter! :D

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