Medication problems, and retail therapy…

Meds Buggeration.


In this post I mentioned that my GP had changed my heart failure drug to Losartan from Candesartan – screwing up the dose along the way.

The recommended starting dose for heart failure is 12.5mg, increasing by 12.5mg a week to 50mg – if tolerated. He went straight for 50mg.

And that wiped me out. I have no idea how I felt as I couldn’t stay awake long enough to figure it out. It also made it impossible to wake in the morning, sleeping through my 06.00 meds alarm on two days in succession, the knock-on effect of which screws up my meds for the entire day. And as the 06.00 batch includes Losartan, it’s kinda self-defeating.

So I cut the scored tabs in half, and took 25mg. Better, but my heart felt rackety and unstable, so I added 100mg of potassium (potassium is problematic, as 4 of my drugs cause a deficiency, and Losartan can concentrate in dangerously – so it’s a balancing act). That smoothed things out nicely, and I could wake up to take my meds, though I still have drowsy spells throughout the day, which I didn’t previously.

I feel more stable, overall, but I think I need more potassium, as it wears off towards evening.

I’ve also managed to cut a couple of Losartan tabs into accurate quarters – very fiddly with an oval tab – so today I’ve taken 12.5mg – with the option to take another dose if it all goes to hell. And for now, at least, I’ll stick with 100mg of potassium. Change more than one thing at a time and you lose focus.

On the plus side, my breathing is better on Losartan, proving what I’ve suspected for about a year – the severe deterioration was caused by my heart condition, not by a worsening of my COPD. The fact that my Ventolin inhaler didn’t work was a bit of a giveaway, though that could have been a worsening of my COPD, to be honest, but I’ve lived with severe respiratory illness all my life, and this just didn’t feel right.

I was hoping that time would reduce the tiredness but, 3 days in, it’s making it worse, which is why I’m going for the lower dose.

Note: Took 12.5mg at 06.00 this morning, and so far I feel fine. I didn’t oversleep and feel full of energy (comparatively speaking!). Time will tell if that’s an illusion, but so far, so good. And the incessant coughing, triggered by Losartan, hasn’t kicked in yet, either.


A Therapeutic New Camera. (That’s my excuse, and to it I am sticking!)


As my breathing improved, I got to thinking I could get out again with my camera. Trouble is, I’m a lot weaker than I was just a year ago, a contributory factor being that I’ve been too breathless to do anything that might keep my strength up.

In addition, my DSLR outfit is big (and heavy at 2,6kg), and if I use my powerchair it would tend to make me a fairly conspicuous target for the sticky-fingered brigade. I do – putting it in a way that won’t get me arrested every time I go out – have the means to protect myself, but really there’s no getting past the fact that I’m very ill, and very weak, and it’s best not to look to conspicuously tempting.

I needed something more discrete, and lighter, and. looking though a copy of Which? from last year, I came across a review for the Canon Powershot SX30 IS, which has a 35x zoom, giving it a maximum of 840mm, about the same as my spotting scope, making ideal for birding. For some mysterious reason the SX30 is described by everybody, including Canon, as a “compact” when in reality it’s a bridge camera and anything but compact – it’s the same size as a DSLR with a medium zoom fitted. That’s not a bad thing – it’s just not a compact.

So, off to my favourite review site, Steve’s Digicams, to check it out. Pretty much the first thing mentioned was that there is chromatic aberration on every shot, which seemed like bad news, so I skipped forward to the test pics and, full-screen they looked fine (I have a 19” monitor with a 4:3 aspect ratio, the same as my current camera’s pics and, coincidentally, the SX30’s). So I looked at the full size (which I thought was the size for A2 prints – turns out to be A3), and yes, there was chromatic aberration. But – at any size I’m likely to want to use, it’s not apparent, so I’m not bothered as I’m never going to make prints bigger than A4, and I don’t normally print my pics anyway.

Off, then, to my usual used camera supplier (benefits/pension have precluded buying new for a long time), and they had two SX30s, one the bare camera, the other boxed (and as it turned out, missing a CD, its lens hood and strap – but with 3 batteries, so I suppose it balanced out, and I can live without the CD. In very good nick too, after a thorough clean (what sort of numpty gets a sweaty finger-mark spang in the middle of the bloody lens?).

Incidentally, they left an SD card in the camera with test pics from a Leica, an unnamed camera, and mine – all hard to tell apart in terms of quality. That’s gonna piss off Leica users.

A few casual snaps revealed that the image quality is perfectly fine, and with no perceptible noise at ISO 1600. Haven’t had the chance to try out the long end of the zoom, but the wide end – 24mm – behaves very nicely, taking a quick macro shot without using the macro setting.

I also splurged on a 270EX flashgun. Canon say they can only guarantee it working with a small range of Eos flashgun, and as most cost as much or more than the damn camera, I opted for the least expensive.

I have mixed feeling about flashguns, given that almost all cameras come with built-in flash these days, and the SX30 has a particularly good example of its kind, but so often, over the years, I’ve wanted one and not had one, so I thought what the hell…? Anyway, bounce flash just isn’t an option with built-in flashguns.

With a custom case it weighs in at 930g, about 200g more with the flash, which lives in an old lens case, a pretty good weight saving, and it’s also a lot smaller, and thus less conspicuous.

To make it invisible, I’ve taken the left-hand cycle pannier from the pair that I’d fitted to my scooter, and fitted that to my chair, which will carry my camera while keeping it out of sight.


6 thoughts on “Medication problems, and retail therapy…

    • See how this week goes. If it turns out OK, then get out next week. Trying to decide whether to put my DSLR outfit on eBay – seems the sensible thing to do, as it’s almost unused.

  1. Another Twitter…..:) rer…! my last good camera was Olympus D.ZUIKO, ABOUT 30 YEARS OLD, TOOK WONDERFUL PICS..It was hard work though..lenses reels etc, especially when digital ones came out, and there are some wonderful ones about that are not to expensive (to much for me).
    Ive had mobile phones for years but never took good pics, then recently my daughter and grand daughter talked me into getting a Luminar smart phone….that was Feb, I still cant work it out but, it takes wonderful pictures, and you can auto fix them 🙂 Ive had so many different birds in my garden recently, its been a real delight. I had to nearly kill next doors cat who thought he owned my garden…and me! he ate Pidgeons, magpies,starlings etc, he even had 2 baby pidgeons hanging either side of his mouth……frogs with no legs, foxes, who live at back of my shed and have for many years (posh residents)…leave all dead birds in garden, and kept leaving me dead mice….my friends said AHHH he loves you…I said I dont care….no wild life comes into my garden now!!!!! he would come into the house id find him curled up on one of the beds or settees!!!!!I hated him……but in the last month, all the animals are back squirrels as welll with there babys its lovely, had a wood pecker turn up, never seen one before, 2 parrotts, and more, ooh I love them….I bet you must have some wonderful birds to photograph, whats your favorite? any chance of seeing a pic? I tried to download pics from phone to NEW laptop and its f….d it…..Im not very good at computers etc, but getting there, nice to hear you more chirpy , excuse the pun 🙂
    Ive never used twitter, but am on facebook…..

    • You really should check out Twitter – much better than FB! Very easy to use, too.

      Just on the edge of the concrete jungle here, so not much in the way of birds. Waste of time going to the local woods, too – full of bloody dog walkers! Nearest birds to photograph are a £10 taxi ride away, which is where I took these Hoping to get there next week if this week goes OK.

      Read your camera’s manual carefully – it should tell you how to get the pics onto your lappy. But do follow the instructions exactly.

  2. Oh Ron, youve got to come up to stay with me for few days, got spare bedroom, and I understand your/our illnesses, just think that sitting out or looking into garden would heal you 🙂 and……if you were not well, we would have to go to St.Thomas Hospital, not far away and I drive…:) Then you would meet best cardiologist (I think) in the world, and, I know he would be VERY pleased and interested to speak with you:) Mr.Gould (Doctor) he is a wonderful human…..
    So thats sorted….now…all you have to do is,..teach me how to work these bloody computers and mobiles properly…please 🙂 I did read manual and all it did was f..k up my new (horrible) Lenovo laptop, which hasnt worked since, I now have to take back to store and get someone to do something……..oh I dont know….I hate technology…GGGRRRRRR.
    Anyway Ron , what you think of my idea? Ive even got spare neb and walking stick 🙂

    • Nice idea, Darcy, but I haven’t been able to travel for years, except for short journeys by taxi, or scrounging a lift.

      One thing I can do, though, is fix computers – I’ll email you. I used to run an email computer advice service for people with ME (when I wrote a computer column for the ME Association).

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