flying solo around the world at only19, part 2

I wrote about Ryan back in April, you can see my original post here

Well Ryan is well underway, having crossed the pacific he is currently in Wisconsin, visiting the hometown of the current world record holder, Jack, in OshKosh . By the way, excuse my ignorance, but I had no idea OshKosh was a real place!

So have a look at his webpage and blog, a very inspiration young man!


Implementing our own one child policy………

Last week we celebrated our daughters first birthday, an awesome experience, still trying to figure out what happened to the last twelve months!

As some of you already know our daughter came into this world 6 weeks early after a massive health scare affecting mainly my wife’s health. With that and our daughters heart stopping for a short time she was born on the 21/7/12 after an emergency c-section, so serious it was the hospital literally stopped as my wife and my daughter became the number one priority for Canberra Hospital, which is about the same size as Christchurch Hospital in New Zealand.

There was a moment when a number of things collided: my baby’s heart could not be found on the fetal monitor, my wife collapsed walking back from the toilet, an emergency was declared, the bed was lowered, lines were hastily opened to rush fluids in, doctors and nurses came from anywhere and everywhere, I stood shaking in a corner, my wife was rushed out of the room and down to surgery, I was unsure if either my wife or child were ever coming back alive, and I was alone in a massive room completely empty and in silence: nothing has ever been so scary

My wife had something called HELLP syndrome, which is basically pre-eclampsia on steroids. My knowledge until today was that there is a high (25%) chance of it occurring again and that the side effects can be even more severe including stroke and death. For this reason my wife and I long ago decided that we were very unlikely to ever have another child, the risks are too high, even with a higher level of medical support.

Now I said my knowledge until today as I have never undertaken real research until now as I have not emotionally felt able to, even writing this post has me in tears thinking of last July. I have decided to write this post as a chance to force myself to increase my understanding.

So here we go

HELLP Syndrome is: a life-threatening obstetric complication usually considered to be a variant or complication of pre-eclampsia.[1]Both conditions usually occur during the later stages of pregnancy, or sometimes after childbirth. “HELLP” is an abbreviation of the three main features of the syndrome:[2]

As in 90% of cases my wife presented with ‘heartburn’ in the upper right area of her stomach, this ‘heartburn’ was in fact the liver being shutdown.

So to get the technical lingo:

The exact cause of HELLP is unknown, but general activation of the coagulation cascade is considered the main underlying problem. Fibrin forms crosslinked networks in the smallblood vessels. This leads to a microangiopathic hemolytic anemia: the mesh causes destruction of red blood cells as if they were being forced through a strainer. Additionally,platelets are consumed. As the liver appears to be the main site of this process, downstream liver cells suffer ischemia, leading to periportal necrosis. Other organs can be similarly affected. HELLP syndrome leads to a variant form of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), leading to paradoxical bleeding, which can make emergency surgery a challenge.

Once again this was typical of our experience. When my wife was officially diagnosed, around 3pm, the Doctors pushed us to have a natural birth due to the risks of bleeding, so induced us and gave her steroids to help with our daughters lungs. The C-section later in the day was due to the immediate risk to the life of mother and child.

Patients who present with symptoms of HELLP can be misdiagnosed in the early stages, increasing the risk of liver failure and morbidity.[7] Rarely, post caesarean patients may present in shock condition mimicking either pulmonary embolism or reactionary haemorrhage.

My wife was definitely ‘misdiagnosed’ at the start. Thankfully there are no lasting liver problems, or the severe reactions such as seizures, going into a coma or death did not occur.

The only conclusive treatment for HELLP is to immediately induce labour, which they tried with us before my wife and babies vitals collapsed through the floor. Basically the placenta and mother go to war, so you need to separate the two before the placenta wins said war.

So do you have another baby? Well that is an individual choice for any parent/couple/women. For us the answer is no, probably not, this risks are just to high for us. As a husband I never want to go through the risk either losing my wife or having her turn into a vegetive state after a stroke, remember there is no cure or prevention other than having the baby.

What are the risks? With treatment maternal mortality is about 1 percent, that means one in one hundred women die during birth, sorry but that scares the shit out of me. Complications such as placental abruptionacute renal failure, subcapsular liver hematoma, permanent liver damage, and retinal detachment occur in about 25% of women. So yes, there are risks, major one. My wife is much more likely to have HELLP again next time compared to a lady in the general public, some reports are about a 20% chance of it occurring again, not cool!

Is there any long term risks for our baby? Well in short there is unlikely to be, I did find some association to Cerebral Palsy, and I do worry a bit about our daughters early growth matching with tell tale signs of Cerebral Palsy, but hopefully other than that there is little ongoing side effect. The Doctors never seem to be concerned about Cerebral Palsy, it will certainly be something on my mind from today until she develops further. In the short term our daughter is far far below any tables, so she is short, skinny and passing development levels very late. She only started crawling at 11 months. That is normal for prem babies anyway, exacerbated by the fact she showed very little growth inside my wife over the last weeks.

There is a lot of information on the internet for those interested you can find some I have used here, here and here


Why did Kevin Rudd bring his wife to war?

English: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

English: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The question has been asked by many commentators and I agree, what good did Kevin Rudd bringing Therese Rein to Afghanistan serve? Obviously everyone knows that Kevin is a far greater celebrity than Prime Minister, but still the idea of bringing you wife to a warn torn country serves absolutely no purpose in the publics eyes other than to try and win the family vote? But as a family man I sit here and go, seriously? Does than man have no want to protect his partner?

If Julia Gillard was to have brought Tim, I would have thought the same, so please don’t go playing the sexist remarks card either. There is absolutely no need for her to be there, nor would there be for me to go, or my daughter. As mentioned in commentary, there would have been extra protection for Therese, so in turn extra lives put at risk needlessly

Neither Ms Sugden nor a Department of Defence spokeswoman were forthcoming with information about any special arrangements for Ms Rein’s safety. Security, secrecy, sensitivity and all of that, of course.

For many commentators, the fact that it was the first time a prime ministerial spouse had ever visited a war zone was the major point of interest.

At Tarin Kowt, Ms Rein chatted with troops, laid a wreath for fallen diggers, wore a flak jacket, patted a sapper’s explosive detection dog, watched a bomb disposal robot go about its business, and signed autographs using her husband’s resilient back for support.

So great, she helped on the campaign trail, if you can call Afghanistan the campaign trail.

I have no problem with the PM being there for the record, though the timing is obviously another publicity stunt before the election that Kevin refuses to commit to, I believe it is important that the commander and chief visits the troops on occasions, as Julia Gillard and John Key have both done.


Good news at the petrol bowsers on the way?

I filled my ute up the other day with diesel and was gasping at paying $1.61 per litre for the black gold!

So it is good to see some positive signs on the way

World oil prices have slipped after China ordered industrial production capacity cuts in the face of slowing economic growth.

The government action added to market concerns about weakening demand in China, the world’s second-largest economy.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September, finished the trading session on Friday at $US104.70 a barrel, down 79 cents from Thursday’s close.

The European benchmark contract, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September, fell 48 cents to $US107.17 a barrel in London trade.

‘‘The news out of China that they are forcing a cut in excess industrial capacity is a very bearish factor for crude oil,’’ said John Kilduff of Again Capital.

China ordered companies in 19 industries, including steel and cement, to cut excess production capacity.Beijing’s industry ministry instructed about 1300 firms to shut down outdated facilities by September and eliminate excess capacity by year-end, Chinese state media said on Friday.

The government’s action, analysts said, could hit already weak manufacturing activity, which contracted to an 11-month low in July, according to HSBC figures.

China is the number-two oil consumption country but is number one in terms of the oil market’s outlook, Kilduff noted.

Read more:

A lowering ‘demand’ in China should surely show through here soon.

I read an article in the NRMA members magazine ‘Open Road’ this morning confirming that Canberra is constantly one of the most expensive places in Australia to buy petrol/diesel, including in relation to likened places like Wollongong

The NRMA have a great bowser busting page here

Cate vs David!

In light of my recent post on an American newspaper totally stuffing up the location of the recent Seddon earthquakes ( I thought this post was great!
Good on Cate for sticking it when David showed little understanding of Australia (and maybe NZ too). Very dignified!


Australia’s Earthquakes…. maintaining journalistic integrity

My good friend Ele over at homepaddock is the champion of the writer, the advocate for the wordsmith, but I am not even sure she can justify getting behind the writer this article!

In fact it is so far wrong I am going to put the whole article in

Update: Severe Earthquake Strikes Australia / Correction – New Zealand

Severe Earthquake Strikes Australia

Our publisher and editors deeply apologize for the errors in this article. To preserve our journalistic integrity, we have decided not to change one word of Tom Ukinski’s article. However, our team of reporters are working as fast as possible to provide you with the most accurate news and information covering the recent New Zealand earthquake. We expect to provide you with an update shortly, right here on this page.

Thanks for your patience.

(Original Report, without corrections below)
A severe earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 has erupted in an area 20 kilometers east of Seddon.

Seddon is a suburb 7 km west of Melbourne, Australia, with a population of about 4,851 people. It is located in the state of Victoria on the southeast tip of Australia.  The shock effects of the quake have been felt as far away as Napier, in Western Australia, 3,302 kilometers (2,066 miles) from Melbourne.  This suggests that the path of the quake is along the southern part of Australia.

The intensity of earthquakes is measured by the moment magnitude scale (MMS).  Events with magnitudes greater than 4.5 are strong enough to be recorded by a seismograph anywhere in the world.

The death toll for earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.0 to 6.9 can reach 25,000 people.  A large number of buildings in populated areas can be destroyed.   The damage can be experienced far from the epicenter. (Wikipedia)

The depth of the quake near Seddon, as of 5:09 p.m., was 19km, which is over 11 miles deep.

Earthquakes can occur up to 700 kilometers below the surface.

There is an average of one earthquake per year in Australia with a magnitude of 5 or greater and a depth of 0 to 70 km.  (USGS)

By:  Tom Ukinski

People’s feedback on facebook and other commentary has been around what a mistake that has been made, and this is true it is a giant stuffup! But what floors me is the effort it takes to get it so wrong. To put Napier in WA and Seddon in Victoria takes a certain kind of stupid. I also find it absolutely disgusting in a breaking new article like this to write about a 6.0 to 6.9 earthquake causing 25,000 deaths, this kind of sensationalist ‘journalism’ disgusts me.

I had to complete 3 years of training to undertake my profession, one of the lowest in health. I also undertake yearly CPD to maintain and grow my knowledge. Apparently smarts are not so important for journalism!

Also, to the best of my knowledge there are subeditors, editors and proofers, surely someone knows where NZ is in the world!


When NZ being 1st in the world is not a statistic to cheer about

Sad news yesterday of another young life lost in NZ


An 18-month-old boy has died after being run over in an Auckland driveway this afternoon.


The child was initially taken to hospital in a critical condition where he later died of his injuries.

Emergency services were called to a home in Otahuhu, South Auckland at 2.20pm.

Police said they were still working to find out how the accident happened.

With at least 24 children killed in the last six years New Zealand is the worst country in the world for toddler driveway deaths.


24c children in six years, 24 grieving families and a nation that needs to reduce this awful stats