Michæl McFarland Campbell

Always telling the story

Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

AV fistula considerations: exploring options at Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore

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Yesterday, while I was on dialysis, a secretary from the Vascular Clinic at Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore called to schedule an arm scan. I’ve been waiting for this scan for several months to determine if there’s enough space in my arm for another arteriovenous (AV) fistula, which would aid in dialysis access. Given the opportunity to attend today’s appointment, I eagerly took it and travelled to Tullamore by train.

Upon arrival, I was asked to remove my t-shirt, which seemed excessive for an arm scan, but I complied. The nurse then informed me she was ready to scan my right arm. This surprised me because I thought the scan was for my left arm. The nurse went to consult another professional, but they were unavailable. She returned, and we had a discussion about the situation.

The main reason I don’t want a fistula in my right arm is due to the loss of dexterity I’ve experienced in my left arm since having an AV fistula there. As an organist, maintaining dexterity in my right arm is crucial. Additionally, I was frustrated that I had travelled to Tullamore for a scan of the wrong arm. Had I known it was for my right arm, I would have cancelled the appointment to avoid wasting both the nurse’s and my time.

On a positive note, we learned that placing another AV fistula in my left arm is impossible. The team usually starts with the forearm and moves up if necessary. Since my current fistula is in my upper arm, there’s no more space for another one in my left arm. This means we need to explore other alternatives. I have requested to speak with another renal consultant with whom I have a good rapport, partly due to our shared Scouting connection. I hope we can find a suitable solution from now on.

Originally posted on Hivblogger.com

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

June 13th, 2024 at 7:52 pm

Cycling for exercise…

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I am always being reminded by my renal medical team that I need to be physically healthy for a kidney transplant were one to come up; therefore, I’m looking at renewing my active lifestyle to help with that. Follow the Positive Exercise blog for future updates there.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

June 4th, 2024 at 6:34 pm

Posted in Blogging,Health

European Men’s Internet Sex Survey 2024

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I have just been sent (and have now completed) the EMIS study (European Men’s Internet Sex Survey) 2024. It is completely anonymous and provides vital information about gay men’s health in Ireland and Europe. 

EMIS, a collaborative effort involving the academic, community, and governmental entities throughout Europe, was initiated in 2010 and reiterated in 2017, generously supported by the European Union Health Programme. Its primary objective is to inform interventions concerning sexual health among men who have sex with men (MSM).

The overarching goal of EMIS is to delineate the divergent sexual health requirements among various demographics of men, alongside estimating the prevalence of distinct risk and precautionary behaviours.

As a result of EMIS, an extensive array of technical and community reports have been generated, accompanied by numerous scientific publications. Moreover, the project has established 26 indicators spanning 60 countries across four continents, integrated within the UNAIDS Key Population Atlas.

The profound impact of EMIS is evident in the transformation it has instigated within the landscape of gay health across numerous European nations.

If you live in Europe (including the United Kingdom), it would be great if you could participate. The survey is at http://www.emis-project.eu/.

There is a lot of information about the survey, please click on the number 2024 to bring you to the survey. 

Please encourage your friends or family who are gay or bisexual to complete it, too. 

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

April 12th, 2024 at 2:49 am

Haemoglobin is finally above 10! Hurrah!

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Wednesday saw the routine of ‘monthly bloods’ taken and sent off from the dialysis unit. In recent months, the most worrisome result has been the Hb or Haemoglobin level that has been recorded. Back in May and June, it hit a bottom point of 6.2. This week, however, it came back as over 10. This level means that I am back much more towards the normal level, and I am definitely feeling a lot better. 

I also received both an appointment letter and a reminder letter (printed the same day) from the Haematology clinic at the Midlands Regional Hospital at Tullamore for the last day of October. Whilst part of me wants to say, ‘Look, I’m well again — do I need to come?’ I will attend because it will be interesting to see what they have to say. For my part, I have a feeling that the Hb was low because of the failing fistula, and now that it has been settled down, it isn’t taking Hb away any more. We shall see. 

Originally published on HIVBlogger.com

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

October 7th, 2023 at 10:27 pm

Registering to vote is now much easier in Ireland

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Historically, registering to vote in Ireland involved a trip to the local Garda station to get a paper form stamped. Fortunately, those days are gone, and it is much simpler now. You can register to vote, online, at any time.

Simply go to www.checktheregister.ie and complete your details to be added to the electoral register. You can check the registration and update your details if you are already registered. If you are a first-time registrant, then you complete that form instead.

The details you’ll need to provide are:

  • your PPS number
  • your date of birth
  • your Eircode

These details are needed for your local authority to confirm your details. And that is it! You’ll be ready to vote, should an election or a referendum be called!

Three reasons why your vote is important

  1. It gives you a say on important issues that affect you — from roads and recycling, to education and climate change, to housing and employment.
  2. It gives you the choice to vote for your local and national representatives, if you don’t vote, other people get to choose who represents you.
  3. Elections can be called at short notice — if you don’t register 15 days or more before an election or referendum, you may not be able to vote. It is as simple past that.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

December 15th, 2022 at 5:33 pm


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Are you a multipotentialite? It certainly seems to me that I am. What is a multipotentialite? Well, it is someone with many interests and creative pursuits, rather than focusing only on a particular subject or hobby. I learned this new word while completing the The Open University‘s 5-hour short course on the value and benefits of Multidisciplinary Learning. As a student on the Open Degree pathway, I found this really helpful as a way to describe the degree course that I am following.

Multidisciplinary students bring many transferable skills to the workplace because of their study, including critical thinking, self-management, adaptability, analysis and problem solving, application of information technology, flexibility, and synthesis of ideas.

Anyone interested in studying this course, can find out more at https://www.open.edu/openlearn/education-development/multidisciplinary-study-the-value-and-benefits/content-section-0?active-tab=description-tab

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

November 19th, 2022 at 8:16 pm

Gardening is good for my mental health… and helps some charity too as I #PlantPink

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I have never really been one for gardening. Even when I was growing up, I think the most successful planting I ever did was of some cress in school. And I think that only worked because everyone else’s did as well. So you can imagine my surprise that in the last month I have been planting some plants in pots in the front garden of our house. 

Now, this may have something to do with living close to a branch of Glanbia’s Countrylife here in County Kildare. Not having a car makes buying plants, pots, and bags of compost quite difficult. Ok, so the buying of them is the easy part, it is the getting them home from the garden centre that has historically been the difficult part. But, as I said, Countrylife is about 500 metres from the house, so there really is now no excuse. Even when there is an item or three that is too heavy, the local store will arrange delivery by a helpful assistant as they did with the three bags of compost. 

The garden is becoming more colourful. Photo: Michæl McFarland Campbell © 2022.

The first day that Andrew and I went there, we bought one pot and put three heather plants in it. The next week, I went back and bought another larger pot and put a plant in it. Today, I went bought two smaller pots but in green and put some lavender in one and some “Tickled Pink” dianthus in the other.

All of the pots are from Lemonfield Pottery’s Botanical Gardens range. Unfortunately, Lemonfield Pottery is trade only, but they do produce some lovely pots. I’m sure your local garden centre will be able to source them should you want them. 

But why did I start on this gardening? Well, I had read that gardening can be good for your mental health. It is also good to get out into nature, and living in the countryside I had been noticing more and more of the flowers around us. Wouldn’t it be pleasant to have some close by? So, that is basically why I am doing it. The lavender may also be useful later on in the summer as Andrew really loves the smell of it: it is useful for helping him to go to sleep. Hopefully we can use some of our own to assist. 

Originally posted on HIVBLogger.com.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

April 23rd, 2022 at 5:48 pm

Keeping my knowledge and skills up to date

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Every year, I work hard to keep my knowledge and skills up to date with CPD. At the end of March 2022, I had completed a year of CPD with CIPR — the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. This means that I maintain my Accredited PR Practitioner status, but more importantly it illustrates that I take the profession seriously. I urge everyone in their various professions to work to complete continuing professional development each year. It really is the best way to stay at the top of your game.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

April 2nd, 2022 at 7:32 am

Getting back to tracking fitness…

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We’re all surrounded by advertisements about this app, or some other device that can help make our lives better. Sometimes we get absorbed by the app or the device to the point that it seems that it is the most important thing in our lives. That is what started to happen with my Fitbit last summer. I decided to take a break from using it, and to come back to it when I was ready.

In the last few weeks, I have been wanting to use it, but having moved house since I last used it, I know not where the charger is. So today, I relented and ordered a second charger. Note, I do not say a replacement. It is a second one, so that when the first one turns up, I have a spare.

Having grown up in Scouting, I enjoy collecting badges, you never know how many I might get. Fitbit, helpfully, keeps track of them for you. If you want to connect with me on Fitbit, have a look at my profile, you too can see how many badges I have (if you become a friend).

This time, the tool will be just a part of the wider spectrum of life, rather than becoming the centre. Watch out for further updates.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

March 22nd, 2022 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Blogging

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When to the temple Mary went: the music from my youth

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That first piece, When to the temple Mary went by Johannes Eccard was a favourite of mine when I sang in the parish choir of my home parish church of St Patrick, Kilconriola (Ballymena). This evening, I did not expect to be listening to it, let alone writing a blog piece about the music at all. How did this come about?

Well, earlier today I was contacted by a contact with whom I have had no contact for at least eleven years. However, as a result of the contact made on Facebook earlier, this evening I have been exploring some music on Youtube. 

The first piece was Roger Quilter’s Where the Rainbow Ends, played on the piano by John Kersey. 


From there, I moved on to Roger Quilter’s Non nobis Domine, which I know I sang but once, but it brought back so many memories. 

And then Greater love hath no man by John Ireland. This was a great favourite when I sang in my home parish choir from the age of seven until my early twenties. In my time, I had sung the Treble, Bass, and Tenor parts. Each of them came back to me as I heard the music. 

Sumsion’s They that go down to the sea in ships came to mind as well, having sung it on a Royal School of Church Music Choristers’ Course, and then whilst at school, having attempted to learn the organ part. 

Church music has been part of my life since the age of seven. In recent years, I have not had the opportunity to sing any of it as there is no choir in the parish here, and even before that, I was not singing in any choir at all. I must admit that I do miss singing these great pieces, and I wonder if they are still sung in my home parish church, however, I fear that with the current incumbent, this is most unlikely. 

More music that I remember singing in that choir includes:

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G, by C.V. Stanford

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in Bb, by C.V. Stanford

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in C, by C.V. Stanford

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis Collegium Regale, by Herbert Howells

Communion Service in F by Herbert Sumsion

Communion Service plainsong by John Merbecke

A Celtic Eucharist by Martin White

Communion Service by William Matthias

Anthems included:

A Gaelic Blessing, John Rutter

Above all praise, Felix Mendelssohn

Ave verum corpus, William Byrd

Ave verum corpus, Edward Elgar

Ave verum corpus, W.A. Mozart

Awake, thou wintry earth, J.S. Bach

Blessed be the God and Father, S.S. Wesley

Call tor remembrance, Richard Farrant

Cantate Domino, Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni, ed. R.R. Terry

Come, Holy Ghost, Thomas Attwood, ed. Lionel Dakers

Come, ye faithful raise the strain, R.S. Thatcher

Evening Hymn, H. Balfour Gardiner

God be in my head, H. Walford Davies

God be in my head, John Rutter

God so loved the world, John Goss

If we believe, John Goss

If ye love me, Thomas Tallis

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring, J.S. Bach

King of glory, King of peace, J.S. Bach

Lead me, Lord, S.S. Wesley

Let thy merciful ears, O Lord, [? Thomas] Mudd

Let us now praise famous men, R. Vaughan Williams

Locus iste, Anton Bruckner

Lord, for thy tender mercy’s sake, Farrant

My eyes for beauty pine, Herbert Howells

My shepherd is Lord, Harrison Oxley

My soul, there is a country, C. Hubert H. Parry

Never weather-beaten sail, Charles Wood

O gladsome light, O grace, Louis Bourgeois, set by Claude Goudimel, ed. Henry G. Ley

O how amiable, R. Vaughan Williams

O Lord, increase our faith, Henry Loosemore

O Lord, the maker of all things, William Mundy

O Lorde, the maker of al thing, John Joubert

O Saviour of the world, John Goss

O thou, the central orb, Charles Wood

Praise, O praise, Martin How

Pray that Jerusalem, C.V. Stanford

Rejoice in the Lord alway, Henry Purcell

So they gave their bodies, Peter Aston

The strife is o’er, Henry G. Ley

This is the record of John, Orlando Gibbons

Thou visitest the earth, Maurice Greene

Turn back O Man, arranged by Gustav Holst

Turn thy face from my sins, Thomas Attwood

Wash me throughly, S.S. Wesley

When to the temple Mary went, Johannes Eccard

Zadok the Priest, G.F. Handel

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

January 9th, 2022 at 12:35 am