This is not a blog. So sue me!

Crikey, things are looking up!

Friday, March 21, 2014

On-line course platforms (MOOCs)

Here, as promised, is a series of links to on-line course platforms or MOOCs (Massive open on-line courses). Each has a search capability so that you can find things you like. I am doing a variety of courses for entertainment (I don't watch TV)!

The following group are not for profit and allow free enrollment. (You may need to make a payment for a university or high school equivalency certificate.) Generally each course starts on a particular date and you are encouraged to keep up with the class by viewing the lectures and doing the course work each week.

Future Learn - Mostly British-based universities.

EDX - another group of well-known universities, I have signed up for the "Science of Everyday Thinking" course, a fairly lightweight psychology course. Previously I have completed "Introduction to Biology (The Meaning of Life!)" and "Our Energetic Earth". The latter, from University of Toronto, was interesting but lightweight, with a talking head lecturer plus slides and some recommended texts. The former was the wonderful Generitcs, Biochemistry and Genomics course I mentioned. Live lectures and a gifted lecturer. Fantastic software tools in the homework (as you'd expect from MIT, I suppose).

Khan Academy has mostly pre-university courses, but they seem to be conducted in a very approachable way. Emphasis on mathematics. Self paced. I have viewed a biology and world history course accessed through this portal and it's a lot of fun! Also on YouTube: Crash Course Biology. Videos with a quirky approach that would appeal to teenagers, I think.

Academic Earth have pre-recorded mostly university lectures. I have just started one called Oceanography, which is recorded from the back of a darkened lecture hall with a computer-generated slides projected on a screen. It's just like being there, sometimes out of focus and all :-) I'm glad I didn't pay for that university course, but perhaps it will pick up.

Iversity is a German-based MOOC but they have a number of what appear to be good courses in English. I vill let you know vhat I zink of zem :-) has a set of on-line courses that are contributed by experts and seem to consist mostly of self-paced directed readings of on-line materials with occasional viewing of videos. This is more of a traditional approach to a "correspondence course". It probably works well for people who like reading.

The following is a for-profit company but they allow you to do the courses for free and give you a certificate with an extra payment for "validation" i.e. university-equivalence. So basically the same results as far as the user is concerned.

Coursera - a large set of international universities, pick a filter on the left-hand side. I did two Useful Genetics from University of British Columbia recently which were good. Talking head (smart older woman lecturer with slides) lectures. I am also in the middle of a Roman Architecture course from Yale, which is very good.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Notes from Cornwall Hospital pre-hip replacement information session

2 hour session, March 2014

Primary speaker: Hospital Physiotherapist (1 hour)
Hospital Dietician (half hour)
Hospital Pharmacist (half hour)


 Check your home for home hazards: Electrical cords, loose carpets etc. Make sure you have an entrance handrail. Sufficient lighting (e.g. night lights).

There is a questionnaire to answer which will assess the hazards in your home.

3 rules for 3 months

You can expect to have a 3 month long recovery period, although individuals vary. During this time there are 3 important rules:

1. NO BENDING FROM THE HIP more than 90°. When getting in a car, go in backwards with the seat pushed right back and inclined back. Lean back to swing in your legs.

2. DON'T CROSS THE AFFECTED LEG over the mid-line of your body. don't cross legs or ankles.

3. DON'T TWIST the torso. To look behind, turn around a little at a time.

You should expect to sleep with a pillow between your knees.

What to bring to the hospital

Bring one change of clothes in addition to what you are wearing. Have loose fitting pants (e.g. track pants). If you bring a gown it should not be more than knee length. Bring all the toiletries that you need, and label them with your name. If you have a cane, bring it, but label it with your name and phone number. You may get moved from room to room so things can get lost!

At the hospital 

On your surgery day, arrive at the admissions department. You are already registered. You will be given a pre-operative assessment and some drugs (injections).You will most likely be having an epidural (spinal) anesthetic with a sedative so you don't need to be awake.

The operation takes 2-3 hours to replace the ball and socket in your hip.

You will then be put in the recovery room. After you have recovered you will be taken to a regular room. Visiting hours are 11am - 1pm and 4pm - 8pm.

You will be helped to get up and walk on your surgery day. You will get some exercises to do.

Pain management is important. You will have pain from the incision although your present hip pain will  be gone. You will be on self-administered intravenous morphine.

When you get home

You need to be able to sit in a high chair, with high back and arms, and your hips higher than your knees. No soft couch.

You will need a cane or a walker and appliances like a grabber/reacher and a sock aid.

When dressing in pants, put on your operated leg first then your good leg. When undressing, take off the good leg first then the operated leg.

A large can wrapped in a towel is to be used for exercises. Ankle weights can be made or bought.

You will need a raised toilet seat, preferably with hand rails.

You will be on blood thinners for 4 weeks and you cannot drive for 6 weeks.


 Make sure you eat properly! You need to heal and keep strong.

Protein with every meal.
Whole grains. Vegetables, fruit, milk, yoghurt.

Canada's Food Guide.


Get a list of all your medications from your pharmacist. Make a list of all the non-prescription drugs that you are using.

Report any allergies on registration/admission.

You will be given pain killers (opiates) with a laxative to help prevent constipation.

Anti-inflammatory (probably Celebrex, Advil etc.)

Antibiotics before the operation and for 1 day after. Only get more antibiotics if you develop an infection.

You will have anticoagulants to prevent blood clots for 28-35 days. Either an injectable or a pill.

You may need anti-nausea pills (Gravol)


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