I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.
I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.
Visited the cardiologist today, and was very happy with the service I received. The cardiologist was very patient, very thorough, and very willing to discuss everything. To my delight she was also willing to discuss matters in a more technical fashion at my request. I love learning about how bits of the body work, and the heart is a fascinating organ.
The end result is that yes, I have episodic SVT, and it is everything I could possibly hope for. It does not increase my risk of stroke. It does not exclude me from diving. It is not life threatening. It is not damaging to my heart or any other systems. It can be controlled without medication or surgery. In short, it's an annoyance, and not much more than that.
And yes, I can still have caffeine. I should probably consume less than I used to if I want to remain asymptomatic, but I can still have coffee. Even if I do consume too much, then it will be merely annoying.
I've arranged for an ultrasound in a couple of weeks time, just to take a look at my heart to ensure it's structually sound. The cardiologist warned me that about one in three people have a patent foramen ovale (PFO), which is basically a hole between the atria that can re-open during pressure changes in the cardiovascular system. PFOs are associated with greater risks of decompression illness, and so it's recommended that people with PFOs should not dive.
Here's the crazy part. If someone is known to have a PFO, they can't normally be certified as medically fit to dive. If we don't know if someone has a PFO, then they can be certified as medically fit to dive, even though one in three of them won't actually be fit. Some individuals may actively avoid tests that may reveal whether or not they have a PFO, because if they discover they have the condition they won't be allowed to dive anymore.
This is madness, and I'm in agreement with some members of the medical community that a dive medical should include tests to indicate whether or not the patient has a PFO. Of course doing so would crush the diving industry, since they'd lose about one third of their customers.
Needless to say, I'm very happy to be screened for a PFO, and the only reason I haven't been already is due to laziness. If I have the condition, then I'm glad to be giving up diving in exchange for a longer life expectancy, or talking to a doctor of barometric medicine about how to best manage the condition.
Melbourne Perl Mongers AGM
Last night was the Melbourne Perl Mongers AGM. The most interesting piece of news is that Melbourne Perl Mongers Inc (the registered legal body) is likely to be merged into the Open Source Developers Conference Inc, thanks to an ingenious suggestion by Skud. This is somewhat ironic, since MPM Inc was originally created to run the OSDC conference.
The proposed merge has made me very happy. The existence of MPM Inc has made me uneasy for a while; I've felt that the separate committee has made it more difficult for regular members to be involved in meeting organisation, and the additional legal paperwork required is both difficult to understand and complete in a volunteer organisation of our size.
It should be noted that Melbourne Perl Mongers is not going away. Instead there'll be significantly less paperwork and tedious procedure required from those who help organise it, and hopefully a greater inclusion for anyone who wishes to assist in meeting organisation. Overall I view this as a Very Good Thing.