It’s been pre-disastered!

garp

When Hubs came home and discovered we’d been burgled he called me first. Practically shrieking at him to get off the phone from me and to call the police, I then whizzed home to tell him about knowing the doors were locked (in case the police came straight away, I wanted him to know what had happened in the morning) before I went to get Peanut.

Me shrieking down the phone is not a pleasant experience. I’m loud enough at the middle of my voice, let alone the top of it.

As I straightened the house, including my undies – The World According to Garp was all I was thinking about. ‘It’s been pre-disastered!’ Yes it was annoying, but it was just stuff, we’re also renting, so it’s not our house. I thought I was doing fine.

We’ve been amazed at the insurers, they approved our claim in less than a week and we’ve begun replacing items thanks to the wonders of electronic transactions and gift cards. What is amazing is this cloud technology, I log in and my stuff appears, out of – well, a cloud, I guess. I heartily recommend it if you get things stolen.

Music was more of a problem, insofar that I’d imported lots of CDs into iTunes, which does not get moved over to the cloud unless you ask it to, (I will be now!) Never fear, there is an app for that: Sharepod. I spent 30 seconds googling, $20 to purchase the full version, and the morning with my iPod plugged in. Over 3,000 songs and audiobooks have been restored, not all of it, but most of it and TBH most of us just listen to maybe four albums anyway.

Hubs has taken Peanut out for the morning, I continue to potter around the house. I’ve had a two week black dog fog descend over me, so while yes it was ‘just stuff’, my mind closed down more than I recognised at the time. I still struggled to get out of bed, get washed, get dressed, eat sensibly. I keep alcohol in the house to a minimum now, because if it’s there – I drink it. If not, I don’t.

Until Thursday where I had a clear day and started to wade through the back-log of Personal Development lists, and watched a TED talk that broke me open. It’s thirty minutes, so longer than a normal one, but really a must-see for us seratonin challenged people.

Today I should have run 10km in RunMelbourne; as you know, I can barely walk. My mind is truly suffering because of not being able to pull on the lycra, lace up my shoes and just get out there. Having found a way to keep Rufus at bay, my trousers fitting and my skin clear, I feel more robbed of this headspace than some possessions that have gone. And it’s my body that is broken – I spent so bluddy long getting running, I am mighty pissed off I now can’t do it. I have the follow-up appointment at the Respiratory clinic tomorrow, I might get some answers then. Fingers crossed.

This is a bit of a mish-mash, but I also realised that writing this sh!t out was helping too, so expect more waffle. Now, don’t be bashful, I can tell you’re thrilled.

Photo credit.

Every Breath You Take

Today I parked at my local station, hopped on the train with my book (Cloud Atlas) and went back to outpatients at our local hospital. Eventually, as I had to ask for directions. I had to go up to level 3, walk along the connecting corridor between two buildings, then head down to level 1. Eventually ending up below daylight, to get to the “nuclear testing” area.

Sounds more scary than it was, I promise. I was called in early, the benefits of allowing enough time to get lost, just as well too! I was talked through what would happen, confirmed I was who I said I was then had a cannula put in.

The machine today wasn’t an x-ray machine, nor a CT machine, but a mix of the two. Very technical here, sorry. I lay down was given a gas to breathe in, two and a half breaths worth, the machine then rotated round me as I lay there to take images of my lungs. After twenty minutes, I was then injected with another reagent, these images were quicker, only 8 minutes long.

I lay on my back with my arms above my head each time, trying to concentrate on my breath, the irony was not lost on me. I thought I could get at least a meditation session in while I was there.

Guess what? I’m normal. Well, my lungs are. Yay, no blood clots. Boo, no idea WTF is going on.

I headed to the café to get some lunch and bumped into the girl who was in the room next to me on the spinal ward. She recognised me, asked how I was going and we had a good chat. She looked really well, she’s trying out a new chair at the moment, so busy working on her core muscles as she has to sit more upright in it. But she said she’s also getting much better with a brace they’ve set up to help her control the chair.

Then heading back to the lifts to head home, I bumped into a girlfriend selling her handmade clothes. I’d been hanging out to see her, this was officially a great day! We had lunch, a coffee and a chat. I read some more of my book on my way home, headed into the office and got heaps of work done this afternoon.

Finally, one last piece of good news – the insurance claim has been processed too. Huzzah!

 

 

Take my breath away

Sorry, not sorry, for the ear-worm.

Two weeks ago, I walked into the local emergency department short of breath, the subsequent tests they ran on me were done as an In Patient. [Insert hospital food joke here]. However, I’m returning to Out Patients tomorrow after a few weeks off medical testing for good behaviour. I’m going to play with nuclear medicine this time, but I’ll tell you about that tomorrow when it’s done.

During my two day stay at one of Melbourne’s finest hospitals I had: two ECGs, a CT scan, four lots of blood tests (that’s nearly an armful), an ultrasound on my heart (ouch for boobies), two walking tests (walk as quick as you can before falling over, hint – wasn’t very far), four different respiratory function tests, an angioplasty and a right heart check (this does the blood pressure inside the heart).

The last two are done in theatre; you’ve probably seen them on TV, they insert a probe into an artery and a vein in your groin and run it up into your chest, inject dye and take lots of pictures.

I was going to be sent home after a few hours in A&E as the doctor there said ‘You look too well to be in here!’ Also, none of my markers indicated there was anything badly wrong, but then cardiology got wind of a 41 year old lady (ha!) who was struggling to breathe and came down to investigate. First test he did was the ultrasound; I got puffed getting undressed, it was then and there he decided to admit me. I was then moved round to the serious side of A&E, where I got trotted round the department at high speed until I nearly collapsed, from there I was moved up to the cardiology ward where I got told to rest up.

I do not recommend ‘resting’ in a cardiology ward. Particularly when your bed is right by the nurses station. In the morning, I was given breakfast and had my obs done early as we knew I was getting the angioplasty done at some point during the day. I also got visited first thing by the consultant; just after I’d dozed back off again, who stood at the end of my bed with her arms folding saying ‘I like a challenge!’

I was walked again briskly down to the end of the ward and back, the consultant chatting to me to gauge my breathlessness all the way. I then got popped back into bed, and read / dozed for most of the morning. We got a fifteen minute call to get me to theatre, my position on the ward was also being changed as I wasn’t being monitored, so I went from bed 15, to theatre, to bed 32.

I was given a mixture of tranquiliser and narcotic. I was so nervous I was chattering away as I lay on the bed; the surgeon peered round the screen at me and said ‘She needs some more’ I was given more of the G&T mix, of which I can highly recommend, and wafted quite happily after that. My heart looked great, no signs of thickening anywhere, heart disease or anything, which for someone in their 40s is unusual. I was taken round to recovery, everything was pulled out my groin (not a euphemism) and then I was lent on to stop the bleeding. For ten, long, solid minutes at a pressure that was so uncomfortable I could not talk. Didn’t stop her from opening the conversation with ‘So, what brings you here?’ I may have given a Paddington Bear stare. May. Two weeks later, I’m still bruised and swollen in my groin, when I bump into anything at that level (sink, worktop, small child) it hurts. Lots.

I went back to bed 32, I had a window view that I wasted as I was asleep for most of the afternoon, yay for drugs. Later in the evening, I was moved downstairs to the Spinal Ward. I was no longer classified as a cardiology patient, they’d had an emergency come in to the hospital and were playing musical beds to fit everyone in.

In the spinal ward, I had my own room. I’d had a shower before I came downstairs (more in a minute), so was able to get my obs done and head back off to sleep. I was woken at 2am for more obs, and panadol as I had a sore throat, more sleeping, then breakfast was delivered. I was allowed out of bed to get a coffee (frabjous joy) so I pottered downstairs, came back up and had another shower.

The showers at the hospital have to be used to be believed. They’re so powerful, the pressure is so great you can’t stand underneath them as they sting your skin. But the shower heads are not industrial enough to cope with this, so they’ve cracked and swing around in the holder thingy on the wall. After I’d finished my first shower and looked round the bathroom, the entire room was wet. The two other showers I had there, I was now aware of what was likely to happen, but despite my best efforts, both bathrooms again got wet.

Three showers, three bathrooms, three towels each time to mop up the water. Which as I was supposed to be on bed rest I got told off for doing. Friday morning I had to introduce myself to my next door neighbour after I’d showered, we shared a bathroom and I’d soaked his washing stuff on the hand basin. I said, ‘Try not to electrocute yourself when you shave,’ his razor was only wiped off, as I didn’t want to touch his stuff too much.  He laughed and said don’t worry.

Back to Friday morning on the spinal ward. For the rest of my life I will wish I had this on camera, but it’s firmly imprinted in my brain, so that will have to do. I’m standing by my bed towelling my hair with towel number four as I’d used the two I’d been given to mop up the bathroom, got back into my PJs, (damp), and grabbed another two towels to dry me off with. Two junior doctors on their rounds walk past the door, see me standing up and do a perfect, classic double-take. It was glorious.

I get dressed, get put into a wheelchair and am taken to the nurses station to get my notes, ready to head downstairs for some respiratory tests. Opposite the nurses station is a man, on a ventilator, visibly poorly, I’m doing my thing looking round and chatting to everyone, so I raise my hand in greeting and wave at him too. He nods at me. The nurse beside me behind the desk whispered ‘Thank you, so many people just stare at him’.

I’m on vacation!

Best said in Billy Crystal’s voice.

Last Sunday my brother and sister in law, with our five children, flew from Melbourne’s new(ish) Terminal 4 to Maroochydore, on the Sunshine Coast in QLD. We settled in to our apartments, a stone’s throw from the beach, unpacked, had a family dinner, a glass of chilled white wine and slept like logs. The next morning, we got up, hit the beach with all the rugrats, played in the surf and built sandcastles. In the afternoon, we went to the pool.

Then we did it again, and again, and again.

I’ve read a book and a half, Middlesex and All The Light We Cannot See, if you were wondering. Not watched much TV, we’ve been too busy outside. I’ve been walking around on the beach with my hair mussed up, in a bikini, not giving a flying foo-wee about what other people think of me. It’s not so much that I’ve suddenly become body-confident; more that this is a holiday I’ve desperately needed, so I truly CBA to worry about what other people think of me. Their expectations of a bikini-body, are just that, theirs.

I’ve unwound completely.

Yes, you did read that right. Me. I’ve relaxed. I’ve been too busy with sandcastles and watching the children in the waves or the pool to worry about my to-do list, my in-tray, or any other put upon me pressures. It’s been lovely. Considering five children of varying ages, we’ve had no major breakdowns or confusion, we’ve been in and out of each other’s apartments, giving each other a break when needed. We’ve only had one trip to emergency too, for a bad sprain.

Hubs flew up on Wednesday, he went fishing with his brother on Friday, there was a party for Pa for his 70th on Saturday, on Sunday I ran / walked 4km (it was 21c and 70% humid *puff*) with my girls. 

It is now Monday, we’re heading towards the end of our break now, with a trip to Australia Zoo on our last day. But I’ve given myself the headspace I needed, I can start breaking out my notebook and pens now.

Would you look at that?

Firstly, apologies for not blogging properly for a while.

I went to my GP two weeks ago who listened to my symptoms, he asked me what was going on and after ruling out asthma worsening (amongst other things) put me on fluid retention tablets. My ankles were puffing up, at 10am. I was really out of breath doing the most basic of things, like walking into the office and to my desk. And you know women are supposed to ‘glow’; after a walk at lunchtime three weeks ago, I looked such a state and took so long to get my breath back, one Manager thought they’d need the crash trolley. Not reassuring.

R (GP) is great, he ordered blood tests (still sporting  bruise), an ECG (totally normal) and prescribed these tablets. I have to take one in the morning, as basically it forces my kidneys to work a bit harder (she said diplomatically). R said if I got light-headed, as they can affect your blood pressure, to let him know, they didn’t but did affect my digestive system (she said even more diplomatically). I felt awful the first day of taking them; so bad I had to go back to bed. The second day I wasn’t great, but pushed on through, getting better as the day wore on. By midday on the third day, Wednesday, I felt back to normal.

By the first weekend: I was sleeping through the night; I had more energy; I wasn’t a puddle when I exercised; my mind was clearer; my ankles weren’t swelling up and now two full weeks in, I feel literally like a new person.

Bolte

This was me yesterday, in the middle of a 16km run. I’m on top of the Bolte Bridge in Melbourne. Three weeks ago, I wouldn’t have had the energy to complete the run. I don’t care that it took me 2hours, 24minutes to get round. I don’t care that I walked most of the last 10km, as I know K and I ran probably 8km in total. I started off and ran over 2km without having to stop, normally I’m blowing out my butt (technical term) by 1km and have to stop to catch my breath. The only reason I had to slow down yesterday was because we were running in the Domain Tunnel, I was dressed as Wonder Woman and the cape was so hot over my shoulders – I was melting. Once repined around my waist, off we trotted again.

Inside the tunnel, the single best thing happened on the run, even better than me completing the run if I’m honest as it gave me goose bumps. Somebody shouted ‘Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!’ the whole tunnel shouted back ‘Oi! Oi! Oi’ – it was magical. Continue reading “Would you look at that?”

Blue skies and fluffy white clouds

I went for a walk today. Nothing unusual in that as I go for a walk every week with J, a lady I work with. We met on an Emotional Intelligence course. Since then, every Friday,  we’ve met up at lunchtime and power walked on the hills around the office.

What was unusual is how strong I felt, it finally felt like I was getting my fitness back! I was charging up the hills, I only had to stop once, that was more because I was talking over the hill itself. My legs were proudly carrying me round, and quickly too.

It’s been very odd weather in Melbourne the past few weeks. We’re getting broiling hot days, followed by a day or two of wet weather. When I say wet, I mean it. Geelong was flooded, after getting a huge amount of rain in about an hour. The veggie garden is going crazy, but it’s not conducive to a regular running routine I can tell you. (I really need to get another pair of shoes, but having had to go shopping for jeans last week, I’m not up to shoe shopping yet).

Anyhoo, today it was lovely weather, we put our sunscreen on and enjoyed the sun. We walked along by the river for most of our almost 4.5km. The blinds have been up all afternoon at work, as the sky was picture perfect.

I’ve had a great back-end to the week, I have much more energy than I did at the beginning, so I do think the virus that caused Peanut’s croup made a visit to me. Am looking forward to the weekend, I’ve got high-tea tomorrow at The Windsor Hotel with 11 friends and family. A real mixture from mothers’ group, colleagues and ex-colleagues. I tried on dresses last night, I’m going to try and find a new one tonight if I can. Nothing like leaving it to the last minute!

One of the cars has a flat battery. I called Hubs to come and get me yesterday from work, he told Peanut that they had to go and ‘save me’, Peanut was very proud he was able to help save his Mama. Replacing the battery is a job that wasn’t expected to be added to the weekend list, but we’ll manage.

One job that was expected was the collection of a rabbit/ chicken coop. How excitement! We’ve wanted chickens for years, so we’re looking forward to sorting that project out. As we’re going away in May, we may wait until we get back before we actually get the birds though.

 

On an unnatural high

After a lovely Monday off to myself, and a relaxing lunch with relatives on Tuesday, Wednesday was busy at work. BossMan had received more emails over three days than in the previous three weeks; we’re blaming the full moon.

Thursday dawned bright and early with a croak from the croup chorus. Once heard, never forgotten. Hubs was only just back at work after a week off, so I sent off text messages and emails to the Managers in the office and stayed home with the wee man.

Our GP the last time Peanut had croup had given us a prescription for prednisolone, telling us to keep it in the fridge just in case. Getting 4ml of the medicine into him used all my UN Peace Keeping negotiation standards I can tell you. He had a mouthful of breakfast, a bit of medicine, covered his mouth, complained vociferously that it was “dis-gust-ing” – obviously enunciating every syllable makes it get through to your Mama. I got the rest in, and some nurofen (which my phone constantly wants to correct to nitrogen *boom*), he then finished breakfast muttering about the indignity of it all.

He’s definitely my son.

We spent the morning on the couch, me reading the remnants of the papers, him watching DVDs. I’d an osteopath appointment at noon, so he came with me to that and chatted happily to Jo. We then headed to the plaza for some lunch and also to get him out the house, we ran some errands, ate some sushi and I let him lead me around to the shops he wanted to visit. The party shop, toy shop (unsurprisingly) and then the homewares section of K-Mart and Target.

He’s definitely my son.

Anyhoo, at the party shop I brought some Reese’s Pieces and a can of Dr Pepper. I’ve not had caffeine for most of this year, not had a soft drink either (tonic water in gin does not count) so the effects on my system were quick and long lasting.

In the afternoon I was ratty and irritable. It took forever for me to get to sleep, then I was restless all night. I had a headache this morning, despite drinking gallons of water all afternoon. Twenty four hours later, my skin still feels dry and itchy. I also weighed myself this morning. I’m puffy and bloated, my body is really not happy; even so to say ‘one was not amused’ at the figure on the scale is an understatement.

Listening to Late Night Woman’s Hour podcast while pottering around the house this morning, (Late Night so they can discuss slightly more risqué topics), they were covering purity. It’s well worth a listen, not least for the wide ranging definitions of purity, but about how women use terminology about being ‘good and bad’ so easily around food. I am fully aware that the drink did me no favours at all, even if the first mouthful was quite tasty. The film on my teeth and aftereffects are a clear signal that for all that the first mouthful was nice, the past day has been less so on my system as a whole.

On the podcast they discussed how “clean eating” is popular buzz words amongst smug middle-classes who have to Instagram their food to prove how well they’re doing. Not photographing the Reese’s Pieces and Dr Peppers, as they don’t happen *snort* We’re human, punishing ourselves doesn’t help anyone. Rubbing other’s noses in about how well we’re doing compared to them doesn’t help either. That middle road is such a fine line to dance, is it any wonder us mere mortals have a wobble and fall off every so often?

It’s been a funny week, I’ve not been sleeping well anyway, maybe that’s why I reached for the can? Who knows. I do know I’m not going to beat myself up over it, it’s done. I ran on Monday, but not since, so my weight fluctuation may be more than just the empty calories. It’s ParkRun tomorrow morning, I’m going to potter round the route and feel all the better for it.

Standing under the shower after running on Monday, I felt great. I’m also three quarters through Oliver Sacks memoir; at the point of finding sheer joy in a well-written, funny, lovely book, but I don’t want it to end. I had that with the Little Paris Bookshop when I was at 80% and forced myself to put the book (kindle) down, make a cuppa and go back to it. I knew I’d finish the book that night, but the world I was in was so lovely, I didn’t want to leave. To have found two books like that in a week is remarkable, it’s a much rarer and nicer feeling than a caffeine fix.

Lesson learned universe, lesson learned.

 

This girl can!

A year ago the UK Government launched This Girl Can. Showing real people doing real exercise and getting hot and sweaty as a result of it. The video is ninety seconds of awesome. Showing women of all shapes, sizes, ages and colours running, swimming, boxing, enjoying Zumba (I think, never done a class, so am guessing) amongst other sports and classes. (I wish some of the women in the video had better sports bras though; you need to look after your puppies ladies!)

The straplines are great:

  • “I jiggle therefore I am”
  • “Damn right I’m hot”
  • “Sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox”

Last year passed so quickly, when they were discussing on Woman’s Hour this morning how the initiative was going after a year, I nearly dropped my cup of tea – a year ago? I can remember the discussion on the program last year when everyone was so excited about it. The flurry of tweets with the video going round, the hashtag. The Government were trying to carry on the momentum from the 2012 Olympics, reminding people that getting moving immediately after Christmas is hard work and to keep your resolutions takes hard work and commitment.

At work we’ve a hideous poster that has been put up all over the building, reminding us that only 8% of people who make resolutions keep them. Along with this picture:

poster

I know it’s a staged stock photo, but it is reactions like this that put people off walking into a gym.

  • It is feeling the weight of judgement from others upon your shoulders that make people think ‘It’s too hard, I can’t do it’.
  • It’s worrying about if you have the right clothes, because your outfit has to match to exercise according to the adverts, and you need the snazziest trainers.
  • It’s walking into a shop to buy new clothes or shoes, being confronted by tiny clothes, sold to you by uninterested teenagers, that again can put it into the ‘too hard basket’ to get going.

Continue reading “This girl can!”

Smooth Operator

Like many people around the office, I’m making smoothies and guzzling them for breakfast. Although, I’ve been making them long before they became fashionable. I used to get odd looks drinking them on the train up to London when I was commuting, but I guess like most things – if you wait long enough for anything, it will come around again.

I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but in Australia the new-fangled kitchen gadget is a blender that you whizz all your goodies directly into the glass that you’ll drink from. There are hundreds of them in the shops, literally stacked up in their boxes in Target and K-Mart, with more robust versions available in any store they sell electrical goods.

Have we gone that mad, we can’t decant a smoothie from a blender into a pot now? Are we really that time-poor? Continue reading “Smooth Operator”

Ten on Tuesday – holiday rush edition

Carole has asked us for ten things we’re looking forward to doing after the holiday rush:

1. Spending time with family and friends

2. Watching It’s A Wonderful Life

3. Watching the Boxing Day Test

4. Going to the zoo to celebrate our youngest nephew’s first birthday

5. Watching Star Wars at IMAX with Hubs and Hanno

6. (Lying in my hammock optional) but reading: Reckoning and Little Paris Bookshop, amongst others

7. Going for a walk/run by the bay, I’m going to park at Luna Park, waddle to Port Melbourne and back again

8. Catching the Andy Warhol Ai Weiwei exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria

9. Taking Peanut to a BBL Twenty20 match in January

10. Taking care of myself

See you on the other side, I’ll still be posting pictures via tweets to Instagram and Facebook, but I won’t be blogging until the New Year.