Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A few thoughts on this Anzac Day morning:

When I was a teen, going through my punk days, listening to Discharge, Crass and The Mob, dreaming of anarchy and peace, I was an anti-war lunatic. I went on the anti-nuclear marches and argued enthusiastically with my dad about things I knew nothing about. Oh, the innocence of youth!

What did I know as an indulged, middle-class 14 year old about anarchy (sheesh, I can't even cope with a dirty toilet) or about peace or especially about war??!! Now, when I see those annoying pimply uni students selling communist newspapers on the corner of George and Park Streets I want to shake them and say "wake up to yourselves, you know nothing, you understand nothing".

I used to smirk at the idea that some guys long ago gave up their lives so that I could live in freedom. "I never asked them to do that," I would say as only an arrogant, know everything teenager can. While I still feel I understand very little about the world, I do at least understand that there is no such thing as passive "peace", it's not something that just is if you wish it hard enough.

For whatever reason human beings are not peaceful creatures, in different ways and for different reasons (though religion often has a role to play) we like to step on each other's toes, to oppress and dominate each other, to hurt and control those less powerful than otherselves. Sometimes we must also stand up for each other, help those who are oppressed, stand up for the less powerful. This is war and I'm afraid human kind is doomed to the eternal repeating of a variation on the theme; very few generations appear to live unscathed by it. It does make me sad but I'm a realist and I've come to understand that there is no escape. The people who march, who burn effigies, who write pontificating letters to the editor have all got it so wrong it's beyond funny.

When you listen to the stories of the Aussie Diggers you learn what it's really all about. On days like today I am ashamed of the stupid teenager I once was. I know it's natural to go through these stages but I still cringe at those memories. What did I know, or what do I know even now, about sacrifice, about courage, about fear? I whinged like a spoilt bloody brat when the power went out for 2 hours on Sunday night. How would I have coped on the Kokoda Track? at Gallipoli? For god's sake, the idea of camping makes me break out into a cold sweat! Reading Nancy Wake's biography made me really think about what people are willing to do to protect freedom, and I'm afraid "Not happy, John" stickers or George Bush email jokes just don't really seem to cut it.

These people have sadly chosen the wrong "enemy" and I wonder how they would have felt over the last twenty year, waiting for Saddam's henchmen to knock on their door. Do people really have a clue as to who the bad guys are in our postmodern, everyone is equal world? I don't think the Iraq war is the problem at all, it's that as free people we don't stand up enough to help others. We whine, we make snide intellectual comments about our own leaders, we talk about being "ashamed" to be Australian or American (jeez, that makes me sick) and we do sweet bugger all in terms of actually helping anyone. If all those protesting, whinging middle class "lefties" (sheesh!) actually did something useful: cooked a meal for the homeless, fundraised for the hungry in Africa, knitted a blanket or helped out at the local hospital, than the world would truly, in a million little ways be a better place. Instead the world is full of useless hot air, a lot of indignant dinner party conversation and knowing nods about how "it's all about the oil" (oh, you mean the oil you and I don't use... that special oil that only John Howard and George Bush use in their special evil powermonger machines... lucky it's not the oil you and I use to drive to work everyday, imagine how stupid we'd feel if that was the case!).

Not sure how I ended up there, I guess that's been stewing for a while! All I know is I'm so bloody lucky. My own parents sacrificed everything to get me out of the former USSR and now I live in a country that allows me the sort of personal freedom and opportunity others are willing to kill and die for. On Anzac Day, a day I used to scoff at and ridicule, I want to say I private thanks for the sacrfice and the courage.
It's almost the end of April and I've realised I haven't done an installment of Kids' Kapers for this month... so here 'tis!


My little man is almost SEVEN and he seems to have grown up a lot in recent weeks. Can't put my finger on how exactly but his language is expanding, he is saying more thoughtful (not as in considerate, just as in requires more thought) things and overall he is being less annoying.

We had an episode at school at the end of term relating to the Easter Hat parade which brought home to me how sensitive I am to Will standing out, being different. I'm quite sure now that I was the only one who noticed but I did over-react significantly, in terms of both being angry with Will and going as far as writing a letter to his teacher. After talking with my friend M it came home to me so strongly that the issue was mine and it was wrong of me to project it onto others, especially Will, who didn't realise he was doing anything wrong.

Will's reading is going really well, his maths ... well, let's just say he'll never be the hero in a film entitled Good Will Curtis (but then neither will I, so we'll just languish in non-mathematical hell together). He continues to enjoy Auskick and in my dreams I see him taking over from Jared Crouch in about 12 years' time as the Swans' most useful and hardy utility. He has also discovered his fashion sense. Whereas up to now he has always happily put on whatever I lay out for him to wear, during the week he came out wearing a different pair of shorts to the ones I had chosen for him. I asked what had happened to the other shorts. "I don't like them, mum. THESE shorts are cool!" Huh? Then his friend L came over to play on Friday and Will looks him up and down and says "I like your shoes, L. Do you like mine?" It's like he's channeling Carson Kressley! Fascinating.


The little princess will be 11 months old tomorrow and she is roaring along. She continues to be gorgeous, cheeky and clever. She crawls like a manic wind-up toy on speed and easily cruises round the furniture, moving around the place like she owns it (well, I guess she will one day unless we spend the childrens' inheritance on a Winnebago and a lifetime membership to the Super4 caravan parks around Australia like the majority of retired Australians).

She loves to copy us and has learnt to give kisses... disgusting, sloppy, too-cute, open mouthed baby kisses... on command. Will, in his capacity of big brother, has also taught her to blow spit bubbles which is gross at the best of times and certainly won't do in her future role as the next Australian export bride to the European royalty. Hopefully it's just a passing phase.

I may have got my foot in the door at a local day care centre near work, at least for one day a week. I dread putting her in care at the moment but I know after the initial shock she will thrive there. She is very social and loves to be stimulated and loves other children, so I'm sure it will be good for her to be there. That's my rational, working mum talking, the other one is weeping in the corner (shut up, sooky cow, get over it!).

May is birthday party month so it will be an interesting update next month.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

You know what I hate?

When I post to an e-list and someone responds by nit-picking my post and putting words into my mouth. It really really really shits me!

If I read a post and I don't agree with the opinion expressed I normally ignore it. I believe it's not my place to try and change other peoples ideas and/or opinions, no matter how much I disagree with them. However, if I read something I agree with I will occassionally write a message of support or tie in my ideas with theirs.

The adoption world is so friggin' politically correct right now. As with all things the pendulum has swung to the other extreme and we have travelled the full spectrum from the bad old days when children weren't even told they were adopted to today when adoptive parents have to spend their lives apologising for having the gall to adopt their children and for potentially ruining their lives. What's worse is that adoptive parents have en mass swallowed this bullshit and are spouting it backwards and forwards at each other.

Don't get me wrong. I'm keen to learn and to understand all perspectives, good and bad. I want to be prepared for whatever may come up in my childrens' lives but I think us adoptive parents are driving ourselves nuts in the process. We're turning on each other, especially on the e-lists (the source of so much good and positive collective knowledge and support), almost as a way of showing that "I'm more politically correct than you", "I have a deeper philosophical understanding of adoption issues than you", "I'm more in tune with all sides of the adoption triad than you"... you get the picture. I am so over it.

I'll confess. I'm not a perfect parent. I probably suck as an adoptive parent. I'm not making them listen to Spanish language tapes as we drive, I don't make them watch their favourite movies in Spanish. I meant to take our son to Spanish playgroup but never got around to it. I'm just doing my best getting around the day to day stuff. Will that mean that he'll grow up as a poorly adjusted adult, struggling with identity issues and blaming the fact of his adoption for any problems his life may serve up? Maybe. Possibly. Really I just don't know. I really hope not! But I'm doing my best and that's got to count for something!

Friday, April 21, 2006

It's only Friday morning but so far we've survived the first week of the school holidays relatively intact. There has been no blood, no tears (at least on my part) and very little swearing. This morning I did utter the F word in the kitchen during breakfast (but it was not child related) and Will asked me "What did you say?". As my brain stumbled over a clever cover up one materialised. Will said "Did you say LUCK?". "Yes, I said LUCK," I truimphantly announced. "Why?" Will asked. Thanking my lucky stars for this gift horse, I said: "Because I need lots of luck to get through breakfast around here." Satisfied, Will resumed eating his Weat Bix.

A few things:

* I forgot to mention the Swans' first win of the season last Saturday night. It really wasn't a memorable game and despite some sizeable leads, the Swans still managed to almost loose a number of times. They really aren't good for my blood pressure whichever way you look at it.

* Over the weekend I read a great book: "The Confession of an Un-reprentant Lesbian Ex-Mormon" by Sue-Ann Post. I was expecting something uproariously funny (Sue-Ann being a stand up comic of some repute in Australia) but it was really a much more "scholarly" work of sorts. In a nutshell Sue-Ann was brought up a Mormon which became a problem as she grew up and realised she was a lesbian. On top of that she was sexually abused by her step-dad for many years which added to her problems. While she has previously written an autobiography, this book tells of her invitation to attend a conference of Mormon gays and lesbians in the heartland - Salt Lake City, Utah - and her preparation and the trip itself. However, it starts with a few fantastic chapters dissecting exactly what's wrong with organised religion in general and the Mormon religion in particular. I really love to read a well thought out anti-religious arguement. I mean I hate organised religion, truly believe it's responsible for all the misery in our world - past, present and future - but I'm lazy. My arguement is basically: "It's illogical to believe in God, etc... where's the proof? Religion is just a crutch for the weak. The hypocracy!!! Etc, etc, etc." I haven't even bothered to read "Atheism: The Case Against God" which is an impressive looking book I found at a Newtown bookshop many years ago. But Sue-Ann has done a lot of this reading, including the Bible (sheesh!) and her arguements are much more logical and meaningful. As I kept reading I would shout out: "Aaahhaa!" and "There you go!" and "EXACTLY!!!!"

* So the prosthetic pregnant belly has finally "given birth"?! What wouldn't I do to get a REAL DNA test on that particular family. Mark my words, Tom Cruise is heading into serious Michael Jackson insanity territory. Who knows where this madness will end?

* Big Jay and I are "dieting". How I hate that word but at this point I have to call a spade a spade. We have both ballooned up gradually over recent years and after the Easter Weekend of eating, eating, eating we both felt it was time to regain a little control. I went and bought the CSIRO diet book which appeals to us as it is more meat orientated (and we're both devout carnivores). The main thing for us is portion sizes - when you start measuring and weighing you realise how much more than you need you're actually eating every single day. It's a wonder we're not like those horribly obese people on the Jerry Springer show! It's been a tough couple of days (and I'm sure there are a few more to come) as our bodies yell "Hey, that's not enough. Why are you stopping now? I want MORE, MORE, MORE!" It's hard not to have those continuous little snacks that are just so easy - a biscuit here, some cheese and crackers there, a few cups of sweet tea throughout the day, a few chockies here, there and everywhere. However, after only a couple of days I'm already feeling better, my clothes aren't straining at the seams and I feel a bit more clear headed. Stay tuned for Pennant Hills' Biggest Loser!

*This weekend is a fairly quiet one. A bit of home time, a bit of family visiting time. Sunday we've got the Swans vs Melbourne Demons at the SCG. We're initiating some AFL "virgins" on the day which should be fun. Let's keep all our apendages crossed that the Swans manage a decent win this week - I really can't take the stress anymore.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Like the philosophy of never working with children and animals I have always vowed never to go away for the Easter Long Weekend and never holiday with relatives. This Easter Long Weekend I broke both of these cardinal rules.

We left Thursday lunchtime and joined the mini-traffic jam up the F3 to Lake Macquarie. We had made a decision to have Easter away with mum, her friend B and my sister J a few months ago and after much brain bending internet research settled on Rafferty's Resort as our holiday destination. As we drove up on Thursday afternoon it was raining steadily and we hoped this wasn't a sign of things to come (OK, OK we need the rain but surely some fine weather could be organised for our first, and potentially last, Easter weekend away).

Luckily Thursday night's rain was the last and we awoke on Friday to a beautiful, blue-sky day. Not only was it clear but it got warm and stayed warm. We were able to enjoy some time by and IN the pool on each day we were there. Who could have guessed that we'd be swimming in mid April?!

To backtrack a little Rafferty's Resort is a fantastic place, especially if you want a family holiday close to Sydney and/or if you're into boating or other lake-associated activities (which I'm not, just for the record). It's set on a large property right on the lakeside and is made up of various cottages and terraces, all relatively new and modern and well equipped and presented. We had rented a 3 bedroom cottage which was spacious and very comfortable. There are 3 or 4 pools around the property so you're never very far from a pool. There is a large, resort-style pool with a cafe and playground which we really enjoyed because the lake is just on the other side of the grass where we sunbathed so you have sparkling pool on one side and the huge, shimmering lake on the other - very picturesque (to use a word I acquired around 5th class and just never find enough reason to use in day to day conversation).

Friday after some morning sunning and swimming we took off to Swansea (the closest town) for some fish and chips by the lake. After the usual argybargy with mommie dearest over who was to pay we took our steaming, delicous smelling parcels of deep-fried goodness to the nearest park and kicked back in the sunshine. Just gorgeous!

Saturday, after some more sunning and swimming we enjoyed a decadent lunch of a cheese and pate platter on our verandah. Then mum and I headed off for our appointments at the massage clinic. I was so looking forward to a lovely massage and facial and was only slightly perturbed when we were greeted by MEN. Nothing to say men can't do this job but I've never had a man do a facial before so I was just a touch apprehensive. My apprehension proved pointless as I was soon enjoying a wonderful massage and facial - with my eyes closed I couldn't even dwell on the fact that the therapist was a hairy, tattooed Scottish-accented bloke. I could however dwell on the fact that my mum in the cubicle next door just couldn't shut up. She was chatting up a storm next door, asking her bloke where he lived, how much work there was and 20 other questions. Despite the armotherapy and the relaxation music there was still part of me which was clenching her teeth and mentally screaming "shut the f*#k up, mother!".

J had her appointment after us and upon her return we all got dressed and went to the "nice" restaurant for dinner. We decided on sharing a range of tapas dishes which proved to be somewhat of a disaster as my darling Jay just couldn't get his head around a meal of tiny morsels and was half expecting a giant steak to turn up at any moment. On top of that we had to endure an inefficient kitchen struggling with catering to a full restaurant and a wedding in the marque next door. Jason finally had enough and took the kids home (and I had to bring his dessert home in a doggy bag). The final insult for the evening was having our coffees served with paddle pop sticks instead of teaspoons. What the??!! The poor young waitress confessed at the end that they just couldn't cope with the wedding and that the restaurant had only hired another couple of staff to cope with the 150 people at the nuptials next door. How much do I hate cheapskates?!

Sunday we expected a cooler day and decided to head up to the Hunter Valley wine region. It was a lovely drive up there but it soon became apparent that no-one, apart from my sister, was in the mood for any serious wine tasting (being a non-drinker I had volunteered to be the designated driver on the way back but my driving skills were not required).

Because we were so malnourished at this point (!!!) we decided to have an indulgent lunch at the first winery we came to. I think we were tempted by the myriad of glowing reviews plastered to their front window, most of which commended this particular restaurant as the best in the Hunter Valley - high praise indeed! All I can say is there must have been money changing hands here or we were particularly unlucky on that particular day. Either way the whole experience sucked. The restaurant officially opened at 12 noon but the staff, who until that point could be seen dilligently setting tables, disappeared and we all stood around for 10 minutes in an absolutely empty restaurant wondering what on earth was going on.

After we were seated all went well until our food actually arrived. Mum and J's gnocchi, one entree sized, one main sized were exactly the same size! Not only that but both conceded that it was a disgusting dish, with the gnocchi almost raw (I have to say the one I stole off J's plate tasted good to me but what do I know!). My own pork belly was truly delicious and Jay seemed to enjoy his lamb. After the meal was taken away we impatiently waited for the desserts mum and B had ordered earlier. We were keen to get to the grower's market up the road which closed at 2:00 pm and were getting very antsy when there was no sign of dessert by 1:30 pm, almost an hour and a half after it was ordered.

To cut a long story short, after some very unsatisfactory encounters with what can only be described as incompetent staff, we left sans dessert... and managed to arrive at the markets at ten minutes to two, when only a few stalls were still open. Nevertheless I was able to buy some gorgeous marinated olives and locally made olive oil and Jay got some beautiful chili sauce. By this point, and after our misadventures at the restaurant, everyone was a little tired and p'd off so after a quick stop at the fudge shop where we stocked up on fudge, rock lollies and hot chocolates we took off for the drive home.

There was a small moment of pure fun in the car on the way home when J and I (accompanied by Will) sang along to Robbie Williams' "Come Undone" very loudly. A truly spiritual moment. Then I p'd J off by wanting to listen to "Sexed Up" but obviously she wasn't up to it just yet (so SORRY J!).

Monday morning we cleaned up and repacked the cars and headed home (after yet more argybargy with mum about money - sheesh this family has a complex - as an example, she put money in baby M's nappy and rang me on the mobile on the way home to tell me to get it out before it got peed on - mad or mad, you be the judge!).

Overall, despite the moments of family chaos and madness, it was an enjoyable and fun long weekend. I think we all enjoyed each other's company for the most part and it is an experience I could possibly recreate again - maybe next Easter?!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Gee... did I forget to mention the Swans' game on Sunday? I wonder how that could have slipped my mind. Maybe it was the small fact of the second humiliating defeat in a row? Maybe it was the fact that our guys stood around looking at their feet for three and a half quarters, glancing around occassionally to see why the other guys were running up and down the field in a ferocious manner. It was sad and in no way reminiscent of the team who won the Cup only a few short months ago. My only source of comfort is that it is early in the season and if we're going to have a loosing streak now is the time to do it.

On a brighter note we did get to see the infamous Warwick Capper. Yes, the Warwick Capper of the teeny, tiny shorts and the flicked blonde hair. He played for the Swans way before my time but he is a legend. He paraded past us on Sunday still very much the Wazza we all know and love... all blow dried blonde locks and big grin. You have to love a man who refers to his bed as "the work bench".

It was also Marianna's first Swans' game and she coped quite well. Of course she had now idea what was going on but she did enjoy the endless supply of rice crackers I kept up for her, not to mention the hot chips and flirting with the two year old boy sitting behind us.

Well, here's hoping for a better result against Carlton this Saturday night! Cheer cheer the red and the white...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Quick catch up...

Saturday was great. I had already warmed myself up on the shopping front with the purchase of a beautiful evening top (simple black, low cut, with some gorgeous sparkly embroidery to give it a little evening glamour) at my friend M's shop on Friday afternoon. Saturday with the girls started off with a simple but enjoyable lunch at Toscani's at Hornsby. I enjoyed a monster Nachos which almost killed me (death by corn chips) and fun chat with my friends. The news is that my friend J is pregnant and her new baby will join the family in November, at almost the same time their daughter E turns 2. Very happy for them (though two under two doesn't appeal to me personally - I guess when you get to the late afternoon time zone on the biological clock time isn't a luxury you can muck around with).

I am still reeling from a horrible foot in mouth incident with my friend A. I break out into hot flushes every time I think about it... like now... and now. To be cryptic it involved a conversation about one of my favourite websites (www.thebestpageintheuniverse.com) and some t-shirts sold on aforementioned website. Enough said... these hot flushes are killing me!

After lunch we did some pottering around the shops which resulted in my purchasing:

* Series 1 and 2 of Scrubs (for those times I need to laugh until I damage an internal organ) - and at only $19.95 per series it's hard to knock back.

* A new wallet. Desperately needed; the old one was long due for retirement and had recently split the seam in the coin section resulting in a constant tinkle of coins whenever I used it.

* A pair of black "leisure wear" pants and pink on pink long sleeved top for those lounging round the house times. Wore them Saturday night, great investment.

* A pair of gorgeous black evening pants (to go with my newly acquired evening top). While they are gorgeous and [thank goodness] still a size 12 they highlighted a few contour issues with my thigh and bum region which need to be addressed.

* A new long sleeved, v-neck black T. I live in these for pretty much 9 months of the year and this one looks promising. It's from the Myer Petites range which caters for short stumpies like myself and I'm purchasing more and more from this range which seems to have nice styles (for not-quite-40s like myself), OK prices and good quality.

After a bucket of coffee at Starbucks we headed our seperate ways and I arrived home with a pleasantly heavy armful of shopping bags.

Pizza and Funniest Home Videos made for a fun family evening. Once the munchkins were asleep J and I watched the final two episodes of Six Feet Under, Series Four. Now we're all out of old episodes to watch. We've missed the first two episodes of the fifth and final series but I have a craving for more so I'll start taping the episodes this week. I really feel a gaping hole now. Over the last few months we've immersed ourselves in the lives of the Fisher family, their friends and [countless] lovers, their tragedies and their moments of joy. While at times I have been frustrated to the point of psychosis by their misadventures I miss them so much it hurts. I can't bear the thought that I don't have an infinite stack of discs to pop into the machine whenever I want to visit the Fishers and catch up on what they've been up to. The thought that there is only 12 more episodes left and no more after that is heartbreaking. I can live without more Nate, he can go f&*k himself (which I'm sure he'd do if he could find a way how) but I can't live without more David and Keith and without more Claire. Oh well, I always say it's best to kill these shows in their prime rather than have them suffer a horrible lingering death season after season after season ("Friends": exhibit A).

In case you weren't aware, there is something wrong with me. No, not that... or that... I can't stop checking http://www.celebrity-babies.com/ (otherwise known as Celebrity Baby Blog). It's jam packed full of useless, brain numbing crap about celebrities and their offspring; photos, gossip, general drivel. I know it is of absolutely no use to the human race but I can't help checking it everyday to learn things like "Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin welcome a son!" For someone who is endlessly busy and generally in need of an extra 8 hours every day just to get the basics done I seem to always find a few minutes here and there to see what the Vain and the Pointless and their progeny are up to. What sort of madness is this?

Friday, April 07, 2006

It's hard to believe less than two weeks ago I was being shipped to hospital in an ambulance in horrendous pain.

Today I am feeling on top of the world. I love my Fridays off work. It's really meant the difference between exhaustion and depression and retaining some equilibruium in my life. I am hugely thankful to my dad for helping to facilitate these Fridays by having Will stay at his place on Thursday nights, taking him to school on Friday and then bringing him home on Friday afternoon. It means I don't have to make the trek to the office (and Will's school) and back on Fridays - the whole day is mine and Marianna's and it's wonderful.

I am always busy on these "days off" but I'm busy at a more relaxed pace and I just don't feel the pressure I feel on the other days. My Fridays really are a lovely luxury which I intend to appreciate into the foreseeable future. I'm a lucky girl!

The pain which sent me to hospital a week and a half ago has been niggling on and off ever since but today I haven't felt the slightest twinge. I hope this is a good sign. I really do not want a repeat performance.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to a girlie day at Hornsby with my friends A, J and F. It has been some time since we've all caught up and it will be nice to enjoy a leisurely lunch and a potter around the shops together - is there anything better. I swear I would be happy if heaven turned out to be eternity spent having yum cha and shopping with my sister and/or girlfriends.

Sunday we're off to our first Swans' game for the year. After the humiliating womping we got at the hands of the much despised Essendon (what I wouldn't do to see Matthew Lloyd spontaneously combust!) last week I am hoping that the boys come out with all guns blazing and god help Port Adelaide. The logistics of seeing games at the dreaded SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground) generally suck. The parking situation is pathetic and the food at the ground isn't fit for Saddam Hussein let alone long suffering Swans' fans. So we're going early, planning to park in Paddington, have an early lunch at Mickey's and then enjoy the game on a sunny Autumn day, followed by an easy escape via Oxford Street. That's the plan... whether that pans out or not remains to be seen.

Go Swannies!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Things are much better on the kinder front. Either I'm getting used to the chaos or things are actually improving. Either way life is better.

Will is slowly returning to his usual happy, co-operative, loving self. Marianna continues to be a marvel of babyhood.

She said her first word on Saturday (for my sister J, of course): BABY. As I explained to her that is not a useful word and MUM would have been a much wiser choice (as in "Mum, get me a drink", "Mum, buy me that Bratz doll", "Mum, you're such a dag"... you get the idea). She doesn't seem to care and repeats BABY on a semi-regular basis.

She is also getting around like a maniac. She climbed the stairs - all the way to the top - on her own (I was right behind her of course) at the office yesterday. I love watching her and Will crawl madly around the house playing here and there. She loves to play with his Matchbox cars. There is a wonderful joy in their relationship which I truly hope last throughout their lives.


How I've longed to hear that word aimed in my general direction by a medical practitioner. A long held dream has finally come true and yet, as with everything in life, it's just not that simple.

What the hell are you talking about! I hear you say. Well, let's face it I'm not using the equipment, it's never been of any use to me. All it's done is cause my varying degrees of pain and discomfort on a monthly basis since about the age of 11 (yep, I was an early starter). For many years now, ever since we decided to adopt really, I've had no use for the damn thing and would gladly have lined up for a hysterctomy years ago if it had been elective surgery.

So there I am in Dr Hanna's office yesterday to discuss the monster cyst on my ovary (well, OK not monster... but given a few more years I could be one of those freaky women on the medical tv shows who have 80 kg cysts removed). Blow me down if he doesn't throw the H word at me when I least expect it. Apparently the fibroids in my uterus are so bad it would be better just to get rid of the whole job lot. I am levitating off my seat with joy and then he hits me with the catch...

One week in hospital; four to six weeks off work - no driving, no picking up heavy things, nothing! Shit! There I was getting all excited and then the rug is pulled out from under me. This is going to take some logistical organisation. I can't just put my life on hold for up to seven weeks even for something as wonderful as this.

So right now my dreams are temporarily on hold (but still firmly within my grasp - oh, thank you fibroids!). I am booked in to have the cyst removed on the 12th of May - very simple laparoscopic operation, only overnight in hospital. After that I will put my considerable organisational skills into top gear and work out how to achieve the big H with minimum life disruption.

Every cloud has a silver lining!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Life's like that!

Just when you think you're cruising along; a little anxious, a little stressed, generally happy, generally glad that the Commonwealth Games ended (and that Australia didn't win EVERY medal), a little bit excited about booking our Christmas holidays in Perth and Broome...

Boom... you wake up in immense pain and get whisked off to hospital in an ambulance.

Yep, that was me on Monday night. Went to bed with a slight ache in my left hip, woke up at midnight feeling the most horrendous pain I have ever had the misfortune to feel. Couldn't quite soldier on so woke my valiant husband (who, thinking I was talking in my sleep - which I incidentally never do - tells me to go back to sleep). In a panic, he runs around like a chook with his head chopped off, calls an ambulance and then tries to call a) our friends and neighbours (answering machine), b) my dear sister (doesn't answer calls from "private numbers" - sheesh!) and c) my poor dad (who certainly doesn't need panicked phone calls in the middle of the night).

Ambulance arrives and two calm young ladies assess the situation (which isn't pretty) and produce something they call a whistle (a plastic whistle-like device filled with pain killer medication) which I am meant to suck on and which will eventually make me feel better. This stuff tastes friggin' awful, I mean bloody disgusting... surely it wouldn't cost them any more to make it taste like lobster sashimi or possibly something more pedestrian like bubblegum or mashed potatoes or even a cheese and tomato toasted sandwich. I cry... the pain, combined with this vomit inducing "pain medication", is making me feel very sorry for myself. I become a shaking, sweating, crying, wobbling lump of patheticness.

In the hospital I am greeted with an efficient looking middle-aged woman... aah, the triage nurse (who will skillfully assess my distraught situation and have me whisked immediately into top class care). Well, no! Being a private hospital the first person to greet you when you arrive in a [presumably] emergency induced state is a clerk whose job it is to inform you that the cost of admission to Emergency is $295 and if you are admitted to the hospital proper it will be ... well, at this point I was so dumb-struck by this act of outright idiocy I tuned out and just nodded dumbly. For f's sake they don't even tell you how much a haircut is going to cost until you saunter up to the counter afterwards and are informed it will cost you the Gross National Product of a small African country to have had your ends trimmed.

Finally I'm in my own cubicle and I get roundly ignored by all and sundry. Eventually a bored nurse turns up to take my blood pressure and take a blood sample. A geological age later a doctor who, by all appearances, would rather be having root canal treatment rather than be in that particular emergency room on that particular evening, appears and informs me that my pain could be caused by either kidney stones or by a ruptured cyst. They'll do some tests in the morning. I get a shot of morphine and soon after I couldn't care about the pain or anything else for that matter. Jason arrives. I am dozing and he tries to sleep in one of those incredibly uncomfortable chairs which they manufacture exclusively for hospital rooms. After watching him squirm and fidget through my half closed eyelids I finally convince him to go home and get some sleep.

In the morning I wake up to more of the warm and comforting patient care I encountered the night before. After a brief check of my blood pressure (they are obssessed with blood pressure in hospitals - how about a little more concern for MY PAIN!!!!) I am informed that they need a urine sample and that I can't eat anything until they figure out what's wrong with me in case they need to operate. Goody. Sample provided I return to bed for more dozing. I am informed I am to have an ultrasound at 11:00 am.

My dear sister arrives. All is forgiven for not answering the phone. She brings trash magazines. They make me feel even worse... not more pain, just worse about the world, about the trees which were cut down to print this mind-numbing crappola and about the need for publications which publish 97% bullshit (I am assuming the recipes have at least been tested and are probably accurate). It is truly amazing that they can fill however many pages with complete fabrications based on little more than a few bad photos and the editors' own imagination.

Finally I am taken for my ultrasound. It couldn't come any sooner, the requisite full bladder is not the most comfortable sensation on top of my painful hip and lower back area. After the regular ultrasound I am "treated" to an internal ultrasound - modern technology... where will it all end? The ultrasounds reveal a large ovarian cyst on the right side (not explaining the pain on the LEFT SIDE) and many fibroids in the uterus.

I return to my cubicle to be greeted by "lunch". As I take a tentative sip of my clear soup the nurse rushes in to tell me that I can not eat anything until they decide that I am definitely not having an operation. Sadly I watch them take away my lunch tray. Not long after the gyno VMO turns up to explain that the cyst and the fibroids are what they call "incidental findings" and do not explain the pain which he now suggests are skeletal/muscular (huh?). He gives me a arthritis type pain killer and says to make an appointment with his office in regard to having the cyst removed.

I go home feeling rather bemused by the past 12 hours and wondering what it all means. The pain is much better. I feel fairly confident I am not dying. I feel slightly irritated at having wasted a day at the hospital and getting my family all upset over nothing.