Saturday, June 28, 2008

Drug (It's Just A State Of Mind)

Anyone who read my blog entry Still Breathing will know that anytime I have a medical procedure there is a drama - and my trans-oesophageal echocardiograph proved to be no different!

After being caught out previously, with unshaven legs and a shabby bra, I was prepared this time to make a good impression, or so I thought. It turns out clothes aren't needed for this type of test as you get to wear a fetching one-size-fits-all gown, which felt like it was made out of paper. Nice!

After waiting for more than 2 hours for the Doctor to arrive, that's right he wasn't even on the premises - despite having 3 people booked in for the procedure, I then had to go through the pain of a nurse having trouble inserting the cannula into my arm - so much so she had to swap sides! I have to say as far as veins go mine are great. In fact, nurses have previously commented on how easy it is to insert the needle, so her difficulty was a little frustrating... and very painful.

Finally the cannula was in so the Doctor commenced the procedure with a Doppler ultrasound. Sounded easy enough until he pressed the end of the ultrasound thingy ('fraid I don't know the medical terminology for this one) into me so hard I almost cried. It got even better when people kept coming and going from the room leaving the curtain open - so much for privacy! Of course that's exactly how I want people to see me - laying topless on a hospital gurney with a Doctor lifting my breast so that he could push an ultrasound thingy into me until it almost made me cry... NOT!

Following that pleasant procedure I was given a mouthful of anaesthetic via a syringe, which I had to hold in the back of my throat for a few minutes, but despite their warnings it wasn't as bad as I expected. A few minutes later I was given the sedative and told you won't remember a thing. Oh really? Think you might be wrong there!

A little while later, and I'm guessing it wasn't long after the procedure commenced, I woke up feeling like I was suffocating so I pulled the tube out! The tube was again inserted but it wasn't long before it felt like someone had their hand over my mouth and nose and I couldn' t breath so I did the only thing that I could think of... I pulled the tube out again - and apparently hit someone in the process! I'm not aware of this incident but they told my brother when he came to collect me so I assume I accidentally hit someone when I was flailing my arms about trying to pull the probe out.

It was at this point that time was called on the procedure, a wise decision, as it was clear that it was pointless to continue and I was left alone for a few minutes to wake up. While I didn't see the Doctor after the procedure the anaesthetist apologised and told me that I hadn't been sedated enough for the procedure, however they did manage to find out that there's no hole in my heart (PFO)- which is the main thing they were looking for - so at least there was some good news after all the trauma.

I was given a copy of the report, which was sent to my Doctor, and it reads "Limited study. patient kept pulling the probe out despite adequate sedation. Bubble study not performed. I could not see the thoracic aorta because the patient pulled the probe out. No evidence of Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO). Left Ventricle normal size, normal systolic function". Can't wait to see what my Doctor says - I hope she doesn't order more tests! The lesson here is next time I have to be knocked out they need to use more drugs!!!

In the meantime I continue with my blood pressure tablets and blood thinners...

After a stressful few days (end of financial year is always stressful at work) I am going to end today's entry with something happy - some new pictures of Mason!

Noel, Danielle, Mason and I (no Maddy as she was at a sleepover) had dinner at my Mum's place tonight (she bought a roast and insisted I cook it for her - despite knowing I am a vegetarian, thanks Mum) and I think my stepfather was happy to have company - he certainly loves Mason!

Danielle had dressed Mason in the cutest handmade stripey outfit that a friend had made for her and he looked adorable in it. Apologies for the quality of the photos, as they were taken on my phone in poor light, but I just had to have a picture of him!

Inspecting the dummy case

Checking out what his Dad is doing!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stop Dead

I am not the sort of person who does things in a hurry. I can think of nothing worse than sculling a hot cup of tea before I leave for work in the morning because I'm rushing; I much prefer to have breakfast at work where I can actually taste the tea rather than drinking it in one gulp.

A work associate commented that she thought it was odd that people chose to have breakfast at work rather than at home, but then she doesn't get up at 5am like a lot of us do. I've also noticed that she's the sort of person who always seems to be hurrying, even if it's just to the photocopier! Not only is she a master stopping at lunch time just long enough for a 'quick bite' of something to eat but even her speech is to the point - there's no time for idle chatter or a 'how was your weekend' conversation as she tells you what you need to know and little else.

Last night my evening commute took over 5 hours, instead of the usual 2ish, due to a fatality on the rail line after a car accidentally crashed through a fence and hit a train. It ended up taking me 3 trains and 2 buses to get to my station where my lovely neighbour was waiting for me. Every time we had to change trains or buses the commuters grumbled and whinged about how late it was going to be when they got home - as if the railway had deliberately cancelled trains just to annoy the passengers!!

I was hoping to watch the football when I got home as the Dragons were the televised game but that small pleasure was ruined by some yobbo behind me on the bus who kept yelling out the scores 'for anyone who can't wait until they get home'. My journey home was long and I was thankful that it was a Friday so I could sleep in this morning but it wasn't stressful because I don't suffer from the 'instant gratification' epidemic that seems to be everywhere.

More importantly I did come home last night and the poor man who caused the delay on the rail line didn't. Nobody on the train or bus last night seemed concerned that a family is now grieving for a loved one and I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who looked the other way when we drove past the scene of the accident - people couldn't get out of their seats quick enough to get a look out of the window.

We need to slow down, have a cup of tea and relax! Life is for living, so enjoy it!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Winter Marches On

It was a rather chilly winter day today - for Australia that is - and the reason I've added that statement is because I am sure my friends overseas will think 10 degrees is quite warm for a winter's day but to us it was quite cool, especially when the wind picked up.

Nevertheless my Mother really wanted us (my brother and his family plus myself) to go to the church fete. Seeing as I have resisted all attempts to actually go to church with her it seemed like a decent compromise.

When the sun was out the weather was actually bearable but as soon as it hid behind the clouds it was pretty dreadful so we didn't actually stay for very long; just long enough for Mum to introduce us to the Minister and for Madeleine to have some cuddles in the baby-animal enclosure.

A rugged up Mason looking as cute as ever!

After we left the fete we went back to Mum's place to play a board game, which Madeleine loves to do and it's a good family activity.

Unfortunately my stepfathers dementia has progressed dramatically in the last few weeks and the deterioration is shocking in regards to the speed in which it's happening. My Mother still hasn't accepted the fact that he will have to go into care eventually, although I think she has finally realised that he isn't going to get better.

On most days he confuses her with a carer and he has trouble eating and speaking and today he called me into the bedroom to show me a snake, which of course wasn't there. It's such a bloody cruel disease and it makes me sad that someone who was once so vibrant is reduced to being a shell of the person they once were. The only saving grace is that his moments of lucidity are rarer and soon he won't even realise there is a difference between who he is now and who he once was. It does of course make moments like today more important, especially for Mum who needs all the support she can get.

Taken moments before Noel was declared the winner!

Madeleine having cuddles with Mason

The boys of the family; Noel and Mason

Sunday, June 15, 2008


This morning I made an apple pie to take to my Mothers for afternoon tea and I inadvertently left the cupboard open after I took out the pie plate. Unfortunately I didn't realise my error until I came home this afternoon and found fat-Ella's heading poking out! It appears that in my absence Ella took the liberty of investigating the inside of the cupboard, and knocked over my carefully stacked tupperware.

While I spent the afternoon removing containers from the cupboard to wash and re-store a completely unrepentant Ella decided she needed a nap after a hard day investigating and took herself off for a sleep in front of the heater.

It's a hard life isn't it!

Even Sandy-girl has decided the cold weather is a good excuse to stay in bed longer!
The hot water bottle I put in her bed probably makes it comfy too!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Interlude One

I am the first to admit that time management is not my forte! At the moment I am combining part time study with full time employment, which includes a 2-hour each way commute, and at times I find it incredibly difficult.

When it comes to getting to work on time I don't have a problem; the alarm goes off at 5am and by 5.05am I am already in the shower, albeit still half asleep! However, when it comes to dedicating time to study its another matter entirely!

I always have a plan in my mind of how I am going to get through the coursework and what hours will be spent reading and writing up assignments but it never goes according to plan and my assignments end up either being submitted at the last minute (after staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish them) or a few days late! Most of the time it is my own fault however, there are occasions when I can't quite get through to the parents that being home doesn't mean I am free to entertain visitors for hours on end.

This semester I really enjoyed the coursework more than I have in the past, thanks to studying Chaucer and Shakespeare, and its renewed my interest in studying as I was starting to flag a bit (probably due to not doing so well in history).

Having sat my end of semester exams last week I have now chosen my subjects for next semester I am determined that I will be organised. Despite being on a 4-week break I have already started reading some of the required texts as I want to be prepared for my first assignment!

Now if I can just get it through to the various sets of parents that study leave doesn't mean I have a 'day off' work then I really shouldn't have any time management problems anymore!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Come Up And See Me (Make Me Smile)

Despite having recently given birth my friend Bel came into the city last Friday to have lunch with me.

I was thinking about how organised she'd have to be and the amount of stuff she'd have to carry as newborns seem to require a lot of stuff - and she has a one year old as well! Thankfully Bel's hubby Shane was still on leave so what I thought was going to be an horrendous train trip with two little 'uns was actually a less problematic car ride!

I hadn't seen Sienna for a few months and she's grown so much in that time, she now has the cutest little curls and the cheekiest grin! Jarvis is a cutie and like typical newborns he's all pink and squishy just like a baby should be!

I have to say Bel's hubby Shane is one of the most laid-back people I have ever met, he just oozes calm, and Bel is pretty relaxed too so they're good people to be around. When I wanted to pick up a dog from the animal rescue - a 6-hour round trip - Bel and Shane volunteered to take me as I don't drive. Not only did we have a good day out but I came home with Sandy so the trip was worthwhile.

Sadly, no matter how many times I ask Shane he doesn't seem to be able to conjure up an older, single brother for me so I'll have to settle for setting up Sandy with their dog Scooby as she loves her 'play-dates' with him!

Sienna in August last year

Sienna 2008

Jarvis Connor; the lovely new addition

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friends Of Mine

Sometimes we are surprised by the thoughtfulness our friends show us.

On Tuesday night my neighbour dropped over two parcels that she'd collected from the postman for me; one came from a friend in Holland and the other from a friend in England. I don't care how old you are it's always exciting getting a parcel, especially when it comes from overseas and contains something you didn't have to pay for yourself!

I have to admit there was a moment of panic when I saw the 'Amazon' box as I've ordered from them previously, although nothing in the last few months, so I thought they'd sent me an order by mistake and I was praying my credit card hadn't been charged! Once I opened up the box and read the message on the packing slip I knew it was a gift from my dear friend Sandi in Holland - two self-help books, The Secret and Finding Your Own North Star

The other parcel contained some goodies from Marks and Spencer that my friend Cheryl forwarded to me - and didn't I have fun going through that box! Last week my friend Amanda sent me some cross stitch books and charts all the way from Wales. It made me stop and think about how fortunate I am to have such thoughtful friends.

Every afternoon one of my neighbours comes in and turns my porch light on so that I don't have to come home in the dark, and they often send me a text message to say they'll pick me up from the train station if its raining.

Most people consider themselves fortunate if they have one or two really close friends but I am one of the luckiest people I know as I have over a dozen close friends, people I could call on in an emergency and know without any hesitation they would come to my aid, as I would to theirs.

So thank you to all my wonderful friends - old and new- for your love, support, understanding, thoughtfulness but most of all your unconditional friendship! I really do appreciate you! X

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Goodbye is Forever

A work colleague told me this week that I was 'lame' for naming my blog after a Duran Duran song. Although it was said in jest I'd just like to clarify that the blog gets its name because of the meaning behind the lyrics to the song, not just because its a song by Duran Duran.

The song Ordinary World is about healing; about healing yourself after losing someone you love.

Sometimes it feels as though Belle's ghost has taken up residence inside my head and at some point I have to stop carrying that around with me as some days its completely overwhelming. When I heard Simon Le Bon explaining the meaning behind the lyrics of Ordinary World I knew exactly what he was talking about: "It was about being able to say yes, my friend is gone and I love you but you're not here anymore and I've got to get on with it. I wanted to have an ordinary life."

I'm still not quite ready to say goodbye to Bella but I'm working on the healing side of things by creating lots of new memories with Madeleine and Mason and trying to focus on all the positive things in my life, which far outweigh the negative.

In some ways this blog is charting my journey to my Ordinary World.

Bella Boo

With Nanna

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Still Breathing

Last night I spent 3 hours at the medical centre waiting to be seen by a Doctor because my right arm had pins and needles and my fingers were numb!

When I finally got in to see him he decided to do an ECG and that's when I realised I was wearing a washed out, but very comfortable, bra! Oh the shame I felt when I had to lift my shirt for the electrodes to be attached (no wonder the first reading was bad). What's worse is that I have drawers full of very pretty, and very expensive, lingerie that I save for 'special occasions'. The truth dawned on me last night, I'm 38 and I spend most Saturday night's at home watching 'The Bill' - there's not going to be enough special occasions to warrant not wearing them now!

It wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't already embarrassed myself at the neurologists on Monday. It was my first appointment with the specialist so I assumed he would ask me some questions and organise a few tests. Little did I know he was going to do a thorough exam, which included him lifting up the bottom of my jeans to take a look at my leg - my unshaven, dry skinned leg! I would have loved to have explained that I have been wearing long pants since the weather turned cold so shaving didn't seem the necessity it is in summer, however I figured he was probably more interested in working out why I keep having 'seizures' than why I've been too lazy to shave my legs!

I am happy to say that after my shower this morning my smooth and hairless legs have been smothered in Chanel body lotion and I am wearing one of my Elle McPherson bra's that I normally only wear when I go out! Even the cat seems to have noticed as she's rubbed against me several times this morning and stopped to have a sniff at my legs!

I still have to go for an MRI and a trans-oesophageal echo-cardiograph, try saying that after a few glasses of wine, and I vow to be prepared for all eventualities. I will be shaved, moisturised, perfumed and wearing the best lingerie money can buy (the last one is a bit of an exaggeration but you get my meaning).

I am no longer saving the 'good' perfume for when I go out and the same thing goes with my china, what's the point of a dinner set sitting in the cupboard unused? I am happy to report that while I am writing this I am drinking my tea from a rather lovely royal doulton tea cup that I never use and I've discovered it's true what they say; tea tastes better when drunk from fine china!

So live your today, your tomorrow and every moment of life.