Low FODMAP misery, but happy Emmalumpdogg.

So I had a colonoscopy and gastroscopy, which were as much fun as they usually are (read: not much, but glad to have them over with) and I’m now on a very restricted, low FODMAP diet. What the heck is that, you ask!?  FODMAPs are basically things that the gut doesn’t deal with well, so things like fruit sugars that ferment, beans, lactose malabsorption. Fun stuff. So I’m off all sorts of foods for 6 weeks, including all wheat, and on lactose free milk only, and have a huge list of things I can and can’t eat. The idea is then we gradually introduce a challenge food at a time and see how I react.

Ugh.

Anyway. Emmalumpdogg is enjoying herself. Although last week this happened image

that was fun. Mostly though she is very good, although Big!Blue!Ball! Is not as solid as we thought, it has been punctured by the mighty teeth of Emma and she can now carry it around, which makes her very happy.image

Mr Beloved continues to lose weight with his “Emmacise” program of early morning walks.

Not much else happening. This low FODMAP thing makes me tired!

 

They’re all mad out there, you know…

So… I’ve still been having trouble sleeping.  The terrible cough has settled back into a somewhat-fixable-with-ventolin asthma cough, but it still gets disturbed enough by the CPAP machine wind that I can’t use my CPAP machine, so I AM A ZOMBIE.  It’s not fun.

Consequently my mental state is not brilliant.  Hence my lack of posts.

Allie bird is nearly weaned. Cockatiels are weaned at 8 weeks. Allie was hatched November 1, but is still SCRAAAAARTCHing for food from Bolly whenever he gets a chance, even though he is quite happy eating seeds and pellets and lettuce by himself as well. Bolly is sitting on a new egg already…

Allie outside the cage, looking very grown up
Allie outside the cage, looking very grown up

We’ve been eating more salad-y things now the weather has been heating up.  Mr Beloved has been keeping an eye on the bargain shelf at the supermarket, so the other day we had a lovely posh lunch of prosciutto and fetta salad – for less than what some people would spend on a fast food hamburger.

2013-12-17-lunch

I went into town today (Mr Beloved dropped me in and picked me up) and it was INSANE!  Apart from essential grocery runs to the local shops we are now officially AVOIDING THE SHOPS until it all calms down again.

HIPY PAPY BTHETHDTH THUTHDA BTHUTHDY

Which, from Owl in Winnie the Pooh, of course means Happy Birthday.  Yep, it’s birthday week here at our house – mine, and Mr Beloved’s, and soon my wonderful Mum’s.

Today my scrapbooking girls gave me some lovely pressies and Wendy Jayne made a scrumptious cake – the recipe apparently involved coca cola and a packet of marshmallows (“minus three!”)  – the result was very rich and mousse-like.  I had a small piece and it was delightful.

birthday candles for blog

[clicky for biggy]

Yep, I am 45, and very grateful to have got here.

Next week I’m off to Adelaide – Mr Beloved is staying home to tend the menagerie.  While I’m in Adelaide I’ll be seeing this exhibition of Turner’s works at the Art Gallery of South Australia; but the main reason I’m going is to enjoy being with family and to help out (although everything has been beautifully organised already by my super Sister in Law) with my Mum’s Birthday High Tea.

I’ve submitted my first piece of university work for the year, it’s worth 15 % of the course.  We’ll have to just wait and see how that goes.  The Disability Support Officer had an interesting point of view – she said the best thing that could happen would be for me NOT to get a High Distinction so I could see that the world didn’t crumble just because I got a Credit instead.  She’s right.

Apart from that, not much going on here – it’s been raining AGAIN and the weeds keep growing; we’ve had blackouts from storms twice this week but only for a couple of hours each time. We are well organised with wind-up torches so it’s just been a matter of going to bed a little earlier than usual.  I don’t have a back up battery for my CPAP machine, but I can get some sleep without it – just not very restful sleep because I wake up a lot!

So that’s it from here for now – more when I get back from Adelaide.

(tap tap tap) Is this thing on?

If anyone out there’s still reading, here’s where we’re up to.

When last we saw Our Heroine, (me!) I was having trouble eating.

It got worse.

To the point where I just couldn’t.

I just couldn’t eat.  The worst day I only managed 10 cherries all day.

And it happened that I had an appointment with my Very Helpful Psychiatrist that day, and my Very Good GP had copied the results of a blood test I’d had a few days before over to her.  “Caity, I was a physician before I was a specialist, and I have never seen some of these levels so low. You’re very sick.  I’m going to send you to hospital now.  You go home and pack a bag; I’m going to get you admitted this afternoon.” She made phone calls to make it happen and Mr Beloved and I headed home.

I was numb and in tears but so grateful that finally something was happening: and I didn’t realise how sick I was.  I was very malnourished.  Luckily my Very Helpful Psychiatrist has LOTS of experience with eating disorders – which, by the way I don’t have (no I’m not in denial!) and recognised that what I needed was hospitalisation so that I wasn’t in danger from refeeding syndrome.

(Refeeding syndrome is what happens when you haven’t been eating and suddenly you start eating again and your body has no idea what to do with the food – your electrolytes get messed up even more and in severe cases you can DIE. This is the simple version from the helpful dietician.  I was still fuzzy when she explained it to me so she had to use very simple words. )

Hospital was NOT FUN.  I’m just grateful that I have health insurance (through no good management of my own, you know who you are, thank you again for looking after me) that let me get into hospital straight away.  I know hospital isn’t meant to be fun.  Bed shortages (yes, even in the private hospital) and being under the care of several specialists made it a little more horrible that it might otherwise have been but we got through it.  Thankfully the hospital is only just up the road from home and Mr Beloved was able to visit every day and bring lots of books.  I got a lot of reading done – is there a worse place to try and sleep than a hospital? (I have problems sleeping anyway – it’s one of the things I am talking to the Very Helpful Psychiatrist about when I see her again tomorrow)

sleepless

They did some tests while I was in hospital – a ‘gastric emptying test’ which measured how fast  my stomach moved food through it : you eat a radioactive egg sandwich then try to lie very still for 2 hours on a very narrow platform while the CT scanner takes pictures. (Of course, once you’re trapped from neck to knee in the machine, everything itches – and you can’t move to scratch anything.) An ultrasound didn’t show anything out of the ordinary either.  I pushed to schedule the gastroscopy and colonoscopy as soon as possible while I was in hospital but then was too sick to have them. I have to go back in to hospital to do the prep and have the procedures next month (fun.)

My electrolyte levels are being monitored with blood tests every fortnight and I am almost back to eating ‘normally’ – within the limits of what I can eat, anyway.  Still no onions or any processed food with onion powder as an ingredient.  Which means – we cook from scratch.  Which we mostly did anyway, since it’s so much cheaper; but it’s annoying not to be able to just grab something like a tin of soup when you’re feeling blah and just want something quick.  Because there WILL be onions or onion powder in there, in sufficient quantity to make for a miserable night, or perhaps 2 miserable nights.

So what the hell went wrong, anyway?  Part of it was the depression that started in November – I lost my appetite. (When I saw the GP on Monday she mentioned that she had just been to a conference where she learned that one of the psych drugs I am on has been being used off label in the US for weight loss, since a significant proportion of patients report loss of appetite… ahhhh, light bulb!) But then something else happened that interacted with that – possibly an infection, possibly just a worsening of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that I have to learn to manage better.  It could be that the antidepressants we were trying triggered something. (Given the severe nausea that happened during the antidepressant trials, I wouldn’t be surprised.)   The gastroscopy and colonoscopy are to check that there’s nothing else going on: the specialist has said that he thinks I’m going to have to learn to live with the facts of IBS: it won’t kill you, it just makes you very miserable from time to time.

Meanwhile I am eating bread and pasta (NOT the gluten free versions) for the next month so that if there is a reaction to those to show up in the tests it will well and truly SHOW UP!

And in non-medical news… my dear nephew turned 21. Go NewSky!

hanneul makes pizza

We survived the Australia Day rain event (heavy and very inconvenient rain, but fortunately for us at least NOT a flood on the scale of the 2011 event… others down the range weren’t so lucky and had worse flooding than in 2011. We were only left with a soggy queen size mattress to dispose of, since of course my hospitalisation happened a day or so after we go the new mattress and before we could organise the skip to get rid of the old one.  Mattresses and other big rubbish are really hard to get rid of – hiring a skip/dumpster is about the only way.  I supposed we could hire a ute but by the time we load that and do multiple trips to the tip – just as efficient to load everything into one container and then get it taken away. Must organise that this week.

And uni starts again soon. I got a High Distinction for my Creative Writing subject in Semester 2 last year; I’m enrolled in the follow on subject starting at the end of this month. I’m looking forward to getting going on that again.

So. That’s it for now. Updated. Now I must go cook dinner.

It’s been… a week.

So I got my assignment in on time, Yay.

After wasting YET ANOTHER HOUR of tute time going over the assignment AGAIN!  *headdesk*

Fair dinkum, there had better be close to full damn marks for EVERYONE for this bloody thing.

Then – lessee.  Saturday I made a cake (Rose Levy Beranbaums’ fabulous Chocolate Domingo cake, with masses of chocolate ganache icing) to take to the girls I usually see during the week, but we had to hold our get together on a Sunday because everyone had other commitments and we had to celebrate Tammy’s birthday.  That was ok – fun with the cake and pressies.

Monday, Tammy and I went shopping – not something I normally do and it was EXHAUSTING!  Just trying on clothes at one shop. For three hours!  I bought a dress and a long sleeved top to wear under it, and a scarf.  Lay-by-ed another top (and it was on a better price than shown on the web!)  Just wanted a couple of pieces that weren’t so – daggy, you know?

Then uni on Tuesday – the lecture actually made sense this week, and it was such a relief to get back into the course CONTENT instead of the !@^(%# library assignment!  We have two weeks uni break now, so I’ll be using my couple of hours of uni work per day to try a get a little bit ahead and start writing the essay, which is worth 40% of the mark for the course.

Wednesday was group therapy, which is always very tiring.  Ugh. Especially so this week – stuff came up that I didn’t cope well with, and I got left til last, so I was wrung out when Mr Beloved came to collect me – Ia cup of tea and then had lie down, put my CPAP mask on and just sleep for three hours.

Thursday was Toowoomba Show Day, a public holiday, so no uni.  And I slept. A lot.

I was supposed to meet with the girls to celebrate my birthday (which isn’t until next week but one of them was going out of town) but I just COULDN’T.  I was done.  I just can’t do things that many days in a row. Just can’t.  Physically or mentally.

Which brings us to today.  I slept in again, then ran a few errands (post, library, supermarket for a couple of essentials) and now I’m worn out again.

Both of us are in the grips of allergy season – I don’t know what’s flowering but I wish it would stop already, it’s costing us a fortune in antihistamines!  And I’m back on the asthma preventative.  Blaah!

So that’s me – tired, grumpy, sniffly, menopausal, and several other of the dwarves Disney didn’t want to mention.

Next week: More trauma therapy.  Oh goody.

 

 

Good Guys who weren’t, Harvey Norman FAILED, and Officeworks WORKED!

First real uni activity today – getting the student ID organised!  I can’t pick it up ’til Wednesday (it will be ready tomorrow but I have group therapy) so I have no idea if I’m stuck with a dorky photo for the entire year – let’s hope not.

The university is at the other end of town from where we live, so on the way home we knew we’d be buying the computer and assorted accessories for Caity’s Adventures at Big School. We’d done our comparison shopping online and had a pretty good idea of the beastie we wanted and the price we were going to pay.

This is what we looked like (although not as sweaty, since it was earlier in the day)

Ageing hippies in tie dye

Not dirty, not smelly, decently shod.  Hair and teeth brushed.  Respectable.

We stopped first at The Good Guys.  Don’t know why I’m even bothering to link to them since nobody in their store could even be bothered TALKING TO US.  They had one bloke on loss prevention at the door, about three cars besides ours in the car park and no staff in sight.  We looked around the laptops for a while, eventually saw a staffer serving someone else – he made no move to acknowledge our presence – so we left.

FAIL!

On up the car park to Harvey Norman,  a store we don’t particularly like anyway, and this time… well!  We enquired about the computer we’d seen online, with the very supercilious staffer sniffing “Oh no, there’s none of the $500 computers left after two weeks of our sale, here’s a $799 computer!”

FAIL!!  Why the hell would I want to even look at something for $300 more?

When we said again we’d seen the computer at their online store, he said disdainfully “Oh, that’s clearance store, we could have it delivered to this store if you like”

FAIL AGAIN!!  (Why would I have it delivered to your store, snotbag, when I could get it delivered to my door?)

(Actually, right as I’m typing this, their site claims that the same computer is in stock at the Toowoomba store – the shit of a salesperson didn’t even offer to check the stock!!)

Needless to say we left there, too.

Officeworks was on the way home.   We knew from our online research that they had the same laptop, and yep, they had it in stock.  Nice young chappie was very helpful, made sure we had the right gear, explained how the new system of preloaded MS-Office (that you then activate with a purchased card with a scratch-off number) worked, checked the price on the laptop bag I was looking at when it wasn’t clear on the shelf – yep, he got the $700-odd sale.

Home for lunch and then off to The Government Department Which Controls Our Lives – always stressful.  I am amazed by the calm of the people who work there – just in the short time I was there some idiot walked in with his pit bull dog (“Sir, you can’t bring your dog in, take it outside please”) and everybody blithely ignores the “Please turn off your mobile phone” sign.  After a half hour wait I handed in my form and that was it.

Then to the mall (Grand Central, it calls itself, but we know it as “Grump Central”) and I decided today was the day to do something about my glasses.  I bought them in August last year and the paint was peeling off the inside of the arms, and the metal bits that hold the nosepads on were very flimsy. Not good enough!  The staff mentioned they’d already had another pair returned with the same paint problem and offered to put my lenses in a new pair of the same frames on the spot.

I accepted.  The glasses have a two year warranty, and if the same problems happen again they’ve promised a different frame.  So well done, Specsavers – you’ll probably get my business again, after all!

All in all, a successful day.  Mr Beloved will do the configuring and making a big backup disk for the new computer tonight (always handy to have something in case the whole thing needs to reset to zero!)

And now – off to make tuna pie so we have something to eat for tea and I can take some to eat for my lunch at hospital tomorrow.  After a couple of weeks of experimenting, I’ve found that group therapy by itself is enough to my my anxious tummy upset – eating greasy cafeteria food that has been sitting in the hot cabinet for who knows how long can make me sick long into the night.  So now I take my own lunch, even though the health fund pays for the cafeteria lunch…

 

Gordy Day 5… and the rain

First, to Gordy – he’s got pneumonia.  Thursday night was not good – Eunju was exhausted and very upset that the antibiotics weren’t working as quickly as she’d hoped, and Gordy was frustrated that he had to go back to using a big oxygen mask instead of the smaller nasal tubes.

But in GOOD news – he’s talking, he’s able to give directions (to the Korean food shops at the Central Markets in Adelaide so Mum and Dad could pick up some bibimbap (also seen on the cover of this month’s SBS “Feast” Magazine)  for Ju- because comfort food when you’re exhausted is a Good Thing.  Gordy can move his arms and legs, too, which is a Big Thing. These are amazingly hopeful signs, given what the outcomes could have been.

Latest report I had this morning, he was slightly better, having had stronger antibiotics overnight, and was able to clear some of the muck from his lungs.

So he’s still in the ICU for now.

And now to the rain.

It’s been wet and miserable for a few days now.  And we do get nervous when the weather bureau starts issuing severe weather warnings… after the floods in January last year, nobody believes any more that “Toowoomba never floods (it’s on top of the range).” So as I’m writing this in the warm, dry shed/studio, poor Mr Beloved is out in the pouring rain ensuring that it stays that way: he’s installing a “make-do” sandbag system (an old tarp and lots of dirt) and some big pieces of timber which will help to divert water away from the doors.

Not pretty, but should do the job...

(The rain is already pooling in the short time between getting this far and Mr Beloved having a break while I took a photo…)

Paranoid? Perhaps.  We like to think of it as being prepared.  Places not that far to the west and south of Toowoomba have already had rainfalls in excess of 200 mm this week.  The ground is already soggy, and that’s exactly the sort of conditions last year that lead to all the run-off from what felt like the entire hill ending up in our yard…  The Bureau of Meteorology reports Toowoomba had just over 25mm of rain (that’s an inch) overnight, and even though the official rain gauge at the airport is currently showing only 0.8 mm since 9am, we know that’s not an accurate measure of how much rain OUR house gets.  I can guarantee that the dog got more rain on her than that in the journey between house and shed!

Let’s hope we’re being overly pessimistic, and that the rain stops soon.  There are very few days when I wish for a clothes dryer – weeks like this though…

At last, it’s a bit cooler…

It’s been HOT for the last couple of days – Tuesday night was so hot that I ended up sleeping outside in a makeshift camp on the concrete under the tin roof patio – groundsheet, big cushions off the lounge, pillow, quilt, with reading light and CPAP machine hooked up to the power point that runs our rainwater tank pump –  and even though I now have 73 different itchy bites IT WAS WORTH IT.  Once the bright full moon rose over the roof I could actually get a couple of hours sleep.  I stayed out until about 3.30am, when it was cool enough to go back into the bedroom.

ACTUAL SIZE! They breed BIG mozzies up here.... (well, they felt this big...)

The cheap and nasty banana lounges went back to the big chain hardware store – they STANK!  They were unbearable.  Glad we got our money back on those.

Yesterday arvo I spent lying on the floor of the lounge wrapped in a wet towel with the fans blowing on me… I am really finding this heat difficult, and I think I have to attribute it to the change in med1cat10ns – I don’t remember struggling with it this much in previous heatwaves.

Today we did some more tie dyeing – a friend’s daughter is having a “hippy” birthday party so I offered to make her a t-shirt – and Mr Beloved needed a few too.  The shirts are baking in plastic bags in the sun and are too hot to touch – a good sign, because it helps the colours batch and become really intense. Photos to follow.

I have picked up ANOTHER damn head cold – this time it’s gone straight to my ears.  Every time I blow my nose my ears block up even more.  MISERY!!!

Right – time to get showered, do an inventory of what’s left in the fridge, and head to the greengrocer – another baking session when it cools down tonight (zucchini slice again) should see us through the next few hot days.  Just as well we don’t mind eating the same thing for a week at a time!

Day Umpty-seven of The Cold From Hell

Not that I believe in Hell, or Heaven for that matter, but the Bad Place is surely where this cold came from.  After discovering online (oh Dr Google and Dr Wiki, whatever did we do before you?) that any reported side effects of extra doses of the fexofenadine drugs (telfast etc) were also present with placebos, we have been taking TWO tablets a day in an attempt to reduce the lakes of snot gushing from our heads. Once again, thank you ever so much to the generous stranger in the doctors’ waiting room  – your gift just keeps on giving.

I swear I am NOT GOING INTO THAT WAITING ROOM AGAIN WITHOUT MASKS AND GLOVES.

(Remember 2009’s swine flu?  Yeah, we caught that one, too.  At least then people were prepared to buy and wear cute masks… although it’s always been the thing to do in Japan.)

Hand sanitisers are not enough when some old codger is liberally and forcefully expelling GERMS throughout the room which are then recycled through the airconditioning… and I say this as one who has had ample time to gaze at the filthy air con outlets in the ceiling of the waiting room.

*headdesk*

Poor Mr Beloved is a couple of days behind me, and so is still sneezing, honking, and coughing through half a dozen handkerchiefs per day –  and he can’t use nasal sprays or ice/heat packs to help his sinus pain.  He is just so MISERABLE with it, the poor man.

My Dad always reckons you should stay away from doctors, they make you sick… he’s right.

I  find that eating frozen things helps me feel less stuffy and panicky – I think it helps with reducing the inflammation of my soft palate. ( I have no scientific evidence for this, I’m just going to go with the *belief*, ok?  Self delusion is okay so long as you KNOW that’s what it is…)  so I’ve been into the frozen grapes again (yum!) and have just turned the lovely ripe rockmelon that had been in the fruit bowl into a mushy fragrant orange blend with banana and passionfruit – it freezes, but not rock hard, so you end up with a sort of fruit ice cream.

(Yep, all that fruit is full of FRUCTOSE but it’s still better than eating commercial iceblocks or icecreams…)

Aaaaand now I’m out of Beconase spray again so I’m off to the shops.  Where if I *do* need to cough and sneeze I do it into a kleenex, because I am CIVILISED, unlike the infectious hordes… arrrrgh!

 

 

It never fails!

So on Monday we saw Our Lovely GP – I needed to sort out some scr1pts, organise some blood tests for h0rm0ne levels (about which more another time), get a letter to excuse me from jury duty and we had to pick up the latest test results for Mr Beloved.  (His cholester0l readings and other markers have improved considerably on his new meds.  Yay. All hail B1g Pharma for making our lives better and allowing us to still eat bacon.)

BUT – and I really should have thought about this – now we are SICK.  With charming head colds.  I am Snuffley, Phlegmy and Achey (Attorneys at Law. Or three of the Dwarves Disney dropped.)

It’s not just confirmation bias * (or hindsight bias)- we can go plenty of other places where there are people and NOT get sick – but one lousy trip to the !@&*^!@% waiting room at the doctors and BAM!  We get the Latest Lurgey.  Oh, thank you ever so much, you diseased and wretched people.   Especially you, unobserving parent, who continues to browse “CELEBRITIES DOING STUFF!” Weekly while your small child wipes its nasal secretions along every hard surface.  And you, Mr Coughs Into The Room, oh, thank YOU for our LOVERLY Christmas gifts.  That’s sharing the Ferkin’ Spirit of The Season, isn’t it?

*headdesk*

So we have spent most of the last few days looking like this:

(Even unto the small pointy nosed dog on the bed, oh yes.  I have no idea where I stole this image from but isn’t it great?)

On the other hand, I have LOOK! Pretty nails! (although my nails seems to grow so quickly that there’s always a gap…)

This is the Sally Hansen stick on polish in “Girl Flower” that I mentioned the other day, with (freehand therefore wonky!) french tips in Hello Kitty blue – awwww! I wear out the tips of nail polish very quickly – too much typing and forgetting to wear the dishwashing gloves that are pegged above the sink, quietly perishing in the sun…)

I am drinking lots of water. And lots of hot tea.  And eating the occasional slice of Boiled Fruit Cake (mine is always a tweaked version of the recipe in Geoff Slattery’s wonderful 1991 book “Simple Flavours: Australian Home Cooking”.  This is the same book which taught me that making puff pastry isn’t hard, and in fact times perfectly with the quarters in an Aussie Rules football match.  He was a sports writer for the Melbourne Age before he was a cook…)

And shortly I shall head to the house to make zucchini slice (yes, again) and while the oven is on, the Strawberry Lime and Coconut Cheesecake from last month’s Good Taste magazine (but without the strawberries because they all looked a bit nasty when I hit the shops yesterday.  I might use some frozen raspberries instead or just go with the lime syrup as enough flavour.)

Happy Season to those who celebrate. And a hearty BAH HUMBUG to the infectious masses.

 

* If you haven’t yet grabbed/asked Santa/cajoled your library to order this book, you should.  Bloody brilliant.  The blog of the same name has some of what’s in the book, so read that first to get an idea, but it’s really worth the $Au 19 (or however much you want to pay – booko.com.au is showing this as the lowest price including postage.)