A Day Out… and another birdy photo

So today we went for a little drive.  Out to Crows Nest, to visit an antique store. We took a writer friend with us, since she has a similar twisted sense of humour.

Green Jesus with Blood Red Nailz (tm)
Green Jesus with Blood Red Nailz ™

(You really must clicky for biggy on these, they’re special)

Cupid waves hello from a swan
Cupid waves hello from a swan

The shop was very hot (being, as most such places are, really just a tin shed with a nicer front on it) and we were overwhelmed by furniture lust after a while –  beautiful little writing desks and huuuuuuuge breakfront dressers, none of which would fit in our houses… not to mention all the odd little (overpriced) bits and pieces…

Then lunch at the bakery. Yum.

A quick stop at an op shop back in town to look for frames for our friend (who is an artist as well as a writer, and has an upcoming exhibition in February) then home.

You can see where Allie gets his pearl from...
You can see where Allie gets his pearl from…

(The photo is a bit overblown, but you should be able to see the pearl on Bolly’s wing – that’s where Allie gets it from.)

It was a windy day so my hair is extra frizzy – but I’m definitely having problems with my thyroid, even though the scan was normal.  Things are tasting odd, my skin is superdry, my nails are brittle, my throat is sore, my voice is hoarse, I’m TIRED, my hands and feet are cold, my memory is extra wonky… I could go on listing symptoms but it’s pretty pointless, since I can’t do anything about it except try and convince the Very Helpful Psychiatrist to order blood tests when I have a skype call with her on Monday.  I even know which blood tests I need.  This might sound like I’m being a bit of a hypochondriac – rather, we’ve been down this path before, LAST time I needed the thyroxine dose increased. *sigh*  And I need a referral to an endocrinologist, just to be on the safe side. BLOODY CHRISTMAS/ NEW YEARS, can’t get a thing done!  Everybody shuts down ’til the start of February!

Anyway. Enough of that. It was a lovely day.

Birdy update… and the physio

I can FLY now! I can fly to the cage and back!
I can FLY now! I can fly to the cage and back!

Yes, that’s young Allie, on the wrong side of the bars – very self satisfied! We’re quite sure he’s a boy, given the squarks – no copied words as yet, but quite a lot of noise.

Bolly enjoys a chin scratch and a bit of free flight too
Bolly enjoys a chin scratch and a bit of free flight too

And that’s his Mum, out for a stretch of the wings and some pampering.  She adores having her beak rubbed and her chin and ear patches scratched.

I went to the physio about my jaw today. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand it turns out that most of the problems actually originate….

… from when I broke my L2 (that’s way down in my lower back). Bad posture from trying to compensate has exacerbated the problems that were already there and now I have HOMEWORK from the physio to start to sort it out.  He manipulated my C2/C3 facet joints (I am now very sore) but the for the first time in years I could open my mouth fully and the joint didn’t go CLUNK, and I could turn my head all the way to the right! (I almost felt like an owl!)

So I’m very motivated to do the homework. Gently. But consistently.  And I have to work on my balance. (Oops. I kinda knew about that already, the bruises were a hint…)

Still coughing, by the way. The cough medicine doesn’t really help after the first hour, nor does the asthma medication.  It’s very embarrassing being anywhere public and having a cough that DOESN’T STOP!  I feel like waving a sign saying “NOT INFECTIOUS, REALLY!!” I tried to get in to see my GP today but she’s away and then booked up until the 24th… I have an appointment with her on the 8th so I guess I’ll just have to wait until then. Such a hassle around Christmas/New Year getting anything done!

 

Allie, Day 25 (and a visit from the vet)

I haz more feathers now!
I haz more feathers now!
2013-11-25-allie-front
Look at my pretty grey tummy!
I is still very tiny, but...
I is still very tiny, but…

Yes, Allie is a Very Pretty Bird, and was much admired by Jules the Vet.

Jules the Vet was here because poor Connie has an ear infection.  Her left ear canal  is all swollen and red and yeasty smelling, and she had to have a muzzle on while Jules the Vet massaged cleaning solution in there and got some special ear drops down inside the swelling.  It could have started with an underlying allergy or something as simple as some dirt or a scratch but it has to get cleared up, because poor Connie is miserable.  She is being very patient though, wearing the Cone of Shame.

not Connie - from the movie "Up"
not Connie – from the movie “Up”

Meanwhile, Caity had a skype video conference with the Very Helpful Psychiatrist this morning.  I explained how I’d discovered that if I leave one earbud of my phone radio in all night, it stops the voices in my head (replacing them with the lovely Radio National voices, without disturbing Mr Beloved) and switches off my brain enough so I can SLEEP!  And if I wake up during the night I listen to the radio for a little while but then go back to sleep.  My Dad has been leaving a radio on low to get to get sleep for years, I should have tried it before this.

The VHP says it works because it’s like white noise. I’ve tried those recordings of white noise or the surf? and THEY DON’T WORK for me. Has to be voices. Music makes me visualise the notes of the music (seriously, I try to write out the entire orchestral parts, like I was writing the conductor’s score in my head in black ink); “ambient” music just drives me nuts.  Can’t be talkback radio, either – has to be the long form doco or interview sort of stuff that RN does.

And Mr Beloved was up watching the last F1 Grand Prix for the year (mostly because it was Mark Webber’s last F1 drive) and it confirmed (yet again) that I simply CANNOT sleep while there is bright blue TV light leaking into my eyes.  UGH!  Doesn’t help that I still can’t use my CPAP machine because of this wretched cough, which is STILL hanging around. 1

I am rather zombified today.

Off to the mental health nurse tomorrow and then the Dreaded Dentist. When the Dental Practice 2 called to remind me of my appointment tomorrow I suggested I come in early because I know the anesthesia takes a while to work on me. (Something to do with my bad circulation?)

Notes:

  1. The blood test results for Whooping Cough came back negative… but I am still doing a rather good impersonation of someone with Whooping Cough.  Please Explain.  Latest Theory, proposed by the VHP (who had a similar case in another patient): thyroid issues/goitre, pressing on trachea. Off for ultrasound scan on Monday.
  2. Why is it called a Practice, BTW? You reckon they’d be good at it by the time they get to open their own place?

Cleaning out the cupboard

So. After folding the basket(s) of washing this morning, I couldn’t find any clean shorts.  I resorted to (gasp!) looking in the cupboard, where I keep my out-of-season clothes.

It’s been a while.

These used to be snug...
These used to be snug…
Roomy!
Roomy!

More pics to follow, but you get the idea… two garbage bags full of donations ready to head out the door already.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This weight loss has been over a period of 5 years, and mostly involved getting OFF a particularly insidious psych drug that (IMHO) NOBODY should ever be given.  In fact, the manufacturer of said drug has settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit in the US because of the damage it does (weight gain, diabetes, heart disease).

Oi! I’m ALLIE! (and some uni results)

Allie hatched on the 1st, Sulphie on the 6th - fascinating watching the difference as they grow...
Allie hatched on the 1st, Sulphie on the 6th – fascinating watching the difference as they grow…
OI! I'm Allie! I'm 2 weeks old today!  Oo's a cheeky birdie then?
OI! I’m Allie! I’m 2 weeks old today! Oo’s a cheeky birdie then?

[As always, click to enbiggen]

BTW, the uni results came out early – no overall results yet (But in adding them up, I think I got a Distinction – 83 – for the semester).  The marks I got back yesterday were: 88% for my portfolio and 83% for the revised version of my story. Pretty happy with that!  I found out while I was at the CWA tea rooms with my two writing buddies – and they got similarly high marks (and even a little better.) We were all so excited!

The tea room closed at 3, so we moved to the upstairs section of the library, and then a HUUUUUUUUUUGE thundery hailstorm hit – the kind where the Bureau of Meteorology issues a warning with “THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS THUNDERSTORM” written in a box on the map.  We waited it out (after a quick rush to the library windows to shriek in awe at the size of the hailstones, and have people comment “I hope your car is undercover!” to which I replied “Nope, that’s why it’s insured!”)

Right. I am still coughing.  Had a blood test to check if it’s whooping cough – if it was, I wouldn’t be infectious any longer anyway, since I’ve already been coughing for more than 3 weeks.  Bloody charming.  This despite having been vaccinated again after the 2011 flood (we had to get tetanus shots and these days you get a three-in-one of whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus.) But the whooping cough bug has MUTATED and so some adults who are getting their vaccinations aren’t getting protected.  DAMN ALL YOU ANTI VAXERS who have let this happen!  (BTW, I had my complete schedule of vaccinations as a kid – my Dad had polio so there was NO WAY we were missing a single shot/dose.  Besides, back then, you HAD to show a completed card to get into preschool – I had no idea that was no longer the case until I heard it on the news up here a week or so ago! I was SHOCKED.)

And now I have to get back to writing. I have a story to edit, and I’m only just finding the thread that’s holding it together…

End of Semester 1

Well, it’s the end of Semester 1 already!  I’ve just submitted my two final pieces of work – a portfolio of the exercises we did during class, with noted on why I chose the pieces I did; and an excerpt of my story I wrote together with an essay on why I edited it the way I did once I got it back from the first marking.  I wasn’t entirely happy with either assignment, but there wasn’t any point sitting and going over them any more – I’d reached an impasse, so it was time to put them in and just leave it to the marker to comment. And to remind myself that all I need is a PASS after all.

It’s raining as I write this and winter is doing its best to settle in – we’ve already had some cold nights, with more predicted for later this week.

I’m off to the Very Helpful Psychiatrist tomorrow: hopefully for a slight change in medication.One of the ones I’m on now seems to give me restless leg syndrome plus a slight tremor in my hands. Bugger. Swings and roundabouts. My mood improves but there’s a price to pay…

Semester 2 starts on July 15, so I’ve got a little bit of time on my hands to catch up with neglected household chores.  The sewing room continues to taunt me, but if I can get a tiny bit done each day… maybe it can turn back into a sewing room. Mr Beloved has been working like a Trojan (ha, family joke there!) down in the studio and making huge progress on getting rid of clutter.

The NBN (National Broadband Network) is supposed to reach our street soon – which means we should get much faster internet.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

That’s about all from here. Happily nothing exciting to report!

That’s THAT then.

So that’s THAT then. What? A little more detail? Oh, okay.

I went into hospital on Tuesday, at 1 o’clock.  This was purely for the benefit of the administrative staff, since I didn’t get the dreaded Preparation 1to drink until four o’clock. I *could* have gone to my one o’clock class, really. *grumble*. ANYWAY, that’s how things turned out, and my mate at uni has very kindly done some notes for me, so I haven’t really missed out on all that much.

Once the salts started to work I was glad I had a private room… and that’s about all we need to say about that, yes?  It’s not a pleasant process.

lego hazmat

Wednesday morning I had to drink another litre of the Preparation (mercy!) starting at six in the morning; and the building work started at the hospital again at about six thirty.  I’m talking about major deconstruction here – jack hammers and big diggers, right outside the room. It wasn’t restful. Somehow once the worst of the emptying was over (again) I managed to sleep – and just as well, too, since I was in for a looooooooong day: I was last on the list.  My procedure wasn’t until five thirty.

Eventually they came and got me; the anaesthetist stuck a needle in my arm and pretty much the next thing I remember is waking up in recovery.

No solid food from Tuesday lunchtime (when I’d had some clear chicken broth) and nil by mouth from Wednesday at ten o’clock (when I’d been allowed some water) – by the time I was wheeled back from recovery at about seven on Wednesday I was ready to jump off the trolley at the cafeteria and grab at any food I could get!  The nurses were very sympathetic and convinced the supper trolley lady to let me have extra bikkies, which I wolfed down with my cuppa tea; and Mr Beloved had some wicked dim sims in the microwave for me just as soon as we got home around eight thirty  –  I had four when I got home from hospital, they were the best dim sims ever. 2

I should mention that I saw the specialist before I left recovery and he had good news for me – they took some biopsies just to be sure, but everything looks normal; I don’t need to worry about gluten, and I can have a normal (for me) diet: this means I still have to deal with the things that give me Irritable Bowel Syndrome but since I’m getting better at working out what those are (NO ONIONS! NO ONION POWDER!) I can manage.  I made appointments to follow up with the specialist (in June, he’s very booked out) and the nutritionist (I see her next week, she’s very nice, I saw her when I was in hospital in January).

I’m very glad it’s all done now.  Now we know that my symptoms are “just” IBS and anxiety related, I can deal with them. We’ll see what the nutritionist says about trying food challenges with some of the foods I suspect give me problems – it’s good to be sure – but that might have to wait until after I get back from Adelaide.  (I’m going for a little holiday again, yay! to celebrate my Mum’s birthday, in April.)

 

Notes:

  1. The brand name is Moviprep, which I think is hilarious… yes, it gets things moving, but there’s also the “I’m ready for my close up” aspect…
  2. We usually only buy them once a year as a birthday treat. We don’t buy junk food all the time,we usually shop the edge of the supermarket.

(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.

Very long time no post…

So, where have I been?

Let’s just say, depression SUX. To the point where I had to withdraw (after the cut off date, which now involves additional paperwork to fix, groan)  from my Semester 3 unit for Uni, which really upset me; my psychiatrist was away over Christmas, and when my lovely and helpful GP and mental health nurse tried to help by getting me on to an antidepressant I had a VERY bad reaction to the first one (5 days of severe nausea) and then a fast swing back towards mania with the 2nd one just before Christmas… then my Dad got crook and had a quick 5 day trip to hospital in the week before Christmas (he’s doing much better now).

And I’ve been sick. On top of the depression I’ve developed this interesting new weight loss thing where things I used to be able to eat now make me sick.

Bizarro-01-06-13-WEB

Onions? FORGET it. Okay, if it was was just no onions I could live with that. But now it’s milk.  I made tuna pie (an old family favourite) the other night (without the onions) and spent hours curled in a ball on the floor in agony. Last night I tried a couple of tablespoons of light ricotta cheese  – big mistake.
A few nights ago we had some lamb stir fry – let’s just say the results weren’t pretty.  So no animal fats, onions, milk… nothing tasty. I am rather bored with what I can eat – small portions of grilled chicken breast, lettuce, and tomato.  Small amounts of things with gluten or baaaaaad things happen. I am having blood tests and an ultrasound and then I’m going back to the GP to see what happens next.

I now only weigh 86 kg.  Which would be LOVELY if it was intentional weight loss but it’s not so nice when you don’t really know why.  (Apart from the not being able to eat FOOD thing, I mean.) None of my clothes fit but I have nowhere to go out, so that doesn’t really matter.  For the first in time YEARS the doctor doesn’t have to use the fat chick cuff on the blood pressure machine (yes I know the proper name is sphygmomanometer, could you be bothered typing that?) even though I have wobbly upper arms – but the normal sized cuff fits anyway.

Mr Beloved is losing some weight too because he’s been eating less along with me – so I guess it’s not all bad… Miss Constance, on the other hand, is looking decidedly porky because I haven’t been walking her.

Today is the second anniversary of The Flood.  And it is a stinking hot day. We may get a thunderstorm later.  There have been bushfires across Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland, with a total fire ban across at least three states tomorrow.

Apart from that… not much to report.  Our wonderful Christmas pressie (thanks Mum and Dad) will be delivered on Tuesday arvo – a much needed and anticipated new mattress.  I’m a little nervous  – how can you tell from such a short lie down in the shop if you’ve chosen the right one? But Mr Beloved was so pleased with it, he could get up and down off it and we (crucially! and unlike the current old one) didn’t  annoy each other every time one of us turned over – something to do with pocket springs? Anyway, let’s hope it sorts out my sore hip.

So. More later. Ish.

 

Monday, not feeling very well.

Whoops. So the big walk yesterday? The lovely one in the park with the dog? Just one problem. THE FIBRO STEAMROLLER. Yep, today I am paying for my excess, with every muscle aching as though I have the flu.  It doesn’t make sense (so much about fibro doesn’t) but it apparently has something to do with the way that people with fibro don’t get rid of lactic acid in their muscles properly. Or something. That’s what the latest research says, anyway. All I know is everything hurts. Even my hair hurts. My eyelashes hurt, dammit.

Today the weather has turned and is threatening a storm later this arvo, and that doesn’t help either – barometric pressure and joint pain being connected as I have mentioned before.  Boring boring boring. I really need to find something else to write about but at the moment my life is about the little bit of university I do and the rest feels like just a whine about pain, with the occasional bit about the neighbours. That’s really all I do, that and go to the doctors.  Apart from that I’m exhausted.  This is my life right now.  Vertical and ventilated, remember, just need to accept that vertical and ventilated is a good day.

Mr B has been busy today: because it looks like we might get some rain, and because the right amount of time has passed, today was the day to scatter the seeds over Miss Kit Tern’s grave.  There will be a mix of blue flowers including swan river daisies, cornflowers, delphiniums and our old favourite, nigella damascena – love-in-the-mist.  That’s been my favourite flower ever since I asked my Nana what they were called. She had the blue variety planted on both sides of the path from the shed to the back door at the house in Leeton, under the mulberry tree and grape vines, and every year they would self-seed and come up again.

I only learned about the other possible colours – pink, white, lavender –  when I saw them on a seed packet a few years ago, and I don’t care for them very much. The blue of love-in-the-mist is part of the attraction.  That, and their hardiness: once they’re established they seem to manage pretty well on their own. We have some growing near the back patio that get the occasional splash when Mr B waters the carnivorous plants, but otherwise are coping in a dry season so far.

(If I was downstairs I’d dredge up some photos of artwork I did when I was at TAFE of some embroidery I did based on love-in-the-mist; but I’m not attached to that hard drive at the moment.  AAAAAND that reminds me that I really ought to be tackling the ^@%!*^&%@^%# sewing room anyway… )