Saturday, November 7, 2020

October operations.

 TKMaxx opened! I hit gold and found the exact bag I wanted to replace my big grey handbag, 1/3 RRP.

I had a burst of cookbook cooking. Felt like really concentrating on the cooking process and using different flavours, rather than just basic efficient food prepping. These are from a Bill Grainger book.

G visited! We had a pretty relaxed weekend but did the tour of Maitland Gaol, which has a mulberry tree. It was good to have a fresh appreciation of prisons, it's a dark part of society.

Seriously the rooms (cells) are dank and tiny, you can't see out of the window and it doesn't let in any light either. This is one of the bigger cells.

We went to the GF cafe at the prison afterwards which is lovely. Highly recommended if you are GF and need to stop in the Hunter. It's called Bread and Water.

I had an ambition to try smoking meat, so for Mum's birthday I had family over for lunch. I had to light the charcoal in the morning, which took so long but eventually all caught. Then you put the coal into the bottom of the smoker, add a bowl of water, and marinated meat (chooks). Then you put the lid on but the vent open and it stays hot for hours. I did 4 hours and that was only just enough time for the size chooks I had, probably 5 hours ideally but refill the water bowl.

I put down a rug for baby crawling! Had a lovely afternoon hanging out with my family and video calling in Heather from Brisbane.

Repotting did not save my lemon tree, but hastened its demise. Roots totally gone, I turfed it, and purchased a new one. Thus goes gardening.

Bought myself a little pink daisy also, on the left. The lemon is a shrubby one rather than a standard. Also admire one of my monster poppies eventually flowered en mass in red. And at the front are my summer seedlings. 

I got a few vases like this, which is better than nothing but not what I was hoping for with all my different varieties. 

I had a haircut and it turned out very shorter but not bad, just different.

A week before surgery I went kayaking near Tocal with one (was supposed to be two) colleague. I have had really good energy, which is surprising. The zoladex implants wrecked my sleep, but overall I've had much better battery power. I added more workouts until I was regularly doing 3 a week just like the old days - I had to cut back to 1 a week because I was constantly tired and sore. Cut out a lot of the treats of winter as well, and even lost a kilo or two. Anyway, just thankful that I've been able to actually live a healthy active life again.

I bought a free desk on facebook marketplace, and took my computer and everything home, and worked from home for the week before surgery. It was to avoid catching a cold or anything inconvenient. I was actually very run down though, had a coldsore and felt very tired, so worked short days and didn't do any workouts and just rested in the lead up to Friday.

On the Friday, I washed the car, whipper snipped, and then showered and waited to go to the hospital. I forgot to take my 10am pill and remembered halfway to the hospital at 11.45 so had a stressful decision to go back home and just be late, but hospitals always factor in waiting time. I got there at 12.30, paid my excess thingy, chose my food from the menu, and waited. 

Then I got called in for my quick interview and weigh in, then popped behind a curtain to get changed into the stockings and gown and put my clothes in my suitcase. This photo was 1.30pm.

Hopped into bed under a heated blanket and they rolled me around the corridors into the little room outside the operating theatre and waited, thinking on psalm 23 which Bec had sent me earlier, because its really about being calm and waiting. Then I met the nurse and anesthetist and explained about the pill timing. Got rolled into the operating theatre and saw the robot they use and then ...................

....... woke up in recovery sometime around 7.30, all tubed up and realised it was too late for one of my parents to visit by the time I got out of recovery. I heard a few conversations and the drainage tube out of my belly had "dumped" a lot of "blood coloured fluid" in the first 2 hours, and blood pressure was low, so there was a chance I had an internal bleed and would need another surgery, but not likely. But that made them decide to send me to ICU for the night so they could keep an eye on my blood pressure better.

So at 10:30 I was in ICU meeting the lovely team there, and they gave me a sandwich for dinner and connected wires to me. I had oxygen, a needle in each hand one doing fluid, a catheter, a tube draining my tummy, 4 ECG patches stuck under my boob to track my heart, a peg on my finger for oxygen, a blood pressure band on my arm, and a pain button (that I probably used too much more to make me drowsy and sleep than for the pain). I didn't sleep much because ICU isn't quiet, it wasn't exciting but it was interesting, there was another patient needing stuff and the staff just chatting and my blood pressure thing puffing up every hour setting off a beeper when I was too low. 

I forgot my inflatable stockings inflating every 10 seconds because I have had spontaneous DVT (clots) before. It's a lot of things. Glad I took photos to remember it all! 

Anyway the next morning I got to be disconnected from it all, remove one needle and drip and the yucky drain, have a shower sitting down, put the inflatable stockings back on though, got into my own underwear and nightie which felt a lot better, and go to my own room.

The main problem I find is I don't really sleep on my back, and that's the only non painful position after abdominal surgery. But I do my best pretending to sleep on my side by raising the leg end of the bed and turning my head sideways.

I enjoyed the food. Mum visited on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday morning I slept in a chair, saw the Dr, and got permission to go, and in the afternoon I checked out, wheelchaired to the car because so weak. Very sleepy. Wanted to sleep in the car. Slept as soon as I lay down. Slept again.

Felt a lot better on Monday and had 3 visitors and spent most of the day on the couch, and similar on Tuesday, also watching SAS, and then I felt worse, so I slept more on Wednesday morning and arvo, had another nap on Thursday morning, but walked to the nearby cafe with dad for lunch. Finished my course of antibiotics and stopped taking panadol. Friday I removed dressings and wounds are now looking good.

I have been having friends pop in to deliver little things and visit to do a puzzle which has been nice. A sort of hospitality. That has been a blessing.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

September pleasantries and pancakes.

Hello readers! Welcome to the September recap. My September has been basically pleasant. Main downside has been ongoing side effects from zolodex implant, but not as bad as the first month, re sleep and headaches. I've been trying to exercise properly more regularly, because I'm less tired, and my tummy is getting fat, and I'm renewing my motivation to eat low sugar. Many sugar treats were creeping in, so I went to the library and second hand book shops and grabbed all the low inflammation diet books I could find. The one I bought is That Sugar Book and it's been helpful motivation. Sometimes you just need a good doco or book to brainwash you to do something.


September was peak garden beauty. October is starting to wilt already. The poppies were overall a disappointment possibly due to the nutrients in the soil, but maybe they were weird plants. However the sweet peas had a good year, and cornflower also grew, and I've got paper daisies. Enough happening to pick small fragrant bunches for the house.

I anticipate the jasmine should this summer hopefully meet up over the fence in the corner, turning the bottom of the yard into a green box!

I've got seedlings for summer garden, similar to last year with eggplant and zinnia, with a few other experiments, some of which have not germinated.

Office update: farewell to the map cabinet, hello new table and cupboards.

I also bought some plants to line the door ramp, so it's slowly coming together. The important thing is I see this nice table and cupboards when I look out my office now. The rest is out of my eyeline, so I can ignore it.

We also won an award at work, which was a nice buzz for the team. This was the live streamed award ceremony.

Loyal blog-reader Bei-En and I have been doing some zoom+netflix parties. 

One of the main events was my week in Mudgee. There is a new silo art at Merriwa which you should stop at, you can't miss it, it is huge and amazing. I treated myself to a squashed sausage roll with cheese and bacon on it. It was wonderful. THat was probably the start of a week less than ideal eating which had its effect on me but you know, holidays.

Pretty chooks and cute lambs and everything green this time.

My main activity was reading rom-com books, and sometimes walking around the shops in town. Last year I spent heaps of money on things like a nice clock, this year I only bought some hair clips and lemon butter and a brush pen.

I set myself a creative project to do a little painting each day and was very happy with my experiments with the new brush pen.

Our trip to one of the lovely restaurants where I ate too much and really completed the damage to my stomach.

Worth it though.

Oh the hair clips, my big purchase lol, are like rainbow tortoishell and I'm very happy with them. I usually pin my hair to the side with bobby pins. These are happy.

I purchased egg-cups for my boiled-egg-loving friend Denise when she visited. Another grown-up achievement.

She came with a car load of craft projects and I set her up and she taught herself what she needed to do from the shirt pattern with occasional confirmation from me, while I read my book. It was a delightful weekend. 

She took this photo of me.

I've been making a lot of pancakes from my own recipe, it has banana, oats, chia and a lot of healthy things, and I try to eat them without honey on them now but they almost don't need it (but honey makes everything better).

I've been feeling like I should read more, and I think the reason I don't is my discomfort living solo with a silent house. I always like the noise of a podcast, audiobook or TV show, more so when I live alone. However I have a wonderful pile of books I want to read so I need to get used to it. I just much prefer reading with other people around. Anyway I have just started a habit of "quiet reading time", just little bits after work or before bed. Currently I'm reading The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy, borrowed from my pastor who loved it, and I have to say I love the atmosphere and life detail of people who cut wood 150 years ago and worry about who to marry and what will happen when John South dies. Fascinating things like the shoes they wear to walk in the snow (pattens) and how they plant trees and how they have bells on horses so they can hear someone coming along the narrow lanes and not have to reverse their cart and the bells are tuned to the notes of the octave. I recommend it.

And that is about all I can think of to reflect on this month!

Saturday, September 5, 2020

August, winter to spring.

Hello readers! Spring is upon us and I have enjoyed it. 

I had a long weekend visit from E and I have no photos of us doing anything because we had a very relaxed time. We went to op shops, Kmart, Aldi, had lunch with Dad (see below greek pastry thing from Aldi), had a nice walk at Walka Water Works, and chilled at home a lot. Shared each other's online churches.

We tested out the local Vietnamese food truck that is in someone's front yard and I've never been brave enough to visit, it was really good and the owner is lovely so would repurchase, and have converted others as well.

Not much "deep cleaning" this month, but I borrowed dads gurney and cleaned my back step, freshened it up and moved the pots around and got rid of red back spiders.

I also finally got rid of my broken dishwasher! Got it collected by metal recyclers. Now I have a useful place for my bins. That took like 2 years.

This is my first public mask wearing, which was at bunnings.

My work friend A invited me and another colleague over to her place to have Raclette, which is a little indoor BBQ grill that you can put cheese in little pots underneath to melt. So everything gets covered in melted cheese. Neighbour joined us so it was a random mix. Great to see her house finally, it's a "shouse" ie shed house. A good hour drive away though, which is a beautiful drive, but I would be a hermit if I lived an hour away because I'm too lazy to go that far to see anybody. I live in the suburbs for a reason. 

My TV obsession in August was the Malory Towers adaptation on iView. Really well made, simple and authentic and happy. Good nostalgic escapism. I have also of course enjoyed the Bachelor franchise. Not that I like the actual Bachelor, it's the interactions of the rest of the cast and crew, and the recap analysis of the show on podcasts. Is someone a villain or is that just how they are presented by the edit, etc.

Health wise, I have been waking up every night and having a headache every 3 days. I thought I must be dehydrated or something so I bought a new drink bottle with hour markers on it. Finally at the end of the month mum said "what side effects does that implant have?" and lo and behold, headaches, bad sleep, hot flushes, etc etc etc. I think drinking more water helps, the headaches have decreased, but also, just good to know that I have only 2 more months of bad sleep and so on, it's not something I have to try and fix.

Tired of feeling too tired to exercise properly and full of bad habits, I decided to start going for morning walks. I usually jog a few blocks. I walk wed-friday in the morning, evenings on the weekend. Monday and Tuesday are too long to add walks, I need to save my energy. This week I was too tired on Wednesday (I woke up ok but body was achy and brain rebelled at forcing myself), walked on Thursday cos still rather flat, and walked with jogs on Friday. This is me not looking invigorated to be walking at 6.30am.

This is the lovely sunrise the first morning I walked. 

Re obsessions, I want bright clothes. I have, for the sake of comfort, worn a lot of frumpy dull clothes. Glad I bought bright comfy clothes from Birdsnest but I want more. My wardrobe has a lot of grey neutrals, which are practical, professional, soft on the eye, easy to blend and match together. What I suddenly want though is lots of clashing bold colours. I almost spent $300 on Gorman on sale. Then I had a fruGal assessment and decided I should sew something, so T found me a free pattern, and I got some orange cotton/linen on sale at spotlight, and for $40 I achieved a satisfying bright comfy dress. It has received compliments from strangers so this is something I should do more of. I will not reuse the free pattern though, it is somehow both tight and baggy. But now I've tested the style I feel better if I buy a pattern and more expensive fabric.

Finally, I saw Lucy twice! Once I rushed to my parents because she was visiting, and then last weekend I went up with my parents and had the arvo. There was chicken yard construction, and I went home with a kefir mother.

My current obsession is cutting out sugar, cos I know it made me feel better, but now it has crept back in all over the place. Honey here, fundraiser chocolate there, connoisseur because someone visits. Got some library books to motivate me. 

I'm also adding bible reading habits back in, now after work. And then after that I do cello practice. Getting habits right really helps get stuff done. But having energy helps too, it's a vicious cycle in Winter.

My garden is full of flowers, which I will post next month, although the poppies have not amounted to much sadly after all my labour hatching them from seed. Everything else is blooming though so I still have posies and the sweet peas smell gorgeous.