Sunday, 30 October 2011

Weight Watchers recipes...

Made me laugh:

On being up the duff...

Yep - this is what my belly looks like. Actually, it is what it looked like a week ago. It is even larger now...
No wonder people ask me if I am 'with child'.

No wonder I am becoming ENRAGED at a medical system that has kept me waiting so long I am forced to buy maternity clothes, and to stave off queries about the imminent birth of my baby.

I wish I had gone private. Which would have meant a large amount of $$$ but my darling family were going to chip in to help with the money (whether they knew it or not!). My GP said that I wouldn't get any better surgeon in the private system. I think I would almost have settled for 'quicker' rather than 'better', though I would like to believe both would apply...

After my visit to St Vinnie's last Monday I decided to keep the appointment with the Royal Melbourne hospital for Nov 7th and then decide who was better.
But on Friday I got another letter from St Vin's asking me to come in on Nov 7th. Not the 14th like they said last week. I don't know why they want to see me sooner. I worry that it is because there was some unpleasantness in the blood tests I had done last week. At least I thought to get them to copy results to my GP, so she will alert me this week if there is anything I need to panic about.

I am having great difficulties adding photos to here off the little Notebook I am using at The Sweetheart's. I fluked the Fat Lady photo above. Actually, DO NOTE the definite lack of fat lady roll of fat around my hips and back - this bulge is all out the front.

I have been knitting socks this week. I made a pair of rather long socks (well not KNEE socks, whew) for The Sweetheart, in lovely pure wool streaked from bright aqua to navy. He has vowed to never put them into boots, and wants to wear them as house slippers ("liverlips" in our house!).
Clever me! It is really tricky to make a pair of socks. Often the second sock gets left behind, and one sock is generally of little use to most people.

And after I finished his socks yesterday I began a pair for me. His are in 8 ply (DK) on 4mm needles and really were a piece of cake.
My socks are 4 ply on #3 needles. Made with an odd ball of donated 75% bamboo/25% nylon "Happy" yarn made by Wendy. It looks like this. I knitted half a sock and didn't like the way the stripes were turning out. So I unknitted it. (Not just beautiful but clever and discerning also). And reknitted it adding in a turquoise strand of some op-shopped cone of something that seems to be silk. Lovely. And for $2, too...
It has blurred the stripes and looks much softer. Feels much softer, too.

I am ripping through these socks in such a terrifying speed because I found a pattern for socks that are knitted from the toe up. Maybe it is psychological but it makes the knitting go quicker. I love the cunning way you cast on using two needles and winding the yarn over them in a figure 8. And I love that it doesn't seem to be any time at all before you have got enough of the foot knitted that you can put your foot in it and admire what you have created. And demand that every one else also has an admiring look as well.

And the heel is also cunning and easy - much easier it seems than the other socks I have slogged my way through when I started at the top. And then suddenly, I am knitting up around the ankle and up the leg, about to do the ribbed cuff.
Just like that!
With my sock, I added a couple of deliberate lacy holes down near my toes and a line of 2 purls all the way up that I then incorporated into the ribbing.
So, one sock almost finished, and I will get a good start on the mate while watching the Grand Prix from India this evening (yay, go 'our' Mark!!!!).
This is the pattern I am using:

Been inspired to knit lately because I can't NOT sit and do nothing, and I am too fatigued to sew quilts. I have had to put The Sweetheart's big jumper aside as it is now too heavy on my belly now that I have reached the armholes on the front and back. So - socks for me.  Even the lovely Nana Rug I was making a couple of months ago is too heavy to continue working on at the moment.

And Mary of Knitting On Top Of The World has had me enthralled for ages with her fabulous creations.
This wonderful book by Nicky Epstein has been a catalyst for many people to start knitting. However, Mary has taken it one step further and is knitting EVERY article in the book. Have a look at what she has already made (she still has a couple of years of knitting to get to the last page...).
Recently, she had a give-away and I was a winner. So excited to find my name up there in lights last week after such a crapful Monday.

I am really enjoying knitting socks. Like the doll's clothes they are achievable...

Better have a shower.
Ooroo. xxxx

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ah, the Long Liver, or how I fought the health system (didn't win but...)

Maybe the public health system in this state really is fucked. Mostly I have had really good treatment with hospitals - as I mentioned a few posts ago. Albeit they were all emergency admittances (except for the open choly which turned out to be a waste of time and of a perfectly good and well-behaved gall bladder. Umm, sorry about medical talk - an open cholysystectomy is when they take your gall bladder out through a hole large enough to party in, not the nippy little key-hole surgery that almost everyone else I know has had. Except my Mum, but then she had her open choly way back in The Dark Ages...). appointment was for 2 pm yesterday. Miserable and cold raining in Melbourne all grey and gloomy, we had to drive up 12 half floors of the car park before finding a space (so really only the 6th floor but 12 lots of ramps, dizzily spiralling up) that eventually cost us the same as a small car would have for the parking...

And when I got there it was a clinic, filled with HUNDREDS of people all waiting to see either cardio-vascular specialists or the biliary-hep clinics. Not the appointment I thought I had with my very own surgeon who had told my GP that they would be having a conference before they saw me abouot what to do, etc etc.

Surprise, surprise - my baby sister the nurse turned up. She usually lives on the Sunshine Coast - therefore totally out of her natural habitat in the weather sense but totally at home in a hospital being a nurse. And bearing an armful of gorgeous irises, and a box of gourmet cupcakes "for after". Cos, optimist that I am, I fasted from 8 a.m. so I would be ready when they pulled out the horse needle.

And we waited.

And swapped iPhone photos of her cute and clever grandchildren who live tied to her apron strings, and iPad videos of my cute and clever dogs. What a loser I am.

And we waited.

And my baby sis talked nurse talk to the receptionists and found out that because next week is a public holiday (for Melbourne Cup Day which is FOR A HORSE RACE - does that happen anywhere else but in Oz????) they had double booked patients who would otherwise be lining up at the TAB to place their bets next week. Or specialists polishing their Porsches and fascinators to head out to Flemington Racetrack.

And (AND) she found that the doctors were all at a conference and "were taking it in turns to come downstairs so they wouldn't miss important shit going on in conference" (may have misquoted a tiny bit, but not much really).

SO - twice as many patients and half as many doctors. Do the maths. Fucked system, to put it bluntly.
Oh, and they were graciously putting the country patients in first as they knew we had come a long way. But because (probably) my baby sister the nurse had stood up for me they 'forgot' I was from the country.

And we waited more till my baby sister the nurse had to leave.

It was 4.30 before I got into see 'my' surgeon'. Except it wasn't 'MY' surgeon (cos she was busily having cups of coffee and plateloads of cake upstairs) but some other dickwit who hadn't read my history and who had no idea what I was there for except a vague 'must be liver cos this is bilia-hep clinic territory'.

And he reckons they will do keyhole surgery, not neato needle through the ribs and slurp everything out, which however may descend into open surgery because of scar tissue from the previous open choly wound (of perfectly good unused gall bladder - I may have mentioned that before).
But before that he wants MORE bloods done - blood sugars cos I mentioned recent cravings for 3L of fluids/day; and hydatids because I grew up on a farm even though the radiologist's report was that it wasn't hydatiform; and also cancer markers (ditto radiologist noting that the cyst has no blood supply etc).

I know they have to be prepared for all sorts of nasty surprises. But it also means another THREE weeks before I return and get treated like cattle again and then it will be Christmas and I will be ready to explode. Or even exploded.

He says there "MAY BE ANOTHER REASON FOR THE FATIGUE AND THE SWELLING". WTF???? Because it is unusual to have happened so suddenly. Not that I think June to October is 'suddenly' but he thinks so. I did tell him about the size 12 jeans but that didn't mean much to a bloke. Especially one who was full of coffee and cake...

I went around to pathology, and the phlebotomist also thought I was pregnant and got very excited and happy for me. And the only upside of that one - again - is that anyone could possibly think that I am young enough to actually have a baby.

In two weeks I have another appointment with a totally different lot of surgeons at another hospital. After a lengthy text conversation last night with my lovely GP I have decided to keep that one. Because I sure as hell have zilch confidence in this mob of leech farmers.

Now I am going to get out of lovely warm bed and maybe slap a different lot of chemicals on my head to see what will happen to the colour. My baby sister the nurse said it wasn't too orange but it looks to me too much like a bad bleach job. Which indeed it is.

And I will post photos when I find out how to get them from various devices to here via the little notebook I use. Of my bellyful profile and (perhaps) the orange hair.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The next step...

I went op-shopping the other day and bought some maternity pants. My belly is HUGE, is now about 110cm around, bigger than my bust measurement - and bigger than my hips. So uncomfortable, too. Which is why I bought the pudding pants. My back aches, and my muscles are protesting at being stretched, and my entire gut is carrying on at being squashed and pushed aside like it doesn't matter.

According to the radiographer the cyst is pushing right against my aorta and lungs so I run out of breath really quickly. And feel quite sick if I have to pick anything up from the floor. So I just leave it all there till I have a collection of stuff and then crawl around picking it all up in one sicky go. The house looks like crap.

Last week I was in the queue at the library (before I bought the jeans with the jersey panel across the front, too), rubbing my belly high up under my right ribs cos it HURTS. And a woman beside me said "Aw, a little foot in your kidney, eh?". She was probably thinking "Poor (silly) woman, no wonder she looks hagard, having a baby at her age" not realising that I am actually hagard cos I really am OLD...
I told her I was happier with a cyst than if I was pregnant. Another baby, bloody hell, it is all I can do to convince myself that it would be a lovely idea to have another puppy...

This afternoon I am off to see a surgeon at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne. Armed with copies of all the history, referral, DVDs of various scans in case they have mislaid anything.

My GP has been sending me encouraging texts - she is a honey. She said to tell them I am OK with them getting out a needle and stabbing me between the ribs RIGHT NOW.
It would be so very good to walk out of there with size 12 jeans on again.
US size 8, btw.
However I am not taking them with me cos I reckon they almost certainly will not do anything today. Today is just to see if we like each other. No, it isn't - it is for the surgeon to determine how URGENT it all is. It is bloody truly really urgent - on this weekend I am MCing at Maldon Folk Festival, and I need to look gorgeous for being on stage, not having to explain to people I have known since my boys were little blokes that "No, I am not pregnant, it is a cyst" over and over...

SO - just in case they do decide they will aspirate the cyst today I am fasting. Would kill for a cuppa tea... Better get up and have a shower and see what I can do with my hair cos I am an idiot.
I decided to "add some hightlights" the other day with a blonding creme. Never having done it before. Mostly I just add some auburn/goldy colour to make what my (original) colour was shine and glimmer.
Now I have odd coloured orange-ish hair. I look like Pauline Hanson on a good day. Never mind, I can always add that glimmer another day. I will let my hair get over the shock of this, and pretend I meant to do it.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Medical stuff (sorry)

Actually this is the first time I have had what seems to be undue waitings and run-arounds for hospitalisation - all my other illnesses have been seen to pronto. (Admittedly, there isn't a waiting list when one has a cardiac arrest...).

I had an ultrasound yesterday, gynaecological one as I am also doing a bit of bleeding, (lady parts bleedings). My GP said "No waiting on this one", and wrote a referral. I have had a couple of years now of odd Pap test results and two - expensive - visits to a gynaecological-oncologist in Melbourne. VERY expensive.
Go book in for a Pap test right now, please!

The radiologist asked me what all the scars on my belly were about. And also he asked me if I had had abdoplasty - ie tummy tuck!
Owned up to a large number of different surgeries over the years (humungous varicose vein near my uterus that got really big whenever I got pregnant and then squashed off blood supply - I had LOTS of miscarriages back in the day - so that got cut out - in San Fran, how exotic...; and appendix out; another cut for keloid tissue mass, and my gall pladder out (even tho it turned out to be normal, bloody bastard surgeon Campbell still trying to massacre a MacDonald...), more than a few laparoscopies, etc etc.
AND some stretch marks from eleventy one pregnancies, too...

And then detailing all the things that have gone wrong in the last 5 years - meningitis, cardiac arrests from bee stings, that scary bruising thing that turned out to be a genetic bleeding disorder and not leukemia, the Chronic Fatigue stuff, CMV, and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all. Just as well he tried to look at the cyst and really hurt me which gave me an excuse to have a cry. Cos I did have a little self pitying sob. He felt so bad he apologised for hurting me...

I have to go back tomorrow for another ultrasound to see how big the cyst has got, then a double appointment with my lovely GP on Mon to get all the papers, referrals, history etc etc in order to take to a surgeon at St Vincent's the following Monday (24th). We are still keeping the November appointment with the holidaying surgeon at the Royal Melbourne as well. Insurance. Back-up. Bidding war...

My darling S4, the one doing engineering at Uni, came up with the formula for the volume of a ball that is 14 cms in diameter. It is something like 1.7 litres. That is some water balloon in my liver. No wonder I look so pregnant. On Monday, my "girth" was 102cm. That is 40 inches. My waist used to be 28". Less if I sucked my gut in to look good...

Does my blog look any different? It doesn't to me, but it should. I have changed the font, and also the background (cute almost quilt) and the colours, and deleted some of the trimmings. But I am still in bed working on the notebook - maybe it will be fine on the Mac  if I get up.
Time for a snooze. I have worked very hard this morning. Writing this, geez what did you think I was doing????

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Still here...

I am still in the land of the living.
Mostly cos no bastard surgeon has got his Porsche-influenced hands on me. Yet...

My GP did all she could before heading off for two weeks holiday (!) with her Just The Four Boys.
School holidays here. Her boys are aged 15 to 6, so she wont have too much of a holiday I think.
She gave me her mobile number to be able to keep in touch.
Phone answerers at the Rpyal Melbourne were less than helpful.
One clerk snapped at me "We haven't got your referral. And even if we had it then it wont be looked at until next week". To which I replied "How can you be so sure? You haven't even asked my name"...grrrrr.

Two weeks have elapsed by this time.

I finally found a sweet man at Outpatients at the Royal Melbourne Hospital who was so very chatty and informed.
So, Helpful Man was VERY helpful, explaining the whole deal to me. And even telling me that despite my GP talking to the surgeon for 30 minutes he hadn't told her the most important thing. That he was Out Of The Office until the second week in November...

Helpful Man has gone on holiday to the States, first stop San Fran. So I gave him my niece's details (Ula Of The Lovely Bottom has moved there recently with her new Google boss husband. He is an Aussie who got a wonderful job so they got married with three weeks notice and took off to live a different life in a different world!).

My GP arranged for another doctor at her surgery to look after my file, so she sent a further referral to St Vincent's. THEY can see me on October 24...but not before. Too busy. The Other Doctor is in my pocket - I taught her to make quilts about 14 years ago.

Now it is more than THREE weeks since I was told 2to 4 weeks.

Tomorow I see my GP again. She is going to send me off for another CT scan so we can see how fast it is growing. That might mean I am going to be shifted from being a Cat One patient to being Urgent. And I thought Category One was the Top Cat of categories, the creme de la creme. Silly me.
My Best Sister in Tassie said she will rouse the family and pass the hat so I can pay to go private if that will speed up the surgery. (We have done that in the past for another one of us who needed surgery in a hurry but not so much the system thought was urgent).

I hope they think this is Urgent. I look like I am six months pregnant, and my back aches. I can't touch my toes to be able to paint them without weird contortions and grimacings. Blokes carry things for me and open doors when I am down the street. Bastards.

This past week I have been at The Sweetheart's. Is nice - he brings me cups of tea and plates of toast.  And worries about me.

I haven't sewn for months. Once I used to turn out a quilt a month. At least.
I am too tired to sit and sew. I get uncomfortable sitting for any length of time. So, I am knitting!!! In fact, knitting The Sweetheart a jumper. That is a very big committment you realise. This is like getting engaged. I hope he understands this. Might have to drum it in to him (by whispering "Engagment ring, diamonds, Dunklings*" whilst he is sleeping).

Is a pattern from The Knitter - English knitting magazine I have discovered, full of imspiration. I am knitting Suviitak from Issue 14. It is the jumper on the front cover, all full of cables and fancy pants stuff.
I think I have a row where the cables are somewhat truncated. But buggered if I am going to pull it back (besides it is 12 rows back, and it is only a 24 row pattern. Only...).

I am using Patons Jet rather than the Alpaca/cotton the model was knitted with. Jet is a 30% alpaca, 70% wool mix, and quite lovely and soft to work with. It is a blue/greyish variegated, and I am alternating two balls of wool so the colours don't 'block' (see - I am learning proper knitting terminology!!!).

I have almost finished both the fronts and backs to the armhole decrease, knitting them separately. However, I shall knit the two sleeves at the same time. Was always the way Mum did it, and the bestest way to get both sleeves identical.
Lincraft have spring sales on at the mooment - flogging off all their wool cheaply.
I went down the street this week (cos remember I am at The Sweetehart's and he lives in the Big Smoke and has streets full of temptation right near where he lives. Even an Aldi...). And bought heaps of wool.

Probably enough - hopefully enough - to whip up another Sweetheart jumper of "Italiano Alpaca 50" 12 ply and "Italiano Donegal Merino"  8 ply (Lincraft home brands). Neither look like their stated plies, will swatch them (technical term again, I am getting good at this knitting lark) and see what happens. One is dusty blue, the other fawn flecks.

And lots of lovely red "Cashmere Plus" (50% wool, 42% soya (sic), 8% cashmere. So it is called Cashmere Plus because it is cashmere plus optimism I reckon), regal purple "Silk Plus" (ditto, with its 60% wool, 20% bamboo, 20% silk), and red/purple variegated Patons "Foxy" that is 100% Acrylics.

Oddly, Lincraft only had ten balls of each on the shelves so I bought all ten of each.
Am thinking some sort of Fair Isle pattern.  They had Patons 1148 for 20c - reduced from $4.95 so I had to buy that. It has an interesting two coloured snow flake-ish pattern.
Though now that I have seen Patons 1148BJ I would rather that...Isn't this bed jacket alluring? Almost like a REAL cardie.
I should whip it up for hospital visiting hours, instead of the fluffy little thing I bought in the Salvos the other day (I think it is one of those cute things that aspiring ballerinas wear to keep their scrawny ribs from clattering when they are bobbing about).

Clever me, I just learned how to pull a pic off a page and stick it back on to my blog. Could do that more instead of making you all click on links. Though how you can expect to get fit if I do it all for you is beyond me.

Better get dressed and see if I can find a Sunday Age down the street. Is probably time for Japanese Grand Prix on the telly, too. And there is Bathurst 1000 today too. I will find links for them, so you can appreciate what sort of cleft stick this petrol head is in:
Grand Prix with Chesty Bond chinned Mark Webber is HERE
Bathurst 1000 is HERE

I was taught to drive by a King Of The Mountain (Bathurst winner) back when it was Bathurst 500. They didn't make it twice the length, they just went metric. The Sweetheart has raced at Bathurst. He is a clever bugger.

It is heading to 5 pm and I am still in bed (and The Sweetheart is watching car races at Winton - he got up at 0600 and headed off in the rain. He will be tired but happy by the time he gets home).
Best get up, showered, dressed etc...

(*Dunklings is the jeweller shop Dad bought Mum's engagement ring from, always seemed to me to be the epitome of engagement ring shopping)