Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October 17. Day 290. House arrest

Apparently house arrest has nothing to do with being so fixated with re-runs of House that you don't leave the couch. I'm doing what I'm told. Not going to work, resting and eating carbs. Repeat. Today I found the energy to get bored for a bit. I think that's because I'd watched all the House episodes I had recorded. I even considered marking for a second. Exhaustion returned immediately at the thought. My circle of operation extends only as far as Margaret's lounge room. Given I can hear her TV from my bedroom we are not talking very far at all. So the potential for something new and different to photograph is rapidly declining. Tomorrow, however, is a new day. My specialist has referred me to one of his mates for a second opinion. I get to go all the way to St Andrew's. Also I get to benefit from the experience of a former Harley Street specialist (yes, of course I Googled him). Also, I found QUT Library stocks all the House series. Guess where Drama Teen is heading after his classes tomorrow.

Monday, October 16, 2017

October 16. Day 289. Purple Rain

Jacarandas. So beautiful. So terrifying. At this time of the year Brisbane has been painted purple. On wet and windy days like today that results in purple rain and really, really slippery footpaths. But that's not the scary bit. As every student will tell you, the appearance of the jacaranda means final exams are near. As every university lecturer will tell you that means marking season is upon us. And yet other than leaving the house for blood tests, I sit on the couch and watch episode after episode of House. I like House and I am an expert in procrastination but that's not the point. I'm still on sick leave and while there is a awful lot of sleeping going on, I need a way of filling in the waking hours. Strangely, watching medical drama is kind of therapeutic, except for the episodes with exploding livers. Those ones my dodgy liver really doesn't need.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 15. Day 288. Ladies who brunch

It was my baby sister Lisa's birthday today. "Life" means a proper family celebration won't be able to be scheduled until later in the month. However a small something needed to happen. Also, in a rare act of organisation, I actually had a present ahead of time. That sort of rare orgnisation can not go un-noticed. The problem is I'm still not up for very much at all. So even though it's Lisa's birthday, both my mum and Lisa came to me and we went just down the road to one of my favourite brunch places. The dogs came too. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 14. Day 287. The Bear Necessities

Performers Nancy Denis and Candy Bowers
Nancy greets fans after the show
 It's an age-old tactic and often repeated literary device. If you have a difficult and possibly challenging story to tell use animals rather than humans to get your message across. It feels far less preachy to have humans dressed as bears use beats, poetry, hip hop and afropunk to deliver a sermon. Throw in outrageous wigs, too much pink, a slime gun and flouros and you'll have the audience eating up everything you are serving them including some pretty hard core concepts. There's a whole lot going on in One the Bear which we saw at La Boite tonight. ** At one level it's about a bear who became a pop star and forgot her bear origins and mates back in the woods. But it's a story about commodification, cultural appropriation, the taking and exploiting of lands from original inhabitants and the shallow notion of beauty and success. That's a lot to deliver in just over and hour while dressed in pink fur. It's funny, charming and very loud (both in terms of what you see and hear). Will the school groups who will flow through the doors of La Boite next week to see this co production love it? Do bears shit in the woods? The co-production between Campbelltown Arts Centre and Black Honey Company continues at La Boite until October 21.
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**My specialist's words were "have a quiet weekend". Sitting in a theatre seat is no more strenuous than sitting on the couch, right?
Candy B, one of the shows creators as well as a performer, enjoys a laugh after the show
Nancy Denis, Candy Bowers. Production image by Dylan Evans.

Friday, October 13, 2017

October 13. Day 286. Ready to fly

I'm still under house arrest. I am not getting any better at it. I swear even the kookaburras are laughing at me. I did get to leave the house this morning, where leaving the house is defined as driving down the road to drop off a poo sample and for a blood test. That's about as much fun as my body can handle, that and delivering the groceries to Margaret. Coles Click and Collect is a wonderful thing when all I have to do is click on the groceries I want and Drama Teen can drive to the supermarket to collect them. Winning. Mostly I am in bed or on the couch. Exactly why my chosen viewing is true medicine or medical fiction is beyond me. But I never tire of House. And the almost daily calls from my specialist continue. Liver counts are improving but not enough to consider going to work on Monday. He orders a quiet weekend and more blood tests on Monday. We might repeat the ultrasound. I go back to the couch and watch more House and order more groceries and listen to the kookaburras laughing at me.

October 12. Day 285. Say ahhh!

Patient. Adjective: able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

Patient. Noun: a person receiving or registered to receive medical treatment.

Whichever way you look at it, I'm not good at being patient or being a patient. On medical advice, I have to stay home from work, rest and eat carbs. That is just about as good as it gets it terms of things I like to do. I have two dogs more than happy to lie beside me in bed for as long as I choose which today was two hours in the morning and four hours in the afternoon. But doing nothing is all well and good when you choose to do nothing. Doing nothing because it is forced on you sucks. I did what I was told, really only venturing out of the house to visit Margaret. I even missed my second opening night at the theatre in a row. That NEVER happens. I was grumpy. I am grumpy. What gall, I think (although the gall bladder was ruled out as a likely cause early in the week). I try to be patient waiting for answers. I am not patient. At all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 11. Day 284. Don't sh*t where you eat

My father was a man never short of a colourful phrase. One of them he'd pull out when the occasion called for it was: "Don't shit where you eat". On occasions the phrase was varied to end with sleep not eat. Still the message was clear and really had nothing to do with either poo or food. It just means don't mess things up in places where you like to hang out or with people you see regularly. Dad was full of good advice like that. It's the kind of words of wisdom the birds visiting Margaret next door might take to heart. I'd only just opened the windows after bringing Margaret home from the doctor's, when in flew the magpie. He hopped around the floor eating scraps of mince and then did a big, fat poo. Perhaps it's like burping. In my culture it's rude but in other places a big belch after a meal is the sign of your ultimate praise for the chef. It could be that a decent defecation clearing the way for more food is high praise indeed. Or perhaps it is just the sign of a creature who wasn't brought up with a man like my dad...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 10. Day 283. The Big Issue

I've become one of those boring creatures totally devoid of conversations relating to anything other than my health. Not feeling great does that to a person.
They say that food, clothing and shelter are the basic human needs but you could eat caviar, wear Prada and live in Buckingham Palace and still have a miserable life if the health gods were not smiling on you. On the other hand, how much worse would it be dealing with ill health living on the streets and not knowing where your next meal was coming from. In any man's language, I have it pretty good. I have a specialist in rather nice consulting rooms on Wickham Terrace. And today I was his first patient arriving in very good time despite stopping for a chat to Steve the singing, dancing, juggling Big Issue salesman on the way. This was not an appointment I was going to be late for. My dodgy liver enzymes have been messing with my life for quite long enough and Dr Roberts is the man most likely to hold the answers. He's been my go-to man for all things gastro for well over a decade and his specialities also include hepatology in particular drug-induced liver disease. He's just the kind of bloke I need in my court right now. He got on to his mate at the Brisbane Private Hospital and fast tracked an ultra sound of my internal organs. And as I have his mobile and home number we arranged to chat later in the day. Money may not be able to buy you either love nor good health but it opens the right doors to where you might find them. Right now things have been ruled out but nothing ruled in. Frustrating but each thing eliminated is another piece of the puzzle solved and at least I have a nice warm bed to lie in while I await answers.

Monday, October 9, 2017

October 9. Day 282. I'd rather be a pig(eon)

I've said it before and I don't mind repeating it. I'm a pig. I've always related to the song Swing on a Star where it describes a pig in a way that is clearly meant to be derogatory. From the time I was a small child, I always thought "What's so wrong with that?" A pig is an animal with dirt on his face. His shoes are a terrible disgraceHe ain't got no manners when he eats his foodHe's fat and lazy - and extremely rude. But if you don't care a feather or a fig. You may grow up to be a pig. This seems like a perfectly reasonable response to life, in my opinion. There must be something in those first three letters as the pig of the bird world, the pigeon has much the same reputation. The character who runs the kebab shop just down from my office clearly thinks so. He puts out a water bowl for the birds and is so unimpressed with how they treat it he has written a sign to remind them of their manners. I was going to say that this seems to be an odd response given birds can't read but then my dogs have both Twitter and Instagram accounts and they can neither read not write. So the pigeon doesn't give a feather or a fig but at the end of the day, who would you rather be? The pigeon or the statue?


Sunday, October 8, 2017

October 8. Day 281. I'll just duck down to the markets

Fact. I would be perfectly happy if for the rest of my life no checkout operator ever asked me if I had any plans for the weekend. It perplexes me no end why some customer service guru thinks your shopping experience will somehow be enhanced by a random person, who clearly cares not a jot what the answer is, asking how your day has been. So for me recreational shopping often means avoiding the chains and the checkout parrots. Today my mission was birthday present shopping. The males of the family wanted to go into the city so the dogs and I decided to market shop in the Botanic Gardens. (Truthfully, the dogs just wanted an outing and they love giving their regards to the ducks.) So off we went. I knew the stall I wanted (to avoid spoiler alerts I shall not reveal to my sister what product is sold there). The stall keeper did not ask about my day. He asked me if I still liked that thing I bought there last time (he named it. I won't. Again, no spoilers). He said that this time of year must be busy for university lecturers. In short, he remembered me from previous visits and personalised his service. He also gave me $10 off despite the fact I had the asking price out ready to pay him. "I like to look after my regulars," he said. That people is good service. We left happy. The dogs would have been happier had they had duck for lunch. That was about as likely as a checkout operator caring about my day.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October 7. Day 280. Thank you for the music

I will have a quiet weekend, I said. I will stop acting like Wonder Woman and concede that may be my body is trying to tell me something. I didn't listen. I never listen. I mean when push comes to not very hard shove, I love live entertainment and sitting on your bum watching others give it their heart and soul isn't exactly strenuous now is it? So I spent the afternoon in a theatre. I spent the evening in a theatre too. Moderation is not my middle name. The evening was more familiar territory. Drama Teen and I were at The Brisbane Powerhouse for a spot of musical theatre. I've mentioned previously that this year seems to be the year for 21st birthday parties. This afternoon was my third but one with a difference. Redland Rhapsody Chorus celebrated its 21st in the way you would expect of four-part cappella harmony chorus - with a musical extravaganza. My friend Sal invited me to attend, and a girl should never say no to a birthday invite, right? Beautiful music, extravagant costumes and a human birthday cake that exploded with confetti. Yep, the showgirl in me was dead impressed. And there was Dancing Queen. What more can a girl ask for?

Friday, October 6, 2017

October 6. Day 279. Let there be light

Parents shouldn't out live their children. They just shouldn't. But we know it happens and it breaks your heart when you see it. One can only imagine what living the reality would be. When Oliver was just a baby, I was present at the funeral of my cousin's two-year-old. He was claimed by leukemia. His little coffin with his little riding boots and Wiggles' toy on top still haunts me. A few years earlier we'd buried a close family friend who was only in her 20s. The young mum was also claimed by leukemia. There are no words. But there is hope. I'd forgotten about the Light the Night walk at South Bank tonight and stumbled on it by chance. The dogs and I decided to stay. We bought a gold light, one of three lanterns on sale. The gold was in memory of someone, the blue was for supporters of the cause and the white for those who are or have battled leukemia . I found myself talking to one white light holder, seven-year-old Chloe. Actually Chloe came to talk to my dogs. She liked Winkle because Winkle is crazy. I chatted to Chloe's mum Tam about the white lantern and found that the little girl was just seven months old when diagnosed. The family had to move from Tasmania to Melbourne for treatment. One can only imagine the anguish. But Chloe's story is a story of hope and a reason parades like this matter. She's passed the five years cancer-free milestone and is now officially considered cured. If that's not a reason to fund research I don't know what is.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

October 5. Day 278. A sting in the tale

Whoever came up with the marketing line The University for the Real World is an absolute genius. I say this with genuine sincerity and not just because the same institution pays me every fortnight. It's a great tag line because of the very practical nature of our courses. It works equally well in the case of incidents such as mass technical failure. "Good to know system outages happen everywhere in the real world" someone is bound to say. That someone may or may not be me on any given day. There is another occasional downside to the real world connections. It goes like this. We like to use a lot of industry professionals to deliver guest lectures. It keeps it real. It keeps it current. It keeps it relevant. But some times people with real world jobs have to do real world things which means they have to cancel last minute and there's a bit of a scramble. It happens. IT happened today. It's mildly irritating but you take the risks because the rewards are high. After all, while there are days when I think the real world is highly over-rated, the fact is this is where we live, like it or not.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October 4. Day 277. You scratch my back

I can't stop itching. It's driving me crazy. You'll find me rubbing up against a door frame like a cat. You'll find me grabbing kitchen utensils trying to reach bits of my back. If I was a baby I'd have those mitts on me top stop me breaking skin by scratching. I don't have mitts so I have broken skin, all over my body. Apparently my problem is my liver. I knew the constant hangover meets morning sickness was a liver thing. Once before the medication for ulcerative colitis has taken me to this place. But last time I didn't have the itch. This time I have the itch badly. Worst of all because it's from my liver it can't be calmed by other itch remedies such as anti-histamines or lotions. I just have to wait for the liver to decide to function again. I must say this made me insanely jealous of my dogs this afternoon. We went over for our daily Margaret visit. Rumple planted himself beside her chair. "Would you like a scratch?" she said. "Here I'll scratch your back where you can't reach. That's feels good, doesn't it?"
I felt like screaming "when's my turn?".I would have lined up but that would have been weird. If I don't get relief soon I will.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October 3. Day 276. Predictable me

Here's a surprise. I love my dogs. I know, right. And like every proud mamma, I take every opportunity to show them off. I'm well known for it. So a conversation with the groomer today came as no surprise. Indeed, I love the fact that she both knew and embraced my Crazy Dog Lady status.
She said "We've got in a nice supply of Christmas bows so we will be all set for your Christmas photo". That's right. It's only just October and even the groomer knows that it's time to start thinking about the annual Christmas card photo shoot. I know some people (even those on my Christmas card list) consider this insane. I also know they expect it and accept it because it's me and it harms no-one. I also know that my dogs are so exceptional they don't need bows to be wonderful enough to be the face of Christmas at our house. But the girl likes bling so the girl gets bling. Only fair really.

Monday, October 2, 2017

October 2. Day 275. As dry as ...

Here is a question for you.  Is a dingo's donga really dry? Indeed, is dryness a thing associated with the intimate regions of a nun. Aussie slang might be better saying "as dry as Susan's back yard". This is not at all colourful but I can attest to the accuracy of the saying. It's dry as.  Brisbane is as dry as. Finally some rain today. There may well be small children running around doing Chicken Little impressions thinking the sky is falling they would be so unfamiliar with wet stuff leaking from the sky. Blessed relief it may be but right now we'd need a lot more to turn my back yard into something living. For now all I have is the photos to prove we did have this thing called rain. Just as well I love a sunburned country.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October 1. Day 274. A tale of two cities

Sydney from the air as we left

 Frankly, I wouldn't believe me either. The story of the past week defies credibility and yet it is true. Monday morning I cancelled a training session at work because I was dying. Monday afternoon, I was in the ABC Radio studios. The pattern continued all week dying in the morning. Brisbane festival events at night. When I had to cancel the second training session on Friday, I looked at the email I was sending explaining my symptoms and realised I had just described either a vile hangover or morning sickness. I have neither. But writing it down made me remember another time about a decade ago when the same thing happened. I clearly recall running out of Myer at Chermside to vomit in the carpark. A resulting blood test found I had the liver function of an alcoholic due to new medication for Ulcerative Colitis. It was far worse in the morning because that's when I drug myself. Changing to another similar drug and fiddling with does fixed the problem but I need regular blood tests to monitor my liver function. I "may" be a bit overdue for a blood test. Well I was until Friday. I won't get the results until Tuesday but liver enzymes or bad reflux (also far worse in the morning) are on the shortlist of possibilities, according to my GP. I have started reflux medication and was prescribed anti nausea-medication to get through the morning flights to and from Sydney. That stuff is amazing. So while I know few will believe me, I swear I really was too sick to get out of bed for training but well enough or medicated enough to do the other stuff. At least I now I'm close to knowing what I'm dealing with and can act appropriately. It had better work.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 30. Day 273. My Cross to Bear

I'm in Kings Cross. This is crazy stuff for a girl too sick to get out of bed any morning this week. It is true that in the afternoons and evenings I've been far more productive and girls of the night are drawn to the lights of the Cross but .... The fact is, I made these bookings an eons ago and this being Grand Final Weekend, prices were at a premium. Also I promised. A visit to the doctor and blood tests yesterday will hopefully get to the bottom of what's going on. In the meantime, he prescribed awesome anti nausea wafers. They were enough to get me through the hours from bed in Brisbane to bed in Sydney. Drama Teen met his mate and I slept before walking the streets of the Cross. You can count on a lot of colourful characters in the Cross. The main game, however, is Sondheim's musical Assassins at Hayes Theatre tonight. I have more drugs .... I am staying in Kings Cross after all.