Friday, December 30, 2011

Every Dinosaur Poos!

With a sick Lil' Edges on my hands I thought I'd try to brighten her up with some Nick Jr. To my complete amusement this is what was on:

Quality children's programming.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

baby body bitchiness

It feels like I'm being bombarded of late by blogs, articles and essays written by 'real women' on their post-baby bodies. The main theme of these articles seems to be Miranda Kerr, Scary Spice, Mariah Carey and the like are doing a dis-service to the collective womanhood by looking great after having babies.

Apparently real woman gain weight during pregnancy and they don't have the time or the inclination to lose it after the birth of their babies. They're too busy looking after said babies and even if they wanted to lose the weight right away, they couldn't because it's just not that easy.

The thing that these articles all have in common is that the authors are guilty of doing the very thing they're bitching about. "I'm being criticised because of the way my body looks after having a baby" and then in the same breath they criticise women who look great or take steps to get back into shape after having a baby.

Shame on you ladies. You can't have it both ways. Either you accept that 'real woman' not only have stretched out belly's, dimpled thighs and saggy boobs but can also have flat stomachs, smooth skin and perky breasts and stop putting them down. Or you don't, in which case, cop the criticism you're so happy to dish out at others with good graces. It's hypocritical at best and just plain bitchy at worst.

I'm just a little bit over it all. The only people who give a shit about post baby bodies are women who've had babies and most of the time, its those women who are unhappy with themselves who are the most critical. Celebrities aren't to blame for women feeling shit about themselves. Women do it all on their own, after all who is it thats buying women's magazines in the first place?

I could assume that you gained weight during your pregnancy because you sat on your arse eating pizza and potato chips for nine months but I'd probably be wrong, so why is it ok for you to assume that a woman who doesn't gain weight doesn't eat properly? Or that she's doing crunches 10 minutes after giving birth?

So, you don't look like you used to and your body doesn't look like Miranda Kerr's. Get over it. It doesn't give you licence to trash her and other women who don't fit neatly into the little box you've crafted as normal to make yourself feel good. The only dis-service being done to the collective womanhood, is the ongoing need women have to put other women down who are not like them.

Just stop it. 'Real Women' come in all shapes and sizes, not just yours. It's not a war with the skinnies versus the fatties. Slagging off people who appear to have "bounced back easily" right after birth says more about you than it does them. It's only an issue because YOU make it an issue.

Acceptance goes both ways.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Out of whack

Some things are disproportionally painful for the injury to which they belong. The funny bone is an obvious one or when you accidentally brush a finger against the hot roasting pan. Todays CRI is a perfect example. (Couch related injury. See, it happens. It's a dangerous lifestyle I lead this not working thing... but I digress...).

This afternoon while casually sitting on the couch trying to wrangle Lil' Edges who has turned into a wriggling squirming fiddling muppet over night, I caught the edge of my fingernail on something which tore it and then in the course of my sudden jerking movement, I proceeded to stab myself under the fingernail WITH MY OWN TORN FINGERNAIL.

"Oh fudge, you melon farming biscuit of an owie*"I exclaimed, grabbing the baby in a football hold with my good hand and running like mad for the bathroom to both clean up the blood and somehow remove the offending fingernail from it's excruciating location. 

Why should a fingernail injury hurt so much? If pain serves to warn you of the potential harm of an injury, to get you to stop doing whatever it is that's injuring you, why then does having something shoved under a fingernail make you want to hack your own arm off with a meat cleaver? Fingernails aren't really that important. Not in the grand scheme of things. 

Get back here cat!
Tooth pain is another example of disproportion. Can you imagine being a caveman with no colgate or dental floss or water fluoridation (or even dentists for that matter) to protect your teeth and gums? What did those poor bastards do when they inevitably cracked a tooth on a prehistoric chicken wing? It's my belief that the ridiculous amount of dental pain probably led them to jump in front of an oncoming Sabertooth shouting "Eat me, for the love of Mergatroid, just fucking eat me."

I broke a toe (and a wrist and once a bone in my foot) none of these really rated very high on the pain scale. The toe went a lovely shade of purple and throbbed a bit but mostly, as long as I didn't stub it on any furniture it wasn't too bad. I never once contemplated a home amputation or knocking myself unconscious with a heavy based frying pan. Surely a broken bone trumps a broken fingernail? Shouldn't my body be more concerned with things that may actually be problematic should I need to make a hasty getaway from an emerging predator? 

Why does a minor burn, so minor that it barely even tints the skin pink, need to throb for hours? Yes the pan is hot, I get it nervous system, you can stop sending the pain signals and release the endorphins. And yes, this ice cream is cold, thanks for alerting me via brain freeze before I wound up with frostbite in my throat. On a similar note, thank you teeth for that sharp nerve sensation when I eat something really sweet, God forbid I die in a horrible Pavlova incident.

Seriously, unless the injury requires actual medical attention (and no running something under cold water or putting a Flintstone ouch-aid on it doesn't count), then I don't want to know about it. If tearing a fingernail at the quick is a 1 on the serious injury scale and being decapitated by a low flying helicopter is a 10, then I don't want to be bothered for anything less than a 3, say a gash requiring at least 6 stitches. 

Harden the fuck up, nervous system.

*Or words to that effect

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

In Memoriam

A year ago today my mum died. While she had been unwell, I certainly didn't expect her to die on that particular sunny Saturday afternoon and I miss her terribly. I am saddened that she missed the arrival of her first grandchild by a mere three months and I feel her absence every time Lil' Edges reaches a new milestone. Below is the eulogy I wrote for her funeral.


One of the earliest memories I have of my mum is of her dancing around in the kitchen to Donna Summer while she cooked. With the music turned up loud, she twirled around singing and adding ingredients to whatever dish she was creating while I clapped and giggled at the show. Later, when I was a little older, mum would let me help and we soon had our own special chocolate slice recipe that we always made together. Mum had a number of brilliant dishes, her pasta sauce, her wine trifle, her coleslaw to name just a few but she hated cooking. In fact I’m pretty sure that she taught my dad to cook the Sunday roast just so she wouldn’t have to!

From Mum I learned to have fun doing chores. I learned that music can transform the mundane into the extraordinary.

Mum was always trying new things. She was creative and talented. At one point she developed a taste for renovating Antiques. She dragged us all over the countryside looking for bargains. One time, Mum was rummaging around in what appeared to be a pile of rubble. Eventually she emerged triumphantly with four dusty pieces of broken wood. “Look at this!” She exclaimed. Dad and I exchanged confused glances before turning back to haggle with the storeowner over the price of an acoustic guitar. Three weeks later Mum emerged from the garage with a beautifully crafted antique picture frame, which now houses their wedding photo. We were amazed. Somehow she always managed to find magnificent pieces hidden in an obscure corner covered in dust.

From Mum I learned to look into things more deeply. I learned to try new things and to persevere when things seem hopeless.

Mum was fiercely independent and encouraged me to get my driver’s license as soon as I was able. We were driving home from Shepparton one afternoon soon after I got my learner’s permit, with me behind the wheel and mum in the passenger seat. Mum had been a bit nervous about letting me drive but as I pulled into our street she relaxed and started flicking through a magazine. Although I slowed right down as I pulled into the driveway, I forgot to apply the brake and crashed her beloved car into the gate. We peeled the mangled gate off the front of the car to survey the damage. The left indicator was hanging about three inches off the bumper blinking away. “Hey, at least the indicator still works.” I offered. Mum was not impressed.

From Mum I learned to be self-reliant. I learned to find a way to get where I wanted to go.

Mum was excited about becoming a grandmother. On the night before mum passed away, for no reason in particular, we watched the ultrasound dvd. She was captivated by the detailed images of her grandchild moving about.

Mum, although you didn’t get to meet your first grandchild in person, you can rest assured that she will know you and learn all the wonderful things that made you who you were. 

You are in our hearts, always. 

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Becoming Complacent

In a recent conversation with a woman I am just getting to know I mentioned in passing that I had this transfusion thing next week and wouldn't be able to do anything on that day. She looked horrified, then deeply concerned as I explained what it was and how it worked. I realised that going into hospital every 8 weeks for a transfusion is not normal to most people.

This woman patted me on the hand by way of offering support? condolences? sympathy? and stated that needles were horrible and she couldn't imagine anything worse than having to have one stuck in your arm for a whole day every two months. Then she actually shuddered at the thought.

I see it a bit differently.

Not too long ago I was about as sick as I’ve ever been. I remember telephoning my specialist every day in tears, begging him to admit me (which he did after five days). The surgery I'd had a year earlier had made things worse instead of better. I was in more pain than I ever though possible and could not go more than 20 minutes without needing a toilet including having to get up 6 or 7 times a night. 

After two days of observation, the doctors were all in agreement. Medication wouldn’t work. There were too many ulcers, fissures and strictures and they were too widespread to operate. The only solution: Colostomy bag.

I cried for a week. I pleaded. Anything, absolutely anything but THAT

Eventually after three weeks in hospital on high doses of steroids, daily injections, humiliating and excruciating enemas, a couple of strictoplasty procedures and a whole lot of begging on my behalf, they decided to try Infliximab. They weren’t really convinced it would work since none of the other similar class drugs had worked. I guess they just took pity on the poor sad creature who was desperately clutching at straws.

“There’s every reason to believe this will work.” I must have uttered that phrase 60 times a day to everyone who would listen, oblivious to the doubtful looks and words of caution about getting my hopes up. It was too late for that, they were already way the hell up there, it was going to work. It just had to. And work it did. Infliximab seemed to work from the first transfusion. Sometimes I wonder if will power and pure determination is enough to make medications do their thing.

Fast forward to today and I am probably as close to remission as I'll ever get. There's been no talk of colostomy bags or surgery. So to me, these transfusions are far from something horrible or a reminder that I have an illness. Infliximab saved my life and I am very lucky to have these transfusions every 8 weeks.

Every time I have the transfusion I’m reminded of where I was and how far I’ve come. I’m reminded of how bad things have been and that they can easily be that bad again and I’m thankful that, in this moment, I’m healthy. It reminds me that I am alive and well and that things are good and I come away from it feeling revitalised. 

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Monday, November 7, 2011


By far the worst part of having Crohn's is the effect the disease, the medications and the bodies poor ability to absorb nutrients has on teeth. Mine are fucked, totally and irreversibly. I could brush them 16 times a day and drink a glass of fluoride for breakfast and it wouldn't make a lick of difference.

Today I went back to the dentist. I have this tooth which has had a root canal and a crown on top. It hurts, has done for more than two years now. I've seen more dentists that I can actually recall and they're all about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.

"My tooth hurts. It throbs. It hurts to touch it. Sometimes it's loose other times it feels like it swollen." I say to the dentist. The dentist considers this for a moment and then proceeds to pick up one of his implements of torture and bash the tooth repeatedly with it. 

"Does that hurt?" 

No, it feels like butterflies floating through a sunny meadow. What the fuck? Yes it fucking hurts.

Seriously, what is with dentists?

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Food for thought

For a Crohn's blog, I haven't really talked about Crohn's much in the last few months. Mostly because there was nothing to say. Until yesterday, when the shit hit the fan. My thoughts are a little all over the place due to fatigue and pain associated with a partial blockage so I may divert on a few tangents before arriving at my point, if I arrive there at all. Bear with me.

I've spent a lifetime trying to make sense of the intricate relationship between diet, food, body image, self-esteem, exercise, health and illness. Reconciling what you want (cake, being 'skinny', lounging around) with what you need (balanced diet, healthy body, exercise) knowing that they're almost never complimentary. It's a complex balancing act even before you throw in complications like health conditions, allergies or intolerance's and preconditioned ideas. I'll probably spend the rest of my life trying, in vain, to wrap my head around it.

As a kid I had Asthma. I learnt very early on to associate physical exercise with pain, discomfort and fear since every time I exerted myself I wound up struggling to breathe for hours. Despite the Asthma now long gone, those early lessons are so well ingrained that as an adult I have to consciously and deliberately work at reprogramming my thinking. I almost always choose the path of least exertion.

The party line in the medical world consists of sentiments to the tune of: The cause of IBD is unknown and there is no evidence that dietary factors play a role. No role at all, although "What have you eaten?" is among the first questions medical staff ask in Emergency after a blockage or extreme flare-up and they always wind up referring to a dietician.

Everything you think you know about a healthy lifestyle doesn't apply when you have Crohn's Disease. Fresh fruit, green leafy vegetables, high fibre cereals, three squares a day, these things will kill you or at least make life pretty intolerable. Walking stimulates the bowel and is something you really want to avoid during a flare-up. It's a topsy turvy world where the right thing is all wrong and the wrong thing is ok.

Now that she has started solids, I have to somehow teach Lil' Edges about healthy eating and I am the least qualified person to do this. Aware that she's more likely to take in what she see's rather than what she's told, I've been attempting to role model a more healthy style of eating. Consuming fresh fruit with her in the morning seemed ok for a week or so until the tell tale stomach pain arrived Saturday night.

Sometimes you eat something and you know all about it before you've even put down the fork. It's that way for me with full fat milk. Other times the offending food is a lot more cunning. Fruit for example, eat a peeled apple once, even twice and I'll probably get away with it. Everyday for a week and I find myself here in doubled over town. Then there is food that will be fine this time and completely kick my arse the next time, like eggs or cheese. Other things, which by all rights, should be completely off limits like chocolate and coffe I have no issues with.

There's other stuff that comes from not getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Multiple bowel resections have left me perpetually low in iron and B12. No amount of eating red meat or oily fish will ever replenish the stores and it leaves me with regular headaches and tiredness and difficulty with concentration.

Because none of the normal rules apply and 'diet plays no role' there's no guide to managing Crohn's Disease. Sure, there are books about it and there are individuals stories about their experience but at the end of the day we each have to figure out our own disease management ourselves mostly by trial an error. I learnt most of my lessons the hard way. This week I was reminded that I am not normal and my system will never be normal no matter how much I think I am in remission.

I am (mostly) ok with that.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Driving like an idiot

Last week, someone found my blog using the search term "TatteredEdges Rage" (First 4 entries in google, thank-you very much!) This blog is dedicated to you, whoever you are.

I got road raged today. I was paralel parked and about to leave. I put the indicator on and turned my steering wheel preparing to go, once the oncoming traffic provided a sufficient enough break in the flow to pull out. Enter Bogan Billy Bob, in his rusted out ute complete with bullbar, roof mounted spotlights and a Yosemite Sam gun totin' bumper sticker.

Somehow I suspect my desire to pull out is not his biggest problem.

He swings his wannabe monster truck out into the other lane, narrowly missing an oncoming car, all while staring at me, yelling something I couldn't hear but can only guess was colourfully littered with F and B words and making obscene gestures. Now bear in mind that I haven't actually moved, much less pulled out in front of him. I laughed and then realised this would probably just piss him off more so I tried to pull a straight face.

After slowing down to get a couple more hand gestures in, he planted his foot and sped off around the corner through an amber light in which pedestrians had started to cross. Clearly, it's my driving that's the problem here.

I'm not above a bit of road rage. I've been known to rant and rave within the confines of my own car. I've never tried to intimidate or physically attack someone (I'm not a nutcase). I'd even go so far as to say that ranting out loud in the aftermath of a near-miss with a fuckwit could be a good way to release pent up frustration.

So just in case you happen to be driving in my neighbourhood, here are some things you should reconsider because they really annoy the crap out of me. 

1. Slowing down to a crawl and swerving into the gutter/bike lane to go over a speed bumps. Why do people do this? The speed bump is just as high at the edge. Slowing down to a snails pace isn't going to make the bump any less bumpy. Just drive straight, stay in your lane and do 20. Your car can handle it, trust me.

2. Swinging out into the other lane before making a 90 degree turn. This is dangerous and unnecessary. Your car, even if it's a complete shit heap, can make that left hand turn without pulling into the right lane first so knock it off.

3. Not using your indicators. Seriously, am I supposed to intuitively know where you're going or why you've suddenly slowed down? Indicators aren't there for decoration and they're not optional. It's not like turning them on is a vigorous workout, you can activate the magic flashing light with just the flick of a finger. Combine this with number two and my head almost explodes!

4. Driving up my arse because you want me to go faster. Newsflash, that just makes me slow down and flashing your lights at me I interpret as "Thanks for slowing down and being awesome". If the speed limit is 50, I'm going to do 50 not 90. Remember the 'wipe off 5' and 'arrive alive' TAC campaigns? well they totally worked on me. At the very least, you should thank me for saving you demerit points.

What turns you into a raving lunatic on the roads?

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Baby Expo

I've refrained a lot from talking about my parenting choices on this blog, mostly because (and I didn't know this until after I found myself pregnant) everything, and I mean EVERYTHING baby related is controversial. It seems that there are at least two camps on every possible topic, sometimes more, and each side think the other is doing untold physical, psychological and emotional damage to their children by doing whatever it is that they're doing.

It's insane. Don't even go near the topics of formula feeding, co-sleeping, baby training or controlled crying unless you've got some kind of protective head gear. I've seen women almost come to blows over this stuff. Now, I'll admit I have some opinions about how I will raise Lil' Edges and some pretty definite ideas around things such as child restraints/extended rear facing for example but I'm not a psycho. To each, their own. I don't see the point of getting all fired up in a no-win argument since, at the end of the day, we're all just doing whatever works within our respective families. 

So why then, did I want to go to the baby expo, a gathering of single minded fanatics ready to convert or condemn everyone in their sights? I can sum it up in one word: Discounts. Massive fucking discounts. Some of these retailers offer up to 50% off their stuff. 

I went last year. I was only a few months pregnant at the time with absolutely no idea what I was doing, what I needed or even where to start. I wound up feeling so overwhelmed that at the end of that day, I didn't so much as make my way towards the exit, as hastily retreat to the safety of my car and sob uncontrollably for 15 minutes. Fun times.

This time around things are different. With a grand total of 6 months parenting experience under my belt, I knew stuff now. I decided to have another crack at it, but this time, I had a plan. I knew what I needed and what I wanted more information on. I was only going to check out those stalls, the rest I would just pass by. A simple plan really. What could possibly go wrong? Apparently not taking every flyer, brochure and free sample offered to you at these things is like showing up for dinner at your aunt's place and telling her that her food's not fit for the dog. 

A guy shoved a flyer into my hand claiming they had the safest (they weren't) and highest rated (nope) rear facing child restraints on the market. I scoffed and screwed it up. I have bored the pants of my poor partner about the inadequacies of the Australian standards and rear facing. In fact, I may or may not have been bending his ear about it on the way in to the expo this morning.  
"Do you want to go over there and have an argument with them about car seat standards?" Mr Edges teased. Er...(thinking about it) no, let's keep moving.

Another guy tried to give me a brochure on disposable nappies. I waved him away. He chased me and argued with me even after I told him I use cloth nappies. In the end he physically shoved the brochure in my hand and told me to use their online store claiming they were the cheapest. Not cheaper than Coles though.  

A woman selling a baby toy I despise approached me, I put my hand up and said no thanks. She muttered something under her breath as she walked away. Lil' Edges is 6 months old, how does she know we don't already have one? Why assume it's political? Although, I have to admit there was one stall holder who tried to give me something and "Oh fuck no." escaped from my mouth before I could even stop it. 

Some stuff was just not relevant. Pre-natal vitamins, baby swaddles and cord blood banking don't apply when your munchkin's already done a half lap around the sun and yet they still seemed offended when we walked right by. 

And then there is the absolute shit like the overpriced chocolate bar in the personalised wrapper with your baby's name and birthday on it. You either eat the chocolate and are left with something you could have printed out yourself for free or you save the chocolate bar and end up with a mouldy keepsake that gets devoured by ants. Seriously, what is the point?

but I digress... 

I have to question how useful shoving fistfuls of paper at people really is? Last year I came home with reams and reams of flyers on every piece of crap you can imagine. I tried to sift through at home but honestly most of it ended up in the bin unlooked at. One of the things I wanted more information about today, was eczema treatments. One stall just shoved an envelope of samples in my hand and moved on to the next person while another stall holder had a chat with us about Lil' Edges skin, gave me some cream to try on her arm and provided some useful tips. I ended up buying a tube of their cream while the envelope of free samples sits unopened on the table.  

At any rate, I think my baby expo days are over. Next time I want free information and a discount I'll just google it. That noise you can hear is Mr Edges jumping for joy at this news.

* I understand the images to be from this book.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-changes (Bank fees and Bullshit Part 2)

There are times in my life when I just want to stand in the middle of a paddock and scream out at the heavens, at the top of my lungs "What the fuck?". I doubt the universe would provide any clarity, but I'm sure it'd make me feel better. I just want to close my accounts at the bank. It's not like I am a multi-millionaire with a large portfolio of debentures, term deposits and stock options. I have two accounts, one that hadn't been used in almost two months, and neither with very much money in them.

After walking out of the bank (OldBank) last Friday, I went to the bank (NewBank) with which we have our mortgage. Fired up by my experience at OldBank, the first thing I said to the accounts manager after he ushered me into the little cubicle was "I want to open an account but I'm not paying any bank fees. We have our mortgage with you so you're already getting a good 2 grand a month in interest. I think that's enough don't you?"

"Of course." The accounts manager smiled. I sat silent for a moment, he meant, of course there will be fees, right? Possibly sensing my confusion, no doubt evidenced by a stupefied look on my face, he added "There will be absolutely no fees on this account, other than the other ATM fee, I can't do anything about that one."

"Really?" I said. "I kind of expected a bit more of a fight." He laughed. "No, we value our customers. We aim to keep them happy." Then he offered to get me a cappuccino. Astounded, I took a moment, before double checking that I was actually in the right place. "This is NewBank right?" The accounts manager laughed even harder. He asked me which bank I'd been banking with and I explained to him what had just happened at OldBank. He was horrified. He said they get a lot of people who have left OldBank.

I spent the weekend feeling infuriated and annoyed. What is OldBanks problem? Dealing with them had become so hard and generally unpleasant, so much so, that I actively avoided going into the branch as much as possible. I realised that OldBank treated me like it was doing me a favour by letting me bank with them. Now that I had experienced a little of what NewBank was offering, the uncordial environment of OldBank was even more unsettling.

I wish money wasn't important and that by extension the bank you keep it in wouldn't be important either but money is important (especially if you're a fan of material things like food, clothing, shelter, m&m's), and I don't earn enough of it to be ok with a bank casually taking a good chunk of it every month all while treating me like I'm it's bitch.

I called OldBanks customer service line several times. The first person I spoke to kept repeating "You need to go into a branch", another got really fired up insisting I lodge a formal complaint, in fact he would do it for me if I didn't. Sigh.

It wasn't until today that I was able to clarify the process for closing an account via the customer service line and then actually close the account at a different branch. The experience today wasn't much better than the last, which makes me think that this style of 'customer service' is a symptom of OldBanks  general business philosophy moreso than one isolated employees mentality. I find that sad.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Deleted diaries and dodgy discussions

Sometime ago (possibly years, but who’s counting) I had a blog on 501 Words. I’d fallen out of the habit of writing and thought writing 501 words a day on whatever random word they threw at me might be a good way to not only get back my mojo but improve the quality and quantity of stuff I pen. The fact that my writing on here remains sporadic at best and of questionable quality would indicate just how well that worked out. Anyway, I discovered a month or so ago those 501 words blogs weren’t really working out for anyone and the owner shut it down.

Without warning.

Now, since the dawn of the interwebs, I’ve been told to be careful about what I put out there because once you put something on the internet IT’S THERE FOREVER! With this in mind, I didn’t bother to back it up or keep copies of my written pieces. There was no need.


It seems that not everything you put on the Internet is actually there forever. Pictures of the time you were caught dancing on a tabletop, drunk, with your boobs hanging out at Aunty Silvia’s 50th and ranty tweets about the dodgy real estate agent you rent through are there forever but blogs, meh, they’re not important. Deleted.

I think I’d written about 50 or so vignettes, I was able to recover about seven from Google’s cached pages. Seven. I’m pretty sure nothing I wrote over at 501 was a master… (wait, they’re gone forever so you’ll never know if they were the next War and Peace) … I’ve been robbed of a Nobel Prize.

Yeah ok, let's not get carried away. So what’s the lesson here? Back shit up? Quite possibly should be although a better question might be: What will I actually take away from this? Shit doesn't stay online forever go ahead and post whatever you want? Probably. (FYI: I wouldn't hold your breath waiting on those aforementioned pics, I don't have an Aunt Silvia).

because I just KNOW you’re desperate to read a sample of my 501 brilliance. Here’s one of the recovered pieces. The word of the day was Articulate.

06 May 2010

Recently I was witness to the most infuriating “who’s on first” type conversation between my mother and one of her nurses. My mother was admitted to hospital where she underwent an angiogram, among other tests. Following the angiogram, she had to lie still for 7 hours so the area where they cut into the artery would clot properly and heal over. If you move too soon afterwards, you run the risk of blowing the clot and bleeding out.

For whatever reason, this hadn’t been explained clearly to my mum. Unfortunately, they had allowed my mum to eat her lunch and drink a cup of tea during this 7 hour wait. She had to lie flat on her back, so how she managed to eat an entire meal and drink a hot cup of tea I’m not entirely clear on, but she did. I arrived about an hour after she’d finished her lunch, when, as you might imagine, nature was calling. My mother called a nurse so that she could… well go. The nurse smiled and nodded as my mother explained that she had to go. The nurse looked puzzled and informed her that she couldn’t go, she was staying overnight.

 “No. I need to go.” My mum said.

 “Uh-huh. You have to stay.” The Nurse replied politely.

 “I’m not talking about leaving.” My mum answered.

 “Oh good. Why do you want to go?” The nurse asked kind of puzzled.

 “Because of the tea.” My mum stated.

 “You can have tea here.” The nurse smiled.

 “I’ve had tea. That’s why I need to go.” At this point my mother was pulling the blankets off her, preparing to get up.

 “I think they bring the tea around in the evening.” The nurse said, checking her watch and then promptly pulling the blankets back up over my mum.

 “No, just before.” My mum had on her irritated voice now. As her daughter, I knew it well.

 “It’s still a little while off.” The nurse said, checking her watch again.

 “What is?” Mum had stopped struggling with the blankets.

 “Afternoon tea.” The nurse smiled triumphantly.

 “I’ve already had tea.” the words were coming out slowly and purposefully, as though she were talking to a child.

 “Ok then, so you’re all set.” If the nurse was aware of my mother’s growing irritation, she did not show it.

 “No, I need to go.” My brother arrived at some point during this exchange and he, like myself, stood by in a kind of stunned silence and mild amusement. My mother and the nurse went on like this for another 10 or so minutes, when a male nurse poked his head in, presumably to see what all the commotion was about.

 “For Christ sake, get out of the bloody way.” My mum said through clenched teeth. “I need to go now”

 “Oh no, ma’am” he said with great concern. “You can’t leave.” He nodded in agreement with the first nurse. It was at this point I realised that if I didn’t intervene they might actually come to blows. I was able to resolve the whole misunderstanding by saying she needs to go to the toilet. If only Abbot had just said “The guys name is Who.”


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Friday, September 30, 2011

Bank fees and bullshit

About a month ago while making a fairly routine transaction via phone banking I was informed by the customer service representative that they were now using a security token to increase the security of all accounts. I could purchase the token for the very low 'introductory' price of $20.

Er, no thanks. A security token, in my opinion, adds needlessly complicated additional steps without really adding all that much security, since it's a physical device that can be just as easily stolen as my cards, pin number or account details.

It was at this point I was informed that the use of the security token was now compulsory on all accounts and I had 30 days to purchase one at the low, introductory price of $20 or my accounts would no longer have access to the 'pay anyone' feature or the 'bpay' feature. Essentially, my money would be held hostage unless I physically withdrew it from an ATM or branch. On top of this, the security token fee would be increased to $49.95.

I was instantly outraged. No matter which way you look at it, it's another bank fee. I already pay a monthly service fee, ATM fees, excess transaction fees, card fees, EFTPOS fees, in-branch withdrawal fees, a passbook fee, direct debit fees, in-branch transfer fees, phone banking fees. I'm think, but I may have to double check, I also get charged a fee for walking past the bank branch or for thinking about making a transaction. This blog is probably costing me $8.50.

The token was the last straw. I pointed out to the customer service representative that at the rate they are charging me fees I won't have any money left to protect.

"We do offer a rebate to offset some fees. Would you like me to see if you are eligible?" This actually flawed me. It seems the bank is charging so many fees that many of their customers can't actually afford them and go into overdraft (which of course attracts a fee) so they offset that in some cases.

"How about instead of offering a rebate, you just charge less fees?" I said. "This security token is just another bank fee."

"Well we are selling it to you at cost." She said and I took a deep breath.

"I guess you'd like me to thank you, a major bank who's boasted record profits in the last financial year, for not making additional profit off what is largely an unnecessary process you've forced on me." There was silence. "If the bank feels that this level of security is necessary to protect it's customers than the bank needs to absorb that cost or else implement a more cost effective system."

"I understand your concerns but we can't do that." At the end of this conversation we were at a stalemate. The bank refused to waive the fee and I refused to pay it. I made several more telephone calls and emails all with pretty much the same result. They understood my concerns, they just didn't care.

After pissing and moaning about it for 27 of the 30 days they'd given me, I went into the branch today to close my accounts and move on to greener (and hopefully cheaper) pastures. The teller excused herself when I told her I wanted to close up my accounts and returned with the branch manager.

Now they cared.

The branch manager wanted to have a deep and meaningful discussion about why I was leaving. I told him simply "You've pushed me away with all the bank fees and this ridiculous security token is the last straw. As of next week I won't be able to pay my mortgage unless I pay a $20 fee. So I'm done with this bank."

He put on his concerned face and started making all kinds of helpful suggestions about direct debiting my mortgage. I pointed out that also draws a fee. Yes but it's a lower fee. Had I considered switching my mortgage to them? What if, instead of doing online bank transfers I withdrew more money at the ATM to have less transactions and therefore less fees. He was full of all kinds of helpful suggestions, but rather selfishly, I like to manage my finances around what's convenient for me, not what's convenient for the bank.

"How about you just close my accounts like I asked?"

"Well now, I'm sure we can find some way to help you." He was using a tone now that was starting to really piss me off. The "don't worry your pretty little head about it" tone you often get from salesmen and tradies. If he asked me if I'd spoken to my husband about it I would have to insert a sharp object into his eye. "If the security token fee is what's troubling you, we can waive that."

Are you serious? After how many weeks of infuriating phone calls and emails where they insisted that they can't help me, suddenly, as I'm walking out the door, they can waive the fee. I actually had to close my eyes and count to ten. Afterwards, I smiled sweetly at him.

"I've been banking with you since I was 18. I always thought this bank was one of the better ones." He was smiling proudly now. "But the last few weeks have proven me wrong. You guys don't care. All the good will that was built up is now gone." At this his face turned to stone and he informed me that they require two weeks notice to close accounts.

Is my money employed with them? What is this give notice business? He wouldn't elaborate beyond it being their policy. It seems we were right back to not caring again. He also refused to let me withdrawn the money I had in those accounts because I didn't have my passbook with me, though I did have my ATM card and had always been able to withdrawn that way in the past. "Well you can't now" he said like a petulant child. Annoyed and frustrated I stormed out.

I intend to return (to a different branch) next week and try again. Interestingly, I went to the bank that we have our mortgage with to open an account. I said to the accounts manager "I don't want to pay any fees. I'm serious. I have my mortgage with you so you're already getting two grand a month in interest. I think that's more than enough." He smiled and said "No worries." Then offered to get me a cappuccino.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Awesomesauce... AKA Thai Green Curry

I'm trying to get healthy, exercise more, eat less crap, you know the drill. I've become aware of how poor my diet is and how generally crap my eating habits are. The other day a friend gave me a recipe for a 300 calorie Thai Curry and it reminded me that I did a cooking class and learnt how to make a fish curry. And that fish curry was really good.

Where am I going with this? Oh yes, I adapted the recipe to a turn it into a Thai Green Curry and surprisingly, it's still good and it's still low cals and quite healthy. Perhaps even more amazing is that it doesn't wreak havoc with my Crohn's.

Enough of the preamble. Get to the point, I hear you yell. Well in lieu of anything to actually blog about, I've stolen the domestic goddess theme from a blogger I adore, Redact That and I'm giving you all this quick and super delicious recipe.

When made as below it comes to 370 calories and 17g of fat per serve.



  • 140ml Coconut cream (with no added water)
  • 3 tsp Red or Green Curry (more if you like it hot, less if not)
  • 2 tbsp grated palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 400ml Coconut milk (with no added water)
  • *Red or Green capsicum
  • *1 medium grated carrot
  • *100g cauliflower
  • *100g broccoli 
  • **500g of chicken breast
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 1/2 cup Coriander leaves
  • Lime wedges

*You can pretty much add whatever vegetables turn you on. I went with these because that's basically what I had.

** Again you can add what ever meat you like. I've made this with fish, chicken and prawns. I'm sure red meat or pork would work too.


Heat a small saucepan over medium heat.

Add the coconut cream and cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes until it separates and the oil floats on the surface.

Add the curry paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant.

Add the palm sugar and cook briefly before adding the fish sauce and coconut milk. Bring the liquid to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Dice chicken and brown in a frypan with olive oil.

Add chicken, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower and broccoli to curry sauce and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add corriander leaves immediately prior to serving. Garnish with lime wedges.

Serve with rice.


oh, and I'll blog properly again soon.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nosy neighbours, nerve and not losing it

I’ve written quite a bit about rage recently. Road rage, parking rage, inspector rage, supermarket rage, pregnant rage, dentist rage and when I find the time I will share with you the joys of the little one’s Naptime Rage but it all pales in significance with the rage I experienced today. Nosy Parker Rage.

Over the last two weeks, my brother and I have been driving two hours (each way) to our parents home to sort through their things as they’ve now both passed away. Packing up, not just a houseful of stuff, but a home full of memories is hard work. It’s exhausting both mentally and physically and it’s an absolutely HUGE fucking task. It was our sixth full day at this.

Somewhere around noon, a woman I’ve never seen before in my life and who I will name Busybody Betty had the nerve to walk uninvited into the kitchen of my mum’s house, where I was sitting on the floor going through the contents of a draw and have a go at me for throwing things out.

“Excuse me, but I hope you’ve been taking things to the Op Shop.” She said in a tone that was completely condescending. Quite stunned and not sure whether this person wasn't slightly unstable, I got to my feet. I smiled and nodded as I ushered her towards the door.
“Oh yes, 10 or 15 loads*.” I said sweetly, stepping into her so that she had no choice but to exit out of the house.
“She had a lot of very good things, all her patterns, wool, sewing machines. We’ve been absolutely crying over the things you’ve thrown away.” (I’ve not thrown away any such things).
“It’s under control.” I said still smiling sweetly. “Thanks for stopping by” and just as I was about to swing the door shut I heard her say something about going through the skips. Whatever.

I stood in the kitchen for a few moments wondering if I’d just been the victim of a very poor taste practical joke. Once I was sure she’d left I ran out to the backyard shed where my brother was dealing with a white ant situation and told him what had just happened. My brother, who is forever telling me to calm down when I start to get stabby and who is always urging me to avoid confrontation was completely outraged!

“What the fuck?!? Is she still here?” He charged down the driveway with me in toe (nothing’s really changed since we were kids) but Busybody Betty was long gone. “You should have told her to fuck the hell off!” he said and then ranted for a few moments about the absolute nerve of the woman. “Wait, what did she look like?” he asked suddenly and we soon realised that Busybody Betty was the same woman who had had a go at him on our first day there for taking so long to sort out the house. “Finally some action. It’s been sitting there empty for too long”.

So, it seems we can’t leave the place as is but we can’t throw anything out either. Her unwanted intrusion into my space pissed me off so much I was physically shaking. Who the hell does she think she is? What business is it of hers? Who walks into another person’s house and starts lecturing them on what they are doing? Seriously, what could she possibly be thinking. How is that OK in any world?

When my mum died in December I was 6 months pregnant. While she had been ill for about a year prior, I did not expect her to die that day. I was with her at the time and her death was sudden, horrific and traumatic. It has given me nightmares on more occasions than I care to remember. Not long after the funeral my brother, the only other member of my family of origin, returned to New Zealand where he was working.

Pregnant, orphaned and grief stricken, the last thing I even wanted to think about was trifling through my parent’s house. I needed my mum more than ever before and every time the baby moved I felt just a little bit heartbroken, scared and alone. It’s no easy feat trying to reconcile the grief over the death of a loved one and the sublime joy of being pregnant with your first child.

Fat Cat
So I put it off. I focused on the happy stuff. I put my energy into the little person that was about to join us and took comfort in Fat Cat (my mum’s cuddly 15 year old cat who came to live with us).

Not that I owe anyone an explanation. If we choose to sit on the house and contents for 6 months, 6 years or 6 decades that’s our choice to make. If we choose to throw out, keep, sell or give away the contents of the house, that is also our choice to make. There is no right or wrong in these situations.

I’m kind of proud of myself for not losing it with her and for giving her the least satisfying response that could possibly have been given. I can guarantee that when she brings it up with her sewing circle (or who ever she gossips with) and they ask her “What did she say to that?” Busybody Betty wont quite be able to recall and when they ask about the stuff she mentioned, Busybody Betty will realise that I didn’t actually give her any answers. That will no doubt annoy and infuriate her, albeit not quite as much as a punch in the nose would have.

*I should also mention that BOTH of the Op Shops in the town told us after several full carloads of things that they just couldn’t handle any more stuff. Plus I completely filled one of those clothing bins. They also can’t take electrical goods, bedding, furniture, baby stuff, mattresses or intimate apparel**.

**I don’t even want to know who buys second hand skivvies.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Car park rage and profanity.

I have been privy to some fun and games during my Infliximab transfusions. Never with the transfusion itself, that’s always easy, but I do seem to encounter some interesting characters. It could be because the hospital is on the edge of Fitzroy; a stones throw from Smith Street and the conveniently located drug rehabs, or maybe I’m just lucky.

The transfusion takes the best part of the day so I always park in the hospital car park, one of those cramped high rise jobs that require even the most skilled driver to do a 5 point turn to get in (or out) of. As I stood waiting for the elevator, I watched as a guy in a Falcon that was as large as it was old, attempted to back out of a very tight space.

On about his 5th attempt to reverse, with the arse end of his car sticking out about a meter, three pedestrians walked directly in front of (behind?) him. Despite the moving obstacles, he continued to back out at a slow crawl. One of the pedestrians stopped to thump the boot of his car with her fist. She was dressed in trackies and a T-shirt with bleach blond hair displaying about two inches of dark regrowth. She looked pissed off.

“Oi! Watch out, Dickhead” Ms. Angry called, pausing directly behind him to give him the finger and stick her tongue out. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw somebody poke their tongue out and even then I sincerely doubt they were over the age of 8.

The guy threw the door of his car open and jumped out, rage oozing from his every pore. He was obviously over it. I don’t know how long he’d been trying to get out; he was there when I arrived so I can only imagine it was at least 20 minutes.

“What’s your problem? You can see I’m backing out. Would it bloody kill you to walk on the other side of the car park?” He bellowed. Ms Angry, who’d started to walk away, stopped in her tracks and spun around. The look on her face clearly communicated her outrage.

“YOU have to give way to ME!” she yelled using that finger she loved so much to point in illustration of her words.
“YOU are on the wrong bloody side of the road. Keep LEFT.” The old guy said, pulling out his own finger.
“This isn’t a road. I don’t have to keep left.” She actually put her hands on her hips at this and I had to stifle a laugh.
“Well if it’s not a road, I don’t have to give way to YOU.” His face was red and he was spitting as he yelled across the car park at Ms Angry.

Some say...

Ms Angry’s companions, a man who looked really irritated and a younger woman, who just looked embarrassed, had stopped walking and were waiting a little further on. At this point the elevator arrived with a loud clunk.

“I wish I had hit you, you little bush fart. It might have knocked some sense into you!” With that he got back into his car, reversed out in one motion like he was The Stig and peeled out of there. It seems rage improves driving skills.

I had the good fortune to ride in the elevator with the trio. As we all got into the lift, Mr Irritated punched the ground floor button so hard I thought it might break. Ms Angry told him to ‘settle, petal’ and he took a deep breath and quietly said “Why do you have to get into a fight with someone every time we go anywhere?”

“I can’t help that people are dickheads.” She replied simply.

“I manage to get through life with relatively few confrontations with strangers, so do most people. You have them daily. Maybe it’s not everyone else who has the problem.” This was met with a brief silence and in that moment I wished I’d waited for the next elevator. Fortunately for us all, the comment was lost on her and she raged the whole way down about the dickhead who nearly killed her.

It really does beg the question though, what the hell is a bush fart? 


Friday, August 5, 2011

knives, chocolate cake and the zombie apocalypse.

There's a knife in my kitchen that scares me. I never use it and if I accidentally grab it out of the knife block, I very slowly and carefully place it back in it's spot and then take a deep breath. It's got teeth on it like a crosscut saw that are razor sharp and is easily a foot long. I've only used it twice and both times I almost severed a finger. It was a bloodbath. It came as part of a knife set and according to the information book it's supposedly a bread knife.

A BREAD knife!?!

All I can wonder is: what the hell kind of bread are they cutting over in Denmark that they need this monster??? I could be wrong here, but generally bread (even the crustiest of varieties) doesn't need a hacksaw to slice pieces off. Usually, I manage to cut through even week old stale Vienna bread which has started to morph into a bread shaped rock with just a regular bread knife.

How would you even eat such bread? Why would you want to? If your bread is that hard and tough that you need a serrated knife on steroids to cut it, it might be time to consider switching bakers.

There was a time at work when a colleague brought in a chocolate cake she'd baked herself to share for some poor bastards birthday. This thing was rock hard, it's quite possible she mixed up the icing sugar with concrete mix. I remember trying to cut it. I had to put my weight into it and it didn't so much cut as snap open. This knife would have been handy that day.

Hey Mick, that's not a knife! Forget the Ginsu crowd, if you were ever trapped under a vending machine and needed to saw through rubber tubes, a pair of leather shoes and an aluminium can in order to get out, this knife might just be your guy. In the Zombie Apocalypse, this would be handy to have in your backpack. If you wanted to do some impromptu tree lopping, you wouldn't go past this bloke.

For everyday kitchen usage, this knife is a ridiculous example of overkil. Even if you're incredibly coordinated, a master of the slice & dice and a knife wielding sensei, the use of this knife is only going to end in tears. Stories that involve dinner time rushes to the A&E dept and end with the phrase "and then they reattached it" start with this knife.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Tanty Time!

Today I chucked a tantrum at the dentist and walked out.

I should preface this by pointing out that I have a really high pain tolerance. I once hurt my wrist scaling a fence. I heard a crack and felt a harsh pain. I rubbed it better and went on my way not really giving it much more thought. A year later when getting x-rayed for some other reason (can't remember what) I was asked when I'd broken it. Huh? never. I was promptly shown the x-ray and the old fracture pointed out. I have a similar story with a bone in my foot. I'm sure Crohn's has helped my pain tolerance. Crohn's is a painful fucker, having a high tolerance is a survival mechanism!

But it's been a really shit week. Skin cancer involving painful biopsy, stitches and then burning with dry ice, sprained back muscle triggering sciatic nerve pain and involving instructions from the Chiro that I not lift anything (hello, I have a newborn!), sore foot which just aches all the time, tooth pain hurts on biting, sometimes it just throbs for the fun of it and to top it all off some Crohn's abdo pain. Seriously why does everything that goes wrong with me have to be physically painful???

So from the get-go I was not exactly fighting fit or in a great place. Just saying.

This morning the dermatologist convinced me to let her freeze the remaining skin cancer cells that hadn't been removed by the biopsy. I was obviously a little delirious from the collective pain. "You have a few choices, a chemotherapy cream with you rub on for a month or laser or cryotheraphy." Interesting selection Doc, lets burn my face with dry ice.

"Little sting" She whispered as she aimed the coffee machine type spout at me.

Little sting my arse. Seriously. I drove home, tears streaming down my face, wishing I'd chosen the cream. Sure it was going to leave a horrible sore on my cheek for a few weeks but it probably wouldn't have stung like this. It still hurts now, as I write this.

Next I had the dentist. I have a tooth which has been hurting for a long time. I first saw a dentist about it in April 2010. I've since seen five different dentists. They all say the same thing. The tooth is healthy. There's nothing obviously wrong. The tooth has had a root canal done on it many years ago and for some reason dentists refuse to accept that it could hurt. So I got all the usual questions: Are you sure it's that tooth? Not the one in front? Behind? Below? Yes. It's that tooth. How do you know? Er it friggen hurts when I push on it. Then to test the theory she decided to bash against it and the surrounding teeth with one of her dentist tools. I did mention it HURTS when I put pressure on it right? Satisfied that I was in pain but not convinced it could be coming from that particular tooth she pulled out the cold water spray.

Happy Place, Happy Place, go to your Happy Place!

From there she decided that she needed to do a scale and clean. The assistant comes over with the cold air sucker that she insisted on holding towards the back of my throat which was stimulating my gag reflex. When I told her she nodded and then put it right back where it was. The dentist then attacked my teeth and gums (which are sensitive at the best of times) with both the cold water spray dodad and the scaler thingy on high.

"Now if you feel any discomfort, just raise your hand" Raised my hand three times before she'd even managed to get round the back of my top teeth. She acknowledged the discomfort and said she lower the setting. It didn't help. Then she did something that actually made me cry out.  Now on any other day I would have grimaced and bore (bared?) it. But not today. Today I hit the pain ceiling. I reached my pain tolerance threshold.

"Stop." I said with a mouth full of dentistry tools. They both pulled their respective crap out of my mouth. "That really hurt." She gave her assistant a look that indicated she thought I was being difficult. I lost it. I pulled the bib off, wiped my mouth and pushed the tray of tools away. Why the hell am I doing this to myself? This is just a clean and scale. It's not vital procedure. It's just one of those bullshit things dentists like to charge you half a fortune for every 6 months. Fuck it.

"Forget this." I said. "Life's too short to suffer through unnecessary pain. Shove your clean. I'll stick with my toothbrush." They exchanged looks again and I got a lecture about dental hygiene. Then she offered to do it under anaesthesia... for $1,149!!! I pretty much walked out at that point. I must've looked a picture storming down the street for the first block, red faced, muttering to myself. No wonder people were moving out of my way.

I have had some pretty painful experiences during procedures in my life. I've never walked out on one before and for a scale and clean too, it's a bit pathetic. I'm smiling to myself at the ridiculousness of it all (although that may be the floaty effect of the pain meds kicking in). I'm sure the dentist has made a little note in my file: "Patient is a wimp with no tolerance for discomfort. Pretend you're booked out next time."


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Can't (hardly) Wait

The other day while rummaging around in a draw looking for something, I found my ‘Can’t Wait’ card. I was so excited to get this card when I first joined Crohn’s & Colitis Australia. It was one of the main reasons I first joined. I pretty much thought this card was going to save me from so many hassles and problems when I left the house.

That was before I realised that nobody has really heard of Crohn’s Disease, unless they either have it or know somebody who has it. The population at large generally have no idea and now the card lies abandoned in the bottom of the junk draw. I’m not sure I ever even used it.

For those of you unfamiliar, during a flare-up, trying to hold on for any amount of time results in agonising, doubled over, just fucking kill me, abdominal pain. Often, holding it in, is impossible. The ‘I hope I don’t crap my dacks in public’ anxiety attack is still one of the worst feelings in the world for me, hence the ‘Can’t Wait’ card. Developed for just these situations. In theory you would pull out the card in a busy shopping centre toilet and the crowd of understanding and sympathetic people part like the red sea to reveal a makeshift path to the shining porcelain oasis ahead. In theory.

Can you imagine...

I don’t know what the men’s are like, but the women’s toilets always seem to have a line of at least three people (denoted below by different colours).

Flashes card to a line of impatient people.

"I have a 'Can't Wait’ card. I'm sorry but I need to go next”
"You have a what now?"
"A 'Can't Wait' card. It means I'm physically unable to wait to go to the toilet."
"I have Crohn's Disease."
"What's that?"
"It's a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It means I can't hold it and I get massive pains in the stomach when I need to go."
"What? Like lactose intolerance"
"No. Sort of. Look, I've got to go. NOW"
“Yeah me too.”
First person heads into the toilet.
"Where'd you get that card anyway?"
"From the ACCA."
"Did you have to pay for it? How much was it?"
"I could use one of those. I don't like waiting in lines, especially at the Supermarket"
"What? No. It's for the toilet. And you have to have IBD."
"I have IBS. I gave up dairy. It's fine now."
"You should eat more fibre. That’ll make you regular as clockwork."
"I can't eat fibre..."
"Well that's your problem right there. Change your diet."
"What's it called when you can't eat bread?
"Oh, my niece has that."
Toilet becomes available. I make my way to stall.
"HEY! I was before you."
"Yeah, no pushing in."

Seriously, you’d spend more time explaining why you have the card, it’d be easier and probably a whole lot quicker to either push in and risk being accosted by angry toilet goers or go somewhere else. Personally, I’ll use another toilet. Men’s. Women’s. Parent’s room. The Disabled. I’m not proud. If I’ve got to go, I’m going.

I think orange lady has something though; I wouldn’t mind a ‘Can’t Wait’ card for the supermarket. Or the petrol station. I hate that line the most. Those guys are relentless trying to sell you more stuff. No, I don’t want to buy 2 packs of mints for $7 to save 2 cents on my petrol.

Has anybody actually used their Can’t Wait card? I’d be interested in hearing what happened.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Phat Dinner

A curious thing happens when you cut fat out of your diet, you not only lose the taste for it, but you actually become intolerant of it. When you eat something fatty, like KFC for example, it gives you the shits and I don't mean in the pissed off sense. You can actually taste the grease and fat as a separate entity and It feels like a layer of grease is suddenly coating the inside of your throat and stomach. It's not pleasant.

I discovered a long time ago that my particular brand of Crohn's is much better controlled with a low fat, low fibre diet. I adjusted my cooking so that everything I made was the absolute lowest fat version of itself while still being tasty. There was a period of adjustment, I grew up with the understanding that the 'fat' was where all the flavour was. (It actually isn't I've learnt. Herbs, spices, things like garlic, lemon are where the flavour lies)

Last night we went out for dinner at the house of a friend of mine. They'd invited us over several times and for various reasons one of us had had to cancel so diner had been put off at least four times but last night the stars aligned and dinner happened. It's not often I pray before a meal, but when the plate was put before me my first thought was "Sweet Jesus"! My friend is well aware of my Crohn's and we often talked about our respective low fat diets. She'd told me many a time how she could no longer tolerate fat since she'd cut it out of her diet.

It seems that there are different ideas about what 'low fat' actually means.

Dinner was roast beef with baked potato, pumpkin and onion, cauliflower baked in cheese sause and gravy made from the meat juices. The vegetables were baked in a sea of oil and were actually soggy and almost transparent, the meat which had been cooking for 4 hours in too hot an oven was tough and grisly. As I looked down at my meal I could see the gravy had started to separate and a layer of oil was emerging around the edges of my plate. The meat had a thick edge of fat around it. Basically, not one Crohn's friendly component in sight. Too be honest, I'm a little scared to know what their meals looked like before she "cut the fat out of her diet".

I ate it, well most of it. I really didn't want to be rude or hurt her feelings. She was quite proud of the meal and her family all told her how delicious it was. I smiled and said it was lovely. About halfway through dinner the baby started to cry and I jumped up from the table to tend to her with more gratitude than she'll ever know. My friend said "You eat, I'll see to her." I smiled, "No, it's alright. I think she needs changing." No matter how much people love babies, nobody wants to do that particular job ;-p

I am really paying for dinner now. My stomach hurts and in the 12 hours since dinner I've been to the toilet at least 15 times. I'm pretty sure I've expelled my own body weight in crap. Seriously, (anyone whose ever had a bad case of gastro or food poisoning will be able to identify) where does it all come from? I was so nauseous in the few hours afterwards that I was sure I was going to throw it all up. Maybe if I had, I wouldn't be so sick now? Who knows. Even my partner was feeling a little ill last night.

This is pretty much why I'm not a fan of eating at other people's houses. At least at a restaurant there is bound to be one thing on the menu I can eat and if in the unlikely situation there isn't, I don't have to worry about offending anyone by not eating or only eating a small amount. Although there was this one time when the chef came out looking pissed off, sat down at the table and demanded to know what was wrong with the food. I tried to offer some constructive criticism which he argued and in the end I said "Look, I just didn't like it. Get over it, you can't please everyone" He went back to the kitchen in a hail of profanity, leaving the very embarrassed owner apologising profusely and offering us a free meal on our next visit. Thanks, but no.

It makes things a bit awkward really. How do you say to someone who thinks they're doing something nice for you that they are actually making you sick to your stomach? I can offer to have them over to my place for dinner but they'll want to repay the favour. I can suggest we go out to a restaurant but money can sometimes be an issue. Staying home isn't a very fun option and for normal people (eg. not me) having dinner at a friends house is actually quite a nice way to spend a saturday night.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Virtual Doctor (or how my baby got leprosy)

Some time ago whilst searching in google for my GP's phone number (yes, I am THAT disorganised that I actually lost my doctors contact details and I was seeing this doctor weekly for methatrexate injections... but I digress) I came across WebMD's symptom checker. The symptom checker is a virtual doctor. You simply enter in all your symptoms and it tells you whats wrong with you.Virtual doctor is everything you need, that is, if diagnosis is all you're after. Treatment still requires a visit to the actual doctor. I love this site. I'm a little bit addicted to it. I like to punch in my symptoms and see what weird and wonderful diseases I might have. My actual doctor is pretty boring on this front. She's always flu this or virus that. Virtual doctor on the other hand has way more imagination than that. One time it told me I had Rabies, pretty impressive considering Rabies doesn't exist in Australia and I've never been to a country where it does exist.

It's hours of fun for the whole family (assuming your family is as weird as me) As long as you don't actually rely on the information for any kind of medical treatment. I would probably never mention any health theories you've obtained from this site to your doctor either. In fact, just deny any knowledge of it altogether. Some of my favorite diagnoses have been Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (early pregnancy symptoms), Poison Ivy (my late pregnancy symptoms), Mono (flu), Gangrene (stubbed toe) and my absolute favorite Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome... mad cow... ok, that's probably a fair call considering!

Now that I have a little person, it's even more fun. I punched in some of the baby's symptoms, she has a skin rash (probably milk pimples, but I'm not a doctor), muscle weakness (she can't even stand), short sightedness (I doubt she can even see 2 foot in front of her), mood swings (screaming blue murder to content and back again in under 5 seconds), poor motor skills and judging by the amount of time she spends crying, I'm going to guess that she's either in a lot of pain or just really unhappy. To be safe I better use them both.

And the mystery disease? It wasn't 'being a baby' as you might expect but Leprosy! Awesome. Imagine running to your family doctor with that pearl of medical wisdom! My baby is a leper put her on the next plane to Kalaupapa, Hawaii and resurrect that colony. Stat! Another interesting diagnosis was intoxication. As I looked over at the baby who appeared to have totally passed out after her bottle I wondered how far off the mark that one was. She's on the nod, milk induced coma.

Interestingly, virtual doctor has never diagnosed me with Crohn's Disease. Maybe all the doctors I've ever seen have been completely wrong. Maybe I really do have (quickly checks WebMD) a fractured coccyx. It's possible, stranger things have happened.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Slutwalk Melbourne

Boys will be boys.
She was asking for it.
She knew what she was doing.
She went back to his room for more than just milo.
What was she thinking wearing that?

We live in a rape culture. A society that blames the victim and makes excuses for the perpetrator. The law is pretty cut and dry on the subject of rape. If a woman does not consent to sex and the man has sex with her anyway it's rape. It doesn't matter if she's drunk, scantily clad and up in his apartment at 2am, unless she consents to sex, it's rape. It's rape if she's unconscious and he has sex with her anyway.

Plying her with alcohol and dropping something in her drink so she passes out and can't say no is rape. If she can't say no, she can't say yes and you are a scumbag who should be in prison where no doubt you'll get a graphic illustration of the difference between consensual and non-consensual sex.

If I don't pay a prostitue is it rape or shoplifting? If I hit you in the face with a shovel for telling this "joke" is it assault or a public service?

Not so long ago a couple of high profile football players were accused of sexually assaulting a woman who went back to their hotel room. They were all drunk, it's alleged that there were illicit drugs involved. A friend of mine stated that she should never have gone back to the hotel room, what was she thinking? I took a deep breath and then launched into a rebuttal.

I don't care if she was naked with a mattress strapped to her back, she has the right to say no. I don't care if she went up to that hotel room with the intension of having sex with one or all of them, she has the right to change her mind and say no. I don't care if they are half way through doing it, she has the right to say stop, I don't want to do this anymore.

Seriously, are we as a society saying that men do not possess the ability to control themselves? Is it our contention that men are incapable of keeping their member in their pants? That they do not possess a basic level of comprehension to recognise a yes from a no? That a man who has sex with a woman who did not consent is not responsible because he's a man and boys will be boys but that she is responsible because she was wearing a low cut top and had a drink?

Fuck me. (no, that wasn't an invitation)

By saying boys will be boys we are saying to men that it's ok to have sex with a woman when she has not consented. We are saying it's all just a bit of fun and shouldn't be taken to seriously. That, 50% of society, is not to be taken seriously. That women are less than men.

By blaming the victim, we are taking the focus off the perpetrator. Any focus on her dress or how much she had to drink or where she was walking at what time is attention that is not on the sexual offender and it's the sexual offender and ONLY the sexual offender who needs to explain his behaviour. I wonder how many sexual offenders target a particular type of woman knowing that they wont get charged or they'll probably get off because the focus will be on her behaviour and not on his? I wonder how many sexual offenders actually think her behaviour excuses his?

The fact of the matter is a man ALWAYS has the ability to keep his penis in his pants. He just choses not to and as a society we choose to make excuses for him. It's fucked and we need to stop.

What has all this got to do with Crohn's Disease? Nothing. I just thought it needed to be said.

Melbourne Slutwalk: May 28, 1pm, State Library.

A river in Egypt

I'm always surprised when my Crohn's flares up. I don't now why I'm surprised since obviously it's the kind of disease that will do that and my Crohn's monster is a temperamental beast that has flared up for no reason on a pretty regular basis since taking up residence in my intestines. Sometimes it flares because I've eaten something I shouldn't have, sometimes it flares in protest to antibiotics and sometimes it flares for no discernible reason at all because frankly, it's a bit of an arse.

I could recite what a flare up looks like without really even thinking about it. I know my Crohn's disease like the back of my hand. Yet, somehow flare up's manage to sneak up on me almost every time and I find myself standing in the middle of it looking bewildered and thinking where did that come from? Granted, sometimes I go from perfectly fine to full flare in the space of meal, but often there are some precursors or a build up that should tip me off to the impending flare. More often than not, I completely miss these (Er more likely, ignore them, pretend they aren't happening, dismiss them as something else) yeah ok, we get the picture.

I enjoyed a delightful nine months of remission during my recent pregnancy. I knew (academically) that pregnancy is often protective and can result in spontaneous remission. I knew (academically) that post pregnancy could mean the end of the period of remission and a return to normal disease activity. Normal disease activity in my case means, sadly, endlessly flaring Crohn's but I got used to remission. It was lovely not having to worry about where the nearest toilet is and being able to eat 3 meals a day without feeling bloated and sore and nauseas. Nine months is long enough to develop a false sense of security and I knew (denial?) I'd be ok afterwards.


My Crohn's started to flare up within days of giving birth. Embracing the last point of good toilet posture (Allow yourself time, do not rush) is easier said than done when there's a little person screaming blue murder in the next (and often, the same room). Think a baby's urgent cries are loud under normal circumstances, try being in a bathroom with those cries echoing and bouncing off every wall! Anyway, there was a slight delay in getting my Infliximab transfusion and after several frantic phone calls, some moments of panic and a fair amount of swearing the transfusion occurred just before Easter. Once I had that, everything would go back to normal, normal being remission, not pre-pregnancy normal, yeah?

er, no.

So the flare continued for a couple of weeks. I was pretty sure I had some sort of virus or bug, all the symptoms fit: fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, stomach pain, fever, diarrhoea. Of course those are all the normal symptoms of a flare too, but it couldn't be that, I'd had the transfusion. I even went to see my GP who told me that it probably was a bug and it would pass without the need for any medical intervention. See, I was right, I had caught a bug. Never mind the fact that bugs are contagious and nobody else, least of all the baby with virtually no immune system, was even remotely sick. Never mind the fact that bugs usually only last a few days to a week. I got a bit worse followed by a bit better, then a bit worse again. Two steps forward, one step backwards. Another fairly typical sign of my Crohn's flare ups.

Eventually it dawned on me that this weren't no bug. The unhappy realisation occurred at 4am whilst on the toilet (where else would a Crohn's related moment of enlightenment happen?) I'd had to stop feeding the baby midway through and race to the loo. Whilst sitting there I conceded defeat.

All hands to report to battle stations, Crohn's, my old frenemy, is back.