Just a little egg…

I’m keeping it short and simple for this blog. It’s Easter Saturday and most of my readers are probably taking advantage of the 4 day holiday here in Oz and are off camping, fishing, barbecue-ing and doing things other than bothering with the internet. I for one have celebrated the day in-between Crucifixion and Resurrection by sleeping in. I know not all my readers are Christian. I know that for many of you Easter is similar to Christmas: family gatherings with lots of nice food, with the added fillip of Easter eggs and hot cross buns. Don’t worry: I’m not about to preach to you. I just want to share one teeny tiny thing I did this week to celebrate the meaning of Easter. It was my week to see the good doctor and receive my monthly jab, in the oncology unit at the hospital. When I arrived, I handed over a big bag of chocolate eggs to share among the patients and staff. Did I have an ulterior motive – perhaps to guarantee a sharper, thinner and thus less-painful needle for my stomach jab? Was it to curry favour with the nurses? Was it to look good to the other patients? Nope. I just figured if any group of people needed a little, delicious, reminder of hope, second chances, new beginnings and resurrection, it was them. I don’t know if they all got that message, or whether some just saw it as a kindness and many just thought it was something the hospital did because it was that time of year. I know it’s expecting a lot from one little chocolate egg. However, I’m hoping that some realised the symbol and took some encouragement, some hope, from it. Happy Easter everyone. Don’t forget to share the...

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Me & phones: a hate/hate relationship.

I sent my first text messages this week. I know; you’re shocked. I’m one of the last people mobile phone owners in the world to learn how to text. (Not that I’ve actually learned anything – it was more by chance than design.) I have a little, pink (of course) Nokia that I rarely use. I keep it in my bag in case I’m out on my own and the car breaks down, or I get kidnapped and shoved into a remote cabin in the woods, or I get lost. Some time ago, I was driving home late at night when my usual route was blocked off for road works. I followed the detour signs very carefully and only once led astray the trail of cars behind me. I drove into a cul-de-sac and it was very embarrassing driving back past all the people who had the mistaken idea that I knew what I was doing. When the signs ran out I ended up on a very busy road, with nary a road sign in sight, so I found a little set of shops, pulled in and phoned the Old Boy. “Tell me where I am!” Clever chap that he is, he figured it out and I got home safely, only an hour later than usual. I’ve often watched young people doing the two thumb fandango on their phones, and I’ve sighed with envy. How do they do it…and so fast? I tried to send my son a text a couple of years ago, for his birthday. I wanted to send, “Happy birthday”. The screen said “thirpy turdsdww”. I didn’t hit Send. So…the other night we had the grand-munchkins sleeping at our place while daughter and #1 s-i-l were out. The kids, the Old Boy and the Wonder Dog were all asleep and I was sitting up waiting…waiting… I had my mobile at hand, as instructed. Finally it beeped and I clicked on it to answer and discovered – duh duh daaaaah – daughter had sent a text message. I needed to reply. It can’t be that hard, I thought. Where’s the Like button? After scrolling through the menu and discovering there were things in my phone I had no idea existed, I found where I could send a reply. I thought, I’ll keep it simple. OK should be easy. First attempt at getting an O produced: wxy…then mno…then fdt…then styrhyahyrhygy… Flipping heck! I kept hitting buttons and then C for clear and eventually, I still don’t know how, I got an O. TA DA! A similar, exhausting process got me a K and I hit Send before something awful happened. I DID IT!!! I just don’t know how. The next day the Old Boy and I were on our way to meet the daughter at s-i-l’s place of work (a bakery) for coffee. Again she sent a text to ask how long we’d be. (In the old days we’d just wait until people turned up.) This time the message was sent to the Old Boy’s phone and it has a keypad. Oh good, I thought, this’ll be easy. Wrong! It seems my fingers are several sizes bigger than the keys on the phone. It took me 10 tries to get a simple F (for the word five). By the time I managed to get something legible on the screen I had to change it from five to four minutes. It was actually less time than that, but I had an F and I wasn’t going to start again. In the time it took me to peck out a message, we could have had a lovely chat and be on our way without the surge of irritability.  What happened to waiting? What happened to talking to people? Why do people want to know everything, every minute of the day?  OH HELL! It’s official: I’ve turned into a Grumpy Old Woman. Stupid phones.   PS: I hope no one thinks I’m criticising my daughter, because I’m not.  ...

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Try a little kindness

It seems to me that the latest trend is to blame everything on fat people. Hospitals overcrowded and understaffed? Too many fat people are placing an enormous burden on our health system. (Let’s ignore the fact that far more people are in hospital due to the effects of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse.) Public transport not running on time? Fat people are slowing the trains and buses down. They should get off and walk, and leave the skinny people to ride in peace. Floods washing away rural townships? Probably caused by fat people getting into public swimming pools and taking too many baths, causing a tidal overflow. Plane crashed? Shouldn’t have let the fat passengers fly. Syria’s disintegrating? Probably started by some fat dude. Do I sound a little bitter? Oh, that’s right, we fatties are supposed to be jolly not matter what snide, sarcastic, cruel, abusive things are said or done to us. Fatties are supposed to sit there, cop it on our chins and then be thankful for the attention. I’ve been a fatty all my life. You name the diets, I’ve done them; some of them many, many times over. Before the back finally gave way (and no, it wasn’t because I’m fat!) I used to be really active. In my younger days I played tennis, netball, basketball and hockey. I loved to swim. I enjoyed long walks. The Old Boy and I often tramped along beaches or through the countryside. Of course, as the kids came along and the back got worse, some of those activities disappeared and some were replaced with other things. For a few years a similarly endowed friend and I swam regularly in a gym. (My back prefers warm water.) I chose to ignore the well-meaning comments from other women at that establishment; eg: Gosh, you’re fat.  Fancy letting yourself go like that! These days there isn’t enough money in the world to entice me to be seen in public in a bathing suit. If I told you every instance that someone made me feel like the gum on the bottom of their shoe because I’m fat, we’d be here for the next ten years. I’m sure that every person who doesn’t fit the norm – the geeks, the nerds, the gays, the fatties, the wrong colour for their society and all the other misfits – would understand what I’m trying to say. It’s NOT COOL to judge, criticise, abuse or condemn someone because they don’t fit your version of okay. It’s time we stop doing this to each other. PS. Nobody picked on me this week. I saw a commercial for “Biggest Loser” and something went ping! in my brain...

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Wonder Dog to the rescue

This morning around 4 am, I was dragged out of a deep sleep by the frenzied barking of the Wonder Dog and the dulcet tones of the Old Boy yelling, “Shut up, Rex! COME ‘ERE!” The dawg “came ‘ere” but he didn’t shut up. He bounced up and down on my legs, still barking and whimpering. As soon as I twitched, he was off the bed and racing around the lounge room like a lunatic, yelping as if his fur was on fire. I waited for the Old Boy to do the manly, knight-on-white-horse thing and leap to our defence.  He chose to remain where he was. So…I stumbled into the bathroom to retrieve my glasses and then peaked out our window. I didn’t see anyone  trying to break in, neither was there a bear at our front door. The WD was still in attack mode, so I cautiously opened the front door. If there were any burglars, they probably took one look at glamorous me –  clothed in a tired old nightie; my chest a study in mountains and valleys (I don’t wear the fake boob to bed) – and they  probably thought, “It’s not worth it. If those people had any money, there’s no way they’d leave that poor woman in that condition.” They would have then moved on to richer pickings. I had a quick look (from the safety of my porch) at the neighbours’ houses, but no one was on fire. Aliens hadn’t landed in our street. Foreigners weren’t parachuting in to take over the town. Not a creature was stirring, not even a cat. I glared at the dawg. He was still bouncing on stiffened legs and huffing and puffing. I took one step and, encouraged by movement, he went racing down to the back door. Fool that I am, I let him outside and checked the back yard. Rex raced around the circuit like a dawg with a mission: down to the back end of the lawn, bounce on stiffened legs, bark; race up the other end, near the spa, bounce and bark; around the carport and under the outdoor table setting, stop, bounce and bark… He completed the circuit five times. Meanwhile I sniffed: no fire. I looked: no intruder. I muttered: you idiot. For a moment I stared out into the night. There was a soft luminescent glow around the street lights, which made me think of those French movies set in the 1940s, with piano accordion music and people in trench coats. It was mystical yet peaceful and rather beautiful. The WD stopped to pee on a veranda post and then, his job done, he pranced hippity-skippity inside and took himself to bed. This morning I weighed up my options: turn WD into a small, white, very hairy cushion cover or give it breakfast. I’d like to think my decision was based on grace and mercy, but the truth is that breakfast was the easier choice. I sipped my coffee, my head throbbing and studied the pooch. He gazed adoringly at me, obviously still pleased with himself for saving us from invisible pirates, marauding rats or whatever it was that stirred him into Chuck Norris-mode. If only he could read my mind; he’d be hiding under the bed until Easter! Although this wasn’t the Wonder Dog’s finest moment, this morning – now that coffee has been imbibed and I’m recovering my sanity – I’ve realised something very important: how blessed am I? The night was peaceful! I’m not huddled in a basement waiting for the next missile to land. I’m not hiding from death squads or forces intent on incarcerating me because of my ethnicity, religion or political views. My community is safe, friendly and peaceful, even if my neighbours are currently thinking dark, murderous thoughts about certain small dogs. Gotta be happy with that....

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Cheers to the science boffins.

I’m typing this slooooowly and (sh!) quietly. I have a raging headache, courtesy of Denosumab. (The stuff that gets injected every month into my well-padded stomach.) The name sounds like ancient Egyptian to me. Ah yes, Denosumab, life-long friend of Senostrus and head charioteer for Thustmoses III. I find myself wondering what happened to all those fabulous Egyptian names: Imhotep, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, Rameses…? These days Egyptians seem to have Arabic names…not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. But still, their weird names and pyramids are what set these people apart and they no longer do either. I think it’s a shame. Back to my old friend, Den. It’s an amazing concoction that somehow (scientific magic) helps my bones fight cancer, helps prevent fractures and keeps the pain at bay. Useful stuff. I’m a little bemused that, even though it strengthens my bones, in the long run, if I take it a long time (and that’s the plan), it will weaken the bones in my jaw and they could crumble. Isn’t that weird? Why? I ask. And, Why the jaw in particular? Is it something to do with Den’s past life as an ancient Egyptian? Today is also the first day on a new oestrogen fighter. The first two worked by suppressing the last few drops of oestrogen left in my body, in an attempt to starve the cancer cells. They’re similar to koalas and pandas in that they only eat one thing. No, not eucalyptus or bamboo shoots. That’d just be silly! They eat oestrogen. So, if  we can block their supply they’ll starve and, therefore, they won’t spread. Only one problem: the first two pills I tried made me ill. Today I began pill #3. This one works differently. It creates a molecule inside my body that resembles oestrogen. The cancer cells draws it in, thinking it’ll have a jolly good feed and, instead, the saboteur attaches itself like a limpet to the cancer. No oestrogen can get in or out. Isn’t that brilliant? How does that work? How do people invent such a thing? I have to admit that the brain of a science boffin is an alien landscape to me. It’s as foreign, in its function, as the way caterpillars turn into butterflies, or the way some people happily eat sheep’s eyes or deep-fried mice. However, dear science boffins; dear white-coat-wearing lab technicians; dear dreamers of molecules, amino acids and other medical mumbo-jumbo, you have my mouth-hanging-open admiration and my deepest (let me bake you a cake) gratitude. You’re amazing. Now, if you could just figure out a way for these life-saving things to stop making me feel like crap, you’d be near...

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