Tuesday, February 28, 2006

love, spoken and unspoken

My husband, Fatty, is not a gushy type of man. I sometimes get to feeling unappreciated, because he is sparing with his praise. Fatty doesn't often speak of why he loves me. I'm rarely told that I am a good mother, or partner. Most times when we go out together, my careful preparations go unnoticed, or at least Fatty seems not to notice. He doesn't mention anything. He's not one to compliment me automatically.

On the weekend, Fatty and I went to a party together (which, by the way, was LOTS of fun - thanks everyone for your good wishes! I danced to 'Dancing Queen' with my friend KP and we thought all our Christmases had come at once. And Motherkitty, I did wear purple eyeshadow!). There were people there we hadn't seen for a long time. We mingled, mostly separately, for most of the evening, occasionally meeting up with a smile and a touching of hands. Fatty looked surprisingly dashing in his spangly shirt. I glanced across, every now and then, as Fatty talked and laughed with friends and acquaintainces. He wasn't gesticulating wildly, or loudly commanding the attention of several people at once. My husband has no artifice. He is simply a calm, friendly, genuine man.

Later, as we lay on our backs in bed, discussing the night's events, Fatty said something that made me realise that love doesn't need to be dissected, in order to prove it exists.

Fatty said, " I'm glad you're my wife."

"What do you mean?", I asked. " Why are you glad I'm your wife?"

"At the party, when I looked for you, and I saw you, I just thought, 'That's my wife'. And I was happy that you were my wife."

Although Fatty didn't explain himself further, I knew what he meant. Because at the party, when I sought him out with my eyes, I found him with a sense of finding home. I am always drawn to the way he looks, but more than that, I love the way he is. There was no-one at that party who could make me feel that way. There never is.

I guess I am someone who likes to articulate my feelings. It's just the way I am. But I forget sometimes that, whether or not it is defined, love is love. It doesn't always need explaining.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

saturday night fever

The day has finally arrived...the day of the DISCO PARTY! I've been humming "I Will Survive" half the day (well, not quite half the day. I wasn't humming disco tunes at work this morning. It could be a little off-putting if your family doctor broke out singing "Boogie Fever" whilst inspecting your throat, right?). I'm psyched. I'm ready to get down on that dance floor.

I have made certain purchases at a local 'op shop'. For my dear husband, a delightful shirt. It is very Peter Allen, as you can see. Fatty is a little underwhelmed with my purchase (ungrateful man that he is). 'It's a costume party!', I chirpily reminded him. 'What else were you going to wear?'

For me, there is even more synthetic beauty to behold.....a purple sequinned dress, worn over luminescent gold bell-bottomed pants, with gold platform shoes. I am going to look soooooooo shiny.

It's six hours to go now. I'm actively seeking advice on accessories, hair styles and dance moves.

It could be a late night. It could be exhausting. It's just as well I was Born To Be Alive.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

the tooth fairy came last night

It can't be true. My (only-just-turned-5) daughter has lost a baby tooth! This means she's close to leaving home, and I'm a mere step away from the grave!! Or perhaps I exaggerate. It's been known to happen.

I've always found the reaching of each childhood milestone to be bittersweet. I'm not one of those mothers who says "Hallelujah! That's one kid off to school!".... or "Thank goodness we can get rid of that cot." I always feel a certain nostalgia as each phase of childhood passes, because I know it's never coming around again. You can't say, "Stop, hang on! I wasn't paying enough attention!", because that time is gone forever. So, packing away the cot for the last time gave me a tight feeling in my throat; taking Laura for her first day at school left me faintly sad as well as awfully proud.

Luckily children always have new tricks up their sleeves to distract us. Ben constantly amazes me with his inquiring mind. Laura, my sweet gap-toothed Laura, is showing an artistic streak that fascinates me. In this way, our kids show us that although the past is lost to us, today is a joy in itself, and the future holds many more wonders. So no need to chastise me, I don't stay nostalgic for too long. Just until the tooth fairy dust has settled.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

sick kid Sunday

I spent last night attending to a vomiting child, then awake off and on for hours, ever-alert for the sounds that would require me to assist with bucket-holding and brow-stroking. It was not much fun for either of us.

For those who don't already know - I am completely intolerant of nausea. In the face of nausea, I am a snivelling, moaning, wailing, groaning wretch. It's truly pathetic. One of the main reasons we only have 2 children is because, as wonderful as babies are, you have to spend the best part of nine months feeling queasy in order to get one of these amazing creatures (or at least that was my experience of pregnancy). Being pregnant twice, and enduring the vomitousness (a very new word - you may not have heard it yet) - that was enough for me. Labour - well that was tough, but I got through it, and I'd do that again more readily than deal with the churning stomach. Crazy? Not really, just weirdly phobic about nausea and vomiting.

Hence when my children are queasy or vomiting, I am just so anxious for them. I know that awful tumbling tummy feeling, I dread on their behalf the moment when they bend over the toilet in tears. I wish I could wave a magic Anti-Vomit Wand. Now there's something that would sell.

Last night Ben woke with a bad dream, then couldn't stop crying, and eventually was copiously sick. I held him, I rubbed his back, I mopped his face. He sat on the bathroom floor afterwards, with tear-matted eyelashes, and asked me quietly,

"Mummy, when you were a little girl, and you vomited, did you cry, too?"

"I sure did," I replied seriously, "and sometimes I've even cried when I've been grown up and vomited."

"Oh". He seemed oddly comforted by that.

As kids often do, Ben has bounced back quickly. He's racing around the house as I'm typing. And so we come to the end of another day in my family life!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

bold birds and being blessed by blogging

Beside our front path stands a palm tree. On the palm tree is a heavy bough of flowers.

Each afternoon, these rainbow lorikeets have been feasting, nuzzling in with their heads, and even ducking their entire bodies deep within the flowers. We go racing along the path and up to the safety of the veranda - to reduce our chances of being splatted by messy missiles.

Rainbow lorikeets are so common in our neighbourhood that I wouldn't normally think twice about them. 'Yep, another lorikeet, what of it?' But one of the many good things about blogging is that it makes me look at my life from an outside perspective, and see the beauty and joy that is there every day, if only I take notice.

So, voila - another pictorial slice of my life.

While I'm mentioning paying attention - I want to thank all of you who stop by here regularly. It means a lot to me that you take the time to read my ramblings, and to comment. I have found some truly funny, kind and intriguing people through blogging. I am really happy to know you all.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

the troops revolt

My children think I'm a tyrant. They wish they had a kind mother, instead of the dictator they seem to have been lumbered with. Secretly they yearn for one of those ever-smiling, 'sure-you-can-sweetie', blonde mothers you see in margarine ads. How do I know this? Just consider the following statements which have been directed at me recently:

Laura: 'Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! (loud tearful wail) Don't turn the TV off yet! Leave it ON!'

Benjamin: 'When I'm a Dad, I'm going to let my kids have lollies for breakfast, lollies for morning tea, lollies for lunch, lollies for afternoon tea and lollies for dinner"

Laura: 'Why do I have to do all these jobs?' (she has to put her PJs under her pillow and pull up her doona)

Benjamin: ' Guess what Mum? We're going to go to another country, where the mums and dads say you can put your feet on the table'

It's very distressing to think that they want to leave home at such an early age. I'll have to do something.

I'll pack a little snack for their trip.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

no sugarcoating

One of the things I find so refreshing about reading John Cowart's blog is the honesty in his writing. He's not trying to make himself sound saintly. He doesn't pretend to have completely perfect relationships with his loved ones. John even blogs about his struggles with staying true to his convictions and religious beliefs. I find it comforting. If such an obviously lovely human being admits to a few flaws, then I don't have to be ashamed of having flaws, too.

I've been thinking about how things went at dinner last night with Fatty. We had a delicious meal, and we were thoroughly enjoying talking to each other. But then we had a minor disagreement, and the celebratory mood was gone. We talked through the issue, and there was no residual conflict. Just - the evening had lost a bit of its' shine. This happens in a relationship. You have your wonderful times, your good times, some fairly ordinary times, and even some awful times.

Yet, I found myself thinking,"I just won't mention the dinner on my blog. I'll let everyone assume we had a romantic evening. Why write anything negative?". But this would be to portray my marriage as something it is not; this would be sugar-coating my life to make it look pretty. My marriage is not happy all the time. I don't live a charmed life.

So I've told you all the truth. Our much-anticipated dinner was a bit of a fizzer. Hopefully we have many more dinners ahead of us, and hopefully we'll get it right next time!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

hallucinations and hot dates

It's the weekend. It's a hot day. My kids are splashing around in their paddle pool again. Fatty is gardening. I've slipped away to blog.

Something very weird just happened to me. I walked into our bedrooom, and accidentally kicked a backpack that I take to karate class. A maniacal laughing erupted from the backpack. It was a little startling, but I quickly reasssured myself...it's just that lion toy of Ben's that shrieks with laughter. One of our friends had given Benjamin a battery-powered, crazy lion that responds with hysterical mirth when shaken.

The problem is, the lion is not IN the backpack. It is not near the backpack. It is not behind the door. It is not under the bed. It could be in the cupboard. Now that I'm writing this, I realise I haven't looked there. But if there is no lion in the cupboard, you know what that means...........it means I don't have to wrestle with a giant cat when I want a pair of shoes, of course. It also means I have started imagining I hear laughing lions. There better be a lion when I look.

I have to cling to my sanity for at least another few hours. I cannot be sent to an institution just yet, because tonight I have a hot date. Yes, it hasn't happened for awhile, but this evening Fatty and I are going out to dinner just the two of us! We're going to a small but lovely restaurant just nearby. I have even bought a new summer dress in an attempt to impress. I can hardly wait.

We will be able to talk without a small child intervening with, " Do I have to eat ALL this broccoli?". We might even hold hands, without a chubby child body wedging itself jealously between us. We can order spicy foods, hard-to-manage foods, any foods we like. But best of all, I can gaze into Fatty's amazing green eyes and remember exactly why I love him so.

I'm now off to hunt for lions. Wish me luck

Friday, February 10, 2006

The young woman who had to wee 6 times a night

You know, I think I may have diagnosed something rare, and potentially quite harmful (if left untreated), in one of my lady patients. I arrived at the diagnosis through a brilliant and little-known process called 'scratching my head and feeling baffled', followed by the also particularly clever method I like to refer to as 'phoning the pathology lab for help'. You're really impressed, now, aren't you?

Names and other details are changed here, but the medical facts are correct.

Amy, a 25-year-old child care worker, has seen me on 3 or 4 occasions now. She seems a bit quiet, and a bit anxious about her health. Each time she has complained of a few unrelated ailments. She is a thin young woman, who has lost more weight over the couple of months since she first came for a consultation. I know this because I weighed her at the first consultation - I originally suspected she may have an eating disorder, and wanted to keep a check on her weight.

On her last visit, she was complaining of an episode of backache. To rule out a kidney infection, I asked her to provide a sample, and I enquired about any symptoms. Amy denied having any pain but admitted she was troubled by frequent urination. The urine test was normal.

After further questioning, I calculated that Amy was drinking over 3.5 litres of fluid a day, and discovered she was waking multiple times through the night to pass urine (well no wonder, with all that drinking). Hmmm...perhaps she has diabetes, I hear you thinking? That's what I wondered, but the fingerprick test showed a normal blood sugar. Hmmm again.

Blood tests showed nothing out of the ordinary except a high blood protein level ... something that is often found when people are a bit dehydrated. Dehydrated? On almost 4 litres of a fluid a day? I knew something was not right here. I knew it could be something endocrine (hormone-related).... all those weird endocrine disease names began to romp around in my head... medical school was so long ago... it's all so hazy...... I rang the local pathologist. He was very charming.
'I agree with you,' he said, 'that this most likely is a case of diabetes insipidus.'

AH-HA! That's what it's called. I mean, 'Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking.'

Amy is having further tests, but the endocrinologist I spoke to is confident that Amy does have diabetes insipidus. Most cases can be managed or cured. So, hopefully, Amy will soon be drinking less and sleeping a whole lot more at night.

You know, I complain about my job but I also really love it. Sometimes I think I really do make a difference - not by knowing a lot or having any great powers of deduction - just by being diligent and following through. It's good to feel useful.

PS if you want any information on diabetes insipidus, you can go here

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Fountain of Youth or Doorway to Dementia?

I've heard it said that your kids keep you young. I'm not sure that I subscribe to this theory.

For example, my upper eyelids seem to have disappeared. I'm not sure where they've gone but I definitely used to have them. I last noticed them just before my first child was born. I think the chronic sleep debt has taken my upper eyelids forever. I liked having eyelids top and bottom.

And what about energy levels?.... before having offspring, Fatty and I used to have dinner with friends and stay up laughing until 1 am, without even noticing the time. Now we are yawning at 8 pm. We are elderly. We may as well put on cardigans and bemoan today's youth. Wait, we do wear cardigans and bemoan today's youth (at least, Fatty bemoans and I wear cardigans)

With meals... just like nursing home patients, we eat dinner by 6 pm sharp. Earlier sometimes. That's not young and funky, that's staid. That's us.

I tell the same stories over & over (stop me if I've already told you this). I blame pregnancy, and then children. My friend Chook calls me Alzheimer Girl. Her memory's fine - she's got no kids, has she?

And just in case I'm ever having a day where I kid myself I'm looking bright-eyed and feeling bouncy....my children bring me right back to reality. Like today in the grocery store. I was cruising past the toothpaste section, when my son asked me earnestly:
"Were you born in the olden days, Mummy?"

I smiled, and nodded. "I suppose I was, Ben".

So place your votes, folks. Are kids ageing or just engaging?

PS I must admit I do play a lot more 'Snap' these days

Monday, February 06, 2006

doctoring day

I've been at work today and my brain is tired. I have had too many perplexing patients lately. I'm restless and fidgety and fretting over the unsolved mysteries of the day. I need to do some medical reading. But first, a blog entry. Blogging can be a real stress-buster after a tough day, don't you think?

There were some great moments in my day, busy though it was. I saw a young woman for a follow-up visit after starting treatment for depression 3 weeks ago. Last visit she was wan and sad and quiet. Today she was smiling and talking with animation - almost back to the person I have known for the past 5 years. Now that's a real joy to see!

Another patient today reminded me of something that never fails to leave me in awe - the power the human body has to heal itself. We doctors think we are curing people, yet often it is simply time, and the body itself, that turns the tide. Today I saw a lady for a check-up, 8 weeks after having a baby. During the delivery, she had an episiotomy done (don't read on if squeamish, OK!) which for non-medical people/non-mothers, is a cut made at the vaginal opening to allow the baby's head to come out more easily. When I saw this lady 8 days after childbirth, her nether regions were a mess. I had to control myself not to say 'Good God!' out loud. The stitching had been done messily, and the two edges of the wound had separated, so that a centimetre of raw flesh was on view. There were no signs of infection, however, and I knew the lady was a sensible person, who would return if there were problems. So I explained to her how things were, suggested salty bathes, and asked her to come back for check-ups. Today, at her second appointment since then, the scar is fine and pale, and almost flat. I unfortunately can take none of the credit. This lady's body did all the work. It is amazing and humbling to witness.

Perhaps you think I'm a little odd, being amazed and humbled whilst staring at someone's genitalia. I certainly thought I was weird, when re-reading the previous paragraph. But medical jobs turn people a bit strange and twisted. You become fascinated by rashes, intrigued by boils, inquisitive about phlegm. It's not normal, but someone's got to do the weird jobs. We can't all be well-dressed financial advisers or sensible librarians.

That was my day - mundane but satisfying, challenging but interesting. How was your day?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

There's a MONSTER in my house!

This morning, I woke up to the sound of yelling, and there was my normally-amiable three-year-old son, standing in our doorway. Half in tears, and stamping his feet, he shouted, "Get up NOW Mummy!". As I refuse to be dictated to by someone who is not yet a metre tall and still sucks his thumb, I tried to get the little guy to calm down, without leaping up obediently. No luck.

Ben loves to go get the morning paper from our yard, so we asked if he wanted to go do that. "Yes, but NO ONE can come with me," he fumed. He stomped to the front door, burst into fresh tears when the door wouldn't open for him, then went wailing out to the side where the paper always lands. I'm sure the neighbours think we use our child as slave labour - all they would have seen was a sobbing boy trailing tearfully out to get the newspaper.

At long last Ben is calm again. Half an hour of TV watching seemed to give him time to compose himself (and time for us to sigh with relief that the awful noise had ceased!) He's now eating cereal and even smiling.

I've heard about 'getting up on the wrong side of the bed'.... now I've seen the kid version of this!

Friday, February 03, 2006

burn baby burn......disco inferno!

An invitation arrived in the mail this week. It is printed on silver paper, and covered in glitter. The heading says - "Freak Out!"

One of our friends is celebrating her birthday in a big way, with a party involving a disco ball, floating dance floor and cocktails. Entry is by costume only. I have booked the babysitter and I'm champing at the bit until I can hit that dance floor. Bopping to groovy seventies music - why that sounds almost as good as leaping about to eighties music!

I do love a boogie.... even at my own wedding I spent the last two hours, when I probably should have been greeting elderly aunts, wiggling and jiggling with my friends and siblings. So this party is a great opportunity to dance without having to enter a nightclub, or frighten and embarrass my children. My one problem is this ..... seventies fashions are not very forgiving. I will need a costume that allows for thighs. Shiny lycra jumpsuits are NOT okay. HELLLLLLLLP!!!

Your feedback and suggestions are much appreciated!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

morning has broken

Good morning! It's a glorious day - the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and you can probably tell I've had my coffee!

Hope everyone has/is having a good day.