Saturday, June 28, 2008

tropical tripping

Last year, around this time, my dear friend Chooky whisked me away for a birthday treat weekend up north. We sat on the beach and talked, we dangled our legs in the pool whilst drinking mango daiquiris, we ate lunch on a veranda looking straight out to the azure blue waters you can see in this photo. That night we ordered room service, drank hot chocolate with marshmallows, and watched 'Under the Tuscan Sun' on DVD.
I should make it clear that Chooky is not a wealthy woman. She just scrimped and saved to do something truly special for me. Most years we celebrate each others' birthdays with cards and small, inexpensive gifts. Sometimes we make more of a fuss, and last year was the fuss to end all fusses. I had such a brilliant time. And I was so blown away by the beauty of the place that I vowed to drag husband and kids to the same town one day.
So, one year later, I am travelling with my small family in tow, back to this wondrous place. It will be a different sort of holiday - less lolling and chatting, and more snorkelling, swimming and sandcastling. But there'll still be that blue water and that soft sunshine.There'll still be that fine white sand to walk along, hand in hand with my husband, as we watch the kids run ahead of us.
I say bring it on.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

gastrointestinal grievances (warning - graphic details may offend or cause significant queasiness)

If it's not the dog's vomit that plagues me it's my children's. I suppose I should be grateful that until last night, neither dog nor child had spewed for a few months, but when my daughter hurls on the half hour for most of the night, I am nowhere near grateful. I'm not exactly grumpy, though, because after all I'm not the poor little body wracked with wretching. I am merely the holder of the bucket, the passer of tissues, the cleaner and the comforter. Much worse to be the bucket-filler. Still, I am weary. I need to sleep tonight in case tomorrow night brings another chundering child. Or heaven forbid, a sick moi. I am no good at vomiting. I have no style; no guts (he he) and definitely no glory.

Although I consider myself fairly stoic (rightly or wrongly), I admit to being a complete wimp when it comes to my stomach. I can go to work with a thumping migraine, I've walked around on a broken leg as a kid, I've given birth with but a whiff of gas. But give me a touch of nausea and I am a whimpering baby, a wuss, a sook. When I reach that point where I know that everything I've eaten is coming back to greet me, I feel panicky and desperate. I'd sell my first-born to stop the whole nasty business (well, maybe not my first-born but absolutely my dog). I mutter and shiver and shake and feel like bawling. I'm pathetic.

My son has inherited his mother's lack of vomit aplomb. He cries. He begs me to tell him when it will all end. He shakes and quakes just like his old ma.

My daughter is a calm, serene spewer. She coughs, spits, rinses then rests. She doesn't complain - I suppose she sees no point.

I feel a bit of a fraud bemoaning my lack of sleep last night, when it was not me bringing up my dinner with odd assorted chunks of what may have been pancreas. Really I ought to just go to bed and be glad I'm not (yet) ill.

Wish me luck (because I've grown quite fond of the dog)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

planet of the apes

So, today I found myself standing up in front of a very large crowd (several hundred people), doing a gorilla impersonation. This is where my life has taken me.

Fatty, Laura, Ben and I were singled out by the compere of a large theme park (mean! mean! mean compere!) and I didn't want to be a party pooper.

I wasn't very good.

Friday, June 06, 2008


You know, I don't get annoyed easily. Well, maybe I do, but I'm certainly not the type to get furious at the drop of a hat. And when I do get peeved, I am usually over it pretty quickly. I either say my piece, or I make myself think about what difficulties the other person may be dealing with, and that snaps me out of being angry. But this week I've been bothered by a couple of things, and I'm still stewing.

The first annoyance began when a patient, 'Victoria', returned to see me after trying a medication I'd prescribed her. I asked her how she was going with her tablets - were there any problems? Victoria reported that the medication itself wasn't bothering her, but that it was hard to remember to take it for 3 nights on, 3 nights off. I frowned. "The chemist told me to take it that way", Victoria explained. I felt myself getting steamed-up.

"Well, that's unusual", I replied. "This was a prescribed medication. The chemist should call me to discuss it if they feel there's a problem with the directions." And indeed that would be the professional thing to do. However, this chemist, without even having the courtesy to conference with me, had advised a patient of mine to take her medication in a fashion which will mean she never gets the full effect. Victoria may as well be taking jellybeans for all the good it will do her taken in this way.

I am the first to admit that a good chemist is the saviour of many a patient. There have been a few occasions where a chemist has called me to check my prescription directions, and has saved me from giving my patient an excessive dose of a medication. None of these medications would have caused a fatality, but they would have made the patient feel pretty awful. And as much as I try my best to be safe and careful, one day I could make a mistake that has the potential to kill a patient. Chemists watch for these errors, and they truly save lives, and save our doctoring butts.

That said, I object to having my directions completely over-ruled, without so much as a phone call. It is rude, it is presumptuous, and it has been to the detriment of Victoria. And I think I need to make a quiet phone call and politely express my thoughts about what occurred.


I was tucking Laura into bed last night, and had already kissed her goodnight when she called me back. "Mum?"

"What, love?" I enquired.

"Mrs D (the librarian at Laura's school) says 8 o'clock is too late to go to bed".

My frown from earlier in the week reappeared.

"Don't worry sweetie, she's not your parent", I soothed.

"But she says it's too late for going to sleep", Laura persisted.

"Well, she's not your parent", I reiterated. "Daddy and I will decide what's best for you".

I felt my annoyance rise anew against the chemist, and now against this teacher, too - advising my patients, and my daughter, without knowing the full details. The chemist did not know the full clinical details of my patient's condition. And this teacher does not know that Fatty & I have been trying to deal with Laura's nighttime insomnia, because of which Laura has been lying awake from her 7:30 bedtime until 8:45 or 9 pm most nights, tossing & turning. Mrs D doesn't know that we have recently instigated a new plan involving making sure Laura gets plenty of exercise each day, playing soft lulling music in her room at bedtime, and putting her to bed a little later, so she has less time to toss & turn. This may end up being a temporary measure, until her anxiety about getting to sleep dies down. But last night Laura was asleep within 20 minutes, and that has been a huge relief for both her, and for Fatty and I.

I would be happy for a chemist, or a teacher, to raise an issue with me. There have certainly been times when I have taken on board advice from either of these professional groups, and changed my way of doing things. I just don't like it being done behind my back.

This tirade is now over.