Friday, September 11, 2009

Only 20 years later...

Aproximately 20 years ago I started wearing glasses. Initially it was just for reading the blackboard, but my vision degraded over a year or so until I needed to wear them permanently. I always hated it, but I hated contacts more (couldn't stand poking my finger in my eye - odd, I know). As of Thursday 10/9/2009, it is no longer an issue!

Here is a pic of me on Tuesday (Beth had declared it Pirate Day):

and now this morning:

hmmm, not the most flattering photo, but I direct your attention to the fact that I am NOT gazing vaguely into the distance... It may not seem like much, but it is significant to me!

I have been eagerly waiting for my prescription to stabilise so that I could look into getting lasered. I had my eyes checked last week, and it had now been 3.5 years since my prescription changed (and then not by much). I had not intended to have the lasering done quite so soon, but I lined up a couple of consultations and went to the first Thursday morning. 2 uncomfortable hours later, I was advised I was a suitable candidate for bladeless LASIK. They asked "How soon would you like to have the surgery?", I responded "As soon as possible", they said "How is 2.30pm?"

A few harried phone calls later to check in with my boss and arrange a lift home with my sister and I confirmed the operation. Whipped home, had a bite to eat, looked at my family just in case it was the last time (!) and caught the train back to Parramatta.

I would describe the procedure as "uncomfortable" - as mentioned I hate putting in contacts, and this was significantly worse :) They start by giving you some valium and pre-emptive panadol, give you a few minutes to have the drugs kick in, then take you in to the theatre. I lay down on the rotating bed, and the nurse handed me a couple of stress balls - these came in handy! First my right eye. My eyelids were taped open, and the speculum was inserted to keep my eyelids apart. I had asked earlier what happens if I blink, the response was "well, you can try!" This first part was probably the most uncomfortable. They cut a flap on the surface of the eye in order to expose the cornea. In my case this cut was performed with a laser as well. They attach the cutting head to your eyeball via suction, and the flap takes 30 seconds to cut. The nurse was sounding off every 5 seconds, and it seemed like an enternity. I was supposed to keep both eyes open, and keep looking straight ahead. I found this very difficult and kept closing my other eye, and it would wander a bit - I suspect this was the cause of my discomfort. During this phase, I could not see anything out of the eye being worked on as the device was sitting right on top of my eyeball.

Anyhow, the flap was cut and the device detached from my eye. Next bit was kind of nice in comparisson. A small tool that I have been describing as somewhat like a shepherds crook for a Lego man was used to lift the flap on my eye. This was accompanied by beautiful, cool, flowing water (? - presumably saline or somesuch). Quite weird though - blurry vision... stick thing moving about... flap rolls back... clear-ish yet obviously not quite right vision as my cornea is exposed. The LASIK part of the procedure then commenced. After working for a few years around fibre optics, this just seemed crazy! The laser was very pretty though :) This phase of the procedure was super quick - something like 5 seconds all up, with 3 bursts of the laser. They say it is a "cold laser" and does not cook you, but I swear I could smell something...

Lasering complete, the Lego shepherds crook + cool, cool water is used to replace the flap. The stick comes over your eye again an carefully places the flap back down. Kinda like if you were really anal and applying your rego sticker to your car windscreen... After the shepherds crook, a little thing that looks like a squeegy is used to smooth over the surface of the flap, presumably to remove any bubbles, again, just like your rego sticker. This bit was all kind of nice - no pressure on the eye, no one saying "look at the red light", nice and cool water flowing.

End of procedure for that eye, remove the speculum, remove the tape, tentitavely blink a few times... is that it? They moved on to the left eye, and I think I was slightly more anxious by now. I had been squeezing away at the stress balls like a man possessed. Even trying to come up with funky squeeze patterns to keep myself distracted, but I think I really could have done with a bit more valium ;) Anyway, they kinda had to jam the cutting tool onto my face, squishing my nose. Not really a problem because once it has hold of your eyeball, you ain't going anywhere!

One thing that certainly doesn't make the procedure any more comfortable is the blinding theatre lights that are shining straight in to your eyes. How inconsiderate! I guess the surgen needs some good lighting to see properly, but I thought it was all computer guided these days - maybe some nice candle lighting (and soft music) would be more appropriate!

Anyway, they finished the left eye and I was guided to the chair to have the doctor examine the results. Another bright light shined in your eye - this time through a magnifying glass so the Doc can have a good look. My eyes were feeling quite abused by this stage, so I spent as much time as possible with them shut. The nurse put some protective perspex shells over my eyes, and then some VERY attractive sun shields:

(note this photo was taken just now. I was not in any fit state to consider documenting what had happened at the time, plus if you had tried to use a flash anywhere near my I would have flailed ineffectually, and then sobbed in the corner)

The whole thing from popping the pills to being sat back down in the waiting room took maybe 40 minutes. I rang Tara to check where she was. As luck would have it, she was armed with a disabled sticker due to Millies broken leg, and was able to park immediately out the front. She came up and escorted me down stairs. My eyes were watering like crazy, and I still just wanted to keep my eyes shut. The trip home passed in a blur. We sent the kids out the back to run around, Tara poured me a glass of wine (that's ok with Valium, right?). Very nice wine I might add - I instructed her on where the boxes of wine were kept, and expected her to come back with a Cab Sav. She happened to find my stash of good stuff, and we had an extremely nice limited release Tulloch Hector - an event certainly worth the celebration! Mind you, I only discovered this the next morning when I was able to read the label.

I was feeling kinda drowsy, and was very sensitive to light, so I had a lay down while dinner was sourced from the local fish and chip shop. I thought I had only been in the bedroom for a minute, but it must have been about half an hour and Loz said she had to shake me awake. Ate some food and another glass of very nice wine, and I was cactus. I gave my apologies, and toddled off to bed. I took some pain killers and a sleeping tablet (not affected by alcohol, I am sure!) and passed out. I woke a few times through the night, but was not feeling terribly uncomfortable and was able to drift off again.

As this was all arranged last minute, I had not actually organised time off work. I had to go back out to Parramatta for an 8am checkup, and it was just going to be too difficult to public-transport out there... so I drove. The eyes were still feeling a bit "grainy", and I was still sensitive to light, but it wasn't too bad. I barely had enough time to make use of the coffee facilities in the time it took to have my checkup, and I even made it to work just after 9am!

A slightly eye-weary day at work, but felt no worse than times I have worn contacts (noting my ham-fisted method of insertion). The "eye lubricant" drops are the bomb, and I can't recommend them enough!

So that's about it for the eye story. They feel better day by day. Still a slight blurryness, still a bit sensitive to light, and still a bit of "starbursting", but becoming less and less, and it has only been 2 days after all!

To mix it up a little, here a few pics of the munchkin:

(at Muchos de Mexican with the family. Tara went to town on Beth's hair)

(Beth thought the hair was worthy of a cheesy grin - check out those chompers! Only the eye teeth to go)
(Beth is quite enamoured of Little Puss, and Little Puss no longer seems quite so distressed by Beth!)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The romance

It's 10.30 at night. Since I got home from work, I've bathed and fed Beth, done three loads of laundry, done the washing up, washed and re-lanolinised some wool nappy covers, and now I'm back checking my work email. Working motherhood is every bit as romantic as it's cracked up to be - and I am one of the lucky ones, since Grant actually does his share!

I have a playdate with a new mum friend tomorrow, which is exciting. We are going to play with bubbles in the park and eat cake, if I have anything to say about the matter.

Beth's new (or recent) words: cheers (and clinks glasses), apple, hippo, but her favourite and most useful word is MORE! she just doesn't ever specify OF WHAT.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fountain of happiness

This morning we took advantage of reason to live in Concord 654123465.12 and went to the Armory at Newington for breakfast. It's on the Parramatta River (as is pretty much else hereabouts) and is away from the road, so chiclets can run wild to their heart's content, subject of course to the aforementioned river and the two metre drop into same off the wharf.

Beth had a run around before we ate, and did some very nice artwork at the table, including a still life called Lizard with Red Scribbles. Well, OK, the lizard part was a dot to dot I did, but the red scribbles were all Beth. After breakfast they had turned the fountain on, so she had a play in that - video to follow. I will note that after our last experience with the fountain, we had packed a change of clothes, because once bitten twice shy, etc. She did get thoroughly soaked, but unlike last time she didn't end up with gumboots full of water, so I am calling it progress.

I drew a B for her in chalk the other day, and she freaked the hell out of me by saying "buh." She repeated this three times, and also when she picked up her wooden letter B. Fortunately if you write A she also says "buh," so I am not quite as scared.

Grant has visited a childcare near where he works which did not simply blow us off re: potential placements for next year, and in fact seemed very positive we might get a place. Grant says the playground is so cool he wants to go there. It's funny to think of Beth in preschool/childcare, but she enjoys structured activities like gymbaroo and artwork so much that I think she's almost ready. We have been very very lucky to have not needed it before now, especially as we haven't been able to get a place anywhere anyway!

Two molars through, two just cutting. No fun.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Maybe gymbaroo wasn't such a great idea...

Beth can now climb up on the dining chairs, and last night when I was making dinner she stood on one of her small chairs to see up on the kitchen bench.

Maybe all that climbing practice at gymbaroo wasn't such a great idea.

Also, for the last two days she has been saying "na" when she needs changing, and patting her nappy on the change table to warn me if it's a poo. Such warnings are always appreciated, especially when one is dealing with teething poo and especially when one has been lured into false confidence by already having changed two pooey nappies in a single day (but wait, there's more...).

In further exciting evacuation related news, yesterday she was having nappy off time on the back verandah while I put washing out. She came over to me and pointed to her crotch, then off to the side of the verandah, where it transpired she had done a massive poo on the floor. Again, good heads up!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sunset on the shores of the Parramatta, etc

You know what is really something? Playing with your baby with shells on a beach on the shores of the Cabarita bay of the Parramatta river, while the sun drops down over the water. It was dark on our side, but the light hit full on the far side of the bay. There were black pumice stones around our feet. We had just jogged for 20 mins (my first jog in months and months and months) to get there. Reason #34235467234 to live in Concord: embarrassing amounts of natural beauty are but a short sweaty uncoordinated jog away. Also: good coffee.

Unrelenting rain is making it rather a drag to get the washing dry, esp. cloth nappies, which are after all designed to absorb moisture and will happily suck it right out of the air if need be. While I'd like to say I'll go for a jog again this afternoon, I am going to be realistic about that NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

Beth has a fairly stubborn cough right now. Being my daughter, she has decided to multitask and is also suffering from cutting 4 molars and 2 canines. Poor bugger. She's an upbeat little soul though, so it really only screws up her sleep, not her attitude.

I always forget the words she can say now, so to add to the list: MORE (mah!), new this week. She asked for more sandwich this morning after playgroup. Astonishing, as she never ever wants more food.

She can also make a few more animal noises, including miao, roar, click her tongue for a horsie ride or a kangaroo, etc. She can make slurping and "yum yum yum" noises to indicate drinking and eating, and pointed at her Spot book (he gets his dinner at the end) the other day and said "yum yum yum." she also tells Mum's dogs to eat the same way. Kind of adorable. She can follow two-step instructions (put that away then come back to Mummy) sometimes. She likes the rain and this morning raced out into it in her PJs and socks, not so great as we are experiencing a sock shortage here.

Work has been busier, which is nice. I have not only met but exceeded budget for most days this month, woohoo! And the only other news is that I can't think of what to cook for dinner.

[EDIT: - some dodgy photos from Grant's phone below]

The mighty Parramatta. Well, Hen and Chicken bay at any rate. Although where we were may be France Bay... not entirely clear.

Definitely Hen and Chicken Bay on the other side:

Smiles - the munchkin loves the outdoors:

She especially loves the outdoors when she gets to wear her raincoat and gumboots:

Beth still loves bike stuff, even though we haven't taken her for a ride since it have been cold:

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Oh right, I remember this thing!

It ain't fun if you don't get soaked

Hey kids. How've you been?

Beth is now nearly 17 months old. And SUPER CUTE, if I do say so myself:

New raincoat. I want one.

Beth finally outgrew these fabulous cords, and Grant is still in mourning

The Fairy Poopsmith

Lookin' fab

Language has been a two steps forward, one step backward thing. It's interesting to watch. She will master a word and then stop using it completely, viz BUMP, which entered her lexicon 2 months ago, then vanished without a trace, then has been slowly creeping back in over the last few days. So from memory, she can say mum, dad, dog, duck, what's that? (these last four sound the same to the uninitated), bump, cheese, keys (last two sound pretty much the same), Jake (guess the favourite cousin), and sometimes nana, and can make noises for monsters, tigers, elephants, snakes and donkeys.

She's now physically very dextrous, and can now run, sort-of stand on one leg, go up and down shallow steps without holding on to anything, throw a ball quite directionally, kick up to three times in a row for a dribble (already surpassing her mum!). She has been having a lovely time stomping around in puddles in her new raincoat and gumboots, which we got just in the nick of time because it has been freaking rainy in Sydney lately.

Grant takes her to swimming at Olympic Park on Tuesdays which she reportedly loves, Wednesday is her grandma hangout day (which she definitely loves, because she has the loveliest grandmothers in all the land), Thursdays we have finally found the local playgroup where she has a great time, and Friday is gymbaroo day, which she enjoys and which I think she is really getting quite a lot out of, even though we hardly ever do the homework, because we are rebels, y'all.

Otherwise it has been life as usual. Two words of advice: if you are fully breastfeeding your baby, you can eat whatever the hell you want and it will never touch your girlish thighs. Once you start to cut back on the feeds: not so much. Angie warned me but I didn't listen. More exercise or less cake are in my future, and possibly a pedometer revival. Grant is nagging me to do a 7km run in a few months but since I have not to date even run 2km I am not so sure. Speaking of which, Grant and his sister and possibly brother as well as our friend Ro are doing the City2Surf again per Grant's entry, so nag them to train if you happen to run into them.

We are heading back to Newcastle for the long weekend, and I hope everyone else has a similarly relaxing break planned!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

How about that then...

City 2 Surf is on August 9th. That's about 11 weeks away. Last year I used the training planner from their website to prepare. The planner started 10 weeks out, but I only picked it up 8 weeks out, and went from there. However, I had been using my recently acquired Wii Fit since my birthday, so about 5 or 6 weeks...

This year I intend on doing the full 10 week programme, and had intended to get back into the Wii Fit, but that hasn't happened yet. City 2 Surf training is supposed to start in about a week, so figured I should dust off the Wii Fit and see how I'm going.

It turns out that I have actually lost weight since I last used it months and months and months ago, and I am currently sitting on a nice even 110kg! An easy benchmark to start from, so we'll see how it goes this year. I am actually considering modifying my diet this time (OMG!) but I'm not about to make any rash decisions.

I've also managed to convince my sister to join me, and my brother HAD said he would do it, but he has been strangely silent on the matter of late.

[EDIT] I just read my blog entry from 1st January. What a laugh! I went for a jog that day, broke myself, and haven't been jogging or used the Wii Fit since! I really need a financial/event commitment to get motivated.