Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Intercostal myalgia

That's what I've got. It means pain in the rib muscles, and it'll go away eventually. It's already not as bad as it's been for the last week, and I won't mention it again.

I had an interview on Radio New Zealand Concert last week. I thought I was going to be talking about the Poetry Society, but apparently I was interesting enough in my own right. I managed to read a couple of poems out all the same: Billy Collins' "Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House", and Jenny Bornholdt's "Make Sure". Two all-time favourites. I'm buying the CD from Replay Radio because my Dad forgot to listen, after I rang and told him when I'd be on, and because I forgot to tell anyone else about it!

I'm working my guts out here, with Wally away hunting. I started on stuff for our AGM today and realised I don't have the minutes of last year's on record, because of the Great Computer Crash of 07. Fortunately I'd put them on the Members' pages of the website. Goodness knows why I didn't print them out at the time and file the hard copy. Next job is to list all the emails from committee members authorising expenditure. That used to be in meeting minutes, but we don't have meetings any more, so I've got to collate all the emails instead.

I fed the quails (22 of them) late this morning, as I get up quite a lot later than Wally, who normally feeds them, and they were all waiting for me. I got mobbed as soon as I walked in the aviary. Cute.

So that's all for now. I can't see a blog detailing the minutiae of my daily work as particularly interesting so I'll come back when I've got something to say.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Good news

I went to my hospital appointment this morning. My test results weren't on file, proving (as if I needed it) that the situation hasn't improved since I left there 21 months ago. The examination was straightforward and found nothing, as I expected, and we (including husband and daughter number 1) were sent out to the waiting room with a cup of tea (!) while the reports were "frantically" being typed up. In the end, only the ultrasound report was forthcoming - the one I had concerns about. it was normal - woo hoo. I need to ring next week to find out the mammogram result, but since the ultrasound is a better test than the mammogram anyway, that's no big deal.

So I've been given the all-clear and discharged, the best result of all.

Now the husband has gone hunting, number 4 daughter is in Rome, the tenant has deposited a month's rent, and I'm on my own for a week so I can get down to some writing, if I can drag myself away from work. I'm seeing number 3 daughter tomorrow, as the buses are on strike and she needs a lift to the College of Education for a 10.30am class. I've emailed number 2 daughter, who left here last week after her three week stay, but I haven't heard back from her yet.

All is right with the world, and I've got the bed to myself! Tomorrow I'll see the doctor about the pain in my abdomen, which is still much the same - no better, no worse. I suspect it's a result of my sedentary lifestyle, actually.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Trials and Tribulations

Cliches abound - if it's not one thing it's another. My income dropped by 50% at the beginning of April, because the government grants organisation that has traditionally supported us awarded slightly more than half of what I applied for in order to run the organisation. Printing and other costs haven't gone down - there's only my honorarium available to cut. On top of that, my tenant (I know - I've got an investment property, so sue me, but not until you read what comes next) broke up with her partner and hasn't paid the rent for four months. So why haven't I evicted her? I hear you ask. Because she's got 2 children, is my very simple answer.

Do you know what happens to the children of broken relationships who get thrown out on the street? I do, and I refuse to be responsible for that, so I've carried the loss. Besides, she's been in the house for 7 years, and I know her pretty well. Not necessarily as a friend, but well enough to know that when she gets back on her feet the rent will slowly be paid back. It's my mortgage after all, and if I choose to pay it out of my retirement savings in the short term, confident that it's not money down the drain, that's my (non-professional, if you like) business - pun intended.

She rang me earlier this week to let me know WINZ has finally come through with her benefit (did I mention it's been four months? Shame on you, Johnsonville branch!) and her automatic payment will start next week. I believe her. And if it takes her a week or two to get to it, that's ok too. Her children will grow up with the consistency of staying in their home when everything else is going wrong.

So what else? Well, earlier this year I noticed I have a wonky nipple: it's decided to go against the general run of nipples and be an innie instead of an outie. Google soon proved that medical knowledge websites are created by either doctors who want you to pay their colleagues, or patients who have the rarest diseases and want to warn you not to let your physician ignore your symptoms. In other words, the information ranged from "there are lots of things this could be other than cancer, but we're not going to tell you what they are", to "my doctor missed this because he didn't listen to me, and now I'm going to die".

I went to my doctor, who agreed that it needed looking into (ha ha) and asked me whether I have medical insurance for a private specialist. After working in the public health system for 26 years I have a fairly robust opinion about the relative merits of public vs private, and I opted for referral to the local hospital. See, I've been to private specialists from time to time, and have never found paying a rhino-like medical "expert" to diagnose and/or treat me a very satisfactory experience. At least at a hospital out-patients department I can feel confident (having met the people who work in such places) that their interest is about more than the income. So the referral was faxed off the same day, and then I got on with my life while I waited for an appointment.

It took a while, but I expected that. I wasn't worried, having believed the bit about there being other causes than cancer for a rebellious nipple. Eventually a letter came from the hospital suggesting I turn up at Radiology for a mammogram at a time of the day that I stopped waking up for when I retired from a job that determined when I should be somewhere. So I changed the appointment, no worries. Then I received another letter suggesting I turn up at the Breast Clinic at another one of those silly times. Changed that too. Letter number three asked me to have an ultrasound, again at a time of morning that no respectable person should be on the streets. What, everyone in the department wants to be home by 10am? Changed that.

Had the mammogram - it's a doddle. Why does it have such a bad rep? I've had screenings for a few years, and I have yet to figure out why people don't like it. The next appointment would be at the Breast Clinic, but the Nurse for that clinic said there was no point in my going there without all the tests done, and re-scheduled me for another one of those ridiculous times, after the date of the ultrasound. Changed it again, but at least she let me change it to a later time on the same day, so no time lost.

Two days ago I had the ultrasound, and for the first time I'm actually nervous. The technician didn't say anything - they're not allowed to - but I've worked in health, remember? I know all the ways there are not to tell someone something while making sure they go and see the person who can tell them,. It's all in the body language, and I'm very sensitive to that (I also read Tarot Cards - useful skill). My Breast Clinic appointment is next Tuesday. I'll let you know.

In the meantime, I've developed a pain in my upper left abdomen, just below my rib cage, that I thought was a muscle pull, but which is not only not going away, but is spreading laterally. The skin surface around it is starting to feel vaguely numb. That can't be good. I've had it now for 4 days, and I haven't taken anything, because I thought it would just go away in its own time. No such luck. If it still hurts on Monday, I'll see my doctor again.

The husband and number 1 daughter are coming with me to the hospital on Tuesday, for emotional support, and so I don't have to drive myself home if I get news I don't like.