Leg Update 3: I have a vascular anomalie

31 07 2008

Okay so on Tuesday I went and had all my tests done;2 x-rays, a CT scan, an ultrasound and an MRI … all tests that I’ve had before. The MRI was fun, the technician asked me which arm is better for the injection but I said either one so she tried the left and after poking it and prodding it for five minutes with the needle in she couldn’t get any joy so then she tried the other arm …yay! So then I had two sore arms that evening.

The next morning I went to the doctor where my latest diagnosis is that of a vascular anomalie inside the anterior region of the muscle. So now my next trek is off to the vascular surgeon on August 6th at 4pm.

The doctor I was talking to yesterday rattled off a range of possible options that might mean I won’t have to have muscle removed but the real test will be after I speak to the vascular surgeon next week.

So, a tiny bit more information but not much really … other than what I have maybe doesn’t have a name and is a huge head scratcher for the medical profession.

Stay tuned for update 4 … hopefully with some concrete information.


My Weekly Rant: The American Invasion

22 07 2008

This morning while I had the TV on in the background I saw the advertisement for the new McAmerican Bagel at McDonalds. I should also add that I don’t usually watch TV but I am still waiting for my internet to get connected … so the idiot box was looking pretty good … for a moment.

All I have to say to this is what the heck? I mean which marketing genius thought this up? Who in their right mind would order anything with American in the title? Fair enough if you lived in America you might want the good old American Bagel, but wait a minute I live in Australia! Are there actually any Aussies out there that would actually buy that Bagel? Why didn’t they re-name it or something? Why is it that they think that all Australians are dying to be just like the yanks and want to eat whatever they eat?

American Idol (just pass me the earplugs)

This leads me to the amount of American TV programs that barrage us through the idiot box. I mean when on earth did Australia have so much American television that it is nearly just another state of America? Now, just so we’re clear I’m not talking about American sitcoms so much but more the endless parade of American reality TV programs with American people competing for god knows what. Why in our right minds would we be dying to tune in, to see a bunch of loud Americans whinging, bitching and complaining on so-called reality TV programs? I mean most of the Americans that I have met have such a different outlook on life due to their culture being different to mine in many regards that I fail to see the amusement of seeing them on reality TV. I don’t feel an affinity or kinship with these people, why is their plight to have their fifteen minutes of fame going to interest me?

Which generation of Australian idiots even watches this clap-trap? (author pauses hoping to god it isn’t her generation). Obviously there must be people watching it or they wouldn’t put it on TV … or maybe we ran out of Australian idiots to perform on our own Australian versions of the same reality TV shows?

Survivor (if only the wouldn't!)

Surely, there must be other Aussies out there that feel the same way … surely I’m not alone in feeling that Australia is losing some of it’s identity to this American invasion (so to speak)???

Somehow I have digressed into what must seem an Anti-America rant. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate America I even have some American friends and for their sake I want to make it clear that I don’t hate their country or anything. My objection is about Australia through TV being slowly sucked up into their culture entirely so that I feel Australia is losing it’s identity.

Gosh, sometimes I just want to go around to the youth of this country and shake them and scream at them to “Wake up to themselves” and for god’s sake “stop watching this reality TV crap so that they might put something more interesting on the box. And finally “is your own life so boring and without merit that you have to watch people making idiots of themselves on national and international TV to feel like you are living??”

When reality TV first started in Australia, about the year 2000 with Big Brother, I thought it was just a phase. I figured it would grow boring eventually and we could return to more interesting things on TV. Then, slowly but surely the American reality TV shows started showing on TV and I figured that surely no Aussies would really be bothered watching it and it would disappear eventually. Now it’s 2008 and I have to say to my country … What the heck is going on here? How can this re-cycled stuff still be amusing the masses?

Thankfully, Big Brother has finally been cancelled. I hope that this signals the beginning of the end, but I also read that channel ten is planning to resurrect it after about three years off air. Of course. I’m praying that it doesn’t happen.

This is my call to Aussies that feel the same way as myself to not only NEVER purchase a McAmerican Bagel but stop watching American reality TV … for the love of god … force the TV networks to put something else on … it’s been eight years people, it’s time to move on!!!

The Tumor: Update 2

21 07 2008

Woot! So I’ve made it to the Australian specialist and I have all the information I need and a date for surgery right? I don’t think so!


I have to go for another barrage of tests – all the same tests that I’ve had before. Back to the drawing board!

So next week, I’m off to Brissy again for another MRI, CT Scan, x-ray, ultrasound, chest x-ray and who knows what else.

So I have to wait another weeek … the doctor doesn’t seem convinced that it’s a Hemangioma (blood tumor) but then he refused to look at the MRI photos because he said it wouldn’t mean anything to him (what the heck??)

Oh well, wait and see.

On the plus side I now have prescription for Panadeine Forte (yay my addiciton to pain killers continues!)

I am like Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua…

18 07 2008

and I’m going to take a bite out of you!

According to my other half I am like Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua … because apparantly I’m a cute little angry dog who likes to bite people and everyone wants to see me to see who I’m going to bite next. (Don’t laugh, it could be you next!! Bwah ha ha ha!!)

Actually, I am not a Paris Hilton fan and I have no idea if her dog has ever bitten anyone. I think my other half chose her for the joke because I am terrible with dog breeds but everyone can envisage the small dog that Paris Hilton has with her in certain photos etc

Well it could be worse, at least I’m not like the pig out of the movie “Babe” or something equally worse. Or the silly blonde girl (character only not the actress) off “Legally Blonde” those would be true fighting words.

Clearly, this could be a pretty apt description of what I’m like. This should be my cue to blame it all on the pain of the small growth that has started it’s own metropolis in my leg, but really that just wouldn’t be the truth of the matter.

I guess part of my problem would have to be my impatience. I am particularly impatient with bad service. I started my own gleeful cherished horrid customer service career at the age of 14 and quite frankly if I had to smile and be NICE to people then damn it other people should be able to do it back to me if they are in a customer service job.

This gets under my skin so much at times that one day I actually got into a little Robert Deniro type show down with a girl at the Deli counter at my local supermarket. The girl in the beginning saw me standing there but refused to come and serve me, prefering to continue her conversation with her workmate, who also didn’t want to serve me. There were no other customers around and the girls were looking right at me and not serving me. I waited for a couple of minutes and then when she served me (without a smile), she practically threw my food at me after she’d wrapped it and the whole thing just got to me. (I should probably add that being ignored doesn’t really go over well with me either) so with steam coming out of my ears I just lost it and in a nice cutting tone I said to the girl when she threw my wrapped up food at me “Have you got a problem with me or something?” the girl looked totally flabbergasted and didn’t know what I meant, perhaps she didn’t even realise that she’d been so rude. Or perhpas I was overreacting?

I guess this is why I’m like the Chihuahua, if something bothers me I generally have no problem telling you about it, possibly with nasty tone attached. But really, why bottle things up? That just leads to explosions, usually in a post office where people get killed. Or sometimes in a nasty blog post …

I’m also impatient with the assholes in the world around me. Like the asshole P Plater driver who cut me off at a round-a-bout during my driving test many years ago … lucky I passed or in the small town I was living in I would have hunted him down and put a Chihuahua like bite in his arse.

Or one friend in particular who tells me every time I see him (over a period of four years) that my cat has a big head. Despite my asking him politely to not say that about my cat, he continues to say it and manages to insert it into conversations that have nothing to do with my cat, any cat or any other animals for that matter. For example:

Me: Hey did you hear on the news that the Reserve Bank of Australia is putting up interest rates again!

Friend: Oh yeah, really? That sux. Hey did you know that your cat has a big head?

(note: that conversation was exaggerated for comic effect but you get the idea)

Obviously he’s obsessed with size. Well I am sure that revenge will be mine when said friend has a mongoloid baby with his cousin that he loves to death and I can say “Hey, do you know that your baby has a fat head?” Oh gosh it’s so childish I know, but four years, four years, four goddamn years!!

My beautiful cat

My beautiful cat, Mr Zim (Fat Head Sold Separately)

Other assholes in the world are the people that took the McOz burger off the menu at McDonalds while I was away in Korea. You see I secretly knew that my purchasing that burger once a week was keeping them in business but as soon as I leave, it just wasn’t selling. But really, what were they thinking?? It’s a burger with beetroot! For many Australians that’s a quintessential part of our culture having beetroot on a burger and in typical American Multinational “We don’t care about the tastes of the country we are selling our product in” they took it off the menu. Now it seems you can get a deluxe McFeast (the ordinary McFeast was my previous favourite before the McOz was in existence) or some other lean Beef Burger. I don’t think this turn of events would have bothered me so much if it wasn’t for the fact that I had cravings for that burger while I was out of the country that and the fact that because of McDonalds we don’t seem to have as many little hamburger joints anymore that sell hamburgers with beetroot.

Anyway, while I admire those people that can either bottle up their issues or just avoid conflict altogether … I am just not one of those people (partly because it makes more amusing blog posts this way). But surely there are other people out there that get annoyed with the world. Surely not everyone just shrugs and says “Oh well” and goes about their business without it bothering them at least a bit??

I’m a Chihuahua and I’m not changing!

So Class, What is a Tumor?

2 07 2008

This became an impromptu class yesterday, after I told my kids that I was leaving to go back to the big bad land of Hoju (Korean word for Australia). This is one of my favourite classes and it consists of four kids about 10-12 years old. 

They knew that my leg was in pain but they wanted to know why didn’t I get a Korean doctor to fix it (they thought it was the language problem how perceptive), how do you translate “Because the psychotic doctor wanted to take half my leg with the tumor” in english that a 3 year old might understand. This class is early intermediate level, they haven’t even learnt past tense yet so it was a difficult explanation. In the end I managed to explain with miming hand movements of walking an exaggerated limp if I stayed in Korea and if I went to Australia I’d be walking fine (I still have no idea if this is the case but it seemed easy enough at the time). I also threw in an extra “Australia doctor small money, Korean doctor BIG money” with hand actions to emphasise small and big this seemed to work too.

After this there were more questions and in the end I went to the white board with a marker and drew a leg, put a circle for the muscle and then a colored dot for the tumor – with an arrow pointing to it and the word tumor written on the board.  Then Agnes probably the smartest kid in the class wanted to know how big the tumor was, so I told them 13cm x 7cm and she got out the ruler to measure and went and made my small dot decidedly bigger – how on earth can it be that big? Anyway, I went a strange color of green after that, told the kids it was too scary and rubbed the picture off the board.

It made it all so real in a very very scary way. I do have copies of the MRI’s and have seen them but the dot on those never looks as big as the measurements they gave me, I was always hoping for a mis-translation of the measurements. Actually, I’m still hoping that is the case. I’m so glad I’m coming home in a few days to get it sorted!

I’m bugging out early

2 07 2008

Yep, 5 weeks away from the end of my contract and I’m heading home. The pain has just become too much in the last two weeks. I’m taking more pain killers, more often, I can’t sleep because of the pain and this is Korea, calling in sick in this country just isn’t done unless you’re on your death bed. This coupled with the fact that pain seemed easier to deal with when I knew I was on a waiting list for surgery. It just seemed harder to bear not knowing how long it was going to last etc

So I decided to get home as quickly as possible. I was also a little swayed by a fantastic Qantas Frequent Flyer special on business class seats too. 9 hours in an uncomfortable chair in pain, or 9 hours in business class where you can swing back and relax (and still be in pain – doh!). The downside is that I’ll be flying from Seoul to Osaka first in economy, waiting for a couple of hours and then getting the business class part for the longer haul flight (overnight flight too). I’ve never flown business class before so I’m really looking forward to it.

As well as obviously getting my leg fixed and stopping the pain (and did I mention flying business class) there are quite a few things I’m looking forward to (in no particular order – these are the things you Aussies take for granted):

  • Fantastic “Australianised” Chinese food (have already put my order in with the folks)
  • A decent bloody hamburger (and not that McDonalds stuff either a REAL one!)
  • A decent steak cooked how you order it (we have a local western restaurant that despite ordering every week a Medium Well steak comes out anywhere between rare and medium rare)
  • The ability to say G’day and be understood by white people (and not laughed at or ridiculed or have someone try horribly to mimic my accent) beware I’m going to be saying G’day a lot!
  • If (god forbid) the internet connection goes down, the ability to phone the internet provider and ask what’s happening (this also goes hand in hand with the ability to wait on hold for hours on end and then be hung up on but god I’ve missed that!) – thankfully ours doesn’t go down very often and never for more than a little while – usually only when it rains in the wet season, but we have the joys of having to find something else to do and continually check every five minutes if the computer can find a website (okay I would do that too in Australia but the all important phonecall is the difference!)
  • To not be woken up (or stopped in traffic) by raid sirens every two months as the country does a drill preparing for the threat of invasion from the North … all traffic halts for about 30 mintues in a country like South Korea it’s hilarious!! (ironically I can guess the one day of the month when North Korea WON’T attack)
  • A decent bloody prawn! Not a shrimp – a prawn (and no I don’t throw them on the stinkin barbie either! I eat them, on the beach preferably!)
  • The beach (I have been living inland again! Yes Korea has beaches – have never made it to one and I have no idea how they compare to Oz – I just miss the beach)
  • Not being required to show up to meetings and seminars (for work) that are conducted wholly in another language. If you think speeches are boring ordinarily, wait until you can only understand one word in five minutes, it can send you to sleep!

Okay I think that list is long enough and this has been sitting in draft form for a couple of days.

For those people in Oz, I’m going to be based mainly in a tiny town called Kooralbyn in QLD, an hour south-west of Brisbane (where my parents live and we have nicknamed it Happy Valley) it’s only got 1500 people, no movie theatre but lots of Kangaroos hopping down main street etc (I think it’s going to kill me – I’m so not a country girl). I probably won’t be doing too much hopping around and visiting because of my leg but I’m hoping to get in at least one trip to Armidale if I can.

Great Read: The Pillars of the Earth

1 07 2008

I’m only half-way through but this book is fantastic. The Pillars of the Earth is set in the 12th century of Britain, written by a British author (yay!) and looks at the interactions of a few key characters, labourers through to clergy, earls and the King. I really enjoy the wrting. The author is inspiring in how he keeps the excitement level up and makes you want to keep turning pages, especially over such a big book. There’s tons of political intrigue (don’t get attached to the main characters) and some great human story lines aswell. The best bit is that all the characters are flawed which makes it really different to the usual run of the mill stuff and for me makes it much easier to get into the characters’ heads and feel what they feel.

The Other interesting thing I find is that it really isn’t too different from reading a fantasy book. Although that is maybe my weird take on it.

If you are after something different and stimulating that you won’t be able to read in a couple of hours then this could be for you.

I did say it was big, but it never slows down – it never lulls too much, you always know there is something interesting right around the corner and you are never sure which character will triumph.