Last weekend was a tough one...I saw a new Surgeon on Friday, an Orthopaedic Surgeon who specialises in spinal work. I received a quote for my surgery from the previous Surgeon (Neurosurgeon) and the out of pocket costs were to come to more than $4,000...!!!
For a $7,000 procedure, (laminectomy with spinal fusion), more than half of it we were going to have to pay ourselves. It seemed outrageous and downright extortionate to me. So, armed with a list of Medibank Private preferred surgeons I made several phone calls and found one who will do the surgery with no co-payment, he will invoice Medicare and Medibank Private and that will be it as far as his costs go. It sounded good to me so I made an appointment for 5th November but then was lucky enough to get in last Friday due to a cancellation.
In a nutshell...I really liked him, he spent an hour and a quarter with me, (the other one I have seen 4 times and would be lucky if I have spent a total of 20 minutes with in total) wanted to know all about my home life and family and the impact this was having. He did a thorough physical examination, (which the other doctor didn't do, he has never once touched me) and explained the procedure completely, again something the other surgeon didn't do. I'll be so glad to get it over with and start to recover, it will take up to 3 months but at least I will be making progress, I can manage that. I was having a huge down day, very hard on myself and seeing him helped big time.
The best bit is that he can do the surgery on the 11th November, a week before the other one could. I'll be in hospital for a week, should be walking by the next morning after surgery.
The weekend was tough as when the Surgeon did a really thorough physical examination, it caused quite a bit of pain, it was unpleasant on Saturday, had shooting, burning nerve pain down both legs, it was hard to get around...I spent most of the day lying flat on my back. I have reduced the number of painkillers I have been taking too, I doubt they were really effective and were making me feel ill constantly. Have already noticed my head is clearer. The surgeon I saw on Friday came up with a schedule of medications...it seems to be more effective, the last two days have been good ones.
Fingers crossed the next two weeks pass quickly and uneventfully. I have an appointment with the anaesthetist on Friday then it's just a matter of waiting until the 11th. I have had to go out and get some new PJ's though, only had one pair that was suitable for wearing in public...!!!
Oh, and it seems Matilda's passport application has been approved without having to get her father's signature on the form. I spoke to the passports office last Friday and they were going to rubber stamp it that day, we should have it here by this coming Friday...excellent news...!!!
Mondays are a bit manic here after school, Matilda has cheerleading class at 4pm so I pick her up from school, (she usually catches the train home but it gets in too late for her class on Mondays), whizz home, whizz out again to cheerleading, I drive home, prepare dinner then whizz out to pick her up at 5.30pm. Mind you, it's a lot less crazy since Myles finished football for the season, I used to have to take him to training on the way to pick Matilda up.
So Monday dinners need to pretty much take care of themselves...tonight's dinner was a Jamie Oliver recipe. It's prepared and cooked in the one dish, (I use a paella dish given to me by my sister, she lived in Spain for a few years, it's the real deal). Preparation takes 10 minutes from beginning to in the oven...truly it does, we love it at our house.
Not sure on exact quantities but it goes something like this...
10 Free Range Chicken Thigh Fillets 8 Medium sized Chat Potatoes 12 Truss Cherry Tomatoes I Head Garlic (around 10 cloves) Handful Fresh Thyme 4 Small Onions - pickling size are great Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Olive Oil Salt & Pepper Continental Parsley
Brush large casserole/paella dish with olive oil. Halve Chicken Fillets and arrange evenly in dish. Quarter Potatoes and poke in the spaces between the chicken. Peel Garlic and Onions, quarter onions, fill empty spaces. Scatter Cherry Tomatoes evenly, I like to leave the stems on. Wedge the Thyme in among everything in the dish. Drizzle with Balsamic Reduction and Olive Oil Season with Salt & Pepper - I prefer salt flakes and freshly ground pepper.
Bake in 180C oven for approx. one hour or until potatoes are golden. Adjust seasonings & scatter with chopped Continental Parsley
We love this meal with a huge green salad and lots of crusty bread to mop up the juices in the bottom of the dish...they're good, really good.
*Photo is the dinner I prepared tonight...it's also a meal you can prepare earlier in the afternoon or even the morning and leave in the fridge until you need it. If you do it that way, it's a good idea to quarter the potatoes and leave them in a bowl of water to prevent browning then add them just before baking.
It's also super easy to double or halve for bigger or smaller families, this quantity feeds three adults and a hungry 12 year old.
Oh my...I have been honoured again...!!! Thanks to Watercolor...she's a real sweetie who battles some unpleasant health issues but seems to come up smiling...she has the sweetest puppies too.
Now I have to let you know what makes me happy...
*Lazy, languid, lustful, lingering Sunday mornings in bed... *Eating the first mangoes of the season... *Listening to the kids enjoying each other's company... *Seeing John at the end of his working day... *Quiet family Sundays at home... *A really great laksa... *Reading at night in the silence after everyone else has gone to bed... *Watching the rainbow lorikeets come in to nest in the tree next door (done best with a G&T in hand)... *Excellent Australian red wine... *Stolen kisses and hugs... *A really great Scrabble score... *Rare roast beef... *Being anywhere in Mount Buffalo National Park...
I'm tagging Lynda, Karin & Lissy...looking forward to seeing what makes you happy...
After reading Lynda's list I need to add one more...
*John has a beautiful belly laugh, I love to hear it and do so at least daily...
We spent the day last Sunday with John's oldest son Brad, his wife Briohny and their boys (John's grandsons) Blake & Dylan...Blake is 9 and Dylan 8. They were holidaying on the Gold Coast and as we don't see them nearly enough it was a great chance to catch up.
We went to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, the day was glorious, the sun not too hot to be out in and a gentle breeze was blowing. The Sanctuary was great, I hadn't been there in 30 years so it was wonderful to see the positive changes that had been made.
Here's a few quick pics of the kids...
From L-R...Matilda, Myles, Blake & Dylan. Seconds after that photo was taken the koala pooed in Matilda's hands...she was grossed out but relaxed a little when the koala carers told her it was all eucalyptus leaves, nothing else. Myles is Blake & Dylan's uncle, the similarities he and Dylan share are uncanny. Blake is fair and blue eyed like his Mum.
Myles with baby croc...just as well it was firmly taped shut, they are quite snappy even at this size. We saw a number of larger crocs while we were there. Nothing like getting a close up look to remind you that humans are not at the top of the food chain... Unfortunately our day was way too short...it was so hard for them to fit everything in that they wanted to do. They will be in Queensland in March for a wedding so we hope they will come and spend some time with us then.
Better get a move on...it's cheerleading night and I need to get dinner organised before I go.
I have another post brewing on the outrageousness of surgeon's fees...not happy...!!!
1. I used to play the cello, probably still can. 2. When I was born I had a heart condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosis and it was thought I was going to die. I was christened within hours of my birth. My Godmother was one of the sisters at the Royal Children's Hospital. 3. I have a tattoo...it's discreet and private and only those I want to see it ever get to do so. 4. I have see The Rocky Horror Show live on stage 44 times. "It's just a jump to the left..." 5. I once washed my hands next to Mick Jagger in a unisex bathroom at a nightclub in Melbourne. 6. I am highly allergic to shellfish, it sends my heart into an irregular rhythm and it needs to be shocked back into normal sinus rhythm. 7. I am a sixth-generation Australian...Matilda is seventh.
Okay, I'm required by Bloggy Law to tag seven others...in no particular order...
This morning when I woke all I wanted to do was put my head back under the covers...I had a day of dealing with bureaucrats and their fiddly, nit-picking little rules.
Firstly I had to get Matilda's passport application sorted. I have run into strife with it because despite her father refusing to have his name on her birth certificate, despite his contesting paternity (which resulted in DNA testing and an almost year long court battle), despite my having sole custody and guardianship of her, despite his never having had anything to do with her, not even ever having (known to me anyway) set eyes on her...I need his signature on her passport application to ensure I am not taking her out of the country against his wishes.
The only reason this has to happen is because he pays child support and that there has been a court hearing to determine custody & guardianship arrangements.
I have been backwards and forwards 4 times to the post office, downloaded copy after copy of forms, all with number titles, not names and in the end had to apply for a copy of the original custody and guardianship court orders (due to her primary school losing my copy when I had to present them).
Guess what...the Melbourne Magistrates Court cannot find anywhere on their database a record of any of our court appearances, there were three for fuck's sake and I have the orders from two of them, can even give them the file numbers they needed. They tell me that they have the details of all Family Court appearances since 1975 on their data base and "...this is a most unusual situation...". No kidding.
So today I decided to gather together everything I had, go to the passports office and get the information I needed. I had phoned them before and they could not give me a definitive answer as to whether Matilda's father had to sign the passport application
I find the place, no mean feat, it's well hidden (probably for good reason, so people cannot find it)...get to the touch screen and hit the right buttons. I then get a message that no-one will see me without an appointment and I need to pick up the red phone and make one.
I didn't know whether to burst into tears or pick up the red phone and throw it at someone. Eventually I spoke to someone (on the red phone) who, surprisingly, no astonishingly was quite helpful.
I explained my predicament to her...within 2 metres of the queue so everyone can hear our family's private details, no provision for privacy or confidentiality here. My biggest stumbling block is that in section number (whatever) it says "Father's Name As On Birth Certificate". Um, it's not on her birth certificate and I am not able to leave the field blank. Therein lies the problem and no-one can tell me what to do.
So guess what...tomorrow I get to go to the Passport Office again, I even have an appointment as made on the little red phone. I get to present Matilda's application to them and they are probably going to tell me that I have to contact him and ask him to sign it. Oh joy...he is going to be thrilled about that.
It remains to be seen...
All this has gone on for two weeks now, it has dredged up some pretty ugly feelings that I am pushing to one side but am going to have to deal with eventually. Matilda is old enough now to know what is going on. In the past she had been too young and I had been able to shield her from his hideousness. She asked me the other day why his name wasn't on her birth certificate...I had to tell her the truth.
I don't know, I just don't know why he bailed out on her before she was born. I can deal with his rejection of me but it's so hard when it's Matilda who feels the hurt. I don't understand how he could be so irresponsible towards a new life that he had a part in creating. The day I held my screaming baby girl down at the Forensic Pathology Office while they attempted to take 4 vials of blood from her still makes my skin crawl. Had I run into him that day I would have killed him and not been accountable for my actions. I guess that's why they schedule both parties appointments 6 hours apart.
One day it will come back to haunt him...karma can be such a bitch...
Three years ago on this night when I went to bed I had no idea what was in store for me the next morning. As I slept I received an email in my inbox that would change the rest of my life in a huge way.
When I turned 40 I set myself up a profile on an online dating site, kind of a birthday gift to myself I suppose. I have a dear friend who had been suggesting that I do so....she had been dating men she had met online for some years. I had been quite reluctant for some time but then she asked me to answer the following question as honestly as I could...
"So...where do you go to meet nice men..??"
I was stumped, couldn't answer, there was no answer. That very night I checked out a few online dating sites, chose one that was reputable, set up my profile, uploaded a photo and perused the profiles available to me. During the following 18 months I met and went out with a number of men, some I am still dear friends with today, others that didn't get past the first date. I had a series of short and a couple of longer term liaisons.
One night, during the wee small hours I was sent an email from a man named John, who said that he liked what I had written about my life and my family and wanted to know if I would be interested in communicating further. Immediately I wondered what someone was doing sending me email at 3am...what kind of oddball stayed up all night scouring the internet for dates..?? However, I had made a promise to myself to respond to every email I received, even if it was with a "thanks, but no thanks" so I replied. I checked out his profile and it seemed we shared a number of interests including food, coffee, wine, farmer's markets and left wing politics. He didn't have a photo up but was quite willing to send me one on request.
We exchanged emails over the next few days...he revealed that he didn't usually sit up all night trawling the internet for women but his (then 9yo) son had broken his collarbone that day at school and they had spent just about all night in the ER, waiting to be x-rayed etc. He was wired when he got home and thought he would spend an hour or so unwinding online. Hence, the email.
It became apparent that we needed to meet and soon...so the date was set, we had lunch and spent many hours that day talking and laughing...an excellent start.
Over the next couple of weeks we fell very much in love...yes, it was quick and unexpected but so, so sweet. I had very definite ideas of what I was looking for in a partner, not necessarily a shopping list as such but having had a few more years life experience I knew very much who "fit". Finding John was like coming home, very much the other part of me...he felt the same way.
That first email was three years ago tonight, in the wee hours of the 4th October, 2005. John and his family coming into mine and Matilda's life has been for the most part the easiest thing in the world. It became apparent very early on in our relationship that we would be together for a very long time so plans were made and we ended up here in Queensland.
I adore and respect him, I enjoy his companionship and shared discussion. I never, ever thought I would find someone to watch Insiders with on Sunday mornings but I have. He is generous and kind, thoughtful and funny. He treats me with greatest respect and love. We do not argue, we never have, there is no need. He doesn't sweat the small stuff and understands what's important in life. He cares for Matilda like he were her biological father. My heart still leaps when I see his name in my Inbox, just like it did three years ago tonight...he is warm and very snuggly, gives the best hugs, I love the way I "fit" under his chin when we hug and the way he smells, he always smells so good. I love his mind too, he is highly intelligent...I love bits of him other than his mind. I love going to sleep with him and the way he places his hand on my hip as we drift off. I love that he has entrusted me to care for his children, not a decision to be taken lightly. I love that our children care for and get along with each other, we are so very fortunate. I love that he loves me...I am a lucky woman indeed, my life has been very blessed.
Happy three years my love, they have been amazing.
Mid-40 something, left leaning Mum with two children at home...one I gave birth to, one given to me with love. Have recently relocated to Queensland for lifestyle reasons...my partner John & I decided it was time to merge our two little families. It's all kinds of fun and at times manic but we consider ourselves very blessed.