Friday, October 31, 2008

finally an answer

after i typed the last post i went to go lie down for a bit. my mobile started ringing-- it was the first doctor from the second clinic (too many doctors involved). she said she had noted that i'd seen the other doctor at that clinic this morning. my chest xray had been given to that doctor already (i guess the xray place decided it was urgent to get it to her today) and she'd passed it on to the first doctor i'd seen. she was nice enough to call me (instead of having me book an appointment) and tell me i have pneumonia. as much as this sucks i'm glad i actually know what's wrong. she said i will definitely need a refill on my antibiotics and said if i want to get the xrays and take them to the first clinic (the bulk billing clinic) she'd give them to me and i could get the first doctor i saw (who gave me the antibiotics in the first place) to refill them next week. i called that clinic right away knowing it would be tough to get an appointment for monday. the receptionist told me right away that they were booked up and down 2 doctors but she recognized my voice (this is when having an accent to make my voice distinctive comes in handy) and when i explained what was happening she said she'd squeeze me into a non-existent appointment slot on monday to show the dr. my xrays and get a prescription refill.
i'm sure all you canadians are confused about the 2 clinics and the bulk billing. i'd explain it except i don't understand it myself. basically if i go to a doctor that "bulk bills" i just show my medicare card like in canada and i don't pay anything. non-bulk billing doctors i have to pay upfront (about $60) and then about half that is refunded thru medicare. the bulk billing clinics seem to be hard to get an appointment at without at least a day or 2 notice (a bit hard when you suddenly get quite sick). the non-bulk billing clinic i've been able to get appointments on the day i call them. what makes it even more complicated (and zac doesn't get either) is the non-bulk billing clinic bulk billed me today (so she took my medicare card and i paid nothing). zac had it happen to him at a non bulk billing clinic too. the only thing we could figure was because something they'd done during the appointment (like order a chest xray) was covered by medicare so therefore the whole consultation was covered. i don't know though.
even though medicare in canada is going downhill-- it's still a lot better (and a lot less confusing) than medicare here.

maybe getting better

i went back to the first doctor yesterday (who really didn't want to test my iron and other vitamin and mineral levels) to find out the results. iron and b12 are fine. zinc is a bit low (which could be why i got as sick as i did). i also mentioned to him that i've had a rapidly worsening cough over the past week even though i figured he'd just dismiss it as a virus. when i mentioned i'd been coughing up a lot of phlegm he looked like he was starting to take me seriously that something is actually really wrong with me. he took my temperature and was quite surprised that i had a fairly high fever (i wasn't surprised). then he noticed some "noise" when listening to my breathing and said i definitely have some sort of chest infection. he printed out 2 different antibiotic prescriptions and mentioned something about a chest xray. he never ended up giving me anything to get the chest xray done though. today i went back to the second doctor (well a different doctor at the second clinic since i couldn't get an appointment with the original doctor there). she gave me the results of my glandular fever test which pretty much said i didn't have active glandular fever but i had it at some point in the past (?!?). when i mentioned the other doctor giving me antibiotics and that he'd said something about a chest xray she decided to give me the form to go get that done. zac drove me down to the xray place (its been great he's been able to get the work car and sneak off to take me to all these appointments between clients) and i had the xrays done. the technician went off to check that the xrays were clear and then came back and said to me "are you on antibiotics?" i told her yes and she said "but just since today right?" obviously something is showing up on my xray but she can't say anything. it'll be sent to my doctor on monday (and because of the public holiday tuesday i won't find out about the results until wednesday). she did say that if i wasn't on antibiotics right now the xrays would have been rushed to my doctor for her to review and give me antibiotics. so hopefully by monday (after i'm done most of the antibiotics) i'll be feeling much better and maybe i'll even make it to work on thursday....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

second opinion

after going up and down all weekend i thought i was ok to go to work yesterday. zac wouldn't let me. he also managed to get a work car and told me to book a doctor's appointment at the clinic that doesn't bulk bill. he came and picked me up after lunch and took me there. apparently i still have a fairly high fever (the other doctor insisted i had no fever even though i'd told him i'd had panadol exactly 4 hours earlier-- obviously the panadol hadn't worn off and the fever hadn't come back yet at that point). she actually checked all of me (my ears, breathing and throat-- and she said my troat was fine). then she said she'd like to have a blood test done for glandular fever. zac ended up having to drive me down to st. vincents (and attempt to park within a km of the hospital) so i could get the blood test done and i'll find out tomorrow if i have glandular fever or not (doesn't really matter i guess cuz whether its just a flu virus of glandular fever there's nothing i can do for it but rest and drink lots of fluids). she did give me a doctor's certificate so i can't go back to work all week. i called the director and told her i wouldn't be in the rest of the week and said "see you next monday i guess". after i hung up i realized i wouldn't see her monday-- this week is her last week 8( and next monday the center is closed because tuesday is cup day (melbourne cup is a horse race the first tuesday of november. we get a public holiday for it and a lot of services also take the monday as a holiday). i happen to have r.d.o.'s scheduled for next wednesday and friday too so the only day i go to work next week is thursday. i guess this gives me lots of time to rest up and get better.

Friday, October 24, 2008

doing the job

i wend to the doctor yesterday. i think this doctor is the same one that made zac not go back to this clinic ever again. the guy pretty much told me (without actually saying it because he would be fired) that there was no reason for me to come in to see him, i have a virus and there's no reason to do blood tests. i kept pushing him that i want blood tests done and this isn't normal for me to be like this over and over again for months on end (i do have an ex-co-worker that this is pretty normal for). finally he agreed to do a B-12 test. i said i wanted iron too (i know you can get a lot of different things tested with that one blood sample so i don't know why he was having such an issue-- he wasn't even gonna be the one taking the blood or analyzing it. he just has to sit with me for 5 minutes again next week and tell me the results-- and he'll be paid for it cuz its his job!). he finally agreed to do zinc and iron. so next week i'll find out if there is actually anything contributing to me feeling horrible other than the multiple viruses i've had. if i don't like what he says then i'll just book an appointment with the woman at the clinic who is really good and i really like and i'll wait the 3 weeks it takes to get in to see her.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

sick. again.

i've never been sick so many times in my life. and not just a couple little colds either. full on flu like illnesses. i think this one has been going since last saturday. we went out and had some drinks with friends. we came home late afternoon and i fell asleep for a couple hours (not like me-- i blamed the heat and the beer but now i'm thinking otherwise). sunday i woke up fine then started to feel a bit achy and flu-like. i just ignored it, took some ibuprofin and we went out. we came home about the time the meds would have worn off and i felt absolutely horrible. i went to lay down while zac cooked dinner. i ended up not getting up and i couldn't eat dinner. monday i just stayed in bed all day. i tried not to take any meds cuz i knew the fever would kill whatever bug i had but my skin hurt soooooo much from the achiness that i had to. tuesday i thought i was fine so i went into work and started feeling horrible. my boss arranged someone to cover me and i went home 3 hours later (longest 3 hours at work ever). i felt like i was dying all afternoon. i managed not to take any fever reducing things for several hours but by evening i felt absolutely horrible. i took some panadol and after feeling worse for 45 minutes i felt good enough to get up and make a smoothie. i think today its finally starting to go away. i haven't had to take anything. i think i've still got a bit of a fever but i'm not achy and my body is just kind sore from all the lying around i've done. i'm going to the doctor tomorrow to see about getting blood tests done. i'll probably have to wait a bit to get them done since i've barely eaten since saturday (at least what's gone down has stayed down). its not normal for me to get sick like this (especially multiple times).
wombat has been very good about this whole thing. not once has she asked/demanded or even hinted that she'd like me to take her for a walk (she still tells zac twice a day she wants to go) and she's spent most of her time under the covers with her head poking out next to mine or laying on the foot of the bed like a proper dog (something she's just recently learned). even when zac got home last nite she still spent the rest of the nite curled up next to me instead of being out in the lounge room with zac (and then zac put her on her own bed when he came in).

Friday, October 10, 2008

best breakfast ever

i was inspired by a post i saw a few weeks ago (and i can't remember which blog i saw it on). it was an engish muffin with sliced veggie dog or sausage and melted cheezely on top. looked sooooo good. i finally got english muffins the other day but i decided not to open the veggie dogs we had but instead went for the fry's veggie burgers in the freezer. soooo good (i think cuz fry's burgers have a bit of a sausage-y spice to them). i ended up having it again today. unfortunately no photos cuz i my brain isn't awake to preform things like that at 7:30am (and i'm sure my brain still thinks its 6:30 since it's only been a few days since the time change). definitely a good protein breakfast (i need my morning protein otherwise i'm STARVING and tired by lunch time cuz we never have time to grab a snack in the morning at work).

Saturday, October 04, 2008


she's actually not nervous in the photo (though she looks like it). she's annoyed i put her kong on the shelf so she would say hello to us-- she's looking over at zac hoping he'll help her.
our dog is a very nervous dog though. she gets very worried if we raise our voices (even if its not at her or each other). i got annoyed at zac today cuz i discovered he'd used our expensive microfiber cloth to clean his bike chain the other day instead of the old t-shirt rag i told him to use. wombat was sitting in between me and zac and i was standing glaring at zac cuz he wouldn't stop smiling about his mistake. wombat could see my face and got nervous (i didn't even talk at this point but i'd been using a pretty annoyed tone of voice a minute earlier). i sat on the couch and she came over to me nervously wagging her tail so i called her up for some cuddles. a minute later zac noticed a wet spot the size of a 50 cent piece on the floor by his foot (where wombat had been sitting before). he asked wombat "what's this?" and she went over to take a sniff hoping it was something good. she did her normal response to smelling her own urine-- she recoiled in horror. the poor dog had got so nervous she actually lost a little bit of bladder control! she thought she was in huge trouble for this so i sat and patted her while zac cleaned it up (it was an accident and probably an involuntary reaction). i couldn't believe the poor dog got so nervous she peed.

clever dog

this dog is amazing (i love the other dogs watching)!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

summer positions

just some random shots of wombat in her summer sleeping position:

all winter she's been tucked into a little ball. now she just sprawls out where ever she sleeps. her pink belly will soon been gone (its already starting to change). she spends too much time laying in the sun during the spring (once summer hits its usually too warm in the sun for her) and her pink belly turns black. it takes until mid-winter for it to be completely pink again.
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for my birthday i got a copy of now vegan. its great cuz its australian so all the ingredients she uses are available here (and they all go by the names she uses so i don't have to figure out if there's an aussie name for ingredients like in north american cookbooks). its almost more of a coffee table book-- i'm scared to get kitchen mess on it cuz the photos are sooooo amazing (the photo of the chocolate pudding above looks about 100 times better in the book-- its featured on the cover as well as the title page of the dessert section and a full page photo on the page opposite the recipe). the recipes are pretty easy and simple for the most part (zac-friendly) and they all sound soooo good. so far i've only made the chocolate pudding (twice). its called chocolate mousse in the book but its definitely more pudding, which i prefer over mousse. it is AMAZING!!
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why vegan

being that its national vegetarian week i thought i'd put some of my favourite facts on why people should go vegan (or at least eat a lot less meat and dairy if not going vegan):

first, some facts from a great video:
* earth can sustain about 2 billion on meat and dairy based diet (about 7 billion live on earth)
* raising animals for food creates 40% more pollution than all the planes.trucks and cars
* 1lb meat takes 2500 gallons of water to make, 1gallon cows milk uses 750 gallons of water
* vegans save 1.3million gallons/year-- a vegan can leave shower running 24hrs/day, for 365 days and still use less water than animal basted diet person!!!
* a vegan saves full acre of trees/year (that would be clearned for animals)
* in america farm animals produce 130x more excremement than intire human population—86000 lbs /sec (enough to rebuild denver skyline every 24 hours from excrement!!!)

some facts from various sources on the web:
*the methane produced by australia's cattle and sheep has more impact than the emissions from all coal-fired power stations in australia (Australian Greenhouse Office. National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. 2003)
*a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation states the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent - 18 per cent - than the burning of fossil fuels by transport(
*Dairy and beef production are the highest major water users in Australia.(CSIRO 2005 Balancing Act)
*It takes thousands more litres of water to produce a kilo of beef than it does to grow the same quantity of grains or vegetables (Food and Agriculture Organisation. 22nd March 2007. FAO urges action to cope with increasing water scarcity. Rome.
*Livestock production accounts for over eight percent of global human water consumption (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. 2006. Livestock's Long Shadow - Environmental Issues and Options. Rome.)
*the average vegan uses about 1/6 of an acre of land to satisfy his or her food requirements for a year; the average vegetarian who consumes dairy products and eggs requires about three times that, and the average meat-eater requires about 20 times that much land. (john robbins)
*It requires about 300 gallons of water to feed a vegan for a day. It requires about four times as much to feed a vegetarian, and 14 times as much to feed a meat-eater [because you have to give the animals water, water the crops that get fed to them and use water in the slaughterhouses] (National Audubon Society)
*One acre of land can yield 75 kilos of beef or 9,000 kilos of potatoes (Klaper, Michael M.D. Vegan Nutrition: Pure and Simple, Fourth Edition, Maui, Hawaii: Gentle World, 1987, p.16.)
*It takes twenty-one pounds (9 kg) of protein fed to a calf to produce a single pound (450 gr) of animal protein for humans. We get back less than 5 percent of what we put in. (Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation, Second Edition, London: Jonathan Cape, 1990, p.165.)
*Nearly 40 per cent of the world's wheat and corn is fed to animals and huge amounts of land are given over to growing things such as alfalfa, peanuts, turnips, tapioca to be used animal food. This land could just as easily be used to grow food for people.(Gellately, Juliet. The Livewire Guide to Going, Being and Staying Veggie!, London: Livewire Books (The Women's Press), 1996, p.66-7.)
*Amount of nutrient wasted by cycling grain and soy through livestock: Protein 90% Carbohydrate 99% Fiber 100% (Our Food Our World: The Realities of an Animal-Based Diet, Santa Cruz, CA: EarthSave Foundation, 1992, p.4.)
*Number of people who will die as a result of malnutrition and starvation this year: 20,000,000. (Institute for Food and Development Policy, Oxfam America. Cited in Our Food Our World: The Realities of an Animal-Based Diet, Santa Cruz, CA: EarthSave Foundation, 1992, p.6.)
* If the whole world ate a vegetarian diet - that's plant foods and dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter - Tickell states there would be enough food right now to feed 6 billion people well. In fact, if everyone became vegan and cut out all dairy products and eggs, the world's population could be fed on less than one quarter of the land that's used at present! (Gellately, Juliet. The Livewire Guide to Going, Being and Staying Veggie!, London: Livewire Books (The Women's Press), 1996, p.67, citing Sir Chrispin Tickell of Oxford University, a UK Government Advisor on environmental issues.)
*Vegetarians suffer lower rates of diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, and - contrary to myth - don't suffer more deficiencies than the rest of the population (vegetarian action)

and finally a link to a great page of facts from john robbins. he lists a lot of good reasons to go vegan under several categories (i've posted his hunger argument in full, the arguments for all his other reasons are listed in full on the website):
The Hunger Argument:
*Number of people worldwide who will die as a result of malnutrition this year: 20 million
*Number of people who could be adequately fed using land freed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 100 million
*Percentage of corn grown in the U.S. eaten by people: 20
*Percentage of corn grown in the U.S. eaten by livestock: 80
*Percentage of oats grown in the U.S. eaten by livestock: 95
*Percentage of protein wasted by cycling grain through livestock: 90
*How frequently a child dies as a result of malnutrition: every 2.3 seconds
*Pounds of potatoes that can be grown on an acre: 40,000
*Pounds of beef produced on an acre: 250
*Percentage of U.S. farmland devoted to beef production: 56
*Pounds of grain and soybeans needed to produce a pound of edible flesh from feedlot beef: 16

The Environmental Argument
The Cancer Argument
The Cholesterol Argument
The Natural Resources Argument
The Antibiotic Argument
The Pesticide Argument
The Ethical Argument
The Survival Argument
from: "Diet For A New America" by John Robbins

there are probably a billion different reasons why vegan is a good idea. these facts were just a few of the reasons.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


i got pretty lucky that the few days i work during the school holidays this time are all days with only a few kids (9 at most). i did get called in on a day off yesterday but i only did the last 4 hours and half of the 17 kids we had slept. today we had 7. one went home before 1pm. we had 3 staff at that point. we took the remaining 6 to the park down the road for an hour then had a really late lunch at 2 and started rest time about 2:45 (usually we finish rest time around that time). within 20 minutes 5 of the 6 were sleeping and the 6th followed shortly after. we got a couple things done and then we were discussing a few things when one of my co-workers looked at the clock and said "it's 4!!" i was off at 4-- i got to go home and all the kids were still sleeping (they did start waking 2 kids up at that point because they're parents don't like them to sleep too long-- its holiday program, we let them sleep longer than usual cuz they need a break from routine too). it'll be hard going back to the regular routine with 25-28 kids. it's the final term though.