Sunday 27 September 2009

Damn You Weeties Box University!!!!

Ok. Ok. I know it's my fault. I do. My brain fog was in overdrive and my body was in the toilet. I shouldn't have gotten sick on the one day my regular GP doesn't work. Stupid Michelle! Stupid! I mean going from a cold to a chest infection on top of my usual Bob is clearly a deliberate foray into the world of masochism on my behalf.

I should add a caveat here. There are many many good doctors out there. I'm not saying they are all bad. Unfortunately though, you have to wade through a huge bag of crappy apples before you can find a lovely fresh juicy one. My cardiologist is a case in point. She's a big shiny juicy Granny Smith. (Oh Granny Smith! I miss you my forbidden appley lover, hopefully we will be reunited one day when my body gets with the program. Sorry about that. It really has nothing to do with this post, but I do so miss being able to eat apples).

Now I don't often go to my GP. I see my posse of specialists too regularly to really need to add anyone else to the mix. I reserve my visits to her for the occasional script or if I am super ill from something outside the realm of Bob. So my decision to go catch up with her was not taken lightly. If I could have actually breathed and kept my lungs in my chest, I would never have even considered a visit.

It sounded so innocent when the receptionist said, "Sorry Dr N doesn't work today, but Dr C is available". Obviously with the extra lack of oxygen my brain was receiving due to my cement filled lungs I didn't pick up the glaring unspoken warning that she was trying to give me over the phone. "Run to the hills, run as fast as you can, don't say yes. Noooo!". In my oxygen deprived state I stupidly said "Ok I'll take the first available appointment". Lets face it I was pretty desperate.

I may be picky, but I do think that to call yourself a doctor you should at least be competent with the basics and have read, or at least heard of, the Hippocratic oath. Having a big brain doesn't actually mean you should be a doctor. Maybe they could weed them out in some sort of Survivor type program. Just a thought.

I knew going in I had a chest infection, it's not my first and I know the symptoms. Thanks to Bob even a slight infection tends to go nuclear in a short space of time. So I expected that like my normal GP it'd be a 5 min competent event. I should have known better. Again, Stupid Michelle. STUPID!!

Struggling to stand, wheezing and coughing I stumbled into her room to be greeted with "So what's wrong?". Well obviously I was there for a bunion removal, this is clearly my normal state of affairs. I took a deep breath, metaphorically of course, physically that just wasn't possible, and said "I think I have a chest infection". She ignored this and kept looking at the computer.

Dr C: "Oh I see you had a hysterectomy"?
Me: "What?".

Ok I'm sure that's relevant? How? That was 11 years ago! I'm sure that's affecting my lungs. I also broke my right pinky playing netball when I was 12. I'm sure that to is affecting my breathing. I should have realised there and then that this was not going to go well. Damn my oxygen deprived brain!

Me: "The main thing to know is I have Dys...."
Dr C: "You haven't seen Dr N since the start of the year".
Me: "No that's because I only come when I'm really sick. This is not norma...."
Dr C: "Are you on any drugs"

Pass her my long list of drugs, which I know is also on the computer screen in front of her. She still has yet to look at me. She shoves the list back.

Dr C: "Have you seen any other doctors?"
Me: "Ahhhh Noooo? Just my regular cardiologist. Look it's just my breath....."
Dr C: "Are you on any drugs?"

WTF! Apart from the list I gave you moron.

Dr C: "Have you got a sore throat?
Me: "Sort of. It's not to bad. It's mostly from the coughi...."
Dr C: "How long have you had a sore throat?"
Me: "It's not my throat, it's my breathing. Look..."
Dr C: "Fever?"
Me: "It's hard to tell I'm always hot. As I said I have Dys..."
Dr C: "Nasal discharge? Cough?......" And she continues to check off her list.
Dr C: "Well it's obviously sinus".
Me: "No. My sinuses are normal cold gluggy. I don't have sinusitis. I've had that. My face isn't sore. I just can't breath......"

She starts tapping my sinuses, hard.

Dr C: "Does that hurt"
Me: "No".

Tapping harder.

Dr C: "It's obviously sinus".
Me: "No. It's not sore just like I told you".
Dr C: "Lets look in your mouth. Open".
Me: "Look my gag relex is a hair trigger at the moment due to throwing up from the Mestinon".
Dr C: "Well mines touchy too. Open".

At which point she shoves the icy pole stick so far down my throat I instantly gag and my mouth slams shut. She tries again and again, getting angrier and angrier. Same result each time. I so should have just thrown up on her, but I really didn't need that unpleasantness at the time. So she proceeds onto my lungs, finally.

Dr C: "Well they sound clear".

WTF. I'm coughing up my lungs in front of her and presenting her with big green chunks of mucus from my painful lungs. Onto the ears.

Dr C: "Well they are swollen they must be sore, it's obviously sinus".
Me: "No my ears don't hurt, its......."
Dr C: "Ok I'll give you antibiotics just in case. You need to sit in a hot steam bath to clear your sinuses and use lozenges for your throat".
Me: "Did you say hot steam bath? I can't tolerate heat".
Dr C: "You have a rare disorder. Take the lozenges. Drink lots of water"
Me: "What if I don't get better?"
Dr C: "Go to the emergency room".

With which she ushered me stumbling and gasping for breath out the door with a script for antibiotics. I couldn't even stand to sign the credit card slip.

Thus ended my visit to the gp. The worst thing was I was so sick that I didn't even have the energy to bitch slap her, or tell her what I thought of her. When I finally made my way to the chemist to get my prescription the pharmacist was so disgusted that she was going to ring her on my behalf. I had an overwhelming feeling of love for her that day. Luv you pharmacist lady!!

This highly competent, patient focused medico obviously got her medical degree from the internationally renowned Weeties Box University, along with her little plastic Transformers promotional car! The Weeties Box University does have a highly prestigious alumni including, Dr Death from the Bundeburg Base Hospital in Queensland, and Dr Peper who majored in tooth decay, obesity and diabetes.

Damn you Weeties Box University!! I really don't think you should be accredited to give out medical licenses. Being sick is hard enough without being forced to sell your left kidney to pay for sub-par medical care.

I think next time I get non-Bob sick and need an expert medical opinion I'll look up Dr Dre. He's sure to give me equally good medical advice with some cool hip hop beats to boot!

Time to go cough up my other lung. Pass me the lozenges.

Michelle :)

Thursday 24 September 2009

The Lemon Detox Diet For The Soul.

"I want to believe", that's the poster on Mulder's wall in The X-Files (oh how I miss that show, not the later series but those great early years. Stretchy, liver eating guy is still my favourite). I understand Mulder's need, though not in relation to UFOs, but hey whatever floats your boat buddy. I too want to believe, but in my case it's that someone will find a cure for Bob and I can put a hit out on him Soprano's style. I don't however, think some 67-year-old guy called Rain, who is offering to teach me to massage my personal chakras in his instructional book, Rub Your Way To Health, Dude, is going to be the one to do it.

Why are people so reluctant to see a psychologist who has studied their profession for years? Why are those same people willing to believe the word of some guy with a bad tan, fluro white teeth, and a bad toupee, (we know you're bald buddy get over it!!!)? The guy who looks like an extra from Miami Vice must have all the answers to life for $49.99 at their local book store, right?

As you know by now I was a psychologist, once upon a time, when I was still part of the real world, so I am kinda biased. People see one psych, who they don't like, or have a friend of a friend who saw one who sucked, and think all are the same and will never even consider one again. Let me assure you psychs are as many and varied as the people they see. I didn't have a couch and my first question was never "tell me about your mother". Yet these same people will read 15 self-help books believing they can be rich, beautiful, thin, have the perfect marriage, perfect sex life, and perform complex differential equations by reading 12 chapters of double spaced, Times New Roman font, sized 12. Well here's a revelation. You don't actually have to be qualified to write a book. Shocking I know. Bruce, the anti-bathing guy down the street with the tin foil on his head, who talks and gesticulates to his imaginary army and thinks he is Bonaparte, and that Elmo is the anti-Christ, can write a self-help book. Just cause there is a pretty cover, clever chapter titles and Disneyesk promises of happiness and wealth doesn't actually mean that the contents and claims are any more realistic than Tori Spellings boobs.

Oh Self-Help Books, I do love you. Your titles and your self-change/healing/growth/empowering/life coaching/closure/help gurus are are fabulous. I have had many a well-meaning person tell me of this book or that that'll help me, and that guru swami Terence from Tampa, has all the answers. Yep I'll run right out and buy it today and all will be well with the world. I'll also pick up my magic beans and genie filled lamp at Aladdin's Magical Emporium on the way.

Change Your Life in 7 Days, is perhaps my favourite title at the moment. Just like the famous Lemon Detox Diet you too can have a new size 0 life in only 7 days. Woo hoo! I'm set. I'll take a week off and I'll be living the dream next by Monday! No pressure right? What if I need day 8 or maybe a fortnight? I am rather slow on the uptake these days.

The by-line says it all:

"Success and happiness are not accidents that happen to some people and not to others. They are created by specific ways of thinking and acting in the world".

Well apparently my thinking and acting are pretty screwed up, why else would Bob continue to pester me. Hmmm..., lets see. Time to take my personal inventory (love that one, the jargon of self-help cracks me up. Maybe I'll have closure by the end of this post!). I chose a profession that helps people, I was successful in it, I've worked hard, I've always tried to be there for family and friends. I believe in humanity and compassion and try to live that every day. Last time I looked I wasn't a serial killer, I do help old ladies across the street, I don't cut in line at the supermarket, hell I don't even go in the 12 items or less lane if I have 13 items! So why is Bob here? Ok genius self-help man, answer that one! Solve that in 7 days.

Ok, ok I admit it, I do laugh at those people who get hit in the groin on Funniest Home Video. I laugh at the sick humour of Californication. I do often have humorous and judgemental thoughts about those people who persist in wearing super tight leggins with a crop top at the shopping centre (lets face it that is not a good look whatever your size). Especially for the woman who readjusted her lower womanly bits inside her leggings and then touched the fruit at my supermarket, ICK!! But does that mean I am evil?? Is my thinking truly so warped and inappropriate that I don't deserve "success".

I did read that those who have followed The Secret have apparently eradicated disease in their life. Why wasn't that on the news? Is the guy or gal who wrote it up for the Nobel Prize for Medicine???? So maybe my problem is that I've been reading the wrong books. Obviously I need to run out and buy 20 copies to cure Bob. Woo Hoo the suffering is over, I'm going to think myself well!!!!!

I have no problem with positive affirmations, changing your thinking and behaviour. That was my bread and butter after all. Healthy diet, aromatherapy, yoga and others are all well-proven and fantastic additions to any health program. But few people are really going to find the help they need, or ideas they can stick to, in a 200 page paper back. If any one author had all the answers there wouldn't be 25,000 different books out there. Have a look on the 2nd hand book sites or the bargain bin and see how many self-help books are there.

Change is hard. Change takes time, and I don't mean 7 days! I know no one wants to hear that but it's true. It requires perserverence and practice. It requires support and someone to help guide you through. Thoughts alone are not going to cure illness. They have a definite and proven use as part of a holistic approach to illness, just like mediation and relaxation. They help you cope, which in turn may relieve some additional stress on your body, but they don't cure.

I love the ones that talk about the medical conspiracy that keeps us ill to keep the evil "them" in business. I always have visions of Dr Evil from Austin Powers when I hear that one. When they claim they, and only they, have the secret that the drug companies have tried to hide, run for the hills, don't look back, make the sign of the cross, break out the rosaries and use your holy water. These are the same people who sold snake oil in the old west.

If you are ill you doubt yourself, you doubt your doctors, you doubt everything. These exploitive, fear mongering, witch doctors tap into our insecurities. The drugs don't always cure, thats a fact, like with Bob, but that doesn't mean my docs get some perverse pleasure in seeing me ill or envision dollar signs (Looney Tunes style) every time I walk through the door. It is easy to give into the conspiracy, hell people still believe the moon landing was a fake whilst at the same time buy into the idea they can have fantastic abs in under 3 mins a day! It's easy to be sucked in when nothing else seems to be working and you are desperate.

Just like the Lemon Detox Diet, The Cabbage Diet, The Grapefruit Diet, The Evil Carb Diet and the like, the majority of these books aren't going to help anyone but the conmen who write them. You may lose a dress size just in time for the races, but you'll be so famished after, that you'll consume every item on the maccas menu the day after and end up with 3 extra dress sizes, and feel like crap about yourself.

Give me a break, and bring on the spiritual Big Mac!!!

Here's wishing that you all find your inner light, your true-self, your personal truth, your inner warrior, or closure! Light-bulb moments all round!

Guru Swami Michelle :)

Wednesday 23 September 2009

A Word From Our Sponsor V

Hi All

First up I just want to thank everyone who took the time to read my post on Dysautonomia as part of Dysautonomia Awareness Week. Thanks to everyone who took the time to also send the link out to friends and family. Only through knowledge can we even start to think about kicking Bob's butt.


Finally worked out how to put up a counter (only took me 4 mths, but hey that's quick for me these days, I'm just shocked I could do it at all), and I clocked over 200 hits for the week, which means over 200 more people know about Dysautonomia. Woo Hoo! Go the Pasty Faced Army!

Ok onto the medication freakshow. Well my mum always told me that if I didn't have anything nice to say................

I have decided to persevere for the 6 wks, it's week 4 now so I'll stay the course although living a life of No. 3s is not exactly how I envisioned my life when I was younger. "What is a No. 3" you ask? Well we all know what No. 1s and No. 2s are. Well there's an ad on TV now for nappies where they discuss No. 1s, 2s and 3s. No. 3s are shown as a baby rumbling in the backseat of a car and then every window of the car is blocked out with a brownish coloured "paint". Is this my life? Really? Has it sunk to this? They keep telling me your body adjusts to the meds but obviously my body is a little slow on the uptake, it may need remidial classes.

My porcelain lover is starting to irk me. He's rather cold and clinical, wears too much cologne and is a little short on conversation, and I think it's time I dumped him. These boots were made for walking baby!

And Blooger well it's starting to irk me to. (Hmm I must be in a bad mood today everything is irking me. Could be the fact I have decided to catch another cold thanks to my masachistic tendencies, not like I had anything else going on). I can't get my comments or followers to show yet again. They are on one day and off the next. WTF? Maybe Bob is infecting my computer too, who knows.

Alrighty have to go before my nose floods the keyboard again, or I face plant on the keys when I pass out from dehydration thanks to my excessive nasal flows.

Ahhh living the dream, living the dream.

Michelle :)

Monday 21 September 2009

Mummy Dearest: Mothering with a Chronic Illness.

Being a mum is hard work. There's always someone waiting for the opportunity to chastise you for the way you are raising your children.
  • If you work, you are neglecting your children and contributing to their delinquency. 
  • If you put your kids in childcare, well it's time to call child services as you have apparently condemned them to a life of under achievement and attachment disorders. 
  • If you stay at home, well then you are a worthless woman not contributing to society and providing a poor example to your children, that says a woman's only value is in their ability to cook and clean. That you are raising a generation of over-reliant, self-indulgent kids.
It's The Scarlet Letter all over again. You can't win. Add chronic illness to the mix and you might as well toss it all in and move to a desert island somewhere in the Pacific.

Every woman has a close personal relationship with guilt. If you’ve popped out one or more rug rats then you truly know what I’m talking about. Guilt is one of the unglamorous side-effects of pregnancy, like the haemorrhoids and excessive flatulence that our mothers never warned us about. When your milk comes in you get a simultaneous lifetime supply of guilt to boot; would you like fries with that? You beat yourself up constantly for all your failings as a mother. Even prior to becoming ill I always felt guilty about my mothering. As a mum you always believe that you are not giving all that your kids need, be that time, love, or after school activities.  Regardless of the reality of your situation. 
We all compare ourselves to little Johnny’s mum. You know her. That woman with perfect hair and coordinated outfit, who attends all the excursions, bakes cookies for class, iron’s little Johnny’s uniform perfectly, makes the perfect nutritional lunch and is a clone for Mrs Brady. God how we hate her! However, introduce her to Bob or one of his mates and little Johnny will be rocking up (late of course) in yesterdays grotty jumper and unmatched socks, with a jam sandwich and piece of plastic cheese in his lunch box. 
Bob adds a whole new level of guilt to motherhood. Having Bob in your life means that you simply can’t attend every performance or sporting match; that you forget to hand in the excursion notes or to wash the uniforms. It means you can’t drive your child to a play at a friend’s house, or take them to the show. 

This is when guilt goes into overload. You don’t need anyone else to tell you should feel guilty you “know” you are the world’s worst mother. I truly realised the impact Bob was having on my family’s life a few months after he started hanging around. My eldest had just started high school and there was an information night. We drove as far as the end of our road and I had to pull over.  I was shaking uncontrollably, and could barely focus on the road. We sat on the side of the road for 30 minutes with my head between my legs until we could drive back home. We never made the information night.  It signaled the start of the kids missing out. 
They have put up with a lot over the past three years. It scared the hell out of them and I was too ill to either fully realise, or comfort them. It was only a few months ago that my youngest could finally tell me that he had thought I was going to die. It felt like someone had reached in, ripped my heart from my chest, threw it on the ground and stomped it into oblivion. I just wanted to reach out and wrap him in my arms and never let go. An 11-year-old (or as he was then, eight) should never have to deal with such adult issues, the guilt was, and is, overwhelming for putting him in this position. Even my stoic eldest was suffering in silence; he just didn’t want to worry me. A 14-year-old shouldn’t be worried about whether or not his mum will be able to drive home safely from his bus stop. He should be thinking about girls and friends and being a normal obnoxious, self-absorbed teenager. 

You don’t choose to have Bob in your life but you beat yourself up every day for the burden you are placing on your family since he came to stay. 
Since Bob came into my life I have quite simply been unable to be the mum I want to be. When you are sick and exhausted you yell.  You have no patience.  You are unable to tolerate normal kid behaviour. Music, laughter, horseplay, the word “mum”, dirty socks on the floor, all can become torture to the soul when you are sick. You overreact, and you beat yourself up for it after. It's so important to apologise to your kids when you are more together. To give them a hug and let them know it isn't about them. To let them know that even mums can make mistakes, but that it doesn't stop you loving them. That you are human after all.

It's important to remember that the ridiculously unattainable, high standard of motherhood that we set ourselves is not reality.  It is the product of the Hollywood fantasy machine. Lets face it, Angelina Jolie is portrayed as the epitome of motherhood yet she has a cast of thousands to help her including nannies, drivers and personal assistants. I hardly think she was doing loads of washing and picking up toys after she popped out her twins. And my Hollywood Posse? Lets see. I have me, my temperamental body, my fog brain, a busy husband who helps when he can, and two kids who try to help but are in reality, kids. This is reality. Even if you are lucky to have friends and family they are not with you 24/7.  So why should we expect that we would be able to be Angelina or one of the many other Hollywood fantasy mums, especially when we are also ill? Would we expect it of others? No. So why do we expect it of ourselves?

Underneath it all kids really don't care about attending the latest movie or going to the pool on the weekend.  Not that they wont pout and slam doors, they are kids after all.  And we are dumb parents who are evil and stupid and just don't understand. What kids want is your time. Its hard when you are ill to have the energy to interact with yourself let alone your kids, but even sitting on the couch together watching TV is valued by your kids because you are there.  

One of the things I missed was what we called MLT time (Mummy, Liam and Thomas time). This is something I had done with my boys since they were little. Every week we had a standing appointment. After school on a Wednesday we would go to a coffee shop and have hot chocolates, or lime spiders (gross, never understood that one) and coffee and cake. We would spend the time catching up and chatting about school, friends, life everything. It was time specially dedicated to them. The along came Bob and it was no longer possible.

We didn't have MLT time for a long time.  My health simply wouldn't let me sit in a cafe for any length of time.  And I was pissed.  So started thinking outside of the box.  One of the things we tried was making a time after school, but at home, to have hot chocolates.  We'd sit around the kitchen table, or on the couch, and chat. They appreciated the effort so much, even if I was mindless zombie mum. Over the next 6 mths we were able able to do the old MLT time.  Not as often as I'd like, and we have to suss out whether the cafe has a couch and a loo. If they have an air conditioner or outside seating.  But we were doing it. I didn't realise how much they appreciated that little bit of time, until they told me how much they'd missed it and were glad we were doing it again. This is two boys, one of which is now 15-year-old teenager! Who would have thought they'd miss time with their mum. 
I still feel guilty about what I can't do (I think that is imprinted in my mothering DNA), but I know my kids appreciate what I can do. Your ability to be a mum is not measured by attending 16 different after school activities, or every play. Its about doing what you can.  Putting in the effort to show them how much they mean to you, to show them they are still special.

Some lollies on their pillow when they come home from school.  Bringing them a hot chocolate in bed.  Making their favourite meal (even if it is foul tinned spaghetti).  All of these little things show that you care.  That you think of them even when they are not around. All of them are things you can do even when you are ill. 

Being ill makes you re-examine what it means to be a parent, it doesn't make you less of one. It gives you a chance to work out what is important, to find a new way to be with your kids, and in many ways your kids will be the richer for it.

Michelle :) 

(This is a re-post of an article I did for the Dysautonomia support group 12 More Pages in 2009).

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Dysautonomia. Invisible Illness My Arse!

Dysautonomia? Did you make that up? What the hell? Is that a species of dinosaur? A Pokemon character perhaps? Say what?

Has anyone who hasn't got Dysautonomia or a family member living the joy, actually heard of it? The answer is pretty much a big fat NO!, Nyet! Oya! Nda! Ne! Nono!Nede! Na!

There are so many illnesses that receive no publicity.  That aren't sexy or have a great PR/celebrity machine behind them. Unfortunately Dysautonomia falls into this wallflower group. We often don't look sick. We don't have scars and bandages.  Many don't have walkers or wheelchairs. We don't have the external, legitimate signs of illness. But you don't look sick!  Ha!  How many times have I heard that one? We are the supermodels of the illness world! So it's up to us to spread the word. Feel the power of the Pasty Faced Army!!

Dysautonomia. Say it 10 times fast. Remember it. Tell your friends. It's real. It doesn't discriminate. It could affect you or someone you love at any time.

There are many forms of Dysautonomia, some rare and some way too common. It can affect children and adults and everyone in between. One form, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, POTS, is thought to affect 1 in 100 teenagers, so where are the TV ads, the telethons, the glittering star-studded charity balls??

Even many doctors are unaware of Dysautonomia. It is notoriously difficult to diagnose as the symptoms can be vague or unusual. It can take many years until you get the answer. Many are told "it is all in your head", it's stress or anxiety, before finally finding a doctor who can put together all the pieces of the puzzle.

It's not that those of us lucky enough to have Dysautonomia want your pity, hell that's the last thing we want. What we do want is a little bit of understanding. Just a simple realisation that Dysautonomia exists and it makes life damn hard. A couple of extra research dollars wouldn't go astray either, but it all starts by taking the veil off this disorder and letting people know that its real and can be devastating.

So what is Dysautonomia?

Do you need to concentrate on making your heart beat or your lungs breathe? " Ok heart, now beat, stop, beat, stop, ok little faster now, not that fast, slow down, that's right, beat, beat, beat......". The simple answer is no. It would be impossible to consciously do this every second of every day for all of the processes in our body. Instead our bodies have a network that takes care of this, called the Autonomic Nervous System. It's the autopilot of our body, taking care of all our bodily systems so we can sit back and enjoy our flight. This system makes the minute to minute, second to second changes our body needs to keep functioning. It controls everything from our heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, body temperature, digestion, and so much more, even the way our pupils react to light.

When this system fails or malfunctions, you develop Dysautonomia.

If you look at the list of bodily functions it controls it gives you an idea of the wide range of things that can go wrong. Yet despite all of this we look pretty good, maybe a bit pasty or tired, but that's it. Unless we do our dramatic fainting (I love how doctors refer to it as a "simple faint", it's so obvious that they have never experienced it), no one sees the absolute shammozel that is our innards.

So here's a basic list of the delightful symptoms of Dysautonomia: Tachycardia (fast heart rate), Bradycardia (slow heart rate), Orthostatic Hypotension (low blood pressure when upright), Orthostatic Intolerance (inability to remain upright), Syncope or Near Syncope (fainting), Severe Dizziness, Exercise Intolerance, Exercise Fatigue, Migraines, Nausea, Gastrointestinal Issues, Nausea, Insomnia, Shortness of Breath, Heat Intolerance, Trembling Limbs, Brain Fog, Frequent trips to the loo, Visual issues, Seizures.

I can understand why some people (even doctors) might not think I'm sick. Dysautonomia is obviously a cake walk!.

How to explain what it feels like to live with Dysautonomia? It's hard, words really don't do it justice. Ever seen that episode of The Simpsons where they go to New York and Homer has the lock put on his front wheel. He stubbornly tries to drive the car just like normal but every rotation of the wheel takes out another ear splitting chunk out of his car. This is life with Dysautonomia. You try to keep going despite the obstacles your body puts in the way but each step takes a chunk out of you.

Dysautonomia is damn unpredictable too. One day you can do something, the next day you can't. One day it's your heart rate that's messing up, the next it's your inability to get cool, or shaking and passing out, or a combination of all or one or two or.........

Have you ever passed out? Remember the feelings just before? You get dizzy, feel like throwing up, shakey, greying of vision, wind in your ears, slurring your words... etc. Now imagine feeling like that all day, every day, week after week, month after month, year after year. That is Dysautonomia. Some days it's a little better, some days it's much, much, worse.

There is no cure for Dysautonomia. Doctors don't even know the underlying cause in the majority of cases. There are drugs but these don't work for everyone and the side effects can seem worse than the disorder. There are lifestyle and dietary changes which again don't work for some of us. It's about managing our ever changing symptoms each day and hoping it'll get better some time in the future.

Dysautonomia isn't an invisible illness for those of us who live it. Dysautonomia takes away your independence, it changes your life, it changes you. To go from a fully functioning member of society to someone who can't get out of bed some days is confronting. It's even harder when others don't understand. I would love to go to the movies, spend a day clothes shopping, or go out to restaurant. Hell I'd even love to be able to grocery shop without worrying about whether I'll be able to drive home or go arse up at the checkout. But I can't. Sometimes I can try, but I may have to cancel at the last minute, need to leave after 5mins, or spend the whole time in the loo throwing up. Occasionally I can do these things but no one sees the reality that afterwards I can't string a sentence together, stand or walk in a straight line or may need to sleep for a week.

Dysautonomia may be hard for you to see but for those of us with it, Dysautonomia is a big flashing neon sign, Vegas style, complete with feather clad dancing girls and Elvis impersonators.

All we ask is that you acknowledge that Dysautonomia exists, that you go out of your way to find out a bit more, that you tell a friend about it, or wear a blue ribbon to show your support.

Illness isn't always visible people but it doesn't make it any less real.

Thanks for reading.

Michelle :)

Greg Page, formally The Yellow Wiggle, has a form of Dysautonomia, Orthostatic Intolerance, and has given his support for a research fund at The Baker Institute here in Melbourne, Australia.
Greg Page fund for Orthostatic Intolerance

For more information check out:

DINET (US site)

Vanderbilt Autonomic Dysfunction Centre (US Site)

Syncope Trust And Reflex Anoxic Seizures (STARS: UK site)

Dysautonomia International (US site)

Dysautonomia SOS (US Site)

Other links

Monday 14 September 2009

Brownies From Heaven

I've decided to give Bob yet another poorly manicured middle finger. Weight gain and Bob appear to now go hand in hand no matter what I eat so I've decided to say stuff it and enjoy food once more. With my body having also decided it would be fun to develop fructose malabsorption and lactose intolerance (Woo Hoo IBS!) this has become more tricky but I have found the answer.

Through many long chocolatey hours of trial and error I have found the best brownie recipe ever, regardless of intolerances. You have no idea how many brownies I have cooked and eaten to get to this point, but I did it, I took one for the team (one brownie that is), well more than one probably closer to 20 or 30 but who's counting.

I refuse to have a life without chocolate brownies so here are my no fail, food intolerance and Bob friendly,

"Brownies From Heaven"


375gm Dark Chocolate (the best you can afford although I have used home brand and it has tasted just as good)
250gm Butter (salted of course, I do have Bob after all)
4 Eggs
1 3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar (plus extra tsp to eat while cooking)
1 cup SR Gluten Free Flour
1 tsp Xanthum Gum
1/3 cup Cocoa
1/3 cup Sifted Icing Sugar


  1. Heat oven to 180 C.
  2. Line a 20 x 30 cm slice pan.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter together in pan.
  4. Mix all dry ingredients (except icing sugar) and eggs in a large bowl.
  5. Add melted chocolate and butter. Combine until mixture comes away from sides of bowl.
  6. Try to refrain from eating huge spoonfulls of mixture, this can be difficult and you may require someone to pull you away from the bowl.
  7. Pour into pan.
  8. Cook for 20 mins. (Warning: ignore the siren song of the cooking brownies. They smell so good but don't be tempted to open oven door or they will sink).
  9. The slice will still be a bit gooey on the inside when warm and does sink a little as it cools.
  10. You can eat it now, it is so gooey and good, but may crumble (not that this has stopped me in the past).
  11. When cool top with sifted icing sugar and chop into matchbox sized pieces.
  12. Eat brownies savouring each gooey chocolatey bite. YUMMO.
These brownies are better than a Valium or Ciprimil any day. I think I will recommend it to my cardiologist as an alternative therapy!

Any day with a chocolate brownie is a good day!

Michelle :)

Saturday 12 September 2009

The Real Girl's Guide to Bob: The Bath

I love a bath. I always have. There is something so soothing about lying in the warm embrace of a big tub of sweet smelling bubble covered water. Feeling that healing warmth slowly seeping into my tired muscles. To close that door and shut out that world of dishes and laundry and "mum" and "honey have you done my shirts". Luxuriating in the warm oils, candles and a glass of wine. Manna from Heaven. Ahhhhhh.....

Then along came Bob. How can something as simple and soothing as a bath become toxic to my body? You know he's Beelzebub's right hand man when he can turn a bath over to the dark side. So now days not only are transfats and processed meats hazardous to my health but also the humble bath. Apparently it's my old nemesis Mr Heat striking yet again at my personal Gotham City (Watched Batman the other night, Christian Bale is so buff! Now there's some first rate eye candy. Mmmmmmm. But I digress. Focus Michelle. It aint that complex!). The heat of the bath can drop your blood pressure so swiftly its like bungee jumping at ground level with all the same free falling, complete lack of control and pants wetting fear as you plummet ever closer to the earth.

Thanks to my stubbornness, or maybe that's stupidity (I do have word finding difficulties at times), I have refused to give up my beloved bath. They have decreased in frequency but they are still a sinful treat I indulge in on occasion, thus giving Bob the proverbial finger.

So this is my simple step-by-step program to having a bath in the age of Bob.
  1. Have no expectations that all this will go to plan.
  2. Accept fact that you may need to go straight from bath to bed even though its only 7pm.
  3. Accept fact you may be wiped out for the whole of tomorrow.
  4. Fill bath with warm water. If hand goes red water is too hot, avoid bath like the plague.
  5. Add oils or bubble bath. The more luxurious the better, as this event does not happen frequently and should be celebrated. I like L'Occitane Lavender and Shea butter bath milks (thanks Honey).
  6. Realise you forgot to put the plug in. Repeat steps 4 and 5 but include plug.
  7. Note a niggling feeling like you have forgotten something. Watch 10 more minutes of TV. Remember you are filling bath. Run like a paniced drunken woman to bathroom.
  8. Turn water off when it gets to desired height. Don't wait for it to get to top of bath and leak out. This leads to swearing and cleaning and then you are too tired for bath. I go for a point somewhere between wrist and mid-forearm in depth.
  9. Grab large bottle of chilled water from fridge and place next to bath.
  10. Look at bottle of water wishing it was a chilled bottle of crisp savignon blanc, with subtle hints of gooseberry, passionfruit and fresh cut grass (say what! wine people are freaks).
  11. Realise the stupidity of even considering combining wine with a bath. Sigh and accept fact that there will be no wine.
  12. Return to kitchen yet again because you forgot the glass. Maybe I should just chug from bottle. No no I haven't sunk to that level yet. Glass it is.
  13. Place soap, face washer and shaver next to the bath. Realise you have a hope in hell of hand-eye coordination in said bath and put shaver back on shelf.
  14. Consider candles for mood purposes.
  15. Realise stupidity of allowing candles around a brain fogged and uncoordinated woman.
  16. Put candles away.
  17. Open windows and door to full and put on fan to ensure cool fresh air at all times.
  18. Grab lap top and place next to bath. Slowly realize that lap top and water is not a good combination and place lap top just near door.
  19. After 10 minutes of swearing work out how to get your favourites list on your computer music thingy to work. Turn volume up loud to mute the outside world, but not so loud that no one can hear you just in case you can't get out of bath.
  20. Sit down to collect self for 5 mins.
  21. Water should now be at the optimal, not really warm and not too cold, temperature.
  22. Hold onto wall, toilet, shower screen or towel rack to ensure you don't go arse up as you step into the bath.
  23. Lay down as flat as possible. Preferable to keep head above water.
  24. Stick legs up wall in elegant pose.
  25. Accept fact that despite best efforts you may only be able to stand 5 mins in actual bath.
  26. Start chugging water.
  27. Attempt token use of soap. Realise it is too much effort and that the bath milk/oil/bubble stuff in the water will dissolve any things that may require soap to remove. Place soap back next to bath.
  28. Accept fact that my husband will stick his head in repeatedly to supposedly check that I am still "ok".
  29. Enjoy 30 minutes of normality.
  30. Realise belatedly that the water is now like ice. Time to get out.
  31. Let out water whilst remaining in bath. Keep legs up wall during this process, and if needed for an additional 5 mins. Ignore fact that you are lying wet in an empty bath with your entire naked pruned body exposed to the world.
  32. Crawl out over side off bath.
  33. Sit on bath mat with head down between knees.
  34. Chug yet more water.
  35. Ignore fact that you are about to burst your bladder thanks to the 2 litres of water you have consumed in last half hour.
  36. Manage to dry and dress self whilst seated on tiles.
  37. Lie on blissfully cool tiles for 10 mins.
  38. Drag yourself to loo as your bladder has now reached critical.
  39. Rejoice in fact you made it to loo in time.
  40. Crawl slowly from loo to bed.
  41. Snuggle down in total blissful exhaustion.
  42. Celebrate the fact that you have just proved you are still a normal and real girl.
  43. Realise in your ever thickening brain fog that this may not in fact have happened and that you will need to check with David tomorrow.
  44. Fall into comatosed sleep.
  45. Wake up next day, realise (double checking with David) that you were in fact a "Real Girl" for 30 mins yesterday. Start day with a little boost of happiness.
See a simple 45 step plan for having a bath in the Age of Bob.

Undine aka Michelle :)

Thursday 10 September 2009

It's Not Purple Darling. It's Aubergine.

Purple haze all in my brain
Lately things just don't seem the same
Actin' funny, but I don't know why
'scuse me while I kiss the sky
Purple haze all around
Don't know if I'm comin up or down
Am I happy or in misery?
What ever it is, that [Bob] put a spell on me
Help me
Help me

Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix (1967)

Oh has there ever been a song better suited to Bob. I don't think so. I swear Jimi was thinking of us when he wrote that song he just decided it'd have more commercial appeal if he made it about a girl rather than Bob. Lets face it he really isn't that sexy.

Purple, oh purple. Purple is truly the colour of Bob. I know blue is the colour of our ribbon, but purple is the colour I see everyday. Looking up purple on Google I had the best laugh I've had in ages. So what does Google say purple means?:
  • Uplifting
  • Calming to mind and nerves
  • Offers a sense of spirituality
  • Encourages creativity
OMG I nearly had a Poise worthy moment. By that I should be the epitome of calm and upliftedness (is that a word? Maybe that's the creative coming out in me).

Bob is an invisible illness for the most part, except for those bad days where crap is a way to positive word to describe how we look. But even on a good day the one visible aspect of Bob is the apparently highly spiritual purple. Purple hands, purple feet, purple legs and on the odd occasion purple stomach.

Who needs the new season coloured stockings when your legs are already a sexy violet, or Lavink (Lavender and Pink) as my Bobby sista Michele calls it (that is creative). Now that's truly organic fashion. Of course it is rarely just purple. Bob likes variety and can have many shades. My personal favourite is the slightly psychedelic red, purple, phlegmatic yellow and white uneven blotchy look. Pro Hart could not have done better.

There is also the fantastic 3 midnight purple toes and juxtaposed 2 dead white toes. Mix and match at it's best. You can even match your skirt length to your own personal purple water mark: ankle length, mid calf, knee length and even micro mini. There is even the unique designer purple stomach for the days when you feel like wearing the good old crop top. Well not me maybe. After 2 kids no one needs to see my sagging, stretch-marked stomach, purple or not. Sexy! I think I'd end up on one of those "what was she thinking?" web sites in between Bjork and her stork outfit and Cher in, well just about anything. Purple can also come in the form of gloves, even fingerless ones on bizarre days. So fashion forward.

Purple is also child friendly and can be used for educational purposes. Who needs a blackboard (yes old fart in the room, I was born in the days before white boards, we even had spots for ink pots on our desks!)? It's cool when your son can write his name on your purple legs by pressing his finger. Just like the pants you buy with the brand name down the side. Today I'm wearing Aubergine Chic designer stockings by Tom!"

If you are feeling adventurous you can combine your purple legs with oedema. Ahh cankles, I thought I'd have to wait until I retired for those. (Crap just realised I have retired thanks to Bob, damn it). Who needs leg warmers when you can insulate your legs with your own bodily fluids. Carbon neutral, organic, fair trade, biodegradable insulation what more can you ask for. No contribution to global warming from me.

Vasodilation, vasoconstriction, vasospasm, vasoblah, blah, blah. Who cares about the cause it's all about the fashion.

I've decided that purple sounds to bland for me and I'm going for aubergine, just like all the oh so cool fashion and design experts (too much time on the lifestyle channel). And before anyone suggests it, I will not go with eggplant it sounds as bad as it tastes.

So it's out with purple and in with aubergine.

I can see the headlines in Vogue now "Aubergine the New Black!"

"The Fashion Icon" Michelle :)

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Grief and Dysautonomia

I remember reading an article early on in my studies about a woman who was grieving the loss of her husband. Only her husband was still alive, but had developed Alzheimer’s disease. Everyday this woman was morning the loss of the man she loved. The man who was disappearing day by day, week by week, but was still sitting there in front of her. I found this article the other day and something in it hit me hard. This scenario is played out everyday for people living with chronic illness although in our case the person morning the loss is you, and the person you are grieving for is yourself.

It sounds strange to say you are grieving yourself. Grief is traditionally related to the loss of a loved one. But what we often forget is that grief is about loss, any loss. When we lose a job or perhaps a relationship we talk about anger, feeling upset or perhaps betrayed, what we don’t realise is that we are actually grieving. There are different types of grieving and grief events. Grief when you lose a loved one has a sort of in built time limit. It’s not that you actually stop loving or grieving for the person, but that the grief becomes a little bit easier to bear with each passing day. There is truth to the old adage time heals all wounds. We need to be able to do this to be able to cope in the here and now. To sustain that initial grief over time can become debilitating and destructive to a person on many levels. It’s not to say that you don’t become upset at certain times, the holidays in particular can be tortuous, but the overall level of grief diminishes and becomes manageable.

But what do you do when the event that brought about the grief in the first place never leaves? How do you deal with something that can cause little losses (and sometimes big) every day, such as a chronic illness like Dysautonomia? Living with Dysautonomia you are constantly reminded that you are no longer the person you once were. From the moment you wake up, each and every morning is a struggle. Just to get out of bed and dress you are reminded every step that you aren’t like other people. Like it or not you are sick and to differing extents, disabled. Each day you are reminded of your loss. It's almost as if you just get that wound to your spirit to heal over and someone comes along and rips the scab right off, leaving it raw all over again.

With chronic illness you may lose many things, your job, your friends, your house, your financial independence, but perhaps the biggest loss living with chronic illness is the loss of You. By that I mean the You who you once were before you became ill. The picture you had in your head of You, and where you fit in the universe. It’s your own personal picture not the one other people have, which can sometimes be dramatically different to our own. It’s often not until you are faced with something like illness, that you realise that you did indeed have such a picture, one to which you were particularly attached.

I know this only too well. I had developed a nice little picture of me which I rather liked. I had finally come to a place in my life where I was happy with my career, my family and life in general. I knew who I was, where I fit in and where I was going in the future. Other people had pictures of me too, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend….. Then along came Dysautonomia and the Michelle I was died. I know that sounds rather melodramatic but it’s how I felt at the time, and to a certain extent even now. That person I was six years ago is gone. I catch glimpses every now and then but the me I thought I liked, the me I thought I was, the me I thought I wanted, is long gone.

We hear about the stages of grief: Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression and, perhaps the most elusive, Acceptance. The funny thing about grief is that it is not a nice clean process: step 1 denial, step 2 anger…….step 5 acceptance. Instead it’s: step 1 anger, step 2 sadness, step 3 pissed off, step 4 really pissed off, step 5 denial, step 6 immerse yourself in Bold and the Beautiful (denial in any other language, or insanity), step 7 bargaining, step 8 depression, step 9 chocolate binging……and so on. Its a messy process and it’s even messier when there is no finality to the loss. When you think you are finally getting a handle on what has happened to your life Dysautonomia can jump up with a sucker punch, to remind you that the loss is still there and the process begins again. There can be many loses when you are ill. Loss of self, loss of friends, loss of family, loss of work, loss of financial security, loss of place, to name but a few, and it can often feel overwhelming. It doesn’t help that you are ill and exhausted and have very few reserves left to deal with these changes.

For me, it was like someone was taking little bites out of me each day: reliability gone, independence gone, punctuality gone, intelligence gone, privacy gone, mothering skills gone, wife, who’s that?, driving gone, coffee with friends gone, dignity gone…….and on and on and on. Each of these loses seemed insurmountable at the time. I had the tears, the anger, the swearing at the universe, I had it all. I’d always been in control, I’d always been independent, I was always the one other people came to for advice and support be it professionally or personally. I could juggle it all with ease. So who the hell is this pasty-faced, fog brained woman in mirror, I see staring vaguely back at me everyday?

What can be particularly hard is that other people are often unable to understand our level of grief. Hell, often we don’t understand it ourselves. I often feel whiney, even now, when I complain about my lot in life. When someone makes one of those comments like “well at least it’s not cancer” or, “I’d love to not have to work” it undermines our right to feel what we are feeling. We are not asking for pity and it’s not about who’s experiences are more worthy or legitimate. We are entitled to feel angry, upset, lost. It is completely normal to feel what ever you are feeling when you experience such a life changing event. We are NORMAL!
So what do you do? I hate those saccharine sweet lines like “When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade”. Do they realise the steps involved in making the lemonade? First, get the energy to get up out of bed. Second, get the energy to care that you have to make lemonade. Third, try and find a recipe book. Fourth, get your brain together to remember why you have the recipe book. Five, grab a coffee to get your brain going. Six, forget the reason you had the recipe book out again and tidy up the lounge. Seven, remember something about Lemons. Eight remember obscure fact that Liz Lemon is a character on 30 Rock, and sit down to watch tapped program, forgetting lemonade completely. Making that damn lemonade is a Herculean task and often you need someone to hold your hand and guide you to the 7 Up.

Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. We all need to let it out. Being a psychologist myself I’m obligated to say find a psychologist to talk to about what has and is happening in your life. Being a human being as well, I know that not everyone is comfortable with this option. Hell, I was rather offended when my cardiologist suggested it to me. I’m a psychologist I know the drill. Why would I need to talk to anyone? But I did and I’m really glad I did. You don’t have to see a psychologist per se (although we do have many, oh so many, long, years of training), but there are great social workers out there, or some people may prefer to talk to their clergy. Maybe you have a great friend who has the knack, or you can go on sites like, or blog. What you do need to do is get it out before it begins to stew and ferment. Talking to a professional outside your family and friends is a great idea because they don’t know you, you can talk freely and they have no stake in things, other than to help you find a path through the maze. You can’t often talk about the issues you are having with your family's reaction to your illness with a member of your family. And we often don’t want to burden our loved ones with our own issues, particularly the darker emotions and thoughts that can arise. Finding support, be it though the Internet or a group you meet with in person, can also help. It’s nice to know you are not alone and that there are others who are having, or have had, the same experiences.

Letter writing is a really useful technique to help organise your thoughts and get out a lot of what can build up inside. You can do it anywhere, any time, and you can do with it what ever way you want. The idea is that you write yourself a letter about what you are feeling. It was a technique I often used with family members of my patients with Alzheimer’s. The patient never saw the letter it was for the families to express what they felt, to let out that raw emotion. Some would come in an read it to me because they just needed to share, and to know if what they felt was normal. Others simply did it for themselves and then either put it away, or destroyed it in a symbolic freeing of those burdens. A letter can be used to help family members understand what you are feeling, or just to let you lighten the load. There’s no right or wrong. I wrote a letter myself last year. I kept it hidden for a long time, believing others would think I was completely insane. But then I gave it to my immediate family and it helped them understand. Then to a close friend. And eventually I posted it on my blog, which was equal parts freeing and probably the most scary thing I have done in my life. It’s like those dreams where you find yourself stark naked in a crowd. I’ve never been as naked as I was the day I posted it on my blog.

There are a number of other ways to manage grief and stress that really deserve their own blogs. Things like: Art which can be a great outlet be it writing, painting or music. (No one else even needs to see it); Music therapy; Yoga; Meditation; Gardening; Relaxation techniques (there are techniques to fit everyone); and, many, many others. It's about finding what works for you.

Developing a new picture of you is important. Accepting what you can’t do and embracing what you can is imperative. Allow yourself to grieve. It’s okay to need someone to hold your hand as you navigate along that path. I am a work in process and I still have those days when I want to crawl into my bed and cry. Being a mum and wife doesn’t often give you that opportunity, so you have to find a way through. Sometimes you just need someone else to give you a reality check, and point out what you do have. For me that happened a few years ago. I saw leaving work in particular, as a huge loss at many levels. Then my youngest son turned to me one day and said “I’m so glad you are home all the time, Mum. It’s way better”. He liked that part of the new me and I’ve decided to embrace it too. I may not be able to bring in an income but I get to spend time all my “good” time with my kids and family now. And that’s a much much bigger pay day.

(Originally written for 12 More

12 More Pages Blogging

In my insanity I have agreed to guest blog for a US web based dysautonomia support group 12 More Pages. This is a fantastic web site (also on facebook and twitter) developed by Tyler Gurney, providing information about the latest research, hints and personal experiences about living with dysautonomia.

My blogs will be an attempt to give some helpful hints and the like, especially with regard to being a mum and wife living with Bob. I stress "attempt" I'm still a work in process myself so I'm hardly the poster child for the successful integration of life and illness.

My first blog is on there as of today titled "Grief and Dysautonomia".


On Website

For those who can't work out either I'll pop a copy on Bob, under 12 More Pages.

Now I finally have an answer to that hideous question "so what do you do?", where I normally answer "I'm ill so I stay at home" and then get "the look" and the "oh............".

Now I can say "Why I'm an internationally published author. Oh yeah, and trophy wife" (stop laughing David). Just realised I've developed a whole new delusion to keep Heidi company! Woo Hoo!!

Don't panic I'll still be Bobing along, I need to get out my insanity somewhere.

Michelle :)

Tuesday 8 September 2009

A Word From Our Sponsor IV

Bob is a bitch. Actually I think we've probably established that fact early on in the piece but now he's sent his henchmen around to mess with me I'm starting to get a little shitty. (Just realised my rather ironic use of words there!). God damn meds. I swear they are a bunch of double agents. Mata Hari!!! Oh yeah they are all on my side really they are, working to make my life a little bit better one piece at a time. But in reality they are plotting with Bob to crap on my life again!! Underhanded bastards! (Hmm sounding a little paranoid today probably not a good sign. May have to get that checked out. Could just be delirium from lack of sleep and sniffing all that toilet freshener, but you never know).

Ok I can cope with a lot of things but there's a point and I've decided to stick my heals in. Coffee. Yes that's right coffee. Coffee is making me want to vomit. What's next chocolate? Now that would be the ultimate cruelty. Well screw you Bob, I'm not going to let you win this one. I am going to finish my cup of coffee, and if it comes out my nostrils in 5 mins so be it. At least I will have held my ground and savoured every last drop of the rich, smooth flavour of my espresso if but for a few minutes. I will give no more ground. I will not retreat. You don't know who you're messing with buddy.

This means war!!!!!

Oh crap. Times up! Gotta run NOW! Damn you Bob. You win this round. But like MacArthur, "I shall return".

General Michelle :)

Saturday 5 September 2009

A Word From Our Sponsor III

Ok a quick update on life.

Still spending way to much time with my porcelain lover but he now smells peppermint fresh and that's much more pleasing to the senses.

Weird side effect though, I actually feel cold. I hear what you're saying "Cold? That weird Australian woman doesn't feel cold", but it's true. I wasn't sure initially, it's been a long time and I didn't actually recognise the sensation at first, but I do. It was cold last night and I felt it. Still trying to wrap my head around that. So hope it's not just messing with me and I'll go back to my normal middle of the Sahara thermostat setting. We'll see. Not looking forward to increasing my dose tomorrow. Actually that's the understatement of the year. Gut wrenching dread may be closer to the truth. If I spend much more time with my peppermint fresh man my husband may begin to get jealous.

Tip for the day: If your doctor places you on the hell spawn Beelzebub's excretement, otherwise known as Mestinon, don't try and do the grocery shopping. It's not pretty, and is pretty much unpleasant for all involved. (Stupid Michelle, Stupid!)


Thursday 3 September 2009

Chick Flick Moment

As you may have guessed from my blog I'm not the most chickiest of women (pink girlishness, is like nails on a chalk board to me). I am sentimental at times, but I'm not big on huge shows of emotion worthy of a Hallmark movie of the week. I just can't handle those treacle-like Disney moments they always seem so unrealistic and insincere, or maybe I'm just way to jaded. However, having said that I was reading Dawn French's autobiography/memoir/letter collection, Dear Fatty, and I was inspired by her thank you letter to her husband Len.

For those of you who don't know Dawn French, she is a tears in the eyes, Poise worthy comedienne from the UK. You may know her from French & Saunders or The Vicar of Dibley. Her humour which can be best described as a good natured taking of the piss of both herself and the world around her, just resonates too well with me for us to be anything other than related. Reading her book I came to the conclusion that we are twins separated by continent, parentage and 14 odd years. Nevertheless we are twins, though I'm sure if you asked her she'd be as equally unaware as I once was, and may want you to produce a picture and description so I can be added to the list of weirdos to be kept at 500m, that's held by her security people.

How often do we thank our nearest and dearest? Not nearly enough that's for sure. So this is my attempt to do so. I only hope I can be half as articulate and entertaining as Dawn. As I've said already, my husband David is my rock but it isn't a new phenomenon, and on reflection I probably haven't thanked him enough over the years. So here's my one off journey into the world of sentimentality and chick flick moments. Savour it as it is unlikely to reoccur (and I will deny it vehemently should anyone ever bring it up again).

Where to start. Well I guess I should start at the beginning. That's kinda the logical place. Though with Bob brain that is not always how it goes. Ok. I still remember that first pash on the dance floor of The Terminus 18 odd years ago. How the hell we stood up so long with locked lips I'll never know. It seems virtually unimaginable, a vivid flight of fancy, now that Bob's in our lives. I really don't remember much in the way of detail due to the consumption of a large volume of distilled beverages (ahh the stupidity of youth), but I do remember it was gooooood! Thank you honey, for making that first kiss such a memorable one.

I knew you were a keeper that first date when you took me to see Edward Scissor Hands, having already discerned my love affair with Johnny Depp. (Though I do think you were in love with Wynona Ryder at that point so it wasn't a completely selfless act). Thank you for accepting my love affair with Johnny, since that point in time, without any hint of jealousy or resentment. Thank you for also buying me the 10th anniversary edition of Edward Scissor Hands for our 10th wedding anniversary. You are a big softy at times and I love it. (I promise not to tell anyone that there is anything soft under that gruff exterior, well except for this one off post, but never again after this. Promise!).

Thank you for all those long stemmed red roses at the Academy. I remember coming home from single service Navy training to find my room filled with long stemmed red roses. And Bacis. How could I forget the Bacis. We should have shares in that company. For those unfamiliar, Baci, or little kisses as it translates from the Italian, are the Rolls Royce of chocolates. Hazelnuty, chocolately, praliney stuff, topped with a whole hazelnut and then coated in smooth dark chocolate. Oh so, so good. Always red roses and Baci around the room. Now that's romance.

Thank you for the year you brought me everything on my Christmas wish list and stuff I had mentioned in passing when we were shopping. How many husbands would buy a red metal container for laundry powder just because their wife said "I really like that".

Thank you for always remembering my love of Chanel No 5 and never buying me crap cosmetics I'd never use just for the sake of it. I stil have that tiny 10ml bottle of Chanel No. 5 that you splurged on, on that frist trip to Vanuatu in 1992 in the little dodgy duty free. No way you could afford it but you did it anyway.

And Vanuatu. Thank you for Vanuatu. Now that was romantic. All you told me was to bring my passport and we were going to the airport. Then you surprised me with nearly two weeks in beautiful and blissful Vanuatu. My first proper overseas trip. Such a surprise as we were getting married in 6 months. I still can't believe you did it.

Thank you for letting me get two great danes despite your rock solid declaration that we would never get another dog after our beloved, rather demented, Bacchus died. Thank you for fixing the fences even though you said that no fixing of the fences was a prerequisite to getting another dog. Thank you for trying (slow and steady progress) to bite your tongue every time Freyja wees all over the floor from the excitement of seeing us.

Thank you for getting up all those nights when the boys were babies and were howling uncontrollably for hours on end and I was a miserable exhausted ball in the corner. Thank you for never bring up that you were on shift work, as an air traffic controller mind you, and you probably needed the sleep more than me to juggle all those aircraft. Thank you for taking on all the footy and cricket games I can't do cause you love the boys. I'm sure they'll appreciate all the effort when they have kids of their own, but there's no hope at the moment, so I'll thank you on their behalf.

The biggest thank you is for always being there and putting up with my crappy health from day one. You've held me up in the shower and at my aunties funeral. You've rubbed my dead white toes in the middle of the shopping centre and made me laugh when other shoppers were looking at me like a freak. You've taken time off work for all my appointments and been my second brain on more occasions than I can remember (hence you being my second brain). You know more about my body than any husband should, so I fully understand your refusal to come into the gastro appointments. There is a point after all.

Thank you for going out in the pouring rain to buy extra salty chips from the fish and chip shop during intermission at our eldest's band competition. You took one look at me, saw how bad Bob was slapping me around and just went and did it without having to be asked.

Thank you for supporting me in all my hopes and dreams. Thank you for everything. Thank you for picking me (and not asking for a trade in, well not too often).

Thank you for all the things that I can't fit in here (or remember).

When your brother said "I hope they stay together for a while" (at our wedding, nice one Mick), who knew we'd still be together you and me, with all the crap we've been through and still go through.

THANK YOU Sweetie.

Ok moments over people. No more Hallmark moments I promise.

But I do encourage everyone to thank that person we never thank enough.

Michelle :)

And dearest. I'll discuss your comment that you "bought into the shallow end of the gene pool when you married me", it's not my fault your gene's were so lazy they didn't object! But that's for another day. Today is my Thank You to you. I'll just file that little gem away in my unending filing cabinet, that all women have in their head, for a later date. Luv you!