My Two Anti-Climatic Medical Stories

1.

In 2000, I was leaving work, walking quite fast towards the office exit, saying goodbye to my colleagues. Suddenly I walked into the very clean glass door.

I blooded my nose and smashed my teeth. One quarter of one front tooth had broken off. That’s right. I didn’t just chip it, I BROKE it. All the money my parents spent on my teeth had gone to waste!

I stood in the bathroom washing the blood off my face. I looked into the mirror, examining the damage. It was just one tooth. It could have been worse.

But it looked like my face was in a magazine, and someone had coloured in one tooth with a black marker. I looked ridiculous! Completely and utterly ridiculous! I was so embarrassed! I BROKE MY TOOTH!

My colleagues stuffed me into a car and rushed me to emergency dental surgery. I kept my head bent low, my hands cupped over my mouth, speaking only with muffled Mmmmm-mmmm-mmm’s.

Everyone must’ve thought that I was in so much pain. But really, it was my pride that was hurting.

2.

Several years ago, I noticed a small lump on my nose. I thought it was cancer. I completely freaked out and quickly went to get it checked out.

My doctor sent me to a skin specialist, who said it was a common skin virus – otherwise known as a WART. OMG I HAVE A WART ON MY NOSE! A WART! ON MY NOSE! LIKE THE FINAL STROKE ON THE EPITOME OF UGLINESS, I’M A WALKING CLICHÉ!

My doctor said she could burn it off. But it might grow back. There might be scarring. The scars might never fade. The burning might irritate it and it might grow back even bigger! OMG I HAVE A WART ON MY NOSE!

Then my doctor suggested I see a plastic surgeon.

Seriously? What will a plastic surgeon do? Isn’t that a bit drastic? I have to see a plastic surgeon to fix my nose? That’s the solution for ugliness? Can this situation get anymore clichéd?

While I was umming and ahhing about seeing a plastic surgeon, the lump disappeared by itself. THANK GOODNESS!

Relaxing By The River

Coffee at Jo Jo's Karen at Jo Jo's

My husband and I took some time out the other day. We were in between appointments, and made an effort to meet up. We don’t usually get to see each other in the afternoons. It was really good to see us both at our “best” – when our brains haven’t turned to pulp at the end of the day.

We had coffee and lunch at Jo Jo’s– a restaurant on a jetty, on the Swan River. The view was lovely, the food was nice, and the atmosphere was good for long, deep conversations.

It was a spectacular day. Bright and sunny. Big, blue skies. Not a breath of wind. The river was calm. The water was sparkling.

Jellyfish in the Swan River

We saw some jellyfish around the jetty. They were everywhere. Hovering and bobbing, like UFOs on cruise-control. Strange, yet amazing. Ugly, yet beautiful.

We managed to take some cool photographs. The water was so clear and still, that it looks like I used an underwater camera.

Jellyfish in the Swan River

I loved the way the water would bend oh-so slightly as the jellyfish thumped its head on the surface. It would make the relfections of the clouds warp and shimmer, as if painting the surface with white spirals.

Making Baby 3, Part 24: You’ve Got to be Yolking

I was flicking through a rather encyclopediatic looking fertility book, when something caught my eye.

“Alternative Lubrication”

Uh-oh.

It is commonly known that many forms of artificial lubrication can hinder or kill sperm – such as petroleum jelly, oil-based lubricants, baby oils, vegetable oils, glycerine, even saliva.

So the book suggests that you should use RAW EGGWHITE.

Apparently eggwhite is a suitable, vaginal lubricant that may assist conception and is least harmful to sperm.

1) Try not to use eggs which are straight from the fridge.

2) Separate the yolk from the eggwhite.

3) Apply where necessary.

So there you go.

Other medical experts caution the use of eggwhite as a lubricant, as there is a slight possibility it might contain the salmonella bacteria.

They classify it as an “old wives tale” and “only for recreation”.

So I guess chocolate sauce, strawberry ice cream and whipped yoghurt is definitely out of the question?

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.

Weekly Meal Plans

Cooking is definitely one of my passions. I love cooking simple, healthy, delicious, everyday meals, that are quick and easy to make, using fresh ingredients.

I thought I would share some of the concepts behind my weekly meal planning and collect some of my daily recipes.

This is what I made last week –

Pan fried salmon with soy sauce, mixed vegetables and rice Pasta salad, with sun dried tomato pesto, spinach, feta, tomatoes, capsicum and a sprinkle of pine nuts Eggplant and potato Thai red curry with rice Tuna and brown rice salad, with assorted chopped vegetables Meat Balls

Mon – Pan fried salmon with soy sauce, mixed vegetables and rice.
Tue – Pasta salad, with sun dried tomato pesto, spinach, feta, tomatoes, capsicum and a sprinkle of pine nuts.
Wed – Eggplant and potato Thai red curry with rice.
Thu – Left over curry and rice
Fri – Tuna and brown rice salad, with assorted chopped vegetables.
Sat – Meatballs and pasta with homemade tomato sauce.
Sun – Dinner with my parents.

(More examples of my meal plans at the end of this post)

When I create a weekly meal plan, I always try to consider the following things:

Fresh and Natural
I like to use fresh ingredients that are preferably organic, no msg, no additives, colours or artificial flavours. I stay away from instant powders, mixes, sauces, soups and dressings. I’d say the only instant stuff I use are Indian curry pastes and the occasional stock cube (but even then I’m really picky with my brands).

Healthy
I try to use less oil, salt, butter, cream, and sugar where possible.

It doesn’t mean I use more lo-fat / lo-sugar stuff, because manufacturers usually put in other stuff to compensate. I just go without.

Lots of Vegetables
I always try to keep vegetables raw. If not, I steam, or boil, or bake, or lastly fry. In that order of preference.

I always try to have vegetables at the table at every meal. I like my dark green and red vegetables.

Time and Convenience
I am really short on time. Each meal has to take me 30 minutes to actually cook and put together. 45 minutes at the most. I very rarely make a meal that requires time during the day to prepare (eg. prepping and baking a lasagne, folding dumplings, skewering kebabs.)

Cost Concern
I go shopping once a week. I buy lots of things in bulk. I grow my own herbs and some vegetables.

When I buy a “feature” ingredient for one meal, I create other meals in the week that can also use it. Eg. If I buy a tub of bocconcini, I’ll use it on pizza, a side salad, and in a pasta. So there’s no waste.

The “feature” ingredient is usually more expensive, so I tend to only buy 2-3 per week.

“Staple” ingredients are the things I usually buy every week – eg. tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, carrots, fresh fish and meat.

“On-going” ingredients are stuff I buy in bulk – rice, lentils, canned vegetables, olive oil.

Eat Out Once a Week
I believe in breaking the routine once in a while. Hanging out as a family and doing something a little special. We usually go to my parent’s place for dinner, or we go to the beach and eat fish and chips. Sometimes I pack a picnic dinner and we’ll sit by the river.

We very rarely go out to a restaurant and eat out as a family. Mostly because of cost. Partly because I can’t bring myself to eat crappy, mass-produced, badly-made, over-processed food.
So fast food places, cheap pizzas, and local Chinese takeaway is out of the question.

More Fish. Less Meat.
Each week I try to make 3 vegetarian meals + 3 fish meals + 1 red meat meal. I don’t believe there’s much nutritional benefit from pork or chicken. But I think I need a boost of iron from red meat.

Fish meals – one meal with an oily fish (salmon, cod), one tuna, one white flesh fish (snapper, barramundi).

Continue reading Weekly Meal Plans

Book Review : The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
by Kim Edwards

From the back of the book:

This stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down syndrome. For motives he tells himself are good, he makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own.

After reading the excerpt, I immediately bought the book. It sounded like such an intriguing story, something I would really like. And ok, I admit, I really liked the cover image.

But unfortunately, I didn’t connect with the characters at all. Perhaps it was because I haven’t personally experienced any of the issues in the story – loss of a child, dealing with deep personal grief, living in a difficult, empty marriage, keeping dark secrets from loved ones, not taking control of your life until you discover that you’re 40 and full of sadness and regret.

So maybe others will find it to be exquisitely moving and touching.

For me, I was mainly annoyed with the characters, and overburdened with the intricate detail of someone else’s tragic life.

Having said that, it wasn’t a badly written book. I finished it in less than a week.

There were some really beautiful moments as the characters faced their grief and confusion – moments of the past, layered and entwined with the details of the present. If you don’t like long, poetic paragraphs of snow falling, soaked with memory flashbacks, the book’s probably not for you.

It’s an okay read. Not great, just okay.