10 March 2017

Ptop Ptips for dealing with a Pterygium

First things first - a pterygium* is a growth on the eye. (*Warning: do not click on that link if you are in any way squeamish, especially about eye related things. Also FYI it's pronounced ter-ridge-eeum...) Science-y types are not completely certain what causes them, but they are associated with excessive exposure to sand, wind and sunlight. They are apparently pretty common in Australia, a country known for its abundant UV rays. 

I had no idea they existed, until I visited an optometrist a few years back and was told I had one in my right eye. The optometrist said to monitor it, and to consider getting it removed at some point - if they encroach on your pupil they can impact vision. Since then, my pterygium has been going from strength to strength so recently I had to have it removed. Yay. 

Now, most eye surgery - especially laser surgery - is apparently a breeze, a Summer's stroll in the park, a warm evening watching the sunset on a deserted beach. But removing pterygiums? Apparently that's a bitch. Every, single person you encounter along the fun path to pterygium removal surgery will, with a grimace, tell you how painful the recovery is. They'll tell you that you'll feel like you've got grit in your eye for a month; that there's a darn good reason *they* still have their own pterygiums intact; that you should take a week off work (ha!). 

I had my surgery last Tuesday, and whilst it's not the most fun, it's definitely not the worst either. In case you're facing your own eye growth removal, here's a few more thoughts: 

1) Waiting for the thing is most definitely worse than the thing. Just the thought of having someone touch my eye, heck no! And then surgery and anaesthetic, most definitely heck no! (I'm very lucky that I've had pretty limited dealings with hospitals and medical procedures. I always wonder about the people who have to deal with this s**t day in, day out. How tough and strong and just getting-it-done they must be.) 

In the days leading up to the surgery I tried not to think about it, but when I did it'd set off a mild panic. But then it happened and it was okay. Surreal, but okay. Everyone was lovely and clearly knew what they were doing. The anaesthesiologist knocked me out efficiently and effectively - it was the best five minute nap of my life - and then while I was under numbed my right eyeball and half my face. During the operation you're awake but you can't really see what's going on; one eye is covered by a blue sheet, the other one has been knocked out so whilst you can kind of see shapes and light and dark you're not getting a visual of the scalpel, needle or thread. Thank goodness. 

2) Give yourself a day doing nothing afterwards. Anaesthetic really knocks you about, even a little of it. And your eye will be all puffy and swollen and exhausting to open. I basically spent the day after lying in bed, with my eyes closed, which is not something I ever normally do. But it was necessary. Also I can highly recommend a loyal dachshund if you're looking for a daytime snoozing pal. 

3) Have a pain killer ready for about twelve hours post-op when the local anaesthetic really wears off. And make it a strong one.

4) Get your hands on one of those gel ice packs, so good for the swelling and pain in the first few days. Highly recommended.

5) Buy a big bottle of saline solution (you know the stuff people use to clean contact lenses?). Then when your eye is gummed up with gunk you can squirt some on a tissue, clean it all off and feel vaguely human again.

6) If you're like me you'll draft yourself an overly ambitious to do list of all the things you'll get done while you're not at work. Awesome. Just don't have reading your way through your book pile or binge watching Netflix on there. Not until day three anyway. You just had eye surgery, remember? 

7) Get someone to send you flowers, even if that's you. My Mum sent me some little flowers, so sweet! 

8) Tell the world and get as much sympathy as you can. I'm not sick very often, at all, so I kind of had to milk it. Plus someone took a scalpel to my eye, I deserve a little sympathy! (I should clarify - I want sympathy from afar. If you're sharing a house with me then get the feck away with your sympathy and  questions and just leave me alone as much as possible, are we clear?) 

9) It's not nearly as bad as everyone kept telling me it was going to be. It's only early days but I've hardly touched the painkillers. My eye looks a little red and gooey and gross, and it is fairly irritating, but I'm not writhing around in pain. Maybe all those people telling me to expect the worst was a good thing, because the reality can't be nearly as bad as the expectation? A bit like watching Finding Dory?

Long story short - I'd definitely prefer not to be managing three different types of eye drops or wearing sunglasses to dinner so as not to shock my fellow diners right now. So, protect your eyes people! Whether your biking, hiking or skiing, wear sunglasses, wear goggles! Whatever you do look after those eye balls, and then hopefully you'll never have to learn to how to spell pterygium...

Looking nervous pre-surgery.
(Note giant arrow so anaesthesiologist sticks
giant needle into the correct eye.)

Looking relieved post surgery.

14 October 2016

15 Things in The Year of The Sheep : A Very Very Belated Final Update

Remember way back, when I still blogged semi-regularily and the shape of life looked a little different? Remember when I used to write myself a list of things I wanted to do for the year, and then basically never actually do them, but I'd still update you all on my progress anyway? Here's the thing, I never wrote my final update for 15 things in the Year of the Sheep, and it's keeping me awake at nights. So, ten months late, here's an update on how I went in 2015...

1. Read more. Specifically, read at least fourteen books in twelve months. B-. I ended up reading twelve books, which is pretty good I think. (By-the-by I am killing it in the book reading stakes this year. Not blogging, not being on line so much, opens up all this time which one can fill with reading. It's pretty great actually.)

Here's what I read in 2015 after my last update:
- Joyful by Robert Hillman which I actually really loved. It took awhile but it hooked me in, eventually. A slightly mad, beautiful tale of love and death.
- Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman. A collection of short stories noted for the fact all the protagonists are female. At the time I was a bit ho hum about it, it was a good solid read but not life changing. However, two of the characters have stayed with me, for some time, so I think perhaps it had more power than I gave it credit for at the time.
- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. Go read this. Now. Seriously, do it. It's bloody brilliant.
- We're All Going to Die by Joel Meares. A collection of essays, about life and stuff. A nice read with occasional moments of brilliance. One to carry in your bag and dip in to during those stolen moments when you're waiting in the doctors office or stuck on a train.
- The Embassy of Cambodia by Zadie Smith. A tiny little book I kinda just threw in to make up the numbers. Pleasant enough but really, I can't even remember what it's actually about...
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. One for the 80s geeks. Packed full of fun nerdy references. A bit tiresome and cliched at first but I thoroughly enjoyed the action packed end...looking forward to seeing what they Spielberg does with the movie.

2. Read more blogs. Randomly quantified with the goal of posting three thoughtful comments a week. F for Fail. Life did a complete flip around late last year. I went from a keeping-the-home-fires-burning wife of a constantly travelling executive to a retail/hospitality business owner and manager working six or seven days a week.* So, not a lot of time or motivation for blog reading.

(*In case you didn't know, we bought a McDonald's store! For more on my history with the golden arches have a look at this post.)

3. Blog more. Specifically, blog at least six times per month. F. Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Aha. Ha.

4. Write more. About everything. Specifically, write a My... post every month in 2015. F. See above, especially points 2 and 3.

5. Related, pitch at least five stories to magazines. F. I'm not just going to write 'see above' for all of these, but...see above...

The really awesome thing is that despite having a million other things asking for my attention I've somehow been able to keep writing and submitting articles; a few pieces for Extra Curricular, and something in UPPERCASE every issue since that first piece on lace making. I am so grateful to UPPERCASE editor Janine Vangool for giving me the chance to interview and photograph so many amazing people. My latest piece, which will be in issue 31, is about artist Amy Joy Watson, her work his heavenly - colours and stitching and playing with mediums and scale, all the things I adore. If you don't subscribe to Janine's amazing mag you definitely should.

6. Finish my 365 project on Instagram. B-. I finished it! Very, very late (there's a theme here right?) but I finished it! You can see the full collection here

7. Hit fifty sales in my Etsy shop, Jorpins VintageC+. I'm on fifty sales right now, not sure when I passed that milestone but I'm pretty sure it wasn't in 2015, hence the C grade. The store is looking pretty empty at the moment. I do have loads of gorgeous retro wares to photograph and list, but it won't happen just yet. Maybe 2017 will be the year?

8. Finish three walking events. C. I finished up with two events - the 22km Jabulani Challenge and the 9km Bridge Run. The Bridge Run was part of the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival and I loved it so much that I immediately signed up for the 2016 half marathon, which I completed in September (BOOM!). I am now contemplating the full marathon for 2017...

9. Walk 1500 kilometres by the end of December. F. Nope.

10. Sort my health out. B+. Never made it to the physio but I'm doing okay in the health department I reckon.

11. Cook at least one new meal for the family each month. C. Sort of. Maybe. Well, probably not.

12. Related, attend two cooking classes. F. Nope, not one.

13. Watch twelve movies. And blog about them. F. Watch? Yes. Blog about them? Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Aha. Ha.

14. Organise my office, and keep it organised. B-. Husband would probably rate me an F- on this one but I think my office is pretty neat and if he wants to grade me he can start his own freaking blog.

15. Do more road trips! F. Nope.

So, there you have it. A very, very belated look over my 2015. I've said this before but I do love looking back over the goals I set for myself, remembering that optimism and hope, that naive belief that change isn't the only certainty and things will pan out a certain way. Ah bless my early 2015 self...

ps. I think I may have missed the boat for 2016 but I might try and get back on the horse for 2017. 17 Things in the Year of The Rooster, I like it!


10 January 2016

Five ASOS Prom Dresses I Want But Definitely Don't Need

No matter how I twist and turn it I really don't need more dresses in my wardrobe. And I really, really don't need a prom dress in my wardrobe. Nope, not at all. Sure, these days I sort of go to a few more slightly fancy work-related dinners, but none are quite giant-bow, pouffy-skirt level fancy. 

Which is a pity, because just look at how pretty these frocks are...

Okay, so I did buy one. Oops. It was on sale, I couldn't resist... Can you guess which one I bought and why?

ps. Not sponsored, I just really love ASOS! Such cute frocks at nice prices. And for those of you who like to shop ethical ASOS here's some information on their green and ethical standards, it's from 2012 though - if you have more up-to-date info let me know.

02 January 2016

Death by Doxie : The Festive Edition

I haven't really missed blogging at all, these past crazy few months. I've drafted a few posts in my head but I haven't felt that overwhelming urge to carve out the time for writing and image making. Until yesterday. For some reason the new year has bought with it an overwhelming urge to awaken Good Things*. And whilst I'd like the clear air to write about what's changed and what hasn't, and what I miss and what I don't, and what a day in the life of a Macca's supervisor / owner / fry girl is really like, I've realised that if I want to blog it needs to be short and sweet, for now. So here's the dogs, on xmas day. 

We had a really lovely xmas day. I popped into the store in the morning, planning on just saying 'hi' and handing out some festive goodies, but oh my goodness was it busy. I kind of forgot that everyone is in their cars xmas morning, driving to Aunt Mabel's, and that everyone still needs coffee (actually everyone especially needs coffee), and we are basically the only thing open. So yeah, it was busy. 

I love it when it's really busy, when everyone just knuckles down and works together to get through the mad rush. It's kind of zen too, because you really can't think of anything other than the task immediately at hand. You have to be completely in the moment, completely focussed, to get all those coffees out that drive thru window.

While I was caffeinating the good people of western Sydney, at home the husband and step sons were tending to a giant turkey, which we had for lunch with pickled cherries and gravy and mash. For afters there was cheese and pav (of course there was pav). There was seven of us for lunch and it was relaxed and lovely, and later two more came over for roast turkey rolls with cranberry, rocket and brie (so yum). And then it was just the husband and I and the calm that comes after all that festive build up. 

The dogs got turkey too of course, for many days afterwards actually (it really was a big bird!). I've said before it's really not xmas unless your hounds are dressed up. This year there was no santa outfits or reindeer antlers (they never stay on for more than a minute anyway), but Ferdi wore a red polkadot bowtie and Elfi had a matching rosette. Very cute, both of them. 

Here they are watching the oldest step-son strip the bird, hoping with all their little hearts that a scrap or two might fall their way.
Hope you all had a lovely day too, and that you survived new year's eve, and that 2016 is treating you well so far. x

31 August 2015

Jorpins 365 : July Favourites

So you may have noticed that after a pretty consistent first six months, things have come crashing to a halt lately. I have good, and exciting, and exhausting, reasons for that which will be explained if I ever find the time to write a longer blog post (which I will, hopefully, next week, maybe). I'm still posting pretty much everyday over at Instagram though, so feel free to follow me over there if you're missing your monthly dose of dachshunds and/or my random ramblings! 

Anyway, remember July? It seems an age ago, doesn't it? There was a mad dash to the complete-lack-of-snow, and another mad dash to Cowra (Hi Shani!). There was a rather laid back wedding anniversary, and a heart breaking, but beautiful, funeral. There were many late night talks, and stress and worry. And sunshine and crisp air and snuggly sleep-ins with the dogs. And thinking that this year has hit me with about all I can deal with...and then - maybe it hasn't, maybe there's light; maybe things are going to be a-okay, things are going to be awesome, after all. 

What a month it was.