The medical rollercoaster

It’s been an interesting few days, and not just cause I’ve been moving house.  I’ve been medically around the rollercoaster…

Let’s start with Friday night – I headed out with the BF’s colleagues for some dumplings.  His colleague commented that she needed some bleach, and I chuckled.  Never a truer word…

Saturday, at about lunch time (as we signed our lease), I was doubled over with stomach pains…  but still proceed to grab a burger for lunch from a nice cafe.  I skipped the bread roll, as I am starting to think gluten makes me feel super full, and lethargic.  Shame, it was a nice looking bun roll.

The remainder of Saturday afternoon, I felt sluggish and took it easy on the sofa, with a nap (I think).  It sort of frustrated me, as I wanted to get more packing and organising done.  The bf went to the gym, and came back with everything I could want – my fave wine, chocolate, and on my demand, ginger beer and lemonade as some pureed apple to settle the stomach.  Rest assured, my ill feelings stopped me from the wine or the chocolate – true indicators of how bad I felt.  I had a few mouthfuls of stewed apples, as that’s part of the BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce & toast) plan you use with food poisoning/stomach upsets.

Sunday morning, I figured I’d take it easy on breakfast, and had some dried medjool dates and apple puree (again).  I then walked to church to teach Sunday School (I walk every week, the same route).  I got to ‘class’ with drippy nose and eyes, but that’s not actually that unusual for me, as I do have allergies.  So I take my nasal spray and hope for the best.  The best… didn’t come.  Next, my head was all itchy.  Again, not uncommon – I have psoriasis on my scalp, and it can be incredibly dry and itchy.  Only on the second bathroom visit (to blow my nose) did I notice the red welts on my neck… and my red ears.  And red face.

I texted the BF and suggested a pick up – this was probably about 9.30am and I’d told him I’d be done at 10.30am.  He asked if I wanted a coffee, I politely replied ‘no just come asap’.  As I got in the car, I burst into tears – my eyes and nose already had me halfway there, combined with a slightly constricted throat, and welts on the inside of elbows.

Here’s some phone photos (for my worried mum, and now my readers!)

Allergy - just after the meds.  Happy, but scared!

Allergy – just after the meds. Happy, but scared!

We went straight to the hospital… I was in the triage ‘standing’ area with a man with his head split open (thanks to moving house – ominous or what!), and a guy with a sore back (he had a small kid come in with his wife later, so?).  Anyhow, after the lady in the dress gown and a hockey injury, and the head gash guy, I got seen.  They weren’t too worried, and asked me to get registered and then I could have some anti histamine.  They also gave me a steroid too.  The BF was just darling the whole time – seriously, even the nurses and doctors knew he could be counted on.  After the drugs (and some blood work), I was told to wait for an hour.  After an hour, the Dr gave me a letter for my GP and sent me on my way.

After an hour, when the drugs set in.  Sitting the opposite way, but still have that droopy eye!

After an hour, when the drugs set in. Sitting the opposite way, but still have that droopy eye!

To this day (four days on) I have no idea what caused such a severe reaction.  My left eye lid stayed droopy for the rest of the day, and I had a rest and a nap, before back to car packing etc.  I settled for ‘simple’ food – hahaha! McDonald’s fries and Dominos Pizza.  Yes, healthy I was not, but it was what I thought was least threatening.

I’ve seen my GP and I now have an appointment with a allergy specialist in about two weeks time.  I’ll have a prick test, where they see what I react to.  I’m looking forward to discussing allergens, and my recent dislike of gluten, where I used to eat it with gay abandon.

Actually, I’ve drafted a post about gluten just the other week…  I am planning, once the house moving dust has settled, to set a more rigid eating plan, which I will, of course, share the trials and tribulations here.  So, expect to hear more!

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Sickly

I am pleased to report that a day in bed did result in the book I have taken WEEKS to finish being ready for review.  The reason it took me so long to read is less about it being uninteresting, it just wasn’t a page turner, even though I learnt a lot.  I was reading The Paradox of Choice: why more is less by Barry Schwartz.

The Paradox of Choice - why more is less, by Barry Schwartz source: www.bookdepository.co.uk

The Paradox of Choice – why more is less, by Barry Schwartz
source: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk

The lessons I’ll take away from this book are

  • be a satisficer, not a maximiser – don’t always try to find the perfect choice (I might also apply this to my work – near enough is good enough in so many situations, and not to beat myself up when I’m only ‘good enough’!)
  • use routines and limit choice where it suits – don’t endlessly peruse options.  Settle on less
  • don’t compare to others
  • realise that every experience/product is going to be amazing every time – familiarity breeds content.  But I won’t take it’s advice to enjoy the good things in life less, in case I get ‘used’ to them.  That’s just silly in my opinion!

In the style of Carla, of Half Dozen Daily, I’ll share the details of my illness and general life, rather than my usually themed posts.  Since Tuesday last week, I felt the start of a cold in my throat.   Sadly, I almost always have the sneezes, so that’s not a reliable enough indicator of imminent illness.  I suggested that I might take Wednesday off to sleep and fortify myself, and my mother reminded me how many sick days I’ve taken (in my opinion, not that many, but if she thought so, I figured colleagues might too).  So I continued to work last week, including getting the annual ‘flu vaccination on Thursday.  I had a rostered day off on Friday, which saw me up at the normal early hour of 6am to get to the flower markets to do the Pentecost arrangements at church.  I felt less than perfect, but chalked it up to an early start.

I’m pretty sure I got a nap in on Friday before dinner and some cocktails.  Then Saturday I spent a few hours at the coop learning how to be a volunteer (the idea was to draft a costs comparison post between the coop and my local IGA shops to publish on Monday, but alas I didn’t have the stamina on Saturday afternoon).  I was definitely feeling dry in the throat that morning, as I sipped bagged tea that the coop gets for free.  Sunday I woke very worse for wear – you know it’s worse than the usual allergies when the tissue box ends up in the handbag. (Yes, I have transitioned to hankies, but I was at the BF’s on Sat night, so I used what he had).  Anyhow, by Sunday night’s Eurovision party, I was blowing my nose every minute it would seem.  I purchased the pharmacist only Sudafed medicine, and after more than the recommended dose, I saw NO improvement.  Why, oh why, am I immune?

So I took Monday off work, which was a nightmare, as today’s work (Tuesday) needed me to be in three places at once, which isn’t possible.  Alas, the day off meant I saw the doctor, and she prescribed me a nasal spray (for $45!!).  I bought said nasal spray, opened the package, to find I had it already, in date, in my medicine drawer – grrr.  I’ve been seeing a new doctor since I moved into my own place, so that’s why she didn’t know.  I hate that sort of waste – financially, as much as the contents – I’ll never use two nasal sprays up esp when they are for a week’s use max, before taking a break.  The good news is…. it worked! I’m not 100% human – I still have a headache, and a weirdly dry mouth and nose, but it’s so much better than the minute by minute sneezes!

Anyhow, I hope all my readers are well.

Grocery spending summary – April and the last 5 months

This might not be as in depth (as I’d like) but it’s a start to documenting my grocery shopping behaviour for one (and sometimes +1).  My categories have evolved since I started in December 2012, but basically they are moving along nicely now.

My average monthly spend on groceries is about 4% of my monthly take home pay.  The graphics below are in %, but I give each category a $ range, so those who want to work out what I earn won’t find it hard.  Interestingly, as a public servant, it’s also PUBLIC knowledge, or at least accessible by the public, so I’m not as worried as I might/could/should be.

Average monthly grocery spend by category

Average monthly grocery spend by category

Fruit: monthly spend around $15-$20 (I don’t include tinned pineapple or frozen raspberries here).

Vegies: monthly I spend between $20-$50 here, this month it was around $30

Dairy (milk, cheese, eggs, butter): Every time I input cheese prices I’m shocked at the cost.  Monthly spending is usually between $25-$40, with this month at the higher end

Pantry staples (spices, tinned goods, baking supplies, tea): A wide range in monthly spends here – between $10-$40, seen about a $10 drop in the last month.

Breakfast (cereal, frozen raspberries): This category exists cause I think breakfast is the cheapest meal of the day? I’m not really sure why it gets it’s own category, but it does! $15-$25 per month spent here.  While oats are cheaper, I always add berries, so going to corn flakes saves some money, but I eat through more cornflakes

Convenience (ready made foods): This is one area I’d like to see drop!  December was at $54, then $17, then $24 in Feb (who knows what happened then, maybe I was sick).  This month was less than $10, so I’m PLEASED with that.

Snacks (ready made foods, but not meals): monthly spend between $5-$25, this month I’m at about $10.50.  If I baked more of my own, they’d slot in under the ‘pantry’ category

Meat (both butcher meat and heavy packaging sliced meats): I didn’t start to track this til January and it’s a little hazy – I don’t get butcher reciepts.  I spend between $25-$55 here a month, with this month coming in at about $31

House stuff (everything else – cotton buds, light globes etc):  Usually between $10-$20, but in Dec 12 it was at $53!!

Over time, I’d like to see a drop in snacks and convenience food, and a growth in fruit and vegies!  If you’d like to see what I eat, see my monthly wrap up posts where I list every dinner I have in a month, see this page for a link to them all.

April 2013 grocery spend by category

April 2013 grocery spend by category

I’ve also attempted to track my fruit and vegetable consumption, but it’s an VERY inexact science, as many things from the green grocer are just entered a price mark ‘fruit and vegies’.  But nonetheless, in five months, I’ve tracked:

5.11kg of onions

2.49kg of carrots

1.3kg of tomatos (tinnned or otherwise)

3.26kg of pumpkin in the LAST month alone!

3.5kg of cheese

23L of milk

9kg of museli

48 eggs (and I’ve probably missed counting some!)

Interestingly when I was looking for graphics I came across one from a blog I read (but not back when they published the graphics), so I’ve included it for you.  Inspired me to make my own – though I had some trouble in Google Drive.

Progress report: Run a half marathon

My planned 7km Bridge Run, as part of Sydney Running FestivalSource: http://www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au/

My planned 7km Bridge Run, as part of Sydney Running Festival
Source: http://www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au/

In my 12 in 2 list, I have some pretty ambitious goals – like running a half marathon.  Thankfully the idea of 12 in 2 is to achieve 12 different goals in two years, so the half marathon isn’t something that’s likely to happen soon, but I have to start somewhere, right? (I have an upcoming post about how I plan to get around to all my 12 in the 2 years, complete with a plan for the $).

I’ve always been a walker – I walk when it’s the easiest option.  Given I don’t have a car, that’s all the time!  But upping the ante to running? Well that’s another story!  So I discovered that Runkeeper has programs, so I signed up to a 5km program – that trains you slowly to get to up to running 5km.  Once I master that, I can start on a half marathon program.  I started looking at the half marathon programs, and they already expected I could run 5km, so… makes sense to start smaller!

I started small, but I’ve ‘ramped’ it up of late:

Week of 17 Feb – 1.5km

Week of 24 Deb – 2.4km

Week of 3 Mar – 10.3km

Week of 10 Mar – 13.8km

Week of 17 Mar – 19.7km (includes 100% walking (~4.4km) & run/walk combos)

Running progress - towards a half marathon

Running progress – towards a half marathon

Evidently, the first weeks were pretty lame.  My running partner was out of town for a funeral, so I made that an excuse not to do my workout every second day.  But, now I’ve mastered the Runkeeper ‘reminder’ system, and powered on alone.  Our first ‘team’ run is a 3.2km jog, which marks the 13th workout of 28.   Based on the training schedule I’ll be reading for a race on 19 April! I’ve found a 7km run in Sept which is over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, so I’ll do that – by that time I should easily be able to manage a 7km race.

Let me assure you, it’s not been easy.  My Saturday 3.2km run was HARD WORK (after a few drinks on Friday night).  But I persevered, and I was happy to be finished at 20 min 20 seconds!  It was hard, even though earlier in the week, I ran 3.85km in a set 25 minute run target.  Then on Monday, I was tasked with a 45 min walk/jog, and shocked myself with a number of personal bests – getting a distance of 6.1kms in 50 mins (that’s about 7.32kms/h – I ‘walk’ a bit faster on the treadmill, but that’s ‘easy’ in comparison to real life)!  However, back to a hard day on Wednesday, when I couldn’t for the life of me jog at a snail’s pace for the full 3.2kms outside in the real world – instead, there was a lot of walking (and therefore more kms achieved).  Interestingly, Runkeeper tracks elevation, and there’s some 40m ‘spikes’) so that might explain some of the difficulty.

So, I’m on track to get to 5km, a mini goal to getting to a half marathon.  Thanks to a blog, I feel somewhat accountable.  However,  just yesterday, I started getting twinges of shin splints.  So I’ll ice them, stretch more.  I’ll only do it every second day (and try to cut out incidental walking, esp in the WRONG shoes!).  Or I might just take things a little easier for the time being… tough call.

How do you find reaching your fitness targets?  What ambitious goals have you set yourself?

12 in 2 list

Extra Organised is a blog I used to read, lost and have refound…  As is often the case, other people’s posts inspire my own, and so without further ado, I shall too make a list of 12 goals to achieve in 2 years.  I have linked above to her specific post.  Sadly for me I can’t comment on this blog (or any typepad blogs) which makes me sad, but hopefully the link will alert her to my interest!

1. Dinner at Quay – done in January for my birthday.  They have the menu online so you can all ooo and ahhh

2. Dinner at Aria – next birthday seems like a good idea!

3. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb – might just happen this month with a Norwegian friend in town.  Otherwise, the BF and parents are getting sick of it being on the gift list so…

4. Go jet skiing

5. Go Zorbing (likely on the Gold Coast)

6. Visit Lexi in NZ – if I don’t put this on a list, I know I won’t make it a priority.  And NZ is oh so close to Sydney, I’m not sure why I can’t just DO IT!

7. Do a knife skills course – for cooking of course

8. Learn to surf – I have a friend who seems to be into the idea of doing a camp style adventure!

9. Read the new testament – thought I’d down grade from ‘whole bible’.  I want to ACHIEVE these goals not get down that they are too hard!

10. Go on a silent retreat – people who know me will wonder.  A friend has done it, so I have an ‘in’

11. Run a half marathon – this is really putting it out there! Anything that’s money based, I seem to have the commitment, but health and fitness, not so much!

12. Plan and prepay my funeral – morbid, but then people call these bucket lists!

To be honest, I struggled with this list.  I feel like I have to have achievable goals.  Things I can actually DO!  Some of my goals aren’t that short term… some are just having stuff (silliness personified!)  And travel destinations (whilst I have one or two) don’t really excite me the way I wish they coulda/shoulda/woulda.  It helps that I’ve been privileged to tick off so many travel based goals I see on other bucket lists – maybe I’ll post of all the bucket style stuff I have already done?

What’s your 12 in 2?

Things I’d like to be…

I’d like to be (inspired by you Dar)

– a zero waste (landfill) home.  But I eat large single serve cookies from the vending machine when I’m hungry.  And buy the half cabbage wrapped in cling wrap (cause a whole cabbage is a whole lot of cabbage for one little lady!)

– sugar free. Ever been hungry and walked into a cafe? It’s SO hard to find a savoury snack!  And then your sweet chili sauce of course also has sugar in it, but I don’t do ‘chili’ really, so I can’t substitute.  This is mainly a weight management strategy (and an exercise avoidance tactic!)

– wheat free. Again, ever been hungry and tried to find something that is neither sugary nor wheat-y?  Potato chips for the win.  Likewise corn chips.  Fruit salad.  But that vending machine just haunted me. (let me be clear, I’m not celiac (heck I can’t spell it!) but I do try to keep my intake low to lessen my psoriasis)

– lactose free. I’m trying to limit lactose for the same reasons as wheat.  And I heard about the plight of cows, always birthing and boy cows dying.  But really, sometimes I am weak in the face of cheese.

– freecycler. If only people would take my stuff! (at least the most recent stuff  – I need a good home for oodles of bubble wrap).  I stopped reading the posts so I could be more of the below:

– anti consumer. But I really wanted a teal throw rug for summer as the winter one is itchy.  And if I waited 10,000 years I may find one in a second hand store, but then I’d need to not work and spend time thumbing through stores and checking ebay and gumtree

– minimalist. No stuff for stuff’s sake.  Alas, I have trinkets from travellers, and whilst i could part with them (no emotional heart strings), I don’t want my home to be TOO sterile!  Concrete floors are more than a good start down that path!

– public transport user. I’m SO reluctant to get a car, cause I know it’d be easier than choosing to walk or to catch a train or a bus.  But that work car often finds itself dropping off or picking up within walking distance of places (home and work namely!)

– debt free.  I only have my mortgage, and pay of any credit card debt weekly.  But still NO debt, wow that’d be awesome!

– make-from-scratch’er/no packaged food.  I can cook, but sometimes laziness comes to stay and she orders packaged garlic bread – complete with the icky plastic baggy!  And a rice cracker is so much easier than making or finding a recipe for a gluten free, sugar free snack!

– recycler.  I am, and I couldn’t be otherwise.  But today my take away coffee cup went in landfill, even though the lid and (clean) cardboard cup could be recycled (if I’d washed them well enough and kept them til I found the bin I needed).  I should have used my ‘keep cup’.

It’s not ‘all that I am’ but ‘all that I’m almost’…