Oh.. for the love of .. something else.

mediaI’m up late. Well, in my part of the world it’s late.  I sometimes have nothing better to do, you know, then to trawl the net, catch up on the news and annoy the rellies.

I’ve been trying to keep away from the television and the Internet media but it’s been unavoidable, and I have to say… who is Oscar Pistorius? Oscar Piss.. who??

Mr Piss, as I like to call him, is all I have seen plastered all over the media and in my face for the better part of a week now and I’m a tad over it all.  I didn’t even know the guy a short time ago and now I’m getting up close and personal without even prying.. er, trying.

Fair enough, the guy did a bad thing, apparently, for those of us that believe in ‘guilty before proven innocent’ and it was definitely a tragedy of epic proportions for a young girl and her family but give me a break. What makes it so newsworthy?

The media just love a good scandal.  The mighty falling, the tall poppies, etc.  It’s like watching starving dogs fight over a nasty-tasting bone.  Who’s telling the best story, what happened before the murder, what happened after the event and what is going to happen in the future?  Like I care two figs.

Why are some people sucked into it? Are our lives so sad that we need to feast on the misfortune of others to feel good about ourselves?  The media must think we are a fetid, uneducated lot, sitting in front of our televisions, picking our toenails and dreaming about having the crap shot out of us while we are hiding in a bathroom from an alleged lunatic. I know that’s what I dream about every night… not.

Let’s be real. The world is full of crap.  People get shot up, cut up, chewed up and spat out every day.  It’s just not noteworthy news if your ass isn’t noteworthy.

The tragedy of the abovementioned story is that it is about a disabled man who became a champion who made the most of his disability.  But he won’t be remembered for any of that anymore.  He’s stuffed up his life and the lives of others but that’s getting in the way of a good story.

Bring back Good News Week with Paul McDermott and I will be a happy woman.  At least then we can poke fun at the pratts of media, see humour in the mundane and shake the gloom and doom off of our collective apathetic backs for a while.

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Some daughters do have ’em

I rang my father the other day to see how he was doing and he hung up on me before I had the chance to say hello. I was reasonably sure that he had thought I was a telemarketer, so I didn’t know whether to be annoyed, as I had to ring again, or admire his style.

He picked up the second time and actually said hello.

‘Hello Dad. Why did you hang up on me?’

‘Because I thought you were a telemarketer.’

‘Wouldn’t it have been more effective to identify the caller first?’ I snorted, a little piqued.

‘No. Because you could have been telemarketer and I wasn’t taking any chances. Lucky you told me who you were or I would have hung up again.’

‘You didn’t give me the chance the first time.’ I sighed. This was an argument I wasn’t going to win. I was in the world of Dad and he marched to the beat of a different drum. He tended to start speaking before he had a chance to think it through, or as Mum put it, ‘the mouth fires up before the brain is engaged.’

Mum tells me that she thinks Dad is getting worse now that he is getting older but I’m not too worried that it may be a sign of early dementia. Dad has always been like this. If he had been born in the last 20 years with the symptoms he presents with, I would say that he would have had a good chance of being diagnosed with something not unlike attention deficit disorder. He can’t sit still, he can’t concentrate on something for too long and his conversation fits around whatever is going on in his head at the time, regardless of what conversation is going on around him.

He drives Mum around the twist. A five-minute conversation can easily become a half-hour epic as Dad constantly interrupts the flow with unrelated interjections, throwing the conversation onto a completely different tangent. Mum finds herself talking about something totally unrelated and still not gotten her original point across.

Another endearing habit Dad has is that he often answers a question with ‘eh?’ Just as you are about to ask again, he answers the question. Mum gets pretty close to the kill zone after about five ‘eh’s’ and as many answers in quick succession. Sometimes I think I’m relatively lucky not to be visiting my father’s grave and my mother in prison.

I’ve been trying to talk Dad into getting a caller ID phone, or at least ringing up the ‘Do Not Call Register’ to implement changes so that he won’t get so many annoying calls but when I see his eyes glaze over I know I’ve lost him to the next thought process rather than the one at hand, so I don’t bother anymore.

That’s a job best left to the professional, my mother.

Into leather

lounge2There’s been a longstanding argument in our household regarding, in my opinion, one of the most important pieces of furniture in the place – the lounge.

I’m into modular lounges, those big, fancy wrap-around classics that you can lie on, sit on and snuggle up together on near the fire on a winter’s evening.  They are versatile and comfortable and allow people to sit together rather than sit apart in their own ‘personal space’, ie, those darn armchairs that I had to buy years ago because my husband insisted that he had to have a ‘chair’ to recline in for his afternoon nap.

As I’m pretty much into invading other people’s space for a bit of attention at times when it suits me, the modular lounge suits my style.  It allows me to blend into my own space and sprawl out and/or corner my husband when he’s on his second ‘yes dear’  – and into his space to get some of that aforementioned attention.  It’s perfect.

I was still in mourning for the modular we had owned before those darn armchairs arrived, but I had conceded reluctantly at the time. Shortly after, I managed to sabotage him with the addition of a ‘colour coordinated’ three-seater lounge suite to go with his lovely chairs and a chaise lounge two years after that, which complimented both pieces of furniture. It wasn’t a modular but I was gaining ground.

Now after years in the wilderness I was finally winning the game. We had agreed on a modular lounge. The only problem was that he wanted leather and I would rather have eaten glass.

We spent the equivalent of 50 hours in as many furniture stores over the following months sitting, touching, lying and bouncing around on an assorted collection of contenders – but we could never agree.

The last straw was the argument in a large furniture showroom that ensued after I told him that if he could find a leather lounge that was as soft as my butt I might consider his request. He proceeded to tell me that he wanted a firm, not saggy modular  –  and stalked off to buy a steam cleaner for his armchairs.

I’m still waiting for an apology.

It’s a bug’s life.. not

sandflyI live on an island. I may have mentioned it before, but as not many people get to live on peaceful island surrounded by beaches only a stone’s throw away from a major city, I thought I would rub it in.

It does have a downside of course, as with anything. The commute to work on the mainland can be a grind but as I work at home on my computer, it doesn’t count in the con list. Bugs on the other hand, score high on the list of annoying-things-I’d-like-to-change-but-can’t items on the agenda.

I consider myself a reasonable person – at times. I am able to negotiate and mediate with the best of them, but I can’t abide by bugs, especially those nasty little suckers we call sand flies, which I guess come from the sand that surrounds this pleasant island – and multiply rapidly if the climate and conditions are right for breeding.

These little black irritants bring out the worst in me and the worst in my delicate extremities in the aforementioned breeding conditions. Some years it’s worse than others and I can find myself running the gauntlet of clouds of the pesky things as I duck and weave from the car to the ferry. I never get through it unscathed and as I am allergic to the tiny marauders, I look like I have an infectious disease a few hours after the assault.

I’ve tried a lot of different things, even more so since I discovered that it is not an actual ‘bite’ that they are inflicting, but a bodily function that they are excreting onto my skin. Yes, that’s right. They are peeing on me. Gives the idea of the ‘golden shower’ a whole new evolutionary meaning.

I actually did a small amount of research on this pesky predator on the Internet and the jury is still out as to whether it actually pees on you or bites  you and sucks your blood. Either way, it’s going down in my books as the bug to beat on the scale of irritation and misery.

I am at this present moment scratching my new wounds down my left arm and feet, while two openly infected wounds fester on my right wrist. I am hiding behind my double-screen doors and windows, sprays and bug zapping implements of destruction while the masses dissipate for another season.

I’m looking forward to the end of the humidity and a return to a semblance of normality around here when I’m not scratching more than my dog.

Then all I will have to worry about are the mozzies, snakes and the spiders. But that’s another story.

Tribute to an old friend

ddogdIt has been only three months since my little mate left us. I think of him every day.

My little Maltese Dylan, is now no longer with us after we made the heartbreaking decision to let him go after the diagnosis of cancer. He did well after his initial operation to remove his spleen and the large tumour attached to it. We bought another four months for him before the cancer finally claimed him 3rd November, 2012.

Within the first two months after his operation another lump was noticed in his stomach. Shortly after, I took him back to the vet for an ultrasound. It was then that I was told that this time there was more than one tumour and that it was now only a matter of time, dependent upon how quickly they grew and how much pain he was in.

He managed for another few weeks relatively free of pain. I spent as much time as I could with him in my arms, carried him everywhere with me and put him on my bed every night to sleep with me. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my precious boy, although I didn’t want to think about the immediate future. He was still here as a tangible presence in my life and that was all that mattered.

On the morning of 3rd November, he collapsed and screamed in agony. His little body convulsed and his eyes glazed over. We raced to his side while he lay there, panting and paralysed. He then got up and walked away as if nothing had happened. I felt the lump in his stomach again and he didn’t flinch. It was huge and I wondered just what it was pressing on to cause so much pain, as he was walking around and seemed okay, I tried to put the possibility of taking him to the vet at the back of my mind and continued to watch him. A few hours later, I carried him down the front steps of our home to the grass. He walked two or three steps and collapsed onto the ground again. This time there was no scream. He was in too much pain to scream. His little body just writhed in agony as my husband and I cried over him.

My husband looked at me and said that we were taking him to the vet.  I looked at him and nodded my head. Perhaps there was something that they could do.

To cut a long and sad story short, there was no miracle. Our little boy’s tumours were so vast that the terrible spasms that he experienced beforehand were just going to become worse before he died an agonising death. What to do?  I knew what to do, but I didn’t want to think about it.

We made the decision to put him to sleep. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. My husband and I held our little fur-baby in our arms as he took his last breath. I hope he didn’t feel any pain. Everybody assures me that it was the most humane thing that I could have done and the most loving, as we saved him from something much worse than a peaceful death. It still doesn’t stop me from feeling like a monster for putting my baby down.

We were there when he was born. We bottle fed him and raised him. We saw his first breath, his 15 years of life, and his last breath.

I would like to believe that there is life after death and that some day I will see him again. It goes without question for me that out pets have souls. How could something so pure and loving not have a soul?

I keep myself going by telling myself that, yes, I lost a beautiful friend and I will love him forever but I wouldn’t swap any of the sadness and heartache that I feel right now for not ever having known this beautiful little being at all. I feel privileged.

Rest in peace, Dylan. All my love.

I’m back

medtran1Well, I’m back, which is an epic statement in itself.

I have had a mammoth six months of illness and finding my feet in my new career as an MT (medical transcriptionist) which has been no mean feat.

I am, at this point in time, pleased to say that I have managed to navigate the MT intern minefield and been promoted to a DTC MT. An impressive title which simply means that I am a ‘direct-to-client medical transcriptionist. To say the last six months hasn’t been easy would be an understatement but I think I’m getting the hang of it and I am managing to keep my head above water while dog paddling furiously beneath its depths.

The pay is not fabulous at the moment as it is entirely productivity based and I’m not the fastest swimmer in these parts.  I am getting better though, no doubt bolstered along by my recent acquisition of a new built-to-specification computer and a killer set of Bose noise-cancelling headphones.  My productivity has increased markedly as I can now actually hear the mumblers and decipher the stutterers. My Bose are not miracle workers, however, so I still can’t translate an indecipherable English-Second-Language dictator if they are not speaking an understood version of the Queen’s English.  I am an MT, not a magician.

I have a multitude of accounts, account specifics and different doctors that I transcribe for.  No two days are alike and some days are better than others.  I have given some of my doctors nicknames specific to the type of voice they have, for example, Dr Dreamy, who is an absolute dream to transcribe. I can only imagine his charming good looks and his amicable personality. Yet another I call Mr Chocolate, whose voice is good enough to eat and probably should be x-rated. Dr Speed-dial never stops to take a breath and I suspect that he may have a somewhat debilitating caffeine habit, while Dr Lead-foot prefers to dictate while negotiating seemingly challenging traffic conditions five days per week.

Some of these dictators I find amusing but others can be a little stressful at times.  I have been introduced to all kinds of new English language alternatives and new medical terminology by the English-Second-Language dictators. It is up to me to wade through what is ‘acceptable’ grammar and what is not and present the closest possible variant of what the dictator is trying to say.

I have to be a grammar-efficient talented typist who knows a thing or two about computers, computer programs, IT troubleshooting with a smattering of medical know-how.  It’s a tall order but it is not without it’s perks. I get to work from home, I can wear what I want, I can set my own hours and my commuting costs and angst are non-existent.

I have to be diligent and committed to setting my own hours and sticking to them. I have to clock in and clock out, just like everybody else in the real world outside of these four walls. My many years of university study have, fortunately, instilled some admirable, if not slightly self-absorbed working habits.

Right now I’m working to improve my speed and efficiency but I’m doing okay.  I’d have to say at this point, however, if it wasn’t for my husband and his well-paid job, we might be eating baked beans and living in a tent. I’m pretty proud of myself though. It was a leap of faith to take when I gave up work to take a year off to do the Ozetrainer course to get me started on this new career path as an MT. In the beginning I wasn’t completely convinced that I would make it through the course, let alone actually be working in the field and earning money. I was at a point in my life where it just wasn’t possible for me to continue what I was doing without it impacting on my health. Working from home was the best option for me and I plan to take it to the next level and see where I end up.

Stay tuned.