radegund: (Default)
TheJournal.ie had a piece yesterday about Amnesty's ad campaign for an equal health system in Ireland.

(Incidentally, for me, this comment on that article sums up exactly why a one-tier, free-at-point-of-access health system is really the only defensible approach: "...as soon as rich people have to avail of the same services as the rest of us you’ll be amazed how quickly it gets sorted.")

So I went to sign the petition, and ended up finally writing something that's been brewing for months.

And this is what she said... )

I wonder will it be read?

I've sent an edited version as a letter to the Irish Times, which is probably still too long to print, so I thought I'd just publish it here too. You know, for closure.

It's worth noting that until [livejournal.com profile] ailbhe and I were discussing my A&E experience I had no idea how low the cut-off point for a medical card actually is. If I'm reading the Citizens' Information figures correctly, a 40-hr/week job at minimum wage puts you over the threshold unless you have 3+ children and no other household income (if you're under 66, that is).

Anyway. Go and sign the petition, if you're in Ireland.

If you're not in Ireland, feel free to gnash your teeth at our iniquitous set-up.

Oink!

Nov. 4th, 2009 03:24 pm
radegund: (Default)
Yup. What I was downplaying as a heavy, chesty cold (with fever) at the weekend was this morning diagnosed as ... dun-dun-duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun - swine 'flu.

On my BIRTHDAY, and EVERYTHING.

(I say "diagnosed" - the doctor didn't order a test, but she says it's the obvious conclusion.)

More to the point, it's also what the Feaster has had in parallel with me over the past few days, AND it's what the Oyster suddenly came down with yesterday evening. He's currently in the oh-god-wretched phase, while the Feaster and I are definitely over the worst (thank any relevant deities). [livejournal.com profile] niallm may or may not have had it the week before last. If he didn't, I suppose he'll get it next...

I've had muscle aches and cold symptoms since last week, with an unshakeable headache since about Saturday. My fever spiked on Sunday night, and had more or less abated by Tuesday morning. I spent Monday completely out of it, and Tuesday maybe half there. Today I am up because I have to be, but if I didn't I wouldn't. Niall and K have been running around looking after everybody, because they are made of solid gold.

The Feaster has been physically attached to an adult damn near constantly since Sunday, including seven- or eight-hour feeding sessions each night.

The Oyster is on Tamiflu, but since the Feaster and I are on the mend we're not.

I thought it was quite amusing the way the doctor danced around the actual moment of diagnosis. She first asked if the Oyster had any ongoing health issues, and then she chatted some more about the symptoms, and then put her head on one side and said something really coy, like "had you any feeling yourself about it, or...?" And it was only when I said I assumed I had 'flu of some sort, whether swine or otherwise, that she nodded and said the likelihood was that it was the OMG HORROR OF TEH TERRIFYING OINK ITSELF. Whereupon a dark cloud covered the face of the sun, and a rain of frogs fell from the ceiling of her consulting room, which I thought was pretty tacky, but there you are.

Anyway. We'll be back up and running in due course. Meanwhile, this headache had better go away, or there'll be trouble.
radegund: (Default)
I had my left ear syringed this afternoon. Calloo, callay, I can HEAR properly again! It backs up periodically, and I hadn't had it done since before Fiachra was born, so the quantity of wax that came out was fairly impressive. (I have an icky fascination with such things, which I recognise isn't universal, so I won't give you a more detailed description. Unless you ask.)

Driving home, I was grumbling to myself about the little physical annoyances that beset me (WOE! My life: SO HARD! etc.) - I mean things that are basically just irritating, as opposed to a health concern. And I thought, a poll! So here you go:

[Poll #1398299]

I don't mean to dismiss the experience of people for whom, say, migraines or insomnia are frequent or serious enough to be debilitating - I'm not talking about stuff that affects you very profoundly, just the niggly little things that you'd rather not have to put up with. And of course, the lines get blurry once you start thinking about it - for instance, I left out vision and hearing problems because they seemed somehow ... more serious than what I was listing. Perhaps because they are on a continuum with blindness and deafness and thus shade into "disability" territory, which isn't where I wanted to go.

Now I'm worried that I'm being outrageously insensitive with this whole post. I'm going to post it anyway, and trust you to point out to me if I've overstepped the mark.
radegund: (Default)
This week has been ... about as varied as I'm able for. Possibly more so, in fact, considering how it's ending up. But I get ahead of myself. Allow me to give you a précis:

Blow by blow )

I'd quite like a quieter week next, kthxbai.

Spring!

Feb. 1st, 2009 12:31 pm
radegund: (tiny-blue-flowers)
Official first day of spring! Yay! No more January! Happy Imbolc, to those as celebrate it.

We at Rue P are celebrating by performing synchronised snuffling and formation sneezing, having all caught a nasty cold this week. I had three nights of utter doomy perditionous abyssal hellification, with Fiachra waking distressed and thrashy every hour or so and Oisín arriving in the small hours to wriggle and kick me until morning. Last night was much better, though. I hope the worst is over.

Onwards and upwards, best foot forward, and so on. Rah!
radegund: (wet-stones)
My grandmother with the pneumonia is on the mend.

We sprang her from chokey on 23 December, in time for her long-booked hairdresser appointment, and she enjoyed the Christmas festivities, although she required a lot more care than usual. (High point: being carried down my parents' narrow, screechy basement stairs backwards in a wheelchair.) Her hands were very swollen from fluid retention, so she couldn't (e.g.) feed herself, and the drugs she was on were making her very woozy.

Christmas was really the only reason she came home so soon, of course. On the 27th she was readmitted, on the grounds that having oxygen and nurses to hand was better for her at that time. I saw her the day before yesterday, and she was immeasurably improved. Hands back to normal, reading, conversing clearly. She should be coming out this afternoon.

She'll be 89 in May. It's unclear whether this episode is a blip or part of an overall acceleration in her decline. But for the moment, we're all very relieved.

This week

Dec. 17th, 2008 10:43 pm
radegund: (wet-stones)
This week is not getting any easier. As of last night, my 88-year-old grandmother is in hospital with pneumonia.
radegund: (blue-pansy)
This evening I ate a BIG CHEESY DINNER for the first time in over a year. OH MILK, HOW I HAVE MISSED YOU!

It was a 'speriment. Fiachra has turned six months, and his gut lining may have matured enough to tolerate my eating dairy food.

So far, we haven't been able to tell if he has a sensitivity (he's had some intestinal discomfort following accidental milk-ingestion by me, but it's been unclear whether it's within his normal range). Therefore, rather than pussyfooting around with traces of butter here and crypto-yoghurt there, I decided to go for something unambiguous, to wit, a gougère made with butter and cheese. (Verily, there was NOMMING.)

There's also a chance I'll react myself, of course. Two hours on, no sign of anything untoward (or at least, no clear sign: I am, naturally, prophesying DOOM at every little burp...). Fiachra has obligingly refrained from teething this week, which should make things easier to interpret.

Now we play the waiting game.

Sundry

Apr. 14th, 2008 03:15 pm
radegund: (Default)
1. Bah. I have sinusitis. Experienced it as a toothache yesterday, through the night, and this morning, but the dentist I saw earlier says there's nothing wrong with my teeth. Just that the nerves are being twanged by whatever my sinuses are doing (to wit, roaring at the rest of my face and dripping bloody gunk out my nose). The pain has got a LOT better since this morning, and so although I have a prescription for amoxicillin, I'm going to give homeopathy 24 to 48 hours to work first, because I could actually do without taking my FOURTH course of antibiotics in THREE MONTHS, thank you very much.

2. Dubliners, we want to give away our old dining table - anyone interested? It's in near-perfect nick, very sturdy. The matching chairs are, alas, unstable. You can have the four that haven't fallen apart, but you'd need to do some work on them before they were usable.

3. Dubliners again, is anyone in a position to lend me Dr Who 2007 (including 2006 and 2007 Christmas episodes), all of Torchwood to date, Buffy seasons 4 to the end, or any of House?

4. This post was going to feature considerably more wit and interest, but see 1 above. Generally speaking, I am (a) very well and (b) in rag-order (depending on whether you're asking about my mental or my physical health). Life is good. And when it features more sleep and less snot, it'll be even better.

Whoosh-by

Mar. 2nd, 2008 07:34 pm
radegund: (Default)
1. Physical health
Rotten. I've just finished my third course of heroic-sounding antibiotics (Pinamox, Distaclor, and now Zithromax, which one can't help pronouncing in a sort of wrestling compere type voice - ZITHromaaax!!! - like that) since 31 January, not to mention echinacea, salt-water gargling (ugh), hot honey and citrus, and homeopathic pills, and my tonsils are STILL covered in damned spots. I'll phone the GP tomorrow, and he'll either fax a prescription for more antibiotics to my local pharmacy or ask me to come for yet another consultation. Argh. He wants me to see an ENT specialist to discuss whether I need to have the putrid little things cut out. I'm not a particularly squeamish person, but tonsillectomy? Eww. I'm convinced they do it with a melon-baller.

2. Mental health
Rocking! Rarely better! Whee!

3. Children
Magnificent.

Unny's imagination is a thing of joy and wonder. Yesterday, he was a gruffalo (female) who kept a café that served "everyting in de werreld" - except, as it turned out when I tried to order it, omelette. I was the "lovelier", whose job, I was informed, was "lovelying" the gruffalo - i.e. cleaning the purple prickles all over her back, grooming her fur, polishing the poisonous wart at the end of her nose, etc. Later, he was a miner who mined some precious stones for me to sell so that I can buy things while I'm on maternity leave. He wants a pet baby elephant. Or failing that, a real mineshaft in our back garden (not just a toy one).

Fiachra, meanwhile, is ALL about the standing up. ALL ABOUT IT. And he's reaching for things, and exploring things with his mouth, and learning to laugh, which may keeell me ded. (Mind you, nothing - nothing in de werreld - could possibly be cuter than the little euhh sound he makes after sneezing.)

4. Whirlybrain
Whirr, whirr, whirlybrain,
gently through the night,
whirrily, whirrily, whirrily, whirrily,
life is but an infinite to-do list.

I refer, inter alia, to my half-finished novel draft, the two rather excellent quilt design ideas I've had in the past fortnight, six or eight potential next knitting projects, a nifty window-seat that there's no way I'll find time to build for at least a year, the vast logistical and financial extravaganza that is our extension plan, the future of my working life, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

Unfortunately, I need to get well first, which is proving a challenge.
radegund: (Default)
Result from that blood test on Monday morning: I do not have gestational diabetes. Yay! Of course, now I feel entirely justified in having whined and bitched so much about my sixteen-hour fast, as it was officially All For Nothing.

I encountered a curious little gulf in understanding yesterday. I was chatting to one of my fellow altos before choir, and mentioned (looking down at my belly) that I was starting to feel rather large. Later, at rehearsal, she and I were talking to our neighbour, and she paraphrased me as having said I felt "fat" - and it was evident that she had heard my statement as negative, though in fact, it had incorporated an unspoken "finally! it's great!". At break time, someone else told me I was looking "very pregnant" - and then apologised for drawing attention to it. (I responded that at 30 weeks, I bloody ought to be looking pregnant, and we laughed...)

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. It's just that for me, "pregnant-large" (cf. "great with child", "taobhthrom torrach", etc.) is entirely separate from "fat". Now, I acknowledge that I've never had to deal with being outside a socially "acceptable" weight range, so my perspective is presumably simplistic. Also, I'm not really interrogating my belief that my objection to the term "fat" springs not from a socialised desire to avoid the negative label but rather from its inaccuracy (see under: my GP is concerned that I'm not gaining enough weight, which, as the foetus appears to be developing normally, means that I may in a sense have "lost" weight so far this pregnancy; see also under: it's a gravid uterus, actually, not adipose tissue). But "I feel fat" isn't what I said, and I find it sad that some (many?) people can't seem to avoid plugging the pregnant shape into default body-image assumptions.

For the record, in case you were wondering, I'm totally in love with my current shape and am greatly looking forward to my increasing curvaliciousness over the next couple of months. I keep catching sight of my profile in mirrors and windows and getting the warm-fuzzies. I may try to be more explicitly positive about it in future conversations.

Feasting

Oct. 1st, 2007 02:30 pm
radegund: (Default)
Make that sixteen. SIXTEEN hours without food or water (apart from the glucose drink I had at 9:50). Three hour-long chunks of sitting on an uncomfortable padded bench in an airless waiting room, with 98FM playing at a volume just too loud to read through and too soft to make out without concentrating, punctuated by bloodlettings. I did get a lot of cardigan knitted, mind you, so it wasn't all bad.

On my release I shambled up the road, stopping first in Cafe Sol for a smoothie to keep me going, and then at Dunne and Crescenzi, where I sank into a chair and husked "mounds of food, please" at the waiter, and after about six very floaty and nauseous weeks found myself in a position to tuck very carefully into bruschetta al pomodoro and salsiccia e fagioli alla Toscana and salumi misti. And now I feel almost human again. Almost. (I've to phone tomorrow for test results. This seems entirely secondary, somehow!)

I do go on about it, I know, but foodlessness is really not my bag, baby. I'm still half-amused, half-gobsmacked at a conversation Niall and I had a while ago, where I finally realised that he'd been assuming all along that my experience of hunger was more or less like his - i.e. a mild distraction, perhaps shading to discomfort in extreme cases - and therefore that my behaviour and reactions when I hadn't eaten were totally over the top (which, if you accepted his premise, was a reasonable attitude to take). He was surprised to hear about the pain and the dizziness and the loss of coordination and the weepiness and the panic.

It's a genuine physical reaction, but I'm uncomfortably aware how psychological it is, too: last night, although I had a substantial Condemned Man's snack at 20:45 (fast began at 21:00), hunger pains and panic had set in by midnight. I know they wouldn't have been there if I'd been looking forward to my customary vat of porridge at 8:30.

I wonder if I'll ever get over this? It's bloody inconvenient.

Fasting

Sep. 30th, 2007 10:20 pm
radegund: (Default)
In case anyone was wondering, I really, really, really, really, REALLY HATE fasting.

Lengthy blood test thing tomorrow morning, to find out if I've developed gestational diabetes. I almost certainly haven't - I gather that false positives on the initial screening test tend to outnumber genuine cases by a large margin - and even if I have, it's little to worry about these days: diet should keep it under control, and if it doesn't, well, a few months of insulin shots aren't the end of the world.

But to take the test, I have to fast for a total of FIFTEEN HOURS. Which (see above) I HATE.

Bah.

Default

Sep. 2nd, 2006 04:53 pm
radegund: (swans)
Yesterday, the Oyster and I went to Dublin Zoo with [livejournal.com profile] jane_the_23rd as part of her birthday celebrations. And it was enormously cool, and lo, there was a BABY ORANG UTAN, which was one of the cutest, shaggiest little animals ever in the history of ever. (Actually, it's nearly a year old. But still exceptionally cute.)

Anyway.

The baby went over to its mother and began to feed. Jane and I squeed more than somewhat and showed Oisín the baby having mama-milk. Another family joined us in watching, and then the following little illustration of entrenched gender assumptions played out:

Mother Orang Utan: *nurses*
Baby Orang Utan: *suckles*
Radegund, Jane, Oisín and Other Family: *ogle excitedly*
Mother Orang Utan: *yawns briefly, displaying long, brownish teeth*
Mother of Other Family (to children): Look at the teeth on him! He's been eating too many sweets, that fellow!
Jane and Radegund: ...
Mother Orang Utan: whatevah
Baby Orang Utan: *switches sides and carries on feeding*

Sigh.

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