I love risotto – it is one of my favourite winter comfort food. I have also been very intrigued on how to make the perfect, creamy, yummy risotto for a long while.
Two things have prevented me from mastering the art of making risotto sooner rather than later. One - my husband doesn’t particularly like the dish – nowhere near as much as I do. Two – unlike other dishes I have made, risotto is, by far, the most slow-transforming dish I have ever come across. Stir-fry comes together almost instantly – chicken turns from pale pink to white and brown in a few seconds; beef turns from bloody red to the darkest brown in the same way; vegetables softens and/or wilts. Baking, whilst a different ball game and takes a much slower pace, follows a similar principle – cheese bubbles, sizzles and finally melts; gooey, gluggy cake mixture rises and hardens enough to the needed consistency.
And what can I do in the times between waiting for one ingredient to cook before adding another? Or waiting for that oven buzzer to ring, telling me that the cake has been cooked to perfection? I empty the dishes, squeeze in a few sentence on my current work-in-progress, even respond to some emails. Sometimes, I walk back and forth to the lounge room, watching snippets of ‘Deal or No Deal’.
I find that with risotto, you have to stand by the stove and attend to it every step of the way. You have to keep stirring the rice until it turns translucent, or it will stick to the base of the pan. Following that, you have to keep stirring the rice with each ladleful of stock you you add into the rice, repeating the process each time the liquid has been completely absorbed by the rice. You don’t get to see the transformation until at least the last three to four ladlefuls, when the rice turns from being hard grains to soft, gluggy ones. When cooking risotto, I always have this split-of-a-second panic attack, wondering whether I haven’t followed the recipe correctly, whether the rice will NEVER to turn to how they’re supposed to look like.
I did, however, have the strong urge to master this particular art a few days ago. It was a recipe of creamy chicken, mushroom and asparagus risotto (asparagus - another no-no ingredient for my husband). I have to say this was my successful attempt yet, even if it demanded me to commit half a day to prepare and cook everything. I now have six containers of said risotto for my lunch next week. And who knows – maybe next time, I can substitute the asparagus for leek, and maybe, just maybe, I can convert my husband to like the dish.
My sincere thanks to Lou Schwarz for nominating me for this award – I am very humbled.
Rules of the Liebster Award:
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 bloggers who you feel deserve to be noticed. These blogs must have 200 followers or less. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been nominated by you.
4. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog. Post all the items listed in item 2 on your blog also.
Number 1 – check. Onto number 2 – answering the nominator questions.
1. What makes your heart sing? Seeing my novel and/or character(s) grow.
2 If you could be anywhere in the world right now where you be? New York… Concrete jungle where dreams are made of…
3 Why did you start blogging? I’ve kept and written on several diaries from a very early age; to me, it has always been an outlet of any pent-up emotions I couldn’t convey to people for fear of offending them or not saying it correctly. I started this particular blog to further promote myself as an author.
4 What is your dream job? To tell you the truth, I’m in one right now, being a Communications & Facilities Coordinator in a P-12 College. My long-term dream job is to make a living out of becoming an author.
5 Who or what inspires you and why? Warning – the answer to this question could be long winded. I don’t think I have a particular role model I can claim as a constant source of inspiration to me. I hear stories of injustice and how people rise from any adversities they have found themselves in and these are the stories that stay with me forever, challenge my thoughts, inspire me to be a better person and inspire my writing.
6 Favourite hobby? Writing, scrapbooking, card making, cooking, watching movies.
7 Favourite food? Bikol Express – a Filippino pork dish that is just absolutely divine.
8 How did you spend your day today? Went to the city with husband. Took advantage of the 30% off MYER sale and bought a few things, including a plush microfibre bathroom mats (as the ones we have right now are in the brink of falling apart…). Had a lovely lunch at Vapiano and came home to a nice Indian take-away and the premiere episode of ‘The Voice’
9 My life is rich because? ….. I have a wonderful husband and a group of friends who love and support me.
10 2 things you love? My husband and my Jack Russell dog, Sasha.
11 How do you relax? Put on my favourite music and cooking always do the trick
Stll on number 2 – list 11 random facts about myself.
1. I am a stickler for spelling accuracy.
2. I LOVE watching Award Shows (Emmy and Oscars especially). When the actor/actress cries during their acceptance speech, I’m most likely to join them.
3. I love dressing up! If only I could have a wardrobe full of ball gowns (and enough excuses to wear them….)
4. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a surgeon. That was until I failed Science and Biology, miserably.
5. I’m a night owl. On weekends/days off, you’ll find me still up at 2 or 3 in the morning.
6. I can’t sew to save myself….
7. I can only swim breast stroke.
8. I can’t stand beetroot.
9. My favourite salad dressing is balsamic vinegar.
10. Growing old doesn’t bother me. I know a lot of people whom had dreaded the day they turned 30, but I had simply welcomed my 30th birthday with open arms.
11. I am, however, scared of death….. especially at the thought that my body would decay and all kinds of bugs would be crawling all over me *shudder*
The last part of number 2 – my own 11 questions for my fellow nominees.
1. This question is inspired by the movie ‘Leap Year’. If your house was on fire and you had 60 seconds, what would you take?
2. If you could only bring 3 books to a deserted island, what would they be?
3. What’s your vice?
4. What frustrates you the most?
5. Sport/exercise – love them or hate them?
6. Your favourite season and why?
7. If you could invite up to 5 people to dinner (celebrity, politician, members of your family), who would they be and why?
8. What is your favourite reality TV show?
9. When was the last time you pamper yourself? What did you do?
10. Beach or mountain? City or country?
11. What’s your idea of a perfect holiday?
And lastly, here are the shout outs to those 11 deserving bloggers!
5. Milda Harris
8. Jeff Foltz
9. Eric Swett – My Writer’s Cramp
10. Ron D Smith – Writing About Folks in Flyover Country
11. Elle Beth – Words from Above Beneath and Between
Those who know me well would concur with this statement: I don’t have a green thumb. Nada. Zilch.
Gardening, except from the concept of watering plants to make it grow, was very much an alien concept for me. I didn’t know the first thing about planting. No idea about which plant would survive in what weather conditions, nor how to continuously care for them to ensure they would last for more than a week.
All of this… ignorance (for lack of a better word) changed when our major overhaul of front and back yards were completed. From the very beginning, when we consulted our plan with the landscaper, we had only one major, unbendable request in mind; to fill our garden with plants that are of the lowest maintenance possible. For someone who couldn’t differentiate between one plant to another, I had suddenly found myself spending most of my weekend ‘hopping’ from one nursery to the next, looking at plants and paying particular attention to the care instructions of each.
Once our plants were transplanted into our front and back yards, both my husband and I vowed that this time, having invested time, money and energy into getting the landscape we have really wanted, we would do anything in our power to make each and every plant (and even every blade of grass) last! For someone who used to believe that there were other, more productive things I could be doing than spending hours on end gardening, I found myself religiously outside every afternoon, watering each and every single one of our brand new plants, wishing and hoping that they would strive.
I also began to Google on a lot of things; what diseases each plant is proned to and how to treat them; what counter-measure(s) we could put in place to make the plants survive in extreme weather conditions; whether they would flower (and if they would, when and how often); and when and how to prune them. I involved a local expert (mother-in-law), asking her about what to do with the sad-looking, half-dead, sunburnt leaves; whether we should replace said sad-looking, half-dead plants with new ones or persevere with watering and see whether they would grow new buds. I even called her up one time, sharing my excitement that after an almost one-week, continuous rain, those plants we thought would never see better days have proven us wrong; that they had not only survived, but were growing new buds!!!!
I would never claim to be an expert in gardening; after all, my knowledge didn’t stretch far beyond Veburnums, Cordylines, Xanadus, Yuccas and Pelargoniums. Every time I visited my mother-in-law, I still armed myself with a bunch of questions, wanting to know how to best care for these plants. But I am becoming more and more proficient in disguising myself as a gardener; I can confidently say that I know a thing or two about pruning now, and no longer afraid in cutting back those pesky, overgrown Xanadu leaves. Just… you know… don’t ask me about roses or azaleas….
Standing by our hotel bedroom’s window in Jakarta, waiting for the clock to strike midnight on 31 December 2012 and the fireworks to start, I found myself reminiscing of the year that was. A friend of mine asked these 3 simple questions, so I’m going to take a leaf out of her book and use it to base my reflection.
Highlight(s) of 2012
Definitely one of my most prominent highlights of 2012 was the career move I made from an office environment to a school-based one. I had been warned by a few experienced people, including the Principal of the College I was going in to, to be aware of the change of dynamic and pace from office to school. It was a warning I heeded very seriously, but as with everything, until you actually experienced it, you couldn’t fully fathom the scope of the change.
One of the most fundamental changes I notice straight away was the enormity of work to be done during term time. For someone who was looking for a bit of a slower-paced work, the new job turned out to be more full-on than what I was doing in the office. Whilst I was no stranger to working past my normal knock-off time, or bringing work home to meet deadlines, this job brought these two aspects to a whole new level.
In the seven months since I started this job, I have led several sub-committee meetings. My creativity has been stretched to new heights, writing articles for local newspapers on what’s been happening at the College to digitally creating Yearbook pages. Being a ‘Facilities’ Coordinator also meant that I have to find and grow my assertiveness in spades! From getting up in front of all staff to remind them about the correct way to use and care for the College facilities, to voicing my disappointment to the cleaners because the College isn’t being cleaned to our satisfaction; from coordinating disgruntled groundsmen to help me move heavy things for a College event to ordering new furnitures for new staff/workspace, I could count on one hand the amount of times I could actually sit back and relax for a minute.
It was a full-on job, and not one I had originally expected. But having at least 10 weeks of the year off was definitely a major attraction to the job, and one that, once tasted, I would never trade again.
2012 also saw a bobcat ripped through our front and back garden. It’s been a long time coming, but in October this year, the landscaping of the garden we’ve always wanted was finally underway. Instead of a long-winded side island with overgrown weed, we put a formal steppers pathway and grass instead. What used to be a sloped corner island at the back of the house became a great-looking retainer wall feature. What used to be one MASSIVE backyard became two parts, with the back of the house being turned to a dog’s retreat.
Moment(s) of 2012 I wish didn’t happen
To tell you honestly, 2012 has been a pretty good year for me. Perhaps the only ‘downer’ I could think of was the keyhole laparoscopy surgery I had to have in March to fix my ‘womanly bits’. This turned out to be a highly effective procedure, though, so I couldn’t complain too much, some soreness and scars shortly afterwards notwithstanding.
What I’m Looking Forward in 2013
Now that I sort of know what to expect in the not-so-new job, I plan to work better, work smarter, delegate more and anticipate earlier. I plan to reduce the amount of days I’d be working back/continue working at night from home to meet deadlines. I also plan to get back to some kind of regular writing again, including on this blog.
Also, now that the landscaping of our house is done, both my husband and I are looking forward to do some serious entertaining. It’s going to be the year we catch up with those we hold dear to us; to rekindle old friendships and reaffirm the current ones.
As Monday greeted the start of another week, I began a new chapter in my career.
I had been pre-warned, from various sources, of the vastly different setting I’m about to enter into. Working in a school, even if you’re not directly related to working with the kids, is very different to the corporate, office environments I’ve been so used to all my professional life. And truly, I thought I was prepared for what was to come, thinking that the ‘worst’ I had to deal with was excessive noise from over 1200 students during break times.
One of my responsibilities as Communications & Facilities Co-ordinator at the College is to liaise with groundsmen and cleaners for any facilities’ maintenance and repairs that needed to be undertaken. My start to the role coincided with the newly appointed Archbishop’s visit to the College, so I came in to the busyness of ensuring that everything, from glass panels to gardens around the College, were spotless and immaculate for the impending visit.
So, on Monday morning, on my second tour around the school ground, accompanied by my line manager and the head cleaner, I inspected the boys’ toilets!
The last time I went into the opposite sex’s toilet was when I was in primary school, designating this place as the most suitable hiding place when playing ‘hide and seek’ with my female friends. I grew out of that quickly and have never set foot on the place since. So imagine my… horror was perhaps not the right word – awkwardness, maybe?, when I discovered that one of the toilets’ had on-going ‘trashing’ problems we had to address and try to stop before the Archbishop’s visit (don’t want him to walk past and comment on the unkempt appearance or the rancid smell wafting out of the place, do we?). I had to politely, and perhaps a bit naively ask both my line manager and the cleaner if there was a certain etiquette I need to follow to enter the opposite sex’s toilet. It turned out that apart from banging on the front door and yelling “Hello? Anybody there?”, there really wasn’t, and I was quite within my rights to ‘barge’ into the boys’ toilets to inspect its state.
Tuesday came around quickly, and both the person I work very closely to and have quite an overlap of responsibilities and myself had to hit the shops to get some supplies – again, to pretty up some of the places the Archbishop would be visiting. My partner-in-crime told me, casually, “Right! I’ve booked the College ute – you’re driving!” Umm… I’m sorry? Ute? Never driven one of those before.
It was a vehicle I was about to get acquainted VERY closely over the next few days. Once I could manoeuvre my way around, in and out of carparks, the real test came on Thursday, when the head groundsman and I had to team up and loaded the ute up with chairs/tables/other furnitures to be loaned out to a brand new school due to open in 2013. They were having a blessing of the site, currently filled with yet-to-be-flattened dirt and filled with construction equipments, and, having no resources of their own just yet, they had turned to our College for assistance.
So, to easily load these furnitures, I have had to drive the ute up the pathway located at the front of our multi-purpose hall. This is the path meant for walking, not for a ute to drive up and down it. And given the size of the ute, and the footpath, with steel bars lining either side of the driveway, I had only a few centimetres gap on either side (I’m not exaggerating either!). Coupled this with trying to get the students off the footpath (the older ones were no problems, but the little prep and early years’ cherubs were… hmm… interesting, to say the least), and I had to apply everything I’ve learnt about driving and three-point turns to get this ute in and out of this narrow footpath.
On Wednesday, I had to help supervise Yr 8 immunisations. Again, I was warned by my new colleagues that some students might cry. I was told to wear black so that eyeliners and mascaras from those upset students I had to comfort on my shoulders don’t show on my shirt.
I had difficulty believing that year 8 students would cry over needles; an opinion I had had to revise when I saw those first few tears drop from some whom had worked themselves up so much they were crying even when they were waiting in line. And whilst I managed to keep my non-black top clean from running make-up, I did have to pull several conversation topics I could think of to distract them from their fear of needles. It worked, to a certain degree, and as I’m sure that this won’t be the last of my supervision duty, I can certainly do better next time.
Thursday – D-Day – the Archbishop was coming!!!! In addition to manoeuvring the ute every which way, I was also getting better acquainted with operating the helium tank to blow balloons of our College colours for centrepieces around the place. It made one hell of a high-pitched, squeaking noise – one that really made me cringe the first few times, but I would rather have this than having to blow the balloons one by one using only my not-so-great lung capacity
I was trying to stay out of the way when the Archbishop arrived and toured around the College – after all, in the bigger scheme of things, other school admin leadership team members were more prominent to be around him than I was. I was happy to be sent to the Acting Principal’s office, not because I had done something wrong, but because she forgot to wear her name badge and I had to rummage through her bag to get it and give it to her. I walked out to the main foyer of the College, only to stand face-to-face with the man himself and being introduced by the Principal. Unprepared, I stumbled over my words, giving myself a new title (Marketing & Communications Facilities Coordinator rather than Communications & Facilities Coordinator). Thank goodness there was no video camera crew present to record this slip-up, and the only evidence of my encounter with the Archbishop was a few photos, showing me smiling at the man and shaking his hand.
My first week at a new job ended with a long weekend, as Friday was a local region show holiday. Even though everyone I worked with had done their best to ‘ease me in’ to the role slowly, I still felt as though I’m plunging into the deeper end of the pool. It’s been a week of massive learning curves, and I’m looking forward to learning more, starting from tomorrow onwards!
Have you ever started in a job where you’ve been thrown into the deep end? How have you handled it? Which one do you prefer – being thrown into the deep end or ease into a new job slowly? Care to share? Would love to hear/read your experiences.
There had been many of these in the past month.
First, my work colleagues threw me a lovely farewell on 20th April – three weeks before my actual last day. And even though I was fully aware of the event, I wasn’t prepared for quite a few things. Like the fact that my work held a short liturgy for my farewell, complete with a nice reading from the Book of Proverbs; this was usually done for someone who had been in the company for eons (like, in excess of 20 or so years), and moving on to greener pastures such as another company or retiring. Some speeches would be made, filled with anecdotes and praises that touched, flattered and humbled me. And for something that I thought was going to be a low-key, it turned out to be quite a formal occasion; one I had to instruct my husband to dress accordingly, prohibiting him from turning up in a polo shirt and shorts!
Then, out came the cake my work colleague had made for me – and can I just say… she knew me very well! (Perhaps sitting right behind me for one-and-a-bit year had something to do with it )
My last day at the office was a bittersweet day, to say the least. I have worked at the head office for just a month short of six years. I have worked in my current role as Secretary to the Area Supervisors for a little over 4.5 years. It was a role I had held with pride; a role that had given me the daily challenge I craved; a role I had grown to ‘love’ to a certain extent. Furthermore, where I was working, I had managed to weave a very good working relationship, not only with the people I directly supported, but with each and every one of the personnel. The thought of no longer being a part of this community filled me with an overwhelming sense of loss. I found myself tearing up throughout the day, especially when the time came for me to take my name badge down from my desk and give them back to the PA to the Director.
It was also my birthday that day, and sad as I was (for a lack of a better word), I always embraced another birthday with open arms and a big smile. I was thoroughly spoilt by my darling husband, and since I didn’t have a break from finishing one job to starting another, he whisked me away down the coast for a weekend getaway, presenting me with the wonderful illusion that I had had a break. It was an illusion that worked, and I came back from the coast refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges my new work present.
What about you? Have you had defining moment(s) lately? Care to share? Would love to hear/read your experiences
If I could sum up my month for 2012 so far, I would say that January was the month in which my holiday to the Philippines quickly became a distant memory as I plunged myself wholeheartedly into the busyness of work; February was the month in which I drove back and forth to the Coast for various 2-day conferences; and March…
March was the month I decided I needed a slight change from my current job. I had thought about wanting to drop my full-time work to a 4-day or 3-day job for a while. I had ‘fought’ (for lack of a better word) for this to happen in my current role, but alas, having my full-time role dropped down to anything less than that was just not possible.
With that in mind, I had to broaden my horizon a bit. And in March, within a week, two fabulous opportunities presented itself to me, urging me to apply. One of them was a PA to the Principal at a Secondary college about 10 minutes away from my current workplace; it meant that I would be supporting 1 boss than the current 3. The other was a Communications & Facilities Coordinator for a big P-12 college about 30 minutes away from home, in the opposite direction I currently have to travel to work for; it was a role that had been rehashed a few times since the last person vacated it, and it meant that I could use some of the skills I have gained from completing my Bachelor of Business (Communication) degree.
I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. For the first 2 jobs I have applied for in 4.5 years, I had gotten interviews for both! To say I was stoked was an understatement. To say I was nervous, and a bit scared out of my wits would be putting it mildly. But I went to both, and did better than I thought.
The interview for the Communications & Facilities Coordinator was held on Monday of the last week of March; the interview for the PA to the Principal position was held on Tuesday at 3PM. I kid you not, at 8 that night, my mobile rang, and the Principal offered me the position. It was the quickest turn-around from interview to job offer I had ever encountered, and I was both gobsmacked and more than honoured.
I asked if I could have 24 hours to think about it – something I had never done before. See, I was waiting to hear back on how I went with the Communications & Facilities Coordinator – the job I was slightly leaning towards in getting. And that Principal (male) had originally told me that he would notify me within the next 24 hours from Monday.
Wednesday rolled by, and the male Principal emailed me to say that he had had a few stumbling blocks and that he wouldn’t get a resolution until hopefully Thursday. I was panicking… big time! That meant I had to ask for at least another 12 hours extension from the other Principal (female) – again, something that up until this point, I had NEVER had to do. And the vision of this female principal screaming on the phone, demanding me to give an answer right away, and accusing me of being super unprofessional, filled me with dread. Moreover, this wasn’t a bad job at all – it had its own list of pros. And the last thing I wanted was from having one solid offer to none.
After much consultation, and got given conflicting advice, I decided to email the female Principal and asked for another extension. She graciously replied and told me it was fine, and that if I could notify her as soon as I could, that would be much appreciated. Thursday morning came, and at 8.10 (almost 36 hours from receiving the first job offer), I was offered the position of Communications & Facilities Coordinator.
I was super-duper excited. I was that ecstatic I had to pull over to the nearest shopping centre carpark to avoid a collision with other cars. I managed to stay professional and accept the job, but as soon as I hung up and called the next person (my darling husband)… I was SCREAMING!!!!!!!!!
Then came the hard part – I had to ring the female principal and turn down the job (come on – you know what I’m going to say next, don’t you? ). It was something I had never had to do before! And much to my relief, that vision of the Principal sounding thoroughly annoyed at me (at the very least) never eventuated. She was very gracious and wished me well.
I don’t think I’ve come down from Cloud 9 yet… even now, from time to time, a big, goofy grin would appear on my face. At home, this has been followed with a squeal, a jump, and an exclamation of “I can’t believe I got the job!” to my husband.
So here’s to the end of an era (am feeling bittersweet about that, but that’s a whole different post to write). And to a new working environment and a set of new challenges. Most importantly, here’s to working only during term time and having school holidays off; something that will give me more time to nurture my other passions, such as writing
And I am feeling marginally human again
One of the things I *hate* about doctors (as competent as they are and as much as I respect their expertise) is the fact that they’re never on time. And when you were waiting for more than an appointment, for a surgery you want to just get over and done with, each minute seemed like an eternity, plus more.
So, 4.30 yesterday afternoon came and went, and I was still lying by the bed in the waiting room, trying hard to concentrate on reading what could have been a very intriguing book, but my mind wasn’t in the mood. So I started watching TV, feeling mildly comforted by Ellen’s goofiness as she danced on her show.
5.15 came and went, and I decided I had had enough time on my own. See, when I went to the ‘Day Surgery Admission’, at 3PM on the dot, the nurses told me that my husband, my MIL and cousin couldn’t come in. I was dressed in the oh-so-flattering hospital gown and stockings pretty much straight after that, and then was wheeled in to the waiting room. In that time, my husband, MIL and cousin thought that I was going straight into the theatre, so they left to a nearby shopping centre.
So I texted my husband, saying that if he could, he could come back to Room 1.04 when I was still waiting. He came 10 minutes later, and I spent about 30 minutes holding hands with him, watching ‘Ellen’, and playing some games on iPad. I was in the middle of texting some of my work friends to tell them that I was still waiting when a male nurse came in. “Maria McDonald? It’s time to wheel you in.”
The long wait was finally over, and with that, my nervousness returned TEN-FOLD. I don’t know how I still managed to smile and throw jokes at the nurses who were by my side most of the time until the anaesthetist arrived. The last thing I remembered was replying to my anaesthetist of my favourite food (so cruel in a way, talking about food to someone who hasn’t stomached anything since 10.30AM!): “This nurse had Thai for tea. That sounds good right about now.”
I woke up to a feeling of utter dizziness, and a pinching feeling on my stomach. I kept comparing everything to the last time I had woken up from being under, and started freaking out a little. See, I woke up with the oxygen mask still attached to my nose – something that didn’t happen last time. When that was removed, they put the oxygen tube – inside my nostrils and wrapped around my cheeks/ears – again, something new. My dizziness wasn’t going away and I kept drifting off to sleep. So I kept asking the nurse, “Is everything ok?” The nurse, being not a doctor, replied, “Yes. The doctor will tell you more.” In my half-drugged state, I had to better rephrase my question – not an easy task! “I’m still feeling dizzy. Is this normal?” I was relieved when the nurses assured me that it was.
Then came the very long wait. I was wheeled back to the recovery room at 9.30PM. I still felt so dizzy I was torn between sleeping off the drug and spewing (sorry for the not-so-lovely imagery there). I had managed to take small sips of water, only to be told that if I could stomach it, I should drink more.
One of the nurse then told me that I should eat something. When I didn’t feel like it, I was told that if I was to be discharged tonight, I had to eat something.
Here I was thinking that after such a surgery, I deserved a treat. I was half-hoping that dinner would consist of something… nice and yummy. I had envisioned the meal to come in a plate, with gravy and mash potatoes. Instead, what I got was the simplest, bland-tasting vegetable sandwiches.
I ate about 1.5 of those triangle-cut sandwiches very unenthusiastically. And then, came the big test. I also had to go to the toilet before I could be discharged. Well…. it took me about 1 minute to change position from lying down on the bed to a more or less sitting position. Another minute to stand up. I walked as though I was a 90-year-old grandma, putting one foot in front of the other with considerable effort. And still, I felt dizzy like never before that everything I had swallowed went back up, spluttering water all over my darling husband.
I was very disheartened when the nurse said, “since you just threw up, I’m not comfortable with letting you go home tonight.” And then, a miracle happened. My gynaecologist walked in (by now, it was just after midnight). He showed me photos of what he found inside, including the polyp, the fibroids, and endometriosis he had removed. Then he asked, “how are you feeling?” The nurse jumped in and said, “well, she just vomitted”. He asked again, “apart from that, are you feeling ok?” I said I was, and that if I could go home tonight, I would rather do that. And he said, “yes, you can go home.” I did feel a bit bad for undermining the nurse – it’s like I was a spoilt brat manipulating both my parents until I got the answer I wanted.
I had to stomach more food down before the nurse could let me out. And I was determined to keep the food down, no matter what it cost me. And so at 1.10 this morning, I reprised the role of a grandma, walking out of the hospital in a pace slower than a snail’s. Went home, straight to bed, and all the happier for it.
I still felt a bit light-headed and nauseous until lunch time today. Sitting up, and standing for longer than 2 minutes would send my head spinning. And my right shoulder felt as though I had been lugging a heavy backpack for 24 hours straight. But the most important thing is that I’m home, recovering where I should be.
In a little over 4 hours, I will have a hysteroscopy and a keyhole laparoscopy to fix my reproductive system. And as I sit here trying not to get worked up about these procedures about to be done to my body, I reflect on how, in the course of three-and-a-bit years, my perspectives have changed dramatically.
You see, this wasn’t the first time I will be undergoing the procedure. In mid-2008, I have had to have a hysteroscopy done to try remove a suspected cervical polyp. Back then, my attitude to it was ‘meh! It was a slight inconvenience, but at least I’m not gonna be conscious during the procedure’. Moreover, I somehow looked forward to going under general anaesthesia, having been advised by my husband to think of it as ‘the best, dream-less sleep you will ever have’.
And it was, in a lot of ways… I know it wasn’t a natural way to fall asleep (or even if you could call it that). I know being put under general carried a small risk of not being able to wake up again; that you might have an allergic reaction to it and had to endure a very uncomfortable several hours vomiting and feeling nauseous several hours after as a result. But having been explained of what the procedure entailed, I would rather be ‘asleep’ during the procedure rather than being awake and screaming at the pain every step of the way.
This time, though… I had had to consciously push the looming date out of my mind (this is where being run off my feet ever since I found out that I have to have this operation is actually half-a-blessing). I had shed a full-blown, nervous cry whilst having a shower. I have also had to suppress the urge to snap at anyone for very trivial reasons; reasons that, I think, under any other circumstances, I would have more than tolerated and able to laugh it off. In short, I’m actually one step level short of being terrified at going under and waking up disoriented.
I don’t know what it is… perhaps it was the unchartered waters of ‘laparoscopy’ I have to have done in addition to the hysteroscopy. Even though the gyno had told me that it would be ‘small’ incisions, until I wake up and see for myself, I really won’t know what the ‘damages’ are like. I think constantly about the fact that a blade will cut through… how many layers of my skin? And whilst I am unconscious when they do it, I will wake up to… what amount of pain? And can I withstand that pain when the drugs wear off?
Or perhaps, just like I told my good friend last night, as we get older, we also become less and less immune to pain and the ‘unknowns’.
These are the three simple words displayed across the screen as the theme of our Lent this year.
It’s quite impossible to escape Lent, since I work in an education setting that places certain importance in upholding this (and other Christian) ritual. And each year, I have a semi-serious conversation with my husband about what else we’re giving up during Lent season, apart from honouring the tradition of consuming no red meat on Fridays. In the past, we have reduced our Coke/soft drinks intake to non-existent. I jokingly suggested one year that during Lent, I will give up my writing, but that would just be a very solid foundation for divorce!
So, this year, in the spirit of reducing and replacing, for at least twice a week, my husband and I have strived to replace an hour of TV with either:
1. An hour of walking/swimming/exercising (weather permitting!); OR
2. Having dinner outside, enjoying and using our lovely patio more.