From time to time some of my blog posts are about personal stuff, rather than the wider world. This is one of those posts.
Yesterday was a day of excisions.
I had many thousands of hairs excised from my head at the barber. Easy.
And I got the lump taken out of my leg.
You may recall from my last post the quandary of paying for private vs getting it done in the public system. Multiple health professionals had said it would take ages to get through the public system elective surgery queue. They were wrong.
In fact within a few weeks of getting onto the list,
Southern Health Monash Health contacted me and said they could do it at Cranbourne, sometime on the 10th of September — the precise time TBA. This was not just surprising, but also amusing, because I’d made an appointment on the same day (at 4:30pm) to get it done privately, at the rooms in Dandenong of the surgeon who had seen me at Monash Medical Centre in Moorabbin (East Bentleigh).
I ummed and ahhed and eventually cancelled the public appointment, on the basis that it was worth paying the $150 to be able to know a definite time, to not have to potentially wait for long periods, for the possibly nicer service and environs, and to not have to travel as far.
Plus, although I have a philosophical objection to private health insurance, I have the income that I can afford an occasional burst of money to get something like this done, and save a space on the public queue for someone who can’t.
So anyway, similar to last time, they took a look, shaved some hair off, and gave me a local anaesthetic. I asked if this would render my leg unusable — a question I almost immediately felt foolish for. No — it really is a local anaesthetic, so only the surface near the lump is affected. The rest of the leg is fine.
Then they drew lines on my skin, and sliced me open. I didn’t watch, but from what I can gather, the surgeon simply made an incision, then basically squeezed out the lump.
It came out in bits, and he proclaimed it harmless — if I heard him right, it was calciosis aka calcinosis, specifically dystrophic calcinosis — a build-up of calcium in soft tissue, often caused by previous damage, such as injury. He asked me, and I couldn’t recall any injury in my right leg. I couldn’t. Any football injuries? Unlikely! I did fall off my bike as a teenager once, but I don’t recall if I fell on that part of my leg. Oh well.
Anyway, the bits will be sent off to pathology for analysis. The nurse joked that some people like to take photos of what comes out, and so I decided to too. But I’ll spare showing you that here. It ain’t pretty.
I’m sure (more than usual) people were staring at me on the train today.
And you should see the amount of gunk that was in it this morning.
The doctor’s given me some eyedrops for it.
For many years I’ve used Herbal Essences shampoo. While I hated the ads, I liked the shampoo.
But recently I’ve noticed tell-tale white residue on my clothes.
Oh no. Dandruff. Not nice.
So I’ve switched to anti-dandruff shampoo for a while. It doesn’t smell as nice, but it appears to be working.
Warning: This post has been flagged TMI (Too Much Information). You have been warned.
Hair on my head gets lopped off by the barber every month or two; whenever it seems to long (getting wavy at the top is usually the indicator for me) and I have the inclination to stop looking like a long-haired weirdo (as I often did in my teens) and get it cut.
Facial hair comes off daily with my electric razor, a Philishave, except Sundays when I generally don’t bother shaving. If I’m in a rush it can sometimes be less than a precision operation, leaving a few strays behind. (Was it Billy Connolly who talked about the cunning hairs that lie down when they see a blade coming?)
Nasal hair sometimes grows alarmingly fast, and will occasionally get plucked. (Past experiments with this have proven somewhat painful at times.)
Little hairs seem to spout out of my ears, too. I don’t know if this is an argument against Intelligent Design, but what the purpose of this is, I really don’t know. When they’re too numerous, tweezers can get them out.
Underarm hair? Gets a very occasional trim when it seems excessively bushy. The shaver has a beard trimmer, which, given I never have a beard (tried it once, didn’t like it) can get used for this.
Back, leg and chest hair I leave well alone, though sometimes a lone hair will grow out of a mole on my back, until (with great difficulty) it’s plucked out.
Which just leaves… well, the rest. As it happens, this can get pretty hairy — and yes, occasionally, it deserves a trim too. Very careful use of the scissors is generally what’s required. Wouldn’t want to catch anything other than hairs in the blades, after all. I don’t think I’d go the full shave thing, but I know that some people out there do.
Unbelievably, just hours after lamenting with Marita about how some of us in the Bowen family are prone to upset tummies, I felt the same myself. The Bowen belly had struck yet again, though not as badly as some other times. This comes after my sister and her toddler were struck down with something last week.
Why are we so delicate? Beats me.
So having lost a couple of hours’ sleep overnight, I elected to work from home today (I didn’t have any meetings with anybody scheduled, and it saves about an hour in travel time — gawd bless remote access). Thus most of the day was spent coding in my trackie-dacks, and at one point retired for a quick afternoon snooze.
I’m sure I recall reading about studies which showed working from home could be more productive than going into the office. Even with the model working environment described above, I seemed to get plenty of work done today.
More from the TMI department.
I can still feel the after-effects of Sunday night. I don’t feel sick, but I can feel the strain my stomach went through.
You know how you hear about people who can’t throw-up. Physically can’t. I’m not in that position, but I’m probably not far away from it. Even when I’ve got some kind of nasty present, and it’s necessary for me to do it to feel better, it takes an awful lot of effort for it to happen.
Hence the tossing and turning. The hot and cold sweats. The crouching in the preferred vomitting position (in front of the couch, on the rug in the livingroom, bucket nearby). I even have to think vomit-inducing thoughts to bring it on. Then there’s unbelievable noise, accompanied by the full-body cat-furball-like motion. Physical exhaustion.
It’s like putting my stomach through the wringer, inside-out. Like the stomach equivalent of a sore muscle. A sore stomach muscle.
And my stomach is keen to remind me afterwards what it’s been through. “Oh sure, you got that nasty stuff out. But the effort! The strain! Whatever it was, don’t consume it again!”
Sunday started out so well.
Long sleep in.
Stroll down to the shops to buy ingredients for muffins, and get a newspaper.
Lunch with globetrotting Doug in Kensington, where he was in residence for the morning. (Marita and I rolled in as some of his other friends rolled out). Much laughter with the discovery that Doug had watched the Hungarian National Day fireworks in Budapest in 2004, while 200 metres away Marita lay unconscious from jetlag in the hotel adjacent.
Homemade muffins for afternoon tea. Yum.
By 5pm my tummy was rumbling.
By 7pm, a slight ache. But I was hungry, and ate a nice dinner.
By 10pm I’d gone home. A stronger ache, and I was kicking myself for not having bought some Mylanta at the supermarket. Was in no mood to go down again, so went to bed.
Failed to sleep. Tossing, turning.
Midnight came and went, as did 1am. About that time the nausea came to the fore and I made use of the bucket.
Regular readers might know, as my neighbours now do, that when I’m chucking-up, it’s never a quiet experience. It’s never all at once, either, but a series of protracted episodes.
The fourth and final episode was around 2:30am, and whatever it was my body had been trying to purge from the system tasted really foul. I suppose if I had had the foresight to save it, it could have been subjected to chemical analysis, but I was just relieved that I finally felt better, the stomach ache had gone, and I could finally get to bed for some rest.
I feel better today. Glad I’ve got one more week of holiday.
The one thing you don’t want to do is mis-time your toilet breaks.
A couple of drinks and a chat with a fellow geek from New Zealand in the pub last night. We get up to leave.
Ahh, that was a nice drink. Nothing much going on just at the moment, says the bladder.
We part outside Flinders Street Station, he’s bound for the tram stop, I head for platform 6.
Well you could go now, but it’s not urgent, and the toilets here are usually a bit bleuch.
Ah! The train’s waiting there. Express, as well. Find a seat, dig out my copy of MX. … Train leaves, pulls into Spencer Street … Flagstaff …
Hey, you know, that was a lot of beer. That last one was rather big. You know how alcohol goes through the system. Might be nice to find a toilet.
… Melbourne Central… … Parliament …
There’s toilets at all these stations. Sure you don’t want to stop off and catch the next train? Oh, but you’d have to wait. And the next one wouldn’t be an express. Not far to home.
… Richmond … South Yarra …
You know you need to go. But it’s express now to Malvern. Then only a couple more stops to home. Maybe you can wait.
… express, express, express, Malvern …
Okay, you officially really need to go. I know, I know, there’s no toilet here. Hang on until Caulfield, then decide. Or just go home. Only… what.. two more stops? 4 minutes. Plus the walk home, about 8 minutes. You can last 12.
… Caulfield …
Yes, you’re busting, but you might as well hang on. Just one more stop then the walk.
We pull into Carnegie. I stand up and walk to the door and realise just how badly out of hand this has got.
Oh man, relief is needed fast. Maybe if it’s too much you can go behind a tree in the park next to the station.
Well that would hardly be very dignified, would it. Besides, the blindingly bright lights of the station ensure there is nowhere nearby where one’s actions can be obscured.
I walk along the street, attempting to exude confidence. But inside my bladder is crying; screaming.
You need to go! You need to go! You should have gone before! You should have gone before!
I reach my street. Not much further now.
Full full full full full full full full.
This is bad. I get out my keys. Have the front door key at the ready. Ah, there’s my car, parked on the street today, outside my house. (Long story).
Ah, at last. Almost there. At last.
Wait! It’s not my car. It’s someone else’s car, someone else’s house. Mine’s 30 metres further on.
Get to my place, ignore the mailbox, fumble with the keys.
Fumble, fumble. Open front door, go in, dump bag in hallway, walk briskly to the toilet.