FAT NEEDLE FOR A FAT BOTTOM

Reflection from 13/07/20 – In stage 3 lockdown, dreaded remote school learning has returned.

Getting older sucks donkey balls. My hair has started falling out at such an alarming rate that I fear I’ll be as bald as a baby’s bottom in a matter of years. Gravity is waging and winning the war against my breasts. My stomach refuses to stay tucked inside my pants. My skin is constantly dry. 

I especially hate the aches and pains. My joints have started hurting. Standing too long causes back pain. Sleep is hard to come by.  My vision continues to deteriorate. It’s these problems that make me acutely aware that I’m no longer a spring chicken and that I should I start looking after my physical health.

Today I went to get an ultrasound and cortisone injection into my right hip. I have another one schedule next week for my left shoulder. I’ve have bursitis (inflammation in the bursae, the fluid pads that cushion the joints), that I’ve left untreated for years. I sought medical intervention when the pain began impacting the quality of my sleep and became so unbearable that I couldn’t fall asleep without taking paracetamol at night.

After changing into a blue gown, the radiographer led me to a small treatment room and positioned me on the bed. There is nothing more embarrassing than having your naked butt cheek intimately exposed to complete strangers. I mean, I guess these people are professionals and see this sort of stuff all the time, but it doesn’t make it any less awkward.

As we waited for the radiologist to arrive, I reflected on why I was there: my aversion to sweating and exercise, preference for cheap shoes, unsteady gait (not alcohol related, I promise!), year on year weight gain, addiction to anything fried/battered/salty.

An older gent with a rotund belly entered the room and gave a perfunctory introduction and explanation of the procedure. 

“Can you point to where the pain is the worst?” asked the doctor, holding a tube of jelly and the ultrasound wand.

“Uh here?” I pointed to a sore spot on my hip.

“Okay. If I point here, does it hurt? What about here? And here?” The doctor poked various areas before putting jelly on the spot I pointed to and placed the wand on my skin.

“Hmmm, Jenny show me the picture further down. Yes, 34. Right, that’s a tight spot to get a needle in.” He was doing a lot of muttering to himself.

“Um, will it help if I move my position?” I asked, trying to be helpful. I mean I didn’t want him making a mistake if I could help it.

“No. It won’t matter. The spot that the needle has to be inserted is very narrow. I will need to change the needle size.” He turned away to grab another needle from the tray.

“I guess it will hurt more then,” I offered weakly.

“Yes and no. It will feel like an intramuscular injection. Look I’ll show you the difference.” He held up two needles. One was about two inches longer and double the thickness. I took an audible gulp.

“There is a thick layer of fat the needle needs to get through, so we must use this needle. Do you need a local anaesthetic? How is your pain threshold?”

Did this dude just inadvertently call me a fat ass? Like literally? And now asking if I was a wimp??

“I’ve given birth to two kids. I think I can handle a needle,” I muttered, somewhat crossly.

It did hurt, but only when the needle struck close to the bone and the fluid was being injected. Not that I would admit it to the doctor.

“You did very well. You didn’t even wince. I say that ‘cos I’ve had patients say they have a high pain threshold and start asking for a local as soon as the needle hits the skin.” Seemed like high praise from the good doctor. Still didn’t take the sting from his unintentional fat ass comment.

I left the radiology clinic almost two hundred dollars out of pocket, with a sore hip, and a slightly bruised ego. Hopefully, when I return next week, he won’t need the fat needle for my shoulder.

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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A CASE OF THE UNWANTED PEE TUBE

Reflection from 28/6/20 – prior to the second wave of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown.

My kids are always pestering me to go for overnight stays at my parent’s house. And why wouldn’t they? TV on demand, hand delivered snacks (hand feeding also optional), vegetables are decorative garnishes, bedtime is when you nod off, two-minute noodles is a breakfast option, and NO is as elusive as seeing me exercising or spotting a unicorn. Visiting my parents is like visiting the Candy House from the tale of Hansel and Gretel, and we can all guess how that really turned out.

Not to mention that my parent’s house is a death trap waiting to happen. I’ve mentioned this before but to newbie readers… my dad is a prolific collector – a hoarder if I can be so bold. He has six fish tanks, glass furniture everywhere, shelf upon shelf of breakable ornaments and electronics galore. He’s gotten worse with age but neither my brother or mother are willing to do anything about it.

Anyhow, for sleepovers, I insist on being there for supervision and that’s why they are few and far in between. With the pandemic and limited outdoor activities, we’ve all suffered from cabin fever and I thought the kids would benefit from a different scene. I was quickly reminded why we don’t do sleepovers at my parents.


“What is that?” asked my seven-year-old daughter, Mandy, pointing at a clear perspex tube sitting underneath the taps of the bathtub.

My three-year-old son, Henry, made a move to grab the metre-long tube.

“Don’t touch it!” I yelled at him. “Mum!”

The kids were having a bath at my parent’s house. We were having a sleepover for the first time in years.

My Mum poked her head into the bathroom. “What?”

“What is that?” I asked my Mum, looking at the suspicious tube and the nearby glass vase. You never know with my parents. Their house is full of strange, random, embarrassing, and dangerous-to-children things.

“Uh. Don’t touch that. It’s your Dad’s pee contraption,” replied my Mum, shaking her head in disbelief.

“EEEWWWW,” exclaimed Mandy, “Why does he have a pee tube?”

“Your Grampa is too lazy to go to the toilet at night. He made THAT so he can pee into it and pours it out in the morning. It stinks. Why do you think we have separate rooms?” explained my Mum, shrugging her shoulders as if we should have known better.

“Can I use it as my horn?” asked Henry, reaching for the offensive tube.

“NOOOOOO!!!!!” I screamed, pulling his arm back before he could connect his mouth to the tube. “Did you not hear? It’s a PEE tube.” I can’t believe those words have come from my mouth.

“It’s clean.” My mum replied in a matter of fact way, like it made a difference.

“His room is right next to the toilet. Why is he being so lazy? It’s not hygienic!” I cried out.

But then I peeked into his room and understood why he created the pee tube. He had two TV’s mounted on the wall, massive loudspeakers lining the perimeter of the room, a couch and a wall to wall table. All squeezed around a wooden platform bed in his three by three metre room.

No wonder he doesn’t want to make the nightly trek. It makes the Kokoda Trail seem like a walk in the park! He’s likely to lose a leg against a sharp corner or two.

You know that proverb… Like father, like son? I’m glad I’m a daughter.

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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SETBACK IS NOT FAILURE

I’ve been off social media and blogging since mid June. I took a short break after I felt my mental health suffer from the constant negative news of COVID-19 and the re-emergence of a second wave of the virus where I live. Many things have happened during my sabbatical – some funny, some embarrassing and a few not so great. I’ll start at the beginning; the moment that prompted my temporary absence.


Reflection from 26/06/20 – prior to the second wave of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown.

For the last six months, I’ve been feeling happy and mentally healthy. I’ve worked on improving social connections, reducing social anxiety and negativity, and lessening the need for control. ‘Let It Go’ has become my new mantra. In fact, not long ago, I suggested to my doctor that perhaps I had reached the stages of maintenance or recovery. Yesterday, I had a humbling reminder that achieving good mental health is an ongoing journey and setbacks can happen. In actuality, setbacks are part of the recovery.

Late in the afternoon, seemingly out of nowhere, I started experiencing shortness of breath, coughing and tightness in my chest. It felt like an elephant had nestled down on my sternum. My immediate thought was ‘grab the puffer, it’s an asthma attack’. If I hadn’t panicked and had taken a moment to think, I would have concluded that a random asthma attack while playing a Nintendo game was improbable.

Frantic to alleviate the shortness of breath, I puffed Ventolin like it was going out of fashion. It did nothing but gave me the shakes and dizziness. You’d think being an ex-pharmacist, I’d be a tad more informed but no, gasping for air must have killed all rational brain cells. My husband suggested I sought medical attention and question possible COVID-19 infection.

I was promptly seen at the medical clinic with the doctor checking all of my vitals, including oxygen saturation. When asked what triggered the symptoms, I was at a loss. In the morning, my three-year-old son and I had watched trains past at the nearby train station, played at the local park and had babychinos.

At the time of the attack, we were playing Animal Crossing, making ‘money’ through the sale of harvested fruit. It’s a big loan, two and a half million ‘dollars’ to be exact, so there could be some causality. It’s not completely outside the realm of possibility.

The most likely trigger was the discussion I had with my husband, which had taken place an hour prior to the onset of symptoms. We were deciding whether or not it was in everyone’s best interest to travel almost seven hours to stay with the in-laws amidst the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 infections. It was a mutual agreement to can the trip.

The doctor gave me two options; go to the emergency department for oxygen nebulisation and get checked for COVID-19, blood clots and asthma or stay in the clinic’s treatment room for observation after taking a Valium for a suspected panic attack. I countered with ‘I think I’ll just walk it off. Uh… or go home and rest.’ In the end, I reluctantly took the Valium and waited in the treatment room for the dizziness, pins and needles, tremors and chest tightness to dissipate.

As I sat on the treatment bed, several nurses came in and out of the room to gather medical supplies and asked why I was there. I felt embarrassed having to repeatedly admit that I had suffered a panic attack and as a result, hyperventilated. I also felt ashamed for occupying a treatment room and wasting the doctor’s time, who could have attended to patients with ‘real’ problems. Stupid, right?

Instead of accepting it for what it was – a panic attack, I let the experience colour my interpretation of my self-worth. I failed. Therefore, I am a failure. I allowed myself to believe that falsehood.

That internal dialogue of mine can be cruel and critical, making me proficient at self-sabotage. I’m quite the high-achiever in that regard. I have such a negative perception of myself that every time I am faced with challenges or a setback, I am quick to accept defeat.

Ironically, I am fast to point out to others the importance of being kind to yourself and owning and valuing your truth. It’s high time I heed my own advice.

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