Sunday, May 30, 2010

Best shower in ages!

Well my physio is coming along very well. I saw the physio-therapist on Friday and apart form a couple more suggestions, I am on the right tract. Regular passive range on motion with my foot and as much walking as I can tolerate and I am on the road to recovery. I am already down to using one crutch, although I might still use 2 in the mornings as my foot is more stiff and still a bit sore. The stiff part of my foot is the base of my foot, so the pushing off while walking is the hardest. But I am slowly working on it, and notice progress every day!
I still think I'm a long away away from going on a hike, but I get more and more excited about it as the days go on.
Today I had my first shower - standing up, in about 9 weeks. It was FANTASTIC!!!!

Today, Rob and I went for another drive - not much else to do, and the weather has been crap, so why not just drive and get lost! This time we headed southwest, and once again, we passed a winery. Bacchus Hills Winery, up in the hills with an amazing view! The wines we tried where all fantastic, and the prices were reasonable, ranging from about $15-30, with a couple that where on sale for $10, and another for $6 - that was actually hand crushed during the end-of-vintage festival they have every year.
It's amazing when you have a good time, you enjoy the wine more! The guy helping us with the tastings is a part of a family run business and was very friendly. We ended up walking away with 7 bottles of wine - a record I think for us. 3 of them were on sale, and we picked up 2 bottles of the $6 wine - why not! We were only down to one bottle at the house, so why not!
It true more and more, that,the more I find out about wines, the more I appreciate wine, and the more I want to cellar it! I can't wait to 'settle down' and start my own cellar and allow these amazing wines to age to bring out more and more of their tasteful flavors!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Swimming anyone?!!

Well, things are already starting to get better.

I am still really hesitant to put too much weight on my foot - probably just scared I will hurt it or do more damage. But I am defintaly getting quicker on the crutches and trying to push myself.

I have a physio appointment tomorrow but decided to do a little myself today. Rob and I went to the local swimming pool and I did a little walking! We grabbed one of the 'slow' swimming lanes, and as Rob lapped me many times, I held on to the side of the pool and walked/stretched my foot and calf in the water. It felt great and was able to do a pretty good job of walking, sort of! I did about 10 laps of 15meters and felt great. Rob helped with a little range of motion exercises in my foot and it felt so good to have my foot and calf muscles stretched and moving again. Its a start and hopefully the physiotherapist can give me more exercises to do as well as a time line of how long I should be before fully walking again. It will be great to be able to carry my own drink hassle free into the living room!!

I still have some swelling in my foot - I was told it was a 3 month healing process, so I'm not surprised, as well as a bruise on the bottom of my foot which is a little strange. But all in all, I am so relieved to have my cast off as it is a start to a full recovery, and I can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bring on the wine!

I had my appointment with Dr. Bedi today, ALL the way on the other side of Melbourne. We left with plenty of time just in case we hit a traffic jam or road works. It took us nearly an hour to get there, with an hour to spare :)
Before I even saw the doctor, he asked for the cast to be removed. Off to a good start I think! The nurse took to the cast off, was impressed with the waterproof meshing, and what a weird feeling it was having my leg touched. Not having any sensation on my leg at all for so long, it was a strange, strange feeling. After explaining everything to him, and he had a good look at my X-rays, he said he was happy with everything. He said sometimes evidence of bone ossification doesn't show up on Xrays, even though it actually is occurring. He also told me that he would have taken the cast off 4 weeks ago and allowed me to start weight bearing, but this hasn't affected the healing process - just made it more difficult for me :) He stated I could get a 'cane boot', that helps stabilize my foot and weight bear, but he said he doesn't believe it helps to heal it any better or quicker, and a straight running shoe with good support would do just as well. This also saves me $200. He said he was happy to let me go as is, and not need a follow up with him, just see a physio therapist.
Excellent, some of the best news I have had yet. The only thing, is I am going to have to fight with my insurance company to get it covered. The phsyio I will get will not be covered, but I will be fighting to get my doctor appointments covered. I have been in touch with the insurance company and he said after I was told I could leave Adelaide, the insurance will not cover anything. I think it is going to be a long hard battle, but I will fight till the bitter end. Dr. Bedi asked about insurance and I explained what was happening; he said he would write a convincing doctors letter which will hopefully help me. I just finish one battle with Mexicana Air, now it looks like I have to fight another with the insurance company.

So, I will be cracking open the Wolf Blass tonight and toasting to a long 59 days, and keeping my fingers crossed for a quick recovery!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

No Wolf Blass for me tonight

I was really looking forward to opening our bottle of Verae, Wolf Blass that we bought in the Barossa Valley. Rob and I agreed that we would open it as a celebration for having my cast off, which I was hoping would be today. I had my X-ray on Tuesday and today I was up bright and early in hopes of beating the health clinic rush to see the doctor I previously saw. We where at the clinic by 7:15, and I still managed to have 6 people in front of me. It was over an hour wait, but had Rob as company, and he went and got me a mocha while we waited. The news however was not what I wanted to hear. The bones are still in place, which is good..... BUT, there is no calcification or bone fusion. Basically the bones are not healing in place. He was honest with me saying he wasn't quite sure what to do next. I could either take the plaster off and get a 'boot', so I can start putting weight on it therefore increasing circulation and hopefully healing of the bones, OR, keep the plaster on for another 4 weeks, with the same hopes. He said it was up to me, but if it was his foot, he'd be going to an orthopedic surgeon for review, just to be sure. AND, if I decided to go for a boot, I'd have to go to a physio and get one - meaning more money out of my pocket. (and I'm thinking, if I was at an ortho clinic, they would most likely have one)
One part of me was upset that he didn't have an answer, and I wish I had pushed for an ortho referral earlier, and the other half was like, well, at least he was being honest and not b.s'g me.
SO, I had some numbers to call to see which ortho doc I could get in the quickest. It wasn't off to a good start. I first tried the main Melbourne ortho clinic, that has many surgeons who specialize in specific bones, who also see all the athletes in Victoria - the earliest was July or even August, even when I explained I was still in a cast, she couldn't help. But she did give me a couple numbers of ankle/foot orthopedic surgeons. The next one was also no good, it didn't help that he was on holidays, and his earliest booking was the end of June. The next surgeon I tried was a college of the last one, and I was off to a good start. I explained my situation to the receptionist, and she told me I was looking into July for an appt. I told her I was still in a cast, and after a few more questions, and getting my name and number, she said she would speak to the doctor. I had to wait a long 3 1/2 hours as he was seeing patients all morning, but I got a positive call back. He was willing to see me this Wednesday. Fantastic!! The only downfall, is that his clinic is on the other side of the city, and we'll probably have to drive through the city to get there. (remember my Mamma Mia experience??!!)

Rob finished his job yesterday, so he is once again unemployed, and as much as I'd like him to get back to work, I'm hoping he can take me on Wednesday.
The other concern I have, is my insurance. I emailed them regarding all my receipts, and with that response, he also stated that the insurance doesn't cover follow-up or rehab. OK, rehab I understand, but I will be fighting for these appointments to be covered. Its not like the cast is off and I'm going in to be checked, I still have the injury and its not healing! I told this to the doctor I saw today and asked him to make it very clear in my progress notes that it is an urgent matter that needs to be followed, and if not it could lead to many long term problems - all of which he listed in front of me, all which are freaking me out!! (chronic pain, and basically any and all foot problems, not being able to run, ect....)

This past week has been a big bummer for me as well, I've been a bit depressed all week, not wanted to do anything. It truly takes it out of me to do anything, and I just dread it. I try not to be like that, but its hard some days. Usually one of the kids are home during the day as well and they are just so loud and annoying. I just want some piece and quiet, to read or enjoy the TV. Then the evening is even worse, everyone is home and it seriously is SO loud, and so negative. I just want to hide, but the trailer gets cold in the evening, plus I do like to see Rob in the evening.

So now I have at least 5 more days of non weight-bearing, on crutches, and its already been 55 days, what's another 5 more...... I guess?? :(
It's not like I can even weight-bear in the cast as my foot is slightly plantar-flexed, making it difficult to walk forward.
So here's hoping for some good news on Wednesday......please, please, please!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Caravan/day trip

Currently Rob and I are staying in his relatives caravan/camper-van/trailer - whatever you want to call it, located in the driveway next to the house. And it is positioned right next to the house, up against their daughters room......

It is great that we have a bed to ourselves, and somewhere that we can go and getaway, sort of. It is beside the house, but not very sound proof. Plus, it makes it difficult for me, as I have to get out of their house, down the stairs, then back into the trailer, up 2 stairs, one that is a bit steep. Kinda hard with the crutches, and sometimes I'd rather just stay in the house, but other times I just deal with it and come out to the trailer. It is also coming into winter here in Victoria, and man is it getting cold. OK, well, not that cold if I relate to when I was up in northern Canada, but after 7 months in hot and humid Darwin, it is freakin' cold!! Plus, there is no central heating anywhere, so it is always cold. The last few nights we have been putting a small heater on a couple of hours before coming to bed, just to warm up the caravan. I don't do well when I am cold, especially if my feet or head gets cold, but now I just sleep in lots of layers, warm socks, and a hoody so I can pull it tight over my head to keep in the heat :) It also gets cold in the house during the day lately as houses here aren't insulated very well, and they have no central heating. More and more now it is cold during they day, so all the doors get closed, even the bedroom ones, and a big heater gets turn on to warm up the living room.

Really though, I can't complain that much as we are hardly paying anything to stay here which is helping Rob and I A LOT. He is just about finishing a brick laying job, but he isn't getting paid much, so he is going to look for a fork lifting job, one that is paid by the hour, and if he works overtime, he gets paid for it!!

Yesterday he took the day off (as he worked last Sunday, as well as Saturday) and we went for a drive. Victoria is very beautiful and we headed out west towards the town of Gisborne. I knew there where a few wineries out there and we stopped at the first one we saw. It was owned by two Canadians that have been in Australia for nearly 40 years. It turned out to be a boutique winery, that was very tasty! We left with 3 bottles :) We stopped in the small town of Gisborne for lunch and then decided to head towards Mount Macedon. A very nice, expense part of the state, with lots of big houses, well, mansions actually. We drove to the summit of the mountain (hill, really) where there was a massive cross commemorating those that have died in a war. I hobbled my way to the cross, making lots of stops along the way as it was mostly up hill, but it was well worth the hike! After the beautiful view, we attempted to stop at another winery on the way home, but after the fourth one being closed, we gave up. I guess it just wasn't supposed to be :(

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Evil Mexicana Air

I can't remember how much I wrote about Mexicana Air loosing my bag coming home from Cuba, but man has it been an ordeal.

The bag that was lost was a day-pack that was zipped, on either side, in opposite directions, to the main backpack, and it was also snapped at the top to the main bag as well. Someone explain to me how this gets lost?

I last saw the intact bag in Cancun Mexico, and when I arrived in LA, it was missing. When I first spoke with a Mexicana agent in LA, they had a quick look but it wasn't found. I filled out a lost bag form and was told to call the 1-800 number to enquire. I spent the night in LA and the next day I called twice, but nothing was found. When I got to the airport that evening to catch my flight, I once again enquired about my bag with an agent, she called, said nothing was found. I explained I was going back to Australia, gave her my contact details, she write "courtesy' on the form - which at the time I didn't think much of, and I was off to come back to Australia.

Once I got over the jet leg, I made a call to the costumer service 1-800 number, but, it wouldn't even connect! I tried calling direct, and was told to call the 1-800 number. Um, it wouldn't work from this side of the world!! I was transfered back and forth between many different people, none of them helping me whatsoever. I decided to resort to email. I found the email for costumer service and sent off an enquire, at this point, its the end of November. The agent I dealt with, definetly had more Spanish then English, and this was very evident in his emails. He was also never that prompt in returning my emails, in fact, at one point, it was close to a month before he responded with my e-mails!

I had to send him a scanned copy of everything, and when I did, it once again took ages for him to respond. His reply went something like this, that because it was a 'courtesy' form, he couldn't do much, as well I didn't have the original bag tag. Well, in fact the bag tag was on one of the forms I sent him, and after a prompt e-mail back explaining everything, as well as where the original bag tag was, and many emails afterwards because he wasn't responding, he eventually did reply, nearly a month later. I had to send him all my original documents - all of which I photocopied and got certified from the police station, and he would then write up a check. I waited a while as I know how mailing things can sometimes take ages. I mailed them March 2, and on April 15th, I still hadn't heard anything, so I sent an email wondering if the check had been mailed. He replied, very quickly I might add, that he had been out of the office and that my check was in 'process' and he would tell me once he received it. As of yesterday I had not heard from him, SO, I sent another email, which he responded that the check was put in the mail yesterday and I should have it in a week. I have it being sent to my Calgary address, thinking it will get there quicker, then here in Australia.

SO, its been approx 6 1/2 months that I have had to deal with lost bag. Not good costumer service if you ask me. I am not impressed with Mexicana Air, and I would do anything possible to not have to fly with them, ever, again. Costumer service means everything to me, and if you can't give me any, I won't be giving you my money!!

Monday, May 10, 2010


Yesterday Carol and I joined Hayley and 2 of her co-workers at Bingo.

Now this Bingo was a little bit different then what I was used to. Instead of the cards in the regular B I N G O columns, it was strictly numbers. I had 2 cards which I didn't think was much, but turned out to be a lot! The 2 cards where small, each card had 3 rows and 9 columns, only a little over an inch wide, and about 4 inches long. The first column was for the single digits, the second for the 10's, third for the 20's,ect, all the way to the 80's. Each card had 15 numbers randomly spread out, and to win, you had to have all numbers blotted out. OK, I think I can do this.

Then the caller started calling out the numbers, and it is unlike the regular BINGO callers, slowly saying B, 8, then waiting 5 seconds till the next number, no, no, no. It was more like an auctioneer!!! It went something like this "Six, five, sixty five; double three, thirty three; nine, zero, ninety, on its own, lucky 7". No breaks between the numbers unless the caller choked on their own spit!!!!! I was shocked when they first started and almost fell behind, but soon enough I got the hang of it. And thank goodness I only had 2 cards, and no more! It took me awhile to figure out as well, that they come in books in 4, and split in half or singles; and on each book, no number was repeated, so if I had a 83 on the top card, there was no need to look on the bottom card. I was also relieved that the cards where small, so I rarely had to move my arm!

The first book I had, I was always so close! Many times I was only one or two away. Then on game 15 or so, I hit the jackpot!! Yup, Bingo on number 47. I was so excited I was almost shaking waiting for the last number, and when it was called I yelled Bingo so loud I scared everyone that was at the table with me! I know, shocking that I could be that loud :)

I won $50, not bad considering it was $26 to play. I was so excited from winning the game, I almost missed a few number on the next game. When Bingo was called I looked up at the numbers I missed, and realized that I was once again, only one away from another Bingo, thank goodness I hadn't have won!

That was the only Bingo I won, in fact the next game (we played 2) I did crap! Only came close a couple of times, and I was the only one out of the 5 of us to win. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mamma Mia!!!

Mamma Mia is in its final few weeks playing here in Melbourne, and when Hayley found out I like musicals, she was ecstatic! So last night, Hayley, her friend Kane and myself went to the Majesty Theater in central Melbourne for the show.

Hayley, who is 18 and just got her drivers license decided that she would drive there. It was under my impression that it wasn't that far in the city and she and Kane knew where they were going. Boy, was I wrong. She had her GPS, but she turned off once we hit the freeway as it was taking us a different way. When she said she didn't know how to get to the bridge, I figured we might be in trouble as I knew how to get to the bridge. We got into the city OK, and both Kane and Hayley knew where they were, but didn't know the roads. We ended up turning on the GPS and it took us to where we needed to be, just on the wrong side of the road. After a U-turn and lots of traffic, we got to the parking lot, but at a steep rate of $7/hour. Oh well, it was right across the street and I didn't think we would find anything cheaper. I also have to mention that the show was on a Friday night, also the night of a new rugby stadium opening, and an AFL footy match. Not the best of nights to be driving in the city.

We were very early, which was fine; we had Subway for supper and I had a glass of wine while we waited to get in. The show was at 8pm, and I think it even started a wee bit early! It was a fantastic musical. The songs were great, and it helped that we knew some of them. The costumes where amazing as were the singers/actors/actresses. It was kinda sad during the intermission as we knew that it would soon be over! The end was even better though, as after they finished their bows, they sang Mamma Mia as well as Dancing Queen. People in the audience even stood up and danced to Dancing Queen. I might have as well, but not with the cast! I bought a $10 Mamma Mia magnet - the prices they charge for merchandise is insane, but I still wanted something, so I paid it.

Now for the drive home. I thought it would be easier, but nope. She turned the GPS on while we where still in the car park, but of course it couldn't find any satellite's. The weather was also crap, drizzly and very cloudy so it took even longer to set up once we got outside. We took a right, just as the GPS said so, and then it had to re-calculate. It had to do this about 3 times - who knew a GPS could be lost?!!! And of course we are in the middle of downtown Melbourne, and there is no place to pull over to let the GPS re-orientate. The traffic is heavy, and we had no idea which lanes to be in, which was also a challenge. Hayley almost hit one guy as she was shoulder checking to change lanes, and everyone in front of her had stopped. I was shotgun and trying to help, hopefully I helped her more then annoyed her. The streets are also just messed up in Melbourne. There is such a thing as a right hand turn from the left hand lane - or in North America, that would be a left hand turn from the right hand lane. They exist only in Central Melbourne, and may seem confusing, but they actually kinda make sense. Luckily though, we didn't have to do any of those as they are a bit difficult. There is another road that has a green meridian separating three lanes of traffic going the same way. We of course got in the wrong one, but where able to get over (probably illegally) in time before we had to turn. Oh yeah, this also led into a traffic that was a mess!! Anyways, the GPS eventually got us un-lost, and back on track, and eventually found the freeway and got home. If I had any mix I would have had a drink when I got home, I think I was stressed more then Hayley!!

So the conclusion, never drink in Melbourne city center. :) BUT DO see Mamma Mia!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What I dread every other day

A shower.

Yes, I know that sounds bad, but it seriously sucks. I don't shower every day for a few reasons. First, I do nothing during the day, so don't really NEED a shower everyday. Second, it takes the energy out of me to shower. And thirdly, because I can get my cast wet, it actually takes a while to dry, and therefore I freeze.

The shower here where I am staying is very small, and I have a small chair that I put in so I can sit, which makes my showering space extremely small. Its difficult to get everything done, and I have to slid the chair around while I'm in the shower to do it all. Then getting out is always tricky, as well as hoping over to the other stool so I can sit and get ready. By the time I'm done drying, moisturizing, doing my hair, getting dressed, ect, it's close to 25 minutes. I am truly exhausted by the time I get out of the bathroom!

Now the one thing that really annoys me, is that my cast takes forever to dry. I am able to strain most of the water out by lifting my leg up and letting the water drip out the end of my cast, but the mesh still stays damp. Its not to bad if the weather is warm and I can get the sun to dry the cast. But it is Autumn here in Melton, and not overly warm. PLUS, when my feet get cold, they take FOREVER to warm up, therefore leaving the mesh still damp, and me very cold- its a never ending circle!

I have used a hot water bottle to try and warm up my foot, and that sort of works, but it takes time for the heat to get through the cast to my skin. Today we turned the heater on in the house as it is quite cool out, so I put my leg in front of the heater. It worked while my foot was there, but as soon as I left, it seemed like my foot got colder.

Oh well, I just keep thinking I only have 2 weeks left and then I should have this darn thing off, and one that I can take off and shower. I'll still have to sit down when I shower as I don't think I'll be able to fully weight bear, but I can handle that :)