Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The last week of my 30s

So, that little burst of blogging didn't really go anywhere, did it? Sorry about that, but you know, life happens. It happened a lot. I got busy and I couldn't find the time or inspiration to blog again. And then, well The Trucker had his spinal fusion and things got even busier, juggling trips to the hospital, single-momming, dog walking etc. And then he came home and we'd both basically stopped working while he was in hospital, so now I was working from home, playing catch-up. And then well, as he was just starting to get mobile and manage a trip in the car, COVID-19 happened and basically body-slammed our lives.

We started out with social distancing, the Babe Girl last went to school on the 13th of March. That is a million years ago in home-school time. And then after a fairly enjoyable 2 weeks of social distancing, where we were going for a morning bike ride before breakfast, still taking the dog for a walk, going for car-picnics in places with gorgeous views, they put the whole country into Lockdown from the 27 March.

And now, I have pretty much left the house once a week to go grocery shopping and The Babe Girl hasn't left our property at all.

And we sit here now in the Lockdown-Extension, waiting to hear what our future holds in May.

We have already had to cancel her 5th birthday party and enjoy her actual birthday over video call with the grandparents (and a lot of awesome birthday video messages from friends!). We have missed an awesome weekend we had planned up in Joburg to catch-up with friends, most of whom I haven't seen in the 5 years since we moved, and the Mauritius family holiday for my 40th. Okay, I know, it has been postponed to April 2021 (we didn't want to reckon on later this year because who actually even knows what the situation will be like then?). But still, for a holiday we booked 6 months in advance, to now be waiting a year on. Well it feels heavy. I know, First World Problems, as people are starving because they have lost their jobs and/or worrying about how to pay school fees or their bond, I'm sad because my overseas holiday got postponed. But, you know, I was really looking forward to it. And being stuck in our house, unable to get any downtime or space from one another (a 5yr old does NOT understand that a person might need space to recharge), I coulda really used that holiday.

And today we had our flights for our trip to USA in June put "on hold" - basically cancelled and they need to be rescheduled at some point within 12 months of our original departure date. And unfortunately non-refundable. Dammit. And it sounds like the wedding we were travelling over there specifically for is not going to fall within those dates when it is eventually rescheduled. And (again, so sad, first world problems), we'll have to use the credit to go somewhere, but at this point, I would have much rather got a refund and booked a trip to the Kruger Park (fingers crossed for later this year since we were sposed to go next year, but now Mauritius has moved to next year and this year has, well, nothing).

Anyhoo. So my Lockdown State of Mind? I'm mostly okay. I have had one breakdown since it all started which mostly involved a shopping experience. The leaving-your-house-to-go-shopping actually becomes quite a stressful experience. And when you can't find what you need and you are aimlessly wandering up & down aisles because you went to a different shop than you're used to because you figured the stock would be better and the queues shorter ... well it wears you down.

The home schooling feels like it is going pretty well. The Babe Girl is definitely getting a helluva lot more screen time than before, because with only 1 kid we were lucky to still be able to limit that a lot more than I think most people can. But now our routine is to wake up and watch the Wild Earth / SafariLIVE Kruger Park Game Drives, under a blanket with our coffee/tea (and rusks if it is the weekend). And she is loving it, and she is learning so much from it actually, it is amazing. And she has been following YouTube videos for Kid's Yoga (Cosmic Kids) and Ballet (Daniella Ballerina). And we've downloaded the Reading Eggs App that she has started on as well because she is at the learning to read & write stage.

But, it isn't just rubbish kids TV, you know. That's what I'm consoling myself with anyway.

And, The Trucker & I are still working in between all that. Luckily we are both working for his company so we've been able to be pretty flexible. We're probably each getting about half a day in between tag-teaming with The Babe Girl. One of us will take mornings and then we'll switch after lunch for the afternoon slot. So we are lucky that we are both still a) able to work b) able to work from home (thank goodness for fibre!) and c) still earning full salaries. But it's hard to know what the future holds. Another reason that USA flight would've been better as a refund!

I was hoping to do a "All the things I did this decade" post for my 40th but I just don't actually have the time right now. I am either entertaining a 5yr old or working with a guilty feeling of not getting enough done for the day (some sometimes end up working till 10pm to get something finished, like yesterday).

Ah, you know, maybe one day when there is free time again. I know some people have loads of free time during lockdown (apparently because they're all learning new skills or reading a million books or watching all the series, or something, apparently), but I am not one of them. I joked that I wondered if I could rent a spot at one of Discovery's Isolation Hotels just for 24hrs as a treat for my birthday cause I would've liked to take Monday off, but if I'm not working, I'm trying to keep up with a 5yr old HAHA.

I hope you are all keeping safe and healthy somewhere out there.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Let's Talk About Sugaring

Even if you don't blog, you might relate to the feeling where there is this thing you would love to be telling everyone about, but really it just never comes up naturally in conversation. Sugaring falls exactly into this category for me.

Okay, so a little background if you've never even heard about Sugaring (like me about a year ago!). I discovered Sugaring after hitting up my trusty friend Google looking for alternatives to waxing, specifically bikini waxing!

I tried laser many many years ago, back when I was still dating Varen! It was expensive, but it worked and after I don't remember how many sessions I pretty much never really needed to go back. But like with all these sorts of things, eventually the effects wear off. And I don't know if it was that or the hormone fluctuations during pregnancy, but basically, I needed to go back to some sort of hair removal in order to feel comfortable in a swimming costume.

I tried laser again, but because of the changes in the hair (after laser treatment, when the hairs do grow back, they’ll be lighter, finer, and fewer in number), it wasn't as effective as it had been previously. So, sadly, it was back to waxing. And I don't know about the rest of you, but I HATE it.

And so, for a couple of years, I went back. Albeit very irregularly since I despised it so. But then in 2018, we were headed for Umhlanga for a little family trip (and my daughter's first proper experience of a flight - since she didn't remember the one when we moved to Cape Town when she was 3.5 months old), so naturally I needed to get swimsuit ready.

It was the WORST waxing experience of my life. Usually there are some raised red areas where the poor hair follicles have been yanked out, but this generally disappears by the following day. This time it lasted for absolute ages (I don't remember exactly, but I want to say a week?). My skin was so sensitive I had to go out and buy shorts to swim in!

So, when I had recovered, I decided that I would not be waxing again. So I did some searching online and found Sugaring.

Lucky for me there are a couple of places in Cape Town that offer it and since I tried it, I haven't looked back!

There is none of the heat of waxing. The pain is fairly similar in the immediate moment, but over pretty much instantly. And there is no skin flare up (for me). And it is all totally natural.

Anyway, now you know. And if you don't like waxing as much as me, I hope you'll do a little research into sugaring as well because you are not stuck with only one option and isn't that the best news!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2018, The Year of Hospital Admissions

So, let's be clear upfront, I do not have a lot of hospital experience. My time spent there literally includes a single night in primary school, that time back in 2013 and then The Babe Girl's birth. Yup, up until 2018 that was my entire hospital surgery / stay experience.

2018 was going pretty smoothly up until October. I had my annual gynae appointment in the first week and had choosen to get a Mirena put in (We've decided to only stick with one child, probably almost definitely another blog post). I wasn't nervous or anything although I have heard of other online friends who've had to be admitted to have it inserted, I wasn't really expecting to end up as one of them.

But the experience was awful and the doc decided to book me in the following week to rather get it inserted under general anaesthetic. And instead of the Mirena, this time he recommended the Kyleena.

So, that was hospital stay Number 1.

Fast forward nearly 2.5wks and I woke up in excrutiating pain. I had been waking every so often in the middle of the night feeling like I had a sore/stiff neck, but it always went away after my morning shower or during the day. I had woken up around 2am on the morning of the last Tuesday of October and it was so bad I'd gone to find something to take for the pain.

It didn't go away and I had some tingling in my fingers (should've paid attention then and there but, you know). Took some more pain killers to the office for a bit later after breakfast. The drive was tough, I considered pulling over to vomit from pain. I know, another clue I should not even have been going to work.

But I was dealing with a very time sensitive HR issue in my department and being 2 days before the end of the month, things had to be dealt with. These were not things you could do remotely, from home.

I made it to work and muddled thru the first half of my day. I couldn't settle my right arm, you know, the one you need for pretty much all work-related stuff using a mouse (#right-handed). I was also struggling to concentrate due to the pain. So eventually around lunch time I headed home and called a Physio for an appointment.

I'd been to a Physio earlier in the year when I'd hurt my neck (actually that was another hospital visit, to the ER on a Sunday for muscle relaxants and pain killers after I fell and hurt my neck after a wedding in March) but I couldn't get an appointment with her. So I found another, closer to home and booked an appointment. I spent most of the rest of the day lying on my floor trying to make it till appointment time.

I went for the appointment but it was with a young, new physio ... and as soon as she saw me she went to call the head of the practice who assisted for the rest of the appointment. She recommended I go to a GP to get proper pain killers and anti inflamatories and then if it hadn't gone away by the next day to come the day after for another physio appointment.

I went to our local Medicross because it was now around 5pm (The Trucker had to fetch The Babe Girl from school) and just waited for a doctor to have a gap. I saw an old doctor who didn't impress me at all. In fact, it turns out he just gave me a voltaren shot and when I asked what to do if that didn't end up working, he prescribed me a sleeping pill! I was too distracted by the pain at this stage to really argue with this.

Anyway, the next day was not much better and my mom very kindly came to spend the day with me because I was stuck, horizontal in bed. She had a diskectomy a few years ago and recommended her physio instead. So we booked an appointment for the next day (Thursday, and the first of November).

I missed The Babe Girl's second Halloween trick or treating :(

On Thursday, I needed The Trucker to help shower me. My Mom drove me to the appointment and the only way I could get remotely comfortable was by putting my right arm up over the back of the headrest. When I arrived at the appointment, the physio took one look at how I was standing (with my arm up over my head) and said "I know what is wrong". She didn't tell me yet, she needed to confirm her thought and see how bad it was, but basically literally a pinched nerve in my neck and based on the fingers that were numb at the tips (index & middle), the nerve running from my spinal cord out between C6 & C7 vertabrae down my arm.

She called ahead to a specialist Orthopedic Surgeon and got them to admit me to hospital for an MRI. I went home to pack a bag and was admitted around 1pm.

Little did I realise that I would spend 9 nights in hospital and have a 6 week recovery period following this.

I found out after the MRI that a piece of the disk between my C6 & C7 had broken off and was pressing against the nerve. I had to make a choice, wait and see if it recovered on it's own (sometimes, they can be reabsorbed by the body or something) over the next 6 weeks or schedule the surgery for Monday and remove the entire disk (because the rest of the perfectly okay disk was blocking access to the broken bit as they go thru the front of your neck for C-spine, whereas you can get a simpler diskectomy for similar issues in the Lumbar spine, like my Mom had) and get a fusion.

Well, I had a 3.5yr old and was right handed and as regular as I felt now that I was dosed on painkillers when I was lying horizontal, every trip to the loo reminded me that all was not well and it would take me about 15mins to recover from the pain from the trip. We discussed it, we got 2nd opinions, but in the end I opted for the surgery.

I had the surgery late on Monday. I made sure I signed an up to date will before I went in. Can never be too careful. I spent the night in High Care and then headed back to the Ward later on Tuesday. I eventually got to go home on Friday the 9th of November.

Recovery was slow, but it was my neck so I made sure to be careful. I was literally horizontal for the first 2 weeks. I was reading a book a day - thank goodness for Kindle and my very long list of books to read!

When I was healed enough to sit at a computer again, I was lucky enough that I was able to work from home for the remainder of the year and slowly progressed from just 2 hours a day (only half an hour at a time with an hour break in between) to my regular hours. I was only able to drive again sometime in December.

Shew. It was a hectic experience. But the good news is that I am completely healed, back to normal and barely remember it ever happened.

And then, The Babe Girl wasn't feeling well on my last day of work for the year. Luckily my Mom came to fetch her for a bit because although I had made a little bed next to my desk, she was pretty distrating and I had been off work enough already for the year!

She didn't seem to recover so we managed to get a doc appointment for around 5pm. We got some meds and nappies. She'd been thru all her underwear in the day! Do you know how hard it is to get a kiddo who has already potty trained back into a nappy? But she was so ill she couldn't put up much of a fight really. Shew it is so hard when they are not well.

So I can't remember exactly how it happened but basically she woke up around 10pm for the loo and we checked the nappy and saw what I thought was blood. So we all got dressed and headed for the ER. My poor sossage got a drip with antibiotics and was so weak after a day of this terrible diarrhea, disentry and a fever. They took samples and eventually admitted us around 2am (if they do it before midnight, medical aid charges you for an extra day). I stayed that night with her and she screamed and cried every time she needed the loo.

We ended up there for 3 nights with her (The Trucker & I alternated nights but one of us was with her the entire time). Her CRP levels were 84 (should be at 5) when she was admitted so they needed to make sure they had come down and to get as many antibiotics via the IV as possible. Before we left they got the results from her stool sample and diagnosed Giardia and gave us specifically suited antibiotics.

She hated the antibiotics, but she recovered in time for Xmas. What a year.

Oh, and just after I finished typing up this marathon account of our health woes, The Trucker got back from an MRI and an appointment with the same Orthopedic Surgeon who fixed my neck. Turns out he has a ruptured disk at L5-S1. He isn't in acute pain generally (but has a few flare ups each year since we moved to Cape Town, which have been getting worse, which triggered the MRI booking), but this year he'll have to go for surgery as well. Sad face.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Back to Real Life

Righto, so it is back to gym and work for me today. So perhaps now I really will manage to find some time to work on all those blog posts I have brewing in my head. But for now, let me just say, it is hard to find the time in front of a laptop to write and it just doesn't work on my mobile phone - also can't add pictures easily etc. So these posts probably really will be few and far between. But hey, even if I just manage to put something up once a month, it'll be more than I've managed in the past 5 years!!

Hope you all had an awesome December/January break and cheers to 2020.

Friday, January 03, 2020

2019, the year of getting my own Personal Shopper/Stylist

Mkay, so high up on my list of things to post about is raving about some of the stuff I've bought and received, for both myself & my daughter. Which will, obviously, be spread across multiple posts.

I'll start by telling you about a combo Xmas 2018-Birthday 2019 gift that I asked my Mom for: a stylist!

Okay, so I am sure that sounds crazy to many of you. But the way I figure it, I'm nearly 40 and gifts should really be about the big ticket items I'd love to have but would probably not buy for myself (in case anyone is curious, I'm angling for DNA testing for my 40th next year!).

So, wa-ay back in 2018 I was listening to Pippa Hudson on my way home from work one afternoon (nearing 40, I can finally be honest that Cape Talk is definitely my station of choice - altho honestly it has been probably since my 30s back in JHB starting with 702) and heard her chatting to Candice from With Style. My interest was piqued! She sounded just like what I'd always wanted: she comes to your house, goes thru your closet with you and tells you what to get rid of and what to keep. Then takes you for a shopping session to refill your closet with better suited items. And then does a follow up to show you how everything pairs together really well.

This is what I have been dreaming of for years! My 20s were easy, I wore what I wanted. And honestly, the rule was probably the tinier the better, looking back at the photos. But as I've mentioned a few times, I'm now heading for 40 and still struggling to lose the extra 15 kilos I've been carrying since my daughter was born (and she'll be 5 in a few months, so I may have to admit they might not be going anywhere and find another way to be comfortable with myself and my new normal).

So mostly I have no idea what to wear anymore. I have so little time to go shopping and browse to find the exactly right thing for myself and usually it is pretty damn soul destroying anyway. So I just chucked on a uniform of blue jeans and a t-shirt, a hoodie if it was cold. Done and dusted. And so boring. But luckily totally acceptable in my work environment, so I became stale in my outfit choices. And I knew it and felt it.

So this was what I requested and received for my gift! I know my Mom mostly got it so I could be the guinea pig because if we're honest, both her and my sister were also super keen for the same kind of service, but couldn't justify the expense and really were not sure if it would be worth it.

Skip ahead to now and let me just say, it has changed my life. My Mom and my sister have also both had sessions and I've even had a seasonal follow-up!

I am still working on losing the weight (more on that in another post), but in the weeks after my first shop with Candice, I got so many compliments from people telling me that I look like I'd lost weight. Nope, I was finally just wearing better fitting and better suited clothing.

I was definitely nervous about it up front, not seeing myself as a boutique-y or even Waterfront clothing shopper (more a pnp or woolies due to convenience kinda girl), but doing the shop with Candice was incredible. I didn't look at prices (I gave her a budget to work with upfront) and I didn't look at sizes. I didn't give up and feel awful when something didn't fit because I knew she had loads more options to try. It was thoroughly refreshing and I'd highly recommend it.

I'm not quite ready for stand-alone shopping again just yet, but I definitely have a better sense of the basics. Doing the follow-ups are easier and cheaper because you skip the closet clear out and she already knows your style and sizing. So I'd probably do it again a time or two more. But for now my cupboard is pretty well stocked again and I should likely get rid of a few more older items (I still have stuff from before my kiddo was born!) that I couldn't let go of in the first clear out, but now I can see that I'll likely never need or make use of again.

So refreshing!

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