Inspecting the Inside Bits aka Where Your Organs At?

Today I went to get an ultrasound and a CAT scan in Chinatown, which makes it sound like I went downtown to grab some rainbow steak and a red bean bun and just decided a ultrasound and a CAT scan might be something fun to do.

Like most bulk-billing places, the medical centre was threadbare and smelt like an op shop that had been doused in hand sanitiser. Old men looked at me suspiciously as they clutched their trench coats about them. Old men seem to have a penchant for muted tones, like they’ve given up fighting the process of becoming invisible to the younger generations and have just embraced being totally homogeneous.

Before I went, I had been given strict instructions not to eat and to drink a litre of water in the space of half an hour. This seemed easy enough, until I had a litre of water in front of me. Suddenly every vision disappeared that I’d ever had of my bladder as being a cute little bean shaped sack, located somewhere in the area of my groin. To fit and hold a litre of water, my bladder must be very mighty indeed. Respect to my organs.

After answering four sets of questions to clarify that there was absolutely no chance I could be pregnant (not even with a pregnant cat, sorry Twitter!), a very brisk blonde woman gave me an ultrasound and a lesson in where my kidneys are. Again, I failed at anatomy. Apparently, very Freudianly, I think everything is stored somewhere around my groin. There was a lot of nervous breathing and her insistently tugging at the front of my pants, which I’m sure would make the best of us lie back and fondly remember the times of virginity. She was professionally unfriendly, but allowed me to look at various parts of my insides before wiping me down (again with the sex analogies!) and sending me back to drink more water and wait for my CAT scan.

In summary: the next time friends kindly ask if I want someone to attend a CAT scan with me, I am going to take them up on it. It was the most unpleasant medical procedure I’ve ever had and that includeds the time the lady doctor smiled up at my prone, half-naked form and said ‘So, how many children have you had?’

A CAT scanner (official medical term) looks like something from 2001: A Space Odyssey and you’re left alone in a huge room while a robotic voice embedded in the machine tells you when to breathe.

After about 15 minutes the nurse came in to tell me the images weren’t good and I needed to be injected with iodine, followed by a stream of questions about allergies and medical conditions. She then wheeled a contraption next to my head that immediately made me feel like Sean Penn at the end of Dead Man Walking. I don’t know how I thought they injected you with iodine, but it didn’t include a pump.

Nurse: Are you afraid of needles?
Me: Yes I am actually.
Nurse: Right. Ok, there’s no point in lying to you, this will hurt.
Me: Right. Ok.
Nurse: Ok. You have very small veins and they are very deep. I’m not confident I can hit it in this arm.
Me: …right.
Nurse: Ok, we’ll try the other arm. This is going to pump into you and you’ll taste metal. It will also feel very hot. I can stay with you for the first ten seconds, but that’s it.

So she hit a vein, I tasted metal, my blood started to feel hot and the CAT scanner started spinning. And I started crying. Crying like a preschooler who’s terrified of Mrs Spears. It’s very hard to explain, perhaps it was that to many anxiety triggers were going off, perhaps it was the iodine, but whatever it was, I have never wanted both my Mum and my teddy-bear friend, Joshua so much in my life.

Pretty much the only consolation was that the gowns are actually not all that unattractive!

Semi-Grecian, no?

I am now determined to spend the rest of the day eating terrible food and whimpering every now and then before going out for dumplings and wine and thanking the gods of rock’n’roll that tomorrow is Who-magazine-and-bourbon-in-bed-Friday.

It’s almost half over before it even began: 2012

I have been at the farm again, for a week, which must mean this month I’ve spent more time there than I have since I moved to Sydney.

I spent a lot of time reading and sleeping and thinking and trying to make decisions and pottering around with the chickens and wrangling my nephew and building him an endless amount of tunnels.

This year has been hard, hard for me and for a lot of people I know, it’s funny how bad years seem to be cyclical for everyone.

On Friday night I got some unexpected news and while it’s not clear whether the news is good or bad yet, it was a very big wake up call.

Unexpectedly, I feel focused and energised to have a real problem to focus on, rather than the inventions that have taken up so much of my time and energy recently.

Unexpectedly, I also feel calm about having real problems, probably because they require a step-by-step solution, so all my thinking and trying to make decisions came to a head and here is what I decided in light of current events: I can’t process any more Julia-driven change this year.

So in 2012 I am not looking to change home or work. I am not going to start studying again, I am not going to travel overseas.

I am going to stay put and focused, go to the gym, catch up with friends, blog more, take my camera out more, enjoy Saturday mornings in the park with the paper, read as much as I can, take trips on the weekends and get out of the city.

To keep my brain sane, I’m going to start writing and submitting journal articles about feminist science fiction, then depending on how than pans out, I am going to research and write something about the changing nature of female characters in dystopian fiction from the ’30s and ’40s until current day.

If I want change, I’ll get a haircut. Other than that, I’m not expecting anything more from myself.

 

#PhotoaDayMay: Batch 2

Day 6: #you

I don’t know how old I am in this photo, I don’t recognise the school uniform, but I think it’s safe to say this was infants’ school era.

I was very blonde and skinny, no doubt still faithfully attached to my teddy bear, Joshua.

It was about this age that I tried to read The Hobbit and the density of it ruined Tolkien for me to this day.

Day 7: #someonethatinspiresyou

Joy was my Honours supervisor and one of those rare people who inspire you every time you see them. She’s incredibly intuitive, and steered me down some paths very gently, which opened up my world immensely and will influence me forever, I think.

I caught up with her last week and despite no longer supervising me in any official capacity, Joy left me bursting with ideas and enthusiasm for projects to undertake. She is my critical friend.

Day 8: #asmellyouadore

I continue to be faithful to L’Occitane, despite the fact that they stopped making the most heavenly vanilla perfume and their intoxicating miel candles.

Day 9: #somethingyoudoeveryday

Read. It’s the most excapist activity for me, it’s like it makes a cocoon of silence around me. I’m trying to read a book a week again this year and most recently I’ve been caught up in Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I’ve can’t think of any other historical fiction I’ve read, and this was a fantastic place to start. It’s a fantastic way to learn about the Tudor-era in England.

Day 10: #afavouriteword

I’ve always liked my name, it’s always felt comfortable and I can’t imagine being, or wanting to be called anything else.

Atmosphere

I was having a bummer of a summer and combined with my propensity to listen to music that made me feel melancholy, I was one miserable sack of lady.

Somewhere on the Internet, someone mentioned Atmosphere’s then-new album, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold and I thought to myself, ‘Maybe if I did a little painting of shit gold, I will paint myself out of this rut!’

It was not my first foray into hip-hop, I’d always been a fan, I’d just had a few years dabbling in nothing but the dark arts of PJ Harvey and Tori Amos and Radiohead and ISIS and Neurosis, years where the most upbeat I ever got was enjoying listening to Blood Brothers tear their throats to shreds.

It was with caution that I returned to the beats, tentatively dipping one gold Reebok Pump-encased toe into the water.

One of the first songs I came across was ‘You’ and from there, I fell hard, for the first time since teenage-hood, buying the entire back catalogue of this amazing band that made me feel good, that made me appreciate sunshine, made me stop looking at my feet while I walked and instead at the world around me, had lyrics that made me laugh and made me think.

Of course, after becoming royally obsessed, Atmosphere didn’t tour here for years. Last year I seriously considered travelling to the US to go to the Soundset festival just to see them but couldn’t get the cash together in time; however, on Saturday I am seeing them right here in Sydney and I am stupidly excited about it, excited enough that despite having no sense of rhythm or co-ordination, I might even shake my bizz.

April & May

The Jeff, The Silver Fox, The-Pedant-to-End-All-Pedants. In this photograph we were lurking near the carousel in Civic in Canberra. It’s my default meeting place when I visit our nation’s capital, mostly because it would be weird to say ‘Meet me by the sheep statues posed in such a way that less suggests shearing as it does make its audience feel like peeping toms at a live sheep sex show’.

It is close enough to said live sheep sex show that you can take a sneaky peak at it while you wait though. Really, the carousel is the perfect front for perverts.

Looking through the photos on my phone from the last few weeks, it’s really no surprise that many people I know have been having some mental tug-of-wars. The onset of winter and the end of daylight savings is always a bit of a shock to the system, but this year it was like Sydney flicked a switch overnight and then set the winter weather cycle to CRAZY.

Despite the havoc it’s been wreaking with my mood, I am actually a huge winter fan. Winter clothes are so snuggly and cute. About the only characteristic of a heteronormative female I display is the joy I get from a new winter wardrobe and new winter makeup.

This year I’m trying to find a way of wearing M.A.C’s Cyber lipstick without looking like Morticia Addams. Not that I have a problem with Morticia Addams, she is a certified sex bomb but certified sex bomb, I am not.

In order to counter the Tess of the D’Urberville-esque feelings I was having, I took most of last week off work and went to the farm. It was fantastic, I booked a flight, which made it a half hour trip and it was delicious and cold and I spent time reading and cooking and treking the paddocks with Mum, then sitting in the afternoon sun on a rock by their creek, watching fish swimming.

I also went through a bag of my old clothes and pulled out some gems, including a great pair of pants which make me feel like a total dandy and a hat that made me feel like a flapper.

There is no place in the world as relaxing as the farm.

#PhotoaDayMay: Batch 1

Day 1: #peace

I’ve always been very sensitive to my surroundings. A good indication of my mood at any given moment is the state of my room. I like clean sheets, dried in the sun, a pile of good books beside my bed, for everything to smell fantastic and to be tidy. It relaxes me to give things order.

Day 2: #skyline

Last week I took some time off work and went to visit my parents. I hardly ever go back and I could either lose a day to train travel, or fork out a couple of hundred dollars and drive back, but I decided to treat myself and fly, as the flight to Orange is only half an hour long. One plane and a taxi later and I was building a fire, sitting in silence and feeling more relaxed than I had been in weeks.

Day 3: #somethingyouwore

Jacket: official casual wear from Alcatraz prison, San Francisco.
Lipstick: Cyber by M.A.C.
Chicken: courtesy of Rosings.

Day 4: #fun

Fun is wearing outfits that make you feel like a fascist spy from space future.

Day 5: #bird

This is Crouchy, who my mum wishes I would stop calling Crouchy, because crouching to be picked up is not all Crouchy does. She also makes eggs.