Beware of getting too confident

Having had a really good day on Thursday following my best nights sleep I went to bed on Thursday night expecting more of the same, this wasn’t to be the case though! Firstly I was up more time to go to the bathroom in the first three hours than I he’d been the whole of Wednesday night and secondly, when I got up at around 2.30am I was in considerable pain so I don’t know if I had pulled something when turning over or what I had done but it was not good! A cup of tea was organised and a couple of plain biscuits before taking a painkiller to calm things down. Half an hour later the pain had subsided and I settled back down with just one more visit to the bathroom before morning.

I guess in some ways it isn’t a bad thing that there was a slight hiccup in my recovery as if I’d had two good nights rest I would probably have tried to do far too much today, as it was I had a fairly relaxing day for me, spent a good deal of it writing to people, communicating via messenger with various people and a small amount of  very light jobs around the place, nothing which involved lifting or excessive bending so hopefully I will be good tonight. It’s only 8 days till my stepping out party and I want to be in good shape by then, I know I will probably need a sleep during the day as by about 9 pm I am tired and hopefully by that stage to party will just be getting going! I’m also hopeful that by then I will have more energy as we discovered yesterday that I am lacking in iron, probably due to the fact that I have been bleeding for over a month, not a massive amount but just enough to cause a problem and make me anaemic. Anyway, tablets have been purchased and I will hopefully be on the mend in a few days. It certainly makes sense that there is something sapping my energy as I don’t have to do very much at all before I need to sleep again which is totally not me, I am usually on the go all the time and have trouble doing any sort of relaxing so it’s good to find a reason for it.

Making sure that everyone who I needed to tell before the event was told was always going to be tricky and the danger of telling one person but missing another was always going to be a possibility, one which came up last night. I probably should have spent more time telling members of my extended family in the uk than I did but knowing where to stop and knowing who would actually be interested anyway was always going to be a challenge. Hopefully my apologetic email and an explanation of my story will be enough to avert a problem and the offer of a face to face Skype or FaceTime will be taken up as it’s much better to talk face to face even if you are at different sides of the world, I guess time alone will tell.


What a difference a day makes!

I always though that once I was home things would improve but the last 24 hours have made a huge difference. When we arrived back at 5pm on Tuesday I was in so much pain I had had to get into the back of the car to lay down, then that started to hurt my back so I had to sit up in the back at whatever angle took some pressure off my new bits the best. Once home I felt better immediately, had something to eat and took some painkillers which although take a little while to kick in do a good job once in the system but don’t last very long so I am soon looking at the clock to work out when I can take the next lot. So although they do a good job they create lots of ups and downs which is less than ideal but at the end of the day anything which takes away the pain has to be a good thing.

After the usual broken night’s sleep due to the number of visits to the bathroom we got up this morning around 9, I felt ok and that it was good to be back in familiar surroundings but I was still very stiff from the traveling and in a fair bit of pain. We had some things to do, Denise needed to do some shopping, go to the post office and several other things in town and I had an appointment with my GP. As much as the team at Ardmore, Philadelphia had looked after me very well, nothing ever seemed too much trouble and they were all lovely people there’s nothing quite like seeing your own GP who knows what you’re like and in my case is just wonderful so in a weird sort of way I was looking forward to it and looking forward to seeing Karen and Mikhaela (I’ve probably spelled that wrong!) who so fit the place they work, always a smile like sunshine. As a general rule people are not at their best when visiting the doctors and to be greeted with a lovely smile and treated in such an empathic way goes a long way in making a visit to Sunshine medical centre so much less stressful than other such establishments in town.

Its a weird thing but it has crossed my mind on a number of occasions that on my first visit to the doctors after my surgery do I offer to show Dr Rumer’s handiwork or not, afterall they have seen hundreds right? Even if they have all been “original equipment ” as it were not manufactured as in my case, I didn’t need to worry as when it came to it it just seemed the natural thing to do and to my surprise, instead of the reaction being “I can’t believe how much swelling there is” it was totally different, I think she was surprised how “normal” it looked and agreed that after a couple of months it will indeed look “pretty” as the Surgeon almost promised. We talked a lot about painkillers and different approaches to pain management which was totally unexpected but so relevant and we came away feeling so much more positive, as positive as you can do when the next stop is to donate some blood at the hospital for a long list of tests for one person or another but it all went very smoothly and even that was in fact made pleasant by the fact that the two people involved, Rayleen and Leah were both gorgeous with me, very interested in how things had gone in Philadelphia and the best part, the needle was sharpe, I didn’t feel a thing, such a talent and one which not every person taking blood has I can assure you, over the years I have had some pretty blunt needles and even though my veins are very visible some pretty botched jobs but as with most things you find someone/somewhere that you are comfortable with which makes all the difference.

So that was our first day back in Busselton and I already feel much better, I have more energy (which could be a problem as I will want to use it!) and just generally feel better, if I continue to improve the same amount each day I will soon be fighting fit again. The only down side was dilating this morning, it was so hard to push inside me this morning, not desperately painful but difficult to get fully in which was a worry, my second attempt was much easier but actually more painful which is weird but I guess it will get easier over time (just as well as I have it to do for a long long time) but I think the first one was just because I only dilated once yesterday and it was over 24 hours earlier so it’s a lesson to me to keep it up, pardon the pun!


Back on home soil at last!

At last we are back I Australia after a mammoth journey, and a life changing experience! 5 weeks ago yesterday we left Australia for the biggest event of my life and I can’t really believe it’s all happened and we are back on home soil, in Perth if not back in our beloved Busselton.

For once I don’t really know where to start with my blog today, usually the fire just flows from my finger tips without much stopping to think about the content but I think today is such an occasion that I’m feeling a little disjointed and my fingers will take some time to warm up.

Firstly I’m going to talk about the flight home, Denise had some real concerns about flying with Qatar because of the current unrest in the area due to what to me looks like all its neighbours ganging up against it with claims that Qatar is supposed to be supporting terrorism and groups with links to terrorism. From my point of view I always thought that the airline would be going out of its way to look after its customers and keep its image of one of the best airlines in the world. We have always had good service in the past when we have used Qatar and our homeward journey was going to be nothing different except this time due to me not being able to sit for long periods we decided to upgrade to business class. That in itself wasn’t as expensive as I expected and the benefits of doing it have so outweighed the costs. The second thing Denise did was inform the airline that I have had a medical procedure while being in the US and would need to use of a wheelchair to assist getting me around the airports. This I found a bit daunting, I have never even sat in a wheelchair up to a month ago and was very unsure how I would feel about it, I don’t feel ill and thought deep down I was a bit of a fraud but it was just the best possible thing to do! From our arrival at Philadelphia international airport to being wheeled through into the arrivals area in Perth I was looked after so so well, everything went like clockwork (except for not being collected from the business class lounge in Qatar and having to remind them which was no big deal) I was looked after like a Queen! I can’t thank them enough, amazing service all round and as I have a passion for telling people all about the service I receive whether it be good or bad I will be making a point of passing my appreciation on to all concerned.

Perth is well known for being slow at processing passengers through immigration and customs, I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to be very thorough with both those things but there have been times when there are several big aircraft landing within a few minutes of each other so the potential for up to 1000 people arriving in a very short time and there being just 3or 4 of the 14 immigration desks being open? I mean, why have all those desks if you’re never going to use them? Doesn’t make much sense to me but then I’m a very practical minded girl! Yesterday’s experience was completely different to anything I have ever had, my wheelchair was waiting for me just outside the aircraft and a lovely young lady then proceeded to navigate me first through immigration where you get to go through a special gate, get dealt with almost immediately with no waiting then to customs wher we were just waved through and straight into the arrival area, job done, she even had time to help someone else during the very short time we were waiting for our “priority bags” to come through on the carousel, just gorgeous.

Josh and Louise were waiting for us in arrivals and very soon we were on our way to Stuart and Andrew’s house in City Beach. It was so good to be back in Australia even if the temperature is not very inviting! The feeling of being home is already making me feel better. Tomorrow we will be collecting my certificate of gender recognition from Jerusha at the GRB office then lodging my official name change application at births marriages and deaths then heading home to Busselton finally.

In ending this blog I just want to touch on something which I will cover later but I am continually overwhelmed by people’s kindness and a sense of wondering why everyone I seem to come into contact with is just overflowing with the stuff, maybe I haven’t been looking before or maybe I just haven’t noticed it but it’s just all around me, everywhere I look there are examples of people’s kindness and I’m left wondering why, I am nothing special, yes I have always been the sort of person who gets more from giving than receiving but (and there are tears rolling down my face as I write this!) why is everyone being so kind to me, it’s just very humbling and I just don’t think I deserve it at all, as I said earlier I am nothing special, I’ve had some shit to deal with just like everyone else in the world but I am continually blown away by how lovely everyone is treating me. I so want to give something back to the world and can’t wait to be fully healed and get on with setting up the transgender support group which I am planning. One example was on the flight from Philadelphia to Doha, I am struggling with my hormones as you can imagine at the moment, my body must be having a very hard time coming to terms with what it now has to deal with and I guess what it has lost after all the years of being Robin so any extremes of temperature however small are difficult to deal with and I had an example of this early on the first flight. We were on a virtually brand new Airbus 350 in the business class area in the centre of the aircraft, the seating in this area is two in the Middle and one at either side on the window side. The problem started when I was feeling a bit warm and started looking for the air vent for my seat, there isn’t one! And I panicked which immediately made things worse and I could feel it coming, once I start to over heat I can feel this fear starting to overwhelm me and the eventual outcome is that I faint and that is not pretty as I usually manage to throw up shortly after that! I got Denise’s attention and told her what was happening, I headed for the bathroom as I knew there would be a vent in there for the short term. A few minutes later, Denise is knocking on the door saying all is sorted and I’m to move seats, I came out and the cabin crew had moved a gentleman out of his seat to one a couple of rows forwards and I was to have his seat, this in itself was big enough but then one of the crew came to me and asked why I had overheated, I explained about the lack of vents and the fact that my thermostat was not working very well due to me having had surgery in the US just under 4 weeks ago and she asked what the surgery was that I had, by this stage Denise was there and before I had any chance to answer she said it was internal and the crew member seemed ok with that. Shortly after, she came back and asked if I was now ok and asked again what the surgery was, I could see she wasn’t going to give up so I just leaned forward and beckoned her do the same and I whispered in her ear “I’m not actually he any more, I’m she!” She gave me a big smile and told me how brave and courageous I was to follow my dreams, held my hand and said to call her if I needed anything. About half an hour went past and the member of the cabin crew who I think was in charge of looking after this side of the business class seating, a lady called Ruxandra came up to me and squat down beside me and took my hand, she said the other lady had told her about me and she wanted me to know how much she admired me for following my dreams and again if there was anything she could do, anything I wanted I just needed to ask. There are two examples of how kind people have been to me, I have not had one single negative comment and with Philadelphia being the main centre for transgender in the US it would be fairly obvious to anyone who looked at me carefully but they don’t they just go about their daily routine and allow everyone else to do the same. I have also had no negative comments from people in Australia, I know we are a very accepting nation but to not have a single negative comment especially in the early months when I was less confident about myself is amazing. Ironically that just leaves our two relatives in the UK, my brother is I’m sure coming round with some help from his wife but from the total lack of contact from Denise’s brother I’m thinking there is no progress there at all. Sorry today’s post is a bit of a novel! But eventually it just flowed out!


Last day in the USA

After being stressed to death for the last few days because I have felt that I have not progressed as well as I should have done, today was my last appointment with the surgeon before heading home and to say I was scared that she was going to take one look at me and say I was not well enough to fly would be an understatement. I am still losing quite a lot of blood every day, I am still living on painkillers every day, the swelling in the pelvic bone area is not getting any less and dilating is not getting any easier so I think it’s fair to say I was worried.

We were up early as we had to be at Ardmore for 9.30 and I’m not as quick at getting ready at the moment as I usually am but we were away on time and despite a little detour on our way to Ardmore we arrived on time in fact a little early. We pressed the button and were let in straight away and greeted by Dawn whose first words were, “how are you? We’ve missed you”, it was such a little thing but set me at ease. She showed us straight through and asked me to prepare for Kathy, set the chair up and then left us. In a couple of minutes Kathy and Dawn came back in and after exchanging pleasantries she had a look and announced that she was very happy with progress, not what I had expected at all, we had written down a list of questions which she answered fully and explained each one as we went on, we talked about the swelling and she suggested opening up one of the drains to see if anything came out, to be honest I was horrified at the thought of it but I asked if it would help, she said it could do so I agreed, it didn’t hurt much at all but not much came out so nothing much gained but at least she tried, she then took an instrument and inserted it! I thought that would hurt also but it was fine, she had a look inside and announced that everything looked perfect inside and that the healing process was going well. She then went on to explain how most people don’t realise that this surgery is unlike virtually any other in that it is both on the inside and the outside and thus will take twice as long to heal and take twice as much out of me. We discussed the dilating, she was very happy with where i am at with it and then talked about a product that she will mail to Australia as they don’t keep it in stock but it will just assist in joining up the split which has opened up on the left side lobe. It’s not a problem and will heal on its own but she felt it would speed up recovery.

To say I was relieved would be such an understatement! Honestly they are the most gorgeous team of people, so much like the team at Sunshine medical centre back at home, each one of them gave us both a big hug before we left, it’s a small thing but to me it is massive, this Is an extremely experienced and famous surgeon who has pioneered new techniques and has been doing this surgery for ten years who made the effort to give us both big hugs and say if there is ever a problem they are at the end of a phone or on Skype and not to hesitate to call and she is happy for us to speak directly to her if we would like, quite amazing and very humbling indeed.

So there we have it, we fly at 10.40 am tomorrow and I can’t wait to get set off. I’m sure I will recover much faster when we get home, it’s going to be a long journey but worth it in the end. So my next post will be when we are back in Australia, I’m so looking forward to catching up with all our friends and getting back into some sort of normal life albeit it will never quite be the same for me!

Last stop before heading home

Today we drove from Lambertville closer to Philadelphia city to our final accommodation before heading home. We are now in a resort style apartment in a place called Plymouth Meeting, a huge complex of 4 storey buildings and the usual resort things like swimming pools etc. It’s a pity I can’t use the pool as it looks really nice and the weather is hot, there also doesn’t seem to many people around which is a bonus. The funny thing is that obviously the owner of the apartment is not really allowed to have it on Airbnb and has given us strict instructions not to talk to anyone about who we are and under what circumstances we are staying here, to be quite honest I would be tempted to drop her in it as it’s not really in the spirit of Airbnb but the apartment is nice, well equipped and clean and I probably won’t be venturing far to come into contact with anyone anyway.

Talk about the sublime to the ridiculous, one of the very few complaints I would have had about the last place was the bed, yes it was comfortable but as it was only about 12 inches off the ground, had this very annoying plinth around it and a memory foam mattress which tend to be a bit dead when you get into them it was pretty difficult to get in and out of between one of us recovering from surgery and the other being a bit stiff from arthritis, this place however, I think Denise is going to need a step ladder to get in and out of it, it’s about waist high for me but again it’s comfortable and a big bed.

Its only about 67 hours now till we fly out and we are both very excited about it, while the flights will be long and even in business class I’m sure not super comfortable being on our way home will give us both a big boost I’m sure. We are hoping that when we get to Doha the Airline will be able to put us up in the Airport hotel so we don’t need to get visas and only need to be there 1 hour before the plane leaves the next day as it will leave more time to relax before our flight but I guess time will tell. The lovely Kami from Dr Rumer’s office has given me a letter confirming the need for a wheelchair and requesting I be taken on board first and off first at the other end which will be a novelty, I will feel a bit of a fraud as I can walk a certain amount but soon get sore and tired so there’s no point in pushing myself too hard at this stage.

One final thing, yesterday’s “f” word tally was very close, Stephanie 6 Denise 5 so a score of one I think is very impressive in the circumstances, we have also agreed that the odd indiscretion while dilating is acceptable as it’s both very painful and uncomfortable and the odd descriptive word makes me feel better. I’m sure you will agree that a result of just one is good one though!

One other thing

After a fairly dismal showing yesterday we have agreed on some new rules for the bad language game today, yesterday I managed to use the “f” word 19 times, now I didn’t think that too bad as I can think of lots of days when that would be an hourly count!

Anyway, the rules from today are as follows, if I use the f word then it’s 1 point away but if Denise uses it I get 1 point back, well today at this point I am 2 points up as I have been very good today and Denise has not! This is a much more fun game and one I think will be good for me! I’m not saying that by the end of the day I will still be in front but will have made a big improvement on yesterday!

Two steps forward…..

I woke this morning just after 5am in a great deal of pain for some reason, whether I had twisted differently or just been sleeping in an uncomfortable position I don’t know but it woke with a very sharp jolt! Anyway I had some painkillers and a cup of tea and soon felt it easing, it is however still tender some 5 hours later.

In just 4 days from now we will be setting off on our journey home, it will be a long trip but we are so looking forward to getting home it will be very worth it! The last few days have been better but I don’t seem to have much energy, part of the problem is having never had surgery before I didn’t know what to expect and probably thought I would be up and fighting fit by now, hitting the shopping malls and filling the spare suit case which we brought in anticipation of the amazing shopping there is supposed to be over here, in reality, we did find one shopping mall a couple of days before my surgery but after about 3 hours were both tired, still suffering from jet lag probably but did get a few lovely clothes which were excellent value, I made an addition to my dress collection, not that I need any more dresses I just saw it and loved it and at $25 thought it was a bargain.

A nice surprise for today was a lovely Skype with our very good friend David Pilpel back in Busselton, we got caught up with the news back home which was nice and lovely that he is looking forward to seeing us next week. We are also hopefully having a Skype call with our neighbors today, Andy and Linny which will be nice, I am so blessed by the number of people who have kept in touch all the time we have been away. Also a special mention to my very good friend Niki down in Florida, she had her surgery 1 week after me but flew home after just 9 days, I can’t tell you what a bonus it is having her in contact as we can compare notes etc. a great contact for the future as hopefully she will make it to Australia at some point and we now have a couple of people in Florida to see if we ever fancied heading that way.

Continue reading “Two steps forward…..”

Corner turned!

After a very tough day yesterday I think I have turned a corner! Yesterday was especially tough as over here and in the uk it was Father’s Day and to be honest I am so struggling with how I feel about both my parents at the moment that it brought on lots of emotions for both of us. As much as I am trying to focus on the positives and not dwell on the past as it doesn’t get you anywhere and you can’t change it anyway, it’s still a huge hurdle for me and we have discussed a plan of action while back in the uk to try and get some sense in to it by talking to the NHS and trying to ascertain whether or not there was consent for my surgery when I was a baby or even if they knew the whole story or were just told what needed to happen. It will all be very difficult I know as there will be lots of barriers to deal with but hopefully we can get someone with some sympathy who is happy to help. The frightening thing is I had an email from the Intersex international organisation yesterday and it’s still going on, even in Australia and it just has to stop, they have to stop playing god with helpless infants who have the misfortune to be born as I was, a mixed up mess because it doesn’t go away once you have been “modified” I can vouch for that, it just festers away inside and in the end as in my case it just has to be dealt with regardless of the pain involved.

Anyway, onwards and upwards as the saying goes, we have just 5 more sleeps and then our mammoth journey home begins, I can’t tell you how much I want to go home, I know the journey will be tough but we have done all we can to make it easier and the fact that I’m feeling better in myself has to be a good sign. America has not been all I expected of it, I wouldn’t rush back, maybe we haven’t been in the best places but it doesn’t even come close to Australia in so many ways, Denise is disappointed with the food quality and the shops themselves, I haven’t had much to do with the shopping side of things but we forget how lucky we are in Australia and I think the same goes for the uk, I always enjoy going to the shops when we are over, especially the supermarkets as they are so diverse and cater for so many things under one roof, I expected American ones to be the same. I guess it’s like many things and a case of what you get used to, one weird thing we have noticed, over here you get bottle shops which sell wines and spirits but not beer, that’s a totally different shop so wether the licensing is different I’m not sure.

So as my transitioning progresses and let’s face it the biggest part is well and truly over now it leaves the little things, the things I have done for years as Robin but now need to re think before going out into the world fully Stephanised as it were.  One such thing is my language, and my amazing speech therapist Leah has touched on this a number of times but now I have Denise well and truly on my case. Now I know my language can be colourful at times and I have long been a believer that the “f” word is by far the most descriptive word in our language, you only have to look at some of the people that have used it to immense effect, I won’t go into many of them as I don’t want to offend but for those of us who remember The Falklands war in 1982 there was a classic, the captain of the ship which sunk the General Belgrano was heard to to say “what f*****g exclusion zone” as he launched another batch of Exocets in the general direction and no one except the Argies seemed to mind, I could go into others but as I said I don’t want to offend. Anyway I now have a target to reach on using the “f” word or lack of using it as the case may be. I blame the motor trade personally and I often am guilty of using it to berate my self more than others, the phrase “for f*** sake” has become too easy to use and according to Denise I have to change (as it’s not ladylike), so a challenge it will be but I promise I’ll try to mend my ways.  I can’t guarantee that I won’t slip up at times especially where inept drivers are involved and when on my own the aforementioned phrase I’m sure will come out, but only directed at myself.

Been a bit slack!

I have been pretty slack recently and not posted anything, there are a number of reasons for this, the main one being that I don’t seem to be progressing very well at the moment, I think I over did things when we drove up here, I was on the go most of the day with one thing and another and it’s taken its toll. On Thursday I was just shattered all day but picked up a bit late afternoon so we decided that a very steady walk over the bridge to New Hope would be ok, I have to say the deciding factor here was the promise of an ice cream on the way, I love ice cream and haven’t had one for a few days so thought it a great idea. Well the ice cream was perfect, the service was poor, the guy in the shop had zero personality and had I not been really wanting the ice cream I would have moved on! We also needed some tea and coffee and found a shop which did both and again the service was very poor, seriously, a smile and happy face plus showing some degree of actually wanting to help you shouldn’t be too much to ask but it’s been sadly lacking up to now in Lambertville. Shop owners don’t realise that it makes such a difference to have someone bright and bubbly and willing to help behind the counter, the chance of us returning to either store is zero and repeat business is so important in retail.

Anyway, rant over for now, the walk didn’t do me any good either so it’s a good job the ice cream was good, I actually struggled to climb the 18 steps up to the apartment! The result of this is that I have been banned from going out for two days and at the end of them I do feel better, I guess I need to learn to relax and not be on the go all the time as I’m used to, after all it is just three months and then I have the rest of my life to enjoy being Stephanie. On the pain front, I think all the nerve endings are starting to come alive again as I’m getting lots of small stinging type pains which are very localised and don’t last very long but certainly do sting at the time, the scars and stitches are healing well and things are starting to take shape as it were. I am still very swollen in my pubic bone area but the surgeon did say that could take up to 3 months before being back to normal which will be hard as it’s very tender and I can’t wear anything tight round my waist. I am spanning out the distances between taking the heavy opium based painkillers and got it down to twice or three time a day so getting there slowly.

After much deliberation and some frustration in getting through we have upgraded out flights home to business class as the thought of being sat for fourteen hours and then eleven hours was really stressing me as I struggle to sit for dinner it’s so painful so at least I will be able to lay down for most of it. Denise has also organised a wheelchair for me to get around the airport as walking is particularly painful, more because I have to wear the nappy pants than anything else but I am pretty sore down there so that will help somewhat. We also have a hotel booked for the 20 hours in Doha which will be a break but the journey to and from the hotel could be pretty unpleasant as it’s mega hot there and the mini buses are not especially comfortable or smoothly driven, anyway it’s another week away and hopefully I will have improved some by then.

Our apartment in Lambertville is quite amazing, it’s a converted fire station owned by some antique dealers so is full of weird things, lots off stuffed animals and strange furnishings but the bed is comfortable even though it is only about a foot off the floor and the kitchen is excellent, perfect as we are doing most of our eating here. There is even a very old record player and a big pile of records to choose from so we spent some time last night reminiscing listening to music from the 70s and 80s which was good entertainment. There are also some amazing pictures on the walls which I have taken photos of as they are very very unusual.

Well I’ll leave it at that toninght as it’s way past my bed time and I need to sleep!

Last night in Drexel Hill

Our stay in Drexel Hill has come to an end and so has this chapter of the trip, the house itself has been ok, there are a few things which need attention like the shower is pitiful, one of our pet hates. Being able to have an enjoyable shower is not too much to ask in this day and age, the first thing is it’s over a bath which I don’t like, the second is the fact that the pressure is pitiful and fluctuates through out your time trying to get wet. The third is a trio of controls with absolutely no markings on at all stating what each is for and some indication as to where hot and cold are located which I would have thought a safety issue anyway. On the plus side, even if they are pretty agricultural there are no less than 4 aircon units in the house, one in each of the bedrooms and one in the dining room. So let’s talk about said aircon units, in Australia we generally have one of two systems for cooling our houses, either reverse cycle or ducted and sometimes there is some crossover, all are fully fitted and somewhat permanent, here it’s very different, here’s what you do, select a suitable window, usually a sash type, open bottom half and precariously balance your diy aircon unit on the sil, then close window so unit theoretically can’t fall out. Then you place the two very flimsy side fillers in position which work on a sort of an extending theory to fill the rest of the area of the open window but whatever you do, don’t worry about placing the screws in the preformed top of the filler as that would make it difficult for burglars to get in. Finally plug in the unit in a convenient wall socket and there you have it! There was me thinking America would be way ahead of us Aussies in terms of those little amenities which make the difference and if nothing else look professional. On the plus side they do seem to work to some degree, they are noisy, the gaps at the sides don’t seem to be filled in an efficient way so the hot air gets in anyway and they vibrate very very annoyingly. Going back to the security side of things, you could literally open the window a little, lift the unit off the window sill and either make off with it to cool your own home of gain access to any one of thousands of homes with this style of unit, truly bizarre!

Rant over for now! This morning we drove back to the clinic for several reasons, firstly, as we are heading north tomorrow and I seem to be getting through my stash of opium quite rapidly I thought it good to get another script, secondly to hopefully get some answers about the swelling in my pelvic area and the fact that I am still visiting the bathroom every hour or so and thirdly to spend some time with Anna and Niki. Niki had her surgery last Wednesday and we have kept in touch since by messenger but as they are supposed to be flying back to Florida on Thursday it would be the last chance to see them. After our chance meeting on Tuesday last week when we both really took to them and quickly made friends we wanted to spend some more time with them. Niki has not ventured far from bed which is a bit of a worry as she has her drains, catheter and wadding out tomorrow and just 24 hours before flying back home. At least their flight is only 2.5 hours, a drop in the ocean compared with ours but still a flight so will carry all the same concerns but for a shorter period. On the plus side, staying in bed has probably been an advantage in getting the swelling down which I have not managed to do.

Anyway, we spent a very enjoyable couple of hours chatting then went down to reception to sort some things out with the staff. Kami was her usual very bubbly helpful self who informed Heather we were here to see her. She came out shortly afterwards and gave me the script and a letter to give to the airline stating that I have had surgery and may need the use of a wheel chair while in the airport. As far as answering the questions I felt she was pretty vague saying the swelling will go down in time and it’s that which is causing the regular visits to the bathroom, all seemed reasonably plausible so we confirmed our appointment for the 23rd and drove to a cafe for lunch. It was a bit ordinary really, I don’t think they do good healthy options fast food wise here but it was ok and as part of the deal we received a freshly baked cookie to go with it, definitely the highlight of lunch from my point of view!

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, it was 34 degrees today and not like the 34 we get in Busselton, very humid and quite unpleasant so on went the agricultural aircon and we stayed in doors, I did my dilation and Denise painted my toenails so at least I feel more girly than before.