Thursday, January 29, 2009

Surviving at work

A picture says a thousand words!! This was at 10pm.
However in the hallowed halls of the Hospital we had a cooler working day, though we had two "Code Yellows" Power off in the South East Building (mine) and aircon off in the AP Building (not sure what one that is!) due to power outages all over the city.
We were all shocked at the tragedy this morning of a 5 yr old girl being thrown off the West Gate Bridge..how traumatizing for the two siblings as well as what state the father must have been in to do such a thing!
My day was less traumatic dealing with babies who
1. eat fairly well but doesn't gain weight, probably mal-absorption;
2. post cleft lip repair, been taking some time to get back to feeding on a background of 4 months of traumatic feeding. He looks lovely with a cupid's bow of an upper lip now;
3. One of twins who gets upset at the sight of the bottle, and has a naso-gastric tube for feeding, but now doing a little more than thinking about drinking, very pleased we all are today, as he is playing with the bottle and actually swallowed a few mls.
4. A referral to the Mental Health Service of a baby under 12 months was accepted!!! YAY!! She was one who cried whenever she was put down or mum left the room or she had been playing by herself for 3 minutes!! These separation anxiety babies are ones that interest me as well and I have a new one coming next week, but this mum lived along way off so closer service was better.
5.A new-to-the-hospital-last-year Irish pediatrician, has discovered my work arena, (ref by another Paed, who keeps asking when I am going into private practice.) We have a mutual patient who is phobic about feeding (reasonable, seeing she choked and aspirated frequently as a little babe) and was thought to be brain damaged, but as her feeding is less stressful she is now obviously normal and was just switching off. Each time we see her she is more animated and smiling, and parents more responsive to her.
So altogether a normal day, with more ahead.
The Unsettled Baby Clinic is swamped, so I am taking some of their referrals to get them through. I have booked them for next week (speedy service I offer!!) so hope the ward work is not too heavy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hot as..

I am writing his at 10pm with the temperature still at 37 degrees! It was 41 when I walked back to the car and like many of Melbourne-ites I retreated to the Nova cinema in Carlton for a few hours and saw Gran Torino, with Clint Eastwood; another great film and performance.
When I got into the car I took off my sneakers and socks and after I had cooled the car a bit, I set off and braked to a quick halt as my feet were burning on the pedals! Hastily pulled on my sandals. The heat reminded me of my arrival in Derby in WA in 1970, I arrived in October at 8pm and the heat made me think at first that I had walked across the exhaust from the plane, but no that was the evening! Similar tonight!
I wanted to do some blogging about my work so this start is to set the scene. The new hospital is being built next to the current one in the parkland, with all wards will be facing the park and have outdoor access. Currently they have dug out the underground car park, and the frame of the 4 floors. Due to finish in 2011 I hope to stay working there till we move in. We'll see.
My office is in what was the Nurses home until 1988. I am on the third floor and look out on the intersection of Flemington Rd and Gatehouse Street, sometimes I get distracted by near misses across the wide road.
My room is a double student room so I have space for a desk and computer as well as a big play area for my patients. 90% of these are babies under 12mths who are fussy, poor feeders, or ones who refuse altogether. So my tools of trade are dolls, a high chair, kids table, play food, dolls bottle where the milk magically disappears, and cooking utensils. I also have a new doll, a gift from Kerry, who did the job while I was in Japan. A bonus is to have a domestic staff who are happy to vacuum up 100's and 1000's and do a carpet spot clean when needed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The morning commute

The forecast for 5 days over 40 (hottest consecutive heatwave for 100years!) had me worried about how I'd manage the walking to and from work, but today started off OK
I parked the car a bit closer so not so long a walk (25 vs 35 mins) at end of day, when it is hotter. It was pleasantly cool at 17 degrees, so I enjoyed the walk in the variety of trees I see on my way.
This is the road where I park the car in front of a tool shop store. The ground to the side is the North Melbourne Football Club (Kangaroos) or Arden Street Oval with green Peppercorn trees, and this Gum is so beautiful with its smooth trunk and twisted branch.

I walk about 10 minutes down this road then arrive at the North Melbourne outdoor pool; Very busy spot at the moment! The building is a 1940's style red brick one that was closed for 3 years, but reopened in 2001 by public protest - nothing like an active community group.
Opposite this (I short-cut across their lawn, again an area surrounded by peppercorn trees) I walk past the small neighbourhood park where the street is lined with Plane Trees and is wonderful in the shade. Often in the park there is a Chinese man doing Tai Chi and two old men sitting talking. In the afternoon the play area is full of kids and women from nearby flats.
After a small hike up a small slow hill I arrive at this beautiful Edwardian house, and turn right and walk down the centre plantation full of Eucalyptus with smooth and patterned bark. A real delight!
Then a turn into Flemington Road and I can see the progress of the new Hospital due to be finished in 2011.
The walk with my Ipod and walking shoes is a good start and preparation for my working mode.

Monday, January 26, 2009

More Beach Strolling

Anne & Paul and Ali & Stu arrived for a week on the coast. We went walking down to the beach on a lovey sunny day, four adults and 3 dogs. With the dogs on extended leads there was a bit of weaving to untangle at times, but they were all eager. The local beach is closed to dogs from Dec to Apr, (not popular with the locals!) but you can use it to access the next beaches and for us it was to walk around the rocks and cliffs to the second beach. There was a man with two golden retrievers taking no notice but we stayed on the rocks at the edge while Ali had a surf, then we headed off.
An activity that Spencer does not indulge in, it was cute to see Fluffy (yes!) digging a huge hole!
The tide was well out, and the rocks and rock pools are a fabulous walk. It was covered this time in a beaded seaweed,that while not slippery needed careful negotiations when the exposed rock was narrow.
I love the almost circular pools cut into the rock with crystal clear view to the stones and shells below. Spencer indulged in plunges into the bigger ones,while Fluffy and Sponty paddled! At one point Sponty disappeared (off leash!) and I walked back a little, and there he was perched between three young men who were eating Chinese food. He was chomping away; I asked what he was eating and the guy said 'Roast Duck!!! I had to almost drag him away!
We walked for about an hour around the beach to the Sunnymede beach which is a long stretch and dog friendly. It also has a steeper walk up to the road, so not my favourite! The sand was firm from the tide recently going out and the coloured cliffs made is a great view at every turn.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beach Life

It was a bit chilly in the wind on the beach with a fairly strong southerly coming direct from the antarctic!
Beach Cricket was popular, all hoping to redeem the Oz reputation against South Africa!
There were many brave souls leaping into the surf.
The more sensible ones in wet suits but others just in bathers.
Others enduring the outing while the kids frolicked, were rugged up and steadily attempting to get lost in a good book (to take their mind off the chill?)









Australia Day Weekend

This long weekend is signal to the end of the School holidays, but a welcome break after just a short time at work. I traveled down to Aireys Inlet on Friday night with Wendy leaving at 5.45. We came across the new Ballarat Hamilton road before Geelong and had a quick trip along that; pleased to have company as neither of us knew where to exit!! We passed a few choices then chose the West Geelong / Ballarat one and this turned out to be a good choice taking us to Belmont and 5 minutes from the Anglesea road at Waurn Ponds. I have to check a map on line to see if there is another choice. But the trip took 75 minutes rather than 90...so really great.
The house looked as welcoming as ever and very smart with the 'new' leather lounge suite. The older ones are still in the carport so I need to organise to get them donated.
We did our usual cliff walk with Sponty on lead and Spencer roaming. We went around the rocks to the side beach and Sponty had a run in that enclosed area.
Sunday we went up the the Food and Craft Market at the Community Centre and bought some fresh produce and cup cakes for dinner! There are a lot of small specialty food businesses in the area. I took the time to thank the photographer whose picture of Wilson's Prom I gave to Andrew for Christmas.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Candice and James

On my return to Melbourne I was delighted to receive an invitation to Candice and James' wedding. They had visited me in Tokyo when they were over for the Infant Mental Health Conference.
The wedding was held at 9 Darling Street a house in South Yarra now a Reception centre. Many a school social, graduation etc has been held there, so was familiar to many of the guests.
In fact James and Candice met there (at table number 3!) at a school Graduation.
It was a hot day and the ceremony was in the garden then the reception in the main room. A delicious meal complemented by some home made wine of Candice's Uncle! Candice hates the system of alternating main courses round the table so we were able to choose our main course. A lovely day and evening!!
As you can see she looked Beautiful

Spencer says Thank you

I invited Wendy, Shirley and Judy to lunch to thank them for caring for Spencer in my absence. It was a beautiful sunny day so we had lunch on the back deck while the dogs roamed the garden.
Spencer and Tallulah were a challenge to get photographed together, only possible by offering a treat. Spencer had a groom and cut for the occasion: looks very regal.
Judy had the bookshop open, so came later and brought Ben, who looked very cute, his white a contrast to black Spencer

Garden Restoration

With the dry weather and a non gardening tenant I was a bit anxious about what garden I might return to at Footscray. First glance it looked lush, but closer inspection showed the mainstays were OK but the greenery was a weed, not sure of its name, but it acts like sticky glue. Spencer came inside with leaves and small twigs attached everywhere and dropping leaves all over the house. The leaves are small and sticky and impossible to brush off. So a not expected home return task was to weed the garden on day 2. At least it is easy to remove, though the more lush plants needed a spade to get the root. So I ended up with bare spots all over the garden.
The main plants are the roses, the Pom Pom tree, the Iris and the Liriope, so much work was needed. The Japanese garden plants are doing well and I bought a second weeping thing to balance the layout. I started with some herbs that I had in pots initially, then planted out. Spencer then decided these were perfect to pee and poo on; with all the rest of the yard available!!! So I set up a series of 'fences' to divert his route around the garden: the Coriander succumbed however.
The Pom Pom tree was in flower when I arrived home, a bit late flowering but a heady perfume for the first week back. However its flowers dry to little dry mops that gradually fall. But we had 2 days of very strong northerly winds (the tree faces North) and I came home to drift os flowers against the veranda and stones like snow. Spencer's water bowl was 2 inches deep in litter! Unfortunately, unlike snow it won't melt so I will have to rake it out and off the stones a laborious task.
I had decided to remove the gravel of the Japanese garden from under the tree for this very reason, and found there was a huge amount of soil in with the stones so they are half sorted (not having a 'strainer') and still sitting on the path. I replaced the small stones with the big ones, which will make leaf litter removal easier. Once the new plant grows it will look good have to have long range patience in gardens or you can over plant.

A Change of Pace

Japan seems a long time away,and my retreat at Aireys long gone. Now I am back at work full time at full speed ahead. I started back with a plan to control the rush of work and this died an early death, but has arisen in this 3rd week back. I now have a daily routine.
I get up at 7, take yesterday's shower water out and pour into the watering can, to water what seems needed. We are under Stage 3A water restrictions: No watering of gardens except between 6-8am in Tuesday and Saturday, no washing car sor washing down drives etc. No watering of lawns at all. So I catch water in the shower as I adjust the temperature and use the water tank attached to the bungalow. (The Tank's capacity depends on rain and it hasn't rained since Christmas.) After my shower I have breakfast, then prepare a salad in a lunch box to accompany a can of flavoured tuna to take for lunch. Spencer rushes in and out checking on what stage I am up to, staying close once I get dressed and getting thrilled when I put my shoes on. Then I go and clean my teeth and put on lipstick, At this stage he is waiting in the kitchen, opposite the bathroom so he can see me. As I come out and into the kitchen, he passes me in the doorway on his way to the back door where he runs around in circles until I arrive with his bone, which he grabs and dashes off down the side of the house. I lock the doors, grab my Ipod and backpack and am off by 7.50.
The traffic has increased in this last week as people are back at work after the holiday. It will be worse after Australia Day as school is back Feb 2nd, but for now the only hold up is getting into Moore St. from the ring road. Those morons will enter the intersection knowing they can't get out before the lights change!! But a 10 minute drive is still good!
I drive and park in Lloyd street where there is no time limit or meters, and then walk for 35 minutes to work. Photos of the walk next week. It was walking along under some gums that made me feel I should record these lovely morning moments. (as opposed to Celia's chilly walk!)