Thursday, 26 February 2009
Now the thing is we don't have a birthday present for our mum and with a couple days to go I'm starting to fret a little, but it seems as though I'm the only person who is concerned about this! Earlier in the week my mum mentioned that there were several things she was interested in (I did not ask her this either): gardening, crafts and dolls. I tried getting my dad to get thinking about what we should get our mum for her birthday, and I could see then why he doesn't buy people gifts that often! He initially suggested just giving her money, but when I pressed him to think of something more special and told him that our mum did buy him a laptop for his last birthday, he started thinking he should get her a laptop! He eventually settled on maybe getting her a hydroponics set, but after we went to visit a hydroponics store later in the day and got told by the guy at the shop that we may want to do a bit more research to determine what exactly we want, we've now pretty much shelved that idea!
I'm starting to drift towards getting her a garden ornament, something like a fairy, or one of those ones of a little boy or angel. Regardless, I have to go into the city tomorrow to help out with the Dessert Club stall for a couple hours. I might buy my mum something small or maybe even a bouquet of flowers just to give to her on her birthday so she doesn't think we've completely forgotten!
No more stats! Yay!!! Despite having many distractions during the Summer School semester, with surgery being one of them, I managed to get the best grade I've ever got since being at uni, but then again it's probably because stats is supposed to be the easiest paper anyway! I did apply for Aegrotat which means they take my impaired preparation into consideration and adjust my mark accordingly as they see fit. I don't know if they had to or not, but oh well, if they did it's $25 well spent!
I've finally been able to sort out my timetable which I'll put up somewhere later on, and apply for student allowance. Yay free money!!!
Yesterday though I saw an ad on Student Job Search for a music theory teacher - my dream job!!!! I really wanted to enquire as I've always wanted to teach music theory and get students to sit music theory exams. The only thing was that it would require 4 hours a week, was all the way in Royal Oak and would push my earnings beyond the limit, which means it would cut my student allowance. It got me thinking in the shower though, that even though student allowance is money for no work, maybe it's about time I got used to the real world of work = pay and start doing a bit more work to earn my keep, rather than just rely on the few hours I work in the weekend and student allowance to get by.
My bank account is looking a little empty right now though...
I had to get to uni at about 7.30am, which meant catching the bus at 6.30am, the earliest I'd ever caught a bus into the city! When I got there we all had to meet up in the Library Basement Lecture Theatre. We were given our Uniguide t-shirts, caps, stickers, cards, bags and other stuff.
We then made our way out to stand by our banners outside near where the powhiri for the first year students was going on. It started to spit, so we tried sheltering under what little shelter we could find. Once the powhiri was over though, we lined up along the driveway near the marae and started calling out for students who would be studying in our faculty, the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences!
There were a few who came over to us. Most were health science students, while there a handful of pharmacy students and some nursing students. We lead them all to one of the Business School lecture theatres where they sat through an introduction lecture, which we had to introduce ourselves!
Once that was all done, we were assigned our groups. I was given six people and lead them outside to the couches where I got them to sit together and sign a registration form. I initially asked them to turn to the person sitting next to them (they were all sitting in groups of two) and get to know the other person in two minutes. I would then get them to introduce the person beside them. Well...each pair seemed to know each other except for one pair, so they ended up introducing themselves! That was fair enough.
I was looking at the registration form though when I recognised one of the names of the guys in my group, and realised he plays the accordion! He's one of my accordion rivals! What a coincidence!
A 'special event' was about to start at 11am with 15 minutes to go, so I led them to the Maidment Theatre where it was held and showed them to their seatsi inside the theatre. The 'special event' was this guy who presented a lecture on making sure you balance your uni life, don't drink and drive, make sure you get help when you're down or lonely and don't turn to booze, don't drink and have sex....you get the picture! Well for a start, he started over half an hour late, at about 12pm and it finished at nearly 1pm which was when we were supposed to finish our tour! I was sitting through it constantly checking the time and hoping he'd wrap it up soon!
When it was finally over, we were told we were allowed to run our tour till 1.30pm, so I led my group around the Info Commons, all the way to the Clock Tower, the chapel and back to the General Library where the tour ended. By then it was 2pm and most Uniguides had left the Library Basement Theatre, where we were supposed to meet afterwards. They were already at the Function Room and by goly there was so much food! It was so depressing that I couldn't eat much of it! I just took a few things that I could put in my bag ;)
I soon left to power-walk to Grafton for a meeting regarding helping out with Orientation on Friday. I had to do a take-two after I was halfway there when I realised I left my ID card and the badge necklace thingy in the Function Room!
It was pretty cool being a Uniguide though and helping others out. It was a little funny how I'd have random people come up to me to ask me for help. I had some older woman ask me where the nearest restaurant was (I misunderstood and thought she said restroom!), a man who asked me where a lecture theatre was, and a couple girls asking me where I got my bag from! My Uniguide t-shirt was like a people magnet! (Yes yes I know how geeky that sounds!)
I've organised for my group to meet up again next week, I'm not exactly sure when, now that some can't make it to the time I told them to. I have to meet them each week for the next three weeks just to check they're all doing OK. Hopefully they are!
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
I thought I'd be nice and listen, so I said OK and let them go on. They flipped over to Revelations, told me that to get to Heaven you need the Holy Spirit, the mother bride and some water (or something like that), and then showed me some related Bible passages. She then told me that to get into Heaven you needed to celebrate Passover by eating the bread and drinking the wine, BUT FIRST... you needed to get baptised.
"Why wait to get baptised when you can get baptised now?" She asked me. I thought it was just a general question, so I sorta umm'd and arrrhhh'd, saying that was true. I didn't realise she was actually wanting an answer from me! I then told her it was my mum.
The lady then said she could baptise me right there right now, on my doorstep! All she needed was some water from the tap! Or..they had a car and they could take me on a 5-10 minute drive back to their church to baptise me! I tried telling them that I go to this Chinese church and that my mum would prefer that I get baptised there. They tried telling me that only their church believed in the mother bride!! I apologised and said I'd have to think about it. That was the end of that!
Sunday, 22 February 2009
Instead we went to visit the See family (friends of our family) to check out their computer to see if it worked. We also had some homemade pizza. I was a little greedy and had two slices (even though some had four in the time I ate two!), even though I knew I couldn't eat it. Well I ended up cutting the slices into very tiny pieces and trying to suck the hell out of them so that they were soft enough to swallow. That wasn't such a great success and it ended up taking me half an hour just to eat those two slices!
Friday night was 'activity night' at Youth Group. We were doing a 'Reverse Photo Scavenger Hunt' where each group was given three captions and we ha to come up with a creative photo to match the caption. We had to take a picture for the captions:
- A group of superheroes (Hamish and this other girl Rebecca posed with tea-towel capes in front of clouds drawn on a whiteboard)
- Overly-compassionate youth group members (handing a roll of toilet paper to someone under the toilet door/sheltering a small plant from the rain)
- Beauty (Calum checking himself out in the mirror)
OK so it doesn't sound like we were that creative but it's probably my ability (more like inability) to describe rather than our lack of creativity! I might post some photos when I get them.
Anyway I had my first recorder lessons for the year on Saturday morning. This year I have four classes, one 2nd year class, two 1st year class and one 4th year class. Aonghas was and will be helping me out for the next few weeks. He'll be playing the recorder for me while I teach, since I can't play it myself because of the surgery.
The 2nd and 4th year classes were nothing new to me since I already knew the students. As for the first year classes, I had a student in the first class who seemed to think she knew it all and liked to state the obvious. She said some...interesting things such as:
"My brother's called Klass with a K, but don't call him Classroom because he doesn't like it!"
(Upon asking students to put their recorders aside so we could use the tables to play a game):
"My mum just got me my recorder a few weeks ago and she doesn't want it to get stolen"
Me: "OK I'll get Aonghas to keep watch and make sure no one steals your recorder"
(Upon giving the students some cotton wool to play a little blowing game):
"My mum and my brother are allergic to cotton wool"
Me: "I'll chuck the cotton wool away as soon as they come near. Are you OK with cotton wool?"
"I am....as far as I know"
(Just before leaving class):
"I don't want to wait for next week to come around I want to have another recorder class now because it's so much fun." (with a serious face)
Some of the first year students were quite fast learners while some were a bit slower. I think I've got my work cut out for me!
At first I thought I'd be a loner since I didn't know if any of my other friends were going to be a Uniguide this year. Fortunately it turns out my Rutherford friends Estee, Pita, Neha and Amber, my intermediate school friend Grainam (who was actually one of the Uniguide leaders!), my Health Science friend Sol and my..other friend Dominica were doing it so I wasn't alone! I spent most of the time sitting and hanging out with Estee and Pita though. I hope I didn't bother them too much!
The format of the day was that we started off with some ice-breakers which saw us start off with some aerobics at the uni recreation centre. Let's just say they're not my usual dance moves! We also got into two circles, an inner and an outer circle, with each pair facing each other. We then had 10 seconds to get to know the person before the inner circle of people had to move to the person on their left and then we'd get to know that person for 10 seconds, and so on. It was quite interesting despite only having enough time to get to know the person's name and their degree! There were quite a few engineering students and commerce students! I really shouldn't have supported myself on my knuckles as I scraped a bit of skin!
We concluded with a few boys vs girls games where we had to come up with chants, and do some other jumping game. I was a bit clueless as I couldn't hear what the leaders were telling us to do!
After that we had some snacks provided to us for lunch (I couldn't eat any of it so I grabbed some and took them home to feed my family!).
We spent the rest of the day listening to this woman who gave us a session on leadership and how to be a good leader.It involved everyone in our whole row from one wall of the lecture theatre to the other having to get together to form a human structure! There were some interesting ones that some of the other rows came up with, while the best we could do was form a caterpillar!
We finished off the day by receiving Uniguide training t-shirts! We were told to meet our faculty leaders, but when I went to the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Uniguide leaders they didn't have my or my pharmacy friend Jacky's name on their list! They gave us each a t-shirt nonetheless. I had to take a large size since there weren't any left. I could probably use it as a towel! (OK a bit of an exaggeration!)
The next day's training followed a similar format. When we had to sign in upon arriving though, I discovered that they had lumped us pharmacy students under Faculty of Science! How dare they!!! OK it's not such a big deal but it was a little odd.
We started off with icebreakers again, this time in the marae though. We were split into groups where we had to come up with a song that included a given word, and we also played this game where we had to make animal sounds. It sounds a lot more fun than how I've just described it!
Once we got back though, it was all talking for the rest of the day, with representatives from the different university services giving short talks on what they offer. We have to take our 1st year students to the different services on the day so they know where and how to access those services. I have to admit I was a bit tired and dozed off slightly! I did bring a book I had borrowed earlier from the university library on legal method and NZ's legal system and learned a few fancy words like 'ratio decidendi' from reading the book while I was supposed to be listening to the speeches! Yay!! I also managed to quickly get away and attend a very brief Dessert Club meeting during lunch!
When the speeches were finally done though, Grainam took a few of us on a brief tour around uni to show us the places we had to show our 1st year students. Because the weather was wet, some of the students were wearing ponchos that had been provided to them. Even though I had brought an umbrella with me, I should've taken a poncho too, since I got a bit drenched!
So now with training all done, it's time to be a Uniguide and guide students around uni!
Thursday, 19 February 2009
While I was very weak the night I came home, the next morning I was feeling better and a lot more optimistic, despite being frustrated at how difficult it was to eat. On that day my youth group at church were meeting together for lunch at On and Fiona's (our youth group leaders who happen to both be pharmacists AND married!) house. I originally wanted to attend but I still wasn't feeling completely up to it, plus I still had my Stats assignment to START that was due the Monday after the weekend! So I ended up staying at home just watching TV coverage of the Waitangi Day coverage and the rugby 7's with my mum while doing my stats assignment, while my brothers went and had fun with the youth group at their lunch. My Aunty Noeline and Uncle Peter, who had just had an operation on his hand came to visit on their way home too.
They came home later that night though and brought home some leftovers, including part of a cake they had to celebrate everyone who had a birthday in January (which includes me). They also gave me a card everyone had signed for me which was really nice of them!
While my face was still quite swollen the next day, I was fortunately well enough to check out the Lantern Festival the that day with my family. We didn't arrive till about 8pm and it was so packed! I had to watch out that I didn't get knocked in the face by anyone nearby or else that'd be very painful!
The festival was quite similar to past years, and so we just walked around checking out lanterns and trying to take good photos with our SLR. Ben, an old high school friend was there on his own so I got him to join me and my family for the night, and so he became an honorary 'Anderson' for the night! It was very tortuous walking down the road with all the food stalls though, since I couldn't buy or eat anything on offer!
It was really cool coming back to church on Sunday though; they were all excited to see me again and thought I looked a bit funny with my big, swollen face. I wasn't able to talk much as talking too much would make me tired. I think I sang a bit too much during the service though, as I got a bit of a headache when I came out of it at the end! During lunch a few of my friends sitting with my brothers and me found it amusing how I was only eating yoghurt and drinking Up and Go! That has pretty much been my diet for the past two weeks!
I did mange to get my stats assignment done in time and handed it in on Monday afternoon while on the way to pick up Aonghas's new laptop. He bought himself a Sony Vaio, I bet Alice will be very pleased with that! His laptop is 13", slightly bigger than mine, but a lot lighter, and a bit more expensive!
Tuesday morning was my follow-up appointment at Middlemore Hospital where the surgeon checked up on me. I was hoping I'd be able to get rid of the elastic bands restricting the movement of my mouth. He did take them out, but gave me a pack of elastic bands and told me to replace them each day when I brush my teeth! Noooo! He did take the stitch out of my forehead though, after the nurse struggled to get all of it out!
The surgeon did warn me to eat soft/liquidy food for the next six weeks...the next SIX weeks!!! I was thinking - how am I going to survive that long?? Up till that point I had been eating spaghetti, salmon, yoghurt, ice-cream and nothing more everyday and already had doubts on how long I could last on just that. I can happily report that after a few weeks I'm still eating the same thing, but I'm trying to expand into some other food, just breaking it up with my tongue since I can't chew! Today I attempted half a pie, which was extremely tiring! I guess having ice-cream a few times a day isn't too bad, but it gets tedious, and when the rest of the family gets to eat sausages, corn-chips, bread and other yummy solids, it gets really depressing!
The surgeon explained that if I ate hard food before my time I might rebreak my jaw. I have a titanium plate that is connecting the part of the jaw that was cut in surgery and if it gets loose then it might not reform properly. That scared me a little bit, and after that follow-up appointment, I became quite conscious of every little thing. I did take all my pills everyday, but whenever I heard clicks when I opened and closed my mouth I'd get a little freaked out, worrying that I had damaged something. I was especially worried at church when I laughed too much my jaw hurt, and then after that moment whenever I opened my mouth I heard a click! I started to wonder if I had rebroken my jaw!
When I got home though, I decided I'd better check if it was my elastics rubbing against my jaw, and turns out it was! Phew!!! Knowing that won't stop me from continuing to be cautious though, as I definitely don't want to return to hospital!
I did ask the surgeon if he could fill out an Aegrotat application form for me, which would allow the examiners to take into consideration my impaired preparation for the upcoming stats exam. He was well and truly generous and ticked the boxes that my performance in the exam was impaired by a SERIOUS degree and so was my preparation! I hadn't even sat the exam yet! Oh well, I won't be relying on Aegrotat to help me pass the exam though!
I had the exam on Tuesday afternoon, and it wasn't too bad. It was all multichoice. The air-conditioning was quite strong though and I was only in a t-shirt so I was starting to freeze. What made it worse was I was starving too! It was good catching up with my pharmacy friends though and I also caught up with a few health science friends after the exam too!
I spent my (sorta) last free day yesterday mucking around and decided to check out Trademe, and found a pharmacy textbook for only $4!! What a discount! OK so it's an older edition, but at $4 who cares! I love you Trademe! I'm going to keep a closer eye on Trademe for good discounts!
I also did have a little squizzy at AUT's website and noticed how entry into Law at AUT is only around B to B+ average! I've now decided that I want to do law after I finish pharmacy,and I'll use that as motivation for me to do a whole lot better in these last two years I have of pharmacy, so I have a better chance of getting into law at AUT or Auckland University! Either that or Commerce...
Anyway, time to sleep. I've got Uniguide training in the morning...(is anyone else a uniguide this year?)
Saturday, 14 February 2009
Friday, 13 February 2009
I had to get up really early last Monday morning to ensure I got to Middlemore Hospital by 7am. My parents took me there and during the ride I just kept thinking about what would and could happen.
When we got there we had to find the DOSA (Day of Surgery Admissions) where I showed them my letter. They put this information bracelet around my wrist and gave me a gown, robe and a cap to wear. At first I wasn't too sure how to wear it but I soon figured it out! Before the nurse gave me my final blood pressure test I put on my pressure socks.
After the dressing and the blood pressure tests, I went back to sit with my parents in the corridor for about a half an hour till the anaesthetist came out to ask me some questions and tell me what the plan would be. I asked her all the questions I had, such as waking up, if there were hidden complications, etc. but she kept reassuring me that I was healthy and all would be fine!
Next was a surgeon, I can't remember his role, but he had a whole list of questions he wanted to ask, before the surgeon Dr Peter Hill came to talk to me about the procedure and what he would be doing to me. I gave my parents instructions to take as many photos and record as much video of my time in hospital as possible, and so I asked the surgeon if anyone could take photos while I was in surgery, but he said that wouldn't be possible but that was all right.
The surgeon then led me down another corridor into this room where there was a reclined chair/bed in the middle of the room. It looked like a theatre but this was obviously where they'd give me the general anaesthetic to put me to sleep. The anaesthetist started talking to me about what I was studying at uni while she was organising the injection she'd put into my left arm. All I remember was saying to her
"I'm studying pharmacy but I don't think you'd want me as your pharmacist!..."
That's when I drifted into blackness. The next thing I knew I could hear voices discussing my surgery. While one did mention something about the excessive amount of something, another person mentioned the surgery was a success. That's when I asked if I was allowed to wake up. I slowly opened my eyes to find myself in a bed in a large room with other beds. The nurse sitting beside me monitoring my status told me I was in the recovery room. One of the first things I mentioned was that I had a runny nose and asked if I was allowed to sniff. The nurse told me I could and she'd use some vacuum to suck it out. She then went on to ask me to rate the pain I was feeling out of ten. I said five...six...five....
After a while they pushed me and my bed to an isolation room in Ward 21, where I would remain for the next three days. For most of the first day I found myself lying there with all these tubes attached to me. I had two plastic containers coming from the bottom of my chin, apparently to collect the excess blood floating around. I also had a couple tubes going into my left arm, one including an IV drip, and worst of all...I had a catheter up me!
I had a love-hate relationship with the catheter. Whenever I felt I was about to wet myself I got a little concerned, but then before I could stop myself it was all gone and I was still dry! In fact on that first day after my 6-7 hour surgery I was quite out of it. I had a really swollen face and felt dizzy for most of the time. Fortunately the nurses who were really nice regularly checked up on me. I had a buzzer throughout my time in hospital and they would come not too long after I buzzed!
Time went by really slowly and I would try take a rest, having to ensure I laid on my back and not my side. The nurse would often encourage me to try drink some water, and would help me by using a syringe to squirt some into my mouth (no needles used!). Along with that she'd come in to inject some antibiotics and change my fluids, check my blood pressure or empty my urine container.
Visiting hours were 2-8pm so I was looking forward to seeing my parents but as expected they showed up at 7,30pm, half an hour before they'd get kicked out! It was good seeing them though, with Hamish filming me and taking photos (which is what I wanted! haha) By 8pm though I was extremely tired and really wanted to sleep.
I may have wanted to sleep, but getting to sleep was another thing. Throughout my time at hospital I always found it difficult to get to sleep! The first night was probably the worst. I would wake up whenever a nurse came in. She was fiddling with a connection when she accidentally spilt blood all over me! She got me to try stand up while an orderly changed the sheets as fast as she could.
The next nurse who took over at around midnight would come in quietly and shine a torch at me. I woke up and saw her do it and she told me she has to shine her torch at my stomach regularly just to check I was still breathing. I found this amusing! I once caught her kneeling on the ground by the table shining at me! She did offer to feed me whenever during the night though since she had been assigned to look after me. I took her up on that a few times and she would squirt water or custard into my mouth with a syringe.
The next morning came, along with two new nurses, one being a recent graduate. They wanted me to try see if I could stand up and sit on a couch for a little bit just so I'd get out of bed and get used to it Before that though it was finally time to disconnect me from a few things. First of all was the catheter. I was told this would be the most painful thing I'd have to experience during my time at hospital and how right they were! They had to deflate something before they slid it out (all the while reassuring me I couldn't see anything!). The next were the plastic containers which were starting to be a little bothersome. They replaced it with a giant plaster!
After they lifted me slightly to wash my back and allow me to slide into some pyjamas under my blanket, I attempted to sit in the chair while they changed the bedsheets. It was also time for me to move out of the isolation room and into the ward with others. Once again I hopped back into bed and they wheeled me into the ward with four others. One guy was about to be discharged, one had been in hospital for more than two weeks while the guy next to me was almost ready to be discharged. He had had jaw surgery too, but I think it was after he had his jaw broken! He was really nice, he adjusted his TV set so I could see it too. It wasn't too exciting but at least it was better than doing nothing.
He was about to be discharged so he plugged in his remote into my bed and let me watch my TV. I thought this would be cool, it'd help pass the day away faster and take my mind away from my jaw and not being able to eat (I was still on IV so I wasn't too hungry at that time). However, not too long later the TV guy came in to repossess the remote! It'd cost me $8 a day if I wanted to watch TV!!
So I spent most of the day lying there not knowing what to do, just trying to get some rest, only to wake up and discover 10 minutes had passed! The hospital setting was extremely boring there was absolutely nothing to do, not much to say to the others, and I had become frustrated at not being able to drink my water properly or even eat the lunch they served me, which was mashed potato and some mashed fruit salad! I completely bypassed the potato and tried the fruit salad but only managed to eat a little before I gave up. I had enough trouble trying to get the food in my mouth let alone the spoon!
I was at my lowest point that day, feeling quite down.It was not till when my aunty, uncle, cousin and his girlfriend came to visit. They brought with them some reading material such as a newspaper and a couple of magazines, along with a 'Get Well Soon' card and a 'You're a Champ' teddy bear. It was really nice of them to come by, especially since Middlemore Hospital is such a long way from West Auckland! They stayed for a while till my family came. My aunty tried to feed me a little bit. It sorta made me feel like a little kid for a moment there!
Just as they left, Karvin, a pastor from our church and one of our youth group leaders came in to visit. It was quite a surprise and it was a really nice thing for him to do! He hung around and talked to me for a little while and just before he left asked if he could pray for me, so we all prayed together. That was probably the most touching thing for me, for him to pray for me especially during such a tough time for me. I admit...I got a little emotional! haha
I'm so grateful to them for caring so much to have taken time out of their lives to travel all the way to Middlemore Hospital just to see how I was doing (wow how many "to's" were there in that sentence?). It really meant a lot to me. There were also a few people who kept texting me, keeping me company throughout my time in hospital, such as Mischa and Jenny and so thanks heaps guys that also meant heaps to me!
So anyway I got tired and my family left. I was going to try get some sleep this time round! Unfortunately just before my family left I got a pain in my stomach, which didn't make me feel so good throughout the rest of the night. I couldn't describe the pain to the nurse and so she could only give me paracetamol. I tried to sleep to forget about the uncomfortableness, but the clicking noise of the IV drip and the new patient moving in didn't help too much!
The surgeons came to visit early next (Wednesday) morning to tell me about my surgery and check up on me. They told me my surgery was a textbook surgery and was successful. They thought everything was looking good and if things kept going the way they were then I'd be out by the following day. I was already feeling a lot more positive after hearing this! They also wanted me to go for a much longer walk than my dizzy stumbles to the toilet.
I spent much of the morning reading the newspaper and the magazines my relatives had given me, till the nurse came to check my blood pressure and give me antibiotics. I told her what the doctor had said about getting up and about, and that's when she suggested to the new patient right beside me that I go out for a walk with him. Once the nurse was done with me he called me to come with him, and so I followed. We left our ward and went outside the hospital, walking through the carpark and all the way to the other side before we came back. It felt great to be outside and to breathe in the fresh air! You couldn't get away from that hospital smell though and that's what made me silghtly nauseous towards the end of our walk. I hopped into bed after that long walk, wanting to take a bit of a rest. Lunch was served not too long after and I was determined to eat and drink more. I had only recently been disconnected from the IV drip and told that if I took in enough fluids I wouldn't have to be reconnected. That would save so much hassle for me, not having to call the nurse in to disconnect me from the drip whenever I wanted to go to the toilet, and to finally have the last tube removed from me!
I was getting a lot better! I was drinking more and starting to eat more, albeit at a very very slow pace! Because half my face was still numb (I was given qutie a bit of anaesthetic, according to the doctor) I couldn't tell if I had food on my lips, so I'd constantly wipe my mouth. It was like I was an old man!
The rest of the day was spent listening to music on my phone and trying to read or maybe rest. My family popped in around the same time as usual. I told them that I might be discharged the next day but my mum told me she wanted me to stay as long as I needed because they could look after me better than if my parents if I went home. I was starting to feel they didn't want me back home!!
I don't remember much about the sleep that night but I'm sure it was another one of those interrupted sleeps where you get a period of good sleep then you're up, then another period of good sleep.
On Thursday morning, what would be my final morning at hospital, the nurse came and told me a doctor would check up one me and see if I was fit to be discharged. I asked her about my eyes because they'd get irritated if anything came into contact with them, and she said it wasn't normal and to ask the doctor. When the doctor came to check up on me, he thought I was ready to be discharged by midday. As for my eyes, he said my eyes were taped shut during surgery and so they might get a little irritated for a while, but it would go away soon. Phew!
My phone was dead that day so I went out for a walk again with my neighbour. This time we went as far as we could go in the hospital without having to go outside. It was amazing just how many corridors there were at Middlemore Hospital! I'm sure you could run a marathon inside there and not cross the same path twice! Well he showed me some places he had come across on his midnight walks (he usually works early in the morning and so he was finding it hard to sleep at night...not so good for the nurses wondering where their patient had gotten to!).
We managed to find our way back to our ward where we had our lunch and I tried to lie down to get some rest and wait for the moment I would finally be discharged from hospital. I felt a little sorry for the guys opposite me in the ward as they both required skin grafts and were really frustrated at being mucked around by the doctors. One guy was told he'd get surgery the day before but then was later told only two doctors were willing to operate on him and only in the next day. The other guy had already been in hospital for two weeks and he lived just down the road! He had an infection in his leg and required a skin graft. The physio came that day to try get him to get up and walk a little to see if he was ready to leave. Yeehaa he was successful and he was over the moon at the news he'd be discharged sometime in the next one or two days!
As I lay there I was starting to wonder if they had forgotten about me! It was about 3pm now and I hadn't heard anything on when I'd be discharged. It was not till 4pm when a nurse came in and told me the doctor was completing my discharge papers and I could call my family to arrange transport home. I rang my mum but she said Aonghas had just gone to the gym (he had been away at camp for the whole week!) and so I might have to wait till 6pm before they'd arrive! I asked her if they could come as soon as they could because I just wanted to go home!
When I got back to my bed I got dressed into the clothes I had arrived in on the first day, which had been put in a large brown paper bag. The nurse helped pack my belongings as my bed was needed. The doctor came to see me to give me some advice on how to look after myself, as well as the prescription for the drugs I'd need to take. One more thing he needed to give me was - my medical certificate! I'd need that just in case I couldn't finish my Stats assignment due the following Monday!
After I crammed everything into my bag I farewelled the other guys in the ward and went to the Day Room to wait for my family to come pick me up. By this time I felt really weak and unwell for some reason! I was pretty much slouching in the chair as I struggled to follow Everybody Loves Raymond on TV.
I did this for another couple hours as my family got stuck in traffic. I even managed to watch the news, and what a day for the news - Don Brash got pushed around at Waitangi and murderer Antonie Dixon killed himself in prison! Hearing all this didn't make me feel any better either!
It was not till 7pm that my family finally arrived. I slowly made my way to the car and we headed home, picking up the drugs and some food along the way.
While it was good to be back home, I was feeling too unwell to enjoy it! I trid sleeping in my mum's bed for a while before she woke me to give me my pills and a bit of food. Once again I tried to get some sleep that night but this time it was my mum's snoring that kept me awake!
The next Waitangi Day morning I was feeling a lot better though. It was the start of a life with a new jaw. From that week I was to put behind me 20 years of eating with a crossbite and try learn a new way of eating. While most people don't even notice the position of their teeth and jaw, even now for me I notice just how different it is, but I'm determined to make this work!
I was initially fearful of the surgery itself and whether I'd get through it. Well I didn't wake up during surgery, I didn't even feel a thing! What I should've been more worried about was the recovery period after...
Monday, 2 February 2009
It is only a few hours to go before my surgery and I'm really freaking out about it! It's honestly the scariest thing I will have faced in my life to date. It's a lot different to a music competition/performance approaching, as you know regardless of how you play life will still go on after it and things won't change too much whether you play well or not, except for the number of compliments you get of course!
There are two things that scare me the most about surgery - that something may go wrong during surgery, and that the results will leave me worse than I currently am. I'm not worried as much about the recovery period as I know I can get through the pain (wearing braces for as long as I have has toughened me up, especially due to the numerous times the wire has slid right around and constantly stabbed me in the gums!). The nursing co-ordinator told me the chances of me getting hit by a car is just as high, but at least you can take steps to prevent getting hit by a car, whereas with surgery my life and the results rest with the surgeons, but I'll do my best to trust them!
I'll only get a few hours sleep before I have to wake up at 4am to have a shower, get to Middlemore Hospital by 7am. After that it'll all be in the hands of the surgeons.
We had church in the morning where Aonghas played his children's summer programme video at the service. Gabrielle, the leader of our youth group gave me a little pen and a bookmark with this really cool quote (in Chinese though!), something about forget about the past, and look forward. I spent the rest of my last day with a crossbite helping paint some steps with my mum before coming home and packing for the hospital. My mum has given me this bag that has cannabis plants all over it to put my stuff in...how suitable!
Originally my final meal (or as some joked 'The Last Supper') was to be fries...you know something unhealthy but yummy, but Aonghas, who went out to buy food for his camp forgot to buy the fries and the takeaways had closed by the time he got there. We ended up just having rice with hoki fish and some green vegetables. I'm not allowed to eat any solids after 2am and any food or drink after 6am.
I've admittedly been a bit emotional tonight, trying to hold it in and remain staunch but the thought of surgery is really difficult for me to think about, so I'm trying not to! Aonghas's story about his friend's dad waking up in the middle of surgery and all the killings and deaths in the 24 premiere on TV tonight (I DEFINITELY couldn't miss 24!!!!!!!) haven't really helped to calm the nerves but I'm starting to feel a little better now after talking to a few friends! Thanks Mischa! haha
So it's almost time. Hopefully I see you all on the other side! I'll post as soon as I come round and get access to the internet. If I don't make it, well it's been nice meeting you, but please pray for me (if you're religious)!
Sunday, 1 February 2009
We did a bit of singing before we were asked to write on small slips of yellow paper questions we want answered about anything to do with Christianity, and also what we want out of youth group this year. We then wrote a letter to ourselves talking about our goals, hopes, etc. that we'd read in a year's time. Mine was sorta more tongue-in-cheek, joking to myself about if I survive surgery, and that if I'm still single in a year's time and I'm not buff from working out at the gym then that's probably why!
We were about to divide into two groups for sharing and praying for each other when Aonghas told the group about my pending surgery after the weekend. What was really nice was that they all prayed for me and one of our youth group leaders who is also a pastor said he might visit me, which he really doesn't need to go out of his way to do! Middlemore is quite far away! While I try not to bring up my surgery (because really, who would care? haha...plus it means I don't have to think about it) I just joked about it with them when they asked me about what was going to happen. I admit I do try hide my real fear and worries by taking a light-hearted approach, but I don't want to make others feel gloomy though!
After youth group we just hung around for supper and talked about all sorts of random stuff. I just talked to Angie for a while until she started getting phone calls from home! We soon took her home after she got her second phone call! Hopefully she didn't find our youth group too weird or boring and that we see her again one day!!
The following day after our first accordion lesson for the year we had another church gathering, this time a 'reunion' for all those who helped out with the church's children's summer programme. We came late as usual as Aonghas was rushing to get the video finished. He finished it so late that we had to encode and burn it onto a DVD in the car as we drove there. Because the laptop battery was dying, we were hoping we'd get to Emily's (the person in charge of the programme) place in time to plug it in and allow the process to complete. Fortunately we got there in time!
We then went to a nearby park where everyone had gathered to have a barbeque. We ate and talked for a while before checking out the beach. Some of us didn't have suitable footwear for walking on sand!
When it was time to go back to Emily's place us three brothers got in our car while our mum got in someone else's car. We also took along with us two other girls from our youth group. The minister's son who's also in our youth gruop decided he'd run, and so we drove alongside him at a dangerously fast speed shouting at him as the hiphop blasted from our car. We got some weird looks from some boyracers speeding past us!
Once we got there it was finally time for Aonghas to play his video (which was well received), and then play the photo slideshow while we each took turns to share what we gained from helping out with the children's summer programme.
It's been really cool getting to hang out with the guys and girls in our youth group more, and I'm really grateful they're a great bunch of people. We're set to have a few more join us soon (maybe Angie will be one of them who decides to keep coming!) - some of the younger people at our church who have just started high school. I was a little unsure about them joining and breaking our tight-knit group at first, but now I've come to realise it'd be a good opportunity to get to know them better, regardless of what I've heard about them! (Good or bad!!)