Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Those white cockatoos you see up the top were visiting my backyard a few months ago and smiled as I flashed the camera their way.
They actually look pleased to be there and were busy with their mates, chattering away the day they landed.

We have a wide array of birds who come to visit and in recent days its been amazing to wake up to the sounds of bird life as the sky lightens.

We have parrots who come to visit in the hot summer months......
We have maggies (perhaps an omen for next Saturday?), we have wattle birds and blackbirds, sparrows (flying mice) by the dozen, gorgeous little grey birds with a tuft of yellow on their tail feathers. We even have the cheeky little blue wrens from time to time who take great delight in checking themselves in the car rear windows and leaving a deposit each time.
You have to love this 'warming' time of the year when life begins to emerge from hibernation and the new breed of birds do exactly what their fore-fathers did before them.
Another thing I've noticed, just quickly before I go, is that of a night time, if you stick your head out the door, your sense of smell will delight in a heady array of perfumes as plants and flowers are beginning to release their scents with the warmer weather.
Once the heat of summer hits, that perfume will dissipate, but for now with the crisp coolish air hinting at a gentle warmth, the scent is there to delight and for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

And so it comes....

I'm really on the countdown with work now.

Only one and a half shifts left...Tomorrow is a full day, Thursday is a half clinic, half ward day and then Friday is a day in the city at the conference I will be attending, as local support.

This week also appears to be heralding the death knell of my beloved car.

My commodore sedan, purchased only 10 years ago is sounding its death rattles as we speak. PGA, as I fondly call her has been at the mechanics for almost a week now and he has just rung to tell me there is not a lot he can do to fix some major problems that have emerged as he been fixing other problems.

We purchased this car almost brand new when Chris and Merryn were 17 and 15 respectively.

This car has been with us through numerous trials in our lives, when my Dad died and when Chris died. This car has been to Porepunkah numerous times. She has been to NSW, South Australia, even QLD I think from memory. She was with me when I went up to Bairnsdale to be with Bronie when her Isabelle was born. She has taken Mum and I up to Pambula, and was an integral key to when Mum moved from Rosebud to where she now resides.

If ever I could love something inanimate, it would have to be my white commodore sedan, PGA.

Unfortunately though, all things change as we grow older and it seems I must prepare to say goodbye to her as some problems are irreparable.

Last Sunday was Murray's eldest sisters 70th. birthday. Her second eldest daughter held a birthday party for her with immediate family and siblings present.

It was a delightful day and the bonus for Murray and I was to catch up with people it has been all to easy to put off seeing when you are so busy with work.

Shirl has certainly experienced some trials in her life and seeing her emerge as a truly graceful woman from it all is one of my life's pleasures.

Shirl has 12 grandchildren and 11 of them were there the other day. It was also a bonus watching those grandchildren who not long ago were little kids, emerging into maturing adults with almost independant lives.

As for the rest of us, (the siblings that is)...we don't appear to have changed much and the biggest delight of the day apart from singing "Happy Birthday" and laughing about when Shirl spoke of "Krugers'" (in joke) was simply picking up where we left off from the last time we saw each other.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A day in a life.

Whilst travelling into the city the other week with my other half, Melbourne was a very wet city indeed. We travelled very early in the morning and I managed to capture this distorted sunrise vision through a rain-dropped windscreen as we joined the queue along the freeway

Thought I might as well start the Christmas countdown although I don't mean to scare anybody. I have my own countdown you see.

One week and a half ago....8 days to be exact, the boss went on leave and muggins here had to slide into her role as acting unit manager of a very busy unpredictable birthing unit.
I am feeling a little swamped (understatement) at this point as I have so much to do each day, plus extra she has left me that I have not had time to contemplate.
I just wish I had one day without interruptions, a day where I could close the door and just do what I want to do, alas and alack, the busy ward with all its issues render me putting things aside and catching up, and just doing this and that and going to meetings and remembering to draw breath from time to time.

I have 8 shifts to go with one of them a study day in the city. I have been approached via email to act as a local contact on that day which means I get to meet and greet people, ensure they have nametags and booklets and all that kind of stuff you get when you attend a workshop. The bonus for me is that the company running the workshop have reimbursed my costs to attend so I consider myself most fortunate indeed.

Do you like my hands?

These hands represent some of my colleagues. They also represent the tactile emphasis we have in our roles as midwives in our busy unit.

Our job entails not only catching babies as they come into the world from the security of their mother's uterus. Our job also implies touch, a form of communication many of us in this world take for granted. We touch our colleagues, we touch those babies, we touch their mothers, we even touch their partners and their families from time to time. With that touch comes an element of faith and trust. What some forget is that we, as people, are only human and errors are made from time to time. I am not writing about life threatening errors but merely minute errors in the broadest of sense. I find it dismaying and disappointing when some people within the community will not grace us with an element of difference. Whether we like it or not, we are all subjective to our own knowledge, even if we believe we are objective and we can never be 100% accurate on anything that we do that requires use of senses such as touch and smell.

There are days I wonder why I do what I do when faced with conflict and ever-growing issues...but there are times such as when I took these photos I know why I do what I do.
I am a midwife to work with the wonderful people that work around me and for this will always be grateful.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Life is beautiful

I've nearly completed week one of 'being the boss' and I am amazed at how quickly the day goes.
Mind, the boss asked me to do a whole heap of stuff on top of the normal day to day stuff and I haven't even looked at the extra yet!
What with payglobal, holiday requests, sick leave, phone calls, keeping tabs on ward happenings and meetings....I am one busy little bee.
A few staff colleagues have been rather unwell this week too for one thing or another. There are a few nasty bugs floating around and I know they wouldn't take the time off if they could help it but it's not much fun trying to work in our environment when you're crook, so they're better off tucked up in bed after all.

The one thing I am not comfortable with is not knowing what is happening in the real world outside the office.
I know the ward is humming along, because I can hear the phones, I can hear staff talking and I know they are very busy. I make it a point to try and get out to see what's going on but I get so caught up with desk stuff it's impossible sometimes.
Yesterday I commented to someone about this very same thing and they replied that I just had to trust them. Of course trust is what we are all about in our job and every midwife has to trust her colleagues. We'd be a sinking ship if we didn't.

My Mum is improving. She is so much better than she was even a week ago. Today she had to present to the medical day procedure unit for an infusion of a medicine to improve her osteoporosis. I am so out of the loop with all this stuff. We get caught up in our own little world, mine being childbirth and the changes within medicine are ongoing all the time. It really is incredible the advancements in some fields. Unfortunately though it is not the same for all areas of medicine, but for now am grateful my mother's quality of life is improving again as the weather warms up a bit and winter passes.

I logged on to my emails today and was quite chuffed to have received an email from Andrea Robertson,(a well known childbirth educator) asking me if I would care to assist on the day of a conference I am going to in October. Why they asked me I don't know but nevertheless I am more than happy to help with name tags and paperwork etc on the day. A bonus is that they will refund me my deposit for the day so who am I to quibble.
Thank you Andrea.

Last week I attended a brilliant conference which was all about wellness in nursing.
One of the speakers was an incredibly energetic woman, who also happens to be my age but looks far far younger, by the name of Amanda Gore. Amanda travels all round the world, lecturing on relationships within workplaces and how to get the best out of your colleagues and yourself.
I was so impressed with Amanda's presentation I called her to tell her so and today I received this in the mail after we spoke as a result.

Inside were these...

It was like opening a suprise show-bag from the Royal Melbourne Show!

I shall list the items individually and I plan to use them at work.
They consisted of:-
2 books, 'The Gospel Of Joy' and 'You Can Be Happy'
Two DVD's, 'Lead Out Loud'(The secret skills of authentic leadership)with workbook and 'Live Out Loud', (The secret skills of living life to the fullest),plus a 6 audio CD set 'Whats The Difference That Makes The Difference? (The secret skills of life balance)'.
Also included were 10 little men figures, 2 pairs of rabbit ears, 4 pairs of happiness glasses and the piece de resistance .....a magical fairy wand.

My mission now is to become the Chief Fun Fairy at work...My aim, to put the Heart and Joy back into business.

I shall keep you posted on my accomplishments Fair Reader!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

When the party's over...

I've just worked a very pleasant shift at work but feel quite shell shocked in the aftermath of last week.
We ended up having 197 births for August of this year...There are now 197 extra people residing in or near where I work and live.
For every birth there are two could say that 2/3 of those babies are living with 2 lets say 130 of those babies have two parents living with them. For the others, there are 67 single parents minimum.
Maybe half of those newborns have least one, if not we could say there are approximately a minimum of 200 siblings living with those babies.
197+130+67+200 = 600 odd people directly involved in the all those births in just one month.
That equates to a hell of a lot of people in my reckoning.

Our unit has only 28 beds with a 4 bed overflow in heightened times.

No wonder we were all bushwhacked after such a frantic month.

I certainly don't expect it to end.Far from it. In fact I know this will only get busier as time goes on. I am just curious to know where we are going to obtain the extra midwives and obstetricians from to accommodate such increases in our birthing numbers.

I am looking to retire in or around 10 years. I presume there are many others around my age who will do likewise.
Not that I think I am irreplaceable by any means but who will replace me when I am gone?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

One for the customer AKA the customer is always right!

Today was a day like any other.
I wasn't working today and felt a little lethargic so made myself get up, do stuff, then get out of the house.

A couple of months ago I travelled to a factory outlet shop with a friend and purchased a couple of items of clothing.
One shirt I bought I rather liked...I could wear it with jeans, dress up pants or a skirt if I wished.
I loved the colours and it fitted well with my sense of 'style'.

The top was worn twice and being the pedantic person I am...a bit of O.C.D there too no doubt I washed it gently in between wears as I just love the perfume and feel of freshly laundered clothes.
Instructions on the label said to gently handwash, hang away out of the sun and iron with a warm iron.
This I did without question.

Not two weeks ago, I brought it out of the wardrobe for yet another wear and put it on thinking I looked tres chic and all of that.
Halfway through the evening, which was a group mingling of sorts I actually felt the material fray in my hands.
To my dismay I looked down at a front panel and saw a gigantic appeared that the material had just disintegrated, and so, for the remainder of the evening I clutched my bag in front of me to hide the tear.
You can imagine my dismay when I returned home and gave the top a closer inspection and found throughout the fabric a number of areas that were just holding it together so to speak. Any pressure on the remaining intact material would cause it to separate and create even more tears.
Initially I was at a loss as to what to do. I felt the store would not listen to my complaint (past experience made me think this) but I actually emailed the company and stated my case. They replied with a reasonably terse..."Well, we will have to leave it to the manager of the store to decide". No apology about their material quality or anything, and so today I took the bull between the horns (figuratively speaking) and took the top back to the store.

The lady I spoke to could not have been any more pleasant than she was and very gracefully apologised for my inconvenience...(I had to travel 40 kms. to get there I might add).
I was given a choice of a refund or a replacement and I took the replacement as I do love the shirt and its colours so time will tell if this one will deteriorate before my eyes also.
The long and the short of this story though is that even if you feel disempowered and that you have no actually do have the right to state your case and make a complaint...even in the nicest possible way.

I did...and I got my shirt back intact.
So, ladies and gents...this was a win for the consumer!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mad Mouse

Did I tell you the story of my encounter last week with a rodent who believed my place was (note... WAS) his place?
Well, it goes like this...

It was a Saturday and I was oh so busy tidying up the pantry after dinner.

We knew of the existence of a mouse in the house...their usual trail (mouse poo...uuurrrrggghhhh) was evident at specific places within, and both my husband and daughter had sighted a little black thing scurrying around also.

I had to go into the pantry for something and as I opened the door, there was a movement just to my right, then I felt something plop onto my shoulder.
Sure enough...a bloody mouse thought he and I were best buddies and decided to say hello, but my scream of primal fear put paid to any long lasting relationship between he and I and off he ran down my arm, jumped onto the floor and hurried away out of sight...probably deaf by now.
By then, I was doing a little war dance also....I had an attack of the shakes and when I get a fright like that I tend to utilise these dance steps....a bit like a staccato drum stick that can't stop....
It was then I decided it was real live war so off I went quick smart down to the supermarket for some anti mouse stuff and consequently bought out the whole shop's worth of Ratsak and mouse traps.
Once I arrived back home I laid bait and traps every which way...I tell you it was like walking a mine field until I calmed down and realised that the pervading smell of peanut butter AND cheese would attract him wherever it was so I culled a few of the deliberately laid baits and waited.
Sure enough, the very next morning, there was a deceased mouse in one of the traps and even though I usually have a buddhist like mentality, this was one enemy of the state I was quite comfortable in getting rid of.
Just to be on the safe side, I left a couple of the traps and some of the bait around where any other self respecting mouse might chance upon it.

The mouse in the trap it just so happened was a light brown in colour and unsuspecting me thought perhaps Mus and Mez were a little colour blind, or maybe the shock of the springing trap or my scream might have made him go blonde all of a sudden so I was confident that was the last we would see of mice for this winter anyhow.

Fool that I am now it seems, for only last night as I was watching Packed To The Rafters, or Doc Martin, or Modern Family or Outnumbered...I have forgotten which, there in front of my very eyes I saw said BLACK mouse run along the wall in our rumpus room and with a twitch of his whiskers looked at me and I am sure he laughed...probably thinking..."thanks to you I am deaf, but I am not blind. I see you and now I don't have to put up with your prissy little human screams anymore"!

So, once again, out ready and armed are the mousetraps and the ratsack...hopefully to do their thing yet again!!!

(To be continued)