Not so much a leap as a slight stumble really….

Pain Clinic …. Day Three.

Getting to know my fellow chronic pain sufferers…. only eight of us.  Noticed on Monday that they all seem extremely more social than I feel at the moment.

Uncle Frank
Works for pest control company, and ‘did in me lower back’ at work about a year ago.  Has a weathered outdoorsy appearance and likes to go camping, boating, fishing and can tell within five minutes of meeting him that he calls a spade a spade.  Wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him.  Uncle Frank  is hard working, hard drinking, no nonsense sort of guy.  Talks too loud and doesn’t let anyone get a word in edgewise, smokes a lot, tells politically incorrect dirty jokes but would probably give you the shirt of his back if you needed it.  Uncle Frank thinks I’m smart cos I know some big words and medical terms.

Tracey Shoulders
Worked for massive hardware conglomerate and damaged her shoulder on the job in 2006.  Has had two corrective surgeries on it but couldn’t tell you what they did to it or why.  Obvious from day one that she didn’t want to be here.  Has awful posture, schoolgirlish sense of humour and frequently argumentative with trainers and instructors.  Complains a lot about everything and avoids participating fully.  Tracey Shoulders pities me cos I’ve had my back pain for so long.

Brent Neck
Early twenties, worked at an abattoir hacking animals to pieces and hefting heavy carcasses about all day (gross).  Had some sort of gate fall on him at work about 8 months ago and never got better.  Brent is more at home in front of his X-box than at a gym.  Waddles when he walks and giggles when he laughs.   Brent Neck has nothing in common with me at all and is probably a little frightened of outspoken and intelligent women.

Alan Everything

Pom via years in NZ, about 65, used to work in hospitality, has had a lot of health problems from kidney issues to prostate cancer to gall stones.  Battling with morphine addiction and chronic back pain issues.  Is a total gentleman and has little patience for Uncle Franks dirty joke’s which he says are ‘inappropriate for mixed company’.  Kind man, vociferously proclaims his love and respect for his wife…. daily.   Alan Everything seeks out my company as being more congenial and mature than Uncle Frank and Brent Neck.

Absent Peter
About 70something. Has done the pain clinic program before and is repeating it thought I don’t know why.  He disappears all the time and holds up the group by being late for every session.  Doesn’t go to hydro, doesn’t do floor exercises,  manages hardly anything in the gym and half the time appears to be sleeping through the lessons and lectures???  Has back pain and also on morphine.   Absent Peter probably hasn’t even noticed I’m on the course… he seems mostly ambivalent or oblivious and kinda off with the pixies.

Anal Retentive Robyn
Mother hen of the group – bakes cakes and slices to bring in for morning tea.  Laminated our exercise programs for us.  Has different matching gym outfits every day, and is always perfectly coiffed and made up.  Several abdominal surgeries left her with residual pain issues.  Dependent on morphine too.  One of 15 children to alcoholic parents who gave away/sold their children for grog back in the 60s.  Grew up with loving family on the Gold Coast and only met her bio family 10 years ago.    Anal Retentive Robyn sees a kindred OCD-like spirit in me and we get along quite well.

and then there’s me….  (I’m probably not the best person to write an objective observation…. but if I did it would go something like: )  Dry sarcastic and humourless.  Has had residual incapacity of spinal function since Aug 1991.  Uses too many big words and is prone to thinking she’s smarter than the people around her.  Has little or no tolerance for fools and has a tendency to judge people rather too quickly.   :S

It’s a leap year so I’m allowed to propose to a man today….
wonder if my husband might object though….


Okay… so pink is pushing the friendship. How about purple?

Starting looking about at a new car last week and still have quite a few more I should look at so we did some more car shopping today.  Stupid song sill going through my head every time I say or think the words ‘car shopping’ I have no idea what that’s about but am seriously thinking it’s a side effect of mood/mind altering medications…

Car shopping across the Universe
While the salesmen aestheticize every little perk!!!
Car shopping across the Universe
Only being pleasant until they see your purse!!!

Went looking for a Honda Civic… but once I saw it thoroughly hated it.  Felt like they’d made a regular car and then sloped the whole thing backwards about 25degrees leaving the whole car feeling like it’s on a lean.  Big problem for me… can’t barely see over the dashboard and definitely no hope of seeing where the front of the car ends.   It’d be one of those trial and error things to learn just where the car finishes in car parks  :S

Spied a little Honda Jazz while we were finding fault with the Civic and found it’s not too bad for a small car – has a much larger capacity than you’d think and we took it for a spin and it actually drives pretty good… not as good as the Mazda 3 or the Mitsubishi Lancer – but that’s to be expected given that it’s about $8000 cheaper.  Only… I think it’s a little on the butt ugly side 🙁 

Also had a look at the wee little pretend Mini that they’re churning out atm – Suzuki Swift.  Surly bought one not so long ago for their pizza shop for a little run around town delivery car, and I had taken it for a spin around the block a few weeks ago.  Not bad.  Would be a helluva lot of fun if it came in a turbo diesel  😀  Main objection – way too little space in the back for even picking up the groceries, but it does have a fairly decent space if you fold down both the back seats for fitting in big stuff…

Other than that I took a couple of Holden Astras for a drive…. the CDX and the CDSTi I think (memory like sieve so that might be wrong).  Took the turbo diesel out first which no doubt a well used trick for selling more of the diesels, as getting in the 5 speed manual petrol vehicle after driving the diesel feels like suddenly jumping from something a bit sporty to something your Gran would drive.  Not bad car all round, though it does have the ugliest interior of all the cars I’ve jumped in so far.

Doesn’t look too bad in this pic – but really is butt ugly and very square …

Hmmmm… So other than that.  Still wanna have a look at some VWs and a Subaru Impreza and that should just about cover it… and maybe if I get bored might have a look at a Peugeot 207… but then again they’re a bit ugly too.

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Okay, so these strange little quiz-type memes are like a plague but I’m inexplicably drawn to filling them out when they cross my path.

Which Jane Austen heroine am I?  Elizabeth Bennet.
Which Firefly character am I?    Inara Serra
Which Harry Potter Character are you?   Severus Snape
Which Comic book hero are you?  Wonder woman.

How many five year olds can you take in a fight?  Would you survive the Zombie Apocalyse?  How much is your corpse worth? What spice are you?  What type of shoe are you?  What’s your power colour?  It goes on and on and on…..  The vast majority of them are totally transparent and the questions aren’t even vaguely oblique so answering the questions a certain way gives you a predictable out come.

So naturally when Dave2 posted his "Who is your Ideal TV Boyfriend", I had to do it too….  Was hoping for Hank Moody from Californication (I like ’em pithy and sarcastic) or maybe…. Sam Seabourne in the West Wing (has intelligence and integrity) and well, who wouldn’t want Captain Mal from Firefly.. just cos he’s… well… the Capt’n.

So here goes –

Actually… no I can’t back that up.  It spat out someone boring (Dan Humphrey from Gossip Girl… never heard of him) so I made my own ‘Ideal TV Boyfriend’ sticker in photoshop 🙂

Snake oil anyone?

There’s something very very wrong with me…. other than the obvious that is.  Yesterday then psych at the Pain Clinic had a go at trying to help me with the traffic phobia/PSTD resultant from my recent accident.  The technique is called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and from what I understand it is a process/treatment intended to help you reprocess traumatic events into your logical memory somehow and allow you to no longer respond to them emotively or physiologically.  Sounded pretty good in theory, but the psych I’ve been seeing had ruled it out for me as she ‘felt that someone of my personality was unlikely to respond to EMDR’… whatever that means.

So I spent an hour with the Pain Clinic psych and she had me concentrate on each of my car accidents several times over while having me watch her move her hand rapidly left to right in front of my eyes.  Firstly I had to ‘play them through in my mind’ and ‘access the memory’, then again to try recall further details, and again to try to recall and relive the feelings, emotions and even physical sensations of those accidents.  Apparently most people experience very distressing reactions to this…. but not me.

I could remember all the accidents perfectly, and recalled tiny details I’d forgotten, but when asked to convey what I felt throughout the process, I was calm, articulate and perfectly rational.  I didn’t have any reaction to ‘reliving’ the accidents and certainly no emotional distress or physiological responses.  The psych seemed sort of disappointed that I didn’t react like I was supposed to.

During one of the replaying efforts of my second accident, I even caught myself smiling as I remembered that my Dad had arrived before the ambulance and found me laying on the road, badly winded and not in a good way… and I was swearing like a trooper about the complete ineptitude of the prick that had run into us.  But my Dad for the first time ever didn’t reprimand his daughter for using foul language – Dad liked his daughters to conduct themselves like dignified young ladies – which caused me to smile a little wryly at the recollection of his being rather more understanding and rather less remonstrative than normal.

Judging by the psych’s reaction – that isn’t supposed to happen.  She seems to think that I’ve developed some sort of defensive dis-associative tendency that doesn’t allow me to access the emotions and physical reactions that the accidents should cause.  Shrug….  Personally I think that maybe I’m just ordinarily too pragmatic and grounded to be freaking out in her safe little office and am therefore recalling the episodes factually rather than emotionally.

Who knows?  Either way it didn’t work… and I’ve still been unable to drive and having issues with traffic.

Classic… literally!

You are Gaius Caesar Germanicus – better known as Caligula!

Third Emperor of Rome and ruler of one of the most powerful empires of all time, your common name means “little boots”. Although you only reigned for four years, brief even by Roman standards, you still managed to garner a reputation as a cruel, extravagant and downright insane despot. Your father died in suspicious circumstances, you were not the intended heir, and one of your first acts as Emperor was to force the suicide of your father-in-law. Your sister Drusilla died that same year; faced with allegations that your relationship with her had been incestuous, you responded, bafflingly, by declaring her a god.

You revived a number of unpopular traditions, including auctions of properties left over from public shows. When a senator fell asleep at one such auction, you took each of his nods as bids, selling him 13 gladiators for a vast sum. You attempted to have your horse, Incitatus, made into a consul and hence one of the most powerful figures in Rome. It was granted a marble stable with jewels and a staff of servants. At one point you forced your comrade Macro to kill himself – in much the same vein as your father-in-law – accusing him of being his wife’s pimp. You, of course, were having an affair with said wife at the time.

Things went from bad to worse. When supplies of condemned men ran short in the circus, you had innocent spectators dragged into the arena with the lions to fill their place. You claimed mastery of the sea by walking across a three-mile bridge of boats in the Bay of Naples; kissed the necks of your lovers, whispering sweet nothings like “This lovely neck will be chopped as soon as I say so,”; dallied with your sister’s lover and made her pull her unborn child out of her womb prematurely. Towards the end of your reign, you had a golden statue of yourself made and dressed each day in the same clothes you yourself wore. When you eventually died, the terrified people of Rome refused to believe that such a cruel reign could ever end, and believed you to be alive for years afterwards.