Monday, November 17, 2008

"Fixing" my scar

I say "fixing" because it's currently dark purple. The laser breaks down the blood vessels, so it's pretty much like a big bruise at the moment, and looks a little scary. I won't post a photo on the blog, I'll spare those who don't want to see this time. Pic is here -

Once the bruising goes away it should look pretty good - fingers crossed!

So we got to Stanford at 6:30am. This time we went to the Stanford Ambulatory Surgery Centre - it's mostly day surgery I believe. It was a really fancy place, nice wood panelling, fancy and comfortable waiting area, and 2 screens which had a heap of numbers that were associated with patients, and colour coding. So it starts with Registration Complete, then went through to Pre-op, then a range of others including surgery, stage 1 recovery, stage 2 recovery, transferred etc. (there was about 12 different codes) so you could keep an eye on where your person is up to.

Anyway, so they do the IV under a super fine needle local anesthetic, which is always my biggest worry, so that makes it nice and easy. I had to wait in the OR for about 15 minutes all ready to go because they were early and the laser wasn't quite warmed up yet, but they started pretty much on time at 8:30am, then before I knew it I was waking up at about 9:15am.

Then it was recovery, and all the check out stuff, and we were home by 11:30am, and I was feeling fine. I slept for an hour, and woke up feeling pretty good, just a bit jelly-legged.

So fingers crossed it will stop getting bigger now!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Scarred for life!

Well, that was kind of expected after getting open heart surgery. Unfortunately I don't heal very well when it comes to scars. My c section scar is still quite thick and raised, whereas my friend Briana, who had a c section a few months before me, has an almost invisible scar.

So my heart surgery scar got worse after I got the staph infection - it separated as fluid built up under it, and then after the incision got opened again to drain the infection, it never quite went back to normal, and has gotten wider, thicker, and more tender over the months. It's still getting worse, so on Monday I'm going back to Stanford to get "plastic surgery". They're going to laser the scar itself to help with the appearance, and do steroid injections which will hopefully shrink some of the excess scar tissue, or at least stop it from getting any bigger, and will hopefully also help with the itchiness and some of the tenderness. It's a general anesthetic, but I'll be surprised if it takes more than half an hour.

This is how it looks now:

You can see the bottom part near my fingers looks great - that's how it should all look! It's gotten lighter over time, but wider.

This is compared to in June:

I'll put up another photo after everything is healed from whatever they do on Monday.

Study study study

Since we got back from the holiday I've just been madly busy with study. I had assignments, online exams, catching up with missed study, and preparing for end of semester exams. I've been doing 3 subjects this semester, which has been quite full on to do externally, and just before we went on holiday I had a couple of weeks where I kept getting "ocular migraines" on an almost daily basis. My vision would go all weird, and I wouldn't be able to see clearly, I got really dizzy, felt nauseous, then the headache would come on. The whole process would last a couple of hours and was very disrupting, so I got behind with my study. I think I was just sitting badly, and muscles got too tight in the wrong spots. It's certainly gotten better since.

The final end of semester exams were over the last week, so I'm really glad to have them out of the way. I'm finished first year now, which is good. I'm doing just one subject over the "summer semester" so that should give me a bit of a break - new semester starts on Monday.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Catching up (yes I'm still alive)

It's been a really busy few months! I'll go back to September.

We went on holiday to the Seychelles and Dubai for 2 weeks in September which was fabulous. My aunt Vicki lives there with her husband Chris and their two boys, Jack and Harry. Chris has a job as part of the United Nations, which is based in the Seychelles and they've been living there about 4 years now.

The Seychelles was fascinating. The economy is completely broken - they have the highest level of debt of any other country, and since we were there the International Monetary Fund has agreed on a $26 million rescue package, and the currency has floated and been devalued. A lot of things were run down, the roads were terrible, there's a big divide between the rich and poor and everything has to be imported, so the black market is rife.

But the beaches were gorgeous, the weather was fabulous, the sky was oh so clear at night, and the stars were stunning. Sitting out on Vicki and Chris' deck every evening watching the night sky was an amazing way to relax. We were a very short walk from the beach, and just enjoyed our 10 days there relaxing.

It was great to spend quality time with Vicki, Chris and the boys. Vicki lived with us for a few years when I was younger, so I've always felt very close to her, and Jack and Harry are such great kids, we had a lot of fun with them.

Here's a few pics from the trip:

The markets

Amazingly clear water

Full moon over the fishing boats that were at port due to the worries over the Somalian pirates

We hiked to a beach called Anse Major, which was quiet, and so pretty

On our way to Anse Major

View from Vicki and Chris' balcony

Everyone. Vicki doesn't usually look so grim, and no, Andrew didn't bother with shaving while away :)

A couple of gorgeous sunrises

After Seychelles we spent a few days in Dubai on the way home since we were flying with Emirates (best airline I've ever flown with by a long shot), and stopping in Dubai anyway.

It was Ramadan, so we couldn't eat or drink in public during daylight hours, and a number of places were either closed for the month, or closed for a few hours in the afternoon, but it wasn't a big deal. We had a really nice hotel which we got a great deal on due it being Ramadan, and therefore the low season, the city in general wasn't too busy, and we just did a double decker open top tour bus tour the 2 days we were there, which supplied us with complimentary cold bottles of water which we guzzled as soon as we got on the bus - so we probably drank more water than we would have otherwise.

It was stinking hot - over 40 c, and about 90% humidity, and the heat was disgustingly oppressive. We had a fabulous time though. It was such an interesting place, and there was so much to see and do. And being so hot, it made us very aware that we were in a desert, and the regular calls to prayer from the temples made the whole experience more authentic. It's a place I would like to go back to some time to further explore - 2 and a bit days definitely wasn't enough!

Some pics:

Down on the water - there were boats coming and going loading up with goods to be transported to other nearby countries, carrying tourists around, and general water taxis for transport.

A small selection of gold in one of the windows at the Gold Souk (market)

A shopping centre called Wafi - it had designer shops, and an upmarket "traditional" souk area - the place was deserted due to Ramadan, and most of the shops weren't opening the entire month.

One of the water taxis

Dubai is a construction zone! There were cranes everywhere you looked. The sky was never clear, it's pretty much one big sand storm. And this highway made American highways look tame!

The new Metro system they are building which will make a huge difference to traffic - you can see Burj Dubai in the background which will be the world's tallest building

In front of Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah - the water there was toasty warm!

And then Ski Dubai... so bizarre!

One of the big mosques

One of the mosques near us. They were having the evening iftar buffet (breaking of the daily fast)

And Andrew on Dubai Creek at sunset

The rest of the photos are here