Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Angiogram Antics

Yesterday, Father picked me up early to whisk me off to the Melbourne Hospital for a cardio-angiogram. I got the red carpet treatment all day from the cardiology day unit. The only glitch was it took five tries to get my cannula inserted. After that it was plain sailing. There was a fairly minor sting with the local anaesthetic to my groin and after that it was totally painless. The other disadvantage is that after the procedure you have to lie still for FOUR HOURS. Very boring as you're flat on your back and can't read. If I'd realised in advance I would have supplied myself with some kind of listening device.

Finally discharged at a bit after five o'clock, Dad took me on home, then P. arrived home to complete the steak and kidney pudding for dinner. He's stayed home today as my post-op. procedures include a ban on picking up heavy kitchen pots! I am also not allowed on the stairs or to drive for three days. All this is to ensure that my femoral artery doesn't start bleeding again. So far it is showing no signs.

The cardiac surgeons are having a conference about me on Thursday to determine further action. However, it seems my heart arteries are a bit of a mess and heavily calcified. They might need to insert four stents or do more extensive surgery. We'll see. Meanwhile, they'll want me to have a CT scan to have another look. How interesting are my arteries?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mud and Mahler

Saturday was a fairly quiet day with just the convent market, mall shopping and tasty brunch at Cavallero in Smith Street. (Frank and I both had the salmon and poached eggs on brioche bread.)

On Sunday, we picked up Frank and Diane the Yaris and headed to the Wilson Reserve (off the Boulevard in East Ivanhoe) for a Yarrakeepers' walk around the billabongs and along the river. They had arranged three very informative speakers on the history and natural features. The only catch was that after days of drizzle the path was a little muddy and slippery but it was an excellent event. We were sorry to leave early to give time for a quick dialyse, lunch and P. and I went off to the Recital Centre for the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. There was a Mozart symphony and a concert aria or two but the main game was a chamber version of Mahler's fourth symphony with Emma Matthews of the golden voice. Our ears were still ringing from her performance in La Somnambula recently and the small orchestra and she acquitted themselves magnificently in a thrilling performance.

We finished the busy day with Pierre's famous roast chook and a dose of Dickens on the teev. Those milliners at the BBC are keeping themselves in work very well.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Much medical

On Tuesday, I went off to see Amanda, the transplant surgeon. There was nothing unusual in what she said (the usual caveats: 'you might die' etc.). Also, Belinda, the transplant coordinator, ordered more blood tests for both P. and I, so on Wednesday, when P. had to go for a stress test at nuclear medicine, we both went back to the hospital for yet another go with the vampires. On Thursday, I went to the health centre for the first of a new course of blood-strengthening Aranesc injections, plus to pick up some pills. So it's been a fairly medical week.

To lighten things up, P. cooked a Chinese pork belly recipe on Wednesday night and Frank came to share it. It filled the house with spicy aromas while it was cooking and was delicious. The irony of picking up anti-chlorestorol pills while having very fatty pork belly did not escape me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Busy, busy

Too busy to blog! On Wednesday night, P., Frank and Lorraine and I went to Noel Tovey's Little Black Bastard one-man show at the Athenaeum Theatre before he takes it off to the Edinburgh Festival. The show itself is much improved since we saw it at La Mama's Courthouse Theatre a couple of years ago. However, the intimate setting of the courthouse worked better, and it had the frisson of being the actual place where Noel was put into the 'care' of welfare in his childhood. Nonetheless, the new show was a gripping experience in the larger venue, and the audience was obviously spellbound.

On Thursday, it was a trek into the wilds of Kooyong for one of our old Penguini dinners. The venue, Kootz Salle a Manger, was chosen as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Winter Roast Festival. We (those of us not vegos or pork-phobic) had roast pork belly which was tasty with potato and celeriac accompaniment. Better still was the company.

On Saturday, Lorraine and I went to the opening of Erica Wagner's (and others) exhibition at the Cambridge Street Galleries down the road from Lorraine's place. We were not needed as rent-a-crowd as the gallery is quite small and there were lashings of folk there, so we followed up with a small gallery crawl in the neighbourhood (William Robinson at the Australian Galleries and others).

Sunday brought the annual Liz Kelly memorial lunch, this time at Rennis' place in Williamstown. P. contributed his wondrous pikelets with asparagus and smoked salmon plus condiments. Rennis had made a lovely pie with roast vegs, plus a chocolate self-saucing pudding. With other contributions, we had a major feast, then a short walk down to the Willi plage. Again, the company was very good. Ann de H. has a booklaunch in Castlemaine next weekend, with a followup launch at the Wheeler Centre the following week. We'll probably make the city launch instead of the Castlemaine number.

On Sunday night, dinner at Frank's brought a superior roast chook, plus very chocolate souffles to follow. Yum! Now I'm back at work after a very busy time. I was so busy yesterday that I missed a dialysis changeover because of bad timing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Queen's Birthday fun

Today, I was meant to have an angiogram. My father kindly picked me up and we whizzed off to the hospital, I got gowned up and was talking pleasantries with the nurse when I was told I was 'bumped'. A couple of emergencies had taken priority, so it was put off until the 29th of June. I can't say I was too sorry, as I wasn't looking forward to it, but it was a gigantic waste of time. At least while waiting at the hospital (for medication and advice on how to deal with dialysis for the angiogram), I got quite a lot of proofreading done on the boxing autobiography, which I'd taken for something to do during a daylong procedure.

On Monday, P. and I joined Frank for a delicious brunch on his birthday at Three Bags Full in Nicholson Street (in the old Denton Hat building). They lived up to their reputation for tasty food, though because of that they are very popular, hence rather noisy. Then P. and I went to the Potter Gallery (NGV) to see the exhibition associated with the street art tour we did a couple of weeks ago. It was called Stick It, a collection of Australian collage art and was very arresting. We also caught up with some of the permanent Australian collection and some very creditable VCE art. We finished with a small lunch in the gallery cafe (because of having had brunch previously). I do love their tiny sandwiches (salmon, chicken and egg, separately).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Medical visits

On Tuesday, both P. and I had to have blood tests with the vampires at the Hospital. This time it was four vials of the red stuff. On Thursday, I had a transplant appointment and it seems that our compatibility is going well. However, let's not count the chickens... I've still got to have my angiogram next week, plus an echocardiogram. P. has got to have his heart checked by nuclear medicine with a full stress test etc. I've also got an appointment with the surgeon. So everything's moving along.

Meanwhile, the dialysis is going well and Dr Chrystomou fixed up my medication yesterday as part of the assessment.

I've also nearly finished this stage of the boxing autobiography. It gives a very vivid picture of a particular milieu.

Monday, June 07, 2010

A big load of Bull

On Saturday, Lorraine E., P. and I went to Meet Me in the Middle of the Air at Hamer Hall, a performance of Paul Kelly songs by him, Vika and Linda Bull, Paul Grabovsky, the Australian Art Orchestra (splendid) and a scratch vocal ensemble put together by Tina Harrod. The concert had the benefit of a collection of the best doo-wah girls you could hope to assemble, including the formidable Bull sisters, who also did a swag of solos. It was a magnificent concert, with the arrangements by Grabovsky spellbinding.

P. and I had dinner first at Chocolate Buddha which was tasty as usual. I had their bento box, which was excellent and very edible.

Sunday was very quiet, and, as it was a rainy, cold day, we didn't venture out at all. Now back to work. The boxing autobiography is going well.

Friday, June 04, 2010

More than threepence worth

Last night, P., Frank and I went to The Threepenny Opera at the Malthouse. It could have been a splendid production, so much was good. The sets and costumes were excellent and the music (on the whole) splendid. Paul Capsis and Judi Connelli were precise and fine, as were most of the cast. Unfortunately, Eddie Perfect wasn't quite up to MacHeath on the night and the role could have done with a better singer. The band was uniformly mellifluous in its Weillian discords.

There's something about the ensemble playing at the Malthouse which is not quite up to scratch. Lacking in finesse and subtlety is probably what it is. Capsis and Connelli showed how it is done, assisted by Grant Smith as Peachum. However, it was a fine night in the theatre for all that it could have been brilliant. The implied defamation of Kloppers, Rudd and Pell by Mrs Peachum was very naughty but nice.

We had an adequate meal at the Malthouse eatery beforehand, though the vegies with Frank's fish were cold. I feel sorry for eateries which have to feed a large crowd quickly. It is not easy, but here, in order to achieve speed, there was a deal of expedience.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Beguilings launch

Last night, I went to Reading's, Carlton, for the launch of Beguilings, a second poetry volume by Jessica Raschke, with whom I worked on the research project for UWS. It was launched by Sue Hawthorne, and well attended. I wasn't needed as rent-a-crowd, but it was good to be there.

I shouldn't be allowed near bookshops with cash in my pocket though. As well as the book launched, I bought an Indian/Moroccan/Syrian cookbook (which fills a gap in our bookshelf) plus a Mozard DVD on special. There are lots of great recipes in this cookbook, soon to appear on our table.