Saturday, 22 October 2016

Needles and Bones

Late last year I had a frightening time when I went to see a client in a third floor apartment. By the time I got up the stairs I could barely breathe and my heart was pounding. I decided that I must be even more unfit than I realised and vowed to work on my health into the new year, which I have done but not in the way I expected.
Soon after I made this decision I went for a routine check up and found that I was severely anaemic, so much so that my doctor "borrowed" another persons iron injection to give me a shot before I left the clinic.
And so I started on a long process of injections and blood tests. I was also referred to a gastrology clinic with a view to having a gastroscopy/colonoscopy. Throughout the process I saw three doctors: one thought my iron stores were depleted by menstruation and the condition could be managed, one was panicked by a traumatic experience with another patient, got it into his head that I was post menopausal and thought I must be losing blood through a tumour, one (a gastroenterologist) suggested that if I saw a gynaecologist I could have a hysterectomy.
All the while I was trying to buy time to get my iron stores up and take away everyone's panic but we eventually came to the place where I had taken taken shots and supplements, bargained and waited but needed regular heavy duty supplementation to stay within the guidelines.

I felt sure that acupuncture could help me but our universal healthcare system covered me for free hospital clinics and acupuncture would be costly so I had hoped to somehow sort it out through the medical system.

After I had done as much waiting, supplementing and testing as I could reasonably expect, the next step of the plan was to have a colonoscopy and simultaneous double iron infusion. The procedure wouldn't cost anything but the drugs would cost somewhere close to $200. Still reasonably certain that my problem didn't stem from my gut, I decided to spend the money on acupuncture and revisit the medical system if necessary.

The acupuncturist, Kaikit, noted that my pulse indicated a "blood deficiency" which is detectable to the practitioner of Chinese medicine before the point where a person would be diagnosed as anaemic. She commented that the puffy ankles I have had for some years, as well as my chapped lips were both caused by blood deficiency, she also told me that my sleep was probably very disturbed (which it was) and said that they all stemmed from the same thing, that three (long ago) pregnancies and hard work had led to some depletion and that I was unable to hold energy (or blood) in my system.

She got to work straight away with some needles and prescribed herbs for me to take at home. That evening I fell asleep at nine and slept right through to the morning. By the end of the weekend, my ankles were thin for the first time in years.

I had weekly visits for three weeks, then waited two weeks. Kaikit said my progress was surprisingly fast and I would soon be able to stop treatment or just come and be checked once a month.

Two weeks later Kaikit thought that I had developed a little blood deficiency again and I remembered that I had lost sleep on a couple of nights, she recommended that I eat more red meat, especially lamb.
Given that I am in a process of trying to eat less meat, I decided to use the best thing I could and use less of it so I bought some lamb bones and simmered them for a full 24 hours. I put a little broth in an otherwise vegetarian soup and that night I slept the sleep of the innocent.

I have yet to get my iron levels checked but my colour is good, my stamina is better and I feel that my anaemia saga is over (with a little tweaking now and again maybe) and the total cost has been about $250 plus a bag of bones.

This has been a long story but I feel it is one worth telling, I hope it might be useful to someone.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The employment agency

After four years of irregular doula-ing and a then couple of months with no inquiries whatsoever I decided that I had to look for a more regular job. (I have decided that I am a great doula but a poor business person so not a total failure but not successful enough)

So, for most of this year I have been applying for all kinds of work. After my bitterly disappointing experience with the guy who thought I would be unable to cope with the job on offer (here) I decided to register with a disability employment agency because at least that way I am guaranteed to be applying to people who are willing to engage someone who has some limitations, rather than bashing my head against a wall with the arrogantly able and unimaginative.

The agency experience has not been surprising but it has been a close up look at some issues. And looking closely is different to knowing what happens in a theoretical kind of way.

Last week I met a man with mild cerebral palsy, he is tertiary educated with a good work history and an air of competence but his impaired dexterity eventually means he can't work at the speed required of an experienced operator in a call centre. It seems bizarre to me and inefficient, to get rid of an experienced employee and take on all the costs and uncertainties of new hires. And that is without thinking of the costs to the individual and the public purse. Does nobody take a long term view? does nobody invest in their business by investing in their employees?

Today I went to a "workshop" as required by the agency. I drove to the agency, which just happens to be close to me but serves clients from a wide area, parked, waited 15 minutes past the appointment time and spent another 15 or so filling in a form I could have emailed to them. That whole process also seems silly: requesting unemployed people to spend money and effort on travel, which might be quite challenging for them, just to do something that could be done online or through a phone interview. Now, I understand that getting applicants to come in person may allow better communications and guarantees that the applicant is doing their own work, I guess it would also weed out anyone who was not very committed to the process but all the same it seems inefficient and not particularly sensitive to the needs of the clientele.

At this point I am wondering what oddity will show up at next weeks workshop.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Bring in the Clowns

Today I watched a little of the presidential debate which led to some discussion with my son, Keaghan (who has been interested in politics and justice since about the time he could walk.)

I wondered how the republicans could have ever thought Trump was a good candidate and Keaghan thought that Trump did well in the polls and therefore the party thought he was a  good idea, not thinking of what kind of person he is.

My next thought was about the way that some people are more confident feeding their babies by bottle than by breast because bottle feeding gives us numbers, measurable intake.

Yes, it is an odd association to make but brilliance is demonstrated in the ability to make connections, or at least that's my story.

Anyways, it all lead me to the idea that maybe the world is obsessed with numbers, measurability, stats and performance indicators at the expense of trust, instinct, character and other more abstract qualities.