Friday, February 27, 2009

Positive Psychology

I've had manic weeks before, but in terms of being buried under work, this week was like having a skyscraper built above me; at 5.30pm, this has been my earliest finish all week - 13 hour days in college aren't exactly fun, especially when one is clearly suffering from some form of insomnia, but it will be rewarding I'm sure at the end of it all. No, I know it will be!

So, I thought I'd put down a bit about something interesting I learned this week from a talk we had from Dr. Ilona Boniwell, a positive psychologist and author of the book Positive Psychology in a Nutshell. You can learn about her by clicking here.

She opened by asking us the following question: "If you were going to see a psychologist in the morning, would you go around and tell your friends and people you knew?"

And then,

"If a friend told you they were going to see a psychologist in the morning would your reaction be: 'oh no, why? What's wrong?'"

Why is psychology still seen as a 'victimology'? Why are our reactions not 'Wow, that's great!'?

The second thing I learned was about mental well being, and this is more something to ponder and think about. If someone goes through a particularly stressful or traumatic event, we always hear about people suffering from post traumatic stress. But has anyone ever experienced post traumatic growth? I think that's such an interesting point of note. How many of us experience such difficult circumstances and have our outlook or perspective changed as a result? I'll put my two hands up to that.

And thirdly, two tasks were suggested for greater happiness and overall mental well being.

Each day, you write down three positive or good things that happened in that day. The first few times, you may find it hard to pick out things, let alone three. But within a few weeks you should find it easier. My own personal reasoning for this is that you have a more positive overall outlook so find it easier to find positive things of note.

And finally, random acts of kindness. Five a day. My friend already did four today. I tried, but most revolved around driving and letting people go ahead of me. It made me feel more relaxed when driving but it's something I have to work on.

Anyway in times of stress, positive psychology provides a light of relaxing relief.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Newsaclle Surgical Frollics

(another food pic....)

I got a phone call this morning. My surgery has been booked. For next week! To be honest, the timing is great. It's just a real shame that I don't really want to have the surgery. I mean, obviously, I do; I want the end product. I just don't want the fasting, the pre-op room, the needle, the going to sleep bit, the pain, the scar. But I suppose fear always pushes the negative to the forefront of the mind. The end result will be worth it. And then I can go around telling people the reason I'm so slim is because I've had my stomach stapled. No Biggest Loser for me!

Then I got other exciting news, but I'll reveal all in due course...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Curious Case of the Unseen Film

I have tried, unsuccessfully, to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button too many times to count. OK, four times. Twice last night alone. I am destined not to see this film.

And then I remembered, I was actually IN this film, why would I need to see it? See evidence above. The fake tan specialist was fired after the make-up on my face didn't match the tan on my arms.

It's Sunday. I have nothing better to do with my time.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I know you're looking at the waffle above with the whipped cream, fake fruit stuff, chocolate powder, golden syrup and a lifetime's stock of sugar. But no, look just behind, at the empty bowl which previously contained my cereal for breakfast. Yes, I discovered the waffle making machine after I ate you see. And then I ate my creation. I think therein lies my mental problem which explains the following post:

I had immensely bad heartburn yesterday. Worse than pregnancy heartburn. I don't even know if pregnancy heartburn is bad but this had to be worse. I actually looked about 5 months pregnant for the record. I went to the cinema and saw He's Just Not That Into You, which is quite good, but I silently burped about once a minute (sometimes more) which was very uncomfortable. Have you ever burped once a minute for a good two hours? Don't. Actually I kind of suppressed all the burping which possibly made it uncomfortable.

So last night I slept sitting up as I was afraid of reflux aspiration (a complication I'm at risk of) and woke up this morning looking my skinny self again. Phew! I was wide awake by nine but my body wouldn't let me out of the bed. So basically I read and got up at 2pm. Ha. I honestly think my body was wrecked though.

I'm positive it was all a result of greed. I felt myself getting heartburn early yesterday but ohhhhhhh no, I just had to go eat that packet of Doritos, those two bags of microwave popcorn, allllll those chocolate bars, that share size bag of salted nachos, that bottle of diet coke, as well as my normal meals. And the rest. So yes, it's totally my fault.

To counteract the unproductive morning, I went to college and got assignment work done. And then I went to my first aid class and then I babysat. And I even came here. See, I'm not feeling guilty at all and trying to overcompensate for it. What a silly suggestion.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


...went well. Since December there has been a downward trend in my lung function but nothing of huge significance- still 98%. They basically calculate the mean/average of your two personal best results and if your lung function drops more than 10% it is considered significant. I am not considered significant. I feel well and plump so was given three months before having to show my face in those parts again. This is a personal best.

Before I see them again, I hopefully will have been on a sun holiday, will have finished my exams, will have a concrete plan for the summer, my hair will be longer, I will weigh more, my car will be fixed, my stomach will have been stapled, my hearing will have been investigated - I said MY HEARING WILL HAVE BEEN INVESTIGATED - and I will have a six pack. Ok, a four pack.

A lot can happen in three months...

I found this on my computer; a photo I took whilst riding the bus in Scotland. Can anyone spot Wally? (Or Waldo, depending on where you're from)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hospital Politics

The hospital I attended prior to my transplant has a public building and a private building. I am fortunate in that I have private health insurance which *should* permit me care in the private hospital except that my CF team aren't insured to work in the private hospital, only the public one. So if I were to be admitted for a nasty chest infection, I would only see the drip bag - no physio, no dietitian, no diabetes nurse, no CF nurse, no doctors (except the Consultant I'm assuming) so basically it wasn't allowed.

If the public hospital wasn't so atrocious facility wise (CF patients all sharing rooms except for the two private rooms on the ward, which didn't have en suites) I wouldn't have cared. But c'est la vie.

Anyway, I have to have this surgical procedure done soon and so requested to have it done privately. I don't need to see the CF team so it really shouldn't be a problem. Until it became a problem.

I was told today that they had another CF patient (not transplant as I understand) who got into trouble (I don't know if that's healthwise or because of what happened after), ran up a bill and the bill never got paid. So they don't like CF patients in their private neck of the woods.


If they had substituted the words 'CF patient' with 'Black patient' they could be in a lot of a trouble.

While they're at it they could probably warn the banks not to issue people with CF credit cards either because they (tarring them all with the one brush here) probably wouldn't pay those bills either.

I still can't decide if I should be offended or not. I think I should be? Anyway, I now wait another two weeks while they try and sort through the tape. But fingers crossed I should be fine!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Midterm

I'm on mid-term. I get a week off to whatever I like with. We were all warned not to go away, but rather to spend the week stuying....and....something else. As I was browsing Ryanair for cheap deals at the time, I missed the rest of what was said.

As it happens, tomorrow I have an appointment with my consultant who will be performing or overseeing my surgery whenever I get a date. I hope I get a date in March sometime, even if it means missing a few days of college.

On Tuesday I have regular clinic. Apart from waking up with standard cold related sore throat this weekend, I'm still feeling very clear and will be relieved to see my lung function return back up from its *slight* fall the last time.

I've also managed to put on about 6kg/13ish pounds/about a stone since my last admission in November. I was told back then to start drinking those high calorie (600 per drink) drinks. Of course I smiled and said enthusiastically "Oh great, I'll definitely try and fit in one a day" as I skipped off to collect 3 boxes of the stuff. So yes, that lasted two days. To be honest, I much prefer real food. And if ever I need to keep a door open, I have three door stoppers at the ready. Anyway, having not changed my diet in any way since last year, I seem to be piling on the pounds again. I think there is some correlation between the decrease/disappearance in my cough and the putting on of the weight.

We shall see...

Monday, February 09, 2009

More Films

Oh dear, that post which got lost in cyberspace, seems to have been permanently deleted.

It was basically a comment on Slumdog Millionaire (have you seen it yet?) and The Pursuit of Happyness (Have you seen that one yet either?). Both great films; check them out.

I saw Revolutionary Road last night. I would not recommend it. I would nearly say 'Don't go see it' but that wouldn't be fair. And yes I can appreciate the great acting from Leo & Kate but my gosh, talk about a boring film. I kept hoping for it to be over. Possibly only the second time in my life where I have felt that way about a film (the other time was Legally Blonde 2).

Anyway, to get back to the point, the kidnapped and deleted post contained the most crucial paragraph of all - and I post it with just a hint of trepidation (no, in my case, that's not an exaggeration) - but at the moment, I'm feeling really, really great. That chronic cough that shouted to the world anytime I got a shock or whenever I laughed seems to have gone dormant. Or better still, gone away.

I'm still taking Azithromycin every other day (and for me, gosh that gets complicated) but it really seems to be working! Hip, hip.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


OK, so putting aside the blatent ethical issues of putting this video online (I mean come on, a minor, in *this* video, laughing at his expense etc, etc), I had to copy it here. Now there's a good chance you've already seen it (3 million other people have) but the reason I show it is because it mirrors *exactly* how I feel after every procedure I've ever had - be it bronchoscopy or port surgery. Now thankfully in my case I've always - for the most part- been able to keep my thoughts inside my head, and thankfully there's never been a camera around when I've been in these states.

I mean there was that one time where I started reciting my Spanish oral exam to a poor nurse who happened to be Spanish (or was it she visited Spain once, during a stop over flight...?) - gah. Doesn't bare thinking about. Enjoy. Or not. But, learn!

Mid week

Oh gosh, blogger just deleted my post.

And while we're at it, there's a song on the radio at the moment and he says 'He's not heav-yyyyyy, he's my brother....' : I'm almost certain the singer isn't implying that it's ok that his brother is overweight, because at the end of the day, weight isn't important, he's his brother. It sounds too seventies to be that (I don't think obesity existed back then did it?). What a strange song.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Snow Day Intermission

No, I haven't forgotten about the points I wanted to make about Slumdog Millionaire (have you seen it yet?) or The Pursuit of Happyness (have you seen that one either?), but for today, my excuse is that it snowed. And that's a pretty big deal.

I cannot remember the last time it snowed, proper, sticking to the ground snow. It certainly did when I was younger, but it's been a while. Don't be under the impression that this was a snow blanket of Alps proportions or anything but you could definitely see footprints. It was also enough for a few giant snowmen in college that I spotted when I got in. And although beaten and knocked down when I was leaving, there was still enough snow to rebuild their family. It was worse around my house than it was around college, but interestingly I saw an older lady wearing a one piece luminous pink snow suit which was funny considering the snow around there had mostly melted. I suppose she wanted to get value out of her purchase from a couple of decades ago though.

To be honest, the child in me adores the snow, but once I get out into it, I'm unsure of what to do next. It's cold. It's wet. It's just...blah. Plus when it snows, it's just annoying because it's not rain, but rather that kind of 'run-with-head-down-and-eyes-squinting' kind of weather. I do enjoy the novelty of it however, but considering I need to leave the house and I'd never driven in snow until today, well, let's just say I'm ready for spring to be here already!

Intermission part two

I'm exhausted. My eyes hurt. I think I encountered a mild bout of food poisoning or at least food-that-doesn't-agree-with-me-ing yesterday. I bizarrely went babysitting on Friday night (not the bizarre bit), finished at 12.45am and then decided that the night was still young so jumped home, got changed and went out for the night. It seemed like a magnificent idea at the time. It probably explains the sore eyes right now.

But anyway, the Superbowl XLIII is on tonight!! Or...right now!! Exclamation marks!! Pittsburgh -vs- Arizona. My money is on the Steelers. Not because they're winning right now or anything.

I don't think I've talked to so many NFL fans or Superbowl followers (which if I'm honest, would best describe my interest in the sport - but more because I don't want to sit up past midnight every Sunday night to watch the game) as I have this year - it's unreal. SOOOOO many guys I know are watching tonight (not a whole lotta girls but I'll recruit). It's being shown on three channels here, but annoyingly TV3 keeping jumping to freeze-frames every time the Americans take an ad break instead of just showing ads or going to commentary.

Seriously, though. I need my sleep.