A Travellerspoint blog

Australia

I’m Not Dead

I've Just Been Busy Sulking

Excuse my tardiness, it’s been weeks since my last story-telling endeavour. It’s not that I don’t love you it’s just that since I arrived back to Australia I’ve been extremely busy dwelling in a post-travel hole. It was a scheduled dwell. Like clockwork upon arrival. It’s akin to crossing through the Bermuda triangle, I go off radar. It involves a certain amount of hibernation, much like a bear in the winter months. I snuggle up with the cold, harsh reality of my life, store food so I don’t have to venture out and grow my hair long for warmth. I rarely go out and only interact socially when required. I fall off the face of the earth, ‘incommunicado’ - and there are no stories to tell when you hibernate in a cave as everything you are doing is of incredibly limited awesomeness than before.

Ah the returner’s blues. Traveller’s depression.

I have been home in Australia for just over 6 weeks. I had been away for 15 months, living abroad, being independent and grown-uppish, living in a city, paying rent and being my own boss. Sleeping in and staying up, mixing colours and whites and leaving my towel on the bedroom floor. I am now home in my small country town with my family. At my old job. In my childhood room. In the town I grew up in.

So I’m hibernating. It’s not for any depressing reason it’s just part of the re-entry process. The excitement of returning has long since faded and been replaced by the ever-to-familiar sights and sounds of life. Why am I stuck in this place? Why don’t I live in New York? Googles *cool apartments on the Lower West Side*. Everything is ‘meh’. It also seems as though every single person I know is living it up all over the world and having the most amazing adventures. Suddenly everyone is travelling and seeing cool new things except me. It’s not true at all, but it feels that way. I don’t think of the opposite when it’s me away and others working the daily grind.

So I avoid social media, by avoid I mean cut down my hours from excessive to the human average. I don’t respond promptly to text messages nor make any calls but then I never did.

It's the returner’s ennui.

I moan about being bored and having no friends. The trouble with travel is that it seems as though everyone you know lives somewhere else. I sit on the couch and flick through TV channels. I might try and find a slice of the exotic by spending two weeks looking for paneer cheese.
I can’t actually remember being away it’s like it’s never happened. I've slotted back in to the past. The past 16 months are a blur. I dwell on how life is going on the other side of the world without me. I think of what I am missing and all the things I never got to do rather than the cool stuff I did do.

But never fear. Soon I will be on to phase two of the re-entry process, which is a bit more social, in fact I think I may be at the cusp. That is when I re-emerge from my slump, and I spend a lot of time looking at maps, reminiscing, looking at photos and pouring over books like 100 best destinations or cool stuff to do next trip, instead of “oh great, look at the cool stuff I haven’t done”. I’ll stop and smell the roses. The glass will be half full. The world will be my oyster again.

I will re-adapt to my life of before. I won’t like getting up to work but I will do it. I will save my money and think of new adventures, where to go next? What will I do? Will I be wearing a cool hat?

Oh the possibilities will be endless. In the meantime I’m just going to lay in bed looking at photos, eat a box of Aldi lebkuchen and wait for the light on the other side.

Posted by The Tipsy Gipsy 04:06 Archived in Australia Tagged home australia returning Comments (0)

Medical Tourism

An Oophorectomy in a Gold Mining Town

all seasons in one day

Unfortunately I had to take a forced hiatus between travels in Asia and Europe for an operation, seeing as by my itinerary I should have been eating gelato in Northern Italy, I treated this medi-break as part of my adventures. I had jumped aboard the new medical tourism craze, people who go abroad to get some work done; their teeth capped, breasts enlarged etc. and have a nice holiday at the same time.
The location of my medicinal vacation – the home of the Central Deborah mine, a talking tram and the bitchiest Under 12 Girl’s basketball team in the late 1990s, Bendigo.

As a healthy and unadventurous child having to go to hospital was still unfamiliar as an adult. I was a lame patient. I filled out my admittance forms and had nothing of any interest to write, no mad cow, free of crazy diseases rampant in the 70s and having all my own teeth there was nothing juicy to expand upon. I was bored with my own health. I stumbled onto the fitness category and under ‘could you walk up two flights of stairs’ I considered my true ability and laughed to myself but faltered when it asked for an explanation. I considered if ‘laziness’ was a medical explanation and also if humour was permitted on medical documents. Just to double check the anaesthetist also asked if I could run up a hill and I said, “well, yes, I suppose I could… I wouldn’t enjoy it though”.

Several hours lapsed with me sitting in a waiting room in a blue and white striped gown, knee-high white compression socks and shower caps on my feet. A good look for me I thought. Being rather tall I spent most of this time trying to wrestle my hem down and my socks up. The old man next to me had his legs apart and I was glad I was next to him and not at the nurses’ station in front. I wondered how many people before me had sat on these leather seats with in their robes with no underwear and hoped they were all as considerate with their robe placement as I.

After a bit of confusion in which I informed them that I had in fact been prescribed pre-meds and hadn’t been given them and that I still needed to see a doctor for medical consent we were able to get the show on the road. I will be asking for a discount for helping them do their job. I was taken to my wheelie bed and wheeled down the hallway, not going to lie, quite fun. I cracked a few gags with the assistant who pointed out my surgeon, Dr Bowtie, who really should consider getting a bow tie made out of scrubs to make him more recognisable. Then I was promptly stabbed in the hand vein with a needle and sent off into the land of nod.

The surgeon slashed and dashed, never to be seen again nor heard from again and I woke up, quite reluctantly, from a deep drug-induced sleep only to be slapped in the face with the severe pain caused by people cutting me open, pulling my guts out, putting them all back in and sewing me up with a needle and thread. I would have kicked Dr Bowtie in the balls had I been able to find him or feel my legs.
They kept talking me round and I kept trying to go back to sleep. A few days later the doctor seemed quite surprised I had no idea what was going on as she had informed me during this time of a follow up appointment in 6 weeks. I thought ‘people don’t listen when they are unconscious’ would have been covered in Medicine 101.

Life on the ward didn’t resemble the TV dramas I was basing all my preconceptions on. No doctors looked like George Clooney for one and I don’t remember anyone on All Saints having to attend to Code Browns five times a day. It’s misleading to say the least. There was no glamour.
As I regained my senses I could hear the couple in the curtained room next to me whispering angrily. Apparently he decided that post-operation was a good time to confront his girlfriend for texting compromising pictures of herself to some other guy. The entertainment was beginning. It was just like Grey’s Anatomy. Shame the anaesthetic hangover meant I missed part two.

After about 30 hours I was given some food to eat. Placed on a tray ever so slightly out of reach was tragic selection of food items. “Careful, it’s hot” she said as she put down a plate with a cover, which was warm, but the single piece of toast inside hadn’t been warm for days. In fact rigor mortis had set in hours ago.
The brand Andersons Quality Tea was not quite honest as I prepared my Tupperware tea cup which wasn’t quite hot enough for the tea to infuse. I treated it like airplane food, ate it anyway in case I never get more. Plus it kills a good 15-20 minutes out of a long day. Anyways it would take more than abdominal surgery to turn me off my breakfast. I took great delight in pre-ordering my meals for the next day, do I want chicken surprise? or a bowl of gravy? Instant mash on the side? Jelly? or “poached” – hospital speak for “tinned” – fruit. Oh the choices. A culinary delight.

Room 9 had all the fun of hostel living. The old lady opposite who if she wasn’t snoring was shitting. I would have my book against my nose, inhaling the musty, old book smell to disguise another code brown. Everyone was bed ridden and miserable. Reading 'That’s Life' and watching 'Sunrise' hoping they were going to live to see another day. Such downers.

Although there is absolutely nothing to do, it’s not particularly restful in a hospital especially when you are woken up with a torch in your face hourly to take your vitals. Often the blood pressure monitor was broken which we would have to go through with each different nurse who needed to learn this themself. "Its broken, take it manually" I'd say as I flopped an arm out from under my covers and only opened one eye. There was a lot of time for sitting and waiting for food or medication. Getting out of bed, walking to the chair, to the bathroom, to the table by the window and back to the bed.

Things I learnt during my hours of life contemplation between naps:

  • No matter how much I will want to in the future, white tights are not a good look on me.
  • 2am by torch light is the ideal time to take out your IV.
  • A hospital gown with a few adjustments, namely a means of stopping your bare skin showing, would make a nice summer frock.
  • You would probably get better medical attention in Cuba.
  • Doctors will only see patients that are paying to be there. Yay public healthcare.
  • Hospital food really is pretty gross and at times unidentifiable.
  • I am tank when it comes to prescription medicine and literally takes an anaesthetic to put me to sleep. Am therefore considering a prescription pain-killer addiction only I have to break a Panadol in half so I dare say i'll struggle.
  • The idea of having to pay to watch TV in hospital is a disgrace. Your entertainment options are limited enough it’s just a punch in the neck to pay $9 a day for the privilege of looking at Koshie’s dumb face.
  • Beds that go up and down are awesome.
  • Putting the nurse call button on the TV channel changer is stupid. Oops sorry, just wanted to see who was on Oprah in the ads.
  • A catheter would be useful when travelling, for all those time when you cannot find a McDonalds with a toilet or are lining up for the Sistine Chapel.
  • Nurses work super hard and don't sleep. Are possibly vampires. (Need proof)
  • Doctors inspire little confidence when they says things like: “what side are we cutting today?” “do you have a copy of your scans” – me? no

they don’t give me a copy of expensive ultrasound scans to take home but I would like to think you could get your hands on it.

After way too many hours alone with my thoughts a doctor who was actually in the vicinity of my surgery (at least wore scrubs on the day) finally took the time out of their day to stop by and inform me what they had cut out of my body two and a half days prior.
I was finally discharged. Let out on good behaviour, for general bravery and awesomeness in the field of healing. My bags were packed and I waited in the window like an orphan.

My brush with the public health system. Fun was had. Skin was cut. Ovaries were taken. Human excrement was smelt. It was time to leave and recuperate in the comfort of a home, on a couch with healthy people around and DVDs on hand.
The doctor signing me out floated the idea of me staying another night past me which was quickly shot down as I pushed past him with my bag. I was going home to rapidly recover and attempt to make a scheduled flight to England in 14 days time.

Posted by The Tipsy Gipsy 05:20 Archived in Australia Tagged hospital operation medical_tourism Comments (0)

The Tipsy Gypsy

Travelling the world with my wagon, taking time to swig from a flagon of rum, steal your ipod and read your tea leaves

0 °C

I'm not going to lie, the fact that I am revisiting the blog sphere constitutes a large proportion of my excitement for my upcoming adventures - seeing an elephant with 3 legs and tie-dyed clothing, or Thai dyed one might even say (a hint of the sheer wit that is to come) make up the rest.

It's been a while between blogs, The Breakfast Nook was obviously a raging success and I have mostly been living off the royalties from it for the past few years. This first entry comes as I have finally decided that this site will do, I have faced the fact that no blog site is going to give me full creative control, so I have to stick with just using bold and italics and trying to wow you all with my wisdom and the raw power of language rather than a wicked design and the use of Comic Sans.

After some careful consideration, some ignored suggestions and some of my best pun and naf word play brain storming sessions my travel blog has been titled The Tipsy Gypsy. "Gypsy" because of the nomadic aspect of my life and my penchant for scarves and petty theft. "Tipsy" because it rhymes and I only write when I have a nip of brandy by my side and "the" because grammatically it was neccessary.

I will be publishing this Anna Karenina of the 21st century to Facebook so the eager masses can read my musings but it is also accessible via this here website but that will require a "File>"New Tab" and in this time of GFC we all have a lot on our plate.

My backpack is vaguely packed and I am now at that stage where my decent clothes are packed, the rest is tidy and packed away so I am living in the same clothes for the few days before I leave, mostly to cut down on effort having to pack up my room again.

My room is cleaner than it has ever been. I have packed away some of my things. Obviously rearranged my DVDs and books incase someone wants to profile my collection for a print publication. The family dream to see my room vacated and turned into a guest room may yet be partially realised, I had to pack some things away so said guests don't get vertigo or some such trying to sleep in a room full of things and also so no one accuses my parents of raising a communist as it turns out I have several instances of Lenin in my room.

It should be a riot. I arrive in Malaysia on Wednesday night. Staying in a private room as I am a snobby, bourgeois bitch who cearly thinks she can afford $14 a night rather than an $8 per night dorm share.

Liz Lemon goes abroad. Stay tuned.

Posted by The Tipsy Gipsy 19:16 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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