February 22, 2013

From Then ‘Til Now

Posted in Journey tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 8:27 pm by Reva

With my current lingering crash I’m considering returning to the specialist I saw about 5 years ago. This specialist played a big part in my acceptance and understanding of ME/CFS, and while life has intervened since, I think he may hold the key to some symptom relief. You can find the prequels to this post here, here, here and here and here and here and finally here (hmmm, maybe time to update and make this a little more user friendly…) .

A while after visiting the naturopath I found out a GP in Victoria who specialised in ME/CFS. I was pretty excited, especially when I found that I didn’t need a referral. I was a bit concerned about the cost of the appointments but the cost of interstate travel to get there, not to mention the toll a visit to this doctor was going to take on my health.

I was pleased when I found out the initial appointment could be done remotely, using surveys I completed and sent back and a phone call with the doctor’s practice nurse to collect some more data. There was also a request for blood tests which were sent back to the doctor.
I learnt a bit from the phone assessment. One of the things that really stuck with me is that the only activity that isn’t considered to use energy when measuring activity levels is watching television (and sleeping or lying down). I watch a lot of television. As a general rule, if I’m not working, sleeping or doing the essential household chores, I’m watching television.
The second visit was a face to face visit with the doctor. He was a kindly man who explained things really clearly, with lots of diagrams. He wrote so much down for me to take home, obviously used to working with people who had poor memories. He did some more tests, and prescribed a few follow on lab tests based on some of his findings.

Pin Cushion

Just another trip to the pathologist

One of the tests he did that day was a standing test. I started in a reclining position, and blood pressure and pulse rates were checked. I then had to stand with these tests being repeated every two minutes for up to 20 minutes. While standing I wasn’t allowed to move – not even wriggle my fingers or toes. The results were put into a computer program and changes in my pulse pressure and heart rate were calculated and graphed. Apparently this test is done to rule out POTS. During the test there was a 29% increase in my heart rate and a 29% decrease in pulse pressure. I was told that a 30% change in pulse pressure warranted further investigation for POTS. He decided to treat this as reduced blood volume and prescribed an electrolyte solution to drink a litre of each day, along with a medication to stabilise my heart rate.
He suspected I also had symptoms resulting from reactive hypoglycaemia and increased urinary excretion of potassium, so he sent me off for some tests to follow this up.
And finally at the end of the visit, using information from the questionnaires and the tests that had been completed he actually officially (well, to me it was official) diagnosed me with ME/CFS. We went through the Canadian Diagnostic Criteria together and the outcome was pretty clear. A few of the criteria I wondered about, like the immune manifestations. I never (touch wood) get sick. He pointed out that that I have chronic hay fever, asthma and allergic dermatitis. His examination also showed I had tender lymph nodes which fall under that category.
I decided to bring a good friend along to my second appointment as while the information the doctor gave me at my first appointment made sense at the time, I had trouble explaining it to others. At this second appointment he confirmed that I had reactive hypoglycaemia, high excretion of potassium (which apparently causes “sighing breaths”) and borderline ratio between Vitamins D2 and D3 (which is apparently related to some dysfunction in the immune system). He decided to treat the potassium issues. The vitamin D issue was so border-line and the treatment was intense and long, and it was questionable whether it was having any impact. I went home with 2 new medications – one to prevent the potassium leeching out of my body, and another to replace the potassium.

I did have a third appointment which was a phone consult. After this appointment I started a regime of vitamin B12 injections, starting with one a week, and working up to daily. They were subcutaneous (like insulin) and not intramuscular like vitamin B12 Injections usually are so I learnt how to do them myself.

I was starting to feel like this!

I was starting to feel like this!

I probably kept all of this up for another 6 months or so. The B12 injections were the first to go. I moved interstate in this time and it became inconvenient and expensive, and I didn’t feel that I’d made any progress. Slowly the other treatments stopped too. The potassium channel regulator went next. It was also expensive, and it didn’t think it made me feel any better either. In the end I stopped the electrolyte solution because of a number of reasons. Like all the other things, I didn’t think I felt any better for taking it. It had a slightly artificial taste to it. It had sugar in it – it seemed like a contradiction to take on an extra 60g of sugar and 400kcal a day when I was already struggling with my weight and had a number of risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes, when the solution didn’t make me feel any better.

eef86ab0b18b2f43f46d4475f681976f32

Skip forward about 3 years to now – I’ve been taking that electrolyte solution (half the prescribed amount) for the past month or so. I’m still not sure it makes me feel any better but it feels like I’m doing something. I feel like I’m starting all over again from scratch. Well, maybe not scratch but close to it. My next step is to discuss “where to from here” with my GP. Unfortunately I can’t get in to see her for another two weeks, but I guess that gives me another two weeks to write a list (because there is no way my brain is going to let me remember on my own).

February 16, 2013

The Versatile Blogger Award

Posted in Award tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:54 pm by Reva

I want to thank Mommabel from True Life Is Stranger Than Fiction who nominated me for The Versatile Blogger award and apologise for the fact that it has taken me so long to sit down and respond.

versatileblogger113

The rules of this award are:

• Thank the person who gave you the award and include a link to their blog (see above)

• Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or regularly follow

• Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award

• Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself

• You can find more information and other winners here

Here are my nominations – a combination of blogs I’ve been following regularly for a while, and a few ones I’ve recently discovered:

1. Lethargic Smiles

2. Musings of a Dysautonomiac

3. Momentary Solutions

4. Rag And Bone Shop Of The Heart

5. Knocked over by a feather

6. Hope For Heather

7. Oh What A Pain In The…

8. Throughhikerlife

9. Does Your Journey Seem Long?

10. Debauchery Soup

11. decimawho

12. Disorderly Chickadee

13. neveraloneblog

14. The Nerves Prick

15. Do I look Sick?

To my nominees: Please don’t feel obliged to follow the rules if you aren’t into awards, have already received the award, don’t have the strength or for any other reason– I just hope that I’ve sent some extra traffic your way xx

And finally, seven things about me:

1. I love the colour combination of pink and green

2. I hate being untidy but I can’t seem to overcome it

3. My cousin introduced me to wine (fruity lexia from a cask) at my Confirmation BBQ when I was 10. We broke the news to my mum about 10 years later. A further 10 years on she’s still getting over it.

4. Sometimes I just want to run and I hate my body for not letting me do it.

5. I love the TV show Scrubs. It’s my go-to section of my DVD collection when I’m having a bad day

6. I have conjoined toes. My swimming teacher told me it would make me swim faster. My swimming teacher lied.

7. I think my dog is hilarious, but accept that I might be biased.

February 9, 2013

Stuff

Posted in ME/CFS tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:35 am by Reva

So much has been happening in the last week or so, and I’ve had so few spoons left to write about it all; but I have a week off!  When I scheduled this week off (it was the next available week when I realised I desperately needed a week off just before Christmas) I planned to head interstate to catch up with my closest friends.  When I got sick at home at Christmas time I decided to return home for part of the week instead, to catch up with the friends I usually meet up with at Christmas and missed out on because I was sick.  Now, 6 weeks on, it has turned into “I’m going to hang around my house and do stuff”. 

By “stuff” I mean things like put away the washing.  For the past four weeks I’ve been living out of my washing basket (clean washing – I at least manage to clean it).  When I can’t find what I need in the washing basket I go to my dryer, which has the most recent clean washing in it.  The dryer gets emptied only when I’ve completely run out of enough clean clothing (or I can’t find it) to dress in an acceptable way to go to work and I have to do another load of washing.  This system has been working for me.  It’s let me get away with doing a few things that I probably wouldn’t have managed had I stuck with previous systems.  For a while I felt a little guilty about using my dryer when the weather has been so warm and the washing would have dried in half the time out in the sun but I got over it.  But my goal for today was to hang the washing on the line, and I’ve done it!  I’ve also emptied the clean washing basket and folded the washing.  AND I’ve taken the washing out of the dryer and folded it.  It’s all on my bed but it is closer to being put away than it’s been for weeks.

More “stuff” I plan to do is to go to Ikea and buy a set of drawers I’ve planned to buy for the past 4 years.  Yes, that’s right, 4 years.  Ikea is a 2 hour drive and there is no way I’m going to Ikea on a weekend so I haven’t managed to get there when I’ve felt up to driving that far for just a set of drawers.  I’ve decided that under the current circumstances doing a return trip in one day would be ridiculous so I’m turning it into a holiday.  I’m staying in a hotel about 10 minutes away, right near a friend, and catching up with a few friends for a casual dinner at one of their homes.  It means that I can stick to my new morning routine (which I’m still perfecting but will write about soon), miss the morning traffic, buy my drawers and be back at the hotel before afternoon traffic and have a good nap before dinner.  Then make my way home the next day as quickly or slowly as I feel (I’m picturing a leisurely brunch in the sun but we’ll see how that pans out).

I also have a heap of phone calls I need to make (somehow my brain can only cope with one a day of those so they tend to build up), baskets of stuff to put away (does anyone else tidy the house by sticking everything in a basket to “put away later”? I think I’m up to three baskets) and other general day-to-day stuff that seems to have crept up on me.  The best thing about all this “stuff” is that it’s been waiting so long to be done I really am not worried if I don’t get it done.  No pressure. 

What I’m really looking forward to is sewing my quilts and even if the other “stuff” doesn’t get done I plan to do some sewing and writing every day.

February 2, 2013

Fighting the Sleepless Nights

Posted in Crashes, Strategies tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:43 am by Reva

Sometimes when it feels like everything around you is falling apart, when you are playing things that are frustrating you or you feel like you aren’t doing properly around in your head instead of falling asleep.  When it feels like these things that you feel like there is no solution to these things but you’re determined to find one, or work out where you went wrong, I think it helps to take a step back and remind yourself of the good things you are doing or have achieved, and of the bigger picture in general.

As I’ve mentioned I’m going through a crash that for me is one of the worst I’ve had.  I am feeling like I am not doing my job properly as a result and that I don’t have the support of my direct manager.  I acknowledge that some of this is because I’m yet to find the courage to sit down with her and fully explain to her what my “fatigue thing” is (and that no matter what response I’ve had with regard to this in the past, it’s a conversation that has to be had).

Last night as all of the contradictory comments, the emails that contain underlying complaints certain people don’t feel that they are not getting what they expect from me and how they could do a better job, the conversations I’ve had and wished I’d handled better and the conversations that I want to have but am too scared to have were playing in my head when I should have been sleeping I turned on a light and started to write down the things I am doing well and have achieved.

  • I have acknowledged that I’m not getting better like I used to and have started to take steps to improve my health.
  • I have ordered a meal program where all my meals arrive pre-prepared to my door once a week.  This has helped my save energy that I would normally use on supermarket shopping, meal preparation and washing up.
  • I have started to reintroduce previous treatments – I am doing my best to drink my electrolyte solution every day.
  • I’ve spoken to our HR department about my options and now have avenues to pursue.  Plus I know I have people who can support me when it comes time to have the above conversation.
  • I’m doing reasonably well at keeping my new year’s good intentions.  I’m doing a reasonable job of leaving work on time, I’m sticking to my timetable but trying to be flexible if I can. I’m colour coding my day and my patient list so I can quickly identify the priorities.
  • I am accepting I need help and researching the best way to get it.
  • I am starting to stand up and state when I believe that something I see is affecting those around me (now to start doing it when it’s just affecting me!)
  • I am realising that if those around me are also stressed, anxious and exhausted, it is not me and my medical condition that is the problem.  It is the environment that I am in that is affecting my medical condition.  And while I think the above points are going to help bring my health back on track, I think this point is key to solving the problem.

January 20, 2013

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Biscuits

Posted in Food, ME/CFS tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:16 pm by Reva

Today I tried to work on an assignment which has a due date that is zooming towards me. I managed my initial 45 minute goal, took my 15 minute scheduled break, and couldn’t get back into it. I took an hour or so to just lay and had another go at the assignment. This just confirmed that my brain is pretty much mush at the the moment so I decided to bake. I’ve had a rocky couple of weeks and baking makes me happy, even if it can use nonexistent energy. I decided to bake my favourite chocolate chip biscuits. Super easy and I had planned to make them for the past two weeks as a part of a (belated) Christmas gift for a family friend.

choc choc chip biscuits

I love these biscuits because they are so easy and I always have the ingredients on hand; coming from a Women’s Weekly cook book, they never fail. The ingredients are also listed in weight so I find that I’m also saved a tonne of washing up because I just just pop the mixing bowl on the scales and add everything straight in.

I decided today to do something really crazy and replace some of the flour with cocoa powder; what can I say? I like to live dangerously 😉

chocolate choc chip biscuits

Overall it was a success. The biscuits were crispier than the original version, but in a good way. They were very cracked on top, so I might have to play around with the recipe or oven temp next time. There was one small almost-disaster where I was trying to unload one tray onto the cooling rack, and load the next tray on my too narrow kitchen bench tops, and the cooling rack toppled off. Fortunately the batch was saved from the floor by my buffet, all but one anyway. And only one third of that one was demolished by Maisie.

Ingredients

250g butter
165g castor sugar
165g brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g self raising flour
30g cocoa
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
300g dark chocolate chips

Method

1. Beat butter, sugars, extract and egg until creamy.
2. Sift in flour, cocoa and bicarbonate soda and stir until combined.
3. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate for an hour.
4. Preheat oven to 180degrees
5. Roll level tablespoons of dough into balls and place on a greased oven tray 3cm apart. Bake for approximately 12 minutes.

supper

January 10, 2013

To Know It Is To Loathe It

Posted in Crashes, ME/CFS, The Bad Days tagged , , , , at 7:17 pm by Reva

Today I hate ME/CFS.  Not that I usually love it, or even like it, but usually I tolerate it.  It’s there, there’s not a lot I can do about it.  But today I am having a day where I really hate it.

I hate the feeling of waking up tireder that when I went to bed.  The feeling that my eyes are stinging, that I would have been better off staying awake all night because for some reason the idea of having stayed up all night seems less tiring than how I feel this morning.  And the reason I know it’s worse than a normal night is that I slept right through the night.  Usually I wake up at least once.

I hate that the dreams I have during a crash are insanely weird.  I never remember the full story, just snippets.  From last night I remember being in a cooking competition, making “a trio of nachos”. There were appetizer ones that had individual corn chips lay neatly on a tray, each with a dab of tomato salsa and a sprinkle of cheese, grilled until just brown, then drizzled with an avocado sauce in a neat bottle.  There was also a heap of people who I haven’t seen in years, who I was sharing a house with – I think I was back at uni.  There was hiding from someone, in what looked like a storage room with glass windows and open metal shelves – like the ones you see on medical shows on TV.  Then I was at work, in some place I don’t recognise.  And the weirdest, hiding parts of a dead body.  I have no idea what that’s.

I hate that on these days I become so emotional.  The smallest thing sets of the tears.  I had one of most emotional work trips today driving through a small town where a murder occurred since I last drove through, past a road sign to another small town where out of control grass fires tore through homes earlier this week, past the fire fighters out washing down there truck after fighting those fires.  On a regular day these would have touched me but today I welled up.

I hate the way my brain seems to go on strike, the way it stops mid-sentence.   It reaches a point where it not only happens when I’m talking but even in my thoughts.  And if it doesn’t stop it goes off on tangents so often that I suddenly stop with no idea what I was supposed to be saying.  Trying to get back to the point is like treading water in my head…if I keep talking maybe I’ll remember the point and find my way back to it.

I hate that there is so much I need to do and knowing that it’s not going to happen.  Or if it does happen, I’m going to be in even worse shape.  I need to wash my car properly – it has moss growing in crevices because I keep giving in and taking it to a drive through car wash so it’s never properly clean, or dried.  I need to change the sheets on my bed, but making it will probably take me all day.  I need to make a heap of phone calls.  I need to restock my freezer. 

I hate that despite knowing that I need to do all of this I spend all spare time outside of work sitting on the couch, watching bad summer TV.  And that when I get back to work people ask what I did on my day off/weekend, because when I try to come up with something the best I can manage is “watch tv” or “not much” and they respond “oh that sounds so nice, I wish I could do that”. I don’t have the energy to do even the seemingly restful activities like sewing or writing or reading.  Sometimes even watching TV is too much. 

Most of all I hate how negative I become.  I’m sure I’m not like this on the good days.

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January 7, 2013

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:53 pm by Reva

This is a brilliant analogy explaining symptom management in chronic illness and the decisions we have to make just to get through the day, things we took for granted when we were well

December 31, 2012

New Year, New Challenges

Posted in Crashes, Journey, ME/CFS, Progress, Strategies tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:07 pm by Reva

New Year’s Eve looks even better than I planned.  I finished work two hours early.  Set myself up on my new banana lounge under the shade of my beautiful Japanese Maple, watching my dog explore the backyard, drinking my lemon lime and bitters and writing.  When the sun gets low I’ll move inside and set myself up on the couch in some comfy pyjamas with some snacks and a low alcohol sparkling wine and watch DVDs  until the fireworks on TV (and there are rumours of some local ones) or I fall asleep, whichever comes first.Maple

 

I’m not one for New Year resolutions.  I’m pretty sure I’d be setting myself up to fail.  But this year, or this past six months, has been the worst I remember health wise.  So I’m determined to make some changes.

Since my crash back in September I admit I probably haven’t been looking after myself as well as I could.  I’ve probably bought more take away food, I’ve nearly emptied my freezer supply, I haven’t eaten fruit, not paced myself well, have gotten lax with my planning which has meant more frequent trips to the supermarket…the list could go on forever.  Up until yesterday this is where I was going to focus my “health reform”.

The first thing I figured I needed to do was work out what was causing this prolonged poor health state, if it was just the above or was the above actually the result of a crash that has just been perpetuating itself.  I’ve been shutting this out because in the past I’ve found that for me a crash is triggered by no one thing, but usually a combination of things that have the audacity to hit me all at once.  The difference this time is I don’t seem to be recovering from the crash, at least not back to my previous capacity.

About six months ago my role at work changed significantly.  I wasn’t happy about the change, but that’s another story.  On the surface (and I suspect this may have potentially been behind the move) the move looks like it makes my life easier.  It’s less complex clinically, there is less urgency to get things done therefore there should be less overtime and on the side, parking was better so I wouldn’t have to park so far from work.  Unfortunately my workload was spread across two campuses, 10minutes walk apart.  I picked this as an issue early on and I tried to plan my week so that I wouldn’t be walking back and forth each day (driving sounds like the easier option but at one of sites it’s about a 10 minute walk to the nearest untimed free parking).

In the past few weeks I’ve been doing some research around chronic illness/disability in the workplace.  One of our OH&S representatives sent me some information which I finally had a chance to look into over the weekend.  As I was reading it I came to realise that the move at work may have been a bigger detriment  to my health than I first thought, that the things that I’ve been doing my best to not complain about for the past six months may be more than just annoying.

A lot of the management ideas portrayed in the information included things I already tried to do in the past, and were largely based around setting up your work space.  I now share a desk with two other people.  I can no longer stick reminders to myself in the middle of my desk because they’d be in other people’s way.  Using my diary is difficult.  It contains patient information so I don’t like to take it home but I’m frequently starting at one place and finishing at another so somehow it ends up at home. I then forget to take it back to work so I miss meetings, forget phone calls and overlook orders I’m supposed to place.  I’m starting to look very unprofessional.

My current role involves a lot more talking with patients, education and negotiation.  My brain does not do these well.  I have a very scientific brain.  It does not cope well with rephrasing and coming up with analogies.  I’ve noticed it being so much harder to speak my thoughts. My previous role was a lot more complex in many ways but I didn’t have to put my explanations into terms that patients could understand.  It also involves a lot more time on my feet, talking to patients (I refuse to sit on patients’ beds for a number of reasons) and chasing down other staff, and supplies.

For now I can’t change these things easily.  I’m not happy about it but that’s life.  I am going to put together a case, with the help of my OH&S friend and my psychologist, for some changes but given the complexity of politics in our organisation I’m going to tread carefully and take my time.

In the meantime I’ve considered what I can change to help my case.

  • I need to find a way to get to work on time.  I don’t cut hours, but if I arrive to work late I stay back late making it up which means I get home late, and start to feel like I have a routine of work, eat, sleep.
  • I have started to use the online calendar at work.  While this might appear an obvious solution, our organisation does not have enough computers (considering EVERYTHING is done online), so it’s not a final solution but I think it will help.
  • I’ve set a very strict timetable which I’m following starting today.  Into this timetable I’ve inserted all hours I’m allocated to each different part of my role, but more importantly I’ve included my tea breaks. Tea breaks are not something that is really routinely taken in my workplace however it is an entitlement and I believe it will go a long way to improving my productivity and health.  To help me with this I also have allocated a block of time at the beginning and end of each week to plan my week and ensure all the paperwork is finished on time.
  • I’m colour coding my diary.  I’ve always been jealous of people who do this but some of information I’ve been reading recommends doing this to help with visualisation.  I started doing it with my online diary about a month ago and it’s worked brilliantly so I’m going to start doing the same with my paper diary as I rely a lot more on that.

In addition I plan to:

  • Return to my fortnightly meal plans.  I don’t stick to them strictly but they do mean that I don’t have to go to the supermarket more than once a fortnight and I don’t end up buying my lunch at work
  • Drink less caffeine and artificial sweeteners.  I don’t have a lot of caffeine – I try to limit to no more than 2 caffeinated drinks a day and I rarely exceed this (and never after lunch).  Artificial sweeteners on the other hand have gotten a bit out of control.  In a bid to drink more fluid without sugar I have been drinking a fair amount of diet cordial.  The trick will be to drink enough fluid to keep my head from spinning. Today stocked my filing drawer with peppermint tea bags.
  • Later in the year, once I’m going to talk to my GP about reinstating some of my previous treatments (more on those another day) and potentially revisiting my CFS doctor.

 

So no resolutions but a long list of good intentions that I think are largely achievable and hopefully will go a long way to increasing my workplace situation.  I recognise a lot of other things I could do, but I think that by focusing on these will actually mean many others fall in place.

 

 

Wishing that 2013 brings you all happiness and good health xx

 

December 23, 2012

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:33 am by Reva

Linds has written a wonderfully comprehensive guide for making the holidays easier for your loved ones who have chronic illnesses

Musings of a Dysautonomiac

Can you believe the holidays are upon us already?? Where does the time go? The holidays are a wonderful time of family and togetherness, but can also be a time of stress and frustration as well. If you’re already dealing with the stress and frustration of a chronic illness, holidays have the potential to be miserable.

This is my second holiday season since my dysautonomia diagnosis, so I’m not a rookie, but this is only my sophomore attempt. Last year went fine, and I’d like to think, unrealistically perhaps, that I’m a little wiser since then. Well, at least I’m a little older. Although I’d like to specifically ask my chronically ill readers (regardless of your illness) to chime in with their holiday tips, this post is primarily intended for caregivers and friends/family of those with chronic illnesses. I’d like to address a few holiday stresses to hopefully make this…

View original post 1,274 more words

December 22, 2012

Road Trip

Posted in Journey, Progress, Strategies tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:47 pm by Reva

I’ve just made the 300km trip to my hometown to spend Christmas with my family.  It’s a long trip when you have a chronic illness and are travelling alone (well, with a dog) but it’s a good opportunity to have a good think.

1km

Coffee break.  Okay, so I planned this to avoid making and cleaning up breakfast.  Poor Dog thought she was going to a play date, but just enough time to grab a quick coffee, a piece of toast and read the first two pages of the paper

coffee

17km

Where’s the cruise button gone? Same place that the volume control is on the steering wheel.  I don’t have it.  I’m not driving one of the work cars.

63km

As I’m going through a slightly windy part of the route I remember a conversation I had with my mum in the same spot 12 years.  I’d just bought my first car and we were driving home.  Dad was driving ahead and Mum decided she needed to tell him something.  She was going to phone him and I suggested that maybe as we were in a fairly remote area we probably wouldn’t have reception.  She couldn’t understand why that would be the case when we could see his car.  Sorry mum, they’re not walky talkies

120km

I’ve remembered 4 things that I’m sure I’ve forgotten.  Nothing urgent, just inconvenient.

124km

I’ve forgotten what it was that I remembered I’d forgotten.

136km

Time to stretch our legs in the largest town along our route, a thriving metropolis of 2300 people!  Coax the dog out of the car.  Wander around letting her sniff things.   Coax her back into the car with treats.  Check the boot to see if maybe I remembered to pack the lollies.  Nope, I really did forget them.

149km

One of my favourite road signs.  Sounds much more pleasant than a bumpy road.

 bumpy road

My other favourite is “Fatigue Kills”.  It hasn’t got me yet!!

167km

The scenery

photo

180km

swamp

I’ve been driving this road regularly for the past four years.  It was only during floods about 18months ago that I realised this was swampland.  Prior to that the droughts in the area had dried it out.

197km

Starting to fade.  I could do with those lollies.  I know they’d make me feel terrible later but a sugar high would help me get through the last 100km

209km

Christmas in rural Australia – I was hoping to see the old scarecrows that a farmer dresses up as a Christmas family watching TV would be out but I either missed them or they’ve been put away.

christmas letter box

213km

A duck? Out here? Just out of the corner of my eyes I’m sure that’s what I saw.  Can’t have.  Hold on, could have been a snake, a brown snake curled up with its head up.  Hmm.  Not going back to find out.

228km

Straight ahead and behind.  The farmers in this region have had it really tough.  After a decade of drought there were massive floods through the region about 18 months ago.  Now everything is so dry again.  Many farmers are unsuccessfully trying to sell up, and walking off the land.

aheadbackward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

247km

I could really do with a bathroom break thanks to the coffee and the attempt to keep hydrated…but you saw the scenery

263km

There’s some fantastic Australian music on my playlist.  I just hit play on the alphabetical list and am finding myself singing along to some oldies but goodies (You Am I, Powderfinger ) as well as some newies (The Rubans, San cisco).

287km

Nearly home…the ground starts to turn red.

red dirt

298km

Made it

the end

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