Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Stash-busting exercises

I'm using up the last of the Lollipop 6-ply yarn making an adult-size roll-brim hat. I used a figure 8 cast-on, casting on 8 stitches and knit from the top-down, casting on an extra 8 stitches every second row.

I'm using up my pink-purple 12-ply Naturally mohair creating a messenger-style bag for the Australian Bag Lady swap. I'm a bit nervous about throwing it in the washing machine to felt, which might be part of the reason I'm delaying finishing off the strap.

I've also joined the Ravelry Stash Busters stash-swap which at this stage may or may not get off the ground. The idea is that we knit something (from stash) and send it and another ball of yarn from our stash to our swapee.

I've continued to post yarn (as I find it) into my Ravelry stash pages. I was disconcerted to note that some of my most recent acquisitions are already in my 'will trade or sell' page. I am hoping this will help me refrain from acquiring more 'bargains' that I neither want nor need.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Health update

Although I've been doing reasonably well in my healthy eating and exercising programs, I have decided to join a specialised program run by the Royal Women's Hospital.  Despite my successes, I still have a long way to go and time is ticking away.  And I tick all the boxes for potential problems in the future.  My mother had diabetes and both she and her mother died of sudden heart attacks (my grandmother, I might add, weighed only 45kg when she died but had a cholesterol reading of 12, which shows that weight isn't everything; I'm overweight but have a healthy cholesterol reading).  Despite my weight, I'm quite healthy at the moment but I want to give myself the best chance in life.

So for $300, I get access to a 4-month program which includes twice-weekly exercise and educational meetings and the support of a team of dietitians, counselors, nurse practitioners and doctors who specialise in women with weight-related health problems.  I still have to do all the work, but it looks like I'll have a lot of extra support along the way.

At this stage, I would like to say a special thank-you to the private specialist I am no longer seeing who over the past 4 months only had to make one phone call or print out one letter to hook me into this affordable program but never did, despite telling me at every consultation that I needed to lose weight and despite her practice supposedly being an official partner in this program.  Her over-worked and under-resourced colleagues in the public sector - who had never met me before last Tuesday - went out of their way to address fill the gap in care. 

I don't know if I've just been lucky, but I am constantly being surprised by the level of professionalism and genuine care I've encountered from health professionals randomly assigned to me in the public sector, despite obvious shortages in both staffing and resources.  And I've been disappointed by the attitude of some of the private sector specialists I've encountered. They may be technically competent but I sometimes wonder if they actually care about their patients, or at least me.  I'll take a doctor who gives a stuff working in a dilapidated consulting room any day, over one who's obviously in it for the money but offers architecturally designed furniture.

Anyway, as part of doing this program at the Royal Women's I had to do a glucose tolerance test (check for pre-diabetes) over the weekend – one of the most nauseating experiences yet to date.  I came out from the dietitian on Tuesday with a little booklet that said, amongst other things:
  • Never skip breakfast
  • Avoid sugary drinks
  • Have a glucose tolerance test

To do the test I had to fast (ie: skip breakfast), then drink a revolting syrupy lemonade-type glucose drink (ie: as high sugar as they come), then have blood samples taken every hour. OK…

By lunchtime, I was feeling giddy and nauseous from the sugar and lack of real food and just wanted a nice multigrain roll to nibble on.

"Given that most people who take this test are at high risk of diabetes, aren't you worried they might end up in a coma?" I asked the nurse as I gagged on the glucose.

"That's why we do a urine sample first," she explained.
The test itself was bad enough, but it wasn't helped that we had almost a revolt in the pathology centre due to the queuing system getting mucked up.  Those of us doing the glucose test had been there since 8.30am and had to have samples of blood taken at pretty strict time intervals, leading to accusations of queue jumping every time the nurse took one of us in as we didn't have queue numbers
(instead we each had a personal alarm clock that could be heard half a suburb away to announce when the next blood sample needed to be taken).  Then there was the sheer joy of having to listen to every single elderly person bringing in their bowel screening samples checking with the nurse that they had done their test and packaged it properly…

Apologies to anyone who thought that last point was way too much information.  I totally agree.

I should have the results when I next see the doctors on Thursday.  Meanwhile I shall knit away.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The making of a bag lady

I'm a little nervous typing this as I don't want to jinx anything but I spent the weekend knitting with mohair for the Australian Bag-Lady swap and my hands are still free of hives, rashes and eczema.  I will post a picture when I have a chance - our internet connection is a little dodgey this week due to a husband who shall remain nameless somehow managing exceed our very generous download usage allowance for January; as punishment our ISP has throttled our broadband connection to dial-up speed until 7 February (I still prefer this option to that of ISPs like Bigpond who instead charge an astronomical rate for excess downloads).  So things are slow around here.

Minus the rashes, I can now appreciate why I bought this pink and purple mohair in the first place.  It is a truly gorgeous colour.  But it sheds like anything!

I'm making up the pattern as I go along.  My swapee has limited mobility and has requested a bag that can be slung across her shoulder and worn below her hip.  So I figured a messenger-bag style would be the best way to go.  If it works, I'll post a pattern. 

I'm in two minds about the strap.  The easiest thing is just to knit a long garter-strip and hope it felts to the right length - and I'm not even sure what the right length would be!  I'd love to do a long strap that is adjustable in length and have been busy studying my bra straps to see how they work.  But can I trust myself to visit Cleggs or Lincraft for a buckle and ring without buying any more yarn?