Archive for the ‘Gerard Oosterman’ Category

Potato baked in foil is the only way forward

March 27, 2017

photochevati sausages

We all know we have to keep going. One way is to keep things simple. It is amazing how quickly things can turn complicated. Sometimes we get churned up and on reflection are amazed how we reacted so badly despite having arrived at an age whereby wisdom is supposed to be our domain. We all plod along the best we are capable of. One way forward in giving respite to anxiety and relief from life’s foibles is through the potato baked in foil. It is not just by accident that the word foible includes foil.

For some weeks now this family has come to realize that what has been dormant for many years in our kitchen drawer, the roll of aluminium foil, is now finally being used to its full potential. It was staring us in the face all the time. This last sentence doesn’t seem to follow the rule of logic. Following rules have never featured very strongly, let alone logic..

There is no getting away from the fact that we have to sustain ourselves. Food is just one item of that sustainability. We have discovered that through the week we eat fish at least twice a week.  After having tried different fishes, it is the salmon cutlets that have won out. We get 4 cutlets each week. They cost about $14.- The salmon cutlets are spread out over 2 days but not consequently. We might have a pasta or a risotto in between, just for variety.

The potato in foil is now so much part of our dietary habit that I felt it my duty to inform you why we feel so strongly about this ‘potato in foil’ discovery. It is delicious and dirt cheap. Let me give you the low-downs on it and it is free. I cut two or three potatoes in quarters or even smaller. This depends on the size of the potato. The bigger the potato the more you cut it. I prefer the Dutch Cream potato, even though I became an Australian some years ago at the Sydney Town-Hall. I had a choice of doing the oath of allegiance on the bible or in the name of the English Queen. I thought it an odd choice but the biscuit and cup of tea afterwards, prepared by the Salvos, repaired my suspicions and anxiety somewhat.( but not totally, even till this day)

I don’t peel the potato but that choice is yours. After having cut the potatoes, I drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle some pepper, salt and oregano on them. I wrap the potatoes into 2 packages of aluminium foil and leave them for an hour or so. At about an hour and half before eating, I light the outside gas barbeque, put it on low, and put on the  wrapped potatoes. A red capsicum is cut in half and I follow the same procedure by adding some olive oil, pepper, garlic and herbs of choice. This is added to the top of the barbeque plate about 3/4 hour before eating. NO foil around the red capsicum!

In the last ten minutes before eating, the salmon cutlets are fried,. 7 minutes one side with skin crisp and brown, turned around for another few minutes on the other side. All that is left now is to unwrap the potatoes add them on 2 plates with the char-grilled capsicum, salmon cutlets and just eat it all. Slowly does it. It really is a simple dish, nutritious and healthy and with such little effort.

It is the only way forward.

 

 

The Auction

March 26, 2017

 

IMG_0767Christmas Dec 2015

Daughter with our grandsons

Well bid, Sir.

And with that a small 2bedroom home-unit changed hands to a lucky new owner. Last week has been hectic, too hectic for some seniors. Readers might remember that after that last heat-wave we decided to get air-conditioning installed. This all happened last Thursday.  Three trucks arrived at 7am. The evening before we were warned not to be in our pyjamas. This referred to when we asked for a quote and we were still night-clad at 11am a few weeks ago, when the man arrived to measure and quote for the air-con. We got sprung. It is rare for us to be out of night-gear before mid-day. It is a nice luxury and it is not as if we  have to catch the 6.30am bus (401 Balmain-Sydney)) to get to the train and then to work.

We had also made a move to go to a real estate Auction this last Saturday. Our daughter has for some time now been mulling over moving. It is funny, Sydney is not as homogenous in its people as one thinks. Perhaps with all the influx of migrants many areas have grown starkly different. Our daughter decided to move away from her area that seems to be mainly peopled by working couples. Dual income no kids or  known as DINK couples. The Dinks want to move upwards and want the mystery of ‘life-style’. And they want it now! That’s why they scurry out of the door to work, and in again after work. They are the 6.30 am bus catchers. Sydney  house prices though might mean they will have to catch the bus for many years yet!

‘Not many children or teenagers, not enough coffee lounges and bookshops,’ our daughter said. She also added. ‘There is just not enough loitering of people walking the streets,’ it is just not cosy.’  It is a boring suburb. She is referring to where she has lived for the last few years. I am familiar with the boring. Could she be a chip of the old block?  She likes the areas where the diversity is somewhat greater. I suppose she might also remember the halcyon years, when growing up in the inner city suburb of Balmain.

So, off we went and scoured the real estate pages, including http://www.domain.dot.com and all those sites that at the flick of a button opens up the world of apartments for sale nation-wide. The advertisements are all false. ‘They are false estates,’ Trump would say. Photos are taken with wide angle lenses that make a mere toilet look so big one would think buying an airport lounge. The interior measurements are juggled with but that’s alright and dealt with by the small lettering down the bottom warning buyers to not rely on anything the brochures and advertisement might be stating. Fake brochures. Fake figures.

Her choice finally singled out on a 2bedr, town-house at Dulwich-Hill. After  pre-contract perusing by solicitor and financial  acrobatics and skirmishes between daughter and us, we worked out some details. The value of her present property, a 3bedr double story unit would most likely be less than the pokey 2 bedroom place she was interested in. We would hang in there for the difference! A premium is now paid for closeness to latte sipping venues and bookshop browsing opportunities. Mothers with prams while nonchalantly sipping a latte from a carton cup while strolling about can add thousands to properties. A premium is also paid for 6am coffee shops opening while catering for lycra clad bikers/joggers and senior dog strollers with fold-out walking sticks.

The mood at the auction was electrifyingly tense. People were eyeing each other, trying to estimate the depth of their wallets. I had pre-booked our interest and my bidding number was nr. 9. The auction started at exactly 9am. It must be the law. No late comers allowed upsetting the procedures.  We had a pre-arranged limit over which we would not bid. Our daughter was tense. We pointed out the smallness of the unit. Will this be enough for you and two growing teen-age sons, we asked?  She just nodded a bit nervously. How much the worth of latte, I could have added but did not.

The crowd had gathered outside, and a movie camera was pointed towards all of us. There would have been a fair sprinkling of neighbours curious about how much their units had shot up over the last year or so. Sydney is now the most expensive city in the world and a dangerous bubble is ready to bust anytime.

The opening bid after a few seconds was $ 850.000.-. It soon was incremented by $5000.-lots, when it all started to stall at around $ 900.000,- Our limit was  firm at $920.000.- I kept calm but knew we would soon be out of the picture. The auctioneer started getting serious and wanted it to get over with. No doubt he had other auctions scheduled for later on. He started to raise his little wooden hammer, his tool of trade, and threatened to call it. The real action started. The serious buyers were now getting into their stride. The final bid was $ 970.000.-

The oddness at auctions is that when the property gets sold, people clapped as if they had seen a performance or an opera. Perhaps it was operatic. I enjoyed it. But, the buy was over the top. Our top anyway. I felt relieved and Helvi was ecstatic. She felt it was far too small and dark

The auctioneer congratulated the successful bidder by saying, ‘ well bid, Sir.’

This Australia country is Crook as Rookwood

March 22, 2017

IMG_1087Milo 2017

There we go again. It seems that the refugee swap with the US is under some cloud. Australia claims it needs to cut back on spending. It could save billions by just finally accepting the refugees held on Manus and Nauru  on Australian soil. What seems more logical? The oft repeated mantra of keeping control of our borders is just ludicrous. Can someone point out which country borders us?

Our minister, Mr Dutton, for Torture and Unlawful Detention (TUD) should brush up on his geography. We are girthed by sea and in any case Facebook, Twitter etc. doesn’t respect national borders and makes a mockery of land borders. As it is, the world is becoming borderless. We are supposed to revel in being Australian and associate ourselves with ‘true Australian values’ but what are those values if not the same as those of most civilised countries?  What are Australian values that are so unique?

Treating asylum seekers as sub-human is a festering sore that will keep Australia on the international shame list while it lasts. I can’t possibly dance around a national Australian pride pole while refugees whose refugee status has been accepted are kept detained. They are not illegal and no charge has been levied against even a single person.  They are in their fourth year of unlawful detention.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-22/us-refugee-deal-architect-says-based-on-australia-doing-more/8375250

It seems  likely that the  trade in refugees between the US and Australia will at best limit itself to just a few of the seventeen hundred that are still locked on Nauru and Manus in exchange for perhaps fifty or so refugees from Central America. There are rumours that the refugees on Manus and Nauru have been fingerprinted by US officials. Heaven only knows what must go through those tormented souls? Fingerprinted once again!  The indignity of it all.

Many of the refugees are well educated and sometimes seem to have a better commend of English than their torturing privately funded interrogators. How could we have got it so wrong? I know the answer. We lack leaders that are decisive not divisive. There is our PM Turnbull, grandiosely  slapping himself on the back saying that Australia is the most tolerant, the most successful multi-cultural country in the world. Yes, but what about all that what happened within our child support detention camps. The people employed to look after the welfare of those children asking sexual favours. Suck my dick video has just turned up at the Royal Commission.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-20/don-dale-officer-filmed-himself-asking-children-for-oral-sex/8369284

How could things go so off the rail?

 

Milo seems to have an answer. Just look into his all-seeing eyes.

 

 

 

Does it ever stop?

March 20, 2017
IMG_0827windflower

Japanese Windflower

The dream of retirement was always to be a time of reflection. You know, reap the fruits of love and labour. So far, it has mainly been the peelings. Life doesn’t really let up. You see those ads of elderly couples swirling about on huge opulent large multi-storeyed ocean liners. A magnificently gowned wife having a glass of wine in one hand and with the other hand holding a rambunctious ruddy faced husband.

The video then takes you to the liner’s cabin (with ocean views) where the same husband with spouse, retire to their enormous red rose petal strewn bed, leaving no doubt that even in retirement, their conjugal activities are still hale and hearty, not having shrivelled or waned at all. Apparently that is a misconception. The elderly are shown as keen and eager as ever to have  sex. Not true, it’s all fake!  It’s fake sex.  In advertising the winning technique is always to show the opposite of reality and truth. That’s how advertising works. That unobtainable and forever elusive search for ‘happiness’, brings in the customers. The truth is that the elderly are more likely to engage in naps, study Aldi’s catalogue, enjoy domestic bickering, but rarely engage in wild sex with rose petals. Their rusty limbs just don’t allow that anymore.

This all because we are now finally getting our air conditioning installed. We signed the agreement some weeks ago. And no sooner had we coughed up the 10% deposit  were told that during the extraordinary heatwave they had been swamped with request for installing coolers. Since the heat left and the weather cooler we did not mind waiting. That’s what is nice about retirement. One becomes time rich and easy does it. This Thursday it is to start and we are excited. It will be nice to have the house comfortable and those wild swings between heat and freezing somewhat controlled by the push of a button.

For some months now we have been tossing up about going and sail away over the horizon. Helvi is still not keen at all on sailing away somewhere. “You are dreaming and letting go of all reality,” she says, while looking at me with those large true-blue eyes of hers. “You will be the first to be bored shitless,” she adds. “Yes, Helvi, but they have libraries and lots of shops, “I tell her narrowing my eyes. “No, it will just be waiting for eating and swallowing food, endless meals and snacks,” she adds to a pile of previous objections.

“I always like travelling when we did not know where we would end up sleeping, that to me is travelling,” she said. “Yes, but we are now too old. I am not going to sit in a bus travelling in Turkey, having a bout of intestinal hurry and on top of that not knowing where we will sleep. We are too old now,” I say with some earnest vehemence.

“Let’s just get the air conditioning out of the way. Keep looking at your Ocean Liners videos”, she adds.

It never lets up.

 

 

Give us back our Country

March 14, 2017

 

IMG_0829The Salvia

It is so heartening hearing that South Australia is now trying to nationalize the Electricity industry. Remember Australia had a Commonwealth Bank, the GIO, the PMG and above all we owned our resources. It was all owned by Australia and its people, us. We were rich. Australia was a country who had it all. The envy of the world.

And then, the ugliness of capitalism reared its head. It started with lowering taxation. Government after government  got in by waxing and manuring greed by promising to lower taxation. The inevitable shortfall of revenue was fixed by  selling everything under the sun. Leases on vast areas of our resources were sold to individuals who started  companies specialising in selling our previously owned coal, iron ore, uranium, silver, gold, oil and much  more to the highest bidders. Enormous profits were distributed to shareholders but not to the people who previously owned it all.

And then after selling off the resources that Australia has almost unlimited ownership off to private individuals, our Government owned bank,  The Commonwealth Bank, was sold off, followed by our own insurance company , The GIO, followed hot on the heels by Post Master General, morphing into the present Telstra. The Government had once again some more  revenue, enough to prop up creaking infrastructures, health, schools, roads, public transport.

But when all that money  went, poverty crept in once again. It became harder and harder to find the money. Increasing revenue through taxation  was electoral suicide. It was easier to allow poverty to creep into the masses. Pensions were cut, social services were cut, queues at hospitals became longer. The divide between the haves and have nots became wider. Educational levels lowered, students are now struggling to get basic language and numeracy skills. Skilled jobs were filled by importing overseas workers and so the list goes on.

The States too, got onto selling stuff. Water was privatised, and electricity. Poles and Wires with both water and electricity prices going through the roof. Shareholders are rubbing their hands in glee. Riches are made but only to the few. The money made out of selling public utilities are only short term solutions. It should never have happened. Australia should have kept control of its country. Why are French companies now running and determining the electricity prices in South Australia? It is crazy.

Is it time to take it back? Nationalise what previously was owned by us, the people. South Australia is on the way of doing that. We should applaud that. Did anyone watch the ABC’s Four Corners program on the state of the US. People earning such low wages, whole families living in tents or single rooms. Kids being fed packets of chips or stale pizzas. All those glittering advertisement, miles of MacDonald’s signs and the insane grinning Colonel Kentucky chickens running amok.  They are now the largest employers of people who get payed so little they are reduced to dismal poverty. They try and smile so heroically; what would you like with your chicken/ hamburger sir, they say while wearing a cap?

Surely proof of terminal capitalism in its death throes.

Adele, the Phenomenon

March 12, 2017
IMG_0765

Lobelia

Hello, but am I missing something?

I asked my neighbour how he was. It’s the usual way to start a conversation. Sometimes, we talk but only if mutuality allows it. No obligation to talk. It should be free choice. It really is a matter of observing the other person and likewise the other way.

He said, ‘I’m fine and we are going to see a concert in Sydney tonight.’ ‘A concert, I replied. Where are you seeing the concert?’ I expected, the Opera House or some other venue, may be a Private school or Art gallery. You have to remember that to me a concert is something that includes Beethoven with an orchestra, possibly a grand piano, violins and a conductor with baton. It was nothing like that.

He said, ‘it is held at the Olympic Park and fully sold out. We are taking all the kids as well.’ Our neighbour’s kids are grown girls. The Olympic Park is at Home-Bush and was specially built for the Sydney Olympic games in 2000. ‘It’s Adele, he added.’ The ‘missing’ part is that I know very little about fame and its people. Never heard of Adele. I have heard of The Gypsy Kings and The Beatles, but Adele is well below my radar. That is not surprising because I don’t watch much TV or read newspapers. With both forms of media I generally don’t read or watch sport or brush up on any fame. The only recent pop star that I remember is Bieber. ‘Can you make me look a bit like Bieber?’ is what I habitually  ask my barber.  And that is starting to fade as well.

I lack the honesty to admit to my neighbour I had never heard of Adele. There is no lie really. Can omission to not know of a well-known thing be a lie?  I went inside somewhat ashamed for not having continued the neighbourly conversation. He was also in the process of washing his car. The noise of the  garden hose hitting his ducoed car wasn’t helping much of me hearing what was being said. I decided to go inside and seek the help of Helvi in clarification of ‘Adele.’ She is much more on the ball than I.

‘Of course, I have heard of Adele,’ she said. ‘She is a singer and writes music as well.’  I however, had never heard of her. It is well-known that snobbish people often state that their superiority has reached such stellar heights and is so far above everyone else’s, they proclaim, to everyone still patient enough to listen , they know nothing about sport or pop stars.

With me it is not so. I am just quickly dulled by sport or famous pop-stars. My dad was the same. I have his gene. I also don’t know about much else as well, it’s not only sport or pop! In any case. I went back to my neighbour and told him the last concert I went to was a concert of The Gypsy Kings, a long time ago. He was nice about it and told me he still has all their music. So, that was nice. I did not come through the total ignoramus.

Just now I put on a song by Adele and it’s called ‘Hello.’ The neighbour said that at the concert thousands were in tears, sobbing. That’s the power of that  song by Adele. I put it on for Helvi’s benefit. After 20 seconds she asked me to put that screaming woman off.

So, there you go. Different strokes for different folks.

 

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of Dumpster Diving

March 7, 2017

 

 

the-system-was-never-broken-it-was-built-this-wayThis form of saving the world’s economy  and ecology while making a living at the same time is becoming increasingly popular.  It is Dumpster diving!

In its crudest form it is saving and re-using stuff that gets thrown out in dumpsters or  on the streets.  In Europe this has caught on enormously and gaining momentum as we speak. Well-dressed former business people and unemployed accountants are seen diving dumpsters. In Australia this dumping of superfluous goods is most noticeable during Shire-Council collection days. The much loved grassy bits in front of our suburban houses are temporarily surrendered and given over to our unwanted goods by those living adjacent to those grass strips, euphemistically called ‘nature strip.’  Dogs love them too.

Years ago, this dumping had already started in Balmain. We lived in Balmain till 1996. In the nineties this inner city working class suburb was starting to morph into respectability. Endless jackhammering and expensive renovations were normal. Television personalities were moving in with expert lawyers.  Nervous estate agents roaming the streets looking for juicy deals. I rescued a fridge and  TV. After dragging them home ,  I switched them on and they worked. I was baffled. Who would throw things out that were working?

That was just the beginning.

I have since rescued many unloved items, including a box full of TV antennas. Who would throw out TV antennas? Were they stolen? While I have no qualms about dragging some goods home or scanning charity shops for fashion items, I have yet to rescue discarded culinary delights. I have looked but not yet partaken. Next time when you are near any food outlets, go and look inside food-bins that are close by fast food outlets. It leaves me wondering if people sometimes buy take-away without feeling hungry. A few weeks ago I had a look inside a bin near a Domino Pizza place. It had a pizza still in the box with just one bite taken out. It appeared to be a meat-lover pizza as it had different kinds of sausage, salami and a slurry, perhaps a mince meat mixture. There was nothing wrong with it and still fresh. I am sure those bins get emptied each day. I wasn’t hungry, but even so… a nice slice of salami?

From living frugally with ‘waste not wont not’ still ringing in our ears from early parental upbringing, it stood the times. My parents ultimate disapproval would be reserved for those wasting food. During the war we would delight in scarce potato peelings soup dinners, dancing around the table. My parents never let up telling us how food was so scarce during the war. Over-fed toddlers now get Dr Seuss bed-time stories told. War kids got soup kitchen adventures and potato-skin soup stories re-told shivering under newspaper-made blankets.. Even now, I don’t peel potatoes and we scuff the lot instead. If plastic spoons and forks had been available during those times, I am sure they would got eaten. We never throw out food. If the bread gets mouldy we toast or,  if green, put it to the worms. We are both united in this, and leftovers never wasted.

Diving in Dumpsters is now not just for derelicts or vagabonds. It has become popular by entrepreneurial people who make a living from passing on and selling what they can scour out of bins. They are to be seen early in the mornings. Some take buckets with them. The more organized have trolleys. The economic downturns and lack of adequate welfare wakens survival instincts and this industry has sprung up as a result.

There are those that predict dire economic results from the frugality phenomenon now sweeping the world. Apparently the economy depends on us spending what we don’t have. Australia is badly situated with our private debt being one of the largest in the world.  An increase in interest rates or a downturn in real estate could easily spin out of control very quickly.  On the other hand to keep spending what we don’t have is just as loopy.

The Domino discarded food in bins might yet come in handy.

Woe those that save and live frugally

March 6, 2017

images

There is always that pull to and fro of our past. Some say, don’t look back. But with age comes an oversupply of what has been and much less of what is yet to come. I am talking of time, not substance. It’s most unlikely that at the age of seventy-seven one contemplates joining the army or seek a career in investment banking. Sure, some go climb mount Everest or take up the piano, but most contemplate things and end up rummaging around in memories. I do.

One of the good things that was ingrained still occupies my train of thoughts. It was one my parents main input. ‘Live within your means. Save for what you want and don’t waste.’  This was also reinforced by the political system back in Holland. The era of consumerism never took The Netherlands in the same way it was embraced by Australia. Buying things on credit was unheard of. Today, this very different and the credit card is also embraced. Even so, some national habits are well ingrained. I believe even eating raw herrings is as much a pastime now as it was when I lived there. Saving is still held in high esteem.

This might well be the reason that of all the countries in the world, The Netherlands now hold the enviable record of 103 quarters of uninterrupted economic growth.  While much of that growth is contributed to cutting welfare and taxes and giving corporations greater freedom, Holland still enjoys a generous welfare system. Excluding costs of education, Holland spends 24.3 % of GDP (Gross Domestic Products) and comes in fairly high on the list of welfare spending. Australia spends 18% and  this is towards the lower end of world’s foremost economies. The US is the fourth lowest on welfare spending at 14.8%.

The Dutch pension gets paid irrespective of being poor or rich. Everyone who turns 65 gets it. It is a state insurance scheme whereby every one who works or has worked in the Netherlands gets a pension when turning 65. It is roughly 2% for every year that one has worked in Holland

http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Economy/Social-welfare-spending/%3E-%25-of-GDP/Excluding-education

This is all about our experience on how saving in Australia is being punished.  Since about two months ago the government changed tack on pensions. Those with savings above a certain limit would either get the old-age pension lowered or totally taken away. We lost our pension. It seems, that in Australia it is best to whoop it up and spend, spend. Burn your money, go gambling, load up your credit card, run up debts. You will ensure you get the pension.

https://www.svb.nl/int/en/aow/wat_is_de_aow/wie_krijgt_aow/

And by the way, the Dutch pension is about 70% 0f average wage instead of 40% in Australia. So, next time you hear Turnbull or Morrison going on how Australia is some kind of social paradise. It is NOT. We are pretty stingy when it comes to social welfare.

 

How was your Pulled Pork?

March 2, 2017

imagesTOR600JI

After our American friend arrived a couple of days ago we had lunch at a local pub. Our friend from California is having extensive additions and renovations done on his house. He needed to live elsewhere for the duration of this. He is renting a house in the never never of Sydney’s sprawled-out Western suburbs. In the past it would have been referred to as beyond the black stump. In the earlier days of colonisation, the black stump was a landmark used as a pointer to unmapped interior of Australia. This sunburnt never never country. The black stump, a burnt-out tree!

After arriving and perusal of menu, Helvi chose the Pizza with anchovies and my friend and I went for the brisket sandwich. My friend explained this is a traditional Jewish dish. A kind of pulled slow cooked beef. What is it about this pulling of meat lately? There is now a race on to have ‘pulled’ meat dishes on menus. Especially pulled pork. Not long ago it was the pink salt or Himalayan salt. Soon after the wooden platters or slate on which food was served. Remember the waiter going around with giant pepper grinders? That’s old hat now. We have ‘pulled’ pork or beef. Are cooks pulling on a piece of meat before cooking it?

It is all so confusing. Are people now socialising, talking about their latest ‘pulled pork platter’ at the Berlin Café? I can’t imagine asking a nice sophisticated lady during the interval at Beethoven’s ninth symphony at Sydney’s Opera house, ‘ How was your pulled pork today?’

Within about ten minutes or so, our dishes were ready. This pub gives you an electronic buzzer which always frightens me a bit when they go off. So much now is done electronically. This pub is very popular. It means those devices are going off almost continuously with people dancing around from table to table.  With my deafness I sometimes mistake this noise with a call on my mobile phone. I now don’t take my phone with me. Even so I react. It is so crazy out there. Life so much nervous reaction which I can do without.

The patrons then walk to the counter and pick up their dishes. With the introduction of wooden plates it is an art  to walk back without spilling pulled meat or anchovies onto other diners. This is especially so during Friday nights when people go around selling raffle tickets. Most pubs do that. The tickets are raised to fund charity for the poor home-less or football clubs. Lions clubs or Father Riley, The Smith family and so forth.

After we picked up our wooden platters of food, we got stuck into it. The juices from this pulled brisket sandwich soon flowed onto the wooden platter. Those wooden platters don’t have a rim like good ceramic plates have. I made a little dike with a paper napkin. This building of dikes comes naturally. Even so, it distracts and the brisket wasn’t all that well pulled. Enfin, we continued on. Our American friend commented that it was nothing like his mother’s brisket cooking.

Is anything ever like our mother’s?

 

Hospital and an Oxycodone led recovery.

February 28, 2017

 

 

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You know how it is. The days have been reasonable. A blissful uneventful period of stability and quiet confidence. Normality is stable as it is supposed to be. The only spoke was a return to a backache. The last time I had this was in November the 9th, 2015. The date of a packet of six pain killer tablets told me so.  I had four left. Over the last few days I took 3 of those and thought it prudent to go to the local public hospital to get another few of those tablets. They really helped last time. I kept this last tablet up my sleeve in case the pain became so bad that walking to the hospital would be out of the question.

We live almost next to not one but two hospitals. One is public, and abutted to it, and part of it is a private hospital. The difference is that the public one is a bit add hoc with all sorts of strange additions cemented on to the original one. It can be a bit of a challenge at first to find ‘Emergency’. Someone has thought of gluing down plastic feet guiding patients to the different sections. There are confusing ramps and doors held open by bricks.

The private hospital is simple, modern and has no odd additions. The brickwork is tuck pointed and there is an outdoor café with a healthy Coke  sandwich- board on the pavement. Each hospital have their own parking allotments. The public has Ford trucks, Holden utes and Toyota panel vans. The private have Audis and Mercedes, and whiffs of perfumes and polished shoes.

After showering I took myself to the hospital. It was 11 o’clock and the sky overcast. It had rained but the birds were happy. Lots of screeching white cockatoos. Within minutes triage nurse had taken my particulars including pulse and history. I proudly showed my packet holding still the one Oxycodone tablet dating to 2015. No drug addict here.

‘Please take seat back in the waiting room’, she said, smiling. ‘Doctor will see you SOON.’ The waiting room just had a young girl holding up her hand with her spare hand. Her palm had a bandage. After waiting for two hours I noticed that in the office opposite where I was sitting, there was a coming and going of many nurses. There was a lot of jollity and loud positive laughter.

However, sitting for such a long time took its toll. Previously I would be in and out within an hour. Two hours and just one girl? I went into a convivial and accommodating mood. It must be a few severe cases of ambulances bringing in terminally damaged patients, I thought. Doctors are flat out dealing with damaged ones. What is a backache compared with smashed head and broken bones? Normality doesn’t live in the Casualty departments of hospitals.

After almost three hours I was finally seen to. One of the jolly and laughing nurses asked again the extent of my injuries. She did notice my awkwardness in getting off the chair and limping behind her to yet another chair. I’ll fix you up first she said, and left. She came back with a poly styrene cup with water and a smaller clear plastic cup holding a variety of different shaped tables. I rummaged around the tablets trying to understand what I was supposed to do. ‘Which one do you want me to take?’ There were at least 15 tablets. ‘Take the lot,’ she commanded. ‘What, the lot?’ ‘Yes, she said, they are Nurovan, Panadol, Hedanol, Paracetamol, and some others, take the lot.’ I had trouble fitting them all in my mouth. May I chew them, I mumbled politely?’  ‘Yes, chew them, she said.’ Was this my lunch?

I was so amazed. I felt like leaving a tip. Nurse left after telling me she was going to see doctor for a prescription for the more stronger pain killer. She assured me I would soon be feeling better. I assumed they would be the Oxycodone, as before. But, who should walk in but Helvi, my wife. I thought I was seeing an angel. Turns out she got worried. There was no one in the waiting room. She asked the staff where a Mr Oosterman might be. She was taken to her husband. By the time she got to me all pain had floated and I was flying. I managed to tell her about the cupful of tablets. Almost asked her for a dance.

She too was amazed.