Monday, June 29, 2009


A good one. It's what I'm trying to have. Not about Life In General. No, no, Life In General is fantastic. Got the Band back from foreign locales, got the baby who apparently thinks he/she is a contender for the next Confed Cup, got the homely home which I love, got the Mothball - that's my mom people, try to keep up :O)- visiting this weekend. Life In General is a happy place to be.

It's work that is... challenging. I realised this when I spotted on my boss's calendar that I would in all likelihood not be seeing her for the next 3 weeks and felt delirious happiness. That's not a good sign, is it?

I am currently busy trying to navigate the treacherous valley of delicateness that is my work condition post-maternity leave. ugh. What I'm proposing is that they let me work from home primarily but obviously come in for meetings and when necessary. I'll have a full time someone with the bambino, but I still don't feel right about leaving a 3 month old home all day minus his or her mom. So I'm hoping that the controlling old school powers-that-be are won over by logic and you know, the fact that we are running out of office space and I am about to go from my own office to sharing (BLEGH) because we are so short of space, plus the fact that we should encourage working from home as a principle in terms of reducing carbon footprint etc etc etc. Plus the fact that people are more productive from home.

Anyway I am freaking a bit. If they say no I'm not sure what I'll do... Unpaid leave - we can't afford it. eep

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Guys I tried

I really did.
I tried to put together a mini-post on my cruddy Sony Ericsson, but alas twas not to be. I've been sick, you see. Bronchitis has had me in bed far away from decent internet connection.

So a quick recap on the last week and a bit to get you up to speed...

Had great weekend in Kei Mouth. Was very well looked after and the mothball (thats my mom) organised a little baby shower for me so the bambino is now decidedly more sorted!! Very very cute little outfits. Was great to see my family and friends from home.

The adorable neice was up for waking up whoever she could at the crack of dawn every morning. Eventually after being rerouted by each of us in turn "Why don't you go lie with granny and grandpa for a while..." one morning she gave up on the humans and decided to serenade my dog... the off-key melody of "YOU ARE MY PHOOOOEEEEEBEEEEEE, my only PHOEBEEEEEEEE, you make me HAAAAAAAPPPPYYYYYYYYYYYY, when skies are greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey" could be heard reverberating through the house.

I got flu while i was there and on the flight back I reckon people thought I was in labour - the ear ache was excrutiating and I resorted to using labour breathing techniques to get me through the flight.

Anyway since I got back I have moved house, the Band has returned at last from Madagascar and I have been in bed.

And before you think to yourself "seriously, that's the post? I waited over a week for that?" you just consider how you'd feel on medication, sick, blocked up and in your 3rd trimester. That's right. shame on you for judging me!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nearly there..

so i'm sitting in the airport with monstrous backache having some kind of nasty hot flush caused by the insanely speedy manner in which i downed my milo which I was forced to drink to try and cope with the heartburn induced after the super salty "chippery" chips (R15... sorry i mean 15 BLUDDY ront!!) I had to scoff when I discovered that I had somehow gained a bluddy hour (when does that happen) and it was still a few years til i got fed onboard the plane and this is all AFTER being here for ages already catching up on all my email, reading a couple of chapters and mooching around in general.

Whereforth do I sojourn?

To the Eastern Cape. WOOHOO. Almost makes the hot flush, heartburn and back agony worth it. Yep - they're all still here. soddit.
And Ches, can I just play the victim and point out "At least you can HAVE pain killers" the ONLY pain killers a knocked up chick is allowed are Panados. PANADOS!!!!! ha! you thought Myprodol were lame.

Anyway. Back to the fantastical weekend I have planned.

In case I didn't mention, The Band is currently in Madagascar and I am missing him insanely. Disturbingly, since he has been gone I am actually sleeping through the night which I feel both relieved and mildly guilty about... surely I should sleep better when he's around??? But I assured him it was a deep-seated subconscious defence mechanism - i refuse to wake up my usual twice an evening coz I would never get back to sleep without him! (He seemed mildly satisfied with that explanation).

Anyway, so much digressing. Ah yes. So my folks, and some of my other family AND PHOEBE MY GORGEOUS DOG are all going to Kei Mouth for the weekend and are flying me up to join them. YAY!! My dad has been counting down the sleeps for about a month and it will be the first time they all see The Bump. Plus I will have 3 little slaves at my beck and call - little cousins and my niece. I will, no doubt wake up to 3 pairs of eyes staring intently into my face at a disturbingly close range at 5am-ish and sighing loudly and repeatedly, but it will be worth it.

I am soooo excited to be oohed and aahed over, fed and pampered. There really is no place like home, most especially when you are the GOLDEN GIRL who is about to provide a beloved grandchild!

Restaurant Review: Buena Vista Social Cafe

So last night I went with a few colleagues to Buena Vista which is somewhere between Stellenbosch and Somerset West. As usual it was great. The decor is really cool - very authentic and atmospheric. Old pics of grannies smoking cigars, random candles burning black marks on the walls, mismatched pics and frames and odds and ends. Considering this is a franchise they have done really well to make it seem unique.

The food is what you'd expect from a cuban restaurant. Burritos, nachos, mojitos and a bunch of other "o's". But that's not what makes me loyal to the place. It's the personal touch that does it.

I have been to BVSC probably about 10 times or more since it opened - it's great for sundowners in Summer with the south american music blaring forth and also The Band and I developed a bit of a nachos obsession at some point so we were there a lot trying to satisfy that one :)

Anyway, last night I was there with colleagues. It was a great evening with the girls(though I was peering enviously at their mojitos while sipping on my somewhat dismal G&T minus the G!).

At the start of the meal I asked about the ice cream and chocolate sauce: is it hot chocolate sauce, or mere chocolate sauce? (Hey, there is nothing wrong with forward planning!) The waiter said it was mere chocolate sauce but he's fairly sure they could make a plan to upgrade it to hot chocolate sauce. Good man. I assured him that he need not be shy with the chocolate. Naturally throughout this exchange my friends gave the affectionate head tilt (to the left) and murmured "she's pregnant after all" in those soothing tones people usually use on the certifiably insane. I just smiled knowingly. I would ask such a question knocked up or not. It's elementary!

Anyway, when it came to it, a friend and I shared the Ice Cream and HOT Chocolate Sauce. It came with a fresh cherry on top. yuck. I offered it to the table but my friend stopped me: "Hey! Don't take my cherry!" To which we all cackled gleefully!

At this point the chef himself came out with a second jug of the good stuff - HOT chocolate sauce - and said "I believe someone here is eating for two?" Bless that good man.

I was just starting to tell the girls that this was the first time I'd come to Buena Vista without being given a free drink. I was midway through the story when the manager, Nick Slaughter, arrived with a tray of shooters... cherry liqueur and something else with a cherry on top for each of us. "Now you can all have your own cherries back" he said with a wicked smile.


South African Tragedy: Part 2

So yesterday I went with Lily's mom - Khuselwa - to Stellenbosch Hospital for her meeting with the doctors involved. This sounds simple enough - for me I snuck out of work and took an extended lunch hour, but for Khuselwa it meant a R20 taxi fair from Tygerberg Hospital - where her child is now and where she is currently living! and for her sister, Shumi - it meant excusing herself from work. When you are living hand to mouth and earning R2000 in a good month these are not simple sacrifices.

We got there for the appointment only to be told the doctor was not available - he was busy at another hospital and would be there later but they couldn't say when. I explained to the appointment setter upper that that was not good enough - this mom has left her child to be here and best he ensure that the meeting happens TODAY and SOON.

In the meantime I took the ladies to Legal Aid. When we told the story the lawyers eyes just grew bigger and bigger. Next step is that they will find a law firm that specialises in case of medical misconduct and try get them to take the case on pro bono. My heart just about broke when Khuselwa discretely asked me if I knew what Legal Aid were going to charge her. Got to be careful not to take for granted that people understand things like Pro Bono!

The hospital called later to say the doctor was there. We went to get the low down from him. Amongst much waffling and jargon and me asking the same question over and over in a different way to get down to facts, the basic thing is this:
Gas was used on Lily and a number of other children that morning. All was fine and the anaethetist escorted her to recovery. She was not on oxygen as it was just gas and she was breathing fine on her own. Her oxygen levels were, however, being monitored.

A while later a nurse came to him and said the child was not waking up and she was concerned. He went back to recovery and the child was blue and the monitor registered her oxygen at zero. She was not breathing and had no pulse. He resuscitated her and gave her a shot of adrenalin to the heart. From then she was put on oxygen and transferred to Tygerberg Hospital.

He has no idea what caused her to stop breathing. He says it could be any number of things from a bit of tooth caught in her throat, to the child choking on vomit, to a heart error, to her moving her head as she began to wake up and cutting her own oxygen supply (which seems the most likely). The point is though, that what the hell is the point of an oxygen monitor is no one is watching it and if it does not have a function to alert if the levels drop. As Mrs Hall says, a child needs to be monitored throughout the anaesthesia process - including when they are waking up.

The anaesthetist brought up the fact that Lily was a prem baby and she is still small for her age - 8kg when she should be 12kg. He said this may have made her weaker and less able to respond. BULLDUST. That really got me. As Khuselwa said: Surely you had her file and you knew she was small? Is this the first small child you've worked with? Go Khuselwa. That is a bulldust argument because:
1. If there was any added risk with the child being small rather DON'T DO THE PROCEDURE! It's bloody toothache on a MILK TOOTH for goodness sake. Give the child panado and wait til it falls out rather than put a life at risk.
2. If the child WAS considered higher risk then surely she should have been even MORE closely monitored.
3. He then tried to say: what i mean is that if you strangle a healthy person and a sick person, the healthy one will be best able to cope with it. "Rubbish," I said, "the problem isn't the level of health, the problem is that the strangling happened. If you starve any brain of oxygen it will be damaged."
The reason this whole insinuation offended me so much was that I could see that it upset Khuselwa. As a pregnant woman I know that there is an implication that if you have a prem / low birth weight child it is your fault (and sometimes, frankly, it is) but the child is now 2 - she should never have been allowed to go without oxygen long enough to turn blue!!

If it is a capacity problem - shortage of nurses or whatever - then they should have allowed the mom in to sit with her child as she recovered. You can bet a mom will notice if her child stops breathing!!

Anyway, to be fair, aside from that stupid comment, the anaesthetist is tormented by this case. And the bottom line is that he cryptically implied that she should seek legal counsel.

Next it was a meeting with the medical superintendent. He was a lot more sketchy and evasive "It's not about pointing fingers, it's about looking at how we can do better". No no... if you don't figure out exactly what happened then how the hell do you prevent a rerun?? This isn't about not hurting feelings, it's about saving lives.

anyway. that is basically that from Stellenbosch Hospital. From here on they won't give access to a report or anything unless Khuselwa goes the legal route.

The burning questions for me now are:
> what if Lily lives on and on with no improvement? what will that practically mean for her impoverished mom?
> what about all the other times that something like this has happened and there's been no-one to tell the family about Legal Aid etc? How many times have things like this been swept under the proverbial carpet?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

South African tragedy

The Band always knows when something is big to me coz I take a long time to talk about it. I generally like to process stuff first but this one is far from sufficiently processed so perhaps writing about it will be therapeutic.

I have a fantastic housekeeper, maid, char, whatever the politically correct term is. For the foreigners among you: having a "cleaning lady" once or twice a week is more or less the norm in SA. It provides employment and is seen as a positive thing.
Anyway, Mavis is fantastic and has worked for us for about 2 years now and we are pretty close as far as an employer/employee relationship goes.

2 and a half weeks ago her niece (a 2 year old girl named Lili) had to go to Stellenbosch Hospital (a small government hospital)to have a tooth removed. Mavis's sister (Lili's mom) was told there was some sort of complication and so Lili was transferred to Tygerberg Hospital - a big provincial government hospital. The doctors there looked into it and did scans and so on and it seems that after going in for tooth ache, Lili is now severely brain damaged. The doctors say she is blind, deaf, unable to talk or even swallow. She is basically catatonic. Days went by with no improvement and on that Saturday the doctors decided it was time to take her off life support. Her family was told she could die immediately, or in minutes or in hours. A week and a half later she is still alive.

This story is tormenting me. I didn't know Lili before - except for what Mavis had told me about her, but the utter injustice and waste of it keeps me up at night.

On Sunday I went to the hospital. I wanted to see what the story was for myself and also to pray for this child. The children's ward at a public South African hospital is a heart breaking place. I saw babies smaller than the one I am carrying lying in the open - no incubator or blanket. The nurses and doctors are lovely and clearly care about what they do, but the facilities are just no good.

Lili is a beautiful child, really gorgeous big brown eyes that are mostly vacant but every now and then they seem to focus which gives you hope. The doctors give no hope beyond a miracle. I will keep praying for that.

A friend of a friend is a paediatrician at the hospital and so she called him for me. He knew exactly which child she was talking about immediately and said "off the record" that it was gross negligence on the part of Stellenbosch Hospital - something to do with a lack of post-operation monitoring which resulted in oxygen starvation and then severe brain damage.

Guys how the hell is it possible that a kid has a toothache and comes out severely brain damaged??

Anyway, the sad reality in SA is that the poorer people are very accepting. The mom is not particularly angry, just sad and confused. I am attending a meeting at Stellenbosch Hospital tomorrow with Lili's mom at which they are discussing the case and tomorrow afternoon I will go with her to Legal Aid. The off-the-record doctor says that they should be able to either sue the hospital or the state for millions. I haven't said that to Mavis and her sister. I've just said that we need to make sure that this never happens to anyone else.

Guys I'm in this one for the long haul. It is not ok that because these guys are poor the hospital gets away with this. If this was a white kid in a private hospital it would be front page news! I'm in media relations and I'm not above taking this to the media if that's what it takes to get some sort of justice for this family.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Back to school

So last night The Band and I went to our first prenatal class. It was great. The chick who takes it is hysterical and muchos irreverent. Disappointingly there was none of the suck-suck-pant breathing technique stuff. Perhaps later on. There was a doll which looked a little like Chucky on a bad day. There was also a bunch of ladies with boeps waddling to the bathroom constantly. All due in September and ranging from mini-bumps to massive girths.

Monday, June 08, 2009

random thoughts of caz today

Ghandi ... the super calloused, fragile mystic, hexed by hallitosis.

Oompaloompas of blogland. Today I am feeling very ineloquent so pardon the mush of random thoughts that serve as little more than a nice distraction from the pile of work awaiting me!

1. People are so very odd. I have this friend, we shall call her Bee, who has a very good heart and is extremely caring and all that, but she just makes the most nasty comments, (usually realises instantly and backs off with a self deprecating comment). FOOT IN MOUTH disease of note. One such example I have already mentioned here... when I said I was lucky to have had an easy pregnancy thus far and she quickly told me that i have no reason to believe the next one will be so easy and it could be rough! haha. The other one was today. My mother-in-law, bless her, thinks that Nadal looks just like The Band. Nadal is great and all, but I don't see the resemblance. Someone said "nah - Nadal has a funny nose" so Bee says "ha! maybe that's the resemblance". I mean SERIOUSLY!! About my HUSBAND! In a room full of work colleagues. Forget the fact that as you know, The Band is basically flawless and HOT DAM he is gorgeous, but WHO SAYS THAT?? Anyway it was fairly awkward!! I made light of it saying "please, the man is HOT" but I'm still waiting for her to at least come say a sorry. Surely?? right? Fear not, dear readers, i am not taking offence and if no apology is forthcoming I will not be bitter and twisted, I'll just think it is so odd. Very very odd. There is an added element of weirdness in that we are old family friends and I got her the job here! weird woman.

Anywho on to number 2
2.Today I am officially in my 3rd trimester. Bring on September!! Yay. Can't wait for the bambino's arrival and 4 months of maternity leave. (of course between now and then I am going away twice, moving house, needing to buy everything for a baby - no people, i haven't bought ONE SINGLE THING YET!!! but hey, you know, whatever, bring it on!)

3. The Band goes to Madagascar for like 10 days on wednesday. I am not entirely sure how I will survive. It's so frikken cold at night!! Who is going to warm me up after each of my multiple trips to pee??? I am going to FREEZE TO DEATH!

4. I am going to Kei Mouth for the long weekend. Going to spend it with the folks and some fam. CAN'T WAIT!!! No place like the Eastern Cape. No dog like my phoebe.
You've seen pics before, but it this blog needs sprucing up so here she is again:

Friday, June 05, 2009

Because it's Friday!

(apologies to intelligent foreigners reading this blog!!!)

These questions about South Africa were posted on a South African Tourism Website and were answered by the website owner....

Q: Does it ever get windy in South Africa? I have never seen it rain on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see elephants in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Durban to Cape Town - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only two thousand kilometres take lots of water.....

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in South Africa? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes...

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in South Africa? Can you send me a list of them in JHB, Cape Town , Knysna and Jeffrey's Bay? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about Koala Bear racing in South Africa? (USA )
A: Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the pacific. A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe which does not...oh forget it. Sure, the Koala Bear racing is every Tuesday night in Hillbrow. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is north in South Africa? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 90 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into South Africa? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Hillbrow, straight after the Koala Bear races. Come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in South Africa? (France)
A: No, WE don 't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in South Africa? (USA)
A: Anywhere where a significant number of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in South Africa where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in South Africa ? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: Are there killer bees in South Africa ? (Germany)
A: Not yet, but for you, we'll import them.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Cape Town and is milk available all year round?
A: No, we are a peaceful civilisation of vegan hunter-gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in South Africa who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca, which is where YOU come from... All South African snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: I was in South Africa in 1969, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Hillbrow. Can you help? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will probably still have to pay her by the hour.

Q: Will I be able to speek English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.

PS Happy 250th Blog Post to me!!

Disturbing information

I'm in a carpool. When you see the same people first thing every morning, throughout the day and for the drive home in the evening you start to tell each other fairly arb stuff. There's an odd complacency which comes - kind of like those couples who've been married for twelve years and have reached a point where the wife plucks his nose hairs and the husband remembers to buy her her senokot. *shudder*
Anyway, as a carpool we have started to reach that point. It's a fascinating phenomenon really. The way we fight over who gets to ride shotgun and then portray nonchalance when it's not us. The way we play vicious games of Beer Me (whack the roof and shout "BEER ME!" whenever you see a car with one dim or broken headlight - this weather is GREAT for Beer Me!). The way one of us can cunningly get a bad 80's song stuck in everyone's head for an entire week. And the arbitrary little things we share with one another. This morning, for example, I felt to share the fact that I had my first ever GENUINE mock charge when I tasted some off milk. Just in case they were interested - you understand. Hellion, a commenter on this blog and possibly the only person in my real life who actually has access to it (oh the privilege!! - bring cake!) shared with us some particularly disturbing information. According to her, according to her friend, according to a pilot, if someone dies on board an aeroplane they have to be strapped in to a seat for the landing! Apparently it's the law. From now on I am choosing my plane seats more carefully. If someone looks touch and go I'm gonna find a reason to move... before it's too late!!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Post Toast Roast Coast

I have been such a dedicated blogger lately *pats herself on the back*
*grins cheesily* *grin develops into something of a grimace as heartburn starts up* BUGGER IT.

Being knocked up is not for sissies people. But sometimes it also really is. Like how no one can be bent with you if you fade. And NO ONE can fade like I can. It's inspiring really. I've been known to fall asleep in movies, watching DVDs, at dinner tables, at braais. There is definite narcolepsy in me. I have ALWAYS been this way. Take me as I am and all that. But now no one rolls their eyes when I do it. No one frowns disappointed at me. No one shakes their head thinking "Typical". Nope. They all just tilt their heads to the right (it's always the right - check next time you earn yourself a head tilt) and smile affectionately. "She is pregnant after all. Bless".

Anyway, time for an afternoon nap and some Gaviscon.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Choosing names wisely...

A psychiatrist was conducting a group therapy session with four young mothers and their small children.

'You all have obsessions,' he observed.

To the first mother, he said, 'You are obsessed with eating. You've even named your daughter Candy.'

He turned to the second Mom: 'Your obsession is with money. Again,it manifests itself in your child's name, Penny.'

He turned to the third Mom: 'Your obsession is alcohol. This too shows itself in your child's name, Brandy.'

At this point, the fourth mother quietly got up, took her little boy by the hand and whispered, 'Come on Dick, this guy has no idea what he's talking about.......... Lets pick Willy up from school and go home.'

Monday, June 01, 2009

The nesting phase

So I'm 25 weeks along. Crikey. Time is flying and dragging. This weekend I baked rusks for goodness sake. RUSKS people. And The Band and I looked at COTS. COTS! Incidentally The Band has his heart set on making the cot and compactum - which is just an annoyingly OTT name for shelves which are high enough to change a nappy without breaking your back).

BTW: If you ever want to have kids DO NOT go to Kids R us or Babies R us or whatever the name is until you are knocked up and it's too late. It's not just the painful abbreviation of the word "are" to "R" or the unnecessary use of inverted commas. There's something more about that place just gives me the heebees! I think it's all the kitschness. So much plastic. So many evil messages being sent to the kids. Like the game for 3 years + little girls called Shop til you Drop. Now why, as the kid's presumed only source of funding for the next 18 years, would you want to encourage that mindset? I think it may also be a combination of the stark flourescent lighting, the depressing clutter and chaos of random toys and yelling whiny kids and the cheap and nasty linoleum floors.

But, I digress.

What was I on about? Ah yes. The nesting phase. So you'd think we'd have been all babied out after those shops *Caz shudders* but no. We got home and (after a rather indulgent 3rd jacuzzi for the weekend) we lay in bed dreaming up nursery layouts. WHAT???? I KNOW!!!

So anyway. I'm not a Beatrix Potter, shades of pink, shades of blue or Winnie the Pooh nursery sort (isn't there enough of that happening once you have a baby?? Must the bear really be called that vile name??) My nursery idea is animals. AAAAH. I'm thinking of having low key decor - biscuit and white coloured stuff with fairy lights and then pics of baby animals printed onto canvas. AAAAAH. Now before you all vomit, look at the pics I have in mind...

I mean can you blame me for getting a little broody??