28 November 2010

Winter has arrived in Galway

So the other night I was walking to a friends place that was much further away than I anticipated, and at first I stepped outside and said 'yay it's not raining' - a real Galway sentiment - and then before you know it it's not only raining but sleeting and then snowing! Real thick fluffy floaty snow. And that was cool. For about 15 minutes. After that it was just cold and wet. But still, at first it was really cool.

And then last night it snowed again - that's two nights in a row! But on this occasion I only watched from indoors which is really the best way to see snow, from inside a warm room. This morning the snow was gone and everything was covered in ice and frost, even the spiderwebs. So I went out taking photos before I am completely over the novelty of this cold weather.

21 November 2010

Animal Week

1. A Dog.

This week my housemate found a dog. She's a very nice old dog, she followed us to work two days in a row, and the second day stuck around all day, in the rain and cold, until it was dark. So now she is in our apartment and we are trying to find her owners. She has no name because she is not ours though we would quite like her to be.

2. A Guillemot - this bird was found on a sampling trip, it was injured in some way and the intention was to rescue it but it died. So next thing you know this bird was in the -70 degree freezer, waiting to be stuffed. A project for a rainy day and all that.

Well, today was that rainy day.

Some people may be disconcerted by finding such a scene upon entering their office. But me -  no. I walked in on bird dissection - being conducted to jazz music - and was not at all fazed. Perfectly normal course of events really, and something you can easily get away with in a zoology building.

So the empty carcass is above, and it had to be filled with a make-do skeleton. Which was constructed with wire and paperclips.

And then the bird was stuffed with cotton wool, and stitched up. My only part in all of this, other than photography and unhelpful comments, was the stitching.

And now the stuffed bird has been all stretched out to dry, and when dry will be posed in some manner, and hopefully will look good. And if it begins to smell, I will be evicting it from my office. Oh, and it's name is Gill.

3. Another Dog.This dog is not stolen, and has a name. He is Barney and sometimes comes to work in the weekend, which means I get to play with a dog. Isn't he adorable?

06 November 2010

My 23rd Birthday

Sadly, I don't have a decent picture. I guess it is not generally the first thing on your mind. But I kept asking for the x-ray and last I heard I will be able to get it next time I see the doctor which will be in too weeks. I am gutted, I wanted a shocking picture for this and facebook. And I can't believe I neglected to get someone to take a photo of the blood spilling out.

So to begin the epic tale. I can do so now because I have most of the feeling back in my fingers, can type away pretty much as usual. The anaesthetic has long since worn off but the tips of my fingers are still tingly so I guess that's something to do with the injury. So what happened? Well it was Thursday afternoon and I figured that it was finally time to do a little bit of work before we took our tea break (by which I mean chocolate muffin break). The tanks by my desk have been needing a clean for awhile so I was finally going to change the water. I took the animals out and put them in a bucket of clean water, took out the air tube but the bit that goes on the end of it popped off. So I put it back on. But it was being a bit stubborn. It was on but it was loose and so going to fall off again so I tried to shove it in harder. The end bit was in my left hand, and what would you know but I pushed too hard, the glass tube broke and went straight into my palm. !!!!!. (Yes the exclamation marks deserved a sentence of their own).

So there I was with a glass tube stick out of my hand, making a fair bit of a fuss but luckily with still enough wits about me to not let my colleague touch it or pull it out. It didn't actually hurt much, I remember though that my hand look awfully white. It was very slow to begin bleeding. And I was taken to the technician who wrapped it up and took me to the health unit, who unwrapped it and then wrapped it right back up and sent me to the hospital. Turns out the Irish health system has a few problems at the moment, understaffing and such things. But I was not at A&E for so long, I guess when there is a foreign object in your hand they want to treat you quite quickly. The had a look, sent me for an x-ray - the x-ray technician is an Invercargill girl! The x-ray showed that there was a broken off piece right in my hand. So I went back to A&E, where they gave me a local and laughing gas (which was hilarious) and took out the main piece of glass. By that stage the blood had finally travelled right up the tube and was spilling out the top, but no pictures I'm afraid. I started laughing from the gas about halfway through the local and couldn't stop. It was all very simple, then a surgeon talked to me and said I can go home, come back in the morning and have the other piece removed under local anaesthetic. Easy!

Of course it was not actually so simple as that. Luckily that evening to celebrate my miraculous survival we went out for burgers - lucky because I ended up missing my birthday, and the various good-times that had been planned. So what happened is that in the morning I go back to the hospital, go to the day surgery ward and a different surgeon takes a look at my hand. And I guess when you don't feel so bad you don't really stop to think about it but hands are pretty complex and serious limbs, so this surgeon said that there are just too many nerves and muscles to risk doing it quickly, I would have to have actual surgery and be put under completely. But you can't have surgery until you are properly admitted to the hospital and given a bed and what would you know but there is a bed shortage in Irish hospitals. So I waited all day in the day surgery unit - least it wasn't A&E. I had my housemate with me which was great of her because it was a sucky day, and I wasn't allowed to eat and drink because of the planned surgery. I had a couple of visitors during the day and finally, at about 4 pm (I'd been there since 8.30 am) I got a bed. And then a couple of hours later the doctors came to see me and told me the good news - I could eat. Which was actually terrible news because it meant they could not fit in my surgery until the next day. So my entire birthday was spent in the hospital with a piece of glass embedded in my hand. I think I must have broken all the visitor rules because a big pile of people came to see me all at once with balloons and cards and gifts. Sadly I was in no state to be eating chocolate. And then everyone left and I had to spend the night in hospital, which sucked.

Well, to finish the story. The doctors came to see me bright and early and reassured me that I would be seen that day. It was not so reassuring as immediately but better than nothing. I called a friend who brung me comics to cheer me up and at 11 am they said I could get ready to go off to theatre. Which made my day. You would think it would bring on more negative feelings like a bit of nervousness or something but really, I couldn't be happier. I just wanted to go home. So they put me under at 12 midday - first I was given a pre-anaesthetic that I was told is about the same as 4 glasses of wine. And before I knew it I felt all buzzy and started just giggling away to myself. Then they put something else in the iv line and the next time I opened my eyes it was an hour later and there was a big fat bandage on my hand. The anaesthetic didn't bother me at all, I was immediately wide awake and not sick or groggy. I was very thirsty though. I had to wait about 2 or 3 hours before they'd let me drink - I luckily had a book to read. And then they took their time to give me my recovery toast too. But finally when the nurse said I might as well just wait for dinner I informed her that I was not staying for dinner, I was going home, and so I got my toast and I kept in down no problems and before you know it I was out the door.

So now I have a big bandage on my hand that I was strictly told not to touch for two weeks. That's such a long time! It will get dirty and gross, I'm not impressed. I clearly can't work, so I will spend two weeks catching up on reading and learning new stuff. My hand is not really very sore, no more than any other cut. But I have to be careful not to pick stuff up because gripping things makes it hurt. It's really hard to go about one-handed. But it's all good. To keep it out of the way and not feeling too tired I have a sling, but I didn't want a boring hospital one so I am using my various scarves - at the moment a pink silk one with sparkles. And in order to keep the bandage clean I am covering it with a prettier bandage layer - today a piece of white sparkly netting. I will have to go get some remnants from the fabric store. When they finally take the bandage off you see I don't want it to be all dirty and gross, it's bad enough that I can't wash my hand. And since I had to spend my birthday in hospital I went shopping yesterday - I was given vouchers you see - and now I have new clothes to cheer me up. So here is a birthday that I won't soon forget, let's hope that all my bad luck for my year was used up in this one incident (would have to be about the worst stupid thing I have ever done) and the rest of the year can just be good. It will be two weeks till I see the doctor again but I will try my best to get a copy of the x-ray, they keep telling me I can have it, and then I can show everyone the impressive piece of glass embedded in my hand!