On Monday morning, I went to see Dr. Mah Mah at Narre Gate Medical Center in Narre Warren. I was running late as usual having slept in this morning, that classic Beatles song “A Day In The Life” could be a running monologue to describe most Mondays for me (Woke up, fell out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head. Found my way downstairs and drank a cup. And looking up, I noticed I was late…).

The issues with my ears from the infection to blockage and soreness through the glands and sides of my face was becoming like an episode of Days Of Our Lives (Previously on Michael’s auditory health issues). I was doing everything possible to treat myself, even spending my actual birthday resting up in bed and giving myself regular doses of pain killers and antibiotics. And yet it still hadn’t cleared up or stop hurting.

Being a Monday morning, the waiting room was packed with mum, dads, tradies and annoying screeching children running around (luckily I could only partially hear them). I wished that my doctor could simply prescribe me with a new set of ears (maybe an ear transplant?) but alas that’s not realistic. She advised me to stop taking the Ciproxin ear drops and instead put 10 drops of Waxsol in each ear for the next two nights and came back to see her on Wednesday. I’ll seriously do anything at this point just to get rid of the pain and discomfort. https://1800bulkbill.com.au/medical-centre/narregate-medical-dental-centre

After my appointment, I had birthday shopping to do as it’s my Mum’s birthday tomorrow. Truthfully, I wasn’t in the best state health wise nor in the mood to be shopping but I didn’t really have a choice. Plus it’s my Mum and she’s important to me and I’ll happily put up with an ear infection for her. My first stop was JB HI-FI Narre Warren where I bumped into my friend Tom Armstrong who happens to work at the store. I briefly caught up with him and he helped me out with getting a powerbank. Tom is an absolute sweetheart, no joke!

Next stop was Chemist Warehouse to stock up on my drugs (of the prescription variety of course). I’ve made a couple of trips here recently and now it’s not as daunting and overwhelming as it usually is. I guess you slowly get used to where all the products are located plus it wasn’t that busy. I managed to be in and out within 10 minutes or so. I needed more waxsol drops, cotton balls, a liquid inhalant for my Euky Bear vapouriser and panadeine forte. https://www.chemistwarehouse.com.au/

Lastly I dropped into a lovely little shop called the Berwick Curtain Nook located inside the Village Arcade and off High Street, Berwick. Whilst I was feeling a little awkward coming here by myself, I pretty much knew what I wanted to buy Mum. I got her a paperback notebook with an elephant on the front, a ceramic ornament with a beautiful inspirational quote and a grey Scottish Terrier ornament.

The lady went to the trouble of wrapping the ornaments in tissue paper and placing them in a bright red gift bag as I mentioned that it was my Mum’s birthday tomorrow. Thankfully it didn’t quite turn into the scene from Love Actually with Rowan Atkinson going overboard with the gift wrapping (Any ribbon? Cellophane? Rose petals? A box? NO THANK YOU!) but my pain threshold wasn’t letting up. However, I was very grateful for her service considering how last minute this was. http://www.berwickcurtainnook.com.au/

On Tuesday morning, we celebrated Mum’s birthday by each having a much deserved massage at Body & Balance in Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre. We decided on getting the oil neck and shoulder massage plus reflexology foot massage and hot stone therapy. The lady did a really thorough job without going too intense in the pressure department. I could actually relax into it even with the noise of the broken air conditioner above me.

I did get myself a little confused though as the lady said something quickly and left the room. I was left there wondering if she was coming back or if I was supposed to go outside the room. I was still feeling half deaf and she was also softly spoken so it was difficult to hear her. Looking at the digital clock on the table, it read 10:30am meaning that I still had another 20 minutes and my massage wasn’t over. So therefore I trusted my instincts, got dressed and met her outside.

Mum and I both reclined back on these circular rotating arm chairs whilst our female massage therapists went to work on our feet. It’s been months since I’ve had a proper foot massage done so I could feel how tense and sensitive they were in places but it was still a lovely experience all the same. The only thing that bothered me was that the massage staff were all having a conversation in Chinese the entire time which I thought was kinda rude. But I decided to let it go and tried to focus on enjoying the massage. https://www.cranbournepark.com.au/stores/body-balance/

On Wednesday afternoon, Mum and I saw Dr. Mah Mah at Narre Gate Medical Center in Narre Warren. I think I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to the doctors in the past fortnight but now I’m getting over it. Thankfully the pain in my ears has eased up quite a bit and the waxsol drops have helped to soften up the ear wax blocking up the ear canals. So it was a huge relief when Mah Mah could syringe my ears so that I could hear clearly again.

I also decided to get a blood test ordered as it’s been over a year since my last one. She added a FBE (Full Blood Count), Urea/Electrolyte/Creatine, Cholesterol/Triglycerides/HDL/LDL, Glucose, TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) and TES (Testosterone) levels. Over the past couple of months, I’ve noticed that I’ve been having periods of low energy and chronic fatigue so I think a blood test would be really helpful in figuring out what I’m deficient in.

In addition (I literally had a list of things to see her about today, no joke!), I wanted to get the dosage of my antidepressants increased. I’ve been taking Zoloft (Sertraline) tablets at 150mg for about 5 months now and my psychologist recommended that I increase it up to 200mg due to scoring a severe level of anxiety on a recent assessment I did. Plus I have noticed that there are times where the antidepressants seem ineffective when it comes to my mood so it couldn’t hurt to try increasing it.

On Thursday morning, I had my first Employ Your Mind session with my support worker Ally Lamb at Wise Employment Narre Warren. Basically, EYM is “a program that helps build the thinking and social skills that are important for work and other areas of life”. Ally recommended it to be as she knows how much I struggle with communication in social situations and dealing with my mental health issues. http://www.fifeemploymentaccesstrust.com/employ-your-mind.html

The first session was pretty straight forward and more of an introduction to the program. There are four phases in total which each run for 6 weeks with a short break in between. Phase 1 is done individually with the learning coach (Ally Lamb) whilst Phases 2,3 and 4 are run in small groups. We went through what her role as a learning coach is and I also filled in a questionnaire called the General Self Efficacy Scale.

The second part of the session involved the concept of cognitive remediation and going through parts of the human brain (frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, cerebellum, temporal lobe, brain stem). Basically it’s about being able to improve cognitive or thinking skills. Lastly we discussed how mental health issues can affect or impact upon cognitive skills and make it even more difficult to learn, concentrate and retain information. http://www.wiseemployment.com.au/en/community/ndis-supports-and-services/

Unfortunately my ears were still not 100% clear even after I got them syringed/irrigated at the doctors yesterday. It’s hard to explain but they still “feel” blocked even though my hearing is a lot better than it was earlier this week. I could be experiencing tinnitus or that my ear canals are too dry and not lubricated enough. Hopefully it clears up and heals naturally over the next few days.

On Friday morning, Mum and I went to the Morning Melodies social function at the Waltzing Matilda Hotel in Springvale. We were running late (no surprises there!) so we didn’t end up getting to the function room until around 10.45am or so. Thankfully we caught most of the performance though. Today we had Brian Muldoon doing the “Johnny O’Keefe tribute” show. It was partly a history lesson as Brian talked about Johnny’s life back in the early 60’s and 70’s, the television shows we became known for and the downward spiral that followed due to his mental illness.

Brian performed many of his classic hits including Shout!, Sing Sing Sing, She Wears My Ring, So Tough, The Sun’s Gonna Shine Tomorrow, It’s too late she’s gone, The Wild One and She’s My Baby. Most of Johnny O’Keefe’s songs carried a positive, uplifting message to them in order to help people’s moods up and push through the tough times in life. I feel like this is very relevant to the challenges we face in life today. https://www.entertainoz.com.au/listings/brian-muldoon/artist_profile_details

On Friday night, I went to a Vinyasa flow yoga class with Jade Hunter at YMCA Casey ARC, Narre Warren. I haven’t been to a fitness class in nearly two weeks now due to my health problems and being busy with other commitments like my birthday, appointments and my VCAT hearing. However, considering my ears were feeling a lot better, I decided to go back tonight. It’s funny how quickly you miss the gym when you haven’t been for a while.

I also read that certain yoga poses can help to unblock and relieve the pressure built up inside the ear canals so there’s another good reason to do. Tonight was a little more challenging than usual with lots of balancing, twists and binds thrown into the mix. I wasn’t really prepared for all of that nor did I have the flexibility to do everything Jade was demonstrating (Putting my legs behind my head? Yeah right!).

We did our usual Vinyasa flow sequence (Downward Facing Dog, Plank, Chaturanga, Cobra/Updog) plus Standing Poses (Warrior 2, Standing Forward Bend, Half Lift, Chair pose, Reverse Triangle pose), Seated Poses (Boat pose, Staff pose, Wide Legged Forward Bend, Happy Baby) and Inversions (Shoulder Stand, Plow pose). I could hear my ears popping which was a good sign plus my body heated up quite quickly during the class.

Jade does go the extra mile though considering we are doing yoga inside a creche. She added candles, burning incense, beautiful yoga music and some brass Tibetan bowls and chimes to the space which gave it the appropriate atmosphere for a yoga class. https://www.doyouyoga.com/the-perfect-vinyasa-flow-routine-for-beginners-30159/

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