“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Monday, February 26, 2007

fun on the North Island

I haven't updated this blog for about 3 weeks, due to having my parents visit and touring around the north island of New Zealand. Here's the summary:

*My parents brought lots of good stuff from the US, including saltwater taffy, dried chiles, Pace picante sauce, and solid stick deoderant/antiperspirant.

*The weather has been awesome. February is a great time to visit New Zealand!

*Our guest bedroom is ready- friends and family are invited to stay with us.

*We got a woodburner / fireplace installed. We'll be warm and toasty when the cold winds blow this winter.

*Darin and I drove up to Tutukaka and dove the Poor Knights Islands- spectacular! I will upload underwater photos soon and post the link here.

*We lost 2 of our chicks to some unidentified illness. The others are all getting big and less cute.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New Zealand health care

OK, this might be a boring post. You've been warned...
Since I've become a resident, I am eligible for "free" health care. I put that in quotation marks because we get taxed pretty heavily here, and part of the taxes go to pay for socialized medicine. My primary care physician wrote a lab order, and I finally got my blood checked for TSH, free T3, and free T4. This is to determine how I'm handling the 150 micrograms of Eltroxin I've taken for the last 6 weeks. My heart skipped a beat as the lab tech stuck the needle in my arm without swabbing the skin with alcohol first, or wearing gloves. HELLO! There's this thing, it's called safety???
Anyway, I needed to see an endocrinologist to go over the results, and this required my PCP sending a written request to the hospital. I got assigned a date and a doc, and he showed me my results: TSH is 0.02, which is a bit too supressed- this can lead to heart palpatations and calcium depletion from bone over time. Free T3 and T4 are on the high end, too, so he is decreasing my dose to 125 micrograms. I'll have another blood test in 6 weeks. We're trying to get my TSH to about 0.1, which is supressed enough to prevent any remaining thyroid cells from growing. The endo. did a fine job reassuring me, got another blood sample to measure thyroglobulin, and said that monitoring my thyroglobulin levels while TSH supressed should be sufficient- meaning I won't have to go hypothyroid/off Eltroxin once a year! Yipee!
In other news, I got a library card. Barb and I are going to take a Thai cooking class (5 weeks) Tues. nights. The Daily Show is finally going to be televised here! JOY! The chicks are all well and growing. We suspect the two with yellow heads are males, because they are also growing tails faster and longer than the others. This is cool because it suggests the yellow head is sex linked and that the remaining chicks are female- yay! One of the chicks managed to slip under the fence into our neighbor's yard the other day, and couldn't figure out how to get back. I heard this super loud cheeping, and went over and rescued her. I hope that won't happen again, because this neighbor has cats and a dog.

My parents are comming to visit for 12 days, arriving on Wed. We are going down to Rotorua and to the Coromandel peninsula with them, so we'll have lots of good photos to share soon. For now, enjoy the pictures of Jazz, Latte, and Fargo, and flowers from my yard.