Eye on Elli

eyeBefore we left Alice Springs in May, I developed a rather large bump on my right eyelid which I thought was a spider bite, but turned out to be something much more fancy and unpronounceable: a chalazion (every doctor I ask says it differently). After a week of seeing double I visited an optometrist who, in the course of the exam kept asking, “this more better, this more better?” After the unsuccessful attempt to correct my vision he referred me to an opthamologist who could better describe my plight, swollen gland/cyst, giving me two options: surgery or warm compresses.

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Dude, where’s my vision? Brought to you by the letter C.

C is for chalazion. I thought I was the victim of spider bite until the opthamologist set me straight. The lump on my eyelid is very small in comparison to all the photos I’ve found, but it’s large enough to have caused my vision to go all wonky and produce a ghosted double of everything. I’m currently using chamomile tea bags as a warm compress to bring down the swelling, but what a pain the eye this has been.
I am in love, sweet bitter love with Chinotto, but I can’t help the creeping feeling I’m slowly being poisoned while I drink it.
The final C represents the campground where we’re staying close to the project in Port Adelaide. At night I can hear the waves on the beach (but not during the day). The original accommodation came with a cat and since I’m allergic we had to find a back up. We’re in a cosy cabin surrounded by wild bunnies. Odd, but true.


A bonus Can I eat this? question! (Okay, more accurately, it’s a What the hell did I eat? question, but let’s not quibble.) The case of the boozy backpack quinoa has lurked queasily in my mind since I read it back in February.

… [I] discover the container of food in my backpack, where it’s been sitting for a couple of days in a fairly warm environment. I chow it all down, noting that it tastes – and smells – funky. Sour, bitter, but not altogether bad. Additionally, the zucchini slices look and taste more like pickle slices.
It’s 30 minutes later now, and I swear to God I have a little bit of a buzz on.


Can I eat this? redux

Knowing that I’d missed at least one Can I eat this? question posed to AskMe, I scoured the archives… and found even more than before:

Freezer fiasco
“Sell-Before” Sauerbraten
highly suspect pork
lots of suspect pork!
Another crockpot/chicken question
Spam from the trunk of a car

five-day-old pizza dough
refreezing thawed hash browns and fries
overnight rice
a nice puttanesca, perhaps?
pasta, canned sauce, and canned fish, all past their “Best Before” dates

backpack Velveeta and cupboard Colby
– The positively Biblical-sounding honey from a fallen hive
13-year-old triple bock
Why must I cook Patak’s curry paste?
really miscellaneous
I can’t stop eating sand.

fizzy tomato sauce
fizzy salad dressing
fermented applesauce

Kulfi: explosive, poisonous, both, or neither?

putatively healthful
Is this health drink harmful?

a splash of color
Why has my garlic gone blue?
Wait — why has my garlic turned blue?
Okay, then, why has my garlic turned fluorescent green?
Why is my coconut milk blue?
I am participating in NaBloPoMo.

Don’t put your lips on it!

[note: Ask Metafilter’s Can I eat this? questions deserved their own tag, so here it is.]

The hive mind at Ask Metafilter draws on a pool of 60,000 members to answer questions on any topic: romantic, technical, medical, cultural. But perhaps the most entertaining discourse, second only to Steve, Don’t Eat It!, occurs in the wake of the question “Is this safe to eat?” Here I present a compilation of food safety questions from AskMe. Goggle in amazement as people take chances with:

– “How long will scrambled eggs keep?”
– “I hard-boiled a dozen eggs this morning. They’ve been sitting in the same water they boiled in which is now at room temperature (about 20C/70F) for approximately six to eight hours.
– “The ice cream made with this maybe-undercooked custard is in the mixer right now.”

– “… today I learned that you’re very much not supposed to store raw veg & raw chicken together in the fridge overnight, and now I know better than to do it again. But…
– “ XMAS DINNER: Is it safe to eat these leftovers?” [I would totally eat these, and very recently did eat turkey & stuffing similarly mistreated.]
– “Pizza [topped with chicken] purchased hot on Wednesday night and kept in the fridge till Friday….Good to eat?”
– “Should I eat this cooked chicken in my fridge? 6-7 days old, and in a zip-loc.”
– “I left a [chicken patty with mayo] sandwich in my car this morning, unfortunately on the back deck (sedan).”

fish and shellfish!
– “I made a tuna sandwich for lunch and left it at home [on the counter]. Will it still be edible?”
– “How long is it safe to keep cooked shrimp in a refrigerator before eating?”
– “Erm, I just ate raw swordfish… Am I gonna die?”
– “I just found some frozen scallops in the back of my refrigerator, and I imagine they have been there for about two years.”

preserved pork
– “Is it OK to eat raw pancetta? It tasted good, but it was very, very chewy, so chewy that I ended up having an unchewable lump of fat in my mouth that I had to spit out.”

the savory course
– “ How long does Chevre keep?
– “I left my cheese out overnight. Is it still okay to eat?”
– “Mmm, walnuts. Hey, what’s that cobweb stuff?
– “This wine’s cork has gritty brown crystal and organic matter on the bottom. What is that? Is it bad?”

taters and tomaters
– “If I remove the sprouts, are these potatoes safe to eat?
– ” ‘Refrigerate after opening,’ says the tomato sauce. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

potential botulinum carriers
– “Would homemade mango chutney which was placed in a strawberry jam jar as soon as it was made and hasn’t been opened since (as far as I know) still be OK to eat after one year in a pantry cupboard at room temperature?
– “Why did my hummus explode?” After being advised that exploding hummus may well indicate botulism, which produces no off smell or taste and can easily be deadly or debilitating, the original poster adds “It totally smells fine. I have yet to decide about eating it.”

And finally, my two favorites. One, a simple question seeking an inventive answer:
– “Can I eat a live wasp? If so, what would the safest method of eating it?”

Second, a long dramatic arc detailing the struggle between financial prudence and every other kind of prudence:
– “But hey, this is expensive crab meat.

I am participating in NaBloPoMo.

Because you care

Tuesday we met with my surgeon at around 5:30 for a consultation. We discussed the whole genetic/parathyroid story until close to 7. He treats several families with this disorder, so I felt pretty confident that I found the right guy. We explained to him that we wanted to do surgery as soon as possible. He said, “if I call you tomorrow, can you be here?” to which we replied yes. Then I went freak, freak, freak all the way home. He called at 8:06 the next morning to tell us to be there within two hours.
At the alloted time I hobbled up to hospital reception, was admitted, met my nurses, and shown the layout. A little later they came by to take my blood, needing about ten large tubes. I was then freed for lunch in the cafeteria because being vegetarian I had to turn down the offering of meaty lasagne that the other patients received (oh, but it looked good).
On the way back from the cafeteria we met my surgeon who had a sandwich in one hand and my lab results in another. After finding an empty office he explained my calcium levels were NORMAL unlike my previous test (showing mild elevation) and that there was really no pressure on me right now to have surgery. Yes, it would surprise him if I don’t have the gene defect, and I most likely have primary hyperparathyroidism, but it’s not doing any damage at this point. He said he was sorry for the drama of the situation, I thanked him warmly for being willing to treat me on such short notice, and JM and I hightailed it out of there.
Stay tuned for the next episode: She’s a mutant!

I fell over*

Ho ho ho
Here’s adding injury to insult to injury. I was helping carry a chair downstairs when I misjudged the last step and went down with a crack. I’ve broken a bit in the middle and torn a bit on the side. At least I can still have surgery for my parathyroids in a few weeks once I know more about the mutation situation. Lovely.
*See “Sid & Nancy”

My arm has the flu

I went to the doctor yesterday for the results of my gene test, but they hadn’t arrived and the lab couldn’t be reached. Instead, I got a flu shot and today my arm looks like it’s trying to grow a new eyeball. This is the insult-to-injury part of my day, because I learned this morning that the person in charge of the test — the only person in Switzerland who even does it — is on vacation for two weeks. Aaaagggghhhh.


When — let me say this is taking a long time to formulate — a medicine carries the warning not to operate heavy machinery, they don’t mean like whoa, man, heavy, which it should mean because that’s how I feel about my calculator right now, as well as this keyboard.