The impact of our parents on our lives

As most of our readers know, I’m a little on the unwell side at the moment. Miss O 2 said the other day, “I think you’re sick because of what they did to you in March” (gall bladder removal).  I was impressed she made the connection, but gently explained it was more likely we found the gall bladder was crook and that was the end of the story. Are my doctors to blame for that? No, I think I am. Actually, I think my mother is. If there is even a connection, which of course there may not be.

My mother - 1949

My mother – 1949

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If you love Australia

If you love Australia, I highly recommend you take a few minutes to read the following three articles.

The first is by our master of getting to the point with humour, John Birmingham. He looks at the funding cuts to our wonderful CSIRO. Love John’s work here!

 Who do these clowns think they are, lounging around in their underpants and lab coats, expecting the poor old taxpayer to mop their enormous throbbing brows and carefully drop peeled grapes into their mouths?

Sophie Morris shares a disturbing attempt by Scott Morrison to grab more autonomy that he already has. Dangerous. If he succeeds, this sets a dangerous precedent for other government ministers. Scary, scary stuff. That department is already much too powerful.

“As an elected Member of Parliament, the Minister represents the Australian community and has a particular insight into Australian community standards and values and what is in Australia’s public interest,” it says. “As such, it is not appropriate for an unelected administrative tribunal to review such a personal decision of a Minister on the basis of merit, when that decision is made in the public interest.”

In other words: trust him, he’s the minister.

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My version of M*A*S*H

Before you read this, please consider when I was young my sole desire in life was to be a doctor. For family reasons, that didn’t work out, but the medical process doesn’t freak me out and I do like to look on the lighter side where at all possible – it helps retain sanity!

Early in the piece my specialist ordered some tests. SO MANY tests they didn’t all fit in the space provided on the pathology form.

There was this one word, faeces, with three or four little arrows going to different test names as only one part of the litany. After the lovely pathology staff performed their vampire duties with great aplomb and left me wondering if I had any blood left, they handed me three little containers, you know the type. One was special – a white lid, it contained POISON!

So home I go and explain to the kids what these containers were for. DO NOT TOUCH was the strict instruction!

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We’re better than this

Read the full story in The Guardian.

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Steering Australia to where, exactly?

In a fit of drug (medical) addled frustration, I sent out a tweet.

There were a few follow up comments, such as

A couple of suggested additions to my meagre list:

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Sarah Wilson versus Amy Stockwell: stress, “self-hate” and health

According to Sarah Wilson, Dr Habib Sadeghi “cites self-hatred as the real cause of chronic disease, particularly in women.” I’ve watched the whole TED talk video and I didn’t get that message at all. I have included the video at the end: see if you get the same message as Sarah. Maybe I just missed something.

As someone currently returning medical test results pointing to an auto-immune condition myself, naturally I was drawn to both Sarah’s article and a response  article by Amy Stockwell, “Sarah Wilson says she knows why women get sick. And she’s wrong“.

A couple of days ago I wrote “What I’d like to say to Chris Bowen if I could“. For those new to our history, Chris Bowen was the Minister for Immigration at the time I battled the Australian Government for the civil right to choose my own husband. In that article I talk about the role of cortisol in health. Dr Sadeghi also talks about the role of cortisol in his recovery.

A few words from Sarah:

I always say that I can spot an “auto-immune type”. They have an intensity about them, a desire to impress. They’re always the ones at the front of my lectures, frantically taking notes. They have an air of ‘I’m not good enough as I am’. I know as I write this, many heads out there are nodding.

And a few from Amy:

Women don’t get sick because they hate themselves. It’s tantamount to saying that disease is all in our heads.Telling women that it’s their own fault that they are sick is mean and foolish.

One thing is for sure, I don’t hate myself. I don’t consider myself an “auto-immune type”.

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What I’d like to say to Chris Bowen if I could

As I sit here propped up in my bed, a folder containing a string of medical referrals and tests staring at me, I can’t help but wonder how much of my health problems have been caused by what your and your staff put me through. Oh, I can never prove it, of course. But that’s the point isn’t it? The Public Service is immune. Especially the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Very well protected. Sadly Australian citizens aren’t so protected from the department.

Do you know what cortisol is, Chris? It is a flight or fight hormone. The Mayo Clinic says:

The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment

That’s why it’s so important to learn healthy ways to cope with the stressors in your life.

There is also research showing a correlation (not yet proven a causal relationship) between cortisol and breast cancer. Research is continuing. No, this doesn’t apply to me, but is a good illustration of the potential of cortisol to damage the body.

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Blanc, Bernardi, visas and free speech

Australia’s police chiefs have cited society’s “vulgar and violent attitudes toward women” as a primary cause of the nation’s high level of domestic violence. Changing men’s behaviour is seen as the ONLY way to address the problem.

Tasmania’s commissioner, Darren Hine, said cultural change can begin with society’s influencers – sportsmen, businessman, actors and other personalities – standing up to condemn violence against women and children.

Yet the same week we had a foreigner and one of our own senators sending different messages entirely.

The foreigner, Julien Blanc, had his visa cancelled and departed. Or departed and then had his visa cancelled, depending on which report you read.

His tactics, which include choking women and pulling them into his crotch, were criticised online as misogynistic and abusive. (Source: ABC.net.au)

Lovely. In my view his attitude is both violent and vulgar. The cancellation of his visa, however, raises other questions. Gay Alcorn and Wendy Harmer are among those who have expressed concerns over Morrison’s possible overreach of power, a dangerous precedent. Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 has been raised by some. I suggest people be careful of criticising Morrison’s decision simply because he is Morrison. I am not one who supports Morrison: hell, I killed him off in a bit of short fiction. In this case, however, I support his decision. I’m not alone.

I do have an issue over Morrison protecting us dear little Aussie women from Blanc’s vulgarity while at the same time treating asylum seeker women so abominably. Then there is question of the visa cancellation by Morrison versus Brandis and his belief in our inalienable right to be bigots: protection of the people versus freedom of speech. Bigots often incite violence, just as Julien was considered to be doing. Trish Corry asks will Brandis shirt-front Morrison? Surely we can’t cherry-pick our freedoms? Freedom always has to be balanced with protection: Blanc is this week’s illustration.

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Crazy in the Night

Heard this today and decided it about sums up how I feel right now: work + politics + health + bills. Normal life for most of us, huh? :)


I have joined the Australian Progressives

I was looking for a political home after leaving the Liberal camp. Political parties named after individuals are not my style. Political parties with the word “sex” in their name I can’t ever see being in power. I’m not much of a petrol-head. The Greens I did consider because at least they fight for the welfare of asylum seekers. Clearly I did a little more research that I’m alluding to here, I just didn’t feel I’d found a political home.


Then I happened to notice that the founder of March in March, Tim Jones, had founded a political party. This is interesting, I thought to myself. I paid a visit to the website, and read the policy outlines.

Education – a vital investment

Education is a right for all, and is a vital investment in our people, our ideas and the progress of our society. We need a genuine education revolution at all levels, with more focus on nurturing creativity, providing our teachers with proper support and resources, and broadening the focus of what we teach, how we better engage students, and how we measure success in learning. Government needs to ensure all Australians have access to equitable and affordable educational opportunities. Investment in all levels of education will help us build a better Australia.

Yes, I agreed with that, I did. What did they have to say about climate and asylum seekers?

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