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Why the $7 co-payment is a bad idea

In last night’s budget, the Government announced a $7 co-payment for GP’s, as well as pathology, and a $5 co-contribution for medicines on the PBS. Now, $7 doesn’t seem like a lot, but the issue is, it’s not ever going to be $7.

Sometimes, a GP can’t get everything they need just by looking at you. They need to send you off to get some blood work done. So, what was a $7 visit, now becomes a $21 visit ($7 for the initial visit, $7 for the pathology, $7 for the results). If there is then medicine needed, that increases to a $26 visit. Continue reading Why the $7 co-payment is a bad idea

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Well, I better have a Well-Being Plan

The Salvation Army Training College, Melbourne

I’ve practically finished my first week of orientation at the Training College. We’ve had a lot of different orientations – to uniform, to education, to prayer and more. Yesterday, we had a session called “Coping with Change”. We have all had to go through a big change in order to come to the Training College. At a very basic level, the shift from Perth to Melbourne was a big change. We were discussing yesterday the differences in language that we share – from Milk Bars and Delis, to Stobie Poles and Power Poles and even the way we pronounce Lego.

One thing we did was to create a well-being plan that focussed on some goals in four areas – Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual. By setting goals in these four areas, we can help take control of certain areas of our life so that we can deal with the change better, but also be in a better mental state. Part of the exercise was to write down some names that we would share the plan with so that we can be accountable with it. So I’m going to share my goals with you, and post regularly on how I’m going. Continue reading Well, I better have a Well-Being Plan

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Knee Surgery recovery, part 3


Well, it’s now two weeks since surgery, and progress is coming. I’ve got some rather incredible bruising that I hope the photos show up. A lot of people won’t see these, as I’m usually wearing jeans which makes viewing these rather difficult.


Some of the more interesting bruising is a wonderful shadow-like bruise around my ankle. Don’t know whether that was a part of what was expected post surgery, or whether they knocked my ankle coming out of surgery.

An example of the difference in movement between my operated leg (left) and good leg (right). And yes, I was watching the footy at the time.

I’m continuing with my exercises. Here’s an example of one of them. You tighten your quads so that you push the back of your knee towards the ground. This raises your foot up towards the sky. Now, I have over rotating joints in almost every joint, so my right knee has a lot of movement there, but you can see the difference between my two legs at the moment.


I’ve got another week of work, by which time I should be able to take the brace off. That will make it easier to sit at work at the very least. My main priorities over the next week is to keep working on my exercises, and try to reduce the swelling as much as I can. That means icing every hour, and keeping my leg up as much as I can.

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Knee Surgery recovery part 2

A look at my knee one week post surgery

Well, I’m now a week past knee surgery, and things seem to be going well. I’m now walking around the house with the brace, and have ditched the crutches for the most part. The knee still feels weak (sometimes more than others), but most of the time it feels good.

I haven’t felt the need to have a lot of pain medication, and it’s only in the last couple of days that I’ve actually felt any discomfort, which has been taken care of with some paracetamol. On Sunday, I was at Church, and we had a long day, in having a corps lunch and then an afternoon meeting. By the time I got home, I was desperate to get the brace off, and my leg was incredibly tired.

I went to the surgeon on Monday for my post-op check. He was very pleased with how the wounds were healing, and said that the wounds and the swelling were progressing above average. Good news! I mentioned that I expected to be in more pain than I had been in. He responded saying that most knee surgeries come out with the patient being pleasantly surprised, and most shoulder surgeries going the other way. I wonder why that is?


Anyway, I keep going on with my exercises. I’m slowly rebuilding my strength and flexibility. I have the exercises to take me up to 6 weeks without a physio, however I’ll probably go see one anyway just to keep me motivated and ensure I’m heading down the right track.

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Knee Surgery recovery part 1

So I went under the knife a couple of days ago, and I thought I’d update you with how it’s been going so far.

Coming out of the anaesthetic, I was incredibly cold. The nurses had me in double blankets, including around my head. Apparently I looked a bit like Muhammad Ali.

I was out of it most of the rest of the day following surgery. I wasn’t able to keep my lunch down, nor did I manage to go to the toilet. Even despite all the nurses best efforts, the Urologist was eventually called out to put a tube through to my bladder. Good fun!

Thankfully, the next morning everything was back to normal and working fine. I wasn’t using much pain medication, as I wasn’t in much pain. Eventually got back home, and enjoyed having dinner at home with my wife.

Sleeping was a bit difficult, as I found my compression bandage made my leg very itchy. Thankfully, Liesl had some powder that helped reduce the itchiness, and I ended up getting a good nights sleep.

Today, it’s been a quiet day, relaxing in front of the TV. I’m about to get down and do my exercises before dinner. The more I do this, the more likely I’ll get back doing things sooner.

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The Simple Push Up

Photographer: Frank C. Müller
This guy can do a lot of push ups... (Image via Wikipedia)

This topic suggestion, Stand up now, or die!? (get out of your chair), is from The Daily Post as part of the Post-a-day writing challenge.

A few weeks ago, I wasn’t able to do 10 push ups. I’d lost a lot of weight, but I had been focussing on weight loss so much that I’d become thin and weak. Deciding to change this, I got an app for my phone, Push Ups by Rittr Labs. It’s an app that asks how many you can currently do, then gets you to set a goal of 50, 75, 100 or 125 push ups in a row. I also got their sit ups app to work on my abs.

Now, I’m currently able to do 21 push ups in a row. I’m slowly working my way towards my goal of 75.

Part of why I like Push Ups and Sit Ups is that they are simple exercises that have worked for years. You see exercises such as the Ab King Pro, or the Door frame gym and other such things that you get sold on Morning TV shows, and I just feel that they won’t stick around, possibly because they don’t work. While Push Ups and Sit Ups have remained relatively unchanged for many years, they don’t cost any money, and give you a good all round work out.

So, get off that chair, crank out some push ups, and tell me how many you can do!

Postaday2011 links

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Why Australia has an Obesity problem

Australia is a really odd nation. While we lap up shows like “The Biggest Loser” and have a rich sporting history, and perfect weather for getting out to the beach and exercising, in 2008 Australia became the world’s fattest nation. At that time, a report found that 26% of Australians were Obese.

Today, I read a news report that KFC were releasing “The Double” – a burger without a bun that has twice the cheese, twice the bacon and twice the chicken. It comes up at a total kilojoule count of 1939kJ (412 Calories) for the original recipie, and 2515kJ (535 Calories) for the Zinger burger. If you have the burger as a regular meal (which would be the most commonly requested), the chips add 1137kJ (241 Calories) or for a large chips 2403kJ (511 Calories). So this burger, in a meal ranges between 653 and 1046 calories. For a comparison, Males aged between 19 and 30 – to whom this burger is advertised towards should aim to consume 2400 calories a day if they are not doing any exercise. For me, as I’m trying to lose weight, I aim my meals to be around the 300 calorie mark.But it’s not just the calories. You’ve also got to take into account the fat (22.3g and 35.7g respectively for the two burgers), which for the Zinger Burger is about half the recommended daily Fat intake for an adult. In fact, the only good thing about this burger is that it doesn’t have a bun, which would certainly shoot the kilojoules up.

Yet, despite knowing this, take a look at this image, of a survey run at the bottom of this Sydney Morning Herald article on this burger.

Why Australia has an Obesity problem

At the time I grabbed this screenshot, 47% of 15474 voters approved of this burger. If this poll was representative of the Australian public (which it isn’t) that would be 11 Million people who think that this burger is acceptable.

Australia has an Obesity problem. The difficult thing is that it’s not just going to be a change in the food that fast foods give us that is going to fix this. It’s change in attitude, a change in mindset, from the entire nation, to help and support each other as we try to lose this dishonorable title of the World’s fattest nation.

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How I lost over 6kgs in a month (without paying a cent)

Image via Wikipedia

I read in my blog reader today a post on Zen Habits entitled The Simplest Diet. It basically outlined Leo’s vegan diet which helps him stay lean. It reminded me of the success stories of Jenny Craig or Lite n’ Easy. Or those sensationalist diets that you hear about on those bastions of current affairs – Today Tonight and A Current Affair. Continue reading How I lost over 6kgs in a month (without paying a cent)

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Stressed? Stressed?!?

Image via Wikipedia

Thankfully, I’m not someone who gets stressed out very often. I’m fairly relaxed in my disposition, so things that might stress other people out don’t generally stress me out. I just go with the flow.

That’s not to say that I haven’t been stressed out before. The 6 month period at the beginning of last year when I was searching for a job was particularly stressful. Getting constant rejections, running out of time before my wedding, and more, it got very stressed.

I also got stressed towards the end of this year as I started to work on the directory for the Uniting Church. Having never done anything like this before, and knowing it was such a big project, it was getting me stressed out as to whether I would have enough time to get it done. I even chose to take the train for a work trip to Kalgoorlie that I have coming up, so that I could have an extra 14 hours to work on it. However, once I actually started working on getting the layout done, and working in access, I got it working fine in no time and am now trying to figure out what I’m going to do on my 14 hour return train ride.

So am I stressed right now? No – because I’ve just finished a nice little break, and go back to work today (for a day, then a three-day weekend). Are you stressed? What’s some of your techniques for dealing with stress?

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