Katherine Hayton | 2014 August

August 2014

I’m trying to get my protagonist places that she needs to be in the first draft of my current novel. That sounds easy enough, right. I know where she needs to go. I have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen once she gets there. But will she go there. Will she hell.

This chick is fourteen years old. And do you know how she’s acting? Like she’s fourteen years old. I want her to go somewhere and I want her to do something, she won’t do it. Just strops off on some tangent or other and mucks up all my plot-lines. Why? Why? Why? If I’m honest I’d quite like to chuck her in and start off again with a nice older woman. Maybe someone aged around – oh, I don’t know – forty-one. A decent age for a woman to be. A decent woman doing decent things in a decent manner. Someone I can understand and work together with.

The whole book would fall apart of course, but at least I’d make a nice friend with a decent protagonist.

Promise to self: no more teenagers. Ever. Even as children of main characters. You are out. Banned. You had one chance and you blew it.

No. Don’t look at me like that. Don’t give me your sad eyes, and your hang-dog look, and your grim stories about your short-lived life. Don’t tell me that I have to let people know what happened to you. That there’s no one else to tell your story through. That I’m your one chance. No. I said no.

Fine. Whatever. Go ahead. But this is the last time, you hear me? Pretty sure this is the last time.

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My anti-emetics kicked in yesterday afternoon, and today I spent a glorious day not retching or feeling like the world was spinning out of control. I don’t understand why I don’t appreciate from day-to-day how wonderful it is just to feel well. Except, I do and I suppose that you do too. You only know what happiness is when it’s forcibly ripped from your hands as you scream in protest. Until that moment it’s just you bumbling around complaining about things that don’t really matter because it’s quite a good feeling to have something to complain about and it’s only by having first-world problems that we can compare them to third-world problems and let them win. Good on them. It’s great the majority world can win at something. Having really, really awful problems. That, and ebola.

I’m still harbour hope that the current ebola outbreak is going to spin into a full-scale apocalyptic nightmare. Today twelve hundred, tomorrow seven billion. Hmmmmm. That sounds like the plot of an excellent novel. I could call it something like, oh I don’t know, Survivors. Or maybe, The Last of Us. I’ll think on that a little tonight instead of writing the plot points that I should be writing. That’ll be a nice change.

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Like… just a moment I’d like to get a second opinion

Like… I’m not sure what to do now

Like… has anyone ever told you you have a hole in your eardrum?

Today I went to see my fine doctor because my ear is still blocked up, I have vertigo that is getting worse by the day, and the nasal spray I was recommended to use was doing nothing except cause a horrendous-tasting drip down the back of my throat.

I was expecting that she would pick up her ear-peery thingy and look into my eardrum and tell me there was fluid in my middle ear (as the hearing clinic had done). Instead she said the above things then started calling out to her colleagues to see if any of them were free to take a look as well.

For a good thirty seconds I was sure that someone was about to mention the words ear-cancer, and my life would change forever.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as ear-cancer but if it exists I don’t have it. Instead I have a retraction pocket in my ear-drum that has, for some still unknown reason, started to cause trouble despite being a chronic condition rather than an acute one. A referral to an ENT and a vertigo-combatting prescription later, and I’m now on my third diagnosis. And the first one in which I have any sort of confidence.

So yes. I should have gone to my doctor’s office to start off with, thus saving myself six days, an appointment fee, and the $12 nasal spray that is of absolutely no use to me (nor anybody else now I’ve used it twice – shudder).

And also another lesson that when someone in a clinic who isn’t a doctor says ‘you don’t need to see a doctor’ ignore them with all your strength because a little knowledge is a harmful thing. Even when you have a lot of very detailed and very specific little knowledge. If you see what I mean. I’d usually say ‘you hear me’ instead of ‘if you see what I mean’ but my language has moved to reflect my current circumstances. Wonderful thing language.

Except in the mouths of doctors.

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18 Aug / Topsy-turvy

Well, I no longer have impacted ear-wax in my right ear. Yah. That’s because I didn’t have it to start with. Boo. Having put olive oil into my ear for the last four nights – yuck – I discovered today that instead of a timely reward of hearing, balance and remission of nausea, I instead have earned fluid in my middle ear, vertigo and nasal spray. That should fix it right up. Nasal spray. Not that I’m congested in any way, except for my middle ear, and not that nasal spray seems to do a lot except get my heart rate up. I know it’s going to fix it up though, because no one at the hearing clinic knew anything else to try. And what’s the deal with not having any OTC anti-emetics in New Zealand? What do they think I’m going to do? Go off on a nausea-inducing spree? Thanks people. Now I can either grin and bear it, try to pretend that ginger has far more curative powers than it does, or pay my lovely doctor another expensive visit which may or may not result in a prescription. The world would work so much better if I ran it. (go on – let me)

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I am trying very hard at the moment not to claw my ear out. The stupid thing is still blocked up, the olive oil progressively worsening this state of affairs, and since it’s still another 24 hours until I can have it suctioned and hear blessed sounds out of it again I am a bit tense.

I keep thinking back to the scene on Girls where the earbud is pushed just a little bit too far. Although my motivation wouldn’t be the same I SO want to do that. Just shove it in there and pop the damn drum. That would bring me some relief!

My rational mind is saying that instead, it would bring further horror and a needless amount of pain. Possible loss of hearing and it would for sure make my current discomfort look like a holiday in the sun, but I still want to do it. I’ve started to dream of it just before I fall asleep at night, or when I’m lazing on the couch playing farm heroes.

Twenty-four hours and then it should all be over and I can go back to never thinking about my ears at all. And then I can get back to thinking on all my other little miseries that I’ve been neglecting.

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16 Aug / The last of us

Video games are a great way to avoid doing the things in life you should really be doing. The last of us remastered for PS4 is a way to do that with beautiful scenery, harrowing murders, nightmare inducing clicking sounds, and an emotionally rich storyline.

I spent most of the day fighting my way through a hotel, gunning down and letting my little companion gun down hoodlums in a small shopping centre, getting around the back of an armoured truck-tank hybrid, and then I met a friend.

I haven’t had one since Tess made the painful decision to go down in a hail of bullets rather than turn – and no, Bill doesn’t count as a friend when he’s so overly fond of tripwires – and there was even a little companion for my little companion which is also nice to see.

However, I have a feeling this will end in tears.

Actually, I’m sure this will end in tears because I played through this game over a year ago when it came out for PS3. Although I’d forgotten all about them until I started to beat the hell out of the father and then Elle drew my attention to the son. He was pointing a gun at me.

Nice to make friends.

I was forced to stop playing when a warning message appeared on-screen telling me that my controller was out of juice. It reminded me that there’d been a message a half-hour earlier saying it was probably a fine idea to plug it in and re-charge it.

I wish the same thing happened when internet browsing, which is where I immediately turned when the PS4 was no longer an option. Five hours in and I’m still happily looking up rubbish and following links to more rubbish. Or, learning as I generously call it.

Anything other than what I should be doing. Will-power much?

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So I finally got sick of not being able to hear properly out of my right ear and made an appointment to have it examined and suctioned. The good nurse on duty helpfully said that she did have appointments today – thank goodness it’s driving me crazy – but that she wouldn’t be able to book me one because I needed to drop olive oil into my ear at night for at least three nights before they could do anything.


So another weekend of blockages to look forward to. I can at least be grateful that the TV is on my left-hand side so I can hear it very well.

The olive oil was a bit of a revelation. A few tiny wee drops directly down the good old ear-hole. What harm could this possibly do?

Well – it’s made it very clear that the blockage driving me crazy since Saturday is hardly interfering with my hearing at all. In fact, it’s almost nothing compared to… compared to… well – compared to having an ear canal SWIMMING IN OLIVE OIL for instance. Ugh. Memories of glue ear as a kid abound.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Odd to be looking forward to a Monday.

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I arrived home this evening to find over three kilos of cheese waiting on my couch. I wish all arrivals home could be as wonderful as this. Even though I had ordered and paid for it, I rather appreciated the uncertainty of when it would arrive, thankfully not elongated into annoyance that it hadn’t.

Now, I could always use the time I’ll save in meal preparation (which is now cutting off a wedge and adding a celery stick for fibre) to write another couple of hundred words, but I feel this is probably the wrong thing to do. Instead, I think I’ll use them to savour the taste, the texture, and the scent of these wonderful cheeses.


I think that’s the right thing to do.

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