Thursday, January 8, 2009

Interview me

My turn. (gulp) I volunteered via Rhubarb Whine. I've also seen it recently on Chapter III, Frogdancer, and others.

Bloggers volunteer to be subjects, and then you send them five probing questions by email. So here are my answers to the five questions Rhubarb asked me. In return, I invite any of you to email me or leave a comment saying ‘interview me’, and I’ll ask you five searing questions (I'll try not to embarass anybody).

1. You make references to op shopping fairly regularly. Laura, what is it about op shops that have you hooked, and what is your best ever find?
They are retail therapy at their most affordable. They involve recycling. Someone once loved that stuff, I might too, although there is frequently some very unloveable stuff. Mostly I love the thought of being able to get great quality fabrics, that are different from current fabric full-price, that makes interesting bags, quilts, etc. Its my own version of limited edition!

Some of it is nostalgia. My depression glass collection is a case in point. I only collect the clear heavier stuff, although I do have a soft spot for the glasses with a coloured bottom half with etched top bands from the fifties (my Nanna had them). I also inherited a gorgeous glass bowl of that era from my late mother-in-law (whom I never met) which was squarish, yet a folded up circle with curved semicircular top edges. It was broken by someone (18 yrs ago) while they were doing my washing up (bless them) and I miss it to this day. I s'pose I hope I'll find another one.

Best bargains? A Zegna tweed coat (made in Italy from Australian wool) for my son a few weeks ago for $8. Another Zegna suit spotted for $25 - not bought, my husband doesn't wear double breasted suits. Fabric galore, many designer business/casual shirts for a song, ostensibly for cutting up for quilts/bags but many snaffled for hubby. Op-shops are the place to buy your knitting needles (does their experience rub off?) and classic sewing patterns for next to nothing. And of course the recent Xmas tree banditry!

Yesterday I found another pretty glass bowl just right for jelly, in a pattern I hadn't seen before. And a small fabric bag with a lighthouse on it!

2. You are so very passionate in your writing, about your career and work in midwifery. If Government powers enabled huge funding additions to your speciality nursing, what would you like to see it spent on? Why?

First, can I pickily point out that midwifery is a separate profession to nursing and that one doesn't need to be a nurse in order to be a midwife. That said, I have no regrets about my dual qualifications.

I would love to see women better educated about the role of the midwife in the provision of care to child-bearing women. In Australia if a woman wants to see the same carer throughout her pregnancy - because these things do and should matter - then she will mostly attend a private obstetrician, because the medical and health insurance system is weighted that way in this country. There are very few private health insurance providers that offer coverage for the engagement of a private midwife to provide antenatal care, intrapartum care (labour and birth) and postnatal care. Yet a midwife is able to do all this for a well woman experiencing a normal pregnancy. Where there are conditions that fall outside the scope of 'normal' a midwife will refer for another opinion from a obstetrician colleague, who may be able to treat/advise/manage the arising condition and return her to the care of the midwife for the remainder of the pregnancy or who will take over the care for longer standing/more complex problems.

When it comes to labour and birth, women are also at the mercy of the funding models. Medicare provider numbers, i.e. the ability to raise a fee for consulting or service provided in the health system are currently restricted to doctors. Unfortunately most of the services that a midwife is qualified to offer a woman, so is a doctor - who can charge a fee for which the woman receives a rebate from the government. This is a Federal funding issue. And the rights to practice in a public hospital are also (in the vast majority) restricted to doctors. So there is an overlap of practise where the woman does not receive a rebate for services from midwife A, but gets one from doctor B. Who gets the market share do you think?

The largesse you have created for the purposes of this interview could be spent on Medicare provider numbers for midwives, opening more birthing centres; where well, low-med risk women can give birth with good medical back-up is available in case of need to transfer (for meconium, excessive pain, obstructed labour) and encourage women to use water immersion for labour and birth. Of course the government will find it saves them money in the long run, with a much lower CS rate. (ooh, is that the sound of a hobby horse galloping off into the distance?)

Of course, two to three generations ago, around half of babies were born at home. There was less dependence on doctors as saviours and more just getting on with it. No epidurals, no restrictions on labour and birth due to CTG monitoring. CS was used pretty judiciously as an emergency. Breech babies were just born. Women had more children then, compared to now, where our hopes per se are tied to fewer eggs in our baskets. Food for thought, but the intervention and CS rate is unacceptably high. I blame the insurance companies and the American obsession with suing people, which has been contagious worldwide and leads to excessive risk management in practice. Then again, its not usually my ass being sued.

Moving on.

3. On the subject of careers, you often refer to your 'late' entry into the field. Inquiring minds want to know other jobs you have over the years - from the sublime to the ridiculous. Anything noteworthy or 'out there' to confess to?

Was hired as an elephant rider in the circus once - is that what you mean? Never got to do it cos I couldn't travel for the next two months, I had to go back to uni. I did work at the same circus as an usherette though, and had a great two weeks in the Big Top amid the sawdust!

Other jobs include: phlebotomist, bakery assistant icing the Jubilee Twists, babysitter, silver-service waitress in the 80's hey-dey restaurant the Mediterranean, Barmaid, projection assistant at the drive-ins, (I saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind 23 times), professional dancer in the 'white slave circuit' in Asia (I had my head screwed on, I had a ball though)...umm...lab technician in a USDA agricultural biochemistry lab in Wisconsin isolating and analysing the proteins from the endosperm of barley with applications for brewing (yes I did understand that sentence), Dressing up as a giant novelty character for a shopping centre promotion for icecream, chemistry tutor, belly dancer, proof reader, acting patient advocate for a large public children's long have you got? I have never been out of work when I wanted it.

4. You are a textile junkie and love crafts and fabrics. Your passion for crafts is often referred to. Laura - is there anything you cannot do or wish you could do?

I am NOT the most original painter, or drawer either. I really am quite bad at knitting, but DID knit 3 things for myself in my teens, and a jumper each for my children, all of which were not laughable. I haven't given up yet. I've never tried lace-making but I'm not holding my breath. I am capable of most tasks I set my mind to. Can't quite be assed to get into scrapbooking, its a bit formulaic and often a bit twee for my taste, but I'm willing to incorporate elements as multi-media creations (she says pretentiously). I do now own quite a large collection of said elements (thanks to my sis for an awesome Xmas present) that are waiting to be fallen upon in a quiet creative moment as yet unscheduled. They're non-perishable right?

5. OK, left field time. In closing, I want you to share something a little deeper. Laura - what humbles you?

The ability of the human body. Function and form, baby. Birth, breathing, orgasm, dance, touch, creativity. God was one hell of a physiologist eh? All witnessed in my working life. Its bloody incredible, I wouldn't miss it for the world. Who'd be dead eh?

Also...feeling loved, and loveable. This time last year I was on very shaky ground. I am glad to have arisen again, more aware of my humility and fragility. Feeling raised up with the help of others. Very humbling, feeling loved. I (now think that I) am worthy of love.

'Nuff said

If you’d like to join the fun, it’s simple.
Send me an email or a comment saying ‘interview me’.
I will then email you with five questions that I choose.
You can then answer them on your blog.
You should also post these rules along with an offer to interview anyone else who emails you or comments that they want to be interviewed.


Lesley said...

Cor! What great questions. This is such a good meme. The 100-thing lists can get a bit samey!
And what wonderful answers, Laura!

Catch Dace and me on the Ellen show which has Anne Hathaway as guest. When Ellen came and did her dance thing up the aisles, she stood at the end of our row and danced next to the woman who was two people away from me, so you might see us. Gawd, we sure had to do a lot of jigging about while looking extremely thrilled ...

Anonymous said...

You were so quick. I love your answers, now I have so many more questions for you :)

Jennifer said...

This was amazing -- great questions, and such thorough, thoughtful answers. Thank you so much for doing this; I admit that I haven't had the courage (yet).

Natalie said...

These question and answer posts are wonderful. I really love reading them. And You have done so much... how very cool! It's good to write about and read about something more elaborate and engaging than some of the simpler 100 questions games.

Kel said...

your writing is just lovley. and ditto, what thoughtful, fabulous responses. Im so scared of not measuring up..but..go it...interview me!!! agghhh!!!