Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Here's the poster....


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An example of a Government Anti-Violence Poster here in lovely Australia...

Hey Everyone,
I'm not sure whether this is going to work or not because I don't know if the blog will accept PDF files as attachments to posts since I have never tried this before.
If it does work, what you will be able to see is just one example of the many posters and ads the Australian government is posting around the cities and placing in newspapers and magazines.  Talk about your hard earned tax dollars at work!
And look the statistic this poster quotes, "70 Australians under age 25 will be hospitalized due to alcohol caused assault in an average week."  And remember, this the number of people HOSPITALIZED and this is a country with less than 1/10th the population of ours  And I guess it doesn't count me because I am 33 and not an Australian...
Check it out if you can...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

We are in Sydney, Australia, and the Opera House is ugly...

Hey Everyone,
We are now in Sydney, Australia.  I have so much catching up to do with the travel blog.  I need to write short entries from all the way back in Bangkok, Malaysia, Singapore II, Perth, Melbourne, and now Sydney.   Damn!  I have fallen behind.
Some of that has been due to my jaw injury.  Most has been due to my laziness.
So, hopefully, you will see some new posts show up soon.
By the way, the Sydney Opera House is only visually appealing from afar.  The closer you get, the uglier it becomes.  That is my opinion of course.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My fixed jaw!!!

Here is a pic of my surgically repaired jaw.  You can see the main break (although there were two smaller ones which splintered off the main break) and the beaded, metal plate and screws they attached to join the bones back together.
Overall, I am happy with the surgery and the minor level of discomfort.  The worst part has been and is going to be the fact that I can't eat solid food for 4-6 weeks.  :(  I've already had more yoghurt in the last three days than I have had in the last ten years.  Hahahah  Good for calcium though.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Surgery Went Well... and a Note About Gay Marriage

Greetings Everyone,

I just wanted to update everyone on Sean's condition. The hospital was able to perform the surgery to repair his broken jaw this afternoon. At this point, it looks as though everything went very well and Sean is feeling fine. He came out of recovery around 4:30 p.m. and was actually able to eat most of his dinner tonight just a couple hours later. Of course dinner consisted of yogurt, a milk protein shake, juice, etc. but at least he didn't have to suck it through a straw. He's still taking regular doses of pain medication so he's not feeling much discomfort at all right now. He can also talk just fine now versus the difficulty and discomfort he had prior to surgery.

As far as the surgery itself, they were able to reset his jaw bone by screwing a metal plate onto one side to hold the two pieces together. The bone will grow and eventually fuse together over time and he should have no long term problems. They were also able to save the tooth that had popped up; seems the roots were still firmly inbedded enough even though the bone split right beneath it.

They plan to keep him overnight to monitor him, but his vital signs remained stable so they weren't anticipating any problems. They will do another x-ray in the morning, but otherwise, he should be released by early afternoon. I was also able to talk to our travel insurance carrier this morning and it seems everything will be taken care of without us having to pay anything out of pocket. I'm sure Sean will post a message to everyone once he gets home and has access to the computer. Until then, thanks to all of you for your words of support, your thoughts, and even your prayers. It really means a lot to know we have such a strong support network back home.

ON A SIDE NOTE: I must add, when I called the insurance company, the representative was even more helpful and respectful than some of the nurses at the hospital when I explained that I was Sean's partner and allowing me to take care of things on his behalf; whereas, I had some difficultly today with some of the hospital staff in getting information and updates about Sean while he was in surgery and recovery. This has always been an issue and fear of mine and I'm not even a big fan of marriage, personally. But incidents like this are why gay marriage matters.

Most people never even think about such things, but since Sean and I are not married, I am not his next of kin. In the hospital setting, I am just a friend and friends are not entitled to the same information as family, let alone the ability to make medical decisions, even in an emergency situation. It doesn't matter that his family is thousands of miles away, that I'm the only person in this country he knows, or that I'm the one responsible for him (and vice versa) if and when he's incapacitated, especially while we're traveling together. I am at the mercy of whatever individual is in charge at any particular moment... and hospital staff changes three times a day. Thus, I have to hope each individual is accepting of the fact that I am Sean's partner because legally, they don't have to tell me anything. I have to hope each individual will respect our relationship and treat me the way they would if I were his wife, rather than questioning me and my relationship to the patient every time I ask for information, and still hesitating to answer even then. While everything worked out fine for us today, similar situations occur all the time where gay couples are not so lucky.

This is an important issue to consider the next time gay marriage is up for debate or vote. Whether you agree with it or not, who would you rather have making decisions for your loved one if his or her chosen partner is there and you are not? So many gay people are estranged from their families yet those family members are the only ones hosptials are required to deal with or provide with information. In extreme or serious cases, only family is allowed to even see the patient.

This is in no way directed towards Sean's family who have been nothing but supportive of our relationship and thankful that we are here together. The frustration I experienced today just reminded me that we as gay individuals need to work harder to highlight these issues and broaden the conversation in the gay marriage debate. It's not just about equality; it's about life and death.

Fiat Lux!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Doing Well - Just Waiting for Surgery

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to send out an update on our situation here in Australia. We are both doing well considering the circumstances, but it appears we won't be able to walk away from this incident with minor injuries. As Sean mentioned, we were assaulted around 2:30 a.m. Monday morning local time in Perth. I am fine and only suffered a cut on the inside of my cheek from being head butted. Sean, however, was punched pretty damn hard and suffered a broken jaw which requires immediate surgery. Since we were scheduled to fly to Melbourne at 11:45 p.m. Monday night and there was nothing we could do that day in Perth given the public holiday, we decided to continue on with our flight and seek immediate medical attention upon arrival in Melbourne. The emergency dentist who saw Sean in Perth gave him pain medication and started him on antibiotics to hold him over until he could be properly treated.

I did some research before we left Perth and found an oral/maxillofacial surgery unit at the Royal Melbourne Hospital so our plan was to go there as soon as we arrived in town. After our flight arrived in Melbourne around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, we dropped our bags off and since we didn't receive a response to the email we sent the hospital Monday and couldn't reach anyone there by phone, we decided to just go straight there.

We went through the whole registration process and, of course, they wanted to do more x-rays, which again revealed the extent of Sean's injuries and the need to do surgery as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the hospital is the only public hospital to handle such cases in the region, so surgeries are scheduled according to the severity of case. So while they would make every attempt to schedule Sean for today, if someone else came in, say from a car wreck, with a more serious case, they would be bumped ahead of him. We also learned that Sean would have to stay overnight after the surgery so they went ahead and admitted him in the hope that they would be able to schedule him for surgery later this afternoon or early evening.

They put him on a saline IV since he has to fast if they are to do surgery (not that he could eat anything anyway) and also put him on intraveneous antibiotics and gave him more pain medication. Unfortunately, we waited all day in the hospital room, but by 5:00 p.m. they informed us that they would not be able to do the surgery today and would try their best to get him in tomorrow before noon. So he has to stay at the hospital overnight tonight and will still have to stay overnight following the surgery. At this point, we're looking at a Thursday discharge at the earliest.

As far as the surgery itself goes, he will be fully sedated as they will have to use metal plates and wires to reset his jaw. The plates will be permanent, but internal, so he should fully recover without noticible evidence of the injury. It's not clear yet whether they will be able to save his back molar, which is the only thing holding the two parts of his jaw together at this point. The recovery will likely be the hardest part as he will have to be on a liquid diet for four to six weeks following surgery. He will also have to have a follow-up appointment two weeks following surgery so we will definitely be here in Melbourne for at least that long.

Sean is in very good spirits, probably more frustrated than anything having to sit around and wait for surgery. It doesn't help that his roomate is an older man who snores and listens to the TV at it's highest volume. We both just want to get the surgery out of the way so we can deal with the recovery and hopefully still be able to enjoy the remainder of our trip.

I am home now (we're staying with a couchsurfer) and will try to get some sleep as neither of us has had much in the last two days. I will be back at the hospital first thing tomorrow morning and will be sure to update everyone once I have more news.

Thanks to all of you who already sent kind words of support on Facebook. It really means a lot. And I'm taking our computers with me to the hospital tomorrow so we can at least try to catch up on blog posts while we're waiting.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Another senseless assault and costly consequences...

Hello Everyone,
Unfortunately, Ozell and I were victims of another completely unprovoked, random, and senseless act of violence.  I wrote an email to my parents just now.  I am posting it to the blog so I don't have to retype stuff.  I don't feel like it right now...  We are okay, but I have to have oral surgery as soon as possible to fix my jaw.
More information to come as available...
Hey Dad and Mom,
I don't know how to explain it.  In fact, I am very confused as to why these types of events are happening to us.  I don't want to get into any details because I don't feel like typing them out.  I didn't want you to hear about it from Ginger or someone else since I have already posted a Facebook message about last night.  That is the site that Bridget read about our attack in Africa.  But here is the short of it...
I AM OKAY.   However, I need to have oral surgery as soon as I can.  Ozell and I were assaulted again last night.  This time it was inside an actual bar instead of outside.  But like last time, it was completely unprovoked, random, and senseless.  Ozell and I were just talking to each other inside the bar.  Then some local Australian comes up to us and asks us accusingly, "Are you guys making fun of me?!"  Before we could even process the nonsense he was stating, he hit me in the lower jaw and head butted Ozell.  Ozell suffered a cut inside his mouth.  He will be fine quickly.  I had a very sore jaw and my furthest back molar on my lower, left side was knocked loose.  We chose to leave the bar and head home.  I used gauze to stop the bleeding and took some pain medication to get some sleep.  But I woke up early and knew I had to seen an emergency dentist right away.  Unfortunately, today is a holiday here in Australia so that made it more difficult.  The owner of the B&B in which we are staying was able to point us in the right direction.  Ozell and I went down to the dentist.
At first, I was thinking the only wrong with me was the tooth the was knocked really loose.  I presumed the worst I would have to endure was to lose this tooth and have it extracted.  Unfortunately, when the X-ray came back, it clearly showed that my left lower jaw was broken all of the way through.  :(  He said that I needed oral surgery right away in order to have screws and wires inserted into the bone to property set it.  Of course, since today was a holiday, there were no oral surgeons available.  Since we are flying to Melbourne tonight anyways, we decided it would be fine if I sought treatment in Melbourne tomorrow.  I have my X-rays, medication, and some guidance on where to go when I get to Melbourne. 
So I will try to call you (if I can speak) or at least send you another email once I can see a surgeon which hopefully I will be able to do that tomorrow.
Love you,
Sean  :)