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Not a lot to report on this week, so that gives me an opportunity to finally share information I’ve been gathering on health care prices. Probably a boring topic for Aussies but for Canadians, who aren’t given any information about what various health services cost, it’s a very interesting eye opener. I’ve always thought that Canadians should be sent an annual statement showing what was billed to the government for any health care services utilised (note my Aussie spelling – finally remembering to use -ise intead of -ize!). When I owned my company, I always wished the government would do that so our clients could see that private SLP services were actually cheaper than those in hospitals and schools. But even just for general education purposes, I think it would be beneficial for Canadians to know what these services cost. So consider this a public service announcement :).

But first, Friday was March 1st and that’s the first day of fall here! I was at work in Rocky on Friday and it was 37C, so not terribly fall-like yet 🙂 It’s pretty much a necessity here to put a reflective sun shade in your car when it’s parked in the open. We have the usual folding one but then found this cool one that opens up like an umbrella:

We don’t use them as much in the winter, but spring through fall they are a necessity. Which reminds me – referring to seasons has been one of the hardest transitions to manage here. If I want to refer to something that happened last July or August, I so naturally want to say “last summer” (especially when it still feels like summer in July and August here!). If I want to refer to something coming up in October or November, it comes out “in the fall.” That pairing of months and seasons is deeply ingrained and a really hard habit to change. We have some African Blood Lillies that came up in our yard that we want to transplant and a couple weeks ago I said to Hugh that we need to get ready to do that. He said no, you’re supposed to transplant them in the spring. And so I said duh, yes, and March is around the corner. Those of you who know Hugh can probably picture the facial expression he gave me. So I quickly realised that once again, I got my months and seasons mixed up. Sigh.

More photos later, but let’s get to the PSA on the cost of healthcare! Here are some examples (given how much I used the healthcare system here last year, I have lots :)):

  • Blood test: $150-250 depending on how many things they’re testing. Mostly seems to come out over $200.
  • 3-D mammogram: $435
  • Breast ultrasound: $353
  • Thyroid ultrasound: $353
  • Hand ultrasound: $282
  • 10-min appt with family doctor: $41
  • 20-min appt with family doctor: $95
  • Longer appt with family doctor: $132
  • Full body mole/skin cancer check: $103
  • Surgeon’s fees for hysterectomy: $5,373
  • Anesthetist’s fees for hysterectomy: $2,208
  • 24 hour stay in private hospital (private room, nursing, use of operating theatre): $10,399
  • Emergency admission to public Yeppoon Hospital (there for about 3 hours) plus ambulance to Rockhampton: $1,327
  • Emergency admission to public Rockhampton Hospital plus blood transfusions (there for 24 hours): $2,428
  • Day surgery at public Rockhampton Hospital (there for about 5 hours): $5,008
  • Outpatient visit at public cancer clinic: $536
  • Outpatient visit with private cancer surgeon: $250
  • ECG: $79
  • Acupuncture session: $90

I don’t know how much Medicare covers of these costs because we aren’t eligible for Medicare until we become permanent residents – I’ll let you know that in a couple years! But it would be interesting to compare the costs for the same services in Canada, the States, and here. My mom (who was discharged home last week, yay!!!) told me that her 2-month hospital stay cost $1,000,000 in the US (paid for by Medicare, fortunately). At first my jaw dropped, but then I thought my 24-hour stay was $10,400 and that’s not including any physician costs. So just intermittent nursing care and the room would have come to $624,000 over 2 months. Throw in physician costs, higher level nursing care, piles of complex tests – $1,000,000 is not far off at all.

A couple new animal sightings this week but I wasn’t able to get photos of either. When I was driving to work on Monday, there were 2 dingos in a field alongside the highway! And then on Friday, we saw a lizard in our yard that we haven’t yet been able to identify. He was about 30 cm long nose to end of tail and incredibly fast – absolutely no chance of getting a photo. Gecko-like, just much larger than a gecko and he’s out and about during the day rather than at night. He can climb easily, like a gecko, and he easily jumped from the green roof over our shade garden to the roof of our house:

Will have to try to get a better look at him to help with determining what he is – all my Google searching thus far has turned up nothing.

Now this is a bit of a grainy-Sasquatch kind of photo, but first sighting of this bird since we’ve been here:

Best I can tell, it’s a White Faced Heron.

We’ve been getting a bit more activity at our bird bath again! I guess they just don’t visit in the summer but come around the rest of the year. Here is a Blue-Faced Honeyeater and a Pied Butcherbird:


The blue-faced honeyeaters are probably my favourite to watch splashing around – they pretty much jump in head first and get water everywhere. They look totally dissheveled when they get out and start drying out their feathers. I haven’t actually seen a Pied Butcherbird in the bath yet. This one arrived and had a quick drink and then seemed to be watching the honeyeater, trying to decide if he should jump in too. Of course, just as I stopped recording, the butcherbird put one leg into the water for a brief moment and then decided it was a bad idea. One leg! It was hilarious. So I guess my beautiful siren-bird is meant for singing and not swimming. That’s OK, I could listen to him sing all day long!

We’ve been adding some solar-powered illumination to our garden. We found these lanterns that are apparently guaranteed to handle the Aussie heat:

They are so pretty! We’ve put some along the edge of the raised garden in the back, now these along the fence lining our patio, and I think we’ll also put some around each pond. I need to remember to take a photo of the backyard pond for you – we’re gradually getting a good mix of plants in around it.

I mentioned in a prior post that Yeppoon is situated in a really good weather area. There’s been terrible flooding several hours north and several hours south of us. There is actually flooding in the Outback! The town of Birdsville is completely cut off from everywhere due to the flood waters – watch this video to see the incredible images. This is an area that never sees water so when they interviewed residents, they seem more excited than worried! I can’t wait to see the photos once the flood waters have moved on to Lake Eyre – I’m sure the desert land will come alive with flowers!

Last night Hugh and I went to Rob and Barb’s for dinner. As is the custom in both our households, the guys looked after the meal. Rob made a great steak dinner and Hugh made dessert. Remember I told you that we found graham wafer crackers at an Asian food market last month? Well, Hugh made a cheesecake! He said it’s been 40 years since he’s made one. This is the first one he made a couple weeks ago:

We of course couldn’t have cherry pie filling on top because we didn’t feel like spending $22 plus shipping for a can of it, so Hugh made it with fresh local pineapple and coconut instead. However, he didn’t put enough sugar in it so it wasn’t quite right. Hugh put his creative thinking to the test and came up with a solution – drizzle some rum liqueur that we brought back from the Bundaberg Rum Distillery in December. A true pina colada cheesecake, how appropriate for the tropics! So he perfected this recipe and brought it to Rob and Barb’s last night. It was a hit!

Today Hugh headed off with his golf buddies down to Bargara (where he and I stayed in December – conveniently near Bundaberg, where more rum can be found…). They’re playing in a big golf tourney there on Mon and Tue. And what am I doing, you ask? Well, working of course 🙂 That’s another strange thing with the seasons here – this past week was Orientation Week for our incoming students and Term 1 classes start tomorrow. It is the beginning of fall, after all 🙂

Have a great week!

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