Wednesday, 12 December 2012: Sydney to Tallahassee and epilogue

Wednesday, Kathy had to go to work again, but Buz managed to fit in one more bit of sightseeing for us. He drove us to the famous Cronulla Beach surfing area, where we walked up and down the beach and the broad promenade above it.

At the left is the view of the beach (just like the one on the postcards!).

At the right is the view down from the promenade to an area of rocks and tidepools.

fritters benedict Near the right-hand edge of the beach view above is a small restaurant called Zimzala, where we stopped for an early lunch/late breakfast. (The one Buz had hoped to take us to was closed at that hour, but he really likes Zimzala as well.)

Buz had these sweet corn fritters layered with tomato, basil, and buffalo mozzarella, accompanied by a poached egg.

David chose eggs benedict (about his favorite heavy breakfast).

egg us I ordered the Zimzala "small breakfast": one egg to order (I chose fried) with grilled bacon, roasted roma tomatoes, a hash-brown cake, and toasted house-made bread.

At some point Buz picked up my camera and got this not-half-bad shot of us across the table.

point view The next stop was a monument at an overlook called Bass and Flinders Point. It commemorates Matthew Flinders and George Bass, intrepid (not to say wacko) late 18th century British explorers of Australia's coast.

Together and separately, Bass and Flinders sailed amazing distances in ridiculously small boats (small enough to be rowed!) with Bass's servant, always referred to as "the 'Boy Martin'," in quotes, presumably because he was black. At one point Flinders actually circumnavigated all of Australia! They discovered and named a huge number of geological features, and the strait between the mainland and Tasmania is named after Bass, because the two of them were the first to document that the strait actually existed.

After returning to England, Flinders wrote and published a monumental work called A Voyage to Terra Australis, in which he was the first to apply the name "Australia."

The two are commemorated in these biographical plaques, mounted on the low stone wall around the overlook. The mmonument in the center is engraved "Memorial to Matthew Flinders, Beorge Bass, and the 'Boy Martin'who sailed past this headland in Tom Thumb II on March 30th 1796 and discovered and named Port Hacking."

Sorry the photos are too small for you to read the text, but Wikipedia will tell you just as much (probably more) about these amazing guys.

David salmon Then, alas, it was time to head for the airport. We got there in plenty of time, so we had a second lunch at the Prunier caviar and seafood bar (just like the one in London and presumably other cities around the world—the placemat showed landmarks from New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Copenhagen, and maybe Dubai?).

Here's David, actually looking cheerful as we wait for our food.

At the right is his plate of raw salmon and gravlax (the latter with the dill all over the edges). The little cheesecloth package with the yellow ribbon encloses a lemon half.

gravlax salad I went for straight gravlax, which came with a sweet mustard sauce and this sort of vertical salad served in a glass.

We then boarded our plane and flew home without incident. Well, except for the date-line thing. Does it count as an incident that we got to live through the momentous date of 12/12/12 twice? We did all that sightseeing with Buz, had two meals (three if you count the light breakfast before we left the house), flew for 12 or 13 hours, then arrived in L.A., also on 12/12/12, but a good two hours earlier we left Sydney. So we had early lunch again and spent the rest of the day getting home to Tallahassee.


So what happened with David's abcessed tooth and my enraged sinuses?

We were only in Tallahassee for six days in December between our return from Australia and our departure for our usual holiday travel. I had an annual physical scheduled in there, during which I was going to ask my doctor about my sinuses, which had been in complete meltdown since about Thanksgiving, and about a strange blister-like growth on my gum at the site of my October oral surgery. Unfortunately, I got home to find that my physical had been rescheduled for January, after our return from Maryland, but I did get to see the nurse practitioner, who convinced me my sinuses were infected, just in full rebellion because of the bad pollen season this year. She put me on Flonase, which helped a lot. I didn't think to ask her about the blister.

David, meanwhile, went to our usual dentist, who said, wow, yes, bad abcess, and sent him to a periodontist to see about having the tooth extracted (it was described as "dangling by one root") and replaced with an implant. The periodontist took x-rays and scheduled David for the extraction a couple of days after our return in January. He extended the amoxycillin prescription, which David had already been on for over a week.

Then, the day before we were set to fly home in January, David came down with, if not the flu, then some darn good imitation of it (despite having had a flu shot), so we had to delay our departure. We went through dozens of phone calls arranging to renew the antibiotic yet again, to be filled in Maryland, together with a couple of David's other medications, which he had miscounted and we running out of. He called the periodontist and rescheduled a few days later, only to have to reschedule again when I pointed out that he'd booked the extraction for the afternoon of my official retirement party.

When we finally got home and I saw my doctor, she said the blister was probably just a mucocele but that I should ask my dentist to be sure. Well, no, it turned out to be a return of the infection that had precipitated my "apicoectomy" back in October, which had now been festering since shortly after we left for New Zealand in late November. Drat. He repeated the apicoectomy.

Meanwhile, David finally had his tooth extracted. From the x-rays, both our dentist and the periodontist had pronounced the abcess "huge," but when it was opened, it proved to be twice as large as either of them had realized. Much larger and it would have attacked the main nerve below the tooth, and David might have permenantly lost feeling in that side of his lower jaw. Anyway, they got it all out, installed a bone graft (actually, that means they packed the void with some sort of ground up bone material that David's own cells can infiltrate during the healing process, hastening the filling in of the void with new bone), and will now wait at least six months before starting the implant process.

Then, a day after our dentist removed the sutures from the second apicoectomy, I noticed that a piece of suture was still stuck between two teeth, and when I tried to remove it, the gold crown fell off the adjacent tooth. Drat again. Back to the dentist, who said the adjacent tooth now needed a root canal (most of the tooth had broken right off under the crown, and the nerve was exposed) and that the blister was not healing properly. So later the same day, I had the root canal and some more surgery intended to fix the blister problem. Between that and the root-canal-and-replacement-crown procedures, I've now got four (count 'em, four) dental appointments scheduled.

So it looks as though the ends of our problems are in sight, if rather far off in some cases. We'll both be chewing on one side for some time to come.

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