Egg donation #6: Getting the ball rolling

So I’ve already completed the first few days of my Gonal F injections – 225, 225, 150, 150, 150… And another 150 tomorrow morning before my first scan at Vincent Pallotti. I’m still not 100% sure who my doctor is this time round, but the formidable Sister and I are all over this one so far, so I’m not worried about who’s officially in charge. Just taking this one as it comes, and only letting my Inner Control Freak out to play for small amounts at a time and letting her set up her medication the night before so that we’re good to go at the crack of dawn during injection time.

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I’m always SO nervous before the first scan – I’m always concerned that my ovaries aren’t doing their thing and that everybody’s time, money and emotional energy has been wasted. So fingers crossed that everything is looking good inside.

I also managed to – after what amounts to probably something stupid like around 60 self-injections – give myself a nasty bruise on my stomach on Sunday morning. SUCH a rookie error, I tell you. I was in a hurry, trying to get through work so that I could join Bryony and co on a trail run in Constantia Nek, and I managed to get a little overenthusiastic with my pen. Fun. But I wear my poky little bruise with pride.

On Friday night, while celebrating a friend’s birthday, I ended up holding an impromptu Q&A session about donating eggs in South Africa. There was a room full of older women – mothers, aunts, a few girls, and three boys. Once we got to the “How are they extracted” conversation, two of the boys jumped up and ran away. But my 22-year-old brother, bless his socks, said something along the lines of “I’ve heard this all before” and stayed. He’s been one of the biggest heroes during my egg donation journey: Fetching me hot-water bottles on retrieval days, running down to the shops for biltong and Energade, and listening to probably-not-so-funny-to-him stories about missing ovaries and internal ultrasounds.

I was asked questions about the process, about how many times, about how many births, the legal issues, do I know my recipients, the egg retrieval procedure and the like. One of the women there knew somebody who had given birth to twins with the help of an egg donor, and wanted immediately to know if my natural hair colour was red. (It’s not. Though I did dye it red shorty after I broke up with The Geologist. And am actually thinking about going red again. Or brown, perhaps.)

I love answering the questions that people have, although I’m still so uncomfortable with people’s praise. I talk about egg donation not so that people will pat me on the head and tell me what a good girl I am, but because I am so desperately passionate about breaking down any stigmas, myths and concerns surrounding egg donation. And hopefully I can encourage other women to donate, if they feel prepared to. I want to show that egg donation can be a wonderful, fulfilling journey for the donor. That it’s nothing to be “ashamed” of, nothing people feel they should have to keep a secret.

I talk about it because I’m so damn proud to be associated with the wonderful men and women that I have come into contact with over the past two years – the doctors, nurses, IVF co-ordinators, donor liaisons, matchmakers, admin staff and theatre sisters. And, of course, the donors themselves.

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They need to make her go to Rehab…

This year was hailed as Amy Winehouse’s “comeback year”. This year, her team was sure, she would finally overcome her personal demons and get back to the height of her success.

But as 2011 starts slipping away at an alarming pace, that all looks impossible.

Amy Winehouse in Belgrade

Amy Winehouse during her disastrous Belgrade show.

An album was promised for Christmas 2010, which failed to materialise. Then it was set for a January release. It’s now June. She’s attempted various live performances, with varying results. She played her five shows in Brazil in January this year and seemed back on top, despite having to interrupt songs to take sips of water and falling off the stage during one gig. But then she was booed off stage in Dubai in February after appearing tired and distracted. After checking into rehab for a week at the end of May and being told by doctors “Stop drinking or die”, Amy performed a polished set at an intimate venue in London on 12 June, which an audience member described as being “like one of her old performances”.

Somehow, though, in the space of a week – the wheels fell off.

Amy performed a disastrous set in Serbia on 18 June in which she seemed trashed out of her mind. She stumbled onto the Belgrade stage over an hour late, paused to take off her shoes, introduced her band members incorrectly and mumbled her way through her song Just Friends. And that was just the opening number. If you’ve got the stomach for it, you can watch it here. It’s really not a pretty sight.

More after the jump…

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How does Charlie Sheen still have a career?

Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen in 'Two and a Half Men'

It’s a valid question.

The guy apparently snorts enough cocaine to kill the average person, trashes hotel rooms and terrorises “escorts” into hiding, threatens to murder his wife and gets drunk enough that he needs to be admitted to hospital (No, Charlie – nobody believes your hernia story).

He’s now supposedly been admitted to rehab for a three-month long treatment programme, which will disrupt the filming of eight episodes of the inexplicably popular Two and a Half Men. That means the entire cast and crew – and there are apparently 300 people working on the show – get to sit around and twiddle his thumbs while they wait for him to check back out.

This wouldn’t be a problem, I don’t think, if this was the first time it had happened. But it isn’t. In February 2010 Sheen announced that he was going to take a break from Two and a Half Men and check himself into rehab. CBS (the network) were extremely supportive of the decision – though Sheen was back to work by March.

Look, they pay the guy around $2-million per episode. But it’s apparently worth it, with the Los Angeles Times reckoning that Warner Bros. Television will earn around $600-million in syndication rights off the show over the next few years. For South African readers too lazy to do the math, that works out to over R4-billion. And with ad revenue of around $155-million (over R1-billion) during the 2009/2010 season alone, it’s completely reasonable for them to hang around until Sheen ducks out of rehab again.

But if he’s MIA, the network loses a lot of money. The show can’t work without him, and so production stops. They lose out on a reported $3-million in syndication per episode – plus crew salaries if they decide to continue paying those while Sheen’s out.

And so while it’s currently plausible for Warner Bros. to wait around for Charlie Sheen, that’s all too likely to change. I’m guessing the studios will only have so much patience for a guy who’s in the headlines for his associations with hookers, porn stars and drug-addled escorts rather than his association with the show.