Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time heals old wounds.

After weeks of feeling downright miserable with this cold of mine, I can happily report that I think I am now on the mend.
I took myself off to the chemist yesterday and I suspect he took pity on me. (Gave me some strong stuff) that makes me feel almost human again!
Funny how I never ever for a jolly long time came down with an 'URTI' whilst my other half and she who comes home for food and money (my darling daughter) seemed to succumb all the time until recent years.
Now the roles have reversed and its me with the blocked up honky schnozz, laryngitis and resultant cold sore, but as I said earlier I am on the improve, so when I return to work tomorrow, hopefully people will stop avoiding me whilst holding their breath in my presence!

I bought my husband a shirt and tie last week from his favourite shirt and tie shop. When I got home, I was so focused on taking all the pins out of the shirt and washing it that I must have thrown the tie out!
What did I do but rush back down to the shop and purchased yet another tie to add to his collection.

You may re call last week (or was it the week before?) I was supposed to give a talk at work about my recent PNG experience. This was deferred as I had no voice but with a bit of luck I can get it over with sometime next week and won't have to stress about speaking in front of an audience again for a while.

Last Sunday I was invited to an afternoon tea to meet two young nurses who actually flew out to PNG today, their ultimate destination being Goroka.
They're there for three weeks and hope to gain some surgical, medical and theatre experience. I was checking the weather up there earlier and it's sitting around 30 degrees celsius. Such a contrast to our 6 degrees, rain and wind.

Friday sees my dear friend Lizzie and I getting together for the day. Our initial plan was to spend the day at The Melbourne Zoo and if the weather was inclement, go to Plan B and chill out at D.F.O. in the city. Trust me to come up with a Plan C...checking out the Pompeii exhibition on at the Melbourne Museum, which is what I think we will end up doing after all that.
Its Lizzie's birthday tomorrow (Wednesday) and mine on Sunday, hence the Big Day Out.
To top it off, my darling daughter, Lizzie's godchild will be coming out to dinner with us which will be a first.

The following day my plan is for my other half and I to go up to our escape from the city (Porepunkah) for a few days. It'll be icy cold up there (snow, hail and rain is forecast) but I don't care...shall be wonderful to just be up there for a break.

Look forward to numerous photos...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thought you might like to know...

I went to the doctor's yesterday as I felt so miserable.
Absolutely no voice...I didn't even compare to a fog-horn, so there was really no point in my going to work as I couldn't talk anyhow.
The doctor gave me three days off including tomorrow which was just as well as all I have done is sleep it away.

Today my voice has partially returned, but its definitely not me...and I do sound like a bit of a rusty fog-horn, but thanks to antibiotics, yucky senega and ammonia cough medicine, plus other lotions and potions...I am on the mend.

I trust those who read this are well and without my symptoms.


Friday, June 19, 2009

The best laid plans of mice and men.

Well, so much for my big talk today.
Obviously it didn't get done, primarily because its 'Refugee Week and I would have been competing against a social worker talking about the plight of refugees from third world countries..
Just as well it didn't get done though because I woke up with a tickle in my throat this morning and this afternoon, its developed into a full scale laryngitis.
Some might see that as a blessing. I see it as a bloody nuisance but, what can you do!
The dilemma is...will I or won't I go to work tomorrow now?
That IS the question!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Big Day tomorrow

I had to prepare for a talk I've been asked to give tomorrow, today.

I plan to do a photo presentation and just talk around the pictures...

What of you ask?

Tis of my recent trip to Papua New Guinea...Needless to say I think I have enough ammo to bore everyone witless... some 172 photos all up.

Given that I'll have about 10 minutes to talk I'll have to wizz through it all.

How can you cull such a memorable time.

I found one of the greatest pleasures I had over there was photographing children as they are so expressive and real.

They don't shy away and theres no pretense when looking at the camera.

Some of my sequence photos even entail a story or two...like little Betsy who lives in a village we visited. This little one, all of 3 or 4 followed us around everywhere for the whole day and I took heaps of photos of her but she would not smile.

Later in the day I found out her name 'Betsy' and began calling her that... Well, you should have seen the change in her personality...from such a solemn little girl to one with a vibrant smile, jumping around...amazing was the transformation.

Another simple tale was of an elderly gent who was unaware I had taken a pic of him. When he realised what I had done, he insisted I repeat the photo, this time with his hat off as he was so proud of his hair!

Funny how now it seems like a lifetime ago.

I think of the people I met there frequently and with great fondness. I wonder if they do the same of us.....?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ada Part 2

Thought you might like to read that Mum is a little better today. She even managed to keep down a cuppa (the elixir of life), so I am feeling I might not have to rush her off to hospital after all.

Have been shopping as well today, supermarket stuff mainly, plus the odd gift for a wonderful friend's birthday which will be upon us soon.

Its a grey cloud day here this afternoon, cold and no wind. That means there's not even a hint of rain unfortunately, something we could well do with.
Not sure how this part of the planet will survive if the skies don't open soon, and for a long time as well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Just a quick post as I am back to my mothers very shortly.

I posted a long screed this morning (or thought I had) until I realised I had deleted it instead!

Am I the only dolt to have performed such a trick? I even had a photo in there too, so I was disheartened and miffed for a short while, but I am over it now.

Mum looks a bit worse for wear unfortunately.

She underwent a shoulder replacement in recent times, while I was away and appeared to be recovering fairly well, but this last week has seen her slip downhill again which is not good.

My mother lives in a 'residential village' for those 55 and over and up until 18 months ago loved the activity within.

Unfortunately she sustained a nasty fall after being pushed over by a codger on a bike and broke her humerus bone quite well so this last year and a half has seen her in hospital a few times for pain management.

The op was supposed to resolve all her issues but given that she is 85 it appears she isn't managing too well despite her feisty attitude. Heaven help me if I were to suggest she went into more supported care, or worse still, come and live with one of her children!

Mum's had it rough over the years. Her husband, my dad, died of prostate cancer some 7 years ago, then not long after, my son died. To follow that another grandchild, my sister's daughter died suddenly 3 years ago also.

Mum is one of two siblings left in her family also after saying goodbye to one sister and three brothers, so, her 5 children are very protective of her and support her however we can.

As you can see, she has quite a glint in her eyes and I love her fiercely. We are more like best mates than mother and daughter and I try not to project too much into the future, focusing on one day at a time instead with her......

Monday, June 15, 2009

Work, my mother, and other things.

Sometimes I think I haven't much to write about and other times its like a dam will burst if I don't put it down on here.
Today is one of those times when I'm just not quite sure.

It's been a working day today, so I'm a little tired I guess and the creative juices just aren't flowing as they do at other times. Work wasn't too bad I have to admit for a change.
It's usually chaotic and a real frenzy at times there and I hardly have time to draw breath, let alone take a coffee break or lunch even. Today though, I managed to fit in not only a morning tea, but also lunch and to top it off, got off 15 minutes before I was due to walk out.
The best part of the day was walking out into brilliant sunshine after so many days of grey clouds and drizzle. Now that made me feel like being part of the world I can tell you, reader.

I then had to pay my mother a visit. This lady is 85 now and as mothers go, is a wonderful example. She lost her husband, my dad, some seven years ago, then her grandson, my boy, shortly after. Three years after Chris's death, her eldest grand-daughter died also. Mum still smiles though even though I am sure her heart feels like breaking at times.
Whilst I was away in PNG my mother underwent a shoulder replacement which entailed reasonably major surgery. Her recovery has been uneventful up till the last few days and she is now beginning to complain of feeling quite unwell so its a trip to see her GP tomorrow. Given that I am the closest 'child' living near her, its fallen on me to take her which I don't mind in the least. She and I have a wonderful relationship fortunately. We actually share a similar sense of humour and find it easy to laugh at ourselves.

I have four siblings, three of which are male, so you can well understand that doing all those personal things like shopping, taking her to the docs etc. fall into the too hard basket for the others, but, they miss out on the joyous times she and I share together.

These are the memories I will hold close to my heart forever.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I am sitting here with a big smile on my face reminiscing about a time so many years ago.

It was around 1982, I was quite pregnant and preparing for the birth of my first child.

We had been in the neighbourhood (Sunshine, Melb) some twelve months, but because up till then I had been working full time we hadn't really had much of a chance to get to know any of our neighbours.

We were aware of a couple of families nearby, one of which was across the road from us. The chappy had waved to us a few times and we had waved back, as you do. My husband Murray and I had commented on him being a swarthy looking fellow with a mop of dark curly hair and a big moustache and consequently presumed he was of Mediterranean descent.

I fondly recall the doorbell ringing one day, with a familiar looking lady standing at the door, a big grin on her face plus a bag full of baby clothes, not to mention a car-seat. This happened to be the wife of the friendly gentleman across the road as it turned out and before too long we became firm friends primarily because of an instantaneous liking for one another not to mention our proximity to each other's residence.

As it turned out, we were wrong regarding this wonderful lady's husband's nationality. He was quite the Australian gentle man. He was a brilliant neighbour and friend and throughout the years has remained so.

As for his wife, she has been there for me through many trials and tribulations. She is my daughter's god-mother and is none other than the delightful Lizzie you read about in http://nanalizzie.blogspot.com/

How lucky was I eh!

While I was in Goroka, PNG recently, my primary purpose was to work as a volunteer midwife in their hospital labour ward.

One of the amazing facts is that they do not have identity bracelets for their babies just born. All the mothers have to bring in a baby blanket which is how they identify their newborns, which are placed under a radiant heater shortly after the birth.

This is the photo to which Lizzie was referring to.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Once upon a time

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful vibrant boy in my life.

His name was Chris and he was my son for 20 years, 10 months and two weeks.

Chris had a disorder known as Progeria, an insidious premature killer of youth, also known as Accelerating Aging Disorder.

When Chris died, our lives were devastated for a long time and even now, some 6 years after I still find it difficult to comprehend why this should happen to such a 'bright spark' in the world in which we live.

My boy was a fortunate one in the world of Progeria. He went to school and did well. He was in his second year of uni when he died, studying interior architecture. He drove a car, he drank beer. He gave motivation talks to secondary school students. Chris had many, many friends, and like all those taken way too soon, he was well loved by many.

Many of those afflicted with this disease die before they can experience what my boy did. The average age expectancy of Progeria is around 13 to 15 with some dying well before that age.

Incidence of this disease: 1 in 8 million.

My boy, despite his disabilities, was able to teach himself to play the piano in the last two years of his life.
When commencing secondary school he desperately wanted to play the saxophone but unfortunately his fingers could not reach all the keys so he settled for a clarinet instead.
When he experimented with the piano and was able to pick out chords and basic tunes he then regretted his initial music choices at school, but as we all say from time to time..."If only I knew in hindsight"!
I purchased a second-hand piano from a work colleague around 2001 and he and I would pick out different pieces and play them together gradually improving our skills as time went on. I eventually bought a few comprehensive books on basic piano education, one of them aptly entitled "Piano Playing For Dummies" and we would have a great time developing our own sense of rhythm as we went.
'Super Trouper' by ABBA was one such piece he taught himself to play, and I can still now hear his interpretation.......
The piano lies silent
No one plays it now
The echo of my children
Are a mere breath away.
I can hear their laughter
Like the piano,
A chord in my mind
That plays on forever.
The keys lie silent
Longing for someone
To caress them with their fingers
No more the tandem
No more the playing
How strange if a child were to play it now
For it would not be the same.
My 'Super Trouper' no longer here
To delight me with his sounds
And make me laugh with his dexterity.
Rich in memory and want,
the lid remains closed


Just a brief one.

April just gone saw me in Papua New Guinea for three weeks as a volunteer midwife in the Highlands region of Goroka.

Look at my slideshow to your right and you'll see some pictures I found online of the area.

I know it all!

I miss the place dreadfully and I wish I was there still.

I plan to post photos of my time there on here so look out for them!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Good evening as Alfred Hitcock once said to all and sundry.

It's the end of a busy day.

We, as in my husband and I have just been out to dinner at a lovely Thai restaurant in Laverton (Narathai) and eaten to our hearts content...mind our stomachs are groaning at the added encumberance we have hoisted upon them!

Following our partakings, we then called into an electrical store and purchased for our one and only existing child, an electric blanket as where she is currently residing (Edithvale), her mattress is on the floor which are floorboards, and consequently she is often very bloody cold at night. We figure, an EB will stave off the winter freezings a bit and make her all warm and toast. The objective here is to ensure she has a better nights sleep and wakes up as fresh as a daisy instead of being cold all night. Hope it works!

I've worked two shifts since I was last on here and its been reasonably busy at work. I tend to run hither and thither about there in my position (in charge) and have 50 things on my mind at any one time.

When the crunch comes, its my responsibility to ensure all has been appropriate for my shift and I have to rely on the people with whom I am working to make sure their allocation is not too taxing for them.

I like to think that they will have to courage to speak out to me if they find it too difficult but often or sometimes they don't and its at the end of the shift when I am extracting a handover from them that I find they haven't been able to accomplish what they presumed they could, at the beginning.

Alas, what can you do eh... but be on your guard with certain staff in the future.

I am not going to gripe about the cold tonight for yes it is winter after all and bloody freezing.

C'est la vie!

Here are three snapshot photos of when we travelled to Thailand a few years ago. Just looking back now, it seems a lifetime ago but actually occured only three years ago. What an adventure we had travelling to Kanchanaburi where we met elephants, tigers, monks and boat people. We walked the trail our POW's did so many years ago during the second world war along Hellfire Pass and even though we did it in the comfortable time of 2006 it was still a most memorable experience.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Just a short one this morning as I am off to work this afternoon.
Have to call into my mothers beforehand though and deliver unto her a loaf of bread, which, I don't mind doing in the least.
In this weather though, I just hope she hasn't got it into her head to go down the street herself as she is 85 now and becoming frailer each day I see her (which is often).
Another cold day outside...so cold I am not even bothering to hang clothes on the line and instead have reverted to the tumble dryer and heater.
Hang the global warming issues related to such misconduct. Hang the electricity bill...I pay enough as it is!
Work this afternoon. I wonder what that will bring with its myriad of convoluted anxieties, both fellow midwives, doctors and patients. We won't even enter the realm of visitors who think its all about ME!
There are some days we are relatively sane, and other days, especially Thursday afternoons where its chaos and fraught with "What the hell am I doing here on a Thursday afternoon!"
Ahhh well, another day, another dollar or two as they say.
Must away as I have not the time to be frivolous before I go.

I have made dinner for the other half tonight which is an accomplishment for me.

Till next time....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How easy it is to procrastinate and not go do the washing and ironing and instead sit here and learn more about blogging whilst writing some more of myself.

Recently my other (some would say better) half and I purchased a holiday cabin up at Porepunkah, near to where my profile photo is from. Porepunkah is in the Victorian Eastern Highlands and is at the foot of the snow fields.

We've been up there a few times already and my life is currently centred around when I can get back there again. It is cold yes indeedy when you're outside, but lovely and warm inside thanks to modern day heating. I love the ambience in the local towns up there and also the view from our 'backyard'!
As is demonstrated, the view from the back of our place changes like the weather. So lovely to have this to look forward to whenever we are able to get up there. Unfortunately, the drive is approx. three and a half hours from home so there's no point going there for just one night. The plan is to try and get at least two nights sleep there at a time and we're even contemplating retirement whenever that happens.

This Time In My Life Take 2

Think I stuffed up my entry into blogging yesterday with a void entry despite having a title.

Thought I had best contribute something today otherwise I will have stuffed up twice in two days which is not a great start now is it.

Today is a chilly cold day with plenty of light rain outside. Unfortunately for here that is not good enough as we need rain rain and even more rain.

I live in Melbourne which would have to be one of the driest cities in Australia.

I was at my best friends place yesterday and it rained a'plenty whilst I was there (out in the country) but unfortunately you can't take it with you and so while her tanks are full, ours are less than a quarter full.

Its winter time here and I've watched how the snow has fallen in the mountain regions. Boy am I envious. It must be wonderful to live up there and have it all come alive come snow season. Makes life worthwhile doesn't it.

Today is a washing and tumble dryer day with the heater on as well to try and dry clothes. Thats the worst thing about this weather.

I figure you can always get warm but its bloody hard to try and dry stuff all the time. This place often looks like Chinese Laundry with all our wet gear hanging everywhere.

Just to enlighten you, reader, about myself a little.

As my profile indicates, I am married. Am mother to two. My daughter is 24 right now (heaven forbid if I were to make an erroneous error and put in the wrong age!)

My son, who would have been 27 two days ago, died six and a bit years ago after a life time of chronic illness. He had a disorder known as Progeria (Accelerated Aging Syndrome) and passed away six weeks short of his 21st. birthday.

I am a practising midwife and recently spent three weeks in Papua New Guinea practising (or at least, trying to) my skills as a professional midwife. There were many facets of that experience I loved and consequently I am busting to return there in the next couple of years. I am now home though and back at work and sometimes wishing I was many miles away, but, we all do that from time to time don't I.

As someone recently said (not in relation to my mental state I might add...) "Suck it in, and get over it" which is not the most empathic support for professional issues, but something I can say to myself anyhow...

So, without further adieu, I will depart for bigger things (more washing and ironing) and with a promise to return and blog some more sooner rather than later.