Thursday, December 23, 2010

nearly christmas

The wind has been fierce in the last few days and has whipped water up and across Portobello rd from the Harbour leaving the tarmac with a crystalline glint and scribbles from the cyclists that have run salty trails through it.
Deborah lives harbour side and said it was like waking up to a frost. She had just had her windows cleaned for christmas.
It is 8 weeks post surgery and there is vague sense of things-seen and unseen lifting.Gary is moving more and is trying to be more active.
I have a sponge in the oven for trifle and the christmas pudding is made.
Presents are wrapped.
Gary starts Chemo on January the 10th..we are getting our heads and hearts around that.
Dad bought me new chickens..very pretty fiesty wee birds..I shall photograph them soon.
If you feel like a good tune this is my favourite for christmas
click on the blue box..record player selection 'Darlin christmas is coming'

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gary's first outing

Well I decided with all the wisdom of a forty five year old that an outing would be a good boost for gary.He hasn't been anywhere apart from hospital and home for nearly four weeks.
Two days ago I spied some paradise ducklings down by the Portobello hall. (Literally two minutes driving)They are very cute.I decided an outing to see the ducks was in order and convinced Gary that this was a winning idea.We took some bread and off we set.
We pulled up..all ducklings resting and looking cute a parent duck guarding.
That all changed once we threw some bread.The ducklings became very animated and took off towards the bread the mother duck did a big heads up and charged after them..and then the seagulls arrived.The mother duck started quacking..the Father duck scrambled up the bank from the harbour charged across Portobello road(We were terrified there was going to be a duck death any second).He Quacked and quacked and chased the seagulls away from his babies and then as they circled close in again..he half flew at one of the seagulls, got it in his beak(again by the roadside) and gave it a proper send off-seagull feathers were flying everywhere.
I started stopping traffic freaking out about the chaos we had caused and finally the two ducks herded all their babies up and took them down to the harbour. I went back to Gary and and asked him if he wanted to go anywhere else... he decided going home was a good idea.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Burwood Hospital

I cut and pasted this writing..please excuse its wonky is rough but Im fine with that.

Ground zero
Was a long day…longer than a standard ruler and bigger than a bread box..these are accepted measures for size in our house..the bread box measure started in the first year of courting when I demanded an amount as to how much Gary loved me.I needed a lot of some point he said I love you more than bread box and humour allayed my fears.
For our first year anniversary I received a very smart dark wood  bread box with a concertina holds two or three loaves quite comfortably.
It now lives at our crib on the kitchen bench and every year I get pleasure from using it.
Garys surgery was 7 hours long and his time in recovery to stabilise him and sort the pain was 2hours.
I don’t think that in the last four months we have been apart for more than five hours.
Things that don’t go away when you are an ex nurse
Mitred corners
Ability to spot a good health care professional
Black Humour

Things that have changed since I last nursed
Technology-Labelling The mop cupboard is now called spill management and containment area
Length of hospital stay and expectations of movement
 The Intensive care unit is now called the special care unit

The first night post surgery I spent half in my own bed in the nurses home.I left gary at 12 but didn’t sleep and got back up at 4.20 and went across to the  unit.Gary was pleased to see me and I was very pleased to see him.
We both settled after that and got a solid half hour sleep and then a few 20 mins ones.
It was a gift.
I have inherited a lazy boy for the duration of gary’s internment ..It is brown and vinal and I can almost stretch prone in it.
The first day continued in the SCU with a move late afternoon to the orthopaedic ward.

From his bed he tells me he can see caring faces looking downward ones at him. Their eyes are where he sees the caring coming from. They are very attentive and kind. Some medical equipment-‘lots of flashing things with tubes, my orange flowers that Kath bought me and a clock..a slow moving clock’.
I see gary’s face and I look for signs of colour change, at present it is yellow as he lost a lot of blood in surgery..bones are vascular-they bleed. I look at his eyes and how his mouth sits. He has always had a mouth that turns up at the corners. In recent months the edges have been turning down. It is the colour of cold dripping.
This small fact and the fact that he has been cold worry me. I am used to his warmth and enormous vitality.
I see grass and white carpet roses outside the window.The hospital is mainly ground floor and glass sliders open to the outside.
When I walk from the nurses home I pass a plover and her three chicks..she is very vocal in her defence of her babies.
 The air where I live is moist and salty.. Macrocarpas fringe the property and seagulls call and wheel around the island that sits directly in front of our house. Resinous oil from the one pine tree mixes with top notes of brine.
Here in this place the air is fresh but dry and the grass has straw coloured streaks  running through it. No moisture for my thirsty skin. I peg out our washing on a rotary line enclosed in a tall wooden fence with peeling paint. It has beauty straight out of  a French country decorating magazine.
Gary is snoring as I write..
BC (before cancer) I would tap him with my foot or nudge him in bed at night. Tonight I sit listening and counting his breaths per minute. The Iv clicks away counting the liquid drops boosting his blood pressure and hydrating his parched body.
His body is adjusting to the huge internal changes made and organs are resting.His heart beat is slow, his intestine is asleep. The bright light is his eyes which are clear and intense against the sheets.Nil by mouth and clear fluids make very white whites.

Burwood is very peaceful, there are old trees with blossom and birds all over singing.Garys room has a sliding door to the outside. He is often asking for more air and I can open it.
I am staying in the nurses home…my room has worn wooden furniture and a chintz covered chair.The light above my bed  has a pull cord and is softened by a wooden box attached to the wall.
The scariest part about being here is the roller blind which has a habit of shooting fast up the window pane, usually as I have just settled for the night. Its whoosh up the glass matches my heart has a crocheted pull ring.
It is quiet.
 Sparrows are eating something off the roses bushes outside the room and whenever I fell fretful they reminded me of love.They are everywhere.
A week has passed now and gary has eaten his first meal. He is learning to managing his pre sleep state when the opiate dreams kick in. Initially he described them as lush and reminiscent of his tropical holiday..but as the days have gone by they have become increasingly darker full of murder and demons. They are vivid and reality blurs. He wakes himself from these now and looks into them telling himself they not real and trains his mind to a more positive place. Jung would love this.
I have just nicked some bread off the trolley old jammy toast and fed the birds..lots of blackbirds.
I got eyeballed by the charge nurse today asked when we would like to go home..I asked what she meant and she repeated herself ..It used to be that the patient was assessed and found safe to leave.
On the whole the nursing has been good..the usual mix of experience and inexperience..the staff as a group are very welcoming.The orderlies are great so friendly, remember your name.
Jack the cat at the nurses home runs to meet me each night for an extensive pat..he is slightly greasy from dust bathing on the roads his fur is thick and he has a deep rumbling purr of pleasure when I pat and ruffle his fur.
Today is the seventh day.I am going to try garys wedding ring on his finger again.It hasn’t fitted so far,but now it is time. I put it on his finger and he slips it on..we stand close and nearly hug. Hes warm.
It is Sunday the 10th day. Gary went to the spinal unit and watched the rugby last night…he managed to sit up on a couch. Today he is weary and sore but pleased to have had an outing.
We are checking out of hotel Burwood tomorrow and flying home on the Jet.

Things to remember from this time
Gary reaching his hand out for his friends to hold and the smile he got on his face when they obliged.
I am no longer scared to go back nursing.
Aunty heathers peppermints chocolate
Friends and their BIG amounts of love
The pure peace of the nurse’s home.

french country

Thursday, October 28, 2010

old back


First internet access in a week.
Gary doing a bit better today.Ate dinner last night.Crim (his mate took him to the cafe for a drink today in A wheelchair..we are testing how much we can do..looking at going home early next week.Gary got motion sick in the good to know how much he can handle..we have had fantastic support up there...some of garys nearest and dearest friends..doing there share of handholding and comforting..(apparently Dev has nice soft hands:-).
I ma sitting here typing with the door open it is very warm today..I fed the birds garys porridge in the morning and I am watching the starlings clean it up.
Sue popped up yesterday and gave us a much needed energy boost..was great to see her.
I am missing my children,but pleased to have time to just focus on Gaz..its been Big.I have been doing some writing ..little bits inbetween. Very peaceful here.xx

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 4

Gary had a good nights sleep(so did i).things slowly kicking back into gear.amazing how quickly one adjusts to new environments.burwood is fantastic,gary is getting the best care .everyone likes working here and it has great vibes.great staff from orderlies who are super helpful and friendly,hospital aides who do whatever is needed with a smile and fantastic and competent nurses and drs.we are safe and cared like the nurses home,it is quiet.we r missing the kids,but gd to have time to focus on gary recovery Good to have some space.thanks for all the support.kat
Sent from my Nokia phone

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gary has been up on walking frame.
,walking very short distances,but doing so well.pain meDs changed today so we are hoping for a better was a bit rough last night.he's napping well today.its been quite a peaceful day.lovely temperature.we had the doors open..fresh air and birds singing.there is a plover near us with three chicks.kat

Sent from my Nokia phone

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 1

Gary doing well.has been 4 xray today not fun. With the amount of metal now in his back new name is iron man .rod and screws from t6 to sacral area. Kat. gary says day very slow

Sent from my Nokia phone

In recovery 

Gary out of recovery.surgeon pleased all gone according 2 plan.still waiting to see him.he went in at 9 and out at around 4.the orderlies keep telling me he had the best surgeons in the place.very friendly staff,thanks for all wishes and love keeping me going and gaz will love to c them in a few days.kat

Sent from my Nokia phone

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Sent from my Nokia phone

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Samoa and Pencils:-)

Bathing pool fresh water springs in the sea


Reverend Kaleve Leifi 

Macca and Kathy

Aria finds a Piano much to everyones delight


We took the Pencils to a Village on Savaii where we were staying.We have a friend who suggested this as it is his Village where he grew up. Hobart Sasa.
The Village is called is beautiful.The minister welcomed us and as it was White Sunday the day before the children were out of school and on holiday. Good for us to be able to take photos and have a play.
The pencils were going to be sorted and distributed through the teachers in the school.
There was 170 children in the Village.
The rugby balls were a great success, as were Arihanas Piercings.The kids kept asking her to put her tongue out.
People dont go hungry in Samoa as they grow fruit and taro and animals but money for anything else is in short supply and very precious.So stationary is a good thing.
Thank you to all the people who contributed it was great to be able to give and say that many people contributed to this.


Menu for Deborah's birthday

Queen Olives stuffed with almonds
Waitaki Pork Salami from farmers market roasted and sliced

Shrimp Cocktail

Soft boiled egg and fresh asparagus

Whitebait fritters with coriander and lemon wedges

sourdough crostini topped with Duck confit (from the Friday shop in Roslyn)
served with Grants Horny hawthorne sauce

Lamb kebabs marinated in chili and tamarind and a peanut dipping sauce

Pukekoe new potatoes roasted in Duck fat and sprinkled with Sumac and maldon sea salt

Fried plantain with salt and chili

fresh steamed greens from the garden

-broad bean tips and broccolini

and last of all individual trifles with rhubarb and montery tart cherries

yum yum
Happy birthday Deborah