Funerals, Weddings and JFK

So, that's how it's done!
So, that’s how it’s done!
Pipers of the Black Watch

Ron Cairns was a soldier with the 42 Highland Regiment – The Black Watch. He spent time in  Malta and Cyprus. As a piper he traveled much of the world with the Pipe Band.  In 1963 the band were touring the USA and Canada when they were invited to play on the White House Lawns where they met JFK and the Kennedy family. The President jokingly remarked that he was glad this was a friendly visit because the last time the Black Watch were here they burned the place down.  Three weeks later whilst the band was performing in Kentucky, came news of the Assassination of the President. Mrs. Kennedy asked that nine pipers from the regiment play at her husbands funeral in Washington. Ron was one of the men who were chosen. There is, as far as we know, only one of the nine pipers remaining.

So,  I have had a fun end to what has been a stressful week. Telephone call this morning at 8am  to ask me who is doing the fundraiser for the RFDS. I had forgotten about this and I spent the early morning organizing and making telephone calls – getting people out of bed (popularity- zilch!!) To make matters worse, I was actually down for this one. Emmm – I have a wedding this morning at 11:30 – but I spent from 8:30 to 10:15 running around getting things and people organized. My son is always good value and stepped in to take my place. No excuses, this was my responsibility and I didn’t get on top of it when I should have. Anyway, I left the wedding fairly early, came home, got changed and lay down for a while. I was just so tired. On Friday we were given three more medical  appointments- one on Monday two on Tuesday  and we ended up with three on Tuesday because she was called back to the surgery late in the afternoon.   Her doctor had been in touch with  the Kidney Specialist in  Adelaide and they are giving her new medication. However, it can have a lot of side effects so she she has to be carefully monitored for the next few days, at least until the medication settles in — My Job! However, they are now certain that the problem is not the kidney but the blood vessels leading into the kidney which causes a whole range of issues. However, once the new medication settles in she should start to feel a great deal better  ( Plan A)

I have not been out with the dogs these last few days and very little work had been done outside. The Man is very strange – at times he cries and falls down and at other times he runs around the place like a mad thing. He is still eating well enough although sometimes I have to lift him and place him down next to his food and I hand feed him  his stick in the morning by breaking it in small pieces and  letting him eat it out of my hand. It’s also sort of sneaky because I slip his medication into one of the pieces.

Since starting this I have been back down to Adelaide and the remainder of the week out of town. I did manage to get the dogs out for a walk before I left and The Man is walking – not well and very slow – but walking. He still sleeps a lot and he is still eating well enough..  Subsequently I  have not used the stroller much. Odd thing happened when I was in Adelaide. I was in Rundle Plaza (shopping mall) and a lady stumbled and dropped her bag. Several of us went over to help her and pick up the things that fell out of her bag. I picked up a large, glass enclosed candle, which I did see come from her bag – and handed it to her. She wanted to know why I was handing her this thing because, she claimed,  it was not hers and she refused to take it from me. I said it did come from her bag, but she just turned and walked away leaving me holding this glass enclosed candle.  No one seemed interested and I spoke to the security people who just shrugged and handed it back to me – so,  I brought it home with me. Herself thinks that she had been shoplfting and the candle was part of her haul.  Very strange, but I got a Jasmine scented glass enclosed candle out of it all  :o)  But it just seems very odd – who steals a candle and why? and it did come from her bag.

Jasmine scented Candle
Jasmine scented Candle



Hospitals, doctors and Chienne the attack dog.

Assembled. This is the easy part  :o)
Assembled. This is the easy part :o)
Another view

Monday: First hospital visit this morning. This is to her  Diabetic Clinic and some tests. Hope we don’t have the same results as last time round BP 235/90. After the clinic we go shopping and I can pick up the Stroller for the Man.  – We brought the shopping inside and put everything away then I got down on the floor and assembled the Stroller. It was fairly easy since everything was clip-on and nothing to screw or tighten. No tools required. It’s blowing a gale here at the moment so I wont be taking them out for a little while – at least until the wind dies down a bit. North of South Australia – generally a windy place and going into spring increases the strength of the wind until  summer takes it by the throat and strangles it, then roasts us for the next three months or so  :o)

The wind died down at about 8:40 so  put on a Jacket, put a leash on Chienne and put the Man into the stroller. We only did a short walk and he was pretty good although he did want out at one point and I did bring a second leach with me so that was ok. He needed to pee,  but I left him out and walking for a while. It was a bit odd for him but I think he will get used to being wheeled around.

Something I did a while ago was get three inches of foam to place under their bed so that the dogs have something springy and soft underneath their bed. I did this several months ago, so you can imagine my surprise, not to mention my utter dismay, to find the foam had been ripped apart and was scattered  across the room.  Who is responsible?  Hmm, let me think…. The man is weak and sleeps much of the time; he has not the strength in his present condition to do this; he has NO teeth; it certainly wasn’t me, I was visiting friends in the Land of Nod,  and it wasn’t Herself, who couldn’t bend down that far anyway – so by process of elimination – Chienne!!   Why?? I have no idea. I am not altogether impressed – this week I have so much to do – looking after herself and the dogs, the foam thing was not something I really needed this week. Never mind, worse things happen at Sea – or so I am told  :o)

Today – Tuesday – we have two hospital appointments, the first one being for the Kidney Ultrasound in about an hour from now. In a little while I will take her to hospital and then sit and wait and read – I’m doing a lot of reading this week  :o). Lunch then back to hospital in the afternoon. The morning session took longer than expected. They did the UltraSound then decided to do a CT Scan as well and they injected some dye into her so now she has to go for a blood test on Thursday afternoon to ensure that the dye has cleared and it has not caused any complications (remote) Two more appointments to go and that’s us  for the week. Phew, it’s been a busy week. Actually I dozed off in the waiting room this morning.

Chienne (Chi for short)  - The Foam Destroyer
Chienne (Chi for short) – The Foam Destroyer

One appointment today and since it’s fairly early on in the morning we might actually get some time at home.  That would be nice. ( Not long after I wrote this we were “Blessed”with two more appointment) The wind, although high, didn’t cause too much damage here but I believe that was not the case in other areas – namely Adelaide and Melbourne  – with gusts up up to 130 kph. Nice, interesting start to Spring. Herself came up with a great idea ( knew I kept her for a reason)  Cut what is left of the foam to the size of the inside of the Dog Stroller, put it inside a pillowcase and there you have it – his very own foam mattress  :o) Gosh, she’s good!!!


I have actually managed to do some work in the garden this afternoon. A sort of quiet before the storm. I have emptied out one of the sheds and moved it (struggle but got there) to a new location- now I am about to go out and put everything back in to it. Had me coffee, back to work !


The Man, Vets and Adelaide again.

Guard Duty is exhausting
Guard Duty is exhausting

I took the Man to the vet this afternoon because his behaviour was causing me problems. I have not said anything on line because y áll had enough problems but I have been exhausted when I get out of bed in the morning and The Man is the reason for this exhaustion and also the reason why I extended my Sabbatical. I have been wakened two, three and four times a night – most nights – with The Man just yelping – I investigate and he is standing facing a blank wall and just yelping, or he is staring off into space and bark/yelping. He calms down and a couple of hours later, he starts again Its ‘been a concern and after a while I do get tired and sleep deprived.     Ok what I know, –  his arthritis is “progressing” he is going blind, he is loosing his hearing and we suspect there is something akin to a Dog form of  Dementia. Mustapha  (The Vet) believes that he wakens up in the dark, declining eyesight, scared, not knowing where he  is, goes outside to have a wee, and forgets how to get back in  – poor eyesight in the dark – gets scared, barks for help,  not a lot we can do really other than comfort him and make him feel safe. Well, no! On the way home I stopped off at a hardware store and left him in the car with herself comforting him, and bought two fairly bright night-lights.  One I will power on tonight and the other is an outside motion sensor light. I really do know what else I can do. He has a bit of a cough so some medication for that, 10ml of Fish Oil and his arthritis medication. So we’ll see how we go from here. And no, nothing will happen to him. It is not being cruel – he is still much loved and It is my responsibility and my opportunity to repay him for some of the fun we have had together over the last 13 years. Well not strictly true, to say that there is nothing we can do Instead of wheels I have ordered a “Dogger”a stroller for dogs. It should arrive sometime in the next week or so and I will introduce him to it when I get back from Adelaide this coming weekend.  Ok, I know I did say that I was staying home until the end of September and generally that’s true, but I need to go be in Adelaide this Friday and Saturday, so back to my little park bench in South Terrace.

A Man and his  Teddy Bear
A Man and his Teddy Bears

The Man has an abscess on his bottom and we have been looking after that. This was also a visit to the vet. We have antibiotics and a saline wash twice a day and rather than diminishing  it seems to be slightly larger if anything. I will go on for another few days with the medical treatment, then I will make another trip to the vet.  I don’t know what can be done, but the fact that he is old and in decline regarding his health, in not an issue,  he still needs good quality vet treatment and I want him to have just that – he deserves it. But somethings are working – he has been sleeping a lot better since the night light. He is sleeping through the night and – importantly – I am too!!  Such a little thing, like a night light,  has made an enormous difference.

When I get back from Adelaide I will spend all next week running back and forth from hospital with Herself. We have appointments every day, except Friday. On Tuesday she is going for an Ultrasound on her kidney and perhaps from all this we can finally discover why she is loosing blood. I took her to hospital last week and she recorded a BP of 235/90, which she thought was quite ok. She worries me at times.
The drive down to Adelaide was, thankfully, quiet and uneventful and I am now safely in  my little Park Bench in South Terrace. Ron was a piper in the Black Watch, Highland Regiment. He was one of the  Black Watch Pipers that   Mrs. Kennedy asked to play at her  husband’s funeral in 1963. Her husband, of course, was JFK. This is an interesting story of itself and sometime I will relay it – perhaps in the next post. As far as we know, there is only one piper remaining of the

Wilpena in the Flinders Ranges
Wilpena in the Flinders Ranges

pipers who were chosen for the funeral.

Oh, the Dog Stroller arrived on Saturday morning but since herself was out with one of the boys. I was still driving back from Adelaide but the postal people left a note on the door saying that it could be collected on Monday. I will do that and I  really do hope this will help. At least it will get him out and about in safety and pain free.