Heartbeats and slowing down.

I remember being told once that “you should always be careful what you wish for – you might actually get it” I mean, we didn’t want much – just some peace, stay at home, nice, quiet, down-time. Oh I got that alright – in spades. I cannot say I was pampered, but the nurses  and medical staff in the Cardiac Unit did look after me. Having said that, let me qualify it by saying that 1) I did not have a heart attack ; 2) I did not have a stroke. 3) Came close to both but no cigar – thankfully.

Monday took herself shopping. After lunch I decided to do the concreting and bed in her replaced washing line. Set up the cement mixer and got to work – not great exertion or even all that hard work, but about half way through I had more problems with breathing – more than I have had recently. I put it down to the fact that it was a warm day and carried on working. Before I knew what was what I started feeling very hot, my heart and pulse were racing like an express train and I was fighting for breath. I stopped work, went into the house and banged on the A/C ;  set it at its lowest and stood in front of it. After a while I started to settle down. However, herself was not too happy and insisted that we go see the doctor.   At 3pm I saw the doctor, at 3;50 pm I was at the hospital and by 5:00 I had been seen by two specialists and  moments later was on my way up to the HDU ( High Dependency Unit)  and hooked up to heart monitors. Not a heart attack nor a stroke but a serious Cardiac Arrhythmia. A number of  xrays also showed  that I had a pneumonia infection and fluid in the lungs which was not helping. Anyway, over a period of days  I was given medication to bring the heart rate down to a less dangerous level and then get it under control. It is now under control but that’s more to do with the present medication rather than anything else.  It is still fluctuating but I am told that unlike when I was admitted, this is a controlled fluctuation.  I was also told that the problems with the heart were directly responsible for the breathing and thus the  tiredness and shortness of breath that I have experienced lately.

I have to remain on these drugs for  four weeks then see the heart specialist and return to the HDU. I will be taken off the drugs and monitored. If the heart does not behave I will be taken down to the Theater by the Cardiologist  and given electric treatment to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. All good stuff.

On the first evening I was in hospital Herself asked if there was anything she could bring up. The boys would bring her and I asked her to bring up my pens and my Filofax. To many people that might sound a bit strange, but I use my FF for recording everything. It helps me keep track of things I do and places I go. I don’t see why a visit to hospital should stop me from making sure everything in my FF was up to date.  I also asked for my iPad mainly I have a kindle program on there and have a number of books that I can – and did – read. Yes I would have watched TV but I felt that $14 a day was a bit steep.

Where do I go from here? – First thing is to do as I said I would and resign from one of the State Committees. Secondly, cut down the trips to Adelaide. I can do this by a careful examination of the Agenda and if there is nothing there that really concerns us or has any bearing on us, I’ll put in an apology and stay home.  Not an ideal solution but the best I can manage. The Property Trust Committee,  which meets in Adelaide, I really do want to remain with – such a lovely group of people and the meetings are always a pleasure. The next meeting will feature a presentation by Dr. Klee Benveniste of the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation- and I do want to be present for that.  Other movements I will curtail as much as I can until we are certain that things are back to normal.


Adelaide, Flinders Ranges and the Man

Driving into Adelaide - what's not to love??
Driving into Adelaide – what’s not to love??
Just nice.
Just nice.

Heading down to Adelaide at the weekend. My son is taking his partner for some tests she has to have so they are driving down and I am going down with them. They will drop me off in the city and I’ll catch the coach home in the evening. I thought I would grab this last opportunity to do some Christmas shopping and see what I can get for Herself. Not too much for me – I’m easy to fix; a Bunnings Gift Card in an coloured envelope and I’m happy. This is not the scheduled trip that I spoke about – that has been cancelled – so this is the last until February. I have resigned from one of the State Committees and I  will not be going to the Assembly, so my runs to Adelaide will be considerably cut down. Between Assembly, Conference, Committee meetings, The Commission, Alan’s illness, Alan’s passing and Alan’s Funeral, the last year or so really took a lot out of me and I have no desire to repeat the exercise.

I’ve been trying to palm off The Man to my other son  :o) I said I would just keep a photograph because it will be cheaper than keeping him. He is well,  growing in strength and eating like a  horse. I can’t keep up with the amount he eats at the moment. I am forever filling his bowl with food and I still hand feed him his treat in the morning.    He has even been out on walks twice in the last week. He generally stays close to Chi but he does wander about until he finds his way back to her side.  I have to watch him like a hawk because he crosses in front of me at times and the idea of getting up close and personal with the roadway does not appeal to me.

My Filofax - Scanda Personal
My Filofax – Scanda Personal

I bought a friend a Pink Filofax for her birthday last year and she makes great use of it. So much so that she asked me to help her find an A4 Filofax for her study next year. Interesting because I have temporarily abandoned Filofax for a similar system but with a different maker – Van der Spek , a Dutch company , and unlike Filofax these binders ( planners/Organizers)  are hand made. It will be an interesting exercise and to be truthful I will not be surprised if I am back to my Filofax by Easter, but I will try to get used to the smaller A6 unit.

I read the interesting Road Trip by Uncle Spike and for me to travel on the kind of highway that he is using, I am looking at close to 1000 miles – Melbourne – Sydney – Canberra. Melbourne would be the closest at a mere 700 miles. Also the land around here is fairly flat, with a very small population – 350,000 in an area about 904,880 sq.klms  The Flinders Ranges is the largest Mountain Range in South Australia. It’s about 270 miles in length with the highest peak being St. Mary’s Peak at 3,780 feet. Have not been into the Flinders for ages. Must try and get up there for a couple of days before it gets too hot.


Road Trip, Adelaide and Bunnings

Let me tell you that I lurve you and I think about you all the time  :o)
Let me tell you that I lurve you and I think about you all the time :o)

The recent trip to Adelaide was completed in excellent weather. No storms sneaking up and no nasty surprised lurking over

The Lower Flinders Ranges from Highway 1
The Lower Flinders Ranges from Highway 1

hills. I made directly for Bunnings at Para Hills.  I like Bunnings – different from most run-of-the-mill hardware stores. There is always an excellent range of stock and I can generally get things that I want and that are not stocked at home. They alsdo have a good garden center.

Provided the weather is good (and it was) the drive on Highway 1  is quite relaxing. The change in the vegetation  is very noticeable the further south you drive – it becomes softer and you can find this strange green stuff, which I am told is called Grass. We had this in Scotland, but I had forgotten it.



We do not have the great multi-lane highways and intersections that are normal in the populous parts of Australia – Sydney – Brisbane – Melbourne and driving through Adelaide, although busy and frustrating at times,  is not a patch on Sydney.  What you see is the major highway  linking the north of the state from the south. It carries on across the top of the state and links South Australia with Western Australia. You have, no doubt, noticed the distinct lack of transport – other road users – this is fairly normal. In our little world if we see more than four cars in a row, we wonder where the funeral is. There is not much in the way of wildlife either.  People die on this road because it is long, little or no traffic, and minds tend to wander. I do not travel this road at night. I used to but it’s not a great experience – major trucks tend to travel at night. The one advantage of Highway 1 is the  4 klm long passing lanes. They occur every  10 klms, so the longest you are ever stuck behind a caravan or truck is about 20 minutes to half an hour. On the way down (or up from) to Adelaide is the “Tin Man” a BP Service Station and the Crossroads of South Australia for anyone traveling north or south. This is where I generally stop for coffee and a snack both going do0wn and coming back. You meet all sorts of people there – even family  :o)

Highway 1 - the road behind
Highway 1 – the road behind
Highway 1 - The way ahead.
Highway 1 – The way ahead.

Games, Betting Tips – and Bunnings.

David Gower
David Gower

One of the saddest things in Australian Sport took place this week – a Batsman playing for South Australia was hit with a Cricket Ball and was rushed to hospital where he died two days later. No doubt, when the dust settles and the period of grief in the International Cricket World has run its course, there will be an full analysis and investigation. I suspect that much of it will revolve around the standard – or lack thereof – of protective helmets but it will be interesting to see if the Australia obsession  with speed and bounce will come under scrutiny. I doubt it and if anyone does mention it,  they will be ignored because speed and bounce wins games. When Australia was on the receiving end of this they turned it in to “Folklore”and anti-English sentiment –  The Devil himself would have been more welcome than Jardine or Larwood. It was called “Bodyline” and in this day and age we have gone far beyond that and although Larwood was the fastest bowler of the day, modern bowlers are trained and taught and work to achieve speeds that Larwood never even dreamed of in 1938. Current speeds are  up to 102 miles per hour and the best Larwood ever achieved was believed to be 80 miles per hour. Commentary is not how well the bowler bowled but what speed he bowled at.   But it must be said that Australia is not alone in this obsession with speed and bounce and regrettably it has become endemic.   Larwood did settle in Australia in 1950 after his cricket career was over and was warmly welcomed by the people. Cricket is a game that once  had gentlemanly traditions, but commercialization of the game has subsequently tended to elevate the principle of “win at all costs” above traditional ideals of  sportsmanship. Feed the masses – “Bread and Circuses”   Once you got match commentary – now you get commentary and betting tips.

Ready to go.
Ready to go.

Today  is the Christmas Pageant and we are running a fundraising for the RFDS at the “After Pageant Fair”. As I recall, we did fairly well at the Fair last year. We have another fundraising event on Sunday, but I wont be doing that. Like other groups in South Australia we are running out of volunteers. It’s the same people doing more and more and most of us are starting to get tired – well, I know I am, considering everything else in my life at the moment. Up early this morning and put the car out on the roadway so that I can get the RFDS Trailer out and Frank can get in and collect it sometime this morning. At the end of the day, it will be brought back here because this is where it’s stored.  I believe the Pageant was very good this year.  – I wouldn’t know since we never get to see it :o)

We had an exciting thunderstorm last night with a lashing of heavy rain. Chienne was medicated and The Man  slept through it all – as he generally does. Fortunately the weather for this coming weekend will be warm and sunny with no hint of rain. This will mean a fairly pleasant drive down to Adelaide and an equally pleasant drive home the following afternoon.  This is the last for the year and I have one more trip to make, but that is for  other reasons. However, once this weekend is over I hope to get back outside and get to work on  cleaning up the garden and finishing off some of these projects – that would be nice. My plan is to detour on the way  down to an area called  Parafield where there is a nice, big Bunnings store. It’s over 260 k away from here but it’s the nearest one there is.