There and back again !!

The drive down to Adelaide was partly cold, wet and miserable to start with but  by the time we were about halfway there, the sun came out, everything brightened up  and it was quite a pleasant  day. Parked in town and spent some time shopping.   I wanted to go to the camera shop at the Central Market but I think the old camera (which still takes good photographs) is now so old technology has passed it. Amazing how things can change in 10-15 years. I was not able to get anything  new – nor even pre-loved. Serves me right for buying a Sony all these years ago. The new camera is a Canon and I have yet to figure how to use all the bells and whistles and get the best out of it. I have bought a number of books and downloaded some things to the computer and I’ll see how I go with them. Booked into the hotel in North Adelaide and walked with John down to the

Yogi - Our friend's dog
Yogi – Our friend’s dog

Memorial Hospital. As I said the day brightened up so the walk down to the hospital was  fine. However,  during the time we were in the hospital things changed. His appointment lasted longer that was anticipated and by the time we got out of the hospital it was raining,  so the walk back was not so enjoyable. And that was the rain in for the rest of the night. I watched some television, did some things on the computer and  went to bed. When I rose in the morning, it was still raining.  It was a frustrating drive in that it was showers, sometimes heavy sometimes not so heavy, but windscreen wipers switched on – then off – then back on again.  Took John directly to the local hospital where he made a follow up appointment for an MRI then probably back to Adelaide again to  the Memorial Hospital

SummerBy the time I got home it was mid-afternoon and a short while later Jim brought Yogi over. He will be staying with us until they come back from Adelaide on Saturday.  Jim is taking his wife Fay down to the Breast Cancer Clinic.  Chienne was no problem. Yogi has been here several times before so she is fairly used to him.  I took them both out walking last night – all well rugged up for the cold.  Do you ever think that weather forecasters make information up as they go along? I distinctly remember the weather people warning us that it was going to be a cold, dry winter and to expect droughts. This would be followed by a hotter than normal summer.  Here we are, well into winter and thus far it’s been cold, wet and fairly miserable. Rain here and floods further up north and no sign of drought – Yet! Some places have had average rainfall some much more than average and not much of a sign that it is going to change any time soon.

Not far from where we lived were the ruins of an ancient castle. The castle was once a home of Mary, Queen of Scots and was owned by the Earls of Lennox. The Earl rebelled against King James IV and  the castle was partly destroyed by the canons brought over from Edinburgh. The present  castle dates from around the 15th century but  there is evidence of an 11th century structure.  The castle sits atop a hill and as children we went there to  sled and have snow fights. We used the South side of the hill to sled. The north side was a bit steeper but the south side ended in an area of flat land whereas the north side ended at the river. What brought this to mind was thinking about the long summer days and the concerts we put on as children. We all had something to do and sometimes we entertained the adults, who always encouraged us. Of course, all this was back in the “Middle Ages”when there were no mobile (cell) phones, no computers, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were still  at school, and – most importantly – no television.  I remember reading somewhere, that we were the last generation that went outside to play.

Heart and Heartbreak

Chi, just a few days ago
Chi, just a few days ago

I have been asked to come and talk to the Vet about the results of the blood tests – which came back very quickly.  The immediate blood test  ruled out Diabetes but the blood that was sent to the lab was not so good. It would appear that Chienne has a tumor and it cannot be operated on. It will grow very slowly so we may well have her for at least 9 – 12 months but she will need constant blood tests to monitor her condition and the tumor progress. I have not told the boys yet. Andrew is in Roxby Downs again  and it’s not something I want to do over the phone. John was here last night so I sat down with him and told him. At the moment Chienne is fine and behaving fairly normally.  I took her out last night and she walks quite happily, so in that regard she is still well. If she were lagging behind I would be concerned but she is not and generally walks ahead of me or at my side, stopping only to investigate an interesting smell.

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

Chienne is, of course, the most important issue,  but as a secondary issue, I have been cleared by the Cardiologist. The Cardioversion was a great success and I am very pleased. The heart has gone back to a normal rhythm – the arterial fibrillation  having been corrected –  so the energy levels should start to go back to normal. However, no more running around the State like a crazy thing. I have a week away during the last week in May and then  nothing for another three months. I should have been in Adelaide for the rescheduled West Terrace Trust meeting, but no word on that and we are now into the third week in April so I don’t see it happening this month. Probably just as well. I’m not the best of company right at the moment and these last ten days have been pretty rotten. The heart problem aside, to lose one dog and then to be told that I may only have a limited time with the other one makes it  two weeks I would rather not have happened. I keep thinking that I had really neglected Chienne somehow. The Man was ill, blind and require a lot of attention and he got all that attention, even when it meant getting up at 2 and 3 am to attend to him. Chienne looked fine, she seemed fine and behaved as she always does, calm and placid. It was only afterwards that I began to notice that she was drinking a lot of water – and I mean a lot of water, that I suspected something might not be quite right.  I thought perhaps diabetes and, really, I was prepared for that – but a tumor, that  was never in my  thoughts at any time.

As if to add insult to injury the weather has not been the best  over the last couple of weeks. Summer is well and truly behind us and we head towards winter. It has been cold walking at night and I think it might be time to get Chienne’s coat out of storage. We have had only a limited amount of rain  unlike New South Wales, parts of which are flooded and being battered by storms.  I am never sure if backward South Australia is lucky or just plain boring. We are in the middle of Australia – sort of – and we are protected from the extremes of weather  from the  Indian Ocean by the bulk of Western Australia and from the Pacific by the bulk of New South Wales. We do get some weather coming in off the Great Australian Bight, but nothing remotely like the storms of NSW or Western Australia. Flooding here is a few very large puddles – nothing to be concerned about.I wouldn’t wish flood, fire or famine on anyone, but nothing ever really happens here, and I miss The Man.

Next Stop – All change! Move right along please!!

I guess it will take me some time to get used to the fact that The Man is no longer here. I still wake up in the early hours of the morning expecting to hear him, but I have no doubt that will slowly fade in time. He was such a big part of my life, more so this past year and I miss him. I keep thinking about little things – sometimes I smile, sometimes I don’t. I am fine and taking things fairly easy I will continue on the heart medication for a few weeks after the Cardioversion and then slowly come off this and be pretty much back to normal. I expect to be down in Adelaide during this month but I will not be traveling nearly as much as I have done this last year or so. I think the chaos of the last 18 months is over and things will settle down. After the Easter Function I intend to cut back on a lot of things with the RFDS on the theory that I wish to assist, I do not intend to be a reluctant passenger on one of  the aircraft making use of the services.

Hotel Room 1
Hotel Room 1

In mid-April I have to be in Adelaide for the West Terrace Trust meeting and  then relax until the end of May. I will most probably drive down and stay overnight in my regular hotel.  It is comfortable and I have ample room for my laptop and in the morning it is quiet enough

Hotel Room 2
Hotel Room 2

to allow me to get away and on the road home fairly early before there is much traffic through the city.

Sometimes parents just have to accept second place. No. 1 son came over early this evening. They have a big project on and he has been working all sorts of odd hour, so we have not seen much of him. Anyway, he came in, said hello to his mum, said hello to me then asked the question that indicated his “real” reason for the visit – “Where’s the Man”?  I told him and he went outside. He stayed for a little while then came back inside. John Jnr was very fond of the Man and he misses him. Andrew is still up North and wont be back until sometime on Sunday. He was supposed to be back yesterday but he has had to stay on to supervise the commission of a new plant and he wont finish that until Saturday – all being well he should be home Sunday afternoon. I think his partner and the girls will be glad to see him. However, from what I can gather this will be his pattern until late June – a few days home then back up to Roxby Downs again.

Guard Duty is hard work.

Since my medical and health concerns – which seem to be sorted out – I have given a lot of thought to where I go from here, and what I do with this site. I have enjoyed all of this up to a point but it has concerned me that of all the people who purport to be followers only one commented  on line on the The Man and one in a private email ( Thank you) – so two, out of how many?  I also found that there are others – blogs by the page load from them –  but not even so much as a “like” for me, which was somewhat disconcerting. I don’t intend to be a “stat” making up one of a nice set of numbers. The  the departure of The Man has been a sort of catalyst:   that and my “involvement” with local and Adelaide  hospitals and the curtailing of much of my traveling, will  mean that things change – they have to.

How do you think things should change?  I would be interested in your comments.


Hospital and The Man

Today- Wednesday –  I spent most of my day in Hospital – blood tests / sugar tests and finally the Cardioversion. The cardioversion is to hit the heart with an electrical pulse with  paddles similar to those used in the event of a heart stoppage. However, the idea with these is that I get put sleep for ten minutes whilst they  hit me with the electrical shock and, hopefully, shock the heart back into a normal rhythm;  am pleased to say that whilst  I don’t remember a thing, the duty Sister did tell me that the  cardioversion worked and the heart is  back to normal. I guess this is my cue to behave for a while.

I have to say though, I think the idea of being asleep for ten minutes was not quite true. At the start of the procedure there was the Cardiologist, a Doctor, an  Anesthetist, an assortment of nurses and three students and I was flat on the bed.  There was a “Crash Cart” and other equipment and I had the paddles attached to me and an oxygen mask. When I woke up, everyone was gone, no indication that they had ever been there,  the “crash cart” was gone, the paddles had been removed, the oxygen mask had been removed and I was propped up – all done  in ten minutes!! – must be magic at work here  :o)   Just before 5:45 my son arrived and I was allowed to get dressed and go home.  I spent most of the evening propped up in bed reading. I think I removed the big pillow and put the light out around 11pm – early for me!!

Thursday: Still a bit tired but I am told that it may take a day or so for the drugs to be clear out of my system and I will start to feel the benefit of the procedure.  I wont be

I will miss that little face
I will miss that little face

taking Chienne out walking for a couple of days. My chest still hurts from where the electric Paddles were attached, but that will dissipate in a day or so.

The Man has not been so good and although I still sit down a feed him twice a day and give him his medication, he is not a happy dog.  I wish I could just take him in my arms and cuddle and comfort him, but I can’t. Not that I do not want to but he wont let us. Due to blindness and dementia he has no idea what is happening. He  feels that he is being restricted in some sort of corner so he screams until he is put down  and released.

Sunday and a quiet few days. I am slowly withdrawing from things that I believe take up unnecessary time. Taking up the bulk of my time is Presbytery and the General Assembly and there is nothing I can do about that. West Terrace Trust is only three times a year so that’s ok, but the organization that takes up much of the remainder of my time is the RFDS and I am thinking that I need to do something there. Also a number of organisations that I follow on line are time consuming so I think a some of them will have to go.

Monday: The Man passed away quietly this afternoon. I think he just lay down on his bed and went to sleep. I wrapped him in a blanked and took him to the vet who confirmed that he had gone quietly and without trauma. I brought him back home and he was wrapped in what used to be his favourite  blanket before the illness took him away from us. I laid him to rest at the side of the garden that I spend most of my time pottering around. It’s been less than a day and I miss him already and I think I will have to keep a close eye on Chienne since she was a bit upset. I telephoned the boys and both were quite upset – John more so. It was a great sadness to all of us that the illness took the Man away from us to the point that he  knew nothing and no one.  I hand fed him and that’s about as close as I got to holding him. I just hope he somehow knew how loved he was and how he will be missed.

Hospital, flowers and space invaders

The Lower Flinders Ranges
The Lower Flinders Ranges

First of all, the good news is that the tests Annabell (herself) underwent were clear and the doctors are pleased with her. We still have to live with other things but she is doing well and we don’t have to go back again until March of 2015 – which is great. The weather in Adelaide was cold and  added to the fact that she does not travel well, it was a difficult two days for her. It was a difficult day to be down in Adelaide and there being no parking available at the hospital I had to drop her off and then go find a parking place – which I did – about a kilometer away.  I parked then walked back to the hospital, then reversed the process when she was finished.  The time  was not all that crash hot for me either – five trips  in four week at 760 klm per trip is 3800 klms, and it’s  about time I had a break  from travelling.  Apart from the Sturt’s Desert Pea, my garden is suffering because the weeds have started to take over and I have not had a weekend nor time during the week to get it sorted out. I’ve done some but I need to spend some serious time in there over the next week or so. We stopped into the Arid Lands Botanic Garden on the way through, but there was nothing ready yet and the Desert Pea  they had was smaller than a seedling so it needs some more time. I’ll  be heading back to town on the 26th, so the travelling is not quite over yet for a little while.

The drive home was fun and we joked, when passing Bolivar (the Extreme end of Adelaide),  that we were leaving civilisation behind us and heading into the ” Badlands” – “Bandit Country”. Too many people have the idea in their heads that they just about need a helicopter gunship as an escort if  they leave the security of the Metropolitan District and head north .  It was also interesting for in that when we were at the start of the journey she realised, for the first time, that all the pastureland she could see on either side of the road to the horizon on either side,  was now military property. That aside, she slept most of the journey down and back, which was good.

I was up to my wee eyeballs over the weekend with RFDS Fundraising and other things and on Monday I was asked to

Some people call them 'Top-Notch" pigeons.
You invading my space, Bird.

work – which I did. I have this weekend free ( at the moment) and I should be able to get into the garden and attend to these weeds. I miss my little associates when I am away. I even miss him standing,  staring off into space and barking. He’s silly! I have even watched him barking at birds that have the cheek to invade his air space. I didn’t have a photograph of a bird on the fence, but I thought this would sort of give you the idea. It’s a Crested Pigeon – cute – but still a pigeon.

Hospitals,clinics and Sturt’s Desert Pea.

Masses of flowers!
Masses of flowers!

I do not have Wallabies and Kangaroos in my garden. I do have two dogs and the occasional wandering cat, which sits high on a fence and teases the dogs.  I’m not a cat person, but she/he is a lovely creature.

This week I head back down to Adelaide again. This will be – at least – one overnight stay, however, there is a possibility that it could be two, depending on how the meeting goes on Saturday. At this time of the year I will not make the long drive back home in the dark. The further north you go the more chance there is of wildlife on the road. If you hit a Kangaroo  the damage to an ordinary vehicle would be extensive – perhaps not quite so bad in a Jeep, but still cost a dollar or three to get the repairs done. I was told that there is a device you can fit on the front of the vehicle that will deter a kangaroo from coming near you – emits a high frequency noise – or something. Must look into that.

As expected the meeting went on until late in the afternoon and it was almost 5pm before I got back to the hotel. Fortunately they did have a room for me. There were some very contentious issues that were not entirely resolved and will have to be dealt with again at the next regular meeting in October. The space between will give people time to reflect on these issuses and, hopefully, come up with solutions. I arrived home Sunday afternoon and on Monday I was called into work – something I could really have done without.  On Thursday I head off again to Royal Adelaide Hospital and take herself for tests. Not looking forward to this because she is not a good traveller and the tests will tire her, so even although the hotel is nice, she will be glad to get back home.

Once back home I have to organise a fundraising event for the RFDS this Saturday. I think I have rostered myself on for that one and provided everything is ok, it should not be a problem. If it were summer I would be back home tomorrow night, since it would have been light until about 9:30pm.

Always something new at David Jones

Anyway I kind of feel like John Denver ” All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go” and  we take off shortly for the RAH. Her first appointment is not until 12:45 so that gives us enough time to get down there and get parked and make our way to the clinic. Depending on how she feels at the end of the day, we might have time to go into town for a little while. My son is staying here for a few days to look after the dogs.

Tornadoes, Cyclones and Bushfires – it’s all go around here!

White PoinsettiaI suppose all countries are strange in their own way but Australia seems to be strange in every way. South Australia is scorching, Victoria is burning, parts of New South Wales are burning, Western Australia is wet and Queensland,  battered by cyclones and a couple of  tornadoes is flooding, battered and bruised. At the Australia Day celebrations yesterday we were running a fundraising barbecue for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and just after 6pm, my son went home and got a pullover. I’m not silly, I already had one in my car so I just went and got that, and by 6:30 people were donning jackets and pullovers as the wind became stronger and colder and by the time the fireworks were set off (9pm) it was very cold. Despite that, it was a good and very busy day which stared at 1:30pm and finished at 8:30pm and everything we had was sold. I think somewhere around $900 will be added to the funds. Our small group has contributed $100,000 over four years whilst places like Roxby Downs in the far north contributes $100,000+ every year. Mind you,  it is one of the largest mining areas in Australia and they have a much greater need of the service than we have..

My  brother-in-law is back in hospital again and not very well so I will be going back down to the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide to see him.  I would like to go down now but it will be chaos on the roads as this is a long weekend and school starts back on Tuesday so there will be families returning from holidays, students going back to University and  school and people returning home at the end of a long weekend.  Not a good time to be ravelling. Tuesday should be much quieter. On the way home I will most probably call into the big Garden Centre  at Two Wells and see what’s available. I know — self-inflicted punishment –  but I  have this weird theory that sooner or later, something will take and my efforts will be rewarded,  then I can sit back and relax and count the pigs as they fly past.

Things seem to be going from bad to worse in Queensland and the State Government have asked the Feds. to give Army assistance because the  state emergency services can no longer cope. It’s not quite of the scale of two years ago, but getting pretty close. We are lucky in South Australia – we get hot and the temperature goes up and down like a yoyo at times, but really, we don’t get the extreme weather conditions coming in from the Pacific and Indian Oceans.   ——–A White Poinsettia – never seen one before so I bought it.