"In the beginning"

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The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A journey into the unknown.


 Hello in blogland, a land where I once used to live, I've moved to the inner city slum known as facebook along with many other ex residents of blogland, be all that as it may... some of you might be aware that for the last 20 some years I have been sending my Christmas greeting to my friends in the form of a poem, I have broken with tradition this year and decided to let any stalwart readers who might still exist also share in my wondrous journey through 2013.. Its long and boring so only venture further if you are made of stalwart stuff.
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Hey its getting to be a lot like Christmas... Poem time

 Roses are red
Violets are blue
If I write a poem
I'll send it to you.

 Nah

Twas the night before Christmas
As I toiled at the computer
But no the juices weren't flowing
For a poem this year I'll need a tutor.

 Nah

 As Christmas time draws near
I face my annual fear
My mind is blank as slime
This year ain't gonna rhyme.

 Nah... getting worse

 This year you get a letter, I'm already feeling better... stop it.

 Well friends what a year its been for this little black duck, I took a road trip to Victoria in January where I did all my normal visits with Friends and Family, both Marcus and Vicki are now living in the Geelong area now so, as will be explained later in this letter, there is some pressure being applied for me to once again take out residency status in Victoria.

As usual I had a great time during all of my visiting, the only blot on the copybook being my sister Merle's health, she had a couple of weeks in hospital then another 2 weeks in respite care which did her the world of good but then inevitably they sent her home again.

She has been coping reasonably but about 2 weeks ago she had a return trip to hospital and frankly I, and her family, hope she will go into a care situation from there as she has had some problems over the last few months, very stubborn and wants to finish her time in her own house, not the best for her family who are constantly on edge and wondering how she is going.

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 Enough of that lets get back to me, me, me, I learned that when you are sick and feeling down the whole world revolves around you (in your mind that is) having always enjoyed good health this was one of the many lessons I was to learn during the year, along with a whole new language with words I had never heard before, much less used, words like Colonoscopy, stoma's, chemotherapy, radiation, cat-scans and a host of others that either described what was going to happen to me. or the person who was to perform it, pretty scary stuff at times, because we live in the kind of world we do health providers are obliged to tell you of all the possible pit falls in what they are proposing to do to you usually ending with "and of course you might die", this got to be one of the highlights of my sessions with them.

Lets go back a bit, I arrived home from Victoria at the end of January and immediately slipped back into my reclusive pattern of life, that is until the  15th, 16th and 17th of February, over this period I had been becoming more and more uncomfortable with  as I first thought a severe case of constipation.

On the afternoon of Sunday 17th Feb I took myself up to the Emergency department of the Gympie Hospital where they fairly quickly established that there was a bowel blockage, the method of reaching this conclusion included some poking and prodding into areas that had up until now been private and un-prodded, the verdict was a transfer to Nambour Hospital for surgery.

The next few hours saw me with two more new experiences, my first ride in an Ambulance and my first admission into a hospital as a patient, my Sunday night was the first of a few that I would very much like to forget, because I was to have an emergency stomach operation they obviously gave me some sort of Super Laxative that, perhaps aided by the prodding, saw me up and making a dash for the toilet 10 times that night, I am ashamed to say half of these dashes were not quite swift enough, suffice to say a poor little nurse had several bed changes and clean ups to do, when I apologized for this she said "don't worry its all part of my job" I suggested that perhaps she had better look for another job.

Next day saw me into the operating theatre, another first, where they re-arranged my intestine to a stoma on my left side at about navel height.

Its at this point where the only real problem with my whole treatment comes  in, because this was an emergency operation I can only guess that I was given some pretty potent anesthetics, suffice to say I had some fairly nasty side effects which first of all had them re-sedate me and put

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me into ICU, the second bad experience was that for the next three nights I had
dreadful nightmares, I don't normally dream at all  and these were lulus.

By the time I was put into a ward Vicki and Marcus had arrived from Victoria and were able to go to the Gympie Hospital and rescue my car which had been sitting out the front for 3 days and nights... all good thankfully.

I spent 12 days in Hospital where they did all sorts of tests which ended with me being told I had bowel "cancer" again pretty scary stuff, because the 4inch wound in my abdomen had become infected I was fitted with a wound vacuum pump which aids the wound healing process, this little devil stayed with me for almost a month.

Vicki spent another couple of weeks with me before Alan arrived from Perth to give her a break for a week then she returned and was involved with the start of Chemo/Radiation for a 28 day course spread over about 40 days with no treatments on weekends and Easter Vicki was able to go home again while my good mate Warren came up to baby sit me before Bruce arrived from Perth for his turn at looking after Dad.

Vicki was back on deck again when Bruce left, this time for about 2 weeks then she was finally able to go back to living her own life for a while, during all this time with the 4 kids and Warren looking after me there were literally dozens of medical appointments as well as the housework, cooking etc. so just where I would have been without them all I don't know, there is a debt there that I will never be able to repay though and it ain't over yet.

Major surgery scheduled for June 13th Marcus was the first carer for 2 weeks then Alan for 1 week Warren again for a few days until the ever reliable Vicki returned for another couple of weeks.

During all of this time I managed to avoid all the nasty side affects of Chemo/Radiation and remained virtually pain free for the whole time, I did loose my appetite and consequently lost about 20 Kgs... no real bad thing!! but compared with what some people go through it was  a walk in the park.

The one remaining thing is the reversal of my stoma so that I can finally be rid of the colostomy bag and go back to sitting on a toilet seat again... who knew you could ever miss that???

I said earlier that I would return to the me, me, me situation, I have been surprised and more than a little ashamed of just what a self centered year I have had, people experienced in this sort of situation say its no

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 surprise when your life suffers a major upheaval that you tend to withdraw into yourself, in my case there was never any "Why Me" attitude and as I said I pretty much just went for my walk in the park.

The other thing that I said I would return to is the gentle pressure being applied to have me return to Victoria to live, having put all 4 of my kids through such a year I recognize the fact that it would be easier should this sort of situation ever arise again it wouldn't create the same problems if I was living where at least two of  them are, the jury is still out on that one.

I hope this hasn't been too boring or graphic but you can probably see why it couldn't come in the form of a poem.

To insert a touch of humor and lighten this up a bit, there was a male nurse on night duty who wore an L.E.D. headlight on his tours of the ward, in my mind he was Florence Nightingales brother Frank, you know the lady/guy with the lamp, I was disappointed to learn that his name was Rexie, the other thing that tickled my fancy was when Warren told his sister Denise that I was thinking about moving to Victoria she became indignant and said "he can't do that, he's your best mate, tell him he can't go... no bugger it let me know when he's coming down next and I'll tell him", I hardly know Denise!!!

Finally let me finish of with my eternal thanks to my four wonderful children, my mate Warren,  a special thank you to the daughter of two of my lifelong friends Neil and Joan, thanks Susan for helping out with transport for those who needed help, to my neighbors Diane and Brian for their support, to all of my friends who have helped keep my spirits up when they were sagging a little, to my friends from the internet world who have given their prayers and support I am forever in debt to all of you.

 I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year, my love to you all.

 Peter,

8 comments:

Dave said...

Peter,
You've had one heck of a year (as has Merle).
I envy you the large, and caring family you have, and friends that are always there for you.

I'd like to think, if I were closer, I would be one of those.

May you, and your entire family and friends have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy, and Healthy New Year!
Dave Champagne

kenju said...

Yes, you have had one hell of a year, and I hope that you will suffer no ill health from now on. I think I agree with your children - maybe you should strongly consider moving closer to them.

Please tell Merle I will be thinking about her and hoping for the best. I understand her wish to stay in her home, but there comes a time when even the most stalwart of us must see the handwriting on the wall.

Good luck and Merry Christmas, to you and Merle!

Pamela said...

quite a testimony to how much you are loved -- all that support from family and friend.

I'm so happy that you are doing so well.

Robyn Lee said...

Whew! I feel as if I've been on that journey with you, Peter.

Not a nice experience for you at all...still at least the cancer was caught in time. How wonderful to have so much love around you...but it's no more than you deserve.

I'm sorry to hear Merle is not so good. I wish her well and hope to see you sometime in the near future.

Stay well, my friend, and a very merry Christmas to you, too.

Robyn x

Meow (aka Connie) said...

Dear Peter, What a wild ride you have been on this year. Fingers crossed that it is well and truly over, and life will continue in it's usual way for you. You have an amazing family, you should be very proud. Stay well, and have an amazing Christmas and New Year xxx

willowtree said...

I'll have to come back and read this later, I'm late for an appointment.

Peter said...

Thanks to all who have commented its unlikely that you will come back but just in case.... I am currently at a town on the Qld. NSW border, about 5 hours from home, I have bitten the bullet and am en route to see my Sister Merle who hasn't been well and also to spend Christmas with Vicki and and Marcus and his family.
The temptation to try out the Maffia Staff Car was to strong to resist once it was established that there would be no surgery until next year.

Karen said...

I'm so sorry you've had such a horrible year but it is awesome that you've come out of it smiling. You use your sense of humor as I do mine, it gets us through the tough times. I am glad you have such incredible children, family and friends.

My heart breaks for Merle... I understand her wanting to stay in her own home and I pray that she is able to without issues. Of course I worry about her being on her own so I understand her family worrying too.

Next time you speak to Merle, please give her my love and let her know I continue to think of her and she is always in my prayers. Tell her I'm sending hugs and loads of love her way.

I also send huge hugs and loads of love and prayers to you too, my friend. Keep your kick ass attitude,.. You are such an example of bravery and I'm honored to know you.