Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A walk in the Fitzroy and Treasury Gardens

I might not have found any mojos in the parks this morning, but I had a lovely walk.  It's a glorious morning.  And now I am going to have a cup of coffee, do my hand exercises, get organised and then potter off to Mount Martha to see what's going on.







We had a good weekend down at Mount Martha.  We headed down on Saturday afternoon and went back to Mount Helen on Sunday afternoon.  The sun shone and it was pleasantly warm. We had lunch at the Dava on Sunday and a very fine lunch it was too.








This week is kind of complicated, at least as far as who is staying where overnight.  So much so that we drew up a chart.  Not complicated for Jim, who will be at Mount Helen all week.  Ian is in Canada so we didn't add him to our chart.  But Lindsey and I have to be in different places through the week. I have an appointment with the hand therapist at St Vincent's and then need to be at Mount Martha to take Tony and Stella to Tony's appointment with the oncologist later in the week.  I need to go to work and then I want to be back at Mount Helen for the weekend.  Lindsey also has to go to work and has a series of meetings and training sessions to fit in as well, plus she's busy at the weekend.

*******

I started this on Monday.  Since then Stella has added an extra degree of difficulty to the week by taking a fall in their kitchen yesterday, smashing her head and breaking her hip.  Not surprisingly, she is now in hospital and is scheduled for surgery today.  I am heading down to Mount Martha later this morning and I think Lindsey is planning to go down to check things out at the end of the week.  I'll keep you all informed about progress - hip fractures are not good news for any one but especially not for the elderly.

My hand therapist, however was quite pleased with my hand.  It's making good progress and I have new exercises to do as well as the original ones.

It's expected to be 30d in Melbourne today.  It's about 15d at the moment (it's 7am so still quite early). I might have a cup of tea and then throw on some clothes and go for an early morning walk before it gets too hot.  I lost my walking mojo some weeks ago. I need to find it again.  Perhaps it's in the park.  I'll go and have a look.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Weekend

SATURDAY

Morning:

An early start.  Sam had been restless in the night and had kept Lindsey and Ian awake. They had been hoping for a bit of a lie in but Sam had other ideas.  Naturally, once the entire household had got up, Sam retired back to bed for the rest of the morning!

Lindsey, Jim and I headed to the monthly Bridge Mall market. Lots of lovely stuff.  We had run out of Jackaroo Dukkah.  Fortunately the spice lady was there so we could replenish supplies.  The egg and bacon sandwich people weren't there this month so we had to make do with a sausage sizzle sandwich and a delicious steamed bun with chicken ginger filling.  We got lots of lovely veg and some nice meat for Sunday lunch.

Ian stayed behind to see if he could repair the extractor fan which was making an unearthly rattling noise.  Alas, it needs to go to extractor fan hospital.

Lunch time:  

Online Japanese lesson.  Lots of fun and quite useful.  I can now ask if something's already been done and also say "No. not yet".

Afternoon:

We all went on a trip out to the Avalon nursery in search of fruit trees and some shrubs.

Evening:

An excellent butter chicken curry with many accompaniments for dinner.  An Ian creation.

Hand:

Coming along nicely.  A bit swollen today; I think I may have done too much with it yesterday. But hugely better than it was.  I can do more with it and I am getting better at the hand exercises.

All in all, a good day.

SUNDAY

Morning:

Lindsey and Ian slept much better last night.  Sam had been completely banished from their room!!

This morning Ian has embarked on a total cleanup and clean of the lounge room.  The dogs have been despatched to our end of the house.  Sam, in particular, is unimpressed by this.  Lindsey and Jim go to help with furniture shifting.  I decide that I might not be much help with only one hand in proper working condition and set to tidying up the kitchen and amusing the dogs

Lunch time:

Lindsey appears and says that we are going out.  This seems unlikely.  She is still in her pyjamas and dressing gown.  She reappears 20 minutes later and says she is ready - this time dressed in daytime clothes.  We leave Ian  shampooing the carpet and head out to lunch in the Olive Grove (full breakfast for them, lamb wrap for me even though I know there is to be lamb for dinner) and then scavenging in Bunnings and foraging in the supermarket

Late afternoon:

We get back to find Ian still in his PJs admiring his handiwork and drinking beer.  Standards are clearly slipping in this place!  He managed to reassemble the TV, put a chair and a small table in the lounge and provide a beer so Jim could watch the Grand Prix.

Dinner:

No time for the five hour lamb that Ian had planned, nor even for three hour lamb.  So Ian produced a lovely roast lamb dinner with many roasted vegetables

MONDAY

I'm not sure what happened to today,  Lindsey and Ian both left at about 8:00 this morning and then the day more or less vanished.  I vaguely remember doing lots of useful domestic things and Jim took Sam for a walk.  He also planted loads of fruit trees and a couple of shrubs.  Nevertheless, the day has disappeared.  Must pay greater attention tomorrow!




Thursday, October 05, 2017

A Thursday afternoon walk along the Yarra to the MCG.

I had an appointment at St Vincent’s this morning for my hand to be looked at and then to see the hand therapist. I go back to see the hand therapist in two weeks and the plastics clinic in four. I have new strappy bandages for the hand and a series of exercises to do.  People seemed quite pleased with it.  So far so good.

It had been raining when I walked up to the hospital but it had stopped when I came out again.  I wasn't far from the city centre so I wandered off into town and had a potter around in the shopping centres and in the lanes and arcades, eventually ending up down by Federation Square.  So I strolled along the Yarra and up to the MCG before heading back to the flat.  I haven’t had a proper walk for ages.  It was sunny and even quite warm.














Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Visitors for the weekend

Lindsey went down to Mount Martha on Thursday afternoon and came back on Friday bringing Stella and Tony with her.

Tony has now finished his course of radiation therapy, so they are not tied to regular hospital appointments and could get away for a long weekend.  Friday was a public holiday in Victoria and Lindsey wasn't working so it all worked out well.

We had quite a relaxed weekend, mostly.  Lindsey, Jim, Stella, Tony and I went out to lunch on Saturday and to do a bit of shopping, leaving Ian behind to watch the football grand final.  Apart from that we had quite a lazy day.

On Sunday morning, Lindsey and I took Stella out to the Elaine farm shop and came back through the forest to Navigators to the vegetable shack.  After lunch the three of us and Jim went out to Delacombe to inspect the new shopping centre.  Many of the little shops aren't open yet but it's a nice little shopping centre even so.  We had a good time pottering around.  Lindsey has bought a lightweight wheelchair which we took with us.  Stella would have struggled to spend all that time walking around.

So we didn't do anything very exciting but I think they enjoyed the change of scenery and the pottering around.  Plus they had the dogs to play with.  Interestingly, Rupert  took to Stella quite quickly but he really didn't like poor Tony at all.  He was OK when we took him to their place for the Fathers' Day family lunch but this weekend he barked and barked and barked at Tony.  We wondered if maybe the radiation therapy had made him smell funny.  We can't think of a thing else that has changed.

Lindsey took them back to Mount Martha yesterday, in time for their appointment at the dentist.

I woke up this morning and realised that I can actually use my left hand a bit.  It is still very bruised on the palm but you can see the veins and arteries on the back of my hand now and the bright yellow and blueness of my hand and arm are fading.  I am using both hand to type this!!  Not very well, it must be said, but nevertheless.  Not bad after less than two weeks.

I am off to Melbourne on the train later this afternoon, leaving Jim, Sam and Rupert in charge. I might even go wild and go back to work tomorrow.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Meanwhile, back at the hospital

I continue to be very impressed with St Vincent's public hospital.

Jim and I took my hand for its one week post operative check up yesterday.  We had to wait for a while but when I was called I saw a hospital intern, a nurse, a surgeon who popped in to see what was going on, the surgeon who did the operation and another nurse who cleaned and re-dressed the wounds on my hand. Once again everyone called me by my name and only the intern didn't tell me his name and what his role was.  However, he was wearing a prominent ID tag so I could see who and what he was.

Everyone professed to be very pleased with how my hand was going.  I have to say that so was I.  I took a photo of the wound (which I am happy to show you on request 😊). The second nurse said that it looked as though it had been bitten by a shark, but I think it's been remarkably well done.  The only area that concerned them was where the little finger joins the hand, which hasn't properly healed yet.  That has extra padding under the dressing.  Then I was sent to see a hand therapist who was very pleased that I had taken photos of my hand before surgery and of the wound.  It made her assessments easier. She has made a splint to keep my fingers straight, to be worn as needed during the day, but absolutely all night. No actual therapy yet, not until the last wound has healed.

My hand gradually swelled up over the course of the day and the bruising, which must have been contained by the bandages, has spread down my arm a bit.  The hand itself is very bruised. But I am beginning to be able to use my hand a bit and I can lie it almost flat on the table.

I go back next Thursday for another assessment in the Plastics clinic.  Then I am hoping to be discharged to the hand clinic.



I weighed myself yesterday morning before we went to the hospital and again this morning.  Assuming no actual change in my body weight in 24 hours, the plaster boat and bandaging weighed a little over 1kg.  No wonder my arm ached from time to time!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Lunch (and other things)

On Monday morning we took ourselves by tram and train to Macedon,where we were met in the station carpark by John.  And oh look - there's Gillie.  I wonder why she's ... And coming up behind us from the platform was Irene who had joined the same train as us, but at Footscray, rather than at Southern Cross where we had boarded.  We should probably be slightly better organised next time!!

Back at their house, Chris had been busy preparing a veritable lunchtime feast, which we enjoyed with conversation, wine, music and merriment.  It was unfortunate that Jim had managed to hit the bottom of his backpack on a lurking rock when getting out of the car.  You usually have to try quite hard to break a bottle of wine, but Jim had managed.  Wine was leaking everywhere through the bottom of his bag .  Fortunately it wasn't the fizzy wine which might have been slightly more exciting.

We had a great afternoon.  Irene and Gillie left at about 3:30. They offered us a lift to the station but we accepted the offer of a later lift, kindly offered by Chris and John's son in law.  In his absence :-D  This allowed us to chat some more and to play with the grandchildren who came by after school.

We did not feel the need to join the regular crew for the Monday night steak feast!!!

We did get to the surgery on Tuesday morning for Jim to have some blood tests, to have his blood pressure checked and to have his ear looked at.  His BP is fine.  His ear is not.  It is very inflamed.  He has anti-inflammatory drops for his ear.  So his hearing in that ear is even worse what with wax, inflammation and ear drops clogging up the works.

After a late breakfast we headed back to Mount Helen where the dogs were very pleased to see us.

A fairly quiet day today.  We have done a very few useful things.  The dogs have pottered about.  Rupert went out into the back run and disappeared off.  Eventually I went out to find him.  It's an enclosed yard but I couldn't actually see him.  I found him right down the back, between the shed and the fence.  When I spoke to him, he turned to join me - and it was apparent that there was a problem.  He couldn't move properly.  In fact, as he had turned to look at me, he had caught his foot in a piece of metal attached to a pole that had either blown down or which he had knocked down from where it had been resting against the fence.  Poor Rupert didn't like that.  I managed to get him to stop struggling and to sit, while I wondered how I was going to sort this out one handed.  Fortunately, as he sat and relaxed, his foot came free. Phew.

It obviously hasn't inconvenienced him hugely.  I just heard a thundering of paws and saw Ian's book vanishing into our room, accompanied by a grey blur moving as fast as the speed of light.  He knew he wasn't supposed to have it.  Not only was he moving at speed, but he hurtled into his crate and sat as far towards the back as he could.  Happily, there is another door at the side so I could reach in and rescue it.  I don't think Ian has finished it yet.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Exploring

It was a glorious day yesterday.  The sun shone, the sky was blue and the temperature reached the mid 20s.  Until a late afternoon change saw a sudden drop in temperature, high winds and a couple of very sharp rain showers.

Jim and I were here on our own, with the dogs but no other humans.  We were almost out of potatoes. Something needed to be done!

We had many options.  We could have gone to a supermarket, or to a greengrocer, or to a farmers' market. So many potato purveyors to choose from. We decided to go out to the little farm shop at Elaine. Last time we were there we bought a bag of absolutely delicious potatoes. And it's a nice drive on a pleasant spring morning.

I passengered.  My paw definitely isn't ready for driving yet.

We picked up some potatoes and a few other bits and pieces and then decided to go exploring.  We drove up Settlement Road, along the railway line, then along a very pretty road around Mount Doran and then along a track through the forest up towards Lal Lal.  It was lovely.  Then we went from Lal Lal back to Yendon and on home.  Rupert, in particular, was very pleased to see us.

My hand is doing quite well, I think.  It hasn't hurt as much as I had expected - although it definitely didn't enjoy being squashed against the wall by Sam this morning in his breakfasty excitement.  It does hurt a bit, I suppose, but mostly it is pins and needly and I think my arm will be very happy at the end of this coming week if it is liberated from the plaster boat it is encased it.  The plaster and bandaging are quite heavy and the arm would like a bit more freedom of movement.  And it's funny because I know perfectly well that all my fingers have been laid straight on the plaster boat, but my brain is convinced that my little finger is curled under.  After all, it has been curling under for some years now.  I don't actually remember when I could lay my hand straight.

In the meantime, I am becoming more adept at doing things one handed, though it is quite hard to carry heavy, hot stew pots with one hand and doing up buttons an zips is definitely a challenge!

We are still here on our own with the dogs.  Ian is due back shortly, then we will hand over the dog-watching baton and head down to Melbourne for a couple of days.

Friday, September 22, 2017

St Vincent's Hospital

I have to say that I have been very impressed with St Vincent's Hospital.

I went for my initial appointment for my hand in the public system on the 16th of August. I went for my operation yesterday!  I had been graded as a Category 2, but I was obviously offered a cancellation, so I think I was at the top of the Category 2 list.

Lindsey and I arrived at just before 7am.  The person who was supposed to be ahead of me hadn't turned up so they put me at the top of the operating list.  Every single person who I spoke to greeted me by name, told me their name and what their function was. They told me what they were going to do, how they were going to do it and what the outcome should be.  Then after they told me what had happened.  They were all cheerful and friendly.  By 12:15 I was in the recovery room, arm and hand all bundled up. As well as the general anaesthetic I had had, my hand had had a prodigious local anaesthetic so was completely numb until I got up this morning. It's hurting a tiny bit now which is a useful reminder not to try and do too much with it!! Mostly, though, it has pins and needles.

The worst thing about yesterday was the getting up early in the morning and not being able to have a cup of tea.  No water either but it was the cup of tea that I missed.  They gave me a cup of tea later and gamely tried to give me the strong cup that I asked for. It wasn't the most exciting cup of tea I have ever had but I definitely appreciated it.  I enjoyed my sandwich as well.

Lindsey met me in the discharge room and we had headed out into the sunshine by about 13:45 to the flat. We were back in Mount Helen by a little after 16:00.

I was interested in Rupert's behaviour when we got back.  Lindsey had stopped to talk to the builders who were finishing off the fittings for the new folding doors in the lounge room.  Jim was in the other end of the house with the dogs.  Normally when people come back, particularly if they've been away for more than a few hours, Rupert bounces and bounds and rushes around. When I walked into the kitchen he was asleep on the couch.  He sat up, looked at me, then gently walked over, sniffed my arm, licked my chin and leant gently on on me, wagging his tail.  I don't know how he knew but he definitely did.  He bounded all over Lindsey when she came through. Sam greeted us with his usual, dignified pleasure.

Lindsey had bought steak for dinner. She did it with mashed potato, lots of veg and gravy.  I positively scoffed mine.  I was surprisingly hungry!

My hand before the operation. This is as flat as it would go:






Back from the hospital:



And today:

There are penguin stickers to help the healing,
and seal stickers Just Because


I have a proper Getting Better Penguin as well.  Lindsey bought him for me.  He looks a bit worried, though :-S



Monday, September 18, 2017

Talbot

Lindsey and I were driving from Mount Helen to work on Friday morning when Lindsey wondered if there were any markets to go to over the weekend.  It was the third weekend of the month and the ones we go to regularly are on the first, second and fourth Saturdays. We do go to Sunday markets occasionally, but not often enough for them to rise up in our consciousness on demand and we weren't familiar with any third Saturday markets.

So I looked to see what markets there were. And discovered that there is a market in Talbot on the third Sunday of the month.

Talbot is in central Victoria, about half way between Clunes and Maryborough.  It is a smallish place, population of about 350   Lindsey thought a market there might be on the small side, although  I had read somewhere that it was one of the largest Sunday markets in central Victoria. We pondered whether to go, it being about a 50 minute drive from the house.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and we thought about whether to go. Jim hadn't ever been to that bit of Victoria. It was a very long time since I had had any reason to head out that way.  Lindsey also couldn't remember going particularly recently. We decided to go. After all, even if the market wasn't up to much it would be a nice outing and there would be bound to be lunch somewhere. So off we went. Ian decided not to go. He has quite a bit of travelling to do this week and felt that a day pottering about at home might be nice.

We had a lovely drive. The scenery was very pretty. The sun shone.  And it became clear that many other cars were heading along the same route.  We suspected that they too might be going to the market.  It didn't seem to be the sort of road that would ordinarily have lots of traffic on a Sunday morning!

And they were indeed heading to Talbot. We had to park some distance away and walk up. And the market was huge. It went on almost for ever. I think it had pretty much taken over the whole of the village.  It was also very busy.  Positively bustling!

It had some of the stalls that we encounter in our regular visits to Farmers' markets. It had lots of other stalls.  And it combines the Farmers' market with a town market and a flea market.  It was excellent.  We bought lots of lovely food, lots of other things, including a lovely wooden feeding station for Rupert. We made trips back to the car to offload things so we could explore more.  It was a great morning


Lindsey

Jim and Lindsey 

Talbot market in full flow


Jim looks as though he is standing in front of Mount Fuji :-)


We decided to head back to Clunes for lunch. We'll keep Maryborough for another day - they also have a market which we will go and inspect one day.  Clunes too has a market but it was on the way home so it seemed more sensible to call there for lunch.  And a very fine lunch it was too, at the Bread and Circus Provedore. I had fried chicken with chips - and was somewhat surprised by the size of the portion.  Jim very much more sensibly had beef and vegetable soup (although that was also quite a hearty portion.  Lindsey had a burger and chips, although her chips came in a basket and were nowhere near as numerous as mine.

A light lunch of chicken and chips

Jim's hearty bowl of soup

You can buy more than just lunch in the Bread and Circus Provedore

Our lunch venue

Clunes main street

I think there is a very good chance that the Talbot market will join our list of regular outings!