Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A lovely few days

We've had a lovely few days.

On Thursday I wanted to go to Kmart and the new one at Delacombe is closer than the one out at Wendouree.  So Jim and I went out there for a potter in Kmart and to look at the new shops that have opened since we were last there.  There's a new fruit and veg shop which had a table of produce that was beginning to look past its best.  Fill a small plastic bag for $1.  You wouldn't believe the amount of asparagus I got in my small plastic bag.  It was looking a bit withered at the end but the tips were perfectly fine.  Bargain!

Then we called in to visit our friend Pat who has recently moved into a retirement village not far from the new shopping centre.  It's very much like the retirement village that Stella and Tony live in - only considerably bigger.  She provided a lovely afternoon tea which was not bad going considering that she only had about ten minutes warning of our arrival!  It was good to see her and to admire her new unit.

On Friday I went to work bright and early with Lindsey.  I had a fairly productive day.  I've been asked to pick up some more of the admin that the nurses do, freeing them up to do less paperwork and more nursing and had some training on that.  I'm going to have to pick up some more time from somewhere to fit all the new bits and pieces in!  I got to the station on my way home to find that the train I was hoping to catch was on a platform as far away from where I had arrived as it was possible to be.  No realistic chance of catching it.  The next train was, for mysterious reasons, a coach.  It took a bit longer than the train would have but was quite a pleasant trip.  You can see more from the windows of a coach than you can from a car.  Mind you, had I waited a further 20 minutes I could have caught the train after that which was indeed a train and which trundled past us on its tracks while we were proceeding slowly along the highway. Still, I had plenty of time to read my new book or to gaze out the window. Jim was very pleased with himself.  I had originally intended to take the bus to the University but under the circumstances asked Jim to meet me at the station. He was a bit worried about whether he would be able to find his way there. To his relief he managed to navigate his way with no trouble at all.

Saturday evening saw Lindsey return from Melbourne, bringing Ian with her.  He had finally managed to make his way back from Canada, where problems with his flights saw him delayed by two days. I think he enjoyed his two days "holiday" in Vancouver but I also think he was glad finally to be home.  Sunday was a pleasantly quiet day.  Jim has been busy preparing the vegetable garden for the spring planting.  Lindsey and I went out for supplies for the dogs, the garden and the pantry. Ian prepared Sunday dinner.

Yesterday Jim and I duplicated last Monday and went to visit Tony and Stella, calling in to Katrina's Kitchen on the way. Both of them seemed to be in good form. Stella is making very good progress with her new hip. We are hoping that she might be able to escape from the rehab unit later in the week.  Then the plan is to bring them both to Mount Helen next weekend for a few days to allow further recuperation.  In the meantime, Tony has lots of delicious stews and casseroles to keep him going for the next week.

I didn't sleep all that well last night.  I woke up at around 2 and took ages to get back to sleep.  Then I had a weird dream in which Lindsey and I were in Japan at some sort of festival. There were lots of odd things going on so it took some time before we realised that there was a group of vegans trying to kill us!!  Odd behaviour for vegans.  Then Sam began banging at the door at around 6 which woke Rupert who started banging at the sides of his cage.  I'm tired out already and I haven't even left for work yet!!

Come to the, I am not dressed yet either.  Better get a wriggle on, I suppose.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Jim and I went down to visit both Tony and Stella on Monday, stopping at Katrina's Kitchen on the way to pick up some supplies for their freezer.  They both like Katrina's Kitchen meals and the big advantage is that you pop them in the oven and 30 or 40 minutes later you have a complete meal ready for you.  They mostly do online sales - alas, they don't deliver to Ballarat.  Not that we need ready meals, really.  Fortunately, they do deliver to Mount Martha where ready meals are proving to be very useful.

Anyway.  We picked up Tony and went off to visit Stella who was looking really quite good.  She is ambulatory with a wheelie frame and seemed quite cheerful.  Emily and Jess were there when we arrived and left soon after. Jim, Tony and I had lunch in the hospital cafe. They do nice pies in the cafe.  We took Tony back home and then returned to Mount Helen.

I went to Melbourne with Lindsey on Tuesday morning and trundled into work.  I was chatting to the practice manager and the practice nurse when my phone rang. It was Stella to say that she had been moved to the Rehab Unit where she is having physiotherapy, gym sessions and the attention of an OT.  Not bad when you think that was only a week since she fell and five days since her new hip was put in.

I went to the hand therapist in the afternoon who was quite pleased with my hand - although it has been very swollen since last Friday.  I now have an oedema glove, plus a silicone inset for my overnight splint.  And, of course, I have to keep doing the exercises and massaging my palm.  I had felt on and off as though my hand wasn't doing very well last week, but really it's doing fine.  I think I am just doing and expecting too much after only five weeks since the operation.

I decided yesterday not to stay at work until Lindsey finished at 7:30 and headed back to Mount Helen by public transport.  I have to say it was a very pleasant trip.  I did some Japanese practice and read my new book on my tablet and gazed out the window.  And Jim picked me up at the University bus stop which meant I didn't have to walk up the quite steep hill to get to the house.  It seems a bit lazy to be picked up such a short distance from the house but I do not enjoy that climb at the end of the tram, train and bus trip back from the surgery.  I am thinking that I might go back down with Lindsey tomorrow morning.  She is not coming back here after work tomorrow so I had been intending to take the car.  But I am now thinking that I might go with her and come back by tram, train and bus but perhaps a bit later.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Last week

In the end, last week wasn't quite as complicated as I had feared it might be.  Though I suppose it was complicated enough.

I went down to Mount Martha and arrived late morning on Wednesday. At that point Stella was in the Frankston Public Hospital. It was decided that they would transfer her to Beleura in Mornington - which was something of a relief. We had thought they might take her to the Peninsula Private Hospital which is a perfectly fine hospital except that it is around a 30 minute drive along the freeway.  Beleura is less then ten minutes directly up the road from Stella and Tony's place which is much better for Tony going to visit a couple of times a day.

Anyway.  Stella moved to Beleura late in the afternoon and Tony and I went to check her out. I stayed overnight with Tony.  Lindsey came down on Thursday morning and went to the hospital. Stella had a replacement hip put in at 11:00.  In the meantime, Tony and I drove up to town so he could see his oncologist in Heidelberg.  Lindsey stayed in Mount Martha.  The oncologist seemed fairly happy with Tony's progress.  He is to have a number of scans and tests before he goes back in  couple of weeks.  We went back to Mornington and arrived at the hospital to find that Stella was now in the High Dependency Unit after the operation and looking quite chipper.  Lindsey and I both stayed the night with Tony.

Friday found Stella looking quite healthy but rather confused mentally.  Lindsey stayed with her and Tony, and I actually went to work!  Then on Friday evening both Lindsey and I separately went back to Mount Helen, where Jim was quite pleased to see us. He, poor thing, had been isolated there with only the dogs for company since Tuesday morning!

Stella continues to do well.  She is much less confused now and has moved out of the HDU.  She is ambulatory with assistance and a frame.  She has several visitors today and Jim and I will go to see her tomorrow.   We have been enjoying a very welcome (to me, at least) quiet weekend.

Lindsey and I managed an early morning walk on Friday morning.  It was a glorious ,morning:

You wouldn't have chosen to go for an early morning walk in Mount Helen today though.  It was a morning vista that wouldn't have been out of place in Tupton in autumn!!

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




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".


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


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


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.



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.


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


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.