Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Radio Star Pammy

Yesterday, October 19th (ignore the above date - that's USA time), Jenni Henderson from our local ABC radio station rang me and asked if Pam & I could come in this morning (Wednesday 20th) and be interviewed by Louise Ray in connection with this blog. Well, someone else reads this by the looks...

I expected a blank rejection from Pam but when I mentioned it to her, I got just the opposite. The only sadness on her face was when I mentioned how early we'd have to get up - 6am for me. But get up then I did, and had Pam up and in her lounge chair and being stomach-tube fed by 7:10. We made moves to go at 7:45, so I disconnected the feeding tube with half of this morning's breakfast still to be pumped and proceded to load Pam into the car. Louise had wanted us in the studio by 8:15 and I understood that she was to discuss what the interview was going to contain in some detail, however I'm glad it didn't happen that way; Louise told us just enough. In this way the answers Pam and I gave were more spontaneous and I wouldn't mind betting that Louise had this in mind from the outset. In the meantime, Jenni flicked a switch so that Pam and I could hear the radio while we waited to go on.

Just before 8:50 we were ushered into the studio by Jenni and what an experience with Louise that was. Pam had no fear and plenty to say in her quiet yet audible voice.  I was going on about the support we get from Trio et al when Louise wound up the conversation just in time for the 9:00 news. The ABC blog for this is ckickable here.

Jenni came back into the studio as we prepared to leave and waved a camera at us; so Louise, Pam and I gave a cheesy grin and this is what happened...

Jenni graciously allowed me to use this ABC photo in Pam's blog. It's a pity she's not in the photo also.
(There are many postings for this blog - please check the Archive for those not displayed here.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Some tiny factual additions

Pam's weight continues to rise albeit very slowly thanks to the stomach PEG. At this time of writing she is now 50kg. Sadly, my fish scales have been deemed too unsafe to continue to use for weighing Pam, and I must stop that practise forthwith. This is a sad thing, as I can be very careful given this doubt – nevertheless the formal consequences however can be expensive and I don’t want to come across as a bloody bush mechanic.
Complications come and go, the latest being the frustration of expensive suprapubic catheters, which used to last seven weeks, have lately had me changing Pam's every two or three days. They kept blocking with a crystalline substance that Dr. Meyer and I thought was uric acid - indeed, earlier tests indicated a presence thereof. I used to suffer from gout, which is just that - uric acid crystallising in the joints. I soon learned, way back then in the mid 90's, that Allopurinol tablets would sort that out - and so it was that Pam too began such a course.
The crystallising was soon rectified, but that was still in the days when catheters would still last for many weeks; this new case however was similar, but radically different symptomatically. A subsequent urine test showed absolutely ZERO uric acid (so at least the Allopurinol was working) but Pam had developed instead, a nasty bladder infection which was causing the rapid catheter blocking which was looking very similar to the uric acid crystals to my untrained eye.
Pam is now on an antibiotic to tackle this bug, and I am so hoping that it works. Changing a suprapubic catheter every two or three days is cruel. I have to be heartless as I withdraw the old catheter - in spite of the obvious discomfort Pam endures, as it exits the virtual open wound in her lower abdomen - to hesitate would hurt her more. Then, of course I have to quickly insert the new catheter, wiggling it into a relutant and sore abdominal opening before it closes and sticks shut. Stoically, Pam all too regularly endures this with hardly a murmur and yet it'd have to hurt like Hell. Anyway, now we know what's going on, those catheter change frequencies may quickly subside, and not before time either.
Now a change of topic...

It has occurred to me that many who read this haven’t a clue about me or as to what I look like. Until now this has not been an issue, but several readers have kindly asked for at least a look.
OK, about me – (most of this is already in the story so far) – I've been involved in brass bands since I was 13 (1962) but I  graduated as a Mechanical Engineer in 1969, a year and a half after I had met Pam. After 4 years of that (having married Pam in 1970) I became a maths/science teacher at Irymple Technical School and 6 years later did a 17 year stint at Sunraysia College of TAFE (as it was then called) teaching mathematics, physics and computer science, among other things.

As you perhaps already know, Pam was diagnosed with MS in 1986 and at the end of 1996 I ‘took a package’ to care for her. I have been her carer ever since – as well as being her loving husband.

All that's left now for you is a picture or two - and that'll be all you need to know about me.

This first one is a family shot when Pam turned 60 (in September 2009), the other standing ones are daughters Sharon and Jeni...

But I wasn't always this ugly - here's an earlier version of me (I'm the one on the left) and a younger Sharon chuckling in the background...

Here's another that I only just became aware of today (15 March 2011).  It was taken at a dress-up function in the Mildura Distict Brass Band's bandroom about 33 years earlier.

Left to right in the foreground is Pam dancing with little Sharon (and littler Jeni watching everything from behind Sharon), then with her back to the camera is the tuba player Graham's daughter Lisa Leutner being thrilled to be dancing with Elvis um er... me, Eric.

There're bound to be even better ones still, but I don't know where to look.
(There are many postings for this blog - please check the Archive for those not displayed here.)