Thursday, October 13, 2011

Welcome reminiscence

Pam was coming along nicely, gradually gaining weight and not getting too many nausea bouts – as far as I could tell, although she did manage to get some regurgitation into her trachea (wind-pipe) on one occasion shortly after she came home, so I hired a nebuliser from our local Flanagan & Poole Pharmacy and gave Pam a single treatment which almost immediately solved her problem.

Time went by; the days were ones of contentment for Pam and baby Ellie visits were an added joy for my Pamela Joy. The world could keep turning, I thought.

On Wednesday 5th of October, TRIO Support carer Andria turned up as usual at 10am and I took off into town, as per usual. I had been gone but a couple of minutes when Andria rang my mobile to tell me that Pam had aspirated yet again, but on speaking to Pam, she seemed confident it was simply another tracheal deposit and so I said I’ll hire the nebuliser again and bring it back later – will that be OK? Pam said she wasn’t coughing much and there was no hurry.
And so it was – I got home at 1:30pm, thanked Andria, put Pam back to bed and applied the nebuliser as before. Once again, just one dose sufficed and Pam reckoned she felt much better. I contemplated purchasing a nebuliser and Case Manager Peta suggested one might possibly be funded for me if I could get her a letter to that effect from Dr Bob, our GP. So I made an appointment for Friday 7th at 2:30pm, completely unaware of what was about to happen.

As the afternoon wore on and although it was rather cool, Pam eventually called for me to turn on her ceiling fan – as she was feeling hot. Later she called me to help her lift and bend her right arm (that’s her good arm) so she could scratch her itchy nose. Well, when I got her hand near her nose, I had to even straighten her finger so that she could scratch herself. I was alarmed! Apart from it being easier for me to scratch Pam’s nose myself, I was astonished as to where had her strength gone?

I didn’t waste any more time. I rang the hospital much to Pam’s chagrin and described her apparent discomfort with the ‘heat’ of the cool bedroom and her sudden utter weakness. I was advised to ring 000 straight away and call for an ambulance. Bugger – here we go again!

Pam was found to have an elevated temperature and was taken to the Emergency Dept. Cutting a long story short, she finished up in Ward 2, Room 5 with aspiration pneumonia in both lungs. As it turned out, it didn’t seem to be too severe, but it would take some time to repair. I am writing this bit on Thursday, 13th October and Pam’s just entered her second week, but there’s hope she’ll be discharged soon. By the way, I forgot to go to see the doctor (!)

In the mean time, a strange thing has happened…

Several weeks ago, a friend forwarded me an email from one Ross Dawson – a man I’d not seen for 40 years and with whom I had graduated as a Mechanical Engineer. Evidently, Ross decided to attempt to contact me as a direct consequence of him finding this blog, using links to interest groups on my profile. I was ‘over the moon’ at the prospect of renewing that old friendship. Ross, like me turned out to be a Geelong FC supporter and many happy emails, phone-calls and SMSs subsequently ensued, consequenting with Ross and his lovely wife Stella deciding to come from their Melbourne home to visit us here in Mildura. Indeed, that decision was made prior to the 5th and so it was anticipated that they would be visiting Pam & I together here at home. Sadly, that wasn’t to be the case.

Ross knew Pam from the early days, when I first met and married her and he was very keen to see us both – as I was to see him once again. That he was bringing his wife, who was also very keen to meet us, was a huge plus and the impost of hospital visits paled into insignificance.

The two welcome guests arrived Monday evening, 10th October, and stayed in the nearby Aquarius Apartments. Ross and Stella both were delightful in how they showed a genuine interest and empathy in Pam's and my situation.

I remembered a video I made just a year after we moved into this unit – around about 1996. In it Pam is seen walking around with the aid of her walking stick and describing where we live after first saying “Welcome to our little house” using a voice quality I’d not heard for several years. (Pam’s stroke affected Pam’s voice subtly.) I hadn’t seen this DVD for several years and it brought a tear or two to my eyes.

During a visit to see Pam, we were fortunate to have Jeni and baby Ellie also visit while we were there, so Ross and Stella met them both. Our other daughter Sharon rang my mobile while we were there and so Ross got to speak to her as well. Ross took this picture during that visit...

Just yesterday I remembered the two books Pam and I wrote about each of our early lives. They are each one ‘generation’ of us, meaning they contain our life stories from our earliest memories to when we reckon our own girls can start to remember their childhoods. We had the books properly bound and we had had 4 copied of each produced (at around $100 each). One set is for Sharon, another for Jeni, one for ourselves and one to lend out to interested persons. We’ve met no-one more interested than the Dawsons.

While they were here, Stella took a shine to my rather unshiny motorbike. In spite of it being somewhat in need of a 'lick and a promise' (as the old saying goes), she got me to wheel it into the sunshine so I could take this picture of the lovely Stella...

Stella could have been pillion with me if Ross and her had another day or so to stay. In the Mildura district, Curatin and Coclin Avenues to Red Cliffs can be a bit of an eye-opener for a pillion. Ah, perhaps next time - and I'll get the dust off the bike especially for that trip.

Ross in particular knew just what to say so sooth us all – even daughter Jeni who is going through the ‘delights’ of early motherhood with baby Ellie who seems to have developed several fairly typical 9-week old baby issues. Sadly, they (Ross and Stella) left for home just this morning and I miss them already.

It was a visit from the way, way past. At least they can read our stories – mine mentions Ross in several spots throughout and time will tell if that pleases him – but I think it will. The sting of their departure is tempered by their promised return in around three months. I can hardly wait.

Here's a pictures of us two old mates

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