Friday, August 16, 2013

What a Holiday

I, for one, was as excited as I reckoned I might have been if I was about to go on a ‘Scenic Tours’ cruise boat tour of Europe.

Monday 5th arrived and I was up early enough to pack my stuff and what was left to pack of Pam’s into the car.  I’d loaded the electric wheelchair the night before and on this morning, I had to fit Pam’s feed pump and pump-stand in front of that along with many boxes of meds, feed kits, feed boxes, colostomy gear etc., in addition to hers and my personal luggage.  It all fitted nicely.  Pam was due to be picked up by the ambulance at 9:30am to be taken to the air ambulance, but we had to wait until 1:30pm because of emergency needs elsewhere, whereas Pam’s travel was ‘Non-emergency’ - and fair enough too.

I was away soon after in order to get to Benlynne Park Private Nursing Home as soon as I could, without having to have Pam wait too long.  I had requested that Pam’s sister Val could be there when she arrived – and she was.  I got there 5hrs 50mins after leaving (approx. 7:30pm) and Pam had been there since 4:30pm.  Soon after arriving, I had all her belongings about her and our world kept turning.

I then drove down to Corio to spend the following six nights at my sister-in-law Dorothy’s place, travelling back and forth to Pam each day.  While in Geelong, I visited my poor brother Ted, who has fronto-temporal degenerative dementia.  I have a picture or two, but for some reason they load side-on and I don't know how to make them upright.  If I can figure it out, these last two sentences will be replaced with the fixed pics.
I quickly learned to go to some trouble to avoid peak-hour travel.  Even then, the traffic was not nice (compared to Mildura).
The staff members at Benlynne Park were doing their best and were lovely.  They went to great trouble to watch me as I demonstrated several things re Pam’s ongoing comfort, but sadly did not share the details with the staff of other shifts.  However, by the time this fact really jelled with me, there was only a few days left and so I didn’t say much.  Pam’s neck angle suffered as a consequence.  (I might detail exactly what that means in a later post.)
I collected Pam on Wednesday 7th to take her to see her Mum on her 90th birthday, at Brunswick Private Hospital in Moorland Rd. where she was rehabilitated after breaking her hip after a fall about a fortnight earlier.  They were obviously happy to see each other after several years apart.

I again collected Pam on Saturday 10th to take her to her Mum’s 1:30pm – 2:3pm official birthday party at the same place, but in a large room there.  Here are some pics from that Stivala family event…

and, of course, a family shot; taken by a staff member as requested by Pam's sister Val, who is standing behind Pam's right shoulder:  Pam's got the rug and is being admired by her loving supporter from the middle of the back row:

I took Pam back to Benlynne Park and then drove to Val and Tony’s (Pam’s sister and brother-in-law) to kill an hour or two.  Each year they build a bigger and bigger Christmas Village - this is how it looks this year...

I later took Pam along to have a look.  It's stunningly brilliant and Tony claims that they made it up this year "Just for Pam".  The village is incredibly detailed and I was dumbfounded by it.

Then it was back to Benlynne Park to re-collect Pam and take her to Dino’s Restaurant at 518 Bells St. to celebrate grand-daughter Ellie’s (our youngest daughter Jeni’s little girl's) 2nd birthday party.  It was another family do – this time the Shinas' side of the family.  Another bonza time to which these couple of pics attest…  
Poor Pammy had to watch on without eating... 
...but she thoroughly enjoyed herself regardless.

I dropped Pam back to Benlynne Park and returned to Dorothy’s in Corio.
On Sunday afternoon, I collected what I could of Pam’s goodies and spent the night at Val & Tony’s place in readiness for and early getaway in the morning.  I was up at 6am and had collected Pam’s remaining stuff (feed stand & pump, baby monitor etc.) and was away home by 8am.  Pam was scheduled to leave Benlynne Park at 2pm and I needed to be home before she got home.  As it turned out, I arrived home at 1:45 and learned that, because of bad weather, Pam’s departure would be delayed.  She arrived home at 6:30pm, having taken nearly as much time as I had to cover the distance.  I had the place precisely back to ‘square one’ before she arrived and no-one would’ve known we’d actually been away – except Pam and I.

I managed to pick up a bug on the way home causing cellulitis in my right shin.  Pam returned home with a dose of bladder infection.  Each ailment requiring Keflex capsules to fix 'em.  I have one pack for Pammy and another for me, with one repeat each.  Ah, something to souvenir!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Systems being tested.

As the time of departure rapidly approaches, I am pleased to say that all systems are “Go”.  It’s Friday 2nd August and except for one or two things, all is well for a departure Monday 5th.

What hiccups have there been you ask?  Well, last week a filling fell out of my upper left 2nd bicuspid.  (that’s a tooth OK?).  This matched a recent refilling of my upper right 2nd bicuspid, by the way.  Fortunately my dentist found time to fix the latest just yesterday, so all systems were still “Go”.
Last night, I was watching Dick Smith on telly with his documentary “Ten Bucks a Litre”, which had plenty of commentary about the excessive electricity we all use in our houses, when BANG, all the lights went out, Pam’s and my TVs died, all power gone except for the air conditioner, which was still going.  It was almost pitch black with darkness.
“Rat’s!” said I, wondering how to find a torch.
I found that the safety switch at the in-house switchboard had tripped out, but had no idea why.  Pam’s PEG feed was about to be started and I needed POWER.
I rang the after-hours number of a local electrician and found myself talking to the son of one of my deceased mates.  He came out and quickly found that it was the fridge that had failed – and how he discovered that had me wondering about my own tortured sanity, for not having thought of that myself.  I’m too ashamed to detail it here J
After the sparky left, with the assistance of the McCombes in unit One to store 2 X 4-litre tubs of ice-cream in their fridge, I managed to get everything else out into the fridge in the shed.  I went to bed but how I got to sleep, I’ll never know.  
This morning, I rang Jack Abell’s and ordered another upside-down fridge freezer with the proviso that it was 65ish cm wide and frost-free.  (The former wasn’t frost-free btw).

Andrea comes at 10:30 this morning to care for Pam.  I’ll go around to Jack Abell’s and square off for the new fridge.  It will be delivered this arvo while I am at Bruce McCombes’ funeral.  It would have been delivered this morning except for Jack Abell’s staff being at Shane Dougherty’s funeral.

All clocks have been reset properly and as far as I can tell, systems are still “Go”.

Just a thought – if the old fridge had failed next week while we were away, we would have returned home to no power and a fridge full of spoiled food.  If my filling had fallen out any later, I would probably not have been able to get it mended in time, having my tongue consequently ultra-busy whilst away.  Whew!

Here's the new fridge...