We were saddened to learn that Pam's mother had passed away on 16th March and naturally, Pam needed to attend the forthcoming funeral upon hearing the news. Her mother, Mary Austin, was 91 years of age and had reached a stage where her poor body was shutting down and had indeed stopped. When we heard of her death, we began organising for the trip to Melbourne.
We found that Benlynne Park Nursing Home in West Sunshine could put Pam up, provided that we would spend at least one week there - so we agreed to go down on Friday the 20th and return on Friday 27th (my 66th birthday).
Our case manager, Peta Webber got us to see our GP, Dr Bob Meyer to arrange for air ambulance transfer. I arranged with my daughter Jeni to stay with her and her family at Taylors Lakes, on the outskirts of Melbourne, not far from the Calder Park race track.
On the morning of the 20th, I left at 7am with all of Pam's (and my) stuff - her electric wheelchair, her feed pump and stand, food case, widget bags, clothes case... a list that ran to two pages of "Outs & Ins" (a tick in a box to indicate it was being taken 'Out' and a blank 'In' box for when I returned). Pam was picked up by ambulance and taken to the airport for the air-ambulance at 8:30am, but it wasn't a problem if I arrived after Pam did because Benlynne Park staff would care for her until I arrived. As it turned out, there was another patient with Pam who needed to be dropped off at Birchip and so it wasn't until noon that she eventually arrived. I arrived at 12:30pm, just 5½ hours since I left – and I DIDN’T speed (I just didn’t stop).
Benlynne Park staff made some errors in looking after Pam’s needs, but I’ve got to hand it to them, they never repeated any of them. They were wonderful! I travelled from Jeni’s to Benlynne Park several times per day on most days and Pam had may visitors (seeing we were there for a funeral on Wednesday).
Here's a picture of Pam at Benlynne Park with our Grand-Daughter Ellie Shinas...
On return from the funeral, we followed my sister-in-law Dorothy to see her new house in Lara and then drove to Val and Tony's house in East Keilor. It was lovely to see all the people, many of whom we hadn't seen for decades.
At 4:15am on Friday 27th, I left Jeni & George's place and headed to Benlynne Park for the last time (for this trip, at least). It only took 15 minutes to get there at that time, compared to 50 minutes or so during peak hour. It took me an hour to load Pam's gear and I was on the road at 5:30am. The traffic was minimal.
I got home at 11:45am, but Pam didn't arrive till 4:30pm - at least she didn't get there before me, which would've indeed been a no-no.
So that was last Friday and here it is Sunday 30th - I hope you enjoyed the read...