Friday, August 29, 2008

Night In The E.R....

We went late night shopping last night at one of the bigger mall style shopping centre in Brisbane, (for this week we have a New Caledonian Exchange Student, Ondine, staying with us for a week...they don't have big malls in Noumea where she lives so she was really enjoying herself here tonight, she just LOVES shopping and found some wonderful bargains). I took Myles with me and the girls headed off by themselves, we arranged to meet up around 8.30pm.

We met up, everyone was happy with their purchases and we were just about to get into the car...


Matilda tells me that part of the wire on her braces has snapped and she is fairly sure she has swallowed it. She remembers it being there before we went out as she was fiddling with it with her tongue but it's not there now and she hadn't spat it out. After all, it was about 1.5cm long, you don't not notice something like that in your mouth. We all ate dinner while we were out. Myles and I on our own and the girls went and did their own thing so wasn't with her when they ate.

After heading home and talking it over with John we rang the 13 HEALTH phone number (a government funded after hours service that offers phone consultations for medical problems with a registered nurse). My big concern was that the ends of the ingested wire were sharp and could possibly pierce her gut. I wasn't sure what to do.

They go through a check-list of questions and then suggest a treatment. In this case it was "you have to take her to a hospital with an x-ray facility right now". So off we head into the late night, it was about 9.15pm by this stage, to the Mater Kids Hospital in the city (about 25 minutes away) where (thankfully) it was a reasonably quiet night. We were seen quickly and then went through the rigmarole of the Resident consulting the Paediatric Registrar etc . Eventually they decided to x-ray and what do you know, there is the piece of wire, around 1.5cm long sitting right in her tummy.

Now, what to do about it...

After more interminably long waiting and a consult with the Paediatric Surgical Registrar they decide to send us home with instructions to follow over the next 48-72 hours. Matilda has to try and locate the piece of wire...(this she is on her own with...once you are taller than your Mum there are some things a mother's love does not stretch to). If not it's off for another x-ray to see where it has progressed to, or not as the case could be.

If she comes down with an unexplained fever, bleeding from her bowel or abdominal pain it's back to the Hospital for "further intervention". I know what that means but Matilda doesn't as yet and we are hoping for her never needing to have to find out.

After all of that we arrive home around 1.45am, exhausted. Matilda was straight to bed, I was going to keep her home from school today but she had a field trip to attend that was very integral to her SOSE Studies...she went off quite happily but somewhat tired. I sent her phone with her, just in case she gets pain and needs to contact me quickly.

I was still quite "wired", pardon the pun, fully intended, when we arrived
I was still wired (pardon the pun, fully intended) made a hot drink and just stared at the television for a while, eventually heading off to bed around 2.45am and up again at 6.30...feeling pretty wrung out today and taking it very quietly, might even have a little siesta this afternoon.

Keep your fingers crossed that this little drama ends well for us, will keep you posted.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Flashback Friday...a day late but still...

Every girl needs a pair of red patent leather shoes at least once in her life...!!!

I'm quite sure that this was taken on my 3rd Birthday. I remember the dress and matching headband, made for me by my Mum...she sewed so many of our clothes when we were small, still sews beautifully but her talents have now extended to quilting, beading and mosaics.

I have a photo of me with my younger brother Mitchell, he was about 4 months old at the time and I was wearing this dress, so the timeline fits. I haven't seen him for close to 25 years now and have been thinking a lot of him lately. He left by his choice and hasn't had any contact with our family. I have a post about him I am working on, just in case someone out there in cyberspace knows him. I'd love to know how he is, whether he is happy, does he have a family of his own..??

More about him anon.

There's that car in the background again...!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Goodness Me...

I logged on to read Karin's latest wise words at The Sum Of Mum to find that I had been nominated for my very first blog award...woo hoo...!!! I'm thrilled and flattered to be in such auspicious company.

To pay it forward I am going to nominate some of my favourite blogs I visit regularly...each of them is very different, each of the writers are warm, witty and wise. I enjoy their writing and value their friendship very much. Like Karin I will limit my list to four, a hard decision as Karin & I have a number of friends in common so will share the love around. In no particular order...

Interestingly, almost all of the blogs I read belong to women...there don't seem to be many male bloggers out there. Maybe there are, maybe we just haven't met yet.

Very chuffed indeed...!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oh Yummo...

It was quite chilly here today so thought I would be a good Mum and cook a warming Winter dessert. Golden Syrup Dumplings are a huge family favourite...very easy to make and cook while we are eating dinner. The ingredients are pantry staples too making it great to prepare impulsively.

Golden Syrup Dumplings...


1 cup SR raising flour
40g butter, chopped
1 egg
2-3 tblsp milk


1 cup sugar
40g butter
2 tblsp golden syrup
1/4 cup lemon juice

Here's How You Do It...

1. Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture is fine and crumbly, and make a well in the centre. Using a flatbladed knife, stir the combined egg and milk into the flour mixture to form a soft dough.

2. To make the syrup, put 2 cups water in a large pan with the sugar, butter, golden syrup and lemon juice. Stir over medium heat until combined and the sugar has dissolved.

3. Bring to the boil, then gently drop dessertspoonfuls of the dough into the syrup. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into a dumpling comes out clean. Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with some of the syrup.

Serve the dumplings immediately with whipped cream, ice cream or custard. They don't reheat well...tend to become rocks the next day, so you are going to have to eat them all...!!!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Homesickness, Illness, Matilda's Photos...bit of a ramble...

I haven't been a good blogger...

My apologies for being absent this last week...sometimes my attentions and energies are needed elsewhere, at home and for me in this case, perhaps selfishly.

I have a big case of homesickness at the moment. We left Victoria over 18 months ago and I have found that it can strike hard, really hard without warning. It usually hits on the weekends, times when I would be doing things with them

I am missing my friends...I could live anywhere in the world with my friends within reasonable distance. Despite many promises there has only been a visit from one friend since living in Brisbane. I understand and feel no malice nor blame for broken promises...I just miss them.

John has suggested, even insisted, that I take a trip to Victoria for a week or so to catch up with them. I won't even entertain that thought at the moment, he is still very much unwell and although back at work is finding the vertigo and constant tinnitus quite disabling. He is being stoic, very much the point where I just haven't been able to read what is going on with him and was so worried he was much sicker than he was letting on or that there was something critically wrong with him...his wall was about ten feet high and he wasn't letting me in. The higher the wall became the more morbid & skewed my thoughts became. I crumbled last night, the tears came and we had a full & frank discussion and I impressed my need to understand exactly what is going on with his health. I think he "gets it" now and I am feeling more relaxed tonight.

Anyway...I won't go away and leave him holding the reins until he is well again or I can take Matilda & Myles with's too much to ask of him to do it all here. I can suck it up and put on my big girl knickers for that long.

Hmmm...I wasn't going to post much tonight, it's way past bedtime and John is already sleeping soundly. I have been up way too late these last few nights, have been caught up with watching the track & field events in Beijing.

However, I did promise Matilda I would post some of her recent photos.

She has taken a keen interest in photography of late, always has her camera with her and has taken some fantastic action shots. She has an "eye" for unusual angles...she uploaded these yesterday...I find them oddly compelling.

They were self portraits taken through a magnifying glass. She was just "playing" with her camera as she often does...the results are almost creepy.

Time for's late and I'm tired. I promise I'll try to post more regularly over the next few weeks.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Manic Monday...reminiscing a little...

Was going through some photos last night and found some little gems...

The first one taken with my Mum around my 1st Birthday at my grandparents home...we lived close by and although I don't have any "real" memories of that time we spent a lot of time there. As an older child I spent so much time there, every school holidays I would stay for at least a week. They had a gorgeous lush fernery in the back yard with a winding fish pond and water feature...something you would pay a fortune to have landscaped today. I don't know for sure but I imagine Pa did all the landscaping. They also had an amazing Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) in the centre of the full flower at sunset it looked like it was on fire.

This one was also taken at Nana & Pa's home...I was about three and that dress was my absolute had little pink kittens appliquéd peeping out of the pockets. I could almost guarantee I had white sandals on with that dress.

But look at that car...look at the shine on it. It was an FE Holden...first manufactured in 1956 and Pa's pride and joy...even now I can still smell the interior, it had a smell all of it's own. He also bought a brand new EH in 1964 and had both cars for some time. About 10 years ago he gave me the's the same model as me (1964) so he thought I should have it. Pa's name was Robert, Robert Rutherford Elliot...what a name...!!! He was known as Bert and in Pa's honour we named the EH "Bert".

I loved driving that car, it felt like a tank...almost invincible when cruising in it. My mechanic loved working on it. As Derek said..."If you can't get a part for these cars, you just make one..." such was the simplicity of the engine. Sadly though, eventually I needed a car that had some real creature comforts...(air con, a CD player, reliable heating). I would have loved to have kept Bert but the registration and insurance for two cars was quite prohibitive. I sold it to a young man who had grown up with EH Holdens, his Dad and Grandfather had had them and were members of Holden Car Clubs. He was beside himself to find one in such good nick for himself. I sold it to him at a very reasonable price because I knew it was going to a good home...I even let him pay it in four installments as he was so passionate about it.

I saw Bert around the streets of the town we lived in from time to had been resprayed and meticulously restored.

Pa would have approved wholeheartedly.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Seething With Rage & Powerless...

Today I took Matilda & Myles to see Circus Quirkus. Even better, our tickets were freebies, Myles brought them home from school yesterday, they had been giving them away. As there were only two tickets we decided that they could go alone, I would drop them off and be there to pick them up. They're 12 & 14 now and cam mostly be relied upon to do the right thing.

It was on in the Exhibition Centre at South Bank...a delightful area of Brisbane, full of indulgent cafes, gorgeous shops way out of my price league (but it's good to look...!!!) and's right on the river so you can sit and enjoy an hour or so with a coffee & the paper whiling away some time watching the river traffic.

I went back to collect them and was sitting on some steps waiting for the show to finish. In the same building there was a Home Builders & Renovators Show going know the kind of event...lots of manufacturers stalls displaying their products, lots of little sample giveaways and balloons for the children.

While I was waiting I noticed a little boy (older than 18 months but not quite two yet), ballon on a stick in hand, running towards me...full tilt at the steps, one thing in mind...that was to get up them before someone grabbed him from behind to spoil his fun. I smiled to myself watching him.

I noticed two older siblings following (both with helium balloons tied to their wrists) and Mum & Dad bringing up the rear slowly. Dad was shouting at the little girl to get her brother before he got to the steps.

To make his getaway easier the little one threw away his balloon and kept running. His sister (Bailey - around 5ish) ran after him, stopping on the way to pick his balloon up and was calling him.

"Flynn, Flynn...come to Bailey, come and get your balloon back..."

She continued to run after him and caught up to him right at the foot of the stairs. Her older brother (Zac - around 7-8 years) came after her and tried taking Flynn's balloon away from her, he was giving her a hard time about having taken it from Flynn. Bailey was quite upset by this and was trying to tell Zac that Flynn had thrown it away. The children argued and Flynn bagan to cry as he was stopped climbing the stairs.

The father came up to the children, thunderous look on his face, he was obviously quite angry about something. This was happening not 10 feet in front of where I was sitting. He then shouted "Shut the fuck up you two, I'm sick of your fighting..." and punched...YES, PUNCHED WITH CLOSED FIST...Bailey & Zac in the chest, causing them both to fall over. He then very deliberately held their helium balloons down and broke was so deliberate, so purposeful, the balloons were on long ribbons and floating in the air, he had to physically hold them down so he could stand on them.

I was utterly speechless, I could not think of a word to say. Poor Bailey and Zac were on the ground still, crying quite hard. I wanted to go to them and cuddle them but didn't dare for fear of getting punched too. In the end I HAD to say something, I risked getting my face smacked in but had to address him, I couldn't let it go...

"I bet that made you feel like a real man, didn't it..??

He looked at me and for a moment I panicked inside...I thought I was in for it too. He obviously thought better of it and then picked up little Flynn and kept going, leaving Bailey & Zac to pick themselves up off the ground and follow. They were so sad, their burst balloons dangling along behind them.

And Mum...she was just cruising along behind, pushing the stroller. She had seen all of could she not have. If this is public behaviour I dread what must go on in their home behind closed doors...she probably is on the receiving end of his violence too.

I spoke to a security guard afterwards who had also witnessed most of the incident. He had radioed to his Supervisor who could have summoned the Police had they remained in the Exhibition Centre, but sadly they had left.

My heart goes out to those sad little children, I wonder what will become of their lives...???

I'm so churned up tonight,

I wish I had done more,

I wish I hadn't felt so damned powerless,

I wish I had thought to phone 000 and summon the Police the moment it happened,

I wish I had been courageous enough to speak out and draw the public's attention to this excuse for a man's behaviour.

I just wish...sigh...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Absent Blogger...

My apologies for being so absent this week.

John has been rather unwell with what seems may be Meniere's Disease and we have been doing the run around of visiting doctors and having various diagnostic tests.

Last Monday at work he had quite sudden onset of ear pain, vertigo, unbalance and total deafness in his right ear. It was quite frightening and he was taken by ambulance to a private hospital with an ER.

Well, almost $250 and many hours later there were no answers. The following morning we were able to speak to his General Practitioner who was able to get us in to be seen by a specialist ENT Medico...he was brilliant.

He is taking a cocktail of medications, still not really having a definite diagnosis though. He is feeling a little less vertiginous but isn't sure whether it is due to his condition actually improving or the medication masking his symptoms. Either way he is getting some relief from the hideous vertigo and nausea that accompanies it.

He is an impatient patient suffering a little from cabin fever. He's also not one to complain when he is unwell, he is very stoic and will carry on until he just can't any longer. He's not good at being cared for, which quite frankly is driving me a little crazy. I want to care for him, want to make sure he is okay and to get him what he needs. Earlier in the week he had no choice but to let me and that was really difficult for him. I hear there are many men out there who have "full blown 'flu and are dying" when all they have is a sniffle or at best a head cold...I'm not sure which I would prefer to be living with.

We are going back to the ENT doctor on Monday, prior to this appointment he has to have a hearing test. The not so good news is that while the vertigo should pass there is the strong possibility that his hearing may not return. If there is little or no improvement in his condition after a couple of weeks he will be sent for an MRI...this is where the potential diagnosis gets scary. The positive side of this is that acoustic neuromas are always benign...they have to be removed and the surgery isn't pleasant but it willbe benign.

Hopefully it won't get to this.

So life has been hectic here...thankfully towards the end of the week we had a couple of days at home and John rested, he needs to rest.

Tomorrow morning I am on football duty, Myles has to be at footy at 9am...he is playing at a ground in the far northern suburbs, about as far north as the district goes. We need to leave here by 8.15 at the latest so I will bid you all a goodnight, wish you sweet dreams and hopefully post more regularly next week.

Actually, I just looked at my diary for next week...the dreaded mammogram looms...

Oh joy...