Sunday 24 February 2013

A Day In The Emergency Room

One of the most intense studies on human nature is to sit for hours in the Emergency waiting room and watch as people come in, report to reception and take their seat (or not).

Grandpa was there today.  We received an early morning call:

"Is that you, Andre?"
"Yes, Brian.. what's up?"
"Can you take me to the hospital?"
"What's wrong?"
"I think I've got food poisoning..."

Sarah and I spent 7 hours waiting for Grandpa at the local hospital.  Grandpa didn't eat or drink in that time.  He also had to wait hours for some type of pain relief.

It's a false sense of 'moving ahead' in the queue when you get assessed at the front, then ushered to the treatment room.  There's another throng back there.  All waiting for attention. Those who are caring for them are sitting in the waiting room, oblivious to them also still waiting and not being treated.  As far as we know, tests are being taken.  Blood is being let.  X-rays are a-scanning.  Questions are being asked, assessments made and medication prescribed.

I've performed the waiting-in-the-ER game several times for various family members (as a mother / daughter / wife does).  Survival dictates that you have to occupy yourself and resign to be there for hours. People watching is a good source of entertainment:

Two men sitting together chatted loudly.  One seemed quite anxious, as he paced, queried his appointment time at reception, searched with eager, desperate eyes - each time a staff member passed through the room.  "We've got one and a half hours to get home and watch the footy..." came from his companion. "The staff here are mean.  They don't care at all..."  

They were waiting for meth.

An older man with a hoodie and pyjama shorts, revealing leg ulcers couldn't help but praise the staff and on his way out, leaned into the reception " .... thanks for getting things going, love..."

A mom (and her son probably aged about 9) was giving her details through the slatted glass window which said "Discharges".  The receptionist asked for her phone number.  The mom was relaying her number when the son shouted the rest of the digits out.  The mom was silenced.  Further questions were asked and relayed.  The son decided to push right in front of his mother.  Mom submitted and took a step back.... 

A large woman wearing knee length lycra and a spaghetti strapped top, revealing flapping upper arms, heavily tattooed.  Her hair was wire-like, but fly-away.  She had arrived with her daughter and grandson.  The large woman was glaring at an older man, also wearing lycra. And she didn't hide it, either.  Later, her daughter, attired in egg-shell blue track suit sat in the chair next to her mother, the sides of their bottoms firmly wedged together.  She sat with her legs sprawled boldly apart.  The little boy  was sitting on his mother's upper abdomen, while her lower abdomen bulged out proudly, acting as a back rest.  

Both women were talking with the meth men.

Methman one: "We're hoping to see the footy"
Methman two: "Yeah, if we make it on time"
Large woman: "Sure you will.  It probably won't rain..."
Daughter: "Course it's gonna rain, mom.  It's gonna piss down..."

A younger woman reported to reception, hobbling with crutches, scrambling through her bag for her mobile phone.  She reported in and then, phone still in hand, sat over three chairs; bum on one, legs on another, crutches on the third.  Her arched back prevented anyone from sitting behind her. Fourth chair: TAKEN!

Sarah asked if we could see Grandpa.  We were told we couldn't as there were two emergencies in the treatment rooms and they didn't want excess people hanging around.  The Machinist had called to see if we could run an errand.  We explained this to nursing staff.  They took our number and assured us that they would call if / when Grandpa was ready to be discharged.

Much later, we picked Grandpa up from the ER.
"Are you in pain?" I asked
"No, but I haven't eaten all day"
"We know.  We were told you weren't allowed to until you had seen the doctor"
Grandpa nodded his head
"What did they say was wrong?"
"They don't know.  Blood was ok, X-rays ok and I had a shot of morphine"
"Did they give you some pain relief for if and when the morphine wears off"
"No, but I've got some Panadeine Forte at home", followed by a cheeky, boyish grin.

As we were leaving town, Grandpa declared

"When I get home, I'm going to make some tea and crack open a packet of gluten free ginger biscuits.  You should try them, you know..."

Reading the Newspaper

Saturday 23 February 2013

Our Motley Crew

This is Bob:

Isn't he handsome?  Two years ago, Bob was bitten by a snake and we saved his life by administering Vitamin C and B injections, along with strong black coffee and lots of love and care.

This is Polly:

She is such a faithful, loyal one-person (me) dog.  She gets very jealous of any other dog around that comes near me.  Sad to say, in Polly's jealousy, she killed my other faithful girl,


And our youngster dog, Lilly:

Woopie and Lilly are buried in our front garden.

Polly had to leave home.  She is now living with the Grands.  The Machinist says she is the luckiest dog alive. She probably is.

This is Pepi.  She is Lilly's sister and is in love with our Sarah:

This is Sasha.

She is also in love with Sarah, although she doesn't really care who strokes her and feeds her, cos she is delightfully plump and lazy.  Sasha is the sole survivor from a litter of six.

This was Bucko (he didn't always look like this)

 He flew into our garden when he was a baby.  Actually, he didn't fly, he sort of nose-dived.  Bucko had beak and feather disease.  The vet gave him six months to live.  He lived for almost three years and was a delight to us. Bucko is also buried in the front garden with Lilly and Woopie

This is Wilson as a lamb.

 Obviously, he's much bigger now.  Wilson is living with a local farmer, along with his friend, Leo.  One day, as soon as the Machinist has time, we hope to fence in a paddock on the Block, so that Wilson and Leo can be closer to home.    

We've had so many pets over the years.  Some have gotten killed on the road.  The others, by snake bite.  Some, however, just went on their travels and didn't return home.  I don't even want to think what happened to them.

Unless they are now living their happy ending. I do hope they are!

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Farewell to the Willow. Hello to Progress.

I'm constantly amazed at the speed in which willow trees grow.  There is one at the bottom of our garden, next to the Workshop.  Before we built the Workshop, (even before it was a 'glint' in our eye) we buried almost a whole litter of kittens under the willow.  A few months later, a whole litter of puppies dug up their decaying bodies and scattered them around the trunk. 

Yea, it is fertile soil.

A younger willow tree, on the edge of the receding creek

The Debco lads cut the willow tree down today.  It was was cut so that a 'levy' bank could be created in its place - to protect our current Workshop A and the one we will soon be building: Workshop B from flash flooding.

I had heated words with the Machinist, 'cos in my mind's eye, all I could see was a levy mound, - the height of our back corrugated fence.  I imagined that this newly formed mound would create a 'leg over' for any adventurous creek-dwelling snake (not that snakes have legs).  The Machinist informed me that he was going to build a new (higher) fence.  I knew that his new fence wouldn't come in the near future, - not for some time, in fact and in the meantime, reptile migration would be in full force.  

I panicked.

He was adamant.

I angered.

He angered.

I retreated to the house.

Not long after, he followed.

I put the kettle on.

He explained that the mound would be the same height as our rear orchard bed.  Two mounds, the same height with a corrugated (cemented in) fence between them.

We had coffee.

All was well.

It still is.

Good night.

Monday 18 February 2013

The Tortoise and the Sound of Silence

The Machinist has a tortoise.  His name is George.  He rescued him off the highway, just alongside Lake George.  He's had him for a few weeks now, but we haven't seen George around much.  The other night, however, the Machinist called me to the back deck.

"Babe, Babe!  Come here.... Quick!  Look over there!  Can you see him?"

And there, up against the corrugated fence was George, - legging it at quite a fast pace (for a tortoise) His green mossy domed shell made his limbs seem extra gangly. We couldn't figure out if he was moving it because of the rain, or because he felt energetic at the time.  And we'll never know.

Almost in the exact spot where we found George on the highway, the Machinist spotted a second tortoise.  He glanced in the rear view mirror, then screeched on the brakes.  "Turtle!", he declared.

(The Machinist calls turtles AND tortoises 'Turtles'.  He must like the phonetics).

Keeping his eye on the traffic, the Machinist began reversing.  Cars and trucks screamed past.  The Machinist continued reversing, and was probably imagining two 'turtles' frolicking in our garden at home....

And then "...He's dead.  They must have ran over him.  Bastards!"


In other news - it's the second night filled with the Sound of Silence.  The second night since our adult children Sam and Hayley, with their ten month old baba, Keiralea have moved out of our home and into their own.

The Machinist, watching the look of forlorn on my face attempts to comfort me:
"They're only down the street, Babe".  And they are.  Less than 500 metres away.  A brisk 5 minute walk (and even less if I'm lazy and drive there!) 

But it's not the distance.  It's not about this particular dear little family moving out and starting their new life together.  It's the realisation, - the actualisation of us beginning OUR new life as well - and the strangeness of it all.

It's also the knowledge of more changes to come in a fairly short time, as our girls come and go and leave as well.

 Sarah and Emma

Sometimes, change is uncomfortable and disconcerting. So are surprises.  I'm not fond of them at all.  Surprises are shocking and my absorbers are feeling worn...

Sunday 17 February 2013

If Things Don't Change, They'll Stay The Same

The Machinist, in conversation today declared that he thought summer was just about over and autumn was upon us.  This made me smile, as I love autumn; even the thought of autumn.  Last year, I remember kicking the fallen plane tree leaves in the centre of Civic, just outside Gus's Cafe.  There were so many of them - on the pavement, hanging off the kerb and into the gutter.  A thick and ample duvet for damp tarmac and cement.

After much talk and procrastination, the five of us are going to join the gym in Goulburn. Sam joined over a month ago and the Machinist signed up yesterday.  I was going to as well, but when I arrived there to meet the Machinist and put my money where my mouth was, I backed out.  I felt sort of angry.  Angry that I was about to resort to going to a gym.  Any gym. 

A young trainer came over to where I was standing with Sam.  "Are you going to sign up, too?" he asked, after spending time with the Machinist. 
"I'm not sure"
"Not sure?"
"No.  To be honest with you - I hate gyms".  The trainer looked embarrassed and started to flush.  Then he laughed, nervously.
"You hate them?"
"Yes, I hate them.  They are monotonous and they bore me.  They hurt as well.  But - I know that if things don't change, they'll stay the same...."

While having a coffee with Emma and the Machinist at The Coffee Club today,  I committed to her that I would, in fact, join her and we would attend gym together.  She informed me that she was going to be my worst enemy and would drive me on if and when I faltered or complained in this resolve.

Here's looking forward to a beautiful autumn, even if it is peppered with pain and suffering (such drama!).  And I know my heart will be most impressed.


 Table talk amongst our children is and always has been, -  a rabbit warren . We start off in one hole and end up in another -  quick smart....