Falling, with style

Have you seen Jumanji? It’s one of my favourite kids movies about a magical  board game that comes to life and when not being played emits a pulsating African drum beat to lure its next players.

When I woke up at 3am with the wound site on my back pulsating like the Jumanji drums and the feeling I had been hit by a truck I knew we were in trouble.

I couldn’t bring myself to wake Chef. That poor man must be phobic of 3am the number of times I’ve woken him at that hour in a psychosis, anxiety attack, back drama, insert other crises here. Instead I broke the no driving for six weeks rule and got myself to Mona Vale Hospital (aka Club Mona for the amount of time we frequent it).

What transpired was an ambulance transfer back to Royal North Shore and a nine day stay after they had to open up the wound site to clean out an abscess that revealed a staph aureus infection.

I was home a mere two days before things went awry once more and here I am, back in RNS, another surgery, another clean-out and another “highly unusual”situation with a wound site not doing what its meant to do.

To cheer me up my beautiful friend Mary set up a Pinterest board for people to post things on they knew would make me laugh or my neck itch. Next to my own Things That Shit Me board, its probably the best representation of my personality ever compiled.

So here I am, hopeful of going home tomorrow to once again strive for a mundane life.



all wind, no caution

Not right
Not right

From my experience it takes about three days give or take the nature of your surgery, your age and possibly your upbringing. Definitely your sex. When Norman (yes, in Australia we have mixed sex wards. I’m sure the logic of this came from a committee of bureaucrats with no experience in a health-related field but charged with the responsibility to reduce hospital waiting-lists due to a recent election promise) let rip the most impressive, in length and tone, fart on my first full day on the ward as I waited for my unexpected and some would therefore say emergency spinal surgery it took a lot of concentration and ten-fold in willpower not to laugh.

The funny wears off, slipping fast to repulsion and thereafter benign resignation.

From that golden age we realise we fart and that not only can it sound AWESOME but smell SO FOUL we learn it is something truly only to be enjoyed at home and, if you’re male or me, shared in the company of those you love.

So to come to an environment where the public expulsion of air, with NO regard to if it may or may not be odoriferous, can be quite a shock. Prime factors which change that are pain and opiates. I’d say duration of stay may bring you full circle but while they’re handing you the pills and asking if you’ve passed wind or opened your bowels today, as Norman lets one rip loud and long enough for all of you, just nod and go back to sleep.

Day 10

Yesterday was bone and CT scans and a drug reaction.

Today was a new cannula.

Getting a cannula – hereto known as a cuntula – into a kid with bad veins trumps pretty much everything.

Sure letting a kid die from an infection is negligent but getting a cuntula in is cruel.


I do the tough love thing for about 80 per cent of it because Oscar’s protests are loud and – at 68kg – now quite physical. The kid can make quite the attempt to flee.

The other 20 per cent I tell him what a champion he is and that yes it hurts but it will soon be over and how brave he is. All done with the internal monologue of DON’TCRY DON’TCRY DON’TCRY.

I don’t know, maybe it was because it was Day 10, maybe it was because it took a couple of goes and eventually had to go somewhere there hadn’t been any numbing gel or maybe just because it sucks but I came a bit undone after this round.

When you do this often enough you do go onto auto-pilot. A friend was here the other day when there was a very poor attempt at taking bloods. Her reaction made me realise, remember, that this is a big deal, that it is traumatic, that it really is shitty.


Mum arrived just after it was done giving me time to flee for just an hour.

I got in the car, rolled a cheeseburger and chicken and cheese because if there was ever a time for comfort eating this was it.

The eyes were damp and my heart was still racing.

I could feel the shell cracking. Fast.

I got home, discovered we’d run out of toilet paper and washing powder, that a friend from Grover’s pre-school had not only made the boys a curry last night but also apple crumble. She made my boys apple crumble.

Generosity of heart is all around me.


We missed an appointment on Monday at Sydney Children’s so I had to email and fix that. I asked them about seeing the orthopaedic surgeon who did Oscar’s legs in 2010 at outpatients because we can’t afford to see him privately. (The reason I hadn’t made that follow-up appointment with him after the first incident and which if I had may well have seen us not end up back here.)

I also expressed my concern about Oscar’s left foot and that it is starting to return to the position it was before surgery and that I think he may need an AFO (splint) for that leg at least – and that we need to do that through the hospital too as there’s no way we could afford to do it privately.

We’re now four months behind in our private health insurance payments.

I’m getting really adept at this hand-out, “please sir can I have some more” routine.

Our awesome contact at Children’s got back to me, as did the person he’s referred me to re appointments with the ortho and re splints.

That’s when I just threw my phone down and just gave in to the big heaving sobs of sadness and rage.

We can see him that way but only on this day, there’s a wait-list for AFOs at the hospital so maybe approach our contact at the Cerebral Palsy alliance and then they can put us in touch with a funding body to access to then get an AFO through them but we could do it through the hospital but but but…


I still have to get a new referral for Oscar to see a paediatric endocrinologist as the one we were referred to is no longer there.

I still need to reconnect with The Cerebral Palsy Alliance to get a speech therapist back on board so we can be eligible for a grant to trial a speech device even though we’re already talking to the technology team at CPA.

You want to know what it’s like to have a child with special needs?

Constant worry.
NOTHING being easy – be that accessing services, finding schools, ignoring the idiots

Having a disabled child means that unless one of you is earning squillions, you are pushed further and further to the periphery of society so you have no choice but to beg and appeal for charity, thereby feeling beholden and worthless.

I’m so sick of feeling so fucking downtrodden, of falling down and rising up. I just want to lie down and go – TIME OUT. DO OVER. MAN DOWN. CODE RED.

You gotta hold on

We’re officially on Day 9. NINE.

I’m so tired.

I just don’t know what else to say.

People have more than stepped up – friends collecting my children from school and pre-school, taking them to and from football training, cooking meals for my family, bringing me food packages – it has made me cry and just taken my breath away.

I realise one of my survival mechanisms is to be incredibly snarky in my head about the many many idiot parents that walk this earth and happen to cross my path in the paediatric ward of Mona Vale Hospital.

This doesn’t sit well with so many people complementing me on my grace under pressure and good humour through hard times. I mean, I did the lean down hissing yell at Oscar in the shower the other day about how selfish he was being. Mother of the Year thank you and good night.

Today we ruled out the infection being in Oscar’s bones or the hardware in his feet. This is massive. Of course it doesn’t answer why or where the hell the infection has come from but I’m taking a victory where I can snatch one.


Last week I discovered I had been selected as a finalist in the Australian Best Blogs Competition for 2012. This is my second year as a finalist. It is basically the only award that counts for me – it recognises my writing.

And here I sit, the words not coming. I have six half written posts on my laptop. I never do that.

And now, the words, they will not come.


Let’s look at some pictures.

This – Friday Night Lights – has kept me sane this hospital stay. Tired but sane:

I almost walked away from the series a couple of episodes in on Series 2 – so much bad stuff was happening, it was unrelenting and stressful. I got through it and am now just into the fifth and final series. I can’t tell you (and nor can I explain) how invested I am in the characters in this show. It baffles me.

But everyone needs a Coach Taylor in their life. And a Tami Taylor for that matter.

On Saturday I escaped the hospital and learnt I could still use the monkey bars. No really, I did.

I even had to buy gloves for it. Yes people, I own gym accessories:


Finally, I’ve decided I want to be when I grow up:


Hopefully the words will start flowing soon.



What have I DONE!?! When good mums think they’ve gone bad

My heart is aching for Beth over at BabyMac at the moment. Her wee little moppet is recovering from having her tonsils and adenoids out and while some would say pfft, routine, I would say FUCK YOU! Any operation with a child which involves post-operative pain management is officially HELLZONE.

You see, you take your cub into a big scary place where you make them wear a dress with no back in it. You’re already on the downward slide in your child’s mental list of favourite people. If you’re lucky the premed makes them all woogily and so you don’t have to endure the (often multiple) attempts at getting a cannula in or the psychologically never-able-to-unsee experience of having to pin your child to a theatre trolley with them looking at you with pure terror as you try to stay calm and reassuring and ‘oh this mask! how fun! just take some deep breaths!’ This comes in a very close third to the awfulness that is seeing your child ‘go under’ when the anaesthetic starts to work which is a very close second to actually witnessing your child stop breathing and watching a resus team work on them.

Yeah, hospital with sick kids. Such sweet sweet memories.

Anyway, Harper’s not opening her mouth for anyone or anything bar the medicine (small mercies) and some juice. It was this fact and a photo of the gorgeous cherub that bought all the memories flooding back.

It started out as one of Oscar’s routine dental procedures but some 2 1/2 hours later the dental surgeon came out saying cheerily, ‘it all went really well, we only had to extract five teeth.”


The extent of preparing Oscar for this had been something involving a hand puppet of a tiger and a toothbrush. Monumental fail.

The poor kid had gone in feeling absolutely tickety-boo to then wake up in recovery, in a dress with no back, a cannula in his arm and a mouth full of blood and stitches. To say I was the bottom of Oscar’s barrel of awful would be showing a generous heart.

I actually think he went into shock. He didn’t talk, eat, open his mouth for days.  To force in some water through a straw was akin to NATO negotiations to get humanitarian aid into Homs, borderline fruitless.

My recollection is the surgery was a Friday and he didn’t talk until the Wednesday, but that may well be traumatic memory embellishment.

I was beside myself. We’d broken him. There it was, in cold hard brutal truth before us. We had broken him. I cried and cried, buying him ridiculous treats and presents he’d barely even acknowledge. He’s just silently move about the house

There have been a couple of incidents in Oscar’s life which have rocked me, made me question why we did something or why we were doing something, made me feel the lowest of low because far out, here’s a child already carrying a heavier load of Unfair than anyone else and we just go and throw another biscuit of doom onto his cart.

But then the darnedest thing happens. They get better in their own cotton-pickin’ time. Whatever the procedure you’ve put them through damn well goes ahead and achieves what it was meant to (normally) and the self-flagellation abates ever so slowly.

I will never forget the morning after that hideous dental disaster when he came in, stood by my side of the bed and said, ‘Ogga eat?’ It’s something Oscar utters a minimum of 50 times a day but that morning, that day it was the sweetest of sounds I’d ever heard.


Thinking of you lovely lady, it will get better.