Friday, April 28, 2006


I'm frazzled having spent the best part of two hours trying to juggle appointments then finding out they've replaced one hour long heart stress test with another which means we can do everything locally. Through the swearing and cursing, I hear Ma.

Mother: When you come out of the aneasthetic, your leg's in a big machine, isn't it?

Me: Where in hell did you pull that from?

Mother: What?

Me: Why would they do that with your leg when you're having a boob removed?

Mother: Well you did!

Me: I've never had a boob off.

Mother: You had your leg in a big machine when you had the knee replaced.

Me: WTF has that got to do with a boob?

Mother: Wasn't it painful?

Me: Bloody painful and why are we talking about bloody knees?

Mother: Aunt Selma's having her knee done and I want to know how much pain she'll be in so I
can enjoy it.

Me: *Pokes eye out with a ball point.*

I'm in the sewing room, looking at a Mount Everest of lace and material on one side and foothills of ironing on the other. The woman has a mania for keeping cardboard boxes in case they're needed. any size or shape, it doesn't matter. Unfortunately it's hereditary because I can't throw away a pretty shaped glass jar even to sending myself insane trying to get the last of the leatherwood honey out of the tall, square shaped bottle it comes in. My sister skipped this gene and throws everything out including, on one occasion, the phone books and the phone.

Me: Why is the vacuum cleaner standing in a box?

Mother: I put it there.

Me: Why?

Mother: It's out of the way.

Me: It's a heavy vac, so you lift it up and put it in an empty box. Why didn't you pick up the box and chuck it out?

Mother: I don't like bending over and the box is handy, the Hoover fits in it nicely.

Me: *bangs head on wall* *repeatedly* *very hard*

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Mum and I had only one more hospital to visit but now it's two as I've decided to split the tests.
The two at Monash Clayton are going to take 3 hours and that's as much as she can take at the moment. So X-ray and blood tests will be at Moorabbin which is closer and where the op will take place.

I spent the day going over everything we did yesterday. She remembers some of it but there's a point where exhaustion just takes over.

My Mother has enormous willpower to survive. What she is terrified of is losing her ability to think and be in control of her life. Finally she has talked about this but it's not something we can be truthful about. My sister has been a geriatric nurse for nearly 30 years and has noticed Mum's increasing, but not major, confusion over the last 12 months. The same routine followed every day, with the craft market once a month has kept her focused and on track.

It's not lack of concentration, it's an organic degeneration caused by the huge amount of medication she takes and a decrease of oxygen to the brain simply because she can't move around much. That's why it's been so noticable in the past two weeks of going to different hospitals. She becomes unfocused and disorientated which disappears the minute we're back in the house in familiar surroundings.

I can understand this fear. I think it's something that lurks in the back of everyone's mind, that we might lose our independence completely. I'll spend the next fortnight with her, just tidying her sewing things away ready for when she wants to start again although she'll never go back to the craft market. I found a beautiful piece of red wool today that she had forgotten so when I left she was deciding whether to make a dress or a suit. This is how we're going to keep her mind in good condition, now and after the 4th of May.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Another hospital and another 3 to 4 hours tomorrow. If I am tired then Mum is exhausted and we both still have this virus. It took every ounce of self-control to not cough having the chest scan so they only had to do it once but she did it. The bone scan was something else because the narrow bed only came down so far and she had to use steps and that hurt but she did it again.
Over the years we have become expert at opening Doctors' reports with tampering with the seals so we know there is no cancer in the bones.

I spent the time reading a book, a supernatural fantasy. The usual sleepy village awakened by an ancient evil and this gem by the homely cook, "a cat is a man who's forgotten his shape and a taste of the good life might jog his memory". I'd believe that after looking at 'He who must be fed constantly' who was sleeping on his feather cushion wrapped in an expensive mohair rug.

I watched the programme, Battlefield Detectives, the other night. Instead of just the battle, they looked at the terraine and what effect it had on the outcome. The geology of the area was just as much an instrument of war as a gun. The Turks were also underestimated, being thought of as undisciplined rabble but they were fighting for their country against an invading force. Fighting on home soil, the biggest incentive to not give in and another lesson leaders never seem to learn.

Kim Beazley's health is being asked about in Canberra. Now that's something I've been on about for a long time. He has never seemed to be in good health to me.

I've missed my computer. I've missed blogging. I missed the Cruise spawning. I'm not going to miss this virus from Hell when it goes so now I'm going to catch up on all the news for the past week.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


We had a huge fire in the vicinity today and I saw what it would be like in Iraq to step out of the front door to helicopters hovering, sirens screaming and billowing clouds of black acrid smoke.
The difference is that I knew it wasn't a car bomb or missile and that probably there wouldn't be any mangled bodies, hopefully no bodies.

The smoke is still inside the house but we've been told it doesn't have any chemicals or particles in it that would harm. If it would harm the virus that's taken hold of my throat I'd welcome any particles.

Everyone I know has or has had this virus. It doesn't let go easily, the after effects are just as nasty as the main illness. Time for lemon and ginger tea with lots of honey except every lemon on the tree is green. Murphy's law in action. I inspect the tree every morning and any lemon with a hint of yellow is whipped off and in a cup. I've been trying not to take flu and cold tablets until the sinuses started to make me want to fall down a lot. Murphy's law no. 2. Stocks of cold and flu tablets are running low, not only because of the virus but because of idiots and their speed kitchens. The chemist told me today that soon you'll have to have a doctor's prescription to get a box of sudafed which may or may not be true but damn damn damn if it is.

When my sinuses want to clog up in the middle of the night, I want instant relief. When do I want it, NOW, not in the morning after I've seen a doctor and paid out a small fortune and probably fallen over as well.

The entire family has the virus, my cousin has the virus, my friends have the virus. Why is it here so early? It's not even Winter when you expect a virus. How many visitors did Melbourne have for the Commonwealth Games? Which one of them sneaked in with this lingering virus and generously left it as a gift? Can I sue the Commonwealth Games for putting my health in jeopody? Now that was a lemon that didn't ripen regardless of who said it was a success.

Monday, April 17, 2006




It's also a little blue penguin with the usual latin name but to Victorians it's a FAIRY PENGUIN.

Leave it alone you politically correct Queensland nutters.

I repeat it's a FAIRY PENGUIN.

Second stupid thing in today's paper, Victoria Beckham. The skinny tart's always good for a laugh but today's photo is a peach. Taken on the ski slopes, she's wearing a faux fur zip up jacket and hipster ski pants. That is pants that are showing an inch of unclothed body above them. But at least she's wearing proper gloves to keep her hands warm. Bad luck about the kidneys.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Finally after tracking the cat down to get a good photo, I get this, lemon tree and grass and the

animal's impression of this cat.

I caught him again last night, lounging on his mohair rug, on his feather cushion in front of my gas fire. I'm thinking of re-naming him Lord Lucan for the way he hates having his photo taken.

The weather has taken a turn for the football.

My spine is still hurting but it's mending. My sportsmed unit died last week so I ordered new electrode pads and a new lead. Memo to self: next time put the unit on lowest setting with anything new attached. The new things are a tad more efficient, 3.5 will send a large body of woman into orbit so 2 will do nicely for pain relief.

I have posted a question over at Diogenes for the bear to answer but I'll put it here as well.
If anybody up there, God, ID, Alien comedians, suddenly put the Iraq situation here and moved our peace to Iraq, how would we cope?

How would we cope with the sudden noise of death?
What would they do with the silence of peace?

If there is ever going to be a solution we have to be able to put ourselves in someone else's shoes.

Happy Egg Day tomorrow.
Frivolous way to end a serious question but I like Egg Day and it's my blog.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Now this is what makes us forget the trials of bringing up children, beautiful grandchildren.

I've had to wait to ask their permission to put their photo up but here are my treasures.

After walking down the street with them yesterday I am now in favour of bringing in the compulsory wearing of the burkha. It was all I could do not to yell at one P-plater to keep his eyes on the road and off my eldest. She is a stunner though, 13 years old and 166cm in height and still growing. The youngest is the opposite, in the 1950's she would have been called a pocket Venus. A pocket Venus with a plastic tattoo on her cheek and a permanent mouthful of bubble gum through which she talks a million words a minute. She's happy there is one boy in the class who is smaller than she is, she uses him as a leaning post.

They were very good about the computer but my mobile phone now rings loud enough to be heard in Sydney. I did ask them to teach me how to copy and paste, ignoring the withering looks and 'Nannie, surely you can do that, it's so simple'. Well Nannie is simple and still can't do it because they shot through it so quickly I couldn't keep up and I wasn't going to ask twice.
I showed them the blog and it was just like that Peggy Lee song, 'Is that all there is?' No it doesn't change colour, blast music and have links and no I haven't learnt how to put my cyber spider in the corner. Eldest has her own website and it changes colour and has a background that moves, smart little rotter.

I couldn't even stun them with my culinary arts. It's been so long since I cooked for more than one person it was a real strain to remember what went on when. I did remember to take the Sara Lee out of the freezer and youngest remembered to take the bubble gum out of her mouth.

The cat had a total meltdown and disappeared. He is still twitchy but back on the mohair rug, with one eye open.

I always worry that they'll be bored but it's why they like coming for a few days. I don't make them do anything. They lie around wrapped in doonas watching TV and winding down from the family visits and late nights. Nobody can believe they are in bed and asleep by 10.30.

We hit Westfield today and I remembered what girls do, they eat and try on clothes. They like the expensive shops for looking but go for Target and Big W for the bargains. They love to accessorize and have teenage total recall for the better bargain in the first place we looked. I am becoming more in favour of the burkha idea as school kids start to herd into the centre. Some of those boys' eyes were swivelling faster than Mad-eye Moody.

It will probably be another 12 months until I see them again and the one thing we don't do is promise to keep in touch and I never push for it. Teens these days are under so much pressure and it's so far removed from the carefree days I remember when the biggest worry was finding the money for a can of hair spray. They're sensible and they know I'm always here. So much easier being a Grandmother than a parent.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I feel as though I have been in the twilight zone for the last two weeks and it doesn't look like ending any time soon.

I took Mum to the cancer specialist today and he is quite certain that the procedure won't be too difficult for her. Just to make certain we have to go to the anaesthesia clinic at Monash where they will make sure she'll survive that. Today there were heart tests and blood tests. Friday, 21st April, a full body bone scan and CT of chest and abdomen which will take nearly all day.

I'm glad no-one took my blood pressure today. Everytime we see a new doctor I find out just how long she's been hiding this from us even down to the fact that she did have pain in the beginning. My sister says I will have to calm down but I figure that if I get all the anger out now then later, when I really need it, I'll be calm.

The good part of this week is seeing my granddaughters for the first time in 16 months. Only two days and one night but any crumb is better than none. At least the impending visit made me do some housework and this time I did remember to take the naked guys off the fridge door. Last time they were at the gate and I was shoving photos in the freezer. The computer photos I'll hide in the recycle bin and hope they don't go right to the bottom of the favourites list.

I have film in the camera and I'll ask if I can post photos. I've been told the eldest is a real handful but I should have her straight in about an hour. There'll be a few rules about this computer too. No locking me out with cryptic passwords and no signing me up with lavalife again and definitely no logging me in to every msn group in Queensland. At least they will see Mum looking well which is a bonus.

I haven't seen the news or read a paper so I'm off to the blogs to see what I've missed.

If it seems that I've lost my sense of humour.... my ice pack has split, my TENS unit has fritzed and the hot water tap came off in my hand as I was having a shower at midnight.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Here are the two things the Brick Outhouse loves most in the world, even his car comes a long way third.

She has a malignant breast tumour but it's not too bad yet. The specialist wants to operate but he hasn't read her history or seen her yet. He wanted us to go in tomorrow morning at 7.30 but her legs don't work until 11.00 so it will be early next week. We'll listen to him and hopefully he'll listen to us and then it's up to Mum to make her own decision. When she told Aunt Pattie the news and said she wasn't sure about treatment, Aunt Pattie told her not to give up so easily.

She went into shock and I made her go back to bed. She wanted her wool doona on. Fine, so I go looking in the cupboard and can't find it. "It's on the third shelf in its bag." she says. I still can't find the bag. "That pink flowered bag in front." She means doona cover, stupid me, didn't switch on the mind-reading machine. She's still getting into bed, giving me instructions and trying to adjust pillows and crying. That woman can multi-task. I finally get everything smooth and in place, and she says, "I don't like the pattern on this side, can you turn it over?" I turn it over after threatening to fecking bury her in it.

I am really mad that our doctor had to go chasing the pathology report when it should have been sent to him yesterday. I also have to go back to the hospital and pick up the X-rays which they forgot to give me. I'm pissed that I got a salad ready this morning because I've been too tired to eat when I get home and the weather turned to icebergs and there's no way you can heat salad, add the ice-pack I throw on the spine and I'm not happy Jan.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I wasn't going to post anything until I had good or bad news but venting is good for the soul.
Mum has two sisters, Aunt Selma and Aunt Pattie and yes, the names are deliberate. We also refer to them as the troll sisters usually with a few f and c words in front of troll.

Mum was to have visited Aunt Selma this week. After all that has happened with the ultrasound, allergic to the gel and the biopsy, one highly bruised boob and the interminable waiting for the results, Mum decided not to go. Aunt Selma said she had no guts and she'd be better off if she got herself moving. Aunt Pattie wanted to know why I was there every day changing dressings for her, surely she could do that much for herself.

I can't tell you how many different problems Mum has. She gets up and does the best she can every day even if that is just driving me crazy. She's facing this latest crisis with her usual courage and black humour. She's also frightened and if me just being around the house eases that a little then I'll be there every day. The troll sisters are jealous, not one of their grotty offspring would piss on them if they were on fire.

After all that, I told Mum how many of you had sent best wishes and support. She said it was wonderful that strangers could be better than family and she thanks all of you. She also asked if I wrote nice things about her and didn't put in the nutty bits. What could I do, I lied.


No news yet so I need a large dose of happy. The cat won't co-operate so I'll post the kid.

This is the year he became a father. They were told not to expect children so along came surprise number one. The wonder and joy of holding his daughter is something I will never forget. It was as though he was lit up inside with a thousand candles. He handed me the baby, saying, "Mum, Mum, look what I've done".
The wildlife gave way to childlife.