Friday, December 30, 2011

One last ChrisPic

Here we go, just one last Christmas Picture and only because if the weather bureau is correct, then for the next few days we're all going to want to be plonked on an iceberg with the penguins.

Me Mam doesn't want me to be wandering around in the hot sun so I get to stay home with the air-con and read the extremely expensive book I indulged myself for Christmas. I've only flicked through it so far but Boucheron makes lovely jools and a sneak through their archives shows who bought and re-sold what and for whom.  All the 'Grande Horizontals' of the Fin de Siecle were customers of Boucheron and I was surprised by how many of them survived well into the 20th Century.  La Belle Otero and Liane de Pougy were courtesans and great rivals in men and jewellery.  Liane heard that Otero intended to dine at Maxim's wearing every jewell she possessed. She allowed La Belle to arrive then entered wearing a simple white dress without a single ornament, but followed by her maid, who, according to which version you like, was bowed down by a burden of diamonds or carrying a large cushion of  Madame's jewells.  Such a grand putdown almost as good as the swipe to the Duchess of Windsor, who put on a show of her latest emeralds only to hear a Maharani comment that she had been wearing those gems on her ankles only months before.  They were returned to the jeweller the next day.  

So I had another day at the Home where I picked up the escapee twice when he fell, called the bingo and had my suggestion of a small jumble sale hailed as good fun. It will be combined with a sausage sizzle, a car boot sale and  no doubt I will bring home more than I take down. It's all very well to have a Pink Ribbon afternoon for charity but not when the Activities fund is down to its last $50. Fortunately it's now looking a bit more healthy with sales of Coppy brooches going like the clappers. 

I have booze, dvds and San Churro chocs for tomorrow night and just me alone with myself, the perfect New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's all go at The Home.

I've just arrived home from a quick dash to Harris Scarfe for the BOH's Christmas present.
A set of scales that tell you everything including how many calories you need to keep your present weight or lose weight, $169.00 reduced to $49.95. Bargain.

I've been at the Home for the post Boxing Day BBQ.  I have to say that the new head girl has a real team leader spirit and everything event that I dreaded having to go to has been a blast.  The staff did all the cooking today, sausages, chops, hamburgers and garlic and herb bread. The sweets were out of this world, trifle made with sponge and crushed strawberries, chocolate ripple cake, fruit salad and one of the nurses husbands turned up with an enormous fresh chocolate cakes with strawberries on top. And icy cold Cascade light beer and wine.  But best of all, laughter, lots of it.  Something that's been missing for a while and I'm sure it had nothing to do with most of them being half pissed.

If this is my mother's last Christmas, it's been a beauty.

And no, I'm not taking my BGL until the New Year.  I would like to enjoy the last days of 2011.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

24 hours of mayhem

My new reindeers and the box I had to buy to keep them in.
In the background is the frame (unfinished) for my Christmas Brooch tree.
So now it's off to the Home and the Oldies and a decent Christmas lunch from the new chef du jour.
The Chef is actually a nurse at the Home but loves cooking.
This is his first Christmas Dinner and I keep reminding him about Basil Fawlty and the gourmet dinner that went terrribly wrong.
Bad Santa has nothing on me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Are we there yet?

Christmas Graphics
Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a louse.

I know that's not the right word but in our house it was. The ex had the bad luck to be born on Christmas Eve and he rarely saw a sober Christmas Eve, Day or Boxing day.
I wish him a Happy Birthday and hope Blondie has all her 13 grandchildren tomorrow to trash the house and wipe him out.  I wonder if he still has a BBQ on Boxing Day? I always had a hose hooked up to the tap the minute I smelled smoke.  His preferred method of 'barbie-ing was to start with a 20 foot flame and reduce all to ashes including the food. The actual BBQ was moved several times over the years but the wind always managed to fill the house with smoke.  It finished up at the front of the house near the patio where I could watch from inside until the flames dwindled and it was safe to take food near him.  

The year after he bolted with The Blonde (bottle), New Year's Eve to be precise, I was looking out of that same window and wondering what was annoying me.  Grey, black and rusting BBQ right in my line of vision. The only use it had been in the year was to illegally burn the miles of dried ivy I'd ripped off the walls. Rather spectacular in the middle of the night, all those flames but I was holding the hose.  So New Year's Day out I went with a sledge hammer and started to wallop the barbie into bits. Well, who knew the concrete was laced with steel mesh.  The BOH dropped by and took equal delight in reducing the eyesore to pieces.  I carted the rubble down to the corner where his compost bins had stood and never composted, just stank and made a dry wall, filling it with climbing geraniums.  They're still there but the lemon tree has delusions of being a giant redwood and is so big I haven't been behind it since I took off my toenail with the wheelie bin. 

Santa, Baby, I really could use a chainsaw for Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Christmas hurt

Christmas Graphics

I don't usually hurt myself until Boxing Day  but I started early this year.  Yesterday I walked to the bus and walked Southland and realized how out of condition I am. 
So I decided to walk to the bus again today to see mother, drop off sister's present and the BOH's.  I mean this is my sister, wrap the present, take it down to the Home so she can pick it up on Christmas Day after her hospital shift and this is after I've walked Southland to buy it.  To top it off, I rolled up and signed in at 12.30, noting that she had signed in at 11.20 except I had misread the time and we were both there together so it was rip-tear the paper and toss the bow aside.  Lovely perfume, yummy, thank you Mum. I have dibs on the Estee gold box. 
Where was I about the hurting part?  Strange dream this morning, very strange since the house was clean and devoid of furniture.  My mobile phone was ringing and I was searching everywhere for it.  Light bulb goes off, it's on the beside table and I roll over to get it. I'm still dreaming, remember. And I promptly fall out of bed straight down on my knees. Boy, did I wake up then. Apart from the pain in the knees, I was so lucky not to have smacked my chin on the side table. I must have been right on the edge of the bed and the turning over dumped me on the floor. 
I want applause for still walking to the bus, very slow walking but walking.  Made it on to the bus, made it off without pain only to trip on the only tile in the newsagent that was slightly out of line with the others. Not to worry the counter broke my fall.  Managed to get to the next shop and buy two gorgeous dark crimson reindeer in a matte finish with gold antlers.  Out of that shop safely only to be almost run down crossing the road by two little old ladies in the most enormous black 4x4. I swear the one driving could barely see above the steering wheel. They looked like two kids who'd swiped Dad's car.  Even the bloke beside me blasphemed a Christmas message as the wheels nearly took his feet off.
Now I'm home, I'm staying home, you couldn't even get me to the pub after today and that's a first for me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Cloud

This wonderful cloud called a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, appeared over Birmingham, Alabama this week.
The name is a combination from Lord Kelvin - a Scottish baron who along with German physicist Hermann Helmholtz - came up with an explanation for the freak occurrence.

It's also called a wave cloud and occurs in regions with vast plains where winds quickly change speed creating turbulence.  A fast -moving lighter density cloud, usually a layer of Cirrus cloud, slides on top of a slower, thicker layer, dragging out the surface and creating a wave rolling over water effect.

For more lovely clouds here's the site to visit.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Let's Parteeee

The party went swingingly well.  I've never seen the day room so crowded and it was the best Christmas party yet.  The staff handed food around during the entertainment and given the amount of booze the residents went for, I'd say it was very quiet last night.
Usually the entertainment is on first then food but this way it was much better as it filled in the time and no-one got restless.  The nurses had cooked most of the food themselves so it was nice and fresh and the only fail was the salmon mousse on cucumber slices which they didn't recognize as food. I gave it a top pass, they were delicious. The nurses were great as they bought out the mushed food that some residents can swallow and fed them at the same time so they didn't feel as though they were missing out.

The BOH picked me up around 6.30 and was wearing a nice new shirt.  First time in 20 years, his father managed to remember he wasn't 12 years old nor an XXXL size, he did forget to remove the price tag though.  BOH came home about midnight, said hello, had a swig of coca cola from the fridge and without a word disappeared again. I still haven't seen him but he never drives when he's been drinking so he's probably sleeping on someone's floor.  The thing is, I now have another car in the drive. Datsun is missing, station wagon is missing, black ute is at the factory with a big 'For Sale' sign but a little blue car has taken their place.
Silver ute is still here, owner hasn't stumped up the cash for the polishing job.  Sometimes I feel as though I'm living in that computer game, "Gone in 60 Seconds".  He'll turn up eventually, green around the gills. He, like myself, did not inherit the family gene for booze tolerance.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sheeee's Baaack!

Christmas Graphics

The new painkillers are working a treat.  Not even the lifting machine is hurting and that goes underneath the arms.  Of course it doesn't fix the problem, that will keep growing but at least she won't know about it until the next bout of pain. She's back making  Christmas cards and enjoying herself.  The only change is that she no longer wants to mix with the other residents as much and she doesn't mind not going down to the shops for a coffee or lunch.  She doesn't have to go anywhere for supplies, she has enough to rival Hallmark.  Will we get another year? Sister says very doubtful as she's done some research on this kind of pain and it usually means the lung is affected but she doesn't want to know and we don't want to have the job of telling her.

And tomorrow is the residents Christmas Party.  I was volunteered again to help out, I can't think who does that for me.  I try not to open my mouth at all.  And non-alcholic booze in case I fall over a walker.  I bought a bottle for my own little Christmas, I like the taste of sparkling cuvee but I hate getting sloshed and feeling as though my tongue is dragging on the ground. I do not have the family tolerance for booze.  A half dozen cans of VB for my sister is just gargling water.  One stubby of Cascade Light at the pub and I can't sit on the stool watching the pokie wheels go round without hanging on to whoever is next to me and it's never a good looking bloke.

So Tungsten Tessie lives for another Christmas, third one at the Home, 6th one since the experts said she might get one.  My mother and cockroaches, last ones standing after an A-bomb.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I heart Doc Marvin

What else can you say about a doctor that leaves his home number beside a patient's name to be called immediately if needed?

Mum is now on one 24 hour slow release pain tablet plus Endone, paracetamol and morphine injection if the pain gets a hold. He was firm about asking for the morphine, insisting that she mustn't have to endure any discomfort.

So I'm off to the Home again and every day until the pain control kicks in or the cancer comes to the fore.  When she's out of bed and in the chair again with the cards and glue then I'll be relieved but at the moment I can't see that happening.  But she wants to make a card for the Doc so I printed out some great images of Marvin the Martian and we can make a start on the card today.

She was relieved when I said I'd be down today. She was in so much pain yesterday and I could see it in her face and she's a little frightened.  And my sister was almost in tears when she rang and caught me at Southland (I was on my way down) and that is a bad sign for old "I don't care what happens" sister.

All I want for Christmas is for a peaceful goodbye if that's the way it has to be. She deserves that.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Revolving motors

Christmas Graphics

I'm really trying to get used to this new blogger interface but I hate change unless it's a change in chocolate brands.

So changes.......
I'm impatiently waiting for mail so I've been out looking at least 3 times already.
I hear the bvroom of the Datsun in the carport as it shoots off.  I'm up to my ears sorting out a trillion of his socks for the washer so don't wonder that he doesn't come in. He must be busy, please let him be earning money for once.

Out for another mail check, gates are shut.  Strange, he usually leaves them open for the precious 'built from scratch' Datsun to come back.  Turn head, do double take as I now have a shiny silver ute in the carport.  Down to the gate, silver station wagon is still there but black ute has gone.  Come to think of it, when did I see the black ute last? Wednesday?  Cue senior's moment.

Considering the money, work, sweat and tears that have gone into the little Datsun, I may well kill him if he's sold it or worse, exchanged it for a shiny silver ute.  I may be jumping the gun here, jumping to conclusions or just jumping.  There could be blood on the moon tonight.

Update: Datsun is back in carport. Silver ute is here to be polished. Black Ute is sitting somewhere with a big "For Sale" sign on it. And the BOH has just driven the station wagon back to work. He lives another day.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Christmas suddenly doesn't feel that close.

Christmas Graphics

One afternoon tea down and very nice it was.  I thought I was holding the wine well until I discovered that it was non-alchoholic.  It was also a farewell for one of the carers who was the first to look after Mum.  Usually I'm alone or trying to be alone with mum so I haven't had a chance to really take stock of the residents and I was a bit shocked to see how much they've gone downhill in the last six months.  This will be my 3rd Christmas Dinner at the Home, time really does fly when you aren't having fun.

The old girl isn't too good at the moment.  Plenty of drugs, enough to keep a rockband happy but the left arm is not responding to the painkillers.  Left side,mastectomy and nasty lymph nodes taken out but they left a few that looked good. I have a feeling they are now turning bad.  She was in bed this afternoon after helping with the mini Christmas trees for the dining tables and she was using her left hand and arm, doing something quite different to her usual cards and mess when the pain struck sharply and suddenly.
She doesn't even want to mix with the other residents which is not like her.  Admittedly they are hard going to talk to when feeling well let alone when in pain.  Her voice sounded unusually weak but was strong enough to tell me to be there Saturday to help clean up her craft boxes again.

But she forgot to say anything about bringing a cake.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

It's beginning to feel a lot like Crapmas

The world is getting weird particularly my world. My mother wears a colostomy bag and I do the fiddly things that have to be done for her difficult condition. It's an hour of my life I'll never get back and my fingers hurt because I have to roll up the bottom with a stick strip and fold over, making sure the fold over bits go to the outside. TMI, sorry, it's life.

So to make things easier because the nursing staff just throw the whole lot into the hazardous waste and never open the bottom with the sticky strip, I thought I would ring the Ostomy Association and get exactly the same bag without a bottom sticky strip opening. No, they're not allowed to change the bags on my say so. I have to ring the District Nursing Service, who rings the stomal therapist, who rings the nursing home, who rings the doctor and then she makes an appointment to thoroughly go through mother's records etc. I know more about my mother's unusual condition than any stomal therapy nurse anywhere. I ring mother with the bad news (for me) and she said "no, bloody hell no". I thought she'd forgotten how to swear, she's always telling me off. "I hate those know-it-all bitches. You keep folding the ends."

She then tells me that she needs to buy a TENS re-chargable unit for the pain in her shoulders. She says it makes her comfortable, my sister says it's all in her head. The Home physiotherapist was going to order it but decided for some reason that I should do it and handed everything over to mum. So I'm going to walk in there with something that has to be charged like a cell phone and could give her heart a jolt if it's not okay but I can't walk in and hand over a plastic excrement bag, ostomy not my sister. I will take it to the office where it will be checked and re-checked by the electrician but I want to know why it's my job not the physiotherapist's. Her excuse was the high cost of the unit and she wanted me to be responsible.

The only joyous part of this morning was getting a parcel I've been waiting for except it was my address but not my name. Bless a company that put a phone number on the return and it turns out it is for 73 just up the street. It'll take me five minutes and I'll count that as my 30 minute day walk.

I tell you, the siren call of the soothing gin is getting stronger.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Throw another krill on the barbie

Let me introduce you to Leviathan mellvillei, he's the bigger whale eating the big whale.

He's named after Herman Melville, author of 'Moby Dick' and a favourite book of mine.

Klaas Post of the Natural History Museum of Rotterdam in the Netherlands discovered the ancient whale's fossils on the last day of a brief fossil-hunting expedition in 2008 in the Peruvian desert.

When they saw the huge teeth they knew it wasn't a baleen whale and it turned out to be a giant sperm whale.

I've been cleaning out bits and pieces from my misc. file and I can't think how I managed to miss this beauty. I love the take on the 'Jaws' poster. I'm posting it now because of another weird experiment going on. Scientists are confident that they can bring back the woolly Mammoth from frozen DNA, perhaps only five years away from success. And every week, another species is declared extinct on our planet.

Why don't they bring this baby back and dump him in the middle of a Japanese "scientific" whaling fleet? Now that would be worth the money.

The Christmas Gobsmack

I couldn't resist the Christmas lights and the wish that some rampaging cat would have done this to the whole 40 kms we were forced to put up.

Every Christmas I usually end up not speaking to my sister which is why I buy a present for her early in the year before the declaration of war.

But this year she has excelled herself and I'm still trying to work out if I was insulted on purpose, insulted by her not thinking, her being concerned for my well being. I could just go on and on trying to work it out.

It came at the end of the phone call about Doc Marvin along with a few other snippy bits she threw in and I'd forgotten about it until last night. I am not approaching Alz, I was just tired from the day and sick of her attacks on me so I just let it slide.

I was told very forcefully not to donate or sell mum's wheelchair when she goes. 'The Wheelchair", the one costing 6 grand with a pool and room for a pony. She has never had a pressure sore or been uncomfortable in it and it is so heavy I can't push it. And why am I not to try and recover some of this money? You do remember that Elvis hasn't left the room yet and it's still being used.

Well, you see, it's very likely that I will need it for myself.


Sunday, December 04, 2011

I have a virus and an allergy

I have a virus, nothing major but I can't speak. I also have an allergy from the floating rubbish in the garden when I was stacking bricks. I don't look well with festering spots but it will keep me from leaving the house for a few days, Yippee.

So what was that I was saying, about going to the Home because we have the room to ourselves. Not exactly quiet. The ageing bones (95) in the corner decided to have a day of biting, pinching and scratching and falling out of bed. Until Mother put a stop to that, "V put your legs back in the bed and pull the covers up!" which the old witch did and slept for the rest of the afternoon.

The nursing staff have to be kind, mother doesn't.

Resident no. 2 of the room was waiting to be taken out to lunch, she loves her food but the family rang to say they would be late. She'd missed lunch and now looked like not being fed until late afternoon and did she moan and groan. She could have had lunch there and had another lunch later and on and on and on. Mother says it's no good trying to stop her, she doesn't have an off switch.

Resident no. 3 usually stays in the day room to look out the window but she was tired so they popped her into bed for a rest but she has a phobia about loud noises and she's in a room with me, poor old thing.

I do not go down there for one Saturday and she's in a mess. Where's this, where's that, try that box, try that bag (the bag was very trying) until she had everything she needed. Then I started with the tidying up and throwing out and the taking home for later. If I cut out the card images, it saves time and cuts down the paper mess and any card not suitable, I tear up and she can't have it back.

So we have a full room with me, two visitors for mum and the tea lady and the residents cat. The cat is hilarious, they have one Christmas tree up in the foyer and the cat can see it but can't get to it and he has tried every which way. There'll be no tree in the day room this year with the cat wanting to climb and one of the residents has a habit of trying to eat anything shiny (a new one).

By the time I left, there were 3 empty plastic bags and 1 empty green bag which I filled with all the stuff she wanted taken home, books, cards to cut up, magazines, picture frame (she wants a smaller one). Great, I'm wasted, loaded down with two bags and the taxi is a wheelchair maxi taxi. The driver offers to help me in. I needed a rope ladder to climb up to the first step but I just wanted to get home and unload the garbage.

I woke up this morning with no voice but went on the usual walk for the Sunday papers, had to give the school Christmas fair a miss and I could smell the bbq snags and onions cooking. If only tofu could smell like frying onions and snags, we'd have more vegos. And it rained on me again.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Never thought I'd welcome December

After all the hoo-ha about 11-11-11, I can only say it was an excuse for every psychotic nitwit to crawl out from underneath their rocks and annoy me including my own family. It looks like they're going to keep going right into 2012.

I have been trying to dry out since Wednesday when I was caught in every major downpour the sky decided to dump on Melbourne. I can count on Saturday's downpour as well which kept me bailed up in the hotel with an unvisited list of bead and chocolate shops. But Wednesday had to be the best. Picture four of us huddled together at the bus stop under umbrellas which kept the top half reasonably dry but the bottom was filling faster than Lake Eyre. The only bloke in the group had his shoes filling from the water running down his trousers. I couldn't find enough curse words for a cheap made in China for Avon umbrella which, if it wasn't pushed into the wind blew itself inside out with great ripping and shredding. My fault for not taking the big Australian made beauty but who thought that stepping out the front door in sun meant rounding the corner into the Cape of Storms.

2kms to Doc Marvin, where he laughed off the double figures in the BGL book because I tried to beat the anxiety and panic attacks by going way out of my comfort zone. Kindly gave me two sterile bottles in a big bio-hazard bag in return for the jam jar full of top quality non-Perrier water. No infection and no sugar despite the big 72 hour readings.

Over to the bus stop then, I mean I was already wet and walking home would soak me as much as going on to mother but Miss O'Dyne had sent her a letter and she does love a letter to open. A big thanks to Miss O'Dyne from mother (she is available for adoption). Doc Marvin had upped the pain relief again so she was looking a lot better than on Monday. Anyone complaining to me about nurses striking is liable to get kicked since it was an agency nurse who forgot to give the old girl the proper medication on Sunday, that's two Endone now, not the one that you read on the notes the last night you were at the Home. Read notes every time. Stupid! Once the pain runs past the medication, it takes a while for everything to catch up and settle.

I will go down tomorrow because we have a room to ourselves and I don't have to put up with the strangler, mad E who continously mistakes me for husband Murray and drop all her clothes anywhere A, usually near me. I have also been invited to La Porchetta's, the volunteers' afternoon tea, the residents Christmas party, the residents Christmas lunch and, goddess help me, the post Boxing Day BBQ.

All I want for Christmas is a rock, with a very large hole underneath vacated by a November nitwit.

*wanders off singing loudly "I will survive"*