Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pulmonary Embolism

Last Thursday, a loud bump woke me up. It was so loud, it sounded like someone had overturned the dining table. This was followed by a fast, rhythmic, grinding sound. My sleepy brain thought wtf is happening to the dishwasher? After a moment I got up to investigate & found my husband lying on the kitchen floor. The harsh rhythmic noise was the sound of him trying to breath.

He had fallen with his head in a cupboard, and had hit some Pyrex dishes. I moved his rigid, shaking body onto the kitchen floor. Babe? Babe? Can you hear me? Oh my god what is going on? After a minute of this I called an ambulance. Teenage Daughter came into the kitchen to hear me saying to the phone, no, he can't squeeze my fingers. I didn't realise she was there until she opened the front gate for the paramedics.

The kitchen is so tiny the paramedics had to drag him into the lounge room to work on him. They couldn't get a vein to insert a cannula, and his arm looked like a dog's breakfast. My husband was able to groan out his name, and tell them where he was. He could hardly breathe, had severe chest pain and was in a huge amount of pain. At one stage the paramedic said into his radio tell the hospital patient has lost radial pulse in his left arm. They called another ambulance for assistance, they needed an emergency cart to get him down our stairs as the trolley wouldn't fit.

I pulled into the hospital parking lot, blessed the parking fairy & ran into emergency. I was told to take a seat, they would let me in after he had been assessed. Over an hour and a half later, I was still waiting. It didn't seem to be a busy morning, just the usual minor injury's; people complaining that they have been waiting to long for someone to tend to their sprained wrist, etc. I was beside myself - I am not one of those people who say no news is good news. No news means bad things to me, it means that someone is keeping something from me - why? My mind spins off into an abyss of terrifying possibility's.

After approaching the counter several times I am at last led into a small waiting room & told to take a seat. Suddenly everyone is very friendly. I am given a cup of tea, some sandwiches and a juice.  The young intern has trouble meeting my eyes but he tells me that my husband has some clots in his lung that where blocking the main artery to his heart, which meant that his heart couldn't work. He is currently stable, but undergoing more tests, they would let me see him soon. Then he left and locked the door. There is a bible in the room. At this point I ring my sister and freak out - she tells me to bang on the door until someone opens it. I know they have things to do but this shit isn't on. The door opens and the nurse brings an old lady and her adult granddaughter in. I resist the urge to tackle this old lady for the half Valium she has found in her purse. When the nures leaves she leaves the door open, but I am too afraid to wander into the controlled chaos of the emergency department to find out what is going on.

After 30 minutes, I can see my husband. I am led to a very large cubicle, with at least 10 people busily checking monitors, talking on mobiles, calling for medications, checking tubes. There is a lot of people and a lot of activity going on. In the middle is my husband, exhausted and grey looking, with what seems like a hundred tubes and leads attached to him. He smiles at me, and the abyss recedes. A social worker hugs me around the shoulders and asks me quietly if I would like a chair. Oh, fuck I think, this is going to get worse.

My husband has suffered a Massive Pulmonary Embolism. Three large clots in his lungs had blocked the Pulmonary artery to the heart, meaning his heart wasn't getting any oxygen and had therefore decided to shut down. He is lucky to be alive. Very very lucky - this is normally fatal. If I hadn't heard him fall, if I had delayed calling the ambulance, if he wasn't relatively young and healthy....all of these factors helped him dodge a bullet, but all of these factors don't stop this being more than 60% fatal.The clots in his lungs are unprovoked, there is no good reason for them to be there. He had been feeling some chest pain for almost 2 weeks, and hadn't made a big deal about it. He told me he was feeling congested but he had recently had a virus, so I didn't think anything of it. He had made an appointment to see the GP, ironically on the day he ended up in hospital. Thank god I didn't buy a lottery ticket the day before, it would have used up all our luck.

He is given a blood thinner, that is too mild and doesn't work. He is moved to the Cardiac Care Unit and given another stronger blood thinner, which hopefully works. Over the next 2 days his pulse slowly picks up to a low normal. The paramedics originally took it as 60 over 40; his heart was shutting down his body to focus on keeping his brain alive. He has an educational visit from the pharmacist, who explains all about Warfarin and it's side effects. He will need to take Warfarin for the rest of his life. This must feel like someone has taken his superman cape away, and replaced it with a zimmer frame. But it is worth it to have his family, his children, his life.

Day one is a day of panic and quick education.
Day two is a day of tears, and thankfulness. He has made a remarkable recovery and moved to a general ward.
Day three sees him heartily sick of the moaning groaning unpleasantness of the general ward. He starts to complain about the food, so I know he is on the mend. There is talk of him coming home on day five, even though they have found another clot in his thigh..
Today is  day four, and he is finally lead free. No drips, tags or monitors. We steal a few hours and head down to the hospital cafe, drink juice and buy a paper. The doctor has said his medication should take care of the clots (plural!) in his thigh, but they are conducting tests to find out why a young healthy man with no family history of clotting should develop a Pulmonary Embolism.

Hopefully he can come home tomorrow.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Palm me off

One of the things that sold us on this house where the two very large palms in the front yard. I have a love affair with tropical colonial style gardens, and had spent years lusting after mature palm trees in Sydney. Then we moved to Brisbane, and they where everywhere! It was heaven.

About 2 months after we moved in, a council worker dropped an official little note in the letterbox, explaining how the palms where going to be cut down as they where a danger to the electrical lines. Storm season was coming, and they would cause a large blackout if they came down in a high wind...the note also mentioned that nothing would be done without our approval, as the council needed our permission to enter our property. So I said no thanks, and when they knocked on the door just before storm season every year, I hid behind the sofa and pretended I wasn't home. This has worked for the last five years. Luckily, the palms have not come down in a storm and caused a blackout.

This year, Mr BC finally convinced me that the palms where not doing us any favours and we should get the council to cut them down for free, next time they offered. The palms where so large, their two trunks didn't offer any privacy. They didn't provide much shade. They where a magnet to fruit bats who shat all over the cars, our house and the yard. And Mr BC was sick of dealing with dead palm fronds. So, reluctantly I agreed, with the proviso that Mr BC deal with the whole thing, because I was already heart broken enough without having to liaise with the execution team.

Of course Mr BC was busy with work on the day.

These poor majestic palms had no idea of the evil fate lurking below.
Couldn't the council just put in underground conduits?
Why do we need overhead power lines anyway?

The workman cheerfully took them down one frond at a time. Bastard!

You can sense their horror. Well, I can.

Gleefully wielding his weapon of destruction. While he whistled..

Poor traumatised bald palm.

Nut sacks intact, for now..

First one crown, then the other, comes crashing to the ground before they get to work on the trunks. By this stage Mr BC came out to see what the fuss was about, and was a bit freaked out to see two workmen in the cherry picker, which had manoeuvred in between the power lines. I reassured him that they where obviously trained professionals, with all of the safety equipment and knowledge they needed. Why did they just ask to borrow my garden gloves, then? he replied...

Pretty soon the front garden looked like this. A sea of carnage.

Which was promptly and cheerfully cleaned away by these murderers.

We've filled the empty spaces with a water bowl and a frangipani, but their ghosts linger.

I know it.

Do you mourn plants? Or is it just me?


Friday, April 20, 2012

Today I am a Guest Poster

Today I am guest posting over at Farmers Wifey.
Pop over for a visit!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Just one word

I love words. I love the English language (to be fair, it's the only one I know). I love using different words to express myself the way a painter might use different colours in the paint box. I love the pictures you can paint with words, the way you can luxuriate in a good book.  I've just finished Anne Rice's latest novel (The Wolf Gift) and I find her writing just so intoxicating. I wasn't looking forward to another book in the werewolf genre, but her writing made it acceptable, incredible even. It's like diving into a mystical ocean & bouncing out at the end, gasping for air.

I talk a lot, you could say it's a hobby. I talk way too much and always have, many people along the way have told me I over share. Oh, you like my boots? I love them, I bought them on sale yesterday at Myer for $60, what a bargain! I was going to buy this other brand but they where $240 and I decided I just liked these better, although the heel is a little high, originally I wanted a flat heel but I really like these, the leather is just so nice and they are soooo comfortable..I'm sure this is exhausting for some people, but strangely not for me.

Ironically, I really value clear & direct communication in others.In an effort at self improvement, I've been trying to edit myself. Trying to be more aware of the over share, be alert for eyes glazing over or looking for an escape. I figure I can channel this energy into other areas of my life, it's why I blog for heavens sake.

These thoughts bought me to wondering What if I only had one word to say for the rest of my life?

What would that word be? The word I use most is lovely, followed closely by beautiful. These words are not very practical. I tell my family constantly that I love them, but the word love is also not of much use..Imagine answering the following questions with either lovely, beautiful, or love.

Would you like one sugar or two?
Can I help you?
Would you care for another slice?
Is that your child trapped in that vending machine?
2 adults & 2 children to Brisbane?
Can you work at the canteen next Wednesday?
Chicken or fish?
Can you come to my tupperware party next Thursday?
Is that your child climbing on that display?
Do you want a glass of wine?

I suppose lovely might fit the bill in some of these circumstances, but the word I think is most practical and elegant (combined with a nod or shake of the head) is Thank you, in more ways than one. There is always something to be thankful for. For example, I'm thankful I am not limited to one word, and even if I was, I would still have the power to type.

What word would you choose if you could only choose one?


Saturday, April 14, 2012

DreamWorks Experience at DreamWorld

A little over a week ago, we bundled the kids into the car and set of on a much anticipated family adventure.  The BC Family, along with other bloggers and their families, had been invited to celebrate the launch of the new DreamWorks Experience at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.  Mr BC and the children where suitably impressed that Mummys pretend job actually had some perks that they could enjoy. I was loving it!


I was not loving the idea of a 90 minute car trip from hell, but a few minutes in, the back seat looked like this. Perfection.

The look on their faces when we woke them up to say "Look we are here!' was priceless.

And here we are! Dreamworld is a great theme park because it has so many different things to do, and there are rides and attractions to suit all age groups. There are big scary rides, the tiger exhibit, a native animal section...just lots and lots. It's normally crowded but not today!

Lots of bloggers arrived and started doing what bloggers do - being super friendly to everyone, checking their phones, tweeting, and taking photos. This is the 5 Little Reasons having their photo taken. I was so impressed with every one's children and their beautiful behaviour. I quickly bribed the boys to ensure their behaviour was not too embarrassing.

Hmmmm....not sure if my bribe was taken seriously. Having seen everyone else having their photo taken, the Chaos Brothers wanted a portrait too. Teenage daughter hid in a book so no photo of her.

Right on time Megan from Reprise Media arrived and started putting gold bands on everyones wrist. Then we where escorted into the park, where a VIP section had been cordoned off for us. I know, fancy.

The Gentleman assesses the landscape: Balloons? Check. Enough seating? Check. Wait, is that.....?


(can you tell I hardly ever buy this at home?)

The Gentleman's eye's light up as he starts to pull things out of his special VIP goody bag.

Setting his lazer sights on Monkey Boys Madagascar stuffed toy. The goody bags where a real winner, and not just with the kids. Pretty soon plates of pizza, kebabs and sushi came out, followed by trays of beer and champagne. Zoe and I had a little champagne toast to being a Blogger.

Could this day get any better? Well, yes, actually!

The Escape from Madagascar roller coaster. Giddy up!
(As I flung around this for the third time I may have screamed into the night sky 'I love being a blogger!')

Dreamworld updates thier rides periodically to keep them current, which is great for children of all ages. Last time I was here, this ride referenced the Rug Rats, and although Teenage Daughter has fond memories of Angelica, Tommy, and Phil and Lil, it is irrelevant for lots of kids these days.

Teenage Daughter and I have never met a roller coaster we didn't like.

The staff on this ride (and every ride, actually) where so lovely. At one point I couldn't click my seat belt on properly and in my best idiot voice was pretending to panic to Teenager Daughter "Oh no! I can't do up my seat belt! I'm going to fall off!' The ride attendant at that moment appeared, looked at me with concern, and said with a very straight face 'Oh dear. Can you just hang on really tight?' Too funny! The other attendant cheerfully walked up & down before take off reminding everyone that seats should be placed in the upright position and no alcohol would be served on this flight. He also handled with aplomb 3 pesky teenagers that wouldn't get out of the front seats . I think these sorts of experiences can make or break a day at a theme park.

Mr BC and the boys disappeared into Madagascar's Mad Jungle Jam, which is where they spent many hours last time we where here. It is a 2 story soft ball area, filled with cannons and all sorts of contraptions that you can safely fire at others. It's a big favourite with many, many people. Looking at you, Suger!

OK, I can't make jokes anymore about laser eyes, I was using my (piece of junk) phone at night! I admit it.. Dreamworld had actually provided a lovely photographer to be at our disposal, but I obviously spent so much time galooting madly from ride to ride I didn't see her.

Monkey Boy is collecting a bag of balls to run like a trouper up the stairs, and along the landing so that he and his brother can fire them..

From these.

I remember being a new mum, saying that I disapproved of toy guns and my children would never play with them. That went out the window pretty quickly. I also disapproved dummy's & co sleeping! Hahahahahahah!

Another section of the Dreamworks Experience is Po's Garden, from Kung Fu Panda. This section will be finished soon, and I suspect will include a few new rides, I am really looking forward to returning and seeing how this will work out. Teenage Daughter is a bit sad at the thought of the Spooty Spin being renamed, but honestly, who has even heard of The Angry Beavers these days?

Please note that glowing orb is not another dodgy flash shot, it is actually the full moon.

No vampires around though, just Shrek! In his tub! Can you guess why he is smiling? I took about 3 dozen photos of the back of him but still couldn't capture his, um, bubbly water coming out of his bottom? Can I just tell you this was super hilarious to small boys?

And also to Zoe, from LittleSwallow, having lots of fun on the Donkey Fliers. Wheeeeeeee!

Danielle at 5 Little Reasons has a similarly embarrasing photo of me on a ride called the Gingey Glider, which is like flying around in a sandwich press with a wedge of fibreglass up your butt. Perhaps it isn't for adults?

There was a Madagascar Show that was seriously funny, a real hit with not only the children, I saw lots of mums & dads clapping and singing along. At one stage they called for volunteers to come up and do the limbo, and The Gentleman shot out of his chair like a rocket. There he is on centre stage, future Club Med Worker. Is Club Med even around anymore?

I love King Julien. Don't you? He's awesome.

After the show we snuck in a few rounds on the Ogre-go-Round, much to Monkey Boys delight. Then it was time to go home. Sad faces all round. We all would have stayed, but we where sort of rounded up and moved out by some extremely polite security staff.

Thanks for having us, DreamWorks Experience!


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, but I sure had a great time and so did my family. We attended the launch of Dreamworks Experience at Dreamworld as guests of Reprise Media. All words (and sadly, photos) in this post are my own.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Autumn Garden

Autumn in Brisbane can be joyous, but tricky. The brutality of summer has retreated to a sharp glare, the storms (and subsequent flooding) of late Summer have retreated and the nights are brisk enough to enjoy sleeping under bedclothes again. We are still in the subtropics though, so it isn't cool enough for any bulb planting or spectacular Autumn foliage, you'd have to head south for that. It's a time to clean up the garden, move on with any large projects and plan for the coming months. It's also time to plant winter vegetables because when Winter comes it will only be here for about 6 weeks. It really is an area to garden to your individual micro climate.

I gave the veggie garden a thorough clean out in the last month, & removed almost everything in it. We garden to the layer method, so I added another layer of compost, a layer of composted seaweed, and a top layer of straw. Next layer will include a lot of well rotted manure, which the garden loves but wasn't available this time. The seaweed was an experiment, the jury is still out on that one...

I built some medieval looking supports from the lemon grass canes for green beans, (above) and planted snow peas, that promptly died in the wind. The wind is also pretty good at blowing over those ridiculous supports! Another experiment I won't be repeating..

It's all looking a bit bare still. I can't wait for the lush green overgrowth of the warmer months..That small tree in the pot is a feijoa, a fruit that is native to New Zealand. The mini triffid to the right of the fireplace is a rogue tomato, which didn't get the memo that winter is coming. It was so vigorous, I didn't have the heart to pull it out. The herbs in the planter box at the front are doing OK, but I think they need re potting. There is marjoram, lemon thyme, thyme & rosemary. I bought another rosemary the other day because we eat it faster than it can grow, maybe with 2 plants it might stand a chance.

Chinese cabbage seedlings and some italian parsley. I love italian parsley, but I loathe curly parsley - seriously, it's like mother natures pubic hair! I can't imagine anyone liking it. It's not going in my mouth.

Another rogue tomato, this one actually bearing fruit. It can stay.

Behind that tomato there are some Chioggi beetroot seedlings. This beetroot has concentric red and white stripes when you cut into it, like the Target logo, but more stripey. It's very hardy, and doesn't mind a bit of shade. Most of the greenery in this pic is provided by the rocket, which is soldiers on like a hero in any season, and is a firm favourite with the adults in this household. It's also really good for you, and very easy to grow - this was a packet of seeds I literally flung into the ground and forgot about. I made it into some pesto last month with some olive oil and parmesan. Yum.

On the left, there is mignonette and iceberg lettuce, to the right, regular beetroot. I love beetroot, it is so versatile & the whole plant is edible.

Also planted are some chives, shallots, marigolds and sage. I've also put some potatoes into an old wheelbarrow, because that's what we had available. I don't know what cultivar they are but they where bought to eat before they sprouted, so I'm sure they will be OK!

I might plant some silver beet soon, which is happy all year round. And I really need to divide and repot that Lemon Grass clump....

Do you garden to the seasons? What are you growing at the moment?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Dozen

Don't you think Easter is the best holiday? Friends, family, fun & food without huge amounts of angst, drama or debt.
Some nice chocolate, civilised weather, a few festivals if you please; it's just a lovely short, relaxing break. Despite scary clowns roaming the countryside.

Getting rid of that ramshackle cubby was the best thing ever, because the space has been turned into a cafe. The service is a bit dodgy sometimes but it is a lovely quiet place to sit. (please ignore that pile of builders rubble, it's a work in progress)

After relaxing at home for a while we hightailed it up to the Sunshine Coast, truly one of the most beautiful places in Australia.
It's only a few hours north of Brisbane, but you can see the vegetation getting greener as you head up the highway.

The Sunshine Coast is full of drop dead gorgeous beaches like this. I always catch myself daydreaming about moving here for good, and who can blame me? Perfection. I love that island, it reminds me of Kirrin Island from The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. I want to row over there and discover an old castle before drinking lashings of ginger beer...

Monkeyboy riding his invisible Nimbus 2000 over Nanny's pool.
The weather is hot during the day, but crisp & delicious at night.

The Gentleman seems to have a bit more of a handle on his invisible Nimbus 2000.

Caught up with some lovely old friends for dinner and shared a few bottles of incredible wine. Mr BC and I bought these bottles the year we where married, 22 years ago. Gosh time flies! The cork might be crumbly but the wine was still spectacular....heheh.

This is me holding Charlie, the python (Eastern Spotted I think?). He is about 3 years old, and very beautiful. I love snakes, but Mr BC doesn't at all. His skin (Charlie's, not Mr BC) looks a bit milky because he is ready to shed; he was also pretty hungry and ready to feed - so if you don't want to see that look away after the next photo.

I forget this chicken's name, but I do remember she is a Silky, with one of those mop head arrangements and some lovely blue makeup on her jowls.
There was also a large black hen called Megatron & a tiny Chicky called Pippa.

Look away now if you are squeamish!

Charlie enjoying his dinner, while several paparazzi took photos. Didn't deter him a bit!
He is put in this small cage at mealtimes so he can grasp the food in his own time, rather than lunge at it while it is in your hand - if he does this he might accidentally bite you. He might not be poisonous but no one wants to be bitten by a snake.

Good to be home!

The best part about coming home was installing my new bin! For too long we have had a disgusting bin cluttering up the fung shoi of our kitchen-in-progress. Huge sense of peace & happiness, right there. I'm sure some of you can relate?

How was your Easter?

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