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Where else would YOU be?

I just had an Ah Ha! Moment while l was standing at the stove stirring Deluxe Mac and cheese. Not all macaroni cheese is created equal.. when l really need comfort food l go for the Mac and Cheese deluxe option. It’s the packet that comes with a tin of cheese sauce! I dread to think what it is made of before it goes Into that can, But gosh it’s so good!

I have had a head ache for three weeks, l keep waiting for the next symptom to tell me “Something is wrong go to the Dr. ” but so far I’ve been able to ignore it, but yesterday l went to physio and had a sook! I said “It’s probably nothing but can we rule that out first?” I keep my stress in my shoulders always have… but when l find my shoulders are so tight and up near my ears well it’s time to see someone. And let’s face it May was a pretty stressful month.

I tried to make excuses, maybe l need a new pillow, maybe it’s this new bra, blah blah blah… she took one poke at me and said “Oh dear!” For half an hour she poked, prodded and massaged and then did some ultrasound therapy, and reports, “You have two very large trigger spots (knots!) In your shoulder and the base of your skull” so, see! I wasn’t making it up I am sick!! But she also said 3 week headaches are not normal and that my body seems to be fighting off something else. So if it’s not much better by Tuesday I should see a GP and ask them for tests. We’ll see.

But last night l walked out and l could move, and for a little while l felt almost normal. She said “Go home and rest with a heat pack on your neck and shoulders and don’t do anything else” so l did, but oh my gosh by the time it was bedtime l was in the worst pain and l really just wanted to die, l had a fever, I had pain everywhere and wondered how my husband could possibly believe I’m not sick…do I not look sick?

All my life when l get in uncomfortable places l imagine where else I could be.. one time l was really sick almost hospitalised and l was hallucinating l was in Japan with the cherry blossoms, another time l was in South Africa watching the wild life.

When I spent so much time in hospital with Star Son we talked about where we would rather be and where we still want to go… running away from real life is what l do.

Maybe that’s why l am such an avid reader, maybe that’s why l like to write to escape, and those tear jerky movies that l love to re watch!! “Bridges of Madison County” and “Under the Tuscan Sun” and we can’t forget “Eat prey love” all goes with my “Escape theme”its one I’ve used my whole life.

So this week when I feel like crap, my husband in planning a camping trip for the three day long weekend, honestly it’s the last thing l feel like doing BUT l need to do it to break this cycle. I’m almost 100% certain once l get started I’ll love it.

Today l forced myself out of the house with daughter number 1 and two of the Grandchildren, it was hard but l did it and rewarded myself with Mac and Cheese. As l stood here stirring the Mac and Cheese l listened to the back ground noice, Tim McGraw singing “On my Mamas porch” and then my family theme song “Family” (it’s on shuffle play) and l listened to child, 3, 4 and 5, they’re playing some game online, they’re in a group, and sitting in the same room telling each other “Brother look out behind you! J go back and save A! We’re going to make this I’ve got you” and l smiled, if only they were so good together in real life, and then came the waft of well cooked macaroni and hot gooey cheese sauce.. and I wondered

“Where else would I want to be?”

They is my family, they might be crazy but they is my family!!

One week home..

Today was a week since Star Son got out of hospital. A busy week of catching up with his family, nieces, nephews, sisters, brother and brother-in-law. Lots of noise and movement, very different from the hospital environment.

It’s also been a week of waiting, each day we get a phone call from a nursing agency to tell us “The nurse will be visiting between 10 and 1pm” that was the biggest window sometimes it’s just an hour window, it’s ok though, we have no where else better to be except yesterday… we’ll come back to that.

Each day a nurse arrives, the first one was here the longest, l felt sorry for her, she got a bit panicky about the pump “It’s a new model l don’t know how this works, l need to read instructions.” So we waited in silence and let her read. Then she didn’t know how to open the pump, we found her a key, and then she couldn’t get the drip feed to start, l didn’t want to rush her or Interfere, so l quietly mentioned l had the Hospital in Home direct number saved in my phone if she needed guidance. They talked her through it and an hour and a half later she left.

Star Son was angry, angry he had to wear the stupid pump, angry that she took so long, he was hating on life, l calmed him down gave him an icy pole and sent him back to bed.

He’s been eating much better, we sat down as a family complete with a note pad and pen and made a list of every meal we have cooked or wished to cook, separated them into different section, so “chicken” “beef” “pork” “vegetables” “assorted” (things like carbonara and ravioli) and then l asked each individual person “do you like, love or hate it” there are three camps in my house “I hate that NOT eating it!” (Yeah she’s 27!! Her 5 year old daughter’s got more bravery!) And then there’s the camp “Well l don’t love it but I’ll give it a try!” And then there’s Middle Son-24 years old “It doesn’t matter I’ll just eat it!” Bless his cotton socks! So now we have a list of meals l or any of them can cook and beside each meal initials of who WILL eat it… menu planning just got so much easier. Tonight Star Son and his Gal had a date night, they missed there 17 month one while he was in hospital. Madams 27 and 5 were out somewhere so we put aside the “meatloaf” idea because everyone loves Mumma’s meatloaf and Son in law had never had meatloaf till he met my eldest girl. And we asked the only child home “do you want a steak sandwich?” He’s a carnivore of course he did!! Star Son is home in his environment with his familiar foods and drinks he’s starting to look good.

Saturday nurse S on her second visit to us removed his stitches and we got to have a good look at his knee. It looks good!

Two little stitches gone!

Also on Saturday we had my cousin’s Surprise 50th birthday party. I had warned her daughter if he was not home l would not attend, so it was kind of a relief to be able to attend, there were plenty of sitting spaces for him. And best of all only one child and daughter in law and beautiful Grandbaby was missing, we like to party together!

Me, Eldest girl, Middle Son and Madam 27.

Added in Star Son and the always smiling Breeza.

Cheeky monkeys.

My grade 4 school teacher was a special guest of honor he took one look at Madam 27 and said “Oh you MUST be Kim’s daughter!” Everyone says we look alike.

Also present was my bestie.

30 plus years of friendship love her to bits!! Saturday was a good day.

Sunday the nurse took blood from his PICC line, still keeping an eye on his Blood levels. He went to see his football team play, he came home miserable, so we chatted and l asked “Was it hard watching them play without you?”

He said ” No Mum it was cold and boring” Exactly my thoughts most weeks.

Monday l had a date day with my cousin she’s off on long service leave so we planned to go to the movies for her birthday, but the Surgeon wanted a blood sample take early in the morning before his appointment today. Times like this l wished that window of “The nurse will visit…” was a bit longer.

We had to get Miss 5 to school then get Star Son in the car and down to the Clinic, through all the peak hour traffic, it’s just a walk in and sit and wait appointment but we had to be home by 10am and my Cousin and l had to be at the cinema by 10am as well. We just scraped it in.

Star Son was nervous about the blood test because those nurses are not allowed to touch his PICC line so they had to do it the regular way and after his veins collapsing on the 16th May, he was worried it would happen again. Thankfully the Nurse was in and the tube half full before he realised but the look of relief on his face was immense. We got back in the car and just turning into our street when my cousin drives up from the other direction, so it was literally, jump out of Madam 27’s car, help him into the house, torrential rain making his crutches a slipping hazard and then jumping into her car and going, and wouldn’t you know it.. that one day the nurse was there closer to ten than eleven! We made it though. And as selfish as this next bit is going to sound.. it was just so nice to sit and enjoy a movie and a laugh with my cousin! Not worry about pills schedules or nurses coming, or drip pumps beeping.

Today we had our 8 week check up with the Surgeon. I’m always hopeful for good news but the “good blood nurse” warned us the results might not be back. They were AND not only that THEY WERE GOOD!!!! His blood count is down to 45!! When we left hospital they were 70 and they told us anything under 100. So to hear they have halved again, l wanted to do a happy dance and hug and kiss him. Oh and have l told you how cute his Surgeon is?? McDreamy!

So now after all our happy news we are waiting again.. next Tuesday we have an appointment with the ID (Infectious diseases) Clinic, and we are praying they will be suitably impressed and remove the PICC line, he’ll then go on oral antibiotics, which will mean two daily pills and no nurses!! We are feeling hopeful for that, also he has been asked to take away one of the crutches and start using his knee to weight bare more. Its all looking really positive.

And that’s where l love you and leave you for this post.. my pillow calls and lm learning to listen to it.

Lucky 13!

This morning l woke up feeling less than good, much different than yesterday’s waking up… But l took a deep breath and got myself ready and we headed in a little early to be sure we saw the Drs!

Star Son was nervous and less than chatty. Today the team came minus the Big Boss Dr and his second in charge. So another Dr spoke up and told us they had conferred with the Surgeon and he was happy for Star Son to go home!!

13 days, and we were being set free!

They spoke briefly about physio and did we have one? Yes! His football coach was my Physio first! So plans were made to visit him (Dad had already organised that last week 🙄)

Next we discussed Hospital in the Home nurses, ✔ we had met her the day before they were waiting for their say so.

Next they discussed visiting with the Surgeon for a follow up, again ✔ we have an appointment on 4th June.

So we all congratulated each other and they left and l packed his clothes!

So then the rush began, first the Pharmacy visited, discussed what he was taking and what he could stop taking. She returned a half hour later with a brown paper bag and Star Son and l “high fived” each other, another step closer!

Then came our lady from Hospital in the Home, we briefly went over the paper work from yesterday, she showed us how to turn on the pump, and she went away to assemble that while his dressing was replaced.

Next our male nurse Ran came to replace the plastic skin that covered the PICC line, and while he did that HIH nurse was back with the pump. She hooked him up with enough antibiotics to last him 24 hours, then a nurse will come and replace it.

Physio came by with a letter to tell our physio what he had been doing in hospital. Ward nurse came by with a letter and a Dr’s certificate.

And then we looked at each other and asked “Is that all?”

We had boxes of supplies to take home for the nurse to use, his Bags and my bag.

All in all it was 10.36am by the time we walked out of the front door.

All week, last week he wanted KFC, so we stopped on the way home and got his junk food fix.

Then once at home we let him settle in, while l set up the dining room table as the Nurses station.

Now it’s almost bedtime and l think l will sleep well, simply because he’s back where he belongs and l don’t have to do the early morning runs.

Day 13 was a lucky one for us!

The Ultimate let down..

So the Ultimate disappointment came today, there is now NO release date on the table, he’s there until. Until his Blood improves, until the anti biotics do their thing, just until..

His blood markers had plateaued and today slightly risen. His health, his knee and most everything else looks good, except his emotional health, but his Blood is misbehaving. He was booked in for an Echocardiogram (didn’t happen) we have always had an appointment for that on Monday. Monday it is.

So basically there is no end in sight, l know l sound like l’m whining. I don’t mean to but it’s so frustrating and heart breaking.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers and love, we ALL appreciate your thoughts for our boy.

To our Elder children Jasmin, Amber and Jay, and my beautiful Grandchildren, thank you for coming to visit l know it’s a long haul, but it so helps him. Kittapillar thank you for your little messages and videos he laughs! Its times like these that the family have pulled together.

Breanna is Star Son’s girlfriend and you continue to be his best medicine and we so appreciate you.

Family are the best medicine.

But l am so angry, I’m not even sure who or what l’m angry at. I can’t blame him for loving a sport and being so dedicated to it. I can’t blame the Dr’s they’ve all been amazing and let’s have a shout out to those most lovely of nurses.. Fiona, Jade and Marrissa at Epworth, and then the lovely Pheobe and Demi and Sam, at Austin, there have been so many beautiful caring women who l knew l could go home and leave him with, because they looked after him amazingly.

Today we asked the Dr, “Was this caused by something we did or didn’t do? Is it because he’s stressed about being here? Is there anything we can do to help the infection numbers come down??”

The answer to all of the questions was NO. And then comes the inevitable question “Why?” Why him? Why can’t you stop it? Why? WHY??

And for once someone gave me an honest answer.. “We don’t know why, We don’t know what to do, we are watching and waiting.”

Star Sons eyes filled with tears, my eyes filled with tears, and he asked “Do you have anymore questions?” I did Not, he just answered mine so l turned to Star Son and asked “Is there anything you don’t understand?” He shook his head and mumbled “Only why l can’t go home”

So the Dr took a deep breath and went through the options, in laymens terms they are expecting, due to the slight raise in the blood numbers that he is going to spike a fever and need to be rushed back to surgery! God l pray they are wrong!!

The Doctor left and we sat in silence for a while, me fighting back tears and him gently fuming, and then he sighed and said “I’m going to spend the rest of my f%$#ing life in here” Yep! my heart cracked a little more.

I explained that although it wasn’t the news we wanted to hear, it was right, if l took him home and he spikes a temp we’d be right back where we were last Tuesday when he passed out in the drive way… gosh was it only last week? It feels like forever!

He’s beyond sad, he’s just angry with the world and with me, and l try to not take it personally, l mean it’s part of the Mothering process to be a safe haven to let him vent his emotions… But l’m also trying to keep mine under control and all l really want to do is lay down beside him and cry.

The man in the bed opposite and across one has been a quadriplegic for 29 years. He turns 50 years old on Wednesday. He has been talking to Star Son about Football and bloke stuff, he’s a lovely guy. Today he got released and he came over to Star Sons bed and apologised and said he felt guilty for going home when it should have been Star Son, we quickly re assured him it’s all good he has a party to attend!

He really made me stop and look at my whinging attitude, he was very sick and in a lot of pain but he always had a nice word to the other three patients in the room and every single person from the tea lady to the cleaners and every nurse, he was always upbeat and happy. I need to take a leaf from A’s book.

I need to but l’m sad, l’m angry and l’m feeling rather numb. Sitting in the hospital for 11 hours a day is wearing.

Maybe I’ll start next week.

Another day, another disappointment…

Day 9.. Another day sitting by his bed.

We were told Sunday we were supposed to go home Monday, so we got here bright and early eager to take him home.

All his canullas were removed, his drainage tube was removed, the dressings were removed, he was untethered for the first time since Wednesday. We felt hopeful.

Physio came and did some knee manipulations and put him on crutches to see how he would be able to move. He’s been using under arm crutches for a few weeks, she changed him arm crutches, he managed those.

She took him next door to the gym and put him at the parallel bars trying to get his knee straighter. The colour drained from his face he groaned “I don’t feel too good” a chair was quickly placed behind him, l ran for some water, we spent ten minutes deep breathing as the colour gradually returned to his face. Back to the room we hobbled, Mum with a wheel chair “Just in case”

We waited patiently, told that the pharmacy would visit and some one from Hospital in Home would visit and interview us to see if we were suitable candidates for them to visit, and we waited for the 1.00pm appointment for the picc line to be put in.

He was nervous about that they explained again how it would happen and then slid him onto the bed to take him away. I had an hour to waste. I made his bed, cleared his bedside table and read my book, how long 60 minutes feels!

Finally he was back, the PICC line inserted merely a bump in his arm and the relief of that drama clearly showed on his face, so we sat and we waited, for the HIH and for Dracula to take more bloods and for the pharmacist.. and we waited, and waited some more.

Finally the lovely nurse Demi said “it’s 4:45pm everyone goes home at 5:00pm it’s not looking good.” The sparkle left his eye and the smile left his face, and l struggled to hide the tears. Tomorrow you’ll go home we said!

Tuesday we were here bright and early before 7:30am because that’s when Drs do their rounds.

We thought we were going home. They said they wanted to check his bloods again and if that was trending down he could go home.

And so we waited.. and waited and then at 4:45pm we were told “Probably not today, but the big Drs will be in tomorrow” so more disappointment, we wait.

Wednesday we didn’t dare get our hopes up and he wasn’t in a good frame of mind either. The Big Drs did their ward rounds at 10:30am, a whole bunch of them, who decided that they would like him to do some MORE IV antibiotics his spirits went down and so did ours. The Dr wanted to confer with the Surgeon about what the next move should be.

But no one conferred with us.

So Dad, at work, rang us to see what was going on, we gave him the same reply “Nothing new to report” l feel like a recording.

He hung up and rang the Ward Sister who told him and then reluctantly told us “The Dr is waiting for the Surgeon to get back to him, so for now you’re still here” another day waiting in hope and gets to 3.00pm and crashes down.

Thursday, we get up this morning, we’re tired and we’re sad imagine how much worse he feels. We wanted to be here for Dr’s rounds back to 7.30am today.

Doctors rounds they’re fast, they breeze in do a quick history and give thumbs up and move on. But today we had questions! Why? How long?

Bottom line is Surgeon wants to see Star Son and see for himself how the knee is bending and to tell us the blood count has plateaued, the surgeon will decide what to do about that.

So we wait.. and we wait… and we play cards and watch television and we wait.. it’s day 9… and we wonder “When will he go home?”

Family…. How do you live with out them?

Borrowed from wikipedia…

In the context of human society, a family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth), affinity (by marriage or other relationship), or co-residence (as implied by the etymology of the English word “family”)[citation needed] or some combination of these.[citation needed] Members of the immediate family may include spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters.[citation needed] Members of the extended family may include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and siblings-in-law. Sometimes these are also considered members of the immediate family, depending on an individual’s specific relationship with them.

Families come in all shapes and sizes. By blood, by marriage, by soul ties, by chance.

These last three weeks have really defined for me MY family.

I gave birth to four children, and I inherited our eldest by marriage with my husband, we made a deal when we blended our families and added our Star Son, that we wouldn’t say “Step son or daughter” they are our children. We have Five Children, and those five children have so far, given us six Grandchildren. Then we add in the “in-laws” we have a son in law, and a Dutch Daughter in law, and a lovely girl we call “daughter” who is dating Star Son, they are 17, still young and time to add the “In Law” to her name, but in the mean time, she is my family, and the Grandchildren call her “Aunty”

Families are such touchy things, they can work and be brilliant or they can fail miserably. I grew up with “half sisters” it was always made known, I found out on my 25th birthday I had a full blooded Brother, who had been given up for adoption at birth, we share the same blood, we grew up for the first 25 years of my life as strangers, but when we met, there are resemblances that make us “Family” as well as DNA etc etc. For me personally family has been a failure. I decided very early in, I would be a different Mother, different from the one who raised me, and I have succeeded. I have gotten on better with my “In Laws” families more than my so called “Family”

So these three weeks have for me cemented the fact that I have done something right, when stuff goes bad, family step in.

Star Son tore his ACL, MCL and Meniscus in his knee the last Sunday in April. Then started all the Doctors appointments and tests and scans, and through it all his brothers and sisters have been beside him, calling him, checking in, driving him places, baking him food, visiting him to keep his spirits up. Our eldest son is travelling and so in another state but he keeps in touch via Facetime. And Star Son might not admit it, but he loves that they check in. This past week has been extra hard for him with infection invading his knee and then his blood system, resulting in him needing two more surgeries and so today is day 7 back in hospital.

Today he and we believed he would be coming home, and so his eldest Sister had made plans to come visit so his niece and nephews could see Big Unca! Today the drips came out, the drainage tube came out yesterday, today he says “Mum lets go for a walk” and so very slowly we did stopping to sit and rest as needed.

We made it to the hospital Cafe and found a seat when his phone buzzed, Facetime with number one sister and Faerygirl and Squishy, on the way to school, they wanted to say hello! He was wrapt! He chatted briefly and then hung up, we made our way back up to his ward, the phone buzzed again, it was big brother number two, he has just started working and was on his morning break, he wanted to check in, they chatted briefly and then said Goodbye. Again, he was wrapt! Just lately, he’s been feeling like he’s been dumped in hospital and forgotten.

He had surgery last Friday and as he came out of surgery, his girlfriend and her Mum were there waiting to see him, his other family, who treat him like he’s part of their family. His girl friend, her Grand Mother even chats to him on messenger checking up on him, FAMILY, they might not be his Blood but they are in his heart! His number one Sister and her family came to visit a little while later, looking back at the photos he was pretty out of it and the told me today “I can’t really remember them being here, I was too tired” and very very sick.

Family… they’re there when the chips are down. Later this afternoon number one son, sent him a funny little video saying “Kebabs before Abs” which his beer belly hanging out and Star Son laughed out loud, a sound we haven’t heard lately, and I thanked Jehovah for one silly Son making one sad one laugh! It was a lovely sound. It didn’t last long when the lovely Nurse Demi told him “Sorry dude you won’t be going home today!” He lost the sparkle in his eye and there were no more laughs.

Friends are great if you have the right ones, I am blessed to have one who has been with me for over 30 years, and on Saturday she trekked to the hospital to see me so she could hug me, she lets me off load all my woes, she gave Star Son a hug and she left, blew in and out like a fresh breath of air and she’s kept in touch via text every day, thats TRUE friendship, I once read a quote about how “Friends are the family you give yourself” and giving myself Lady Hawk was the best thing I ever did. But friendships these days are not made equal and its showing this past week, where very few if any of his friends have made any effort to check in and see how he is. My heart breaks for him. His girlfriend and her Mum visited Friday, they visited Saturday when they heard how low he had gotten and then on Sunday we brought her in for the day with us its a 45 minute drive each way, so we brought her with us and then gave them some time to be together. She’s clever this girl. She ordered Uber Eats- Subway and he actually ate! She’s a gem! She is our Family.

I watched a series on Television, I cant recall the name of it, but the theme song touched me Family by Mother Mother it really relates to MY Family.

This morning, we had a small person climb into bed with us, she snuggled up and went back to sleep, I opened an eye and there was this beautiful little face right in front of me. Yeah it was early and I really wanted to sleep a bit longer, but then as I lay there watching this face, this second generation of my Family, I thanked Jehovah for being right where I was. I’ve been focusing on how awful all the stuff with Star Son is, I had forgotten to look at my blessings, so I snuggled that little warm person, and smelt her hair and watched her little eyes crack open and smiled as she sleepily said “Hello Grandma!” And the song echoes through my head “They is my family!”

Day Four… never ending story..

So this new hospital doesn’t invite parents to stay with their children well maybe in the peds ward but no where else, it’s just the difference one of many, between the two hospitals. Maybe it’s just me being precious and a helicopter parent. Either way I’m not needed. And it hurts to be honest. I have always been his first responder, it’s always been “Muuuuuum” the more drawn out the word the more needed l was.

I guess some might argue “Oh he’s seventeen he’s practically an adult” but is he? At the other hospital l would help him with bathroom visits and physio and non medical things, just to give the nursing staff time to spend with more needy patients and they were happy for me to be involved. Here not so much, and yet here, it’s much busier.

Being a Mother.. to me means standing guard being his soft place to fall, catching him before he hits the ground, although last week his girlfriend and her Mum did that job for me, and l am thankful.

I am his Mum, his protector of boogeyman and night monsters and spiders and scary stuff, and l am banished from him and neither of us are enjoying it.

So he’s seventeen, but, when he’s told that he has to go for an Echocardiogram to check is the infection has reached his heart, well, he panics and all he hears is “blah blah blah heart, oh I’m dying” so when l come back into the room and he starts telling me this and then breaks down and asks me “Am l going to die?” Well that just breaks my heart!

And I’m his protector so l wrap him in a hug and tell him of course he is not, they are being cautious, and all the time my heart is breaking for my Star Son, who one day hurt his knee playing his favourite sport and suddenly two weeks later he’s attached to drips and thinking he going to die.

I want to hurt someone. Tell me this crap and let me break this scary big news in a more careful loving way.

I want to hurt someone because they have terrified my son.

I want to hurt someone because l spent the rest of the afternoon mopping up tears and reminding him to deep breathe.

I want to hurt some one because my big tough husband has cried more in the last two days than in 15 years of marriage.

I want to hurt someone because he is there all alone thinking he’s dying and l am here at home crying.

I really want to hurt someone.