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Another busy week.

This week its been full on!

Monday was a public holiday for the Queens Birthday weekend, so my husband took me camping, we felt like Star Son was able to hold his own with the help of his brother and sisters. I had had a rotten headache for three weeks, l kept waiting for the next “symptom” so l could go to the Dr. More symptoms never came. So l spent the long weekend camping on the banks of the Murray River but feeling like a zombie.

On the Tuesday Star Son had his first visit to the ID (infectious diseases) clinic back at the Austin Hospital. So we had arranged for me to get my blood test first and then off to the hospital l had woken up feeling good, so l was convinced his Blood count would be low and they might remove his PICC line. We got there ahead of time and still sat and waited. Eventually we got in to see the Dr who we had seen the first night of his admission. He brought us smack back down to earth telling us, “We’ll keep the PICC line in for two more weeks” which will take us up to the maximum of six weeks. Because he is young and they don’t want a chance of re-occurrinance, they’ll go for the maximum time and still he’ll be on oral meds for a few weeks after that. He was less than impressed but l tried to explain to him why it was happening and wishing l could teach him some patience.

Back at home we had an appointment with the school to see where Star Son stood in regards to finishing year 12. He’s been adamant he didn’t want to go back and for his mental health l was siding with him, but his Dad was not convinced, until his Year 12 Co-coordinator said “He’s missed too much, he won’t catch up!” So it’s official his schooling is done. Part of me was relieved, everything in him was relieved! Dad was disappointed. But also because there is no “end date” for his illness, he Is not a good risk to let back into the school even without his PICC line. I feel a little bit sad that he won’t have the Year 12 Graduation or the formal things that us parents like, but he will still attend with his Girlfriend.

Then l had a day off on Wednesday, as much as my aching head would allow.

Thursday l had a 9.30am appointment to get the blood test results of gout blood tests l had taken Tuesday. But l let everything come pouring out, every little ache, every little pain, even a few tears escaped, l just want this headache to go away!! He asked about my appetite which has been on some days non existent. Other days l force myself to eat but it tastes like cardboard. He expected that answer. So then he wanted to know about the pain, where it was what other symptoms, yes l get dizzy, yes l feel light headed but my arms and legs feel like concrete. So he says “You’re off for a CT scan! So we can rule out anything sinister.”

Back home the male Nurse, our favourite, R arrived and l asked him about it showed him my referral letter and asked him

“Will it hurt?”

“Oh No!!” He said “it’ll be all over before you know it!”

So l booked it in and took myself down there.

My husband is in some kind of denial that there is even anything wrong with me, l guess I’m not looking sick enough but I’ve been telling him for weeks “I don’t feel right it’s not normal, l feel weird!” He kept saying “Oh you’ll be fine!” He didn’t come home to attend my CT scan, l did it myself. I closed my eyes and took deep calming breaths and before l knew it.. it was all over.

So now we are waiting again, it takes two days to get the results so it’ll be next week now.

Today l spent the morning with my cousin she was doing some work at home, so she handed me the remote and said “You choose a movie!” I found one with Sarah Jessica Parker and Renee Zelweigger, about a singer, so l chose that, about two minutes into the movie SJP is meeting with her Dr and finding out she has a brain tumor!! I looked at my cousin and said “Well that’s serendipity and a good choice!” It was a crap movie though!!

Waiting, waiting, l wonder where l get my patience from!!

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!

Day 12… A glimmer of hope.

“Hope is an olive leaf, to remind the dreamer, the dream is worth dreaming” Max Lucado

From his book “John 3:16”

Today l woke up happier than l have for ages. On Saturday l finally hit the bottom, funny thing is, the thing that broke me was nothing to do with my Star Son and his dramas, but it was enough to break through my wall of protection. It was totally unrelated and quite an old (5 years ago) happening but l was weak and l broke.

I also deleted Facebook. I decided that l couldn’t deal with the dramas anymore, so l shut that down and have been enjoying the silence.

But l also spent most of Saturday sneakily wiping away tears, walking through Bunnings, my eyes leaked, doing the grocery shopping, my eyes leaked, l had a serious “woe is me” few hours but it was alright because Bree was with Star Son so he never knew. I guess l can only go so long being strong for everyone else before l break.

Sunday l didn’t even know if l could do see him, l felt so awful like l was getting sick, so The Bloke let me sleep in and fed me Orange juice and panadol, and l pulled up my Big Girl Panties and off l went again.

We came home early Sunday my husband cooked steak, eggs and salad he decided l needed real food not over priced fried food from a Bain Marie. I had a shower and orange juice and panadol and went to bed, praying to Jehovah “Please let tomorrow be his day” l always find that when l give it to God l sleep better. So this morning l woke up with a new pep in my step and l felt more positive.

My friend James told me that Jehovah hears the whispers in our hearts that our words cannot say. Or something similar to that, bottom line is he told me “Don’t shut Jehovah out”

The sky was pink and orange this morning l took photos on the way to the hospital, who besides Jehovah would think to put those colours together, and who are we, mere mortals to argue, we only stare in awe at their beauty. We left a bit later because l made myself a green smoothie, l felt like my body needs better than l’m giving it.

We got there in time for the Doctors to do their morning rounds. They all come en-mass maybe ten of them, physio, infectious diseases, head of ortho, he never speaks he just stands and listens. This morning l said “Good Morning everyone” most of them responded not him. I’ve seen some of these Drs daily l feel like we’re friends.

He nodded. But today WAS different because last week my husband got fed up with the “Baby Drs” telling us one thing then coming back and changing things, he got loud and though he was calm he got his point across, “You tell him one thing, get his hopes up, then smash him down, we need someone to tell us straight and keep communication lines open”

So today the Boss Dr spoke. He said that there was still some fluid on his knee and depending on his blood results and his Echocardiogram on his heart they might decide to do a fourth surgery.

His smile faded, my husband’s colour faded and my heart dropped. Apart from the fact that Star Son looks great and is using his knee, his PCP (blood counts?) Were not coming down, they were up as high as 250, then got to 148 and plateaued and on Friday they spiked. So on Friday the Dr took all hope of release away from him. They kept him all weekend they were anticipating him spiking a fever and regressing.

So today Boss Dr says, “Let’s see what the Bloods tell us and the echo and then we’ll talk to the Surgeon for the final say.” And then they turned to go, l said “I have a question”

He looked at me ” What if the Echo is NOT good” he said

“We will discuss that then if we need to” and he was gone.

The lovely Baby Dr from Infectious Diseases whispered “I’ll organise the blood tests and echo early” and she scurried away.

So husband went to work and we sat defeated waiting for anything to happen. The ward nurse came back and said he was going down at 9.30am for his echo. YAY! Finally things were happening. So we sat and we waited and we waited and then it was 11.15am while we waited.

Got a phone call from Son number one, got him caught up on the latest news and then finally l asked a nurse “What happened to our 9.30am Echo?”

He said “Let me find out” and rushed off. He returned to do the blood test and report “They decided to keep you at the 3:30pm appointment they already gave you” Ok fair enough but Do l take him down to radiology or will some one collect him?

“Oh no!” He says

“A ward clerk will escort him”

So we decided that since we had some hours to kill let’s escape the ward and go look at the canteen and get junk food… yeah so much for that “putting something healthy into my body” although that green smoothie l took was so good. We got hot chips and bottles of coke and went back to watch Dr Phil. Why not we’re paying for the TV.

The Hospital in the Home Nurse came to meet us, her paper work said he was going home today and she had organised a nurse to visit us tomorrow.. “Yeah about that! Best cancel her!” We filled in the consent forms and waited for half past three,

Then it was 3.45pm and then 4.00pm and finally l went to the nurse in charge and asked her

“Really? What’s going on we’ve been waiting since 9.30am and it’s now 4.15pm for a 3.30pm appointment, should l take him myself?”

She said “I’ll make some calls.”

4.20pm along comes the ward clerk with a wheel chair to take him away. He’s been the most nervous about the echocardiogram because it’s his heart and he thought he was dying. So he came back with a big smile to tell us, (Dad had arrived by then, because the Drs said they’d be back to update us at 5.00pm. )

“the guy doing the “ultrasound thingy” had said “it looks good mate” so he felt at ease and that made us at ease.

And so we waited…and waited and noticed that hospital time is kinda like being on holidays it gets done when it gets done.

Finally, my never patient husband, went to the charge nurse and asked “Where are the Drs?” As he turned around he spotted one and asked him to review Star Sons file and come chat, my husband is slowly taking charge.

And there came our little glimmer of hope!

He said “Mate! Your blood is good it’s dropped by half”

So that takes it down to around 80 and he said he wanted it under 100! Winning! Sadly due to circumstances the Echocardiogram results were not back yet BUT the Dr asked Star Son “when they did your echo what did they say?” Star Son repeated what he had told us and the Dr smiled!

“That’s good BUT we have to have the official written report and we have to wait to speak to the Surgeon, but, from my point of view you’re good to go tomorrow, touch wood!”

We had high fives all round. We all know we shouldn’t get our hopes up, they might smash us back down to the ground tomorrow and we know, honestly we do he’s in the right place and getting the right treatment BUT we want him home…

Home is where his Mum is, (and speanding 11 hours a day in the hospital Mum is missing home too!)

Home is where his heart is,

HOME is where his family are and his girlfriend has open access he needs to come home.

So tonight..

Hope is an olive leaf, proof to the dreamer that a dream is worth dreaming.

My heart feels a little lighter already!!

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.

Mind dump…

It’s 3:08am. I’m wide awake… why?

His drip had an air bubble and alarms went off every which way, lights flashing, Nurse Fiona came in quietly creeping but she needed light and a syringe to remove the offending bubble and so all lights went on and though she was fast and efficient and it was all dealt with so quickly, my mind has switched on and l am wide awake.

He sleeps blissfully it’s been a rough few weeks, two weeks ago exactly we were here, he had a knee reconstruction, playing football it’s been his dream since he was 3 yrs old and got his first football and declared “I’m going to play for the Tigers!”

He started Auskick at 5 yrs old and joined his first team at 8 or 9. I had previously believed l had skipped the “Sports Mum” title but l thought too soon. Then it was all about football training in the cold winter evenings and Sunday’s we worship at the Church of Football, all day Sunday is about Football and he’s breezed through it all.. well almost… until this year.

First game of season 2019, twenty minutes into the first quarter, l sat there dutifully doing the good Mother thing, I am NOT that cheering Mother, l’m not allowed to cheer, he hates hearing me cheer from the side lines, l am NOT that Mother that yells at the umpire for a crappy decision, because that’s the Umpires job and they train hard to do that, l am also NOT that Mother who coaches from the side lines because that’s what his coach is for, and besides, l don’t even like Football, l don’t understand it l don’t know who plays on what position, l know very few of the players, l honestly don’t care but HE does and so, therefore, l go each week, to see my Star Son, l cheer when he’s not looking l sing his theme song under my breath and l love that he is so committed and happy to play.

So back to round one, it’s Autumn in Australia, the days are getting shorter and the weather is temperamental but that day was lovely and sunny, l was not feeling very well, so l took my book and read and cat napped in the car for the hour and a half before his game, while they do their strategies and warm ups or whatever it is they do.

My husband is team manager this year so he’s off doing his pre game official stuff, it’s a good way to get an hours reading or letters written uninteruppted time.

Then the previous game finished and Star Son and his team took to the field. So l set up the picnic blanket on the ground in front of our car and took my book and watched the game… not knowing then it would be his last for the year!

The team is a mix of last season’s players and a whole bunch of new guys so pre season has been about them all learning to come together and be a team, bonding sessions, hard training sessions since about February, including a beach training session, and Star Son to help improve his own fitness joined the local gym and attended at least twice weekly.

So what happened next was not part of the plan and frankly not even a blip on any of our radars. Aussie Rules football AFL to those who are from overseas, is a rough game, he’s had a concussion before and once he got carried off the field on a stretcher! (And gosh did l get into trouble for not taking photos for Facebook!) And though l hate to see him hurt in any capacity I’ve learnt to bite my tongue and not complain, (He never sees the tears l cry) because it’s all part of the game, the game he loves, the game he eats, sleeps and breathes for.

His Grandmother once said to him “Whatever they pay you to play, l will pay you NOT to play” and we laughed at her, but, now l am on team Tanny, l don’t want him to play not after that day.

Fifteen minutes into the first quarter, the other team are big solid lads, l guess ours had speed and Star Son was playing down my end of the field so l had a good view, we were already showing domination on the score board. And then BANG he’s down, slow motion, the other guy hip and shouldered him, he went up in the air and he crashed down, l swear l felt the thud as he landed, and l just stared, silently willing him, “Come on get up! Come on!” He tried, he rolled this way, he rolled the other, but he was struggling and my heart skipped a beat, then his hand went up which means “Send help” the First Aide girl went running and spoke to him, felt his leg and then put her hand up calling for help, although l know he would have hated it l so wanted to run out to him on to that field.

The trainer and first aide got him up and carried him off the field, passed me at the boundary and l caught his eye, tear filled, and mouthed “ankle or knee?” He said “Knee l think” and there began our nightmare.

He was taken to the coaches box and inspected, but just prior to that another player had come off the field, his arm, we found out later was broken so he was sent off in an ambulance!

But Star Son sat there with an Ice pack, only staff are allowed in the coaches box so l forced myself to stay sitting where l was “Don’t panic! There’s no blood, he’s upright just wait. Don’t panic” so l prayed, to outsiders it might have looked like l was reading my book but behind my sunglasses my eyes were closed and l cried out to Jehovah to send an angel to watch over him.

And then l found my husband because as team manager he IS allowed in the coaches box!! He quickly returned and said “Oh he’s strained his knee he’ll just sit out the rest of this quarter” (Ha! Yeah right!!) At Half time my husband called me over and said “Sit with him in the coaches box while the team go into the rooms” so l sat and l asked him “How are you really?” And he said “Mum the pain is unbareable” my heart cracked. Because l want to fix him but I’m not allowed.

He sat there for the rest of the game, with an ice pack, his knee was massively swollen and l still don’t understand why he wasn’t sent to see someone, but apparently we had to wait for the swelling to go down. Getting him into the car to go home was fun… NOT! He’s six foot tall and folding his lanky body into the Volkswagen coupe was not easy!

At home, in my domain, l became Nurse, pain killers, ice pack, showers, comfort foods, still not understanding why we were not seeing a hospital. I was told his coach ( also a physiotherapist) would assess him the next night, see if the swelling had subsided.

Monday- No school, he can’t walk, can’t put any weight on it at all, he’s using a walking stick to hobble around. Training that night, Coach says “Let’s see a Dr to get a second opinion” finally.

Dad hired a set of crutches.

Tuesday- No school, he’s in a huge amount of pain, he’s also doing year 12 and cannot miss more than a set amount of hours or he may fail. So we reach out to the school and tell them what’s happening asking them to send him home work so he doesn’t fall behind. He sees his own Doctor who consults with Coach and they agree it’s not improving send him for an MRI.

Wednesday- 6:45am in the car headed to another suburb for an 8:15am appointment for an MRI, we are given a disc with images and we deliver it straight to Coach, who rings my Husband and says “It’s not looking good” l didn’t get shown the photos or take part in any of these discussions, maybe they’re too advanced for my simple mind.

Thursday- We have a 6:30pm appointment with an Orthopedic Surgeon who delivers the bad news..

He has done his ACL, MCL and torn his meniscus. He won’t play again for at least 12 months (in my mind all l heard was “He won’t play again” and suddenly his Grandma won!) So he was prescribed pain relief and anti inflammatory told to keep using the crutches and booked in for Surgery on Wednesday May 1st.

He’s been off school since some of that was school holidays and Some he’s done sheet work to keep up.

Wednesday 1st May. We need to be at the Epworth in Richmond at 7.00am we leave home at 5:30, arrive on time, check in everything goes smoothly, he’s in good spirits, he’s looking forward to jelly in recovery, Dad pays the bills and takes in the technical jargon and l, well l take deep breaths and keep it all together when inside l’m not coping so well. But it’s about him not me so deep breathe don’t let anyone see your hands shaking.

I get to go up to pre surgery and see the orthopaedic surgeon, his team of helpers all come and introduce themselves l will never remember their names or their jobs l smile, l nod and l freak out when they have to wheel him away, but l smile and say “see you when you wake up l love you” and then l have to find my way through the maze of tunnels and get back to his ward. Dad and l eat a vanilla slice at the Cafe and drink coffee and wait for the call to say it’s all over.

Just after 11.00am the call comes he’s good in recovery he’ll be back soon. I thank Jehovah for answering my prayers.

Then a call from recovery “Do you want to come sit with him?” So we quickly go there to see our Star Son, my husband goes first, spends a few minutes to reassure himself he’s all good and then he’s heading into work to get some stuff done. I’m staying, no where else l could even think of being right now.

I spend half an hour in recovery with him, zonked out of his mind, we laugh about how one minute he’s going surfing with the male nurse and then suddenly he says “My leg!! They’ve cut off my leg!” I quickly reassured him they had not and then in his next breath he’s off to play tennis.. “With only one leg?” I asked, he sighed and said “Oh yeah they cut off my leg!” I showed him his leg was still there and then he made a cute little video telling his girl friend how much he loved her.

Back on his ward he dozed, he ate chicken nuggets and chips, we watched Netflix and l helped him to and from the bathroom, and l watched him sleep fitfully and cry out occasionally in pain, and l wished l could take it all away. His blood pressure was high, his heart rate was fast it was scary.

We made it through the first night, my big tough Star Son who towers over me, woke during the night and l sleepily asked him “What do you need I’ll get it” he replied “Just making sure you’re here” l said “I wouldn’t be any where else”

Thursday- early morning starts surgeon came by at 6:30am to do rounds and we were given all clear to go home. Had a physio visit and an x-Ray and a pharmacy visit And by 11:00am we gently busted him out of the hospital.

Back home we began a new daily routine, medication and physio. Everything was going lovely and smoothly until Sunday! Bloody Mothers day.

It started well, he walked without his crutches and we all cheered it was time he started weight baring. He has a 2 week check up Wednesday with his own Doctor, everything was going smoother than l imagined… l jinxed us!

Sunday evening he said he didn’t feel so good and he wasn’t hungry plus he was sore, we though he might have over done the weight baring bit so helped him into bed. Then he vomited, and then the fever started and l thought maybe it was like gastro, so l tried to keep his fluids up and entice him to eat.

Tuesday- He slept most of the day his girlfriend came to visit after school and he went out to say Happy Mother’s Day to her mum he’d brought her chocolates and then suddenly Bree ran in and said “Quick Kim, he’s passed out” running outside he’s laying in the drive way, luckily Bree had caught him so he didn’t hit his head. He was white as a ghost, even his freckles had disappeared. I don’t know how l manage to keep so calm but we got him up and inside and then my mind is racing. I made phone calls to my husband to Star Sons Doctor l couldn’t get him in, so l rang my doctor and got him in, my daughter drive us down and my husband met us there.

He had a raging temperature 39.2 she said he was dehydrated and the fever probably made him pass out. She gave him antibiotics and anti nausea medication and told us to give him hydrolyte but the worst Thing was the pain in his knee it was hot and angry. She didn’t suspect his knee was infected thinking like us it was gastro. He hardly slept all night l alternated between ice packs and pain relief. He had his two week check up the next morning.

Wednesday 15th May. Two weeks post op. Antibiotics and antinausea meds, pain relief, hot shower but not too hot and forced him to eat some cereal, time for his 10:30am DR appointment, my husband changed his mind, did he suspect?! And decided to stay home and attend the appointment, his Dr listened to yesterday’s tale and took a look at his knee and said “Go straight back to the hospital!” He wrote us a referral and then we were in the car rushing madly back to Richmond.

By 12.00pm he was in a bed in Emergency and by 1:15pm the surgeon was here draining fluid from the knee by 2:20pm he was taken down to pre op and l’m in a daze! Filling in forms answering questions starting to be concerned about his BP, his racing heart beat his collapsing viens, he was dehydrated, connected to a drip, whiter almost than the sheets.

So, his knee joint got infected inside, it was nothing l did wrong, he went into surgery and had keyhole surgery and they flushed the infection out with 10 litres of sterile water. He’s attached to a drip feeding him strong antibiotics. From 10:30am till surgery at 3:20pm everything moved like a whirl wind, my husband went home to get some things for us and suddenly l was alone, l brought donuts and sat and cried, because sometimes it just has to happen. I can be strong for everyone most of the time.

So at 3.08 am when l started writing this l laid here in the glow of all the machines while he sleeps and listen to him breathe and think about this star Son who means the world to me, and l know l’m going to be really tired later, Nurse Fiona is worrying and wants to make me drinks because l am not sleeping, but like l always say l can sleep when l’m dead for now l’m right where he needs me to be. Its 5:29am probably not worth sleeping now.