Hopefully this will be a more positive post than the whinge that I posted in the early hours of this morning!
Many people have asked how I am managing to get around with two injured ankles. I had to master crutches before leaving hospital and both ankles are immobilized with splints. Thankfully the right ankle which was “just” sprained is feeling much better and I can bear weight on it quite easily. I cannot stay on it for too long however and I have to avoid any twisting or rolling movements because they really hurt and could cause me to utter some words that you really don’t want to hear. The left ankle which has a “non-displaced fracture of the lower tibia” is a different proposition. According to the specialist it was well on its way to being broken but the ligaments held it all together. And according the the physio I had for hydro on Tuesday it is more unusual to fracture the tibia because that is the larger bone in the shin. As I have said all along, it takes extraordinary talent to sustain two injuries at once! It cannot handle much weight at all and basically doesn’t enjoy moving very far full stop. It’s the one that hurts when i put it up or down and when I roll over in bed.
So crutches it is but I am quite blessed to have been loaned the little trolley in the photo. It carries all the necessities of life including: water, tissues, pain meds, wipes, mobile phone and knitting project. I just push it ahead of me when I move around the house and best of all I can transport food on it which saves me from eating at the kitchen bench. It gives me some measure of control over my environment and a tiny bit more independence.
We’ve been enjoying a TV show tonight about the Sydney Olympics which were held in 2000. While remembering the Olympics we’ve also been remembering our own big challenge of the time. On August 28, 2000 week 24 of my pregnancy with Eric I started bleeding and cramping. I drove myself into Wickham Tce to see our dr where dh joined me to hear that “work was finished”. I knew what he meant straight away but it took the dr two more tries to get through to dh. No, I wasn’t going back to work next week. No I wasn’t going back to work after the holidays. I wasn’t going back to work. Instead it was straight to the Mater Mothers Private for bedrest and medications to keep me from delivering Eric before he was meant to be here. By the time the Olympics started on September 15 I was installed in my little room, allowed out of bed to use the bathroom and take a shower and only allowed to leave the room in a wheelchair. The midwives counted the days with me as we all worked on keeping this very precious child exactly where he was for as long as possible. Dh laughed at my constant trembling due to the liquid ventolin. I laughed as I tried to choose paint colours for the baby’s room while not actually being in the house. I saw the opening ceremony from the hospital but a few days later I was allowed out for “good behaviour”. Unfortunately the Men’s 4 x 100 Freestyle a few nights later put an end to that. In my defense, I was watching from the sofa bed in the living room but the excitement was too much and I ended up heading back to the hospital with more contractions.
And there I stayed for ten long weeks in all, having contractions every 2-3 days due to an irritable uterus. Thinking back now, I think we were a bit protected from the enormity of what we were facing because we were first time parents. Our baby did not arrive at 24 weeks. He hung in there till 34 weeks and was born at a quite respectable 5lb 3oz. After 4 weeks in the Special Care Nursery gaining the energy to feed we brought our little man home on December 12 and despite all that could have been he has never had a major health problem in the ten years that have followed. The day after I arrived in hospital we were both taken on a tour of the Special Care Nursery and Intensive Care Nursery. Sure we were in awe of what we saw there and knew we didn’t want to have our baby fighting for his life like these little scraps but if I went through those nurseries now I would probably be fighting back the tears knowing exactly what those parents were going through.
When we went down for a scan once a week every week for ten weeks and told the technician we didn’t want to know the sex of the baby just that it was still healthy, we didn’t know the things that could be discovered in such scans. When he was delivered by c-section at 34 weeks I will always remember asking, “What is it? What is it?’
and the dr saying, “It’s a baby!” before lifting tiny Eric over the curtain, revealing him in all his “boyhood” and plonking him down on my face.
When the cabin fever got too much dh would hijack a wheelchair from somewhere in the hospital and take me out for “coffee”. I don’t think the midwives knew that meant a trip right through the other adults hospital and across an entire car park then down in a lift to the Mater Private Coffee Shop. We’d drink a cappuccino and try to pretend for a while that everything was normal.
In the almost ten years that have passed I’ve met a few children born in the same year that were not as fortunate as our boy. One of my best friend’s went through the ordeal of delivering at 23 weeks. A little boy in one of the families at school was about the same age as Eric but fell ill at a very early age and became severely disabled. Whenever I see these kids I think, “that could have been us.” and I remind myself just how blessed we have been with our two bundles.
We laugh about the wheelchair hijackings, the daily Metamucil and the night that a very tiny Eric was so tired in the Special Care Nursery that he slept right through his Thursday night bath. I laugh and dh grimaces when we recall the famous incident of the “projectile poo” – an evening when dh lifted up the little backside to slide under a fresh nappy and the crib, sheets, his shirt and a fair portion of the nursery floor were, um, splattered with the loudest bowel movement I’ve heard from someone so tiny. A lady who was across from us actually ran to get out of the way. But I will always remember how lucky we are to be able to laugh about it all 10 years on.
I don’t have many treasures apart from the human ones that live here. I treasure my stitching and knitting because I invest so much time in it. I love my I-Mac computer because it is my window on the world but aside from that I don’t have much of monetary value. If I think sentimental value then there are a couple things which sprang to mind for me to photograph – my teddy bear bought for me on the day that I was born by my Dad and a couple of beautiful Willow Tree figurines gifted to me by former students – one that says “thank-you” and another that is the Angel of Learning. I’m joining in with this “My Place and Yours” hosted by Helloowl and discovered by the wonderful Ms Fifikins blog. This week’s theme is treasure. I’m looking forward to playing along and seeing what new themes come up each week.
I think Mothers Day went well for me this year because I let go of any expectations. We’ve been struggling money wise since I haven’t been working full time so I knew there would be no big surprises or special treats. It turns out that most of the treats were things that cost no money at all. I started preparing for Mother’s Day early in a sense because being a Year 1 parent I had the opportunity to help on the school Mothers Day stall. So for the past few months, in between other projects, I’ve knitted a series of cotton face washers in moss stitch. I managed to complete 8 and they were sold very quickly so perhaps I should aim for a few more next year.
The celebrations started on Friday with a Mass for mothers which has now become an annual event at the boys’ school. I went along even though I knew it would feel a bit strange sitting up the back on my own instead of being with a class. During his homily, Fr Peter told the children to go and put their hands on their Mums if they were present. I could just imagine the teachers cringing at the chaos which ensued however my two boys found me and laid their hands on me, repeating a blessing by Father Peter so it was very special. After Mass I spent several hours working on the Mothers Day stall mainly taking the money. I was careful to “avert the eyes” when my boys were shopping for their presents and I really enjoyed watching the very careful shoppers making their selections. I gave Eric money for presents and raffle tickets and he was clever enough to win me one of the raffle prizes – a large white platter decorated with raised olives. I can see myself putting it to good use at the next Book Club gathering at my place and at the big celebration we will be having for Eric’s Confirmation and First Eucharist in a few weeks.
On Saturday night I was asked to specify the time until which I would sleep in and at the appointed hour on Sunday morning the boys came in bearing gifts and then served breakfast in bed. Coffee and croissants – what a great start to the day! Eric then surprised me by standing at the foot of the bed and reading out a POEM he had written in my honour. Wow! I will publish it here but at present it is back at school for possible publication in the school newsletter. I am very impressed! In amongst the gifts bought by the boys there was also a voucher for a pedicure and manicure purchased by dh. I spent a quiet Sunday pottering around and on Monday night we went out for dinner. A pretty good celebration all round with just the right amounts of everything.
I’ve borrowed this idea from the wonderful Ms Fifikins even though I haven’t forgiven her for forgetting certain house guests in her review of 2009!
I think the word for this year is different. And I’m hoping that 2010 will be different in a bigger and better way.
1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Did a family farm stay in June, resigned from my job in July and visited Cairns for a week in November
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
It was probably something to do with losing weight in which case it hasn’t happened
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister Trish had Luke Robert on January 28
Lorraine gave birth to beautiful Mabel who has the best reasoning behind her name!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
I wasn’t really close but Mum’s brother Leo died in July and my cousin’s husband Fintan tragically was struck down by Swine Flu while working in Vietnam and died in September.
5. What countries/states did you visit?
Cairns, Gold Coast
6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
a well balanced lifestyle
7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July – resigning
November – going to Cairns
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Learning to knit well
9. What was your biggest failure?
Weight loss and general organization
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Some ongoing anxiety and depression, high blood pressure
11. What was the best thing you bought?
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My workmates at school who were so supportive of my decision to resign even though it was heart breaking
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The people in the news for hurting others
14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills and debt
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Knitting. I don’t sound very exciting do I?
16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Can’t think of anything right now
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:?
a) happier or sadder?
b)thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
work – both paid and in the home
eating healthy food
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
20. How did you spend Christmas?
With the family at SIL’s place
21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
stayed in love with my boys
22. How many one-night stands?
None! I’ve told you I’m not that exciting LOL!
23. What was your favourite TV program?
All Saints and I’m sad it is finished. Watched lots of episodes of Cold Case and Without A Trace
24. Did you make a friend with anyone that you didn’t know this time last year?
I have knitting friends!
25. What was the best book you read?
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The fact that Eric can play the piano
27. What did you want and get?
Time to knit and cross stitch
28. What did you want and not get?
A new job
29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Julie and Julia
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
39. Can’t remember. Already worrying about the next one!
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting stuff done
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
33. What kept you sane?
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
36. Who did you miss?
Friends who live too far away…
37. Who was the best new person you met?
MIML – except that he isn’t the “man in my life” but Fiona’s however MIML is his Internet persona
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
Everything happens for a reason
Today it would have been easier to be a lot of things other than thankful. I’ve tried to steer away from:
anxiety – the need to get everything done and to keep two boys amused
martyred – here at home doing all the housework or at least feeling that I should
anger – when the boys act up in shopping situations
But I am still thankful for:
8. good friends for the boys to play with at the beach
9. the chance to teach the boys some geography and history at Point Danger
10. the anticipation of seeing presents opened on Christmas morning
11. the long list of friends and relatives to send our Christmas newsletter out to
12. the thunderstorm and accompanying drenching rain we had this afternoon
13. take away pizza for tea with no power
14. junior monopoly by candlelight to pass the time
15. a knitting “rescue” that will enable me to keep working on Eric’s jumper over Christmas
A while back I wrote about blessings and it was good topic. I’ve since found someone who likes to make it a regular habit. Ann Voskamp of the Holy Experience blog started a Gratitude community and she makes a habit of “counting her blessings” every Monday. I’ve decided to join in because I believe a lot of good can come from it. She initially set a target of finding 1000 things to be thankful for and she has gone past that number. I wonder how long it would take me to get to 1000 things? 6 months? 3 months? I’m going to try it and see. So this is my first Multitude Monday Post. I’m not going to completely abandon Menu Plan Monday but I’ll try to do both whenever I can.
So, for the beginning of my list
- My family – who are all “unwinding” as we spend a lazy two weeks at the beach.
- Rainbow Bay. I’m biased but I think it is one of the most beautiful spots in Australia.
- A new hair colour, foils and haircut. I was pampered today and feel much better for it.
- A solitary swim in a saltwater pool this afternoon. The boys didn’t follow me as expected so I got to float around in the balmy water for an hour on my own.
- Dinner with extended family and friends. This was at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club and I must share what I had – Grilled Snapper on a salad of rocket, olives and Parmesan, on a crispy fried cheesy risotto. It was superb!
- Walking on cool, soft sand looking for the tiny crabs that scuttle toward the light.
- My “puter” and being able to stay in touch with all those who give me strength and support.
And so it begins. I’m going to keep this list in hard copy once I am at home or when I can but a special little book because I think it will be wonderful to look back on in days, weeks and years to come.