Ok, so where do I start this blog? Do I start way back at the start? Or do I start at the middle bit, where I eluded to this blog? Its a hard one, and one I’m really not sure where to go. So I think I’ll go right back to the start. Now for those of you who know the whole story, hang on for the ride and for the latest bits of what’s turning out to be a massive year for our family. (I will warn you now, this will be a long blog! Bear with it!)
OK. So to the start. First of all, most of you who know us know that we go down to Port Fairy (PF) every year just after Xmas. Been doing it for years, and, hopefully will continue to do it for years to come. Its a “Summer Holiday” type thing. Kirsten’s been doing it with her family since she was a little girl and well, I used to go and stay with Aunty Thelma at Warrnambool, which is kinda close to PF, sort of! We just continued it along. We stay in our van at the beach and have a ball. Friends, relations, kids, beach, summer, heat = Fun, Fun, Fun! and usually it is…. I can hear you saying “What are you up to Tone?” well, here we go. And I don’t want this to sound like a whinge, because it’s not. Far from it. Look on it as more therapy for me to get around how our year has been up til this point.
Everyone who reads my blog, I think, knows that I absolutely idolise my wife. Love her to death. And lets be honest here, anyone who can put up with my sh&t deserves a medal, you would all agree! And you would also all know, that without her I can be a bit of a terror, out of control, but somehow still in control! If you get my drift. But at the same time Lost. To put it plainly.
Anyhow. Our year, or more to the point Kirsten’s year didn’t start off too well. She was feeling a little out of sorts before Xmas, and her back was giving her curry. So like the trooper she is, she soldiers on and we head to PF. Half way down there in the car she says to me “My back is killing me!” Now some of you would know that Kirsten suffers from a little back dramas occasionally, so we just put it down to too much Xmas’ing, as you do.
So when we arrive in PF, to cut a long story short, she ends up in hospital down there with her back. Is this related to what is to happen later on? I’m not sure. But it certainly was the beginning of our year. Particularly Kirsten’s.
Like I said in the blog relating to Coober Pedy, I collect stubby holders, Kirsten collects something else! Well, people, you are about to find out what she collects! If I bore you, I’m not sorry. As I’ve said before, this is my blog and it’s how I feel and I think this’ll help get some of what’s happened right in my head too. So I’m going to call it therapy!
Now fast forward to February, we’ve had our holiday in PF, the kids are back at school, Kirsten’s just starting back at work, and life is pretty much returning back to the boring, mindlessness that we live most of the year! Don’t get me wrong, we have some grouse times through out the year, but when it is normal, it is “normal”! You all know what I am talking about, because to some extent we all live it, don’t we?!!? (don’t we?)
So Kirsten is at work, or so I am led to believe, and I am out doing some errands when my mobile rings. It’s Kirsten and the conversation goes something like this : “where are you Tone?”, “I’m in Station st. my Love, what’s wrong?”, “I dont feel too well. In fact I’m going to the Dr’s to wait and see him can you meet me there?”. “sure. Are you OK? You dont sound too well.” “Nah, I’m fine. See you there.”
So, my mind is now thinking, and please dont be shocked, but this is how it sounded, my wife has had a stroke. Yep, peoples, a stroke. So when I rock up to the Dr’s surgery, the first thing I do is look for the facial paralysis. You know how they talk about F.A.S.T.? in relation to strokes? F stands for Face, is the face changed or dropped in some way? Well that’s what I’m looking for. Because that is how she sounds, how she walks, and quite frankly how it seems. This is now quite concerning. The Dr, I’m not going to call him “Our Dr.” because he is not. Does anyone have “Their Dr.” anymore? No. We all go to “clinics” where Dr’s charge us massive amounts of money to write scripts for things we probably don’t need, and treat us like numbers.
But, once again, I digress! This is about Kirsten. So we rush her down to the emergency department at Sunshine Hospital where they do an emergency CT scan and find nothing wrong. What is going on. Next she finds herself in the stroke and neurological ward at Western General hospital in Footscray, a dirty, smelly old hospital with awesome, hard working nurses, who are worked off their feet and cant cope with the amount of patients under their care.
Let me tell you, (Rant time!), if, and I hope never, you have to go into a public hospital, for anything, have some sympathy for the nurses, because they are awesome. They do whatever they can, whenever they can for any number of patients under their care. And do you know what? They would prefer to spend more time with you, but they cant, because the other 10 patients that they have to try and look after want them as much as you do! So remember, if you end up in hospital, and the nurse cant quite get there as quick as you want, just sit back and try, TRY, and remember they are run off their freakiin feet! I really think they are amazing people, and our hearts go out to them for this very fact.
Now back to Kirsten, who by the way, is not in very good shape. She has got worse, they have determined that she has not had a stroke, but the Drs don’t know what is wrong with her. She has an MRI. Big, noisy machiny thing! I know she hates this because she tells me in broken speech how scary it is, and she is getting worse. It really is very scary and we don’t know what to do or what to tell her or how to make things right. We cant. And when someone you love is sick, all you want to do is make things right, and when you cant it is a feeling of complete helplessness. So we have to rely on the Dr’s. And we do. The Neurologist who is looking after Kirsten is great. He is patient, caring, cool and listens and takes the time to sit and explain some of what they know. But they cant figure it out. We are told she has 3 “Spots” on her brain.
How big are “spots”? Spots, to me, are pinhead size. Do you agree? I can hear you agreeing! Well guess what, “Spots” are not pinhead size. Not in “Neuro” world. Spots are anything from, as it turns out, 6mm to 15mm. Yep, that’s right, Kirsten has spots in her brain that big. 3 of them. And they are not sure what they are. So now starts a raft of tests ranging from the simple old blood test to a massive nasty lumber puncture. What do they find? Nothing! Well, not nothing, but something called “Demyelination”, big word, hey?! It resonates through our house now, because that’s what we have! Nothing definite. So they treat it with a massive dose of steroids, because that’s what they do, and guess what? Kirsten starts to get better! That’s right. She starts to get better. Is it the steroids? Or, is it her stubbornness and want to get better? No idea! But she improves, out of sight.
In total, Kirsten has been in the neuro ward for 3 weeks, and then transferred to the Sunshine hospital for rehab, where she spends 2 weeks. That’s right, 5 weeks in total away from home. Away from us, and away from her bed, which is what she misses the most!
But now she is home. And do you know what she does? She starts planning our holiday to the centre again. With our friends who wanted us to come with them and see Uluru, because as far as she is concerned there is nothing wrong and she will get better and we will go on our holiday.
And we do! We set off on The Next Northern Adventure