Knee update

January 18, 2019

A number of people have asked how my knee has been post surgery, so after 6 weeks here is an update.

It has been a breeze, pain has been negligible since day one, however it has been carefully managed and I have tried not to be a hero and go without the pain meds which I am sure is part of the reason why recovery has been so easy. I had full movement back after just a week post surgery and I was diligent in doing the exercises given to me by my physio.

I continued using crutches for about 4 weeks although I could have given them up long before then but I have been very mindful to take things carefully so as not to have any mishaps. My wound healed really well, helped I am sure by the Manuka Honey Wound Gel that my surgeon suggested I use. The scar is already becoming less and less visible, now assisted by the use of rosehip oil to reduce the evidence of scarring.

the scar isn’t looking too bad at all is it?

It has been so easy that I am wondering why I put it off for so long? In fact I asked the surgeon the day after the op if he could whip me down to theatre and do the other knee whilst I was there. Unfortunately his schedule was full.

I had been putting surgery off in the hope that the research into stem cell use would be done by now. Although some people are having stem cell therapy done and with some success, my very thorough research says that clinical trials are still ongoing with advances coming all the time however there have been too many incidences of rogue cells becoming cancerous. Hence my reticence in trying it out.

I am reliable told that advances in orthopaedic surgery in the past two years has been remarkable which has probably helped my recovery as well. But having a great surgeon and anaesthetist is also a huge factor in my quick recovery I am sure.

Now just the next one to be done, I think we may just postpone that one until we return from the UK as if I have it done before we go I am pretty sure that Sod’s law will kick in and something will go wrong and I definitely don’t want to do anything to jeopardise that exciting trip.

So to sum up, it’s been such an easy surgery and recovery I wish I had had it done years ago. I even enjoyed? (not sure that is the right word) my hospital stay pretending I was on a mini holiday break with the bed made for me, meals cooked for me, with lots of rest involved. Just keep your fingers crossed that the next one goes as well.

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Home alone

January 10, 2019

Backtracking a little, this was lunch on New Years Day.

The crayfish was a gift from some campers who had been out diving and the Prosecco a gift from friends Mark & Glynnis. A lovely way to start the new year.

It’s not often that I’m home alone, but for the past few days I have been all on my lonesome…oh, but with 160+ campers to keep me on my toes. Roy had gone to Ashburton to visit the grandchildren and this was the most convenient time for all of us, so off he went.

And did I say that campers would keep me on my toes? They sure have. It seems as though it has been the time for campers trying to sneak in (unbooked and unpaid), others trying to stay longer than their booking, complaints about noise from other campers, sinks needing unblocking, cars needed jump starting, beds needing to be pumped up, and then to top it all off there was a problem with water which meant asking everyone to conserve water whilst the problem was alleviated BUT there are always a few who think that it doesn’t apply to them. It seems as though I have been constantly on the go sorting out one thing or another.

I could write a book about how some people go about putting up their tents, there are major discussions and disagreements and I’m sure I could also run a marriage guidance counselling session based on how to put up a tent!! Whereas some have it all sorted and organised easily, others seem to make a mission out of every little thing and with temperatures rising as rapidly as tempers, it makes for interesting observations.

I had a wonderful catch up with my brother John and his partner Jude, they were up from Whakatane for a couple of days so I arranged to meet up them in Silverdale. Coincidentally, our niece Natalie happened to be passing through from her holiday in the north with her two young daughters Renee and Michelle. It matched up nicely with Johns visit and within 10minutes of arriving at the cafe, both John and Natalie arrived. It was a fantastic catch up and as per usual I completely forgot to take any photos, we were just too busy talking. Renee, 10 and Michelle 5, have grown a lot in the year or so since we last caught up, they are delightful young girls and we so enjoyed spending the afternoon with them.

Roy had a great time in Ashburton with the grandkids, they too have sprouted into fine young people.

Granddad with, from left Rose (who will be 13 this weekend), Dante (15 last week], Front, Andre 8 and Theo 10.

Dante with his academic prize cup for mathematics (surprise surprise – NOT! It’s in the genes).

Roy also managed to take a trip to Geraldine to catch up with lifelong friends Bill & Linda who have recently relocated there from Auckland. He tells me that he was treated to an amazing lunch and really enjoyed seeing their new home and catching up with all their news including their recent trip to the UK for Christmas. We look forward to catching up again soon.

I picked up Roy from the airport yesterday and it’s nice to have him home as I must admit it’s rather quiet (and tidy 😉) without him around!

Happy New Year

December 31, 2018

It’s been a bit of a busy old week between Christmas and New Year what with one thing or another. There are 160 campers (maximum daily capacity) to deal with and all their associated queries, assistance and issues.

Here are a few pics of the camp ground after the rain,

View from above with large areas roped off due to wet ground and lakes forming

And some of the camping set ups are quite impressive, this group of friends have their tents on the left with a corridor between their 5 gazebos all lined up in a row.

And this is one set up we rarely see, a fence around their camp site, we are not sure if it is to keep their children in, or other people out!

And we have had a few friends visit this week which has been wonderful.

First there was Brian, a very dear friend whom we met on our very first week in our motorhome and subsequently met and travelled with him and his dear wife & best mate Marj who died at the beginning of the year. We had a few trips away together including the Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay and to Cape Reinga and points in between before they sold their bus. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane reminiscing about places we had journeyed to and people we have met, and a bit of a tribute to Marj, an amazing lady who is greatly missed but remembered with lovely memories.

The following day we had a visit from Jude & Shaun, friends from Tokoroa days who now live in Te Anau. They were up in Auckland celebrating the festive season with a couple of their children who live here, and with their granddaughter who they are now raising after the tragic sudden death of their daughter Lesley. They are doing an amazing job and it was great to catch up, reminisce, then discuss and solve the problems of the world!

Of course I neglected to take any photos of either visit!

The next day Helen & Don (Oamaru) came in their motorhome to stay with us for a few days and to see the new year in.

This is the 2018 photo

And this is the 2014 version!!!

not a lot has changed!

We have been very fortunate this year with many gifts given to us from grateful campers, we have enough chocolates and wine to last us quite a while, we even got some lovely solar powered Christmas lights from some, and the live crayfish from other campers was very gratefully accepted 😉.

We would like to wish all our readers a very happy, safe, healthy and contented 2019 and we look forward to many more adventures to share. Cheers.

Merry Christmas

December 26, 2018

Merry Christmas, seasons greetings and happy New Year to you all from a very wet Shakespear Regional Park. The Pohutukawa are still putting on a fine display for Christmas Day although nearing the end of their flowering season.

We spent Christmas Eve evacuating campers to a woolshed on the park for a dry place to sleep as well as moving others to higher ground as streams overflowed, and puddles became small lakes. Some people just abandoned ship and went home returning the following day to collect all their very wet and in some cases broken camping gear.

The trees took a real battering with the wind overnight and we woke this morning to a carpet of red snow.

In the wind and rain we packed ourselves up ready to move at a moments notice as the stream at the back of where we parked rose and overflowed coming within a metre of the wheels, however we did not have to move this time. It just so happened that the worst of the downpour coincided with high tide which compounded matters. In the end, the rain eased and the tide turned enabling the water to drain.

Nevertheless most people were in good spirits and coped well with the situation.

Christmas morning was spent helping out campers who were trying to retrieve gear, dry out or find a dry spot, or needed help with a jump start for flat batteries or duct tape to mend broken tent poles. Unfortunately that meant we didn’t get to sit down to eat our (now cold) breakfast until 11.30am. Even a call from Alex was interrupted numerous times with people wanting assistance.

Roy and I enjoyed our Christmas dinner in the evening, a lovely cranberry and orange stuffed turkey breast wrapped in bacon then roasted accompanied by gravy as well as a cranberry port sauce and the usual array of vegetables. We were both too full after the main event to even think about any dessert.

Boxing Day has been a very windy day which has been really helpful to those wanting to dry out wet gear, however some tents are not handling the wind too well and minor repairs are being made.

All in all a very memorable Christmas, we trust you all enjoyed your celebrations. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.

Early Christmas present

December 19, 2018

We’ve given ourselves an early Christmas present, we have booked and paid for our trip to London next year! We depart Auckland on the 19th May and with a quick change of planes in Hong Kong continue our journey to arrive in London in the very early hours of the 20th May, but don’t worry Alex, we will catch the train into town from Heathrow to arrive at your place at a reasonable hour.

We will arrive 12 days before Alex & Ian’s baby is due, keeping our fingers crossed that the baby doesn’t arrive early! We return to NZ on 30 August at midnight with an overnight stay in Hong Kong just to break the trip a little.

We haven’t planned anything else in between as yet but a trip to Ireland definitely looks promising. We shall leave Alex & Ian to find their feet once baby arrives, however we shall be around to provide support when and if needed. So I’m sure a few trips here and there will be in order and it will be so nice to be in England over their summer months for a change from our usual visits in winter.

And of course it will be lovely to spend time with our grandchild and do the whole spoiling, cuddling and generally annoy everyone with how it will be the cutest bestest baby ever!!

Oh and I see that the Netball World Champs are on in Liverpool in July, now that is good timing!

Bloomin’ lovely

December 15, 2018

It’s Christmas and the trees are all decorated, I mean the New Zealand native Christmas trees aka Pohutakawas, and they are particularly magnificent this year.

The pohutukawa tree (Metrosideros excelsa) with its crimson flower has become an established part of the New Zealand Christmas tradition. This iconic Kiwi Christmas tree, which often features on greeting cards and in poems and songs, has become an important symbol for New Zealanders at home and abroad.

Pohutukawa and its cousin rata also hold a prominent place in Maori tradition. Legends tell of Tawhaki, a young Maori warrior, who attempted to find heaven to seek help in avenging the death of his father. He fell to earth and the crimson flowers are said to represent his blood.

A gnarled, twisted pohutukawa on the windswept cliff top at Cape Reinga, the northern tip of New Zealand, has become of great significance to many New Zealanders. For Maori this small, venerated pohutukawa is known as ‘the place of leaping’. It is from here that the spirits of the dead begin their journey to their traditional homeland of Hawaiki. From this point the spirits leap off the headland and climb down the roots of the 800-year-old tree, descending into the underworld on their return journey.

Colours vary as well with the flowers ranging from pink to red to crimson to a bronze red. There are also yellow pohutakawa, which I like to think of as my Christmas tree decked out in golden decorations.

I love the long twisting branches and the way the tree clings improbably to cliffs. Kids love playing amongst its branches and we all love to camp or picnic beneath their arching limbs providing much needed shade from the summer sun.

In times past, I was known for my elaborately decorated Christmas trees, always colour themed, and never the same colours repeated.

Now I am just happy to see nature’s best decorated trees in all their glory.

The good news

December 10, 2018

We have both been back to our respective surgeons this past week, actually on the same day but on the opposite sides of Auckland. Roy headed off to Ascot Hospital Greenlane in the morning for his post op check up, which went well, his PSA levels are almost zero and everything else is healing fine.

My appointment was at Southern Cross Hospital in Wairau Road, and Keith came to the rescue and did his best “Driving Miss Daisy” impression and we were there in no time. I also got a good review, the allergic reaction has settled, the wound is healing nicely, so well in fact that instead of seeing the surgeon in a couple of weeks time for the post op X-rays and checkup, we have delayed it until next year as we both felt that it would be a better time frame and considering I am doing so well, there was no point in an early appointment.

But prior to our appointments we were spectators to an amazing thunder and lightning storm which also brought with it torrential rain.

the view from the door during the deluge.

The thunder and lightning was directly overhead, the noise was intense and I must admit I was a little concerned. What we didn’t find out until later in the day was that three sheep, up on the hill not 150metres from the van, were struck by lightning and killed.

The storm was over in a few short hours and was all clear by the time we needed to get away to our appointments.

The view from the door just a few hours after the storm departed. amazing really that the water was already disappearing from sight.

The following day was departure day for Keith & Debbie, we have been travelling together for the past few months and have enjoyed having their company and at various times assistance with bits and pieces especially as both Roy and I have been on light duties post surgeries. We’ve shared a few laughs, in fact a lot of laughs, and of course we have enjoyed the fishing exploits. We will meet up again next year when the freezers need filling up again with lots of lovely fresh fish.

So life for us is back to camp hosting duties, which is already proving to be interesting,, what with a terrible booking system to contend with from an end user perspective, tourists who cannot book in for whatever reason, the odd partying underage campers to deal with, campers arriving late and being noisy without regard for others and campers who arrive without essential items and come looking for assistance.

All in a days work.

It was all going so well

December 2, 2018

My surgery and subsequent recovery had been going so well, I’m well ahead of expectations of range of motion and activity and all was great. The physio came out to see me on Monday, she was also impressed at where I was up to but she did say that she thought I should pop back to the hospital to get the dressing changed as it appeared the wound was oozing somewhat.

Instead I rang my surgeon and talked to his receptionist about what to do. She suggested I come in and let Hugh have a look but also to start the antibiotics I was given for a just-in-case situation like this. By late that afternoon I was at his office getting it looked at. It turns out that the wound itself was fine, but I had reacted to the glue on the dressing and it had formed blisters all around the wound. Ouch.

So he cleaned it up and put on a different dressing. This was Tuesday afternoon. Thursday the dressing was again soaked but also bit of an ugly shade of green.. so I again rang Nicki who suggested I send Hugh a photo of what it looked like. So I did. I mean how many surgeons give you their cell phone number?? He rang almost immediately and said remove the dressing clean it with the special wash I had been given and send him another picture.

Which we duly did. He rang back again, saying he thought the wound looked fine, it was just this allergic reaction, so sit in the sun with it exposed for a while, and then put on the Manuka Wound Gel he had told me about, redress and come and see him in the morning. Which we did on Friday for a dressing dressing change and some ointment for the blistery, itchy, hot, annoying rash that circumnavigates the long thin scar of the surgery.

I go back to him on Tuesday for another check up, I hope to goodness that the rash and blisters have cleared up by then otherwise I may be very annoyed!

There will be no pictures in this blog entry, I do not need to share the ugly side of my wound, it’s bad enough having it out in the sunshine for people to see.

Apart from that and a very swollen ankle and foot, all is well and I am well on the road to recovery..

Roy also has a post op checkup on Tuesday, let’s hope that it is also a good result.

Exciting News

November 26, 2018

We have some very exciting news…and no, it’s not the fact that it was my fifty-tenth birthday yesterday. No knees up for me 😂

No, the very exciting news we have been containing to ourselves for a bit is that our daughter Alex and her partner Ian are expecting their first baby next year.

We are so thrilled and excited for them, we can’t wait to meet our new grandchild. Alex and Ian will make great parents, they are such a good supportive, together couple and it is a wonderful new chapter in their lives.

We shall be heading off to London in May 2019 sometime to be there for its arrival. And I can’t wait to set off all the airport alarms with my new hip and knee.

Now the big decision will be what shall we be called? Grandma, gran, nana, nanny,……hmmm I quite like Nonna the Italian version, grandad, grandpa, pop, poppa, grandpop…..or again Nonno the Italian version. We shall see.

All done and dusted

November 23, 2018

Yay, I’m going home. I did try and convince my surgeon to keep me in and do the other knee on Monday but apparently he’s a bit busy! This experience of knee replacement surgery has so far been a relatively painless one, hence I have no hesitation in having the other knee done. I have to say that I was prepared for the worst, everyone had told me that hips were a doddle compared to knees, that the pain would be terrible and the physio daunting. Hugh, my surgeon, was at pains to tell me how hard it was going to be and how it wasn’t going to be pleasant etc. I can remember Mum telling me that she would rather have ten hips done rather than one knee, I wish I could tell her than the opposite is true for me. Perhaps I was really prepared for it to be relay really bad, but my expectations haven’t been met.

I have been totally surprised at the lack of pain, it has been well managed by staff and I don’t think I’m on any different painkillers to last time either. I have been really well cared for by all of the friendly nursing as well as ancillary staff at Southern Cross Hospital.

Today was time to remove the dressing….look away now if you are squeamish!!!…yeah right, I am the worst one for not wanting to know or see what is going on.

this is what the dressing post op looks like. It is called a Pico dressing which has a little sucky motor attached to it to ensure everything is airtight.

According to the blurb

PICO represents a unique way of treating patients who would benefit from the application of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT). PICO has been shown to provide positive patient outcomes when applied to open wounds, closed surgical incisions and skin grafts.  

The PICO system is canister-free which means the pump is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. This makes the system very discreet and portable for the patient to wear.

The PICO pump generates an effective negative pressure of -80mmHg and provides therapy for up to 7 days.

The PICO pump is connected to a conformable, innovatively designed dressing which:

  1. Is easily applied and removed, minimising skin trauma and delivers the negative pressure across the wound bed or closed incision
  2. Is designed to reduce the risk of pressure points and supports patient comfort.
  3. Manages the fluid away from the wound or closed incision through a unique combination of absorbency and evaporation.

Very clever stuff they have these days.

once the dressing was removed, this is all there is to see,

Still got that lovely pink stuff on my skin.

And redressed ready to go home.

Now I am just waiting for the final discharge notes and prescriptions to be delivered and then we will be off home. One knee done, one to go.