Archive for November, 2018

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.

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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.

Knees up

November 20, 2018

The worst bit about going into hospital for surgery is the waiting time before you actually get taken into theatre. I had to check in at Southern Cross North Harbour Hospital at 11am and by 11.30 I was ready and waiting for the inevitable, I was wheeled down to the theatre at 1.35pm, left outside the door of the theatre once the anaesthetist had put in the needles ready for what comes next. As I was left by myself waiting (5 minutes seemed like an hour) wondering wether I should do a runner, actually that would be more of a limp, or just breathe in, breathe in, breathe in…….and out and calm myself down.

They were soon back to have me walk into theatre, this time I was very good and didn’t look around at all to see all the gory bits and pieces, I hopped onto the theatre bed which they have at the side so I could face the wall and not see anything behind me, the epidural was put in seamlessly and painlessly then the sedative injected. Next I knew I was in the recovery room. But what a weird sensation of having no feeling of anything below my waist. I tried desperately to move my feet and toes but I don’t think messages were getting through.

I was back in my room by 4pm where Roy was waiting for me.

my attempt at a selfie post op!!

After an hour or two, a light snack was brought in for me to try, jelly, ice cream and little sandwiches….I thought I was at a kids party! I haven’t had jelly on its own for years, and it was delicious. See, I qualified that Keith by saying jelly on its own, I know you made that lovely layered dessert for Debs birthday that included a jelly and fruit layer!!

The epidural eventually wore off over the evening but I had also apparently been given a femoral block. What does that do? well, you feel no pain at all and I can tell you it was bliss. For the first time in I don’t know how many months I actually slept for 5 hours straight, unlike my usual pattern of no sleep until the early hours of the morning and then for a maximum of 2 hours at a time.

I was put on the bending knee machine which you can gradually increase the incline of the bend. I eventually got it up to a 90 degree bend without too much trouble.

I don’t think it will get that far today now that the effects of the block are wearing off but I have to say that any pain i do have is being well managed unlike when I had my hip done and things were excruciatingly painful, until I realised I could ask for pain meds!! I have walked around the bed with crutches today, which is apparently pretty good, and I will have another couple of goes later this afternoon and evening.

So far this hospital experience has been very different from when I had my hip done, same surgeon and anaesthetist just different hospital and protocols. I have been made very comfortable and haven’t felt so terrible afterwards which means I have a better appetite, which of course makes you feel better too.

Well, that’s it, just over 24 hours since surgery was completed, and I think I’ve written this in some sort of sane manner! I’m sure someone will let me know if I haven’t .

Now comes the hard recovery work.

Back to Shakespear

November 17, 2018

We arrived late Sunday afternoon in glorious sunshine, we were set up fairly quickly and just as well because no sooner had we finished when the skies opened and the rained poured down. But not before I managed to take a picture of us all set up.

It’s lovely to be back although it sounds as though we could be in for an interesting summer as the booking system has been completely changed. Before it was just plain terrible, now it’s diabolical! It has obviously been set up by someone who has a) never made a booking before, for anything….and b) has never been on the working end of a booking system especially from the end user perspective. It should not be so difficult or convoluted, in fact it should be very simple. We have complained about the previous system for years (along with just about every end user) and now somehow they have managed to make it even worse. I bet someone was paid a lot of money to make it such a shambles. Getting off soap box now.

This last week was a week of appointments and checkups, culminating with me (Bernice) having one of my knees replaced on Monday the 19th. Interesting wee aside though, as part of the pre Op checks and tests, I was measured and guess what? Since I had my hip replaced I am exactly one whole centimetre taller!!! Every little bit helps.

The surgery and subsequent recovery is not something I am particularly looking forward to but I am looking forward to one day being pain free and much more mobile.

Since we have been back here at Shakespear though we have been amazed at the proliferation of bird life, we have some saddlebacks here in the campground with two new chicks that are making their presence heard and kiwi can be heard most nights. In fact tonight I could have sworn that the kiwi was just outside the door it sounded so close. I went out looking with my red torchlight (red so it doesn’t hurt their eyes) but I could not see it anywhere. The Tuis are amazing not just for their call but also their flying antics. I watched them chase away a mynah and a magpie yesterday. The pukekos are everywhere, there are robins and fantails and yellow heads and whiteheads and we have a thrush that seems to particularly like us as well.

All the hard work that the rangers and volunteers put in are really paying off with the bush line extending every year, it really is a huge asset for Auckland along with the other regional parks.

Moving, fishing and a yacht

November 11, 2018

A night in Kerikeri on our way back towards Auckland meant that Roy could have a good catch up with Stuart to compare and swap genealogy notes. Whilst Roy was out, I noticed another vehicle in the Kerikeri NZMCA Park that looked familiar so I wandered along to meet up with Shellie. Shellie blogs and photographs her and David’s travels around New Zealand, her blog is here. Over a cuppa we talked for a good couple of hours about everything and nothing. Thanx for the catch up Shellie, sorry we didn’t get to say hooray, but enjoy your travels north, until next time.

Our next stop is Uretiti where Keith & Deb had arrived the day before us and sorted out a great position for themselves. We set ourselves up in a lovely spot just along from our usual position, which just so happened to be taken. However, I think I’ve just found our new favourite space!

Settled in

perfect positioning for the sun and privacy.

and another vehicle parked in our usual spot behind the tree.

We were settled into relax mode when the guys decided they might just try a fish off the beach after dinner. They were only away just over an hour before they were back with one rather large fish and another couple of good sized ones. They also thought it may be a good idea to have an early morning fish whilst some of us slumbered on, They did bring back another three for their early morning effort.

Lunch time they went for another fish, this time I wandered down to the beach with them. Whilst there, looking out to sea with the backdrop of the Hen & Chicken Islands was a very large yacht, which was moving very swiftly, along with four chase boats and at one stage a helicopter in tow.

Click on the picture to enlarge and on the left hand side of the island you should be able to pick out the sail and a splash of water from one of the chase boasts. Sorry, but only had my phone with me to take a picture.

We soon determined that this was one of the Russell Coutts/Larry Ellison catamarans on trial for their new racing competition set to rival the Americas Cup. It is a sailing league called SailGP that will be contested in an enhanced class of foiling 50-foot catamarans. Teams from the United States, Australia, Great Britain, France, Japan and China will compete starting in 2019 in highly advanced catamarans called F50s.

Gayle came to visit for a day, we met when we first hit the road, it was fabulous to catch up again and have a few laughs.

Shhhhh…..we are not telling!

November 6, 2018

Our next destination is a bit of a hidden gem, it’s not advertised anywhere, it’s not listed on any web sites and it’s not in any books. We came across it a couple of years https://brvannini.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/hidden-gem/ so decided to return. Luckily we still had the contact details of the guardian of the site so we rang before making the trek to book in, as well as make sure it was still ok to visit in exchange for a bit of Koha (donation).

We left Tokerau Beach in the rain, accompanied by a terrible gusty wind. We would usually chose not to travel in such wind but it seemed like it was easing, which it did further along in our journey.

We arrived to find that there was no one else here, yay, we can park where we like. We woke the following morning to thIs view from my bedroom window….

and yes, this was taken by me at 7am!

and a panoramic shot taken from the door of the van.

This was also where we saw the Blue whale two years ago, now long gone.

this is us all settled in.

Some people even went for a swim! A tad chilly yet for most of us though.

Well, he (Keith) was a tad warm after hiking out to the end of the point, an hour each way, so I guess cooling off in the sea is not a bad option.

Some of us prefer to sit in the sun and contemplate the world whilst taking in the views

Looking left

looking right, and with that sort of scenery, why wouldn’t you?

Not to be outdone, the following day Deb braved the water for a swim

that’s her swimming along the beach……brrrrrr. It will have to warm up a bit more before I venture in.

We have had a week here and as alluded to in my last post, we have managed to do very little but relax, take time out, go for the odd walk, chill out, fish, swim, relax…..you get the picture? Bliss!

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