Archive for the ‘auckland’ Category

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.

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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.

Medical matters

October 14, 2018

We made our way down to Auckland as far as Whakapirau where we were staying with Jacky & Chris for the night. It’s a 5hr drive from Rarawa to Whakapirau, including a couple of comfort stops, and then a further 2 hrs to get to Auckland so it’s a good break point for us.

Roy was due at Ascot at midday ready for surgery at around 2pm. Antony came in to take me out to lunch whilst Roy was under the knife laser. Roy was having some remedial surgery of the prostate as some tissue had atrophied as a result of the hormone and radiation treatments and was causing a bit of an issue. Meanwhile Antony and I went out for a nice lunch and a bit of retail therapy returning to the hospital just as the surgeon rang to say all had gone well and he would be in his room within the next hour.

I was happy to wait for him in his room enjoying the view.

the view from his room overlooking Ellerslie Race course.

He was back pretty soon, wide awake and feeling ok after having an epidural and a sedative rather than a full anaesthetic, so good in fact that he was keen to have something to eat. I left him in the good care of the staff at Ascot in the early evening to retire to Antony’s place for the night.

The following day Roy had not had the best night, so the surgeon was checking in on him a couple of times and sorting out his pain relief before he would allow him out later in the day. Meanwhile Antony and I headed over to Southern Cross Hospital on the North Shore where I was to have an MRI done on my hip replacement due to an anomaly showing up on previous X-rays.

MRI’s are not my favourite thing, they can be very claustrophobic, especially as they tighten a special cage device over the hip area to make sure you stay still and also tie my feet together and onto the bed so nothing moves….eeeek……but I told myself it was just for an hour so just suck it up and deal with it. It was completed in around 45minutes, but then they said I had to have more done but this time with a dye injected. Breathe in…….and out……..relax, think of your happy place Bernice, all these thoughts were racing through my mind as I went back into the scanner. But it was soon over with, next came the wait to see the surgeon in a few hours time.

Again, Antony & I went out for a bite to eat and to do a few chores. I must say it was great to have him with me and we had a good chat about everything and anything. We were back at the surgeons office 45minutes early, fortunately he could see me early. And the upshot?

At the top of the trochanter (femur) has some stress fractures that appear to be healing, no wonder it’s been a bit sore! and there maybe very small bone fragments that have come away and irritating matters. As well it looks like there is a pocket of fluid which he was unsure what it was exactly.

What’s next? They want to do a biopsy on the fluid via a needle inserted into the hip area….eeeek! this is to be done under a general anaesthetic and what about having it done next week? Oh and we will also check for infection with some blood tests as well. After a bit of discussion, we agreed that I would have the blood tests straight away and see what they say and put off the needle biopsy and do it next month when I am having my knee replaced negating the need for two anaesthetics in a short period of time. That is presuming everything comes back clear with the blood tests, fingers crossed.

I did ask if I was being a wuss with regards to the pain I have but I was assured that I am not, so with new prescription in hand we were soon on our way.

Meanwhile Roy was being discharged so we could pick him up on the way home and head to Antony’s for the night. We were both feeling pretty good so we thought we would head back north, just as far as Whakapirau initially, just to be close enough to Auckland if we had to return for any reason. After a restful nights sleep, we were ready to head back home.

We were back at the van the following day, ready to take things easy for a bit as Roy is on strict light duties, and I am to rest as much as practicable. That being said, we are both feeling pretty good so hope to get back to some good fishing stories soon.

Never a dull moment

October 1, 2018

The fishing was going great guns, every time the blokes went out they came home with lots of fish so we were eating it, giving it away and freezing some. Just as well as both couples were heading away for a couple of days, us a quick trip to Auckland for medical appointments and Keith & Debbie were off to Tauranga the day after we left for a family matter.

But not before a last minute fish off Tokerau Beach.

Keith with control in hand ready to send the drone out with the baits and longline.

We have lift off.

Wait for 45 minutes then press the button on the reel to bring in the line….

Enough fish to share around with family and friends.

We were very fortunate as we were going to break our journey to Auckland by staying with Jacky & Chris at Whakapirau as it is a non stop 5 1/2 hour drive from Tokerau to Auckland, and who does that sort of distance without a couple of stops at least? It’s 3 1/2 hrs to Whakapirau, but add another hour on to that for stops, road works and the like so it’s still a decent drive.

Roy had a checkup with the Urologist, the upshot being he is having some surgery to clean up the prostate on Monday 8th October. He will be in Ascot Hospital overnight or possibly two nights. Meanwhile I had my 3month checkup with my surgeon, and we made a date for knee surgery, 19th November it is scheduled for the first knee replacement, a great birthday present to myself!!

After another great stay with Jacky and Chris on our return journey home, we headed home Wednesday morning, calling in to the Jewellers in Whangarei to pick up my repaired rings and necklace.

my rings, all beautifully repaired and polished, and now all joined together so that they don’t rub against each other.

I also had my necklace repaired with a new chain put on,

This necklace is one that Roy gave to me for my 21st birthday, just a couple of years ago!

Back at the van on Thursday I received a call from my surgeon, on reviewing the latest X-ray of my hip, they’ve noticed an anomaly on the trochanter (top of the femur) which doesn’t look quite right and could I go back for an MRI scan to further investigate things? Oh no, what could it possibly be? Stress fractures possibly, but they will see once they do the scan. No wonder I still have pain!! I’ve scheduled the MRI and consult for the 9th October so we shall have to wait and see what eventuates. Bugger!

Never mind, we can hopefully get another week of fishing in, whip down to Auckland in the car for a couple of days and get everything over had done with and still be on track for knee surgery in November. Fingers crossed.

Always take the weather with you

July 16, 2018

How do you know that the Vannini’s are back at Shakespear? Look at the weather!

Our view went from this

To this

It seems as though we bring extreme weather events with us to Shakespear having been here before when the rainfall has been excessive. This time the planned public planting day had to be cancelled for the first time ever. The planting of trees was to have taken place on Sunday, in fact the area chosen to be planted was around a major slip that occurred last year to stabilise the hillside. That slip took place when we were again parked in the Motorhome parking area last year which you can read about here

Never mind, it all passed pretty quickly and we were safe and dry inside the van.

We did manage to catch up with a few of the Rangers whilst we were here as well as friends whom we have met here. We visited Skip & Mindy for a very pleasant day catching up on news and travels. And we hope we have managed to assist their daughter to convince them to head off on holiday to Europe with her later this year.

and this was our view on the way out today

On the road again

July 13, 2018

After nearly two weeks at Ardmore taking things very quietly, we decided that it was about time we got a move on. First things first though, we need a COF which is due at the end of the month but we might as well get it done whilst we are here.

On Wednesday we took a trip down to the VTNZ testing station in Takanini to see the friendly fellows that work there. We only had to wait a short time in the queue before it was our turn. Why is it that it feels like you are taking your child off to sit some important exam, you are nervous and on tenterhooks, hoping like mad that your precious baby passes all its milestones? Of course it passed its COF and with a friendly wave from the very personable staff, we were on our way again, back to Ardmore via the petrol station for a quick fill.

We wanted to stay another night at Ardmore so that Roy could again get up a silly hour to go round to Antony’s to watch the football. Thursday morning was the England vs Croatia game and we were all hoping that against all odds that England just may be able to make it through to the finals. However, it was not to be.

After Roy had returned from watching the game, we got ourselves sorted and by midday we were on the road again. This time we are not heading too far away as we are not sure how I will fair, sitting for any length of time with my hip still in recovery mode. But with padding from some cushions for the one and half hour journey north, we were soon parked up at Shakespear Regional Park.

I cannot begin to explain how nice it is to be back here, the quietness is almost deafening with just bird calls adding a lovely background noise. The sea is calm so there is almost no noise from waves lapping the shore and as it is winter there is hardly another soul around. Bliss.

We are staying here for a few days to catch up with Rangers and other volunteers whom we have become friends with over our years camp hosting here before wending our way north. Watch out snapper, here we come!

Escape and a bank

June 10, 2018

The tunnels were secretly dug, which one should we take? Tom, Dick or Harry? the fake uniforms ready to go and the documents were forged. In the full light of day our escape from Auckland is set and we are off like a you know what! heading to Uretiti for a week of R&R before we return in a weeks time.

on our way, Whangarei here we come!

It seems we needed a couple of tunnels, the Waterview Tunnel and the Johnstones Hill Tunnel, however no uniforms or documents were required but we did have to pay tolls before our escape was complete. Phew!

We are both really enjoying being back at Uretiti, we had forgotten how much warmer it is here even though it’s only a couple of hours further north than Ardmore and I guess being by the sea is also a contributing factor. It’s also so nice being back parked on grass and having a bit more space around us without close neighbours.

Hopefully we will be able to get some fishing in as well this week, we just need the wind to blow the right way for us to launch the kite….that’s if we can remember how to set up our kite as it seems like such a long time since we have been kite fishing.

Back to the title of this blog, and no we didn’t rob a bank on our way out of town.

On Friday I had my pre op check with the surgeon, and all is well. I have filled in the copious number of forms and submitted them to the right people and places, and now just have a week to wait.

Interestingly, I received a phone call the other day from the Bone Bank (who knew that there was such a thing) asking me if I would be interested in donating my hip joint to be used in other surgeries where pieces of bone or crushed bone need to be used. Sure, I said, it’s no use to me and if it can help others then go for it.

People with a variety of conditions need donated bone for their treatment. It’s used to treat:

• children with scoliosis having spinal surgery

• adults having repeat hip replacement surgery or needing bone grafts for spinal and other orthopaedic surgery

• children with cancer who have bone fractures that won’t heal.

I’ve been a blood donor for many many years but I did not realise that they also collected bone. I wonder if they want a couple of crappy knees as well??!!! They are next on the agenda for replacement once the hip has recovered. Soon, I’ll have a decent leg to stand on!

Done!

June 7, 2018

It’s all done and dusted, finished, completed, ended, kaput, stopped, wrapped up…..you get the picture?

Yes, Roy had his last treatment yesterday and without so much as a fanfare, it’s all over rover. I made a batch of muffins for him to take in to the lovely staff at Auckland hospital which apparently was well received.

And how did we celebrate? Well for a start with a Rum & Coke, as during treatment anything with a fizz in it was on the banned list. And for dinner I made a boeuf bourguignon complete with lots of onions and garlic (also on the banned list), accompanied by more previously banned foods as in leeks and broccoli. And damned delicious it was too, especially on a very chilly evening.

So now we return to some semblance of normality, well for a short period of time as it will be my turn next.

It’s the final countdown

June 3, 2018

We are on the final countdown, with Wednesday being Roy’s last treatment day and time for celebration. He has had no side effects, he doesn’t glow in the dark or have any superpowers although we are forever hopeful he achieves the latter! We are forever thankful that we had options and everything has gone to plan with a great outcome.

And thank goodness for Winston’s gold card. For those not in NZ, Winston Peters is a long serving MP (who will be the stand-in Prime Minister whilst Jacinda is on maternity leave) who a few years ago organised a gold card for senior citizens which entitles them to free public transport in most major cities as well as discounts at some stores. The gold card has been used by Roy every day for the past 7 and a half weeks to get the train in and out to Newmarket, then a free bus to the hospital and return. It has saved us not only many $$$’s but also in time and stress as we haven’t had to drive in, fighting the traffic, looking for parking, as well as petrol costs. Well done Winnie!

It’s been another week of catching up with friends and family. Bill & Linda came visiting last Sunday as they were having an open home is readiness to sell, so it was great to catch up with them. Gary & Marg called in on their way through Auckland for lunch on Wednesday, and of course I had my lunch “date”with Janet on Thursday. Steve & Les called in on Saturday with two of their granddaughters on their way back to Whangamata. In between we have had Drs appointments and other matters to attend to so all in all a busy old time, which is great as it means that we are never bored!

On Friday I was asked if I would drive a motorhome from the wharf to Drury as I had done the previous week. Sure, why not? So off we trotted on Friday afternoon, on the train this time into Britomart, however, I had to pay for my journey as I have a few years to go before I qualify for one of Winnie’s cards. However, this time I did take a couple of pictures of the vehicles we were picking up.

I drove the one at the rear in the above photo.

First we have to visit the petrol station just around the corner to put in enough diesel to get us back. That done we all headed off. We had discussed which exit would be the best to get off the motorway as this was Friday afternoon and it was also the start of the long weekend Queens Birthday weekend which meant that the traffic would be worse than usual, if that is all possible. Once crawling along the motorway I got to the Redoubt Road exit at Manukau and could see the traffic was at a standstill ahead so I ducked off there. Wending my way through the back roads (just as well I know my way around), avoiding schools as by this time it after 3pm and schools were finishing, however I got to Drury in good time. Then I had to wait at least 30minutes for the others to start to arrive, each one had taken a different exit hence our staggered arrival times.

The weather has been brilliant this past week, well, brilliantly fine during the day but freezing cold overnight. There is a kiwi fruit orchard over the back of Ardmore and so for a few nights helicopters have been flying over the vines for frost protection. During cold and still conditions, the down draught from the helicopter causes the slightly warmer air layered above to circulate amongst the vines, reducing the likelyhood of frost damage. Effective but noisy.

Now we have rain settled in for the day by the looks of it, oh well, at least it’s warmer.

Into single figures

May 27, 2018

Another week is done and dusted, with only 8 more treatments to go, the end is in sight.

Roy goes off on his journey there and back everyday, meanwhile I somehow manage to keep myself busy doing one thing to another. Swimming fits in between other bits and pieces but I must say that with the cooler weather it is not that enticing to make one want to strip off and get into tepid water! However, we continue.

Monday was pickle/relish/chutney making day with plenty achieved.

And I forgot to take any pictures of the previous weekends efforts of pickling where Roy made a tomato chilli relish but the cupboards are now full and it will all add some welcome tasty treats throughout the rest of the year.

Tuesday I had an interesting few hours as I was asked if I would assist with some driving, this was to pick up brand spanking new Motorhomes from the wharf and drive them to the dealers yard in Drury. Sure, I said, not a problem, it will make the day a bit different. Easy enough to drive, it was a good run along the motorway and deliver the vehicles to their new base a few hours later. The Motorhomes now await their new owners.

Janet picked me up on Thursday and we went out for lunch in Pukekohe to a lovely little cafe she frequents. It was a great day out and about with me forgetting to take any pictures as we were too busy nattering. I really enjoyed our excursion out, so much so that we are doing it again this week but at a different location….ooooh, watch out, does that mean I am becoming one of those “ladies who lunch”?

Bill came visiting one afternoon with a lovely batch of biscuits that Linda had made.

We needed to get some more LPG and also to visit the dump station this weekend. We figured that Saturday morning would be the best time to get LPG as we have a large inbuilt tank and being a Saturday meant that there would be little traffic parked around the gas station. Indeed it was an easy drive in and out again, then off to bruce Pullman Park to dump. But oh no, it Saturday morning isn’t it…when every kid in the neighbourhood is playing sport and with parents cars overflowing the car parking it was a squeeze through the parked cars to get to the dump station. But what’s this? Some muppet has parked right on the dump station ignoring the yellow lines and obviously gone off to watch their child play rugby/league or football. We waited and waited, before the car owners eventually sauntered back and moved off so we could dump. What should have been a 10 minutes job turned into more like an hour!

We were also supposed to be going up to Shakespear for the release of 40 Saddlebacks into the park but my knees and hips were very sore so we decided to sort out the domestic duties and we would see the birds next time we visit. But we understand all went well with the release and yet another species brought back into the Sanctuary.

picture of the release courtesy of SOSSI

This week has seen the arrival of cooler weather, the shorts got put away and out come the trousers, the heater has been on a couple of times and even the hot water bottles have made an appearance. And to test out all that firewood we collected earlier in the month, we went to Antony’s a couple of evenings to enjoy the warmth and coziness of the fire as well as have dinner together. Although I guess we can’t complain too much, it is winter after all!!