Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Time drifts on by

August 20, 2018

I am always surprised at how time seems to slip through our fingers, before you know it another week has gone and we wonder what on earth we have been doing.

We are still at Uretiti enjoying the sunshine and relative peace and quiet and managing to keep ourselves very busy doing not much at all. Oh I tell lies, there are always things to be done, and places to go and people to see with little spare time for much else.

We have been to local markets to stock up on lovely fresh vegetables as well we have been in to Whangarei to do some shopping as there always seems to be those little bits and pieces to buy.

Included doing the odd things like cleaning the vents and the vent covers, cleaning the windows, and as well putting new broom holders on the wall in the laundry area.

All looking neat and tidy.

It’s been lovely having Keith & Debbie around, we all seem to get on well without living in each other’s pockets. The chaps have been out fishing on numerous occasions with very little catching being done with either the drone or the kite, but it seems as though no one is catching much off this beach right at the moment so we think it’s time for us to move further north. We’ve been on the odd excursion into Whangarei, finding new things and rediscovering others whilst always having a laugh and a half. Keith & Debbie are now off with family for a couple of weeks but we shall meet up with them again in another few weeks.

We’ve caught up with Mark & Glynis a couple of times, with the last occasion Glynis finally remembered to take a photo of us

It was a great night too, lovely food, fabulous Ata Rangi wines, and fantastic company.

Roy and I had a quick trip down to Auckland for specialists appointments and to collect our mail and have a quick catch up with Antony. Included in the mail was my new Fitbit-style activity tracker, which is keeping me on track so I know exactly how far I am walking each day.

I haven’t quite got to the recommended 10,000 steps as yet but I am getting there. I just have to get used to all the features this tracker has to make best use of it. It seems to do just about everything as it is paired to my phone so I get notified of messages, txts, emails etc as well as the tracking features, heart rate monitor etc etc. We are so impressed that we have ordered one for a Roy, his one has even more features so that should be fun.

My hip is really good now, the last annoying stitch finally fell off yesterday, and I have very little hip pain at all apart from when I do something I shouldn’t! But the knees are another story. You can tell they are giving me lots of pain and issues as I am not hesitant at all about going to back to the surgeon to get them sorted……it’s only been 12 years since I was first told I needed them replaced but I don’t think I can put it off any longer.

Other little tasks have been done like getting warrant of fitness certificate for the RAV, and then both vehicles needed registering.

Another wee job that has always gone to the “I’ll do that later” list, has finally been sorted. I am getting my engagement and eternity rings fixed after a mishap I had with catching my hand in a door some time ago. I have found a fabulous jeweller here in Whangarei that actually does design and repair work. They have suggested that they join my eternity and engagement rings together as part of the problem has been that the two rings move against each other and have resulted in damage. Brilliant idea.

There have been many other motorhoming friends pass through the camp so it has been an opportune time to catch up on all their comings and goings and what everyone is up to since we saw them last.

The hands have been busy knitting up a storm with lots of baby things done for friends and family that are having babies.

I’ve also got back into making my sourdough bread again which has proved to be very successful. So much so I’ve had to make a couple of loaves every second day to keep up with demand!

All in all we manage to keep ourselves out of mischief and we do achieve a few things occasionally!

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Another woohoo

August 1, 2018

Yes it’s another woohoo in the Vannini vanhold bushold rvhold household.

I had my checkup with my surgeon yesterday and everything is looking good. I still have some pain, just minor stuff which is just things taking their time to heal after bones being bashed and sawn, muscles & nerves being chopped – goodness me sounds more like butchery than surgery – however we are getting back into shape and we are getting there. I see the surgeon again in 8weeks time when we make the BIG decision on which knee to do first.

Funnily enough it has always been my left knee that has caused the most pain and grief but since having the left hip replaced it is the right knee that is now causing the most angst. Apparently that is to be expected as some of the knee pain was coming from the hip and of course relying on the other knee heavily whilst recovering from surgery has put added pressure on the right knee. Anyway, we shall see what happens in a couple of months time when we make the decision to go with the left or the right. And NOT having a ‘Lieutenant Dan’ (Forest Gump reference) as my delightful son suggested!!!

Meanwhile we are still at Uretiti…..there is a story behind that but more on that later!

Woohoo

July 24, 2018

We have some good news. Roy had an appointment yesterday with the Oncologist for a follow up after all of his treatment recently which we are delighted to say came back with all good news.

He has been given the all clear and has been discharged from their care with no more appointments or follow ups to be done, apart from the usual checks with our GP. Woohoo!

Getting back to normal

July 3, 2018

Saturday was a momentous day, as I moved back into the van! After visiting the day before to make sure I could get in and out of the RV with some semblance of ease it was time to make the big move.

Bringing with me my special raised chair as well as the over-the-toilet raised seat it wasn’t long before I had comfortably taken up my place in the van. But hello, we have a problem Houston, as the seat that goes over the toilet will not fit into our toilet space, oh no, but hang on a minute, let’s just see if I can actually use the loo without the seat. And what do you know? Yes I can. What an achievement, well, it feels like a huge accomplishment. And that raised chair to sit on? It takes up an awful lot of room, but it’s the same height as our two front captains chairs, so that’s easy, I’ll just swivel the chairs around to face the cabin and sit in one of those. So apart from a pair of crutches and a picker-upperer thingy, they are the only visible things to show that life has not quite returned to normality but we are getting there. Another accomplishment made….I can put my own knickers on! With a little help from the picker-uperer thingy. Not too bad for 12 days post op.

It’s been quite an experience, especially trying to describe how it feels. Initially it felt as though someone had injected a 20kg lump of lead inside my thigh/hip as well as a dead leg/Charlie which makes for lifting your leg up, especially when lying in bed to try and get out, almost an impossible task. It makes for interesting times and ingenuity to make life’s little tasks a little easier. Today though, the lump of lead feels as though it weighs only about 15kg and I presume that each day it will become less and less as I become more and more mobile.

We are staying here at Ardmore for a day or three to make sure I am ok with everything before planning our next move. Nothing is being done in a hurry, I am content to take my time and to be patient, somewhat of a foreign concept for me, but I know that I cannot hurry the mending process along.

Simon & granddaughter Maria came to visit last Sunday. It was lovely to spend some time with them and to enviously watch Maria clamber over everything and nimbly race up and down steps with such ease…..I’m only slightly envious of such suppleness of a 22month old! Antony called around as well so it was a catch up for us all.

Hip hip hooray

June 26, 2018

Firstly many thanx to family, friends and acquaintances from near and far who have rung, emailed, messaged or managed some other means of communication to wish me well and to see how I was going. I especially appreciated those of you who stayed away due to having cold bugs etc, and for not sharing them with me. And to those of you who sent messages telepathically, they may have got a little muddled in translation but I got the gist! It has all been very much appreciated, and Jacky’s visit on Friday was just the tonic I needed before leaving the hospital.

Now that the anaesthetic fog has lifted and the pain meds are reducing, I almost feel human like again. Every day things are a little easier but as I have said before I am definitely the tortoise in this race.

Antony and Roy are looking after me well, making sure I do exactly as I have been told, and it is nice to be here in front of the fire and out of the damn awful weather that we seem to be experiencing. Oh yeah, it’s winter, right. The boys are honing their cooking skills showing that some knowledge is passed on via osmosis. Long may it continue.

Oh, and I have received a letter from the Bone Bank thanking me for my donation of the old hip and that the bone has been accepted and already been used to help someone else. I wish them all the best.

Hip (h)op

June 21, 2018

The hip op is done. Monday morning we arrived at Ascot hospital bright and early ready for surgery, meeting up with both the surgeon and anesthetist very briefly before walking the long walk to the theatre. The spinal anaesthetic was quickly and painlessly administered, the sedative was adminis………and before I knew it I was waking up in recovery! Done and dusted.

Later that evening, they had me up and out of bed, walking to the loo. Next morning up and showering, which I have to admit was bliss. I won’t lie, it’s not all painfree, especially when I put weight on my leg. But after two days, I had a bit of a revelation….ask for extra pain relief! OMG why had I not thought of this before? I am on lots of slow release painkiller but didn’t think that it could be topped up before I take on some walking. Doh! My surgeon and anaesthetist both guessed that that was what my revelation was. All the staff kept asking me how was my pain, asking me to score it so I just presumed that all was under control. Well it was, sort of!

All the staff are brilliant, caring and helpful, and the food is pretty good too and it’s not often you can say that about hospital food.

morning tea one morning

lamb rack was my choice another evening

Slow and steady progress is what we are after. I get out of here on Saturday morning and will stay at Antony’s for a week or so until I feel comfortable enough to be back in the van.

I think it is going to be a long slow process, and I will have to be patient.

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.

Half way

May 9, 2018

Roy is halfway through his treatment regime, we are getting good at this routine of me dropping him off at the station, he trains into town, buses to the hospital (when he doesn’t fall asleep and miss his stop that is!!), has his treatment and then reverses the process.

I went in with him on Monday as he had his checkup with the Oncologist, and yes, it’s all going well. But I also went with him to see what happens with the treatment. It’s a fascinating process that is amazing to see.

First he hops onto a bed where they line up his tattooed dots with laser beams, then whilst he lies still on the table we retreat from that room and go next door where there is an array of computer screens.

the machine looks a little like this.

or this.

A CAT scan is done to make sure everything is lined up and in position, with the technicians making adjustments to Roy’s position by remotely tilting and twisting the bed. There are cameras in the room as well so all the time the patient is being monitored on one of the computer screens.

The technicians show me on their screens the prostate and the area within that they are focussing on, around it are a couple of different coloured margin lines which are the safety margins.

Once they are satisfied everything is ok, the treatment begins with the machine rotating in one direction for a full rotation and then back the other way for one full rotation. It takes all of three minutes and it’s done. They tell me that it is accurate to within a millimetre and whilst the machine is rotating and sending the beam of radiation, it is constantly changing its intensity and direction to completely line up with the area they are targeting. Very clever stuff.

Roy’s last treatment will be on the 7th June and after I went to the orthopaedic surgeon yesterday, I will have a pre op check on 8th June with hip replacement surgery done on the 18th June at Ascot Hospital. During the consultation yesterday the surgeon answered the great long list of questions I had prepared before I had a chance to ask them!!! How did he know what I would be asking? Anyone would think that he has done this all before!

And guess what? Yes, I will be a little taller after surgery, anywhere between 6 and 11mm taller….does that mean I will walk in circles afterwards 😉