After the trauma and anti climax of arriving from Brisbane, we settled as much as possible to the local routine.
You can imagine that after being told it could be days before a room would be available, the utter shock and excitement was immense when a nurse walked into the room to announce the paramedics would arrive in ten minutes’ time to take me to Maryborough. Happy tears indeed. Tim and I were so happy and pleased.
The paramedics Graeme & Danielle were great and we agreed masks were in order as the gent from the surgical ward had a rattly cough….it turned out he has pneumonia. Lucky escape for me.
The entire staff here was wonderful, helpful and caring.
This morning the busy line-up began. Dr Truscott and his partner Dan spent a long time asking questions while assessing my current condition.
Followed by the OT people, rehab, physio, nurses learning to change the dressing on my PICC, obsessed Nazi ward assistants who wanted every poor patient out of bed and sitting up for most of the day which wore them out. It was a long day, and yet again I am exhausted. There was no let up….no rest.
This morning I woke feeling rather ill and wasn’t sure why. After a long chat with one of doctors here it was agreed that most of the medication I’ve been taking, is now unnecessary and possibly playing havoc with my gut etc. The PICC line is going to go…..it wasn’t supposed to go at first but after watching the staff here change the dressing, I decided it was best to remove it. Still waiting for them to do it, but we can’t rush these things. My Brisbane nurses would be horrified if they saw the betadine soaked dressing on my arm.
I slept most of the day then tried to walk to the bathroom for a shower. I have very little strength in my legs at the moment so it’s not easy. But I will get there. I was told I’d be transferred to rehab today, but I think my being off colour made them decide to wait till Monday. More time here to exercise these lead legs in bed. The cold numbness of my feet is awful but the heat pads are very helpful.
My first memory is of me at three years of age, sitting on the front steps and hearing my mother’s quiet voice calling me to the sewing room of our house in town.
Calmly sitting on her chair in front of her treadle Singer Sewing Machine, holding the fabric she’d been stitching tightly trying to stem the blood flow that threatened to ruin the entire garment.
My mother leaned down and told me very clearly with a no-nonsense tone that I was to go to the corner shop (about two doors away) and ask the ‘nice lady’ to come and help Mummy. Once I arrived at the shop and gave my garbled request I have no memory of what happened afterwards. My mother’s finger was successfully sewn to the fabric of a dress for my elder sister, and the needle was stuck to the base of the machine.
Mother possessed an amazing talent for dress design and tailoring. Self-taught, she could look at a picture in a magazine or a dress hanging in a shop window, then return home and produce the exact garment. Sometimes she was lucky enough to acquire the same fabric, but if not Mother’s creation was always pretty darned close to the original.
Unfortunately, nether of my two sisters nor myself inherited her skills. Later as a mother of a little girl, I taught myself how to follow a pattern and later still how to draft my own. I was taught how to knit by my father who hand knitted my school cardigans and pullovers. He made woollen rugs too with the needle pull method but his best talents were with turning a piece of wood into something fantastic. By rights, with such promising genes, I should have been very creative and talented. My sisters were skillful crochet and embroidery artists, the eldest was an accomplished lace maker and did a lot of tatting also.
Until I was seven, I was my mother’s shadow. She lived life to the fullest in spite of often being ill. If there was a committee needing a chairwoman or member, my mum volunteered happily. The food for dances held often by the school my older sisters attended to raise funds for books and equipment, was donated and prepared by my mother. She was a loving, capable, friendly, compassionate lady and I adored her.
As President of the local CWA, Mum was to attend a three day conference in Cairns and intended to travel by train. I was to stay at home with my father. I was three or four. The morning of my mother’s departure. I got up at the crack of dawn, packed a little bag with my favourite Teddy and a pair of socks and waited at the kitchen table for her. Laughing, she packed a proper bag for me including a pack of fresh vegemite sandwiches,and we left together for the ten hour train journey. I drew many Xs in red on the note she left on the table for my father. In my young mind the kisses were my way of saying sorry for not staying at home with him after all.
The women at the conference fascinated me. All very beautiful and well-groomed in pastel coloured suits or ensembles, complete with matching hat, gloves, bag and shoes. They were the epitome of womanhood of the 1950s. All very friendly, confident and proud to be wives, mothers and members of the CWA. There was no country bumpkin in that group.
I was the only child there, but they didn’t hear a peep from me during their speeches or presentations. I had been taught how to behave in public by my mother, grandmother and aunts, from babyhood so the idea of yelling out in protest was more foreign to me than the friendly Chinese fruit and vegetable vendors in Cairns’ main shopping precinct.
The Lady President was a joy to behold in my opinion, in her pretty outfits which were different each day and sometimes even after lunch. On the third day I could not hold back any longer and whispered to Mother that the President looked like the Queen.
Mother related my comments to her, of course. She smiled and kneeled down in front of me, took my face in her gloved hands and said, ‘You can be my Princess!’ I sat up on the stage on a huge and very high red velvet chair with the Lady President that afternoon, swinging my feet clad in black patent leather shoes. I did indeed feel like a Princess.
Much love and big hugs to you all. The Pavlova made so perfectly by Mary was delish….wish I could have shared it!!!