The Outside World

Yesterday I took my first jaunt into the fresh air and sunshine, in a wheelchair pushed by Evan and Helen (also accompanied by John and Janet). We roamed around the hospital grounds for about an

hour. On our way out we rode in the lift with a miniature (premi) baby who was also going for her first experience of the great outdoors and I felt some affinity. Tears of happiness to be breathing the warm air, picking up a frangipani flower, scuffing in the leaf litter, lying on a park bench looking up into the majestic figtrees! I didn’t know I would feel so overjoyed. There are even some Maniltoas there with plumes of young growth.

 

Afterwards I played one game of Rummyking, ate lunch, lay down for a sleep, then woke feeling so completely flat that I was almost desperate. I found myself thinking of the way my late father-in-law would put on a cute Cockney accent and say:

Sometimes I sits and stares and sometimes I just sits…
and
Doctor, I eats alright and I sleeps alright but when I sees a job o’ work to be done I comes over all funny!

Well after more rest I was revived by beautiful visitors who somehow brought me the energy to sit up and show off again.

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This morning we went out again in the wheelchair, this time to the Southbank gardens and the river where I loved the boats, birds, waterlilies, lacy leaf patterns against the sky and my adorable encouraging family of course. So much beauty and warmth must surely enhance healing!

I discovered that wheelchair riding is a lung challenge and this time I focussed on breathing as deeply as possible. I think it has prevented me from feeling so wiped out.

The medical staff here form a fascinating international community with interesting accents and each with special gifts to share. I love the Irish accents and perhaps my favourite is the Malay/Borneo accent. I’ve had such laughs with Cindy and Jane who obligingly chorused various phrases for me in their Yorkshire accents. Ravishing Fatima (of Somalian origin) wears a different beautiful headscarf every day. I asked her about them because I’m told I will lose my hair in the months to come. She has been very generous with her hints and even gave me one of her scarves to use for a pattern to create my own.

Did I mention that the IP chemo I’m to have is a new treatment resulting from a breakthrough in 2006 here at the Mater. Janet (the epidemiologist in my team) has checked and there is good evidence for improved success rates from this treatment, compared with only IV chemo. I was assured that the side effects will be well controlled. It is simply not available anywhere further north in Queensland so I will be travelling down and back on a 3 week cycle. The actual logistics of this are still a bit of a questionmark but John is visiting the Flight Centre today to ask about the flexible (expensive) types of air ticket and these will be paid for by the Q hospitals system 🙂 Then we have to think about accommodation near the Mater. My first session is booked for 3 Feb.

Early yesterday I caught up with more of the guestbook, finding entries I’d missed previously due to my patchy energy for using the computer. I feel positively hugged – THANKYOU!

To those for whom blogging is new and unfamiliar a special thanks for taking the challenge.

Thanks Danni & Gary for your reports of “my” Woodford dance workshops that you rescued. They sound so much fun I wish I could have sneaked along and joined in!

Pat had mentioned Gary would be doing Yorgo’s gigs but oh dear! – such dreadful news and I’m really sorry to hear it.

Ailsa – your poem is beautiful!!

Lorraine is right, the e-visits are less tiring when we are talking about thousands, especially as my natural inclination would be to get together with each and every one of you and laugh, cry, hug, talk and dance. Don’t get me wrong, I love visitors and have enjoyed seeing those who have managed to physically come here to see me. Also phone calls. And I’ve received gorgeous things in the (snail) mail that bring more happy tears and laughter. Thankyou.

Now for some big news – tomorrow I’m outa here! I’ll move in to Reg Leonard House with the family and rest up for a couple more days (to be prudent) before going somewhere more comfortable for a bit of a break – hopefully to Mum’s place in Sydney. (I will let you know.)

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