When Brain Surgery Suddenly Seems Like a Good Idea… Part 3

Our knucklehead he was a little more mobile every day, and walking into ICU and seeing him sitting up on his own almost had me crying with joy. His PT and doc encouraged him to start walking and go a little further and further each time. He lucked out when he got a private room after his ICU stay – he could sleep to his hearts’ content with no noisy roommates or machines!
By day four it didn’t hurt so much to chew anymore, so he could have something other than soup and he was thrilled! He also asked for his laptop once he moved out of ICU ‘coz he said the hospital TV was boring. 
Dry shampoo spray was awesome as he wasn’t allowed to wet his surgery cut! He felt better and stronger every day, but he couldn’t go without pain killers for more than a few hours.
After 7 days in hospital, including 2.5 days in ICU, he was really glad to be home. He could at least “shower” on his own after needing help in the hospital, and we gave him a haircut to match the shaved square around his cut.

He was sore! So very sore! I cried myself to sleep a few times in the weeks following his surgery ‘coz my baby boy was in so much pain, and waking up in agony in the wee hours of the morning. And he got VERY bored, and his back hurt from walking funny because he was trying not to move his neck, and all I wished was to make it all better.  He wasn’t allowed to bend over, or lift anything heavier than 3kg, and a car ride was absolute torture for a good day afterwards – the involuntary movement of his neck in the car made him so sore!

The cut on the back of his head was 10cm long, and he had 17 stitches – they came out ten days after his op. How incredible was his progress over two weeks!

For those who have asked – his diving career did not cause or aggravate the condition. He was born with Chiari Malformation (we didn’t know it), and the syrinx in his spine has been growing for the last 20 years or so. And even with the Decompression surgery, he is not cured – there is no cure for Chiari Malformation and Syringmyelia – and he has a looong six months to a year ahead of him of taking it easy and recovering. And waiting and watching to see if the Syrinx in his spine shrinks enough – its this that caused the loss of sensation and pain in his arm and head.

He is so much better now, 111 days since his surgery.
He is still battling with a little pain behind his eye from Occipital Neuralgia, but it is much better than when he started regaining the feeling in his face and the back of his head. And whilst he has regained most of the feeling in his arm, neck, and face, the tips of his fingers are still numb. He has another MRI scheduled for the end of June, five months after his operation, so we can see just how much the syrinx has shrunk.
I am praying for a miracle…

A Year in Review – Forty @NocturnalWenchy Questions

I haven’t done one of these in a few years now…

  • What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
    Had a Christmas without my son…?
  • Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
    I never make them. I know I won’t keep them.
  • Did anyone close to you give birth?
    Nope. First time in many years!
  • Did anyone close to you die?
    Yes… ?  My Granny darling in January, and my Daddy darling in August.

  • What countries did you visit?
    I didn’t cross any borders.
  • What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
    Money! And yes, I know what that sounds like!
  • What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory?
    January 3rd and August 7th ?

  • What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    Puppy Patrick graduating as a Guide Dog, and having a few of my cakes make it to the CakesDecor.com home page!

  • What was your biggest failure?
    My own laziness.
  • Did you suffer illness or injury?
    I spent a week in hospital with asthma complications, and I had sinus surgery.
  • What was the best thing you bought?
    I got several new cake decorating tools!
  • Whose behaviour merited celebration?
    Our knucklehead! ? He’s a PADI Dive Instructor now working at a resort! We are unbelievably proud of him! 

  • Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
    I invoke my right not to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me. ?
  • Where did most of your money go?
    The vet… ?
  • What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    A few of my cakes make it to the CakesDecor.com home page! ???
  • What song/ album will always remind you of 2016?
    I can’t think of one…
  • Compared to this time last year, are you:
    • Happier or sadder? Sadder
    • Thinner or fatter? Fatter
    • Richer or poorer? Poorer
  • What do you wish you’d done more of?
    Visited my parents.
  • What do you wish you’d done less of?
    Bingeing on junk food.
  • How did you spend Christmas?
    My Glugster and I spent it at home with the animals, after I had a bit of a meltdown and bailed on my family.
  • Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
    My family, via WhatsApp group.
  • Did you fall in love in 2016?
    I fall in love with my darling Glugster every day! ?
  • How many one night stands in this last year?
    Are they still one night stands if I’m happily married to the guy? ?
  • What was your favourite TV program?
    There are a few that I watch – Game of Thrones is up there. And Orange is the New Black.
  • Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
    I can’t think that I hate anyone, as such… I do have a very strong loathing for a couple of people, and that list doesn’t change.
  • What was the best book(s) you read?
    I didn’t do a lot of reading… I miss it.
  • What was your greatest musical discovery?
    Deezer!
  • What did you want and get?
    A new ring! My darling Glugster got me a gorgeous ring with three bands and Swarovski crystals to wear on my ring finger! ?

  • What did you want and not get?
    A car… Renting a car certainly makes maintenance easier, but we can’t have the car we would like.
  • What were your favourite films of this year?
    I saw Fantastic Beasts with my Glugster on the big screen and that was awesome, and I saw Finding Dory with my mommy darling and my sisters and that was great fun!
  • What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    I stopped counting at 40, but I got to sleep in, a clean kitchen, breakfast in bed, and a chilled day at home with my Glugster and my furchildren.
  • What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    Not having to pinch pennies… I grew up being frugal, I have no problem with that. What I hate is panicking when the petrol light comes on.
  • How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? *snort* I have no such thing. I wear whatever fits me.
  • What kept you sane?
    My husband. My precious Glugster.
  • Which celebrity/ public figure did you fancy the most?
    I don’t really “follow” celebs or read gossip magazines so by the time I find anything out its old news.
  • What political issue stirred you the most?
    I am frequently rendered speechless by the antics of the South African government, but I still can’t believe that Trump is the president of the USA!
  • Who did you miss?
    Nathan… My Granny darling… My daddy darling… And my knucklehead, who works far from us now.
  • Who was the best new person you met?
    Hhmmm… We spent the year fairly closeted at home, but I met a few new Guide Dog puppy raisers and they are such incredible people!
  • Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
    Everything matters. Everything.
  • Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. 
    All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day.

Another Parenting Milestone.

Another parenting milestone, and not one I was ever looking forward to.

Its going to be my first Christmas without my boy. :'(

He had been gone almost eight weeks – the longest its ever been for me not to see him at all – and he was briefly home from working in Mozambique so I got to see him for a few days.
But this morning I dropped him off as they head back to the dive centre with a massive trailer full of supplies and groceries.
And as I pulled the car into the garage at home I suddenly started crying when I realised I don’t know when I will see him again.

He’s working all through Christmas, and new year, and when they do come back into South Africa for supplies, they don’t come all the way to Joburg.

I miss him a lot, and I can talk to him on the phone, but its not nearly the same.

History in Photographs

I found a whole box of photos in the garage, while tidying up last weekend, and going through them was so much fun!

It brought back so many memories looking at them, I found several pictures I could give to other family members, and, AND – I actually THREW SOME AWAY!
Thats personal growth for me! 😀

What did strike me though, is how many of those pictures could be super precious memories now – but they have a person in them that is no longer a part of our family…
They weren’t technically a part of the family when the picture was taken, either… 

It made me wonder about deliberately excluding people from group family portraits if they’re not technically family. I deliberately excluded my brother’s date to my wedding from the photographs – but that was my wedding – I could get away with it. 😛 

What do you think? Ask them to step aside?

I Miss You, My Daddy Darling

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August 7th 2016 was the 46th anniversary of my mommy and daddy darling “going steady”. It was also the day my daddy darling died.

My dad was “Uncle Duck” to many, many people, a larger than life personality who made friends wherever he was, drawing you in to his space and making you laugh. Able to discuss almost any subject, my dad’s general knowledge was vast, yet you never felt like he was trying to lecture you.
If you’ve ever been to a wedding with my dad in attendance, you would have found yourself being fed peach schnapps on the dance floor, and you couldn’t say no!
And he was a prankster too!
My BBF and I spent weekends and school holidays in each other’s homes, and one weekend we were riding bikes when Gen took a tumble, grazing her knee badly on the gravel. We limped home, and she sat in the bath as we rinsed stones and grit from the cuts on her knee. Then my dad appeared, full of concern, with a tin of mercurochrome spray. He gently patted Gen’s injuries dry, spritzing a little of the spray on her knee as he worked, and then before she could blink he sprayed a bright orange-red stripe of mercurochrome from her knee to her ankle! She went to school like that for a week before it finally washed off properly!

My dad’s family was his treasure. He loved nothing more than spending time with all of us together, and any occasion was a reason to get together. I have treasured childhood memories of me and my sister B as little girls, gallivanting to the movies with my dad, just us three, watching The Fox and the Hound and Bambi on the big screen. He loved tradition! He dressed up as Santa to hand out Christmas presents. He went to great lengths to hide Easter eggs for his children and grandchildren to hunt in the garden. We were given bicycles for our 8th birthday, a good quality watch for our 14th birthday, and sometimes for sport – a tin of condensed milk and a box of jelly powder wrapped in newspaper, like he got as a schoolboy.
I remember one time, he and my mom caught and painstakingly painted doors and windows on a couple of garden snails, so that we little girls could “find them” in the garden and see the snails carrying their own houses!

When I was raising my knucklehead on my own, my dad was there if I needed him. No matter how hard it was for him to be a father figure for my son as well as being his grampa, he never let me down.

My daddy darling, you can be proud. My life is filled with happy, treasured memories of us.

I miss you so much.

And I will be careful, always.