Back from Adelaide…

I had a lovely week in Adelaide with my family – we didn’t do much, which suited me just fine – that was always my intention, to just have a lovely quiet week.  And we did.

I was very nervous on the drive down to Brisbane but Mr Beloved made good time, and dropped me off at Roma Street and I caught the airport link train.  I had plenty of time before my flight, so I sat and read a book (I always have a book).

What with getting up early for the drive and not sleeping so well the night before, I was quite tired – I heard the pilot tell us that we would be flying over Mildura, the next thing I knew I woke up when the attendant was handing me my gluten-free sandwich for lunch. After that I slept again until I heard the announcement that we were beginning the descent over the Adelaide hills.

Mum met me at the gate and Gordon just outside, and we drove home to Mum and Dad’s place.  I slept in quite late the next day – ’til nearly lunch time… and we just pottered about. Very restful and nice.

Gordon’s party on Saturday was a huge success – it started at about 1 in the afternoon and we left around 6, but apparently there were still some hardy hangers-on at 2 am!

Then they had another bunch of people the next day… Anyway, he had a good time, and Ju went to a huge amount of effort to make it wonderful – she’s spent every spare moment in the last few months organising, getting the yard done, and it went right down to the wire, with the pizza oven roof being installed on Friday afternoon.

This is Ju with John Paul, a ukelele player (and one of the the people from the Hoot who helped save Gordon’s life in January).

I think Hanneul made something like 70 pizzas on Saturday, even though it’s the middle of his exams…

…and the musicians (people Gordon knows from from the Hillbilly Hoot) didn’t stop all day. There were enthusiastic dancers while the musos played.

Sunday I went to church with Mum and Dad – they have a nice community there, some lovely people.  Not my thing, but nice for them.

We went to Ikea on Monday – because I don’t get to go to Ikea except when I visit Adelaide.  I foolishly ate food that I knew was bad for me but yum, who can resist the meatballs (and the cakes?)

So that was my week in Adelaide. I lazed about. I t was lovely.  I missed Mr Beloved and Constance, of course.

And now I am home again.  Back to the leaky shower that I have to organise a plumber to come fix (I’ll do that on Monday – yesterday I spent most of the day catching up on sleep. you’d think I had a strenuous time away, but the drive home was more tiring than the whole week away).

The Big Bad Tooth that was a problem several months ago has turned into a major problem again – I didn’t get much sleep last night because it was aching so badly – fortunately I already had an appointment with my dentist for a regular checkup on Monday, so we’ll see what she can do then.  I think it might be time for it to come  out – I certainly can’t afford a crown – and I am dreading what will happen – but the pain is now so great that I am even willing to consider getting the darn thing taken out in the chair (which terrifies me, but I can’t go on like this.) I’m just glad it wasn’t hurting like this while I was in Adelaide.

So that’s it from me for now. The new uni semester starts on Monday and I have my textbook, but until I get the plumbing and the dentist sorted I’m not going to even LOOK at the uni stuff… well, it can wait until Tuesday, anyway.

SO!

When we last saw Our Heroine, she was Very Very Stressed.

I am getting better.  A bit.

I saw the lovely mental health nurse  (new to my Very Helpful Psychiatrist’s practice) on Monday and she helped me sort myself out.  I’m less anxious about having to take the anxi0lytic (for now) although I did have a panic attack at 3 am last night because I thought Connie had a tick. (Paralysis ticks are very common here at the moment and are deadly.) She didn’t, but it took me a while to settle back down.

Tuesday was group therapy day and as usual very helpful.  I am truly converted from sceptic to believer – things come up from other people in the group that you might not have been ready to deal with yourself, or even have realised were lurking at the back of your brain (or wherever it is they lurk in there) and it HELPS.  SO much.

But it’s exhausting, so Wednesdays are pretty much a bed day.  It was 1:30 before I woke up.

Gordy continues to recover well – but it’s a slow process.  Dad went over to pick him up for his doctor’s appointment yesterday only to find Gordy and his ute MISSING – oh noes!!  Turns out Gordy had decided the ute needed a drive to charge the battery and anyway he thought he’d drive over to the doctor’s to check what time the appointment was… bit of a shock when the doctor then told him he might not be able to drive for 6 months! OOPS!

Never have been able to stop him driving...

(we’ll see what his cardiologist says, Mum thinks the GP was being conservative.)  It’s tiring for Mum and Dad, too.  And Ju has started some new nursing training (yay!) and Hanneul turned TWENTY this week!

And – drum roll please…. I found out today that I got into university!

I’m going to be enrolling in a Bachelor of Arts (part time, on campus) at the University of Southern Queensland here in Toowoomba.  The plan is to only do one or two subjects a semester at most, and the aim isn’t so much to actually get a BA as to use my brain for something other than worrying, and to get out of the house. I’m hoping to enrol in the Writing and Society major (creative writing) – it’s a 12 unit interdisciplinary major – well, that’s the plan at this stage.

I’ve just looked up the textbooks for the first two units I’ll be doing – one is mandatory for all students (Introduction to Communication Studies) and the other is Introduction to Australian History.

And – *gasp* just priced the textbooks – I better be able to get some of them second-hand, because there is NO WAY I can afford them all new from the university bookshop!  Shopping around (through the wonderful booko.com.au) I can get then for less but its still a LOT of money.  Oh dear.

One problem at a time…. breathe…. and right now, dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gordy Day 5… and the rain

First, to Gordy – he’s got pneumonia.  Thursday night was not good – Eunju was exhausted and very upset that the antibiotics weren’t working as quickly as she’d hoped, and Gordy was frustrated that he had to go back to using a big oxygen mask instead of the smaller nasal tubes.

But in GOOD news – he’s talking, he’s able to give directions (to the Korean food shops at the Central Markets in Adelaide so Mum and Dad could pick up some bibimbap (also seen on the cover of this month’s SBS “Feast” Magazine)  for Ju- because comfort food when you’re exhausted is a Good Thing.  Gordy can move his arms and legs, too, which is a Big Thing. These are amazingly hopeful signs, given what the outcomes could have been.

Latest report I had this morning, he was slightly better, having had stronger antibiotics overnight, and was able to clear some of the muck from his lungs.

So he’s still in the ICU for now.

And now to the rain.

It’s been wet and miserable for a few days now.  And we do get nervous when the weather bureau starts issuing severe weather warnings… after the floods in January last year, nobody believes any more that “Toowoomba never floods (it’s on top of the range).” So as I’m writing this in the warm, dry shed/studio, poor Mr Beloved is out in the pouring rain ensuring that it stays that way: he’s installing a “make-do” sandbag system (an old tarp and lots of dirt) and some big pieces of timber which will help to divert water away from the doors.

Not pretty, but should do the job...

(The rain is already pooling in the short time between getting this far and Mr Beloved having a break while I took a photo…)

Paranoid? Perhaps.  We like to think of it as being prepared.  Places not that far to the west and south of Toowoomba have already had rainfalls in excess of 200 mm this week.  The ground is already soggy, and that’s exactly the sort of conditions last year that lead to all the run-off from what felt like the entire hill ending up in our yard…  The Bureau of Meteorology reports Toowoomba had just over 25mm of rain (that’s an inch) overnight, and even though the official rain gauge at the airport is currently showing only 0.8 mm since 9am, we know that’s not an accurate measure of how much rain OUR house gets.  I can guarantee that the dog got more rain on her than that in the journey between house and shed!

Let’s hope we’re being overly pessimistic, and that the rain stops soon.  There are very few days when I wish for a clothes dryer – weeks like this though…

Gordy, Day 3

Hard to believe that it’s only the third day since Gordy’s cardiac event… here’s the latest update.

He’s still in the ICU, but is breathing without the respirator.  He broke his partial plate when he fell and aspirated a tooth (ouch!) BUT luckily has managed to cough it up!  He has a chest infection (not uncommon after a cardiac arrest and CPR and all the hospital intervention that is so necessary afterwards, not to mention the tooth) and is still very groggy (understandably!) but is responding well to commands.

Eunju is very pleased with his progress (and she knows her stuff.)  It’s very early days yet, obviously, but he’ll move from the ICU to the cardiology ward soon.

Far too early to know what’s happened neurologically, they’re not even sure if he can swallow on his own yet.. but we’re hopeful.

Not much of an update on Gordy, but…

He’s holding on.  Last update I had, the ICU doctors had warmed him back up from the therapeutic hypothermia, and were considering reducing the sedation this afternoon to see if he could breathe on his own.  Eunju (Super Nurse!) was very pleased to report to Mum and Dad this morning that the doctors had reduced some of the medicati0ns Gordy was receiving through drips.  (We’re all a bit worried about Ju’s lack of sleep but of course she wants to be by his side – who wouldn’t want to be with the person they love?)

So now we just wait.  Have I mentioned that their son, 20 year old university student Huneal Hanneul[sorry, kiddo, your Aunty can’t spell!] (he’s studying mining engineering and is doing very well, we’re so proud) is being brilliant – driving Mum and Dad to the hospital, going housework, and so on?

I wish I could be over there to help, but there’s really not much I could do.  I am determined to get over to Adelaide SOON to see him, but only if it’s not going to make more work for everyone.

Gordon in Leeton in May, 2009

We’re all very grateful that there were at least two doctors who are fans of The Hillbilly Hoot  (a weekly gathering of musos and fans at Adelaide’s Community Radio Station 3D). From the reading I’ve been doing (I’m certainly no expert) the sooner CPR is done after a cardiac arrest the better the chances of the patient’s survival and recovery.  And he had GOOD CPR – but even lousy CPR is better than none. (Do you really need me to provide the references? I can – study after study has shown it.  If you have ANY doubts, and someone is not breathing and has no heartbeat – START CPR.  Get help as soon as you can because the breathing part is hard to keep up on your own, but just do it!!)

 

 

Hoping for good news….

“Caity? It’s Mum… I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news about your brother…”

Those are the words I woke up to at eight o’clock this morning.  Swimming up to the surface, fearing the worst, but so relieved to hear “He’s in the ICU…”

Gordy had a heart attack heart failure last night. [updated after  I spoke with Mum and Dad this evening.  The difference is – his heart just stopped.  Not a blockage – just STOPPED.]

Fortunately, he was somewhere where there were a couple of doctors (if I heard Mum right on the slightly fuzzy connection [yes, I did, two doctors!]) who started CPR straight away; the ambulance only took five minutes to reach him, and he was admitted to intensive care in one of the best hospitals in South Australia [Royal Adelaide].  He’s in an induced coma [on a ventilator] and they’re keeping him cool; they don’t know yet if there will be any brain damage. [The ICU doctors are going to start warming him up again overnight, about 24 hours after they started cooling him.

A quick Google search shows why the ICU cooled Gordy: “The American Heart Association (AHA) issued recommendations for cooling cardiac arrest patients for up to 24 hours as far back as 2005. However, critical care physician Peter Marshall, MD, says only about 10 percent of hospitals offer it even though it is proven effective, more patients recover function than in the past and spend less time in the hospital.”  That was from a 2010 article from the Yale School of Medicine, “Putting the patient ‘on ice’ can make a lifesaving difference”.]

He is reacting to the sound of his partner, Eunju’s, voice, so that has to be a good sign.  I refer to her with great admiration as “Super Nurse” because she trained as an Intensive Care specialist nurse before she took on an echocardiography traineeship when Gordy was diagnosed with heart issues a few years back.  And apparently she was planning on studying mental health and diabetes specialisations this year – see what I mean – super nurse!  So there’s really no one better to have by your side.  And I know she’s a HUGE comfort to Mum and Dad.

I’ll fly to Adelaide if I’m needed but at this stage there’s really not much anyone outside the ICU can do.

Just hope for a good outcome.  He’s 39.  He’s my brother and he’s a very cool bloke.