Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Saldu Dusu (Sweet Dreams)

It has taken me 3 days to be able to sit down and write this. Three days filled with memories, sadness and finally a sense of peace.
My grandmother, or Ma as we called her, entered eternal life Sunday morning. She was 88 years old and had only been diagnosed with ovarian cancer on Wednesday.
She had wanted to die for many many years.
It became even harder for her when my grandpa died 3 years ago.

My grandmother was a refugee.
Her and my grandpa came to Australia from war-torn Latvia on a boat.
They came to Australia in the hope of making a better life for themselves.
Whilst living in nothing more than a tent in the refugee camps of Uranquinty NSW, my father was born.
My grandpa had to work in Sydney, so my grandma spent a lot of time on her own in an unfamiliar country, without knowing much english.
Can you even imagine it?

They eventually moved to Victoria, and made their home in Heidelberg West, where they lived until they became too ill and frail to live anymore.
When it came to selling that house, I couldn't even bear to go there. I wanted to keep in my head the memories I had as a child who stayed there, had adventures there, and most of all, learnt about my grandparents lives.
I am so lucky to have heard their stories.

My grandma was always the most beautiful woman in the world to me.
She told me she had been a model in Latvia.
I believed her.
She told me all the boys used to try and win her heart.
Embellished truth or not (!!) I loved to hear it.
I especially loved to hear about how her and my grandpa fell in love (despite the age difference!!).

She used to always tell me how beautiful I was too and how I should be an actress or a singer.
Unfortunately I can't sing. Not like Ma. She truly had a magnificent voice.
It's funny though. One of the first things she said about David was that he had a good voice and he should be a singer. She told him he should be on the radio.
She also told him she liked his sausage-which she will never live down! (Ma's english sometimes wasn't that good. And she couldn't understand why her complimenting him for the BBQ sausages he had just cooked her sounded so funny to the rest of us!!)

One of the most significant memories I have is of trying on Ma's ball dresses. I reckon every time I went over there I was itching to get those dresses on! They were just so beautiful, and I could pretend I was a princess, or someone royal. They took me to another place, another time, and I felt grown up. I would drape myself in her best jewellry, and sometimes she even let me wear her lipstick and perfume!!
I don't know what happened to those dresses.
Ma always wanted me to have them.

I used to go and stay at Ma's in the school holidays. I loved it!
Waking up in the morning, I would head out to the kitchen where my grandparents were always up making porridge. They would make me eat a bucketload.
In fact, they would make me eat a bucketload of whatever they served up!
They would talk to me in a mixture of Latvian and English. I could understand both languages. Languages actually come fairly easily to me and I wonder if it is because I grew up listening the the various languages that my grandparents and great-grandmother spoke. Ma would often speak to me in German or Russian.
I have often pretended I couldn't understand what they were talking about, when really I could. They would switch to Latvian if they were talking about me. But I would be listening to every single word.

On my wedding day, Ma was the first person I embraced after the official ceremony was over. I could see how proud she was of me. We didn't need words. I was finally in a beautiful dress, with lipstick and perfume and I was marrying the man that I loved with our precious Ryley.
I was incredibly close to my grandmother. She played a huge part in shaping the person I am today.
I miss her terribly.
I wish I could have seen her before she went.
To tell her one more time that I loved her.
To have her embrace my children, to stroke my hair and tell me if she liked my current hairdo or not.

Saldu Dusu Ma.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Little Brothers and Bloods

Ryley had to have his bloods done today. You all know how much I hate having to do these.
The older Ryley gets, the worse he is.
He just is so much bigger now, and so much more able to fight me.
He had to have 6 vials taken today. Fasting bloods too of course.

Enter: Clown Braeden.
Clearly this little 3 year old has spent too much time at the RCH.
He decided the only way to help Ryley through this was to act as silly as possible. He knows that Ryley loves it when he 'accidently' trips over and falls to the ground. He knows that Ryley finds it hilarious to watch him bumping into things. So guess what he did?

It truly helped Ryley while he was having most of the blood in his body taken out.

Braeden's reward?
A barcode sticker.

Well, he was excited about it anyway.
(Ryley thought they were daft).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Conference fundraising---------------------------->

You may notice a little widget I have placed on the right hand side of this blog.
I have been getting emails from people wondering if they can donate money to the conference and I have finally figured out a safe and secure way for people to make donations if they like.
If there are readers out there that would like to make a donation but would prefer to get a tax invoice, please contact me via email (dridans@hotmail.com ) so that I can arrange that through the Australian WHS Support Group.
I would like to say a huge thanks to the people who have already donated. Our major fundraiser is in the process of being organised right now and more details soon on where and what that will be!!

There will be a bombardment of update in regards to the conference very very soon.

Any questions at all please don't hesitate to email me or send me a message through Facebook!!
Yeah alright.
I better post ey?

What's news?
Well. Nothing much really.
I wrote a couple of draft posts, but decided not to publish them yet.
No idea why.
Just feeling a bit concious about what I am writing on here.
I don't have any reason to be feeling like that. Just feel like I am going through a kind of renewal period and I just don't feel happy with what I have written.

Speaking of renewal periods (what the hell are they anyway?).
After my massive traumatic plane experience (notice how dramatic it has gotten in the last week), I kind of feel like I need to reprioritise or something.
Aside from the fact I probably need a dose of CBT in regards to plane flying, I could also do with a day at a day spa or something similar. Only in order to...er...renew myself?!
Not really.
A few glasses of champers did the trick.
In all seriousness though, maybe it is the Supermoon that appeared this week. I know I am not the only one who feels a bit like they are stuck between the old and the new. Part of me is searching for something. I am not sure what it is either.
A new job? Some more study? A new house? Nope, none of them I don't think.
Just something.

When I find it, I will get back to you alright?
Until then.
I am off for a run.
Or an attempt at a run. I have got new runners, so therefore, I should be able to just run my 6kms no worries.
You can all stop laughing now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Panic, Planes and Perth

I know you all want to know.
So let me tell something about me and planes.
We don't go so well together.
Let me take a deep breath and I will explain (and a gulp of champers too while I am at it).

As you all know we had a wedding in Perth on Saturday. David was in the wedding because it was the wedding of one of his best mates. Someone he grew up with. We wouldn't have missed the wedding for the world. The wedding itself was beautiful. They make a gorgeous couple and we are really happy for them.

Now. Neither David or I have ever flown in a plane before. Correction. David has been in a little plane, but nothing like the normal big planes.
I barely slept Friday night and to be honest, had been a bundle of nerves all week. I had barely eaten or slept all week. It wasn't just because of the plane trip. I was also leaving the boys for the first time (well Braeden for the first time ever, and Ryley for the first time in 5 years).
Everything was going fine, the take off was pretty cool. The gradual build up of altitude was also ok.
Then we reached our top altitude and the plane was just cruising along.
I started to feel strange.
It started with my legs.
They started tingling. It kind of felt like adrenalin mixed with pins and needles and it was running through my legs at a speed that I couldn't control.
Then my arms started. And my body. My head was dizzy and I felt like I was going to both pass out and vomit at the same time.
I couldn't breath.
I clung to David's arm and just barely whispered "Something's wrong".
This went on for around 1/2 an hour before I pulled an air hostess aside and told her what I was feeling.
She was great (full points for Virgin Blue).
She brought me some biscuits, made me eat a bit, made me drink some water and talked to me.
It took nearly another hour for me to calm down fully, but I did calm down.
It was a panic attack and it was fucken awful.

If you haven't ever experienced a panic attack before, it is very very hard to try and explain what it feels like. To lose total control of your body while knowing full well that it is your mind that is controlling everything is frightening. No matter what I tried, I simply couldn't stop my body from shaking and feeling out of control.

I couldn't stop crying when I got off the plane. I was a complete and utter mess. I had no idea how I was going to get back on the plane to go home the next day and it filled me with an unbelievable fear.

For the whole day and night I was a mess. I couldn't eat, yet I was so weak from not eating that it was making everything worse. I was tired too. Exhausted in fact.
You know what else I did? I got on the internet and looked for alternative ways to get home so I didn't have to get back on the plane. Did you know that to hire a car to drive from Perth to Melbourne, it costs a bit over $1100. That's just for the hire bit. Not including the fuel and the motels. It costs $770 for the train from Perth to Adelaide. If I caught the train I would have had to leave Perth Sunday. I would have got to Adelaide on Wednesday. Then I would have had to get from Adelaide to Ballarat. So I was out of alternative options.

You know the one thing that made me get on that plane to get home?
Yeah, you're right.
My kids.
I couldn't bare to not arrive home on Sunday when I told them I would be home.
That was the only reason I managed to physically walk onto the plane.
I knew that every minute I was on that plane, I was a minute closer to seeing my kids.
And you know what?
I was actually ok on the way home.
Rescue Remedy is my new best friend, but hey it helped convince my mind that everything was ok, so I don't care!

I have never been so glad to be in Melbourne before though.
I do want to make mention of some people who helped me.
Jen. It meant so much to have someone to talk to when I was a bawling mess. Thankyou for understanding.
Petra, Mum & Dad. They took such great care of my boys, despite my troubleshooting guide leaving off the one tiny thing that didn't go to plan. Their words of comfort also helped me.
Rocca, Simon, Kerrie. Good to have friends around me when I really needed them! You guys really helped me, even though you might not have known it! PS. Thanks for the beer Roc!

The bottom line is that I survived. I enjoyed the wedding. I did leave early because I was just too exhausted to stay. David had a great time too.

We will go back to Perth next year I think. But guess what?
We will be DRIVING!!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How did Ryley's sleep study go? XL

Gee you have a good memory! It all went really really well!! No sleep apnoea episodes, oxygen levels all good and heart rate excellent too. So no need for further investigation!! Very very happy about that too.
He still doesn't sleep that well, but at least we know that it's not due to his snoring or lack of oxygen!
Good question!!!!!

Ask me anything

Monday, March 7, 2011

This weekend David and I are flying over to Perth for a wedding. All up we will be away for around 24 hours.
We are both first time flyers.
We are leaving Ryley and Braeden for the first time at home with my parents. Braeden has never been cared for overnight by anyone. He isn't really who I am worried about.
Ryley had overnight stays with my parents heaps when he was younger.
But not since he started the Ketogenic Diet. Not since he is now PEG fed.
Anyone guess what I am worried the most about?

Not the fact that I am personally not-at-all a fan of the thought of flying.
No. Says she who prefers to drive around the countryside in order to avoid being in a plane.

Yeah. You all know me too well.
I am most worried about leaving the kids behind.
What if the plane crashes for goodness sake?
I have taught my parents and my sister how to do the PEG feeds. I have even taught one of my best friends as a back up to the back up plan.
I will write out an instruction manual (no joke, it will actually be a manual by the time I am finished).
So there will not be a single preparation stone left unturned.

So someone tell me why I still feel worried?
I have told David that he might have to go on his own.
He told me to stop being stupid.

Guess he will have to drug me and take me to the airport in his suitcase then.

Friday, March 4, 2011

So much to do

This week I have felt as though I have been floating. Almost a bit like I have been walking next to myself trying to push my body along.
Braeden has been quite sick this week with a weird gastro bug. Which has meant that I have spent every night this week with barely any sleep. He even went a whole 24 hour period without eating or drinking, although I did manage to get some breastmilk into him. He is now making his way through a packet of icy poles, but hey, anything to rehydrate him right?
Braeden being sick is a whole new experience really. It has been a long time (well 3 years, so not THAT long) since we have had to try and coax fluids into someone. One of the great advantages of Ryley having a PEG is that when he is sick, we can still pump fluids and feeds through. When he has gastro, we can at least keep him hydrated because we can slip little tiny syringes of fluids straight into that tummy of his.
Can't do that with Braeden.

Anyway, he seems a bit better today.

It really is hard to juggle the whole work versus sick child thing hey? David and I played tag team this week with work. We never take days off for ourselves if we are sick. We can't. We have to save them up for when our kids are sick. I guess that is what most people have to do though.

At least the weekend is meant to be nice. That means time out in my garden which has been neglected this week. On the plus side though, there are two massive zucchini's which I will stuff. And my squashes have gone crazy again too. Nothing like a bit of neglect to make things grow!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The world according to Braeden

(Because he is 3 now and he knows)

When Mum grows up she is going to turn into a Spider (a black spider).

Dad is going to be a Tiger


Ryley-Buzz Lightyear with two wings

Talia- Butterfly too




Petra-Big Monster


Grumpy-Butterfly too

Unka Bede-A car

Yes. Braeden took a series of photos. This was one of them.


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