And so to yet another catch up blog…
Last week I went up to Starship hospital in Auckland for a WOF from my cardiologist. (WOF stands for warrant of fitness, in my case every 18 months or so) and she said I was very well. She also told me about a new procedure they have started doing on an experimental basis, they can now install an artificial valve by catheter. So, instead of having a massive open heart surgery procedure, they put a catheter up an artery from your groin, blow up a balloon and install a new pulmonary valve that way. I’m a good candidate apparently, so in time I will have an MRI scan and they can do some measurements. Then, maybe, give me a new pulmonary valve which will solve the stenosis and the leakage into the heart forever. She said it could, conceivably, give me another 20 to 25 years of life. Imagine me at 78!
Then I went to a meeting with the Literature advisor for Creative New Zealand. Lovely lady and a kindred spirit. We went over the application for funding which I have been putting together for the last few weeks. She tweaked it a little and we discussed the path for funding and where I should go as the year progresses. I polished it and couriered it off Wednesday, so now I wait…until March 15th.
The next novel is going well, the direction is very clear in my head and the characters are beginning to take on lives and speech patterns of their own. The first few chapters are the ones I find the hardest because I’m making decisions that set the course, once the characters take over they make the decisions and things become more obvious because you know them and you know what they would do and say.
Mum is eating and drinking. She has weetbix and a cup of tea for breakfast and then lunch is the main meal, usually sausage meat, pureed veges and gravy. Pudding is custard and apple, or jelly and ice-cream, sometimes Pavlova and once a lump of cake (how is that pureed food?) that she quite happily ate. I bring in dinner because I like what I cook better. I don’t like her having mashed potato with tinned spaghetti on it or a pureed tuna sandwich. And I am stretching my culinary imagination!!!
Last night she had seafood mousse (crab and prawn, fried in a little butter and pureed with coconut cream and a squeeze of lemon juice), four big fat juicy prawns and half an avocado…followed by a little key lime pie and lime jelly. She had smoked blue warohu (fish) in white sauce the other day and a tiny chocolate fondant. And Monday night was a lovely two egg omelette and fresh fruit salad. So it isn’t really pureed food as she can chew very well, she loves fresh watermelon and she had a whole marshmallow yesterday. She has a fruit bowl in her room and a secret box of chocolate finger biscuits. At home last Sunday I made her a smoothie of a fresh banana, coconut cream, vanilla ice-cream and lemonade. She had two glasses.
She doesn’t remember the PEG feeding and as far as she’s concerned the tube in her stomach is for water flushes. It may sound like she eats a lot but the plates are still bread and butter plates and the puddings are little ramekins, so she is enjoying taste as much as volume. Still, it is a huge step forward and she has more energy and enjoys her meal time.
A doyen of New Zealand broadcasting died last week. Sir Paul Holmes was 62 and had been on radio and TV in New Zealand for forty years. We knew he was dying, but it was still a shock. Many of us have memories of the way he helped us over the years, he was particularly good at making you laugh when the task ahead of you seemed overwhelming. He was a man of great compassion and empathy and yet, still a devil with an earthy sense of humour. He was unique and he will be missed.
Well, time for me to get a move on and get ready for my twice daily trek into Resthaven. People tell me I’m a ‘wonderful daughter’ and that she wouldn’t be where she is if I hadn’t put in the work. My feelings on the matter, which I largely keep to myself, is that if I do this every day for the next four years, I will still be very firmly in the debt side of the ledger. The hard months are over, she makes me laugh every day.