Thankfulness

Every now and then the universe sends you a reminder to be thankful for the people you have in your life.

Yesterday I was sent a huge reminder.

My eldest daughter had all four wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday afternoon. It was a routine operation, she came out of the general anaesthetic without too much disorientation, seemed to be coping well with the inconvenience the local anaesthetic was having on how her tongue and lips were functioning, and went with James and I for a ‘sleepover’ with a family that we have known for many years.

Wednesday also went well, with Molly continuing to eat and drink, and the pain and inflammation meds were doing their job.

And then it all went pear-shaped on Thursday morning.

Having got up at about 5am to take a dose of tablets, Molly started to feel very unwell, and at about 7am she thought that she was going to be sick. She got out of bed to find something to vomit into, and her boyfriend, Simon, came to get us.

When I got down to the bedroom Molly was lying on the floor with her head in bin. She was jerking and not breathing.

I cannot tell you the pure panic and fear that flooded my body. There are no words to describe it, other than to say I NEVER want to be in that position again.

Every single thing I’ve ever learned about CPR left my brain. Everything except for “call the ambulance”, which I yelled out for James to do.

By the time he arrived with the phone on his ear I had turned Molly over onto her side, but she still wasn’t breathing. I knew that my brain had totally shut down and I was going to be no use to Molly in that state, so I made James give me the phone while I spoke to the operator.

I gave the operator our address and the details of the situation, and by the time she started asking me about Molly’s current state of health James had done the head tilt and open mouth part of the DRSABCD and Molly had, thankfully, mercifully, wonderfully, started breathing on her own again. But she wasn’t conscious, and we still needed the ambulance to come. Once we had established that Molly was really breathing on her own, the operator (the wonderful, calm, experienced, brilliant operator) rang off and left me to guide the ambulance into the house. I have no idea what they did in that room – there was barely enough space for the three of them and Molly – so Simon and I waited in the sunroom while James watched the ambos do their thing.

When I heard them ask Molly to sit up, my heart leapt, and when she got up and walked unsteadily to the ambulance, it sang.

James went in the ambulance to Frankston Hospital and Simon and I had something to eat and I had a shower. This sounds odd I know, but I also put on a slow-cooked chicken curry before we left! Based on our experience on Tuesday I was in no mood to get home and cook dinner after spending the whole day in the hospital!

In the end, we were home again in time for lunch. The doctors and nurses at Frankston Hospital took over from the Vic Ambo crew, and cared for Molly brilliantly. Their diagnosis was that Molly had suffered a vasovagal incident – that is, the nerve that controls breathing and swallowing in the throat stopped functioning as it should – it had shut down in fact – and that was why she stopped breathing. They were also quite mystified as to why Molly hadn’t been told to take the pain and inflammation meds on a full stomach. This is a question I will be asking the Epworth, the surgeon and the pharmacist!

The Frankston Hospital staff were very calm about the whole thing, but I have to tell you, I have been less than calm over the last few days.

What keeps going through my head is “What if Simon hadn’t stayed over?” What if Molly had been in her bedroom, with the door shut, and got up to be sick and collapsed on the floor – and we hadn’t heard any of it? Would she have started breathing again on her own? Or would we have lost her?

I feel like this is going to haunt me for a while. Damn, we were so lucky. We are so lucky.

But most of all I am grateful: to Simon for coming to get us; to the ambos; to the hospital staff; to our litigation-happy society that means that we get trained in CPR every year; and to whatever it was that made all of that possible.

Be grateful people.

Sometimes, you aren’t fully aware of what you are blessed with until its existence is threatened.

And, for your enjoyment, is a video of Molly telling us a story about being in post-op while eating jelly. You’re welcome.

 

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Review: Why We Broke Up – moved

Why We Broke Up
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Revolving around Mim and Ed, this is story is told from Mim’s point of view, as she returns items that had significance in her relationship with Ed, and tells us the story of where the item came from and why she is returning it.
While I recognise the quality of the idea behind this book, and the quality of the writing in general, this book felt like it was about 5 objects too long to me. And the upbeat ending, written outside the framework of the returned items, misses a beat in an otherwise emotionally charged story.
Also, I felt cheated that Mim, a strong feminist type, would be so blind to the shitty-ness of Ed. I could see it all unfolding, and I doubted that she would deny his true character so easily.

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Review: The Shattering – moved

The Shattering
The Shattering by Karen Healey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mind blown.
With such a complex story to bring to fruition the setup of this novel is methodical and necessary. But the tipping point arrives – and the story soars! I read this until I was done, in the dark of the night.
The characters are all so wonderfully drawn that you become part of their story. The twists and turns come thick and fast, and the relationships crackle with electricity.
Recommended!

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Review: Angel Creek – moved

Angel Creek
Angel Creek by Sally Rippin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved this family-based fantasy.
Jelly is struggling with moving away from her primary school friends, She is worried about starting high school, doesn’t get along with her cousin, Gino, and there a family undercurrents that are making her very uneasy.
It all adds up to one very unusual Christmas.

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Review: The Undys: Let the Games Begin

The Undys: Let the Games Begin
The Undys: Let the Games Begin by Michael Wagner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Undys are Josh and Phil. They are two blokes – son and dad – who live in a unit in a block of flats. Josh and Phil are great mates, although it’s not clear who is the youngest of the two! 🙂 They are always making up great games on the spot, like Gut-Barging and Hallway Soccer, and seem to always be having heaps of fun. This really annoys Josh’s aunt, who thinks that they are both very childish – and she is right. There are lots of laughs, and lots of love in this humourous story for younger readers.

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Review: A Straight Line To My Heart

A Straight Line To My Heart
A Straight Line To My Heart by Bill Condon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bill Condon writes wryly moving novels that speak to the heart of family and the teenage experience. His previous novels have dealt with dysfunctional families, naive Catholic adolescents in the 50s, unusual blended families, and hard things to talk about like family violence and grief.
In A Straight Line to my Heart, Tiff lives with Reggie and Bull. The kindness of strangers has saved the younger Tiff from an orphanage. Reggie’s family are friends of Tiff’s aunt, who is unable to care for the little girl, and they take Tiff in and love her as their own. And Tiff repays their love with her own deep and profound love of them.
This story opens as Tiff visits the library, her sanctuary of quiet familiarity at a time of change and upheaval in her life. Tiff and Kayla have just finished their last year of school, and their lives are in a state of flux. A young man approaches Tiff in the library, and Tiff is drawn to him in a way that she doesn’t understand.
There are a number of conflicting and overlapping story lines in this novel – friendship, family, adult- and childhood, first love, grief and change, and Condon handles them all with aplomb and heartfelt authenticity.

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On the Plane

I love being on the plane. There’s so much to look at.

People with kids are always a source of interest when one is kid-free and flying. There was only one noisy baby on today’s flight, and it* was erractically rather than continuously grumpy. And I had Foundling: and Lamplighter: Monster Blood Tattoo to keep me emotionally separated from the angst that creates.

I sat beside a lovely lady who had been on the move all day. Travelling from East Gippsland to Perth, she** has traversed the nation from east to west today – quite literally. Bet is visiting her sister in a town east of Perth***. She hasn’t seen her sister since January, when she flew to Perth on a whim. As we talked further I discovered more and more about Bet and her family. The reason that she flew to Perth in January was that her daughter’s birthday is in January. Not so unusual, except that her daughter died from secondary breast cancer a year and a week ago. Bet’s son-in-law had gone on holiday with their kids, and she was home alone and feeling blue. So a quick hop over to Perth was in order.

Now, I’ve already mentioned that it was a year and a week since her daughter died, and that was part of the reason for today’s trip to Perth, but there was an ulterior motive – Bet and her sister have booked tickets to see ‘Our Boy’ – Damien Leith! She was as pleased-as-punch to be spending 2 weeks with her sister, and it was obvious that seeing Damien Leith was going to be a highlight.

Boab trees. Bet’s sister, Denise, has recently moved from up north, the Kimberley area. She and her partner, Peter, used to own a boab tuber farm. They grew the tubers for sale to people to grow****, but also to use in cooking. I know! Cooking! Denise made boab chutney, boab cookies (really!), and they sold the tubers to restaurants around the world. Apparently they are similar to water chestnuts. Who’d a thunk it?

Bet was great to sit next to. She was interesting to talk to, but also let me go back to my audiobook when I felt like it.

Thanks, Bet! J

And I found it really interesting to watch four tv’s at once, playing Limitless with Bradley Cooper, while listening to Monster Blood Tattoo. Surreal.

* I was going to write ‘she’ but as I didn’t really know the gender of the baby I thought that might not be fair.

** We didn’t exchange names, so I’m going to call her Bet from now on.

*** I don’t know Perth at all, so I’ve already forgotten the name of the town.

**** Who needs a boab tree in their back yard?!