Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ally's rehab update: Wednesday 20th May

Ally is doing well in the rehab unit (aside from pain and missing her vegan meals!)

She is one of 40 patients and is the only one who can walk!

She seems to be having more intense physio (twice a day from what I can gather) and is learning to juggle her medication. The hardest ones to take are those she has to wake during the night for (as well as still changing the catheter every 4 hours).

We hope to see her this weekend but Brisbane and South East Queensland have had some really bad flooding so we'll have to see if we can get through - the forecast for Brisbane currently suggests there'll be rain all over the weekend... we'll see what the next few days bring! Mum's (not so) secretly hoping we'll be stranded there and delay going home for a bit;)!

Ally has a weekend pass to go home but then has to return until Tuesday.

I'm sorry my updates have been a bit sporadic - for some reason, our computer decides, at its own will, whether or not to even register that there is a keyboard attached - I can't believe how dependent on this computer I've become - me of all people, as un-computer-savvy as I am. At least I can still use the mouse to read emails and blogs - I just can't reply or leave comments until the keyboard is "acknowledged". Does anyone have an idea as to what's going on and how I can fix this irritation?

Till next time!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ally's change of plans

Suddenly, there's a bed available at P.A.'s spinal rehab unit.

So, after the elation of going home news yesterday, staff wanted to move her straight to P.A. instead of sending her home. However, her attentive doctor was able to plead her case to spend the night at home before going to P.A. this morning.

Mum collected her from hospital and they spent their evening shopping for supplies, a takeaway and relaxing with a DVD, I think.

Actually being at home wasn't what Ally had expected. Coming home to a dirty house that had been locked up for weeks meant the house was smelly and dark; the kitchen was covered with dirty and clean dishes, plants were uncared for, etc. Mum had asked Ally's housemate to make sure the house was clean for Ally's arrival but, as Ally explained, it was probably better than it had been but not exactly what she or Mum would call "clean":(

Mum worked on the kitchen last night and they pottered a bit this morning, before heading to Sassafrass (Ally's workplace) for a late breakfast.

After the initial shock and upset of changed plans (or perhaps in the midst of it!), Ally realises that going to the spinal rehab unit will help her work out how to integrate all her different medications (there are at least 11 times for various things in addition to changing the catheter every 4 hours and taking care of the bowel). As Ally mentioned this morning, she won't get a full night's sleep until the whole bowel/ bladder thing is sorted out - I hope this can happen this week - I know God can do the impossible and He can bring His peace into the midst of chaos, regardless of the timing of things.
Another blessing to come from the rehab unit is that an O.T. will visit Ally's house and work with her specifically to help organise "helps" - I'm not sure yet if there'll be a purchase or hire cost for these - we'll wait and see.
Speaking of needing to wait and see...
Oh, and maybe, just maybe, a friend, "M" could visit Ally at P.A. this week - so many of us longing for this for Ally and him... Wink, wink!! When Ally was discharged yesterday, there wasn't time for a proper goodbye. Ahh :) :)
Loving you Ally and looking forward sooo much to seeing you next weekend - the kids are counting the days, too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ally is going home today - Thursday!

Less than a month after being hospitalised with a broken back, Ally is well enough to go home to her cats! I am still amazed at the miracle of her walking and doing stairs, let alone her being well enough to go home... I am so grateful for this miracle!!

Ally has learnt to self-catheter, can actually "feel" something happening down there (is still numb around her thighs, but has been gifted with some helps in regard to this, so she doesn't have to buy too much when she goes home `cause there's a fair list of supplies she needs to be comfortable and to function effectively.)

Regarding the P.A.'s spinal rehab unit, the waiting list is still really long, but the doctor is looking into her going as an outpatient. As Ally said this morning, there are people in the unit who aren't capable of doing nearly as much as she can (for instance those are need help to lift their hands, etc). But it could be a wise idea to pop in and let them make sure there aren't any bad habits forming; it's still quite tricky to keep her pelvis straight but... the big news is...

she can dance - Ally style!! Yay!!

She's still working towards being able to hop! And she can't do demi-pointe yet - in Ally-speak, that means that when she reaches up to get something, she remembers that she's not quite up to balancing on tiptoes yet!

Oh, and it doesn't hurt to laugh as much any more!

The stitches inside are those that dissolve on their own, but she has two other wounds that need to heal. The major one had it's strips removed yesteday and is healing well, so she now has what Mum jokingly calls her zip-mark... but the chest wound isn't repairing that well because the person who removed the tube forgot to apply something called ?"steri-strips" and only dressed it.

So what does Ally need? If you're interested, I have a partial list of ideas with which we can help:

* foam wedges from Clark Rubber to recline on- she's trying pillows, figuring they'll be cheaper at this initial stage - I'm not sure of the correct angle, but there must be ways around that:)

* cooking meals could be interesting for a while; she is Vegan so lots of fresh vegies and fruit, raw nuts etc;
there's a soy-based protein drink in tetra packs from Woolies - she needs to drink 5 of these a day so her body has the right nutrients to heal;

* specifically: cashews and macadamias, avocados, figs(in season), mandarins, tomatoes

* from a health food shop: vegan chocolate-coated cranberries

* At the supermarket the other day, I found a vegan brand called Mrs May's naturals. This looks like a kind of bite-size cereal- made with fruit and nuts

* her favourite meals come from a small cafe near the Coffee Club on Logan Road at Mount Gravatt that is open 11am-8:30pm Mon-Sat, called The Loving Hut. They have vegetarian and vegan meals (please make sure Ally has vegan meals) that cost $9.90, snacks from $4.50-$7, soups and salads from $5.50 to $6.90, and sweets including cakes $3.50 and ice-cream $5.50. By the way, I just want to mention that, while this cafe looks lovely, I don't agree with its "religious" links... just so you know!

Thanks so much for your love, care, concern and prayers.

Love you Ally!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers' Day Breakfast 2009

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Declan's imagination - May 2009

"Mummy, please don't hang up my dinosaur sheets on the line

- they might jump off onto the other clothes!!!!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ally news. Wednesday, 6th May

I spoke to Ally today and she has some good news! She had a really good session with physio today: walked up and down stairs (I still can't believe I'm writing this about my sister who could literally LEAP up stairs prior to this! AND I am amazed that she CAN do this after only 2 weeks - what a miracle!!!!) Ally said she can walk without needing the rails going UP but is still a bit "clunky" going down and needs rails for this at the moment... Needless to say, she has exceedingly high expectations of herself but I, for one, am SOOOO proud of her!
Tomorrow's session with the physio will include putting some marks down to encourage her to take longer strides with her left foot; currently, she's limping a bit...but it's all progress, isn't it!

Ally has also been given a kind of pillow to allow her to sit and, as long as her feet can be lifted up a bit, she should be able to manage a wheelchair. She has been told by the doctors previously that she can get one; now she's just waiting for one to become available for her. She said that she has previously been able to sit for up to 3 hours at a time; but then, suddenly, she couldn't sit at all for some reason.

Some things remain a mystery; one of which is how this all happened. It looks like we'll never know this side of Heaven:) and will just have to take all the good out of it and run with it (following Ally's positive example!)

As expected, Ally still has "blue" days when things are hard to take - who wouldn't?! And there is still a fair bit of really intense pain around her lower back area and her body is still lacking control in this area...

I often wonder what her nights are like; what goes through her mind as she lies awake, or sleeps. I am praying for protection, for comfort and peace that passes all understanding to guard her mind and her heart...

Love you Ally!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Red birthday (!) with Saminda and Mychel

This is the delightful morning tea provided by Saminda and Mychel for my birthday. Unfortunately, my brain mustn't have been quite switched on in the photography department (the photo of Mychel was so dark!) I'm still getting used to having to switch off from continuous mode to use the flash; it's usually in this mode to make sure I can get just the right expression/ movement of my kids! But it doesn't work with the flash...I'll learn.

Saminda had also prepared a chocolate and raspberry cake - more "Mmm-mm's"! We also realised after I arrived that we had spontaneously worn red (my favourite colour, at the moment!) somewhere, including the children!

I really appreciated this morning get-together, even more so when I realised Saminda had had a mere 2 hours sleep, with sick children and a sick husband.

It was also a time to "breathe" and be among some really supportive friends, with the news of Ally so freshly in mind. Posted by Picasa

Homemade goodies

Declan's drawing of a toy pelican (above) and his painting of a vacuum cleaner (below).

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More celebrations

More sweet treats from the kids: chocolate drops, jaffas, freckles and the giant freckle. These were from Mary Delicious, an old-fashioned lolly shop in the heritage precinct in town.
Gary found these hair accessories to replace ordinary headbands; I'm really enjoying different things for my hair these days, now that I've decided to grow it. It makes a nice change from a bob and really short hair. I've even bought myself a hair-dryer!! Believe me, that is astonishing!

More delightul drawings from my dear ones...

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Celebrations - my birthday

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE my kids' drawings...

This year, the kids were so excited about GIVING gifts; it really thrilled me!

Gary surprised me with a digital photo frame. I'd looked at them but thought we'd never have one - just so indulgent:) I warned him that he'd now be on display 'cause I take most of the photos!

Something fun made from the lollies Chloe gave me; a giant freckle and 3 giant jaffas -

Mmm-mmm!Posted by Picasa

My birthday celebrations Monday, 27th April

Above: Look how many gorgeous gifts my family lavished on me! And Declan insisted that surely I'd like some more! (His birthday tradition is to have his gifts distributed in a treasure hunt:))

Above: Gary indulged us with this mouth-watering mudcake. While he and the kids sang,"Happy Birthday" and I blew out the three candles, I wasn't allowed to have any for breakfast! However, when I woke up and finally made my way to the kitchen, Gary had given me a sample of the sour cream/ chocolate ganache-type icing!Mmmmm, that made me smile.

Above: Gary was up at 5:30am (bear in mnd this was a school day!) decorating the cake, arranging gifts, and dangerously(?) teetering on a chair on the table to get these beautiful balloons up on the fan - wow! Needless to say, they're still there (away from Ginger's claws, too, which could be a very good thing!)

Above: an early morning (hurry up and open your presents, Mummy!) with my 2 (actually 3) children.Posted by Picasa

Awesome Ally Necklace

I'm wearing this necklace to keep Ally in mind (and as a symbol of her being close to my heart!)
If you'd like one, I'd be happy to make you one; Chloe has also made one to give Ally (she has called Ally "Lardie" since the beginning just so you know!)Posted by Picasa
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