Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Muddling along...

Howdy. It's all a bit of a f**'n shambles, as my friend Wilf the old fart across the hospital hallway used to say..

The lovely old 1940's flat had major rising damp (carefully hidden behind furniture, which I moved; I was MOST unimpressed) so I left a week after I moved in. Dreadful waste of energy and hope.. I retreated to the dear old Lodge, and tried their patience with the large amount of stuff I put into their very little bit of storage space.

My M has moved too, from ICU to the rehabilitation ward. Initially he only lasted 5 days there before having a major setback, but after 3 weeks of careful extra monitoring and masses and masses of chest physio (he has continuing lung/breathing problems) he returned to rehab and hasn't looked back. Recently he's had a problem with a haemotoma on one calf, but was only stuck back in bed for a few days until he was able to start getting out again for a few hours each day. He's tried about six different manual and electric wheelchairs so far, as the OTs gradually work through their differences and sort out what will be best for him long-term. He'll have one of each, eventually. As he says, Manuel in the morning when he's fresh, and Electra in the afternoon.

He is now spending 5-6 hours a day in active rehabilitation - physio, gym, OT, wheelchair training, body movement strengthening, fine motor and strength skills, etc. We are all tremendously grateful that his hands and arms have regained far more dexterity and mobility than is generally found with his level of injury. He's able to use a mobile phone and laptop, and is feeling more connected to the world after so many months of four grey walls and not a lot to feel good about.

I am currently house-sitting for a family friend, in an old house extremely close to the hospital. This house-sit also comes with resident burmese, Sir Fritz to you. He has taken to me as if we've been together for years. He has a loving purrsonality and a strong prefurence for laps and beds. The loud yowling that comes with a failure of service and comforts is most entertaining! There was, briefly, a chance I could stay on here indefinitely, living with the owner, but sadly that is not to be. I was about to begin searching for a chic little studio apartment with water views, when my dear friends (of my first, long house-sit) announced another overseas trip and it seems I am to have the privilege of another stay in their sunny haven. The three flights of stairs will be very good for me, won't they?? I think this means I'm not homeless again until at least halfway through November. What a very strange life.. we won't be home for quite a few more months. As I thought from fairly on, we'll be here all year and then some.

I've gone through the process of gathering quite a bit of household stuff, using it, not using it, storing it without a backward glance, and lugging it all back home. Now I'm in pared-down mode, having got well and truly over the sore back that comes with every load of woollies bags that has to be shoved into the car. Oh, about the car! A couple of months ago my brother visited me to help me buy a car. We had a couple of very entertaining days toying with car salesmen, until I settled on a small wagon, and bargained for as much extra as I could. I did very well! My new Hyundai Tucson and I fit very well together and importantly is very easy to drive the longer trips home and back. I've loaded up the cd player with lots of rock n roll, and some exquisite classical pieces, for private car karaoke on the highway.

Our house will have to be extensively modified to make it wheelchair-accessible. By a stroke of fortune, the existing back yard pathways and garden beds are pretty much ok, just need a solid surface rather than the scoria we have. The deck will be extended and I think will become a sunroom/garden room. Nice. NOT so nice is the major re-fit including widening the hallway, demolishing an existing bathroom, moving the front wall, and door.. and, sob, the end of my existing kitchen, which was renovated with great love and care only 6 years ago. I am fighting a rearguard action against the insurance company's project manager, who is blithely walling-in doors, demolishing cupboards, and announcing that we won't have a kitchen table any more. Oh yeah??

Unfortunately this planning process means I must go home nearly every week, for I think at least the next six weeks, which is terribly tiring and a great strain on us both. For various good reasons, family members and friends are not so able to spend time here supporting us, and I find myself thinking that round about now would be a good time for me to be cloned. M needs me; I need to be with him; I also need to be at home being business-like and purrfessional and making the right decisions. Without my M to add a note of reality to my wilder fantasies (height-adjustable benches come in marble don't they?); talk over colour and texture and generally be a delight to have around, I'm stuck with my demons and my somewhat over-organised inner self. I've been looking at home gorgeous magazines, and most of the 'simplified' modern kitchens come in under $90,000 . Surely we don't need all that??

Somehow or other, through all of this; with exhaustion, heds of deth, M's fragile return to better health and mobility; with responsibilities unwanted and many; homesickness and cat-withdrawal and being lost most of the time if I go further than one kilometre from wherever I'm living; purrfume has stayed on the agenda. I gave myself a very VERY fabulous Jo Malone 'Wild Fig and Cassis' candle for my birthday recently. Bliss. And the discount chemist on the corner has some quite desirable purrfumes on special, so I've lashed out and tried two new scents - HER, by fcuk (that's french connection united kingdom to you, thanks), an interesting sort of dry floral which has oomph without sweetness; and a new unisex Bvlgari which treads a very fine (and successful) line between a powdery citrus after shave and a fairly intense acid/floral freshness. I like this one particularly, as it tends to draw comments when I wear it, which suggests it isn't nasty, and probably that it suits me. I have no statistics from the general public to confirm or deny, but it feels good!

Keep thingers and fumbs crossed for us please.

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