My life is a Soap-Opera
It really is!
As a result of the facial and eye injuries in my accident 5 years ago, I developed cataracts in both eyes. They encapsulated six months later and I went back for the corrective procedures on both. At the end of July I had a quick procedure on my good eye because my lens was encapsulating, again! This is not normal.
A week later I had ganglions in my left wrist surgically removed, along with the repair of the mangled nerve they caused. I also had to have a piece of dead bone removed from my wrist, the culprit or the victim? Anyway, I was in a splint for 6 weeks. Plus a temporary one for another 3 weeks.
Mom-in-law had been rather ill for weeks, nothing very serious, however, at 87, you don’t bounce back quickly. Suddenly it turned serious, pneumonia! Off to hospital where it was really serious for days! I postponed my holiday by 12 days. Mom came out of hospital just days before I left.
I had bookings with 3 other friends that we could not get postponed or refunded, so we decided I’d go for that time regardless of things at home. So I rebooked. Finally getting my ticket a few days before I left. It cost an absolute fortune in cancellation and changed booking fees! Could have bought an extra ticket!
A week after the wrist operation, I took the Grandies for a walk and fell over a root. Agonising pain in my ankle, but when hubby said I’d have to postpone my Dream Trip for the 2nd time, I got up and walked! The hobbling it actually required, I only did when he wasn’t looking. Xrays three weeks later didn’t show a thing. Oh well, painkillers, anti-inflammatories and gritted teeth it was going to have to be it.
My son moved into the attached flat on the farm, to take over management of the farm. My hubby is very involved with a mentorship programme that requires huge amounts of time and concentration. Hubby is enjoying the job, and it brings in good, steady income. This also means that the Grandies stay put here at the farm, which I love! Problem is he moved in, the night before I left for UK! NOTHING, except some of my clothes, had been moved out of the flat yet. It had been a storage area for 9 years! Oh well, my motto is, if you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it. So I wouldn’t miss much. Apart from ‘saving’ the special catering size dishes we use for when lots of visitors come, I said use your discretion.
My UK trip was fantastic! My ankle gave me a fair amount of grief, and I was pretty much stuck on buses and a Thames River cruise or a punt in Cambridge. I never got to see the inside of any place. But I had the most fabulous time with my girls! Two weeks into my trip. my father-in-law passed away very suddenly. He was 90 years old. I cancelled my next 2 weeks in Ireland, and got home as fast as I could.
We had a completely upside down house to try to shove under beds, into cupboards etc, to accommodate 6 extra people for the funeral, the family from UK. But we did, and everyone was pretty comfortable. Besides they’re family, and understood. It was really tough. Not all of us could get flights at the same time from UK. We had three different flights in 3 days. The farm is 2 hours from the airport, so it was lots of driving too. It also meant the funeral was only a week after his death, and that is hard. Too much time to dwell on things.
Two days after the funeral, a very dear friend of mine went missing. He’d gone for a jog, cellphone and work clothes on his bed for later. Just gone. A Private Investigator was hired to try to find out what had happened.
He and his twin were abandoned as babies. His twin died soon after. He grew up in an orphanage for most of his youth. We, his friends, are his family. The outpouring of grief, fear and confusion was immense. 9 days later the police eventually allowed us to see footage of the ATM, where we knew money had been withdrawn from his account at the main station in the city, the day he went missing. We had found this out by the 2nd day, but couldn’t get info on what it showed. It was him! Looking perfectly normal, and with two bags with him. He withdrew the money and was seen on other security footage boarding a train!
Now the confusion really hit. This is a man who cares deeply about his friends; and who is adored by them in return. WTF! 3 days after that, his ex-partner, also my friend, contacted me to say he is safe. His story is a confused one of abduction, robbery, threats and physical violence; and he is in a terrible state mentally and emotionally, but physically ok. He is receiving therapy, and is staying very quiet. I still don’t know what happened, most of us don’t. He just lets us know every few days that he is doing better.
Anyway, my ankle was getting worse, to the point where I could barely walk at all. Back to doctor, more xrays showing nothing! My GP referred me to the Orthopedic Surgeon who was doing a final follow-up on my wrist the following week. In the meantime, crutches and non-weight-bearing instructions.
The Ortho sent me for a CT scan. It showed a serious fracture of the ankle, right inside the joint, which is why nothing showed on xray. Operation booked for a week ahead. Non-weight-bearing for 2nd week. My wrist was taking a beating from the crutches, but just bruising and pain. Part of the instructions was to keep the foot above hip and heart level, so lying down was the only intelligent was of doing this!
My son, now at the farm, lost his hard contact lens. This is a major problem for him. He has Keratoconus, and had a corneal transplant 5 years ago. He wears a hard contact lens in that eye, and it is the only real vision he has. The other eye is so destroyed that he cannot keep a lens in it. The Opthalmologist insisted it was time to fix the bad eye. 12 days ago he went in for the procedure. It was absolute agony for days afterwards, and the sad thing is that it is really too late to make a difference in his eye. Very sad, and hard for him to reconcile to.
The same day, ma-in-law underwent emergency, 3 1/2 hr life-saving surgery. Her large intestine twisted; 40cm had to be removed, and she now has a bag. She was in ICU for 10 days, very confused and hallucinating for a while. But she seems to be recovering. At 87, you don’t recover fast. She is still in hospital, but we don’t know for how long. Or how well she will recover.
The next day was my turn. Doc showed me the photos of the damage inside the ankle joint. The Talus dome had a large medial fracture, with the whole shoulder of bone crushed and fractured away. The cartilage was simply pulverised and non-existent. He debrided and excised the fractures and removed the bits of bone and cartilage, leaving a perfectly empty space between tibia and talus. He drilled microfractures into the now bleeding Talus dome to stimulate healing, and hopefully give me back some cartilage to keep bone from grating on fractured bone. He also did a tendon synovectomy due to tears and swelling of the tendons. The ligament wasn’t torn very badly, and that had actually started healing on its own, so was left to continue! He cannot believe I went overseas on this foot. Well, neither can I! I didn’t have unbearable pain until the bandages came off and drain was removed the next day! Physio and sisters went looking for my splint/moon boot order, but couldn’t find anything. My doc had gone away for the weekend. Nice. I was warned to stay in bed, not to let the foot touch the floor when going to the loo, and be patient.
Finally doc was back and said, NO-weight-bearing on the foot until the stitches came out a week later. That was Friday. Now I’m in a moon boot, which is very heavy, hot, cumbersome and I hate it! I’ve been for 2 physiotherapy sessions, where the foot is mobilized, ankle ultra-sounded, my spasmed calf is massaged, trigger points triggered until I want to scream for mercy and all around tortured! This is to prevent excessive scar tissue forming inside the joint as it heals. Rehab comes in about 6 weeks! Till then patience. This type of fracture only occurs in less than 1% of ankle fractures I’m told. Yeah, I like to be different! Btw I am the first patient with this fracture either my Orthopedic Surgeon or Physiotherapist has treated. Small towns can be soooo exciting!
Little Grandie has been very ill over the weekend, with the tummy from hell! I managed to catch a bit of it too. Not good when you are on crutches and can’t put your foot on the ground, but need to get to the loo NOW! Anyway, Dad wasn’t here, he was best-manning at his best mate’s wedding, hours away. Grandpa went to a school reunion, where they are saying goodbye to a friend with terminal cancer. He had to stay over because of distance. My eldest and youngest sons were roped in to babysit mom and nephew. The other Grandie went to his mother.
We have a Land Claim on our farm. Not the Homestead which has nearly 100 people living on it, is half marshy/unusable land; but the the piece of land my father-in-law bought from the Methodist Church in the 50′s. The farm that allows us to keep farming. Ours is the small piece where there used to be a village and (still is a) burial ground for the people who had lived there. This is now part of a Land Claim affecting 10 farmers. The Government particularly wants the very large rectangular portion of which ours is the centre. The court case started Monday last week. The outcome affects the rest of our lives; where we live, our day to day finances, pension, old age and that of our farmer son.
Well folks, That’s all for now. TV series producers, contact me for all the inside scoop. You better believe that there are things unsaid. Just too, too much to be related here. Who the hell said Truth is stranger than fiction! I want fiction to win!
It has been a whirlwind, bumper car, roller coaster, loop de loop couple of months!
First Ma-in-law became ill and just got worse. After 3 weeks she developed pneumonia too – not good for an immobile 87 year old. We thought she’d be leaving us any day. I postponed my Dream Trip. She rallied round and I finally left 12 days later.
The costs involved in changing flights, tours and hotels were enough to have bought a 2nd airticket! No, I didn’t have travel insurance! NEVER again!
7 weeks before I left I had surgery on my left wrist for huge ganglions. The nerve was entrapped in the mess and necessitated a second incision to repair. Bone had become damaged too and that had to be removed, so it ended up being far more than bargained for! However it was successful, and I’m recovering well. I had to wear a removable splint to drive, and during travel with my suitcases, for protection.
A week after the surgery, I fell while taking the Grandies for a walk around the farmstead. I thought I’d broken my ankle. I was devastated at the thought of cancelling my trip, and put on a brave face. It was a bad sprain. I had very little time to rest it and it just swelled and hurt badly. I finally had xrays 2 weeks later, relieved when no fracture was found. RICE I was advised: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. I managed Compress ok, but little of the other 3. The night before I left, I fell over a keyboard that jumped out of nowhere. Agony! Hubby said to cancel, I gritted my teeth and insisted I was fine! I’ve waited all my life for this!
Two flights and a bus trip later – 32 hours after leaving home, I lay down on my hotel bed and sobbed. My ankle looked like a rugby ball! I laid a cold damp towel over it and elevated it by putting a pillow on my case. 2 hours later I went to get anti-inflammatories; and a bigger ankle support from a chemist. I’d pulled the other off about 8 hours before, my foot was starting to go blue. They advised me to have it seen to. Hmmmph, yeah right!
I spent the next two days on the open-top tour bus trying to see as much as I could.
The next 2 1/2 weeks were fabuliciously fantasmagorical! I refused to allow my foot interfere as far as possible! But it did, and some days had to be cut short due to swelling and pain. But it was glorious (posts to follow!) and better than I’d hoped!
Tuesday, the day before my 10 day tour of Ireland, was spent packing and resting my foot. I’d managed to fall down the stairs, and my foot was going crazy again!
At lunchtime my Father-in-law passed away. My husband messaged me to say he’d gone to sleep after breakfast and when they came to rouse him for lunch he had virtually no pulse and was only taking a few shallow breaths. They pushed Mom-in-laws bed next to his and helped her hold him in her arms. Hubby and our youngest son were there when he stopped breathing a little while later.
The rest of the day was a frenzy of cancelling my tours, hotel, trains, ferries, letting people know, arranging a flight home, etc.
I could only get there on Friday, and we went straight to the home so I could see Mom. The funeral was on Monday.
The family and friends were wonderful, and it was good to see so many of them, despite the circumstances.
The next week was a mixture of being with Mom, trying to RICE the foot and move.
My son, Daddy of the Grandies, and his new love, moved home to manage the farm the day before I left on my trip.
There was mixed-up everything from one end of the house to another! We also had another 6 people in the house for the funeral. 12 people in total, amidst moving chaos! Aarrgghh!
The biggest challenge was linen, I just threw stuff on beds and apologised that not everything matched. Being family, they didn’t care.
Sunday following the funeral 5 went back home, making things more manageable.
Sunday morning I also received a phone call from a dear friend to say his ex-partner, a very close friend of mine, had been missing since Thursday at 7am. P-H had gone for a jog, leaving his work clothes neatly folded on his bed.
I was devastated, it was all too much, too soon.
My brother-in-law went back to England on Tuesday night. Terribly hard to say goodbye, he and the family plan to come for 10 days over Christmas, but will they see Mom again? She is so frail now, she can’t move at all, and has to be helped with everything. We thought she’d go first. What a shock. Even at their age, you are not prepared when one dies.
We finally had a break-through with P-H on Wednesday. The police had informed us that 3000 was withdrawn from his account at Cape Town station the morning of his disappearance, but they would not release the security video for some reason. Finally after some hysteria they allowed his housemate and ex-partner to see it. He withdrew the money, bought a train ticket and boarded the train carrying two bags! WTF!
Nothing could surprise or shock any of us more! It appears he has opted out of his life! Will we ever know why? Or why he deeply hurt so many who love him dearly. He was brought up in an orphanage, WE are his family! It’s so far beyond our collective understanding!
Wednesday, I went to the doctor. To say he hauled me over the coals … More xrays, thank goodness no fracture. It’s either torn ligament/s or tendinitis. I’m seeing my Orthopedic Surgeon next Thursday for a final check-up on the wrist and I am to give him the xrays and my story.
I chose not to be put in plaster of Paris – it is hugely hot right now. I’ve opted for crutches and rest. Absolutely no weight-bearing on the foot, and the crutches hurt my wrist anyway. I’m essentially in bed.
I can’t think of a place I’d prefer to be.
Does anyone else have a fairground life? Yes, of course, so many of you do. But I’d really appreciate some boredom and nothingness for a good long while!
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