Truth is stranger than fiction!


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!


Accident Prone

 Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run
than outright exposure.
 Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Helen Keller

I am VERY accident prone.
Although, now that I am at home most of the time,
perhaps I have finally grown out of it!

  • I fell down the steps at the Butchers when I was 18 months old, and changed the shape of my skull forever. I was off to a good start.
  • At the age of 15 I was training for an International Swimming Competition. I took a break (!) and went all the way to the top of the 18′ diving board. I realised I was being a show-off, and turned back. I slid, or bumped and bounced, down the stairs. Dislocating all my fingers as they met the vertical struts of the handrails, but I held on grimly, if vociferously! Towards the bottom I realised I had to let go, or break my pelvis. I went through the handrail and steps, but caught the inside of my right leg. Lost the calf muscle and I had over 100 stitches!  Cool! Of course, my Olympic Dream was shattered.
  • The ambulance people sent to bring me in for the above, had two awful experiences. They dropped me. TWICE! The doorway was narrow, so they tilted the stretcher! I hadn’t been strapped down. Then, the guy at the head of the stretcher, THOUGHT he’d hooked the stretcher on to the tracks in the ambulance. The other guy pushed. I saw stars as I zoomed head-first into the back of the ambulance. Topped and toed!
  • My family owned horse. My ex-racehorse, Acerae, and I went out alone. She spooked and had a hissy fit. She dragged me, upside-down, down the dirt road for a while. I managed to grab the girth and yank. Dislocating and cracking my shoulder. But, my foot dislodged and I lay in a crumpled heap until help came. My foot was also dislocated. I was really p****d when they cut by fabulous, knee-high, leather, imported boot off!
  • A friend’s horse threw her and she broke a collar-bone. I offered to ride Snowy about 3 weeks later. Snowy headed straight for the Clubhouse Verandah. From inside the Arena. He was gathering himself to jump between the roof and railings when sense prevailed. He swerved, I went straight; into a concrete filled pole. The paralysis below my waist was caused by swelling, and came back after a few days. She never even OFFERED to ride my two horses while I “rested on my laurels”!
  • Nine years ago, I was tootling along in my gorgeous, red sports car. WHAM! I woke up in hospital. Totally confused. An 18 year old smashed into the side and back of my car. My car spun, FOUR times they said, and wrapped around a traffic light. I was cut out of the car – which was now a piece of modern art! I suffered head, neck and leg injuries. Lost some memory too. I was  really p****d about my beautiful car!

  • Nearly 5 years ago, I was standing at the side of the road, waiting to cross and WHAM! *sigh*. I woke up in hospital. Another 18 year old, on a motorbike this time, at immense speed, catapulted me into the air. Landing on my face was not good. Many surgeries later, I look different but  normal. Eyes were damaged, which is sad, as I can no longer draw like I used to. Other injuries healed slowly, some still need surgical tweaking. But, I’ve been seen, in varying states of undress, by dozens of top Medical Specialists. They’re all very grateful. (They were paid a fortune!)
  • There have been others. I have had more stitches than ANYone I know. Fallen off horses the requisite 7 (plus, plus) times. Come off the pillion of motorbikes with spectacular grazes, bruises and broken ribs. How I made it to Granny-hood I’ll never know!

                                            Laughter is the shock absorber of life

As a result, I am not the person I used to be. I look quite different. Not because of aging, but because of surgical reconstruction.
I am not the woman my husband married. Or at least I don’t have the same brain in my head. The head injuries have taken their toll, and I have changed a lot. I also have memory loss  – MBI – Minimal Brain Injury – hubby says MAJOR, but oh well.
I see things very differently – er, ‘cos my eyes were damaged, but also because I am so glad to be alive!
I have straight teeth – I got 15 new ones after the motorbike incident left mine missing or broken.
                                                “Life isn’t like a box of chocolates.
                                               It’s more like a jar of Tabasco sauce.
                                                                 What you do today,
                                   might burn your behind tomorrow!” Unknown
Through it all, I have learned that counting your blessings and being grateful, thankful and excited about them is all that is important. It gets you through many a rough spot without losing your mind.
Grandchildren are an incredible blessing, and I re-experience so much through them.
Photography has taken me to places and events I have no memory of, but through looking and talking about them, I’ve made new memories.
The internet is FANTASTIC! I’ve reconnected with friends from my first day at school, through to my last. Some I remember, some I don’t. But it doesn’t matter, they know the story, and fill me in.
My kids also fill me in on things I have forgotten, sometimes I just KNOW they’re having fun at my expense and we laugh like mad!

                                           “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
                                  It turns what we have into enough, and more.
                                               It turns denial into acceptance,
                                                            chaos to order,
                                                       confusion to clarity.
                                              It can turn a meal into a feast,
                                                        a house into a home,
                                                     a stranger into a friend.
                                          Gratitude makes sense of our past,
                                                    brings peace for today,
                                         and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
                                                               Melody Beattie
I wouldn’t change things. My husband believes we would have been divorced by now, we’d been living apart for over a year. He has taken care of me, shuttled me back and forth to dozens of doctors and specialists. Paid through the nose for surgeries, procedures and therapies. He cooks for me and everyone else. He is wonderful.
                Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be… Robert Browning
We are planning to go overseas on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and we’ll renew our vows before we go. A 2nd  Honeymoon. It’s my gift to him, from a bit of the settlement that I will be receiving soon.