The Ripple Effect

Thank you all for the lovely words following Pete’s passing, it has been an emotional time for many from what I’m being told. He like many family pets are that FAMILY pets.  They come into our lives and we don’t think of life without them till they go, much like people really. I have slept through 2 nights now for the first time in nearly 3 years, as much as I loved him it was difficult cleaning up poop, lifting him off floors (as he found his arthritis difficult to get up) racing home to get him out of the heat, the cold, the wind, the rain. monitor his foods he ate twice a day due to his thyroxine medication. But I still look to the door in the kitchen and expect to see him lying there, I suppose that will take a while to go.

I have had lovely friends and family tell me they shed some tears, when you have things and people you love in your life it is real grief when they go. Don’t feel sad for me celebrate the fact he had a fantastic life, he travelled, he had sleep overs, he slept alone, inside, outside and anywhere he liked. He ran, swam and walked, he had companions in cats and other dogs, he knew the ocean, he loved the beach and he knew the country and he loved the dam and riding on the back of a Ute.

The ripple effect of having such an animal is the friends and family that took ownership of him and cared for him when I travelled and made him part of their lives. It is like the pebble or drop in the water, it seems like a drop but the ripples grow bigger and encompass many. Pete did that, talking about Pete did that his life did that. Now without him physically here my life can grow again, I can look forward to spending more than 1 night away from the farm without worry or the both of us racing back to ensure he is ok. I can now take up walking outside again, I stopped as he would follow and with his age his hips either collapsed or he lost me. There are many things I can do but the biggest he taught me was that I can love and though there is no rushing out getting another 16 year commitment, I have time for the 3 dogs & 4 cats we have here.


Christmas Miracles

I have been in the privileged position during my time as an operating theatre nurse to assist in some people and families last wishes. One of these being organ donation, a special gift from unknown to an unknown and each time I have been involved it has been heart wrenching and raw. Each person is treated with respect, dignity and yes tears are shed by Doctors and nurses at this precious time. The loss of anyone’s life is awful.

We all know that in order to donate organs, one is dying and prepared to share their final wishes by keeping others alive and perhaps parts of themselves, a truly philanthropic gift. One which can never be returned nor the families are personally thanked. It is such an honor to be with that person assisting in their final wish.

It is hard at this time of year, as deaths occur more frequently than others and a lot also occur around the easter break, making for some the holidays a time of sadness and for others a time of celebration and happiness. We are in one of those times, a time of prayer, a time of waiting and a time to reflect on a person’s gift. We have a dear friend who is undergoing a transplant as I type.

It is a hard road for all families, those that do not wish to say their final goodbyes and those that wish to be with their loved one whilst under going surgery. There is no distinction here as to which is the easiest and which is the donor or receiver as this type of surgery is specialized, lengthy and outcomes may not be what one expects.

I wish for all organ donors long and healthy lives and organs and for those on waiting lists, the time is short and not too stressful. To the family who has kindly given organs to my  friend, may the angels hold you all in their hands as all of us who know the receiver will hold you in our hearts. Know that the precious gift you have given is being given to someone who is loved, loves life, lives it to the fullest, has people they love and will forever be grateful to your loved one.

Light Hearted Fluff – TV Medical Dramas

I’m an avid medical drama watcher, the nurse in me wants to watch them when they are on TV no matter how corny or unbelievable they are, they bring me back to my nursing days where I felt part of a team of people doing good work. I loved ER, Dr. Mark Greene was the thinking girls heart-throb to those that don’t know it is Anthony Edwards or “goose” from Top Gun, wasn’t a big Clooney fan, he seemed to have been stuck on the same facial look, Dr. Doug Ross was “Dr McDreamy” or Dr. Derek Shepherd played by Patrick Dempsey from Grey’s Anatomy and Noah Wyle who played Dr. John Carter III really was ‘Dr. McSteamy”. or Dr. Mark Sloan played by Eric Dane in Grey’s Anatomy. (you will be pleased to know I had to ask Dr. google to help me with these names).

I like the medical dramas, I like looking at the medical equipment and guessing which company it came from, if it was a product I was selling I use to capitalise on this. Working in the operating theatre there were many shows that became the talk of the ‘table’ so to speak, this will show my age; starting with Melrose Place, ER and then Grey’s Anatomy.

We all use to talk about the opening scene of ER as all of the Dr’s wearing scrubs (operating theatre attire) with their white gowns on (flowing gowns) walking together through the automatic sliding doors, I can think of at least 3 Dr’s (male) who adopted this look and despite how good-looking they were, they were laughed at.

So it was with great anticipation Grey’s Anatomy is back on TV and play double episodes. I know this will shock you all it’s unrealistic, never have I seen a Dr. or nurse walking the corridors of a hospital on her wedding day with hair rollers, I have seen however brides coming in prior or after to show loved ones how beautiful they looked.

There’s always a moral story, an emergency that requires extreme expertise, an operation and inter-hospital relationships that are imploding upon each other and to wrap it up a better way to treat the people who you love and how to pay it forward. It a tried but true formula one which the farmer heads off to bed and leaves me too it. Weddings TV weddings are always filled with drama, brides or grooms not turning up, ‘sex and the city’ didn’t start the trend, there is the jilted lover waiting for the minister to ask whether anyone objects, then there is the family and friends who will do all they can to change the outcome.

Now we are left with will she or won’t she go through with the wedding with the groom or the person who stood to tell her that he loved her before the vows.. We have a whole week to wait to see it. I could do a spoiler and download the episode but then what would I do next Monday night.

I know how fluffy this is but it’s a good way to get back into blogging .Do people really go through this much angst? I think they do, life can be hard, situations call for help if you ask for it, relationships can be really tricky to juggle with work commitments as well as friendships and honesty. TV & Film writers seem to be able to wrap many aspects of human nature into 8 main characters and get us intrigued.





Where there’s smoke….

We are no longer surrounded by smoke, we have clean smelling air, I look to our west, north and east and no longer see smoke clouds, it’s a relief. Also last night husband and CFS volunteer was in by 11pm and asleep by 1am, he is currently still in bed – he has had 6 hours of unbroken sleep. That is the longest he has slept for over 4 days, he sleeps and I keep the phone by my side of the bed, the uhf radio in the house kept on the emergency channel has been silent for the same amount of time and no longer are the fire trucks and private vehicles racing up and down our road, it seems we have got the upper hand. PHEW!!!

What is left behind after a crazy fire storm like this is the remnants of ‘normality’. I have in the oven unfinished roasted vegetables which will go to the chooks today. He came home from fighting the fire and just as he was about to head back out the skies burst with rain. The temperature dropped and so did that alertness that we both had been living for the last 3 days and he asked for a roast vegetables and meat for dinner, he has been living on sandwiches and rolls that he has taken as he has run out of the door to get to another fire or nothing at all depending upon the time and location he was fighting a fire.

With the rain came more lightning and a ground strike and fire – it was 6km’s away on a neighbours property. From the start it was all talk of asset management, that is protecting the house, they knew they would lose the paddocks of feed and fencing so the house needs to be saved and off they went, these people, farmers, friends, strangers all working to put out the fire and save what they could. They come from near and far to assist, some have had no sleep in the last 24 hours and others perhaps 2, some are fresh to the cause but they work in unison and as a team putting out a fire.

Now having watched it first hand up close and in the safety of my husbands direction I can appreciate these volunteers  more. It doesn’t make me want to go out and become one, it just makes me grateful there are those people who do this, race into fires to assist themselves and each other. I again could see the orange / red glow of the fire from my front door this time it still makes me anxious, not for me I was safe but for all of them out there fighting.

We all know it’s going to be days before the Ngarkat fire goes out and most people (including me) will spend time checking our boundary for spot fires. We know we are lucky we are not under threat any more but there are others who are and some have lost homes and a life was lost in Victoria. Nothing is worth losing your life over, make your plan, tell people your plan and stick with it. Leave, get out of harms way if not for yourself for those brave people out there who have to fight the fire, not try to save your life because you wouldn’t leave. Today I shall put away my fire plan, all our important documents, re display my jewelry and unpack the clothing.

Where’s there’s smoke there was a fire or there is the start of a fire or there is a fire, it’s just different degrees of adrenaline. Never walk away from smoke, kick sand over it, pour water on it or call 000 and report it.  Your actions could help save the lives of others, animals and help CFS volunteers know that they are not the only ones on constant look out. This was our flare up yesterday, unbelievable.


Long weekends & farm life

When I met him, he made me laugh with his saying ” long weekends, public holidays & weekends were for the general public not for farmers” I remember this as it was beyond me to think one did not or could not take time out from their daily work to enjoy a bit of down time. I worked weekends as well occasionally but was able to take time out during the week to do the things I needed to do. I really didn’t believe him, it couldn’t be possible to work that hard and not have time off. could it?

I met him through my own doing, I was travelling a lot and was lonely on the road, I would spend hrs, days and weeks away from home and I remember a specific eye surgeon who I worked with and who happened to be my high school graduation partner and we talked about how no one did anything for our 10 yr reunion and we should do it for our 20th year high school reunion, so I began to arrange a committee to organise one.

We were never high school sweet hearts, I already had one of those, we were friends though. So we met up and here we are 10 years later together and happy but I struggle with the above mentioned saying. I admire him for he works the property alone, he crops, he sows, he harvests, he breeds cattle, he breeds sheep, he feeds them, he saves them, he delivers them, he sells them, he fences them in and does everything in between. This is sometimes at the detriment of all things and I struggle with that, I also know this is selfish for he gives up more than I do.

But it is too much for me I am not a country girl at heart, I love the land, the animals and the farm but a farmer I will never be. But at this stage in my life I feel I am losing my identity, living in a small country town has its up’s & downs. I think I am having a down at the moment. I am looking for work and now we have come to the conclusion I will probably have to travel again to get work. We had plans for this weekend where we would travel to spend time away, but spraying and sowing come first, I realise this but it doesn’t mean I like it. Due to a number of factors mainly time and re calibrating equipment we were unable to manage it, this has thrown me into a down time. I like his company but I also like the company of others, I think I need that more than he does, he grew up in isolation and has adapted well, I didn’t and I don’t think I have adapted as much as I should have (perhaps).

I am happy to help out, I can drive the tractors and did so yesterday to fill up the boom spray to save him 2 hours so he could keep going. This was two-fold, firstly to help out and secondly to enable us to get away, which never happened as in the end  it just ran into our travelling time. He still makes me laugh and I still know how special and lucky I am that we are together but I also look for the company of others. I feel the loneliness and isolation of the farm more so these days than ever. This has to do with not being employed and my own self worth.

He also told me once that farm life was not really for city women and it was important they had their own identity. We know women farmers and we, especially I admire how resilient, resourceful, strong and capable these women are, I am not this woman and that is nothing to be ashamed of, it is what makes country living different and challenging. I would love to go away 1 weekend with him and leave it all behind, but the reality is things die without supervision and he feels guilt if this happens when we are here never alone when we are away. I have used this public holiday Monday to clean the house, this is much better than boredom…


I went to an Adelaide Fringe show this evening which my dear friend is doing for the fringe and it is confronting, moving and totally paralysing. The dignity with which she  presents this topic is only matched by her grace in her brutal honesty, “my notes are my seeing eye dog, my hearing aid or wheel chair as I have dementia and I forget” or words to that effect. It is as stunning as it is frightening.

She tells us all how hard this journey is for her from her diagnosis at 49 to now trying to manage the ever-growing symptoms at 53. She is as beautiful as ever and as my mother said, Kate is right to hear her speak so eloquently about the disease one can not see how she would have dementia. It is not a disease that disfigures your face or osteoporosis that cripples your body in her words it ‘sucks out your soul”. How cruel !

It is a show that will make you laugh with humor, is thought-provoking, it will make you uncomfortable and for me her friend it made me cry. I wanted to stop the tears but they came and they flowed, even at the end as I hugged her I was still crying. Yet there we went out to dinner after, Kate, me and her DH (Dear husband) he was also kind enough to drop me back to my car – 35 minutes from their house. I take away from that a slide and forgive me for lack of referencing and remembering who stated it “live with urgency not in an emergency” Do not wait for the diagnosis, do not wait for somebody else to sing, dance, laugh, love, be the person to send this out live like there is no tomorrow as Kate says for her that may be tomorrow. How terrifying.. she has two shows to go Monday night 530 & Tuesday night – at scot’s church on North Terrace Adelaide. She is then off to England to present over there.

My beautiful friend, I have never been prouder of you, DH & boys, I love you and will make time to see you as often as I can

Angels and Devils

They are all a part of us, they live among us and they are us. My mother use to say Day Angel & Night Devil in relation to how an angelic child who was adored and behaved beautifully during the day would suddenly turn in a night devil, where they would awake after a 20 minute cat nap and be up for 4 hours or more, cry when being putto bed and then when you were at your last straw they would sleep and you would have to get up and go to work.

My friend Kate Swaffer – follow her blog talks about the assistance of angels today in preparation for her Fringe show – one I am very much looking forward to seeing and this prompted this topic. We Dr’s & Nurses are taught the science of the body, diseases, life and death we are not taught about the existance of Angels. All those that nurse know it is a calling, a vocation that is generally deeply ingrained, hence the hours of dedication, commitment and patience. There are many times in a nursing career that you have the honour of being with a person when they pass, sometimes it is in the quiet hours of the night where you can sit and hold a hand, other times it may be in the middle of a traumatic event and you are there as an assistant to help save a life. Sometimes not all lives can be saved but after the passing there is calmness. It descends upon the room this is the angel offering comfort to the living, giving guidance to the person who passes and allowing for the stilness of the moment to be realised. Most nurses believe in Angels, ones that are with people when they live and ones that are evident upon death.

For those that have not seen their angel, they are that flicker in the corner of your eye when you think somebody is there or you see a ‘movement’. They are the sensation that a person you know is with you, most times they are. They send comfort during grief, some people have claimed that some one has sat on the end of the bed holding their hand duirng a dark time of their life. They are shadows, some fear them others find joy in them, mostly that is what they are sent to heal a broken heart, offer company if one is lonely or just to let someone know they are ok. Many of my friends are angels, they assist sometimes when I don’t even know I need it. All of you who respond and read my blog are angels you are the keepers of my thoughts and actions, editors of my life, friends and mostly people I love. I don’t see devils I see actions and reactions some of which we know are unnecessary others are uncontrollable, but mostly people are kind you just have to peel through the layers. Thankyou Kate for being you.