Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hannah's operation

Yesterday Hannah had her procedures: bilateral myringotomy and tube insertion, adenoidectomy, bilateral antral washout and cautery to inferior turbinates. This basically means she had tubes in, adenoids out, sinuses flushed and mucus membranes inside nose cauterized. Yum.
She was a trouper as always. We had to be at the hospital at 8am, but we were late, by the time we off-loaded the other kids at Nicoles. After the usual hospital check-in routine, we were hurried to our room as the nurse had just put 'Over the Hedge' on the tv system. We had a double room but there was no-one in the other bed. Hannah lay back in luxury on the bed and watched tv.

Photo: Hannah watching tv before surgery. (taken on my phone)

I had to sit on the chair as she wouldn't share the bed! I thought Over the Hedge was funny but I think a fair bit of it went over Hannah's head. After the movie finished we skipped through the channels for a while, but the poor thing was hungry (fasting since midnight of course), so it was hard to keep her interested in anything for long. We wandered the corridors for a while (Central Districts being a small hospital, we were never far away from our room), until finally the nurse came to find us. Hannah was very pleased to get driven into surgery in the Big Red Car (which I remember from Ryan's surgery years ago - he wouldn't get into it, I had to carry him). She sat happily on my lap in the operating theatre, breathed deeply in the mask and was out like a light. It threw me for a little while as her eyes stayed open even when she was laying down, although they eventually closed. I was talking to her long after they said she was out of it! Then I got to go back to the room and wait. I didn't pay attention to the times, but I think she went in about 1030, and came out about 1130. I got to read Dean Koontz in peace for an hour... I was a bit concerned though that she'd wake up in Recovery totally freaked out (since parents aren't allowed in there) but I reminded her a few times that I wouldn't be there and she seemed okay with that. I did keep an ear out every time I heard a crying child as I thought that's how she'd be when they brought her in. At about 1130, the nurses came in and said they were just going to move her bed to another room, one where there was a nurse all the time, rather than our room where the nurse has a bunch of rooms to look after. (Can you interpret that? It's a nice way of saying intensive care, or in this hospital's terminology, the High Dependency Unit). They explained that because she was so little and they had to do obs every 15 minutes, and the doctor had said her tonsils were so large, they wanted her there to keep an eye on her. Whatever. They emphasised it was just the nurses idea, not the doctors. Later at shift change, I overheard the one nurse telling the other about Hannah's apnoea in Recovery, so I'm guessing she stopped breathing a time or two, or at least snored in her usual way. Don't really know why they didn't tell me that in the first place, I'm sure I don't look like the nervous type. Anyway, the HDU at this little hospital only had room for three beds. There were only two in there - us and an older guy who'd had some sort of leg surgery but had had chest pains that morning so they put him in there for closer observation.

Photo: Hannah after surgery. No, she's not putting that face on, she was like that for about 20 minutes before she realised she actually felt okay.

Hannah was dozing when they brought her in, but woke up straight away. She was a bit sad and listless at first, as you can see from the photo, but I soon had her sitting up to have a drink of water, and then she felt much better. She had a drip in her arm, giving her 'special juice' to make her feel better, and a pulse-oximeter clipped to her toe. She perked up very quickly and said she felt very good. She said she could hear better, and breathe better. I'm not so sure about the breathing as she was still pretty snuffly sounding. Later she started to get clear/bloody mucus dripping for a little while but that cleared up. She's still snuffly though. I'd say she can hear better, she's talking heaps quieter! She laughed at her voice, said it sounded funny. We hung out for several hours in the HDU. At one stage Hannah had to go to the toilet, so they undid her drip and we headed to the toilet. I also made a couple of calls, since you weren't allowed to use your phone in the HDU (of course, using it just outside the door probably has much the same effect). Hannah was delighted to be free, and ran around the whole hospital dancing and skipping. Nothing wrong with her. Then we went back in, and she was clipped up again like an invalid. We brought five childrens books, fortunately most of them were long, so I only had to read each one three times. We had long promised Hannah jelly and icecream at the hospital and I had ordered that for her dinner. When it came, she didn't like the taste of the icecream (that cheap metallic taste) nor the jelly, but fortunately wasn't too concerned at not actually eating them.
We'd planned on spending the night as we weren't sure exactly what was happening, but most people we spoke to there said we would get out, but later at night, 7 or 8pm. The doctor came around after he finished surgery about 4pm, and said we could go home after dinner. So, about 6, we were out of there. We went back to Nicole's, where the other children had demolished a pile of tacos and were just about to destroy the fruit salad. Hannah and I joined in, enjoying the icecream there a lot more than the hospital's. All home and to bed no dramas at all. (although Hannah woke a couple of times to pee out all the saline they'd pumped into her). About 530 Hannah woke up crying and retching. She vomited up a little bit of liquid but then settled back down again to sleep, waking again at 7 retching. After that, she was quite happy, ate breakfast okay and was happy as anything all day. Just now in bed she's been coughing badly, so I've given her some water and she's settled down again. The only complaint she'd had while in hospital was that her throat was sore, which was no doubt due to the tube the anathe/aneath/ the guy who put her to sleep put down her throat. I'm guessing tonight's coughing is due to that irritation. The vomiting this morning I suppose was probably a reaction to the anaesthetic. Hopefully by tomorrow it's all gone. We see the doctor again in two weeks or so. Oh, she's not allowed to blow her nose. Good thing she doesn't know how to!

Photo: Paul's store, at day 3 of closure. Today is the final day closed (of 7) before the grand opening tomorrow as Coles - any surprises he's not home from work yet at 10pm? It all must be Just So.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

All roads lead to...

Caught up with Grandpa and David today. Yes they had a visit a few weeks ago from 'the man' telling them that some of the property will have road over the top of it in a few years time. It seems like the road will run somewhere right along the back of the property, so they will lose from 35m to maybe 120m along the back, depending on the exact final alignment. Grandpa thinks it works out to be about 3 or 4 acres. He's not particularly bothered about it, just wants to make sure that he gets compensated for the loss of the land, plus the value of the lease of that area, plus for the fact that he will no longer be able to subdivide (since he's only allowed to subdivide in 10 acre lots, and he has 20 now, so when a bit is taken out, he won't be able to split it up). The people who live almost directly behind him on the end of Bain Road will be losing their house, so I guess he is just glad that's not happening. David said there are a total of 49 houses that will be lost, which is not really so bad given the scale of the project. I do shudder a bit to think of how much good farming land will be lost, just for the evil car. It's not like they can just pick up and farm further north...
Both Grandpa and David are well - David had to head to work, but we stayed and chatted to Grandpa for a while, Hannah very pleased there were white chocolate frogs to be had, Sophie excited by licking the cream out of several biscuits. Grandpa had surgery a couple of weeks ago on his wrists, sounds like it was carpal tunnel problems, not necessarily arthritis related. He started having problems moving his hands about a month ago, went to see the doctor and then got into hospital pretty quickly after that. He's very happy with the way his hands are now.

As I blog I keep hearing a low rumbling sound - I thought it was something in the computer, but I've finally worked out it's Rufus snoring just outside the window! He seems quite happy here - is very kindly using only one corner of the garden as his toilet, and otherwise being his usual placid self. The cat has wised up to how slow and deaf he is, and is even brave enough to drink out of his waterbowl on occasion!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sleeping with the enemy

Over the last ten weeks I have not turned down any catering job. I've done breakfasts, lunches and dinners, short notice meals, all sorts. Nicole has helped out, mostly with kid-watching, sometimes with food, but mostly it's just worked out okay for me alone. This week, with the end of solo-catering just about in sight, I've had to turn down *two* jobs. How ironic. One was this Monday night at 6pm. Just when I'm getting home from work. This one was Gawler Council who rang at about 11am that day (should know better!) and I suggested that they try Viva just down the road who apparently did come through quite well (but not too well, or too cheap, I hope!). Then another call from the council this week (who have a new mayor for those who have not been keeping up with the news... Brian Sambell). They were after a nice big lunch on Sunday, 50 people. Unfortunately Hannah has her surgery on Saturday and I think she will be staying overnight (mixed messages from dr and hospital), so I will be too. And since I can't predict how she'll be feeling on Sunday, gotta say no. If it were 10, or even 20 people, I might take the gamble that I could work around her misery, but not with 50. So once again they have to find an alternate caterer. Again, I hope not too good, cheap or friendly! I'm very glad we've built up a good rapport with the main orderers at the council.

This week with big fanfare, the proposed route for the Northern Expressway was released. It seems a bit redundant to me, but the press has generally been good. It's a big road that heads from somewhere around Gawler down to Port Wakefield Road, north of the Waterloo Corner Road intersection. Supposed to take a load off Main North, and all those little back roads people take (like Curtis, Stebonheath). I guess it will probably chop another 10-15 off my trip to Port Adelaide (if I'm still there by the time the thing's actually built, they're saying 2011 completion). Anyway, it seems to me from the maps I've seen that it cuts right through the back of Grandpa's property. On the map I linked to, it's between points 3 and 4. I couldn't find a more detailed map on-line, but they had one at the shopping centre. The new road goes right between Frisby Road and Andrews Road. I'm not too sure about how far back his property goes, so I don't really know if he's affected. I tried to call around there today to chat to him but he wasn't home. If he is affected, I gather he would have already recieved the information on the compulsory acquisition. Changes the whole vibe of the place having a freeway in your backyard...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hey now, you're a rock star

Those of you who didn't recognise that line as the first line of the chorus to 'All Star' by Smashmouth obviously haven't been living in close proximity to Ryan for the last few months. I made the grand mistake of printing the lyrics off the internet, and putting the song on my phone. Ryan spends all his time singing this one song loudly and tonelessly over and over.
Tonight we had the school disco and Ryan was very hopeful that they would play his song. He even brought his own cd of it just in case they didn't have it. But getting him up to request it was extremely difficult. He didn't want to go up on the stage to talk to the dj, because 'everyone would be looking at him'. Even pointing out that it was behind the speakers with all the lights in front didn't help. He ended up going up with his friend Lachlan, and Lauren Jakeway. The dj had the song and promised to play it 'next'. He didn't of course. Then he got to the very last song and

Photo: Sophie disco bunny

announced it was a request and started to play... not that song. Ryan was extremely extremely disappointed, but after literally 5 seconds of deep moping, he snapped out of it and started dancing along. I was incredibly impressed with him doing that. Then the lights came up and as everyone filed out, the dj played 'All Star'. So we had to stay behind while Ryan sang along very happily to his song. I should see if I can put the video on youtube.

In general the school disco was lots of fun. R-3 disco was 4-5.30, which was a very good time - not too late in the day, and just long enough (and only the littler kids which was nice too). Vicki had an appointment in the city so we had Sinead and Lauren after school and took them to the disco with us, then they came home afterwards and had dinner with us too.
The adult-child ratio was almost 1:1 at the disco, I'd say, with most of the parents staying, and plenty of teachers too. The dj was great, really aiming it at the age group. We did the Hokey-Pokey, Locomotion, Time Warp and Macarena (obviously things have moved on from my day as there was no Madison or Bus Stop, sigh). Hannah got right into it, dancing with Lauren for most of the time. Sophie was way into it too, dancing hard for most of the evening. Bethany and Sinead had dressed her in a little ballerina outfit while they were getting themselves ready, so she looked very cute too. Not surprisingly, Bethany wore Sinead's clothes, and Sinead wore Bethany's. All the kids got a turn dancing up on the stage which was fun as well. Oh, and the canteen had set up a table in there and was selling lollies, a major attraction.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Star trekking

Today we did the grand circuit of Greater Adelaide. I had to go to Lonsdale to the Pram Doctor to get the wheel fixed on my pram (bye, $55...). Man, it's a long way there! The kids were really good. While we were waiting for it to get fixed, we visited Colonnades shopping centre which has had a big revamp. Funnily enough, it looks pretty much just like Elizabeth. All the same shops - I didn't spot a single shop which wasn't a franchise. A very pretty food court, whoops I mean 'Diner Life', and everything zoned (fashion, fresh food, electrical). After we picked up the pram, we headed over to Cheltenham to exchange my Bessemer pans. Then to Officeworks for some bits and pieces. Then back to get the kids from school. A big day, and petrol was right down at 106.5 when I left (but didn't get it) and back up to 118.9 when I got home (and still didn't get it, although I really need it - can I go a whole weekend without travelling far?).

Tonight I got a call from Nana. She said that Rosalie's banana leaf christmas card had also been confiscated by the thin blue line, but hers had made it through. So perhaps we can add everyone's name to that one...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's all relative

Talking to Bethany in bed tonight, she asked me how we got snot. I talked a bit about mucous membranes and such and then mentioned how there is hard snot and runny snot. 'The hard snot is yummy,' she said. 'But don't you think it's a bit gross to eat it?' I asked. 'No, eating someone else's snot is gross'. Well, I guess she's right.
And of course, I guess I can't really talk, as I was squirting breastmilk into all the girls' mouths tonight as well (sorry for that mental picture!). They all thought it was hilarious, especially Sophie.

Monday, November 13, 2006

How embarassment

Today I recieved a letter in the mail from the Government, with a big blue sticker on the back which said 'Important Quarantine Documents. Open immediately.' Inside was a nice little letter from Quarantine telling me that there was some really bad stuff in a parcel that had been sent to me (from Mexico, hint hint) and it needed to be gamma-irradiated to be safe. This would cost $42.50 and may destroy the item in the process. Or I could do nothing and they would destroy it in 30 days. It appears the offending item is a card and envelope made of banana stalk (which, unfortunately, will now be destroyed in 30 days, sorry mum!). The rest of the parcel had arrived a few days ago (with an 'Opened for inspection by Customs' sticker on it). I guess with bananas still at $12/kilo they thought I might try and eat the card instead...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Village fair

Today was Remembrance Day and the Village Fair. We arrived at the fair just in time to hear the service for Remembrance Day. Ryan was very excited to see some real soldiers. The Village Fair was as it always is, although, I thought there were less stalls than usual. Talking to some stallholders they thought the same thing. I noticed particularly that the Breastfeeding Association wasn't there. No-one was serving pancakes! Ran into Justin Frick and his (pregnant) wife, so that was a pleasure. The kids took some of their pocket money and delighted on spending it all on lollies and lucky dips. It was a good chance to discuss with them how all the money we spent there went towards community organisations, so it didn't really matter if your lucky dip sucked or I didn't win any raffles.

Later in the day, I noticed a tiny baby bird outside. We get quite a few this time of year (just like last year), they are starlings I think. I guess they either fall out of the nest or are just really bad at learning to fly. This baby bird was near the dog's bowl, and I also noticed an adult bird nearby with a piece of dog food in its mouth. Normally I try to put the baby birds under the trees as I figure they might be a bit safer from the cat. Today I was quite pleased as I realised the cat wouldn't come anywhere near it due to the dog (she will grudgingly skulk from the back door to the laundry to eat, but not through the cat door, only if you actually open the door for her). So I called the girls outside to see the bird. We all huddled around it to examine it. Rufus came to see what we were doing. Then ate the bird. Oops. The girls didn't need to see that. Actually, he just put it in his mouth, so I yelled at him and grabbed him and got him to spit it out. Sophie and Bethany started crying, though it was me yelling more than the dog eating the bird that started them. Hannah just delightedly described everything that was happening. 'Rufus is eating it! He won't be hungry now!'. I grabbed hold of Rufus to keep him away from the bird while I calmed the girls down. The bird died while we were watching it and talking about nature and nests full of other baby birds. I don't think Rufus actually killed it though, it didn't look quite right anyway (some strange thing going on with its neck) so maybe the parents ditched it. Of course we buried it with full ceremony. Later I found another dead baby bird on the lawn - the other's 'grave' didn't appear to be dug up, so I assume there were two. I didn't mention that one to the kids...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Last one standing

Nicole, Raff and clan headed off to Kangaroo Island yesterday, leaving us as the only Yacoumis off-shoot in Adelaide. That's okay. We just live vicariously through the blogs. And we've got the dog, turtle, cat and fish as hostages if you all don't come back!
It was very exciting to get a 5 minute, $20 phone call from Cuba today, even if it was only to discuss purchasing T3 shares (just like all those ads...). We also got a mysterious parcel from Mexico that the children are just itching to get into.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Testing times

Ryan got the results of the Literacy and Numeracy test this week. The school as a whole did really well, the principal was saying at council meeting. In Year 5 in Literacy, 70% of students were in Bands 5 and 6 (the top two bands). That's pretty amazing, since the average is Band 3. There were no students below Band 3.
As Ryan is in Year 3, the scale only goes up to Band 5. Any guesses for where Ryan scored? :)
Overall Numeracy: Band 5. Number, 5. Measurement and Data, 5. Space, 5. Overall Literacy: Band 4 (I know!). Reading, 5. Spelling, 5. Writing, 2. It seems that in the writing section they had to write a narrative in a structured way with correct grammar and punctuation. Since he writes extremely well, it's surprising he did so badly. He says that he had trouble thinking of something interesting to write about, which I can totally picture. I can just see him trying so hard to be different and interesting, that he got writer's block. Oh well. He still scored above the minimum required standard, but it would have been nice to have straight fives. He's not too concerned about it, and I don't think there will be any consequences or follow-up.

Photo: Ryan and
Hannah share a hug.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pageant party!

Today we had a few people over to watch the pageant. A week or so ago I had one of those 'oh' moments where I realised mum and dad wouldn't be here for the pageant. Neither Nicole or I were up for taking all the kids, and though Ryan voted for one of us taking the older kids and the other staying home with the babies, we weren't that excited in that option either. It was funny to think that last year, mum, dad, Adam, Eva and even Paul Y were all there with us...
We had Nicole, Ella and Charlotte (of course) plus a bonus guest of Rufus, Jacki, Jarra and Arusha, and Vicki and Sinead over. (there's hopefully a photo on Nicole's camera that she'll put up - I couldn't find mine). So it was lots of fun for the kids, and us grown-ups had fun chatting too. Ryan of course didn't have any friends, so that was unfair - his friend Lachlan was away, and Lauren had other plans so he didn't even have her to play with. The kids (even the babies) started off well captivated by the tv, but very quickly the lure of first the food (too much as always) and then the toys drew away most of the children. Ella and Ryan lasted through till the end. I think the fascination for Ryan was much more about keeping track on the pageant poster about which float was next, rather than the actual floats themselves. They tried to get the other kids enthused but they barely even spared a few seconds to glance at Father Christmas.
Later, after Jacki and her kids left, Vicki headed off to do some things, leaving Sinead, and Nicole headed home to put Charlotte to bed and do some things too (another inspection tomorrow), so we had Ella and Sinead for the rest of the afternoon. It worked out great - Ella and Hannah made one family, Bethany and Sinead the other, and they kept visiting each other's houses for cups of tea. Scarcely a niggle to be had. Then when Nicole arrived to take Ella home, Ella was extremely insistent that they leave - wouldn't even let me and Nicole chat!

Rufus settled in well, although the cat is not that sure. All the children have spent much time brushing out his fur, it seems like that is the latest zen craze here. We did have one little hiccup, when Vicki came to get Sinead, she came around via the fodder store/railway station, and arrived asking if we were missing the dog, since there was a big black one wandering around down there. We hadn't even noticed, but one of the children must have left the gate open at some stage. Paul headed off with the leash, and sure enough, arrived back with one very exhausted old Rufus. Hopefully that is the only escape he makes!