Monday, November 30, 2009

TIL WE MEET AGAIN


Thursday of last week started normal enough. Kids were packed off to school and kindy in the morning, I went to work and then back to pick up Maddie and go visit Mum. Same as most days. Except this wasn’t like most days.


As soon as we walked in the room I realised something wasn’t right. The nurses seem to be in multiples and they were setting up a CD player next to her ear. One nurse in particular greeted me with “I’m glad you’ve arrived, your mum’s breathing has changed, I’m afraid she may not have long”.



See I’d heard this before, a fair bit to be honest, but even I knew, by looking and listening that this was a different situation. Mum literally did not breathe for 20 seconds. Then she would restart what really wouldn’t even be considered breathing, more like gasping for breath. 9 times she would attempt to breathe, then she would not breathe again for 20 seconds and then repeat.



I completely believe though, that Mum was no longer with her body. Call me a whack job, but prior to that day, we had always got a response. Even if it were just a slight moan. She didn’t respond to my hand, in fact she was cold and clammy and it was like someone had flicked the switch and her body was on autopilot. I think she was already gone.



So the nurses got my daughter and I set up in beds with hot milo and put the Arias on as background noise. Mum continued in autopilot mode with me counting the patterns and listening to the fluid that had obviously started to flood her lungs.


I had been told time and time again, “Oh it’s such a peaceful, lovely way to go” and “they just slip away”. Um no they fucking don’t. They (people with terminal cancer that require morphine to sustain the pain relief) basically drown in their own fluids. Sorry if that’s confronting, but it’s the truth. So luckily, Mad fell asleep and after nearly 9 hours of Mum struggling, she finally gave in. She got her wish; she had us with her when she finally passed on.


So now begins the week of organisation and making DVDs with pictures of her life to music. It starts a week of bizarre conversations about cremation procedures and buying clothes that will now fit my withered and tiny mothers body. It begins the many many phone calls to people I barely know and the ones I know all too well.



The saddest for me was to watch my son, Sam, deal with the news. Instantly he burst into tears. It was horrific. He cried for 2 straight hours and cradled photos of her whilst begging for her to “just come back to us grandma”. His heart is too little to be broken.



Thank you to all who have left me messages of love and support. I do genuinely appreciate them all. Amazing the love that comes out of places I never even imagined existed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

YEAH BUT NO BUT YEAH BUT


So it’s that time of year again. You know, the one where kids of around 17 years of age finish their, depending on state, 12th or 13th year at school and descend on Surfers Paradise to go batshit.

As I am clearly insane, I have booked a week in a lovely high rise, smack bang in the middle of the action, 2nd week in. The week where all the NSW and Victorian school kids take their turn at vomiting in bushes and pashing randoms.

In my defence, I didn't do my research and I "won" this particular holiday on eBay for only $255. Cheap! Cheap until I find a log floating in the ginormous communal pool.

But has it really changed since we were school leavers? Um, irrevocably – yes.
I, *clears throat* went on schoolies nearly 20 years ago but like all good women in their thirties, I still consider myself to be pretty hip and with it. Ok, so saying hip and with it is probably sending the Gen Y’ers into flurry of "ZOMG’s she’s so old", but let me say this, we still remember what goes on. And it’s changed, and not for the better.

Myself and two girlfriends who are still my best girlfriends to this day, went off to Byron Bay where we stayed in a backpackers, took roughly 15 casks of the world renowned $6 St Bernadinos goon, $150 and had the time of our lives. And to be honest, during that week, I hadn’t given much thought to my future or what I would do once that week ended (which coincidentaly coincided with me having zero cash and a block of cheese to my name).
Sure we drank. Sure we got very loose with some French, German and American backpackers (no - not that loose) and sure, we lit illegal bonfires down the beach, but we went for the sole purpose of celebration. To celebrate the end of a very significant era. The era that in hindsight, were the easiest days of our lives. We just didn’t know that yet.

Schoolies still happened in Surfers, but it wasn’t the event it is now. Houseboats were hired, people took off to Noosa or Byron or they simply stayed home and went into Surfers at night. And it wasn’t a shambles. Hey it wasn’t perfect, and the same amount of underage drinking and debauchery still went on, but we weren’t just being ratbags in general society because it was almost expected.

The government is in full lock down on underage drinking and there are massive ad campaigns which air constantly showing the effects of getting blind, yet this 2 week event is staged and partially funded by that same government.


Hey, perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised and these kids will be singing kumbaya in a circle whilst drinking diet cokes and regaling stories about their volunteer job bathing the elderly. I'll be sure to update.

I’m not saying there should no schoolies week, but changes need to be made. Preferably before my daughter hits the golden age of 17.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

TOUCH OF PARADISE




This won't be a long post tonight.


Have spent the last 2 hours sifting through Mum's Photos because today the nurse asked me to organise a funeral home.

I knew it was coming, I'm not delusional, but I don't know, I guess I just thought I could deal with that some other time.


Mum is in a monumental amount of pain and to be honest, society doesn't let a dog go through unnecessary pain, yet I guess to play God with medication and humans, still has a way to go.

Mum's only words in the last two days have been "I don't want to die alone". So while we take it turns in being by her side, all I can hope for is a peaceful end to this horrible horrible disease.

I'm not religious but I believe there is something in the afterlife and I can't wait for her to see her Mum, (who died when she was 4) her dad, her brother and even her wayward husband. And of course I know only good things await because eventually, good things happen to good people.




Thursday, November 19, 2009

LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH




So does he rub your back and play with your hair til you fall asleep? In Guy Sebastian world, that means he’s the only one who can Love you like that. He clearly hasn’t been married for 10 years and cleaned up his bodyweight in spew on a particularly bad night with a 3 year old. He needs to change the lyrics to include platitudes about helping find towels, spare bedding and the spray and wipe.

Gotta say but, after 10 years of marriage and 14 years of actual time spent together, getting my husband to rub my back til I fell asleep would require him some sort of mutual pay-off. Just sayin.

So how do you keep the spark alive? Well don’t ask me, I’ve got three kids, a job and a rabid house to control. All I know is that there has to be a lot of give and take. That and the ability to fall in love over and over and over again. And hey, I am no expert in that and can be known to be on absolute mole patrol for no good reason at any given time.

If you’re reading this and you are newly in love, you probably won’t believe this, but it - it being madly infatuated with each other - doesn’t last forever. Unless you’re Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. And they believe in aliens.

So then, seeing as the rate of divorce is horrendous and the rate of separation is an unknown, how do you get the princess treatment forever? Short answer is – you don’t. Not going to happen. But it must be noted, you, the woman, will not be treating your man as a prince either.

Because here’s what happens. The fact that you tell them copious amounts of time the plans for the upcoming weeks and you relay to him the serious nature of the parent-teacher on Friday, he will not be able to commit this to memory. Nor will he hold high in regard, the fact that colours need to be discussed before they are painted onto your walls. And these minor occurrences will start to shit you. Slowly at first. Then it will build and build until there is a monumental blow-up and somehow or another, you turn into Brittany Spears on a head shaving rampage. And then you will be left, three days later, wondering what in the fuck just happened and in despair. Once it was all about mini-breaks and shagging. Now it’s about home insurance and cleaning dogshit off the carpet. How and when did it get to this?

Well from my experience, it’s cyclic. I reckon any couple that is 100% happy 100% of the time is either lying or insane.


Couples go through phases. Ones when you can stand each other and ones when, meh... you give each other the shits. So when the bad outweighs the good, I guess it will be time to reassess. Today though, I still like it like that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

CSI GOLD COAST


One week ago today, the nurse stopped me from entering my Mum’s hospital room, took me to the side and looked truly awful.

My gut dropped. She obviously sensed this and hastened to assure me Mum was still OK. But then she asked, were there any family members who would like to see Mum before, she, you know, passed away. I was in a kind of haze. I had been in not one day before and although Mum had been in a mountain of pain, she’d still be semi-Ok.

She then went on to tell me that she would recommend I contact any relatives within the next 24 hours. Holy Shit. My brother was working up in Townsville for the week. I called him to come home immediately.

I walked in and it shook me up. She was basically unconscious, with no dentures in, leaving her face morphed, gaunt and making it almost unrecognizable. She was on heavy duty morphine to stop the pain in her arm. Google morphine to treat terminal cancer and you’ll get my gist.

So I basically prepared myself for the worst. She could barely moan when we talked to her. Her hand was unresponsive and she wasn’t eating or drinking. The doctor told me to basically discontinue looking for an aged care facility. The cards were on the table.

My brother got back in time to see her, although she barely recognised him and if she did rouse, she often got most cranky with him. In fact, he got there the next morning and the nurses passed on the message that Mum was apparently adamant she wanted relayed to him “I forgive you”. Of course this sent my brother into a spin and wondering what in the fuck he could have possibly done that would possess her to say this. I assured him, nothing, probably something he did when he was 15 and like all teenagers, he was being an insolent little a-hole.

So to walk in to her room on Sunday and for her to wake up and basically act normal was both lovely and bizarre.

I did the normal kiss on the head, “Hi Mum” and she opened her eyes and looked directly at me and said “Who’s dead?” and then she started to cry. Apparently she had been having dreams under the veil of Morphine, that she had killed someone or someone was trying to kill her. To be exact, my best friend was trying to kill her. Sure, fits the profile. (Kidding Bon)

So once we assured her a) no one is trying to kill her, b) no one was dead and c) she hadn’t killed anyone, she settled down.

She wanted to know where she was, why she was here. I told her she had a sore arm. No need to revisit the whole aggressive cancer issue. She then went on to tell me she was going to take us all on a big holiday, her shout, as soon as she, and I quote “stopped fiddle farting” around and got out of the hospital. She was positive, lovely and the best I have seen her since this whole horrible sickness started. It lasted 4 hours. And to my brother and I, it was life changing. And I don’t say that to be naff. It truly was wonderful.

She told us stories about the rumours back in the day about the lady she owned a shop with and how the town thought they were lesbians. She laughed, we laughed and we learned her favourite’s singer is Johnny Farnham. Note the Johnny. Old school Johnny. She told me she never wants to see custard or yogurt for another 12 months after having it forced into her so much. I hope I’m there to see her get reacquainted.

Since Sunday, she’s been up and about more, but not quite as with it mentally. One of her nurses who hasn’t seen her since Friday was amazed at the change. Obviously she thought she was going to be greeted with an empty bed, not a giggly 76 year old with tales of homicide.

So that’s what’s happening with Mum at the moment. It could all change tomorrow but we’ve had this weekend. We’ve had this time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

DO THESE GLASSES MAKE MY MONOBROW LOOK FAT?





Not so long ago, I ended up at a bar. It was kind of planned. I guess it was always a given considering it was the only place left to go once the restaurant closed.


A smarter version of me would have bid them all adieu at this point, (my husband included) and gone and relished some time alone. I mean we were staying a 5 star resort, with no kids, fully paid for. I doubt it acutally gets much better. But to leave would have been rude and to be honest, the drinks were sinking oh so easily.


So we all (14 of us) continued on. The joint was packed. Live music, lots and lots of pretty young thangs (both male and female) and one particularly loose girl in our party who got told she would no longer be served within 10 minutes of arriving.




One thing I had forgotten about was the bar service dance. See, the last time I had to do that, I was probably a good 11 years younger, had less gray hairs and didn’t have glasses that made me look like a mono-browed Nana Mouskouri. I also hadn’t at that point, pushed 3 kidlets out of my loins and therefore didn’t take people out when I walked by them with my hips.


In fact, last time I had to go the bar amid 56 other people desperate for a vodka lemon and lime, I was in my early 20’s and more than likely had my tits pushed up and out within an inch of their lives plus had the confidence that comes with knowing you are going to get noticed. I think I now know how all those guys felt when they used to be ignored, whilst we got immediate service. Shithouse and indignant.


So it comes as no surprise that I wasn’t the darling of the bar scene last night. For one I wasn’t wearing a Lycra, leopard print bodysuit, with holes cut out of the back, which apparently is the Cougars fashion statement of choice these days. They (the cougars) were kind of out in force and doing quite nicely with the big headed steroid abusers who were hanging off of them.
But to stand at the bar and be passed over 5 times, it all became very apparent that I am now Demis Rousses’ twin. Just give me my Mumu so I can get on with it.

Luckily I only had to do the drink run once yet somehow I constantly had a drink in my hand. Just as all the guys were crying with laughter at something none of us women could understand, the ugly lights went on, the security guards descended and suddenly, it was all over.


The night made me realise that a) I am happy to sit at home most nights, having a little shandy on the couch or on the deck where I can hear what’s being said to me and I can serve myself without fear of rejection, b) the best night out is rarely worth the vomit inducing hangover it causes the next day and c) kids will not care that you are practically dying from self-inflicted sickness. They will still want to be fed every 20 minutes, have a DVD changed every 14 minutes and have a new question regarding an ant’s thorax that must be answered satisfactorily until they will leave you alone.


Now, Berocca, Paracetamol and a shitload of water are about to have a party in my stomach...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

SO BE GOOD FOR GOODNESS SAKES




So it’s roughly 43 sleeps till Christmas. Two words – Holy Shit.

Divide that by 7 (Bare with me while I find the computer calculator – yes I agree, it is truly scary my day job involves numbers) and we have roughly 6 pay days (if you’re paid weekly – like me).

Basically we’re fucked.

I mean, I heard the Little Drummer boy in Myer last week and I outwardly cursed the stupid conglomerate. I mean it’s barely November and already the incessant cheeriness is being rammed down my throat whilst shopping for push-up bras and ginormous knickers.

The tinsel has made it’s way to the forefront of all Kmart stores and I even, (gag) brought a $2 Best of Christmas CD from Crazy Clarks after an unnatural insistence from the two year old to possess it. Mind you, once I was in the clear, it made it’s way to the CD pile of death alongside Human Nature and the the Best of Dannii Minogue.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. I love the magic for the kids and I love spoiling the bejebus out of them. Yeah yeah, I know it’s just stuff and when they get too much, they don’t appreciate blah blah blah.

But it makes me happy to make them happy.



And I refuse to give that up yet. There's plenty of years left for it to be just a day that Aunty Maria* gets blind and insults the whole family after overstaying her welcome and shitting on the toilet seat. Plenty.

In a perfect world, I would have lay-by’d the kids presents at an awesome toy sale, gotten them off before the threat of death Lay-by letter, got them safely tucked away in an awesome hiding spot (that I may or may not have forgotten the exact whereabouts of by Christmas Eve) and have them wrapped and ready for the big day.

But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. And I am not a perfect Mum. My housewife status leaves a lot to be desired too.

So this year, I’m going to the shopping centre, and I don’t care where it is, that has the 24 shopping going on. And I am going to shop my arse off. With a list and my husbands 4x4 to haul them home in. One hit. Shop like a man. Get in and get the fuck out.

This disappoints me somewhat because I am a shopper. I love to shop and I love the copious amounts of coffee that gets consumed whilst shopping.

So friends who read this blog, if you receive a heinous present this year, like the Fish that sings “Don’t worry be Happy” or Size 16 knickers, you know I shopped for you last. Sorry about that in advance.



*Aunty Maria is a generic name for any one person in any one family. There's always one.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

BULLSEYE


Waiting in line at Target yesterday I overheard the following conversation between the checkout chick and the customer.

CHECKOUT CHICK: Would you like to buy a 10 cent bag today?
CUSTOMER: No, I’d like a free one.
CHECKOUT CHICK: We don’t have free bags anymore, they are 10 cents
CUSTOMER: Well then I guess I don’t have a choice, Do I?
CHECKOUT CHICK: Would you like a large or a small one?
CUSTOMER: I think I made it pretty clear I’ve never bought one before; therefore I have no idea of the size difference. Show me one.
CHECKOUT CHICK: *shows her both sizes
CUSTOMER: How ridiculous is this? Paying for a bag. You people are incredible. Just forget it, I'm not giving you another cent.

All the while the customer, a woman, sort of danced around adjusting her fake bejangers and touched up her lip-gloss. The little Checkout girl was shitting herself, obviously not liking the conflict and clearly not used to stupid bitches being so incredibly rude to her about a ten cent bag.
Um, it’s 10 cents you heinous critter. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

That’s what I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and ask her if she gets a thrill out of being such a stuck-up mole. Or making young girls, just doing their jobs, have a shit day, just because she’d never been taught any manners.

But I didn’t. Because I’m chicken shit. And I hate confrontation. But it wasn’t right and all I could do was give my best evil-eye look to the back of the dipshits bleached head and my best solidarity smile to the checkout girl. I think she understood. Either that or, with my off tap, crazy hair that day, she just thought I was an escaped mental patient with bizarre facial tics.

Next time but, I am going to calmly tell a woman like that to be nicer and more respectful to other people. And when that doesn’t work. I will speak to her in the language she seems to understand. Bitch speak.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED



Today Mum spoke about my brothers bag hanging on the bathroom door and how he must have left it behind. Then she told me she would start cooking the sausages in the pan, not the BBQ, because that was just as easy.

In between telling me these things, she got her Catheter changed, got a sponge bath and cried silently whilst being turned on her side to have her back washed.

The dramatic change in Mum has both caught me by surprise and frightened me all at the same time.

Not less than a week ago, although in extreme agony with neuropathic pain in her arm, she could still relay her days events. She could still get up and go to the bathroom when required. Could still request and drink a cup of tea without jerkily spilling it all over herself.

Of course the majority of this change has taken place due to medication. Medication that has to be taken or else she cannot bear the pain of her arm which she basically described as burning “toothache” type pain in arm all the time. So she is in a catch 22 situation. No medication - she is lucid and knows what the hell is going on and is in a mountain of pain. Medication - she’s not really aware of her situation, but her pain is somewhat relieved. What’s better? Well for her, honestly I just want her comfortable. But it is so truly sad, I no longer think there is a better situation.

When I look at Mum, I see an infant in a woman's body if that makes any sense. She has lily white skin, marked with yellow bruises from the myriad of injections she is constantly jabbed with. She looks like a slightly tainted, tiny porcelain doll that is at rest. And it breaks my heart.

Prior to this, she has been somewhat cranky. I’ve spoken of this before about how, although she’s my Mum and in severe pain, she has been difficult, angry, awful and I haven't always been the most understanding daughter. But now, I just feeling incredibly sorry and sad for being like this.

It’s fair to say Mum was somewhat independent. She has lived alone for many, many years and would begrudgingly accept help only when absolutely necessary. So, you can imagine how massive this change has been for her. One day she was sitting at home looking after her grandson, the next, she’s having an adult sized nappy strapped to her so she doesn’t wet the bed.


I think the severity hit me today when visiting her, as I do most every day, and I could tell she was having trouble with something on her face. Since the radiation, she has lost 70% of her hair. Today she had put her hand in her hair and with it had come little pieces of hair. I glanced at her hair brush, full of fallen hair. I so wanted to pick it up and give her hair a brush. But I couldn’t. Because I just knew I’d lose it. And right now, that’s not an option. Because I think if I start, I won’t stop.

As John Lennon said – “All you need is Love” If he were alive today, I’d like to propose an addendum “ All you need is Love, oh and a cure for Cancer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A LITTLE BIT KLARSY




With each of my pregnancies I was hideously tired and continually nauseous and pretty much doling out mini spews, up until the 16th week.



Then miraculously, it would just disappear and make way for my body to just go and get fire hazard fat.



And it was awful. The nauseous bit I mean. I could be anywhere, anytime and it would come upon me. And what’s with the “morning” sickness bullshit. It should just be renamed - all day, all night, just all the freaking time sick.



Once, when driving our very new car, I had to pull over mid drive and hurl into an abandoned lot. Abandoned but still very visible from the road. If only I’d had a few of these nifty and high class numbers: A Morning Chicness Bag. No I did not spell that wrong.





I could have co-ordinated my Labour of Love spew bag with those days I felt predominately romantic. Because we all know how we just can’t get enough of our partners during that morning sickness phase.


Or the bambooboo bag when I meditating with my guru and discovering the meaning of life. Hey, we all still need a micro spew even when being enlightened. Lucky for us, we have a model demonstrating the correct way to spew into these bags.

Let’s face it, all of these bags would have been appropriate for so many situations. How I managed to get through three pregnancies without a Morning Chicness bag saddens me. I feel jipped. Not only that, I need to reevaluate. Clearly I am not the klarsy mother I thought I was.

Monday, November 2, 2009

AND THEY'RE OFF AND RACING


So I’m sitting here typing this with my elbows out wide like some sort of posture Nazi because today, I had a spray tan. And apparently I can’t touch ANYTHING til tomorrow morning. After I have a shower.

At present I look like a black minstrel. I am practically black, doing a reverse Michael Jackson and my teeth glow in the dark , and that’s with the lights on.

And my flesh kinda smells like it’s burning.

Why you may ask would I put myself through this? Why indeed. Mainly because I am pale and freckly and I have totally screwed my skin through many years of sun baking on the beach at Surfers Paradise earnestly trying to gain the attention of the hot skegs. (Who by the way, amazingly seemed immune to my powerful beauty)

My motivation for entering that beauty parlour today was a Melbourne Cup day lunch I am attending. One with 35 twenty-two year olds. Thirty-five, spectacular twenty two year olds. So I just don’t want to look like the Nanna who lives in her lounge room. Just for one day. Vain? Yeah probably, but hey, I'm not in Jocelyn Wildenstein territory just yet.

The fun part was driving home and trying not to touch anything. Seat belt included. I was Miss Daisy driving myself, face to the windscreen, trying not to touch my seat, trying not to get a seat belt mark. Then I get home and for the first time in months, the 7 year old wants to “massage my back” and kept repeatedly slapping my leg in excitement whilst telling me a wild tale about a tilt train who married a corner store.


And now, I’ve left brown marks on the toilet seat and the white dinner table seat and undoubtedly, my white bed sheets tonight. Basically I’ve turned into my 2 year old.

Benefits? I was banned from getting wet til tomorrow. So I wasn’t allowed to do the dishes. Shame.

For the record I’m tipping Shocking. It’s my prediction for how I will feel on Wednesday morning.