Saturday, 25 June 2016


My face is symmetrical .... well I hope so as there's some swelling. After 4 years and 5 months it will be nice to look in  mirror and not cringe. Honestly, I'm not vain. But my face looked so ugly with the twist and hollow left side as the muscle wasted away. For me the saddest part was losing my smile. What had once been a nice bright smile became a lopsided, twisted grimace. I felt as though I had lost any semblance of pleasantness and always looked cross or angry even when happy. I had to learn to smile a Mona Lisa type smile and always engage my eyes. Not a bad thing to do since eyes are a window to the soul.

Our wee grand-daughter was very concerned to see so many ouchies on Grandma's face. It took her all of 24 hours to be willing to come close enough to cuddle.

I was very relieved when the anaesthetist said I was well enough for a full anaesthetic. He listened to me carefully when I said I'd had some serious vomiting after other anaesthetics and he chose to not use gas but only intravenous. I woke up a couple of hours or so later, bright eyed and bushy tailed. That was a dramatic change from past experience when I could remember nothing for many hours after going into recovery. In fact, in the past. I have no memory of anything prior to waking in the normal ward bed with John telling me it went well. Then I would be sick for days, so much so I needed a drip for dehydration as well as the anti-nausea drug.

Long ago I came to the conclusion that doctors and surgery for me were not going to happen unless I had a broken leg or similar. I guess a broken face fitted that bill. I was so nervous. I wanted to run away except that I knew I would be very unhappy with self if I did so.

All's well and now I can heal up. I look forward to seeing the result sans bandage, stitches and swelling.

Three major things left for me are sorting out my teeth, Mum's house selling and getting our own home. Other than completing the List I can get on with living a normal life.

It's mid-winter here and very little snow on the mountains. I think it's cool this morning, 3'C/37.5F  and we should have a daytime temperature around 11'C/51'F with some rain. It is unusually warm with some parts of NZ going up into the 20'-23'C/68'-73'F I'm not complaining as it makes it easier for us if it doesn't get too cold. Snow in Christchurch is fairly common although it doesn't lie about for more than a few hours. The winter still has the coldest months to come so there's still time for snow in the city. I hope not.

I need to rest again. Catch up in a day or two.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


I didn't mean to abandon blogging. A couple of people have given me a nudge during my absence. Lately Lyn, whose blog is Escape from Obesity has emailed me, Thank-you Lyn, it's nice to be missed, and I did promise I would post something. The days have slipped by and still no post till now.

So what's my excuse?

Nothing really. Maybe I've been a little depressed at times. Certainly internet problems and sharing a computer with John have contributed to my absence. Sometimes our internet is quite flaky and I can't be bothered with it. I prefer to write first thing in the day and that means getting up before John.

Also I do like to blog with photos but somehow in the muddle with computers and changes to my favourite programmes things are not working out the way I want. Next week I'm planning to take my laptop into an 'expert.' I hope they can get it running right again and then teach me how to use windows 10 and get my photos sorted.

So to catch up..... We stayed in Bev's Unit at the retirement village until she was able to return home at the end of January. It was a pleasant experience but convinced me that I never want to live in that kind of situation even if we could afford a place in one of the more expensive resort style villages. It felt claustrophobic and as though we were living in a gold-fish bowl at the same time. The lifestyle was generally not to my taste.

In March we were back in the Granny Cave at our son and daughter in law's home. This is more or less a glorified sleep-out in what was once the show-room for Amanda's business. We are comfortable, and have adequate space, although there's no running water so we go into the house for the bathroom and main meals. It doesn't seem to be a problem and we see our wee grand-daughter everyday. After nearly 6 months here I'm missing my stuff and this is not our home. Amanda is lovely and likes us being here but while the 'Cave' is attractive it's not quite my style so I continue to live in a situation I have little control over. I know that gets to me sometimes and I can feel very down if I let myself dwell on not having my own home. If you live in Christchurch no-one raises an eyebrow if you tell them you live in the garage. Five years after the earthquakes the city is beginning to rebuild but many people are still in limbo for one reason or another.

In March our eldest son, who had been in prison for over 4 years, was released on Parole. Until then every Saturday was completely taken up with visiting him 2 hours in the morning, a 2 hour lunch break and another 2 hours in the afternoon. They were long and exhausting days for us. We left home about 8.30 am and didn't returned between 4 - 5 pm. It has amazed me how much more I have been able to relax since David was released. I am pleased to say he has been able to comply with all the conditions and has a good job so is able to get on with rebuilding his life. He has to deal with a nasty separation from his ex-partner who continues to live on his property. The property settlement is likely to be expensive, drawn out and messy as it's being done through their respective lawyers. David's ex-partner will not speak to any family member and is not very good at communicating through her lawyer either. I guess there will be a few tears before it's over. I could have done more to keep the line of communication open between us in earlier days but she is a difficult person with a history of shutting people out to her own detriment. David wants to be generous and courteous toward her but at present he cannot even collect his clothes and other personal items without going to a lot of trouble to get her permission. We all understand how she has come to react this way but it is an over reaction and way out of line. For us it's just a niggling problem but for our son it's very hard. He tries to be philosophical about it because he knows how much he hurt her.

Suddenly in April we had 2 buyers for our Matarangi house. The first one was waiting for their own place to sell while the second made a cash offer of $5000 above the first, to secure their purchase. I was glad we had a clause that allowed us to accept the better offer. It was a relief to have that sorted and a settlement date in May.

We spent all of May at Mum's House at Simpsons Beach as it still had no offers in spite of the redecorating. There is interest but people with 1.5M dollars are looking for something more modern. We've spent enough on it and look forward to the day when someone comes along who loves the situation as much as we do. Once the Matarangi house was finally packed up and everything moved into storage we were able to unwind and recover. Our daughter has bought a section and will build on it when she can get an affordable mortgage. In the meantime her life continues and she has the use of our old bus as a spare room. During May we caught up with family and some friends. I hope to get up there again before the end of the year.

We returned to Christchurch at the end of May so I could have the cataract in my right eye removed on June 2nd. That's gone well except that the eye drops prescribed make me a little nauseous. I have to continue them for another 2 weeks. That's a small price to pay to give the eye the best care possible during the healing time. It's made a huge difference to my sight although the other eye, affected by Bells Palsy continues to be bothersome but again I have a gel ointment that does wonders for comfort but makes my sight blurry.

One evening, two days after the eye surgery, a got a call from the plastic surgeon to ask if I would be available on June 23rd for the facial reconstruction to correct as much as possible the damage done by Bells Palsy. YES!!!!! Then I got a cold. It's a nasty one so I am now taking an antibiotic in the hope it will kill the bugs in time. Certainly today I feel a lot better and I've still got 48 hours to go. I just hope the cough completely disappears as I would think it's important not to be coughing with stitches in my face.

Our grand-daughter is now 18 months and very girly. She's extremely active and beginning to assert herself. She doesn't have many words yet but is pretty smart at communicating. She is an utter delight and greets us with a brilliant smile each time we see her. Nothing like a little girl's smile to brighten up the day. We still babysit on a casual basis plus every Friday. That's about to change as Amanda increases her hours at work. The next door neighbour wants to be the regular babysitter while Amanda works. I must say that we are often pretty exhausted after 5 or so hours with a very fast moving toddler. We usually put her to bed around 1 pm and Peace reigns. Remember that feeling when the baby is safe in bed. We'll continue to be the casual baby-sitter and also back-up the neighbour.

We've been going to Open Homes and viewing houses within our price range and above it too. I've come to the conclusion we'll have to build to get the most important features. We've not seen any houses that are truly wheelchair friendly with wide doors, room to manoeuvre and suitable bathrooms. At this stage it's all research and sometimes feels quite futile when we cannot even purchase a section until Mum's House sells. At least we no longer have a mortgage and only have a small credit card debt. There are a couple of things that have cropped up in the last month that slowed down the process of being completely debt free. I'm a bit edgy about it as I want to save for a trip away too.

Quilting has not been happening lately. I blamed my eyesight. Once I get over the next lot of surgery I'm looking forward to getting stuck in again. In fact I am on promise to make Ava-Jane a quilt for her 2nd birthday. I'll have to work hard to get it made on time. Especially as it's difficult to sew if Ava is around

Healthy living is so-so. I gained weight and lost my fitness. Hopefully after surgery and once this cold is behind me I will be back into being more mindful about eating well and walking again.

As for Growing Older Gracefully ..... it's been more like a survival course. Most days one foot in front of the other trying to make the best of what is. I think the waiting to do something about getting our own home is horrible. I can't wait for the waiting to be over.

And that's about it for now. I will try to come back regularly again but it might take me a few days to feel bright and bushy tailed after tomorrow as I'll no doubt be sore and will be having a full anaesthetic.

Life is getting better all the time.