Saturday, January 31, 2015

Party weekend


All the guests are gone. It was exhausting catering for up to 12 people since Friday night, plus a kids party yesterday; my weekend seemed to be an endless round of cooking and cleaning. But I had fun too.

Three early mornings (my niece woke at 5 this morning) and two late nights... I'm just about ready for a nap in front of the cricket.

Yesterday I ate a lot of junk food and also hardly drank anything (my plant on Plant Nanny was wilted and close to death) which left me with a headache and feeling a bit sick. But strangely - or perhaps not so strangely - I suddenly feel all motivated again to work on my health! I feel like I can handle the commitment now. I am going to join another dietbet that starts in a few days, but it's a six month one where you need to lose 10% instead of 4% in one month. Longer but not so frantic. It still has monthly weigh-ins with half the pot being distributed monthly and half at the end. So it keeps you motivated all along. Obviously with the longer period I will have to incorporate treat meals and real life instead of just no carbs to drop weight quickly. I love the online community at dietbet, that's the best bit.

Kids back at school on Tuesday after six weeks holiday, I need to get back into a routine that prioritises exercise and writing. My food has been fine today and I'm catching up on my water. No formal exercise but plenty of bustling around the kitchen! Feeling good. Exhausted but good.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Growing up


I didn't realise I hadn't posted for a few days. No particular reason except busy reading and not doing much else. I might not get a chance to post the next few either as we have family here all weekend from tonight.

My weight has been slowly creeping up. No chance in hell now of winning this dietbet. I have been struggling with that concept a bit. Obviously I've had a horrible month, but I've got to stop using that as an excuse to ignore my health. Yet the thought of making the huge changes needed, all at once, is just too daunting at this time. I can't even promise myself to "start tomorrow" or "start on Monday". The kids go back to school on Tuesday and we'll start to get back into some kind of routine, I'll see how I'm going then. My water intake is still good, sleep and meditation both erratic, food and exercise bad.

It is my daughter's birthday today! Eleven. She will be in her last year of Primary School this year - High School next year! My baby in High School in a year? Can't be possible. She does seem very grown up and responsible, but High School?

The birthday person gets to choose the day's activities and menu. Tim had to go to work very early this morning, so we all woke early so Jasmine could unwrap her presents before he left. Then I made French Toast with raspberries. Tim unexpectedly needed the car (I never know until the night before) so the kids and I walked half an hour to lunch and the movies. Lunch was chicken and hot chips, I didn't do too badly, but I did eat chips during the movie. We saw "Paper Planes" which is an Australian movie (with Sam Worthington from Avatar playing the dad) about a boy from the outback competing in the National, and then International, Paper Plane championships. Feel-good kids' movie, pretty good actually, but I assume it won't get shown outside Australia. Half an hour walk home with a heavy backpack with a few necessary groceries. At least I got in some exercise today.

The rest of the day mainly house-cleaning getting ready for houseguests and birthday party tomorrow. That is pretty daunting too. The house is always a mess. And it's Jasmine's birthday so I can't make her help! I'll be making lasagne for dinner. Ice cream with raspberries and chocolate sauce for dessert.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Better day


Today was definitely better. I was so miserable yesterday that I spent the evening compiling all ways I was a failure as a human being, and thinking about how different I was from the me of 20 years ago. But I had a good cry, and although it didn't seem to help at the time I did wake up happier and more able to cope with life.

Having said that, I didn't actually do any better with food or exercise.  But I did the grocery shopping with the kids and only bought one packet of cheese crackers to share. I helped/encouraged/bribed the kids in some housework and the kitchen looks significantly better. Some paperwork relating to mum's death came in the mail and I filled it all in instead of pushing it aside. I did colouring in with my daughter and watched Star Wars (a new hope) with my son.

I've still got to cook dinner and drink more water and read a couple of hundred pages of short stories, but I am going to preemptively call today a win.

A week to go


I managed to get out for a walk this morning, which I guess is a big achievement considering I've struggled lately. On Saturday I even put on my exercise gear as soon as I got up - and then sat around in it all day. But today I walked for half a hour. Slowly.

I've got a week to go on his dietbet (plus and minus a bit due to time differences and 48 hour weigh in period) and this morning I weighed 82.3 kg. need to lose 2.4 kg (5.3 lbs) in a week. It's not looking very likely, considering I haven't yet got a handle on my eating. Or anything else, really.

To be honest, I'm still struggling quite a lot. I can't seem to find any balance in my head. I don't want to do any "fun" things or go out anywhere. I spend my days ploughing through all this reading I'm committed to - a book a day - and watching cricket on TV. It's still school holidays for another week so the kids are home but I'm mostly leaving them to their own devices. On the weekend Tim takes them out a lot. House is a mess. I haven't done any writing.

I know it takes time for life to get back to normal. It's weird because I didn't even chat to mum that much, but now I keep thinking of inconsequential things I want to tell her and can't. And I'm daunted by knowing that I have to go to her house and go through a houseful of things. Sometimes it all feels like too much.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Never enough


This is my third day of trying to drink lots and lots of water (and watering my plant on Plant Nanny). The app tells me to drink 12 glasses of water a day. That seems like a lot to me, a silly amount, considering I usually have less than half that including tea. But you know what? It isn't enough. The more I drink, the thirstier I get. I'm usually very dehydrated (every blood or urine test I've ever had said so), so I guess now my body knows I'm not living in a desert and water is readily available it wants to make up for lost time. Today I finished my 12 glasses before dinner, hoping to avoid getting up five times tonight, but I'm too thirsty to stop drinking. How much is enough?

Friday, January 23, 2015



I had a bit of a rebellious day today. I didn't want to eat healthy. I bought junk when out shopping. I didn't want to read all this stuff I've got to read. I seem to have pulled something in my stomach when trying to do crunches yesterday (not a good hurt) so I didn't want to exercise. I didn't want to drink all my water. I didn't want to make time to do my meditation.

Considering all that, I had an ok day. Not a great day, or even a good day, but an ok day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

There's an app for that


Usually I like throwing myself into things, but I'm struggling to cope a bit at the moment so I'm not trying to do everything at once. What I am doing, however, is covered by cute new apps.

I have my "Headspace" for my daily meditation.

Yesterday I downloaded "Plant Nanny" - every time you drink water you get to water your virtual plant and it grows. Very cute.

And today I downloaded "Carrot Fit" that has 7-minute workouts. Carrot is a harsh taskmistress and makes it fun by being rudely abusive. Pushups become bowing before Cthulu. For squats she says you can wee on the floor if you want but to remember she isn't waterproof. Stepping up on a chair to get away from an aggressive mouse. The kids did it with me and thought it was very funny. I'm not really that keen on that sort of exercise but it's only 7-minutes (12 exercises for 30 seconds each, 10 second break), and guided by a robot overlord, so I'll give it a try.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wansink research


A recent New Scientist magazine (no. 3003, Australia) has an article by Brian Wansink about making environmental changes to help you change your eating habits without any struggle with will power. He's been researching it for 25 years (I've read his very interesting stuff before) and I'd thought I'd share a few things from this article.

* Use smaller plates. You eat more from a bigger plate. And, one I haven't seen before, you eat more if the plate is the same colour as the food. So if you want to cut down on carbs, it's probably wise to go for a non-white plate.

* The only food visible on your clean and tidy counters should be the fruit bowl. Visible chips are bad, cereal is worse! "Women who keep cereal packets visible weigh on average 9.5 kilograms (21 pounds) more than those who put them away." Apparently women are more susceptible to this 'visible food' issue than men. Maybe because they spend more time in the kitchen.

* Keep salad on the dining table where you can see it but serve everything else from the oven/counter. You're less likely to grab a second helping if you can't see and reach it easily.

* Smaller serving spoons.

* Use tall thin glasses (except for water!) instead of short wide glasses. Pour wine looking down into your glass (it looks like more) instead of having the glass at eye level when you pour.

* In a restaurant, sit near the window or in a well-lit area and not near the bar or a TV. And at a tall table where you don't slouch.

Wansink has done some fascinating studies, well worth a read.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Work in progress


I did a bit better today, I think. I did a couple of productive things. I washed my CPAP. I took it away with us but only used it one night and then I hadn't unpacked it since we got home. So that is about a week without using it. It is all clean now with fresh water in the humidifier and set up, so I have no excuse not to use it tonight. Hopefully that will help with the tiredness. I fell asleep both yesterday and today, sitting up trying to read. Today with the kids playing a board game right at my feet.

I also used my Headspace meditation app this evening after dinner. Day Five. They are just 10 minute relaxation exercises. I am still very distracted but I won't get better if I don't practice.

I used my lovely massage chair, but today it hurt every muscle in my back. I am really stiff and sore and tense. Working on that.

Otherwise, food was a bit better today - and I resisted getting take away for lunch even though we were driving home at lunchtime! - but I didn't exercise.

I am ploughing through these books I need to read. I think two and a half yesterday. One and a half so far today, I'll read more tonight.

Still tired and sad and unmotivated. I'm a work in progress.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Back on the diet


Back in the healthy eating mindset. Trying, anyway. Certainly not perfect.

I weighed in at 82.7 kg. I started the dietbet, a little under two weeks ago, at 83.2 so I guess overall I am half a kg down. Actually a gain since I last weighed myself before I went away, but its to be expected with all the stress and eating out. I completely forgive myself for the lack of progress but it's time to get back into it.

I ate too many carbs today - lots of bread - and a little bit of chocolate.

I think exercise is going to be even harder. I just have no motivation. Spending over a week in various hotel beds with stupid pillows (why do you always get a choice between 'sinks so flat in 3 seconds that you might as well not have one' and 'so high and hard that you dangle from it with no shoulder support') really stuffed up my damaged shoulders and I'm still recovering from that. And my ankle is still stiff every morning, and hurts when I do any more than walk - going down stairs is awkward. I probably need to do some strengthening exercises, but do I wait until it is better first? I feel a bit tired and old and uninspired. But committed to making progress.

I added some photos to last week's posts, but here is one of me on Diamond Beach on the first day we were there, when it was rather cloudy but perfect for a walk.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The funeral


My mum's funeral was yesterday. It went smoothly and I think it really did help me emotionally to say goodbye. Funerals are important for the living.

I was really sad all the previous day. I had been enjoying the holiday and feeling ok most of the time, but on Thursday I woke up sad and stayed very down. I didn't feel like I was where I needed to be. My body was still in Forster but my heart and thoughts were nearly 300 kilometres away. We went canoeing in the morning and swimming in the afternoon and the kids had a lovely last day so that was nice. I don't regret going away to the coast, even though it made organising things difficult. I think it was better than sitting at home.

We left plenty of time, we thought, to drive back on Friday. I thought we'd have time to go to the hotel first for a quick shower and change after the four hour drive. But there were little delays that added up - too long at lunch, getting back on the highway after lunch which was a bit confusing, heavy traffic in Sydney, GPS sending us to the right address in the wrong suburb... We had to be content with a very quick clothing change in the disabled toilet cubicle at a McDonalds (no time to worry about hair or make-up, I didn't care too much as I knew I would look a mess as soon as I started crying) and arriving at the crematorium a couple of minutes late and rather flustered. And then found that my brother hadn't arrived yet either. I was really worried about that, and we couldn't wait too long because there was another funeral after ours, but luckily he arrived soon after.

My uncle talked about mum's childhood a little bit, only breaking down a little at the end, but then my brother spoke about her final year and he was a complete emotional mess. Very hard to listen to. The celebrant gave me a look a couple of times, I think she was suggesting I go and rescue him, but he needed to get it out and he battled on to say what he wanted to say. I delivered the main eulogy about mum's life and my stage experience helped in that I was able to read my speech with only a bit of trembling. There was a slideshow of photos of mum with some moving music - I had to chose the music for the day and I spent a lot of time on it, I was really happy with it in the end. Is happy the word? Content. Satisfied.

We had a wake at my uncle's house afterward and I heard some great stories from the women from mum's work - it sounded like she treated them all like her daughters. Then a family dinner, stayed at a hotel, and drove home today. I am glad it is all over. It does feel like turning a page, or letting go. I had a year's warning before she died, and I spent quite a lot of time with her in those last couple of weeks. She didn't want to linger any more than that. Time to say goodbye.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Getting things finalised


Today was the point I really needed to have everything finalised for the funeral. I got up early and searched the Internet for quotes, finished writing the eulogy, made calls, and got it all done while Tim and the kids played tennis (in the loosest sense of that phrase, considering the kids don't know how to play). It took about four hours. There were a few more calls throughout the day but I'm pretty sure it is all done now. The order of service booklet, the screenshot of photos, who was speaking and in what order.... A lot more to organise than I ever anticipated. I am glad it is all done.

When I was finished we went to the pool but I just lay in the shade and had a nap.

Lunch at a cafe - bacon and pancakes for me but I didn't eat much of the pancakes, they had maple syrup but not butter which is not how I like them. Also half a milkshake.

I had another nap after lunch then off to the beach. It's quite isolated here at the resort and Diamond Beach is always nearly deserted. The surf is a bit rough for young children and the beach isn't patrolled so we only splash around and play in the sand. With lots of sunscreen, hats and shirts! Then back to the pool for last swim of the day.

Mexican again for dinner and I didn't do so well. I didn't eat anywhere near everything on my plate but I was still uncomfortably stuffed. And half a dessert which I definitely didn't need. And a cocktail. At least we went for a two kilometre walk after dinner, over the long bridge and back as the summer sky got dark.

Aiden was asleep in the car on the way back to the resort after a big day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Beach and pool


(Kookaburra on our porch this morning)

We went for a walk along the beach again this morning. A bit further, a bit faster. Look at the sky today!

(Weird driftwood structure on the beach)

Unfortunately my ankle started playing up. I twisted it badly a couple of years ago and it took a surprisingly long time to heal, but I would have said it was 100% better now. Apparently not. Walking on sand was too much. I was limping a bit after our two kilometres, and it continued to trouble me throughout the day.

We had our morning swim in the pool then drove into town for lunch. Italian today. Very nice. I had some things to organise for the funeral and internet access at the isolated resort isn't very good so we went to the local library and I used their computer. I've done that a few times when away from home, libraries are so wonderful!

In the afternoon I ate half a muffin, and bought some real bread for my toast tomorrow. Two days of fake supermarket bread was enough. We had another swim in the pool then had Indian food for dinner. I didn't feel like I overate tonight, and I'm not immediately falling asleep which is a good sign.

I think we got away with no additional sunburn today, except a bit on the tops of my feet. It was gorgeous weather all day but clouding over this evening, we may have a storm.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Lovely day


We started our first full day here with breakfast in the room; toast, fruit and tea. Supermarket bread is nothing like real bread from my local baker! Not appealing at all.

The sky was grey and it was drizzling and cool so we went out for a long walk on the beach. We went only two kilometres in just over an hour because that included looking at shells, smooth pretty rocks and washed up jellyfish, and playing on the sand.

 (this is a 'Jelly Blubber' - doesn't sound like a real name does it? - upside-down dead jellyfish. we saw lots of live ones in the lakes and dead ones on the ocean beach)

It was all lovely except for the short period of rain driving straight into my face. Walking on sand is hard work, even if you choose the firmer section near the water. The muscles really felt it during the walk - maybe stabilising me? - but afterwards it was my calves that protested. A good start to the day. By the time we got back the sky had partly cleared, showing patches of blue, and it had warmed up, so we went for a swim in the pool.

We drove to the nearest town, Forster, which is about 15 mins away, for lunch (through more rain which stopped when we got there, such variable weather!) I had grilled fish even though I much prefer crumbed or battered. And chips. I'm trying! A great location right next to the waster. Forster/Tuncurry are towns on opposite sides of a kilometre-long bridge where Wallis lake meets the sea. The water is really shallow under the bridge, with lots of exposed sandbars populated by pelicans and seagulls, and we have seen dolphins in the crystal green water. Beautiful.

We went back to our cabin to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. The clouds had all disappeared and it had turned into a lovely day. Tim napped, the kids watched TV, and I worked on writing mum's eulogy and returning some phone calls. It's so relaxing here that I was able to write as a celebration of mum rather than getting all maudlin. I'm glad we're here.

I haven't been using my meditation app. I tried a few days ago, when still at home, but I was too distracted. I'll go back to it. I think it's something you need to practice in easier circumstances rather than try to dive in when you really need it. Like trying to run a marathon without training for it.

In the afternoon we had an ice cream then tried out the second pool - which is rather boring and standard and we were the only ones there. The water was really cold, only the kids went in. Tim broke a chair! I was sitting on the same kind and it kept settling lower under me, very disconcerting when it would suddenly shift. Tim weighs less than me so I consider myself very lucky mine didn't break. Tim is not heavy at all so any adult weight was obviously too much - terrible chairs.

We went back to the good pool, which is much more interesting with a bridge and a sloping shallow area and much more interesting funky shape, and all the other guests were there. And big comfy non-breaking lounge chairs! And warmer water. Last swim of the day.

We tried really hard to not get sunburnt. Tim is fine, Aiden a little pink in the face and I am a bit pink on my shoulders and chin. Poor lily-white Jasmine got quite burnt on her face and the top of her chest and back. Even with hats and swim shirts and lots of sunscreen, she is just not a skin type that can spend hours in the sun with impunity. It is a tricky balance, we are here to spend time in the pool or on the beach. We could sit inside watching TV, much cheaper, at home. We'll just be as careful as we can.

We went back to Forster for dinner and had yummy Mexican. And I had two thirds of a chocolate mousse for dessert.

The combination of sun and fresh air and exercise and big dinners mean I can hardly keep my eyes open after dinner.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rain at the beach


I'm going to try to include a bit more weight loss stuff, I seem to have strayed a little from the original brief.

This morning we left my brother's home without seeing him again, he was still in bed. Tim's asthma was really bad. I keep saying I'll never stay in that house again and then something happens to make it more convenient than the alternatives. Anyway, we had breakfast at a cafe then headed off for our beach holiday.

I've talked before about the weirdness of going right now so I won't justify myself again. I feel a bit odd telling people though (mostly I just don't).

After several really hot weeks, it was now cool and pouring rain. We drove for four hours through the rain, sometimes it was so heavy we could hardly see the road ahead and lots of cars seemed to be pulling over. But we got here eventually, had lunch at the resort hotel, and went for a swim in the pool. In the rain. We were going to get wet anyway, after all, and it was quite warm.

I couldn't take photos of the nice beach with turbulent storm surf or the pool because I didn't want to get my iPad wet, so I took a gloomy grey picture of our cabin with our wet cossies dripping on the balcony. But I couldn't work out how to attach it. So you'll just have to imagine.

Now here is the weight-related bit. I weigh almost exactly the same as last summer, but apparently I'm a different shape. I had some trouble wriggling into my swimming cossie but I thought it was because I was a bit sweaty from the humidity. Then I zipped up the board shorts I wear over the top. I had to squeeze into them. My stomach was clearly a lot bigger and flabbier. I am really unhappy with the shape I am in - in both senses. I am unfit, and I am an unpleasing shape.

So even when my stomach goes all acid and anxious if I relax for a minute and think about mum, even though we will be eating out two meals a day while we are here, I need to keep a rein on my eating. I shared a dessert with Jasmine last night and I think that is a good tactic. Having smaller amounts of treat foods. Being upset about how I look does not help me feel happier!

 (added later, rainy view of the lake area from evening restaurant)

Highlights of today were the water dragon and turtle lurking around the resort restaurant, and the hot shower after the swim.



I've never had to organise a funeral before, thank goodness. I didn't realise there was so much to do. We drove to Sydney today and then I spent three hours at the funeral parlour. Two hours with them, one with the celebrant. There were all the things I was expecting like choosing a coffin and flowers, but also so many official forms! I had to ring my aunt because I couldn't remember mum's mother's maiden name. The paperwork seemed endless.

Tim took the kids to see a movie. Angels though they are, they would have gone out of their minds with boredom.

I went through my family tree with the celebrant, I have one living brother and two deceased siblings which she noted down. But thereafter she kept talking about me and my brothers and sister being involved in various parts of the funeral as if they were all alive. I corrected her once and she apologised, but a moment later went right back to talking as if there would be all four of us. I don't think my sister will be making a speech, she's been dead for 44 years. It did worry me a little bit about the celebrant's ability to run the ceremony. Apart from that she was very nice. Should I ask to see a copy of her welcome speech?

We had a nice dinner then back to my brother's. We had only seen him briefly when we stopped off to get some clothes for them to dress mum in. When we got back, still very early, he had already gone to bed. Maybe he just wasn't up to talking to us. He is pretty broken up by mum's death. He has lived wih her his whole life. The only times he has been away is on holidays with dad. 46 years old and never a night away from his parents. He is going to be very lonely.

I hadn't planned to spend a night here ever again but I couldn't get a hotel for us at such short notice on a Saturday night. Oh well, it's just a night. It affects Tim's asthma pretty badly though.

I spent some time this evening going through some of mum's things. That's something that will take quite a few visits.

Long day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Keeping busy


It seems I cope with grief and loss by keeping myself very busy so I don't have to think too much. Almost as soon as I heard I went and started researching funeral homes and memorial options. Since then I've made what feels like a million phone calls to family and mum's friends, making sure everyone knows about her death and the funeral arrangements. and responding to sympathy calls and texts. I've had a preliminary phone interview with the funeral home and I'm going to Sydney to sit down with them (and my brother) on Saturday. Apparently it's a two hour meeting. Then chat to the celebrant after that, and the people making the "order of service" booklets. Who knew it was so complex?

I've been through just about every photo I own, both digital and printed, to find only a handful of photos of my mother for the service. I guess, like me, she didn't like having her photo taken. Nearly all the ones I have are with her holding one of my babies. I need to choose music for the service, and write a eulogy. And find clothes for them to dress her in (even though it will be a closed casket). And take charge of all her financial paperwork. And get the Will to the executor. And ask my uncle to host the gathering after the funeral.

There are people who would help me with this stuff (Jasmine helped me go through all the photos) but I am appreciating being busy at the moment.

Months ago we booked a holiday on the beach, fully pre-paid and non refundable. It is coming up fast, so I am also planning that. It feels very odd to go for a holiday at this time, but I am not going to deprive the kids of their fun. And I suppose I can sit around and feel sad just as well there as here. It will be nice to get away, gaze at the endless ocean. I'll have the time for quiet reflection that I'm not giving myself now.

I guess I started dietbet at a bad time. I certainly haven't been restraining my eating the last couple of days - but actually that has more to do with it being that time of the month when I crave fat and salt. Mum's death just means I let myself off the hook. And then this holiday coming up. I have thought about dropping out of this dietbet (you can, in the first 7 days, and get your money back). I'll give myself another couple of days to decide, but when I was looking through all those photos I saw how good I looked ten years ago (when I thought I was fat! Ha!) compared to how I look now and it made me not want to put that quest aside.

The other thing that is going on is that I am judging collections of short stories for an award and I was a bit lazy and then mum got sick, and now I have about four weeks to read 20 more books. Not huge "Lord of the Rings" type books, more like 200 pages each. I have let the award conveners know my problems but I am still committed to getting it done. So when I'm not on the phone about mum, I'm reading reading reading! I don't need to spend any time being sad when I am so busy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The End


My mother died this afternoon at 5:40pm, peacefully in hospital. My brother went to visit and must have just missed her last breaths, she was still warm. He called me as soon as he got home.

Dietbet 2


I had regained some of the weight I lost last dietbet, but not all. I am starting at 83.2 kg, and need to lose 3.3 kg to get down to 79.9 kg. That is a great final goal, I really want to get under 80.

I ate more than I should have today, in fact my stomach is a bit uncomfortable because I finished dinner with a slice of cheesecake my husband made. Definitely more food than I needed. But on the up side, I did do some exercise today (Fantasia game) and I did my second day of meditation.

I downloaded a guided meditation app called Headspace. You get 10 ten-minute sessions free then you have to subscribe. I've liked it so far and felt quite relaxed after each session. The narrator has a good, calming voice. Reducing stress and getting some decent sleep are very high on my priority list at the moment.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Home again


I had originally planned to stay in Sydney several more days to spend more time with mum, but I just could not spend any more time in that horrible house. In future visits I will have to make other arrangements - stay with family living further away, or at a hotel.

I spent Sunday with mum at the hospital. It was like at Christmas, when she was reasonably alert on the first day but barely knew I was there by the fourth. On Sunday she slept nearly all day, only speaking to me a couple of times in the afternoon. She looked much older and sicker. I guess she has good days and bad days, or maybe she makes a big effort to stay awake when she hasn't seen me for a few days, but can't keep it up.

After that fall a few days ago they kept the safety rails up on her bed. But on Saturday night she rolled over and somehow got herself wedged between the bed and the rails. Her leg was quite badly bruised. So now they have her bed lowered right down to the floor, no safety rails, and a mattress each side of the bed in case she rolls off. They have also changed from giving her medication every few hours to a constant drip. Morphine, I don't know what else. The changes are not encouraging.

When I came back from having lunch (stinking hot humid day, I tried to sit in the shade in a park but fled back to air con pretty quickly) she woke up and asked me if I was leaving, which I found a bit confusing. But I think the morphine messes with her sense of time. My Aunty Bev, mum's sister, came in the afternoon. She finds it really hard to see her big sister like that. We had a good chat though. One funny thing, as the self will intrude, was that I was sitting in the huge chair they have for patients if they are well enough to sit up. It was a very deep chair so my short legs were sticking straight out. I felt like a plump six year old. I kind of always feel that way with my aunt anyway.

There are pictures for sale on display in the halls of the hospital, and some of them are quite lovely. I've been thinking of buying one of the several that we all liked, they are only about $200-$250 each.
Sorry if showing you breaches any copyright laws:

I guess if I did buy it, every time I looked at it I would think of mum. Don't know if that is good or bad. Nice, but sad.

Since I couldn't face another night at the house of horrors, when I left the hospital I drove to my brother-in-law's house an hour away, where Tim and the kids were staying. They'd decided to have a family BBQ so the house was full of people, or it seemed like it anyway. Loud and friendly. It was a nice, distracting change; but also quite overwhelming to someone in my emotional state. I joined a board game and had dinner but then retreated to have a quiet lie down, and never really got up again. I was completely exhausted after two nights with very little sleep plus all the emotional stress. I dragged myself up to say goodnight and have a very quick shower, then was in bed at 8:30, before my children!

This morning we drove home. So nice to be home. But also guilty that I am not with my mum. I am trying not to stress about that too much. I'll visit her when I can but worrying doesn't help anyone.

I had thought about putting off dieting until things settled down a bit. But when will that be? There is never a perfect time. So I am starting a new dietbet tomorrow. Maybe that will help keep me anchored. And I'm going to work on the relaxation too - I've downloaded a meditation app that I read about. I'll give it a go.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Another day


I had a hard night. It's really hot in Sydney at the moment, and a lot more humid here on the coast than what I am used to inland. The ancient air conditioning barely cools the lounge room, let alone the rest of the house. My brother stayed up to 4:30am with the TV up loud (the only way it can be heard over the air con) and then made a lot of noise going to bed. And at dawn the cicadas started up in the tree outside my window. I felt a bit sorry for myself.

I had no intention of eating here, I've mentioned my brother's hoard of rotting food, but I did hold my nose and put milk in the fridge last night (I also brought my own tea and sugar and even our old kettle!) so I could start my morning with a cup of tea. While making it, saw little maggots crawling over the kitchen counter. Nope nope nope. I can live without caffeine.

I wandered around the local shops for a while (proper air con!) and got a couple of things mum wanted. I chose a little clock hat also had the date, because mum never knew what time or day it was, but when I put the batteries in I found that it thought 3rd Jan was a Sunday (it's Saturday). Presumably it was in 2014. Stupid clock. I even tried forwarding through all the months, just in case, didn't work. Oh well, at least it tells the time.

I spent the rest of the morning with mum at the hospital. She was asleep at first, and one of the other patients asked if I was her sister! Usually I look young for my age, I guess the sleepless night was showing on my face! When mum woke she said she was feeling quite good but she was clearly fuddled. Lots of random comments; ugly carpet, Harrison Ford, rabbits.

I went and had lunch then spent an hour in the local library with wifi. I decided to go back to the house to have a nap, but my brother started bugging me about the Will. My uncle the executor wanted it redone (format not content), my brother wanted a clause added - I thought people were supposed to argue about the Will after the death, not before! No wonder everyone keeps their Will secret (in Agatha Christie novels, anyway). Mum just wants it shared fairly and it was drafted in a way that I thought everyone would be happy with, silly me. Well I tweaked it and we got it signed and witnessed again and that's it - I'm not doing another one.

Getting it witnessed was sad. Mum is in the Palliative Care ward and it's a sad place. Not sick people who will probably get better; sick people who are dying. We asked another patient's guests to witness the Will for us, one was the wife of the old man in the opposite bed, clearly dying. He'd been there for seven months while she visited from their home in the country. She was sadly affected by the thought of my mum needing a Will, gripping my hand and crying. Mum doesn't look as bad as the others.

A nurse came and said they were moving her into a private room next door, which I was very happy about, but the nurse pulled me and my brother aside (he came in for the afternoon visit) and said it was because they needed her closer to the nurses station and in a bed they could lower right to the floor because she kept trying to get up during the night and had already had one bad fall. She's getting very vague and confused and apparently forgets she can no longer walk or even balance without help. I'm not sure why having the bed railings up isn't enough, but anyway having the private room is lovely and it's great that they are keeping a close eye on her.

I haven't said much relating to weight loss but I want to keep this record of my mum and this is my writing space. My meals aren't particularly healthy but I am not eating between meals. It's far too hot and muggy to exercise.

I had surprisingly good Thai food for dinner then came back to the hot sweaty house. My brother says  he is going to bed early so at least I wont have the noise problem, but can't do anything about the heat.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Starting the year off right


I've tried to start the year off right, with some good habits I mean to keep up.

I did some exercise yesterday. I got a new active Xbox game for Christmas, called Fantasia. It's somewhat like the dance games except you only use your arms. You swipe and punch and sweep in time to music like Bohemian Rhapsody, like you are conducting it, following the cues on the screen. Lots of fun. And a more intense workout than you might expect.

I also did some work on editing my novel, both in the afternoon while Tim took the kids to the pool and in the evening while watching cricket on TV. No reason why I can't use those spare moments.

I finally made the decision to stop playing Dungeons and Dragons. It is a great game, but I've been playing every week for about ten years now while others came and went, the wives generally dropping out the quickest! I've been sick of it for several years but kept playing because my husband  wanted me to and because it was at my house. I was really bored wih it and also found the table full of junk very tempting. They may move the group elsewhere or not, but either way this week I got to watch TV, play with my iPad, and work on my novel. Bliss!

We drove to Sydney today. I dropped Tim and the kids at his brother's house for the weekend then went to the hospital. Mum seemed a lot better than last time I saw her, she was awake and lucid and we talked for about an hour before she seemed to get too tired. Such a big contrast to Boxing Day when I wasn't sure she knew I was there! She is in the Palliative Care section now.

She had a big bruise on her forehead. She had been under the mistaken impression that she could walk the few steps to the bathroom unaided. Apparently the hard floor thwacking her on the head disabused her of that notion. At least she was able to joke about it!

She seemed much more herself, but she said she was having some hallucinations and had no sense of time. So not exactly "normal". And she was all swollen up with retained fluid again. She is still hoping she won't linger on too long.

I'll be staying at her house, with my brother, for a few days. Not sure how long, I'll see how things go.   Tim and the kids are going to catch the bus home. It's good to be able to spend some time with her.