So much has happened (part 3)

The story continues:
Part 1
Part 2

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I have decided to continue the story. This is just a summary of it all. Maybe one day I will go into the detail of how I felt and coped with all the things that happened in and around me.

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I said the only thing that I could think of in that situation and that was: “Rugby Man… stay away from the light. We cannot lose you, not like this.”

The first week was a hectic week. It was the same time that the magazine I work for had to go to print, luckily the printers and all my colleagues were understanding and helped me out tremendously. Rugby Man was on the ventilator and was in an induced coma and on hectic pain meds. I am sure he was flying. He had very serious injuries and well, the Doctors could only move him on the public holiday, 24 September to do a MRI. The idea was 20 minutes to do the body and then if he was stable enough another 20 minutes for the head.

That Friday, 25 September, we were called in and the prognosis was not good. Rugby Man had a terrible spinal cord injury and according to the Neurologist, he had severe brain damage. The Neurologist explained it as follows: Rugby Man was like a baby who drowned. If you do not get enough oxygen to the brain, then the brain starts shutting down to keep the other parts going. That could of happened when they were moving him from hospital to hospital. However, we would never know the extent of the injury till he woke up. The doctor said that it would take time. Recovery could take anything from six months to five years. However, patience is what we needed. His left side was paralysed, however, the good news was that Rugby Man was moving his right arm and hand which meant that with time, the body could heal itself.

By the end of week two, they started feeding him through a tube to see if his body would accept the “food” and they stared “waking him up”, but the only problem was that he was not reacting. He was still on the ventilator but also in his own comatose state. By week three they started taking him off the meds. However, Rugby Man was not showing any signs of waking up or any sign of pain. The trauma nurses were awesome with him though and were awesome with us too.

The routine of our lives changed from day one and every visiting time over the weekend and every night we were there. My Mom also made me drop her off at the hospital, while I went to work, so that she could see him. Our life became all about Rugby Man. The boys who are 25 and 23 handed everything over to my Mom. My Mom allowed me to take charge because I knew in this time I had to be there for her. A parent should not go through the fear of losing her child, because it was her Son laying there. A man borne out of her, who God entrusted to her.  She did not need to go through additional stress.

Well, I tried to curb the additional stress, but the current gf was not helping. Remember I said it was the woman who he met last year and then they broke up and she took to Facebook to tell everyone why they broke up. They recently got back together and well, I am not her biggest fan? Anyways, she decided that she would tell the nurses she was his FIANCE so that she could see him, because they were only allowing the closest family members in. She would go see him during the day and then share confidential medical information on Whatsapp and Facebook. Obviously an attention whore. She did things without us knowing, like stop his bank cards. She was marching to her own drum and to make a long story short, I put a stop to it. I wrote a letter to the hospital, which they gave to everyone working with my brother, that NO MEDICAL INFORMATION was to be given to ANYONE except the following people: My Mom, Biker Man, Me and my two nephews (Rugby Man’s sons). Also that no medical procedure could be done without the authorisation of My Mom or Biker Man.

The next day, after I handed the letter in, my Mom was at the hospital with my brother’s ex-wife, when the gf rocked up. She walked into the ICU and slammed the ICU door in my Mom’s face. Another gentleman that was behind my Mom asked what was up and my Mom said she did not know. She pressed the buzzer for the nurses to let her in. Now, every time we visited, the family would send my Mom in first. When she got to my brother, the gf was leaning over him (something the nurses asked us not to do, because it is TRAUMA ICU) and when my Mom asked her to give her a few minutes she started shouting at my Mom next to my brother’s bed. She stormed out. Then in the waiting room she told my brother’s ex-wife that my Mom was a bitch. After that day, she never returned to the hospital. She goes around telling everyone we banned her from the hospital, but truth be told, I think she realised that she would never be able to cope with a vegetable and was looking for someone to blame so that she didn’t look like the bad person.

With all that happening, the grief process continued. Any grief/trauma process consists out of DENILE, ANGER, BARGAINING, DEPRESSION and ACCEPTANCE. I think my Mom and I were quick to understand it and realise that life had changed and that whatever the outcome, we were there for Rugby Man. However, some people do not do well when it comes to tragedy, and Biker Man is one of them. He moved to Johannesburg earlier this year and was not nearby when it had happened. He and Rugby Man are close, VERY close, but he was in denile all the time. He did not accept what my Mom was saying about Rugby Man’s condition and because of that, he started lashing out at My Mom and I. At one stage he kicked me out of his family and told me that when my Mom dies, I will be all alone.

16 October came and Ruby Man turned 48 years old. We celebrated with him in Hospital with blue balloons and messages from Facebook, Whatsapp, SMSes, etc. So many people wished him well. A week or two after he was moved to high care, because they couldn’t keep him in Trauma ICU forever and we needed to find a place for him so that he could start with rehabilitation, even if he was just laying there. It was terrible to see, because he was always the active one. Playing rugby at the age of 48. Going to gym twice a day. Running the pub and working. He could never sit still. A few places came to evaluate him, but they said that they would not be able to work with him, because he was showing no signs of reaction. He was not responding to the easiest of commands, like open your eye or stick out your tongue. That was difficult for us. That is when they decided to move him to the rehab in 1 Military Hospital, however, he ended up in the surgical ward, because they had to do all their tests on him as well. That happened in the first week of November.

Then on Thursday, 12 November we were called to the hospital. It was not going well with Rugby Man. As Murphy’s law would have it, my car gave trouble the Wednesday and I took it in the Thursday when I got the phone call. By then I was the liaison between the hospital and the family. I called everyone and told them to go up immediately. I arranged for my nephew to pick up my Mom, while I had to wait for the car. I got there at 14:00, after receiving the call at about 11:45. The Doctor was amazing and explained to the family what was happening.

When I got there she called me aside and said that Rugby Man was spiking a fever and his body was getting enough oxygen. His saturation levels were extremely low (the levels of Oxygen in the blood stream). He had an infection that he was fighting off, but they called us in, because it did not look good. It was a matter of time.  I know this sounds weird, but by that time I knew what they were talking about because my brother’s vitals became a part of my life. His pulse, his temperature, his saturation levels. How much oxygen he was receiving. I even helped and kept new staff up to date with progress etc. My Mom and I stayed by his side… till 21:00 that night. The Doctor came in and asked if she could arrange a bed for us to stay over. By then my Mom was tired and said no, she would go home instead. We said our goodbyes to him and left.

As we walked out, I said to my Mom, that I did not think that we would see him alive again. She agreed and said that if that is what God wanted to do, then it is up to Him. My Mom has and still is strong in her faith. She said from the start that Rugby Man was in God’s hands and whatever God wanted to do, she would accept it. She added that Rugby Man was in his limbo and had been between this world and the next and whatever happened she will accept.

At 07:15 on Friday the 13th of November (yes, I know trust him and his wicked sense of humor to choose Friday the 13th) Rugby Man’s time on earth came to an end. My big brother was no longer with us. He endured for 55 days and even though there were “up” days and there were “down” days and there “happy” days and there were “sad” days, he went to a better place with no more pain and suffering. No words can explain the heartache I feel, or the heartache my Mom feels. But together we mourn for a son, brother, father, friend and all round genuine good guy.

 

Rugby Man

On the 16th day of October 1967 the life story of Timothy started. His emotions of love and hate, sorrow and joy, were written up in his book with God. On the 13th day of November 2015 the last entry was written in his book and God closed it. Through our Heavenly Father’s decision, his soul was claimed back by God, his Maker, and his body given back to the earth, as it should be. He is bereaved by his family and friends.

 

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So much has happened (part 2)

So by then details were sketchy… no one knew what was happening and let me tell you the fear of not knowing is what kills you. It makes it difficult to breathe and a lot of emotions come to the fore front.

We were all in the waiting room. My Mom, my nephews (who were both crying), the ex wife, the current gf (It is the one who he met last year and then they broke up and she took to Facebook to tell everyone why they broke up. They recently got back together and well, I am not her biggest fan.) and I. Biker man and his family whereon their way. The nurse came out and said that his injuries were bad. He didn’t have blood pressure and he is very swollen up. They were treating him to keep him alive. She then wanted to know who we were. We told her and she said to my Mom, that she could go in first. Well duh, because she is his mother, but the gf didn’t like that one bit because she is his ‘life partner’. No offence, but you have to be living with a person for at lease six months to be a life partner.

My Mom went in and when she came out, we knew it was bad. After that the Doctor came and spoke to us. Rugby Man had no broken bones in his body, except for a finger and a fracture in his cheek and jaw. However, Rugby Man had a serious brain injury and they were going to drill a hole in his head to relieve the pressure of the brain. Also, he was put in an induced coma and was on a lot of meds due to the fact that he was in a lot of pain.

My brother went in to see him and then when I had to go in, the gf ran in before me. It was almost 11:00 and visiting hours and well, I just thought let her go. I wasn’t going to start an argument. However, when she got out, she made such a scene. She threw herself on the floor and started sobbing. It was then that my Mom (who had not yet shed a tear) went to her and told her to behave. Making a scene was not helping the family and other traumatised families waiting to see their loved ones and it certainly was not helping my brother who was fighting for his life. Well, let’s just say my Mom says it like it is, but the gf stopped crying.

Anyways, so, in the meantime, Biker Man found out where the bike was and kinda how it happened. It seemed like a hit and run…

My first thoughts were, what sick bastard, hits a person and rides/drives away? Seriously?

It was finally my turn to go see Rugby Man. I was only allowed two minutes, but you know what? I took them. When I walked in, he had one of those orange braces around his head like you see on Greys Anatomy. He had on a neck brace. He had drips in everywhere and a heart machine beeping. He was on the ventilator and had pipes coming out of his mouth. His face was swollen to double the size. He didn’t look like my Rugby Man. His head was shaved on the one side and he had a screw coming out of his head. It was really traumatic, not just for me, but everyone around me.

I said the only thing that I could think of in that situation and that was: “Rugby Man… stay away from the light. We cannot lose you, not like this.”

Looking back now, I realise how selfish I was.

So much has happened.

So, yes, it has been a while since I posted. Although all things out of my control and let me just tell you that the 42 days have been the most difficult days that I have experienced in a long time. The last time I felt this was was just before and after my Dad passed away almost nine years ago.

It was on 19 September, Noodles 3rd birthday. We were supposed to go through to Oakdene to go see the girlies for Noodle’s birthday. However, when I woke up at 07:00, I saw I had a number of missed calls on my phone from my nephews. Turns out Rugby Man, was supposed to go to his gf the night and never rocked up. Well, maybe he went home I said. How wrong I was….

I am going to relay the story from when it happened at 12:30 that evening.

Rugby Man was on his way home from the pub. He stayed open for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup. He spoke to the Model at 12:30 and said he was going to his gf. Rugby Man rides with his motorcycle and he has been riding bike since the age of 16, so, he knows what he is doing. However, at 01:00 the ambulance picked him up on the side of the road. He had an accident. The ambulance took him to Steve Biko Hospital (the state hospital), however, when they got there and realised that he had dog tags on and was in the airforce they moved him to 1 military hospital (the famous one, where Nelson Mandela was in). HOWEVER, they don’t have a tram unit, so they moved him to Unitas, a private hospital. He arrived there at 05:00 the morning.

When his gf woke up at 06:00 and realised that he wasn’t there, she decided to phone my nephews. This is what gets me though. How do you know someone is coming to you and you go sleep? Don’t you wait up for that person? Anyways, that’s when my nephews started panicking and decided to phone their Mother (Rugby Man’s ex wife), who was bright enough to phone 1 military hospital. She is still on Rugby Man’s medical aid. Anyways, they (the hospital) had tried to get hold of her the whole night, but she recently changed her number and she hadn’t changed it with the medical aid yet. They told her to go to Unitas because Rugby Man had an accident and was there.

By 07:30 we were at the hospital. The air force chaplain was there (never a good sign) and so was one of Rugby Man’s commanding officers. And then the waiting started…

Oh dear… what have we here?

Hello dear blogland…

Firstly… to all my American readers Happy belated Independence Day. 🙂

Secondly… I do apologise for my absence, but there has been a lot happening in life and to top it all off… I have been sick… it all started last Wednesday, 25 June… I started off with a sore throat, which became a terrible dry cough. I cannot take a sick day from the office, because we are short staffed, but I stayed in my office and made sure not to get into contact with anyone and by last Friday night, I doctored myself with some effervescent tablets, cough mixture and sinus tablets, not that I had a sinus drip, but I was throwing caution to the wind. By Saturday I actually started feeling better.

We (my Mom and I) babysat the girls and they were supposed to sleep over… but by Saturday afternoon, my Mom got ill. So, I had to call my brother to come pick up the girls. He did pick them up, at about 19:30 that evening. Which meant that I had to bath and feed them. Who knew that I could actually do all that on my own?

That night however… Cutie Pie got sick…

See, she ate more than her allotted three fish fingers. She ate the three plus the four I had in my plate. So, Biker Man and Wifey went through two vomiting sessions that night. I think it ended up being a bit like your episode with the Strawberry Lips Harmz, except with fish. Cutie Pie apparently vomited all over my brother and after that episode, my brother and Wifey did not even have a clean beach towel in the house.

That was not the worst apparently… the worst was the smell (I bet their cat went crazy) and at 07:00 they were up trying to do a bundle of washing when… the electricity went off. Turns out that the lights would be out for three days because vandals vandalised the power station…. *sigh* The whole area’s electricity was affected.

That’s when they decided to call me awake to tell me that if I ever give Cutie Pie fish fingers again. *rolls eyes*

Anyways, my Mom couldn’t get out of bed… which was odd, because that is not how I know her. On Monday, I took her to the Doctor, who gave her an antibiotic and booked her off till Thursday. It was after the Doctor’s appointment that I started feeling bad again. However, I went to work, got home, made dinner, but by 20:00 every night I was gone… fast asleep till 06:15 the next morning.

I am still ill, but my dry cough has changed into a wet cough. My Mom is still ill too. We even had a bowl of soup for lunch… which is what sick people eat apparently.

Oh, and btw, the lights came on eventually and my brother and his family are all okay. Not too traumatised after that fishy session. They came over to bath by us on Sunday and Monday, but on Tuesday, their friends said they could visit them for dinner and bath time. Biker Man says the lights came on at 21:10 on Tuesday evening.

I trust I will feel more like myself in the days to come… and that I will be posting soon again. 😉

Being Sick

A morning at the dentist

So you know when something happens and people around you tell you not to put things off. Well, from my recent experience, I will no longer put things off.

See, a couple of months ago, I got toothache. Nothing a Disprin on the tooth wouldn’t fix, right? The past few nights told me otherwise. I woke up about four times each night with said toothache. Anyways, so, by Friday morning I couldn’t take it any more. I made the call to the dentist.

My view this morning... except I had two chicks working in my mouth. No sign of a McDreamy.

My view this morning… except I had two chicks working in my mouth. No sign of a McDreamy.

Luckily for me, they had a cancellation and could help at 09:00. So, it turns out that I had a VERY deep cavity. She worked on my mouth for over an hour, and here I am now, feeling very sorry for myself this afternoon. The anaesthetic made me very woozy, which means I couldn’t go to my editor’s baby shower. Also, my neighbour’s gave me two tickets to the Blue Bulls v Stormers game on Loftus tonight, and I can’t go. I don’t want to risk being out in the cold with my mouth.

So, my lesson has been learnt. I will make sure to schedule my six month follow-up and make sure I do not need to go through so much pain again.

Have a happy Saturday further.

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Who am I kidding?


Run my blog

Tomorrow morning, I am supposed to wake up at 6 am to be at a fun walk at 7:30 am. Seriously? What was I thinking when I said I would participate? I know it is a walk and not a run but I am still not sure if I will be walking the 5 or 10 km.

At least I got some “practise” in on Wednesday. I had to take the Model to the UIF (unemployment offices) in town. See, the Model was dismissed from his job, which sucks and not only for him but everyone around him, especially Rugby Man. One of Biker Man’s friends can get him a position somewhere, but thanks to all the rain, the site’s that the friend is supposed to take him to have been closed down till everything dries up. Don’t ask me what the work is, that’s all I got out of the whole conversation.

Anyways, so while he is waiting for the new job to come through, he cannot be without money, because he has a car to pay, etc. So I went with him to register for unemployment benefits at the UIF. From there, we had to go get recruitment forms at the Defence force, because at least they offer different careers paths, however, they could not help. Not without a matric certificate. *rolls eyes* Then we went to the Police Head Office… btw, I walked in there and well, no one even asked why there were strange people in the head office. There was no one at the entrance to the building, no people to assist. I eventually ended up with the detectives, who all had their service weapons on their hips. One of them helped me… but it seriously makes you wonder why no one really trusts the cops anymore…. From there we had to go to the bank… and then to the High Court cause I had to go pick up something there. The SABC and ENCA vans were parked outside, even though Oscar was not there. (Btw, I see his trial has been postponed to 7 April now.) From there all the way back to the car. By that time it was 13:00. I messaged my editor and told her that I wouldn’t be in the afternoon. We must have walked the whole Pretoria CBD flat and all I can say is thank goodness, that I had tekkies on.

So, now the Model went back this morning to hand all the necessary documents in. I hope he comes right, although he is 23 and a man and should take responsibility for his actions. I mean at 23 my brother was married with a kid. When I was 23 my dad was diagnosed with his illness. I have realised that my nephews are both spoilt and need to start taking responsibility for their lives.

Speaking about nephews, it is the AMERICAN’s birthday today. He is 20-years-old. I remember the day he was born, actually the night… They took his mom in for an emergency c-section and I was pacing up and down the corridors with Biker Man. Can’t believe how the time has flown by. 🙂

Happy birthday my American Boy… I hope that your day is as awesome and great as you are. Welcome to the 20’s. Enjoy them and always stay cool. 🙂

Happy-Birthday-to-You-Image-Card-3

So, that’s it from me…
Have a happy Friday further and enjoy your weekend.

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My Mom’s story

PINK-RIBBON

I have mentioned this before… my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, here is my side of the experience.

Almost nine years ago I had my 21st birthday, and like any 21st it was memorable. I remember going to Gold Reef City with the Radio Presenters I was working with at the time, I screamed my lungs out on the Anaconda, that night my family took me to dinner. We were all together having fun and it was the start of the rest of my life. The next day was the party and I remember my Mom dancing up a storm with us youngsters. Let’s face it my 21st birthday was a memorable one, even if I did have a jumping castle and an ice cream cake.

But the post isn’t about that…

It was only a few days after my birthday that my Mom phoned me to work.

“Kathleen” she said. “I think something is wrong”.

I recall her telling me that she had fluid dripping out of her nipple, no lumps, but I remember telling her in a calm voice, to make an appointment with the Doctor.

I could not take off, but she went to the doctor alone and phoned me when the appointment was done.

“They are sending me for a mammogram and they have taken samples of the liquid.”

The mammogram hurt terribly she says, mostly because her breast was tender and sensitive, but after that they sent her for a scan of the breast as well.

I remember sitting at work, when the phone rang. “Kathleen, they think its Cancer”.

I burst into tears and It was then that I was faced with one of my worst fears.

My Mom could die.

It turned out that the liquid had aggressive cancer cells in and they need to do a mastectomy on the right breast immediately. They could not do the usual biopsy, because, if the cancer cells broke through the nipple tissue to the back of the breast, the cancer would spread and the Doctors were not sure how quickly it would spread. At 58, my Mom, one of the healthiest ladies around, who only went to hospital to have us kids, was going in for major surgery. We heard the news on the 26th of November and on 1 December they were wheeling her into the operating theater.

We had a lovely lady from Reach for Recovery come to our house before the operation. She was a Breast Cancer Survivor and came to chat to us about what to expect and answered all our questions.

I remember after the operation of being over protective of my Mom, I did everything, from making food to helping her with the drainage bottle. The Doctor phoned us at home and said that because of the aggressiveness of the cancer, my mom needed to have the remaining breast removed as well. That happened on 10 December.

They gave my Mom radiation after the surgery and put her on Tomoxifen. Tomoxifen is a hormonal treatment drug, which she had to drink everyday for five years. In the beginning she would see the Oncologist every two weeks, then every two months, and then every six months and now it is a yearly check up.

My Mom is a breast cancer survivor; she is in remission now and that thanks to early detection. Like I said before, she never had lumps or sensitivity or anything. To this day I am so glad she listened to me and went to the Doctor.

Most people who meet my Mom now, don’t know about her cancer and when they do find out about it they are shocked, because if you see her today, you won’t say she was ill at all.

I did ask her once about implants and she said, why go through all that pain?  She has tried the prosthetic ones, but she says it hurts. My Mom lives with the scars from the mastectomy everyday, and is not allowed to drive, or carry heavy things because of secondary Lymphedema. The surgeons removed quite a few of her lymph glands because they were not sure if the cancer had spread there or not. According to Wikipedia: “Between 38 and 89% of breast cancer patients suffer from lymphedema due to axillary lymph node dissection and/or radiation.” Lymph glands get rid of the toxins in your body and because she doesn’t have all her lymph glands her arms swell at times.  We then have to massage her arms to “move” the toxins out.

It has been a long journey, but, I am proud of my Mom, of all that she has been through and that she still is standing. Not letting this experience get her down. She is one of the lucky ones, because there are women out there who do lose their battle with it.

So, this is my view of my mom’s experience and now you know why I’m in support of Breast Cancer Awareness and because of my Mom’s experience, I have to go for check ups on a regular basis and my first mammogram is scheduled for January next year.