hopeful 4/52

Sunday – Day 4 of Platypus ward

All I want is to hug my darling girl and I do get the occasional hug when I help the nurses get her out of bed to get changed and things like that. Today was a good day and we spent a bit of time sprucing up with a nourishing foot massage with beeswax and essential oils of rose, geranium, lavender and cedarwood. Then the nurse gave us some shampoo and conditioner to brush her hair and put it up in a braid. Also, she could smell the conditioner which is a good thing, it is great as all her senses are good! We had a lovely quiet time together with me doing most of the chatting sharing updates of what is happening for over an hour today and seeing her alert is a wonderful thing! The other bonus is that she can open both eyes and that her face bandage is loose because the swelling is down.

When I arrived we had a bit of a convo where she showed me both eyes were open underneath all the bandages and we did her face exercises. The other good thing she did today was sit in a chair for 20 minutes with the physio. She still cannot speak loudly but can whisper words to express what she wants. Also, tapping the side of the bed to get lots of water to drink is excellent.

The cool thing is that she is not using the pain meds as much and is starting to feel bored but she does not want her phone. We really have to work out what she can do to pass the hours healing herself in the hospital. Podcast recommendations or Spotify playlists are welcome!

Overall it was a lovely relaxing afternoon we spent together, I can see her progress each day and it makes me so happy. Tomorrow is a big day with a skin graft on her hands and time for me to do a sleepover in hospital, it will be fine as I would like to be there when she comes out of anaesthetic.

Monday – Day 5 of Platypus ward

I have not been into the hospital today – yet! I will be going in for a sleepover tonight but I am still waiting for a call. H went in at 4pm and the doctor said she may be out around 9.30pm. It is the skin graft day for her hands and her thigh. The doctor called earlier to say said she has some deeper burns on her right hand and upper right arm which need to be filled with a “growing medium” (this is how we interpret it) before they can graft the skin on. Check out the video as it is put in place for all the cells to grow through it to create a foundation for the skin to be grafted upon. For all the pieces of the inside flesh to grow through will take up to 8 weeks before the skin can be grafted on, but it sounds like it will be worth the wait.

Today’s positives are that the doctor said that her face is healing well there will be skin grafts on her neck and maybe cheeks and forehead? They are waiting for another couple of days for the facial skin to heal. The doctors also noticed that the dressing on her face was so big as her swelling had gone down so much, which is wonderful to hear. H also has no catheter anymore, so that she can get up and go to the toilet with all the IV tubes attached to her on its wheels travelling by her. She also played cat stax today with my hubby and listened to podcasts staying half alert in bed. Tonight she will be pretty groggy after the long operation and skin will have been taken off her leg but there will be lots of pain meds to keep her comfortable for tomorrow.

grateful 3/52

We witnessed the fragility of life on Friday when my daughter H was in a freak accident with a campfire. As we were relaxing on a Friday evening, I received a call that the rescue beacon was sent off and there was help on the way to a camp trip where my daughter was with her friend and her friend’s dad for the weekend. After pacing the house for a while, my daughter’s friends Dad called me to say that she had an accident with the campfire as it exploded and she caught fire. All I could say was, “how is she going?” He put her on the phone to me and she said, it hurts so much! At the time she had water being poured over her to keep her comfortable. While she was roasting marshmallows, she was wearing synthetic fabric joggers and a thermal and they do not mix well with fire!!

The ambulance and emergency services were called and she was soon taken away by a helicopter to a hospital back in Melbourne. When I got the call she was taken away without her phone or a way to notify us where she was going and I had to investigate a way to find out where the helicopter was. Finally, I found out from the search and rescue beacon people and we drove over to the hospital at 10pm to find her in the emergency department. We totally underestimated how bad the burns were going to be and it was a complete shock to us both to see her lying there with burns to her face, arms and leg. By the time we came she had been given pain medicine to help her get through to the next stage.

I am grateful to have my friend who looked after her until the emergency services came along and took her to the hospital. Once she was in hospital she was rushed to theatre to clean out the wounds and skin and then bandage her up for her recovery in the ICU ward. Since Saturday we have not been able to chat to her as she has a breathing tube, due to the swelling in her face and having to preserve her energy to heal. To see her all bandaged up was extremely confronting and as a parent you feel so helpless! We left the hospital in shock as to what to do… the only thing we can do at the moment is take it one day at a time.

I am going to use this space to extend on a journal to keep people up to date with how she is going. If anyone is wanting to help please consider a donation to the Royal Childrens Hospital Foundation. The hospital has been incredible in keeping our daughter comfortable from all the burns and the daily care she receives is something we truly appreciate.

The first 36 hours have consisted of sleepless nights, nightmares and anxiety.

Saturday – Day 1 of PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit)

On Saturday morning we received a call from the surgeon at 3:30am to say all had gone well and she was bandaged up with holes just for her eyes and mouth. Her face has been so swollen her eyes are shut and her lips are blistered are swollen as well. To see her hooked up to multiple machines for drugs to keep her comfortable, a breathing tube to conserve her breaths, a tube in her nose for feeding and a catheter for toileting was the worst experience for any parent to go through. I left the hospital in tears and have been crying for most of the weekend. We have an incredible support base here with family and friends.

Sunday – Day 2 of PICU

We rode our bikes to the hospital to help with processing the heartbreak we are going through. It was a great visit when I read to her lots of messages from her friends and family and she responded with nods as she could hear our conversations. It felt good just to have those interactions with her. We spoke to an ICU nurse and she gave us a brief rundown of how things may progress with another trip to the theatre at the end of the week to check out the healing process and the state of the burns. From there it is observing how she is healing.

Monday – Day 3 of PICU

We went in and the nurse told us she had a bit of a rough night with vomiting from the pain meds, so she has been given some other medicine to help her that will not make her sick. Also, her feeding tube has changed to one that goes directly to her stomach. Today we spent time reading messages from loved ones to her, soon realising she was heavily sedated. A social worker had a chat to us to check in to see how we were doing and emphasised the importance of spending time with her no matter how long and taking it one day at a time. The recovery will depend on her path to healing as well. We said farewell to her and said that we loved her and we will be back tomorrow.

The household is missing her energy and the cats are looking for their little friend who pesters them. I miss my little chef in the kitchen. My hubby misses his crap television buddy. Waiting is the hardest thing but we know we have to be patient and send lots of healing energy to her ❀️

Tuesday – Day 4 of PICU

Today was another day of highs and lows. We got to the hospital and had to to a RAT to check if we are COVID free and then when we got to the ICU ward, H was surrounded by Drs, nurses and dentists who were about to extubate her and remove the breathing tube from her throat as she is breathing by herself. Then a strange thing happened – they found a pea in her throat and they did not want it to travel down to her lungs. The funny thing was that my husband and I said to each other, “she hates peas, what is a pea doing there?” Then I texted her camping friend and they had fried rice for dinner πŸ˜€ So the doctors had to fish out the pea and because the important thing was to get it out it and that created more pain in her throat so they decided to put the breathing tube back in again. She was heavily sedated again with this procedure but I still played her recordings of love from family and friends and she nodded to respond. So we continued to chat to her a bit more about flowers and a card that had come with a visit from her teacher and we told her about all the people who loved her and sent her healing energy. Eventually, she was resting and healing, a good place for her to be at the moment.

A highlight of today was seeing her doing AUSLAN to the nurse to get a drink which is funny because at the moment all her fluids are coming from her IV. At least H has learned AUSLAN and maybe we can practice it again in the hospital once she gets more movement in her hands. She loved that class so much when she was in primary school and her teacher really enjoyed her presence. The other good thing is that her swelling is going down on her eyes and mouth so that is progress with her recovery. Tomorrow is another day and with the circle of love surrounding her, I can see her healing journey moving along. I am so thankful for the wonderful, caring people that are in our lives who are helping us get through this horrible time! Today, when we got home there were more flowers with some wine and cheese to help us snack out from my favourite florist in Brunswick with love from our amazing friends, who are like our family in California.

Pic from https://www.facebook.com/aireysinletcfa

The amazing rescue team in the remote camping location landed their helicopter on the rocks to get H to the hospital ER as soon as humanly possible. Total gratitude to these incredible efforts πŸ™ H’s teacher found this picture and showed it to us today, I am in awe of this rescue.

Wednesday – Day 5 of PICU

The journey to recovery is like riding your bike against the wind, it is going to be a hard slog but we will eventually get there.

Today we had a meeting the with care team – organised by the psychologist and we spoke to the burns specialist, ICU nurse coordinator and the ICU doctor. It was a hard hit of reality for the way forward. Tomorrow H is off to theatre to see how her healing is progressing and tomorrow afternoon I feel we will have a clearer picture of what lies ahead of us. We signed our consent form and she had a COVID test and is ready to go for another operation and clean up tomorrow morning. What we need to be aware of is that the road ahead is going to be us spending way more time in the hospital with her on her path to recovery. The prognosis of the burns on her face and how they are healing will indicate the time in the hospital. The burns specialist mentioned that we will be needed to help her with tasks and be by her side in the ward. At the moment in ICU, we only stay for a short time because she is sedated for the tube in her throat and the pain of the burns – so we feel that she just needs to rest.

Today she responded briefly before she was off into dreamland, the swelling is down on her face and she can open one eye. That was a really good thing as her eyes have been swollen shut for the last few days. Hopefully, her other eye can open tomorrow. Maybe her breathing tube will be out too and she can chat to us with a gravelly voice. Each day we hear the news that things are going forward but realising what the road ahead looks like it will be a huge amount of time spent in the hospital. Thank goodness we can ride our bikes there, today I had the energy to ride there against the wind as I could not wait to see our girl but on the way back my legs were sore and even though we had a tailwind I felt deflated.

I think this will be what life is going to be like for us for the next few weeks, an emotional rollercoaster where one day is great and the next day sucks! All I know it is important to stay positive and strong to get through this time in our lives. There will be good days and there will be bad days and I think today was a bad day. I feel so helpless seeing her in there but I know she is in good care and one day everything will be alright again, though we will not ever be the same going through this traumatic time together as a family. And our darling H will need to be supported as much as possible going forward as her future is forever changed.

Thursday – Day 1 of Platypus ward – moved out of ICU

Exciting things happened today but we also had the realisation that our lives are permanently changed – H’s life is going to be different and it will be important to have people around us who are accepting of what she will look like after this incident. She will be permanently scarred for the rest of her life on her face and the surgeons can work with her hands to get them to be as functional as possible. There will be a lot of therapy involved and beauty is only skin deep, she will still be our stong willed H on the inside.

This is information from the burns surgeons today:

She has multiple 3rd-degree burns on her face and hands will need skin grafts on her hands this Monday and on her face on Thursday.
She will have lifelong scarring and she will have to wear compression fabric on her body for the scarred skin. The burns on her neck could be a concern as she may not be able to have proper movement of her neck skin area but they are working with that area now to make sure it is stretching as it is growing back. The area around the eyes might be a concern as she shut her eyes super tightly in the fire, which saved her from being blind. Her nose is a 3rd-degree burn and the plastic surgeons will consult with the burn surgeons to do what they can for her at this crucial stage. Her burns around the right wrist are 3rd degree and will need grafting and she also has a splint to heal the webbing between the thumb and first finger.

There were positives today where:

H is out of ICU and she has the ability to move her arms and has the knowledge to self administer morphine for the pain in her body.
She can see us clearly with one eye and is breathing by herself – though she has a bit of a cough from the breathing tube.
Two strong fingers on her left hand can do things but she doesn’t want to look at her phone as only one eye is active and she was resting. Can say one word or so through her mouth and the tube is out of her throat – so good for her. Her hair is brushed and in a braid thanks to the people in theatre. She asked for water and we fed it to her with a spoon. She can interact with us but is in pain still. Responds by nodding and shrugging her shoulders. Also, she did sit up on the edge of the bed with the physiotherapist today.

It was a whirlwind of emotions today and all I said to my husband as we left the ward was FUCK! And then I burst into tears on the way to the car, the journey is going to be long and we all need to stick together as a family and support each other through this. The most important thing is conserving our energy for our baby (teen) girl.

Friday – Day 2 of Platypus ward

Today we were at the hospital bright and early to chat with the burns surgeon and the team supporting H. We got to the hospital before 8am and we stayed there till 4pm and it was a very long exhausting day! As I left the ward to eat lunch I came across a pair of crows who left a feather behind and according to the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation (where Melbourne is located) Waa the crow is an ancestral being in the Dreamtime story of Bunji and Waa (the protector) “bringing fire to mankind” and the crow’s feathers became black from the coals burning their feathers. I found a lovely story that highlights Waa’s role in this creation story. According to animal omens, a crow can also represent change and transformation for all of us. I am holding onto whatever hope I see in the world around us to heal our darling girl and I believe that we are all a part of this universe and nature sends us messages and all we need to do is listen out for them.

Todays Positives in the Platypus ward are:

  • H stood up with the physio twice.
  • Can communicate with thumbs up and is responding to the medical team and us with small whispers and hand gestures for drinking water.
  • Incredible medical team supporting her recovery – ICU doctors checked up on her, the burns surgeons see her in the morning, physio and occupational therapy to help her movement, nurse on duty – Hannah was super helpful and talking her through every procedure, I just loved seeing this because being constantly prodded and poked can be very ovewhelming.
  • H fatigues easily and rests after each session with the physio or check up.
  • Squeezing our hands as much as she can, so I feel that strength in her body.
  • H is doing facial exercises and stretching her lips with a swab on either sideof her mouth to make sure the skin is not going to contracture on itself.
  • H is asking us for water and drinking sips through a spoon, it is like feeding a little bird.

The Burns surgeon gave us the low down on how the skin grafts are happening next week:

  • Her burns surgeon is a specialist in scarring – this gives me reassurance that she is in the best place for this healing journey.
  • The skin graft for her hands will be taken from the right leg to a full thickness graft on her hands it will take time to heal where the surgeons will monitor how the graft heals over her burns as it is really imporant for movement in these sensitive areas.
  • Thursday will do the skin graft on her face and collect the skin from her other leg – the instrument looks like a cheese grater and apparently the feeling of the removal of the skin is like a graze when you stack it off your bike. The healing will be itchy for her so they will be providing anti itch oral meds to her to get through until the skin on her legs heal.
  • The healing will take a while and maybe up to three weeks until she can come home, that is, if she is healing well – she can come home with the dressings on and we can look after her here. Still it is important for us to be comfortable and agree with the hospital when that decision is made. Also, H has to feel comfortable with her healing and the pain relief meds she is taking as well.

Overall H’s progress is phenomenal and she is doing so well and is conscious and interacting well with everyone. She is on the mend and it will be a long rehabilitation process and we will get there one day at a time. Each day we see progress and that is a good thing.

Saturday – Day 3 of Platypus ward

We are now 7 days in the hospital and it has been the longest week of my life!! Going in and out of the hospital is so exhausting. H is still resting a lot so I need to have something to keep me occupied to pass the time. Then H knocks her pulse monitor against the side of the bed to get attention. Her voice is still a whisper but she can respond in smaller sentences. She is really coming to the awareness of how much the fire has done to her body and she communicated to the nurse, as she tapped the bed rail with her finger to indicate her pain level was at 6.

Today I saw a butterfly fly up past the 4th-floor window and then as my friend was dropping over some love and goodness we found heaps of little butterflies on the nature strip that have been flying around our garden since she went into the hospital. Today was nothing but positives:

  • H was batting my hand away as I was gently touching her head, it was as if I was annoying her.
  • She thought of a way to communicate to the people around her with her pulse monitor and tapping.
  • Drinking apple juice and water using a straw.
  • She sat up in a chair to be weighed today with the physio team.
  • Doing her face exercises with the emoji faces with my hubby on the morning shift.
  • Talking in a whisper voice and telling me to skip tracks she did not like on the Spotify playlist.

H is so much better today and her little warrior spirit is out in force as I left her she held my hand and I asked her if she was scared and she said she felt safe. Today she was sleeping and resting to equal lots of healing. Tomorrow is another day and we can see how she will progress in her healing journey. I did tell her she smelt like a BBQ as I have been wearing my mask whenever I got close to her, maybe it is the skin healing or it is the bandages? I think this time in the hospital is wearing thin but we still have a long, long way to go!!!

Grateful 2/52

With the looming covid cases in our state, our holiday plans have gone haywire and we have just gone with the flow. I contacted my friend to catch up as she moved away from Melbourne to build a house in regional Victoria. As we were free, we took an overnighter to her place and spent some time checking out the Ballarat International Foto Bienalle in the streets and in pop up shops when we arrived. It was so much fun to have some time together checking out the photography and the Linda McCartney collection as the highlight.

The morning we left we went down to Lake Wendouree for a wander and right by the lake we found my favourite trees – the giant sequoia at the botanical gardens. Afterwards, we visited my friend’s house build in progress on over 3 acres, it is just exciting to see it coming together! I remember walking through our house when the frame was up and the foundation down, so not long to go for them. Fingers crossed they can get the supplies needed to wrap it up.

So grateful for our little Subaru to take us away on little trips from our house and visit friends!

Grateful 1/52

Well, the year got off to a good time with lots of fun things to do like catch up with family and friends and eat lots. This is a delicious brunch from The Boot Factory – a local cafe in Coburg which I love! We met some friends to chat about camping later in the month. This is a mint avocado deliciousness on wholewheat bread, so good! As this is going to be a pretty big year with Uni and work I feel that I wanted to do something different in the blog space but I think I will be grateful as it is a good habit to practice.

It has been a busy first week as it was back to Uni with getting the two team assignments ready. One down and one to go, thank goodness! The days have been full with my exercise, study and getting a few little tasks out of the way, such as organising spaces. So yes I am thankful to have this time with the children and not go back to work until they go back to school!

Grateful 52/52

The end of another year and what a year it was! My little cat Apricot in this pic really sums up the time we have had this year with slowing down and taking time to appreciate what we have around us. Time to look at the clouds in the sky, the bees on the flowers and the butterflies flying around. This last week was a wonderful way to complete the year by catching up on Uni studies and also enjoying time out eating with friends and family. I am definitely grateful for the time this week to do the things I have wanted to do at a way slower pace. It is important for me not to get sucked into the craziness deadline that is Christmas day and go shopping. I am at a place in life where I do not need more stuff, just experiences. Still, I really enjoyed the very useful presents our family and friends bought me this year, always the thoughtfulness that goes into a gift that matters. I am truly thankful for the beautiful people we have in our lives.

Grateful 51/52

Last week was a blast with finishing teaching for the year, cleaning up the kinder to prep it for next year and then having a Xmas party celebration with the crew from my work. I have to say that I am truly grateful to have landed myself a job with such fun people. It is just 2 days a week but I learn so much in every session with the educators and the children. It is more than I can learn from a University textbook!! Life this year has had its many ups and downs but I have to say perseverance is a great thing. We have one more week to say farewell to 2021 and who knows what next year will bring? All I know is that I am hoping to go visit my family in Queensland in the wintertime to get some beautiful sunshine.

As for upcoming plans – who knows? We just roll with the year and see what happens. Oh yeah, it will be my last year at Uni – now that will be something to celebrate!!!!

Grateful 50/52

As a treat to myself with finishing my first two assignments for the teaching period, I took a trip into the city to check out the Future Food System at Fed Square. It was such an inspiring place to be and in that hour I learned so much about closed-loop food systems and how accessible they can be for everyone! So I am truly grateful to have had this experience and tour the house and we were lucky enough to meet Joost Bakker, the creator of this amazing space. What an innovator who loves to share his knowledge. I have my garden but I just need to make it more prolific with a wicking bed, they seem to be the biz when it comes to gardening!

There was a yabbie with babies, a mushroom wall made from buckets from a cafe, fermenting shelf in the kitchen, zinc top prep tables, gorgeous reclaimed wooden furniture and tiger nuts to make nut milk – amazing! All of this is at a house made out of a shipping container and to be protected from bush fire.

Grateful 49/52

Seriously one crazy, busy week with writing up two assignments and random work meetings are thrown in just for kicks! Finally, I have gotten through and handed in both my assignments but still there is some Uni work to catch up on.

A huge thing to be thankful for this week is the sunshine and the warmth. Today was just stunning and I had to take my bike out for a ride to see this beautifully painted artwork. Looking forward to more sunshine and no wind to get on my bike and go…

Grateful 48/52

Finally, I have the time to post something about my week last week! It is now Wednesday and life has been hectic. It is the end of the year and things are starting to get a bit cray cray!! Well, it was a lot to juggle last week with getting down to business and writing an essay for my Advocacy and Social Justice unit. It has been enlightening and I have been enjoying it, but I am way behind in having two assignments ready for the due date next Monday. So I will just breathe as today we had a bucketful of rain pouring down which helped ease the humidity and heat of the last couple of days. I enjoy the warm weather but my hayfever really is affected by the humidity, pollen and grasses in the air – so I have been really uncomfortable! I am looking for natural remedies to help me with the sneezing and scratchy eyes, I read today that reishi mushrooms are pretty good.

What I have been grateful for this week was a day out on Sunday at CERES my favourite place ever. My friends bought me a workshop and I choose to go to the Gardening in Small Spaces and it was so inspiring. Lucky there was a nursery at CERES I bought some punnets of flowers to attract beneficial insects to my garden! They were in my bike basket for the way home and I got to gardening as soon as I got home πŸ˜€ What a wonderful day and it was such a break from sitting in front of the computer and writing, I love my garden and there were so many amazing resources shared I am so looking forward to my little veggie patch flourishing over the summer!