So Much Has Changed – Part 2

As I promised… I am not keeping you waiting another 5 years…

The reason I chose the newer house, over the Period House was that as much as I adored the Period House, there would be much more ongoing maintenance with that house, over the maintenance with the newer house. So I chose to buy the newer one. I haven’t regretted the decision.

I came up to Dubbo during the Christmas New Year close down at work. I came up on 2nd January for a couple of days, so I could actually see the house I had bought, in person and take a couple of measurements (check that my fridge would fit the alcove in the kitchen… how many powerpoints in the bedrooms… that sort of thing). It was really hot. It was still over 45C at 8pm at night.

We were able to coordinate the Settlement Dates for both houses to be the same date, 28th February 2020. In order to make things a bit simpler, I finished work on the Friday before Settlement Date, 21st February. Coincidentally, it was 3 years to the day since I had started at the job. This gave me the following week to finish decluttering and to be home when the movers came to pack everything for me. I picked up my rental car from Bayswater Car Rentals at Artarmon as usual on my way home. I arranged to return the car on 7th March 2020, the same day I would collect my brand new Corolla Sedan Hybrid.

On the Monday before Settlement Day, I took Hamish the Ragdoll to the vet at Stanmore to drop him off for boarding. This way he wasn’t in the house when lots of strange people were there, he wasn’t being stressed with things being removed or packed, and I didn’t have to worry about someone leaving the screen door open and him getting out. Hamish is an indoor cat only. He is not allowed out of the house unless in his carry box, or on a harness and leash. When some people from Church came to the house in January to help start the declutter process, despite my saying NOT to leave the screen door open, someone did exactly that. I hadn’t been able to grab the cat to put him in his carrier before they arrived. So when I realised that the door had been open for some time, I was very upset and worried that Hamish had gone out of the house. It took him over 3 hours after everyone had left before he came out from his hiding place, so no harm had been done. Except to my nerves. It also didn’t help that some of the things they threw out were NOT supposed to be thrown away. Like my mother’s large, wide, blue bakelite mixing bowl which I always used for my Christmas Puddings. It was nice and big, with a pouring lip, but it was also quite light and easy to maneuver. I was most upset that it was gone. Anyway, I decided to put Hamish into boarding at the start of that week. Then I would collect him after two weeks, after I returned to Sydney to drop off the rental car and pick up my new car.

On the Tuesday of my final week in the old house, I stripped the bed and did all my washing. I had booked into the Meriton Apartments in Mascot starting that night. I did this so that I would be able to wash everything and have only clean linen for the move. I was able to put the fresh clean linen on the bed for when the movers came to do the packing on the Wednesday. That way when they put the boxes into the Master Bedroom, I would have the sheets, quilt, towels etc that I would need for my first few days already there and available to make up the bed straight away. Plus, the room I had at the Meriton, also had a washer and dryer in the room, so I was able to do my washing and have clean clothing to take with me to Dubbo. I wouldn’t need to do washing for a while once I got there. I didn’t get to the room until about 10pm on the Tuesday night and I was exhausted. On the Wednesday, I got up and went back to the house to continue decluttering and let the movers know exactly what was to be packed and what to leave for the rubbish removal guy I had contacted. He cleaned out the rest of what was in the shed, as well as things from inside the house. I would get him back again on the Thursday to remove some more things as well.

I have to say I was not impressed with the people Allied Pickfords sent to pack my goods. One was nice, an islander. But his supervisor was not. He was nasty, rude. He said they couldn’t take any opened liquids, even if the bottle had been locked so it couldn’t accidentally spill. And they pack a couple of boxes of things I had specifically said were NOT to be packed because they were to be taken away by the rubbish remover. I found they had packed these things about 5 mins after they had packed them. But instead of pulling the things back out of the boxes they had just put them into, they shipped them to Dubbo and I had to remove them once I got here. They came back to finish the packing and then put everything into the truck. I noticed, just before they were to leave that they hadn’t put the wooden clothes airer that my father had made into the truck. It was still on the rear verandah. The rubbish guy took it out to get them to put it into the truck. It was only once I got to Dubbo and they unpacked the truck, that I found out that it wasn’t in the truck. I used the airer when I make my grandmother’s Christmas Puddings. The airer folds out into a sort of squared off U shape and I would place a couple of broomsticks across the top rail and then hang the boiled puddings from the broomsticks for at least a week to allow them to mature. Plus, it was something my father had made. I have to stress that the guys who delivered my goods to the new house on the 2nd March were lovely. They were not the same people as had done the packing the previous week. They were polite, they were good about placing the boxes into rooms if they were labeled (which a lot of them were not… yet another issue with the packing crew). I think it took them about two hours, max, to unload all the boxes and put what little furniture I had in the rooms I wanted them in. There were boxes everywhere. And they were two and three boxes high in placed.

On Friday the 28th February , I officially no longer owned the old house, and became the owner of the new house. I stayed in Sydney to finish the weekend. I drove up to Dubbo on the Sunday and checked into a nice motel not far from the house. I picked up the keys for the house on Monday 2nd March and went to buy a couple of things that I would need for cleaning etc. I had bright my Aussie Broadband modem with me from the old house. I had arranged for the internet to be switched over on the Friday. I plugged in the modem into the NBN box (which for some strange reason is in the Master Bedroom) and had internet access immediately. It was great. I stayed in the motel again on the Monday night and on Tuesday I checked out and went to the new house to await the removalists. I had bought a folding camp chair so I had something to sit on while I waited. As I said before the guys we lovely who came to deliver the goods and move everything into the house. As soon as the single bed was put into the Master, I was able to make the bed and put towels into the ensuite.

I had a couple of days in the house to start unpacking things and getting things a bit more organised. I was able to set up Hamish’s litter box for his arrival. And eventually that first night, I was able to find the rest of my AV equipment. I have a Foxtel iQ4 box, a Blu Ray player, a PVR and an Apple TV box. Unfortunately… the ‘packers’ had just unplugged everything and then dumped them all face forward in a pile into a box. The box was NOT labeled, so it took some searching to find which box had these goods inside. Then it took me at least 20mins to untangle the cables before I could take each device out of the box, one at a time. We were lucky that none of theme were damaged. Except for the Foxtel box, I was able to connect everything back up to the TV and watch some TV that night. The Foxtel box was a bit more difficult. For some reason the ports for the connection are NOT underneath where the TV sits (the previous owners had left the TV mounts on the wall). No… they are on the external wall of the room, and I needed longer cables in order to reach from the ports to where the box would sit under the TV. Sigh. I also arranged for some people to come to move the cabling for the internet. We couldn’t move the NBN box, but… we have now run an ethernet cable to a position in the hallway. There is a little hidden alcove in the hallway, just outside the loungeroom. I have put the old telephone table there (it fits perfectly in the space). The Internet modem now sits on this table, and we had ethernet cables run from there, through the walls, to where the TV is. So now the Foxtel box, the PVR and the Apple TV are all directly connected to the internet and not running on the WiFi. This is the same system as I had at the old house.

The weather was still quite warm in March. And this house is part electric and part gas. Because of the history of the area, when these houses were built most were build with large bottled gas tanks. However over time, natural gas has become available in the street. Because I had come from an all electric house, I had forgotten about the need for gas bottles. And my first few days I had no hot water or gas for cooking (I was using the microwave, so I hadn’t tried to use the stove). Luckily the weather was so warm, so I wasn’t really noticing that I had no hot water. I arranged to get one bottle of gas, and started the process to get the house connected to natural gas. It would take some months to make that change over, but the timing was perfect. I literally ran out of my bottled gas the day they connected the natural gas to the house… by which time the weather was not so warm and I needed to have hot water for showers. During the change over to natural gas, we also got rid of the very large hot water tank that sat at the side of the house. We now have instantaneous hot water, so we only heat what we use. Much more efficient. Appliances have been changed over to accommodate the natural gas (as opposed to the bottled or LPG gas previously used). I needed to replace the dishwasher because the one the builder had installed was faulty. The On/Off button didn’t connect properly and would not allow me to turn on the machine. I googled the brand (some brand I had never heard of before) and found that this button issue was a common problem, and that the customer care from the company was dreadful. So, bought myself a nice Boch one and had it installed and the old one removed. I will be doing the same thing with the wall oven because it is the ame strange brand and I have no idea how it works. My neighbour (who has the same appliances) says she is often burning food because she can’t work it either… and she has been in her house since it was built. I think I will get a Pyrolitic oven… much easier to clean.

I set myself a goal of unpacking at least two boxes (sometimes more if I was energetic) before I did anything else first thing in the morning. Not even breakfast or a shower. Boxes first. As well as the AV equipment being unlabled and poorly packed, I found some things had no packing paper around them at all, some items were just shoved in the boxes. They had shoved a large plastic litter box with handles into a box. Not only was the box now misshapen, but it had cracks along the bottom which rendered the whole thing useless. This was an expensive little box and had been hard to get. I took photographs of the damage and also mentioned other boxed with no packing paper which contained things like my father’s Carriage Clock (the ones with the glass dome over the clock) which he had received when he retired from work in 1985. This clock and its glass dome had been just shoved in a box with other goods and it was a total miracle that the glass dome had not been damaged. No thanks to the packers. Now, it’s not as if they had packed my goods out of some sense of pity or kindness. I PAID for this extra ‘service’. And this was how they had treated my goods. I sent the photos of the destroyed litter box and the issue with the poor packing and emailed it to Allied Pickfords that first night. I was told I would be contacted by a manager. Well… it has been almost a year and I haven’t heard a word from them since. Nothing. I don’t care any longer. But I will NOT be recommending Allied Pickfords to anyone else every again. NEVER.

On Friday 6th March I drove back down to Sydney in the afternoon and again booked in the Meriton in Mascot. On the Saturday morning I drove to Artarmon to return the rental car and then caught the bus from there straight to the car dealership in Waterloo to pick up my new car. I spent the rest of the weekend in Sydney, going shopping in places we don’t (or didn’t at the time) have in Dubbo. On Monday 9th March, I went to Stanmore and picked up Hamish to bring him to his new home. He meowed for over 3 hours, pretty much non stop. It was really annoying. But finally he settled down and went to sleep for the rest of the trip. A couple of days after we arrived home, everything shut down due to Covid-19. I had to arrange for my Ward Clerk back in Sydney to change my address on my Church records so that I could have the local contact information in my Church app.

Well, I think that’s enough for today. Still more to come…

So Much Has Changed – Part 1

I just looked, and it has been five years (and a bit) since I last posted anything in my blog. And so much has changed in that time.

I finally got another job in 2017 after almost three years of looking. It was a good job and I enjoyed it. Managing a membership database, keeping things up-to-date and as accurate as possible. Lots of spreadsheets to track what needed to be updated and so on. It was a small office of about 15 people at the most.

But things were not quite right. There were things that needed to be done to the house. Hamish had developed a habit of peeing right next to the litter box, instead of inside it. I just didn’t have the money for such things. I was getting older, and my weight had gone up. Hovering around where I was when I had my surgery in 2015. I was indulging in Real Estate Porn… where you look at houses for sale and think… ‘If I had the money, I would buy that one’ etc.

For a long time, I had been thinking about selling my house in Sydney and moving to a regional town. I had one in mind that I had visited a number of times. Not a giant town like Sydney, but with a daily train service to Sydney, an airport, major hospital, Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) base, a branch of my Church, and even a local bus network for when I become too old and can no longer drive a car. And as an added bonus, parts of the town had Fibre to the Premises (FttP) National Broadband Network (NBN) connections. Parts of town had the lower standard Fibre to the Node (FttN) connection to the NBN, so I only looked at houses with FttP.

In July 2019 I was called to Jury Duty in the District Court. It was my first time being called. Ever. My father used to be called to serve, all the time, but my mother never was called. We had managed to get my call deferred once due to work, but they insisted the next time. I had been due to be called in May, for a possible 24 week trial, but it was cancelled the day beforehand and I remained on the list of potential jurors. In July, just before my time on the list was due to expire, I was notified to turn up for a possible 25 week trial… which would have put me right up to Christmas. When I reported in, they advised that instead of 25 weeks, would I be already with a 5-6 week trial. I said yes. I was eventually selected from the pool of available candidates on that day to serve on the trial. It lasted exactly 5 weeks. And no, I won’t discuss the trial at all. Except to say, my jury was a really good group of people. We all got on well together. The age ranges were pretty good. Another jury did not get on together, with the younger people disregarding what the oldest juror had to say… turned out she was right. But our group was good. Very friendly. I was chatting with one juror who worked not far from where I lived. We were both around the same age. He and I were talking and I told him about my thoughts on selling up and moving etc. He said that with the price I would get for my Sydney house, even in the condition it was in, I would be able to move, buy a new house – a better house, and still have enough money to live on until I reached Pension Age in a few years. Even if I spent $1,000 a week, I would still have money left over by the time I reached 67 when I qualified for the pension.

In October 2019 our office was moving to new premises. Close to Wynyard station in the Sydney CBD. I was taking two weeks of my annual leave around that time. I arranged to rent a car and go to the regional town and take a look at some of the houses that were for sale and which I had bookmarked as ‘possibilities’. I rented a Toyota Corolla Hybrid Hatchback from Bayswater Car Rentals. Their cars are all white, and all automatics, and I have never had an issue with cleanliness or with the condition of the cars I have rented from them. Plus, they have good pricing for their cars and don’t rip people off with outrageous fees. Additionally, one of their offices is located right next to the bus stop that would take me back to the office or to home when I returned the car. I wanted to see how the hybrid car did on a long journey. The regional town is 5.5-6 hours drive west of Sydney, over the Blue Mountains.

I have made the journey to this town before in a similar sized car and it has taken a full tank of petrol to make the trip. It took only a half tank in the hybrid. I stayed at a nice motel. On my first full day, I saw three houses. I was a bit disappointed with them and ruled them out of contention and took them off my bookmarks in the real estate app. I then drove to Coonabarabran to meet a friend for lunch. We had never met in person before, but we used to chat almost daily in my previous work and had become good friends. It was nice to finally meet her in person.

I checked out the town and surrounding areas for the next few days. Real Estate open houses are usually held only on Wednesdays and Saturdays and I needed to return to Sydney on the Saturday. So on the Saturday morning I packed the car and using the real estate app, had a plan to go and see 7-8 houses that morning before I started to drive back to Sydney. It only takes 15mins or so, even in peak hour, to drive from one side of town to the other. So even though some open house timeframes (30mins each) overlapped, I was still able to go and see all the houses I had on my list.

There was one lovely house that I adored. It was a turn of the 20th Century brick house. It was on a main road, but the way the road was constructed, with angled parking out front, and the house set back from the boundary and the hedge, it was very quiet. It was a 4 bedroom house with 12′ ceilings and picture rails on the walls (I love picture rails… no need to mark your walls with holes to hang pictures when you have a picture rail from which to hang things). There were polished wooden floorboards throughout the house. It had been extended at the back to allow for the renovation of the bathroom and the kitchen. The kitchen was large with lots of bench space. Out the back was a double lock up garage, and a double car port leading to the rear lane access. This house, which I called the ‘Period House’ was about two blocks from the train station, and there was a bus stop near by too. The last house I visited that Saturday was a new 4 bedroom house, with a single lock up garage on the other side of the river. It was nice, and it was a little cheaper than the Period House. Of all the houses I had looked at that day, I thought it was between the Period House and this last house. The estate agent for the last house mentioned that he had another house about to come on the market the following week, just around the corner and that he also lived in the area, so he could attest that it was a nice area of town to live in, not dangerous or prone to robbery etc.

I drove back to Sydney and resolved that the time was right to finally make the decision to sell my house, quit my job and move to this regional town. On the Monday, I contacted a real estate agent to come talk to me about selling my house. I had a value in mind due to the valuation given in the real estate app from low, mid and high value for the house. Well, they nearly fell over themselves. As I was driving back from the regional town to Sydney on Saturday, they had tried to sell a house in the street parallel to mine. It was a fully renovated 3 bedroom fibro cottage with everything done to it. Even the landscaping was done. They had 5 registered bidders for the auction with their money already organised for the sale. But literally at the last minute, the vendors decided they didn’t want to sell the house. It was so last minute, the agents still had to run the auction. So they put a reserve price of A$1.8million on the house. Now this is an area which when I grew up was very industrial. Factories, tanneries, freight forwarding etc. My father had built my 2-3 bedroom fibro cottage himself, taking 3 years on weekends to do it, for a cost of 3,000 pounds (with there was a proper pound currency option on this keyboard)… which works out to around A$99,000 in 2019. The auction got to A$1.793million, but the vendors still wouldn’t sell. So when I rang the following Monday, the agents couldn’t believe it.

So the agent came around that afternoon and we agreed to sell my house off market. This means it isn’t advertised. I didn’t need to declutter the house (after more than 60 years in the same house… there was a lot of stuff), I didn’t need to make it like a ‘show home’. Instead, the agent brought the people they had bidding on the house the previous weekend come around and they could bid on the house. They set a date and people had to email their best price to the agent by 4pm. Whoever had the highest bid, would buy the house. There was a 10% deposit and as it was under auction conditions, no cooling off period. I had been told what price range they were going to tell the potential buyers. It was higher than what I was going to aim for, but I was told that I wouldn’t get the top of the range they were asking. Well, when they phoned me at about 4:30pm three weeks after I contacted the agent about selling…. I got the top price of the range! It was more than $100,000 above what I had expected the house to get. We set a long 4 month Settlement period to allow me time to find a new house, and I was allowed to use the deposit (which I was could keep even if the buyers backed out of the sale) to place the deposit on my new house.

During this three week period, that other house the regional town agent told me about appeared on the real estate app. A 4 bedroom, two bathroom with a separate toilet to the main bathroom, rumpus room, double lock up garage, on a large block of land. The house was about 5-6 years old. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get back to the town before the Christmas/New Year break. So I employed a Buyers Agent from the next major town over to go view the house for me. He did a 360degree video and sent it to me. Then he prepared a written report and sent that to me too. He went into the history of the area where the house is located (which I already was aware of) and he compared the value of the house with three recent sales in the town and how this house compared to them. On the Friday after I had agreed to the sale of my house and signed to contracts with the buyers, he phoned in the morning to discuss the report and we agreed to go ahead. He negotiated the price with the sellers. By 12:30pm that Friday, I had agreed to buy the house. He also arranged the pest and building inspection for me. We negotiated between both my buyer and the seller of the new house to have both sales settle on the same date… 28 February 2020. My conveyancer arranged to transfer the payment to the conveyancer of my new house once the buyers had transferred the money to them.

I think this is enough for now. I will continue the catch up on what has been happening in my life in Part 2. And I won’t make you wait 5 years for it either. I promise.

What’s That Yellow Thing in the Sky?

Well, I weighed myself this morning.  I haven’t really weighed myself for a few weeks.  I am currently 131.3kg.  That’s a loss of 14.4kg since I started the pre op diet at the start of October.  The best bit is that my BMI is now 49.9…. I’m under 50 for my BMI! I’m seeing the GP on Monday, so I am hopeful that my blood pressure has remained down & I won’t need to restart my blood pressure medication.

As I mentioned last time, I have been having some pain on my right side in my stomach.  Well, yesterday was one of the worst days for this pain.  I had my groceries delivered in the morning.  I had to put them away, which went reasonably well.  I also needed to cut up the fresh chicken breasts for Hamish’s food, & put it into a container so I can weigh it out for him as he is fed.  From previous experience, I know that this action can irritate this pain.  So here I am, cutting up chicken breast & Hamish is around my feet, constantly meowing because he hasn’t been fed yet.  Mind you, Hamish always wants to be fed.  He is on a restricted diet.  Despite the smal amounts of food, he’s still going to be a big boy.  Hamish kept trying to jump up onto the counter where I was cutting up his food.  I would have to try to keep him down, at the same time as I was cutting his food.  At one point, he managed to get right up onto the bench, not just hanging onto the edge by his claws.  He didn’t get near the chicken though.  Well, by the time I had finished cutting up the chicken & fighting him off, my stomach felt like it was on fire.  I needed t feed Hamish, but my stomach was hurting so much that no matter how slowly I tried to reach his bowl on the floor, I couldn’t get to it.  There was no way I could reach it.  This meant that I couldn’t put the bowl on the scales to weigh out his food.  So I had to just guess the right amount of food & then drop it into his bowl from a standing position.  Just one small problem…..  Hamish could smell the chicken in my hand & I had to try to get him out of the way so I could get the food in the bowl, & not all over the floor.  I went back to bed for a while after that.  I had to be careful how I got into the bed because of the pain.

Later that day I had been cooking my dinner, but I don’t know what I did to agravate my stomach.  The food was prepreared, all I had to do was actually cook it.  Whatever it was, it was very painful.  In fact, it was so painful I couldn’t get through the pain to sit down to eat my meal.  The pain was so bad that I had to take one of my strong pain killers.  I try not to take them if I can avoid it.  Or if I do need to take it I take it later at night so I can sleep with little or no pain.  Well, this was before 6pm.  Even so, it took me nearly 20 minutes before the oain had subsided enough where I could get into a seated position.  Not fun.  I just wish this would stop.

Other than this pain, the food side of things is going well.  I am learning what I can & cannot eat & how much of it, & how fast.  The answer to that last one is…. Not very.  I was at a meeting on Monday night, & many of us have dinner while we are at the meeting.  I chose something I thought was reasonably soft & mushy on the menu.  It was a 3 Mushroom Ravioli.  I ate about 4 ravioli during the meeting.  That was all I could accommodate.  I ate them slowly & thought I chewed them well.  I had some pain, which told me to slow down.  I just breathed through the pain & it subsided.  This has been the only real time there has been an issue with food.  Unfortunately, they never came to clear the table before we left, so I was unable to ask to take the rest of the meal home.  What a waste.

Well, I am pleased that my weight is finally dropping.  That’s good.  I’ve lost nearly 4kg since the surgery, in just over 3 weeks.  So, I have another 30.3kg to my surgeon’s goal weight on 100kg.  There is about 70kg to my ultimate dream goal.  Although, if I can get to somewhere around 75kg I may reassess my ultimate goal. I just would like to get to a BMI which puts me in the Normal range, or at least in the Overweight range,  rather than my current status of Super Morbidly Obese.  But so far, I have reduced my BMI from over 54 to just under 50.  It’s a start.  More work to go.  Now if we can get this pain in my stomach under control, I will be able to do more exercise & work the weight off faster.

More again lster.

Once I was Home…..

When I came home on the Monday after my surgery, I arrived home by taxi late in the afternoon.  Because it was taking me so long to drink the apple juice they supplied with my meals, I actually was able to bring home three of the juices and put them in the fridge.

My right side was very painful. I decided I wasn’t going to try to get in or out of bed for a few days, so I slept in my recliner for a few nights before I even attempted to get in or out of my bed alone.  I placed a grocery order online for delivery the next day, so I would have food (liquids) in the house and one of the first things I did, after very slowly unpacking my bags, was to make some jelly (jello).  At least by having my groceries delivered, I didn’t have to worry about trying to pick things up or carry anything even remotely heavy for a while.

I was given a number of different medications when I was released from the hospital.  One was a series of injections I needed to give myself every morning.  These injections need to be into muscle, not into a vein.  A bit like an insulin injection for a diabetic.  When I started doing the injections, it would take me five minutes or more to get up the courage to actually put the needle into my skin.  By the end of the first week, I no longer hesitated.  I would just sit down and put it straight into the leg and push the plunger.  I was very proud of myself.

I was given very strong pain killers too.  The surgeon had prescribed a dosage of 2 tablets on a regular basis.  I have only taken just one at a time, and usually only once a day.  Mainly at night.  I have to crush the tablet and put it in a small amount of water in order to take it.

I started walking on the weekend.  There is a park on the street above my own.  The Council has installed some gym style equipment in two places in the park.  Steps, bicycles, eliptical walkers, and some others.  They also installed a walking track that goes around the park.  There are some seats placed around the track too.  On my first walk, I walked to the park and then started my walk around the park on the track.  I stopped and rested for about five minutes about half way around the track.  Then I got up and finished the circuit and then went home.  The next walk, I walked up to the park and then walked twice around the track, without stopping, and then walked home.  I was feeling a bit sore on the right side, so I waited a few days before I went for my next walk.  This time I walked up to the park and then walked three times around the track, without stopping, and then walked home.  That was just under 2km.  That was a good start.  Other than some pain in my stomach muscles on the right side, it felt good.

I am lucky with my house.  Once you are inside the house, it is all on one level.  No stairs, or different levels to negotiate.  To come in at the front door, there are about four steps.  There are no hand rails on those steps, but because the door is recessed into the side of the house, the walls are quite close, so you can use the walls to steady yourself.  At the rear of the house, there is a ramp to the back door.  This means that there is only one step into the house from the top of the ramp.  For the first week or so, I only went into or out of the house by the ramp and the back door.  I made a mistake one day by leaving the house by the front door to go to the letter box to retrieve the post.  There was a slight twinge going down the steps, but the biggest problems was the walking back up the steps.  The pain in my stomach really let me know it wasn’t happy with that.  It meant that sitting down hurt too.  Once I was in my chair, it was alright, but it was the getting seated that hurt.  Getting up could be a problem at times too.

When I went to hospital in such a rush, I had put my blood pressure medication into my toiletries bag.  Only problem was, by the time I got to the hospital, I had forgotten that I had done that.  I thought I had put them into a pocket of the wheelie suitcase, as I had originally done with the original carry bag I had intended to take to hospital.  So I thought I had accidentally forgotten to bring my medication to hospital.  The anesthesiologist was actually pleased I didn’t have my medication for the surgery.  He didn’t want to run the risk of my having a sudden drop in blood pressure during the operation.  I told the hospital the name of the medication, but I wasn’t sure of the exact dosage of the tablets.  I told them that if they checked with my GP, he would be able to tell them the exact dosage.  During the time I was in hospital, I was never given the blood pressure tablets.  They were taking my blood pressure multiple times every day and were happy with the readings.  So when I left hospital, the surgeon told me to keep off the blood pressure medications until I saw my GP.  I saw my GP a week after coming home.  I took all the medications I had been given when I left the hospital with me to show the GP, and he made a note of them all on my records.  He took my blood pressure and was very pleased with it.  He has told me to keep off them until he sees me again (next Monday).  He said that sometimes the readings can be good, but sometimes high blood pressure can come back a couple of weeks later.  If my blood pressure is still good next week, I think he will tell me I don’t need the tablets any longer.  That’s not bad.  It’s a lot faster than expected.  Originally he had said he would reassess the need for the tablets when I got to 120kg.

I was originally supposed to pick up Hamish from his ‘holiday’ at the vet on the day I was released from hospital.  I decided to extend his stay until the Thursday.  That way I had a couple of days at home without having to worry about bending to pick up his bowl or do other things Hamish related.  On the Thursday, I left the house (by the back door) for the first time since I came home and walked to the bus stop.  I caught the two buses I needed to get to the vet.  Hamish had been a very good boy while he was on holiday.  They said they were going to miss him because he had been so good and apparently loved getting cuddles from the staff.  They brought him out in his carry box and helped me carry him outside.  I organised a taxi to bring him home from there.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to carry him home on the two buses, and especially not carry him home from the bus stop.  I noticed, later that night, that Hamish had changed.  When I had dropped him off at the vet, he was still very much a kitten.  A big one, but still a kitten.  When I got him home, I noticed that he not looked more mature.  Not quite an adult cat, but at least a ‘teenager’.  He was only gone for nine days.  He’s not even 30 weeks of age.

I was phoned a couple of days after I got home from hospital.  It was about a job I had applied for many weeks ago.  In fact, I had applied for this job so long ago, and had heard nothing about it, that I thought I hadn’t been successful with my application.  Well, they were phoning to invite me to interview for the position the following Tuesday.  I did mention that I was just home from hospital and recovering from surgery, but that I thought I would be well enough to make it.  I was the first person they phoned to organise an appointment.  Not sure if that means anything or not.  I looked up how to get to the interview, which was being held at the location where the job was to be located.  To get there from my house would need three buses and a 15 minute walk, for about 1.5 hours total travelling.  The problem is, I didn’t think I would be up to such a long journey at this stage.  The problem is the middle bus.  It only runs once an hour in each direction.  Luckily, a friend and her husband offered to drive me to the interview and I would get a taxi to get home.  My GP wasn’t happy about my going to the interview, until I said that someone was taking me in a car and I would get a taxi back.  He then gave permission for me to go.  I am waiting to find out how the interview went.  It’s only Part-Time (30 hours) and a Maternity Leave position, but because I now don’t have any debt, I will be able to easily cope on the lower end of the salary range.  I still have some of my Superannuation money left.  If I get the job, I will look at getting a small second hand car.  It will make getting to work much easier.  To drive, it will take about 30 minutes in traffic.  Less if there isn’t any real traffic in the way.

The pain in my stomach, nearest the incision where they did the most pushing, pulling and cutting, was doing really well.  Not too painful.  I was able to stand, sit, bend over slowly to pick small things from the floor and so forth without real problems.  On Thursday, the Sister Missionaries came by to help me.

My house is a mess.  There, I’ve said it.  It was a mess before the surgery, so I can’t use my recovery as an excuse.  Anyway the Sisters came to help.  We decided to just work on the L shaped hallway. It’s all tidy now, we decluttered and dusted and cleaned and vacuumed the floor.  Well, I over did it.  I helped get my vacuum ready for use.  It is a Bissell and has a water tank at the front where all the dirt goes into the water which makes disposal easier later.  Well, I realised I hadn’t emptied the tank the last time I used the machine.  So I took the tank and emptied it and cleaned it out and put water into it and put the tank back into the vacuum.  Well, it’s not that big a tank, and there isn’t a lot of water in it, but it must have been enough. My stomach muscles really started to let me know that they were no longer happy.  So since then, I have been experiencing pain in that area off and on.  I have had to be very careful with how I do things, including sitting in a chair since then.  I’m back to entering and leaving the house by the back door again.

I’m hoping this pain will resolve again soon.  I hate it.  It makes doing things, even showering, difficult or painful.  If I stretch too far (according to my muscles) or move too quickly, it hurts.  The Sisters are supposed to be coming on Friday to work on another room.  I think I might cancel them and give myself more time to recover before we attempt another room.

Will see what happens.  Talk again soon.

What Happened Next….

Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything. Mostly because I really wasn’t up to writing anything.

During the night my cannula stopped working and they had to move the drip from the back of my left hand into my right arm. Even then, at first, it was a bit temperamental and I had to lay with my arm out straight (not exactly the most comfortable position) so the alarm wouldn’t go off, until I worked out how to move my arm very slowly into a more comfortable position, that didn’t stop the drip from working.

I was woken early in the morning on the day of my surgery to get ready. I had been nil by mouth since 10pm the night before. A little after 7am they came to take me down for the operation. I was in the anesthetic bay and there was a bit of a delay. I wasn’t sure how long I was there (not wearing a watch, of course). Then they came in to tell me that there had been some sort of miscommunication. I had been scheduled for the 7:30am slot. But then the night before, they had word that an emergency patient was to be admitted and they were given the 7:30am slot, and I was to be pushed back to the 1:30pm slot later in the day. But then the emergency case was cancelled, so I was put back onto the 7:30am slot. One small problem. No one told my surgeon or anesthetist that my surgery had been put back onto the early slot! So I was sent back up to the ward, still nil by mouth. I wasn’t actually operated on until 3:30pm.

It was just as well that it was delayed, because one of the brethren from Church was able to come to visit me before the surgery. He arrived after the morning visiting hours had finished, but they allowed him to stay with me until I was taken down to surgery. He was able to give me a priesthood blessing before I was taken downstairs (again).

The next thing I knew it was dark and I was in the ICU ward. The bed I was in, had a direct line of sight to the clock at the Nurses’ Station. Even in the dark, I could see the clock clearly and knew what time it was. I would wake up and then go back to sleep for an hour or two. I was in a fair amount of pain, but I wouldn’t press the button for the pain relief as often as I should have done. I would make myself wait an hour. In pain the whole time. I got told off for that by the physio in the morning. The physio got me out of bed in the morning and made me walk around the ICU ward. Just once. She was pleased with the speed at which I was walking. I used the IV stand just to steady me as I walked, but not to lean on. They put me into a standard bed when I came back to my bay, ready to go back up to the ward. The difference between the two beds is that the ICU beds move. The bed would sort of move in a wave motion every so often. I also had these cuffs on my lower legs, that massaged my legs in a particular rhythm. They put the cuffs back on when they put me into the regular bed. We also worked out that the regular bed could bend at the knees…. This was great because the night before my operation, I kept feeling like I was sliding down the bed and if it hadn’t been for the sturdy foot at the bottom of the bed, I would have slid right off. By bending the bed at the knees, It stopped me feeling like I was sliding down the bed. Getting in and out of the bed was really painful. The stomach muscles hurt. A lot. The walking wasn’t too bad, although I couldn’t stand up straight. I was taken back up to the ward about 11am. I slept on and off most of the next day or so. I did get up and walk a few times, but it was a bit difficult to just get up and go because I was not only tethered to the IV, but to other things. I also had to stay in a hospital gown until Sunday. This meant I needed to have an extra gown, put on in reverse, to cover me when I went for my walks. Once I was released from everything except the IV, I was able to shower and put on my own clothes and felt a lot better. Even able to go for a walk without needing to ask anyone for help.

I was kept as nil by mouth until lunchtime on Saturday. I had a wave of nausea on Friday evening and thought I would be sick. I wasn’t, thankfully. I had another one on Saturday evening. Again, it passed without being actually sick. Thankfully. Once I was permitted food, I was given a wide bowl of clear broth, a pineapple jelly (jello), a apple juice and a cup for either coffee or tea. For the first meal, I had maybe 4 spoons of the broth, and maybe 6 spoons of the jelly. It took me hours to slowly sip the juice. This was my menu for each meal. I started to stockpile the juice and brought three of four of the home with me because I was taking so long to actually finish just one. On the last day I was in the hospital, on the Monday, for lunch instead of jelly I was given a very nice lemon sorbet.

All up, I was in hospital for 5 nights. The reason I was kept in for so long was the surgeon was wanting to make sure that my kidneys were working properly and the levels were returning to normal. He had been concerned because I had been so dehydrated leading into the surgery. I have to say the Prince of Wales Private Hospital was wonderful. Nice room, with just two of us in the room. We each had our own TV, with a remote control that also had a speaker, so we can listen without disturbing our roommates. Although, both of us in my room decided to wake early to watch the Wallabies in the RWC. We made sure the door to our room was closed, so that we didn’t disturb anyone else when we started cheering them on. The nurses were great, all of them. Each bed had a big board on the wall opposite the bed. On it, the nurses would write their names as they came on duty and introduced themselves, so we always knew who our nurses were. They organised for a Porter to help me get my things down to a taxi when I was released from the hospital. I decided that I would enter and leave my house through the back door for a while. At the front door, there are three or four steps to get into the house. At the back door, there is a ramp and only one step into the house. Luckily, once inside the house everything is all on one level. Much easier to get around that way. I had tried some steps at the hospital with the physio and with a hand rail, it was quite painful to manage. I don’t have handrails on the steps to my front door, but the walls are close enough to use them, but I decided the ramp at the back would be the better option at the start.

Well, I think that’s enough for now. More of a recap later.

Day Fourteen

Well, I can finally breathe now.  If I thought Monday was bad, today was the worst.  I had thought I was to arrive at the hospital tomorrow morning for my surgery later that day.  Well, boy did I get that wrong.

I got a phone call from the surgeon this afternoon.  Apparently, my blood tests on monday showed that I was a bit dehydrated & he wanted me to book into the hospital this afternoon, rather than tomorrow as planned so I could have intravenous fluids before the surgery.

Now if I owned a car, this wouldn’t have been much of an issue.  But I don’t own a car.  I needed to get Hamish to his boarding this afternoon (that had been planned that way in advance).  That’s two buses to get there, and two buses to get back! Plus, I had planned to bring in my washing & fold it, clean the litter boxes, put out the rubbish bins for pickup tomorrow and finish packing my bag for the morning.

Well, i got the cat to the boarding & came home.  Unfortunately, in the heat & with the added stress of the changed plans, My stomach decided it was going to have one last day of ‘not happy, Jan’.  This put me behind getting things done in the hour and a half I had before I needed to leave for the hospital. At one stage I was a little light headed because of the rushing & stress.

The washing is in, but not folded or put away.  The litter boxes aren’t washed out.  No solid waste in them though.  The bins are out. I changed my mind about which bag to use to bring my things to hospital about half an hour before leaving.  One consequence of that….. I realise that I must have left my blood pressure medication in the other bag when I changed over!

They were supposed to weigh me, but they haven’t done so yet.  Maybe they will do it in the morning.  I weighed myself this morning (before the stress kicked in) & I had lost that weight I gained yesterday, and a little more.  At home I weighed 135.2kg, for a total loss of 10.5kg & a BMI of 50.9.

Well, I am now settled into my hospital room.  I have a TV so that will help keep me entertained. My left hand is stinging a little, so I may stop now. Not sure about being able to recharge devices, but I have brought the chargers to do it.

Well, I guess my next report will be from the Loser’s Bench.  Talk to you then.

Day Thirteen

Well, I guess it had to happen sometime in this process.  My weight went up today.  Not by a lot. Just 300gm to 153.7kg for a total loss of 10kg.  Not sure why this has happened.  It’s not like I am actually eating anything. But I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Just one more day of this part of the process to go.

I started to look at hotels for my stay in Salt Lake next year.  I think I may have found one.  It’s a little bit further away from Temple Square than I would have liked.  A little over a mile.  But it has a guest laundromat, sio I will be able to wash my clothes before I fly home.  That will mean less to do when I arrive home & less dirty clothes for Customs to search through (should they decide to have a look).

By the time I get to Salt Lake walking over a mile, even in heels, should be doable for me.  Once the surgery is done & I get the clearance from my surgeon, I will be able to not only lose weight, but improve my health & fitness levels.

The closer the surgery comes, the emotions are all confused.  Excited, nervous, a little frightened.  Only one more day on the pre op diet to go.  Hamish goes on his holiday tomorrow.  I have had to put his dry food inside a container because no matter how heavy an object I would put in top of the closed & folded bag, he would somehow get the bag on the floor.  I didn’t find dry food all over the floor, so I’m not certain he actually get into the food.  He’s on a very strict diet & I can’t afford for him to over eat.  His stomach doesn’t cope with too much food at one time.  He will never be a ‘grazer’.  Instead, he will always be fed specific amounts throughout the day.  It’s a little bit of a pain, & he always wants to be fed, but he is growing.  He’s sitting on the recliner with me. Sitting on the arm against me.  Will miss him while he’s on his holiday.

Tomorrow is a big day.  Sending Hamish away, packing for hospital, last minute shopping & cleaning.  I will know tomorrow afternoon what time I need to arrive at the hospital & surgery will be about an hour & half later,  It’s getting closer.

More to report tomorrow.

Day Twelve

Boy, today has been a day & a half.  I had to be at the hospital at 9am for the pre admission clinic.  So, I got up early (that wasn’t hard, because I didn’t sleep well last night) & left the house about 7:45am to walk to the bus stop.  The first bus was on time.  However the traffic was insane.  Despite it only being a 10-12 minute bus trip to where I needed to change buses, it took more than 20 minutes.  Because there was now going to be almost no time to change levels in order to catch the second bus, I got off one stop early & walked to what would be the next stop for the second bus.  Ii just made the connection by doing that.  Even that bus was effected by traffic.  So instead of arriving at around 8:40am, it was after 8:50am.  Now the walk to the Private hospital, is quite a long walk.  You have to walk a block through the Public hospital, then go down two floors, then walk along about half the width of the complex & up 5 levels to the Private hospital.

Well, the clinic was ‘fun’.  More specifically, there was some sort of issue with the automatic blood pressure machines whenthey tried to take my blood pressure.  It took 3 different machines, and 4 attempts before it finally worked.  Problem was that the first 3 attempts almost squeezed my arms off (they tried on both arms, two each eventually) as the first three attempts had the machine squeezing until the machine read 225!  Now, I’m not saying these machines are ever comfortable when they take your blood pressure, but this was extreme! The nurse was as purplexed as I was as to why it wouldn’t work.  I had to weigh in at the clnic.  So, this morning’s weigh in was the same way as at the Surgeon on Day Three, that means fully clothed & wearing joggers.  So, the result was 138.1kg.  So I have met the surgeon’s target of 5-7kg weight loss before the surgery, and I still had 2 and a half days to go.  I then had to go up to level 7 & walk around the corridors to get the blood tests redone.

After I finished with the blood tests, I schleped all the way back tomthe bus stop & went to Bondi Junction.  My hair has been very long, for quite some time. Almost down to my waist, and extremely thick.  When my hair is that long, I wear it in a plait (braid), almost all the time.  Especially at night.  At times, when it is out of teh plait, it can get in the way when I have a handbag in the arm.  I knew that it would be annoying for my time at hospital.  I know I will have a drip in my arm for at least part if the time, so doing my hair would be a problem.  SomI decided to get my hair cut.  The plan was to cut it to about my armpit level.  Still quite long by most people’s standard, but quite a bit shorter for me.  When I had my hair cut in a similar way, for a similar reason when I broke my left wrist in 2001, I cried.  The hairdresser asked why I was crying & I said, ‘It’s short!’.  The hairdresser said, ‘No, it’s still long!’  Well, not this time! The hairdresser cut my hair significantly shorter than I had asked them to do.  Now my hair is only just past my shoulders! Not sure I like this’. It is VERY short for me. With the amount of hair I have, I’m not sure this is good.

I then went to have my acrylic nails removed. I had checked at the hospital, because I had heared conflicting information as to whether I needed to have them removed or not for the surgery.  Apparently I needed to have at least one removed.  My nails needed to be infilled, so I decided it would make more sense to remive them all & start fesh once I recover from the surgery.  By the time I had finished with that, I was getting quite exhausted.  I really should have gone to Spotlight to lok for nicer buttins for the baby gift I am making for a friend.  I bought some buttons on the way to the dentist last week, but I wanted to see if I could get cuter, nicer ones at Spotlght.  I didn’t have the energy.  Instead, I walked back to the bus interchange & just managed to catch the first of two buses without needing to wait.  Then I got the second bus, & finally got home about 1:45pm.  A good 6 hours after I left.  I ahd my lunch & then went to have a nap.  Wasn’t very restful.  A combination of the heat, the storm the arrived during the afternoon & my mind & body wouldn’t settle.

As the date for the surgery gets closer, the more I feel a combination of excitement & nerves.  I will know what time I have to arrive at the hospital, & when to stop eating the night before when the hospital phones me sometime between 4-7pm on Wednesday.  So it is definitely getting real now.  Only a few more days to go until everything changes forever.

i weighed in at home today, wearing what I have always worn when I weigh in.  My jammies.  This means there is a difference between what my scales say & what the surgeon or clinic says due to what I am wearing there.  So, I had a good loss today.  I lost 1.1kg today & my weight at home today is now 135.3kg, for a total loss of 10.4kg.  Still a couple more days to go in the pre op process.  I will be weighed again at the hospital before my surgery.

Report more tomorrow.

Day Eleven

I had a bit of a scare last night.  About midnight, or a bit after, I started to get really strong pain in my stomach & started to feel cold & clammy.  I thought I was going to be sick.  I spent some time in the bathroom at the sink, running cold water over my wrists & splashing water onto my face.  Thankfully, it subsided without my actually being sick. I hate it when that happens.  Not the not throwing up, but the feeling that I am about to do so.

I have been very tired the last two days.  Maybe that’s why I have been tired. Hopefully things will get better from here.  On the final stretch now.  Three more days of the liquid diet to go.  I have my pre admission clinic at the hospital in the morning.  Thankfully, the cough appears to have finally gone.  Touch wood.  I haven’t coughed at all today.  The weight loss was another small one today.  Just 200gms.  But I am edging ever closer towards 10kg since I started. I know weigh 136.4kg, for a total loss of 9.3kg.  Will see what happens tomorrow.  I presume that I may be weighed tomorrow.  Will be interesting toxomapre thatwithhow much the surgeon’s scales said ten days earlier.  He wanted me to lose between 5-7kg.  On my scales, I have done that & even more.

As the surgery gets closer, I can start thinking about what will be happening on the other side.  Thinking about being able to exercise.  Walking distances.  Not sure when I will be given permission to start exercising.  It might be a couple of weeks, or maybe longer.  Not sure yet.  Don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.

I realised today, that when I started this, I should have taken my measurements, so I could track how things were going even if the scales don’t move.  I’ll do it tomorrow.

Again, not a lot of insights today.  But at the start if this, I committed to report (even if no one else reads thsi) every day.  So far, I have kept that committment.  Report again tomorrow.

Day Ten

Well, today is a small loss day.  Only 300gm.  I now weigh 136.6kg, total loss 9.1kg.  Guess this is a bit of a pattern.  Some days little losses, some days big ones.  With an average daily loss on slightly over 900gms, I’m not complaining .

starting to think about what to take/wear while in hospital.  Starting to get things together. I bought the new enhanced editions of the Harry Potter series for my iPad & put the first one onto it.  Gives me something to read.  Probably over estimating my desire to do anything after the surgery, but just in case….

I don’t have a lot to say today.  Just feeling a little tired.  So I guess I don’t have any insights really this time. But I committed to report every day, and so that is exactly what I am doing.  Even if there isn’t much to say.

Report more tomorrow.