Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Breaking Bad… (Part 3)

Yes another call comes from the surgeon.

He asked me if my dislocated shoulder was put back. I explained to him that I did not have a dislocation just that I had a fracture, thinking that he was mixing me up with another patient. I asked when he could fit me in for the surgery, explaining to him about our drive back the next day. He was flabbergasted. He then vehemently started to stress that I had a dislocated shoulder along with an array of other issues. But it appeared his main concern was the dislocation.

The surgeon went on to explain that I had a shoulder dislocation, a fracture and also a bone that had chipped (the bone that had chipped had some tendons ripped off as well). I have always liked the idea of being a triple threat, just didn’t realise that I was going to perform it with my shoulder. The surgeon was still harping on about the dislocation. In my mind I am thinking the fracture should be a bigger concern than a mere dislocation. It shows my lack of medical knowledge or the lack of sports injuries.

He asked why I was not air lifted. I explained that as it was not “life threatening” and that we were advised to drive down the next day. He was livid. He said “it may not be life threatening but it could be life changing”, by now hubby had arrived from the shops and was listening to the surgeons rant. He then went onto explain that the dislocated shoulder has to be put back as soon as its possible. Any delay is a step closer to permanent nerve damage.

There were multiple phone calls that went between the surgeon, the hospital and us. By now it was about 6pm or so. The surgeon advised us that he had spoken to the doctor at Coober Pedy and he didn’t think he was capable of performing this procedure (he said it with a bit more colour and annoyance). He asked us if we could drive to maybe the next bigger Hospital. Which was at Port Augusta. This was still not a short distance, 540kms and a 5.5 hr drive. This road is notorious for it’s Kangaroo related accidents. Not the ideal time to drive and still a very long drive with a patient in the car. Even the surgeon was not keen on this idea, but he just wanted this shoulder back in ASAP. He was worried that it was already been out for too long.

I don’t know who made the next set of phone calls, I think Arj rang the Ambo’s to see if they could transport me to Port Augusta, thinking that might be safer I would be lying down and strapped in rather than in a car. Hubby rang Port Augusta hospital to confirm if they could in fact perform the said procedure. Ambo’s advised Arj that there was just the one ambulance for the whole district and that they would not be able to go that far leaving a whole community without an ambulance. Hubby also found out that Port Augusta too didn’t have a doctor on duty who was capable of doing this procedure. They had given another piece of information which was now ammunition for hubby , that they had a similar patient that morning and the patient was airlifted to Adelaide.

In the midst of all this I messaged Sally my dear friend and a nurse, who I usually use as my insider for medical info. I wanted to check with her if in fact the surgeon was correct in prioritizing the dislocation to the fracture. She agreed with the surgeon, she too now started to stress/panic on the importance of getting out of Coober Pedy. She didn’t want me in the car either. She was on the phone the whole night talking to Arj, giving him advise and info.

Arj and Hubby stormed to the hospital now requesting an air transfer. I was told that Arj’s sentences were measured, with the new information from the surgeon it was more of a threat rather than a request, but delivered with respect. Respectful language however the message was “or else”.

In the meantime the ambo’s took upon themselves and arrived at the apartment. Luckily the front door had been left unlocked, so they were able to just walk in without much hurdle. They found me on the couch with worsened pain. I relayed what happened at the hospital and what we had just heard from the surgeon. They were aghast. By then hubby and Arj got back. We heard from them that this doctor had only been there for less than a week and they’ve had so many complains. They said they were going to take me back to the hospital, as they claimed this to be a “unresolved discharge”. The request for air transfer could only happen from a hospital, so they suggested that we go back to the hospital and start the ball rolling.

I had another green whistle. Arj has some videos that he threatens to release at times. I was definitely in a happy place. I was just disappointed that I didn’t have a better story to tell than to say I fell down a stair, I think I mentioned to the Ambo’s that I fell down a mine shaft with a massive laughter. I also apologized for not having a shower. I don’t think I can divulge in the rest of the conversations, without embarrassing myself. So I shall leave it there.

The doctor looked a bit sheepish. How on earth did he miss a dislocation. No wonder I couldn’t lie or sit back as my the shoulder had collapsed to the front. However sheepish he felt he couldn’t let go of his ego and arrogance. Instead of getting on with what he needs to do, he was now trying to pick a fight with the ambo’s and the nurses.

He agreed for the air transfer and started a ticket. We were told that RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Services) would pick me up at 12.00 midnight. It was only a few more hours to go so the boys stayed back at the hospital. Green whistle or not the pain was sky rocketing. They administered Morphine. I am usually someone who falls asleep on antihistamine meds. But today even after all these cocktails I was wide awake.

They announced that the plane had been diverted for another emergency and it would be the next morning around 7.00am that I would be transferred. There was nothing much we could do. So I asked the boys to go back to the apartment and have a bit of shut eye.

About 3.00am the nurses advised that another plane that had completed its drop off at Alice Springs would be coming to pick me up at 4.00am. They had tried to contact the boys unfortunately the phone call was not going through. As they were underground, phone coverage was only available in certain spots in the apartment ie the living room. As these two had taken the phones to their rooms the call from the hospital was not going through.

Along with the pain, my blood pressure too was now skyrocketing to dangerous levels.

I have been told that I am pretty good with cliff hangers. So I am going to just leave it there. Sorry folks, I have to get ready for today’s surgery . Thank you in advance for all the prayers and well wishes.

Giving you another video from Bondi Rescue with the Green Whistle


Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Breaking Bad… (Part 2)

We were all rather tired. Life had been rather full on. We were physically and mentally exhausted. I didn’t do much on the long journey other than take photos and agree or disagree on the music choices. I was still tired. So after our Pizza and a premade Coffee Martini for me and I think the boys had a beer we decided to call it a night.

I woke up at 5.00am checked my phone to confirm the time and decided that I needed some water. I didn’t want to disturb my hubby’s melodic snoring so decided to tip toe out the room without switching on the lights. Poor man must be very tired, let him sleep/snore a bit more, he has earned it, I thought. There was a night lamp in the bathroom which was emitting enough light for me to walk out to the living area. I confidently started my journey towards the kitchen.

Two steps out and the whole place fell into complete darkness. The beauty of the underground – no windows, so not an ounce of daylight or starlight to sneak in. It was just pitch black, I had no idea where I was, I was trying to find a wall so I could feel my way for a light switch. I made progress, I found the wall mounted TV. So forged ahead, confident that a switch was going to be at my reach very soon.

Alas, I found the big step before I found the switch. No, I think they were found simultaneously or it could be the switch and a Nano second later the step. Not sure of the order of the events, however the result was the birth of Big Humpty Dumpty in the underground motel of Coober Pedy.

The first thought that came into my head was, that I was going to wake everyone up, including the neighboring apartment. It was a one massive thud. The whole world was still in silence, other than my husband’s snoring. Well his snoring confirmed that he wasn’t going to come rushing anytime soon to help this damsel in distress.

My arm was throbbing. I thought I could walk it off. I got up thinking the pain would settle. No, it was still unbelievably terrible. I do apparently have a good pain tolerance., but this time however, I couldn’t take it anymore. So I went back to the room, woke up my husband. By now the pain was shooting up, I couldn’t sit or lie on the bed, I was trying to explain and sob all at the same time.

Arj had woken up for all the commotion and rushed in. Arj and Hubby brought me back to the living room and sat me on the couch. I think there was a glass of water or something. But Arj realised that this was something more than just a bruise. He called for the ambulance.

Two Ambo’s (ambulance officers – Aussie) arrived promptly. They could tell straightaway that I had done something major and I was in agony. They were my two Fairies (if fairies could be males). Instead of the magic wand they were waving the green whistle at me. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of having one of these – it is Penthrax a very strong pain relief. Until now I have only seen them on Bondi Rescue.

The above video might give you an idea on this amazing Aussie invention. I had the green whistle on the way to the hospital, by the time I arrived at the hospital I was in ripe old stage. I was still in a world of pain but I was way more funnier.

This was when I met Doctor Inefficient. This is a small rural town with a small hospital the size of a medical center. Not many doctors want to work in these remote parts of Australia. Rural Doctors receive additional incentives from the Government to entice them to work in these little towns. However unfortunately it only attracts the inefficient and washed up Doctors who are in it for the money and probably know that they are not good enough to make it in the big hospitals. But I don’t know how Coober Pedy managed to attract the most gorgeous nurses and Ambos. If not for their help this story and outcome could have been far worse.

I was subjected to stand for an X’ray. I had no strength to stand nor to pose for these Portraits, however I obliged. I swallowed more pain meds, an array of Endone, Panadeine and who knows what ever else. I was high as a kite but the pain was still a 11 out of 10 maybe even a 111 out of 10.

The Doctor advised me that I had fractured my shoulder – the rotator cuff, a zig zag fracture at that. However, as they did not have the facility to operate on me, I would have to make my way back to Adelaide to be operated. My husband duly asked if I could be airlifted. The Doctor advised as it was not “life threatening“, sure it was painful but not life threatening, he will not be able to request an air transfer and for my husband to drive me back.

My husband tried to explain to this man and bring to his attention that Adelaide was in fact 848Kms away, a 9 hr drive only if you were driving to the speed limit of 110 Kms for most of the drive without a stop, which he tried to point out would not be possible with me in the car, screaming blue murder. It was around 12.00pm by now. Hubby also made a point that even if we were to start driving right then, by dusk our vehicle would be devouring a smorgasbord of Kangaroos and we would be nursing more than a broken shoulder. The Doctor then went onto part with more wisdom and told us to take break for that day and travel the next day. He prescribed more pain meds and advised that the pain should ease up and for me to even think of doing some sight seeing.

I could not sit back or lie back on the bed. I hung on to the side rail of the bed. It didn’t appear that the pain would ease up anytime soon. I was mourning. At times I felt my mourning was very loud and felt bad for the patient next to me. My arm was put in a sling and I was discharged from the hospital. Not even a wheelchair was offered. I walked to the car and I have no recollection of how I got into the car seat. It could’ve been Arj my young warrior who helped me in. With the concoction of all the opioids in my system, I was feeling dizzy and nauseous but there was no ease up on the pain.

I found refuge on the couch, again I couldn’t lie back, I hung on to the armrest. Most things are a blur. I think there was some vomiting. Sense of absolute guilt took over me. We came here because things were bad. To release some stress and to relax. But I have created more stress, anxiety and work for Arj and for my overly tired husband. I tried to get up and see if we could go on for some sightseeing. I have seen people walking around normally in a sling and so why can’t I do it. But I just couldn’t. I couldn’t keep myself upright or sit back. I told myself that I was a real fuss pot.

Hubby dismissed the idea of sightseeing and said for me to preserve my strength for the next days trip. He was trying to come up with a plan to transport me. In his mind it was near impossible. He bought some big pillows thinking he could lay me on the back seat.

We received a phone call from a surgeon in Adelaide. Our Doctor in Coober Pedy had sent word to him of my injury and had requested him to operate on me. However, didn’t see the need to send the X’rays. Arj went back to the hospital and requested the X’rays to be sent to the said surgeon. Arj and Hubby were frequenting the shops, pharmacy and the hospital for various things. Another call came from the surgeon.


Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Breaking Bad …(Part 1)

I wonder where and how to begin my story today. A story that I have locked away for eight months. There were many a times I had thought maybe I am ready now. But that maybe was put to rest soon after. I pluck up the courage today to write, just before I am embark on my next visit to the hospital for yet another surgery.

I should start right at the beginning, like how a story should start. This is a story of when things are bad and you think it can’t get any worse, it really can. Compared to the miseries of the world this is a drop in the ocean, a first world “Oh hurt my pinky hold my cup” kinda story, nevertheless it’s my story. It is still a gruesome story filled with a lot of Morphine and Endone. So stay put and continue reading. After the opening few words of inspirations and Kumbaya, I will get back to the story, I promise.

The purpose of this story is not for the pity vote but more to emphasize the importance of “today, right now”. We are all aware of it, however none of us take it very seriously. Your whole world can change within a Nano second. You may have heard the phrase “Live each day as it’s the last” there is an amended Aussie Version and I quite like that one.

“Live each day as it’s the last, as one day you may be right”.

This is the prequel to my story. 26 Dec 2019, We had guests over from interstate. The invention of the phone has been a darn thorn in my life. Wish we just had just had the Telegrams. Then it will be just the one telegram that would be the bearer of bad news.

“Your sister in Hospital (stop) very serious (stop) come soon (stop)”

And that would be it. One telegram. But unfortunately world has moved on from telegrams, to phones and mobile phones. Remember the days when phone calls were charged by the minute. You don’t chat, you hurriedly part important facts and hang up. You don’t have to yell through the phone, testing your vocals because its an international call anymore either. It appears that I am procrastinating.

The long and the short of it – my darling sister-in-law Ranji who we thought was the pillar of health was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. Initial phone call came from my other sister-in-law, Jan in Canada. She had heard that Ranji had been admitted to hospital with fluid in her lungs. About then Ranji’s husband rang to advise the same. My initial thought/layman diagnosis was pneumonia. Ranji’s hubby explained that it was fluid coming from her ovaries/stomach region and it was not pneumonia. She was undergoing tests and fluid was being drained. Nothing had been confirmed at this stage however, it didn’t look good. I relayed all this back to Jan. We were all shell shocked. Unfortunately there was no prequel to this part of Ranji’s story. We met her in September 2019, just a few months before for their 40th Wedding anniversary. She even sent us a family photo on Christmas day on WhatsApp. There was no tell-tale signs of her ill health. In the coming days it was confirmed that she indeed had Ovarian Cancer.

It was a very hard pill to swallow. It just didn’t seem fair. She did everything right when it came to taking care of her body. She ate right and lived right. Why? How? Once again the universe was not ready to divulge any wisdom.

She gave it a good fight. We trekked through bushfires to see her as we had no idea how long we had with her. However, she defied everyone’s predictions and soldiered on. She wasn’t called the Iron Lady for nothing. Nov 2020 we celebrated her 60th, a grand zoom black tie event. We celebrated each of the family members birthday on Zoom. In between these grand events we had regular zoom catch up spanning across the Pacific and time zones with the 3 siblings, niece and nephews. We could never get this time back, I am so truly grateful, it was so special but it feels so much more now.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for her. However, she made it look so simple. There were so many moments where we thought this is it, but she would pull through. Many late night phone calls with Jan, the poor girl was stuck in Canada unable to come over due Covid 19 restrictions in Australia. A family member with Cancer is bad enough but Covid just made things so much harder. Even for us who lived in the same country but were not allowed to travel across the State boarders. So, okay I will give that, the phone was a great invention and whatsapp was god sent. Jan and I spent many a nights crying, being angry and then calming each other down on the phone. Thank god we had each other and we had the phone.

The cancer was taking hold in other parts of her body and in Aug 21 she decided to end all invasive treatments. She is just one class act. She rang us that evening, asked hubby and I to sit down and said “I have an update” update, yes that’s the exact word she used, then explained what was happening to her body and treatment options that was available etc. And she went on to explain that she doesn’t want that as it would be a painful procedure, her quality of life would not be great and would only give her a few more months at the most. She went onto explain that now her organs will start to fail one by one, it could take a couple of days or maybe couple of weeks before she passes away. She was not upset, she was calm, she had made a very informed clear decision. Grace and Poise till the end. We were bawling our eyes off and all I could get out was to tell her that she was so amazing and I love her. Not sure if I said that I love her, I kept repeating that she was amazing. My hubby was caught off guard. He was suggesting/stammering that surely there was something more they could do. She calmly told my husband that it was exactly what her son had said, but the cancer was everywhere and she was done. We know she gave it all, and we knew in our hearts she was done. We had to respect her decision.

My youngest started to look into ways to get across the boarder to see her under the “end of life” exemption. Our workplaces were great. They gave us time off without hesitation. Arj got all the necessary paperwork to travel across the boarder. We were all set to leave on that Saturday, however that Friday things got really bad in NSW, Covid had spread up to Dubbo. We were getting information from all who knew we were planning the trip up there and asking us to rethink. We had to abort our plans by Friday night. It was such a disappointment.

This was a very difficult time, I am not going to get into the emotional state of us as I don’t want to open that flood gates again. To say that we felt pretty gutted is an understatement. The next day Arj had this great idea that we could go on a holiday within the State. Since we had already taken time off and we were all feeling pretty awful. So take a break, blow off some steam and return, as life goes on, well life must go on.

So a plan was drafted – First stop Coober Pedy, an Opal Mining town 850Km from City about a 9.5hr drive. Plans were made to stay a couple of nights in an underground motel and then driving back down to Adelaide with a few more one day stops notably including at a place called Coward Springs which boasts a natural hot springs amongst other interesting titbits.

The journey started swimmingly. One of the things Ranji requested was that on our zoom meetings she didn’t want the conversations to be just about cancer. For her life was more than that and especially then. We followed suit. So our green machine started to plow through the land of nothing.

After 9 – 10 Hours of driving around 6.00pm we entered Coober Pedy. It was a quaint little town. All the working mines were quite visible from the road. It was as if we had entered the Flintstones lands. I was waiting for hubby my “Fred” to belt out yabba dabba doo. The used up mines were now converted to Underground Museums, Underground Serbian Church, Underground Art Gallery etc. It was really my cup of tea. This was all going to be added to my itinerary for tomorrow. We had Pizza for dinner from the famous Pizza place where Chopper Read had been, among other famous/notorious people. Loved our cute quaint underground apartment.

All my plans for the next day went up the smoke.

To be continued….