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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

UNITED KINGDOM: Natural selection is undeniable, but the origins of speciousness à la Dawkins makes P.L. Inkletter wonder if Professor’s read the book

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

24th November 2009:

Tuesday: Although I had told Mum last night I would be in to see her after her operation today, I had already decided to come in well before, to comfort her. And so, having had maybe four hours of sleep, I got myself presentable and set off by 7.20 a.m., braving the nasty traffic snarls of Perth; the run was reasonably good, for I was early enough to well and truly beat the worst of it, and arrived in Mum’s room about 8.10; she was pleasantly surprised to see me.

A hot day was brewing outside, for it reached about 36 Celsius. The nursing staff intermittently attended to various pre-opterative procedures with Mum, who had not had much sleep at all overnight. Sister Mary arrived, and before long Mum was being wheeled off, about 10.15, the seventh patient, very anxious but sedated, to theatre. I did my best to comfort Mum, and held her hand in silence a fair bit of the time as well, reassuring her that she was in two very good pairs of hands in Doctors Hng and Leung. She had a bit of a cry earlier on while sitting in a chair in her room with me.

Sister Mary returned home, and I braved the furnace outside to fetch a bag of my bits and pieces from the car, then settled in to the waiting lounge on the second floor of Murdoch Hospital, listening to my favourite talking book, but occasionally dropping off into micro sleeps, and also having conversations with our Father of all.

At noon I returned to Mum’s room to watch the ABC’s Midday Report, getting the dirt on the excitement in Canberra over the freshly negotiated Wong-Macfarlane ETS deal that Malcolm Turnbull had presented to his party room.

About 1 p.m. Mum was wheeled back, and I was shocked at how good she looked, for she had just had a hysterectomy for ovarian cancer, having been as a life long and present heavy smoker at 78 years of age, when she was wheeled into theatre, and already a survivor of three separate cancers, including lung cancer, and several strokes, over the previous decade and more. I spoke with her intermittently, for she was drifting in and out of consciousness, but suffering from nausea, almost vomiting several times. Not until about half an hour after the nursing staff added an anti nausea drug to her drip did she settle into longer bouts of sleep. I just held her hand.

Sister Mary came back, having done some washing for Mum that she took from the hospital when she left this morning. I had phoned her, sister Helena, and Aunt Elsie with the news of her safe arrival back from theatre.

I was very tired when I left a little after six in the evening, amazed and grateful at how well Mum had fared.

My quenda queen fed me, and we watched a special Western Australian version of The 7.30 Report, from an obviously enervated and emotionally excited Kerry O’Brien, who can no more keep out of the thick of Australian politics than the quendas can keep away from the Murdoch Hospital’s kitchen (a fellow, who looked like he was probably a doctor) told sister Mary and me yesterday as we were leaving at dusk, but stopping to read the information sign on these lovable little bandicoots, that the closer to the kitchen they are the fatter they are; I saw my second one ever ‘in the wild’ at this time, out on the lawn grooming itself, as fat as butter and as big as a half sized rat; my first sighting was a couple of hours earlier when I brought Mum in and helped admit her to the hospital for today’s surgery; I knew nothing of the quendas or the Murdoch Hospital’s colony at that stage, and told Mum I had just spotted a rat in the gardens near the main entrance; an inspiring start to a modern hospital experience.)

Aunt Elsie rang us at home here about this time, back from an evening visit to Mum her next oldest sister, and told me something utterly amazing: the doctors Leung and Hng both visited Mum while Aunt Elsie was there, and let her know that there was no ovarian cancer present at all! The pain she had been having for some many weeks was from something like a twisted ovary (no doubt we’ve not absorbed that accurately, but that’s what Aunt Elsie remembers). I haven’t met Dr Leung, but I took Mum to Dr Hng the anaesthetist yesterday in Nedlands, and found him to be a gentle, patient, and caring man, who took all the time in the world to answer Mum’s questions, query her regarding her health history, and try to put her at ease. He was most fascinated that 8 years ago she had had, and survived, lung cancer, just from radiotherapy, telling Mum she was “very lucky” (I told him nothing about the natural therapies I got Mum using, and Mum doesn’t even know of the prayers my friends offered on her behalf); he appeared quietly shocked to learn that Mum still smokes, a packet a day, but simply asked her to try to cut down before the operation and for some days after, to lift the oxygen supply in her blood; I think he was processing internally and came to a conclusion that even the mildest of berating was going to be counterproductive, but I think he was a tad torn and somewhat saddened about it all. When we left, as we drove away along a side street we say him walking in the hot sunlight, eyes down and apparently deep in thought, and his face spoke to me of deep concern. I wish that every doctor could be as nice as this fellow. He also told us that he would not be charging anything above what Mum’s fund, HBF, paid him.

I could barely keep my eyes open after this, and so the whip cracker sent me to bed. I had mentally prepared myself to no longer have a living mother by this day’s end, but against the odds Mum came through it all. This time twenty years ago Dad was dying of a massive stroke he suffered after surgery of three weeks earlier, in Charlie Gees, lasting only a bit more than a week longer.


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