Friday, April 30, 2010

A night out

Well, I finally had an opportunity to go out last night. It was karaoke night at the local country club, and Hayley, the oldest child who we are staying with insisted that we all go out. Rob and Ian backed out as they both had to work in the morning, and unfortunately Kristy couldn't come as well as she wasn't 18. But Carol, Hayley, Debbie, Bill, Jemma and I all went. I figured I might as well as it is one of the few things that I can do; going to the club is out of the question for me!
There where some not so good singers, and some amazing singers, Hayley included. She had the best voice out of everyone last night, in fact she was singing infront of crowds of 3000 people doing musical theater. She was awesome.
It wasn't a late night, but it got me out of the house doing something, finally. AND it makes it harder to do anything now that Rob is working nearly 10 hour days. Plus I feel bad asking him to take me places in the evening as I know how exhausted he is after work. Oh well. I'm now officially addicted to my computer - you can find me on FarmTown, Fish Wrangler and Mafia Wars, as well as MasterChef on TV, and many other addictive type TV shows.

As for my foot, I was happy with the doctor I saw, and I am to follow up in three weeks for another Xray. He agreed that everything is looking well, in fact one of the bones isn't as displaced as it was when it was fractured. If things look well in 3 weeks, he'll look at taking the cast off and putting on a different cast, one I can take off when showering, but I'll still only be lightly weightbearing, so I will still need the crutches. Not great, but I didn't think I'd be right back walking on it anyways. :(

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Foot update

So I went to the doctors yesterday for my 3 week follow up. And was not impressed.

First off I'd rather see an orthopedic surgeon then a regular GP. Who wouldn't want to see a specialist, especially seeing as I was seeing one Adelaide. But, no, I need a GP referral to see an ortho doc, my letter from the ortho team is no good.

Second, I was told (by the people we are living with) that I would have to wait no longer then 20 minutes at the clinic to get in to see a doctor. But not yesterday. I waited 70 minutes to see one. I was not a happy camper. And of course I didn't bring a book, why would I if I was told I'd only have to wait 20 minutes.

Also, over 80% of the doctors, were of non-white decent. I don't mean to sound racist, but I am going to. I've worked with doctors from other countries and half the time they don't understand us, we can't understand them, and/or they pretend they do. Not ALL of them are like this and I have worked with amazing ones, but I wasn't overly optimistic yesterday, especially having to wait 70 minutes :(

I ended up seeing an Asian doctor. He was ok. I didn't tell him that I was a nurse, and I think I probably should have, and will next time. Basically he told me that I had three, not just one broken bone in my foot. Thank you, I knew that.

My xrays from the ortho clinic in Adelaide are on CD, and are not compatible with their computers. Great.

I was told that I needed to go for repeat xrays, and in 24-48 the report would be in, and I 'may' come back in a couple days to look at them. This confused me, as why did he need to wait for the reports, couldn't he just look at the xrays? And did I, or didn't I need to come in, in a couple of days..... I 'may' come in???

So, I went for Xrays, and of course just missed the radiologist as he went for lunch. I was told I'd have to wait 30-45 minutes, and an hour later I was called in. Got the Xrays, and after 5 minutes I was given a copy of them. This confused me, and upset me even more, because I didn't understand why the doctor had to wait for a report when I had the Xrays in my hand. Now I have to pay ANOTHER $55 to go back and have to doctor compare the xrays, only because he needs the bloody report?

I had a look at the Xrays and it looks as though my bones are healing, but my second metatarsal isn't healing as quickly as the other two. Anyways, after having the doctor tell me this tomorrow, I will probably have to return in another 3 weeks for another xray to see if the slab can come off.

Gotta love the medical system, and I freakin' work in :(

Monday, April 26, 2010

New tatt!

Before even coming to Australia I knew I wanted to get a tattoo here.
I had no idea what I wanted but I knew when I saw it, I'd know. I always teased that I would get a kangaroo humping my Inukshuk on my ankle, but of course would NEVER get that done! The longer that I have spent here in Australia, the more I have wanted to get a tattoo, and now I've got it!
It wasn't until last weekend when we where talking about tattoo's and someone suggested I get one of the Australian flowers. I thought that was a great idea, but when I started researching them, I didn't find them the 'prettiest', nor did I think they would have looked good as a tattoo. (
Then I saw the Southern Cross. At first I kind of thought it was stereotypical as EVERYONE here is Oz-land seems to have one. But the more I thought of it, the more I thought it would be perfect. First off, I'm not Aussie, so even more fitting as people in Canada won't know what it is. Second of all when I was on tour going up the West coast, we would always look for the southern cross at night. It also wouldn't cost me lots of money, and its small. I decided on my foot as the stars seemed to fit perfect on my foot. Its obviously on my left foot, and it looks beautiful!

Its outlined in dark blue and shaded in light blue

The tattoo was last Friday, and today, Monday (Anzac day) we took a day trip to go look at a campsite with friends of Carol and Ian's. There is a long weekend in June and they want to go camping and found a new site in a magazine. We drove out 80km's to the secluded camping site, a very secluded site. Not even a long drop dunny. Neither Carol or Ian, nor the other couple where overly excited about it. It was on a hill, had no toilets, and overall they weren't happy. We decided to drive out to Mount Franklin where they normally go camping and stop in for lunch. We stopped at the Chocolate Mill for some goodies and drove into the extinct volcano of Mount Franklin. It is a very small campground but also very pretty, and it has toilets!! We brought out the camp stoves and fired up lunch; Carol attended the fire and we had a nice little picnic. We drove up to the summit which didn't have much of a view, but it was pretty on the way up. So the weekend before my birthday, we will be camping in a volcano, in the middle of winter here in Victoria...... I think I need to buy some long johns :)

On the way up, the trees separated for this picture!!

Also, good news, Rob is starting work tomorrow :) Now he can support me!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I've been debating whether or not to write about this, but have decided to anyways.

First all, I feel very lucky. Very, very, very lucky, to have had such a loving family and an exceptional raising from my parents. We hardly ever fought, apart from arguments while in our teenage years, what do you expect?? We were always loved, did things together such as camping, holidays, or even going out for dinner together. We had lots of laughs, and not just laughing at me falling going up the stairs. I didn't have everything given to me, in fact, I actually like working for my own education and spending money. Granted, I didn't mind it when I had a little help, which was always there if I needed it. I could always tell my mom everything, even if I was embarrassed about it, or knew they would be mad. I remember when I had a little fender-bender with the car at school, next to nil damage, but I felt so guilty about not telling my parents right away, I actually left my friends house that night to go home and tell them. I blame them for teaching me to be too honest :)

Since being here in Melton (just outside of Melbourne) and living with other families, it has made me appreciate my upbringing so much more.

First off, I saw my first domestic argument last weekend, and was devastated. To think that families go through this makes me sick. I didn't know what to do, and just sat there blank, in awe of what was happening in front of my eyes. Rob had to break up the argument between a mom and a daughter, and Rob's cousin who was visiting with us was in tears. I was almost in tears myself. I feel very lucky that my parents are still married and I find a lot of family issues are over divorces. This family was, and it sounds like they've been through a lot, which I would never want for any family. This young 18 year old has had everything given to her and she's hardly kept a job. To me, she's a spoiled brat, and her attitude goes with it. I am glad that I had my own job, it gave me a sense of responsibility and respect and also how to manage money.

I was also taught respect, which comes to the family we are staying with now. Their 2 kids have little respect for their parents. Apart from the loving family they are, and the parents are still together, which is a bonus. The kids do absolutely nothing in the house to help out, and they tell their parents off! The parents just ignore it, which doesn't help, but they do have a good sense of humor. Neither of the kids help with dishes or housework. The mom does it all, even dishing up dessert! From the time I was walking I was vacuuming and doing my own laundry......OK, maybe it wasn't that early. But both my sister and I where helping out around the house. Even mom and dad would usually split the responsibility of cooking, and we would usually clean up. It has taught me so much and it hasn't been until seeing the lives of others that I am thankful for it. As much as I hated cleaning and vacuuming, I did it, and somehow am thankful for it!
Another thing is the food they eat. The whole family is overweight and it makes me sad. I know we would pig out sometimes and eat nachos for lunch on the weekend, but this is extreme. They just eat a lot, and its not always healthy. It would be nothing for them to not have any veggies for supper, and I just need to have some type of vegetable. Not only because its healthy, but because I feel better when I eat a well balanced meal. Rob and I where getting into a habit of finding a market to go to for fresh veggies, and they are just so yummy! Not here though. It consists of potatoes and a meat, and lots of it. The mom also dish up the plates for you, not letting you get your own serving. I don't like this as I feel like I have to eat everything that is on my plate. And here they put a lot on the plate!! I think it teaches the kids bad habits, and they will probably be overweight their whole lives unless someone teaches them otherwise. I don't eat it all the food on my plate though and I don't feel bad sending food back.

So once again, I thank my parents for the respectful, healthy and loving up-bringing we had :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Puffing Billy's Railway

Today Rob and I, as well as Rob's cousin Kristy, came with us to see the old steam engines. The drive was a long one, and we had to go through the city, which sucked, but we managed. We took the scenic route on the way there, in other words, I took a wrong turn, but we got there in time to catch the 1110 train. I was able to hop up on the train, but once we got to Lakeside, they got the ramp out for me and Rob wheeled me down on the wheelchair that we rented. It was a one hour journey on the impressive stream engine train to Lakeside, and a beautiful one at that. We are able to sit on the side of the train dangling our feet, and it was a nice warm day to do so. The train went over the trestle bridge, restored from its original, built in 1900, a very scary wooden bridge that looks like it was going to collapse! Then through picturesque forests featuring mountain ash tree's and amazing views of the province of Victoria. We made a couple quick stops for refreshments - I stayed on the train, before getting off at Lakeside. Poor Rob and Kristy had to push me up and down hills and over gravel paths, and got to give orders and enjoy the scenery!
We stopped in at a miniature train store and was blown away! There was over 1000 trees, 250 buildings, and over 2000m of track. It was going to be destroyed 5 years ago until the current owner bought it and has added to it. So glad he did!!

After lunch, and a walk (or a ride for me) around the lake it was time to head back. And just in time as it started to rain. I was pushed up the ramp and we where on our way back. This time we where at the back of the train, and it was a bit more rough, as well as wet. The rain continued, so we just sat on the train and took in the view. The rain didn't last long, but the ride wasn't as fun and exciting as the first time, so we just relaxed.

It was such a fun day and nice to do something different :)

Enjoying the ride
All three of us taking in the view
You can tell its autumn
The train at Lakeside
The rigidity bridge

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'm exhausted!!!

We made it to Melbourne after a total of 6 days. We could have stretched it longer if I could walk, but it made it a bit difficult to do things. After Warrnambool we spent the other 2 nights staying in a guest houses and then a hostel as the weather wasn't much better and it is hard on Rob having to do everything. I don't blame him, I'd hate it if I had to do everything while he just sat there. To be fair I do do as much as I can. Plus, I was getting annoyed with my foot, my crutches, and was a bit cranky. Our last night was in Apollo Bay and as we made our way down the windy road through Lourne and Torquay, we decided we might as well head into Melbourne, well Melton to be exact- about 30 km's SW from the city center, to see Rob's family.

He has 2 second cousins - I think, and the first night we stayed at his Aunt Debbies house, and we are currently in his Aunt Carol's camper-van parked outside their house. At least its better then the tent. Both Debbie and Carol have 2 daughters that are 18, and Carol has another daughter that is 13. One of the 18 year olds Gemma, is still in school, the other has finished and is working. They all like to drink so I think we will get along well. In fact Rob was up till 0430 the first night we were here with his Aunt Debbie!

Too be honest, at this point I am completely exhausted. It hit me today when we went out to go to the Werribee open range zoo (you get taken out on a bus, just my way of traveling!) but it took us forever to find it and by the time we got there, it wasn't worth the money. So we went to a winery instead, and after a few tastings and back in the car to come home, I could have crashed. If Rob knew where he was going I probably would have slept! Its probably the traveling that has taken it out of me, and Rob doesn't always park close, and I am sick of using crutches. I think I will just take it easy this weekend and relax, plus my foot is still swollen and a bit sore. I must have done some major damage as it is STILL more painful at the top of my foot then where the fracture is.

Rob will hopefully start looking for work next week and then we can find a place to stay once we know where he is based out of. But for now, its the camper-van, and I'm ok with that, for now. It will get annoying having to go into the house to use the toilet and wash up, but I'll just deal with it. I'm kinda getting used to that now, dealing with things.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My hands hurt!!!

After leaving Salt Creek - which turned out to be a nice night, no wind or rain, we headed down to Mt. Gambier, the last town in SA before heading into Victoria. Wow, I never know how beautiful this section of SA is, also known as the Limestone coast. Lots of Volcanic action has happened in this area leaving craters, lakes, sinkholes and tons of caves. There are approx.600 caves in all of Australia and over 250 of them are in southeast SA! Unfortunately I am unable to get into the caves, so I will have to miss out on those.
I am trying not to let my broken foot hold me back though. In the township of Mt. Gambier there are 2 beautiful volcanic lakes, blue lake, and green lake. And yes, one is very blue, and the other is very green! Blue lake is spectacularly blue and actually turns color during the seasons from a dark blue to a turquoise blue. We kinda saw a bit of both as the seasons are changing. Blue lake is also the towns water supply. In order to get to the viewing area, I had to go down about 12 or so stairs, which I hoped down, then go through the underpass, and back up 4 stairs. I was determined to get a good view of the lake!! Sadly when I was going back up the stairs I had to let the geriatrics go first as I am slower; the last thing I need is to fall down stairs and break another bone.

We stayed in the center of Mt. Gambier at a caravan park, and thank goodness they had a nicely covered camp kitchen as it was very windy with scattered showers all night. After dinner we met some people, who live in Victoria, and gave us there name and number if we want a free bed. He works for a chocolate factory, and she makes her own soap, they live on an acreage, and have horses. We might just have to stop by for a visit...... mmmm, chocolate. I decided to have a shower that night which turned out to be a bad idea. As my cast is waterproof, most of the water drains out, and the rest is absorbed in the skin from natural perspiration. However, it was so cold and windy, I couldn't warm up much, and my cast was still slightly damp when I went to bed. Not good when the weather was so crappy and cold. I tossed and turned all night and still had cold toes when I got up the next morning. I won't be doing THAT again.

Today we left Mt. Gambier and made our way to Warrnambool, Victoria. We passed through Nelson and made a quick stop in Portland. About 22 km away from Portland where some coastal blowholes and petrified forests, as well as a cave. Rob wasn't too keen on going, but I wanted to see it. So off we went. It was a 200m jaunt to the blowholes and 100 meters to the forests. It was extremely windy - you have to remember we are approaching winter here in Australia, and the ocean looked mean. The spay was so big we got wet from up top. By the time I got to the blowholes my arms hurt, my side hurt and my hands hurt. But I wanted to see the blowholes. Unfortunately we couldn't see much, just an ugly ocean crashing against the coastline - which was pretty :)

Rob went ahead to see the Petrified forest, I hopped along behind him, but didn't make it all the way. My ear hurt from the wind, and my body ached, and Rob got a couple photos, so I was OK with that! We slowly made out way back to the car. By the time I got there I was exhausted!!

Our next stop was Tarrong caves, which thankfully I could see from the car. Rob walked up the hill to get a closer view, I rested and just watched! My hands still hurt and I will be looking for some sheep skin for my crutches so they don't rub as much. Not much open today though, it is Sunday an all, so I'll start tomorrow. As for my hands, I guess I'll just have to get used to it. There will be many times where it will be a bit of a distance to get to the viewing platform, I'll be sucking it up.

We made a quick stop in Port Fairy, got some ice cream and watched the surf, as well as a couple crazy surfing dudes surfing. It was pretty cold and I couldn't imagine how cold the water was, but they were there, doing what they do best. There are many ship wrecks along the coast due to the rugged coastline as well, but we haven't seen any yet. Plus, some of them are probably under water :)

We have arrived in Warrnambool and have our tent set up. The wind is just starting to pick up again and there have already been a few small showers. It may be another cold night. I guess that's what happens when you decided to camp in Autumn, along the coast. Oh well, we'll make the best of it. I may have to get some warmer clothes. Now that space isn't AS much of an issue, I don't mind having a few extra things. :) (good excuse to go shopping hey?)

Friday, April 9, 2010

and here we are.

So, had my appointment with the ortho team on Wednesday, and it was a good one!

I had a different doctor which I was kinda upset about, but nothing I could do. He said the bones are still in place, no movement at all, and they are healing! Yeah! Basically he gave me the OK to head to Victoria and to just follow up with an ortho clinic in 3 weeks to have a follow up Xray. I can stop the injections once these are finished and go on Aspirin. He did tell me I am to be in the cast for another 6 weeks, but we will wait and see how things go, maybe I am a good healer of bones :) The pain is getting better, but the area below my last 3 toes is still swollen are sore, more painful then where the fracture is. I must have done some major tissue damage there and it is taking awhile to heal.

SO, after some goodbyes in Adelaide, we headed out today. Cid and Tim were not there so we left them a goodbye note - they will NOT be forgotten for there kindness and generosity they gave us over these difficult times for us.

We didn't get too far today. We stopped at a couple wineries on the way down the Limestone coast and ended up in a small town, Salt Creek. We are camping here for the night. Should be interesting. It is getting cold at night and coming into the fall so the weather in unpredictable, and getting colder. There are lots of clouds tonight, which I'm hoping don't produce any rain. I was able to help Rob out a bit, but not much. And frankly, it just hurts my good foot just standing there useless. So I made my way to the picnic table with a drink in hand, and just waited :)
I have made use of my backpack to put things in and lug around. It seems to be working thus far. Rob is currently starting a fire (only our second since leaving Darwin) and we are listening to Daft Punk, with only 2 other campers around...... Life is good!

If the weather is bad when we arrive into a place, we will find a hostel or a cheap motel as it is not worth the hassle and frustration of camping in the rain, especially when I can not help.

Traveling will once again be interesting, and I look forward to it, even though I tend to get stressed. Mainly money, and especially knowing that I can't work right away, but, I will get through it, with the help of Rob :) and hopefully don't drive him insane :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

All I want.... to make my own breakfast.

You see, I am the type of person that likes to eat breakfast right away in the morning. In fact, sometimes I wake up at like 5 o'clock in the morning hungry! Rob on the other hand, is not like that. And due to our living circumstances, and my broken foot, it makes it difficult for me to make my own breakfast, which means I have to wait for Rob. And in some circumstances, its almost noon before breakfast is started. Because we are still using our camping gear for meals, I can't just go and make toast. We, I should say, Rob, has to get the stove and the propane bottle out, then we can start cooking. Well, that is once everything else comes out of the trunk of the car or the refrigerated cooler outside. ALL of which making it difficult for me to do on my own.

The last couple of days have been a bit difficult as I feel bad asking Rob to practically have to dress me (exaggeration!) and I know he is getting annoyed. Most of today has been spent inside just of that fact as it is harder for both him and I, when I am outside. It doesn't help that I am homesick, and just want to be home, in my OWN bed. Plus I miss Sarah like MAD! Anyways... on the plus side, the injections are getting easier, and the swelling in my foot has gone down immensely.

I have an appointment with the doctor tomorrow as well as another Xray which will hopefully show that things are getting better, and we can go to Melbourne.

But for now, I will do my best, and hopefully things will get easier...............

Friday, April 2, 2010


.....aka Fragmin, aka enoxaparin. A low molecular weight heparin which is a blood thinner. It is an injection, dose based on weight of the person, and it is administered in the abdomen in the subcutaneous tissues. The reason I'm on it? Because I am at risk of developing a DVT (deep vein thrombosis), a blood clot that forms in the calf. A very painful experience and if dislodged could result in a heart attack, a stroke, or it could get stuck in my lung, also another bad thing. The reason I am at risk, because of my decreased mobility, and my lower leg being casted so unable to move it, and the main reason, I am on birth control which puts me at high risk of getting blood clots in the first place.

To go back a bit, to when I was prescribed the drug and went to the pharmacist to get it, not once was I taught anything about the drug. I was not given much information about it at the ortho clinic, but I had told them there that I was a nurse. The pharmacist on the other hand, did not know. The only thing I spoke to him about was why I was only given 10 when I was prescribed 14. And this was because Clexane only came in boxes of 10, and at a cost of $50 a box, he just gave me 10. OK, thats fine, I will run it by the ortho doc on Wednesday to see if 10 days is sufficient, or if he wants the full 14. It doesn't really matter because the insurance company will be paying for it in the end anyways.

No one, not eve the tech even asked if I had done self injections before. I had to ask for a sharps container which they didn't have any, so I am using a glass beer bottle at the moment. Obviously if I didn't know how to inject myself I would have asked, however I know there are people that are shy, and would probably walk away without asking any questions. SCARY - and if you ask me, it also promotes noncompliance with medications.

Anyways, back to injecting myself. Such a weird feeling. I have given hundreds, maybe thousands of needles before, but never had to do one on myself. The thought alone of hurting myself with the needle is not a pleasant one, and the first time I did it, I looked at the needle, in my hand, then at the bunch of 'tissue' - yes, I will call it tissue, that I had to jab it in. It probably took me about 10 seconds to do it! , I just kept staring at the needle, then the tissue, then the needle.....! I knew the action I needed to do, but as soon as the needle hit my skin, I subconsciously stopped, and ended up pushing the needle in. Even more unpleasant. And let me say one thing, Clexane freagin' hurts when it is injected!!! I have heard from patients that its sister Heparin hurts, a lot, but Clexane isn't so bad. Well, Clexane is bad, and I hate doing it!! I can think of many patients dreading when I come in at 2000 with the dreadful blood thinner injection, and now I dread it when that time comes for me to inject myself!!!

I haven't bruised that badly with the Clexane, just a small red spot from where I injected myself, and it only stings for about 5 minutes after I inject myself, but I still hate it and can't wait for the next 11 days to be over :)

What, I have a broken foot??

After 5 days I still find it hard to believe that I broke my foot!!!! I stare at the bright purple cast and still can't believe it, apart from the pain. Never having broken any bone before (maybe my coccyx, but that has never been X-rayed!) it is something to get used to.

Firstly, the pain has gotten better. Since the full plaster has been put on, I have not had the same pain as before with the half slab. I think it helps that my foot is fully supported as well as it is in more of a natural position, apart from when laying down. I find that it does get sore at times when in bed and especially when trying to sleep, but it is more of an ache then a pain. The swelling isn't helping at this point, which I don't think has gotten worse, OR better. I can tell by my toes and a small part of my foot that sticks out from the plaster. I have not required much endone and regular tylenol seems to do the trick. I am not taking any Motrin as it is believed to inhibit bone healing.

Now that I'm not on much Endone, you could say that I could drink more, but the type of klutz that I am, I'd have too much and fall over using the crutches!!! I guess no getting drunk for me, just a couple glasses of wine with supper.

The last few days have been pretty 'un'interesting. Apart from going to the hospital on Wednesday and going into McLaren Vale with Rob on Thursday to pick up a few things (movies included), I have been either in bed, or outside. The bedroom we are staying in has a beautiful french door that leads outside which as a patio. It is great as there are massive windows to look outside and everything is close by. I go outside a couple times a day to get some fresh air and sun, but it is much easier for me to be inside, everything I need is within hands reach. Water, nibblies (which I try and stay away from), books, and of course, my computer!! If I need anything while I'm outside, Rob has to get it for me, and to be honest, he does enough. He has done the laundry, cooks, and took down the tent that we will longer be needed, plus be my slave and do the silliest things for me :)

I had a shower yesterday for the first time since the injury, and it was heaven!! Cyd and Tim (the kind owners of the house that have let us invade their basement) lent us a plastic chair to stick in the shower and I managed to wobble my way in. I washed my hair, a good wash this time! and shaved my one leg :) should be interesting when the cast comes off, I may need to wax that leg!!

Winnie comes down for a visit every once and a while, she tries to steal one of my crutches or a sock, and gives me that puppy look - 'come and play', but of course I can't, so I give her lots of scratches! Then Rob goes and plays with her. How much I'd love to walk!

Right now we are just taking it day by day, but I have to admit I constantly think about the future. When will I be able to work again? (not that I want to work anytime soon!) Will I need much rehab? When we will we be able to leave Adelaide? Plus I don't want to overstay here as Cyd and Tim have done enough helping us out. We may have to pay extra and get into a hostel after next Wednesday. I still don't know about getting into and out of a tent??? Rob will be calling about work on Tuesday, after the Easter holidays, so hopefully he can pick up something. Oh so many unknowns, which I hate.

For now, we will sit back, relax, and enjoy the Easter Holidays!

More updates to come.........just because I am bored :)