My Life Abroad: The Adventures of Two Birds
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May '11

Meet LuLu


It’s been a struggle getting used to having a dog.  For all intents and purposes, I’m a “cat person”.  I like my cat to sleep with me, sit on my lap, snuggle, talk to me, etc. etc.  If I wasn’t married, I’d be a cat lady.  Yeah!  I said it.  Cat Lady Lainey.

But, about 2-years ago Birdie talked me into getting a dog.  I thought for sure I was doomed.  That our cat would run away, and that I would hate having a dog.  My brother had a big dog once.  It jumped up on me and scared the shit out of me.  They lick places they shouldn’t and most of the time they don’t mind.

Overall, I wasn’t excited about a dog.  It was at a time when I was very sick and in fact, after we had picked the type of dog and picked a breeder – I ended up being in the hopspital for the first 6 weeks that we had our dog.  I missed the puppy part and came home to a little crazy dog.

I love my dog Spot.  Spot is a Smooth Fox Terrier, cousin to the Wire Fox Terrier (see the link below for Wikipedia).

Spotty will have the addition of a new little girl on Friday, Lulu.  We went to the breeded last week to pick her from the litter and she was just as cute as a button.  I’m not excited to go through the training process but once they get the hang of it, these are excellent dogs.  They are high energy and love to play!

Lulu is Spots first cousin, and she will be a great addition to our family.  Even our cat Pete would agree – dog’s make good pillows!  I’m getting very excited for our new puppy.  Here you can see a picture of Birdie holding up our new addition.

Jul '09

Days off from the hospital

It’s been a long four weeks in hospital and with all the surgeries and treatments it has been quite a busy time for me.  I had discussed with my doctor leaving for good on Friday or Saturday.  In the process of agreeing to do the plasma pheresis treatment, it was agreed that I would have a day-pass on Saturday and Sunday to be with Rod.  Unfortunately my diabetes isn’t cooperating which is my hold up this, Sunday, morning. Doesn’t mean I’m not going home today, just means that there’s always a hold up.  The mentality around here – hospitals in general – is that people can’t take care of themselves.  Looking around at my roommates for the past 4-weeks, most over 70, a lot over 90, it’s understandable. 

But as a 39-year old woman that has had diabetes for 11-years – when I leave here I am obviously going to have to take care of myself. If I had checked out on Friday I would have been having to deal with my blood sugars at home today alone… doesn’t matter, they don’t have handcuffs here I hear – so when 10am rolls around, good blood sugar number or not, I’m outta here, man.

Yesterday we just stayed home, and cuddled on the couch, watched a little footy and Law & Order… and played with the furry children.  Spot has definitely gotten bigger since I moved in to the hospital, after four weeks he’s as big as our 8-year old cat Pete and soon he will overtake him in size.

Heres my pics with the furry family from Saturday. 

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Yesterday was more relaxing, today, Sunday we are going to do a movie – Transformers (which we’ve been waiting to see!) and we’ll catch some lunch and just be together.

I’m so grateful to have a partner like Birdie, who loves me so much, and who I know will be there through everything.  These challenges in out life certainly make our love and relationship stronger.  Birdie’s family, as well, my in-laws, sister- and brother-in-law, little niece and nephew and our friends… everybody has been so great!  I couldn’t ask for more support.  Even my friends from home, on Facebook, and my dedcated blog readers (yes, that means you), have been helpful in my contiued recovery.

And I can’t forget to thank everyone at work, my Agency and my current employer that have been so supportive in being away so long and still knowing that I have a job to go back to.  As a self-employed person this is definitely a worry I don’t want to have to be thinking about while I am strugggling in the hospital.  Thanks to Blair, Jas, Andrea, Janelle, Catherine, Mat and Mary-Anne – without you guys I’d be a mess!

Thank you to everyone.  I’m about to go out for the day then I will be back in the hospital for as few more days for treatment and one last procedure (TOE Heart Scan Monday morning).   I can’t wait to be cleared to go home!

I’m off!

Jul '09

Transoesophageal Echocardiography Test

Pathology Reports ~ Update!!

The pathology reports back from the Lung Biopsy show that the Vascilitis is indeed Wegener’s Granulomatosis. So we are on the right track with the treatment, we’ve started the steroids used for Wegener’s so we are on the right track for treatmrnt forward.  Not out of the woods yet! 

The tubes are quite large and are held in with suction. Yesterday the suction was turned off and when gravity takes over the remainder of the lung begins to drain out the “bad stuff”.  Lets just call it “bad stuff” for now. I have no effing idea what it really is – the vasculitis, toxins, junk? Doctors just came round to evaluatem my lung drainage… and there is still some bubbles between my lung and where the lung should be sitting.  After they deflated the air from my lung during the biopsy the process of getting it reflated (is that a word… Dawn?) is a process of streghtening the lung, doing deep breathing excercises and getting the lungs fully inflated (thats the word!).

Looking like 2-more days before the tubes from my lungs and chest can be removed and I can move on to working on the other ‘problems’ I’m facing… heart scan (possibly Tuesday), returning to work, the finger removal, returning to LIFE, etc.

Sunday, 19 July 2009


Got a visit from the Baby Birdies Mum and Dad -Amanda and Brad.  Baby Harry and I had our best visit ever, he was so cute, laughed and smiled at me and let me hold him.  Happy auntie Lainey – heres a quick snap with my phone, I swear he looks just like Amanda, big brown eyes and brilliant smile.  This visit was very nice and made my day today!  It’s so nice to get a full weekend of visitors it sure made my weekend go by fast this time!  Knock wood that this is my last weekend in here!  Can’t wait to see the little ones back on their own homefront in their new house on their  own turf.  Really, I just can’t wait to see the new house!!!  So excited with the new kitchen and everything!  Here’s my little nephew Harry on his visit with me at the hospital.

Baby Spot gets his first bath

It so sucks that I can’t be home to see my new puppy’s first’s.  Bidie gave Spot his first bath today, which I heard he needed…  luckily he got some great pictures for me to blog about something new.  Thank gawd… cause the blog’s been depressing s of late, eh?  So cute puppy pictures for today.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Transoesophageal Echocardiography (TOE)

The TOE is an invasive echo test provides the doctor the very best soundwave (ultrasound) pictures of the heart. It evaluates heart chamber size and pumping action, valve appearance and function and the blood flow through the heart. The ultrasound images of your heart are taken from your oesophagus (food pipe) which lays next to the back of the heart. TOE provides vastly superior picture quality compared to echo pictures obtained from the chest surface, where the picture quality may be variable quality. There is much less interference to sound wave travel from the oesophagus into the heart compared to travel from the chest surface, through the chest wall and lungs into the heart.

The study uses a similar method as looking down into the stomach. The back of your throat is numbed with a xylocaine local anaesthetic gargle. You will be fitted with a mouthguard. An intravenous tube (IV) will be placed in your arm to sedate you (please note sedate means you are still fully aware). The sedation medicine is given to make you very relaxed. After you are very relaxed and possibly asleep (not), the TOE probe is placed gently into your mouth and passed down your oesophagus to the area close to the heart. When the probe is in the right place, the soundwave pictures are taken. After the test is completed, the probe is removed and the IV is taken out of your arm. You then stay for two hours before you can go home. I will not be going home the same day from what I hear we are awaiting word on the status of the finger.  I’m starting to get queasy about putting a new finger picture up as it is quite disturbing.  The finger situation has somewhat changed, only in that to get better final results in look and length of the remaining piece of finger – we need to let thegood parts of skin continue to heal.  The most good skin we can retain means the longer and more normal the finger will look at the end.