(As long as you don’t mind dealing with a lot of shit)
How to be a Carer of a person with multiple problems arising from cancer treatment.
Keep calm and have patience in abundance.
Remember that a woman can do anything. Men probably can too when it comes to the crunch.
Have a strong stomach for icky stuff.
Do a lot of research.
Never accept anything without questioning it.
Remember your gut feeling is usually right.
Be tech savvy because programable nutrition pumping machines don’t come with instructions and are not logical.
Keep important phone numbers at hand at home and on your mobile phone.
Makes notes every day. You’ll be amazed at questions doctors ask because they don’t have any notes passed on to them by other doctors or nursing staff especially when you’re dealing with three different hospitals. Type notes up on your computer and run an up-to-date copy off for every major event.
Observe the patient’s reactions and changes which may be related to changes in medications or new medications.
If you’re calling the ambulance at night put all house lights on – inside and outside – because there’s no street lighting in non town/village areas (our house is 200 metres from the gravel road).
If patient has collapsed at home, keep very calm even if they look like death warmed up.
Buy twice as many PJs as you think are needed and don’t be surprised at how hard it is to buy summer ones during the summer, especially ones the right size. You can’t be choosey about the colour either.
Be lucky to have a good small ceramic mortar and pestle for turning to powder pills which have to be administered via a feeding tube. Getting them in is another thing because they don’t really dissolve and quickly like to form a sediment.
Be good at making baby food and transitioning to moist grown up food.
Have lots of rolls of paper towels and big and thick tissues.
Don’t mind doing repetitive rather boring stuff.
Get a pee bottle.
Be excellent at timetabling and shopping with very limited time.
Be good at filling in very lengthy forms.
If possible, have private top hospital health insurance. Out of pocket expenses have been inconsequential.
Be lucky at getting a park at the hospital carpark (good luck with that indeed).
Try not to forget to feed yourself and keep on enjoying a wine or two or three.
Note: this is an extremely short version of my experiences over last thirteen months. There are some details which no one really needs to know – like what really bad constipation is like when your bladder has gone to sleep after an operation (who knew that could happen and why weren’t we warned?) and why they demand half your teeth have to be pulled (well that did cost a small fortune). The good news is that the patient is close to being back to normal.
Former National Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce has slammed his colleague, Andrew Broad, for not considering his personal staff for his extramarital affair.
Joyce’s outburst came after allegations were published in New Idea that Broad broke with National Party tradition and relied on a third-party dating website to find suitable partners for his affairs.
‘There’s nothing wrong with the girls we hire!’ Joyce said. ‘I’m disappointed and appalled by Andrew’s lack of judgement’.
Broad, who yesterday resigned as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, has expressed deep regret for his actions and vowed to keep future affairs within the National Party family.
Big M had reached a heightened, or perhaps, lowered meditative state that can only be achieved by feeding garden waste through a mulcher. He hated enjoyed this simple mindless task because it suited his intellect, as well as his vast horticultural skills. A nagging thought repeatedly interrupted his meditation. It was something he had read some months back. He had paid all of the bills, emptied the recycling basket, and watered the baby lettuce. Oh, shit, what was it? Must be some fuckin’ trick question, or somethin’ Mrs M wanted. He ruminated. Something about the Pigs Arms….Ah, Mr Merv retirin’. “Oh shit.” He yelled.
“What’s wrong, Dear?” Mrs M yelled back. “Did you cut your finger off, again, or see a snake, or get the cord on your shorts caught in the mulcher, or fall off a ladder….?”
“No, it’s Merv. Get me best suit, and brogues, and that new Fedora….Oh, wait, I’m not Foodge. Can you book me a fourth class ticket on the Flyer?” Yelled M over the sound of the mulcher.
“Probably not!” Mrs M had already lost interest.
“Why?” Yelled M, as he dragged the mulcher back into the garage.
“It’s not 1937, and there is no Flyer, and you can use your Opal Card.” Mrs M knew exactly what was happening, so was already getting her handbag and car keys, knowing that the next question would be something about being driven to the train station.
Twenty minutes later Big M found himself firmly ensconced in an oxymoronically named ‘quiet car’ heading towards Sydney at speeds of up to seventy kilometres per hour. Not three hours later he found himself in the Gentlemen’s Bar at the Window Dressers’ Arms, Pig and Whistle. “Barkeep, a pint of your best.”
Merv was about to turn around and face the arrogant sod when he suddenly recognised the voice. He turned around anyway. “I’m not yer fuckin’ barkeep!” Then grinned. “Gib W, I mean Big M, I’d forgotten who was writing this episode. How the hell are you?” He crushed Big M’s soft nurse’s hand in a vice like grip. A glass canoe quickly followed.
“I’m already enjoying my retirement.” Mumbled M through a foamy, hoppy moustache. “Always thirsty work, commuting.” As he pushed the empty canoe across to Merv who picked up on the hint and proffered another foamy treat. “Anyway, I’m not here to talk about me, I’m here to discuss this rumour about YOUR retirement!”
“Ah, well, that’s difficult.” Merv looked around furtively. “It’s not me that I’m tryin’ to get retired, it’s Granny. I thought that if I sold my share of the pub she might retire.”
“Granny, why Granny? I mean, she’ll work until she drops.” Big M was already looking at the bottom of his empty glass.
“Therein lies the problem.” Merv was pretty pleased with himself for getting in one of those high faluting words, like heretofore, and such. “She’s bloody exhausted!” A third canoe was paddling across the heavily stained timber bar.
“I know the feelin’.” M was as unsteady with his words as his legs, but eagerly skulled another half pint.
“I’ll bet you don’t. It’s bloody Foodge. He’s at her all of the time. Like a boy of fifteen. Early morning, mid-morning, lunchtime, afternoon delight….that’s just a warm-up for the evening!”
“I always thought that our dear Private Dick was pretty backward in the use of the wedding flute. Especially after Granny gave him those anabolic steroids that turned out to be oestrogen.” Big M noticed that the bar had become relatively quiet and quite attentive, relatively.
Granny had appeared at he bottom of the stairs. “What mischief are you causin’?” As she pointed a bony finger at M.
“Ah, oo, um, er. No mischief. Um….this new Pale Ale is good, I mean really good….ah, great.” Big M stared into the bottom of his glass and started to tremble. He couldn’t help himself as he started to laugh uncontrollably. “Pftt…..Foodge….a demon in the sack!”
Soon everybody, including Merv was laughing.
“All right you lot…SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Granny was livid. “How dare you laugh at one of the finest Private Dicks in the country?”
The mere mention of ‘Private Dick’ fed the laughter like trying to put out a fire with petrol. Even the Bowling Ladies were tittering from the Ladies bar.
Granny turned on her heel and marched straight back up the Errol Flynn Memorial Staircase.
“Oh fuck, now we’ve done it!” Muttered Merv. Fuck, what will we do now?”
“The best thing we could do is try to work out what’s going on.” Came a quiet voice from the end of the bar. Manne had crept in with a big basket of eggs, having recently taken over the care of Granny’s chooks because she was too busy. “I mean, Foodge might have some hormonal problem.”
“Yes, yes, of course!” Big M picked up on it straight away. “Yes, too much testosterone, or some other androgen. Did Foodge go to an endocrinologist after the oestrogen overdose?”
“Yeah, but he said there was nothing to be done, ‘cept for a powerful placebo.” Mumbled Merv as he wiped over the taps with a dirty rag.”
“Have you ever seen Granny wait? She’s hardly very patient” M mused over a forth pint. “Would she buy steroids?”
“Nah, not after the oestrogen business.” Merv pulled a tray of steaming glasses from the washer, setting them on the bar to cool.
“Has he been to another doctor?” Big M was scratching his head, struggling to finish the episode.
“No, he hates the doctor.” Reckons they’re charlatans, unlike the legal profession.” Merv winked.
“No one else has become horny?”
“Well I can’t speak for anyone else, but there haven’t been many opportunities.” Merv blushed.
Manne shook his head. “Not since Granny caught me with nudies on me phone.”
“We need more help. Where’s Emmjay?”
“Queensland.” Merv was placing the glasses into the bottom of the refrigerator.
“Costco, no at home.”
“At ‘ome with ‘er recuperatin’ ‘usband.” Merv grunted as he realised that the IPA keg was empty.
“Well they’re dispersed across the country as per usual.” Merv was trying to get Manne to pick up on some non-verbal cue about the empty keg. Manne was busily trying to balance an egg on its apex.
“Fuck, we’re on our own?” M slumped over the bar.
“Couldn’t you just measure Foodge’s testicle level?” Manne had given up on his egg-balancing act.
“Of course, great idea. How would we do it? Total urinary steroids. No, too much pissing about. We probably need some blood. How would we get, say, ten mls of blood from Foodge?”
“I could punch him in the nose, then save all of the tissues.” Manne said in earnest.
“I think we need something subtle.” Big M mused. “More subtle than a punch in the nose.”
“You remember Foodge thought he was about to be knighted last Liz’s Birthdee?” Merv’s brow was crumpled in concentration.
“Yep, but what’s that got to do with the price of mullet?” Big M was getting exasperated.
“Well, we tell him that we was doin’ ‘is family tree, and the Royal Family want a blood sample because they think he is a distant member of the royal family, like Liz’s third cousin, four times removed, or summit!” Merv’s brow finally relaxed.
“Yes, yes. I’ll get some needles, syringes, blood tubes, et cetera and away we go!” Big M seemed to sober up at the thought.
Emm: Mr Morrison, what’s your reaction to the Victorian election result ?
Sco: Call me Scomo. Go the Sharkies.
Emm: Mr Morrison, the Victorian election ?
Sco: We was robbed. Did you catch that ref ? I mean his seeing eye dog should do the one-way trip to the vet.
Emm: The Victorian election ?
Sco: Sorry, you were saying ?
Emm: Mr Morrison, I was asking you for your take home message on your reaction to the Victorian election result.
Sco: There was loose talk that we didn’t have a prayer – but I did one for them and I cried a bit.
Emm: … and ?
Sco: Well, well, nothing happened.
Emm: So, divine intervention was a fizzer ?
Sco: What church do you go to, son ?
Emm: I play third ukulele at St Generic’s Brand.
Sco: Well, son, I think it was probably your fault. Ya have to play in key and in time.
Emm: Sorry, I’ll try harder in the next election. Who’s having that again ?
Sco: Somebody told me that. No, wait… I think there’s some snags ordered for the Happy Clappers of Shark Park.
Emm: Close, Mr Morrison. It’s the NSW election in March next year.
Sco: How’s our form there ?
Emm: I believe that the verdict is still with the TV ref.
Sco: Will there be Sharkies contesting ? Go the Sharkies !
Emm: Indeed, Mr Morrison.
Sco – checking his mobile phone “It will be fought on local issues”
Emm: Like Wentworth ?
Sco: Australia’s best Prime Minister ? William Charles Wentworth. I used to call him Bill. My mate Bill.
Emm: He died even before your little dust up with NZ Tourism.
Sco: I was robbed. Those ALL Blacks have no understanding of the offside rule.
Emm: They say the Nez Wealand taxpayers was robbed.
Sco: It wasn’t my fault that “Put a shrimp in the hungi” flopped. I mean, what’s a hungi ? Some kind of pagan ritual? Of course, no God-fearing bloke is going to go there for some druid nonsense. Did I tell you that I turned back the boats ?
Emm: From New Zealand ?
Sco: From Shark Park.
Emm: No you didn’t.
Sco: Yeah, I did. Coz I’m fair dinkum.
Emm: Was Malcolm fair dinkum ?
Sco: Who did he barrack for ?
Emm: I have no idea. Does he barrack at all ?
Sco: There you have it. Not like David Steinbergstein.
Emm: The former candidate for Wentworth ?
Sco: Bill ?
Emm: No, the proposed candidate for Wentworth.
Sco: Sonja ? She was a snappy dresser.
Emm: Yes she was. Mr Morrison, what did the Coalition learn from the Victorian election ?
Sco: Did you realise you just typed “coal” ? I love coal, it’s all black and shiny like my BMW.
Emm: Well the voters of Wentworth didn’t seem too fond of your coal policy.
Sco: Ha ha you just typed coal again ! Twice.
Emm: Was the coalition’s lack of an energy policy or a climate change policy something to do with the Victorian election – I believe the Murdoch press called it a Coalition rout.
Sco: How dare you suggest that the Victorian coalition is routed ! OK, the Sharkies didn’t run, but I prayed for them and I had a little cry too. So, did my minister Pasta Farian.
Emm: Or did it have something to do with the bogus war on South Sudanese youth in Melbourne.
Sco: I have been accused of racism, you know ?
Emm: You don’t say !
Sco: Yeah, although I’m a fair dinkum bloke, I will not abide by street violence. Nobody. Not even people the colour of coal are above John Laws.
Emm: Are you saying that you ARE racist on the black gangs street violence issue ?
Sco: Those dickheads who point to the 40% decline in youth violence in Victoria in the last four years are turning a blind eye. I reckon it’s because South Sudanese youth are hard to see at night.
Emm: So, what was the cause of the Coalition rout in the Victorian election or in the seat of Wentworth – a seat it is alleged that has only ever been in Liberal hands.
Sco: It was a state issue.
Emm: Wentworth is a Federal seat.
Sco: I know that. It’s held by my mate Billy Wentworth.
Emm: Billy’s been extinct for decades and so is his love child Billy McMahon – perpetually voted as Australia’s worst Prime Minister – until he was unseated by Tony Abbott.
Sco: But the Sharkies are great ! Go Sharkies !
Emm: Have you got any tourist tips ?
Sco: Put another shrimp on the barbie !
Emm: Thanks. That’ll be a few million dollars please.
Sco: Sure. The cheque is in the mail.
Emm: Mr Morrison, thanks for your time.
Sco: No worries, anything for a fair dinkum Aussie bloke. Go the Sharkies.